Archive for the month “September, 2009”

orange ya glad?

we have a place to vent our deepest fears. and quirky habits. and we lovingly support each other?

please know that i don’t condone messy houses. or being unorganized. i really do try each and every day to be a better homemaker. teacher. person. success is elusive. but that is totally beside the point.


today my guest friend commented that she loved my “shabby chic” look and i said that the hardest part was keeping it looking less shabby and more chic. and that is not easily done in a house with 3 boys + 1 man boy. but i have never cared so much about having things just so that it interferes with the comfort level of anyone living here.


unfortunately i am a pack rat and my robert downey jr. looking husband is a minimalist who complains about fire clearances if the furniture is too crowded. but that is only the beginning of our many differences. he likes modern. me pure country. but i/we make allowances. he’ll eat organic ketchup. and i, well, i’ll drink tap water in a pinch.

i think that is really what i was trying to say. make allowances with that voice in your head. or you can ignore her altogether. 

besides, most of you dear readers have children so much younger than mine. i can usually rally enough help me to do a quick pick up and get presentable looking real quick. and as for the deep cleaning, that has to wait for the times that it can get accomplished. i wait for the lists and dustbunnies to tell me when. and sometimes i even ignore those dustbunnies too. they speak ever so softly…


so tea was as successful as i could possibly manage. i won’t bore you with gory details. i did, however, much to my dismay forget to clean a “pile” of stuff i’d swept up early this morning. usually the broom remains in place and that is my “cue” that my work is not finished. well, someone hid the broom. it was must’ve been satan. because i didn’t notice it  until everyone was gone.  sitting there all nice and piled.

and finally, orange ya glad that we are entering a season that embraces orange?!!??! i love the color orange and am looking for ways to sneak it into every room. orange with turquoise, green, red, purple, gold and brown in my dining room. orange with pink, fuchsia, black and maroon in the family room. i don’t mind seeing it here there and everywhere. will i be tired of it come the end of november? probably. do you bring fall colors and decorations into your home decor?



petit what?

so we are having guests over for tea tomorrow and my daughter, with a gleam in her eye says to me, “can you make petit fours?” and i said, “petite what?”  there is a link here if you want a good laugh. and laugh i did when i saw what making those little goodies entails. perhaps one of these fall days when i have 10 extra hours to spare. i will traipse into my gourmet kitchen-where i have all the ingredients on hand- and make them. i hear they freeze pretty well too.

ha! who am i kidding? those kinds of things never last around here. my boys are worse than ants when it comes to sniffing out sweets. besides i am ready to take it down a notch. i am ready to reveal a part of myself to this guest that i’ve yet to do. i hope it doesn’t ruin our friendship. it is still in the new-ish stage and i am so nervous. but i just. can’t handle anything extra right now. God is giving me the grace to be humble enough to say i can’t make petit fours. not now. maybe not ever. and my piano is dusty.

i find it so ridiculous that i never judge people when i go to their houses but for some reason i do the oddest things when people are coming here. things that don’t normally bother me suddenly bother me. like we celebrate halloween. do they? what if they are offended? should i wipe down the washer and dryer? they are dusty too. but they are in an enclosed porch…should the boys do school? does the house look Catholic enough? wait a minute…are we catholic enough? it’s crazy, i know. but it’s really not me. it’s mrs. hyde. she thinks that way.

but we are going to forgive her. because remember she didn’t have coffee today. so she’s tired. and the last thing she wants to do is stay up all nite talking about making petit fours…..they sound so delicious.

and now if you’ll excuse me, i am going to go and watch the soloist. i love robert downey jr. my husband looks so much like him. (in my mind). it’s about battling demons. and i’ve been doing a bit of that lately myself.


around here

i know i’ve been kinda quiet. sometimes a retreat from blogosphere does me good because i actually accomplish the things on my “to do” lists. i say lists because i usually have 4 or 5 running lists. which is the reason i needed to back away from blogging and insert every area of my life into a NOTEBOOK. crafts. bills. household. school. etc. i have to admit that actually seeing my life in black and white-and even a little bit of color-scares me. but avoiding it any longer was scaring me even more. so i worked on lists friday nite. master housecleaning/chores lists. lesson lists for each child. and a daily/weekly household list. it will probably take me a while to iron out the kinks. things change with every move. we gain and lose pets. some people get older and can handle a more responsibilities. and so on and so forth.


this weekend we stayed close to home. i battled ants in my kitchen most of saturday. i hate ’em. i don’t like to say that about any of God’s creatures. but when such creatures enter the realm where i prepare and store OUR food i immediately begin to dislike them.

anyway, whilst perusing the blogosphere on saturday i noticed a trend in “bad days”. that darn devil is having a back-to-homeschool blast. shame on him. my prayers are really going to focus on the homeschooling mamas that give their lifes’ blood to do the right thing. i don’t know why it has to be so hard. correction. i do know why. because it is just the way of the cross. the path of the christian. the agony and the ecstasy.


i am finally reading the screwtape letters by c.s. lewis. GREAT READING it is. and i really could not have stumbled upon it at a better time. it was as if the hand of God dropped that book in my lap and said, “read”. so much has been revealed to me in those conversations between wormwood and screwtape about how the devil works. he is not really so clever. he just takes our own fears, vices, annoyances and weaknesses and uses them against us. he doesn’t really use his own material. so the less we pray and arm ourselves, the easier it is for us to fall. hmph!

i am also reading the mysterious stranger by mark twain. which is an awfully good read too. between these two books, the confessions and all of the things i am reading with the kids, i am really feeling like we are a literary family.

that saying is funny to me in an inside-family-joke sort of way because my great-aunt-God rest her non-catholic soul-used to tell my grandma, her sister, that she really wished she’d come from a literary family….

what does that mean i wonder? it sounds so silly because i would think any family that enjoys books and reading the way we do could be considered a literary family

what about stalking amazon. com to track my order? watching it leave the warehouse. palms sweaty. thinking to myself hat nevada isn’t thatfar away. the books will be here soon. phew! the first of the month never looked so good. even though they aren’t story books, just the THOUGHT of crisp. brand-new books makes my heart skip a beat.

speaking of heart beats i am really going to have to lay off of the caffeine. it is doing funny things to my body and i don’t like the way i felt today. i decided, after discussing it with my husband, that it is a drug. and i think i first knew that i was addicted when even the smell did something to my brain. it was like…”hello wonderful! where have youbeen all day?” i get so nervous and fidgety. scattered and flighty. and i am all those things anyway, so it’s back to green tea for me. so watch out for mrs. hyde…she might be back again sooner than later.

bright letters

i guess i should get off this thing. i have to finish the rosary.dishes. read bedtime stories and plan some meals. oh, and ponder what happened to my black chicken….something fishy went on in the yard the other night. one chicken was dead on the porch and my black pearl is gone without a trace. i get so tired of this animal roller coaster that we seem to be on.

well, that’s it for around here. my word count is at 756 (just for you shelly!). that’s alot for a monday, eh?

ps. i spell-checked and i’d spelled warehouse wrong. guess what the first replacement word was? whorehouse……..what is this world coming to? 772. g’nite. or good morning. depending on when you read this! 791.

the cats’ meow

that’s what all you gals really are.

i didn’t really want you to ignore the important things i had to say.

and i apologize that the start of school brings this sort of stuff out. those dr. jekyll/mrs. hyde posts.

but God is so good that He turned something bad for me into something really beautiful. your comments had me bawling my eyes out, in a good way. (i don’t know why i am so weepy lately. hormones probably.) each one was so thoughtful. sweet. and tender.

and i guess we are all going to have our days… because what we are trying to accomplish, raising saints and trying to become saints ourselves, is serious work. important work with eternal rewards and consequences. and when you’re doing something so special and wonderful expect bumps in the road. expect to stumble and fall. let’s face it, we’ve inherited a fallen nature.

but the great thing is, He does hear. He does lift us up. even though i tend to be so heavy when i wallow in my sorrows. silly sorrows that when looked at with hindsight are hardly sorrowful in the truest sense of the word.

so while mrs. hyde takes a writing break i will stick to light posting. but for now i must go because i am having a tooth pulled. by a dr. with a plastic medical kit. i hope it doesn’t hurt too bad. i am beginning to think he is a bit of a quack. because he wants to use tweezers and no anesthesia. i think i might try to distract him with some breakfast and a little science experiment. i’d really like to keep my tooth….

on lowering your expectations

like with regards to how clean the kitchen should be. or how much school needs to get done in ONE day. or with dresscodes.

tight high-water pants are in style when you’re 5, right? especially when accompanied by red rubber gardening gloves and rubber boots. i almost think people expect that from us homeschoolers. like it’s ok that we go out in public this way because, well, “they do homeschool.”

or what about when somebody drops by for an unexpected visit and every pan is dirty. they must understand that we had to make that pumpkin spice bread because it is the first day of fall. and what better way is there to learn about the letter S than by using spices. besides i ran out of dishsoap and didn’t want to make a special trip just for one thing. especially when i knew i had forty-two millinon errands to run this afternoon.

i cried off and on a lot today. i don’t normally do that. and i don’t even know why i am admitting it out loud.

i cried a lot because it was one of those days when i wasn’t at ease. i felt panicky and overwhelmed. i hate bioglogy and geometry. i don’t want to teach it. not to someone who asks me if he can get a tongue piercing right before we prayed the rosary. i mean it. we were all seated together. rosaries in hand and this brat asks me if he can pierce either his tongue or his chin. i had to hold myself back from going directly to the kitchen for the ice pick. (please don’t call cps on me. we really don’t even own an ice pick.)

and so today i am resenting motherhood. and i am resenting that i am resenting.

this really is a rant. and you should ignore me.

i think i became a little bit panicky yesterday after a very dear friend called me to ask for prayers for a friend of hers. she thinks i am some sort of prayer warrior *scoff*. when really i am just a big chicken. anyway, turns out this friend has terminal cancer. probably just 3 months to live. my hands shake just typing those words.  this friend probably wouldn’t want to harm her teenager the way i do. she just wants to hold her children as tight as she can before she has to let go. for good.

imagine penciling that into your planner. first day of fall. trip to the pumpkin patch. thanksgiving. first sunday of advent. death………

but isn’t that really what a life of faith is all about. and motherhood. letting go. and letting God.

three months to live sounds like a death sentence. but then again, without any real certainty, none of us knows the hour or the day. of our hour. or our day.

so don’t listen to me. don’t resent motherhood. and don’t bake pumpkin chocolate chip spice bread. at least using my recipe. i didn’t care for it. maybe it was because i used nutmeg instead of all spice. silly me.

and do stay away from ice picks and the like. love your children. pray the rosary. every. day. and enjoy life. it is so precious.

because i think God’s expectations are much lower than we think.

ps. i mean regarding dishes. wrinkled tablecloths. and rubber boots and such.




i will




post those recipes. i promise. some are from my collection that i often tear out of magazines and file away for the times when i am in a cooking rut. i  tweak them a little bit so that everyone will eat what is made. i found another one today for chocolate pumpkin spice bread. doesn’t that sound interesting? that is a combination i’d never thought of .

summer is still flirting with us. taunting us with farmers markets and such. a little bit of thrifting with the little ones was on the agenda today and we came home tired and hot. it has been in the high 90’s again.

my heart says enjoy it while it lasts. my head, on the other hand says keep moving with the “schedule” we’ve got going or we’ll get behind. it is awfully tempting to take days off to go and do.

but it is getting darker earlier. and my night owl habits are fading fast. my autumnal body-clock says bedtime at 9 o’clock. but then sometimes i wake up at 1 or 2 a.m. for a little reading. the confessions have me mesmerized. i highly recommend it to anyone who has never read it before. the translation i have is excellent.

well, that’s it for this saturday evening post. i want to enjoy the last little bit of daylight outside. dreaming of my fall garden. and thinking about where the spring bulbs should go…..

at ease

with my role in our home. as educator. chief cook and laundress. the list maker. chore enforcer. walk taker. nurse. story-teller. lesson planner. etc. etc. for the job-description is without end. but you know that. all too well probably. or else you wouldn’t be reading this.

i am at ease with the fact that this rhythm of our days plays out more like a pitch pipe than a symphony. and i can sit at a table with the middles on either side of me while we discuss tom sawyer. the littlest one counting buttons on the floor at my feet. the teenager, seated at the computer watching a discovery streaming video on the magna carta with a slight mowhawk, a large screw in his mouth because he wants to “chew” on something (i thought they outgrew the putting things in their mouth stage…) and i can laugh. i can laugh because at this very moment. these very moments. this is who we are.

we are a homeschooling family. i got that a few weeks ago when going back and forth about sending said teenager to real school-imagine that coupled with the ideas he already has about hair and such. whether or not we are “holy” enough. reading enough. doing enough foreign language or science  i don’t know. none of my kids are building a spaceship from scratch so far. no one has won the state championship spelling bee. and true glimpses of their inner holiness is awfully rare. but that’s ok. i am at ease with that too. because life is always beautiful. it’s just the way you look at things that make it so.

and finally, i am at ease with me.

“the conflict between what one is and who one is expected to be touches all of us.” ~m. shain

at least for now. and that is purely something heaven-sent.




my small successes this week: yummy pumpkin spice bread and creamy potato chicken soup. a new knitting stitch or rather some clarity as to what i was doing wrong. patience with my husband’s decision to let the chickens free range. a change of heart after prayerfully considering some things that would take us outside of the home during our school week. exciting meals planned and shopped for to last us at least into next week.

so what are your successes ? we all have ’em. no matter how small.

a peek

at the least complicated thing about my monday….

the protype for the dolls i am making for my friend. i have many ideas, one being to use flowered fabric for legs. another is to use some of this darling vintage cotton lace that my mother-in-law gave me. what do you think so far?

father read this poem to us at mass yesterday and i loved it. i have another poem i am going to share with you this week from everyday graces which we have been reading as part of our virtue studies. it is a wonderful book. so much so that i am going to order it off amazon this week. i have to return it to the library, but it is full of good things.


happy feast~ we adore THEE O Christ and we bless THEE because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world!

but now i must go because i have way too many things to do today. and my husband is home.

one last thing~it was 70 degrees when i woke up. 70. are things changing in your neck of the woods too? shorter evenings. cooler days. a different look to the leaves. trees. and sky.

i am so enjoying this chilly morning…..starting with my first cup of warm coffee. i’ll toast to fall even if she’s a bit early. cooler weather is one guest i’ll welcome early any time!

on faith

fulfilled. and restored.

and limitations. mine.

i needed a printer badly. we haven’t had one “connected” to our “network” since our last move. it was sort of just working as a copier. but this year, with the high schooler being home again, it is a necessity. so i put in a request. calling out from the depths of my heart to a loving Father, Whose hands quite often “provide” for this family in too many ways to even count. He heard my prayer and not a moment too soon.

this doesn’t always happen as my ways are not HIS ways. so don’t storm heaven for ipod and computer requests on account of me. but regardless, He came through. like a child i had faith. bigger than the size of a mustard seed because i have witnessed first-hand what HE can do when there is nothing that i can do.

so there i was. perfectly contented with what i thought was enough help from above. i don’t like to be greedy.

and then He took it a step further.

while at the store purchasing said printer. with my 4 children in tow.  He sent even more blessings my way in the form of a complete stranger, another customer, who after a bit of chit chat surrounding my littlest son’s name, decided to help me get additional savings that i didn’t even have the capability or brains to search for-using his blackberry-which i don’t have-price-checking and cross referencing online printers and prices at other local stores.

in retrospect, i don’t know why this person helped me. the store was full of so many people. but he did. restoring my faith in humanity. and the kindness of strangers. proving that we shouldn’t ever put limitations on God. for He cannot be outdone in generosity.

i blessed the man. he returned my blessing. went on my way. and here i sit, still sort of in awe of it all.

the printer sits next to me. a big box of confusion. buying it was the easy part. do you think it would be too much to ask for a little more help?

happy friday!

love your mother…




so the big boys are home safe. time in the great outdoors really does them good. their sun-kissed faces were a sight for my sore eyes. they hugged me and sheepishly gave me gifts. a new pink tea cup and some blossoming green tea. i love that tea. i love tea cups. but what i love most is that even though they were far, far away, distracted by many interesting boy things. guns. bows and arrows. tomahawks. etc. they both took the time to do something special for their mama. and so it was only right that yesterday we did something special for the birthday of our heavenly mother. littlest boy, who quite often turns up his nose at glittery crafts, was very eager to make something nice for mary. the mystical rose. and he even wrote the letters all by himself. i’d planned taking pictures of the remnants of lemon-cream cheese birthday cake that we made, but it didn’t last long enough. it was awfully yummy. but does anyone else feel like there must be a healthier way to celebrate feast days? we have been feasting way too much….

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