Kitchen Helper

I loved wood working as a child and teenager.  My parents encouraged me to help hammer nails when they built our back deck.  I spent hours in my grandpa’s garage with him and his tools helping him craft his projects.  And sometimes, he would be the one helping me to create my projects – like the dog bed for my brother’s Pound Puppies that I gave him for Christmas one year.  He taught me about being safe with the tools, how to measure twice and cut once, and all about keeping a neat workspace.  I enjoyed it so much that I used my electives in junior high and high school to take more wood shop classes.

I now have my grandpa’s cherished tools in our garage, and thanks to my wonderful husband, they are being put to great use!  Our first project when we moved this past fall was to build a workbench to mount and organize the tools.  My husband found a design that worked and build it in a single afternoon.  Winter came, and our uninsulated garage became too cold to do any further wood working, so I retreated inside and found inspiration in Ana White’s blog.  My project wish list grew and grew!

We got our first taste of spring last week and with the warm weather, my husband headed out to the garage to build.  He built this kitchen helper tower using these plans.

The kids LOVE it!  It has 4 adjustable heights, which makes it perfect for all the kids.  The kids and I will be sanding it this week and hope to paint it in the coming weeks.

Jackson can’t wait to wash the dishes on a regular basis, and Izzy wants to help bake some cookies.

And me… well, I am over the moon and will think of the wonderful man who inspired my love of woodworking and the wonderful man who inspires me each and every day whenever I walk into my kitchen and have my kids able to give a helping hand.


Fourth Grade Update

Alex just finished up the Norse Mythology block and thoroughly enjoyed it.  We struggled to get a rhythm going at first, but part of it was due to illness and holiday vacation recovery.  We followed Christopherus’ plans using the D’Aulaire’s Nose Mythology book, though we dropped the poem memorization and many of the paintings.

The most special part of this unit was the fountain pen that I gave to Alex for his main lesson work.  This was the same pen I used to address our wedding invitations and you could see the honor in Alex’s eyes when I passed this pen onto him.  He became passionate about cursive handwriting since he had this pen.  When given the choice to draw a picture or summarize a story, he always chose to write a summary.  I think it just reinforced his love for words.

In trying to balance out his lessons, I’ve been encouraging more handwork and recorder practice.  He immediately took to knitting and enjoyed getting back into the habit!  It helps that with the knitting, we indulge in a bit of screen time every so often.  We also took the plunge and signed up the boys for soccor in the spring.

Thanks to our temporary lack of fencing, it has been Alex’s responsibility to walk the dog everyday.  This has been such a wonderful task for him to get outside each and every day, multiple times, regardless of the weather.  The bond between dog and boy has only grown, and the pair are often found cuddled together with a good book.

Alex has also been in the kitchen more, cooking and baking.  He’s made pancakes completely on his own, and also enjoys making cornbread.  He usually makes sandwiches for himself and his siblings a couple times a week for lunch and takes pride in his ability to help out.  He’s been copying each new recipe that he makes into his notebook, so he can use it whenever inspiration hits.  We’re loving this stage, but need to work a little bit more with the whole clean-up aspect.

The Big Melt

Oh to be outside again without a coat!  We all ventured outside to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather that melted our thick layers of ice.  The kids found the mud puddles first and soaked their pants and boot.  Upon making their way back to the house, Alex and Izzy got stuck in the mud and both had to be extracted by mama.  Alex was not so keen on walking on snow barefooted, but all was forgiven when the bikes, shovels, and pails came out of the garage!

Yarn Along

I got a couple inches in length in this past week and split for the arms, so my featherweight cardigan looks a bit different from last week.  Yay for progress!  With any luck, I’ll need that second skein of yarn this week, but that may be wishful thinking.

And the book is Little Girls, Big Style.  I just picked it up from the library last night after requesting that they order it.  I love the library!  It breaks all those beautiful boutique girls clothes into four basic patterns for sizes 2 to 6.  Even if you’ve never sewn, this book goes over the basics and you could totally sew up some super sweet outfits for your little girl in no time.  I need to fish through the fabric I have on hand and find some time to put these patterns to good use before Miss Izzy’s birthday next month!

Make sure to visit Ginny at Small Things to see more Yarn Alongs!

Yarn Along (times 2!)

Visit Small Things to see more Yarn Alongs!

Making progress on my featherweight cardigan.  I have two more rows to go before I split the arms and body of the sweater!

We’ve been dealing with fevers and colds for the past week, so I have had little chance to read.  Instead we’ve been opting for audio books via Storynory and

Alex is also making progress on his knitting and reading.  He’s finishing up his Norse Mythology block this week and working on his potholder.