Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yarn Along

Yesterday, Anna and I sat down at the classroom table and started our school day. Just like every other day, we started with our morning prayer. Then we went over our "memory gem". The next thing we always do is her reading assignment. She does better reading early on in the school day. We pulled out the new story and went over the new sounds and words. Then she began reading to me.

And all of a sudden, Anna's little voice was telling me exactly what I needed to hear. What I had been thinking about on Monday. I like to think that God was speaking to me through my child, calling me gently to spend time with Him at daily Mass. I love how the story used the exact words I had used on the day before. "God showers us with grace in the Sacraments."

So, this is what I am reading for this week. I don't think that anything else I read this week will have such an impact as Anna's little reader.

As for the knitting, I started casting on a baby hat for my niece's new little one that was born this past week. Does that make him my great nephew? I think that means I am a great aunt. I want to attempt the "magic loop" to avoid the use of double points, so wish me luck. Like I have said before, I like to try at least one new technique with each project.

Forgive me, but I just had to include this picture I took the other day. It downloaded with my knitting pictures and I love how it turned out.

Thanks, Ginny, for hosting the weekly yarn along.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I need a shower

A shower of graces, that is.

I feel like God's graces shower down on me during Mass. They cleanse me spiritually. I leave feeling renewed. Slowly, during the week, the dirt of the world starts building up. It is only Monday and I already need another shower!

I used to go to daily Mass twice a week. It was easy then. The chapel on post was a 5 minute drive. Mass was at noon, so Tony could meet us there. It did not interrupt our day. It fit in quite nicely. And I felt closer to God than I ever had.

It is not so easy now. Mass is very early in the morning. It is not a good time for us. On Fridays though, Mass is at noon. On the post where Tony works. Last year, we went most Fridays. But our homeschool co-op moved from Monday to Friday this year and I have not been to daily Mass since Therese was born. I miss it. I need it. I need that shower of graces.

Today was not a good day. I was not a good person today. I yelled. A lot.* I am not proud. But hitting bottom made me want to change things around here. My goal is to find a daily Mass that will fit nicely in our day again.

*Why do 4 year old boys do things like hammering objects into the hose of a brand new vacuum cleaner? Why?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kid Quote

Anna was sharpening her crayons with a pencil sharpener, because let's be honest, dull crayons just don't cut it. Alas, she knicked the side of her finger. Panic rose upon seeing her own blood, so I sent Olivia upstairs to get a band-aid. Anna called out frantically, "Hurry, Olivia! It's leaking! It's leeeeaking!"

Yarn Along

Take two. A new bootie pattern. The pattern stated that they should fit 0-6 month old babies. I wanted them to be more of a 6-9 month size, so I moved up one needle size and followed the pattern. The bootie was huge, as in a 2 year old could wear it! So, I tried again and moved down a needle size from the one recommended and it fits her perfectly right now. I doubt it will fit for more than a month. I like this bootie better than the one from last week because it seems like it will stay on her foot even if she is kicking her little feet!

See what I mean?

As for reading material, I have this book on my nightstand for easy access. I think the advice Dr. Ray imparts is wise and full of common sense. I just need reminders and encouragement every now and then!
Go visit Ginny, our host, to see what others are knitting and reading!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Keeping Busy

Early Sunday morning, before the sun was up, Sophie gave me a hug in the darkness and departed for her second semester at Franciscan. Needless to say, I wanted to stay busy to keep my mind from processing the fact that I won't see her for many months. So Tony and I started out by tackling our closet. It has been the place to put anything that didn't have a place. A couple hours later, we had a wonderfully organized closet and the back of the van was filled with donations. That only got me to about 10:00 am.

I had a couple of project ideas for the home, but I needed a few supplies. So off to Joann's fabric store I went. Eight dollars later, I returned home, feeling quite excited that for less than $10 I could work on not one but two projects!

First up, a place to hang all the artwork produced by Anna and Jack. I have mentioned before that my kids use way too much tape. A whole roll can be used up within minutes! I had acquired some cork squares through free-cycle over a year ago. I was not sure at the time what I would do with them, but I knew I could come up with something. I covered them with fabric from the remnant bin and hung them on the wall so that we can easily change up artwork displays. No tape involved!

I loved the fabrics and I think they compliment one another to boot. The kids had fun this morning deciding which masterpieces would grace our walls.

The second thing to keep me busy was dryer balls. I have heard of these through the cloth diapering sites. They are supposed to cut down on the time it takes to dry the laundry. I used leftover acrylic yarn as the core, and then covered that with the wool yarn I purchased. Then I felted the wool (something I had never done before). It does not work in my front loader. I tried my sister's suggestion of hand felting them and that worked so much better. I want to make a couple more, as I have read that the more you use, the better the results.

Just as I finished up the felting, Sophie called to let us know she made it there safe and sound. And that is how I kept my mind from worrying so much on Sunday.

Friday, January 14, 2011

And the Winner is....

Congratulations Elizabeth! Please send me your mailing address and I will have the booties on their way! (jenny reosti @ yahoo dot com) Just leave out all the spaces!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yarn Along- with a give-away

I will be doing my first give-away on my blog! This little bootie turned out so cute that I was disappointed big time that it didn't fit my baby. I used this pattern on Ravelry and made the larger size. The length is good, but they are much too wide for her super skinny feet. I am almost finished with the second one. I am going to make my first attempt at altering a pattern so that Therese can have her own pair of these adorable booties. Wish me luck!

The book I am reading to Anna and Jack is the one I mentioned a few days ago. My kids are forever fidgety when I read to them and it makes me think they aren't listening. But they are. When I "quiz" them, they can always tell me what it was about.

If you want to receive the booties, leave a comment, along with a way to contact you! I will choose the winner on Friday.
I want to thank Ginny as always for hosting the Yarn Along.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Morning Daybook

Outside my window... A crisp, cloudless blue sky out one window. The other window? A sky filled with white clouds and on the horizon what looks like a storm brewing. Seems like it is telling me something. Maybe my day could go either way, stormy or sunny, just depending on my perspective. Definitely worth pondering.

I am thinking... about hair loss. The post pregnancy hormone changes are wreaking havoc on my hair folicles! It's never been this bad before. Wondering when to start worrying that wigs may be necessary.

I am thankful for... fresh coffee, a warm house, lazy mornings.

From the lesson plans...week 16, look out! Here we come! Last week, the recommended books for reading to the children were "The Children's Book of Virtues" and "The Children's Book of Heroes", both by William J. Bennett. I am so grateful that my library had them both. We are enjoying them so much.

From the kitchen... key lime pie for breakfast! I finally made my birthday pie last night. This is one of my all-time favorite desserts. And pie for breakfast? Very nostalgic. When I was a kid, my parent's best friends owned a condo in Florida and we always went with them at least once a summer. Across the street from the condo was a bakery. Each morning for breakfast was an assortment of freshly made pies from this bakery. Key lime has been my favorite since then.

I am wearing... jeans, brown tank top and a green cardigan. (I think the green is "avacado", while Sophie insists it is "army green".

I am creating... a new mitten for Anna, who already lost one. Some larger booties for Therese, who is growing so fast!

I am reading... Lisa Hendey's "The Handbook for Catholic Moms". It was a Christmas gift from Sophie.

I am hoping... to stay motivated today so that I may accomplish all things on my "to-do" list.

I am hearing... Jack Johnson tunes from the computer, the chatter of the kids, the whir of the washing machine.

Around the house... laundry to fold, a large ironing pile, kids to teach.

I am going... to the commissary.

One of my favorite things... looking at the world through the viewfinder of my camera.

I am praying family and those on my list of intentions.

A few plans for the rest of the week... schoolwork, oraganize my closet, get a family portrait taken before Sophie heads back to Franciscan.

A picture thought...Therese in the Johnny Jumper for the first time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Jack's Big Day

Jack is my Epiphany baby. He also shares a birthday with my husband's oldest brother. Did I ever mention that three of my six kids share birthdays with Tony's siblings? Strange but true. Anyhoo, finding a cake to make for Jack is challenging, considering the fact that I cannot use milk or butter. This year I tried my hand at an angel food cake. I enjoy cooking meals, but desserts are different. Cooking is not so precise. I mean, I can make substitutions or even change things up completely and make it my own. Baking, however, requires strict adherence to the directions, and there were lots of directions for this cake. I don't know if it would still come out good if you didn't fold in 1 cup of sugar, 2 Tbsp. at a time or not, and I was afraid to try. Or what would happen if you added the vanilla, almond extract and salt in the second to last addition of sugar instead of the very last addition?

That is why I poured a glass of this! I was getting so stressed. With my apron on, I felt very domestic and retro, so I decided to use black and white for the photos.

The wine bottle also came in handy for the cooling process, which the cookbook stated I had to immediately invert the cake for cooling on a bottle or funnel for at least 2 hours.
Jack reminded me all day that we needed to have 4 candles for his cake. He also wished all those who called him yesterday a Happy Birthday. Then we dimmed the lights, lit the candles and sang. Just our little family, gathered around the table, all smiling.

Here he is getting ready to blow out the candles. My big boy.

Happy Birthday Jack!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Scuba Diving in Tub Leads to ER Visit

My poor little man. We have all been sick with congestion and coughs, so I thought an afternoon bubble bath would cheer up the little ones. They played happily until the bubbles were gone and the water was probably not so warm anymore. Then Anna asked me to get her goggles so she could see under the water. I brought two pair, knowing Jack would want to look underwater too.
As you can see it was great fun until...Jack pulled the goggles away from his face and they snapped back before he shut his eyes. At the ER, they told us he has a corneal abrasion. Very painful, but heals quickly. Not quickly enough for Jack though. He is not suffering in silence!

Do not try this at home. Ever.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On Aging

Later this week I will be 40. I don't feel like I am about to turn 40. I keep thinking of that Frank Sinatra song, Young at Heart. Maybe the fact that I think about Sinatra tunes should tell me that I am old! I do feel young at heart in many ways. St. Therese the little flower is someone I strive to emulate in my day to day happenings. She approached life with a child-like wisdom. Life seemed more easily defined in black and white, right and wrong, when I was little. Somewhere along the way, the world tried to blur those lines. I prefer the crispness of black and white.

In other ways though, my heart feels ancient. The day Ben died, the childish notion that nothing bad can happen was shattered. Like a broken mirror, the pieces are all there, but the image it reflects is different.

Speaking of mirrors, when I see my reflection, I see the "laugh lines" and "crow's feet". I see the gray wiry hairs (why are the gray ones wavy and the dark ones straight?) beginning to make their appearance. But I think one's eyes tell the real story. You can appear old everywhere else, but the sparkle of a youthful spirit can't hide, and it shows itself through the eyes. I saw it this Christmas in my grandmother's eyes. As she sat in a chair, and I sat on the floor beside her listening to her tell a story, the twinkle in her eye erased all the wrinkles of her 99 years and the child within was before me.

My birthday wish? That there always be a sparkle in my heart.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

In the Kitchen

I was excited to cook supper tonight for 2 reasons. One, I was making a dish that everyone likes. No small task, in my opinion! Second, I got to use my Christmas gift for the first time. My new (and only) apron! Isn't it pretty? I've always wanted one, for I am a messy cook, especially when I make bread.

Speaking of bread, someone asked about my pizza crust the other day. Now seems like a good time to share!

I got the recipe from my Betty Crocker Cookbook that was a wedding present from my mom. It has been my go-to cookbook for all the basics in the kitchen. I have tweaked it only slightly over the years.

Pizza Crust Recipe
makes 2 crusts
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 cups flour (you might use more)
Combine the water and yeast. Add sugar, salt, and oil. Stir in one cup of the flour. Add remaining flour and knead until dough is smooth. Let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes. (I use this time to gather and chop the toppings.) Divide dough in half and press into two pizza pans. ( I have baking stones, but regular pans work fine too.) I preheat the oven to 475 and pre-bake the crusts for about 6 minutes. Then I add the sauce and toppings and bake about 10-12 minutes more, or until the cheese looks good and bubbly.

White Christmas

One of my favorite shots from Christmas at my mom and dad's house.

Truly, this is the only white Christmas I can recall. It was magical, watching the fat flakes swirling outside the window, knowing that my children would be just as mesmerized when they awoke in the morning. After opening gifts, of course they wanted to venture outdoors. We bundled up and threw snowballs and even made a snowman. I like that the kids decided to make "yoda ears" along with the traditional carrot nose and twig limbs.

Hopefully I will find some time to write more, for I have lots on my mind!