Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter Fun

We all waited with anticipation Friday night for the forcasted snow. It was supposed to be the largest snow in 25 years and we were not disappointed! Almost one foot of the fluffiest, powdery soft snow fell all day on Saturday. It swirled all around us as we played outside. It would not pack, so we could not build a snowman, but the kids had great fun piling up snow at the bottom of the slide and plowing through.

Anna found out you should not sit down for long in jeans or you will get very cold and wet! We do not have much in the way of winter gear.

This morning, we ventured out again before Mass, hoping that the snow might pack better. No such luck. But my kids are creative and use what is on hand. Having spent the last 7 years in the south, we have plenty of beach toys. The boogie board became a sled.
The sand pails were used to construct a small snow fort. Olivia used some wooden beams in the backyard to make a launching ramp for the boogie sled.

These pretty icicles were on the eaves of our house. I love how the blue of the sky is reflected in this picture.

Here they are not so close.

Tomorrow we will be back to the real world of school, but for today we will enjoy our winter wonderland.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Baking Bread

When Jack was 6 weeks old, we found out he was dairy and soy protein intolerant. They said it was possible he would "outgrow" this by the age of 3. Well, he didn't. I have learned many ways to work around his intolerance and still include cheese in our dinners. Bread, however, is very hard to find without dairy or soy, so I make our bread. I make 2 loaves at a time and it lasts almost a week. I have a bread machine and it is good in a pinch, but I really do enjoy making bread by hand. I feel a closeness to Mary as a knead the dough. I imagine her making bread for the Holy Family. I picture her working with the dough on a wooden board made by Joseph. I picture Jesus underfoot, playing contentedly. It is such a peaceful scene to ponder while my hands work the dough into a smooth, elastic ball. The house fills with such a wonderful aroma while the bread is baking, and everything seems cozy and right.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY... January 25

Outside my window... just the first hint of light as the wind swirls and blows the light bit of rain all around.

I am thinking... it looks like a good day to stay inside, but I have places to go.

I am thankful for... a husband who takes good care of me when I am not feeling well.

I am wearing... my PJ's. It's still early, I haven't even had breakfast yet.

I am remembering... how I heard Anna belting out a favorite tune from High School Musical as she was waking. I love when they wake up full of joy and song.

I am going... to our homeschool co-op. I teach several children piano lessons and I also teach a music theory class to a group of middle and high school kids. I haven't taught lessons since we left Georgia and I am enjoying it very much.

I am currently reading... Crime and Punishment along with the girls, and Introduction to the Devout Life on my own.

I am hoping... for some good news tomorrow morning.

On my mind... scholarship applications for Sophie. If she wants to go to Franciscan University, we will need help!

Noticing that...I love the sound of the rain hitting the windowpanes during night, but that love fades when I have to go out and brave the elements.

Pondering these words... "Devotion is compatible with every vocation and profession" -from Introduction to the Devout Life

From the kitchen... my favorite banana bread for breakfast this morning.

Around the house... the sounds of the little ones getting dressed by themselves.

One of my favorite things~ hugs from my kids.

From my picture journal...

For more daybooks, visit Peggy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What to do?

Back in November, while perusing the Church bulletin after Mass, I noticed the Catholic High School was having an open house. So Olivia, Sophie and I went to check it out. It was incredible. Not too big, not too small. Plenty of extracurricular choices and all the students we met were incredibly well-mannered and friendly. We filled out an application for financial aid, for tuition was more than we could afford, and waited. Today we heard from the school that we will be eligible for assistance. Olivia was understandably excited, for she really would like to go to High School. For me, I was surprised to find I felt relieved. Relief. Homeschooling two high schoolers this year has been challenging, to put it mildly. Don't get me wrong, I love working with the older girls, it is not that. I feel ill-equipped some days and wonder if I am doing a good job. Those thoughts creep in when we are struggling to keep up with the workload. Then I think back to my high school days. How much really stuck? The best part for me was being part of the band. Travelling to competitions, playing at the football games, hearing all the instruments blending together to make a beautiful sound. Being a Catholic high school, they will still be studying their faith, which is very important in my opinion. Any thoughts would be most appreciated. Thanks for listening to my rambling this morning!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... bright blue skies that lift my mood after a rainy, gray day yesterday.

I am thinking... about this week's menu. I have lots to do in the classroom, so quick and healthy is the goal!

I am thankful for... a husband who does the laundry without being asked.

I am wearing... jeans, black shirt with a khaki cardigan and of course socks to keep my toes warm.

I am remembering... that I need to schedule a Mass for Ben's birthday today.

I am going... to the Commissary. I was surprised to find out it will be open on this holiday.

I am currently reading... my February Southern Living. I wish I was talented enough to make those lovely cookies on the front. But alas, that is not my calling. They would look like a 5 year old made them.

I am hoping... that something sticks.

On my mind... how to be more productive in our schooling.

Noticing that... my children do not have indoor voices. Every word is enthusiastically shouted.

Pondering these words... "By devotion, the care of the family is rendered more peaceable, the love of the husband and wife more sincere,...and every employment more pleasant and agreeable." from Introduction to the Devout Life.

From the kitchen... clean! That is until the girls get back from exercising.

Around the house... the new light fixture just arrived by UPS. I think we have settled on a paint color, and once those two things are done, the master bath will be just about complete.

One of my favorite things~ watching my little ones dance.

From my picture journal...

Be sure to stop by Peggy's for more daybooks.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Today I got to have lunch with a friend. Now this may not sound exciting to some, but this was a great treat indeed. I have known this friend for a while now (her husband is in the Army Band). We see each other at band functions and I always enjoy talking with her, so when she asked if I would like to meet for lunch, of course I accepted. I think I've said before how challenging I find making friends when we move. People skills would not be at the top of the list "Things at Which I Excel". So let's just say I am extremely grateful when people extend an invitation. We discovered many things we have in common. One of which is browsing antique shops, which we did after lunch. Even though I was only away for a couple of hours, the welcome I received from the kids was heartwarming (even if the rest of me is still chilly).

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Little Mercy

Olivia noticed it first. Then Anna exclaimed, "Awesome." Even though I was driving, I had to know what it was. It was a little tiny part of a rainbow coming down through a cloud. Not the entire color spectrum. Just a brilliant red, with the smallest hints of orange and yellow. And then it hit me, it looked just like the ray coming from Jesus' Sacred Heart! And boy how I need His Divine Mercy today. Let's just say that yesterday was just plain awful. I am ashamed of how I handled myself in front of the kids in a tough situation. I was not a good role model. I did apologize to them and let them know how ashamed and sorrowful I was for my actions. Still, they saw me behave very poorly. I can't take that back.

Divine Mercy Direct Me

Eternal God, Goodness itself, whose mercy is incomprehensible to every intellect, whether human or angelic, help me, your feeble child, to do Your holy will as You make it known to me. I desire nothing but to fulfill God's desires. Lord, here is my soul and my body, my mind and my will, my heart and all my love. Direct me according to Your eternal plan. Amen

Friday, January 8, 2010

7 Quick Takes

Today's project: take down the Christmas decorations. I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, I do not like clutter and my house will return to a neater state (and I will not find ornaments hanging from the cabinets). On the other hand, I am sad that the Christmas season is over and the tree looks so forlorn, empty and dry, waiting to be taken away.

We have been undergoing bathrooms changes this week. When we bought this house, we loved it for many reasons, but there was one big negative. The master bath was apparently used as a dog kennel by the previous owners and said dog did not like being locked in the bathroom.
Exhibit A

The new, unchewed version
I was reminded how much I like fresh flowers in the house when my husband brought me some yesterday. They instantly make the house cheerier, don't you think? I think they should be on the shopping list more often, especially in the dreary wintertime.
Each year for Ben's birthday, we go someplace he would have enjoyed. Last year, we went to a place called Great Wolf Lodge. It was the perfect cure for the winter blues. I am trying to decide if we should go there again or head to Kittyhawk. I don't know if it is too cold to do much there now or not. Anyone know?
Tonight is pizza and movie night. We all sit on an old, worn blanket in the den, eating homemade pizza while watching a family film. Tonight's showing: Felicity- An American Girl Adventure.
I keep wondering about something at our new parish. After the Lamb of God, they do not kneel. They remain standing until they go to receive Jesus. Does anyone know why? It is a Redemptorist parish.
My time is up! Anna is calling for me to read the new library books to her. There is a cozy, well-worn chair with an ottoman in our living room that holds us so comfortably. It is calling to me almost as loudly as Anna.

Visit Jen, who hosts the quick takes each Friday.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

3 Years Ago...

we welcomed this little guy into our family! As we packed the bag for the hospital, Tony asked me if I wanted the car seat installed before we left. I did. He then informed me that I better do it if I wanted it installed correctly. I did. Then I got in his truck. He was putting the Christmas tree in the bed. Yes, he stopped to drop off the tree at the collection center on our way to the hospital! For all the craziness beforehand, the birth was the calmest I ever experienced.

My, how much they change in that first year! I like that it looks like he is holding up one finger.

Two fingers is harder to do, as you can see. For my dairy intolerant little guy, I made a carrot cake and frosted only part with cream cheese frosting (because really, the frosting is the best part!) and left some unfrosted for him.

Three fingers for three years! I reminded Anna this morning that it was Jack's birthday, to which she responded: I thought he looked taller.

I don't know if you noticed, but he has celebrated each birthday in a different house! Home is where the Army sends you.

Happy Birthday, my little man!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY...January 4

Outside my window... sunny, but COLD!!! It is not supposed to get above 35 all week. For this southern gal, this is equivalent to living at the South Pole.

I am thinking... that it is difficult to get back into my routine after the holidays. So, so much to do. So far, fresh bread made, 3 loads of laundry done and the 5 year old is done with schoolwork. Must keep going!

I am thankful for... bedroom slippers, warm sweaters, and a new hat that I made on the drive to my mother-in-law's.

I am wearing... those bedroom slippers and a warm pink sweater with a brown shirt underneath. Jeans and socks too.

I am remembering... the things I saw at the Museum of American History yesterday. We only scratched the surface, going only as long as Jack and Anna could handle. We started in the History of Transportation section for Jack. He kept returning to the "biggest train in the world". Then we moved on to the Entertainment Section. We saw Dorothy's ruby slippers and the original Kermit puppet. We also saw some inpressive musical instruments. The highlight for me however was the Abraham Lincoln exhibit. Such a truly remarkable man.

I am going... to the library again. I have overdue books. Oops.

I am currently reading... Introduction to the Devout Life. Here's hoping something will stick.

I am hearing... the piano and the guitar being practiced. The gas fireplace. Jack and Anna making up a game.

On my mind... how to be better organized.

Noticing that... there are not enough minutes in this day to accomplish my list.

Pondering these words... "Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton's path took many unexpected turnings because she followed God's will rather than her own. What matters most is that the path God chose took her to him. In her obedience lay the source of the wisdom with which she taught others to follow in God's ways." --from the Magnificat

From the kitchen... whole wheat honey bread cooling, pork chops thawing, dishes being done by a teenager.

Around the house... suitcases unpacked, but mountains of dirty clothes came from them. A fresh start to school.

One of my favorite things~ the smell of bread baking.

From my picture journal...

it is fuzzy and my subject kept leaning out of the frame, but it captures him well.

Visit Peggy for more entries.

Friday, January 1, 2010

7 Quick Takes--the musical edition

Music is a large part of life around our house. My husband is an Army musician. I am a music major and have taught lessons for about 15 years now. It has been my experience that music does indeed tame the savage beast. Music can bring back vivid memories and emotions.
I am not a morning person. Really, I put orange juice in the kids cereal on a regular basis. To get myself going, coffee is key, along with some toe tapping, blood pumping music. Anything peppy, from the little one's music (Laurie Berkner), to Stayin' Alive. Who can stay sleepy while doing disco moves?
My van doesn't move without music. The road hums along with us. Satellite radio came with our van, and I was hooked. Whatever the mood may be, there is a channel to match it.
Have you listened to Jack Johnson? You should. I am instantly relaxed and tension leaves my body. Cooking dinner is pleasant while listening to Jack and the glass of red wine doesn't hurt either!
One of my favorite stories involves music. After watching Fantasia, the kids were discussing their favorite parts. Sophie said she loved the song "Night on Bald Mountain" but did not care for the animation. Tony quipped that he used to like that song until he was in a band competition in high school. The winning band played that song and it had become a bad association. I mentioned that I remembered playing that song in the high school band and we might have played that at a competition as well. After a little digging into our pasts, we discovered that it was indeed my band that beat his band in Toronto Canada a good 5 years before we ever met!
Frank Sinatra always reminds me of Sophie as a baby. She was colicky, and we tried everything to calm her. One day, we noticed she settled down while we were listening to Frank. We would put the tape player (remember those!) under her swing--manually cranked--and just kept flipping the tape until she drifted off to sleep.
There are also songs that will always make me cry. Not long ago, my mother and I were in the car together and "How Great Thou Art" came on. We looked at one another. There were already tears in both our eyes. It is the song the choir sang as they took Ben's body out of the Church in his little casket. As we followed behind him and stepped outside, the words and music seemed to swirl all around me and then float up to the heavens.

Check out more at Conversion Diary.