Archive for the month “July, 2009”

nothing profound

IMG_5789i don’t know that i have anything very profound to report this evening. today there was a basketball game. our team won. 48 to 26 was the score.

it has been so humid here. and the outrageous cost of our june electric bill has caused me to re-evaluate what number we can comfortably keep the thermostat at. 78 was great. but i had a really sick feeling when i saw what 78 costs. needless to say any and all upstairs chores have to be completed either later in the evening or very early in the morning, because that is the only time it is even bearable up here. my computer is upstairs too, which is the main reason behind my infrequent posting. y’all wouldn’t want me to faint just so i can let you know what is going on in my world, now would you? besides i am rather enjoying the emails back and forth that some of my dear little friends and i have been sharing.

in fact this morning i was a little hormonal  teary-eyed thinking about communities. and some of the people i have met because of blogging.. nothing negative, mind you. just a bunch of wonderful, faithful, loving women, many of whom i’d like to bring together for a home-cooked meal, here. with candles and twinkling lights. some good wine. laughter and conversation. and while i know that is highly unlikely, unless i were to win the lottery or something. i want you all to know how lovely you are.

nadja recently gave me the true heart award again and this is my official thank you to her. if you have never visited her, please do. she is so sweet i could eat her. but that would be cannibalism. and besides she has a precious new gem to take care of. and if you are reading this and have not received this award for some reason, i hereby bestow it upon you, you wonderful readers!

i am also very excited-and nervous- to say that i have been commissioned-meaning getting paid– by a dear friend in real life to make her two darling daughters some handmade dolls-like my lola– for Christmas. i am rather nervous. i don’t know that i have all of the doll making kinks worked out, so if anyone has any pointers they’ve learned along the way, please feel free to let me know.

and finally, this quaint little picture is of  some felted blueberries i made for the dollies to eat. they need their anti-oxidants too. i have a bunch more cut out, but a whole basket full will take time.  don’t they look adorable in that tiny depression type dish? they aren’t real antiques. but i just knew my girl would love them.

 i am reading a novel. i left it at my parents’ house and my mother took it over for a week. she gave it a pretty good review. like a good mother she said there were a few subtle things she wanted to cross out with a marker. but i gently reminded her that we don’t do such things to library books. it promises to be a page turner. and after that terrible murder-mystery that i just read-and was GRAVELY disappointed in-in the end-i hope it delivers. i don’t know that i’ll be getting any more books like that again. it left me feeling very unsettled. true crime stories tend to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

sewing related news: i am progressing on the alphabet quilt. i finished Ll tonight. i need to  sew /piece the blocks for Mm-Xx, Yy and Zz  in the upcoming week and i’ll work on the embroidery/letters as time allows. i am ready to burn all of my yarn. my knitting isn’t going very well. i had to take a step back. re-read some knit/purl instructions. and learn a lot about tension. too much tension isn’t good. in life or knitting. good night dear friends. happy weekending. 

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summer goodness

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cold vanilla cream soda

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dirty faces

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water balloon fights

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eating outside

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nesting boxes

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big, shady trees

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visits from a familiar friend

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a place for warm tortillas

on creativity

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my tools

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yum! bubblegum pink

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our first egg ever!

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oohing and ahhing...

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egg art

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old lace and new pillow cases

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finished pillow cases

 

“to be creative is to be like God. To know how to take the things God has created and extend them further in acts of our own creating, to search out in one’s head an idea, and work over it with a mind and hands, selecting this, combining it with that, cutting away, discarding, adding, fitting and finally bringing forth something new-this is how we are made to be creators like our Father.”

~excerpt from We and Our Children, Molding the Child in Christian Living

***

finding the time to do some mama creative things during these extremely hot days isn’t easy. most of my activities revolve around keeping 4 children of such varied ages-busy. and alive. especially since the bickering seems to increase with the temperature. away from the television. and even finding things for them to do that keep them out of my hair for a while.

i cannot believe what an event the first egg was! here i was thinking i was the creative one today, getting two projects off my to do list completed. all along those chickens far outdid me! the kids were so enthralled at the discovery of this one precious egg. we were rather busy for quite some time. guessing who the lucky girl was that laid the masterpiece. discussing nesting boxes and plans on expanding the coop. there was even a hushed discussion as to who was going to be the lucky person to eat this first of many. middle son, in a hushed voice, noted that this was different because the ones that come from the store are already in a package, we don’t know the chickens. but this. this is OUR egg.

so i know i wasn’t supposed to move it. my hubby is an expert ya know. he lived with his grandmother one summer and apparently he learned all the tricks of the raising chickens trade. but that egg was too precious to us to be left out there with all those ladies. they step so carelessly on each other, in their water and food. that egg would’ve been scrambled for sure!

anyway, i did manage these two projects today, along with a thorough dining room, front room and girl room cleaning. tomorrow it’ll be the kitchen, bathrooms, and my room. wednesday the boys’ rooms and the loft and upstairs closets. although the loft will probably take me into friday. but it is time. after all we have been here since june. school will be starting before i know it. and we need a place to learn. and create. and play. an organized space close to the computer for the teen. space for the kindergartner. and a table for the middles.

well, hope you are finding ways to keep cool and be a little bit creative! i don’t know what other projects i’ll be able to squeeze in. especially since coconut kisses and chocolate chip cookies are somewhere in our plans this week. and for some reason things like that make me tired in this heat. can somebody tell my kids baking isn’t even legal when it’s 113 degrees outside? geesh.

ps. with regards to the corn tortillas, yes, they were good. a little salty. but i served them kind of like tostadas with a scoop of turkey chili beans, sour cream, lettuce and cheese on top.

ordinary days

“some of them God made high & great days. and some of them He put in the number of ordinary days.” ~Eccl. 33:10

well, technically yesterday was a feast day, so that doesn’t count as ordinary. but around here, everything has been pretty ordinary. but i am ok with that. not having a functioning computer screen for a few days did my heart and home good. i have been cooking a lot. catching up on the laundry. reading this book-which has my mind racing. praying more. keeping things tidy and neat, in spite of the summer schedule. i even had a day out with my father. we went to breakfast. lunch. antiquing. and then dinner.

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i picked up my oldest from his retreat yesterday afternoon. he returned feisty as ever. but he did benefit from daily adoration, mass and Holy Communion. he is tan-ner. his green eyes stick out more than ever and i am trying to enjoy his presence. especially after my guilt stemming from sending him without all the things he needed-due to a late sent email listing what he was supposed to bring-which i couldn’t retrieve due to my non-working screen. littlest son cleared my conscience by saying, “that’s what he gets for not behaving for us.” out of the mouths of babes…….

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there are a few new faces in the hen house, keeping my dream for EGGS alive. our black bunny ran away again. let’s hope he comes back. in this hot weather i wonder what he is doing for water. the piano is finally coming tomorrow so i have some re-arranging of furniture to do today.

my first corn tortillas!

my first corn tortillas!

hope you are enjoying your summer, whether it is exciting or just plain ordinarily wonderful like mine.

sufficient

i am writing this post from my parent’s house as my computer screen/monitor is on the fritz. it flickers like a sign on a creepy old motel. you know the ones that say OT L and have owners with names like norman bates. so these silly words of mine will have to be sufficient, for now.

i have nothing very exciting to report. i did make some delicious blueberry buttermilk pancakes for breakfast on saturday morning. that will have to suffice as my greatest cooking accomplishment this week.

i have a box filled with vintage-y, treasure-y hand-me-downs to go through. they were given to me by a second cousin-daughter to my great aunt who recently passed away. i see some pretty linens sticking out. linens with possibilities for market bags. the ones i have been waiting all summer to work on. the fact that i have all of the supplies will have to be sufficient, until time allows.

i’ve been going through coffee withdrawals. the headaches are really terrible. but since there isn’t anywhere i needto be this whole week, i am going to wean myself off gently. tonite i have a babysitting engagement. tuesday the teenager is leaving for a 3 day retreat. and except for catching up on laundry, i don’t imagine that this week has anything very exciting in store.

nana and my girl are reading the first four years out loud. i have one eye on my writing and one ear on the story. we are kinda sad that this is the last book. we checked out a bunch of books pertaining to laura ingalls at the library and are awaiting the little house cookbook to come. can you think of a better way to spend the rest of summer? cooking like laura and mary….

it got really hot here yesterday. i mean off the charts hot. but when you are passing the time sipping strawberry lemonade and reading piles of good books on a sheet laid out on the couch, there is really no room to complain.

i had the pleasure of perusing the pages of meredith’s book the other day while the kids swam at a friend’s house. it was great reading. and i was blessed enough to have an interest in Mary sparked in my soul again. it’s been a while since i’ve done enough for her. it seems that as the kids have gotten older we have done less. i am to blame for dropping the ball and i am feeling compelled to start fresh.

i don’t really want to say this out loud, but i am contemplating taking my kids out of charter this year. at least for the first semester. i miss being home. i miss their education being totally catholic. and after this move and the peace i feel in this home, there really is no excuse.

the world is a lot like an attractive vine. at first, the beautiful green leaves and tendrils are welcome in your homeschooling garden. in the case for charter it comes disguised as curriculum and art classes. and then slowly, its’ overwhelming presence begins to choke out all of the flowers-ie. virtues-that you have tried so hard to cultivate in your childrens’ souls.

it happens to the best of us. it happens when life hands you situations that make you feel like maybe you aren’t equipped enough to homeschool. it happens when life hands you a difficult teenager that you’d like nothing better than to get “rid” of by sending him off to someone else. someone else to deal with the algebra and english papers. it happens when he wears you down and ultimately you are tricked into sending him to real school. where he’ll become a real boy. if you’ve ever seen pinocchio, you’ll know where i am going with all of this…….

however, i forgot that i had the GREAT God on my side. and He is more than ready to step in and help me when i am weak. because it is especially when i am weak that He is strong. and “His grace ALONE is sufficient for me.’

just writing and thinking about this post has made me realize that there are times when sufficient is enough! i am not owed any blessings. i am not owed freedom from the mostly minor irritations that come my way. i follow a God that allowed His only Son to be nailed to a cross for my sake. and if that is not sufficient, well, then something must be really wrong with me.

so please forgive me if i owe you an email. you are all so kind and sweet to me. i am just really behind right now. my lurking on your blogs that are so dear to me will have to be sufficient for now. i have to go and play LIFE (pirate’s of the Caribbean edition) with my own father. i owe him a game since father’s day, when i was too tired. and yesterday was his birthday. so at this point, this is what his love requires of me. not exactly the afternoon of sewing i’d rather be doing. but it’ll suffice….

in case you are wondering

i have been having such a great time this week. but those first graders are wearing me out. there is so much energy in my classroom, that one shot of espresso just doesn’t cut it! we have all been coming home and taking naps. from the smallest to the biggest. and i must say it has been nice. it has been wonderful for us to do this as a family. the words of Jesus, “let the little children COME unto Me”, have played a very integral part in our whole week. finding the right way to present the Mass. instructing on just what exactly is happening has not been an easy task. but they are sponges, these little ones. i am telling you, they are not intimidated by words like transubstantiation. exodus. passover. the angel of death. bitter. homily. purificator. chalice. collect. one should never underestimate the learning capability of the young. and i say that sincerely. after all, i took 20 kids to exposition of the Blessed Sacrament today. and they had no qualms about believing it was HIM. there is power in the REAL PRESENCE. He is so there. i felt Him. and even though we had our moments. like when some of them wondered if they’d “die” if they touched the tabernacle. confusing it a bit with the story of the ark of the covenant. i am so  glad we visited Him. i just know He blessed our day. this whole week. my whole life, really. and i have to say that i am kind of sad that tomorrow is our last day. it happened so fast. but isn’t every good thing kind of like that? it’s all over too soon.

hope all is well with you and yours. and that you are keeping cool. we’ve actually been experiencing some really beautiful weather. very rare for july. our sunset skies have been unlike any i’ve ever seen. that’s probably not entirely true,  but then again we have the Ultimate artist in charge of that, don’t we?

speaking of art, i did a quick watercolor picture yesterday (at home with my own kids). i’ve found that it is better to sit with the two little ones when they paint. i’d really been wanting to paint a few of our beach pictures. this was the only one i managed to get done. and i like it. even though the water isn’t grey enough. and i did make those palms a bit spiky-er. they were too rounded.

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well, off to basketball practice i am. ‘bye for now.

so much to do

and so little time. i had so many lovely little things to tell you tonite. but i am just plain tired. my duties here at home have caused this “place” to be a bit neglected. but you understand, right? we all have those days. weeks. and i really don’t see an improvement on the horizon. tomorrow morning i begin the daunting task of teaching 18 first graders about the MASS. the “class” will be five days long. i have studied. read. prepared. and i am sure most of it really won’t matter. things will ultimately go differently than my “vision”. you know what they say about the best laid plans. and besides, that is just how it is with children and timing. snacks. games. and such. but that is ok. (sorry i tend to repeat myself when i am nervous). the most important thing, i think, will be to instill in their little hearts just Who is in that host turned God. the miracle of His presence on earth until the end of time. and how we must be reverent. collected. prepared. thankful. contrite. and yes, even giddy, that He is here. and this is the closest we will get to Him this side of heaven. if you please, when you read this, say a little prayer for me. i am so gonna need it. i’ll try to get back here if i can. you know kids say the darndest things and i am sure in that respect i’ll have much to write about! have a blessed. blessed week.

wiped out

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it was a long day. but beach days are always good days. we have a special cove that we like to frequent because the life guards are close. there are bathrooms, showers, picnic tables, a play ground and a basketball court. this has become their favorite place to go and even though it is a bit farther south than a few other beaches, it is definitely worth the drive.

the whole ride there was filled with memories of our last visit. how we got stuck in a cave because the tide was so high. and how that same tide almost wiped out all of our stuff. the yummy dinner we had at the fish market. and then of course guesses and ideas of all that we’d see and do today.

the sun disappeared just as soon as we got near the 101. but it was absolutely wonderful weather. we really could not have asked for a better weather.

normally i am so quick to share photos. but for some reason i am feeling like maybe i might be exploiting their innocence. so i’ll keep certain ones to myself.

i do want to share with you how i beheld so many special, precious moments. moments between siblings that took my breath away. a big boy who ventured out a little too deeply into the ocean for my liking.  loving his time in the water. i am guessing that the element of danger is all part of the growing up process. the middle kids were content to stay near the shore, the waves touching their feet and sometimes knees. holding onto their little brother together. and a tiny boy, who once tired from so much play, settled down nicely in my lap and sighed, “mama, i just love the beach so much.”

camraderie was in the salty air. and i guess the only reason i am telling you is because i saw a few other things that made me sad. a mother and daughter sitting completely separate. one was asleep. the other texting on her cell phone almost incessantly. i don’t know their story. and i certainly know how those teenagers can be so distant. but just for today, we were blessed with the gift  of a beautiful day together as a family. this is probably one of the main things that sets homeschooling families apart. the bond. all that time spent together is certainly not always great. but there is a very, very serious bond that is cemented when your children learn together on a daily basis, seeing each other as fellow classmates, fellow humans. instead of  just some pesky burden to be shoo-ed away. 

of course there are those moments when this totally does not apply, but i did just have one of those semi-perfect days. the kind where your faith in humanity is restored. your children are behaving. and you feel like all is well with the world. yes, everyone needs a bath. wet towels and suits need washing. there is sand in everything ( i am sure you know what i mean). but just this once i hopei wake up with a little sand on my pillow. so that i’ll know today was not just a dream.

for those of you that are far, far away from any beach, i hope you enjoy this tiny glimpse of one of the most beautiful things that california has to offer. i am pretty wiped out myself. so i guess i’ll be going. oh, and  i am reading an awfully good book about thomas jefferson, so if i don’t get back on here before the holiday, happy independence day!

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