Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Craft Basket Wednesday




One of my favorite blogs to read is Knit Together.  Every Wednesday, she hosts 'Craft Basket Wednesday', and I've been itching to participate.  Today, I am finally getting around to it! 

When we purchased our home 3 months ago, just about all the windows were bare, except for blinds in the kitchen and kids' room.  So, I decided to be adventurous (and Susie home-maker-ish) and make my own window treatments.  With the help and consultation of a friend who has a better eye for design than yours truly, I picked out my material, and set to work on my first home project =)  Oh, and a word to the wise...taking three small children, 5 years old and younger, to the fabric store is NOT advisable!  Get thee a babysitter...I cannot emphasize this enough.  The kids were trying to hide in the fabric and I was trying to make decisions...it was not a pleasant trip (and I am not one of those parents whose kids are always clean and put together..I have outdoor kids who are, as a general rule, covered in dirt for the majority of their life - not a good mix with fabric).  Anyway, I ended up going with Roman shades for the living room...not a task for the faint of heart!  It was fun, don't get me wrong, but let's just say that I got VERY familiar on how to use a seam ripper...it was definitely a learning experience.  However, after much trial and error (and 4 or 5 Sunday afternoons with my husband watching the kids), I am proud to say that they are hanging on my living room windows, and they look just beautiful!  My husband even likes them, so I am a happy girl!

Here is the pattern I went with (it matches great with my current wall color, but leaves room for change if I want to ;):

I lined it with drapery fabric (to keep the sun/heat out), and I used a strip of fabric with plastic rings sewn on it for the shade cord to run through(as opposed to sewing each ring on individually O_o):

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!:

I used nylon string for the cord pull, and a nifty little cord cleat to keep the shade open:

Done! (trust me...this took way more work and thought than the pictures allow for):

The first time I pulled the shade open, it looked like this:

And I wanted to cry!  Because it looks ridiculous.  No problem, though...it just takes a little fluffing to get it just right...like this:
Ahhh...much better.

And, the other window (please ignore the pile of junk on my end table):

I haven't put the weight in the bottom of it, so it doesn't pleat properly yet:
This will have to suffice until Phil gets home from Lowe's today with the weight (what a great husband I have!)

If you've never made a Roman shade before, I used a tutorial from Jen Duncan's 'What's New' Blog.  I just realized that I didn't put a set of rings down the center for the bigger window like she suggested....oh well.  They still look nice!  I can always add some later if I so desire.  I really like these shades because we have such large, open windows, and these do a fantastic job of keeping the sun/heat out, and with summer right around the corner that will come in very handy!  And, on the flip side, they still open all the way to let lots of our current spring sunshine in =)  Finally, you can see that the windows already have nice looking window dressings on the outer trim, so this particular kind of shade doesn't hide that the way curtains or drapes would.  So, A+ from me for both functionality and fashion.  I think if I had more sewing experience, these would have come together quite quickly.  All in all, a fun project!  Now, I just have to finish the kitchen and bedroom...here's a sneak peek at my bedroom window treatments:

I opted for a traditional valence/curtain combo...here's the valence:


More to come when I am finished!  And, go on over to the Knit Together Blog to see what other moms are working on. 



Little Thoughts

After dinner the other night, my husband asked Natalie (the 5 year old) to grab him a couple of peanut butter balls out of the refrigerator.  She jumped up and went quite willingly, but then, upon returning to the table, she told him:

Natalie:  You have to give me a dollar for each peanut butter ball.
Dad:  I don't have any dollars.
Natalie:  Do you have any coins?
Dad:  I don't have any coins either.
Natalie:  Then just give me your debit card.

Oh man!  The teenage years with this girl is going to be tough!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Joys of Laundry

Remember those days when you were a child, and the rule was that if your Mom found any money in the laundry, she got to keep it?  It was really just a ploy for her to motivate you to do your own laundry, so she no longer had to fold your underwear, but nevertheless, I am looking forward to that phase.  How fun to find dollars here and there that I get to keep and spend on coffee and such!  But, seeing as my kids are too young to even have a penny to their name, this is what I am stuck with:


Yes, that is a dead animal carcass that made it's way into one of my kids' pockets, and made it through the wash.  I just have no idea what to even think about this one.  Gross!!!  At least I found it before Rachel used it as a teething toy.  Blech!  The kids are sleeping right now, so I'm kind of anxious for them to wake up so I can get the story behind this little treasure. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Around the Farm Edition

The first sprouts of the spring garden:


Pork Chop & Bacon:

Big Blue:

Our new calf (Felicity) on the right, and our new bull (Bill) on the left:





Spring has sprung:


First pickin' from the garden (sad little thing)...I planted these too late in the season:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What's a Day?

On the way to the library today, the kids had the following conversation:
Andrew (overhearing Natalie chatter about Easter):  Natalie, what's Easter?
Natalie:  Easter is the day we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.
*at this point, I am thinking that this whole homeschooling gig may not be so hard after all.  All I have to do is teach the oldest one, and she'll teach the rest.  This is totally do-able for me!
Andrew:  What's a day?
Natalie:  What's a day?
Andrew:  yeah, what's a day?
*now the pressure is really on
Natalie: uhhhh....a day is a year of the day...a year of the time...yeah, a year of the time
Andrew:  How does a day do that?
Natalie:  Well, uh...remember how yesterday we....Mom, what was yesterday?
Me:  Monday
Natalie:  right...sunday, monday, ok, right, Andrew, listen, yesterday was Monday, today is Tuesday, tomorrow is Wednesday, and the day after that is Friday
*by this point, Andrew has lost all interest in this conversation and is focused on the inner workings of his pirate scope...Natalie, however, keeps on mumbling about the days of the week and I'm half expecting her to break out in song over the whole thing...perhaps my theory on teaching only the oldest is just a bit flawed, but I'm not giving up on the idea yet!

I love these moments!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I don't understand

I understand why children prefer Moms over Dads when sick or hurt.  Moms are softer, their faces are less prickly when kisses are administered, they have softer voices.  I understand why children prefer to sleep in their parents bed at night.  They feel warm, safe, and protected (the bed is probably nicer, too ;).  I even understand why children prefer eating out of my plate.  The food is much tastier on the adult side of the fence.  What I don't understand is why my children insist on having a preference for using my bathroom!  I must hear myself say "Hey!  go in your own bathroom!" at least 10 times a day.  I just don't get it!  I mean, it's the exact same toilet, just in another room.  Ours is not softer, less prickly, or warmer, and their bathroom is closer to their room where they sleep.  They bypass their own bathroom in the morning to use mine!!  Just a little while ago, Andrew came up to me and said, "Mom, are you almost done cleaning your toilet?"  "Almost, why?"  " 'cause I have to go to the bathroom."  "Go in yours."  "I'll just wait until you're done.".....seriously!?!?!  And, if by some odd chance, the person to whom the majestic throne belongs is actually using it, the same thing usually happens:  "can you hurry up, because I have to go really bad!"  "Go in your bathroom."  "I'll just wait until you're done."  Now really!  I asked Natalie once why they always use our bathroom, and she said "because it's closer to the kitchen."  I still don't get it. 

Today I choose 'yes'...

...because Mary chose 'yes'; first of all to God, and in turn to all of mankind.  There is a very good article over at Faith & Family Live by Sarah Reinard on the Annunciation (the Feast day of which is this Thursday!).  And, so, after reading it, how could I possibly not say 'yes' to all that God asks me today??  Especially in the little things.  I think it is easier, at times, to say yes to the big things.  Not because the big things are particularly easier to do, but because the motivation is greater.  The motivation to be seen in a good light in front of others, to get that pat on the back, that "well done".  For me, it is easier to say 'yes', and follow through with that yes when it means I get some kind of human respect out of it (sad, I know, but true).  As a wife and mother, the hardest things for me to say yes to are those things that nobody sees and those things that will most likely go unappreciated.  So, when the kids came and found me while I was putting the baby to sleep (they have a radar, you know - somehow they *always* walk in and start hollering for me just when Rachel closes her eyes!  How do they do that?!), and asked me if I would go play sidewalk chalk with them, I chose 'yes'.  And then, when they asked to eat a picnic out in the sunshine, I chose 'yes'.  I'm glad I did.  It was nice; and, it took my mind off of other not so pleasant things occurring in the world today.  





Now, my 'yes' is going to have to move on to less fun things, for the breakfast dishes seem to have bred while we were outside, and the laundry room smells like diapers.

"ecce ancilla Domini; fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum" 
~Our Lady

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Place to Remember

Check out our new bulletin board for school (compliments to my mother-in-law):
 *The yellow and red construction paper shapes are Natalie's rendition of Jesus, Mary, & Joseph =)
I thought it would make a great place to put art work, school work, Feast Day crafts & saint pictures, our virtue of the month for Little Flowers, and just any other fun thing the kids like to look at.  Thanks Mom-in-law!

Happy Feast of St. Patrick!!

"Whether I receive good or ill, I return thanks equally to God, who taught me always to trust him unreservedly." ~St. Patrick



St Patrick, Pray for us!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fear Factor

On Saturday evening, we had two other families over for dinner.  Between the three families, there were 9 kids ranging in age from 6 months all the way to 7.  The older kids spent most of the time outside, playing all over our property.  Today, the kids and I went outside to check on the garden and play.  I ended up sitting by the pond with Rachel, while the other kids climbed a tree.  Natalie, who is 5, is more of a talker than I am, and she was telling me about all the things that she and her friends talked about on Saturday.  Apparently, based on what Natalie's friends told her, we have coyote snakes in our "river" (aka the drainage creek that runs along the side of our property), dead horses in our pond (that was deduced because of the horse manure next to the pond....the only logical conclusion that could be drawn from that little clue), and one of her friends owes her $50.00 because she ate a lily pad (considering we don't actually have lily pads in the pond, I'm not sure what she actually ate, but I guess it wasn't poisonous, so no harm, no foul).  By the end of that conversation, Natalie was high up in the tree and then asked me "Mom, if a beaver cuts down this tree, will it cause an earthquake?"  Wow...the things kids come up with never cease to amaze and amuse me =).  They are so cute.  I am glad I took the time to listen to her today.  Also, I fully intend to contact the parent of the child who owes her the $50.00...so we can cash in on that. 





 

Over the River and Through the Woods....

...to Grandmother's house we went.  Ok, maybe we didn't actually go through the woods this weekend, but we did go over the river to Grandmother's house.  We went over the great and mighty Mississippi River, in fact, via the not-so-great, but mighty Huey P. Long Bridge.  I really don't like crossing over that thing!  It is so scary.  If you've never been across it, or have never heard of it, it is a very high and narrow bridge (with a railroad track that runs down the center lane) that goes over the Mississippi River.  And, it makes me feel like I'm going to fall right off of it.  But, we made it home safe and alive, so it's all good now!   After Mass yesterday, we headed on down the Bayou to Phil's very small hometown to visit his family for lunch and supper.  He is from one of those really cute, quaint, small, Cajun towns where every body knows every body (mostly because they are all related some how =).  Imagine trying to find a wife or husband in that town, only to find out you are second cousins, twice removed, or something like that!  Two of Phil's cousins actually went all the way to Michigan to find wives.  Ironically, their wives are sisters, which now makes them both first cousins AND brother-in-laws.  And, their kids will be first and second cousins...I think...right?!  I'm probably not really helping the impression that outsiders have of small town living...their perception is bad enough with out the "this is my first cousin and my brother-in-law" bit.  Ah well...I digress!    It was a long overdue trip!  It had been awhile since the kids had seen their grand-parents.  I am one of those incredibly lucky individuals who has been blessed with in-laws that actually like the woman their son married....I think...they put up a good front if they don't ;)  I always hear about families who do not get along with their in-laws, and every time I hear those stories, I can't help but feel anything other than gratitude for the family I have gained since marrying Phil.  While Phil is the oldest of 6, I am the youngest of 4, so his 5 little brothers and sisters are like the younger siblings I never had!  It's great.  And, I use the term 'little' very loosely...I am easily a foot shorter than all of them, but that's ok...they love me despite my vertical challenge =).  Besides, I have a house full of people to reach things that I can't whenever they are around!  Anyway, we had a really great day yesterday.  We ate, visited, played croquet, and just enjoyed the beautiful weather outside.  The kids love going because they get to jump on the trampoline.  We play croquet a lot in the summer when we get together (it's actually really fun!), and in the 6 1/2 years since I have been in the picture, I think I have lost EVERY game, and Dad has won EVERY game.  That game is harder than it looks, people, so no judging!  

Girls in the wagon: 

Rachel: 

 Rachel enjoying the ride:

 Natalie spent quite awhile cutting the grass with a pair of scissors while the rest of us played croquet:

Andrew looking for his croquet ball: 

 Andrew trying to juggle like his Uncle Paul:

Phil's youngest 3 siblings are self-taught at juggling.  They are really good at it, too!  The kids got a kick out of it.  Here's their Uncle Paul showing off his skills:





Friday, March 12, 2010

Waffles!

Typically, Friday is pancake day in my home.  Back when I just had 2 children, I used to ask this question in the morning, "what do you want for breakfast?", to each of them.  NEVER AGAIN do I ask that!  It didn't take me long to nip that one in the bud, either.  I got tired of them each wanting different things, so now, we have the same thing for each different day of the week:  Monday = grits with ham & cheese, Tuesday = tortilla wraps, Wednesday = scrambled eggs & toast, Thursday = cereal and milk, Friday = pancakes, Saturdays = big family breakfast with whatever Daddy wants.  Throw in a glass of milk and whatever fruit I have on hand, and it's done.  And, this is about as organized as I get, people.  I find this system makes my mornings run so much more smoothly, though.  Now, the kids ask me "mom, what day is it?"..."Wednesday"..."so, we are having eggs today, right?"  Much better.  Anyway, today was *supposed* to be pancake Friday, but when I went to the pantry, I saw no box of pancake mix!@#@!$!@#  I know...shameful!  I warned you that the breakfast menu is the extend of organization here.  I usually get the 'just add water' kind because it's quick, easy, and tasty.  But, I made the most of it and suggested we have waffles instead.  I found THE BEST Belgian waffle recipe ever on a Google search once, so the kids and I made a batch of them, and they didn't even make it to the kitchen table!  We said Grace right there at the stove and just ate the waffles hot off the waffle iron...they are that good.  And, while my kitchen was a big mess, my dining room was not, so it was all good =)  Here we are making our fabulous breakfast (recipe at end of this post):
 Natalie whipping up the egg whites:
 Andrew mixing the batter:
Rachel helping by beating on the floor: 
Everyone enjoying their waffles =): 
 Eating & cooking:
 
As you can see, they had fun making these and eating them =)  And, I guess you can tell that I got my camera back!!  I am pretty excited about that.  My sister was kind enough to mail it to me this week...love that gal!  So, later today we are going to head outside and enjoy the beautiful spring weather and take some pictures.  That post to come later.  Now, the kids are playing happily in the playroom with waffle-filled tummies =)  Here is the recipe I used:
 
You will need:
3 bowls
2 c. flour
3 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 c. sugar 
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
 
In the largest bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and sugar.  In the smallest bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  In the 3rd bowl, beat the egg yolks.  Add the milk, butter, vanilla extract, and mix well.  Pour the egg/milk mixture in with the dry ingredients, and mix just until moistened.  Fold in egg whites.  *the actual recipe didn't call for separating the egg whites, but I like to do it that way.....you don't have too, though.*  Cook in batches on a hot waffle iron.  
 
I have one of those Farberware, square waffle irons, and I got 4 batches out of this recipe (so, 16 smaller square waffles).  The original recipe was actually double this, but it makes so many, I cut it in half.  I don't remember where I found this recipe online, so I can't give credit, but if I come across it again, I'll come and post the link.  These are pretty sweet, so they are good just plain without syrup.  My kids didn't even use plates...they just ate them as they were.  It pairs up nicely with fruit, too.   Enjoy! 
 
 
 
 

Monday, March 8, 2010

If you give a man pride, he'll probably want some humility to go with it

Like most people, I suffer severely from the illness that is pride (I throw in the 'like most people' disclaimer because it makes me feel better - yet another symptom of my pride).  So, like any good Catholic would, I strive for the opposing virtue of humility (albeit unsuccessfully most days), and especially so during Lent.  The problem with working towards, and praying for humility, though, is that you get...well, humiliated!  And, I'm not talking about the idealistic kind of humility where you are in situations that require you to humbly respond to compliments and say things like "oh, thank you!  Really it was nothing.  I hardly did anything."  When I pray for humility, it always ends up coming in the form of situations where I walk away wanting to put my head under a rock because I'm so embarrassed and completely mortified.  Things that bring me to tears embarrassing.  I'd give examples, but once around the block is enough!  I guess that's really the point, though...*sigh*

Overwhelmed

a;ldfjal;kfjadk;fjasl;fjkladsfj;s


That is all.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Investment Tip

 
During Lent, the Church urges us to participate in the Sacrament of Penance more frequently.  While it is only required that Catholics receive this Sacrament one a year (CCC 1457), there are so many benefits to going more regularly.  Recently, I began using the book Divine Intimacy for daily meditations.  This book is really great.  There is a brief meditation for every day of the Liturgical year, so it follows the ebb and flow of Catholic seasons.  One of the recent mediations was on Confession.  While reading it, I discovered something that I had never realized before:
 
"At that moment it is Jesus who is acting in the soul, either by remitting sin or by producing or increasing grace.  It is well to remember that the efficacy of the absolution is not limited merely to sins that have already been committed, but that it even extends into the future." - Divine Intimacy, pg 306
 
I guess I've always known that Confession gives you the grace to avoid temptation and sin, but it never occurred to me that I should call on the graces of past confessions when I am in the midst of temptation.  I always just thought of it as grace working in my soul up to the current point in my life and not necessarily grace that lingers for awhile.  This is really comforting to know that the grace lasts longer than the moment of absolution! 
 
"The Blood of Christ is, in this sense, not only a remedy for the past, but also a preservative and a strengthening help for the future.  The soul which plunges into it, as into a healthful bath, draws from it new vigor and sees the strength of its passions extinguished little by little.  We see then the importance of frequent confession for a soul desirous of union with God, a soul which must necessarily aspire to total purification." - Divine Intimacy, pg 307
 
Beautiful!  Probably one of the best investments we can make for our eternal future.
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