bear hunts and crackers

April 04, 2020

Hello Friends,

First, I hope this post finds you healthy and safe while we are navigating this exceptional time together. Learning new ways to do things and changing old habits while living in our own real-life version of The Twilight Zone has been challenging, hasn't it? Scary too. I know most of you are sheltering in place; we are entering our fourth week. If you aren't sheltering in place, it most likely means you are on the front lines, either in health care, leadership, food distribution or other essential services, and I THANK YOU, and if you are living on a reduced paycheck, my heart aches for you. Bless you all.

We are well here and are watching our 2 1/2 year old grandson during the day while his parents work from home. I know so many of you are working from home AND taking care of small children AND home schooling and I feel for you. Our kids are so grateful that they have their workdays distraction-free and we are so happy to be able to help out. And little Carter is having a dandy time. It's a win win win all around. We have worked out a daily schedule that suits us all really well. Our day is peppered with plenty of one-on-one play time, little snippets of learning time, crafts or cooking with grammy, house repairs or chores with papa, and a good, long walk to one of the local schools to run on the grass and climb the little hills. We are quite certain we have found where the Big Bad Wolf lives and every day we try to flush him out. After lunch we are all so pooped we are ready for story time and a nap. 

Here are a few things that have helped me these last three weeks:

I haven't been able to get very interested in TV these days and instead have been listening to audiobooks from the library. I have the free Libby app on my phone. Download it now! You can borrow books to listen to or read, and they are free! Libby is the easiest library app I have found. Here are some books I've enjoyed the last few months:

To Kill a Mockingbird, read by Sissy Spacek--a real treat to hear her gorgeous southern drawl.
The Dutch House read by Tom Hanks
The Silent Patient
The Great Alone
The Wife Between Us
The Flight Attendant
Something in the Water
The Death of Mrs. Westaway
The Other Mrs.
The Coddling of the American Mind
The Book of Essie
The Secrets We Kept
Small Great Things is what I'm listening to right now.

You and I can't go to church at this time so I invite you to attend my church in the comfort of your home--curled up on your sofa in your pjs with a cup of coffee, like me! I think you will adore my inspirational pastor, Pastor Hurmon Hamilton. There are three live-streamed services on Sunday mornings--8:30, 10:15 and noon PST. Please join me this Sunday to be inspired and lifted up up up. Here's the link: New Beginnings Community Church. Please let me know if you "attend".

The knitting community has been awesome. Many online shops are offering discounts and free shipping. Call your local yarn shop as they may be doing the same AND offering curbside pickup. One thing is certain, your lys needs your support right now.

Designers have been offering free or deeply discounted patterns. If you follow my Facebook page, you're aware that every day I post free patterns. If my posts don't appear in your daily feed (because of some kind of algorithm that I don't understand), try to pop onto the actual page every day. I'll be posting free patterns as fast as I can find them and they almost always have a deadline and a code, so please read the text and act quickly. If you don't often go on Facebook, I encourage you to click on my link right now and scroll down the page. Some of the free patterns are incredible and are often free indefinitely.

Aren't we so lucky that we love to knit?

I think my biggest aha moment came last week when I decided to cook my big meal at noon time. Now for our lunch we have roasted chicken with vegetables, pork chops with homemade applesauce, Thai fish cakes; whatever my son, the designated once-a-week shopper, can find at the picked-over grocery store. I make plenty, then after Carter leaves I can relax and knit and when dinner time rolls around I just heat up our lunch leftovers.

Carter loves to cook and bake, but we don't just make muffins or cookies. We made Ottolenghi's olive oil crackers last week. Carter loved them and my husband said they had a lot of personality which is a nice compliment for a humble cracker. Older kids or littles with supervision can definitely make crackers!

The other day Carter chopped all the carrots for our chicken soup with this inexpensive kitchen gadget that I cannot live without. I'm on my second one because I wore out the first one.

Carter and I also made a cheese souffle together. True, he's only two, but he was very enthusiastic of the science behind watching the egg whites fluff up and turn snowy white and finding out why. If you've never made a souffle, make one with your kids! If they are like my grandson and love eggs and cheese, they will gobble it up. I always use Julia Child's classic recipe and trust me, it's much easier than it looks.

Every day we go on a bear hunt. If you don't have one yet in your neighborhood, start one up and ask everyone to keep their bears out until the isolation is over. Bear hunts have gone global!

Make a no-sew face mask tutorial HERE.

Well, that's it for now. I wanted to check in to wish you all the very best and to let you know I care and hope that you are all safe and calm. I'll leave you with this poem by Kitty O'Mear.

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
- Kitty O'Mear
The Kaffe Striped Afghan knit in Rowan Felted Tweed DK is pure knitting comfort.

New acquisition for the Passagiata Wrap.

Stash yarn gathered for Corners, Edges and Stripes.

LOVE this! A test of the adult version of The Alaskan Pullover. It's totally fab.

When I feel like I really want to concentrate I work on Poet.

A test for Libby Jonson for a summer sweater.

The guys doing chores together. My swift was squeaky, the air vents needed cleaning and so did the kitchen floor!

We used this awesome recipe for homemade puffy paint. We halved it because I am worried about my flour supply!

We use this safety step stool several times a day. It safely brings him up to counter height. 
He was enthralled with the chopper.

Big or small, friendly or fierce, we are finding bears everywhere!

I'd love to hear from you.
You can make a comment by clicking here or scrolling down.
I know it can be wonky to enter a comment;
sometimes it won't be accepted, sometimes it will. Ugh.

You Might Also Like


  1. Oh, such a lovely post! Thank you, thank you! I am knitting socks and they are so relaxing; making bread and pancakes and muffins; reading; and enjoying quiet time. Our church, too, does a live-feed so as much as I would love to hear your pastor, I'll probably be listening to ours. Blessed weekend to you! (I'm Grammy, too, to our grandsons.)

    1. Thank you Chris. I popped over to your blog and enjoyed poking around. We were also married in 1973! Enjoy your sewing, knitting and bread making!


  2. Glad you are all healthy and doing well! Wasn't Tom Hanks a wonderful reader for The Dutch House?! I just loved it - but what was the deal with his reading of chapter numbers...? Did you notice that? Strange!

    1. That chapter thing was weird and creepy even! It always surprised me and I never got used to it. It was like it was dubbed in at a later time. Strange, yes.


  3. Kristen,
    I have been enjoying your blog for many years and really love reading about your knitting, baking, cooking, gardening, and grandson... now more than ever. Thank you for being the beautiful ray of sunshine in an otherwise scary time in our lives. Hugs to you.

    1. Thank you so much Lynne. It was very nice to read your comment. Hugs to you too.


  4. Kristen it's wonderful to hear how well you are doing and how you are getting through this crisis. Thank you for your reading suggestions - I love a good story. Incidentally I often run into Gregory Peck's son when I hike and guess what his dog's name is? Scout! Stay safe and well and in my mom's words "this too shall pass."

    1. Hi Claudia

      I love that you run into Gregory Peck’s son and his dog Scout! That is awesome. He must look like his dad, but probably older than he was when he made that magnificent movie. You and hubby and doggie stay well and safe.


  5. Thank you, Kristen, for this lovely post, and all the wonderful suggestions. How wonderful that you have this time with Carter. I especially love the pictures of him helping his papa. Stay well and safe!

    1. Thank you Carol. It’s nap time now for Carter and Papa so the house is quiet and cozy and I’m feeling very grateful for what I have!


  6. This was just lovely to receive today. Mom, sister and I just did a webchat about a new knitting project- doing squares of an afgan with all different stiches for the squares. House is cozy, husband is snoozing and all of my sons and their families are doing well. Mom is home from Florida and good. Siblings are good. Brings a new meaning to the phrase "life is good" from the t-shirts. I now know it means so much more than life going as you want- the simple things we take for granted are really all that matter. Have a blessed day and knit, read, cook, and nap!

    1. It’s wonderful knowing that your family is safe and well and never again will we be able to take that for granted!


  7. So many wonderful things in this post, Kristen! Some one I know is a work-at-home mom with a new toddler. Still a bit too young for puffy paint but she will probably age into it before the all- clear arrives. Plus thank you for all the generous knitting tips and eye candy. You are always an inspiration. (Claudia, love the Gregory Peck reference.) Knitting is the best. Just finished tackling a tiny tree ornament Noro sweater. Maybe finger puppets for that toddler? Practice Portuguese knitting? Our fridge is beleaguered, but knitwise there are opportunities everywhere. Stay well! Chloe

    1. Hello! Glad to hear you are doing well at your corner of the world. This is a good time to knit a few Christmas ornaments. I unfortunately don't start thinking about them until too late. My son has been shopping for us once a week and I always ask for the same things, and now we have a full freezer and I feel much better than I did a few weeks ago! We haven't been to any shops but I hear from him that everything is picked over, not just the toilet paper. Good grief.


You make my day when you make a comment!


afghan Alana Dakos ally pally ambassador Amy Herzog Ankestrick Arte Italica baby Baby Cocktails bakelite baking berry picking Best Friday of the Month best of Ravelry Big Sur blue transferware book review books boutique brook cables California candy child children children's activities Christmas Christmas crafts Christmas knitting cleaning collections cookie cutters cookies cooking craft Crafts crochet cross-stitch day trip decluttering decorating designer spotlight discount diy dog dolls Easter eau de vie Elizabeth Bradley Elizabeth Zimmerman embroidery entertaining Facebook fall fall decorating fall garden family featured first car fit flower arranging flowers free pattern Friday night party group friends funny Fur garden gardening Giants Gifted Hostess give-away giveaway gluten free gourmet group Halloween herbs holiday home how to set up a party group jewelry Kaffe Fassett KAL Kim Hargreaves kitting Knit Picks knitting laundry Le Jacquard Francais Little French Knits Los Altos lunch Mailbu Making Things Marie Wallin Martin Storey menu minimalism money talk mosaic movies my house my patterns my town nails needlepoint needles October challenge Octoberfest ollalie organizing original design outdoor seating owl party prep pear peg dolls pies pomegranates poncho preview quilting recipe recycling redwork review roses Rowan San Francisco Sarah Hatton sewing sewing room tour shawl shopping shower social media softie spring spring garden stash Stitches West summer summer garden summer knitting Sunday Morning Swans Island table setting test test knit Thanksgiving Three Irish Girls TNNA tomatoes top 10 list toys travel tutorial twinning ufo Uncommon Threads vacation Valentine vegetable garden videos wedding winter garden wip Woolfolk yarn yarn for sale Ysolda