Christmas Crafts

We spent some time crafting last week. The kids love to paint ornaments and it's fun for all ages. The Ipod serenaded us with beautiful Christmas music and we drank hot apple cider as we painted. Great fun!

Well, it's 1:30 a.m. Dh has the crepe batter ready our Christmas breakfast. The breakfast table is set with fine china and Christmas decor. The stockings are filled and overflowing, the presents are all wrapped and under the tree, and the little ones are fast asleep and will be awake in no time. I better catch some ZZZZZs.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!



I finally attached the hanger to the snowman stocking I made last year and completed a new moose stocking this year for Brown Eyes. It sure looks better after being blocked. I love this pattern and will make another one next year for little caboose. The kit was purchased here.

Now if I can find some time to get to the store and purchase all of the stocking stuffers. Does anyone want to take that job for me for 7 children? lol ACK!!!


Blue Sky

Sorry - no pictures, my battery charger is dead and a new one is in the mail. We've been inundated with rain these past few days. It's been kind of scary considering the flood we dealt with last year. People at the coast will be without power for a few days. I was listening to the news, and at that time, there was no cell phone coverage, no land line phone service, no power, no gas stations open, no grocery stores open, and no way to drive out of the area due to thousands of downed trees blocking the roads (hurricane-force winds = 100+ mph). Talk about isolation!

Vernonia, the town with stranded people mentioned here Stranded People in Vernonia
is within an hour of us.

Don't you wish there was a way to pipe this excess water to SE parts of the States who are suffering drout conditions? Crazy weather!

We are also saddened about this little bit of history that is no more: Largest Sitka Spruce Topples and
Pre-Storm Pics. We just visited the site a few months ago and saw its majestic beauty.


Two Weeks Later

It's been 2 weeks since my ACL reconstruction surgery. Life is challenging at the moment. My mobility and range of motion is "miraculous" according to my physical therapist. I've gone 4 times and each time as she measured my bent knee and straight leg to see the range of motion, she has been amazed and said I should be a poster child for having physical therapy before surgery. I'm so thankful for that! Unfortunately, the mobility and good range of motion does not take away the never-ending pain. Yes, it does take a while for bones to feel better when they've been drilled and "screwed". Thank goodness for pain meds.

The schooling has been minimal. Everything is down to basics now. The kids have taken the initiative to get the Christmas decorations out. They love traditions and that is one load off my mind.

In the meantime, I've had time to work on this moose stocking for Brown Eyes. He has wanted this since I made Bunny his snowman stocking last year. This is a pretty quick knit with Size 8 needles. Once again, I love Annie's Woolen's kits and love, love, the Barlettyarns that give these the traditional rustic look.



We had such a nice Thanksgiving with my parents and brother and his family. I was especially happy to see that the sweater I just completed still fits this little chubbers nephew who is not yet one year old (pattern is for Size 2). The consensus was that the sweater was probably going to be too small and I was mentally preparing to have to make a new sweater. Thankfully, despite his cute rolls, Gage's sweater fits perfectly (with a little growing room).

Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one!

Stats: Child’s Placket-Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. Be sure to get the errata on this pattern. Yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Worsted Wear in the Bronze colorway. I will definitely use this yarn again. It is wonderful!


* * warning * * Post-op Photos * * - not too bad, though

Well, here it is. It is now 2 days after surgery and I was able to change the dressing (with quite an audience in the room). I was surprised at how small the main incision was (about 2 inches long). I can't believe the doctor was able to go in, slice a piece of hamstring and then make a new ACL for me with only those small incisions. Modern technology is incredible. Oh, notice the "yes" printed on my leg. It is always reassuring to know they are going to do surgery on the correct leg!

The surgery itself went quite well the doctor said. I was a nervous wreck beforehand when the nurse told me that I probably wouldn't be able to nurse my little guy for days, if not a week. Later, I found out that someone called OB for me and they said I could start nursing within 24-48 hours after surgery because the other meds were fine (the general anesthesia was the problem). He's a happy camper now :)

Going under wasn't so bad, it was waking up that was difficult. It felt like a combination of feeling the most tired I've ever felt, with nausea and dizziness. It took about 3 hours for me in recovery - they had said it would probably only take an hour.

I'm able to put weight on my knee and have already been doing some of the exercises I first started after the accident. I am so glad that I've already done physical therapy - it has definitely made a difference.

And this is the view that I see from my bed. Someone loaned me a big wedge to elevate my leg and pillows are placed on top of that to ensure that my heel is above my heart to prevent blood clots. Over on the dresser is a gorgeous bouquet from Stacy, my sweet online buddy of about 6 yrs! There's proof for you, Ms. Cinderelli. I took these 2 pics and battery went dead. I wanted to get a better shot of the flowers.

There you have it :)


Young Musicians

I was so happy to get this picture in my e-mail box this morning from someone at church. Last Sunday, the children and I played the offertory at church and I never thought of bringing my camera. This is a treasure. Okay, ignore the head in the way, but you get the idea.

And Brown Eyes on the left has surprised me recently. Two days in a row, he has asked, even begged for me to play violin with him. He says he wants to get better. This is a new thing for him. It's usually the other way around. Oh joy, this mama is happy!



Volleyball season has ended. It was great to see how the girls improved over the season. Pearly towered over her teammates and it was a reminder of what I look like next to my friends!! Am I really THAT tall? lol

And last, but not least: my new sock:
Sock it to Me! Collection Harlequin
Magic Loop 2.25 mm, co 90 sts

PS - I wish Stacy would come to my house and explain to me how I messed up my camera settings! I am clueless.


Blog Post

How's that for a title? lol The lighting was horrible on this picture, but I loved the sweetness of it. Sepia was a good improvement.

Time is ticking for my knee surgery and I'm trying to tie up loose ends, stock up on meals and make apple pies and sweet potato casserole to be put in the freezer for Thanksgiving. I don't know how long I will be out of commission. That thought is a bit scary.

I've heard lots of scary stories about complications from general anesthesia and the surgery itself. Why do people feel the need to share horror stories right before you are about to go into surgery? I heard similar types of stories when I was pregnant about to delivery a baby. What's all of that about, anyway?

I'm getting knitting projects ready for the 4 days I have to keep my knee elevated above my heart. Have you knit in that position before? I can't imagine being idle for that period of time. I sure hope I can accomplish something.


Treat for my Feet

I finally finished these socks. My goal was to be able to wear them this fall. The pattern came from Sensational Knitted Socks using the Slipped Rib pattern. This is only the 2nd pair of socks I have knit for me and I'm trying to really get the perfect fit for my unconventional-sized feet - lol. I mean, come on, if I were to have "normal-sized" feet, they wouldn't be able to hold up my 6 foot 3-3/4-inch frame. Next time, I will add at least one inch to the leg length. I think I will also use a larger size needle for the leg and go down to the correct size for the ankle/foot. This project is recorded on Ravelry under my name: homejewel


Two Years Later

I've been wanting a fall-colored table runner to put on my dining room table. A couple years ago, Birdie pieced and quilted a table runner, but hadn't put the binding on it. Birdie has been working lots of hours and going to college full-time and hasn't had time to finish it, so I asked if she would mind if I put the binding on it so it can be used this year. She was absolutely fine with that. I'm thrilled to finally have this precious piece from my daughter on display. She did not know how to applique and made up her own stitching. I love it. Best of all, she did this all behind my back and it was a complete surprise when I received it a couple Christmas' ago.


The Girls

The Girls - left to right: me, Pearly, my Mom, Birdie
Any family resemblance?


Booties and News

I've lost count of how many baby booties like these I have knit. These will go to a little new punkin' at church. These were the only things that would stay on my babies feet. Socks alone never worked. I love the fact that this pattern has passed down the generations - well over 100 years old.

Surgery has now been scheduled for my torn ACL in mid-November. A couple days ago, I went for a walk yesterday - managed to go around the block twice and my knee felt like it was giving way. Not only that, I don't feel that I could ever make it up the hills I used to walk. If surgery will give me the ability to be as active as I used to be, then it is worth the mental anguish of the impending surgery/pain.

October is our busy birthday month. Orange boy recently turned 10 yrs old. He's the family clown who needs no audience to keep himself amused. He keeps us all in stitches.

My thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors to the south who are dealing with those horrific fires. Stay safe! At a time like this, the important things really stand out: friends/family.


New Decor

A couple rooms got a new facelift. Here's our computer room we redid with the blue walls/white trim. I found 2 bedspreads at a garage sale for $4 and immediately thought they would make great curtains. We love them. The light can be so bright in the room and makes it hard to see the computer screen. The price was right.

Here is my favorite new look. I bought violin holders. I love the look of the violins hanging from the wall. It works beautifully because now we no longer have to deal with violin cases, everywhere, no leaving the violins/bows on the couch to be sat on, etc. Also, because the violins are more accessible, the children are playing more frequently. A very good investment, indeed. Not your typical living room decor, but it definitely fits our family's needs.


His New Routine

PJ has a new routine. He used to love to be put to bed for his nap. Lately, however, we have noticed a new trend. Someone will put him in his crib, but then he climbs out and finds a warm lap at another area of the house and eventually falls asleep. I guess that is one advantage of a large family - there's always an available lap. I love this aspect of homeschooling - because our children are home during the day, even our 17-yr old son can find some time in the day to spend with his very young siblings and have a relationship with them. When I was in high school, I came home from school and then immediately went back out for extra-curricular activities. There was little time for me to spend with my siblings. Witnessing this interaction between my children makes this mom have a happy heart.


Birthday Drama

Bunny had his 5th birthday while I was out of blogging commission. We had a nice birthday dinner and put candles on the homemade pumpkin pie he requested. Just as we began to sing "Happy Birthday", PJ got a pouty look on his face.

Seconds later, the dam burst. He was in a full-fledged boo-hoo crying hissy fit for a reason unbeknownst to any of us.

Poor PJ - he was in such a state, but all of us couldn't stop laughing at him. We are so mean. It will be interesting to see if he does this again for Pearly's birthday later this month.


Mt. St. Helens

I promised pictures of my son and dh's hike to the crater of Mt. St. Helens. They did not bring a camera (what were they thinking?), but thankfully some friends took a few pics.

They are above the clouds here. A solar power is on the left used to power the GPS on the right.

Eating lunch on the rim of the crater - yep, right behind them the crater drops off thousands of feet. That gives me the willies thinking about it - just a gust of wind could knock them off balance and into the crater. I guess that's just a mom for you.

Steam plume - a common occurrence at the volcano.



Yes, I am a blogging slacker. Four words would summarize the last 4 weeks: bum knee, harvest, schooling, and

Boy, ravelry is wonderful. I love to see projects worked up in various yarns. What a neat idea.
I have been knitting. Finished this little blueberry hat (Ann Norling's, Kid's Fruit Cap #10), but it's a bit small for PJ. So cute, though, and I love the pattern.

Cascade 200 Superwash, Dk Purple colorway (835) and Green Apple 802
Sz 7 circular needles, Magic Loop method (use size 6 next time)
Ann Norling Kid's Fruit Cap pattern
Child's Size 2
5 st = 1 in.

We've canned boatloads of salsa, grape jelly, pepper jelly, and the new one this year is zucchini relish from those mammoth-sized zucchinis that appeared out of nowhere in the garden after a vacation.

Newsworthy stuff: I have decided, after falling and injuring my knee yet again, that sugery is probably in order. The MRI proved that my ACL is completely torn and without the use of a functioning ACL, the knee can be quite unstable. Surgery means 4 weeks of being off my knee. I'm not sure how this will all work out logistically, but it would be nice to have some sense of normalcy without being so preoccupied with falling.

I hope you all are enjoying the fall. The leaves are starting to turn here and sometimes I want to just pull over to soak in the vibrant colors.


Out of Commission

We went to another family camp on Labor Day Weekend. This 40-plus mom decided to play competitive volleyball. I set the ball, heard and felt a pop in my right knee and then went down on the ground writhing in pain. The next 24 hours, I could not put any weight at all on my right leg. The knee was very unstable and swollen. Dh was very good about bringing me meals, helping me to the toilet, etc, without complaining. Slowly, but surely, I've been able to put weight on my right leg. A trip to the doctor gave the bad news: at least a torn ACL. This morning I had an MRI to see if it's more than a torn ACL and will get the results next week.

I've learned a few things. Disabled people really deserve all the help they can get. Just doing things like going to the bathroom can be such a huge ordeal. Walking in a parking lot is very challenging. Crutches are not fun at all - you use upper body muscles you forgot you owned and your arm pits end up being sore.

Oh, and about MRIs - if you are getting an MRI on your knee, you can knit for the 25-minute procedure. The tech suggested that I take a book in with me and I asked if I could knit. He quickly checked to make sure my needles were not made of steel and gave me the green light to knit. After all was said and done, he told me thnat he was going to write about me in his book of "firsts" - the first person to knit while getting an MRI - lol.

He was a really nice tech. Showed me the MRI and explained enough to verify that I have an injury and fluid on my knee without compromising his job for disclosing medical information. MRIs are very cool, but I wish I could have learned about them without being the victim.


Family Camp

Just arrived back home last night from family camp. We had a wonderful time on Whidbey Island camping with many families. It was great to have my parents join us this trip. We enjoyed swimming, canoe rides, boating, four-square, lots of competitive games, no cooking/cleaning, good teachings, relaxing talks with friends, etc.

Orange boy is holding what was our "race car" for the "Clinton 500". It was filled with water, but had holes punched out at the bottom. Teams had to have 2 people constantly filling up the car with water before it emptied as the racers ran the car around the track many, many times (there were no wheels on the car, it was pulled by a piece of twine). It was tiring, but very fun. We had a kick watching Bunny take his job very seriously at his young age. What fun!
We are still recovering from our memorable trip. On the way back home to OR, we dropped dh and Tall Dude off with some friends. They spent the night at a cabin on Mt. St. Helens and today they climbed to the top and ate lunch at the summit. I sure hope someone got good pictures.



Our garden is getting to the point where I'm going to have to leave zucchini on doorsteps. I'm trying to use up as much as we can. These turned out really yummy:

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

And who can resist these wonderful Rainier cherries?

And hopefully I will have time this week to make another skirt from this thrifted cotton/lycra which used to be homemade curtains in their previous life. Price = $4


The Girls

I've been getting updates from my girls - and pictures. Don't you just love modern technology?

Here's Pearly at Virginia Beach, VA:

And here's Birdie at Busch Gardens:


Summer Sewing

Taking a break from skirts, now it's time for pillowcases. I've made so many that it's easy to get in the groove - especially if they are already cut out. Last year I made the kids pillowcases to take to family camp. Dh and I didn't have any, so this year, I made ours. Dh has the brown one - fishing theme. Mine is the floral print. I love, love, love, this fabric. I went to a really neat store in SE Portland called Cool Cottons and found it there. The owner overheard me say that I wanted something that I could lay my head on and immediately showed me this fabric (called "follow your imagination" by Prints Charming for Free Spirit). I've never felt any cotton so soft. It's perfect!

The pirate ones are sure to be hits with the boys' upcoming birthdays. And I also started making travel size pillowcases. You can see PJ's in his crib. And the last picture is for the girls who surely must be homesick for their beloved PJ by now. PJ loves to tuck his baby in when he goes down to sleep.


Summer Happenings

The girls are on the East coast and now Tall Dude left to go to the Oregon coast with some friends for 6 days. Now I've got 4 kids 9 and under and it is making me appreciate all that my older children do to keep the house in some sort of order. When my son told me of his plans and we only had a few hours for him to get packed, I immediately went shopping because otherwise I'd have to take all of the children and that's not really fun when shopping for shoes - how pathetic is that!

We still had some blueberries left in the fridge that needed to be used, so I made a coffee cake this morning. I could get by with only one since our family is so small. And there was still a nice size piece for dh when he comes home tonight :) It was pretty good, but I think next time I would add some lemon or orange zest. I love citrus zest with blueberry.

PJ wishing someone would push him in the swinging chair.


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