Sunday, May 29, 2011


It has been a while since I joined up with Barbara on her weekly photo chronicle of life.

Here we have a giraffe, created by Jack.

My kids play with toys in spurts.

This past week, it has been the bucket of duplos.

We finished school this week, so now it is officially summertime!


There is one kid who is not so sure the pool is fun.

She is happier in her daddy's arms.

A special treat for finishing 1st grade!

She got right to work on playing.

"oh, la, la!"

Does anyone else like these toys as much as we do?

Anna created a swirling flower garden.

"I know I shouldn't be doing this, but it is just so shiny."

Daddy's tuba.

This morning, I found the first squash blossom.

Isn't it beautiful?

3 weeks ago, the garden looked like this.

This morning, it has transformed into this.

The tomatoes 3 weeks ago.

The tomatoes this morning!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yesterday was just plain rotten


I had wanted to make some date syrup. I was really excited about trying this recipe.

(I know that probably makes me a little weird. Oh, well.)

I pulled out the food processor, the recipe, the dates. I opened the dates. Whew! Mold on almost all of them! Sad at this turn of events, I put everything away. I was not only upset over not getting to try a new recipe, but mostly I was frustrated over the lost money. I mean, the grocery budget is something I really work on. In order to buy more organic, unprocessed foods, I have had to cut out some things.

(Boxed cereal was cut much to my families chagrin. I don't really understand why, for I make muffins, pancakes, waffles, etc. most mornings. Why do they still crave the stuff in a box?)

It wouldn't have been so bad if lunch had gone better earlier in the day. I bought some lunch meat, (which is also not on the grocery list anymore), since we had company earlier in the week and they had a little one with peanut allergies. I went to make sandwiches yesterday with the leftovers. I popped a piece in my mouth and immediately regretted not sniffing the package first. It was rancid! Not something I ever want to taste again. I threw it out and pulled out the swiss cheese to make a cheese sandwich and guess what? Yup. Green patches all over the cheese. All these things I had bought less than 5 days prior.

Today is going much better, thanks be to God!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday's Daybook

Outside my window...

...a kiddie pool filled with toys, water, and the echoes of yesterday's laughter.

...tomatoes in cages, the lingering scent of the plants on my hands.

...chirping birds, who best not mess with the tomatoes.

I am thinking...

...that these May days are a whirlwind of activity.

...I need to keep in mind that this is Mary's month. 8 month old really shouldn't be trying to walk.

I am thankful for... coffee from the new perculator.

...children who like to sleep in. family, both close and far away.

From the lesson plans...
...only 3 days left and Anna will have completed first grade!

...deciding whether to start Jack in pre-K or Kindergarten in the fall.

...looking forward to end of year straightening and organizing of the classroom.

From the kitchen... I want to make some granola.

...I want to make some date syrup.

...pulling out the pasta machine to make homemade noodles for tonight's fettucine alfredo.

I am wearing...

my gardening clothes.

I am creating...
some new diaper covers for Therese. One knitted, one from an old sweater that accidentally went into the dryer.

I am reading...
"Little Town on the Prairie" to the children. I might be enjoying it more than the kids.

I am hoping... finish all the projects I have started!

I am hearing...
The baby talking in her crib. I sent Jack to amuse her for a moment so I can finish this post.

Around the house...
babyproofing! Daily vacuuming is a must. Yesterday, I went around to all the windows and shortened the cords on the mini-blinds. I got the idea from Jack, who took scissors to the cords a couple months ago.

I am going...
nowhere but the rooms of our house and the yard outside.

One of my favorite things...
working in the garden in the early morning.

I am praying for...
all those on my list of special, private intentions.

Picture of the day...

...more projects in the works!

Monday, May 16, 2011

From the Kitchen...

Jack has been hounding and pestering me to make some playdough for longer than I care to admit. See, I didn't have enough salt and let's just say that someone did not remember to buy more for the last two grocery trips. But today, Jack accompanied me to pick up Olivia from school and we stopped on the way home to buy salt.

My cooks took turns adding ingredients and stirring the dough.
They even agreed on what color to make it.

Ewwww. But wait, it will look like playdough soon enough.

Here's the recipe we use. It is from the Little Hands Craft Book.

It only takes a minute for it to change from goo to dough.

Ready to play!

I stuck Therese's foot in it to see what she thought of playdough.

"Lady, why did you stick my foot in that stuff?"

It didn't take long to get set up on the kitchen floor.

In other kitchen news, I went to a yard sale in our neighborhood on Saturday. I scored this coffee perculator for $1! We also procured 2 books, 3 toys, and some thread tape for a grand total of $3. Not too shabby.

I'd been wanting a perculator ever since reading this book. I know I shouldn't get such a thrill out of making coffee, but I did! I felt just like a pioneer woman with an electric stove and an old perculator must have felt. And oh, it tasted SO good. I think my old coffeemaker will find a nice cozy spot on the closet shelf for a while.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Yet another reason I love my library...

Beer! The young college gentleman who works at our library struck up a conversation with me the other day about his favorite beers. I've been on a red wine kick for a while, but with warmer weather on the horizon, beer sounds awfully good. I mean, what could be better than an ice cold beer after working in the garden all afternoon?

Anyhoo, he asked me if I liked IPA's and of course I said.... "What's an IPA?"

(It's India Pale Ale, for those of you who aren't hip enough to know that!)

Back in college, any old beer would do. But now, I have a more discriminating palette, and a slightly bigger budget, so I sent Tony off to procure me some good beer. This is what he brought home.....

My librarian did not let me down! Oh so hoppy and refreshing! Yum, yum, yum!

By the way, this is my kitchen table. It is an old door. I fell for it the moment I saw it. I know it has nothing to do with beer, but I just wanted to share. Hope your weekend is wonderful.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How does your garden grow

I always like to take a picture of the garden at the beginning of the season so I can look back and see the transformation. Little tiny plants and rows of seeds soon become blossoming plants. Before you know it, they are heavy with vegetables. I know this doesn't look like a holy place, but I do some of my best talking with God out there, weeding and watering, pruning and picking.

This year's crops:

tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers,

green beans, okra, and pumpkin.

Over in the herb garden, the lettuce has sprouted.

Rosemary, Thyme and Lemon Balm survived the winter.

I bought a few more strawberry plants too.

Jack informed me last night that he does not like "Lemon Bomb" because it explodes.

What are you growing this year?

Monday, May 9, 2011

before and after

The shed before.

It's such a, umm... bright color, isn't it?

Our shutters, front door, and garage door were all this color when we bought the house.

And after! So neutral, so...not blue!
I've been waiting 18 months for this.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

On this Mother's Day

5:45 am: Therese wakes up, cooing in her crib. She and I head down the stairs to start the day. I change her diaper, make a bottle and settle in the chair with her. Her soft hair has strayed from it's clip and I gently brush it out of her eyes so we can see each other more clearly. She has been with us for exactly 8 months this day. Yesterday, she crawled. Two days ago, she stood up in the crib all by herself. She likes us to hold her hands so she can "walk". She can sit up from lying on the floor without our help. I am a mother 6 times over, thanks to her.

7:00 am: She is back asleep and I carry her back upstairs and lay her in the crib. I nudge my husband awake to remind him of his Mother's Day promise to me. It is supposed to rain later this morning, so it's now or not at all. I could ask for nothing better: in the quiet of the early morning, my husband and I, side by side, planting the garden together. I asked God to bless our efforts and let our garden flourish.

8:45 am: The plants are in the ground, as are the seeds. Tony says he'll finish cleaning up outside, so I head indoors to make breakfast. Olivia is already feeding Therese her breakfast. I make some toast for the little ones while the bacon is frying, the blueberry muffins from yesterday I reheat in the oven and I slice some strawberries. Coffee and juice and we are all set.

After Mass, we can hopefully begin work on the compost bin. I cannot wait to not throw away all those food scraps. It may sound mundane to many, but to me, this has been the best Mother's Day, and it's not even noon!

Happy Mother's Day to all you mom's out there. May your day be filled with special blessings!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday Morning Daybook

Outside my window...

a quiet, drizzly morning, that will only make the greens greener when the sky clears. Oh, to see life bursting forth makes that terribly long winter fade into another memory.

I am thinking...

about the fact that we killed Bin Laden on Divine Mercy Sunday, the same day we beatified a truly beautiful man. What would he have said? My thoughts are filled with sadness and confusion over this.

I am thankful for... husband and children, who make my life so full. friends beds waiting to be planted in my "new" vintage cup

...gently falling rain

From the lesson plans...

four weeks and counting til summer break!! I can't believe we stayed on track all year. As we closed our books before Easter, the lesson plans said, "See you after Easter". Such an accomplishment for me, I must say.

From the kitchen...

a crock pot full of delicious, simmering Hawaiin pork BBQ for the family get together lunch at the band hall this afternoon.

I am wearing...

jeans and a t-shirt, though I will change into my new dress before we leave. I am trying to make a change in my wardrobe, slowly adding more simple dresses and less jeans and t-shirts.

I am creating...

a dress for myself from a vintage (1963) pattern. I bought some beautiful fabric to make a Sunday dress. As I started reading how to put the dress together, I realized it would be prudent to make a practice dress from less expensive fabric. I have cut the pieces for the practice dress and started pinning the bodice together. It looks very tricky. I'll be going very slowly.

I am reading...

Saint Therese's "Story of a Soul".

I am hoping... put the plants in the garden this weekend help Tony build a compost bin make a dress that does not look homemade

I am hearing...

Jack and Anna entertaining Therese while I type.

Around the house...

not neatness, I tell you that! We had dinner guests twice last week and the house looked wonderful then, but with shed painting, herb planting and general outdoorsyness, the house has been neglected.

I am going...

to the picnic lunch at Tony's work, the commissary and if the weather permits, the local farmer's market.

One of my favorite things...

the smell of the first drops of rain as it falls to the ground. The scent filled my nose as Olivia opened the car door this morning to walk into school. The windshield had a light misting and the air smelled of freshness and spring.

I am praying for...

all those on my list of special, private intentions.

Picture of the day...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Catching Up

From the moment I wake each morning, to when I lay my head on the pillow, dog-tired each night, I have a blog post streaming in my head, wanting to be written, yet the hours do not allow me the privilege. The gloriously beautiful spring days are ever so busy. Each day is full to the brim with activity. I want to chronicle it all. This will be the extremely abridged version.

Anna recently had some genetic testing done to determine if she has a marker for epilepsy. We are still waiting for the results, for they will help us decide how to proceed with managing her seizures.

We travelled to my parent's house for Easter. It was beautiful weather, and they live in something akin to the garden of Eden. My sister and her family were there as well and I am grateful for the time we had together.

I was disappointed this Lent for the lack of immersing myself into Lenten traditions. The Stations of the Cross have become a tradition for us and we did not get to the Church even once. I could have had us do them at home even, but no, I did not. I felt the emptiness in my heart.

Below are the photos from the trip to Tennessee.

This is my Grams. She is 99!

Therese is 7 months. Their birthdays are 6 days apart.

My sister is trying to keep the chaos to a minimum.

My kids kept licking the spoons. WHY?

The eggs, awaiting their decorating.

The dye, from a box. Sigh.


Also pretty.

(She's my niece.)

More pretty people!

I think I'll print this one and send it to Grams.

Do not, I repeat, do not wake up Jack to look for his basket.

No matter how much the other kids beg you to do so.

He was just plain grumpy.

The. whole. day.

Who put chocolate in her basket?

The canopy of leaves, the sunlight peeking through.

Glorious, I tell you!

Dogwoods have always been one of my favorite trees.

My happy baby.

I love how Jack looked at me, even though I was far away.

Hunting for eggs in the backyard.

We had a great visit!