Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No autographs please. Well ok maybe just a few...

Yesterday, I received a huge shock and honor! I was named Leavenworth-Lansing 2008 Business Woman of the Year via the ATHENA award.

My mom, me, Joy #1

I didn't know I was up for the nomination. 8 women in my area were nominated and I was selected. Turns out 4 people wrote recommendation letters on my behalf. The award is presented at our annual "ATHENA" luncheon. I went in like normal. Visiting with folks, laughing, overloading my plate at the buffet and in general enjoying myself. We had a great program with a woman who did a living history presentation by being Amelia Earhart (she was born in the next town over). Her presentation was so interesting and she stayed in character the whole time. I love "living history".

After the speaker, it was time to name the award winner. I had my back to my table so I couldn't see the faces and chatting going on behind my back. Then they started saying all these wonderful things about the award winner (they say the name at the very last to enhance the surprise). Honest, hard working, warm, friendly, sincere...dedicated to our town and it's revitalization...Lion's club member, volunteers at her that point I thought hmm...then they said single mother....

I turned around at look at my table mates and my friend Andrea popped up a camera to get my expression. Then I knew for sure and turned around quickly so she couldn't capture the tears welling up only to see Joy #1 pop up behind me. And that was it...I started fighting back tears and kinda stopped listening to the speaker waiting for my name. He continued on "mixture of Dave Ramsey and Betty Crocker"... "Jennifer Brenneman".

It was overwhelmed, excited, and proud all at once. Grinning ear to ear I hugged Joy #1 and my business partner Tess, then made my way through the crowd to accept my award. When I got to the podium I saw my family standing in the very back. They were waiting in the hall, hiding from me. I rambled something off in the way of an acceptance and told the audience that if they wanted a full speech they should have given me a heads up so I could have prepared something.

I did thank Tess and my family and my opening line was, "They said I was humble but...I have a speech no just kidding I am totally shocked." That is all I can remember of what I said. Thankfully, they had written down all the nice things they said so I could go back and reread it (since I stopped listening half way through).

I was truly surprised. I am honored, but I am also very proud.

At 17, I had a beautiful girl. At 21, I had a handsome son. At 23, I graduated from college. At 27, I got my CPA. At 27, I opened my own accounting firm. And at 32 I received the ATHENA award. God is good.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Show off

Here is my new wool skirt I made. Like the thumb print on the picture?
And these socks are going to be soooo awesome. It will be sad if they only last a month! But I knew that going in...

This project is the first time I've tried to do duplicate stitching. Mine isn't the best but it'll work. I'm getting ready to duplicate stitch a snake on the foot. I think that one will go a bit better. Joy #2 is going to love these socks. I'm kind of surprised he hasn't said anything about them considering I've now measured his foot 3 times and I've knit them sitting right next to him.

Knucks #3. These are more green than in the pictures. Man my photography skills stink today. These are waiting on some embroidery too! Just like the other pair...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Another one of THOSE weekends

If all goes well I will:

  • Embroider those mittens and then they will be finito
  • Sew a wool skirt (fabric from the lovely thrift LAC)
  • Do some laundry
  • Minimal housework
  • Watch Twilight
  • Christmas crafting?
  • Work on the slytherin socks that I can barely put down. These are going to be so awesome.

I know people who are overcommitted up to their eyeballs. I am so glad that I learned early on what was extra, busy stuff and what was neccessary; what was fun and the pleasure of not being so busy I couldn't enjoy my home or family. And now I'm reaping the rewards! Home life, weekends filled with only what I want to do, and the peace of not running around with my head cut off. Life is sweet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Driving Joy #1 nuts

This is driving Joy #1 nuts!! And has for months now...

Not just him alone. That hair! For myself, ehh it's just hair. And I am convinced that anyone who can, will grow a huge afro if not once a few times in their lives.

I do prefer it when he just lets it dry curly and doesn't brush it out.

I found this picture from Feb. 2008. He definitely goes to extremes.

I'm on my final Knuck! Just added the thumb and it is all downhill from here!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Lovely Scarf

Barb gifted me some lovely yarn this summer and with it I made this lovely scarf.
I used the chevron scarf pattern from Last minute knitting gifts. It was the perfect choice for this yarn. Grace is a blend of blue, greys, purple, and a bit of orange. It is a bamboo blend so it feels silky. Very lovely.

It did take me awhile to knit. I kept this project in the car at the beginning of the school year so I could work on it while waiting to get the kids from school. Then I would work on it in between other projects when I wanted something simple or transportable. I finally finished it after taking it to a conference where I knit on it all day! I was surprised when I got home to find out that I was still a few inches shy of 77 which is what this pattern calls for. I cranked out a couple more inches and then blocked it. Blocking allowed it to grow to 88 inches! I am able to wrap it around my neck a few times which is perfect.

I love this knit. Thank you Barb for picking me up some great yarn. Your kindness and generosity is something I'm trying to imitate.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Santa's Workshop

Knucks #2 are done! These one's will be my favorite. I like the charcoal color and they look very manly. Perfect for Joy #2. The final pair will be on the needles shortly. I've had a hard time taking pictures. Even though I've been working on them in the open, I don't want to ask anyone to try them on for fear of questions. I shouldn't be afraid though, I measured Joy #2's foot a few days ago. He was sitting in a chair, playing Runescape on the computer. I just walked up and measured not saying a word and neither did he. Either he knew what I was doing or he was so engrossed in his game he did not care. Once again, everyone is desensitized to my knitting and it is working out in my favor.

PS, Like the new blog look?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Small stuff

I finished up a few things in the past couple of days. Well mostly finished!

Thursday I realized that amid all my planning for my niece's birthday knits that I forgot her mom's birthday knits. My sister's birthday is Nov 10th and I always make her something. Well, always as in the last 4 years. :) Unwilling to let my sister down with a store bought gift I casted on for the Ellen cowl using wool of the Andes pumpkin.

It's hard to tell by the picture but there is lacework between cables. I worked the stitch pattern until ran out of yarn. I think I wound up with one extra repeat of the pattern. The cowl is very warm. Now I know why everyone and their mothers are knitting up cowls this season!

Next, I jumped into Knucks number one. This pair is going to Shelby our neighbor. They are completed except for the embroidery. I think I will wait until 3 pairs are knit before I add the embroidery. I pushed myself to get these done. Knitting these will be not my most favorite knitting but they will produce great gifts. Anything with fingers is fiddly and with one pair down (not that they take much time) I feel confident I'll get the rest finished up by next week. All pairs will be knit with knit picks Telemark, my all time favorite mitten yarn. I used royal heather colorway for this pair.

Here's hoping continued success for my Christmas season knitting! Which needs to be over by December 1 cause I have too many other things to do in December!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Oh No He's Just Like Me...

When I was in the seventh grade we were told that we could choose elective classes. Classes that you could take for a semester that was out of the ordinary. I remember we could choose from newspaper, pottery, some type of gym class, choir things like that. I happily signed up for pottery, newspaper, archery, and whatever else was interesting. Anything and everything but choir. Imagine my shock when my third semester elective was choir. I tried to explain to the choir director that there was a mistake and I was not supposed to be in her class, I didn't sign up for it. That was the year that I found out that "elective" in the public school means that they will put you where ever they want to and they don't care what you signed up for.

I did the only thing I could do. I refused to sing. They could force me into that class but they couldn't force me to sing. I sat there quietly, not doing anything the whole hour. I was boycotting the class and doing my best to let the powers that be know that I was not a mindless student that they could just put anywhere.

Needless to say, I was not the teacher's pet and it probably upset her more than anything by not singing. I was sent to the office once and explained my position. I don't really remember how that went. I just remember that it did not convince me to sing. The sad part is that I still feel righteous indignation toward the whole incident and still feel that I was right.

Today I got an email from Joy #2's choir teacher today saying that he was getting a detention for disrupting the class and not "being on task". When I questioned him after school he basically said, "Choir is stupid, I didn't even want to take the class and I've been trying to get out of it for 2 weeks." He might of even said that something along the lines of he shouldn't be forced to take an elective he wasn't interested in. Eek!! I went on to tell him that he should just suck it up, behave and get through the class the best he can, it's only a few more weeks. His response was, "They can make me sit there but they can't make me sing."

Oh no! I feel like I'm about to relive 7th grade choir all over again. And I haven't even told him my story! Calgon take me away....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Akastasia crafting

I am going with our youth group to another youth rally this weekend, Akastasia. Why it is called Akastasia no one of our group really knows. We will be traveling up to Omaha, NE for the weekend and in addition to normal packing I need to figure out what crafting I should take.

Youth rally's are the perfect time to get some handwork in. I usually sit in the auditorium most of the day visiting with other parents or listening to the lesson and worship. I will meet up with several friends this weekend who will bring along their handwork too, so we make a nice little sewing/crochet/knitting circle.

My plan is to take the chevron scarf that I started at the beginning of the school year. It is a beautiful scarf made with Briar Rose yarn gifted from Barb. This project was my knit in the car while waiting for kids project or in between other projects. It has seen very little knitting since September. We have the timing down pretty good now with school pick ups and haven't had any in between time.

I also thought I may take my embroidery for the advent calendar but I'm not sure I'd really work on it. Knitting is so easy to pick up and put down I'd probably just stick to it.

I bought a spaghetti squash to cook for tonight. I've never made spaghetti squash. I looks easy enough but I'd love a really good recipe. If I want the kids to jump in and love it I probably should serve more than just the squash with butter. Any recommendations?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Christmas List

I've been looking at my Ravelry queue and checking it twice. Since my main gifts for family will be jelly and marigold related I don't have much Christmas knitting. Or so I though. I don't usually knit Joy #1 or #2 anything for Christmas but I think that it is time to start a new tradition of handmade.

Joy #1 is getting her birthday sweater (which still needs buttons sewn on). Her birthday is on Christmas but that isn't Christmas knitting, it's birthday knitting.

Both kids have requested knitted items over the past couple of months just in passing. Joy #1 wants a pair of knucks. Actually Joy #1 and the girl across the street both want a pair of knucks. I had almost forgotten about the request until I remember that I ordered the yarn for not just 2 pairs of knucks but 3. I thought Joy #2 would like them too. So I will be knitting up 3 pairs for the holidays. Doable yes, but I don't usually enjoy knitting the same thing over and over again. I'll have to push through this one for the greater good.

Joy #2 requested a pair of socks. I was unsure at first because I know these socks will only last a month or more because he is so hard on socks and with his wide feet it would take some fiddling to get the right fit. I trolled around ravelry and found some I could get excited about. Slytherin house socks. I have Charmed Knits already and they have the pattern already worked out to fit wide men's feet. I was kind of torn between gryffindor socks or slytherin. Everyone wants to believe that they are Gryffindor and yes there are 2 gryffindors that live in my house but Joy #2 is just Slytherin through and through. Being in Slytherin house is not bad, I mean Snape turned out... well I won't go into it in case you haven't read all the harry potter books. Needless to say I'm making slytherin socks and they are green with silver stripes which will go with more things than gold and crimson.

I'm also inspired to make some Holiday decorations. I've seen some really cute stuff out there in blogland. Easy and nice. I usually don't decorate anything but the tree. But this year I'm thinking of creating a winter forest and maybe even sending Christmas cards! That will shock everyone!

Monday, November 3, 2008

No redos

I have such few bad days that when I have one it ALL goes to pot. Here are some highlights from my day...

  • Car accident in front of my house right before school/work(we were not involved as we were still in the house) It was high drama, school bus and another vehicle. No major injuries though just cuts and bruises.
  • Joy #2 got suspended for 2 days and it is all his fault and it could have all been prevented had he used the brains God gave him.
  • A car turned right in front of me and I had to actually turn the corner to avoid being hit.
  • Our cell phone bill is outrageous and we've done nothing different. I really think they've screwed up our bill but dealing with phone companies was something I couldn't do nicely today.
  • Joy #1 & #2 got into a fight and #2 looks like he has a broken finger. Long story involving a hot head and a Longaberger plate, let's just say #2 started it #1 finished it.
  • I refused to take #2 to the ER and waited for a nurse friend to get home. It's not broken but banged up really bad and he won't be able to use it for awhile. It's all swollen and bruised.

I am going to spend the remainder of my evening hiding in my room drinking tea.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Moving right along to Christmas

The marigold seeds drying on my table seemed a little weird to me at first. It almost seemed like I had crossed some line. I'm not really sure what line that is but I have crossed it. I have a HUGE envelope full of marigold seeds. Enough that I think I could reestablish the earth with marigolds in the event of some marigold disaster.
I can't wait to make up some cute envelopes and spread the Christmas joy via little envelopes of Jennifer's Giant Marigolds.
I finished the Turn the Square hat number 2 for my nephew at college. I am going to go ahead and send it to him in a care package. No point in waiting for Christmas.
And for wondering minds...Yes! 4 inches of afro will fit inside a turn the square hat written as is. Joy #2 is testing the sizing out on his own nogging and afro.
And this..I picked up this project I started earlier this year. It is an advent calendar of sorts. I loved this one so much that I knew we needed one of our own. The hard part will be decided what to put inside. I'm thinking notes, riddles, stuff like that.
And I'm thinking up some creative gifts I want from the Joys! Like a 30 minute sit down dinner every night from Dec 1- Dec 25th where we can open the advent goodies, eat dinner, and just be together without anyone rushing from the table. I hope they buy into it. I can almost hear Joy #1 saying nah, we'll just buy you something from the store. :) Teenagers...
And speaking of children...Joy #2 is in the kitchen cooking up rock candy. Hot boiling sugar water poured into glass jars. Never a dull moment!