Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yarn Along

For once, there are multiple projects on my needles. The sock yarn was calling to me when I saw it in the store. I still am not sure I am using it for its intended purpose, but we shall see. I am trying to make a scarf, but it is rolling something awful and I don't have much hope that blocking will tame it.

Olivia's second glove is taking shape and none too soon, for those last glorious warm days have disappeared until spring, I'm afraid.
I finished "I Capture the Castle" at lunch today, and oh how I will miss Cassandra!

I am reading "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" to the kids. I can't help but recall my local theatre's rendition of this when 'local' meant Manchester, Tennessee. 

Thank you Ginny for hosting, as always!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Novena to the Immaculate Conception

What better way to begin this Advent season than to begin a novena to Mary as the Immaculate Conception?

Join me and many others, won't you?

Boy, did you notice I am full of questions today?

Here is the link to follow:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Oh what fun it is to ride in a go cart

Our time with Sophie home was all too short. She and Tony are on their way back to college, stopping in to check on my mother-in-law tonight. Before they left, we headed over to Fort Eustis to have a little fun. The weather was gorgeous. There was a miniature golf course, go-carts, and a batting cage. I thought for sure that Jack would want to ride the go-carts, but he said he only wanted to play golf. We did not know until we arrived that they only accept cash. While we were discussing who was going to go to get some cash, the employee on duty asked if we were only golfing. We were. He then let us play for free! The kids ran to the shed where the supplies were kept, most excited to start playing.

 score keeper

 I believe that was about 20 strokes!

 Can you tell I am having fun with the manual setting?

It was time to leave when Jack changed his mind about the go-carts. Anna wanted to try it too. Even though it was $6 per cart, they let us use two since $6 was just about all I could scrape together out of the bottom of my purse! Oh my! I forget how competitive my husband can get. His cart was slower than Sophie's, so he got creative on how to catch up with her. Let's just say that the old Army adage, "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'" was his motto today. He didn't exactly stick to the course and dirt was flying.
 Safety first.

 straightening the curves

 cutting his own daughter off at the pass
 I love how Jack appears to be holding on for dear life to his helmet.

 A spin out on the track
If you can't read the back of the cars, it says "No Bumping".

That was one rule that got bent a little.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What a long strange trip it was

In preparation to celebrate Thanksgiving, I travelled to Steubenville, Ohio to pick up my college girl. She usually is able to find a ride home, but not this time. Hindsight being what it is, I should have bought her a plane ticket. Still, I am thankful for a safe journey there and back and all the stuff in between.

Back in September, I told you my grandmother turned 100 years old. What I did not mention is that my other grandmother is 97. She lives in West Virginia and it was only a slight detour to go see her. We got a nice early start Tuesday morning, me and the three littlest kids. Tony had to work and Olivia had school. So I plugged Nana's address in the GPS, filled the tank with gas, and we were off.

As we neared the town of Front Royal, a warning bell sounded and all the lights on the dash went out. They came back on but were flickering. Thankful that we were near a largish town, I pulled off the highway to see Wal-Mart's automotive sign from the road. I pulled in and asked if they could help. They could not, but the nice man gave me hand-written directions to the Chrysler dealership down the road. I got there and they took my van immediately and led us to the waiting area. There were more toys there than in my kid's room! They had a blast and were able to run around while I waited for the diagnosis of my van. Turns out my one year old battery had a bad cell. I asked if they could give me directions to the auto parts store where I had bought the battery, since it was under warranty. They printed out directions and I paid them for their trouble and was on my way to getting back on the road. The auto store was just as friendly and quickly exchanged the bad battery for a new one. 

Two hours behind schedule, we headed out onto the back roads of West Virginia. It is such beautiful land. Mountains, valleys, creeks rambling everywhere, and so many beautiful old homes, many of them log cabins. As I pulled onto my Grandmother's street and saw her house sitting so stately at the end of the road, I teared up. It had been 4 years since I had been there. Too long, I tell you. I stepped inside and was flooded with wonderful, happy memories. Doesn't my grandmother look absolutely wonerful at 97?

I spent many an afternoon warming my can on that radiator after playing outside with my sisters, climbing and walking along the fence top, hanging out in the treehouse, exploring the barn, feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs.

We could only stay a short while, since we still had three hours ahead of us to get to Sophie. I am so grateful that we were able to see my Nana.

After spending the night in Steubenville, we got back in the car to head home and start cooking for Thanksgiving. I wish that I could have captured the scenery better, but just trust me when I say that I now know why they are called the Blue Ridge Mountains. The colors were so remarkable and vivid.

 And then we came to this...

...and we spent the next four hours getting through Washington. I decided to stop for dinner once we had navigated through the worst of it. We had planned on being home in time for dinner, but it was clear that was not to be. The kids begged for those golden arches, so I pulled in. We ordered the food, sat down, said our blessing, and Anna took one bite and looked at me with panic in her eyes. I jumped up, ushered her outside, and held her hair as she emptied her stomach in the parking lot. Oh, poor Anna! I am grateful that this did not happen in the car, or the restaurant. I got her cleaned up and Sophie took care of the other kids. I am thankful that I had Sophie to help me. Three hours later, we pulled in the driveway and I don't think I have ever been so thankful to be home!

This morning, Anna is feeling better, and I have been cooking in preparation for a shared Thanksgiving dinner with another family. We were supposed to go to Tony's mother's house like we always do. But yesterday, as I was driving, my mother-in-law was in surgery, having the cancerous portion of her lung removed. We have known for a few weeks now, but until she went into surgery we could not know the extent to which the cancer had invaded her body. Thankfully, it has not spread to the lymph nodes, which was suspected. However, it has spread to one of her ribs. They could not remove that, so she will have to recover from surgery and then face radiation and/or chemotherapy.

Please pray for my mother-in-law as she recovers from surgery and regains strength to undergo the next part of her treatment.

May you all have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving today.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

playing with my camera

This afternoon, instead of doing what I should have been doing, I pulled out my camera to capture the fun my kids were having. The weather was an amazing 73 degrees! I know it won't last, so I snatched up the chance for some photos.

I will say this: I know nothing about photography. I wish I did. I love taking pictures and looking at pictures. There is something so wonderful about capturing a moment just as you see it. So, mustering up some courage, I moved the little dial thingy from "auto" to "manual" and started shooting and changing settings.

 This was on the auto setting. The colors were washed out and dull.

Still on auto setting. Dull, dull, dull.
 Look at the difference! I can't tell you what I set it to. I just moved the dial until it looked like what I saw with my eyes.

Then I accidentally found this!

I took about 50 pictures just so I could get one this good.
I love this one so much.
Back inside, I experimented some more.

Dinner before it went in the oven to be roasted.
 Back on auto setting. Too yellow.
Manual setting, much truer to the colors in my kitchen. No flash, even though it was dark outside.

Until I can afford a more professional camera, I will practice with my point and shoot and hopefully learn a little along the way!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wedding Day

We attended a wedding today. I just love weddings. Tony always whispers his vows again in my ear when the groom says his. He gets very romantic at weddings.

At the reception, Jack was hungry. Hungry for cake, not the food. I told him that he had to wait for the bride and groom to cut the cake. To which he replied, "That's OK, I've got a knife. I can cut it myself." I tried to explain that it is a tradition for the couple to cut the cake together and then everyone can have a piece. He then said, "Then why did they give me a knife?" I knew at that moment that it was going to be an interesting evening!

Oh, I almost forgot! Anna was the flower girl. She loved getting her hair curled, her nails painted, the fancy dress, a kiss of lip gloss, tossing the flower petals....she loved it all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yarn Along

One trip to the craft store and $10 dollars lighter, I returned home with some new yarn and many project ideas. A dear friend has recently started her own baking business and asked if I might want to make some dish clothes for her shop. This is my first attempt. I have seen many "owl" projects out there and really wanted to try my hand at making a cute little owl. I am really happy with the result.
A skein of a soft, chunky weight yarn in a creamy shade was bought for a dual purpose. I am making one more hat for the little one with cancer. It should keep her little head very warm as the weather becomes cold. When I am finished with the hat, Anna will receive the rest of that yarn to add on to her scarf. I also bought some self-striping sock yarn. I am not sure what it will become, but it is fun deciding.
I am still reading "I Capture the Castle". Slowly, very slowly.

Thanks, Ginny, for hosting.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Adventures in Toddlerhood

Who says silverware is necessary?
 The one-hand approach

 The two-hand bowl hold


 The concerted effort

 The slurp

 The lip

 "I think I lost one up here somewhere"

"That was fun!"

Friday, November 11, 2011

Confessions of a tired mama

I think everyone knows by now that I strive to cook good, healthy food for my family. It is how I show my love, OK?

So how did I go from this:

homemade apple cinnamon pop-tarts
(which tasted just like apple pie)
(which made my husband suggest ice-cream for breakfast)

To this:
 beanies and weinies fresh out of a can.
(we went to co-op today)
(I taught eight piano lessons)
(Tony is working tonight)

 When the kids saw what was in the pot....

...this was the unanimous reaction!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Outside my window...

...a gray morning is dawning. The sky is a solid gray with the very edge of the horizon taking on a pinkish hue, giving me hope of sunshine later on. The colors of the trees, though, are stunning. The reds, yellows, and browns all jumbled together against that gray sky are such a stark contrast.

I am thinking...

...that I need to get up earlier than the kids more often. It is so quiet!

I am thankful for.... faith. little family.

...soft yarn and knitting needles and a fire in the fireplace.

From the lesson plans...

...week number 9 is just about over. We checked out books about Thanksgiving and South America this week at the library. Anna and I decided to pick a saint and ask for their intercession as she prepares for her First Holy Communion. She chose St. Bernadette. I would welcome any suggestions on getting to know our saint better!

From the kitchen...

...enjoying the pumpkin butter I made yesterday on some toast this morning. I followed the recipe this time, but if I make it again, I would cut way back on the amount of ginger. Too much for me, I'm afraid.

I am wearing...

...the pajamas my family bought me last Christmas and my very old, well-worn slippers. They still keep my toes nice and warm.

I am creating...

...the second glove for Olivia, some crocheted flowers for a friend, another chemo hat.

I am reading...

..."I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith.

I am hoping... make it to daily Mass this morning. I need to stop in the Church office and make sure that they are fine with me handling Anna's First Communion preparations at home.

I am hearing...

...the hum of the gas fireplace and nothing else. It is so quiet this morning.

Around the house...

...laundry and schoolwork. Of course, that is what I do every day, it seems!

I am going... see my husband's family this weekend. Several family members who live far away are coming for a visit.

One of my favorite things...

...the aroma from the cabinet that holds all my coffee and tea things. It is heavenly, I tell you.

I am praying for...

...two very special intentions, and my mother-in-law.

Plans for the rest of the week...

...homeschool co-op tomorrow, and give the house a much needed cleaning on Saturday.

Quote of the Day...

..."Every family, even the weakest and most suffering family, is called to greatness. And it can come to greatness, for it is meant to be, and can be, caught into the great Family of God Himself, Who is the source and joy of greatness for all." -Ronald D. Lawler, O.F.M. Cap.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yarn Along- for charity

This week has seen me knitting a chemo cap for a 2 year old little girl that I have never met and probably never will. She is the niece of a friend of mine and she lives far from here. But I felt honored when my friend asked me to knit a couple of hats for her niece.

  I used Therese as a model, and since she has a slightly larger head than most one year olds I figured if it fits her, it would surely fit this little one in need.

I've had this yarn sitting in my stash for years, never knowing what project it was destined for.

I hope that she likes it.

I just started reading "I Capture the Castle", by Dodie Smith.

Go on over and visit Ginny, our host.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Fun

With the threat of rain in the forecast, we headed out to collect our sugary booty a little earlier than usual. Which was good, because the "scary" houses were not nearly so frightening. Jack came bounding back to me, exclaiming "That wasn't scary at all!"

Anna, who was Rapunzel, told her friend "Cinderella", while they were crossing a street, "Ladies don't run, they walk." And so they walked, elegantly, hand in hand across the street. Therese didn't really understand what we were doing, but she loved it because she loves being outside. During the day, she stares longingly out the window while her mean mom makes the other kids do schoolwork.

 Meet Jack the Construction Worker. The orange vest was sewn in a couple of hours with only minor adjustments needing to be made. The flannel shirt was a $2 find at Goodwill. The rest we already owned!

 Next up: Rapunzel. My mom bought her the costume for her birthday. She decided to keep it perfect for Halloween and hung it up in her closet. Her birthday is in August, by the way. I found the golden yarn at the fabric store when I bought the orange fabric for Jack's vest. The yarn was such an interesting texture. Almost like it was hand-spun. I called my crafty sister about how to construct a wig and she came through for me yet again.
 I made the bag Jack is holding out of felt many years ago. Each child has their own bag.

Therese had no say in what she wore. The black cat costume was Anna's. I know the ears are actually bear ears. I still think she is a cute kitty cat. She did not like having whiskers drawn on her face, which is why they look like they do. I think you can actually still see a tear in her eye. You can also see the sewing machine on the classroom table for those last minute costume fixes.

My tip of the day? If you don't want a 1 year old to break off a pencil lead inside the steam holes of the iron, put it away immediately!

It was a wonderful evening.