Spring Distractions

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We’ve reached that time of year when I notice that most everyone is behind in math, but the weather is so nice and there is so much to do outdoors that I’m afraid cracking down in the math department isn’t going to happen.  Everyone is caught up in their own projects, and it’s hard to interrupt.  Larkspur is very busy in her garden and I need to get focused on mine.  I have to beg labor from all the boys, and that makes it a little tricky, but preparing soil for planting isn’t among my current abilities.  I wish at least one of them shared my love for growing things so I wouldn’t have to beg, barter, and bargain.  I have a little box of dye plants just waiting to go in the ground, and I’m very excited about transitioning into growing more dye plants.  Jonny started working to get a few beds ready for me this evening, so tomorrow hopefully I can do some planting.

I’ve been working hard to distract Silas from a little winter addiction I enabled, and he fell into:  watching children’s shows on the computer (we’ve never owned a t.v.)  It is so easy to fall into the habit of saying “Yes” to “watching a movie” far too often when you’re tired, it’s cold outside, and the one asking to watch is incredibly persistent.  Sometimes a mom’s got to do what she’s got to do, and allowing a little video watching is a sanity saver.  But some kids can’t seem to watch in moderation, and they essentially become little t.v. addicts and it’s all they want to do.  When Silas asked for a movie recently and I told him, “No, you’re about to go fishing with Daddy,”  and he replied that he’d rather watch a movie, I knew he had a problem.  I discovered a long time ago that quitting cold turkey results in a long, whiny week, but eventually a much happier child, one able to occupy himself without constant movie begging.  Right now I’m reading tons of pictures books, supplying plenty of paper and art supplies, encouraging the building of block houses and train tracks, pulling out the play dough, and of course now that the weather is warm, saying, “It’s a beautiful day.  Go outside and play.”  Together, I think we can beat this.  If we’re lucky, Silas might not even need a twelve step program.

My newest distraction is sock knitting.  I’ve only knit one pair of adult sized socks, and they didn’t excite me enough to encourage the knitting of any others right away.  Maybe the timing wasn’t right.  I have knit lots of baby socks, but those are pretty quick, not to mention super cute.  I blame my new near obsession on Instagram.  There’s a lot of sock knitting going on there.  For some reason the cute little project keepers that people post their socks in progress stored in started to really appeal to me.  So I ordered a few.  (Red foxes here, feathers and blue with gray foxes here).  I also bought a new set of double points.  And while I have plenty of sock yarn, I did buy one more skein, inspired by this photo.  Now I’m knitting socks, and planning for more socks, while my little girls ask when I’m going to finish the baby projects I have going.  Soon, I tell them.  Soon.  But right now, I’m knitting socks!

p.s.  The cake picture:  they made it together–triple layer butter/vanilla cake–gluten free-with caramel frosting.  It was huge and they ran out of frosting, but it was really good and they were proud of it.  However, this pregnant lady is begging, “No more desserts!”  I’ve got to get these kids interested in making dinner!


  1. Hey Ginny! I was wondering if you would consider sharing how you organize your knitting supplies? Newish knitter over here and our house is quickly being overrun with needles, balls of yarn, scraps of paper with notes, etc. I am curious of a good system of organizing simply at home (without having to buy a bunch of organizing things) and also if you have a good bag or something you recommend for taking your supplies with you on the go (I seem to always forget something I need, like measuring tape, or small scissors.) Anyway.. just curious how you keep stuff organized (if you do) and your favorite tricks/tools? LOVE the lichen + lace yarn you shared here and the DPN cases!

  2. Oh that dessert comment had me giggling – mine only want to make treats too. I’m hoping to convince them that muffins are kind of like dessert. And also a good snack and easy breakfast…… (they’ll just want to add a heap of chocolate chips though!)

  3. Our daughter is only one and having her watch TV is not yet on our radar, but it was a wake up call for me when she kept trying to get to my cell phone. It made me realize that I must be on it way too much. So now I am trying to wean myself a bit . . . Of course, while my husband was out of town on a mission trip I did indulge her a bit. It was so precious to watch her hit the button for my screen saver–daddy’s picture–say “Da da” and give it a big kiss . . . 🙂

  4. The sock knitting bug is quite contagious! It’s gotten me too, and Instagram is also to blame!!

  5. Can you please tell us where you found the cake recipe? I’ve decided to cut gluten out of my diet (to decrease inflammation causing back problems and because auto immune issues run in my family and I’m just sort of expecting that in my future). Have you found a baking flour mix that you like or do you make your own? I bought one at Trader Joe’s but haven’t tried it yet. And since it’s not as cheap as regular flour I’m sort of saving it for something special 🙂
    As always, I love your pictures and stories and knitting inspiration! My Silas (almost 3) has gotten used to too much tv lately too as I cope with this back pain and the big kids need to find something to keep him busy so they can do their school work. We need spring weather here so I can send him out to dig in the dirt! He’s getting his own wheelbarrow and tools for his birthday so that should help!

    • The cake recipe is from Gluten Free Baking Classics, and we make the gluten free mix that the author recommends. I have been pretty happy with the recipes from that cookbook.

  6. What dye plants are you putting in and where were you able to get them? I’d love to know.
    Take care.

  7. I have tried knitting socks with double pointed needles and I hated it. I “discovered” the magic loop method and I now love knitting socks!

  8. Ravenna says:

    As an only child of two working parents I watched waaaaaaay more TV than anyone ever should. Things shifted pretty hard for me in my late teens and now I barely watch any TV or movies. In fact, come to think of it, I never watch shows alone at all now. There is hope that our kids lives won’t be totally wasted if we let them watch one more episode. 🙂

    Is that a headboard as trellis I see? Oh please say yes. I love this idea! 🙂

  9. I have knit one pair of adult sized socks and am so proud of them. But I have had a hard time ever trying it again. I keep thinking while I knot the one that I am going to have to do it all over again and somewhere I just get bored. But I think as we get more seasoned in our knitting we become more patient. I have a dream of one day making a pair of socks fr everyone in my family… that is 10 people, not including me. Maybe I could make one pair a month and then give them to everyone for Christmas, lol.

    Anyway, that variegated yarn is gorgeous and truly makes me want to make a pair of socks too!

  10. rebekah says:

    Would love to hear a list of the shows /movies you let your littlest ones watch… I have my own running list of ones I consider Beautiful and Good (Milo and Otis, anyone?), but I’d love to have other options! 🙂

  11. That TV is an evil temptress – even for us adults! There are some people who just get lured into it and can’t seem to unplug. We limited it when my daughter was little. Now she rarely watches as an adult. I hope you get to some gardening soon!

  12. I love your blog too. I agree with everyone who mentions how calming it is to read it.

    ps. Your photos are getting even better all the time- you’re an Artist.

  13. The kids look so proud of their cake! It looks wonderful. Did they follow a recipe?

  14. I haven’t had the urge yet to knit socks. They just don’t excite me. Socks around here are those bulky things you wear indoors to keep your feet warm and at other times of the year they have an abundance of “stickers” from the wild rye grass. I look at photos of hand knit socks and say, “Meh, too much work for feet.” (and I hate using double pointed needles).

    I have a potential video addict in my house. We don’t have a TV either and watch stuff on the computer. I made a rule that there is no video watching on a school day and no sitting around watching if the day is nice. My husband and I try to brainwash the kids with negative vibes about TV (your brain will rot) and positive messages about doing other things. Recently, I bought a ping pong set. We didn’t have a table, but we have a table we use for eating outdoors and plopped a piece of plywood on top. It’s not exactly regulation size, but it works. We have an old garage that the boys have free reign with. It’s a huge mess right now and I often can’t find the tools I need (sometimes I tell my sons what I need and what it looks like and make them look for it). The creative chaos does keep them away from the screen though. It is harder, though, the younger they are when they get the video bug. Those little guys can be so irrational about mommy’s attempts to do something for their own good.

  15. Christy says:

    We have limited screen time – TV (well, Netflix or Amazon on the TV screen ;), computer, kindle – usually while mommy gets dinner! But sometimes it starts taking over and they’re asking all the time. That’s when we do a screen fast, for a week or more, to reset our tolerance. They eventually stop asking and we eventually go back to the limited amount. It just helps us keep it under control without getting rid of it permanently. It helps it not be such a all-the-time habit.

  16. Socks are my FAVORITE thing to knit. Not that I EVER get a chance to knit them. 😀

    And yes, we cut screens cold turkey, here, too. Much better behaved children.

  17. i’ve taken to using chopstick holder cases for my double points when not in use. no more having the ends poking through my project bags and no more lost needles. they are super cheap at our local asian foods market and come in all sorts of cute designs. also great are little tupper-like containers from japan town. bunnies and strange english sentences and all that. they are also very inexpensive so i can have one chopstick case per size of dp needles and i can easily mark the size on back. no more trying to figure out if the needles are a 2 or 2.5 etc.
    http://www.daisojapan.com/p-14848-chopstick-and-case-clapping-march-18cm-787-inc-10pairs.aspx (note, that price is for 10 sets!)

  18. We had the same problem when my son was about 3 – I realized that I was letting him watch something on Netflix every day when he begged for it (we also don’t use a TV). I told him daytime was for playing and from then on he was only allowed to watch a half hour episode every other night with Daddy, since that is something they enjoy together on Daddy’s nights to do bedtime. He threw one giant tantrum and that was the end of it (he is now 8). We have never let him play video games. Occasionally this causes him to inform us that we are the meanest parents ever…but when I watch him building forts, playing with his puppy and the goats, riding his pony, reading every chance he gets, playing board games with us in the evenings – I don’t think he’s deprived! His teachers have commented on the difference between his reports of “what I did last weekend” compared to his classmates’ reports.
    Very jealous of your spring weather! Here we have 5″ of snow, and it was 3 degrees F this morning.

  19. I meant to add how much I enjoy your blog even though reading it adds to my own screen time😊

  20. I think some children, and adults, find it harder than others to limit screen time. Of our older three, two were perfectly happy with 30 mins a day, the third would winge on and on for more. In the end the tv had to go. I don’t think any of us missed it. Of course then we had no other screens. Now with our youngest, age 12, it is much more difficult. No tv still but laptop and tablets are so much a part of daily life. We check the weather, look up recipes, book tickets, Google to identify this or that etc. It feels as though we’re raising our child in a different world. And “everyone else has a mobile phone/ is on Facebook/ has unlimited screen time”!

  21. We are kind of in that same TV watching problem right now. She grabs the ipad first thing in the morning to watch Netflix. I’ve let her because when I work late, she’s up hours before I am. But she gets so distracted to do anything else. My fault though.

  22. good luck with the coercing on the garden! maybe a miracle will occur and one of those boys will wake up LOVING to garden. You can pray!! gorgeous socks on the needles!!

  23. their is a time and season for everything. sometimes ‘survival mode’ includes television. but it’s not a priority in your house so i wouldn’t worry too much about a relapse. -winky face-

    spring is so beautiful, too beautiful to be inside my kids think. we do school in the mornings and the rest of the day is theirs. we all feel better when we feel like we got our necessary work done so we can focus on our ‘play’ work. our garden will be dug this weekend. our first garden in our new home on the mountainside outside of krakow, poland. and i have promised my daughter a flower bed all her own. we have put it off so late, i hope it will all grow. i dont knit any socks but baby socks….maybe some day….

    peace be with you.

    my shift key doesn’t work so i have no exclamation points, no question marks, o smiley faces, and no capital letters…please forgive the bad grammar.

  24. Wow, Ginny! Love all of your photos! And that yarn! Thanks for sharing the link. I don’t remember ever hearing of Lichen and Lace before. She has beautiful yarn!

  25. Our 3 yr old grandson has the on the computer ‘show’ addiction, too. When he comes to our house and he sees the TV he is mesmerized by the big screen and just has a meltdown because it is not on. I think it just sort of happened when Mama was pregnant with baby sister and then the newborn in the house.

    The cake is amazing. Never in my 55 years have I been able to make a layer cake that the top did not slide off or the whole thing look like it was just going to roll over and die. I have tried everything! So, I have beautiful cake envy!

  26. Sock knitting! I’ve been knitting for many years but only recently started obsessing about socks. Then I finally broke down and took a workshop/class on Magic Loop and I REALLY got obsessed. I feel like I can make socks twice as quickly with Magic Loop! Careful- if you do it you might never go back to any other project!

  27. Jillian J says:

    We have TV addictions in our house. One problem is my husband (tempted to end that sentence there! haha), he can not stand silence, and never thinks to turn on music to fill the void. So the TV is on constantly when he is home. The only benefit is that is the kid’s currency, she knows that anything with a screen will go away if she steps out of line!

    That cake looks amazing!

  28. Oh it is nice to hear someone talk honestly about the tv/video thing. Mine have never been able to ‘self regulate’ with screens. We got rid of tv a long time ago and never regretted it. You are right, it is very handy and a free babysitter but they do get addicted quite quickly. Not an issue with my younger ones as I never allowed the habit to even get started. Good luck on the dinners getting made! Maybe they could assist you in making things to be put in the freezer for after the baby. Love all that yarn by the way and I never saw the project keepers like that for socks. I use tubes.

  29. Yes, Ginny! Please tell us the dye plants you are growing. You have inspired me to include plants for dyeing wool in my garden this year. What are your favorites?

  30. Do you mind sharing the place from where you ordered your dye plants and what you ordered? (thinking along there same lines here)

    • I ordered from companionplants.com. I was happy with the condition of the plants I received, and the way they were packaged, etc. 🙂

  31. Your kids are amaizing. And you are more than that!
    Love your blog!

  32. I’m on my second pair of socks and jumped into two at a time on a circular needle with magic loop method after doing the first pair on double pointed needles. I’m not sure I would have bothered with the second sock had I done them separately. I do like a handknit sock though, so cosy and comfy. Enjoy!

  33. Ahh, Ginny, that Lichen and Lace shop does indeed make beautiful yarn. I was coveting a few skeins myself, and am inspired with my own dyeing from all of the amazing combinations I see in her shop. We also became too reliant on shows this winter…both the kids and even more, me! With my husband working away in the mountains so much, it allowed me a quiet hour to make dinner…but sadly, it is a slippery slope. With better weather here, it is easier to forego the shows in favour of real life adventure on the homestead. Your photos always inspire, and oh! We once talked about swapping dye plant seeds…still game, or is it too late, I wonder?
    xo Jules

  34. I feel your pain about the addiction to videos/movies/shows. We had to take the iPad away from Little Man (5 years old) for long stretches (like weeks at a time) because he was turning into a little zombie. Now he only gets it at night after his baby brother goes to bed or if he’s sick. I’m okay with watching movies during his brother’s daytime nap because it keeps him quiet and he’s usually doing other things while the movie is playing (today it was drawing in a notebook I gave him, last week he was playing with Legos). It’s not fun to listen to him whinging on about it but he’s much happier otherwise.

  35. Kathleen L. says:

    Love your socks! To avoid that second sock burn out, I cast on both socks on separate double points sets and play catch-up with each sock … like, do the ribbing on one, then the other to catch up, …then to the turn of the heel, etc….kind of a mind trick and the socks seem to magically go faster! 😉 Prayers for your family….we are having the same struggle with all the Spring and Easter celebrations!!! Yummy Cake!!!

  36. I just love your blog Ginny. Every time I read here I feel calmer and better about life and homeschooling. xo

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