Just before Christmas, Dear Husband found an awesome tool for beating cold hands, a Zippo Hand Warmer. This handy pocket-sized warmer has been out and about with us several times, to the Nashville Flea Market, to the Hermitage when it was 20 degrees out, and to an all-day auction. If your hands are always cold, this warmer is a pretty cool option. It’s even okay for indoor use and has no exposed flame.
It’s a bit challenging to light, or rather, it’s not the lighting but not being able to tell if you have successfully lit it. Usually it takes me a few tries. When lit, it has a cap and rides in a little fabric bag. I worried about it getting too warm for the boys’ hands, but it doesn’t get hot, more steadily warm.
It’s really quite inexpensive and nice to slip into your pocket when braving these wintry days.
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My older son found a World War II book at the library. While I’d rather read to him about many other topics than war, I must say this book was very informative and interesting. (So much so that it inspired a future planting project and I purchased the book for his birthday present!)
It also had me researching soldier charities to dovetail with this current military interest. I connected with a Ravelry group to knit hats for soldiers, which I’m very excited about, but that wasn’t something HE was doing. Then I found this awesome website, Herobox.org.
Herobox, is a website that matches any donor, now us, with a US soldier. “Heros” list what they would love, need, or want and donors mail it directly to them. This sounded straight-forward and definitely something my son could do by himself. We were matched same day with an airman we’ve been happily corresponding with. Boxes are sent on or near the first of the month, it’s as easy as that.
We posted our first box stuffed full of snacks, books, a lego man my son made, and some knitting supplies. The boys were adamant we get EVERYTHING on the list, although Herobox says that is not expected or required. We were happy to land the special candy she loves at a truck stop on our way to Michigan! I also found I’m rather adept at jamming a lot into a small space. Must be all those quick clean up sessions around the house!
Herobox has been a good find for us. Dear husband and the kids have been equally involved in our project making it a great family activity.
Each and every morning I take our good ole’ dog Mack for a walk. We gave up on fencing at the last house. So let’s just say Mack’s walk might go further than our property if I didn’t tag along. I’m grateful though for the ability to keep a pulse of our acres. I enjoy walking through our pine trees, by our pond which is going through many freezing and unfreezing stages much to our local blue heron’s dismay, leaf piles blowing hither and thither throughout the months, and so on. Sometimes I find litter, sometimes I grab sticks to bring to the burn pile, almost always I wonder what I am going to make for breakfast.
This morning on a chance glance I noticed our spring looked so beautiful with frozen grass tips shooting straight above or dangling to the water.
With that morning sun rising, frozen never looked so warm.
Yesterday afternoon we got caught in a wet, thick flurry of snow driving home. It was magical. Coming from life in Northern Illinois, I’m very accustomed to life with snow. Would you be upset if I said I like snow and that is one of the things I miss from Illinois? Does it snow enough in Tennessee?
So you don’t scoff, here is my stance. I love snow and piles of it, because it actually makes you go out in the cold. You have to shovel the driveway or you might be stuck for months. You can easily get the kids outside to sled and build snowmen. I never had to drive in it, as near all of my car trips are optional, grocery shopping, library runs, that can all wait a day, usually. But just really cold weather, sans snow, that is a different story. It’s much more difficult to wrap up to walk a barren grassy yard. It’s just not playful.
Still our Tennessee move has been amazing and wonderful and we can leave the snow behind. But, what’s this? Snow in Tennessee? Well, well, well. It seems the past two years we have lived here have been “mild” and “unusual” and friends are telling me we are due for “a big snow.” I have the sleds on standby, (they are on the porch from our leaf sledding a few weeks ago). In the meantime, I’ll keep filling up that wood stove because I love the snow, but, you know what? I don’t love the cold!
This year we missed our lantern walk with friends, due to a cough one of my sons had. Alas, today is indeed Martinmas, so tonight we will march with lanterns around our property. What is wonderful is that this year Dad and our dog get to come too.
To us, Martinmas is a celebration of cooler weather and fading Autumn color, also a reminder to keep our light kindled as daylight shortens.
Each of the past three years we have created lanterns, so our beautiful collection is growing.
This year we tried making a paper mache lantern. Our mache layer must have been too thin, because when I popped the balloon, I sadly watched the balloon suck in all the mache. Yikes. It deflated with the balloon. I didn’t want to throw away the mache, so I salvaged it by wrapping it around a canning jar. I then wrapped around the jar with raffia and made an acorn garland from all of our boys’ recent finds.
Last year we made an adorable wet felted lantern. We basically applied the decoration on top of the felt and wet felted it on. My son loves trucks and his features a yellow and black semi truck. (I will add that it is triple axle, because that is his favorite type of truck and it’s important to him.)
Two years ago we applied tissue paper on small jars as our introduction to Martinmas lantern making. It was simple, beautiful, and a great way to dive into Martinmas for us.
Back to tonight, I have learned a short little song about the candlelight. Tonight we will sing together as we march around our property this Autumn evening from Wynstone’s Autumn book. Here are two songs, of which we will be singing “Glimmer Lantern Glimmer”.
Glimmer lantern glimmer
Little stars a-shimmer
Over meadow, moor, and dale
Flitter flutter elf in veil
Tick a tick a tick
Happy Martinmas Friends!
My little fella came down the stairs the other day with the remnants of our beeswax candle rolling kit. Last week he bought The New Candle Book by Gloria Nicol at the used book store and he decided it was time to get to work. The cover features a pyramid-type rolled candle and with our scraps he came up with a pretty nice looking candle. In fact, Dad said his is better than the one on the cover of the book, much to his delight. Much to my delight, we learned from our book to use a hair dryer to warm the wax slightly to prevent cracking when rolling. His brother used the last scraps for a small candle featured in a candlestick my father turned on a lathe when he was in his twenties.
Perhaps with the wax, or maybe the weather on the mind, we made our annual homemade fire starters. It’s super simple and a very pleasant family evening. Plus, our homemade fire starters recycle wax and work excellent.
How we make homemade fire starters.
1. The boys scoop saved sawdust into small dixie cups.
2. Dad chops up old candles we get from garage sales and such. These are the huge pillar candles people get sick of or they get deformed. Either way, we stash them until he chops them up.
3. Mom melts the chunks. (We skim out the wicks that sink to the bottom.)
4. Dad pours the wax over the sawdust filled cups.
That’s it. That’s three ingredients for our homemade fire starters. Sawdust, dixie cups, and wax. I can just feel the warmth:)
It all started two years ago with a chance meeting. While perusing a flea market I was drawn in by small yarn balls which turned out to be wool (I don’t run into 100% that often.) Scribed in tired handwriting each ball was labeled for sale at 10 cents. 10 cents! I grabbed the small balls and turned to view the seller. She was a sweet old woman who must have purchased the original yarn skeins from the store for 10 cents. Okay, I’m not sure what she paid, but you see, she was a knitter for longer than I have even lived and today she was the seller. With renewed interest I looked through her tables and saw a vintage knit pattern booklet with adorable 50’s era woman smiling up at me. I had to have it. My hand knitting career had just begun that year and I was naïve.
That week I perused and settled on a pattern called “Cardigan”. I finished it this summer. This sweater is two years in the making. Okay, but I must state my case. In that time I lived in a bus for one year, I relocated from IL to TN, sold house, packed and moved, unpacked, among the daily chores, homeschooling, etc. and plenty of other hand knitting projects. Still, I looked back several times and wondered if that sweet old woman was actually laughing her head off at me for taking on such a drastic project. I knit this sweater on size 7 needles using an 8 row repeated pattern including only one row of just knit stitches. Phew. The continuous stitch counting made this sweater spend more time in a basket than in my hands as my boys can be quite distracting.
However, it’s done! Would you like to know the crazy part? I just might do this again!
Please visit the Waldorf on Etsy blog today to read my post on how to start knitting with your kids (and why it’s so beneficial).
Learn To Knit With Your Kids Post
My son’s knit hat for his stuffed dog, beloved Biscuit.
My son’s finger knitted garland.
My cable knit tree.
Visit my Etsy store, Pail and Pie, for hand knitted items for children.
Perhaps I’ve seen leafless trees all winter and that inspired my desire to cable knit this tree. Perhaps my sister’s love of trees in general inspired me to knit this for her. Either way, I’ve fallen in love with the knit cabled tree. I will post it to my sister soon, but, I have a feeling I’ll be knitting another for us. The texture is so amazing, I want to hang it and touch it daily.
Finally, our cold grey bathroom has become a warm respite. I’ve been painting the past few weekends in and between other chores to continue to make our house our own. The kitchen bathroom (and much of the house) were cold grey colors. Neutral, yes, inviting, not very. From a professional painter friend’s advice I have always used historic colors. Mark Twain House Brown blends perfectly with our new color scheme.
Now I just have the kitchen and boy’s room to tackle. I have to overcome more grey and some pink. It’s amazing how deeply color affects your mood. I keep walking by the bathroom just to enjoy the new feel.