Catch Up & A New Venture

I have not posted in an embarrassingly long time. I have had a lot of knitting to share and ample time to sit down and work on a blog post, but I’ve had a hard time feeling like I deserve to spend my time doing so. I got laid off at the end of September from my job of almost two years. (Go back a little over two years and there is a nearly identical post.) I do not have the luck when it comes to steady jobs. I have also not had the luck as far as finding a new job. Most of my spare time I feel I must spend hunting for, applying for and sometimes interviewing for jobs. I am trying to remain positive that the right thing will come along, but some days that is really, really difficult. I actually feel like I’ve interviewed for the right job many times over since September but I have not gotten an offer from anyone yet. The market is very competitive right now. At every interview I have managed to get I have been told how many people (usually 50+) applied for the job and how they are interviewing at least half of them. It takes just the tiniest little things for someone else to have a slight edge over someone else. I am signed up with about 5 temp agencies (as of today) and have gotten just a couple of jobs from them since I’ve been home. One of them was a month-long. I am getting unemployment. Things could be worse…but I really just want to be done with this job hunting phase and be back to work.

I will get around to talking (briefly) about what knitting I have finished since my last post but first let me tell you about my Etsy shop. In a desperate attempt to feel like I’m contributing (even just a little bit) to my household while I look for my next job I have started an Etsy shop. I have been told by several people in the past that I should consider opening an Etsy shop and selling my knitted items. Mostly I’m selling some cute, decorative Mason Jars with knitted cozies. I made a slew of these as Christmas gifts this year. I am also posting a few items that if people would be interested in they can custom order and I will knit it up special for them. I’m not telling you about this shop to ask you to go buy something from me, but I am asking that if you are an Etsy user, please go visit my shop and maybe like it or an item (or several) that I’m selling. The more traffic that I get and the more likes I get the more attention it will draw from others and maybe some potential customers will find their way to me.. Thanks in advance! ¬†Here’s the link: NicolesKnitGifts

New Finished Objects (corresponding photos below)

A. Turkish Bed Socks by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas – I made these for me. Despite having to battle second sock syndrome with these I love how they turned out and hope to make them again.

B. Pacifier Leash by Angela Munden – Made for my niece. Sometimes she likes to chew on it…silly girl!

C. Wildstyle Hat by Me – Minnie dressed up as Wildstyle from the Lego movie for Halloween. I improvised a hat to look like her hair.

D. Elizabeth Elaine Dress by Taiga Hilliard – I Love this designer. She has the sweetest little baby dresses! I am gearing up to knit another! This one was for my niece! She wore it in her 6 month photo shoot!

E. Molly Hat¬†by Erin Ruth – One of my fabulous sisters in law and I organized a trade. I would knit her a hat and she would make me a quilted¬†table runner. I do not have a picture of this hat on my SIL…so my husband is the stand in model. ¬†(Don’t tell him.)

F. Milo by Georgie Hallam – I love this pattern, I have knit it a few times before. This one was part of my niece’s Christmas gift.

G. Candle Cozies¬†by¬†Silje Camelie¬†– I made these as Christmas gifts for my kids teachers as well as for several family members. They are fun to knit and really cute! (These are also what I’m selling in my Etsy shop.)

H. Chopper Mitten Liners РI used the pattern Classic Mittens by the Bernhard Ulmann Co. to make chopper mitten liners for my Dad. I hope they work well for him on ice fishing trips. 

I. Calypso Shrug/Shoulder Wrap¬†by Debbie Haymark – I started this ages ago and hated it. For some reason I remembered it and went back to work on it. It became my Mom’s Christmas gift. I still need to get better pictures of it before my Mom gets the final product this weekend.

Too Many Projects, Too Little Focus

I feel like I just posted, but I do have new knitting I haven’t talked about yet. Part of me feels like I should wait until after this weekend. I might have some finished objects to share and not just lots of in progress ones. We are headed to the Upper Peninsula for MI for the Labor Day weekend which mean a lot of travel time in the car and¬†a lot of uninterrupted knitting time for me.

I have cast on all sorts of things recently. Sometimes when I start new knitting after finishing up knitting that is a gift for someone or has a specific deadline attached to it I have trouble committing to one project. It is like I have too much free time to just knit whatever and it all goes to my head. I wish I thought that imposing a deadline on myself would work. Unfortunately the procrastinator in me would still know that I was unbounded and my knitting would run wild.

The Ramona Racerback Tank by Katherine Vaughn seemed like a great thing to knit because I enjoyed the other tank top I knit for Minnie this summer. I have not been enjoying this pattern as much though. I did knit pretty seriously on it for a week or so and then got annoyed because it is knit flat (in pieces) and not in the round. I really hate knitting things that need to be seamed. So, as much as I was liking the idea of the finished piece I was not really giving this a lot of my time. I also realized that it was not that smart to be knitting a tank in mid August that I would probably not finish before school started again and that I couldn’t guarantee would fit her anymore next summer. (If I was being totally honest with myself I would tell you that this is probably destined to be frogged very soon.)


Turkish Bed Socks by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas is one of those patterns that I’ve had in my queue forever. It is such a cute little pattern and who couldn’t use some sweet little socks/slippers? I knit the whole first slipper and even cast on the second one but I haven’t made it real far on the second. Normally I would plead second sock syndrome…but these knit up so quick that it really can’t be that. It is more likely because of the seaming (again.) There is minimal seaming on this item and while I succeeded in seaming up the first one I’m not sure it is a very flawless job. I should just finish these…I know I would wear them!


The Honey Cowl by Antonia Shankland is the perfect pattern to finally use the Yowza! skein of yarn I bought from Miss Babs for the Brickless shawl that I decided I wasn’t really that into. I have tried out this yarn on multiple shawls/cowls and not found the right thing…until now. I love the texture that this pattern produces! I am looking forward to wearing this when the weather gets cold again. It is just not that exciting to knit. And I have to pay more attention than I want to during the slip one, purl one row. I pull this out and work on a row or two here and there…it will get done, but it is not one of my all-consuming sorts of projects. I have also picked out a hat pattern that I want to knit out of the same yarn. Maybe I will even have enough yarn to make some mittens! (A Yowza! skein from Miss Babs is 560 yards!)



The Zigzagular Socks by¬†Susie White was cast on because the Honey Cowl was a little slow to knit. This is the project I’m making the most progress on right now. It is also the project that I carry around in my purse incase I have a few spare minutes (like that ever happens anymore) to just knit. This pattern is advertised as the perfect pattern to use your wildly variegated yarns with. I love how great the yarn on the printed pattern sheet looks knit up as this pattern, the zigzag really pops. My yarn isn’t quite as stunning…but I do like it. I have been thinking about possibly making these pedicure socks (no toes.) For some reason I have been wanting a pair of socks like that. Probably mostly so I can wear socks and flip-flops at the same time! We’ll see though. This has been weighing on mind as flip-flop season is probably quickly coming to a close. Flip-flops are probably my favorite kind of shoes.


I also keep looking back at other works in progress that I should hurry up and finish. If I ever become a knitter who can fully dedicate herself to one project at a time it will be a miracle!

I hope I can narrow it down to a project or two (or three) for the trip to MI. And I hope that I have some finished objects to report next time I post!

Happy Knitting!

Repurposed Piano

As excited as I have been to finally post about this¬†… I have been procrastinating. I wanted this post it to be as perfect as the subject matter is. I’m not sure why I’m being mysterious about it, if you are friends with me on Facebook or Ravelry you’ve already heard. So…here it goes.

I have received the ultimate gift one can give a knitter (outside of unlimited purchasing power at the yarn store of their choosing.) For my 35th birthday, which was last weekend, my husband gave me a beautiful, one of a kind, and extremely special to me yarn hutch/cabinet / thingy (I’m unsure what to call this piece of furniture to fully do it justice.) Here is the story of how it came to be.


When I was a kid we had a crappy old piano in the basement. I taught myself how to play from my Mom’s old piano books until she signed me up for piano lessons. I enjoyed that horrible old piano until I graduated and moved out of the house. Many years down the road I was married and my parents were looking to get the piano out of their house, so it came to my house. I played it some, but mostly it was just another piece of furniture for me to put knickknacks on. Many more years down the road my husband starts asking if we can get the piano out of our house.¬†No one really uses it and it takes up an awful lot of space. The piano held a lot of sentimental value for me, but he was right. There was no real reason to keep hanging onto it. (Even if my kids ever really pushed to take piano lesson I also have a hugely awesome Casio keyboard they could learn on.) I put the word out that we had free piano up for the taking. Probably not surprisingly, no one wanted a piano that has been out of tune longer than I’ve been alive. I was about to list it on Craigslist and see what happened when my husband started suggesting taking it apart and making something new out of the pieces. (I think originally this idea horrified me more than just giving it to someone else to enjoy.) Eventually I agreed and watched sadly as MY piano became many bits and pieces. For months he worked on this thing in the garage. Originally he was building this as a piece of furniture for his home theater, but when the basic structure was finished and he tried it out down there he knew it didn’t fit. I have been hinting/nagging for years that he should build me some sort of storage unit for all my yarn. (Because lots of baskets and bins stacked in the corner of the living is not really a great or attractive system.) He liked the idea but always kind of put it at the bottom of the list. It seems like fate that MY piano would transform into MY yarn cabinet. I am in love with sitting next to it (and all my yarn in it) and knitting in the evenings.(I should note that not ALL my yarn fits in here. Yet) I am so amazed at my husband’s ability to build things. I don’t understand where he gets it from or how his brain works to make marvelous things like this come to life. It was fun to watch him work on this and really amazing to see the finish product.(Thank you for letting me brag about my amazing gift and my husband who built this for me.)

Part of me wants to leave this as a stand alone post like it deserves, but I do have some finished knitting. I finished the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper for Baby Girl. I have even hand sewn in the zipper and handed it over to my Mom to machine sew it in more firmly (that is usually the part I procrastinate on.) I also finished the hat I bought not one, but two knitting books to get the pattern for Baby Girl. It is Bunny Tail by Susan B. Anderson. I actually first knit the ears with the yarn held double for the inner ear, but it made the ears too heavy and flop forward. (I included one photo below that shows the hat when it had one of each type of ear I tried.) I took them apart and just knit the ears with the one color. They are still way cute! I also knit two other baby items. My sister’s friend is having her first child and my sister asked if I’d knit something for her to gift to this new little girl. I did some Saartje’s Booties…but in the round! Someone took this great pattern and made it in the round, which is genius! I so much prefer knitting things in the round. I also knit Mini Tearsa by Taiga Hilliard. My niece is modeling the items for her ¬†new friend who will be born shortly. I do have some new things on my needles, but I’ll wait and post those soon in a new post!

If you read this whole thing you are amazing – thanks!

I can’t believe how fast summer has flown by. A few short weeks and we’ll be back to school! Enjoy the rest of your summer!



Busy Having Fun!

I keep meaning to come and make a post since I finished the Kismet tank top for Minnie. We’ve just been having too much summer fun! Every time I get a few minutes to sit still I think, “I should go write a post,” but I’m too exhausted to follow through. So, this will be a quick one.

I did get to knit and knit and knit while I sat by the lake at our family camp and watch my kids (and nieces and nephews) swim. It was a glorious 4 days away from real life and I hope I can make it work to go again next summer! (Stay tuned for some camp photos below.) Mostly I knit on the Kismet tank for Minnie. I actually got so into knitting it that I read my pattern wrong and knit 6 extra inches on the back (whoops!) It was easy to rip it back and finish it up. I did finish it there at camp besides the blocking and buttons. Once it was all finished up me and Minnie had a little photo shoot! I would highly recommend this pattern! I have been looking through this designer’s patterns to see what else I want to knit!

After I finished the Kismet I started a cowl with the yarn from the ¬†Brickless…I have already ripped it out. I wasn’t feeling that one either. I need to keep looking to see what to do with that yarn. Then I cast on the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper for Baby Girl. I love this yarn! I’m knitting her the 12 month size. It is good mindless knitting and it shouldn’t take me too long to finish up. I am undecided what I’m going to work on when I finish the sweater.


Here is a little photo collage of our summer including: Family Camp, Fourth of July and Como Water Park.

Enjoy your Summer!

Summer At Last!

How is it the end of June already? I wish I could quote the old clich√© here that time flies when you’re having fun, but I feel like I’m still waiting for the fun to start. I guess that is how it goes when you work 40 hours a week and your fun is restricted to the weekends only. I have a couple of days off coming up that will give me a four-day weekend. I am taking my kids to family camp that my father-in-law has been nice enough to get them to for the past several years. I plan to sit by the lake and supervise their swimming while I knit and knit and knit. Doesn’t that sound fabulous? I have taken to eating my lunch at work outside everyday that I can so I feel like I’m getting to enjoy some summer. I typically soak in the sun while I eat, knit and listen to my most current audiobook.

I promised I would post the impromptu item I was working on for Baby Girl when I was done. I finished about a month ago already, but here they are. Leg warmers! I love leg warmers on babies. They are both adorable and practical. That being said, I’ll have to wait to see Baby Girl get some use out of these. The size range on these is about 3 months to 3 years. Right now she is too skinny to keep them on her little legs, but since it is summer that works out fine. I used a solid yarn with a variegated yarn. I almost made it though a whole color repeat. I kind of love that these coordinate instead of exactly match. (This pattern is Legwarmies by Alana Dakos)


My daughter felt much neglected, knitting wise, during the months leading up to Baby Girl’s birth. And, looking back at the number of things I knit for Baby Girl, I guess she has a point. So, I made it my first priority to cast something on for Minnie. She actually wanted a fun pair of rainbow leg warmers too, but I told her I’d knit those in fall since she shouldn’t wear leg warmers during MN summers anyway. For a few years now I have been thinking of knitting her a summery top. I decided on the Kismet pattern by Sara Gresbach. (If you are at all interested in knitting a summer top, go look at my Ravelry profile(GreenEyed79), there are oodles of tank top type patterns in my favorites.) I am nearly done! At a certain point you split the round you’ve been knitting in and knit half for the front and half for the bank of the tank top and sew them together at the top of the shoulders. I am anxious to see how this fits and how it looks after it is blocked. At the bottom edge there is a little seed stitched edge that is probably supposed to keep it from rolling up but right now that part is always folded up over the body, so hopefully blocking will remedy that I have gotten no other work done. Just knitting and knitting on the tank top. (It has been¬†good TV knitting as it is pretty mindless to knit endless rounds of stockinette.) I do want to get back to my Eiffel Towel shawl! I also plan¬†to start on a Zip up the back Hooded Sweater for Baby Girl soon.


Last week I went and spent a gift card at my favorite yarn shop (Amazing Threads in Maple Grove, MN) that I’ve been hoarding since Christmas. As I poked around looking for the best yarn to spend my money on I thought about how I go about spending a gift card. Typically I do not go in with a specific project in mind. I just wander around and buy what calls to me the most. Which is probably stupid. That is probably why some of the yarn in my stash has been unused for as long as it has. I wish I was better about shopping for specific projects. This time I did spend part of it on yarn for the hooded sweater for Baby Girl, but the rest was just random yarn that I liked and thought might knit up into something nice at some point. How do you spend your gift cards?


I’ve been looking at my list of unfinished projects again, big mistake! How do I let things get this out of control? I need to sit down and seriously consider if I’m going to finish these items or if I should frog some of them and reclaim the yarn. I am pretty sure that the Shaelyn is getting frogged. I have come to hate that shawl. Something went wrong with it and I have spent hours trying to sort it back out and I’m not getting anywhere. And after all this time I just don’t love it like I used to. I should save the yarn and knit something else out of it. ¬†Same with the Brickless…for as anxious as I was to cast it on, I’m not sure I’m feeling it anymore. I also think I should have used larger needles. I should go online and see what else I could do with yarn from both of these projects before I frog.

My sister has gotten some proofs back from her newborn photos shoot of Baby Girl. They are so gorgeous! I was especially excited to see photos of Baby Girl modeling some of what I knit for her. Here are few are my favorites. These photos were taken by Rebecca Zenefski. Her website is: you can also visit her on Facebook at:

Enjoy your summer! Eat your lunch outside in the sun if you have to!

Here’s a picture of my kiddos from their last day of school.


She’s Here!!

My newest niece arrived quite dramatically, early on Friday morning! She is beautiful! I got to go meet her on Friday and bring the last few gifts I’ve been working on for her (currently, anyway.) So, now I can share all that I’ve been working on for so many months!

Back in January I started in a blanket for Baby Girl. The pattern is the Zig Zag Baby Blanket by I really like the pattern but I have one complaint. Why would anyone design a baby blanket that is so weirdly skinny? I cast on the larger number of stitches listed in the pattern. I knit a good six inches before realizing that the blanket was more like a wide scarf than a blanket. I soldiered on for several more inches hoping it would seem more acceptable as I got more of it knit. It did not. Not wanting to start completely from square one (hindsight being what it is…I wish I would have started over at this point) I decided that I’d finish this ‘panel’ (as I decided to refer to the blanket) and then knit another panel and join them to make a larger blanket. I finish the first panel and decided that I’d make one little color change for the second panel just to mix things up a bit. I also decided to change the order the colors fell in to mix it up some more. (I wish I hadn’t done this.) In my head these changes were cute and lovely. In reality it makes the blanket a little too busy for my exact taste. It’s not hideous, but just not what I had pictured in my head when I started out knitting this. When all the knitting was done and all the millions of ends were woven in I had to figure out how best to join them. I thought I’d try do a crocheted join like I did on all those slippers I knit at Christmas time. I didn’t like how that looked. It might have been better if I’d managed to crochet a bit looser. I took that apart and just did a¬†kind of rustic sewing job. I mostly like how it looks and it does seem to tie the two pieces together well. It seems like I always end up with some kind of snafu with my projects. I’m not sure if it is just me or if everyone else just doesn’t talk about the adventures their knitting takes them on. Since a big part of why I write this blog is to remind myself of how different projects went and to LEARN from my mistakes I am just being honest about what a mess I mange to make of even the simplest projects. Hopefully Baby Girl will get use out of this blanket, even if ¬†it didn’t fulfill all of Auntie’s knitting dreams.


Speaking of knitting dreams…the dress I knit Baby Girl might be my favorite thing I have ever knit! Really! The pattern is amazing and SO well written. The knitting was exciting and challenging, yet manageable. (Don’t worry there were still plenty of hurdles to be faced.) I love how the finished product turned out! I knit the Lizzy Dress by Taiga Hilliard Designs. I used a ball of fingering weight Stroll by Knit Picks in the Blue Violet color way. (I actually emailed my sister a picture of about 6 balls of yarn I was considering and told her to pick. She narrowed it down to two.) Since I mentioned above I try to be honest while writing this and confess all my knitting messes I’m trying to think of what went wrong with this. The only two things I’m coming up with are really minor and not really messes. When I finished the bodice of the dress and looked at the neck hole I couldn’t image that I had knit this at all in gauge. It looked entirely too small to fit around even a newborn’s neck. When the dress was blocked and I saw my niece in person I can see that I was wrong. The sizing is just fine – hooray! As this is a lace pattern there were many rows I had to count back and figure out where¬†I went wrong when I ended the row with too many or too few stitches left. I don’t see this as big mess either…I think that is just how knitting lace goes. It can be so easy to lose track of yarn overs and whatnot. If you are in the market for a baby dress knitting pattern I would HIGHLY recommend this one! I am kind of considering knitting the whole thing for Baby Girl again in a bigger size and a different color. Really! I finished this dress within a few hours of Baby Girl’s birth! I actually thought I’d have at least a couple more days to finish up. It was great timing though. I finished knitting, washed, blocked and went to bed. I heard early the next morning that she’d arrived and went to the store to buy buttons before going to the hospital to meet her! (How’s that for timing!)


I also knit her a little headband to go with this dress. I crocheted the flower, but I bought the cute stretchy headband at JoAnn’s. I attached the flower and the accent button and called it good. (I also did this in the morning before I went to meet her .)


In the midst of finishing up baby gifts in the last month or so I did start one new thing. We were going to WI for a birthday party that my sister would be at and I didn’t want to bring either of the gifts above that she didn’t yet know about. I cast on a shawl….possibly for myself. I am famous for two things when it comes to shawls. 1.) Not ever finishing them. (I have at least 3 shawls at home I can think of that are in various states of completion.) 2.) Finishing a shawl that I thought was for myself only to give it away to someone else. ¬†I do hope to finish this one and I hope that it really is for me this time. It is the Dinner in the Eiffel Tower Shawl by Jessie Dodington. It was designed to look like different elements of the Eiffel Tower’s structure. It is really pretty. It has been challenging knitting for me. I am enjoying it and hope that my finished project does the pattern justice.


This is the best picture I have so far. I need to get it on a larger circular needle so I can stretch it out. Sorry!

I have SO many more things I want to knit Baby Girl. I am happy I hit all my big deadlines before she arrived. But, I plan to keep casting on things for  her :) (Here is a sneak peek at one.) It will be finished shortly and I will share details when it is.


Here are a couple photos of my new niece in a few of the hats I made her. Isn’t she she cutest?




New Dress & Nostepinne

I am starting to feel the crunch of a looming deadline. Baby Girl will arrive in roughly 6 weeks and I feel like I still have so much I want to knit for her. This is a self-imposed deadline of course. I can obviously keep knitting for her once she arrives, I just have an idea of what I want done and folded neatly into a gift bag for the hospital visit. I still have one hat I wanted to knit and one more pair of booties too. I am still working on the large mystery item which is close to fully knit but it going to require a lot of finishing work. I also cast on something new for Baby Girl on Friday evening. (I will resist mentioning all the other cute little patterns I want to make for her…there are oodles of them.)

Back to my newly cast on item. I LOVE when I cast on a project and it feels like magic! I always love knitting, but I’m talking about a project that goes smoothly and feels fun and exciting to knit and as the item takes shape you can just tell that it is going to live up to expectations. I was going to try to keep this item a secret too, but I think I already revealed too much about it while talking to my sister on the phone. It is a dress. I will not show a picture beyond this boring one below. I will also not share the pattern name, yet. I am knitting the 0-3 month size. It is knit in fingering weight yarn. I really like how it is turning out. Despite checking my gauge and moving up a needle size I keep looking at the neck hole and wondering if it should really be that tiny. It has been awhile since I’ve had a newborn of my own, but wow, tiny! There are button holes knit into the garment but I am already planning on adding a button loop so that if the neck is too tiny the garment can still be functional.

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I have to give a shout out to Knit Picks. I know I was kind of harsh after their systems got hacked and MANY of us had our credit card info stolen, but this makes up for it. I really have resisted shopping with them since the hacking ordeal, but I may have to revise my position and just use the PayPal feature they have now instead. About 4 years ago for our anniversary my husband bought me a swift and ball winder from Knit Picks. They have since gotten a lot of use. Recently one of the wooden screws that holds up the spinning part of the swift broke and in turn the swift was no longer functional. I called Knit Picks to see if I could just get a new wood screw to try fix the problem. They shipped one out immediately, for free. I tried it and the swift still wasn’t working. Possibly the problem was with the part the screw, screwed into. I called them back to see if they had any ideas of what I could try. They sent me a brand new one, for free, after four years of use on the original one! The one I got in the mail is their newer version! It is so nice. I am totally impressed with how well they are standing by their products. They just as easily could have told me “tough luck, lady.” Way to go Knit Picks, you have earned back my business!

My ball winder from Knit Picks has also stopped working properly. It would be tempting to call and see if I can score a new ball winder too, but unlike the swift I know that the reason it is not working is my own fault. It worked fine¬†until I bought a skein of Yowza! from Miss Babs. This is 400-some yards of worsted-weight yarn. That makes one GIANT ball of yarn! At one point of its winding some of the yarn slipped off and got sucked into the gears that turn the winder. I have taken the thing apart and removed the yarn and tried to put it back together right, but it has not been the same since. A new ball winder doesn’t cost that much money, but I have still been reluctant to buy one. My broken one is still kind of limping along. I decided to buy a nostepinne. Basically a nostepinne is a wooden dowel that you can use to hand wind a center pull ball of yarn on. I ordered from a company that I found on Etsy (if you want to know who, let me know and I will go check.) I watched a few YouTube videos when it arrived and hoped for the best. It took much longer to wind a ball of yarn this way than I expected. Mine also didn’t turn out as the shape I usually get from my ball winder. I may have wound it too tightly as I had trouble getting it off the nostepinne at the end. It was kind of¬†a fun experiment for me though. I will keep practicing! A few of the podcasts that I listen to have talked about nostepinnes. I guess there is a theory that using a ball winder stretches the yarn out and using a nostepinne instead would not. I feel like I did more damage to my yarn using the nostepinne than the ball winder, but that is probably just due to my inexperience.

It is snowing in MN again today. The weather has been so very depressing this winter. My kids have 38 days left of the school year, not counting today. I am just hoping it does not still feel like winter when their summer vacation starts.