Friday, April 30, 2010

7 Quick Takes


First Communion prep is in full swing here.  Last minute cleaning and cooking on the list for today, then the in-laws arrive this evening, and rehearsal.  Our Little Princess is looking forward to tomorrow! I bought some flowers to decorate with and she keeps saying I should buy a bouquet to give her after Mass.  I keep reminding her that she's getting the King of the Universe and that should be quite enough.  

Dontcha think?


Did I ever tell you how smart my husband is?  We've been nagging him for years to go on Jeopardy!  and he never would listen.  TMax got the ball rolling by trying out for Teen Jeopardy! a couple of months ago and learning the process.  We finally coerced dh into taking the online test which you have to register for and then, if you pass, they might contact you for an audition.  

So he's gotten the email for an audition, which means he'll we'll go to New Orleans for more testing.  I think there is another computer test, and then some actual play with the buzzers, and an interview.  Should be interesting.   It's an overnight in NoLa where we've never been, so we're excited.  

The thought that he could win 2.5 million dollars like Ken Jennings is pretty exciting too, but I'm not getting my hopes up about that.  


My little princess never reads my blog.  Why would she?  TMax says, "Why should I read your blog, Mom?  I live your blog!"  Wouldn't you know it, the very day I posted about her rosary, she said she wanted to read it!  I certainly didn't open the page for her, and I hoped she wouldn't, but I knew if I protested too much she'd get a stronger urge.  I kept wondering what made her so suspicious, but I guess it was just coincidence.  


I'm getting such a kick out of reading a gazillion blogs on Fridays from The Inspired Room's linky party.  I open a whole bunch of tabs and go to town reading all about large and small decorating projects.  It's a lot of fun----there's such a wealth in inspiration and information in the blogosphere!  Yes, there's a lot of wasted time there, too, so I one has to be careful.

I'd like to have my own inspirational post to put up every week, too.  But...alas...No.


Remember I told you briefly about this little girl Kerrigan that we were praying for?  After her open-heart surgery, she aspirated her juice and went into cardiac arrest.  Evidently, her brain was without oxygen for 10 minutes until they got her on life support.  Now, from what I know, that kind of oxygen deprivation is disastrous!  When she finally started waking up after that, she did not look good and it looked like she was going to have severe brain damage.  

Our choir started praying for her through the intercession of Pier Giorgio Frassati and the next day she showed miraculous improvement!!  She has learned to crawl, walk, talk, and eat again.  In fact, she was just released from rehab this week, and as far as I know,  is almost completely back to normal.  We're so excited about her recovery.  What an ordeal this young family has been through!

Many thanks to God and Blessed Pier Giorgio for her recovery and their continued faith.


My college kids will be home for a short weekend tomorrow to celebrate with LP.  I can't wait to see them!  Then they'll be home next week when they're finished with exams.  I'll get to have them for 3 whole weeks until they go back to college-town to spend the summer.  They have jobs there, you see, and it's wise to keep those these days..


Madden is away for a couple of days at the State Track Meet.  It kind of blows my mind that he left yesterday morning and won't return until Saturday evening for about 20 seconds worth of running!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My First Daybook!

A little something new today!  It's so busy around here, and I can't grab hold of any of my scattered thoughts to try to write a blog post on one subject, so I thought it would be nice to let someone else guide me.  I enjoy others' daybooks, so we'll give this a shot....

Outside my window...Every morning it's the same thing...a husband and wife cardinal singing to greet the dawn, followed by the big yellow schoolbus turning around in my cul-de-sac with annoying beeping signaling that she is in reverse.  Query:  why can't she just drive around the circle instead of backing up?  I know the circle is big enough.

I am thinking...all the things on my to-do list for the next 3 days for LP's First Holy Communion on Saturday and of Jen's post today with this quote from St. Francis de Sales:

Soon we shall be in eternity and then we shall see how insignificant our worldly preoccupations were and how little it mattered whether some things got done or not; however, right now we rush about as if they were all-important. When we were little children how eagerly we used to gather pieces of broken tile, little sticks, and mud with which to build houses and other tiny buildings, and if someone knocked them over, how heartbroken we were and how we cried! But now we understand that these things really didn't amount to much. One day it will be like this for us in heaven when we shall see that some of the things we clung to on earth were only childish attachments.

I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't care about these little games and trifling details of life, for God wants us to practice on them in this world; but I would like to see us not so strained and frantic in our concern about them. Let's play our childish games since we are children; but at the same time, let's not take them too seriously. And if someone wrecks our little houses or projects, let's not get too upset, because when night falls and we have to go indoors -- I'm speaking of our death -- all those little houses will be useless; we shall have to go into our Father's house. Do faithfully all the things you have to do, but be aware that what matters most is your salvation and the fulfillment of that salvation through true devotion.
It's a huge list and it doesn't even include our daily activities and schooling.  There don't seem to be enough hours in the day!  I do know, though, that I'll get done the essentials, and somehow her First Communion will come and go whether I get to every detail or not.

I am thankful for...contract lawyers.

From the learning rooms...We're wrapping up subjects one by one.  I love that end-of-year feeling!  We've been enjoying The Journey North even though we're only doing it sort of halfway.  It's been a fun addition to our lessons.

From the kitchen...Oh, there will be a lot of cooking in the next couple of days. 

I am jammies with my favorite UVA zip hoodie and my mom's fuzzy socks.

I am creating...plans for our American Heritage Girls banquet next month.  We've got a neat crossover ceremony planned!

I am going...Shopping, shopping, shopping.  Lots of little things to pick up here and there.  I have to figure out the best time and route to take to get all these things done.  I'm also going to the library during piano lessons today.

I am reading...All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg.  My 16 yo recommended it, and I'm enjoying it quite a bit.  He writes very vividly about his growing up in poverty-stricken Alabama.

I am hoping...that I don't have a meltdown this week!

I am hearing...All kinds of interesting noises from the dozing children in the chairs behind me.  I think they got up too early!

Around the house...Messes, everywhere.  Little fires that need to be put out.  Especially the giant conflagration of AHG materials that arrived this week from the soon-to-be ex-Troop Coordinator.  I don't know where I'm going to put all this stuff.  Even though my room has the most space, I hate feeling like I sleep in the attic!

One of my favorite things...Blue skies and puffy clouds.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Oh, I think I covered that already!  ;-)

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...Hmmmm, I'm not going to be sharing a picture thought right now because Blogger has changed the system and I can't add photos from my iphoto.  They have to be from a picasa album.  I wish they'd tell me before they do these things. 

You can find other Daybooks here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I Heart this rosary...

the center medallion....

the color of the sparkly pink, iridescent Aves...

the pearly Paters...

the tiny seed beads between the larger beads....

I especially love the fact that it was made by my sweet friend in Ohio! for our Little Princess's First Communion on Saturday.  She will absolutely Love. It.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Proud to be Catholic

I just had to post this, although I can't find the original source.  Mr. Miller makes some great points.  If you're a Catholic having doubts about your Church and your priests, pay close attention to the statistics on pedophilia.

Jewish Sam Miller on Catholics
Excerpts of an article written by non-Catholic Sam Miller - a prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman:

"Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the  United States  , namely the Catholic Church?
Do you know - the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to that Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. The graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%.
The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the  U.S.  with an enrollment of 700,000 students. 
The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people - not just Catholics - in the  United States  today
But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage.
Let me give you some figures that Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the  United   Methodist   Church  , 41.8% of clergy women reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed.
Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic Problem.
A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.
The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now.
Walk with your shoulders high and you head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the  United States . Then remember what Jeremiah said: 'Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls'.  Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions. 
Be proud that you're a Catholic." 

Monday, April 19, 2010

First Communion Preparation

My ongoing project for the next 2 weeks is making sure our Little Princess is properly outfitted for her First Holy Communion, both spiritually and physically.

The past few days have been concentrated on that physical aspect (while the past few months have been concentrated on the spiritual part).  Using my trusty coupons from JoAnn's (you are on their mailing list, right?  You never go without a coupon, right?), I have made several trips to buy one or two things.

Like a tiara.  She is such a princess and loves her bling!

Like tear-drop tulle.  She really liked the extra oomph of those teardrops!  And, I'll admit that I do, too.

I simply gathered the tulle and attached it to a ribbon, and then set about sewing it to the tiara.  I didn't like the look of the thread since I couldn't find my clear thread, so I decided to glue it.  (gasp!)  I figure I can always sew it when I get the thread if I'm not sure it will hold up, but I used the super E-6000 craft glue, and I think it will hold.  I opted NOT to use hot glue because it can be hard to manipulate and I didn't want to risk getting glue in places I oughtn't.

I also got out KT's dress which I made for her First Communion in 1997. (Has it really been that long?) I kept looking at it and finally came to the conclusion that it had yellowed a bit in 13 years.

A little internet research led me to buy a new bucket of Oxy-clean to soak it for a few hours.  Let me tell you, I was really nervous last night!  After the first hour, I thought it was getting yellower!  Four hours later, I ran the washer and it came out snowy white.  Hooray!

I re-hemmed it this morning since this little princess is a bit taller than her sister was.  And I keep having the same conversation with myself that I had 13 years ago-----did I sew this dress wrong side out????

(ugh, blurry)

The white on white damask looks like it could go either way to me.  KT and I opted for the dull background with the satiny roses showing instead of the satin background with dull roses.  She liked it.  I preferred it that way for a little girl.  But I honestly don't know which side is the right side.

I remember there was another girl at KT's FC who had a dress of the same fabric.  I think her mom used the other side.

Which side would you use?  Which one do you think is right?  WAIT!  Before you answer....

If you think the satin background is the correct side, you must also say that it doesn't matter and it's beautiful either way!!!  

I need the moral support and I don't want to have to make a new dress this week.  Or worry myself sick that she's wearing her dress wrong-side out.

I'll just say one more thing.....I can sew, but I am NOT a seamstress.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

As Seen on the Road

I wish I had a picture.

 I've never seen a dog on a motorcycle before, but we came upon one yesterday.  A little bichon frise sitting in a leather bucket on the back of her daddy's Harley. 

 I thought she was going to get strangled when she fell off, but she was wearing a harness, and I suppose she's not likely to fall off with the sides of the bucket there.

 Then when we passed, we saw that she was wearing little goggle/sunglasses to protect her eyes.  They had hot pink bows on the sides!

And she just put her little chin on daddy's shoulder while they drove.  It was so sweet.

And just about the funniest thing I've ever seen!

Friday, April 16, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday


Fridays.  So much pressure.  

It's an "easy" day in school---fewer subjects for the kids so that we have time to go do things with the homeschool group, or doctor's appts.  But since there is less going on with the homeschool group, I can do soooo many other things....

Like read decorating blogs.  Fun!
Go thrifting.  More fun!
Work on a project.  Even more fun!

And if you START the day by reading decorating blogs, you're even more inspired to do those other things.

2.  Don't know what's up with blogger this morning.  It's not working properly.  Or is it my keyboard?  My 'enter' key isn't working to take me to a new line.  Weird.

3.  We're praying a novena for the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, this week since his birthday is coming up and he's going through so much turmoil these days.  Won't you join us?  He needs our prayers!

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world. Amen.
V/    Let us pray for Benedict, the pope. R/    May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life, make him blessed upon the earth, and not hand him over to the power of his enemies.
V/    May your hand be upon your holy servant.
And upon your son, whom you have anointed.
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory Be.
  4.  TMax had a great time at Eagle camp and got his photography merit badge.  Since then, he's been figuring out our camera, which admittedly is not a great one.  Here are some of his pics:

Any guesses on what those are?  The first one is easy.  The 2nd and 3rd, not so much.

5.  We're getting a little taste of the end of the school year!  TMax finished one of his books this week, and they're going to wrap up a few more next week, I think.  We'll still have the tough stuff to keep us busy for a while longer, but it feels so good to finish up and check off those subjects!

6.  I've been watching Glee on lately.  It's hard to watch shows that come on at 9 p.m. because we're usually praying and putting kids to bed then, so I missed all last season except for the first one.  I love it because it's funny and all about singing, but I'm disturbed by how raunchy it can get.  Kids watch this show?  Not mine.  

I know some of you will totally agree with me and some will say that it's not that bad.  Well, I'd just rather err on the side of caution when it comes to meeting St. Peter at the Pearly Gates and he asks me why I let my kids do certain things.

 7.  Thank goodness this is no. 7, because the whacked-out blogger is making me crazy.  

I'm going to go workout, educate my children, make a run to JoAnn's for First Communion veil supplies, so I can take the kids to the park with the other homeschoolers after lunch.


 Have a Blessed Friday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Pillows

This week's project was thrifty, new pillows for my family room.

On Sunday, I made the pillow "forms" from an old and stained tablecloth my mother-in-law had given me to repurpose.  After removing the lace trim, I got 4 20" square, hardly stained, pillows out of it.  I have plans for the lace, too.

A while back I had used my trusty calculator at JoAnn's to find out that the big 5-pound box of fiberfill is, indeed, the cheapest.  Which I bought with my trusty 50% off coupon.   It was perfect for filling those 4 pillows.

The next step was to make pillow covers out of shower curtains.  These waffle-weave curtains had been hanging in the princess's room ever since it was a boy's room.  Fabric shower curtains can be a great way to cover big windows inexpensively!

I cut a long strip and overlapped the edges to make a sham of sorts so it could be easily removed and washed.  A simple seam down each side is all that's needed---unless you want to zig-zag and finish all the edges.  Just measure carefully to make sure you end up with that 20x20 size, or a hair larger.

My inspiration was a set of pillows with a row of buttons that I thought was from Pottery Barn, although I can't find them now.  Instead of buttons, I have grommets.  

But they're not uncomfortable.  In fact, one hardly notices the grommets, and the waffle weave is super cozy and comfy.  It provides a nice texture against the leather furniture.  

I'm also loving the 20x20 size much better than the 16x16 pillows we had.  These are much better for sitting against on this b.i.g. furniture!

Maybe I'll get a few minutes to sit on the sofa today and read!  Probably not to myself, but I can curl up with a child (or two) and do schoolwork.

Friday, April 9, 2010

7 Quick Takes


It's a quiet week here:  TMax is away at Eagle Camp (a special camp for boys who want to work on their Eagle-required merit badges), and the neighbors are on spring break.  Pipster and LP and I are trying to get our schooling done, but it's not easy because they're not motivated.  They just want to play.  It doesn't help that LP has been a little sick this week, too.


Also, since it is spring break, the two of them have their first pet-sitting job ever.  They're taking care of a little dog down the road.  She requires about 5 visits per day (so it's a good thing we're home!), and she nipped at LP on the first day since she was scared of her.  My Princess got hit by just one tooth (thank heavens!) on the bridge of her nose, but it bled quite a bit.  We've kept it clean and watched it carefully, and it's looking much better.

On Wednesday, Little Princess went to play with a little friend who has a very big dog---a Rhodesian Ridgeback---who is always kept locked up because he's a bit aggressive toward people who come to the house.  LP rang the doorbell and when the 6 year-old opened the door, she let the dog out who immediately attacked my baby!  Poor thing was terrified and has a couple of bites on her ankle.  He broke the skin, but it didn't bleed much (it wasn't as deep as the one on her nose!).  There's more bruising than bleeding.  Fortunately, the dog obeyed immediately when called by the mom. 

The poor mom had just gotten out of the hospital and was beside herself with worry about my baby.  She called me and cleaned her up.  I'm more concerned about the Little Princess being scared of dogs than anything else, but she was actually brave enough to go back over there when invited yesterday!  Even though the dog is in the garage, I'd still be a little nervous over there!


We've been working at our community garden this week.  This week is was our job to turn the compost. Since it was just me and the 2 little ones, I had to do it all myself----move compost C to bin A, and compost B to bin C.  It was exhausting, but I got my workout for the day.

I planted some lettuce and brussels sprouts, but I still have my tomato and pepper seedlings at home.  I'm waiting a few more days to be sure we're past the frost day.  As an experiment, I also planted a few things at home to see if we get enough sun here.


In exciting news, TMax got accepted to one of our local Catholic schools, so he'll be going to high school next year!  He's looking forward to it because they have so much to offer.  It's not the same school my older 3 have gone, too, so it will be a bit of a change.  In fact, we'll have kids in 2 different high schools next year!  That will be a challenge, I'm sure, but I hope it will be worth it.


I had a big anniversary the other day which, sadly, went completely unnoticed.  April 6, 1996 was the date of my entry into the Catholic Church.  TMax was baptized that day, too, and he wasn't here for me to wish a "Happy Anniversary" to.  But I thought about it, and said a little prayer of thanksgiving for Jesus (and my dear husband) bringing me to The Church.


We had heavy rain yesterday for a little while yesterday, and I saw the convergence of rivers in my yard.  Reminders of last year.  But it ended and the sun came out again.  It was a gorgeous evening with the air and land washed clean of all that nasty, yellow pollen.  I don't need floods, but I'd like enough rain to keep that stuff washed away!


Since today is "easy day" in school, I think I'm going to do some sewing....We'll see how that goes.


Have a pollen-free day, and visit Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What's Your OS?

Have you seen this?  I saw it on a comment on an article about the Church's current struggles.  I thought you might get a kick out of it:

If anyone is interested, this soul is running CHRIST OS.
Totally free-ware, bug-free, and always up to date.
Installation by baptism. Free updates via prayer-ware. Anti-virus by sacramental reconciliation.
Network sync via communion. Hardware recycling by anointing.
You choose purpose: lay or religious, single or married.
All other OS are redundant.
Choose CHRIST OS today.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Nature Studies

Have you been doing your Nature Studies?

We took a little break from watching the Owl Box constantly during Holy Week.  I tuned in this morning to find that Molly's owlets are huge!  They've grown so much!

The 5th egg still hadn't hatched when we last watched.  Evidently, the last (6th) egg is a dud, but I see that it is still there today.  They say she ate the first one she laid because it was bad, but she hasn't eaten this one yet.  I wonder why?

Her 4 babies are so big, I don't see how she can even sit on them all anymore!

You've got to tune in for a little while to watch...We keep the pop-out open most of the day so we see the owls, but not all the ridiculous chat-room stuff, most of which is not very edifying.

We saw her cough up an owl pellet once, which was fascinating, yet disgusting at the same time. And did you know that all that nesting material is the fur from the animals she has eaten?  After she coughs up the pellets she tears them apart to line the nest.


But fascinating anyway.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter Monday

It was a beautiful Triduum, and a beautiful weekend.

And it was looonng.

I spent all last week finishing the spring cleaning and trying to fill my 40 bags.  I didn't quite get to 40; I hope that means that my house isn't very cluttered.

I also had an extra-long choir rehearsal on Wednesday, followed by singing Holy Thursday, attending Good Friday services, praying the Stations of the Cross at our parish's gorgeous Way of the Cross in the 80+ temperatures, cleaning and cooking all day Saturday (a double-batch of PW's Cinnamon Rolls!).  I was so tired Saturday afternoon that I wanted to cry and I wanted to hurry up and get to the Easter Vigil so I could relax.

Yes, a 30 minute rehearsal followed by singing a 2.5 hour Mass is much more relaxing than what I had been doing.

Then I was up until almost 2 a.m. visiting with KT who got home very late, and up again early Sunday to sing at the 10:30 Mass.

I think we finished eating Easter dinner around 3:30, and by then I was totally done (in).

It was a glorious Easter celebration.  I was so busy living it that I don't have a single Easter photograph to show you.  I'm still exhausted, but it's a good tired.

I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

I grew up with a mother who was a very faithful Christian (God rest her soul).  We went to church regularly: twice on Sundays, Wednesday nights, and Vacation Bible School every summer.  Skipping church was never an option, except maybe on vacation.

Nevertheless, I grew up with absolutely No Idea what Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday were all about.  I saw them on the calendar year in and year out, but I never knew that they had any connection to Easter.  It just wasn't talked about in any way, shape, or form that I can recall.

There was no arc to the year.  Just the same routine, week after week, with the year punctuated by Christmas and Easter---which, of course, only lasted one too-brief day.

So, on this Good Friday, I am thrilled to be a part of this beautiful Catholic faith which Christ founded.  I am grateful for the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist which He established on Holy Thursday at the Last Supper.  I love to hear the readings all through Lent which lead up to this time culminating with His resurrection at the Great Easter Vigil.  And then we get to celebrate Easter for a full 50 days before we return to Ordinary Time.  Of course, it all starts again with the other penitential season that is Advent.

I am so grateful to be a part of this Church that is part of my life every day with something different to celebrate.  Every day we may take part in the sacrifice of the Mass in which His eternal sacrifice is re-presented.  He died for all of us.  He died so that we might live.  He died for all those who love Him, for all those who despise Him, for saints and for sinners.

It is a Good Friday.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me,
Body of Christ, save me,
Blood of Christ, inebriate me,
Water from the side of Christ, wash me
O Good Jesus, hear,
Within thy wounds hide me,
Never permit me be separated from thee,
From the evil enemy defend me,
In the hour of my death,
Call me and bid me come to thee,
That with thy angels and saints I may praise thee,
forever and ever.  Amen.

(inspired by Barbara to post this, my favorite post-Communion prayer)


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