Knitting, crafting, cooking, and motherhood… trying to do it all!

Posts tagged ‘family’

Crocheting with Boys

My oldest son Roman will be 8 in August.  From the time he was three, he has particularly loved drawing, creating, and crafting.  We used to have “Mommy/Roman Work Time” while his brother Adrian was down for a nap.  We would work in my craft room on various projects.  I was typically designing handmade cards for my side business, while he would use paper scraps to design all sorts of creations.  As Adrian got older, he joined in the fun.

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This past year, both boys received a Rainbow Loom for St. Nicholas Day.  The boys have gone wild watching YouTube videos and learning how to make everything from bracelets, to charms, to animals, and even a mini-bag out of the colored bands!  Roman has become particularly adept and has taken to creating his own loom designs. His animal project for school was completed with a diorama featuring Rainbow Loom raccoons.

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When I was pregnant with my third son back in 2012, I started crocheting quite a bit.  I ended up making three baby blankets and a variety of hats, booties, etc. for the new baby.  Roman and Adrian took quite an interest and loved to sit and watch me work.  They asked me to teach them, but I felt they were still a little young.

This past year, I was pregnant with my fourth boy.  In January, I taught myself to knit.  Once again, my older boys took an interest and asked me to teach them to knit.  I laughed, saying that I was just learning myself.  I did tell them, however, that I would teach them to crochet.  With more than 20 years of crocheting experience and having taught a number of people how to crochet, I felt that they were ready.

Traditionally, knit and crochet are thought of as a feminine activity.  There are plenty of men out there who do one or both, but they are in the minority.  I don’t have any daughters and with four kids already, I don’t plan to have one.  Instead, I was blessed with four amazing boys.  If my boys are interested in learning a skill that will improve their fine-motor abilities, then I am not going to hesitate to teach them!  Maybe they will lose interest as they get older, or maybe one of their friends will tell them it’s too “girly,” but I can say for certain that I am not going to be the one to pigeonhole my boys.

About a month and a half ago, I sat down and showed both Roman and Adrian how to make a chain stitch.  Adrian was content with that knowledge and didn’t feel the need to go any farther in his crochet lessons.  Roman, on the other hand, grew bored of the chain stitch very quickly and so we moved on to a granny square.  Having taught other children to crochet, I feel that a basic granny square is the best way to learn.  You do not have to go into individual stitches very often, which can be challenging to a beginner.  The double crochet, while being slightly trickier than a single crochet, is easier to identify among other stitches, even if it’s made tightly.  Most importantly, at the end of a short lesson, you’re left with a lacy square that actually looks like you accomplished something.

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Roman made his first granny square that night.  He didn’t pick up the hook and yarn again until last night, after purchasing some yarn and hooks from a friend’s yard sale.  To my surprise, he didn’t even need a refresher course, he started right up and made a granny square with minimal help.  His squares aren’t perfect, but he is improving his skill with each one.

After I put the two little ones to bed, I found Roman sitting in my bed working.  I sat down next to him and I knit while he crocheted.  We chatted together while we worked, just like old friends.  After a while, he asked, “Can we do this every night?”  I can’t even tell you how happy this made me.  My heart feels incredibly full to have a child that loves working with yarn as much as I do.

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This morning, both boys started crocheting the minute they got up and have worked on it throughout the day.  Adrian is becoming more comfortable holding the hook and yarn and is making a rather long “snake” out of a crochet chain. (It works out quite nicely that he has been obsessed with snakes for the past few months.)

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They may not want to crochet forever, and that’s totally fine with me.  For now, I’m enjoying sharing a skill that is so dear to my heart with two of the boys I love most in this world.

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Fondue-ing it Family Style!

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Thus far this blog has been about knitting, but tonight I’m going to share a cooking experience.  Cooking has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember (as soon as I learned to write I was writing out my own recipes), but during these last weeks of pregnancy it has been difficult to deal with food (nausea, heartburn, exhaustion, etc.).  Tonight was an exception.  I had used an amazon Christmas gift card to purchase a fondue pot in the hopes of having some fun family dinners.  While it was a bit of work, the excitement surrounding this special dinner had all of my boys helping with enthusiasm to prepare the meal.

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At this point, I have to give a little soapbox speech… Cook with your kids!!!  My boys have been joining in the cooking process since they were toddlers.  From the very beginning, I stress food safety.  I no longer have to remind them to wash their hands before dealing with food, or to not touch their nose or mouth while cooking.  They have been using paring knives since preschool and know how to properly handle a knife and cutting board.  Why involve kids in the cooking process?  It is a tremendous learning opportunity as well as a great bonding experience.  Not only do they learn proper food handling, but they learn math skills (e.g. we need three eggs and we already put in one, how many more do we need?), reading skills (e.g. what does the recipe call for?), and physical skills (chopping, mixing, blending, etc.).  The number one reason to cook with your kids, in my opinion, is that they are more likely to eat what they have helped prepare.  My oldest son Roman, who typically hates tomatoes, makes a homemade caprese salad completely independently and gobbles up the tomatoes.  He has even prepared it to take to school for lunch.  They may not like everything they make, but I guarantee your kids are more likely to at least try it if they had a hand in the prep work.  Anyway, back to fondue night…

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The fondue pot arrived on my doorstep this afternoon, so when my husband came home from work I made a quick run to the grocery store to gather supplies.  The boys were ready to jump in when I returned, so I set up each one with a knife, cutting board, and a demonstration of what cuts to make.  Justin (my husband) helped cut the bread, and even Jonathan (my toddler) helped grate the cheese in the food processor.

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It was great having everyone in the kitchen working toward a common goal.  Each boy loved talking about his cooking job and sharing stories about his day, not to mention feeding bits of food to their little brother as he ran through the kitchen excitedly.  We sat down to an amazing meal, one that was almost as much fun to cook as it was to eat!  Jonathan even got his own private dipping area in the middle of his plate.  We’ll definitely be fondue-ing it again!

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For anyone interested, here’s the link to the recipe we used: http://southernfood.about.com/od/fonduerecipes/r/blbb562.htm