Friday, November 28, 2008

Evil!

Do you see the evil spaghetti squash lurking in back of the beautiful, good fruit?

He's so evil that he couldn't wait for the microwave. While I was on the computer (remember the blogging addiction?) the other day, we heard a familiar **boom**. He had rolled off the counter for no good reason and fallen onto the floor where he cracked open!

But I had the last laugh. I dealt him several decisive blows with a butcher knife and put him in the microwave. No further explosions that day! muahahahaha!

So, today, HE is the failure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Home Economics at Its Finest

Remember when I recommended that homeschoolers should take the week of Thanksgiving off so they have time to prepare for feasting and guesting on Thanksgiving Day? Well, when you're planning to leave for the whole week, you need to take 2 weeks off!


However, we can't spare that much time away, so we do the next best thing. Teach the kids to sew, and to shop using coupons, and to make cookies. And call it Home Economics 101.

Learning to make a packing list and pack your clothing efficiently is also part of the lesson.

And don't forget clean-up!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas Project

This has been fun. Full of trials and tribulations and downright mistakes. In fact, I ran out of thread just as I finished the last stitches. I would have had to go shopping to get more---I had about 8 inches left over! Thanks be to St. Anne!

What that? You can't tell what it is? I think you get the gist. That's all you get because it is a present and you shouldn't be peeking! Lol.

We like how the American flag miraculously appeared in the corner. We didn't plan that. The kids want me to make one for them now.

Maybe after Christmas.

Monday, November 24, 2008

No Fail Hats!



Here are the successful attempts at hatmaking! Pictured are the Anna of Green Cables and the Rose Hill Hat from the House on Hill Road. I checked my gauge this time. Well, I confess, only on one of them.

Erin, at House on Hill Road, was very helpful when I emailed with problems. The hat turned out beautifully despite my fudging making things up as I went along creative license. I'm going to make another one in rose, following her instructions this time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Family Beach Bash



We are on our way to the beach! After 4 long years of not getting together with MoW's family at the beach, we are on our way back. Dh and I have been going to the beach with his family since we started dating! That's about 25 years now. The annual vacations came to an end when there were too many grandchildren who were growing up and having schedules of their own during the summers.


Finally, We are off to spend the week in the Outer Banks, NC. I've never been there this time of year, but we have a fabulous house to stay in, and I'm psyched to just hang out. There are so many things to do:

  • knit
  • crochet
  • read
  • work puzzles
  • play games
  • watch movies
  • walk on the beach
  • climb lighthouses
  • and, best of all, just be with the in-laws, siblings, and scads of nieces and nephews whom we see far too little of!
I am so thankful we get to go! I've got several posts scheduled for while I'm away. Keep my blog warm for me. See you next week!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Yikes.

70%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating



Good thing I'm going on vacation tomorrow. Without a computer.

I hope dh is prepared for DT's.

H/T: Shelly, I don't think I needed a quiz to tell me I have a problem.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hat Fail

Okay, it's not really a hat. It's a giant, white chocolate Hershey's Kiss.

This is my first attempt at the Anna of Green Cables hat which I fell in love with. All you experienced knitters out there know that you're supposed to check your gauge before starting! I'm seriously too good for that. My gauge is always exactly what it's supposed to be.

I guess this time I didn't bother to use the correct yarn for the job. So, this lovely wool hat is kinda small.

Since it is wool, I think I'll just shrink it and find a baby or a doll who can use it.

So you don't think I'm a total FAILure, come back soon to see my successful Anna of Green Cables. In green, no less.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jesse Tree Ornaments

To answer Carol's question about Jesse Tree ornaments---

I was just thinking about the very simple, one-dimensional felt cut-outs that our parish preschool puts on the trees at church. Those wouldn't be too hard to replicate---cutting out an apple and gluing on a stem, cutting out a round earth and gluing on some simple continents, etc.

Or they can be more elaborate. Check these out:



I can't find images or links to what I imagine, or have actually seen on a blog. Felt ornaments that are stitched together and stuffed, and perhaps have embroidered details. That sounds like a year-long project unless you work quickly and can sit down and make one per day. That could be a recipe for making moms crazy! I tried that with the cross-stitched ones. I never got past Adam and Eve, but that could be because cross-stitching takes longer.

Rocks in my Dryer has ideas about how you can just purchase premade ornaments at Hobby Lobby that fit the description! Love that idea! Especially if your household economy hasn't collapsed with the rest of the country's!

Ye utuvienyes!: (I just refined my search a little!) Chez Ouiz has the most beautiful felt ornaments I have seen. I can't tell you how much I'm itching to make a set of these!

But having read Jennifer's post the other day (did you subscribe to her blog yet???), I don't think I'll start another project. Unless you want me to make them for you for your Christmas gift (next year).

~~~~~~~

10 points if you know where that quote comes from. MoW, you can't play.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Advent Traditions

My sister-in-law asked me what we do for Advent traditions. I'm sure she didn't realize how much I would have to say on the subject, so I thought it would make a great blog post. I mean, I'm doing all this work, shouldn't more people have to read about it benefit from it?

Since Advent usually starts the Sunday after Thanksgiving, we're rarely ready for it! It didn't take too many years of homeschooling for me to realize that we should always have a full week of school vacation for Thanksgiving. After all, it's practically impossible to school, clean house, and cook, or even travel, at the same time. Take a week off. You'll thank me for it. Then you have some hope of being ready for Advent!

Advent wreath on the dining table. Here are some directions. Another variation is to put a "Christ" candle in the center. It can be covered w/ a blue cloth to represent Mary, or just kept unlit until Christmas. I'm all about the mystery and symbolic little gestures! I like to use a red sparkly pillar candle that I put in the center on Christmas. Sometimes I replace the purple and pink candles with red or white.

I like to take it a step further and put an Advent wreath on my front door, adding a new bow every Sunday. I put up the regular wreath on Christmas Eve (or replace the bows).

Advent Calendars
Another little tradition that I enjoyed when the kids were younger is a homemade countdown chain. The first one I ever made was Christmas tree shapes cut out and hung over red yarn on the mantle. Each tree had a date and inside was an activity for us to do that day.

Back then, we used to go to the mall nearly every day to buy one present. Yes. One. I was crazy. But it was fun, short and manageable and no one ever had a breakdown. Of course, now they can't ever stand to stay home more than one day because I trained them to get out of the house every day!!! But, I digress.

The activities were not just crafts for me to do with the kids. They were my actual to-do list to get ready for Christmas. Bake cookies for cookie exchange. Cookie exchange. Wrap presents for grandparents. Mail presents to grandparents. Go to the mall to see Santa. The children didn't really care that it was a practical list---it was fun to see what the plans were for the day and fun to help Mom get ready for Christmas.

Since we switched to Catholicism and celebrating Advent, the trees hung over the yarn morphed into a purple and pink Advent chain. Much more liturgically correct. Much more of a pain if you're using your to-do list! You see, it's hard to have your whole 4 weeks of Advent planned out that well during the week of Thanksgiving. With the stapled links on a chain you don't have the luxury of filling in the next few days when you're ready! So, now our chain has prayers on it. I think. This year, Little Princess made the chain during her co-op class (God bless those teachers!) and I have no idea what is inside it.

We also have a felt advent calendar with all the little pockets that the kids enjoy because it has a Nativity theme and they like taking the little people, animals, and stars out.

Let me just point out that having an Advent chain, Advent calendar, and the to-do list chain is NOT TOO MUCH STUFF. It's essential when you have lots of little hands that want to take their turn for the day! The fighting every day nearly wore me out and made me long for Christmas more than anything.


Jesse Tree
I love the Jesse Tree. It is my most favorite-est tradition of all of them. There are lots of ways to do this and lots of resources on the web. It can be a small, tabletop tree or something more elaborate. We've done it several ways over the years.

The first year, when my 4 children were 7 and under, we made the ornaments out of salt dough, painted them with food colors, and sealed them with mod podge. A few have broken over the years and been re-done, either with sculpey or bread dough. These are adorable. That year, we put up our full-sized tree and just put the Jesse Tree ornaments on it until Christmas eve when we finished decorating it. I thought it was very special having those ornaments that represent the history of salvation on the tree. Loved it.

Later I purchased a small, 5 foot, artificial tree which serves as the Jesse tree now. It's decorated with the same bread-dough ornaments and pink and purple ribbons. 3 purple, 1 pink. Naturally.


We're usually too busy to put up the big tree on Christmas Eve, so we put it up on the "Pink Sunday"---Gaudete Sunday, which reminds us that the joy of Christmas is coming! We're flexible on the decorating, too, since I'm all about keeping it joyful and non-stressful as possible.

We have 2 (!) sets of ornaments from Illuminated Ink. They're simple to color and cut, but there aren't as many as I would like. Lots more neat stuff available from Illuminated Ink! If I were making another set, I'd be tempted to make them out of felt. Simple would be cut and glued, perfect for little helpers. More elaborate would be sewn together and stuffed!

We use Advent and Christmas for the Christian Family by Teresa Zepeda and Laurie Gill for our Jesse Tree readings and other traditions. Our book has long readings, which we use more now that the kids are older, and short versions of the story so they get the basics when they're little. And sometimes, we alternate depending on how busy everyone is. By now, they know the stories very well. We do one reading (or 2 if we missed a day!) every evening after dinner and we take turns hanging the ornaments. Here is another great resource.

If I were making my ornaments out of felt---which I'm sort of thinking of doing now!---I'd use them as school lessons. Tell the kids the story in detail as we sit at the table crafting the day's ornament and discussing. Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? The reality is, and was, very different, but the kids still love stuff like that!

Feast of St. Nicholas
We celebrate this on December 6.
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas will soon be there!

We try to make special cookies in advance or have beignets for breakfast.
O Night Divine looks like great resource for celebrating Advent! This is really hard to celebrate now since the school kids leave at 6:45 a.m.!

So, to get ready for the beginning of Advent, this is what we do:

  • Advent wreath(s)
  • Nativity sets (leave Jesus out of the manger and the Wise Men far to the East!)
  • Christmas Stockings
  • Any other St. Nicholas statues
All the other stuff and decorations come out slowly. To me, Advent is a long season of preparation both spiritual and physical. Taking the time to do all these things over the whole month makes it both less stressful and emphasizes that Christmas starts December 25. Figure out how much you can handle on one day---like decorating the banister, or the bushes out front---and put it on your Advent chain.

Did I mention that I love, love, love the fact that Christmas is more than one day? We keep everything out until Epiphany. Only then do we start dismantling. Usually, the neighborhood requires that outdoor lights be put away around that time. That's all we do. The rest is done as I feel like it. I figure I'm good until Candlemas. Then the tree comes down. Sigh.


Have a beautiful, blessed Advent, ya'll!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thank Goodness

Football season is over!

I'm sorry the boys lost their game last night, but I'm thankful I was there to see their valiant effort. And I'm thankful that the State Championship won't interfere with our Thanksgiving plans!

I'm sorry Hitch sprained his ankle, but I'm thankful it's doesn't seem to be broken.

I'm sorry we had to drive 200 miles to see the game, but I'm very thankful that we got there and back again safely!

I'm thankful that the weather co-operated and we watched the game in balmy 70 degree weather. Except for one, very brief shower, it was very nice. We drove down through some extremely heavy, scary rain for a while. The drive home was much nicer with no rain and no traffic. We got home at 2:55 a.m. and MoW pulled with the guys around 3:30. Yawn.

I'm especially thankful that the Pipster and Little Princess were good sports about the whole driving thing. TMax missed the event because he is at Fort Benning with his scout troop.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Friday Fail

No, you didn't click the wrong link. This is not www.failblog.org

This is A Shower of Roses where only good things happen. Right? Hmmm, not always.

After my little accident the other day, which I took a picture of, because I'm a blogging mom, TMax thought I should start a regular, weekly feature called

Friday Fail

Seriously?

Do I fail that often?

Now I know what he thinks of me.


Here it is. The moment you've all been waiting for. This week's fail:




My spaghetti squash exploded in the microwave and made a lovely, loud boom that the kids really enjoyed. It even made the microwave stop running.

But that's not nearly as good as the last exploding spaghetti squash of which I cannot locate a photo at the moment. That time, the microwave spat it out on the floor and slammed the door shut again! We went in the kitchen to check on the source of the disturbance and found the squash all over the floor and the microwave closed. Weird.

Even I will admit that was a pretty spectacular Fail.

There have been lots more spaghetti squash successes than failures. Honest.

Stay tuned. Let's see if I live up (down) to TMax's expectations!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monsters

video video video

This is a movie that the kids spent the afternoon making with my camera.

You're lucky---there are only 3 parts for you to watch. I had to watch many more before they got it right finished to their satisfaction!

It is so much darker in the back yard that you can hardly see what's happening. If you listen carefully, you can hear the smoke alarm going off in the house because it doesn't like my cooking!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Georgia Aquarium

Inside the Piranha tank!


Watching

Jellyfish---looks like a rocket

Garden Eels



The Georgia Aquarium is a beautiful place to visit, except for the fact that it is ridiculously overpriced. Everything is too expensive for words. But I do love they way they evoke a feeling of calm serenity while you watch the sea creatures.

And I'm very thankful that we were able to go with our homeschool group and get a serious discount.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Giveaway!

Fawndear is having a giveaway in honor of...what? Raising the reading level of her blog? Or just because she's fun that way. Whatever...hop on over and check it out if you want some bling.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Conversion Diary: How would you know? - The diary of a former atheist

Conversion Diary: How would you know? - The diary of a former atheist

Jennifer has another incredibly well-thought out and well-written post that you absolutely have to read. Really, just book-mark her blog or put it in your reader; she's that good.

But here we are, he has been elected, and I'm scared to think about what's going to happen in the next 4, no 8, years. I think it's ironic that he's the poster boy of Planned Parenthood which was founded by Margaret Sanger for the express purpose of getting rid of people like him. Margaret Sanger wrote in 1939:

"We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten that idea out if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
She must be enjoying the fact that the President himself is going to help continue what she started!

Don't misunderstand me---I'm happy that the U.S. has finally overcome racial prejudice enough to actually elect a black man president. It's just that one that concerns me. I would have written in Clarence Thomas if he wasn't already busy.

If we call our unborn children subhuman or punishments, it's a very short step off that slippery slope. Next it's the failed abortions who can be left alone to die. It's the old and sick who can be killed. Both of which are already happening!!! Where does it end? Who decides who has the right to live or die?

Personally, I don't want that responsibility. And I hope America wakes up before the tsunami that's coming hits us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Unschooling Friends of Atlanta

My friend Rachel has started a group for unschoolers. So, if you are one and you are local, go visit her!

I'm only a part-time unschooler---like during these weeks where we have appointments every day, elections, CSA boxes to pick up, and crafts to do!!! We get a lot of unschooling done during weeks like this. Lol.

Seriously, I think Rachel has great kids. They're very cool, like her. Go visit.

This Morning

I am thankful for:

term limits in government,
living in the United States of America,
the knowledge that God is ultimately in charge.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

That makes me want to go watch Veggie Tales Madam Blueberry today to help us get into the swing of being thankful! Do you ever go through life thinking you're thankful, but not really paying attention to the little day-to-day things? Just the big things?

I remember a time, about 12 years ago, where the Master of the World and I actively looked for signs of God's presence in our lives. The number of times and the ways He spoke to us were astounding. It's sounds bad to say that we did that 12 years ago. It seems as if we don't do it anymore. I don't think that's true, though. I think we just became so convinced that He is active in our lives that we don't have to make a conscious effort all the time to look for Him.

http://southbreezefarm.blogspot.com/2008/10/thankful-month.html


Maybe gratitude is the same way. Or is it? So this month, I'm joining in the Giving Thanks Challenge from South Breeze Farm. Watch my sidebar for gratitudinal additions. Daily, I hope. Or I'll add in several if I miss a day. I know this month I'll be thinking often....daily....of my friend w/ terminal cancer. She has always been thankful for her blessings. One of the most beautiful people I know. She is now facing the huge trial of recovering from brain surgery and fighting her cancer and she is obviously thankful for every moment with her family and friends. I want to be that thankful, and I don't want the specter of death to make me get there.

So, for now, I am thankful for having had KT home from UGa for 4 days. I love having her home. I love having all my children around the dinner table and having fun with them. We have always had wonderful family dinners and I'm thankful that that is a habit we started early and stuck with in spite of the sometimes crazy evening schedules. I'm terribly grateful for MoW because he's the glue that holds us together.

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