Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Yarn Along

These are the five little animals I knitted over the last several months in order to raise some money for what I consider to be a very worthy cause.

I think they are adorable, but then again, I made them.

The worthy cause is the Little Flowers Program, which helps abandoned children in China.

From their website:

Every year, thousands of medically fragile children are abandoned. We provide 24-hour intensive nursing care, medical treatment, foster care, long-term care, and education to these children across six projects in China. 


I set up a raffle through Rafflecopter, yet no one has bid on a single animal. I am thinking one of two things. One: I set it up wrong and no one can bid. Or, two: These toys aren't as cute as I think they are. Because it surely cannot be that no one wants to help these sweet children. That cannot be so.

If it is the first scenario, please, please let me know. Send me a email. Tell me in the comments.

100% of the donations go straight to these children. Won't you please help them?

Here is the link to their website so you can read more about what they do.

Here is the link to my post with the raffle.

And here is the link to Ginny's Yarn Along.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Five Little Toys that could make a huge difference

Ever since I saw the first post about the Little Flowers Project come through my facebook feed, these children have captured my heart and I have yearned to help them in a special way. But I kept asking myself, "What can I do?" I cannot go to China and love on those children like I want to. I have a limited pocketbook, though I can make small donations. I can knit, however. And people keep telling me that the little knitted animals are so cute. So, I decided to knit five little animals (I actually only knit four of them. My talented sister knit one for me!) to raffle off to raise money and hopefully spread the word about this wonderful organization. Here is the link to the Little Flowers main page, so you can read about all the different ways they help the abandoned children in China.

So how can you enter? Make a donation! For every $5.00 that you donate, you will have one chance to win one of the animals. For example, if you donate $25.00, you can apply all five chances to one toy, or one chance on each toy. After you make a donation, you should receive a confirmation e-mail. Copy and paste the donation details portion from your email receipt in the Rafflecopter widget for each animal(s) you would like to win. You need to enter your donation details for each entry.

You will need to log in to Rafflecopter with your name and email address. To make it easy to send the animals to the winners, please leave your email address in the comments section of this blog post. Good luck! The raffle will start at 12AM Monday and run through next Monday.

Please, please share this post with all your friends and family! I would really like to raise as much as I can for these children. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

If you have any questions, please email me at the address in my sidebar.

Ella Mae the country bunny

 Ella Mae is knit with a cotton/acrylic yarn. She is 10 1/2 inches tall. She is a no-nonsense bunny who works in her garden raising vegetables to share with her friends. She likes warm, sunny days to go hippity-hopping in the forest. Her sweet little smile is but a hint of the love and tenderness in her heart.

Mrs. Mulligan the monkey 

Mrs. Mulligan is knit with organic cotton and acrylic yarn. She is 9 inches tall. She is a stylish little monkey who loves to shop for all the latest fashions. Her closet is so full, she just couldn't make up her mind what to bring with her to her new home, so Mrs. Mulligan has an extra frock to change into when the mood strikes her. 

Edgar the elephant

Edgar is knit with a cotton/acrylic yarn. He is  8 1/2 inches tall. He is a shy, quiet elephant, who enjoys a good book, a cozy chair, and a rainy afternoon. Edgar is a true gentleman and listens from the heart. 

 Miss Catherine the cat

Miss Catherine is knit with 100% superwash merino wool. She is 9 inches tall. Miss Catherine is an outgoing cat, who loves to entertain in her home. She prefers tea parties with yummy little tea cakes. You will never hear a word of gossip at her parties. She is a classy lady.

Milo the mouse

Milo is knit with 100% superwash merino wool. He stands 8 inches tall. Milo is man of mystery. If you have a case that needs to be solved, Milo is your mouse. He is smart as they come. He is quick-witted as well as speedy on the run. His cute little nose can sniff out the truth in a heartbeat. 


Monday, November 9, 2015


First of all, hello! It has been a while, hasn't it? I have missed writing since this is my way to remember all the good little things in our days and I have been wanting to sit down every day to capture the memories before I forget they happened.

So, what have we been doing? Well the biggest thing is that we moved out of our village into another little village about 5 km away. Why, when we lived in such a beautiful village? Believe me, I made many a list of pros and cons to see if we should really do this. We lived in a duplex and shared a backyard with empty nesters who were happy to have an empty nest and really didn't like having four little birdies loudly chirping in the shared back yard. Buy mainly, after trying for 18 months to make us fit into the house, I finally realized that it wasn't a good fit for our homeschooling life. We heard of a house that could possibly be a better fit for us. As soon as I walked in, I knew it was a great space for us. I just had to convince Tony, since the people who were about to move had everything in boxes and he couldn't picture how it would look with our stuff in it. Every day since we moved in, I thank God hundreds of times for this new place that is a perfect house for us. It is home. I feel a peace in this place that I haven't felt in a long time.

We walk out the front door, turn to the left, and walk to the end of the street and then we step onto the walking trail. It goes through the farmland and fields, meandering here and there, sometimes paved but mostly grass and gravel. We pick a new direction in which to explore each time we venture out. And with the fall weather, every time we go out walking, it is like we are in a whole new world. The leaves were first a brilliant yellow, then they were an orange brown, and now the leaves have almost all fallen and there are the bare branches and silhouettes dotting the trails.

This was on our second trip on the walking trails. I forgot the camera the first time out.

I love the rows, so neat and tidy and orderly. Life, not so orderly.

I could meander out there all day and never grow tired of the view.

I couldn't capture the fallen fence post the way I wanted.

These photos are from my back porch. It was foggy for three days straight. We never saw the sun, nor the mountains that are behind our house. Honestly, I barely saw the rooftops of my neighbors house, it was that foggy. Finally, on the third day, the fog broke and the sun burst forth in beautiful golden hues.

Today, I felt like those mountains shrouded in fog. Lost, but still there. I desire to do better, to be better, and when I try to focus on improving in one aspect, the rest gets lost in the fog of my tiny brain. I seek a balance, to be attentive to my children and their needs, to do the same for my husband, and to grow closer to Our Lord by aligning my will with His. But when I feel like I have made progress in one way, I realize I have neglected something else. Will I ever find a way to make it all come out right? Only God knows.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Day Tripping

Yesterday, we made our first trip into France. One of Anna's favorite saints is Joan of Arc. Her birthplace happens to be 2 1/2 hours away. My great grandmother lived and worked in Metz until she saved enough money to come to the US. That happened to be halfway between home and Domremy, Joan's birthplace. So we planned a day excursion to see both places.

The day dawned overcast and cool. We packed accordingly and headed out. Once we left the autobahn (or whatever they call it in France), the drive was so completely breathtakingly beautiful that I could not help saying so out loud every few minutes. At one point, I called out to the kids and asked if they were enjoying the scenery. I turned to see Jack's nose planted firmly against the window. Without turning his head, he gave me a hearty thumb's up.

As we drove through a canopy of trees dressed up in their finest fall foliage, it felt almost magical or sacred. Something not to be disturbed.

I loved Joan's little village. It was so quaint and quiet, with pastures of sheep and cows, just the kind of place I want to eventually settle down in, whenever this army life comes to an end. Metz, on the other hand, made me uneasy. Everything was large, it is a big city. I do not belong in such a place. The cathedral was amazing. I cannot even fathom how they built such a thing so long ago.

Coming out of the cathedral, we walked along the pedestrian area, looking for a place to eat dinner. We found a place that specialized in potato dishes. They opened the doors for you. It was kind of intimidating, walking in there with children, though they did have a kid's menu that consisted of three choices. After finishing off dinner with some chocolate mousse, we headed back to the car, which was parked right at the cathedral. The sun had set and the cathedral was aglow in lights. The green of the roof practically glowed against the golden hue of the building itself.

We all agree that is was a great day.

methinks Tony is a tad taller than most people in the 1400's

Peter picked a flower for me

I said "Act natural"

trying out their souvenirs

in the village of Domremy

Jack passed this note to me as we were driving to Metz

had the kids run up there to give some perspective to the size of those doors

close up of the door

where we ate

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Narrow Way

I feel like I am a fairly observant person. Looking out the window while we are riding in the car, observing nature, or the beautiful houses, or the little oddities, that is what makes the drive interesting. The kids will call out from the back if they see something exciting. An antique car, a bicycle built for two, some large bird perched on the entrance sign to the autobahn.

So how is it that after living in this village for eighteen months that I never noticed the statue of Our Lady nestled in a little alcove above the door of one of the prettiest houses in the village? I have gazed at that house so many times, yet I just noticed Mary the other day. I have been thinking about her and this morning I thought of her as leading us toward the narrow path to Heaven. There are many ways to enter our village. The main one has recently been blocked off though, to allow for bridge repairs. So we must choose one of the smaller roads into the village. The most narrow one is the street with Our Lady's outstretched hands. "Come this way, my child," she seems to be saying.

Oh, that narrow road. I want to travel it. I know it is the right path, but oh, it is so hard sometimes. Just like that narrow road in our village, it is the most challenging to navigate. You cannot move quickly. You must go slowly. You must practice patience and charity and many other virtues while traveling on this road, or you may just find yourself blocked in with nowhere to turn.  But it is also the most lovely and it leads us home on the straightest path. The paths of life and of Our Lord are not so different if you stop and think about it.

I took all these photos while on a walk to take a picture of the house. We were all grumpy in the classroom, tempers were short, and so I made everyone go with me. Grudgingly is the way I would describe my crew's accompaniment at first. But by the time we had made it down the hill and entered the main square of the village, attitudes had improved and we had a great time observing the little things.