July 29, 2014

Missing Loch Lomond

Summer camp has started on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond... and even though it has been four years since I've made it to that part of the world (and let's face it -- I have one of the most legitimate reasons on the planet for missing it this year) I'm still a little nostalgic for that field and the view. 

Last year, I wrote about what brings me back there year after year, here.  

Many of my foreign friends have converged on the field by now and are giving a slew of young people the summer of their lives by introducing them to new skills, new friends and a new environment. Someday, I hope to take the Peanut there to show him or her the place where I first fell in love with travel and foreign experiences.

To my friends there now, may the rain be sparse, the midgies* be few, and may you take the time to enjoy every single stunning sunset Loch Lomond has to offer you in the next few weeks. 

{*The most awful little bugs on the planet... 10,000x worse than mosquitoes in my book. They are so tiny you can't see them coming until one bites you on the face. They will not be missed...} 

July 26, 2014

Cloth Diapers

I always knew if I had a baby, I'd use cloth diapers. Perhaps it's because I wore them as a babe and my mom swore by them (and I still have one of the old-fashioned pins in my sewing kit) or maybe it has to do with the fact that I was a bit of an environmental freak back in high school. 

Then I discovered that cloth diapered babies generally get less rashes, are exposed to less chemicals and on average seem to potty train quicker than those in disposables. Even more reasons to go with them! 

I'm betting though the real reason I set my mind on it though was once I saw the monetary savings. A few hundred bucks versus thousands over the years? You bet I'm going to cloth diaper the Peanut. And, having lived overseas and witnessed the lack of disposables in many of those places... I perhaps have an easier time than others imagining that cloth diapering is totally plausible, especially in this world of convenient washing machines. 

Over the months, I've gathered enough supplies from online vendors and even Walmart and when people ask if we're ready for the baby to arrive I tell them we have a place for the wee one to sleep and we have diapers. I'm pretty sure those are two things that are high on the list of necessities. 

The convenience of washing machines aside, for the first few weeks, the Sailor and I decided to cash in on my winning streak and use my coupon for a free diaper service. We'll still be cloth diapering, but we'll simply be letting someone else wash the dirties for us for a few weeks. 

(Even if you're convinced that disposables are the way to go instead for convenience, who can resist the cute owl pattern on the cloth diaper cover above?)

July 23, 2014

TV Freedom

Yesterday, the Sailor and I canceled our TV service. After a year of subscribing on a special, we decided that it wasn't worth our time and money to keep both the TV and the Internet once the price went up. So we canceled the TV and kept the Internet. 

Frankly, it wasn't much more expensive to continue with the TV service, but we stopped it out of principle. It's so easy to just channel surf and watch mindless TV in the evenings.

Now don't get me wrong. We love our TV time. (How do you think I get so much knitting and crocheting done?!) But we realized that most of what we watch we can find online. We also realized that we were just wasting time watching stuff that we weren't all that interested in.

It's not the first time we've gone without TV. Before we moved, we only had our DVDs and the Internet. And for half the time I lived in England, I didn't even own a TV. There, you pay an annual TV license, even if you never plug your TV into the wall. After a year and a half, I decided that paying a few hundred bucks a year wasn't worth it for the four channels they offered back then. 

This past year was a little bit of a luxury, but now we've decided that cable TV is a luxury we can live without. Yesterday, after canceling our service, we felt a certain sense of freedom.

I have a feeling with the Peanut on the way, we're not really going to have time to veg in front of the TV in any case. At this point, it seems better for us to veg out watching the flowers grow... maybe we'll even spot another hummingbird.* 

{*The same day I published this post, the Sailor saw a hummingbird on our porch! I missed it, but apparently it was hovering around the red flowers. Hooray!

July 20, 2014

Weekend Knitting

What's a weekend without a little knitting? 

The Sailor and I are enjoying the quiet time at home before the arrival of the Peanut (every once in a while we say things like 'Do you hear that? That's the sound of silence...' usually right before one of us erupts into laughter.

I bought this green Berroco yarn at the Local Yarn Store's annual sale and I decided to make this hooded jacket for the Peanut. (I also made this cute cardigan with yarn acquired from the same sale.) The Peanut will be warm in all seasons.

There's definitely something sublime and fulfilling about knitting small things for a baby -- it's so easy to finish a mini-sweater in mere days! Or... maybe even over a weekend.

July 17, 2014


I am not a big bird fan (ask my mother...) and while I do love the sound of birds in the morning, I didn't want to deal with the mess of cleaning up seeds on our porch from a conventional feeder.

Earlier in the Spring, I noticed that hummingbird feeders seemed to be in all of the garden shops around the area. Enter my perfect no-seed solution to bird watching: I bought a hummingbird feeder. 

The Sailor promptly installed it for me and I planted some red flowers nearby to attract the birds. 

So far though... nothing. Not a single hummingbird. A few weeks ago I saw one out at our garden, so I know they're around here, but they don't seem to want to frequent my porch. 

I'm a total hummingbird novice... but I did buy hummingbird food and I did plant red flowers. I'm thinking the air conditioning units that are so close to the porch might be scaring them off. 

Any other bird people out there... what other tips can you offer to attract hummingbirds?