Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yarn Along (going on hiatus)

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link at Ginny's to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

I've been working on these two projects that don't seem to grow very fast. I'm finally down to the last dozen rows on the Color Affection ^ ! Yay! I asked a friend yesterday morning what I should give our piano teacher of 15+ years as a parting gift, and she suggested that I knit her something. I had thought of that, but didn't have any good ideas as to what would knit up quickly. After looking through my Ravelry favorites, I thought I could find something, and decided to quickly wrap up that Color Affection and use the leftover yarn (of which, you may recall, I have plenty since I had to order more!).

All those miles on the CA yesterday ended up giving me a knitting injury! Boo! My right hand is swollen and achey and the 2 smallest fingers don't unfold properly. Sleeping last night was difficult, and, evidently, my hand doesn't like typing, either. :-(

So.....I guess I won't be knitting much for at least a week, and with graduation looming, I probably won't knit until that is over and my hand is well-healed. And I guess I won't be giving a hand-knit gift to the piano teacher....Got any ideas for me? I probably won't have a Yarn Along post in the coming weeks, but I'll be sure to stop by and see what everyone else is doing. I get such good book & project ideas from the Yarn Along!

At least not knitting gives me more time for reading! Ice and The Little Oratory are calling my name.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Weekly Rambles

What’s really on my mind and heart?

It was a wonderful couple of weeks around here. We had a lovely Easter, followed by my dear husband's birthday. He had sort of a "Birthday Weekend" because we couldn't manage to get the family together for one big celebration. Even those of us who live here couldn't be all together at the same time!

What am I thankful for?

  • I'm thankful for car accidents that damage only cars and not people.
  • The gift of Divine Mercy
  • Two new saints! St. John XXII and St. John Paul II, pray for us!
  • Friends who take my daughter camping when I can't go
  • Kids who drop in for short visits when they can't stay long

What’s going on in school?

Oh my! We're counting down to the end of the year already. Our high school senior, Tom, is finished with most activities, and is down to classes in the single digits. Graduation is in 2.5 weeks!

The younger two have schedules filled with end-of-year projects and drama productions.

Graduation and Projects will all clash alarmingly in 2 weeks. Yikes.

What’s cooking?

After taking grains, sugar, dairy, coffee, soy out of my diet at the end of January, I felt fantastic. Slowly, I started adding them back in, though not slowly enough. Now, they're all back (though sugar and wheat are still extremely minimal) and I'm in a lot of pain. My back and neck pain is much, much worse than it needs to be, or than it was during Lent. Listening to an interview yesterday, Dr. Datis Kharrazian explained that inflammation causes pain. So, off we go again!

And, at the same time, I need to plan menus for graduation week and lots of visitors.

What’s on the needles?

Color Affection and Sock Yarn Blanket.  I'm tantalizingly close to the end of the Color Affection --not that I'll get much use out of it before October!

What’s special about this week?

Nothing. It's the calm before the storm.

What am I reading?

I've just begun to read Leila's book, The Little Oratory, that was in my Easter basket. I haven't gotten very far yet, but I plan to make a lot more progress tonight. It's so pretty, and after flipping through it a bit, I wish I had had this one when I was a young Catholic just starting to raise my children in the faith!

What am I praying about?

  • Elizabeth
  • Eric
  • Gratitude in all things
  • Priests, deacons, and religious

What projects are happening at home?

All the things that need to be done before a houseful of guests arrive! Some of them don't need to be done, but it's nice to have them done before guests come.  You know, those little things that bother you about the house, but they haven't come to top of the to-do list----like dealing with the laminate that peels off the kitchen cabinets. (Who thought that was a good idea?) I'm also painting a yard-sale table to put in my craft room and help organize my stuff. Not that anyone but me cares what my craft room looks like, but I would prefer that it NOT look like the household dumping ground!

What are you up to? Most of my readers probably aren't gearing up for the end of the year quite yet. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Yarn Along

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link at Ginny's to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

I've just begun to read Leila's book, The Little Oratory, that was in my Easter basket. I haven't gotten very far yet, but I plan to make a lot more progress tonight. It's so pretty, and after flipping through it a bit, I wish I had had this one when I was a young Catholic just starting to raise my children in the faith!

My knitting is the Sock Yarn Blanket which I am finding curiously addictive. I get excited about adding a new diamond every time, and I love to see how it's shaping up. I think I put a little too much effort into choosing which yarn to use next, because I don't think it will really matter in the end, but I want to make sure I don't have matching squares too close together.

I'm afraid I might not be able to knit anything else for the next year while I work on this! Have you ever had a big project like this that was addictive? I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Easter (Tuesday)

It was such a busy Easter weekend! It was so wonderful, though! Even though school was back in session yesterday, Meg, Pip, and I managed to play games and have fun to stretch out this glorious holiday a little longer.

Meg baked her marble lemon cake on Saturday, and then she decorated it all by herself on Sunday morning while I was at Mass.

Katie made Pavlovas for dessert, too. I wish I had a picture! Ours were filled with lemon curd and topped with blueberry syrup, and I could eat them

We dyed Easter eggs on Saturday using a dozen white eggs and a dozen brown eggs from the farm. They're all beautiful and we totally forgot to put them out for dinner on Sunday!

Most of us went to the Easter Vigil on Saturday after working on a puzzle and watching Jesus of Nazareth on TV. Singing the Gloria with the bells ringing, watching the elect get baptized and confirmed, and receiving the body and blood of our risen Lord was a joyous occasion. Words can't even do it justice.

Since I have to leave early for choir warm-ups, we never get photos of everyone in their Easter finery. These pics are from the day after---after I got home at 12:30 from singing at the morning Mass. And after Pete got home to join us!

I am counting all my blessings on this gorgeous Easter Tuesday!  It was all pretty amazing.

What was your favorite part of your Easter celebration? 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

PHFR - Triduum Edition

round button chicken
My sweet girl with half of her Phase 2 braces. She didn't smile much the rest of the day since her teeth are sore. :-(  On the plus side, that might make fasting tomorrow just a little bit easier!
Oh my! Those sweet faces from Easter 9 (NINE!) years ago! And would you look at the two stinkers in the front row? Pippo cracks me up.
Did I tell you about getting to meet the Property Brothers, or did I just put that on FB? I went with a couple of friends, and the guys answered a few questions and then took pictures with everyone. They shoved us between them, snapped, and pulled us away, shoving an autographed card in our hands. It was a little adventure. They were funny. And tall. (I'm 5'9", y'all!) And I have no idea what I did with their autographs, because that's the kind of fan I am.

(And no, this has nothing to do with the Triduum, but I needed a funny!)


See where we are on the Lenten calendar? All the way down there on Holy Thursday! ^
It's almost Easter! I'm frittering away my time this morning, when what I really want to do is explain why our family attends all the services of the Triduum if we possibly can.
One of our traditional Palm Sundaes. ;-)
So, tonight starts a marathon of Church-going. We begin with the Mass of the Last Supper which commemorates the time when Jesus instituted the priesthood and gave us the Eucharist. It's a beautiful Mass. If you're lucky (and I don't believe we will be this year), you'll hear at least the Latin Mass parts sung, and the beautiful Gloria will be intoned for the first time since before Ash Wednesday, and the bells will be rung throughout the Gloria. That's my favorite part. The other highlight of this Mass is the footwashing, and we end in silence as the Blessed Sacrament is taken to a special Altar of Repose where we can stand in for the apostles who slept in the garden. 

Tomorrow, there is Stations of the Cross at 3:00 p.m. We try to go to Stations, or at least do them at home or have quiet time from noon-3:00. In the evening is the Commemoration of the Passion of Christ and Veneration of the Cross. It's kind of a grueling service (not a Mass; it's the one day of the year when the bread and wine are not turned into the body and blood of Christ) with lots of standing and kneeling during the Prayers of the Faithful. 

And finally, there is the Great Easter Vigil on Saturday night. Ever since I came into the Church 18 years ago, we have gone to the Easter vigil nearly every year. Thinking back, I can't believe we've done it so many times. If I'm wrong, someone can correct me. ;-) The Church (and the organist) pulls out all the stops on this night. The music is the most beautiful, the flowers are gorgeous, the beautiful ritual of lighting the Easter fire and sharing the Light of Christ with everyone in the church is exquisite, and so is the singing of the Exsultet. That and the singing of the Litany of Saints bring me to tears on this night. (I remember Tom's godfather holding him as a 3 month-old and dancing with him to keep him calm during the Litany.) And you know the big bonus of the Easter Vigil? Unless there are a huge number of candidates and confirmands with their families, the church is not full and there is plenty of room to spread out!

Don't get me wrong....these beautiful 3 days are never easy! The kids get tired of going back to church all the time, and they're usually hungry because we plan dinner for after Mass. So the kids are hungry and tired; the parents may be, too, but we're grownups and we want to be there; and the services are long. It's always hard. Exhausting, even. But we do it because it makes Easter so much more special when we've been immersed in the fasting of Lent followed by these very special liturgies. 

I often feel as if I've "failed" Lent because of my lack of sacrifices, but I believe that fully immersing oneself in the Triduum and the Passion during these 3 days makes up for it! By the time we sing the Alleluia (hey kids! NOW it's Easter!), I'm ready for it. I've been run through the mill and I'm ready to celebrate the Resurrection.  

Oh, and aside from being tired and sometimes grumpy, the kids often fall asleep until they're about 10. They're always very proud of themselves if they can stay awake for the whole Easter Vigil! The boys like altar serving---partly because it helps keep them awake. And finally, it has to be said, another great advantage to the Easter Vigil (and the midnight Mass at Christmas) is the lack of crowds! There's nothing like a mob scene in the parking lot and being unable to find a seat to take people right out of the spirit of the holy day. Dontcha think?

What does your family do? Have you ever been to the Triduum services?

I probably won't be back here until Monday, so I will wish you a blessed Triduum and all the joy of the resurrection.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Yarn Along

~Joining Ginny at SmallThings. Stop by to see what everyone else is knitting and reading!~

Today I am yarning along via my iPhone app that I just got. I hope it works! 

This week I've been working really hard on my Color Affection. It's going well, especially now that I have the extra yarn I needed.

My book is Katherine Grubb's The Truth About the Sky. I am thrilled to have it on my Kindle and read while I knit. Now, the only reason I can do that is because the color affection is just knitting. After you have knitted thousands and thousands of stitches that are identical, you really don't need to look at what you're doing anymore. And the rows on this shawl are so long that the project would be extremely boring if all I did was knit and pay attention to the knitting.

I can't wait to be finished with this project! My shawl would be perfect for today's 30° weather. Can you believe how cold it is still? This is truly the winter that will never end.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Weekly Rambles 2

::My Weekly Rambling::

What’s the weather doing?
Showers all day today, and then a freeze warning for tomorrow a.m.! Lots of people (not me!) regretting planting their gardens last weekend. Maybe this will really, really be the last blast of winter!

What’s really on my mind and heart?
Holy Week! I want to be immersed in Holy Week and final, peaceful preparations for the Triduum. Haha! It's never like that. The modern world pays very little heed to the beautiful rhythms of the Church, and this week is one of the busiest weeks of the year.

What am I thankful for?
I am thankful for those beautiful rhythms of the Church seasons by which we attempt to shape our lives in spite of the rest of the world and its demands.

What’s going on in school?
It's a weird week (see above!). Meg had standardized tests yesterday and today, so 2 half-days. Yesterday, of course, was not a regular school day for her. Today is a regular school day for Pip, but another half-day for Meg. Sheesh! The bright spot, if you can call it that, is that Tom got a job (hooray!) and is working after school 3 days in a row and needs to be picked up at 10 p.m. (boo! But there's no traffic then!) Tomorrow, Meg & Pip have drama rehearsal for a half-day. It's just crazy, out-of-the-ordinary driving this week!

What’s cooking?
I'm looking for easy Easter candy recipes because I don't feel like filling baskets with tons of junk. Most of my kids have outgrown the desire for that, anyway. Meals are going to be pretty simple this week. As much as I would like to have symbolic meals for every night of the Triduum, it's just not possible (for me) to do that and attend all the services.

What’s on the needles?
Trying to put some hours in on my Color Affection. I got the new skeins of not-quite-matching yarn that I needed, and I'm added it. I don't see the difference now, while it's all bunched up on the needles, and I hope it will be unnoticeable when I finish and block it.

What’s special about this week?
Holy Week: Spy Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and the Great Easter Vigil! Oh, and Meg gets braces (again) tomorrow. ;-)

What am I reading?
Five Lessons from Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life.  This took 10 minutes while at the doctor's office yesterday. It's more than worth your time.

The Truth About the Sky by Katherine Grubb. I read another book by her that I loved, and I just started this one last night.

The Diary of St. Faustina. It's one of those partially read books that has been on my list for years. This is the year.

(oh, hey, none of those are affiliate links today. :-) )

What am I praying about?
Several of the people that I've been praying fervently for have passed away, recently. It makes me so sad! One of them, a 24 year-old girl named Katie had a freak bicycle accident and died after a week from brain trauma (she hit a tree). She and her family are so faith-filled! Her father made sure to point out on Facebook that all of our prayers were not in vain because the family was given enormous graces with which to face the tragedy. It was a good reminder that though we don't seem to get what we pray for always, our prayers always have value.

What’s on my ipod?
Lately, the Divine Mercy chaplet, via this app, has gotten a lot of play after dropping the kids off at school.

What projects are happening at home?
Spring cleaning for Easter!

What are your plans this week? Share with us your Easter preparation, food, fun!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekly Rambles 1

::My Weekly Rambling::

What’s the weather doing?
Oh my, is it ever raining! Lots and lots of rain. It's so chilly and damp that we even have a fire going---which makes a Monday so much cozier.

What’s really on my mind and heart?
Diet. Diet. Diet. I gave up so many things in January which resulted in a whopping 8 pound weight loss in 2.5 months. Most of that was the initial "water weight" so I'm not impressed.  The 50 lbs. weight loss for my 50th birthday is looking less and less likely. Though I'll take less. Obviously.

What am I thankful for?
My sturdy roof. :-) My beautiful, healthy family.

What’s going on in school?
It's the first day back at work for the home schoolers, and spring break for the Catholic schooler. It's nice to have him home with nowhere to go since his friends and girlfriend are all on fun trips. 

What’s cooking?
I have no idea what I'm cooking this week! Yesterday's fun was lemon-blueberry cheesecake bars with my own nut-based crust and no sugar. For the first time I used only liquid stevia (with a tiny, tiny touch of honey) as a sweetener, and I didn't hear any complaints.

What’s on the needles?
I spent a couple of hours at the auto-mechanic this morning, working on the Sock Yarn Blanket, learning how to join the diamonds for the first time today. This project will take me yeeeaaarrrs. I don't know how some people have made several of these!

I'm also waiting on 2 yarn shipments for my Color Affection because I'm almost out of 2 of the 3 colors. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that the different dye lots won't be a noticeable issue since the shawl alternates colors. 

What’s special about this week?
Lots of stuff on the calendar this week! Lunch with a friend. Meg starts braces. The final, celebratory session of my Consoling the Heart of Jesus retreat. And some other, not exactly noteworthy, but busy-making actvities.

What am I reading?
I'm reading George Washington's Secret Six for book club (which was yesterday!). I'm nearly finished, and I might work on that today, except that I need to finished the CHJ book ASAP. Last night, AMC premiered their mini-series TURN which is about the same subject, the spy ring that helped save the revolution.

I've really enjoyed reading this book.  It's too bad I was on a deadline, but it is interesting enough to keep my attention.

What am I praying about?
So many prayer intentions! I'm learning that I don't need to name them all one by one when I pray because the Lord knows what's in my heart and who I'm concerned about. These days, I'm focusing more on spending time with Jesus and trying to remember Him throughout my days.
Not always succeeding, mind you, or even meeting my own goals, but I'm trying.

What’s on my ipod?/
A zillion podcasts that I don't have time to get through and still manage to read books!

What projects are happening at home?
I don't think there will be any big projects this week because we're so busy. But if I find myself at loose ends, I have some sewing to do and a table to refinish/paint. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Quick Mid-Lent Takes


Have you done your mid-Lent checkup to see how you're doing with your sacrifices? No? Me, neither. So, here goes.


The Skirt-Up Challenge. I'm heartily sick of wearing skirts every day! I groan nearly every morning when I have to decide which skirt to wear that's appropriate for the ever-changing weather, and then which shoes to go with it. Shoes are the biggest problem---never in my life have I felt like I had the "right" shoes to go with an outfit, so this adds to the groanage every morning! 

Nevertheless, I choose an outfit, and I say a prayer for women who have lost their way or don't know the true beauty and meaning of womanhood. (Oh, and if you don't, go get my friend Pat's book for yourself or a friend!) The thing is, even though I want to wear jeans, I generally feel very comfortable and feminine in my skirts. It's not that much of a struggle, at all.
I thought about doing a series of photos for every skirt outfit during Lent, but then I realized how truly penitential that would be for myself and others. Here's today's pic, though. No shoes yet. And that's a $12.99 skirt from Costco. Love it!

The Jesus Tree or Calendar---where we read a Bible story every day to prepare for Easter. Not happening. We opted, instead, for memorizing scripture at dinner. It's working, and we are slowly building our repertoire of verses. It's hard for the adults, but I was thrilled when I saw someone reference Gen. 1:31 yesterday and I knew exactly what it said without looking it up!

That little vase of extra penances isn't getting used as much as I would like. 

Meg, Pippo, and I are still listening to the New Testament on the way to school, but it's Spring Break this week and I have missed it. I think we need to incorporated it into our days when we are staying home, too!
The Flocknote Lenten reflections are great. And so are Fr. Barron's . It's not too late if you need a boost before Holy Week!

This isn't strictly a Lenten penance, though going into the kids' bathroom can be very penitential. I finally broke and decided to leave them a couple of notes. Every. Single. Day. the boys shower and then leave the door closed---I don't know why. They don't turn on the exhaust fan, and the smell of the humidity and mildew growing makes me a little crazy. And the toilet....sigh.

I'm wrapping up leading the Consoling the Heart of Jesus 10-week retreat, next week. It has been amazing. I'm so looking forward to Holy Week, Easter, and, especially, Divine Mercy Sunday after this. If you haven't done this retreat yet, I highly recommend joining a group, starting a group at your parish or just with a group of friends. It's really one of the most rewarding "retreats" I've ever done!
Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!


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