Monday, January 31, 2011

Grumpy Face

Today is one of those days.  None of the girls wanted to eat their breakfasts and everyone just seems to want to cry and scream and say "No!"

I was asking Junebug to eat her breakfast, and she made this horrifically grumpy face at me.  Trying to lighten the mood, I asked, "Why the grumpy face?"

To which she responded with, "To show you that I'm grumpy."

"Oh...well, good job, I got the message," I said.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weekly Report: January 17-21, 2011
Books, Un-Mixing & Tasting

Another week of school come and gone.  More checkmarks placed next to the tasks listed in the pages of my planning book.  Snow fell...then it melted.  Penguin cried about the snow melting...until she realized that she can go on picnics again when it's no longer cold outside.

It's been a content week.  We've hit our stride and there is little-to-no audible grumbling when I announce that it is time to start school each morning.  I like it when we're in this place.  I'm even getting a majority of the chores done, consistently, around here.

It's amazing that the smallest member of the family
can sometimes be the biggest source of the "need"
to do chores...yep, Monkeyboy is officially crawling now.
Writing:  This week marked the beginning of Bluebird's formal education in the art of writing.  We're using Susan Wise Bauer's Writing with Ease, partly due to: 1) My somewhat allegiance to all things Well-Trained Mind, 2) I really like the emphasis on copywork, and 3) I WON the curriculum at a Homeschool Mom's Night Out back in November.  (Actually, #3 is just a happy coincidence that I like to flaunt.)
It's fun to work on writing with her...well, for me.  I like the feeling that we are moving on to more advanced studies after years of toiling over the most very beginning things.  I'm revelling in the feeling of making progress.

Penmanship:  Penguin began Penmanship this week.  Her book has a picture of penguins on the cover.  Obviously, she loves it dearly.  She's surprised me with her enthusiasm over penmanship.  I planned for the bare minimum five minutes a day, but have actually had to take the book away when Bluebird's fifteen minute timer goes off.  Of course, that was just the beginning "trace this slanting line" stuff; we'll see how brightly her interest burns once we get into writing actual letters.

Bluebird detested penmanship the entire week.  No change there.  Too bad, Babe.

We moved ahead in Spelling and Grammar.  Always good to move forward.  A happy note for me was when we caught up to where we're supposed to be in the Grammar book.  We can now just call it good when Bluebird finishes a lesson quickly, instead of hurrying along to the next lesson.  I am tempted to keep going fast, but figure it's not a race.  If she's interested on a particular day, we'll move forward; but generally she's content to stop after the one lesson.

History:  Speaking of being interested, Bluebird's desire to keep reading through the history book this week enabled us to cover two chapters instead of just one.  We spent some time with the Assyrians and then some time with the Babylonians.  After learning about Ashurbanipal and his library, we made some "This book belongs to..." bookplates for our own library.  Bluebird really enjoyed designing her bookplate; it has a picture of a cat on it.

Literature:  Bad week for literature.  I wanted to read a supposedly wonderfully done adaptation of Sinbad's Voyages, but it has yet to arrive from the seller I bought it from.  (Can we say "negative buyer feedback?")  We did read The King in the Garden today--a book about Nebuchadnezzar's madness that was a little bit hard to find, but worth the effort.  (I love the internet!)

Science:  TWO experiments this week.  Bluebird was so happy!  The first experiment built on a lesson about "un-mixing" mixtures, using chromatography to show food coloring un-mixing:

The second experiment that we did was about tasting salty food versus sweet food.  Turns out Bluebird thinks green bananas taste sweeter (and therefore, better) than ripe bananas.
Art:  We skipped art this morning because the girls got out their watercolor paints before school started and they were just having a good time with it all.  No point in breaking something up that's pretty much the same thing as what you're planning to replace it with.

Girl Scouts:  Oi, Cookie Season.  Bluebird has a number of orders coming in, and I took her with me to Knit Nite last night to peddle to the ladies in the group.  We're scheduled to do the door-to-door tomorrow that we supposed to do last Saturday.

She also earned her last petals: Respect Myself & Others, Respect Authority, and Be a Sister to Every Girl Scout.  She's so proud of herself--she laid out her tunic and placed her new petals where she wants them to go, then took a step and just gazed at it all before turning to me and saying, "I'm so proud of myself for not quitting the work to get all my petals."  Sweet girl.

We'll move onto earning Journey patches now.  I have the materials for the "It's Your World--Change It!" Journey ready to go, but she's expressed interest in the "It's Your Planet--Love It!" Journey...and I'm leaning towards working through the program that she's actually interested in, rather than the one that's most convenient for me.  (And really, I've got two other girls that will come through the ranks of Daisy Scouts...odds are that I will use these materials eventually.)

Music Appreciation:  We continued with listening to Purcell's "Dido & Aeneas."

Highlights of the Week:
  • Penguin loves Pemanship and Phonics.
  • Bluebird recited the list of Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs correctly for the ladies at Knit Nite.
  • Our morning devotionals has been especially nice this week, very edifying for both me and the girls.
Lowlights of the Week:
  • Dishes, would you please just clean yourselves?  Seriously.
  • Monkeyboy, do you really need to scream and cry through every science lesson that we do?  And what's up with finding every possible thing you can choke on and trying to choke on it?
Funnies of the Week:
  • I'm sure, in a few years from now, that I'll think it's terribly funny that Junebug sees absolutely nothing wrong with drinking the water in which she rinses her paintbrush.  (((shudder)))  All the more argument for non-toxic paints.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Imperial Purple Clothes

The girls are extremely proud of their "royal clothing."  I think the color is quite beautiful and I'm eyeing the last bit of the powdered dye that we have left in the jar for myself someday.

Bluebird and I came up with the idea that we truly need to make these clothes look royal, so we went to the craft store and picked out some gold thread and gems and pearls to embellish the clothing in the near future.  I'll post again when it gets done...I'm hoping that this promise to post motivates me to actually get it done.

I love homeschooling!  Let me tell ya, the idea to dye clothes with a six and four year old in attendance is nothing I'd have contemplated doing were it not for homeschooling!  But they helped as much as they could and it was a fun experience for us all.  We read the Aeneas book in between the timed stirring sessions, which was just so "warm & fuzzy."

I'm looking forward to all the other projects we have scheduled for the year...we're getting good results so far!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Looking Forward to the Work Ahead

I attended an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for the first time tonight.  It was held to award two young men in our neighborhood their Eagle Scout medals.  As part of the ceremony, slideshow presentations were shown of each of the two young men--photos from their early Boy Scout days, shots of camping & fishing activities, group shots of mud-covered boys that extracted much laughter from the audience.  A lot of the pictures had their fathers, mothers and boy scout leaders hanging out in the background.  Those slideshows chronicled years upon years of intensive "behind-the-scenes" efforts on behalf of the adults that encouraged these two young men to keep pushing forward toward the goal of earning their Eagle Scout award.

As I sat watching those photgraphic montages, I was filled with an excitement over the idea that, someday in the future, I could be sitting in a Church gymnasium watching slideshows of my own children learning archery and making goofy faces while decked out in full Scout regalia.

But not without a lot of work.

It is so easy to allow myself to become overwhelmed at the colossal amount of work that stands before me as I work with Michael to raise up our children to become responsible adults with integrity.  However, all around us we see successful families that have made it work; parents who have sacrificed and worked their butts off in order to help their children succeed, and there are moments where I get to see all that hard work paying off.  And I'm reminded that most of life is hard work--lots of hard work just about all the time.  But then there are moments when that work is rewarded, either in awards or the excitement of a finished project or with a serene contentment when you look around and see all the good that has come through your efforts.  I'm very thankful that I was allowed to witness a big "pay-off moment" in the lives of two of my friends and their sons tonight.  It's nice to see examples of hard work paying off for good.

Oh, there is much work to do in the future that lies before me!  But I look forward to it because it is the work that my heart craves: the development of my children, marriage and home.  There are school projects, Girl & Boy Scout badges, family vacations (I've yet to go on a vacation and thought it required less work than just staying home!), home improvement endeavors, the day-to-day busyness of keeping our home clean and having enough food to eat...and sometimes these things can seem like a burden or like too much is being asked of me as a mother and woman, but I know that if I just stick with it that it will pay off richly.  (And I believe that the amount of cheerfulness I can infuse into my work is directly correlated to how much satisfaction I will receive from the end product.)

We are so blessed to live in such a day and age where so many of our day-to-day tasks are practically automated so we have more time to spend with our families.  However, I still look forward to teaching my children how to work, and how to take pride in a job well done.  There is so much satisfaction in clean and honest living and I am deeply thankful to be afforded the opportunity to live this kind of life.  My husband is such an inspiration to me as he heads out the door each weekday (and many a weekend) morning to earn bread for his wife and children by the sweat of his brow.  He arrives home in the evening cheerful and eager to discuss the children's days over dinner...even if everything has completely blown up in his face at work all day long.  He has shown me that the circumstances of the day do not have to dictate my mood.  (And someday I'm going to get really good at being cheerful despite everything falling apart around me!)

I'm looking forward to these years of work ahead of me.  There is just so much in store for our family and I am so thankful that I get to be the mother of these amazing little souls that I've been entrusted with to nurture into adulthood.  I hope that they will someday look back on the years spent in our home with fondness and gratitude.  I hope to have a beautiful relationship with each of my children; the kind that can only come from being intensely involved in their lives and caring about what they think and feel over wanting them to simply hear and obey my voice above all else.  It's going to be a lot of work, but it's a beautiful assignment that I look forward to cheerfully completing to the best of my ability each day.

The assignment of Family Life is a sacred and lovely thing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Weekly Report: January 10-14, 2010
Purple Dye and Greasy Hands

I don't know about you, but I get to the time of day on Friday where I can sit down to write up our weekly report, I'm pretty tuckered out.  Fun Fridays are a serious investment of time and energy!  I used to try to sprinkle the extracurriculars throughout the week, but they were never completed because by the end of a normal school day I just didn't want to muster up the energy needed to do any sort of extracurricular activity.  So I put them all together and the girls are just so incredibly excited for Friday that I can't help but be excited for the chaos as well.  Life is good.

We completed EVERYTHING scheduled for the week.  (Well, except for that second bonus Science lesson...and we're not technically done with our Literature read for the week, but I forecast that being finished up this evening.)  It feels so good to check everything off the list for once!  Yay!

Math:  All four lessons for both girls.  Mostly AB patterns for Penguin and counting by tens for Bluebird.

ReadingMoment of Triumph: Bluebird finished Phonics Pathways this week!  It's been a long three years, marked by long periods of non-use, but it's done!  I'm treating her to lunch and a trip to the bookstore this weekend in celebration.
Another Moment of Triumph:  Penguin sounded out her first words this week!  I foresee some time spent with the Bob Books in the next week or so.  (Yes, I find it ironic that I'm so excited about finally finishing up Phonics Pathways only to be starting it at the exact same time with the next child.)

Writing:  Thank you notes for Christmas gifts.  Late start, but at least they're getting done.  Penguin has insisted on writing one or two herself...she only signs her name, but she tells me what to write.  So cute.  She's also started writing out family members' names and posting her penmanship around the house.  It's not bad at all, I'm quite impressed.
Bluebird will start on her formal writing program this coming Monday now that she's done with Phonics.  (She's not happy about this development.)

Grammar:  Bluebird can point out the nouns in sentences!  She also memorized two more poems this week:  "Hearts Are Like Doors" and "Days of the Week."

History & Literature:  We studied the Phoenicians this week.  This was a fun week for us.  We read In Search of a Homeland: The Story of the Aeneid by Penelope Lively, which I need to recommend.  It's very good.  It's taken us all week to read it, averaging about 23 pages a day, but it's been worth it.  It's been so fun to talk about the adventures of Aeneas and have Bluebird rattle of names like Odysseus, Dido and Iulus.  (And we won't go into how dumb I felt about learning so much from a children's book...)

The Phoenicians were famous for their purple dye made from snails, so I thought it would be fun to have the girls dye some dresses purple.  I'd been watching for snail dye for months, but it's been out of stock all that time, so we had to settle for regular clothing dye...we chose "Imperial Purple" because purple-dyed garments were so expensive back then that only royalty could afford them.
Science:  Mixtures.  Oil vs. water and all that stuff.  I don't really want to talk about it because it turned my table into a greasy mess and Monkeyboy would not stop crying through the entire experiment, which upped my stress level to the point that I yelled at my dear Penguin when she jumped up and down in her chair, nearly spilling the melted butter and oil cups on me.  It wasn't a warm and fuzzy experience and I still feel bad when I think back on it.

Art:  We learned what portraits were and drew some portraits with watercolor crayons.

Penguin drew a picture of Monkeyboy.

Junebug drew a picture of herself.

Bluebird drew a picture of Monkeyboy
and Grandma's new cat.

Girl Scouts:  Bluebird earned her "Honest & Fair" petal and then surprised me by stating that she had also been working on earning her "Use Resources Wisely" petal in secret.  She then told me all sorts of ways to conserve resources, recycle things and just "be smart about what you use."  (Sometimes I just look at her and think, "You are so awesome!  I love being your mom!")  She has decided to work on earning one of the "Respect" petals in this next week.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of Cookie Season...we've got some door-to-door scheduled in the afternoon, yippee.  She wants to sell 250 boxes this year to help pay for camp and earn free admission to the Cookie Party in June.

Music Appreciation:  "Dido & Aeneas" by Henry Purcell...duh!  We haven't actually done this yet, it's scheduled for today after Rest Time.  I'm looking forward to it.  I had a minor role in the opera when my University put it on many years ago, so it's a sentimental selection for me.  :)  It's going to make a whole lot more sense now that I've read (the children's version of) The Aeneid.

And that's it.  Except for all the crazy churning out of sewing projects that Bluebird has accomplished this week.  Excuse the pun, but that girl is a sewing machine!  I've decided to allow her to start up her own blog showing her various projects because if I let her post about them here you will never read about anything else that happens in our family again.  (There are no posts on her blog yet--that's a task scheduled for this upcoming weekend.)

Highlights of the Week:
  • Bluebird finishing Phonics Pathways.  It's a big flippin' deal.
  • Penguin sounding out her first words.  Another big deal.
  • Monkeyboy is officially crawling...and destroying anything his sisters build on the floor.
Lowlights of the Week:
  • Losing my temper and yelling at Penguin during Science.
  • Bluebird is upset that she can't wear her newly-dyed dress TODAY.
Funnies of the Week:
  • I ordered Penguin's first penmanship book online and discovered that they've changed the cover to feature a picture of penguins.  I called her over to point it out and the look on her face was just priceless!  She is very excited for her penmanship book to arrive in the mail!
  • After a session of reading In Search of a Homeland, Monkeyboy crawled up to Bluebird and me and wanted to be picked up.  I don't know how or why it started, but we came up with a very fun game that Bluebird calls "Soldier Baby" in which Bluebird names a weapon and I then "help" Monkeyboy use an imaginary version of said weapon.  Bluebird squeals with laughter and Monkeyboy laughs his cute little chuckle as I move his arms to mimic the actions of using an ax, sword, bow & arrow or spear.  Bluebird starts off with naming Trojan weapons and gradually moves into modern weapons.  (Monkeyboy can drive an imaginary Tank quite convincingly.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Resolution Modification

 Yep, it's been a week and already I need to tweak my resolution.  (Some would think this was a sign that my resolution is bound to fail.)

Even though I'm surrounded by my family and hands-on-intensive lifestyle every minute of the day, I have this surprisingly strong streak of denial that influences most of my decisions:  I constantly underestimate the amount of time that it will take me to finish any given project.

Old Resolution:  Finish ALL UFOs.
New Resolution:  Finish SOME UFOs.

I spent the whole of last week with my Aran Scarf on my mind--stressing over how slowly it was coming along and then consequently freaking out over whether or not there would be time to get to sewing the ties for my husband and son.  (Can I throw in here that's still kind of weird to say "my son"?)  And while the point of resolutions are to move to a "more perfected person" sort of place, this particular resolution was only serving to accomplish turning me into a "more highstrung and irritable person."  Not good, especially when I'm the one in charge of patiently guiding my dear children through their educations.  The housework also came to a grinding halt, which is a very bad thing in a home with four small children.  Things cannot continue in this vein for an entire year.

So now there is no pre-determined number of projects to complete this year.  My loose plan is to finish a project from one of the bags, and then I can work on a new project.  When I finish that new project, then I'll go grab another UFO bag and finish that...and so on and so on.

I feel better already.  It will be nice to be able to fold laundry without suffering an anxiety attack over the idea that I could be using that time to knit.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Weekly Report: January 3-7, 2011
Slow Startin', but moving along...

Back to regular life after two weeks of Christmas Break.  Bluebird spent the first half of the week getting over a pretty nasty cold that she caught, so the workload was rather light.  I did a lot of reading out loud and if she had worksheets I wrote the answers down that she told me to write.  At least we kept moving forward!

There is change in the air around here as Junebug transitions into not taking an afternoon nap anymore and Monkeyboy keeps trying to get out of his morning nap.  One of these days I won't have kids taking naps at all, which is a jolting thought!  (You mean they're not going to be babies for forever?!?!)  I've been scheduling my life around naptime for almost seven years now!

We finished up with learning about Ancient Egypt this week, going through King Tut and the Exodus.  (Bluebird insisted on reading some of the books by herself.)  In addition to reading Tutankhamen's Gift, we also read bits and pieces from Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and Tales from Ancient Egypt.  Bluebird especially liked the story about the Golden Lotus falling to the bottom of the lake.  We read a few more chapters from His Majesty, Queen Hatshepsut, but then I decided that she was a little too young for that particular rendition.  We also read The Moses Basket, Exodus from Egypt and Moses: The Long Road to Freedom.  (I especially liked Moses: The Long Road to Freedom.)  I didn't make her do any narration because her throat was really hurting her; but I did make her do some mapwork because it's not too terribly hard to circle things and color in the Red Sea.
Most of the work we did was done today, as Bluebird was feeling almost completely better this morning.  I could tell all three of the girls were getting a little cabin feverish, so I had planned an awesomely "Fun Friday" for them.

First we had art, in which we tried out oil pastels for the first time:

Then we painted masks, in honor of King Tut.  I tried to explain the concept of a death mask to them, but they're girls and just not interested in wasting a perfectly awesome artistic opportunity on making something look like themselves:

I can only describe this picture as "Jason's Toddler Sister."

We also did some Daisy Scouting, in which Bluebird made her cookie selling goals and decided that she is going to work on earning her "Honest & Fair" petal.  I can't believe it's already time to sell cookies again!  She wants to sell 250 boxes this year, which will earn her free admission to the Cookie Party in June.  Last year she sold 180 boxes, so it's a big goal.

And then I kicked them out of the house to finally go play in the snow:

And when they stumbled back in from the cold, we decided to make some homemade hot chocolate:

Monkeyboy's been hanging out with us as well.  I have to carry him around for what seems like every minute of the day, but he's a good boy and only occasionally tries to grab worksheets from the table or pull his sisters' hair.
I'm slightly giddy that we've kept up with the history lessons this week.  We only did one math lesson, but I'm sure it'll be fine in the long run.  I plan to do complete school days next week, complete with penmanship and all the things that make Bluebird want to cry.  It's nice to get back into the routine...I actually wonder if taking two weeks off for Christmas is just too much!  I feel so lost when we're not doing school!

Highlights of the Week:
  • Realizing that Bluebird has about 3-5 days of work left in Phonics Pathways!
Funnies of the Week:
  • While waiting for their painted masks to dry, Bluebird asked Penguin if she knew which mask was Bluebird's.  Penguin said, "The one in the middle," to which Bluebird responded with, "No, the correct answer is the most beautiful one."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Little Monkey Baby Hat for my Little Monkeyboy

Oh, the cuteness is almost overwhelming!

PatternLittle Monkey Baby Hat by Irina Poludnenko

YarnKnit Picks Swish DK in Bark, Doe, Charcoal Heather & Coal

Needles:  US 6 DPN

Modifications:  Braided earflap tassels instead of I-Cord.

Many months ago, I became aware of this pattern after mentioning at Knit Nite that I wanted to make a monkey hat for my baby boy.  Kit found this pattern on Ravelry and showed it me, and I knew I had to make it someday.

I then got the idea into my head that it would make a great Christmas present and strived to make it work, but I ran out of the dark brown color a few days before the holiday and had to wait for it arrive later.  (If I had been a little more frugal in my tail ends and done I-cord tassels instead of braided tassels, I'm pretty sure I could have completed this with just one skein of the dark brown...)

Monkeyboy seems to like it.  He likes to hold a tassel in each of his chubby little hands and then chew on the yarn.

The pattern is a little crazy; I don't think I'll make this again because it drove me nuts.  It seemed as though the designer was trying really hard to make the pattern fit onto one page of instructions, and so she'd leave out minor details or type multiple rows' worth of instructions onto one line.  Yeah, you're still technically able to create the hat, but it takes more mental energy, which isn't something I'm in excess possession of when I sit down to knit.  Things like that in pattern are the little things...and the little things matter!

Liking the yarn.  Haven't done anything with DK weight before, but I really liked how baby-perfect it seemed...sometimes worsted seems just a little too heavy for babies, but this weight is just one step lighter, so it feels like "baby-worsted."  I basically have full skeins left of the Bark, Charcoal Heather and Coal colors and I'd estimate I've got half a skein of the Doe/Light Brown color left.  And it's superwash merino!  I don't know why, but I am feeling pretty proud that my little bitty boy has a nice, warm, wool cap for his head.  It just feels like I'm taking especially good care of him by clothing him in wool against the bitter cold that's outside right now.  Mommy Success!
Gotta keep those chubby little cheeks warm & toasty too!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

On the Eve of a New School Session

We start school again tomorrow.

Actually, it's more of an optimistic wish of mine that we start school tomorrow.  Bluebird caught her dad's illness and has been listlessly lying in my bed for the past three days, spiking a 103 degree fever from time to time.  She perked up a bit today, so I'm hoping that we'll be able to accomplish something tomorrow.  I highly doubt we'll get a full day's worth of work in; I'm realistically hoping for some flashcard review and whatever possible reading out loud I can do for her.

I always look to this particular session of school (January through February) as an intensive study time.  It's bitterly cold outside and there are no big holidays, which equals little distraction in our my quest to burn through as much school as possible.

We'll take two weeks off again in February in order to keep us from going insane from the miserably gray weather we get here at that time of year, and then there's the possibility of Spring popping up on any given day from there on out.  That makes this winter session my "Go Big" time.

I've looked ahead at what we're scheduled to do (in order to make sure we have all our materials when we need them), and I'm pretty excited about the things we'll be studying in the next six weeks.  We'll finish up with Ancient Egypt this coming week and then fly through another stint with the Israelites, Assyrians and Babylonians, touch on the Phoenicians and start studying Ancient Greece.  It's going to be AWESOME!

And then we'll do some science.  And art.  And math.  And other stuff.  (Can you see my blatant bias?)

It's always so exciting to stand at the beginning of something new!  Anything new in your lives that you're excited about right now?  :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolution: Finish ALL UFOs

In case it's not obvious, I'm a bit of a crafter.  I like to dabble in many different crafting areas and Michael wins the "Super Husband" award for being extremely understanding of my incessant desire to create and learn about new ways to create different things.  I love to take materials and transform them into something useful and/or beautiful.

I've acquired an impressive array of Unfinished Objects (UFOs) throughout the past years.  I've also managed to create a "To-Do/Want-To-Do" List that can probably never be completed in my lifetime.  The existence of these things causes me some stress because I know they're just sitting there all unfinished, money having been spent to procure the supplies and a substantial investment of time already put into each UFO.  But more and more projects landed at my feet, begging to be completed and thus relegating the UFOs to darker and dustier corners of the closet.

I've become interested in learning how to weave.  Unfortunately, there is a significantly larger start-up cost to this particular hobby and I just don't feel right investing that sort of money while I still have unfinished business connected to previously learnt crafts.  I remembered a post I read on The Yarn Harlot's blog last year and decided to tweak it for myself and my UFOs.

So I found a bunch of paper grocery bags.  Well, actually, I had five on-hand, did a Facebook request for the other thirteen, and then made plans to pick up the offered bags from my neighborhood friends.  But then Michael came down with a wicked lung infection and then we were hit with an enormous dump of snow and I just couldn't fathom braving the icy winds for some grocery bags.  I just waited until grocery shopping night and asked them to bag up my groceries in paper.  It seemed like it was taking a really long time for the bagging boy to bag up my groceries, so I told him that I really just needed thirteen paper sacks and if he just wanted to give those to me and bag up the rest of my groceries in plastic bags that it would be OK.  After he seemedly breathed a sigh of relief, he counted out the number of paper bags that would get me to thirteen and proceeded to bag everything else in plastic and said that next I should just ask for the bags upfront.  (With a smile, he was a nice boy.)  I still find it all rather amusing.

I also claimed half of the master bedroom closet for craft storage.
No more hunting through the house for craft supplies!
(This is a work-in-progress photo.)
Anyway, I took my paper bags and emptied the remainins of each UFO into its own bag, complete with pattern and notions, rolled down the top and stapled them shut.  (I've also thrown a few of the "I want to make that, but never have the time" projects into the mix, just to keep things interesting and cut into the stash a wee bit.)  I have nine knitting bags and nine sewing bags, as I plan to complete both a knitting and sewing project each month.

"But wait!" you say, "There's twelve months in a year and you've only got nine sets of bags!"
Calm down, calm down, I know how to count.  I simply had the genius idea to limit my Christmas crafting in this next year to two distinct months--August and September.  (I'm sure I'll write a post to explain the reasoning behind that decision and choice of months in the future.)  So no catch-up crafting during that time, and I need October for Halloween costumes.  Hence, nine sets of bags.  I marked the Sewing bags with an "S" and the knitting bags with a "K."  It's crazy complicated, but I'm sure I can spare the brain cells to remember my system throughout the year.  I threw the bags up onto the top shelf in the closet to wait out the year.

This morning I granted Bluebird the supreme privilege of choosing my first two bags.  Since she's suffering through a particularly yucky cold right now, she picked a number between one and nine (five) and I simply counted that many bags into the row and pulled them out:

And wouldn't you know it, she managed to "pick" two bags with completely new projects in them.  However, they are projects I've been wanting to get to for quite some time, so I'm appreciative to "have permission" from myself to work on them.

The top photo is the pattern for Little Guy Ties, which includes an adult-sized version of the pattern.  I do not have fabric for it just yet, as I didn't know when I'd be workinig on them and ties tend to be sort of seasonal in fabric choice.  I'm leaning towards the Thing One and Thing Two fabric from the Dr. Seuss fabric line that's out right now...I'm planning to make both a tie for Michael and Monkeyboy and think that it would be so stinking cute.  Also, Michael is starting to acquire a healthy collection of Dr. Seuss ties and this would fit into it nicely.

The bottom photo features some yarn I bought during Yarn Quest with the intent of knitting myself a long overdue Aran Scarf plus any sort of accessories I could eek out of the remaining yarn.  Turquoise is one of my favorite colors and I just love Cascade 220.  I've made an Aran Scarf before for a scarf exchange in which I did not receive a thank you for my efforts.  I've been slightly bitter about it ever since.  Now I can rectify the situation.  Kind of.  :)

I've felt sort of smug about my grand plan until I was browsing through Ravelry this morning and came across someone else who had the exact same plan and was clever enough to create a group for it.  (Of course I joined! I'm now officially a member of "Stash Bust Anarchy 2011.")

This is a pretty big resolution, so I'm going to keep my resolution list short with only this goal on it.  I do have another project/idea that I'm working on, but it's more a "fun thing to do" rather than a "goal," so it doesn't count.  More on that later.

Now I know that y'all have some resolutions as well and I love to hear about other's resolutions!  What goals will you be working towards this year?

And, oh yeah, Happy New Year!