Archive for the month “November, 2009”

God’s green earth

i feel like we’ve seen it all. like i am done with vacations forever. but after traveling over 1100 miles in a car with my kids and husband. for 6 days. staying at various hotels and relatives’ houses. i can’t help but wonder if i am even required to make sense at this point in time.

that being said. i loved this time i spent with my family. the colors of the leaves on the trees. the different kinds of sand on every beach we went to. i loved the architecture of the missions. the gardens filled with flowers. the fountains. the way the mist settles over the ocean just before sunset. the way the water looks when it hits the rocks. i loved all the different species of birds in all of their different habitats. i loved having my pockets filled with treasures by little and big hands. i love that our nature treasures were so plentiful that by the end of our trip that we put them in their very own bag. i love that my husband still puts his arm around me. and how even while i slept he was vigilant about beautiful picture spots. the first time i felt the truck come to a halt unexpectedly i woke up. not knowing why we were stopped. only to find myself in the middle of some perfect place that he felt  he needed to share with me and my camera. i love all of the unexpected twists and turns this trip took us on. it was refreshing and exhausting at the same time. and i love that we are home. sweet. home. and that it is the first sunday of advent. the sound of choppy Christmas carols being played on our piano. the comfort of our own bed. and i think that if anything, this trip made me want to find peace and simplicity in the weeks to come. the weeks in which together, we will wait for HIM.

father’s homily today talked a lot about the light. and the truth and those are two things that i really felt these past few days. as we travelled all over God’s green earth.

i have a new sense of appreciation for mary and joseph as they journeyed to Bethlehem. no modern conveniences to ease their burdens. no gps to tell them which way to go. with alternate routes for missed turns.

just a star. and a promise.

and my heart wells up with joy thinking about how that promise applies to us too. if only we purify our hearts. of all the clutter and nonsense. so we don’t miss that star….


for the road

rebecca is in her pilgrim dress. i used black raw silk. it is a wee remnant left over from the dress my mother made herself for my grandfather, her father’s funeral a few years ago. i know the pilgrims didn’t use silk, but it was the only black fabric that i had. i used simplicity pattern number 0581 and adjusted it a bit. the prayer cap, apron and cape  i came with on my own. using vintage tablecloth and napkin scraps.

this small back pack for my littlest son is made from a pair of my old jeans and the pockets of daddy’s torn camo cargo shorts. i have had this in my mind for some time and there is nothing like the pressure of a trip to force me to sew!

so, today we are off. we’ll head up the california coast. taking our time. stopping at a few missions on the way.  i rally have to get out of here. last night i found myself suddenly worrying about the most ridiculous things. like how the bookshelves needed to be dusted…does anyone else do this before a trip?

signing off now. my husband is tapping his foot…….


blogland for a while.

we will be journey-ing north next week and i have so much to do to get ready. i wish i could say i was looking forward to it, but 500 or so miles in a car is an awful long way for someone who’d rather be home. in her jammies with a warm cup of tea.

funny thing is it is my family we’ll be spending the holiday with, but my husband is more gung-ho about leaving than i am. even though the poor man is sick with a terrible cold right now. i do hope that by the time we are ready to leave he is all better and that no one else gets “re” infected. i really thought we were thru with this flu.

anyhow, i’ll be leaving you with a few links and some things i have planned to do with the kids i don’t know that i’ll get to post pictures until after, but we are working on a small. simple indian village. with more indians like the one above from last year, but with improvements.they are the clothespin sort from michael’s. little felted teepees and food. and some trees. (ht/ jenn and christine)

colonial quilt patterns with my girl. but with the real thing. we’ve plenty of scraps to practice with. this link has some ways to “tie” it into “learning”. i don’t know that i’ll do it, but it sounds “good”. and educational.

we’ll be making our own butter for our thanksgiving bread. and our new favoritest recipe is here. the kids gave it a 20 on the 1 to 10 scale. that’s pretty high, wouldn’t ya say? and the only changes i made were-1 cup whole wheat flour. 1 cup organic pastry flour. and 1 cup of bread flour. 1 extra tbsp. of butter for a total of 3. and 1 more tablespoon of sugar-organic cane instead of brown.

we will be writing our thanksgiving place cards with homemade quill/feather pens with feathers i found scattered all around our yard this afternoon (which i soaked in anti-bacterial soap). and using black acrylic paint for “ink”.  you can do it “virtually” here. and here. and a little history about the writing style of the 1600’s is here.

we are reading:

the pilgrims of plymouth

the landing of the pilgrims

stories of the pilgrims

anyhow, i wish you all the happiest of thanksgivings. hope you are well. and safe. and if you think about it say a little prayer for me…that we’ll be safe and well too….i’ll be doing a little give-away when i get back to celebrate my 1 year blogoversary. it passed before i knew it and i forgot to “acknowledge” it.

well, thank you sweet friends. hope to be “seeing” you soon. good-bye.


i am so thankful that she has been feeling compelled to help me more in the kitchen these days. that she is just so stinkin’ cute in her little thrifted apron is an added bonus.


oh the things you can do with wool

here is the first creation with my winning wool. a FAT little lamb. he has a pipe cleaner body/frame. his snout and feet are wrapped in black wool yarn. i needle felted his coat on top of it all. it appears to be an easy craft to do with kids. as long as you monitor needle use.

we are also working on a purple bird in a nest and a turtle.

i really liked how easy yet satisfying this was. and can see myself filling that “field” of green felt with a bunch of grazing sheep. and some shepherds. and hanging stars. for a Christmas themed nature table.

oh. the things. you can do with wool. *sigh*.

party animals

my girl went to a pajama party last weekend. so of course she needed some new pajamas. and then rebecca “needed” some to coordinate. and THEN she wanted a sleeping bag too. geesh. i really hated to neglect all my housework to accomodate these party animals….


pleasantly aloof

to virtual things right now.

pleasantly entranced by the living. breathing. awe-inspiring. touchable. kissable things of my very real life.

the weather is so fickle these days. one minute we have cold noses and layers of clothes and blankets. the next we are outside flirting with the sprouts in the garden. sweet peas by the dozens. zinnias and sunflowers. will they flower? who knows. we just love watching anything we’ve planted grow! we just as easily become distracted by interesting albeit dead leaves that have fallen to the ground as we do the sprouts. i’m telling you that afternoon sunlight has a way of transforming everything it touches. it is almost bewitching.

lost in yarn the same colors that draw me outside i am ridiculously working on a pair of knitted handwarmers. really they are a big fat joke just waiting for me to put them out of their misery and unravel each and every stitch. my husband politely noted yesterday that he always sees me knitting but i never make anything. i remained tight-lipped about all the progress i’ve made. about how i can now recognize knits and purls just by looking at them. and i know how to knit 2 together. increase and decrease. giant leaps for someone who only ever dreamed of even being able to hold 2 needles at the same time.

i had a funny experience with circular needles this weekend. let’s just say i’ve put them away for a while. we’re both better off. 

i have been wading through biology curriculum for my high-schooler. trying to figure out what is overkill and what is necessary. making jello cells and pretty notebook pages seem sufficient to me. but what do i know? i feel like someone should come up with a living high school curriculum. just the same way we do with the little ones. why do we “throw” all that goodness out the window when the kids get a little bigger?

tonight i went shopping for all the things i need for my mama’s birthday dinner. i will be fixing it for her tomorrow. it was just me and my girl and together we perused the aisles of the store. talking to each other in fake english accents. laughing at the silliest of things.

we’ve been having a sleepytime tea with stories a few times a week. just me and the two little ones. they get in their jammies and robes and we sweetly sip our tea out of pretty cups while i read. it is a rather relaxing little ritual and i can see it becoming something we’ll remember forever.

anyhow, i hope you too are taking some time to be pleasantly aloof of all things virtual and experiencing things that you and your children will remember forever….these are such precious. precious days. hours. minutes. but who’s counting? certainly not me…. 


for comforts’ sake



purple monster toenails and some new flannel jammies.

it is bothering me that i can’t seem to figure out if that apostrophe is where it belongs. in this case sake belongs to comfort?

well, i can’t worry about it. today is library day as it was closed yesterday out of respect for our veterans. and rightly so.

today we will try to paint like eric carle. specifically from this book. which has given someone some really high hopes about the seeds we’ve planted. you’ll understand if you’ve read the story.

so for comforts’ sake i am keeping this short. but sweet. hope you are all doing swell. easing into this new season of falling back. i think i am. finally.

 and as a side note: my girl wanted to fill the pockets of the quilted advent calendar with chocolates too. and my first thought was: are you kidding me? after i hand-stitched those white pockets on. one. by. one. you want to fill them with something that might stain them? but i refrained from using a nasty tone. and in my bestest. politest. Catholic mama tone i said, “well, sweetie, advent is really a penitential season and scripture verses should suffice.”

you know that voice, don’t you? the one we use when our children are suffering from some trifle nuisance and we say gently, “offer it up.”

besides, i don’t know if enough chocolates for the whole family would really fit into those tiny pockets.

the quilted advent calender


i would like to humbly share with you the quilted advent calender. the middle image/picture is from a very old book about the Christmas story. it is of baby Jesus in the manger with the animals bowing to greet Him. i copied it onto some of that computer paper/material.  i did a little embroidery on the edges. and hand embroidered the numbers on pieces of a vintage tablecloth. the top has 3 rod pockets. 2 are yellow. one is blue. there. it is done. except for the advent scriptures i plan to print on cardstock and roll up like little scrolls and tie with ribbon.

it is much nicer in person. but so are most things….. right?

drinking joy









pink leaves. the tail end of little black and yellow birdies in our elm tree. more pink leaves. eating breakfast outside. homemade whole wheat bread with wild blueberry jam. daffodil bulbs. great stories that inspire ideas for school like the color kittens. the possibilities of just red. blue. yellow. and white paint. and felt! it came today and i was so pleased.

i was especially pleased since yesterday was not such a great day. working out the kinks of having so many students with such different needs. figuring out how to teach high school the way that i love to teach while still fulfilling all the standards.

and then i had to crack the whip a bit. too many sick days made everyone around here think it was summer vacation again.

my absence in this space is because i have been really trying to be present to my children. (when i am not cracking that whip that is and even that is done with love). preparing lots of yummy food. mostly venison these days as their papa, my dad, got his deer. and then there is the reading of endless stories. snuggling. looking into their faces when they speak to me. sitting on the couch and doing lessons one on one with all. 4. kids. imagine that.

 and then there is the man who provides the necessities. working hard so i can  buy all that flour to bake bread. material. yarn. paints. and daffodils. i have been trying to sit still with him at the end of these short days. trying not to rush off to the computer. or to the myriad of tasks that call my name. needing to be done. promising me that they’ll multiply if i don’t tend to them. so i shut my door to quiet them. stealing a few pages from that book i am still reading on st. thomas more. until someone inevitably opens it. usually to ride scooters through my bedroom. into the jack and jill bathroom that goes into our daughter’s room and out into the front part of the house. round and round they go.  this really is a great house for riding scooters. and i know i keep talking about it, but i guess it is because every day it still amazes me that i can’t say no. the unadulterated joy on their faces as they whiz past me is something i’d like to bottle up and drink myself. that is if you could do such a thing as drink joy.

 but then again maybe that is what i am doing when i take pictures. it is my way of drinking in the joy that is present every single day. even on the bad days. because even on those bad days, it’s really not so bad.

ps. i did finish the advent calendar, but it doesn’t want to photograph very well for some reason. i’ll try again tomorrow  when the natural light is at its’ best in this old house. it couldn’t be that i just didn’t do that great of a job making it…

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