Category Archives: kids

hiking weather


It’s been perfect hiking weather this week. Not too cold, with sunny periods which you have to grab  while they’re there.

Wednesday afternoon, when these photos were taken, we went to a local park to walk amongst the trees. When I say we, I mean myself, my three sons and our guest, V, from Sweden. (As usual, click on the photos to enlarge.)

Of course, you know what boys do when surrounded by nature – they find sticks and frozen creeks/ponds to walk on and other interesting things to explore. Above, these guys had crossed the frozen duck pond to look at a birdhouse. It felt rather odd to be walking on water!

Stick jousting was enjoyed by all.

And crossing a small tributary of the main creek which was almost entirely frozen over. LegoNut did manage to put his boot through the ice and get a damp leg at one point.

The flowing water had made interesting “icicles” here.

And finally, to change the subject totally, here is the Lion Neck Cardigan from Custom Knits. It’s done. Sadly it’s too big. I should have made the smaller size, but I made the mistake of trusting my gauge swatch. At dinner last night, I mentioned to Tai Chi Man that I had two options….either unravel the whole damn thing and knit it again (or maybe even something else), or give it to a friend who is, shall we say, more well-endowed than I. The boys weighed in with their opinions, which were unanimously to give it to my friend. They thought that would be a nice thing to do. So I will. Last night, while we watched Up, I wove in the ends, closed up the little holes at the armholes and added the crochet ties at the front.

The brown cardigan has been languishing in the bag and whilst you might think that it will get finished more quickly now that the blue one is done, this is not necessarily so. I found myself next door to the yarn store on Friday and two pretty skeins of James C Brett Marble came home with me. I have invested in a new knitting book from Amazon – Knitting New Mittens and Gloves – you may recall that I mentioned this book before. I had borrowed it from the library and liked it so much that I was considering knitting all the projects in it. Well, it should arrive in the mail this week. Exciting stuff!



WorldTraveller may not have looked different when he got back, but inwardly he has grown. He is much more self-confident now. Today he went off to do some shopping – he bought a cabbage so he can try recreating the cabbage salad that came with every pizza he ate whilst in Sweden. This evening he went off on the bus (he needs to change buses twice) to get across town to Future Shop (electronics) and the bank and the health food store. Even though the bus that brings him close to our door doesn’t run after 5pm, he said he’d walk the last bit if necessary – he did a fair amount of walking while he was away, so it doesn’t bother him now.

He also is motivated to get back to driving lessons – we went out together this afternoon. He did really well, including hill starts, except when we approached a police check. I think they were checking for seat belts, but after he slowed down he couldn’t get his clutch control back and the car juddered like crazy. The police officer had a word with him, looked at his licence and L plate, and cheerfully told him to “give it lots of gas….and I won’t give you a ticket if you spin the wheels, this time!”



My oldest son is home from his three month holiday in Sweden. His plane landed at 6pm today and he was the first person through the door at Arrivals. I didn’t cry! But I did get a big hug without having to ask for one!
He’d been on the go for 24 hours, from departure from the apartment in Gothenberg to our local airport. Three flights in a row. I know what that’s like as we’ve done similar trips over the years with the kids to go and visit family. I would imagine that doing the trip on your own is easier than having 3 kids in tow though.
We had dinner and lots of talk this evening about some of his adventures and eventually he went off to unpack and relax. He should sleep well tonight as he hasn’t slept in about 40 hours.

news from WorldTraveller


My oldest son is, thankfully, staying in touch now and again from his temporary home in Sweden. The friend he is staying with lives in an apartment in a beautiful area. The apartment buildings surround an area of green space, shops, schools and sports centres, which are in turn surrounded by forest and lakes.

After the last few years of being stuck in front of a computer, he is now hiking through this wonderful landscape and planning to canoe on the lakes. Be still, my beating heart! I am delighted that he is enjoying his stay and appreciating the natural beauty of the country.

WorldTraveller, aka oldest son, if you’re reading this, yes, I stole these photos off your private blog, but I didn’t think you’d mind!

little changes


I have renamed MacAddict – he now has a new codename, WorldTraveller. I have updated the sidebar accordingly. As LegoNut is about to turn 12, I have updated that too. I’m trying to think of a new name for Ninja Boy, as he doesn’t do Taekwondo any more, but am not inspired. I’ll ask him later if he has any ideas.

good news


Yesterday when I dropped MacAddict at the airport, I had to trust that everything would be OK. I know that worrying benefits no one. It just makes you sick. The afternoon was spent doing my housework, which was a good activity for burning off excess nervous tension. I took a break mid-afternoon, put on my swimsuit, and baked out in the sun for an hour. The thermometer said 24 in the shade, but I think it was more like 30 (Celsius) in the sun.

The evening was spent knitting with the ladies at Kelowna Yarn and Needlecrafts. We even had three homeschooled girls join us (thanks to one of their mums publicizing knit night within our homeschooling group). I made sure to buy a little more yarn as Anne, the store owner, is having her annual holiday and the shop will be closed for two weeks. I want to knit a sock monkey.

I slept fine and woke up at around 7am. I had told myself to wait until 8am to check my emails for a message from MacAddict, but there was no way I was going back to sleep.  I got up and looked, but there was nothing from him at that time. I left the computer on and went and had breakfast. About 9am, I came back and at last, there was an email from him in my inbox, saying he’d arrived safely with all his stuff. The relief is unbelievable.

Life goes on!

emotional week


I’m having a bit of a stressful week. Tai Chi Man is away working for 5 days. One of my best friends went into the hospital with dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea, in turn caused by chemo pills (she has been fighting inflammatory breast cancer for two and a half years). I’m glad to say she is getting better now and hopes to be home again soon. And the third thing – my oldest son, aged 18, left today on a three month trip.

He only booked it a week ago, though it was in the pipeline for some time, so I had time to get used to the idea. The way I seem to react to change – freak out for a short period, then get over it quickly! Lego Nut, Ninja Boy and I said goodbye to him at the airport this morning (of course I cried). He flies to Sweden via Calgary and Frankfurt.

He’s had a lot of experience of transatlantic flights with us when we have been back to the UK to visit family, but this is the first time on his own.

Positive things – Gothenberg is a city in a progressive country, he has medical insurance, he has a friend to meet him and stay with, our food expenses should go down, our electricity bill should be cheaper (less computer use), one less bathroom for me to clean, and no more nagging him to bring his dirty dishes up to the kitchen!

I’m not even going to think of anything negative. I need to trust that he will be safe and that he will arrive at his destination as planned and that he will have a wonderful time.  I welcome positive comments only on this post!

lots to tell you about


I have done the dirty deed. The cardigan has been CUT.

It wasn’t as stressful as I anticipated. I was fairly confident that I knew what to do, and I’m pleased to say that, even though my gauge was a little tighter than the swatch, it looks like the cardigan will fit me well. One thing I notice about yoke sweaters is that the decrease rounds can be quite noticeable. Obviously with wool, you could block out the unevenness. I don’t know whether the acrylic will smooth out or not.

Here’s the garment ready to be sewn. I ran a pink yarn along the cutting line to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Loaded up the bobbin with some teal polyester thread from Fabricland which matches perfectly.

Sewed two lines of stitching on each side of the cutting line. Straight stitches, 1.5 on my machine, which probably translates to 1.5mm length. The first line of stitching was half a stitch away from the pink yarn, the second line was one stitch over from the first. I worked from the bottom up, as I don’t think the neck would have stretched sufficiently to allow the garment to go all the way through the machine.

Cutting – without a fortifying stiff drink, I might add. (I don’t drink these days, and anyway I think a clear head is required in this sort of situation.) I put a quilting ruler inside the garment to minimise cutting through the back, but I was also holding the front up with my left hand while I cut, so there wasn’t much danger of that.

Just the button bands – and I can never remember which side the buttons go. (I just looked at the cardigan I’m wearing and they’re on the left.)

Unusually, all three boys came out with me today. They were all interested to see a Freestyle Motocross show that was being presented by Canadian Kawasaki and other sponsors at a secondary school in Vernon. We arrived at 11.10am – much too early as it happened, as the crowds of people that I expected weren’t there! Noon came around, but no action, and in fact not much happened until at least 12.30. When the four men did their stunts on their motorbikes, they were just amazing. Shot up a ramp, flew through the air, did some sort of stunt (handstand, feet forward on the handlebars, even completely parting company from their bikes at times) and landed on another ramp. In between, we had a bit of yakking by the guys and the announcer, telling all the high school kids about making the right choices to get where they want to be (this was related to Dry Grad). Unfortunately, the rain started in earnest and they had to stop the jumps – very frustrating, as if they’d started half an hour earlier we could have seen a lot more.

I bribed the kids with lunch at Subway so that they couldn’t object when I told them I wanted to visit a new yarn store, Neverending Yarn. Well, it’s new to me, as I haven’t been there before. It’s tiny but well-stocked – the yarn that they carry is sort of a cross between the two Kelowna stores – something for everyone. I didn’t want to leave empty-handed, so I bought this…

It’s Fibranatura Sea Song. First time I’ve seen it. Beautiful colours. Made from 80% cotton and 20% Seacell (from kelp). I don’t know what I’ll make with it, but I’m sure it’ll be pretty.

And finally, this is what my nutty son does when it rains. He goes outside on the trampoline (which he’s been ignoring for a month during the good weather), gets damp, then gets himself soaked using the hose! Crazy kid 🙂

diamond yoke cardigan…


…is coming along nicely. (I’m hoping that the photo will upload properly this time – I tried this morning and all I could get was an annoying question mark in a blue square!)

Aha, success! I am pleased to say that after about 3 days of knitting I am more than halfway to the armholes. The beauty of chunky yarn. 🙂

This is Kertzer Northern Chunky, knitted on 10.5US Denise interchangeables (the ribbing is being done on #9s). The yarn markers show where the 7 steek stitches are. I have incorporated a bit of gentle waist shaping (since I gave up Taekwondo I have to say my waist is less obvious than it used to be). The white split ring marker on the left of the photo shows where the side stitches are for the decreasing/increasing.

To change the subject, I don’t think I ever showed you this…

just one of lots of photos taken by Lego Nut (aptly named). This is what happens when Lego takes over your house. Bionicle battles! Too bad if we wanted to use the dining table to actually eat. Unlike many people here, we don’t have a kitchen table AND a posh dining table – this is it – so this is where we do “school”, arts and crafts, and in this case organise Lego battles….oh yeah, and eat meals.

After our visit to the BMX track today (the boys did a fair amount of bike-riding even though it was raining for part of the time) we went to ToysRUs. It’s practically next door to the coffee shop we wanted to visit. Ninja Boy had money to spend and spend it he did – four sets of Lego and 245-ish dollars later, we left the store. He and Lego Nut have been on a building frenzy ever since we got home, pausing only long enough to eat dinner.

Like we really needed more Lego in this house!

a mish-mash

lego mindstorms

lego mindstorms

This post is a mish-mash of things inspired by the photos in my camera.  If you remember, I told you that most of the Lego was sorted by colour into separate bins.  For some time, I had been irritated by the fact that two of our most expensive and complex sets were not getting used.  Thankfully, most of the pieces were still in their respective boxes, so I decided to build the models.

The set above is Mindstorms.  It has a unit that you can program with your computer and the sensors that come with the kit allow the model to sense light, sound and touch, and it can “see” and make noise.  For some reason, the instructions for the cool robot on the outside of the box have disappeared – they must be in the house somewhere, but right now I can’t find them.  So I made this wheeled model instead, which has a claw on front for grabbing a plastic ball.  All it needs now is batteries!

remote control dinosaur

remote control dinosaur

I also made this remote controlled dinosaur.  There are also instructions in the booklet for building a spider and a crocodile.  This one has batteries and walks backward and forward, waves its arms and opens and closes its mouth.   It should roar too, but the “sound brick” isn’t working.  I have learned a lot about Lego recently!  The boys have been helping me identify and find the pieces.  I am now choosing instruction leaflets at random and attempting to complete different sets.

sun ray shawl

sun ray shawl

When not building with Lego, or rummaging through piles of pieces, I have done a little more knitting on my Sun Ray Shawl.  Of course, with 4 extra stitches every other row, it’s growing fast.  Here, I’ve completed another 20 row pattern repeat.  That leaves me three more repeats which will go a lot slower.  I find that the knit rows seem quicker, as I’m following a chart and doing my knits, yarnovers, k2togs and ssks.  Purling back is easy but seems to take forever.

trampolining in the rain

trampolining in the rain

We were relieved to have some more rain today.  It was, again, accompanied by a thunderstorm, and the rain didn’t last long, but it was HEAVY.  These two crazy guys couldn’t resist going out and getting soaked!  It’s ironic that the weather is usually too hot in the summer for them to be out there jumping around, but they go out in the rain.

ronde de nice zucchini

ronde de nice zucchini

These three zucchini fruits came out of our garden today.  They’re called Ronde de Nice and we bought them from West Coast Seeds.   Tai Chi Man planted 5 or 6 plants and they are looking good.  These zucchini are an heirloom variety that are best eaten when still small.  I picked the three largest ones today and sliced them up, dipped them in home-made almond milk and seasoned flour, and fried them in olive oil.  We ate them with a raw tomato sauce.  They were really good.  (Thanks to Affectioknit for the how-to-cook inspiration.)

fried for dinner

fried for dinner