Sunday, November 30, 2014

We LOVE Mario Brothers

*As a reminder, I am part of the Netflix Streamteam. I am being compensated for sharing with you, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

No, seriously, my family and I LOVE all things Mario and Luigi.

We have quite a few of their Wii games, and their DS games, I've bought the Original Mario (and the second one and the third) on the Wii store so we could play those too.

I have my own DS with my own Mario games. Because I think out of everyone in this house, I love Mario the most of all.

my game boy!
I still have the original Nintendo Game Boy with the Mario game. It still works and every once in a while, I pull it out to play!

When I was growing up, I played it at my cousin's house. Him and I would play as long as we were allowed to! When we got stuck, we would call my uncle over to help. Because of course, this was back in the day when you couldn't restart at the check-point, or get 5 more lives when you ran out. When you got to the end and ran out of lives, game over!

I even used to watch the Super Mario Bros Super Show on TV.

Yep, all things Mario for me.

Mario gets two thumbs up!
A few years ago, we saw that the Super Mario Bros Show was on Netflix and we watched it. Over and over. The kids loved it, but especially my son! He was younger then and doesn't remember! So, I flipped it on again and guess what? He still loves it!

It's fun watching Mario and Luigi help Princess Toadstool and Toad! Okay, the show can be a bit cheesy at times, but you know what, it beats watching shows with themes that are above my son's head. And it's never a bad thing to watch friends work together to solve problems - even in cartoon form!

Of course this fits in nicely, because lately (thanks to early winter!) a few times a week, I have 3-5 kids in my basement, playing Mario Brothers on the Wii together. I hear them playing and having a good time. "Bubble over to me!" "I need a block" "Who can get that star?"

They too, are a group of friends who are working together to beat King Koopa! It's awesome and they have fun. 

While I don't mind them playing Mario or watching Mario on Netflix, I also don't want that to be all they do. So we sat down and did some Mario art work.

our first Lego picture!
Over the summer, a friend posted on-line about using cross-stitch patterns to make pictures with Legos - each brick could be one square of the pattern, and I thought that was something my kids might like, but of course, it had to be the right "picture."

So I found some Mario cross-stitch patterns and we built this mushroom. It was so much fun. We dug through all the Legos and found the colors we needed and went to town. It turned out so nice, and it wasn't too hard to pull off. The kids think that it was great - despite being unsure at first if this was going to be a good thing.

We have some more patterns and I know they want to try to make some other pictures!

It's nice when you can have a favorite game, fun tv show, and a great craft project come together. Especially when it comes to Mario. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Today was ...

sleep in late

drink lots of water

work on laundry

put on make-up for second day in a row

have my sisters come over

take some pictures with them

talk about Christmas

go see The Hunger Games with sisters and oldest

knit during the movie

make Shepherd Pie for dinner (with Thanksgiving leftovers)

play games with the family

watch netflix

knit some more

play two dots

Friday, November 28, 2014


Happy Friday everyone!

Today I'm going to finish making my broth.

Then the husband and I are going out. The two of us. With no children.

This is exciting stuff I tell you because we don't nearly go out together enough.

So tonight we'll head out to a birthday party. We'll see lots of people we like. And hopefully have a good time.

I'm going to get myself all pretty. I'm going to do my hair, make-up, paint my nails, the whole works.

I almost never do these things, but I figured why not.

I hope everyone else has a great Friday too!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Today was

waking up to watch the parade while knitting

watching the football game where our team lost

running to the grocery store to get the sweet potatoes I forgot

preparing all the sides in the kitchen with Miss M

filling the house with smoke as the baked mac 'n cheese overflowed in the oven

having more food than we could possibly eat at the table

eating good food

snowflakes falling outside the window

remembering the cranberries were still in the fridge when the meal ended

being forced to leave the kitchen so others could clean

sitting for a few moments before getting up and helping a little bit anyway

getting the turkey carcass from my husband to make broth

having my aunt bring me hers (and some onions) to make even more broth

two instances of crying

happiness for what we had

sadness because we usually spend the day with my mom and dad and we weren't able to this year

talking to my mom and dad on the phone

pie with whipped cream for dessert

more knitting

watching Men In Black II and Muppets take Manhattan with Mr 8yo

an incredible amount of gratitude for my husband (who is by my side no matter what), my 3 awesome kids, that we are all healthy enough to sit at a table in a house we live in with food we didn't have to sacrifice anything else to buy in a place where we feel safe and are warm despite the cold outside

happy thanksgiving everyone


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On My Mind

Cancer has been on my mind a lot lately.

Okay, it's kind of pretty much always on my mind ever since I was diagnosed. And even though the cancer is now gone, the side effects of treatment linger and so it's hard for me to "get over it" or to "just stop thinking about it!"

As luck would have it, the current book I'm reading includes the wife dying of cancer - it is in the background, a subplot I guess, it has already happened and all we have is the narrators comments about how it was sprinkled through the main story.

The TV show, which I am binge watching via streaming, also just had one of the big female characters diagnosed with cancer.

And just like that, in the blink of an eye, cancer is in my face.

And the book and show are causing a recall effect for me.

In cancer treatment, there is this thing called radiation recall. If you have radiation first, and then chemotherapy within (I think) 6 months, the chemo can cause your body to recall the radiation side effects and you will experience them again. Now, I did chemo first, but when I did radiation, they warned me the reverse could happen (to a much lesser degree) but I might feel like I did after chemo.

It is strange and weird. I have no idea how it happens, but it does. And it's annoying.

These books and movies are causing me to have what I will now call cancer recall.

When she has to tell her husband she has cancer, I am instantly in tears thinking I have to tell my husband all over.

When she tells her mom, the same thing.

Her hair falling out, suddenly I remember when my hair started to go - how I used to walk around the neighborhood several times a day, combing my fingers through my hair to get out as much as possible so it wouldn't be all over my house because I wasn't ready yet to just shave it all off.

When she shaved her hair, I am back in my bathroom, sitting in my tub, as my husband shaves my head and I have to tell him to stop for a minute because I am just not ready, even though I don't really have a choice and we have to finish, but damn-it, I just need a moment.

When she is bed, sick from chemo, I remember being in bed, sick with chemo.

When she is getting her infusion, shivering, wanting people to talk to her to distract her and yet wanting everyone to just be quiet because being in this chair, getting these medicines, was never part of the plan, I am there too.

And yet, when I get a chance to step out of my own head, what hits me the hardest is not what she is going through, but how the show is portraying her husband going through it and her mother and her siblings. I wonder is that how my family felt. Did they have breakdowns like that when I wasn't around to see them. Did they carry this enormous weight of fear and anxiety but somehow manage to tuck most of it away in an effort to care for me?

It is almost too much to bear honestly.

Yes, I know it's television. Yes, I know things work differently in the real world. Trust me, I am aware at many of the inaccuracies of how cancer is played out on tv, and yet, it gets me right in the gut and right in my heart.

Because I haven't moved on from cancer. Even though I have. I am not stuck back where I was three years ago, but a tiny part of my brain still is. Most of it isn't, thankfully, but sometimes, sometimes everything just comes flooding back and it takes over.

I think it's natural. Or I hope it's natural. I think time makes it better, though I'm only 3 years out here, so that's not much time. I'd really like to get a lot of time from this ... 30 years maybe? That would be nice. I imagine that there will always be a piece of my mind that is in Cancerland. I imagine stories and shows and movies with cancer will always touch a special place, but hopefully someday I can get through them without completely bawling.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


 **Note: I was provided the tickets to ChiTAG. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

On Saturday, the family and I woke up early and headed into Chicago to go to ChiTAG (Chicago Toy and Game Fair).

This is our 3rd or 4th year going ... I can't keep track!

Once again we loved it!

While we were there, the boy and I hung out together and my husband was off with the girls (as you'll see from the pictures!) This works better because the girls are more into sitting and playing and the boy is still about walking around and seeing everything! 

The Girls playing Donkey
We came home with two games: One called Donkey - which is a fun twist on Spoons. The other is called Pompeii.

We played and tested out a lot of toys - Legos, hex bugs, go karts.

The boy and I got sniffed by Zoomer Dino.

I took part in a puzzle competition (that I apparently did not win, insert sad face here).

I got to see a lot of friends from the area.

And the kids had a great time.

I seriously love ChiTag and I love to see all the great games that are out there.

We came home and decided that we haven't actually been playing our games enough lately, so we're going to try to sit down every Friday, after dinner but before Shark Tank, and try to play a game or two. I will report back how this goes and try to share some of our more favorite games to play!

It's nice that the kids are growing up now - it opens up a lot more games that we can all play together.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Random Things

Yesterday I promised I'd share about ChiTag today, except then I got hit with a massive headache, so instead, I'll give a series of random things from November so far.

1. I tried to make homemade yogurt this month. I ended up making room temperature milk. I will try again though. I swear.

2. I did make the best batch of chicken broth I've ever made last week. I guess it balances out the yogurt!

3. I'm so far behind on knitting projects that I am not sure I'll ever catch up, but I'm knitting my fingers off as often as I can.

4. I'm bummed I'm behind because I'd like to actually catch up and get to the point where I can sell my knitting. Maybe not a lot, but a couple things a month wouldn't be so bad.

5. I'm motivated to sell knitting because I'm currently saving for a new camera. I've been saving since the start of this year. I was hoping to be able to buy in time for Christmas, but at the rate I've been able to save, it might be more like Easter before I get it.

6. Last week I learned my cholesterol was high. So I had to get a fasting lipid test to see a breakdown of numbers. Still no results back yet. Boo.

7. I still haven't made the dress I talked about making here. Maybe this weekend?

8. I started playing this game called 2 Dots. Have you played it? Do you like it? I mostly like it, until I get stuck on a level for too long!

9. I've been dreaming lately of going to New York. A lot. It's completely and totally out of the cards, but if my dream could come true: I would go to New York with two suitcases - one full, one empty. I would see the sites: Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Empire State, World Trade Center Memorial, etc. I would see one Broadway show, maybe a second. And I would visit Mood and buy enough fabric to fill most of the empty suitcase but actually fill the rest with yarn from some shop or another. Again, it won't happen. But I can dream, can't I?

10. I've been unable to really get into books lately. I started a few but just can't get into them (including Gone Girl and The Goldfinch). I hope that soon I can find a book to really sink my teeth into.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Today was a long day for me.

I just wasn't feeling one hundred percent.

We had a fabulous day yesterday at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair (I'll share more tomorrow) and once again, we loved going.

But today was my recovery day for that outing.

Which made me wonder if this is how the holiday season is going to go for me.

One day of fun.

Followed by one day of feeling not so great and needing to recover.

Which made me think about how the iron test went.

Which made me sad.

Which made me sad it's the holidays, even though I do actually love the holidays.

And that made me kind of wish I could maybe go to bed today and wake up in mid-January.

I know, I know ... I'd miss all the fun.

But I'd miss the price I pay for that fun.

I still haven't found a lot of good balance between getting everything I need done with the rest I need to be getting.

It is Thanksgiving on Thursday.

I also spent today planning the menu and making my shopping list (minus the turkey, which we bought already).

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

I've got good people in my life.

Really good people in my life.

In addition to that, I've got a lot of good things in life. I do not want for anything that is required to live. Not to mention all the wonderful extras I've got.

And I am truly thankful.

I'm trying very hard to balance both halves of my life right now: the half that is so grateful for so much. And the half that is so upset about so much.

I feel like this balance should come easier to me, but it just isn't.

I will keep trying though. I'm not giving up. And I'm not really going to climb into bed for 2 months. Every day I will press on and try to hold the great moments to the front and center.

Because each day isn't going to be smooth, or perfect, or bump-free, but each day will be enough. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A nightly mantra

Every night, as I am trying to fall asleep, I repeat in my head "I am healthy. I am strong. It's time to rest, relax, and heal."

Every night I say this.

Every night I don't believe this.

Every night I say this hoping, just hoping that somehow the mere act of saying it will make it true. And I will wake up believing it.

But I don't.

And I'm so frustrated and sad and angry and disappointed with so much of my body and it's seemingly inability to act the way I want it to.

I'm also grateful and happy and thankful for it too. My body has let me do lots of things, and after all it's been through, I can still wake up every morning and walk downstairs and get myself and my family breakfast.

I'm very aware that that makes me quite lucky.

And yet, once again, I find myself quite upset with the parts of my body that are not working.

I really wanted the iron challenge this week to go well. I really want to have more energy. I really want things to stop aching.

So I say my mantra every night.

I don't believe it can change anything except for what I believe. And I really hope that there is a moment where I say it so much, I just really believe it and start to feel it.

I am strong. I am healthy. It's time to rest, relax, and heal.

Friday, November 21, 2014

And one more hat!

Yep, one more hat to share.

I made this for a friend, to order. She will be gifting this to a special baby in her life so I wanted to make just perfect!

It took a few tries to get the sizing just right - the pattern was written for 3-6 or 6-9 months and I needed a newborn hat. But I figured it out thanks to some awesome websites with measurements for different sizes and some tinkering with different needle sizes!

And oh, did it turn out.

I'm not going to lie. I wish I could have a baby right now just to put this hat and booty set on. Alas, I won't be kidnapping an newborns. I have them wrapped up and ready to ship out.

But oh, aren't they adorable?

The details ....
Pattern used:  Baby Beanie and Booties Pattern
Needle size: Size 6 (hat) and 4 (booties)
Yarn: Lion Brand Heartland Olympic

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Iron Update

For those who are curious about the iron issues:

I have shown an allergic reaction to both pill and IV form in the past. I spoke to one specialist who thought that I was probably only allergic to the IV because to be allergic to both is essentially unheard of. She advised me to get an allergist to work with, so I did. I met with him once, where in consultation with another doctor, a plan was drawn up.

Today we tried a liquid multivitamin with iron. My allergist has never worked with iron before, and not many have. There was no research on people allergic to both pills and IV, but lots on the IV and some recall reactions to the pills. But I did an iron challenge. Basically every 30-60 minutes I was to take a higher dose of the vitamin until we worked up to the full dose. I figured if we put it in my body slowly, that would be good and might eliminate my body from freaking out about it.

Anyway for my first dose, I had 1/8 of a teaspoon of liquid iron. 1 freaking 8th. And about 20 minutes in, I turned red, started itching and shaking (which at first everyone thought was me being nervous, but was part of my reaction). So I had to get benadryl. Then my oxygen levels dropped very minorly, but they couldn't take a chance and gave me a child's does of epinephrine. Things calmed down after some time. About 30 minutes later it looked as if the reaction might come back as the epi wore off - so then I was given predisone.

Where does this leave me now?
Well, if I want to try iron again, my allergist today recommends that I go to a university hospital with more specialized programs. And no matter where I went, I would need to receive in-patient treatment where basically they give me iron, I get the reaction, they try their best to keep it at bay and as long as I can keep breathing, we push through the reaction - starting with tiny doses and building up to a normal dose. 

The doctor did mention that this was so rare, no other doctors would believe him and he wished he had pictures to prove it. Ugh. Of course.

I'm not sure if I will pursue further treatment or not. It seems like a lot of work. The biggest risk to long term iron-deficiency will be to my heart, which so far ::knock on wood:: is doing okay. It also makes me cold, tired, and cranky, but I might be that way so anyway, so who knows.

This might sound a tiny (or a lot) bit crazy, but right now I can't help but think this is one of the non-money-prices I paid to be treated for cancer - as other than some mild anemia at the end of pregnancy and after birth (where I bled out with each baby) I've never had these issues. I guess if being cold, tired, and sometimes crabby is where my body is at after cancer treatment, well, I will accept it. That doesn't mean I like it and wish it weren't different, just that I'm going to try to accept it and, as a doctor told me last year, this is my new normal.

I'm also feeling very frustrated. I took iron pills for maybe 6 months before the first reaction to the IV and then the reaction to the pills started. And I don't understand why, it suddenly seems, my body can't handle iron in any form (well, aside from food where iron naturally occurs). I had really high hopes going in today and just thought it was going to work. I won't tell you how many times I dropped the f-bomb after the allergic reactions started, but it was more than a couple. Thankfully, my husband was with me as a driver, just in case. So his presence there did help.

And now I'm going to go nap again, because the reaction uses quite a bit of energy and with the meds, well, I already napped for over 3 hours today. And I just have to tell my myself that it is what it is. I can't control how my body reacts to these things, just keep doing the things I can to help myself stay as healthy as I can within the confines of my own body.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hats: The Sequel

I also made a batch of hats for another friend.

She too needed the hats because of the side effects of cancer.

[Side note: cancer sucks]

She requested autumn colors, and maybe an orange that doesn't look like a pumpkin.

She also asked for one hat. So I knit her one. Then another. And another. Because I didn't want one hat to get lonely while being shipped!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Special Knitting

A few weeks ago I read a terribly sad story on facebook. About a new baby, Olivia, who was coming into this world, but because of genetic issues -  trisomy 18 - discovered in testing, this baby will not be with us long.

And my heart crumbled into a lot of pieces. I thought of her family - nuclear and extended. And I thought of her mom, someone I went to high school with. And have remained connected through facebook.

I have never been in this position and I won't even try to pretend I understand or imagine what those closest are thinking or feeling.

So, I did what I know how to do. I started knitting. I knit and knit. Because I knew that time wasn't on my side, so I knit and knit.

I took that blanket everywhere with me. And put my heart and soul and as many good thoughts as I could into that blanket. Because whether this blanket is used for a few hours, or longer, Olivia, I felt deserved nothing less than any other baby.

And so a blanket was knit.

As an afterthought I whipped up a medium sized preemie hat. Because again, I felt strongly in my heart that this precious baby needed a hat.

I sent the blanket and hat off. And just felt so much that I wish I could do so much more.

When I knit things for people, I do it with a lot of care. Unless, a specific pattern is requested, I will easily spend 3, 4, 5 hours finding just the right pattern. And I walk around the yarn store looking for just the right yarn. It is important to me that I try to make things just right.

Yet, in the case of rough times, or bad news - knitting feels so lacking. It doesn't feel like enough.

But it's what I can do. So I do it the best I can.

The blanket arrived to my friend Heather yesterday. And the thank you note I received left me in tears. I think if I ever doubt that knitting is not enough, I'm going to go back and reread that.

Because when I knit, it doesn't magically fix things, or heal people, or repair broken hearts. But it does mean something, and that counts.

That is what I will hold onto. My gift in life may be the ability to knit. And while it's not curing cancer, or getting people on Mars, or making sure no child goes hungry anywhere, maybe just bringing comfort to people, or putting a smile on their face, well that is enough. On this day. In this moment. It is enough.

This is a lesson for all of us. We all have different gifts and talents. Use yours, whatever they may be, even if it doesn't feel like enough. You just never know who you will touch. 

If you have some prayers or good thoughts to spare for Heather, Nathan, and Olivia, I'm sure they would appreciate them. You can also watch Heather and Nathan (two very talented musicians) discuss this a little bit in this video. Thank you.

Monday, November 17, 2014

What's that? A hat?

I've been knitting a lot of hats lately!

The first batch went to a friend who recently moved from Chicago to Michigan. Due to treatment for her metastatic breast cancer, she has lost her hair.

So I whipped up some hats for her! She requested dark colors/black. So I made a black/light blue, two grays, one navy, and two black hats.

Anyway, without fanfare ... here are the hats!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Baking Show

My daughter wants me to make this!
Today, I took an impromptu trip to the America's Baking and Sweets Show.

Prior to 10:30 am today I didn't even know such a show existed, let alone that it was close to my house.

My aunt called to see if my daughter could go with (her daughter and my daughter are the same age. Which sound weird, I know, but big families and age gaps work together to make this happen). So these two second cousins, who are really best friends, have a good time together.

Except my daughter wasn't home, so I sadly said no and went to finish reading my book.

But I thought about it. And thought about it. And I decided that I wanted to go over to the show myself.

So I did.
spray painting a cookie

The good news: about 2 hours after I got there, my husband was able to run my daughter over to meet us so the girls were able to have fun there together.

We walked around.

There was a lot of alcohol. And chocolate. Demonstrations to watch. And oh, some celebrities to meet.

Yes, we meet Sophie and Katherine of Georgetown Bakery (from DC cupcakes on TLC). They demo'd making some wonderful cupcakes - that should soon be on the TLC website. I'm not above admitting I took a few notes. Because who doesn't want to make better tasting cupcakes?

Miss M with Sophie and Katherine
Afterwards, we got their autograph and my daughter got her picture. She was SO excited. She has read one of their books and watches them on TLC. She even, courtesy of another cousin, was brought a Georgetown cupcake to eat. So it was awesome.

making some fondant flowers
I picked up a few things for myself. My daughter got some chocolate modeling fondant, and we just had a wonderfully good time.

Apparently, this is the 2nd year for this show, so I'm going to have to try to remember to watch for it to come back next year! It was a good time!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Brandie of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables movie
Have I mentioned before on this blog just how much I am completely, head over heels, totally in love with Anne of Green Gables?

The books, the movies, all of it. I love them.

When I was younger, the local PBS station would play Anne of Green Gables once a year during it's fundraising (or maybe twice a year? I can't quite remember).

When it came on, I was right there, ready to watch Anne as she came to Green Gables, made her way into Matthew's heart, befriended Diana, and grew to see Marilla loved her so much. I watched as she died her hair green, fell off a roof, and almost drowned. I heard her use lovely phrases, beautiful language. I saw her enthusiasm for school, for her bosom buddies, and her adopted family.

I was hooked. Or obsessed. Or both. I wanted Anne to come and be my best friend.

Some point, after my girls were born, but before my son came, I decided I wanted to own copies of the movies. And my mother, god bless her, found them. She couldn't find them in the US, and somehow ordered them from Canada. According to her they took forever to get her, but when she gave them to me, I was over the moon! And surprised - there were THREE of them! I had grown up Watching Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel. But I had never seen the third on, Anne of Green Gables: The continuing story. When they were new, I pulled them all out and watched them over a couple of days.

Now, I'm not going to lie. The third movie didn't do it for me (and maybe that's why I didn't know of it's existence) but Anne was Anne and I loved her.

Anne of Green Gables Dolls
my lovely dolls
When my girls were 4 and 1, we went to Disney World. While we were working our way through the countries of Epcot, I noticed in the Canada store they had Anne of Green Gables dolls! I wanted ALL of them. Of course, that was out of the budget (and unrealistic to get them home) so I picked two - Anne and Diana. The plan was to get 2 more each time we returned. Sadly, the next time we went to Epcot that particular building was no longer a store and none of the Canada stores had the dolls.

Every few years, I search amazon/ebay and have never been able to find these dolls. Maybe I was the only person to ever purchase them? I don't know! But I'm sad I can't get anymore characters.

When I fell in love with Anne, I didn't know there were books as well. But eventually figured it out. And then I didn't read them.

I worried that if I read the books, it would make me love the movies less. And I had so many great memories of watching Anne that I just didn't want to take that away!

It took me a long time to decide to read the books and about 8 years ago - I finally did. I read them once. I enjoyed them. I should definitely read them again.

But, I still love the movies. And I love the books. I remember when I read the books that I thought the movie took some liberties and mixed somethings up, but they did a great job of capturing the essence of Anne and Matthew and Marilla, of all the characters.

This am grannie had to go for an EEG. Which meant that last night we had to stay up until 3am (she was allowed 4 hours of sleep before the test). Just last week, I had gotten Anne of Green Gables for grannie to read on her audio books.

Grannie at her birthday last month
She uses the Talking Books program through our state, which is through the Library of Congress. She has a special player and can get any book they have recorded the audio for free to listen to. Grannie is mostly blind and has been for a while. She has read A LOT of books. I get her new books as I can, but since I can't keep up with her reading pace, I often guess and just get books.

Last week I said in passing, I'm sure you've already read Anne of Green Gables, and granny told me she hadn't! So I got her the first book. Thankfully she enjoyed it! 

So when we had to stay up so late, I suggested we watch the movie. It's long, it's good, and she had just read the book, so I figured it was a good fit to fill a lot of late night hours.

And it was. We made it through the first one and watched part of the second one. I sat and knit, and it was really a great night for me. And granny managed to stay up a lot past her bedtime!

It almost felt like being a little girl again, sitting in the living room with my grandma (who has since passed away), getting to stay up late so I could watch the entire Anne of Green Gables movie.

Friday, November 14, 2014

On Pins and Needles

So, I'm a bit late to the game ... everyone else posted on November 12. I, however, excel at forgetfulness so I'm here today.

But better late than never, right? That or we can all just pretend that today is the 12th and I am totally on time!

Anyway, this holiday season I am taking the Save The Children's Pins and Needles challenge!

This is part of their holiday fundraising, which culminates on Friday, December 12. When we are all encouraged to wear a sweater and donate $5 to the organization.

Wear them to work, around the house, out to dinner with friends, whatever works for you! Just
remember to donate your $5 (which Save the Children has made easy - you can just text SWEATER to 20222).

I will be participating by starting to knit my own sweater today. That's where the Pins & Needle challenge comes in! I found a pattern I really liked and went out bought some yarn today to start working on it. I'm SO excited.

My 12 year old is going to join in the fun with me ... except she's not quite ready for a sweater, so she's going to crochet a scarf. It's kind of like a sweater for your neck, so I think it is a great idea. Not to mention, it's the thought that counts so I'm excited she wants to create with me.

And yes, we will be posting and sharing pictures as we work! And then, assuming what we make turns out and fits, we will be wearing our sweater and scarf on December 12.

Yes, my eyes are closed, but I'm happy
So, you may be wondering, why, during this busy time am I going to sit and work on a sweater. Well, that's a good question. Save the Children is doing a lot of good in the world right now. There work in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan was able to help over 800,000 adults and children.

And right now, they are in Africa, working to help fight Ebola. They are building treatment centers, making sure people have access to help, and they are helping to take care of children who may be orphans after losing parents to Ebola. 

I can't be on the ground helping, but I can support those who are. And if it's as simple as taking some time this holiday season to work on a sweater or teach my daughter to crochet, then why not!  
And the universe knows I have a lot of kindness to pay it forward. We've been helped by so many wonderful people, especially over the last few years. Our family, my children included, have had some great support and people who want to help us when we need it. And so now it's my turn to pay it forward and try to help others!

I'm also impressed with Save the Children's score over at Charity Navigator. They have 95 out of 100 points. That is a great score. I feel great about the work they are doing and I feel great about donating to them. 

So. That's what I'm doing!

Here's what you can do. You can watch along as my sweater comes together. You can encourage me to just keep knitting! You can don your own festive sweater on December 12 - knit, borrowed, store bought - it doesn't matter. And when you put it on in the morning, send off $5 to Save the Children. 

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy as I like to tell my children!  

If you'd like more information, you can head on over to Save The Children's Make the World Better with a Sweater page.

*Save the Children contacted me and asked me to participate in the Pins and Needle Challenge, but I am not being compensated for this or sharing any information with you!