You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2007.

Generally, we are pretty low-tech when it comes to play time: wooden blocks, dress-up clothes, Legos, etc. Recently, the kids have simplified even further: paper and string.

Both Lizzie and Joshua have been spending a lot of time with the origami book of late. The book is from Japan and all of the instructions are in Japanese. As with other Japanese craft books, a basic knowledge of the craft and the many detailed illustrations will get you pretty far. I have learned that my children have some mad folding skills. Even Joshua, who will turn 5 this week, can get pretty far on his own. I think the main thing that slows him down is his tendency to choose complicated objects, like this treasure ship.


The directions are labeled “muzukashii” (difficult) with an illustration of a very grumpy girl next to it.  I think that is how Brad felt as he tried to follow the complicated instructions once Joshua got stuck.


Lizzie spent the other morning working on this ball. She folded all of the side pieces by herself and then sought help with the assembly.


The other day we wanted to go see Ratatouille. Lizzie didn’t want to go, but changed her mind when she saw directions for an origami hat that suggested turning the hat over and using it as a bag for popcorn. She made one for each of us before leaving for the movie.


Lizzie was trying to play some string games a while ago and I could not remember how to do any.  Brad was no help, since apparently you have to have been a 7 year old girl to have learned these things. What’s a mother to do? Go to the library, of course. I found a vintage book of string games and she has been totally enthralled with that ever since. We spent all morning playing cat’s cradle and attempting all its derivations.


A friend of mine jokes that Brad and I must sit around all the time and think about how to save the world.  That definitely is not the case, but lately a large amount of my brain capacity (such as it is, given I am a sleep-deprived mother of 3) has been occupied with living a greener lifestyle.  Certainly compared to a large portion of society, we are fairly green.  We have been doing a lot of the easy steps for a long-time:  composting, recycling, buying in bulk, reusing a lot of what we can, using compact fluorescent bulbs, etc.

Certainly, there’s plenty of room for improvement.  I have been taking a couple baby steps lately by trying to remember my travel mug whenever I go out for coffee, using cloth produce bags and canvas bags at the store and reducing the amount of plastic in our house.  Sometimes, though, I am easily overwhelmed.  I spent days researching what sippy cup to buy for Sarah.  Nalgene?  Sigg?  Klean Kanteen?  So many factors to consider!  Even though it was the least expensive of the three options, I ruled out Nalgene because of the possibility of leaching toxins.  Sigg doesn’t leach chemicals, but A LOT of energy goes into making aluminum.   On the pro side, it is recyclable at the end of its life.   I ended up going with the Klean Kanteen.  Stainless steel:  no leaching, little to no production waste to impact the environment.  Not an inexpensive choice, but I am hoping it is a sound one.

Part of what overwhelms me is weighing competing values.  For instance, I would love to get a Klean Kanteen for each of the rest of us.  It would be nice to not worry about leaching toxins in our water bottles (especially when we regularly forget one or more of them in the car on a hot day).  On the other hand, I would be spending close to $80 to get four bottles.  I would also have to decide what to do with the 4 Nalgene bottles we already own.  All those brain cells in use for a water bottle!

You should see me at the grocery store.  Even before I get to the store I have had to make several decisions that weigh competing values.  For the most part, we shop at a one of the local co-ops, thus favoring the values of small business versus chain stores.  It also means that we a) drive farther, b) pay more and c) have a smaller selection.  Once I’m at the store, then I start asking more questions:  Is it local?  Is it organic?  What is the per unit cost?  Sometimes you can get local, organic and less expensive all in the same product.  Most of the time you have to be willing to sacrifice on one value or the other.

I  went to the co-op with the kids the other day.  As we walked through the produce section, Joshua started asking to get apples.  A quick glance at the signs and I just couldn’t do it.

“Sorry, honey.  What about some watermelon?”

“I want apples!”

“None of them are local, they are all from Chile.  Just a month or so and we’ll be able to get local apples.”


Sometimes, it’s not easy being green.

I finally finished the pair of Embossed Leaves socks. Aren’t they fetching with my new orange Chuck Taylors?  This may be my bold new look for fall.


I blocked them on my handy-dandy blockers.


Brad found this tutorial on making your own. He couldn’t find plastic placemats, so he substituted foam core. We’ll see if they suffer more wear and tear than placemats. For now, they are great and I am a true convert to blocking socks!

The only other crafting that’s been happening around here are a couple Simple Bibs from Bend the Rules Sewing.  These are addictive. Instant gratification crafting. I want to make a ton of them, but should decide who they are going to, so I don’t try to keep them all. We have plenty of bibs.


Sarah tries to decide what to eat next: tofu, rice or peas?  She loves them all! 

Sockapa-loozer, that is. Happy sock package received:


Sock package sent:


I got a pair of sock blockers for my birthday a couple of weeks ago.  My hubby found a DIY pattern online and made them for me. Hee hee!  Is it weird that I was giddy that I got to use before sending Emily’s socks?


In celebration of my birthday, I bought some new sock yarn for myself. 🙂 I started a pair of Embossed Leaves with the new yarn. I am currently borrowing Favorite Socks, but I think I may need to take advantage of KnitPicks sale and get a copy for myself. So many socks to knit, so little time.