She Knits: JB’s Flax Sweater

I’ve kept to my plan for each child of mine to have a handmade sweater and hat each winter. This one is JB’s for 2018-19 winter.

Pattern Info
Flax by TinCanKnits
Ravelry
Size: 4-6 years, 24″ finished bust

TinCanKnits is one of my favorite knitwear designers. Their patterns are clearly written, usually intuitive, and easy to follow. This sweater is one of their most basic patterns. The only “interesting” detail is the garter stitch panel along the outer sleeves.

I wish I had thought ahead and added either a reverse stockinette stitch design on the front (like an evergreen tree silhouette) or added the garter panels along the sides of the body. As it is, it is rather plain.

I knit the 4-6 year size to give him enough positive ease to wear this over a shirt in the winter. However, the sleeves and body are about 2″ too long, right now. I hope he might have a growth spurt in height before winter, so I decided not to pull out the edges and shorten them.

Yarn Info
Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted
100% wool
3.68 skeins = 404.8 yds used
Colorway: evergreen

This is a basic worsted wool yarn that holds up very well and is warm. This sweater will be great to wear outdoors over a long sleeve shirt or as a layering piece with a coat on very cold days.

Photos

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Thank You (For the Work)

“Here are more clothes for you to put away, son.”

“Thank you, Mama!”


“You can wash the dishes, daughter, and I will rinse.”

“Thank you! I like this job!”


“Would you like to clean the kitchen floor while I clean the dining room floor?”

“Yeah! Thank you!”


My children thank me for giving them work. They work eagerly and enthusiastically. They perform the task to the best of their (albeit limited) abilities. They smile. Sometimes, they even sing while they work.

Do I thank my Father in heaven for giving me work? Do I work with eagerness and enthusiasm? Do I always try my best, even if I am working on a new skill? Do I smile and sing with joy?

Little children want work. I would argue, even, that they need it. They gain fine and gross motor skills, an appreciation for the work others do for them, useful life skills, physical stamina and strength, mental fortitude to stay on-task, and good personal habits.

In fact, we all need work. But somewhere along the way, many of us lose our desire for it. We grow weary and bored of menial tasks. I urge you to look for the joy in such chores; see your tasks from the perspective of a 2- or 4-year-old.

What fun to play in bubbles while washing the dishes! What kind of pattern can be seen in the water as the floor is mopped? How many articles of clothing can be carried at once? How many hymns can be sung in the time it takes to hang the laundry?

And then, thank your Father for the work He has given you. Whatever task He has set before you — motherhood, a career, homemaking — thank Him for it, work diligently with eager hands and a joy-filled spirit.

And don’t forget to smile.

She Crochets: Squirt’s Pink Sandals

Every pink summer dress needs a pair of pink sandals to match, right?

Progression Info
Started – March 22
Completed – March 27
Duration – 5 days = 0.7 weeks

Pattern Info
Baby Rainbow Sandals by aisha kenza

These sandals look a lot like the Saartje’s Bootees (by Saartje de Bruijn) I’ve knit once before… way back in 2011. This is a crochet version, though, which I expected to be a little faster and easier to work up.

Yarn Info

Włoczki Warmii Lenka
100% linen
Colorway – Koralowy róż
0.22 skeins = 72.2 yds used

Monaco Ombré Crochet Cotton #8
100% cotton
Colorway – pink
0.38 skeins = 72.2 yds used

These are the linen and cotton from the pink dress I recently finished.

Photos

Eight Dollars in a Three-Year-Old’s Pocket

Sprout spent her saved-up birthday money recently. She had $8 in her jeans pocket heading into Walmart.

First, she bought something she needed.

Well, she didn’t need a new comb. But, in a toddler’s world of necessities and wants, I would rank comb closer to the former. She was careful. She browsed the entire hair section, gently touching glittery hair ties, packs of neon hair bows, and “funny-looking” headbands.

But she didn’t let any of those things dissuade her. She “needed” a new comb. A pink one. The only pink comb came in a pack of 2 with a black one. “I don’t need two,” she said. “But I want pink. At least when the pink one is all used up, I will have the black one!”

Two combs for $2 (and some change). I decided, internally, to cover the change and taxes because she isn’t quite ready to learn about rounding and “giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s.”😉

Then, she chose something to give away.

She wanted to buy a toy for her new baby sister. I explained that she had $6 left, and that if she bought for her sister, she might not have money to buy any toys for herself.

That was alright by her. She was determined that she wanted to spend her own money on a toy for her baby sister.

She looked at bigger toys that light up, play cell phones, and large stuffed animals. Finally, she found a box of small plush rattles.

A small toy for a new baby, $2. It was “just right,” though she was not sure her sister would like it. “But maybe she will.”

Finally, she bought something fun for herself.

With $4 remaining, she looked up and down every toy aisle. What caught her eye was a stretchy, soft-bodied “life-like”… lizard. The very last one, and it didn’t have a tag. She was so sure this was what she wanted.

So I tracked down an employee who gave me the shelf tag to take to the cashier.

A $3 lizard for herself.

My heart was full, and I am still in awe of this child.

Everything about the experience amazes me yet.

Her restraint. She didn’t once ask me for more money so that she could buy something bigger or “better.”

Her determination to buy each of the things she wanted with the money she had.

Her generosity in thinking of someone else before herself. Someone she has not yet met, in fact! She didn’t choose the toys she liked best for someone else (the light up ones). She carefully considered what the other person would enjoy.

Her joy and pride in doing this by herself (mostly) and being successful.

I’ve tucked her first receipt away in her baby book. I know this is a memory I will share with her into her adulthood. Such sweet innocence and purity found in just $8 in the hands of a three-year-old.

Preschool: Trying Something New

I wrote about my easy-going preschool at home approach with Sprout. The method worked and Sprout was happy to “do school” most days until she got through the first of the dollar store workbooks she was using. That book was all about shapes and colors. The other three books were about numbers, letters, and handwriting… and were basically all writing practice. That’s where we hit a wall.

Sprout can write several letters on her own, but she struggles writing in a confined space. She doesn’t have the fine motor skills for that just yet. She became frustrated having to write on every single page, and began to protest school.

Curriculum Change

That was my clue to evaluate what we were doing and make a change. I bought an “official” preschool curriculum for 3-4 year olds. I knew it would begin with pages she could complete very easily, but I wanted the slow skill-building that such a curriculum offers. The dollar store workbook approach had no progression of skills.

We intend to use this publisher for most of our kids’ schooling (of course, being mindful if things aren’t going well or if it doesn’t suit a particular child), so it was the logical choice for preschool. There is a kindergarten (preschool for 4-5 year olds), and then it begins with first grade. According to current education laws in my state, Sprout will need to start kindergarten at age 5, which will be in 2019. So, I’m kind of starting her a year “early,” but I’m doing so with the plan to stop and evaluate with each set of books she completes. Maybe at 5 she will be ready for first grade work. Or maybe she will need another year of kindergarten work. I’m comfortable with either option and am in no rush to get her beginning first grade early.

Other Changes

Since we would begin a new curriculum, I considered it a great time to implement some other changes, too.

More Structure

I have always let Sprout decide whether we would do any school work each day. That works great when the school work is fun, but less so when it is challenging or new. My goal is to complete at least 3 pages per day, 3 days per week.

Also, we will begin our school time with prayer. I introduced Sprout to a simple prayer structure some time ago, which we will use for school time. I ask her to think of one thing she is thankful to God for and one thing for God to help her with. I sometimes feed her ideas, if she is struggling to think of something.

Bible Memory

I have wanted to introduce Bible memory work to Sprout for a long time. She has, like most children, an excellent memory. She remembers scripts from entire cartoon episodes, and she knows several kids’ songs and hymns. I know she is capable. It seemed natural to use before-school-time to work on this.

Then, I wasn’t sure where in the Bible to start. She doesn’t have the comprehension skills to memorize single verses of a broader story — it wouldn’t make any sense to her. Where can one find short, 1-2 verse sentences that are mostly single ideas? Proverbs, of course! So we are beginning in Proverbs. For now, I’m going to see if she can memorize one verse per week.

Record Keeping

Record keeping isn’t required in my state, for now, and especially not at this point when her schooling is optional. However, I considered it would be a good habit to begin. I will keep her daily records until she learns to read and write, then she can keep her own. This also provides us with some accountability to Nate and makes recalling our school day much easier.

I chose a small day planner. In each daily box, I write her praise and prayer request, which Bible verse we worked on, and which workbook pages she completed. On the monthly overview page, she puts a sticker on the day we have done school work.


Occupying Myself

Finally, I needed an occupation for myself during her schooling. I can’t work on house chores because she needs frequent assistance; and don’t want to work on house chores because the kids enjoy helping me. I found that being unoccupied while helping her with school caused me to over-praise her and to hover over her, giving too many reminders.

My solution is to do my own studying of the Bible during that time. I can be near her and ready to help when she needs me, but while she works on each page, I can read and busy my own mind. It worked wonderfully today, kept us all happy and calm, and I’m looking forward to the study time.


Fun Activities

Doing school work 3 days per week leaves one day for grocery shopping and, eventually, a library visit, and one day for something fun. I want to use our fun day for crafts or even some low-gear science “projects.” Having the time built into our schedule should help me feel less overwhelmed, I think.

Final Thoughts

This was our first day with this new approach, but I feel very encouraged by how well things went. I will try to give a progress report in a few weeks and let you know how it is working out!