May 8, 2015

Gardening with Petitti's!

So!  It's planting season!

Petitti's Garden Center
Or... yard de-shaming season depending on your point of view.  Our yard needed a whole bunch of de-shaming this year:

This house is vacant, right?

See we live on a super main road and last year(s) I've had completely non-trustworthy toddlers.  So I'd pull out one weed and then frantically chase a kid who was too near the road.  Nope.  Our front yard has strictly been only what you need to survive levels of maintenance.

That changes this year.  I used to really enjoy gardening - you can dig through the archives and find lots of posts about salsa gardens and sunflowers.  But that was before the tiny humans ransacked our house and priorities.  They are finally old enough now to either help out or at the very least not flail towards the street while we're pulling weeds.  So this weekend with a little help from Petitti's we did this:

We replaced the edging which was a rotten mess with some bricks that match the patio we built.  Pulled 6 lawn bags full of weeds and spread a ridiculous amount of mulch:

But we wanted a finishing touch.  A new tree to make us excited about our yard again.  We've always wanted a fruit tree.  So we took the kids out to Petitti's in Strongsville to pick one out.  It was such fun!

Petitti's Garden Center
Petitti's Garden Center
I have never been to a gardening place this big before.  It was a ball.  The kids loved playing in the rows and rows of plants.  I loved being able to ask a knowledgeable person an insane amount of questions so that I don't immediately kill our new plants.

Petitti's Garden Center
Although they come with a year guarantee and they've been raised in Ohio - so they are used to our winters.

Petitti's Garden Center
After much debate we ended up bringing home a peach tree AND a pear tree. Because SPRING.  We couldn't decide and the kids wanted both, so... here we are.  Also a whole bunch of hanging baskets (they were on sale!). 

Our new Peach Tree!
We needed to move their playhouse a bit to put in the pear tree but I think it worked out.


 And it's amazing how much color and fun the hanging baskets add to our yard!

Anyways if you want to de-shame your yard, too, Petitti's has generously given me a $50 giftcard to share with my readers!     Here's how to enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yay for spring and gardens!!!

Disclosure:  I was provided with a giftcard to Petitti's in exchange for this post.  As always all opinions and shameful yards are my own.

May 7, 2015

UncommonGoods and Mother's Day!

So!  Mother's Day is this weekend!   And I just wanted to write a quick post to let you know about an awesome place to find a last-minute mother's day gift:

I just discovered this company - Uncommongoods - and I have to say that they are awesome. They bring together all sorts of interesting and unique gifts in one place for easy shopping.  And a good portion of their items are hand made.  Which as someone who sells handmade products I FULLY support.  A company that gets customers in touch with artists in an easy-to-access way?  YES.  And they have an entire section of Gifts for Mom!

Also?  They have gifts for knitters.  Seriously check out this basket:

Handmade basket for yarn.  YES YES YES.
Or these yarn bowls

I actually haven't had a chance to use a yarn bowl yet. Most of my projects get dragged around the world with me so I use the super fancy ziplock bag instead of anything nice.  I've always wanted one, though. Are they as amazing as I"m picturing them? 

Anyways!  They sent me this beautiful necklace to introduce me to their line of products:

It's hand blown glass and so, so pretty. 

I chose it because in the artist description (the hand made items have artist descriptions!  I love that.  I always like to know the story of who is behind something) it mentioned that she was obsessed with color.  SOUNDS FAMILIAR!
They have a ton of other great products that would be perfect for Mother's Day as well.  They even put together a whole collection of Mother's Day Gifts to help you shop.  Just an FYI, though, today is the last day to order and have your item in time for Sunday.  Have fun shopping!

Disclaimer:  I was provided with the lovely necklace in this post in exchange for this review and post.  As always all opinions are my own.

May 5, 2015

Chevron Baby Blanket.

So check out the chevron baby blanket I knit for my friend's new daughter!

Chevron Baby Blanket

Isn't it pretty! I'm so happy with how it came out.

Chevron Baby Blanket

I knit it in direct violation of my "don't knit for newborns" rule.  See newborns grow SO FLIPPING FAST that I usually give a hand knit as a first birthday gift instead.  A sweater that is worn with the sleeves flipped up on a 1 year old will still fit at 2 and sometimes even for another winter.  But newborns?  Maybe you get a month out of it.  And they'll probably puke on it. Blergh.  HOWEVER this kid got me to break my rule:

So. Much. Adorable.
Because she is a 3rd child.  And 3rd kids don't get hand knits.  No, really.  My daughter could have worn something hand made every day of her infancy.  The dude - my middle child - also had piles of handmade goodness even if it was significantly less than his sister.  Tiny?  Well... I didn't even knit for Tiny.  In my defense I had 2 other kids to look after while redoing our entire basement pregnant so....

IMG_0635 (2)
When my friend found out she was pregnant for the 3rd time I knew that I wanted to make that baby something very special. All her own.

Chevron Baby Blanket
Sidenote:  When Tiny was first born my mom told my dad she was worried that as the little one he would end up with "the shit end of the stick."  And my dad famously said "there's no shit on that stick."  Meaning that in our little family it doesn't matter when you were born because it's going to be good.  Which is exactly how I feel about it.  Tiny may not have as much attention from me, specifically, but he has more attention overall.  Because he has 2 siblings that adore him.

I'm working on a blog post w s part about 3rd kids and scrolled through my phone to find a picture to use. I think this sbout sums it up! #siblings
Also he gets to play with all of his siblings toys.
Anyways!  The chevrons!  I started with this pattern and then decided that I needed to knit it in bulky yarn.  A tiny baby in a bulky knit = ADORABLE.

Chevron Baby Blanket
I used Plymouth Encore Bulky in bright, girly colors and repeated the 3 stripe pattern down the whole blanket:

Chevron Baby Blanket

I also added in a garter stitch edging all around to give it a more finished look:

Chevron Baby Blanket
Mmmmmm.  Edging.
I changed the size of the pattern to make sense with the bulky yarn.  If you want to do the same thing I wrote it all out on my Ravelry project page.  The whole thing took 2 balls of each of the pinks and one of the blue.  It knit up faster than I expected and was really fun to work on.

Yay for 3rd babies and Yay for handknits!

April 27, 2015

Family Concerts at Severance Hall.

So! I am thrilled to be giving away family sets of FOUR tickets to the Cleveland Orchestra!

Wait.  Let me rewind.  The Cleveland Orchestra is one of our city's best assets.  It is literally one of the best orchestras in the country if not the world.  And Severance Hall is in a word STUNNING:

Severance Hall
Image from flickr here.
But!  With little kids I thought it was out of reach.  For us to go would mean babysitting which is few and far between.  And toddlers aren't exactly appropriate at the symphony.  So we'd take the kids to Blossom Music Center for a concert every summer and figured that was all we could do.

First trip to Blossom
Blossom way back in 2012.  We've gone every year since!
Turns out?  I was completely wrong.  The Cleveland Orchestra has an entire series of concerts specifically for children!  And they are awesome.  There are two types of concerts (from the Cleveland Orchestra Website):

PNC Musical Rainbows - ideal for children 3 to 6

Which instrument is bigger  violin or viola?  How many strings are on a harp?  What’s a bassoon?  Children will discover the answers to these musical questions and more during our 30-minute Musical Rainbow concerts.  These presentations are a fun, interactive way for our youngest listeners to learn about the instruments of the orchestra, one at a time.  PNC Musical Rainbow concerts are performed by Cleveland Orchestra musicians and guests, are hosted by local actress and singer Maryann Nagel. Children have the chance to sing, clap, and move to the music as they have fun learning all about orchestral instruments.  Musical Rainbows are performed in the 400-seat Reinberger Chamber Hall at Severance Hall.

Family Concerts - ideal for children 7 and up

Family Concerts are a great way to get kids excited about classical music!  These narrated, 60-minute concerts performed by The Cleveland Orchestra in historic Severance Hall, are structured around a theme and feature guest artists such as young musicians, mimes, dancers, actors, and more.  Family Concerts offer a unique and fun-filled opportunity for families to spend quality time with their children, enrich their lives through exposure to the musical arts, and share the excitement of live music performed by one of the world’s top orchestras.
All Family Concerts are preceded by free activities, including hands-on Instrument Discovery, throughout the hall that enhance your child’s enjoyment of the performance.
 We took our kids to a Musical Rainbows concert on Saturday and they had a great time:

Family Concert at Severance Hall

It was super fun.  The concert was exactly the right length to hold even Tiny's attention and was interactive and fun!  They loved it:

Musical Rainbows Concert
The concert was held in the Reinberger Chamber Hall - a smaller more intimate venue than the main concert hall - but equally beautiful:

Reinberger Chamber Hall
Image from here.
Really everywhere in Severance is beautiful.  Such an amazing building and space.  I was proud to share it with my kids for the first time:

So I am very happy to be sharing the opportunity to go to one of these great concerts with my readers!  I am giving away 2 sets of 4 tickets for each of their upcoming children's concerts - Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery on Saturday, May 3 and The Vivacious Viola on Saturday, May 9.   Feel free to enter both contests!!!!  

Cleveland Orchestra

PNC Musical Rainbows Concert - The Vivacious Viola – May 9

Disclosure:  My family and I received tickets to this event in exchange for this review.  As always all opinions are my own.

Family portrait at MOCA. Although i wish i had noticed that the camera was in front of my face! @mocacleveland #stevensonpartyoffive #thisiscle #cleveland #cle #clevelandgram #lifeincleveland
Bonus family portrait in MOCA.  We walked there for lunch after the concert.  It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday in Cleveland!

April 24, 2015

Stop Motion Fun.

 So!  What a whilrlwind week this was!  I have a bunch of legitimate posts to finish up but it's Friday.  And it's finally warm enough to get back outside. And I may have promised a trip to the park to some kids who want to see how far a stomp rocket can fly....

Enjoying the sunshine despite the wind! #stevensonpartyoffive #thisiscle #cleveland #cle #clevelandgram
we love the park

So how about a quickie post of things that are making me happy right now.

1.)  This video of stop motion silly faces:

Ok a couple of weeks ago Matt downloaded a stop motion app.  And we spent a very lazy Sat. morning with the kids playing with it.  I have a bunch of videos of family nonsense but this one is by far my favorite.  SO MUCH ADORABLE.  And SILLY FACES.  And I know this is a video that 10 or 20 years from now will make me cry instantly because LOOK HOW LITTLE AND CUTE THEY WERE!!

2.)  This yarn:

The "Q"
 I can't even handle how perfectly it is knitting up.  It's just a plain old sock knit on size 1.5 needles over 60 stitches.  I cast on in the pickup line the other day, ribbed until I was bored, and then am doing a stockinette body.  BOOM:

My game day knitting. #destinationyarn #riseupcle #operationsockdrawer #indiedyer #yarn #knit #knitting #handdyedyarn
The colorway is "the Q" because all of my colorways are places... but I kindof think that I should rename it #allinCLE.  I think this might be our year! 

Happy Weekend, everyone!

April 22, 2015

Fox 8 Cleveland and Sassy Chicken Salad.

So.  I was on Fox 8 Cleveland this morning!  I made Sassy Chicken Salad and tried not to make  a fool out of myself.  Here's the clip:

The whole experience was super fun.  And pretty surreal.  Everyone there was very, very nice:

Cooking on Fox 8 News!
Me and Kristi Capel from her instagram page.  I love that our outfits coordinated.  Yay set design!
From the producer to the hosts to the nice lady who set up my mic they made me feel right at home an totally at ease.  Which was good because I was NERVOUS.

Cooking on Fox 8 News!
Backstage where I set up my cooking segment and also TRIED NOT TO FREAK OUT.
The set is really cool.  Both bigger and smaller than I imagined.  The cooking area was wheeled in to that empty space on the left:

Cooking on Fox 8 News!

And this is the news desk:

Cooking on Fox 8 News!

The response via facebook so far from family and friends who have watched has been pretty positive.  But when after preschool pickup I asked the Dude - my 4 year old middle child - how I did he said this.  And I quote:

"You looked weird.  I missed you.  ..... How do turtles go to the potty?"

THANKS, BUDDY.  Then he wanted to know why I didn't cook something he likes.  I asked him what I should have made and he said without hesitation "Apple Raspberry Sauce and Peanut Butter Jelly"  So there you have it.  Forget Sassy Chicken Salad.  I should have just shown off my mad pbj skilz.

But!  They seemed to be happy with my performance.  And I don't think that I looked... weird.  Honestly once I got rolling with it it wasn't so much nerve-wrecking as just full on FUN.  I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

Had SO much fun this morning on @fox8news with @kristi_capel !  Thanks for having me!  #cleveland #cle #clevelandgram #lifeincleveland #stevensonpartyoffive

And since someone asked here's a better picture of the shawl I wore in the segment:

Ravellenic Shawl
Fragile Hearts knit out of Destination Yarn Silk Road in "Daiquiri"  Many, many more details about it here.

If you are new to this blog and want to play along you can like Life in Cleveland on Facebook and follow @LifeinCle on twitter and instagram.

If you're a knitter or into the whole yarn thing there's lots more pretty at Destination Yarn and @DestinationYarn on instagram.

Yay for new experiences!

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