Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Knit Toddler Woolies

I love wool. It's warm, breathable, and holds up well too! I've seen similar wool pants around on Etsy for $60+ dollars, but I thought: I can make my own! So I DID. And they are awesome.

This knit pattern can be downloaded here (its $3.99) or the free video can be viewed below. There is a 12M, 2T, and 3T sizes, and instructions for cloth and disposable diapers. You will need a 4.0 and 5.0 circular knitting needle (16 inch) and 4.0 and 5.0 double pointed needles for the legs. The pattern is made from the top down, in the round, and is seamless. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Desire Hat

I stumbled across this cool hat pattern when surfing Ravelry one day. It was called Desiré and was written by Misha Overbeeke. It's the only pattern she has uploaded so far on Ravelry, but I friended her just in case she writes more, because it's an awesome pattern! Did I mention it's free?

It's essentially a bonnet style hat for adults, complete with an subtle texture pattern and a lot of pom poms. My gauge was HUGE so I left out a few repeats and even went down a needle size, but it still turned out too big. She must knit really tight. I know I knit loose, but still, the difference was alarming. Good thing I have a huge head! Despite the largeness, it still looks awesome, and I've been wearing it everywhere. Mine is just way more slouchy than hers, and I don't mind a bit! I already want to make one in green (forest color) and a friend asked me to make her one, too. It was a fun knit, but even tho it did turn out fine, I can think of several things I would change (like not doing two knit rows after the decreases) to make it snugger.

You can find me on Ravelry here if you are interested in seeing things I knit, or seeing my new patterns when they pop up!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Going Zero Waste (A Process)

As I said before, it is my goal in 2017 to go zero waste. I've been moving this direction for the last two years (here is what I've done so far).

My focus over the next three months will be to buy and set up a compost area (we are looking at this one) and to find a way to store our recycling better. Right now it's just a big pile that frustrates me, and sometimes I just put it in the trash for ease. I want to get some big bins and put them outside, with lids--one for each type--that can easily be towed to the car and hitherto deposited at the dump. The lids would ensure that rain does not get in. After a lot of thought I just can't see where to put a "recycling collection place" inside our small home--so outside seems like the best bet for now.

Does anyone out there recycle on a regular basis and have a good home system? We haul our own trash, there is no trash pick up, so we don't have a bin for recycling that goes to the curb. I need something that works, but I truly am stumped. I don't really want to walk outside every time I have to put a glass jar or cardboard item away.

Another thing I want to do is start a garden. I printed plans to build a raised bed, and start with two vegetables for ease. I'm going to do bell peppers and zucchini. The plan is to add 1-2 veggies or fruits a year so I can learn slowly and not get overwhelmed, and build a new garden bed every two years to branch out. Eventually I want to have a full garden each year with a herb section as well.

I've never grown anything so that is a stretch. I'll start with  two veggies this year and see how it goes. One year I tried tomato plants and the deer ate them all. We need a fence as well, it seems--and I've already got plans for one so Reuben can play outside when older with less supervision. He's supposed to get one for his two year birthday--a joint his birthday/mother's day gift. I'm excited. We also plan to get a nice swing set as well, if we can find a good used one. But I digress from the topic.

Those are my plans, for now. I still hope to be zero waste by the end of the year! Small steps, small steps. I need some more produce bags for sure--five is not enough, given the amount of produce we buy and eat!

To update on purchases, I bought a set of washable cupcake liners! Now I don't have to buy cupcake liners ever again. They are silicone and I can't wait to receive them. Now all I have to replace is tissues. As we flush our toilet paper and it breaks down in our tank outside I feel it's already very green and zero waste.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Week 75

This week I got a new camera! I've been wanting a different camera for vlogging vs main channel videos to keep everything easily compartmentalized. I found a great deal on a refurbished camera, (70% off!) but the audio is a bit wonky. Hopefully I can work with it, if not, oh well. I also wanted a camera for taking pictures. My DSLR broke when Reuben was born (it was almost 10 years old at that point) leaving me with only an ipad for pictures, so getting a point and shoot was a priority.

I'm glad to have more video options, and I hope I can get the sound working! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Crochet Toddler Cabled Legwarmers

Another idea--crochet legwarmers for my son for the snow, with griffindor colors and a cable! These were crochet with a 4.25mm crochet hook and worsted weight yarn. They fit a 1-2 year old, and you could easily add one more repeat of the cable to fit a 2-3 year old toddler. Enjoy, and stay warm guys!

You can download the pdf pattern here on Ravelry.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

A week of paleo dinners pt 2

A week of paleo dinners. I didn't mean for all of these (okay, all but one) to be one pot paleo dinners, but they are! I must have been stressed. I usually do one pots on days where I am really busy. Who am I kidding...I'm always busy! I have a toddler. And a husband. And a YouTube channel. And I like to shower instead of slaving in the kitchen... but I also like to eat, so some slaving is necessary...

Day One: Chicken stew. Chicken thighs, various veggies, a little bit of homemade chicken stock, coconut aminios, and seasonings. I can't remember what kind of seasonings. It was good.

Day 2: Chicken sausage cooked with red bell peppers, kale, and seasoning. Paired with a sweet potato.

Day 3: Paleo jerk chicken with a side of veggies.

Day 4: It's not a good picture. I was hungry. Chicken sausage, red bell pepper, Chinese five spice powder and green cabbage.

Day 5: This was a particularly bad day, I was not in the mood for cooking. It's just ground beef with greens and bacon and some seasoning. It was good, easy, and quick: just what I needed.

Day 6: A fancy day. Regular pizza on the right for hubby, with cheese and gluten. Paleo pizza for me and the squish. I cheated and put some cheese on my side. It was worth it. Total weekend splurge meal. We watched doctor who and ate pizza and it was great.

Day 7: Curry. We really do eat curry once a week. This was red curry, and it was yummy!

That is what I made. I love cooking, and I love eating this way, and taking care of my body and having energy and not being in pain... not pictured, is the side I usually make for hubby. Like if I make curry, I make him rice, and sometimes dinner rolls (like the instant kind) for other dishes, so he can have carbs he enjoys. I just don't eat it. Makes us both happy!

Want to see more of what I eat? Check out my other what I ate (paleo) post here!

Friday, February 17, 2017

DIY Bandana Bib Tutorial

As I've said before, Reuben drools a lot. He's a mouth breather and sadly, because of his allergies, usually has a stuffy nose. This causes him to drool a lot. I've tried buying different bibs from etsy and chain stores, but most are thin or too expensive. I've started making my own bibs for him. This is a triangle bib, and I used a tea towel for the front and an old towel for the back, to make it super absorbent.

For the most part he tolerates bibs. Sometimes he pulls it off. If I don't notice, he is soaked in no time with drool, and requires an entire outfit change, not just a bib switch.

We go through 8-12 bibs a day, depending on if he's teething or extra congested. Or teething AND extra congested. Poor kid. He really does drool a ton!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Week 74

Reuben had a stomach bug this week. I'd never felt more sad for him. He threw up a lot and lost a whole pound and a half from not eating and being nourished only on breast milk. That he still usually threw up. I was so busy taking care of him I didn't vlog much! He is all better now, so don't worry.

One year ago video is here. This week is down below!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Toddler Room Tour (1yr)

I'm really loving being a (unintentional) minimalist. I fell into minimalism after birthing a high maintenance child. Really the only reason I do it is that less stuff is less work. Less work means more free time to focus on the things I really love, like knitting, sewing, and spending time with my family. I have less stress thinking about cleaning, because as a minimalist less time is devoted to cleaning. It works, for me. I am not one of those minimalists who thinks my lower carbon footprint likens me to some kind of height on the sanctimony totem pole. No, I really do it from a purely survival standpoint.

My son's nursery also benefits from minimalism. Less toys to clean up, less things to distract him (he gets overwhelmed easily) and also, he plays well with what he has. He can play with blocks all day, so why clutter his tower building space with things he can't or doesn't want to play with?

In our tiny home, it just works to maintain a minimalist mindset. Reuben's room is just under 200sq feet, so keeping it open allows him to have use of a good space for moving, wiggling and whatever else toddlers do on an hourly basis.

We picked a totoro theme for his nursery. My Neighbor Totoro is one of my favorite movies, and now it's one of Reuben's, too! (It's the first one he ever watched!) I have lots of hidden totoros in his play space, and he loves playing with them. He calls them "tow-tows". It's as adorable as you can imagine.

If you want to see what his "nursery" was like when he was born, go here. And this is a video of what we were working with around his 2 month mark; it's the same as the above blog post, but just in video format. We started out with not having a nursery--he lived in our space. Now that he is a toddler, he really needs his own space--so I am glad we set up his nursery right before his first birthday.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Week 73

My birthday week. I had a great and wonderful birthday, with a toddler-free birthday lunch with friends in the morning, and a birthday celebration with the husband at night, where a toddler gave me lots of wet kisses. It was perfect!

Then my vlogging camera broke. It won't even turn on. Actually, calling it a vlogging camera isn't correct--its the camera I use to make ALL of my videos.

So I didn't get to film anything after Wednesday. Oh well. I hope I can get it fixed, because I have so many video ideas and finally some free time to do things. But, besides my camera inexplicably not working (I didn't even drop it!!) I had a very good, very positive week. I am loving my thirtys and I hope to have many more years to come.

Here is last years video! This weeks is below!

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Most Challenging thing about Motherhood

I should call this "the most challenging thing about mothering a toddler" since, I've never mothered a preteen or a teenager or an adult, but that is much too long a title.

I've had the sleepless nights. The one-am wakings. The "I'll eat all my peas" followed by the very next day of refusing to eat peas. I've had tantrums in stores, running away from me when I tell him to stay, playing with his poop, coloring on the walls... but none of those have come close to the most challenging aspect of motherhood, at least not for me.

My most challenging aspect of motherhood is my own emotions. My reaction to what my son does.

They tell you you'll be tired. They tell you to expect crying at all hours of the day, and that you might have to give up showering and sex for awhile, while you figure out how to juggle tiny people who need you all the time. They tell you it takes a village, and that lukewarm takeout might become your best friend. And all these things are true. You do have to figure out how to take care of a tiny human and still find time to be intimate with your spouse. You do need a lot of support when you give birth, and after a long day of spit up and diapers, take out from the Chinese restaurant down the street is heaven. Even if you have to watch your husband eat it while its hot because you are nursing, and listen to your baby cry while daddy holds him while you finally eat. Oh, I don't miss those days.

But no one really told me how angry a tiny little person who won't sleep could make me. Or how short my own fuse would be when I hadn't slept. No one told me, or maybe I wasn't listening hard enough, that when my son Reuben screams and throws himself on the floor I might suddenly want to strangle him.  Like really, truly want to strangle him.

A war within myself.

I'm a gentle mama. We don't spank, we don't hit our son. But many times I want to, and I have to check myself. It frightens me how angry I can get towards him. I've never felt this kind of resentment or impatience towards another human being. I thought I didn't have a single violent bone in my body!

One time I was trying to put on my son's pants. Reuben has two arms and two legs until I try to clothe him or change his diaper, and then he has 24 arms and 62 legs. Seriously. Needless to say after what felt like forever, he still wasn't wearing pants and I had given up and burst into tears. He, however, was laughing at me and trying to remove his diaper. I felt like a failure mom who couldn't even calmly put pants on my son without losing her head.

It's been a few months. I'm better at pants now, but I've also noticed a trend. Reuben makes me angry when he refuses to do what I tell him to do. Not all the time. But the 5th time he spills his water, even through he knows how to drink out of a cup, or the 34th time I have to remind him to please leave the plant alone or WE DO NOT LICK THE TRASH CAN, I feel my fury building.

And it isn't his fault. He's eighteen months old. Of course he's going to be curious about the trash can and plants. Of course he is going to need reminders about how to drink water. But it just makes me. So. Angry!

I've learned ways to help me cope with my anger so I don't explode and yell at him. Or bottle it up and yell at my husband later. I take a break. I turn on Daniel Tiger for my son and take 25 minutes to cool off. Or, if I've already used TV time (we try to do low media here) I get myself a bowl of ice cream. Often I'll call my mother in law and invite her over the next day to play with Reuben so I can get a few hours to myself. If my husband is home, I tell him how I am feeling and he watches Reuben so I can relax. It helps. It helps so much, even if I just get five minutes to breathe.

Another thing that helps is not heaping so many expectations on myself. I have this idea of what a good mom is, and when I don't meet that, I get angry at myself, and at my son. Instead of trying to live up to some paradigm of motherhood, I need to just take care of Reuben and myself. The rest will work itself out. I can't forget that I'm a real, breathing human being with needs and wants of my own. And I can't forget that Reuben is also his own person, with ideas and opinions of his own that I need to respect. He isn't my puppet. He's going to rebel, and instead of anger or resentment I want to react with love and kindness and support when he's struggling. I also want to have a positive outlook when I'm struggling, but that is much tougher. Sometimes I feel like I'm a baby too, demanding my way from a little human who is just learning how the world works. Kindness matters.

Reuben has taught me a lot. He keeps me on his toes. And tickles me pink, because he has no clue. He's just being Reuben. And I'm his mom.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Crochet Fox Jar Cozy

I've jumped on the bandwagon of cutie-fying everything. Okay, not everything. My son Reuben doesn't need any help in that department...and some things, like the fridge, are functional without hope. But I love jar covers, and since my son's birth I've developed a serious obsession with foxes (he has fox everything) and I even bought a pair of fox leggings and a fox necklace! So a crochet fox cozy that covers a mason jar is not a leap into the dark for us. And guess what--I love it!

You will need a 4.5mm crochet hook and worsted weight yarn to make Mr. Fox. I used simply soft (a walmart brand). Half a skein is more than enough for one cozy. You could probably make four of them from half a skein!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

What Reuben Eats in a Week

Toddler food. Or, what I like to call it: food. You know, because toddler's don't need special food just for them--they really can, and do eat what adults do. Except for in cases of allergies, and Reuben has many--he eats what we do. Just smaller portions. And sometimes it ends up on the floor, but what can you do.

I love feeding my toddler. And it's nice, he loves food. Most of the time. I mean, he is a toddler.

So what did Reuben eat for dinner this week?

Day one: vegan, gluten free bread (he has an egg and dairy allergy) gluten free stuffing, cranberries, humus, and chicken. Since I have a gluten allergy, most everything he eats is also gluten free. So, you know, I can eat it too. Mamma doesn't have time to make separate meals for everyone.

Day two: leftover gluten free stuffing, mandarin oranges, chicken (aaand he dumped his plate haha)

Day three: chicken sausage, red bell peppers and kale skillet cooked, with a side of sweet potato. He ate only the sweet potato and the sausage, showing his true toddlerness for once. He wouldn't eat a bell pepper at all. I tried.

Day four: peas and carrots, corn and quinoa noodles, tomato, humus and green olives.

Day five: chicken salad, crackers, olives, and homemade jello with grass fed beef gelatin

 Day six: peas, apples, and baked carrots with coconut milk

Day seven: Green curry that he immediately dumped out and threw his bowl on the floor when I went to grab my phone to take a picture. Can you tell how pleased he is with himself?

I really enjoy cooking. I like cleaning up a very messy toddler less. And I really dislike the chore of scrubbing down a high chair. Mostly because it happens 3x or more a day...breakfast, lunch, dinner...not to mention any snacks that I feed him in it! I am so over the thing.

Reuben turns 18 months soon, and I can't wait to see how his tastes improve, and learn what his favorite foods are. Right now it seems to be olives. The boy can eat his weight in olives, and when I give them to him it's always the first thing he devours. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Week 72

My 72th week of vlogging. Reuben got a haircut, we ate a lot of good (non paleo and paleo) food and I meal prepped for the husband and did some cleaning. Sounds about right. Last year, my birthday was on this week, but this year it's next week. It's hard to believe that this time last year Reuben was still learning to crawl and this year he is running everywhere and eating rocks. Oh, toddlers. I love him. It's so good to see him grow.

Also, yes, I am addicted to the breastfeeding tree selfies. No, I'm not sorry. I love them.

Friday, February 3, 2017

How to Crochet the HDC rib stitch

The hdc rib stitch (also called hdc in the back loop) isn't hard to do in theory. But it can be hard to explain--that is why I decided to make a video tutorial!

The hdc rib stitch, when done horizontally back and forth, makes it look like vertical knit stitches have been worked. I use this stitch in several of my tutorials--thus making this video necessary for those who need a closer look at how this crochet stitch is done! I hope it helps, and let me know if you have any other questions.

To make this stitch, I use worsted weight yarn and a 4.25mm crochet hook.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

12 Months Paleo

I made it an entire year, more or less! Last year I felt great, had better energy and less pain, all because of the paleo diet. I'm very happy. I hope this year has more of the same in store for me.

I probably won't write monthly update posts anymore--more like a post every 6 months. So the next one will be 18m paleo. There just isn't a lot to report now that this has become my way of life.

So, what's changed? I no longer eat a lot of almond flour. I have one to two almond flour desserts a month, if that. I used to bake all the time when I first started paleo, but now I have slacked off a lot. With a baby, I'd rather spend my free time knitting now. 

I'm also not strict paleo anymore. I occasionally consume hummus, and sometimes gluten free crackers (dipped in the hummus, YUM). I've found a really good type of vegan bread that does not irritate my stomach, and I've been enjoying sandwiches. Nothing has to be 100%. The main thing is I am symptom free, happy, and active! I am still 80-90% paleo, and this still works for me. I can't imagine going back to the way I used to eat, with gluten and dairy daily, but eating a few of my favorite foods now and again isn't wrecking my gut like it used to. So now I can eat out and just keep it dairy, soy and gluten free--opening up a lot more options for enjoying my existence.  I used to just be able to eat at Zoe's Kitchen and Chipotles, but now I can almost eat anywhere.

If I have a reaction I can always dial it back more, but for now I am doing well.

I also started meal planning again. Right now I'm writing each meal I make on an index card, with the ingredients and instructions on the back. I just pick 6 cards each week and it makes grochery shopping so easy. Also, I know what I'm making daily for dinner and don't have to do the "what's in the fridge" scan anymore at 5pm when my toddler is hungry and staring at me.

I'm still enjoying my paleo journey. I'm still creating fun paleo recipes--I really need to publish a cookbook sometime, hah. Maybe I will?