Archive for the month “August, 2009”

messes, masterpieces and a give-away


do you ever feel that way about the stuff you make or do? like what have i gotten myself into? why am i even doing this when i am not an “expert“? did i  hurry too much?or is it because i skipped a step? or ’cause i didn’t give it my best?

whatever the reason, i, personally think it doesn’t even really matter. we, as humans spend so much time fretting about stuff that at the end of our lives we just might find, was so insignificant. there is far too much pressure for people, especially women, to “perform”. we are supposed to be sexy. smart. successful. great in the kitchen. the schoolroom-if we homeschool. domestic goddesses. master craft-women. literary geniuses. fitness gurus. gardening experts. etc. etc. i really could go on and on. you get my point. but really my point is this: we are too hard on ourselves regarding the things that don’t matter.

my life is filled with many messes. hobbies, the world calls them. but really, they are messes. i don’t have a lot of time to develop these things i like to do. and so most exploits come out less than perfect. but these hobbies are not my vocation. my vocation is that of a mother and a wife. loving and caring for those that i have been given. those are my masterpieces. i have cooperated with God Himself to bring these children into the world. and have vowed to love this man. and in the end it will matter-significantly-what i have imparted to them. how well i loved. and gave. unselfishly. and many times unnoticed. not whether all of my stitches were straight.

so, in honor of this glorious vocation of motherhood and wife-hood. and as a thank you for being a part of this blog-which is one of my many imperfect creative outlets-i’ve got a little, tiny, insignificant give-away for one of YOU. leave me a comment in the next 48 hours-on this post and i will enter your name. the winner will be announced wednesday. have a blessed week, friends.

the bee’s knees

you’re probably familiar with this phrase, but if you aren’t, it means “excellent, of the highest quality.” and if you want to get technical, there is an explanation here. anyway, there are, at the end of this seemingly long week, quite a few thing that i think are the bee’s knees. here is my list:

-reading the adventures of tom sawyer-with a southern(?) accent

this movie, which i watched with one of my sister-in-laws-who is patiently waiting for me to make her this dish. please say bourguignon a few times. i love the way it rolls off of the tongue. forgive me if you wish you were french after watching this film the way i did. and no, i am not excited to make the dish because the recipe happens to call for wine.

this idea-but don’t watch the little dance number by the bees if the thought of bees dancing provocatively offends you.

-seed packets for our own honey bee friendly garden


-fresh air, after a few days of being in the middle of so many different fires. i don’t want to say “wake up californians! could this be a chastisement…???” but there. i just did.

-the yummy combination of wine/popsicles that i am really starting to love. my brother-in-law-thanks d-just gave me a new idea-watermelon flavored jolly ranchers with midori. i am a temperant woman, but after the week i’ve had i thought i deserved two glasses. (it was cheap wine). and it was friday nite.


michael’s sale on stamps and art supplies-i saved $30.00 yesterday on some good stuff!


-progress on: my cloth grocery bags. i am using recycled linen curtains and vintage sheets. i have 4 finished bags. and 3 more cut out. is it terrible that they are so pretty that i hate to think of using them for just grocery bags? i am using one of them as a purse for now. and: 2 handmade gifts are just about completed and almost ready to be sent off. a “dolly carrier” for my girl is all done except for a button and some elastic. and i have doll plans in my head-almost ready for paper-got to get sewing on them asap.


-the HUGE bag of vintage-y lace-y, frilly, cotton-y goodness given to me by my mother-in-law. i have plans for some head coverings for mass with some of the lace….forgive my giddiness, but i am in love with the beautiful, austere way that women look when their heads are covered…but it’s ok if you don’t. i disliked it for years too. the veils always slipped off, they looked “old-fashioned” etc. but it was when i set MY pride aside-and read st. paul’s words-that i just knew-it needed to be done. there is an informative-though not catholic-article explaining many feelings/ideas that are similar to mine here.

– these words from st. augustine, who happens to be one of my FAVORITE saints, so much so that my littlest one bears his name for a middle name….

“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But here is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you. Look below you. Note it. Read it. God, Whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that? Why heaven and earth SHOUT at you: “God made me!”

i am reading his confessions right now, and am looking forward to reading his city of God  next, so i might be jotting down some more of his wisdom in the days ahead. anyhow, i guess i should get off of here. i ate a hostess twinkie (gross, i know). and we are out of milk, but i am extremely thirsty, so i guess it’ll be a glass of cold water for me. i cannot believe we are going thru 2 gallons of milk a week. if we had room i’d invest in a cow. i wonder what the people at the law office next door would think? would they think it was the bees knees…..

rock, paper, bazooka……

or rocket launcher. or grenade. or how about: rock, paper, sniper rifle. it’s our new “rendition” of the old game. i guess my little one thinks rock, paper and scissors are not dangerous enough. or harmful enough. so he has invented this new “spin” and tonite he and my daughter had me cracking up so hard i felt like i was going to pee my pants. she was so good at the motions. i mean it totally looked like she was holding a rocket launcher. and the movements for the grenade actually involve the mouth and pulling out the pin. it is just too hilarious.  

so that’s why i haven’t been able to blog. that and the fact that today was our second day of school and i am easing into it still. trying to figure out just how the days should flow. and i must say that recitation of the rosary is VITAL to our homeschool harmony. we slack off every now and again. but the Blessed Mother is SO faithful, i just ask her to get me back on track and like any mother, she does. the best and really only way for us to get it done is 2-2-1. we say 2 decades in the morn before school with morning prayers. two either right after school or just before dinner. and one with our nightly prayers. this just works for us. and i love it because i feel so much better. there seem to be more hours in the day when one gives to God His time, spent in prayer. at least that is how it is for my children and i.

and so i know i have been a terrible blog friend. and a real life friend. there are un-answered emails. but this is best for me right now. for us. and i hope i don’t offend anyone. you are all so awesome. and there is so much happening on the world. wide. web. but i can hardly contain what’s happening here. and these folks just mean so darn much to me. even the teen is behaving as best as he can. he said something so fascinating to me today that i almost fell off the bed. anyway, i have to get off here because we are going to watch bella together. he is learning about spreading the pro-life message and is there a better movie than bella for a little inspiration?

i hope you are doing wonderfully. and if you aren’t. please ask your mother for a little help.




by late summer. the water. the sound of the waves. their treasures. innocence. watching them laugh. and walk. good food. eating outside. new recipes. stacks of books. un-opened markers and paintbrushes.  new notebooks and learn-to-letter paper for my kindergartener. new shoes.

but don’t envy me too much. this surreal dream world i have been living in has its’ drawbacks: i was waaayyyy behind here at home. it took me a bit to get caught up on my laundry. those piles have a way of growing. we have a mouse in the house. and  an impromptu meeting with my facilitator thursday morning made me realize i have to “hit the books”. and come up with lesson “plans”. quick.

or do i? can’t we just sit under the great big, shady elm. read hamlet together. and color pictures of dinosaurs…….yes, that is what we are going to do. start slow. and steady. because i don’t want to be like that angry lady i saw in target yesterday, yelling at her kids as she checked off items on the school supplies list from her kids’ school. though at the end of our trip i sort of was. but what do they expect when they “hide” packages of cookies and kit kats in my basket. later, after a glass of red wine with a popsicle i somehow felt better. like i could conquer the world. the world of homeschooling my 4 children all at once, that is. i swore a new schedule is in order. it is time to rally the troops. they have been slacking too much. and i can’t do everything by myself.

so while we will be spending the next week adjusting. prioritizing. and going to bed earlier. i am not ready to stop having fun simply because it’s back-to-school time.



i am just ready to adjust to a fall-ish rhythm. slow things down a bit. shut out the call of summer to go and do. the idea of order and schoolwork has me sort of bewitched too. balance friends. isn’t that what life is about? figuring out just what it is- and for every family it is different-is half the battle. so what are you doing to achieve it? and why does it seem so elusive….part of being thrown out of the garden you think?

keeping them close

isn’t easy. on beach days. or any day for that matter. i remember when the bigger ones were little they were so snuggly. cuddly. and needy. i never resented that needy-ness. even though it wore me out. but this new phase. this phase of venturing out. further. deeper. it scares me to death. especially when i see my littlest following their lead. and while sometimes i am content to sit and watch on the sidelines. other times i feel compelled to get closer to them. sure, they are out there with their father. he will watch them. and protect them. but those rocks are so jagged and slippery. that water, deep. it is, after all, the ocean. i felt hindered because i  didn’t change my clothes after mass. we didn’t plan on staying that long as there was a late afternoon basketball game which would cut our visit short.

so our roles have switched. i am the needy one now. sort of. they just don’t realize how much they need me. the world is so big and dangerous. and the time for keeping them close is fleeting. slipping through my hands like the sand through my toes yesterday. and i must have faith that no matter where they go, their Father IN HEAVEN  is always with them. HE is never hindered. and even in those instances when something terrible might happen, i have to hope that it is HE who will ultimately keep them close forever.

the big ones are gone again today. off to the same place. a day trip to the beach with dad. it is probably better that i stayed home. they left in the wee hours of the morning. tiptoeing quietly looking for dry towels and their shoes. most of our stuff was still in the truck from yesterdays’ excursion. besides, i have mountains of laundry to wash. lessons to plan. and maybe even some sewing to do if time permits. i am taking the little ones to a concert tomorrow. i look forward to something less daunting. i am such a wimp. i was so content to sit in my chair and watch them. that is until i saw they were crab hunting. and i am so glad i got up because i even spotted about 7 dolphins swimming just beyond the farthest surfers. my oldest and i got to see this sight together. it was very special. but i have to go now. i just got a call that they are on their way home. and they’re bringing crabs. three to be exact. how that is going to turn out, i cannot even imagine. any ideas on keeping salt water crabs as pets……???

ps. and yes, my toes are still blue. that is the only color i didn’t throw away when we moved, so all summer long it has been blue toes……








if and when

when a mother loses a child, regardless of age or “stage”. whether it is an accident or some terrible tragedy, it does something to my very core. my heart aches for that mother in a way that makes me want to retreat deep into that inner core, hold my own children very close and never let them go anywhere. ever. again. posting about such frivolities like what i am creating, or the beautiful day we had yesterday just doesn’t seem right. the overwhelming sadness and frustration that such things have to happen threaten my peace and i am out of sorts for as long as i allow the darkness to swallow me up. how selfish of me, huh?

however, thankfully, my recent devotion to the blessed Mother, the Sorrowful Mother, especially, has given me the help i need to draw myself out of my own sadness and pray. pray hard.  for the intentions of -two at this moment-very faithful families.

i don’t imagine much tests and tries that of such families as the loss of a  child. the children are all so very wanted. beloved. and treasured. our respect for life, as practicing, faithful Catholics, graces us with the wisdom to know that each new blessing we are given is nothing less than a gift from our heavenly Father.

so what then, when one of these beloved children is called home? that cross is such a heavy one. one which i have carried myself. and it is a burden which i wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. yet God Himself required it of His only begotten Son.

we are not exempt from suffering. how and when He meets it out is not up to us to understand. we can only ask for the grace to deal with it if and when it comes our way.

“Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.” ~amen.

wanted: a dull moment and your opinion





“there are voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter the world.”

~ralph waldo emerson

unfortunately, around here, one of those faint voices was that of the baby the baby has been telling me he wants to learn how to read for quite some time now and with all of the organizing, cleaning, birthday parties and things that i’ve had to attend to these past few weeks, it just wasn’t possible. but thanks to a dear, sweet friend who loaned me teaching your child to read in 100 easy lessons, we have begun.

finding a dull moment to take a nap, sit and knit or just listen to my little girl pianist has been on my to do list this week. yes, i have actually scheduled down time. every phone call and email i received, i carefully considered and spaced so that we could enjoy this last stretch of summer days.

an early morning start allowed me say my prayers and meditations,  sort and start the laundry. finish Qq, Rr, Ss and Tt on the alphabet quilt. tidy my room.  and get on the computer for a bit before any of the kids got up. i still have to mend a button on some shorts, hem a pair of shirt sleeves and finish the rest of the laundry. it is still a cool 78 degrees upstairs and down, which is great because i have an appointment with the exercise bike after i get off here. i’ll do my 7 miles. that seems to be the farthest i can go in 20 minutes. stationary exercising is so boring. i’d much rather go for brisk walks, but i don’t really like to leave the kids home alone. nor do i like to walk by myself. and taking the kids with me usually slows me down. excuses. excuses, i know. it is so much more fun to sit and eat a bowl of icecream or bake a loaf of chocolate zucchini cake (thanks, barb, for that great recipe-the woman is a recipe genius-i swear i gain weight just by looking at bless us o Lord).

i am still gathering my thoughts on this school year. i was too chicken to take the bigger kids out of their charter school as of yet. but i did make the serious decision of keeping the baby out. i declined to sign him up, further stressing my life out with all of the paperwork and documentation that they require after much prompting of the Holy Spirit. so that leads me to my question for you….

i was just curious-out of all my readers who homeschool-how many of you do it independently of a charter/government based school or a home-study program like seton, etc. are there any of you who totally do it on your own? if so, please let me know how this has worked out for you and how long you have been doing it. you can email me privately if you don’t want to share in the comments.

have a blessed wednesday, friends!

getting there

IMG_0432i stopped at Pp because my bobbin needed to be “re-threaded” and that was just too much work for me right now…..can’t. stop. cleaning. cooking. making paper airplanes.

but, really, i am getting there. hopefully this afternoon i can get a few more blocks sewn together after my chores are done. can you think of a better way to learn the alphabet? i can’t.

and i can’t think of a better pep-talk for homeschooling moms than this one. please read it. it will make you feel so much better. at least that’s what it did for me!



 my words just don’t seem to flow very easily these days. i sit down to type out a post and it’s all wrong. i erase it. i rename it. i start over and it is still lacking in some way-shape-or form. and then my practical side says, why complicate things so? just write something.

so this is my something.

my obligations here at home lately leave me so tired at the end of the day that my comfy bed is the only “place” i want to be.

i have so been enjoying the banter that goes on between me and my kids when my focus is solely on them. here. in the present moment. we’ve been  spending our days laying in bed late and reading silly stories. playing dominoes. checkers. counting buttons. watching the big boys play basketball. talking about things like grenades and why they are dangerous. “you know why they are dangerous, mama?” “why, son? because they can kill you?” “no, because of all of those little metal pieces that get stuck everywhere”. (ya think?) or how about this one: “j and i are going to play assassins, but not the killing kind.”

i am still trying to get the loft in order. a hand-me-down table and six chairs arrived from my sister-in-law recently. bless her heart. and there are two boys making good use of it already, designing paper airplanes. one of them just told me, “my tummy is starving, mama.” and “could you make me a paper airplane, mama?” so again i feel the tug to get off of this “place”.

i’ve had my nose in a number of books in my spare time. no novels, just homeschooling helps. i don’t know why i have butterflies in my stomach at the beginning of every new school year. like it’s my first time. not my tenth year. i guess it is because i am constantly changing. the kids are changing, growing. and then there are those gentle nudges from the Holy Spirit to do such and such better. pray more. worry less. love much. and finally that great, yet soft voice that says, “Be still and know that I AM GOD….” and so i put the worry and frustration away for the time-being. i look at fun books instead. excited that St. Augustine’s Confessions is on the Great Books list for my tenth grader. and since it is in our library i’ve already peeked at it. weeping here and there at my own sinfulness and thinking about my own confessions.

i have been in the kitchen constantly this past week, making such good eats. too bad i don’t have the time or the inclination to write any of it down. those coconut kisses were delightful. and i’ve already had several requests to make them again. maybe i’ll share the recipe. they were so easy.

there are 4 boys (plus my own 3) here for a slumber party as my middle son turned 12 on the 31st. yes, he has the great St. Ignatius of Loyola for his patron.

i really wonder how sweet our slumbers will be tonite……there is a lot of talk about trying not to be the first to fall asleep and how dangerous it might prove, as in: one might wake up with a sharpie-induced moustache.

is it really august already? i don’t know where june and july went. after this weekend, when my husband turns 34, i am taking some time off. nothing is scheduled. except for a visit with some friends on the 10th. i like having nothing on the books. i say that mainly because i am pining over some un-interrupted sewing time. excepting that it is awfully hot up here again. those few teaser days, where we had deliciously cool weather, didn’t last long enough….

well, that is all for tonite friends. hope all is well with you and yours.

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