Eat, Pay, Love

At the school book fair last month, I purchased a few books for each child, as well as two posters for each of the bigger girls. So as far as I’m concerned, I don’t have much else to buy them for Christmas.

As I’ve said in the past, we keep Christmas gifts small. OK, well I’m getting that wagon for me the baby. But the bigger kids are only going to get one or two small things besides the books I’ve already purchased for them.

My oldest, who just turned 8, received this gift for her birthday. She absolutely loved it, and has already made several potholders. I was thinking she might want to learn how to knit. The problem? I am a failed knitter. My sister-n-law tried to teach me twice, and I couldn’t do it without feeling incredibly stressed out. So I’m wondering if any of you who knit can recommend some sort of starter kit for children. I need something with a book with easy instructions. I saw this gift as well, which isn’t knitting, but it still looked pretty cool.

My 5-year spends 4-6 hours drawing. Even on a school day, she draws from the moment she walks in the door, takes a break for dinner, and then draws until she goes to sleep. I’ve seen her most amazing drawings on paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, and tissues. She draws on any surface she can find. We already have plenty of markers, crayons, and pencils, but I was trying to think of some kind of art thing she might like that involves drawing. She likes other crafty things too, but she far prefers drawing. Any suggestions?

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Now that the holidays are upon us, it seems like everyone in the blogosphere is cooking up delicious dishes. I admire those of you who try out new recipes regularly and seem to really enjoy cooking. A relative recently asked me why I didn’t like it. There are many reasons, but first and foremost is the children. I don’t like chopping vegetables with a child clamoring to get on my hip. I hate sautéing veggies alone when I’d rather be chasing the older two in the backyard. And I get so discouraged when I make a new dish I’m so proud of and one of the three of them spits it out.

Sunday, while the baby was napping, the rest of us cooked dinner together. My 8-year-old peeled the potatoes, then started the rice cooker. My 5-year old stirred the chickpeas and green peas in the sauce while my husband held the skillet for her. It was the perfect scenario for family cooking — we all talked and laughed and enjoyed each others company. But it happens so rarely like this. Usually, the baby is awake, the husband isn’t home, and the older two are off playing outside. Usually, cooking is an activity that I have to do rushed, while entertaining the baby, and one that involves far too much clean-up.

But Sunday, for the first time in a long while, I really enjoyed cooking. I wonder how long it will be before we can all cook like that again.


8 thoughts on “Eat, Pay, Love

  1. I still pray for the day when we all cook like that! And I keep slogging through recipes to find something we’ll all eat. It’s depressing.
    Wish I had a knitting suggestion but I used to enjoy rug hooking when I was that age if they still make those kids and they didn’t die quietly with the macrame sets in the 80s.
    As to drawing, Crayola has some neat “glowing” things out this Christmas that were at Target and even my non-drawer was interested. My drawer was enthralled. There’s also the black paper that scratches off to swirly colors underneath, just to mix it up a little.
    So smart keeping Christmas small. I have got to be done with the boys because the hiding spot is full–and it’s a big spot!

  2. You have to get her the Knifty Knitter Looms. they are fantastic. My 10 yr old makes her own scarves and bags to give as gifts and uses in her class auctions. They look almost like knitter but isnt actually. You can start easy and then progress to making bags and shawls.

    You can get them at Micheals or Joannsa for under $10, if you use the 40% off coupon. Also both stores offer knitting classes for kids, if she is interested. I saw a 6 week class at my local store for $40 excluding materials. The ages were from 8-14.

    You can thank me in an email later 🙂

  3. Sadly, my favorite book for starters is Stitch n’ Bitch, which obviously, would not be fitting for your sweet daughter. When you find a good starter set, can you let the rest of us know? I have great hopes that I will have at least one knitter coming up in the ranks!

  4. Hi Anjali – I use the Six o’Clock Scramble ( and dinner is rarely a chore. Of course, my kids are older than yours (10 and 7) and they are usually in the kitchen area during dinner-prep time while they do their homework or use the computer. We eat vegetarian (most nights) and only about 1/3 of the Scramble recipes are veg. However, we’ve found we can adapt most recipes or just do a search on the Scramble website to find vegetarian-friendly recipes if we need to fill out our week’s meal plan. Have you checked it out? I sound like a paid endorsement, but I really do love the Scramble.

  5. Amy, you are now the third person that has told me about it…So now I’m going to stop being lazy and check it out! Thanks so much!

  6. Great suggestion! Does she use the circle knitting thing or the regular stick looms. I wasn’t sure which I should get…

  7. Send #1 to the SIL so she can be taught directly (get rid of the useless middle-woman), or send her to me!! I don’t know how many craft stores/ yarn stores there are near your place, but I’ve seen starter kits for children over here, so I’m sure they sell them there, too.

    As for #2 I don’t know if you have them already, but there are great ‘How To Draw’ books, and some are really well geared to kids her age. They show step by step pictures of how to sketch, draw, and shade some cool pictures from start to finish. I don’t think it would stifle her creativity and she has such focus when she draws, anyway, that it might be fun. I used to have a great Dinosaur one that she would love, and I’m sure they’re still sold somewhere. Or, here’s a thought: ASK YOUR PROFESSIONAL BROTHER!?!

    Yay for family cooking. Is #1 allowed to surf the net? There are some great kid-friendly recipes around, that you could help her make if she enjoyed cooking? Then it would be like she’s in charge, and you’re her helper – might help get both of them more into it?

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