Monday, September 30, 2013

Finally Fall Daybook


Outside my window...
Fall is here!  The mornings and evenings are gloriously cool with a distinct lack of humidity in the air the rest of the time.  It's verra nice!  Leaves ought to start turning soon; it's still pretty green here.

I am thinking...
About what to write in this space.

I am thankful...
Thankful for beautiful mornings spent outside in the sunshine.

From the school table...
Work, work, work.  Midterms coming up already, so Pip is feeling the pressure!

In the kitchen...
I need to revamp my 7 weeks of menus.  I planned for 6 dinners per week and it's too much.  It often takes more than a week to get through all the dishes and there is too much waste from produce going bad.  It's not saving me any money to be prepared, and the fridge is full of too much food.  As I recall, this happened last time I used these menus, too.  So, I'm going to delete one meal each week, and, maybe, move those to another week.  I may end up with 8 or 9 weeks of meals!

I am wearing...
Workout clothes to go to cross country practice and walk, but Pippo is lying on the floor moaning about it.  :-)  It doesn't take much to convince me!  I'm all for staying home, getting our work started earlier, and resting my sore ankle which now 'clicks' when I try to walk normally.

Of course, now that it's too late to go, I realize that I'm also missing my really nice morning rosary and prayer time.

What I’m doing with fiber...
Oh. My.  This.  (But that doesn't really tell you anything, does it?  It's not a very good blog, even from a bad blogger's perspective.)  There are 9 shops in the metro area participating, and if you go to each one, spend $10, and get your passport stamped, you get entered into a drawing for each store you went to.  If you go to all the stores, you're entered for the grand prize of $1000 worth of yarn and supplies!  I've been, literally, saving my pennies, so I can try to hit all the stores this year.  Everyone wants something knitted for their birthday or Christmas this year, right?

I am going...
To 5 more yarn stores tomorrow. :-D

I am wondering...
What the odds are of winning the Grand Prize this year.  I heard a couple of years ago, that only 2 women made it to all the stores and were entered into the Grand Prize drawing.  Yesterday, one shop owner said that she had already completed the passports of 2 women! So, are they the same 2?  Or will there be a bigger pool?  At least 3, I'm thinking, because of me.  ;-)

I am reading...
Technically, I finished it, but I've been picking it up and re-reading because I enjoyed it so much: Falling for Your Madness by Katherine Grubb.

Eccentric literature professor David approaches Laura for a counter-cultural, rule-filled relationship filled with poetry, flowers and bottom-less cups of tea. He makes it very clear to her that they are just friends. If she wants to be more -- if she wants to be sweethearts -- then she is the only one that can move them forward. Laura is smitten by his humor, his charm, and his English accent (which turns out to be fake). In his company, she has never felt more beautiful or ladylike. David tells Laura that the reason he has these rules is because he is bound by the laws of chivalry, both body and soul. Then Laura finds out the real reason, one that's ancient, filled with legend and magic. Yet Laura has complete control of this madman. Should she release him or tell him she wants more? Is he eccentric or just mad? Falling For Your Madness is not just a romantic comedy, but it also asks the question, who has the most power in a relationship? The lady? Or the gentleman?
It was a light, fun read that took me by surprise, and I could hardly put it down.  I love the way she blended the magical elements of the story with some real truths about how dating relationships should be conducted.

I am hoping and praying...
...for my kids
...for Thomas Peters' complete recovery from his spinal cord injury
...for Elizabeth DeHority whose cancer has returned.  It's very bad news.

Around the house...
Bags of soft, squishy happiness.  (That would be yarn, people!)

One of my favorite things...
Wandering through little knit shops, feeling all the things.  Crazy, right?  Can you relate, or are you totally confused about why someone would do such a thing?

A few plans for the rest of the week...
School, yarn shopping.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
What I did Thursday.  I waxed The Green Thing with Annie Sloan's dark wax over the clear wax.  It was much darker than I expected and I used  a lot of elbow grease to buff it.  The pic on the right is a truer representation of the color; the left looks too muddy.  You can see that I still hadn't done the mirror when I took the pics, but it matches now, too.

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Leaving Comments

Since all the buzz around my corner of the internet is about leaving comments, I am dutifully clicking through to the blogs from my Feedly to leave a bit of joy.  How about you?

It's a little harder when I read on my phone----though I LOVE my Feedly app better than the computer, in some ways----so I have to remember to go back when I'm at the computer, but I'm trying.

In case you didn't get it:  That's a hint!  And if you are in the habit of commenting regularly, thank you!  Just like in person, I like to get responses when I talk.  Don't you?


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Favorite School Snack

Now that my kids need to take lunch to school every day, and Meg and Pip have "snack time" (insert big eye roll here), I need to keep them supplied with snacks and sandwich fixin's.  I simply refuse to buy the goldfish that Meg asks for because there is 0 nutrition.

I know---I'm a nutrition snob.  But we do have plenty of times when we eat garbage!  Like the obligatory doughnuts after confession.  It just seems wrong to me to give them something like that on a daily basis when a little effort provides something much better---and they like it more, too.

Oh, and I did buy them Nutella-to-Go once.

Yesterday, we were out of snacks due to a busy weekend with no time or energy to think about it, but it takes only 15 minutes to whip up their absolute favorite treat:

One Minute Fudgies
(there should be sparkles and flashing lights there!)

1/2 C butter
1/2 C cocoa powder
1 C evaporated milk (but I always use whole)
2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 C natural peanut butter
6 C oats

Melt butter, add the cocoa, milk, and sugar, mixing well.  Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute while stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla and peanut butter.  Last, add oats and mix well.

Let it cool for a few minutes, so you can handle it, and drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.  Give them a little help making them round, and then you're finished.  No baking necessary!
 And way more nutrition than extruded starchy fish.

I don't know where the recipe for these came from.  It might have been my La Leche League cookbook from many years ago.  There are similar no-bake chocolate cookies on the web that use different amounts of the ingredients.  We tried one last week that everyone loved (like this).  They oozed into a traditional cookie shape and then hardened like pralines.  They were very popular.  I think because the sugar ratio was higher.  ;-)  I'm sticking with my recipe for every day.  In fact, I've been known to put in half the sugar and no one notices!  You could definitely do that if, instead of natural, you use regular peanut butter that has sugar in it.

Let me know what you think!  Have you made something like this before?  I'm always interested in other ideas, if you have them.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I need to blog more often!

My last post was a week ago!  I'm still working out this new lifestyle of hybrid homeschooling, and not getting the hang of it very well.  You would think, and, I admit, I do, too, that I could blog on the days Meg and Pip are at school, but it doesn't work that way.  Not when they're home, either.  I can barely get any time on the computer anymore.

When they're at school, I don't want to spend all my time at the computer---which is a real temptation.  You know what a black hole the internet is!

Anyway, today's coping strategy is to alternate work with play.  The normal routine for that is 45 mins. of work relieved by 15 minutes of recreation, like reading, and then back to the work.  It's a great method for getting things done and not feeling like a total drudge with no time for yourself!  Today, however, I'm alternating things that need to be done with things I'd rather do.  Some of the "rathers" are actually work, like decluttering, so I'm getting lots done today.

I have 12 more minutes here before going back to the cleaning routine.  I managed to get the family room  spic-and-span while watching "Call the Midwives"----needs and rathers at the same time!  Woot!

Next up:  cleaning the kitchen while listening to a podcast.

How do you organize your time when you need a little relaxation and have a lot of things to do?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!

You know, I love my "days off" on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the children are at school and I'm alone for 7 hours.  Not to mention car time, but we don't really count that.  ;-)  I'm rarely relaxing and eating bonbons during that time.  The best I can say is that I work hard on the laundry and then fold 3-4 loads while watching something on Netflix.  (oh!  They emailed me to let me know that Season 2 of Call the Midwife is now available.  yay!)

Anyhooo....Today has not been one of those "productive" days.  It's 11:45 a.m. and I haven't done a lick of work.

It's been better than that.

I took the children to school, and sat in the car for 30 minutes praying the rosary along with the Mary Undoer of Knots novena.  Then we were treated to a meditation given by one of priests of the Archdiocese that I really like.  He's so gentle, warm, and loving.  And gives great advice.  I thought I would share what I got from his talk this morning in hopes that you might benefit from it as well.  I'm sure it's not exactly as he gave it, because I took only a few notes, but it's what I heard as translated by the Holy Spirit.

First, he said he was given a gift last night and this morning of understanding mothers, because he spent time he didn't really have cleaning up minor disasters that occurred, and he pointed out that it is still possible to be holy during trying circumstances or phases of life.  God has his cloistered nuns who spend their time praying, not distracted by the needs of children, but that's not who we are called to be.  In fact, we can actually sin by putting God before the real needs of a child!  His example was abandoning a sick child to go to Mass on a holy day of obligation.

~Jesus spent 30 years living a hidden, small life, and that's what we're called to.  If it had value for Him, it certainly has value for us!

~Don't judge other people.  You don't know where someone else is in their walk with Christ, and you really don't know what's in their heart.  Leave that for God.

~Here's the BIG takeaway from today:  We are not solely responsible for our children getting to heaven!!  There are many other people and circumstances in their lives along with (cue: Jaws music)....Free Will.  So, relax, do your best, and trust in the Lord.

~Prayers may be answered in ways you don't expect because God still respects the free will of each of us.  It's very likely that you won't ever find out your prayers were answered, but trust that they will be.  Finding out is like a second miracle.

~Make sure you spend time with Jesus.  If you can, schedule that morning prayer time; if you can't, take advantage of times when you can squeeze it in.  Especially those times you're awake in the middle of the night and can't sleep!

~Again, trust in Providence.  God loves you and wants everyone with Him in paradise.  Keep praying.

~Don't focus on the negative or things that steal your peace.

In the end, it was a reiteration of the same message I have been getting for the past couple of years (God must think I'm not getting the message or acting on it properly!):

We can't change other people, or the world, all we can do is focus on our own holiness (and I don't mean by ignoring everything and praying constantly [you know, to the detriment of your family], but by praying and doing God's will in each moment.)  It's His job, through the Holy Spirit, to convert hearts, but by living out our faith the best we can, we can be that light in the world that spreads and vanquishes the darkness.

I hope you get something out of that.  I think I'll go see what work I can accomplish in the next couple of hours.  Hugs!

Monday, September 16, 2013

September Daybook


Outside my window...
Hot summer day.  It's beautiful!

I am thankful...
For my family, and my husband who is awesome.

From the school table...
We had a good day today and finished at a reasonable hour, like 3 p.m.  Maybe it's just Wednesdays that are the really difficult days?

In the kitchen...
Tonight is Cabbage Lasagne which I love.  Maybe everyone else doesn't love it like I do, but we all have to take our turns eating something we don't really care for.  Meg barely complained, so that's saying something.

I am wearing...
White shorts and a purple tank top.  I thought I'd put a lacy sweater over it, but I'm too hot for that.

What I’m doing with fiber...
Still knitting up my cowl with the white handspun.  I'm on the last ball of yarn and I'm loving it!

I am going...
The question should be:  Where am I not going?  I am staying home as much as possible when I don't have somewhere to be.  And when I do go out, I'm combining trips to save time and gas.  So tired of the car.

I am reading...
I just got Bossypants on Overdrive today, so I am looking forward to listening to that on my drives.

I am hoping and praying...
... for Thomas Peters
... everyone involved in the Navy Yard shooting
... Our Lady Undoer of Knots novena for a special intention

I am looking forward to...
Not driving as much.  :-) (See One of My Favorite Things)

I am hearing on my ipodkindle...
I discovered Saturday that the text-to-speech option works on Bilbo's Journey, which I was reading for my book club yesterday.  I was able to get through a lot more of it once I found that!  I read 3/4 of it, but no one else had read anything.   But we still had a great time together!

Around the house...

One of my favorite things...
Learning that my son will be finishing rehearsal so late in the day that my husband will be picking him up all week, instead of me.  #winning

A few plans for the rest of the week...
School, knitting, AHG.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Ready for his first cross country meet! And why do you have to take pictures, Mom?

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Friday, September 13, 2013

What's On My Heart and Mind QT


Thomas Peters, the American Papist, and his ongoing recovery from a spinal cord injury.  I'm praying that he'll walk again, and I'm very sad that I don't see any mention of the possibility in the updates.  But I'm also very happy that he's doing as well as he is.


Go watch Ep. 1 of Ordinary, produced, filmed, and directed by Michele Quigley's family.  30 minutes that you won't regret.  I laughed until I cried.  Tell me if you do, too!


Extra prayers for Elizabeth DeHority who had surgery this week.  Update at the end of this post.


Prayers for my Dad and step-mom, and FIL  who all have worrisome health issues happening. 


I am enjoying Taylor Marshall's new podcast which has practical life and spiritual tips.  They're nice and short at only 30 minutes.  Give one a try!


It's increasingly difficult to wake up for 4:00 a.m. adoration, and my mind wanders like crazy!  Today, I had the foresight to bring a journal which keeps my mind focused on the Lord instead of my to-do list!  I also whipped out my phone to use the iBreviary app by Pro Terra Sancta.  There were lots of prayers and litanies in there to keep me focused!


Break's over.  Back to lessons.


Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


round button chicken
 The Green Thing got a paint job.  If you read that link, you'll see that I've probably come to terms with my dear mother's death a little more in the past 5 years since I painted it white.  But I'm still calling it the Green Thing.  I think I chose white because I'm yearning for simplicity in my home these days.  And Mom painted everything white that wasn't nailed down, so there's that.


This pillow desperately needed a new cover.  It didn't hold up well at all after purchase and was full of pulled threads (I took the pic after cutting off all the threads.  Natch.).  That was made worse by the fact that Gus has a rather unhealthy relationship with it. 

I whipped up a new cover for it out of this yellow toile that I purchased ages ago at Goodwill.  I was looking through my stash and suddenly realized that it would be great with the new color-scheme developing (slowly) in the family room.

It takes about 5 minutes to fold over the fabric, overlapping it in the back, and sew 2 straight seems.  Turn it right side out and stuff it with a pillow.  I covered 2 other ratty pillows and was thrilled with my accomplishment for the day!

Maybe the dog won't recognize his friend in her new clothes, but I don't have much hope of that!

This is for my sweet friend Beverley who texted to see if I was well-supplied with bonbons on my day off (while the kids are at school), and admitted to being jealous that my house is cleaner than hers.  So, I thought I'd show her (and you) what kind of a mess I can make without the help of children!
Distracted by the phone because we are tired of studying grammar for a test.  
(Sigh.  Sorry, I forgot to rotate that before downloading.  I'm going to leave it as is since I can scarcely find the time for blogging these days, despite 14 child-free hours during the week. )  We're baking brownies to celebrate Louisiana Purchase Day.  Thankfully, Meg did 99% of it herself!

Go visit the other fine ladies at LMLD for more Pretty Funny Happy Real posts!

September Yarn Along

Some days, it feels like this is all I'm reading.

Lesson plans and text books.  I sort of have a lot of knitting time on "home days" while supervising and tutoring and checking schoolwork, but I have to put it down so often that I don't get much accomplished.

This gray one is my herringbone cowl that I'm knitting with the recycled sweater.  I work on it Friday nights at trivia because I can knit and talk and not mess up the pattern...too much.  ;-)  I really like the herringbone stitch; it's kind of fun to do.

I'm also working on this cowl with my handspun silk/merino.  I said I wasn't very happy with how it spun up (or, how I spun it), because I'm not a fan of thick and thin yarn, but it is very pleasant to knit with!  I got a knit stitch pattern book from the library and chose this "fishtail" lace pattern to knit it up with, and I love how it looks.  More than that...I love how it feeeeelllls!  It is truly soft and scrumptious.

Here, feel it....


The book is Bilbo's Journey.  I am enjoying the analysis, but, fair warning, you have to have read The Lord of the Rings, too!  It's full of spoilers and assumes that you've read everything which I think is a bit unfortunate for those who live under a rock haven't seen the movies or been able to get through all the books.

Stop by Ginny's to see all the lovely knits and get some book ideas!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Graces from Mary QT's

Today's Quick Takes brought to you by our Blessed Mother and the School of Life!


That awkward moment when you discover that despite your best intentions, fighting against your Personality and Whims, and attempts to Do The Right Thing, people still persist in thinking the worst of you.  And maybe they don't think the worst of you; they just don't think much of you.


Now's the time for that Litany of Humility:

Litany of Humility
Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),
Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I,
 provided that I may become as holy as I should…


Make the extra effort to get the kids up early and off to school earlier than usual to hear a meditation on the Blessed Mother.  It was short, and just the message I needed to hear---that trust in her will bear fruit.  She is Grace personified as the bearer of the ultimate Grace, our Creator come to earth in human form to save us.


Pray the rosary for that Special Intention in addition to all the usual intentions.  (It also fits in nicely with the 33 Day Rosary Challenge.  Are you in?)


Then, for good measure, because you really are a pathetic soul who needs a great deal of help, pray Mother Teresa's ('scuse me:  Blessed Teresa of Calcutta) Flying Novena, or 9 Memorare's for your intention.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary
that never was it known that anyone
who fled to thy protection, implored thy help
or sought thy intercession was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins.
My mother; to thee do I come.
Before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful,
O Mother of the Word Incarnate.
Despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy,
hear and answer me.


Now, go ahead and do That Thing that you're supposed to do, that you dread, that forces you to humble yourself.  You've hemmed and hawed enough, and the fact that you haven't done it yet is verging ever closer to being Disobedience to the Lord's will.


And it will all be okay, because Mary was there (will always be there) to hold your hand through the difficult moments.  Now we can move on with lightened hearts.  

How about you?  Is there something you're dreading?  Something you need to do?  Share, or just ask for prayers.  I'll pray for you, if you'll pray for me!


Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

{PHFR} Crockpot Edition

round button chicken


New crockpot.  Er, I mean Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker.  Last week, on a busy day, (and when else would it happen, I ask you?) as I was chopping onions to go in the crockpot, I heard a loud bang, saw sparks from the corner of my eye, and screamed.  Scared the tar out of me!  The old, beloved crock had exploded from torn wiring at the base.  So, now I have a pretty one that was not too expensive, AND I got it free with points from our Amazon credit card.
An attempt at happiness---Mom's fudge to go with my coffee.  It was not a happy day yesterday what with one thing and another.  A little fudge was my attempt to lift my spirits.  It did help a little. 

This photo is all about my mom, now that I look at it.  She loved Eeyore and I used to love when she read Winnie the Pooh to me---she had the best Eeyore voice!  She picked out and bought my beautiful Blue Danube dishes, and it's her fudge recipe.

It's not really supposed to be funny.  In my twisted mind, it looks like the stew is wearing an acorn squash bra!  :-)  That was dinner from the new crock pot last night----stew meat, a dozen cloves of garlic, chopped onion, S&P, marjoram (if you have it, which I didn't), and broth.  Just cut the squash in half and throw it on top.  It was yummy.  It would have been good on top of rice to soak up the juices.


I am really happy to have my van back after 8 days in the shop.  It was fun driving a zippy, little car around town for all that time, but my van is definitely roomier!  Now we have room for kids, backpacks, and groceries!!  Not nearly as happy to have paid the big buck$ for the transmission to be rebuilt again, after only 2 years, but it is much nicer to drive now.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...