A Day at the Park

Before the cold really set in, we decided to take a walk to the park.

One of the awesome things about homeschooling is having free run of the park.

That gives Finn the freedom to play without feeling like he’s either too old or making younger children feel awkward.

Apparently Thadd takes swinging very seriously. Riding in the stroller, on the other hand…

Grocery Shopping with Children

If you have ever gone grocery shopping with young children, then you know what a treat it is to go shopping alone. On a recent shopping day, the whole family went to Aldi. Even with Chris there as backup, that trip resulted in my giving Instacart* a try. (Actual conversation with Instacart delivery guy: Him: Have a good day! Me: It’s a great day! I didn’t have to take my three kids shopping!!!!)

Beckett shopping
One of my little hooligans.

Aldi is awesome, but there’s always a few things I can’t get there, so on the way home we stopped at Kroger. Chris stayed in the car with the hooligans while I ran in to get the last few things we needed.

In the store, I occasionally ended up on the same aisle as a father with his three lovely daughters. I’m guessing they were all around elementary school age. What caught my attention about this family, was the fact that the father was experiencing his own version of the Aldi trip I had just survived. I never know if a smile or kind word in such situations will be seen as sincere or smug in such situations, so I politely ignored the chaos to finish my shopping.

At the checkout line, who should end up behind me, but the father and the three young ladies. If he was put there to remind me that all parents have those kinds of days, then I appreciate the reminder, but torturing another human being really was not necessary.

I continued with my plan of polite indifference to the humorous to everyone but the father scene that was taking place behind me. I’m pretty sure I failed to not smile when I heard such phrases as, “What have you done to the tortillias? Don’t put your mouth on that!”and the exasperated, “What is wrong with you?!?!???”

Hopefully it has been long enough that, should the father see and recognize this, he will be able to find the humor that is totally lacking when you are in the moment. Regardless, you have my empathy for that and every other similar shopping trip, as that is usually me. Also, Instacart* delivers to your door, if you need some time to recover.

He had a shirt on when we went in, I promise.

*Neither Instacart or Aldi offered any compensation for this post. After that particular Aldi trip, though, Aldi should consider offering me free Instacart delivery so I no longer have to bring my children into their store. 

Thrifty Knitting Machine – Singer Silver Reed LK-140

A couple of years ago, I really wanted a knitting machine. I like yarn and the thought of making pretty things with yarn has always appealed to me. I started teaching myself to knit and crochet while I was pregnant with Finn. He is eleven now, and it takes me two days of work to make a single dishcloth. So, a knitting machine seemed like a good compromise to speed things up a bit. They are kind of hard to come by, though, especially a well made machine. Besides, I knew nothing about how a knitting machine works, so I got my embroidery machine instead.

Fast forward to two Sundays ago. The family and I were having fun thrift shopping for some office furniture. (That could also read as, “Chris and I were dragging the kids around to thrift stores, with much protesting on their part.”) The first Goodwill store we went to didn’t have much in the way of office furniture. They did have lots of bins out full of miscellaneous stuff that I really wasn’t interested in digging through, until I happened to notice this long rectangular box poking up out of one bin.

That’s the one. It for is a Singer LK-140, made by Silver Reed. It is a plastic bed hobby machine, but a durable hobby machine. I’ve since learned that, except for having ten fewer needles, it is identical to the newer LK-150 knitting machine. That means parts are easy to come by.

The box was so well taped, and it had a good weight to it, so I decided not to even open it before buying it. I figured I probably wouldn’t even know what may have been missing. Also, let’s zoom in on the price tag:

Back when I was actively looking for a knitting machine, I would have thought getting one for $80 on eBay was a fairly good deal. At $5.49, it was worth it even if it was only good for parts.

When I finally opened it at home, I did notice a few parts were missing, but only the table clamps, manual and transfer tools. I found a free manual online, and the other two items are easily and inexpensively replaced. They also aren’t essential, so I have played with it a bit.

I did need to replace the sponge strip. That’s pretty standard for an older machine. Luckily on this machine, foam weatherstripping works great as an inexpensive replacement. I also needed to clean the needles, because they were covered with gunk from the old sponge strip. With that, I was able to set it up and play.

There is definitely a learning curve, but it is fun. I have noticed, though, that you can still tell it is my own handiwork.

See the dropped stitch. It’s like my signature. The best part, though, is it only took me a minute or two to make that swatch, as opposed to a day or two. A little more practice, and I might be able to make two or three dishcloths a day without dropped stitches, or a scarf with a few holes. Seriously, though, it is fun, and I look forward to coming up with new projects and products to make.

As for office furniture, I felt bad that I got a new toy but we hadn’t found the thing we really needed, so I did a quick craigslist search. There just happened to be a desk posted locally in the free section.

Excuse the mess. That photo was taken while everything was getting tossed around with moving in the desk. There is a trim piece that needs to be put in place on the top. Overall, it is in good shape. More importantly, it provides us with the two main things we needed for the office: more desk space and shelving. Best of all, it was free!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: The Thaddeus Edition

It has recently come to my attention that I shared this with you over two years ago: 

but neglected to share when this happened on September 17, 2015.

This is Thaddeus, weighing in at a whopping 9lbs, 2 ounces. That’s why he looks to be a few months old in the above photo, instead of a day old.

Here he is a year later.

Jpeg

And here he is now, nearly two and into everything.

At least when he plays outside, the worst he can get into is mud.

End of Summer Kite Flying

My boys kite flying on Labor Day weekend. We found that kite at Thrift Town for five bucks. Best. kite. EVER. Even though the wind was unsteady, once Chris got it in the air, it would fly for five minutes at a time. Finn was even able to keep it in the air fairly easily.

To see the full size-pictures, click on them.