Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rejoicing in the Midst of Sorrow

I posted all the previous music videos well in advance of their publication, and now they are coming to an end because today is as far as I got.  Not because Christmas is coming to an end, but because a great sorrow has struck our family, and we will be burying a beloved father and father-in-law this weekend.

His death was unexpected because, though he had recovered from pneumonia just before Christmas, he was feeling well and strong Sunday night.  He passed peacefully in his sleep, just as we would all wish to go.  The whole family is devastated and heartbroken, and struggling through that numbness that allows them to do all the necessary planning and preparation.

I probably won't have time to post anymore Christmas music after today, but I will still be rejoicing in the Savior's birth.  Last night, I was missing the joyful light of the candles in the Advent wreath, so I...finally...replaced them with new white ones, and we ate our pizza with the glowing reminder that, despite our heavy hearts, Christ had come to save us.

Today's Christmas carol is In Dulci Jubilo and I've put the English translation below.  The last verse is especially worth reading.

God's peace to you all!  May your year be blessed!

Good Christian men rejoice
With heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say
News! News!
Jesus Christ is born today!
Ox and ass before Him bow
And He is in the manger now
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye hear of endless bliss
Joy! Joy!
Jesus Christ was born for this
He hath ope'd the heav'nly door
And man is blessed evermore
Christ was born for this
Christ was born for this

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Peace! Peace!
Jesus Christ was born to save
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain His everlasting hall
Christ was born to save
Christ was born to save

Merry Christmas - Day 7 & Happy New Year!

More from The Messiah today.  This is the Santa Barbara Choral society---the singing is beautiful, the video is fun.

What are you doing today?  Are you still celebrating Christmas or preparing for tonight's festivities?  I always love midnight Mass for New Year's, just as I do for Christmas, but this year we must make do with a daytime Mass.  That's okay, as long as we start the year with Mass and dedicate it to Him who saved us.

May God bless your family in 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Merry Christmas - Day 4

I love these Piano Guys!  Not only is their music beautiful, but they always look like they're having so much fun doing it.  If playing good music and entertaining is God's will for them, I suppose we should all be so joyful doing God's will for us!

Merry Christmas!  May the joy of the Christmas season fill your heart all year long!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas - Day 3

A flash mob at the National Air and Space Museum.  Why are flash mobs always so fun?  Because everyone in the area enjoys the surprise and we're all enjoying it together?  Sounds like a little bit of Christmas to me, even when it isn't Christmas music!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas - Day 2

Merry Christmas!  We are going to spend the rest of the day digesting last night's feast (and all the goodies we ate all day long)!  We will probably watch some movies and play some games...maybe even go outside and shoot arrows.  And we will ask God to shower many graces and blessings on my husband and all the parents who have to go back to work today while the family continues the holiday festivities.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas - Day 1

Merry Christmas!

I'm going to try to post little bits of Christmas joy every day during the Christmas Season---at least until January 6, that is.  I've gotten to where I don't mind so much the early Christmassing by the stores and the neighbors, even if we're not doing much early celebrating at home.  But I do mind the complete cessation of Christmas activities and music on December 26!  So, this is my little part in remedying that situation.  Take the time to enjoy!

God bless!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

O Antiphons

One of my favorite songs is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" whose verses are based on the O Antiphons which are part of the Divine Office.  I think they're part of the evening prayer.

Here's a beautiful set of videos of them being chanted, and you can follow along with the square notes!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Pre-Christmas Quick Takes


Advent draws to a close and the children are getting excited!  They'd be way less excited if they knew how much underwear is going to be under the Christmas tree.  Or that some of their gifts aren't even purchased yet because I don't know what to get them.

Funny how they can ask for stuff all year long, and suddenly, I have no idea what they want.  Does that happen to you?


I certainly like for everyone to be happy and have something special that they want for Christmas, but I don't think demand letters gift lists are quite in the spirit of the holiness of the season.  I'd like to buy things I think they'll enjoy and use.  But I'd also like to avoid the extreme of seriously useless and weird gifts like the ones I may have received as a child.


So, we're just a few days out from The Holiest Night of the Year, which is what I'd really like to be focussing on, and there are too many things on my Still to Buy list---Like those things that you can't get from Amazon, you need to go into the store to get, but all your plans to do so have been shattered, like the windshield, by unexpected activities.  You have those, right?  Do you also have the cracked windshield?


It has been so crazy around here that we haven't been able to do any homework (like the fun Advent activity of diagramming sentences that I had planned!) or even Christmas Crafts like these fun flowers:  (and if that Pin shows up, you can seriously give me a fist pump!  If not, sorry.  I'm not a career blogger.)


I'm breaking my Advent rule about not listening to Christmas music before the 25th.  I'm finding it one of the few things that reminds me why all this craziness is happening and helps keeps me sane.  (I think it's helping a little.  I don't burst into tears every day!) I do turn off the really crummy, modern covers of classics because those are never helpful.  Or the ones that avoid the real Reason for the Season.  Here's a modern rendition that I do like:

What are you listening to?


I am totally looking forward to decorating our naked Christmas tree!  I think this is the latest we've ever done it.  Generally, we do it on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, but we went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Peter Jackson Smaug that day.  Afterward, we were tired and Meg had acquired a fever, so it hasn't gotten done.  Still not sure exactly where that fits on the calendar.  It might not be a Family Event but a Mom Drags Out the Ornaments and Lets the Kids Have at It type thing.


It's time to power down those phones and electronic devices to enjoy Christmas.  The only exception being last-minute Amazon purchases!

Hugs!  Enjoy your Christmas, I'll be back for the 12 Days of Christmas!


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

Monday, December 16, 2013

'Twas the Week Before Christmas Daybook


Outside my window...
A sunny day!  It was chilly, but pretty nice out in the sunshine.

I am thinking...
About how many things there are to do before Christmas.  And not just before Christmas, just TODAY.  I've been going all day long and I feel like I haven't got anything accomplished!

I am thankful...
That Pete is home from college for a couple of weeks!  He makes me laugh.

From the school table...
Studying for exams for next rest of the week.  And if Meg gets out of her sickbed, we'll be diagramming a lot of sentences for practice since she did not do well on her Language Arts exam.

In the kitchen...
Whatever I can scrounge up tonight.  I made a list, but didn't have time to shop!

I am wearing...
Black jeans, boots, sparkly top.

What I’m doing with fiber...
Knitting as fast as my fingers will go when I have a chance to do it!  I've given up on the socks as a Christmas present simply because I've been focusing on other gifts.  I think they'll be birthday socks instead---for a person with slightly smaller feet (smaller feet = less knitting!).

I am going...
To the Advent penance service tonight at church.  Taking my college boy and going because I couldn't get to confession last week.

I am wondering...
When will I find time to fold 6 loads of laundry today?

I am reading...
Les Miserables on the Kindle.

I am looking forward to...
Checking off everything on my list, being finished with shopping, wrapping, and running around.  Relaxing with my family and watching Christmas movies.

Around the house...
I bought the tree 2 weeks ago, and it stayed in the garage in water for a week.  Now it is in the house with lights on it, but I don't know when it will be decorated!

One of my favorite things...
Sitting by the fire with a good movie, my family, and my knitting.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Bi-locating, shopping, wrapping, choiring, praying.  Praying should be first on that list.

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, December 9, 2013

Living in the Moment

Do you live in the moment?  Or are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants person who goes from moment to moment simply reacting to the events around you? (me! me!)

So often, I have goals for the day, whether it is to get certain things checked off my list or to behave in a certain way---smile more, bark less---the list keeps me accountable.  While I'm pretty good at checking most things to-do off the list during the course of the day, behavioral goals seem to escape me.  I don't think it really works to make a list that says:

  1. Avoid sweets
  2. Be patient with Child A
  3. Let go of your anger
I mean, if I'm patient the first time, can I check it off my list and then yell the next time?  Or is this a list that is never checked off?

I heard recently on the Taylor Marshall podcast (which you ought to listen to at least once since he gives good spiritual and practical tips) that you should make your short (3-4 items) to-do list during the course of your morning prayer so that you know what God's will is for you that day.  Again, I think it's pretty easy to do three things on your list and let other things wait when you know which ones take precedence.  

What is not so easy is resisting the temptation to yell, or to leave the cookies (today it's peppermint fudge) untouched.  Because...
  • I can stop eating sweets when the fudge is gone, or tomorrow,
  • I didn't get up set over that last infraction of the rules, but this one is really bad,
  • I can forgive so-and-so, and be thankful for the lesson in humility, but can't I just tell him how I feel first?
Know what I mean?

Here's another example that has happened all too frequently over the years...You sit down to read a lesson, usually on religion, and the students start acting up.  Pretty soon, you're so frustrated that you have to walk away---too angry to give a proper lesson in Christianity.  If you don't do the lesson, you-know-wins; if you do the lesson while furious, I think he still wins.

So, when it comes to behavior modification (your own, that is) how do you pull yourself back into the moment and bring Jesus with you?  Sometimes, all too rarely, I'll throw out that prayer of desperation when things are really bad.  Other times, when it's just difficult but not terrible, I don't remember to pray or ask for help.  I just keep soldiering on.  Or worse, I don't even remember that I had a goal to be patient or stick to my diet.  My current feelings, whatever they are, just take over.

How do you keep yourself mindfully in the present?

Rainy Advent Days


Outside my window...
Cold, rainy, dreary, and dark.  While we were away for 5 days visiting family over Thanksgiving, all the beautiful autumn leaves fell from the trees and the grass finished turning brown for the winter.  We came home to a very dreary neighborhood brightened only by the Christmas lights that folks put up.  I never thought I'd say this, but thank goodness for those earlybirds!  And, while much of the rest of the country contends with snow and ice, we still have rain.

I am thinking...
about whether my slowness to celebrate Christmas, waiting until Dec. 25, that is, actually translates into a love of Jesus and joy for His coming in my children's eyes.

I am thankful...
That we got to see my dad and sister, and we had a pretty nice trip, ridiculously long drive notwithstanding.

From the school table...
Monday.  Monday.  Rainy.  Cold.  Monday.  Fire in the fireplace.  Does any of that spell P.r.o.d.u.c.t.i.v.i.t.y to you?  Me, neither.

In the kitchen...
Last night it was totally gluten-free white mac and cheese.  The pasta was rice, quinoa, and corn (I think), with white cheddar cheese.  The sauce was thickened with arrowroot powder instead of flour.  *I* thought it was great; no one else complained, so I think it was alright.  Normally, someone would say something, however mild.  But we ended the white dinner with chocolate (not white) fudge with crushed candycanes and hot chocolate for the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

I am wearing...
Jeans and long, grey cardigan.  It matches the weather.  Cushy, fur-lined Uggs which are cozy for putting my feet up and knitting, but are the worst for walking the dog in the rain.  Yes, the feet stay warm and dry, but the pace slows to a crawl since they're so hard to walk in.  How do young people wear these things????

What I’m doing with fiber...
Knitting a hat for Meg.  I'll show you Wednesday (I hope), but I can't wait to be finished with it.  It's bamboo yarn and I hate it!  My hands are so sore, especially my right wrist which is not capable of lifting anything moderately heavy because of the stupid yarn.  I have another ball of this yarn, and I think I'll post it for sale on Ravelry because I dread the thought of knitting with it.

Ha! Done with that.  The wrist is slowly healing; still requires ice on a daily basis.  I'm working on a lovely, merino wool sock now that does not hurt.

I am going...
To avoid running around in this weather, but my resolve is inversely proportionate to the things I need to do.

I am wondering...
When it will ever stop raining.

I am reading...
My new bedtime reading book is Les Miserables.  At 5 minutes per night....That's about 10 years worth of reading based on some guy's estimate that it took him 45 hours to read it.  I'm pretty sure there will be some skimming involved!

I am looking forward to...
A peaceful Advent season.  And Christmas, especially having my children all together for a few days.

Around the house...
Lots of laundry today.  Blankets crumpled up everywhere.

One of my favorite things...
Sunny skies.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
The usual.  School, carpools, AHG, a Christmas concert at school.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
We cut off the end of the Christmas tree, so now we have Jesse's "stump" for the Advent wreath!  It even has a tiny sprout on the side.  lol.

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, December 5, 2013

PHFR - Thanksgiving Recap

round button chicken

Haha!  Not really.  ;-)  These are my "new" Uggs that my sister bought and decided she didn't like, so she gave them to me.  I like the slouchy knit look better than the stiff suede ones, so there's that, but they slip off the heel and are hard to walk in without shuffling.  They sound like house shoes to me!


On our trip out to Missouri for Thanksgiving, we stopped to tour Washington University in St. Louis for that boy in the letter jacket.  (For the record, he loved it.)  But never mind those beautiful, cold children in the picture----look beyond where the sun is shining on the trees and see the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition location!  I know!  Straight out of "Meet Me in St. Louis"!  So. excited.

I wonder if the LMLD Library Project librarian would approve of my Christmas gift from Dad:  all 12 of the Andrew Lange fairy books!  I have several on Kindle since they were out of print, but he's been collecting this Folio Society edition for me for years.  So. excited.  It would be nice to have time to sit down and read some!


The Thinker Rabbit at WashU.  Weird.  And then, every winter someone knits him a sweater in the dead of night.  


The first 6 hours of our drive to MO looked like this, only a good bit darker for the first 4.  Thank heavens we hadn't planned to go to Virginia!

The other real is that all actual Thanksgiving photos are on my sister's camera and have yet to be uploaded and shared.  Probably because she just finished washing the sheets and cleaning up after our invasion!  I don't think she's used to having 7 extra people sleeping in her house!

Go visit all the other lovely ladies at LMLD!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yarn Along

The knitting is a hat for my Meggie.  It's a more colorful version of this one, which we both love, but the white one is mine.    I'm using a bamboo yarn that she picked out because it was soft and colorful.  I really don't care for bamboo textiles----even though bamboo is fast-growing and invasive, it takes a lot of chemical processing to make it a satisfactory fabric.  A more compelling reason never to use it again is that my wrist is extremely sore from it.  My hands ache a little, but the right wrist is really Not Happy!  I've been knitting constantly for the past month or so, and it was only after starting this hat, and working on nothing else, that my wrist started hurting.

Anyone want to buy a ball of white bamboo yarn?

I borrowed Grain Brain from a friend after hearing Dr. Perlmutter on a podcast.  I've been hearing bad things about wheat for years---first from the low-carbers and primal/paleo crowd, and I experience(d) first hand it's addictive qualities, then there's Wheat Belly explaining those addictive qualities, and the fact that it's so hybridized as to be a completely different plant from the one Jesus had experience with.  Now, neurologist Dr. Perlmutter pulls together all the studies that show the negative effect of wheat and sugar on the brain, and gives us his own clinical experiences of patients whose problems are frequently improved or completely eradicated by a low-carb, no wheat, high fat diet. 

There are a lot of people pushing this type of paleo/primal/LCHF (low carb/high fat) diet for various reasons.  Hmmm...Could they be on to something?  I think so.  At my house, we still eat wheat, and way too much at that, but we eat a very whole foods diet with lots of meat, eggs, veggies, whole milk, real butter, coconut oil, etc.  There is absolutely no attempt to avoid fat in this household (except tranfats), and all the bloodwork for me and my DH is excellent.

It's definitely worth a read if you have any kind of health issues that are mysterious or affecting your brain health.   Personally, my brain fog disappears when I eat/drink/ingest 1/4 c. of coconut oil every day!  Being able to think clearly and express my thoughts disappears if I remove it from my diet for a few days.  And after my mother dying of a neurodegenerative disease that was pretty horrific, I'm all for doing what I can to avoid any of that!

Happy reading and knitting!  Stop by Ginny's to see what everyone else is up to!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I think it's a swan, not a turkey, but we'll just use him to wish you a 
Happy Thanksgiving, anyway!

Apple carving courtesy of Pippo and YouTube.

O Gracious God, we give you thanks for your overflowing generosity to us. 
Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat and especially for this feast today. Thank you for our home and family and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here. 
Thank you for our health, our work and our play. 
Please send help to those who are hungry, alone, sick and suffering war and violence. Open our hearts to your love. 
We ask your blessing through Christ your son. Amen.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What's in the Kitchen?

Doing a lot of cooking in advance of the Big Day, mostly because I wanted to deliver a Thanksgiving dinner to my grown boy who won't be able to be with us for Thanksgiving for the first time, ever.  #sadface

I made a turkey that we've been eating for the past couple of days, rehearsing for Thursday.  I also included his favorite sausage/mushroom dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes, and cinnamon rolls.  Dangit, I forgot the cranberry sauce!  I left it on the kitchen counter!

The true highlight, of course, will be Pioneer Woman's Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, which are pretty heavenly!  When they came out of the oven and needed to be frosted, I realized I had already used all the milk, so we were forced to improvise and use egg nog.  That icing is pretty. amazing.  Let me tell you!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Catching Fire Premiere

Sorry for the rotten ipicture!
All dressed, braided,  and ready for the Catching Fire premiere last Thursday!   We weren't planning to see it so soon, but there was a last-minute change of plans and the four went to the 8:00 p.m. premiere.

For someone who enjoyed reading the book and dressing as Katniss for the movies, I can't believe she doesn't want me to knit her one of these awesome sweater/vest/cowl thingies!  It's already been copied to Ravelry.

Anyway, she's seen the movie twice already.  Dh and I saw it Saturday.  I thought it was pretty awesome, but it has a terrible ending.  There's not the least bit of resolution to keep you content until the next one comes out!  I'll just have to re-read the book so it feels complete.

Have you seen it yet?  What did you think???

Monday, November 25, 2013

Finished "Color Affection"

 After blocking, it's much bigger than I expected.  Merino is very stretchy and blocks out much larger.  In fact, I have a shawl that I've blocked twice and it can still be blocked again because it's still a little puckered!
 It think this is just gorgeous!  And the softness is incredible---not a bit of scratchiness.  Soft, light and very warm.  It would be perfect if it were my colors.  I'm dying to make one for myself in colors more suitable for me.  Like blues.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Indian Summer Daybook


Outside my window...
Sunny and warm.  Dare I say "hot"?  Last week all the wimpy southerners were freezing because the temp was as low as 27 overnight; now it's warm---so warm I started sweating while walking the dog!  Feels like it's close to 70.

I am thinking...
A million things as usual.  This morning, (why is it always Monday?) I was full of negativity.  Just tired of being me.  Tired of writing complete sentences, too, I guess.  So God has given me something else to focus on instead of myself---a sick child.

I am thankful...
For my hard-working husband who whispers words of affirmation in my ears on Monday morning.

From the school table...
Only one student, and my knitting.  The sick one suggested he might read Thucydides to keep up with his work, but I said no.   The book would be too heavy for his weakened hands to hold, and I don't think his fevered brain would retain much at all.

In the kitchen...
Egg drop soup with lots of garlic and ginger.

I am wearing...
Jeans with a 3/4 sleeve cotton top.  Toms.

What I’m doing with fiber...
Knitting a pair of Porthos socks.  They're going to be beautiful if I have the stamina to make 2 of them.  If you'll recall, I hate knitting socks.  Don't ask why I'm doing this.  ;-)

I am wondering...
If it's the flu.  Really weak.  High fever---at least 102 by my maternal thermometer, which is far more accurate than any digital thermometer I've owned since mercury went out of style!

I am reading...
I finished reading Seabiscuit last week.  Really enjoyed that, and I'd like to see the move, but it doesn't seem to be available for streaming anywhere.  Drat it all.  All these TV providers are in cahoots with one another to make us use all their services!

I am hoping and praying...
...for Thomas Peters' continued recovery
...for the souls of the faithful departed
...for all those lost and surviving in the Philippines

I am looking forward to...
Thanksgiving break!

I am hearing on my ipod...
Since I'm between books, I can catch up on some of my podcasts.

One of my favorite things...
My breakfast on Instagram:  http://instagram.com/p/g3K_g8yHr8/
And that's "hot" coffee.  I don't know what "hit coffee" is.  ;-)

A few plans for the rest of the week...
School?  No School? Thanksgiving feast at school?  Or not?  AHG?  or not?  All things up in the air depending illness and the spread thereof.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
I got nothin.  Go look at my breakfast, again.  :-)

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Stand with Thomas Peters Day

So, I was not going to blog today.  It's been...what...a week?  I've been focused on other things like knitting, working on the school newsletter, and a class I have to teach Saturday.  Not necessarily in that order....but maybe.  ;-)  I'm just not feeling the blogging this week.  Or the social media.  I don't think I've been on Twitter for about a week.  I pretty much just want to see a few cute babies on Instagram, and I'm done!

BUT, I did sign up for #IStandWithThomasPeters social media day.  Which is today.  I've been following Thomas Peters since before the papal election, but he really caught my attention when he opened the @ConclaveChimney twitter account!  That was too funny, but he is such a great, young voice for the truths of the Catholic faith.

Somehow, I found out on Twitter about Thomas's diving accident, almost immediately, when it was first posted there, and have been praying fervently for him ever since.  We never want to think about something so devastating as a Spinal Cord Injury happening, or think that it could happen to someone so young and newly married with an exciting future ahead.  I can imagine how I might respond to such a thing happening to me, and I fear that it would not be with as much grace and faith.  His journey has been inspiration in terms of miracles and the faith of Thomas and his wife, Natalie.

You can read about their journey here.

You can support them by praying, making a donation toward their massive medical bills, and sharing through your social media outlets.

God bless you!

(I'm linking up with LMLD today.  No PHF, just Real.)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

PHFR - Vampire Bride edition

round button chicken


I posted this on instagram (scboyle, if you want to find me there).  Love this nude nail polish I found!  It's Revlon Gray Suede.  

The textbook is Writing With Ease, 6th grade.  Not pretty, and not my favorite, but a good exercise in narration.  We do learn some interesting things in reading the required passages.


Mom's not really happy when there are donuts in the house, but the children are.  Somehow, don't ask, this babycakes donut maker ended up in my house.  I wanted to see if it worked, so I tried it out with the primal donuts on the right.  They're made with coconut flour, sweetened with maple syrup and very dense.  Oh, frosted with maple syrup glaze, too.  The sugar on top is what keeps us coming back for more, not the innards.

The ones on the left are Barbara's Cake Doughnuts (for her, I'll go ahead and spell doughnuts correctly.  Otherwise, it's just too long a word!)  Even though they're supposed to be deep fried, we abandoned all sense of rules and structure and baked them in the babycaker.  They cooked perfectly in, like, 3 minutes.  Buuuutttttt (but, not butt), they were dry on the outside because they weren't fried, so the cinnamon-sugar wouldn't stick.  We were forced to glaze them first, before adding more sugar!

Note to self:  Next time someone wants to make donuts, go to your room to read until they are finished, cleaned up, and put away.

Or, just say No to donut-making.


She's funny here, but after a couple of hours of playing Vampire Bride, I was over it.  School was not getting done!


Summer might be really hot, but I've suddenly realized that it's the only time of the year when we don't have the sun constantly in our eyes!  Unless you're out only at high noon, the sun is low in the sky most of the day, and that makes lots of  blinding morning and afternoon commutes!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hamburger Cupcakes

Meg, the Budding Blogger, has been dying to make these cupcakes disguised as hamburgers.  I finally told her she could do it as long as I didn't have to do any of the work.  She attempted to document all her steps, as any self-respecting food blogger would!

That missing cupcake is because someone went a little crazy with a sharp knife on my silicon muffin pan.  Grrrr.

Brownies that were made a day in advance, giving pickers opportunities to pick!  We had discussed making them in a 9x13 pan so there would be more, thinner, brownies, but she forgot.  Personally, I liked the thick brownie burger patty (because who doesn't like more chocolate?).

The lettuce is coconut flakes dyed green.  The ketchup and mustard are buttercream, dyed to match.  She did a great job pulling together pinks and purples to make the red.  It was a little easier, I think, to get the correct mustard color which was frighteningly accurate!

The taste was very sweet, but the textures was very much like a real, albeit slightly overcooked, crusty burger.  It was weird that it felt like a burger in your mouth, but didn't taste like one!

We all thought they were pretty awesome, but as with real hamburgers, one is usually enough.  ;-)  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Autumn Daybook


Outside my window...
Blue skies with a few puffy clouds.  It looks like a gorgeous fall day!  It was hard to get up this morning, thanks to DST.  The Sunday morning extra hour of sleep is awesome; the subsequent days not so much.

Candy Corn nails for Halloween
I am thinking...
Too much about my stupid thyroid.  My metabolism is grinding to a screeching halt; my temperature is really low, and it's really depressing.  Hair is falling out and really dry, too. Weight gain.  Ugh.  What's worse is the doctor who tested my TSH this summer and said my thyroid is functioning fine because TSH is normal.  Grrrr.  So that means there's no help without paying lots and lots of money to a doctor who does tests that are actually useful.  Call me frustrated.

I am thankful...
That our insurance hasn't changed dramatically compared with the horror stories I'm hearing and reading about.

From the school table...
It's Monday, and they're up and working hard.  Well, they're taking a break to eat pancakes right now....

In the kitchen...
Chili last night.  PW posted a chili recipe that sounded intriguing, so I combined some of her suggestions with my recipe, and managed to win the Chili Cook-off at the neighborhood Fall Festival!  Of course, the competition wasn't too stiff with only 3 entries, but still.

I used ground turkey which I almost never do, but her recipe called for chicken, and turkey is what I had.  Plus, if you're feeding the neighborhood, it's cheaper than beef.  I also added beer and 1 chipotle pepper per her suggestions, but I'd rather leave out the beer and use 2 peppers next time.  I used my regular spices in it.  Yum!

Mummy pizzas before Trick or Treating
I am wearing...
Workout clothes.  Color me Hopeful.

Not everyone can get away with this look!

What I’m doing with fiber...
Getting close to the end of Color Affection, but the rows are really long, and the main color ball is getting really little!

I am going...
Just to the dentist and after-school pickup today!  woot!

Pippo's 8.5 lbs. sorted

I am reading...
Finally finished Harry Potter last night.  I need to finish The Disappearing Spoon in the car for book club.

I am hoping and praying...
----for the souls of the faithful departed
----for Elizabeth DeHority
----for the continued recovery of Thomas Peters
----for family members

I am looking forward to...
There doesn't seem to be anything exciting on the calendar, so I'll be looking forward to those moments when I get to sit down and knit!

I am hearing on my ipod...
Since I don't have any books left on there, I can start catching up on podcasts!

Around the house...
Loads and loads of laundry since the last few days were busy.  Good thing there aren't 6 children at home anymore, or I'd be reaaaaalllly unhappy about that!

One of my favorite things...
Tracts in the Halloween candy

A few plans for the rest of the week...
I'm going to try to get a few blog posts out that have been fermenting.

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Color Affection Yarn Along

Oh, it's Wednesday....Other than the fact that my kids are home today from their hybrid school, I've had my nose in a book or my knitting most of the day, so I forgot all about blogs and blogging, and what day it is!

Here's my gorgeous Color Affection.  I really am going to have to make one of these for myself after this is finished and finds a new home!  It's so hard to tell what it looks like while it's all scrunched up on the needle....I can't wait to see how it looks when it's finished!  I just ordered another, longer, needle because this one is running out of room. That said, I'm freaking out a little that the ball of yarn that is the main color (the variegated) is so much smaller than the others.  Most shawls and scarves allow you to simply stop when you're out of yarn.  Not this one.  So, I think my panic is going to build with every row of that color!

As for reading, I've been plowing through HP & the Half-Blood Prince for the past few days so I can get to the last one that is on my phone in audio...and it's due back at the library Friday.  I just started it an hour ago, so I have a lot of listening to do.

In the car, I'm listening to

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

 on CD.  It's a fascinating (sometimes) book about the periodic table of elements.  There are stories about the discovery of each element, plus other, interesting stories about how they've been used for good or for ill.  If you're a fan of the elements, you might enjoy this book.  I would never have chosen this one on my own, but it's for my book club.  Plus, I'm game to learn a little about the periodic table since it comes up regularly at trivia!

Happy Knitting!  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Prayer Tips

A friend said the most amazing thing to me the other day---that she admired how I was so good about praying novenas and the rosary and sticking with it!  If that's what it looks like, I'm happy, but I know that is not at all the reality.  Any stick-to-itivitness that I've shown in recent months is purely grace that I would have to associate with having completed the 33 Days to Morning Glory and Consoling the Heart of Jesus retreats.

The other key to any progress in my prayer life is ROUTINE.  Without a routine, my prayer life goes exactly where you expect it to:  nowhere.  When I'm on vacation, or even having a busy weekend, I'm not usually saying any extra prayers beyond a morning offering and consecration renewal at bedtime.

I have completed several novenas in recent weeks, and that surprises me to no end.  Again, Grace. But I have done a couple of things differently.

These days I'm trying, really trying, to sit somewhere besides the computer when I first get up and I don't feel like interacting with "live" people.  It doesn't always work, but it's better, and it helps that the morning prayer books are in the same room as the computer, so I can just take my habitual direction and just go 2 steps to the left, instead of the right!  There are mornings when I really long to talk to Jesus, and I don't, and it shows.  :-(

Fives days a week, I have to get in the car to take people to school, or pick someone up, so I've gotten into a pretty good habit of making that first trip out Rosary Time.  I know myself well enough to know that if I don't do it on the first trip, I probably won't get to it.  Sometimes I pray it with the kids, but not always.  The rosary should be the priority, but I also like to give them time to talk to me.

I also try to pray the rosary when I walk the dog around the neighborhood.  For various reasons (like I'm a lazy slob!) that hasn't been happening much lately, but I've been driving, so it works.

The dog always needs a shorter walk in the late morning which has become the time that I pray novenas.  Yes, I walk and keep my nose in the prayer book!  I prefer a book to praying at the computer, but Pray More Novenas is a great resource if you don't mind praying at the computer or don't have the particular novena booklet at home.

Basically, tying certain activities to prayer has been the greatest help.  Weekly adoration has helped a lot, too.  There are times (ha!  every week, almost!) that I don't want to get up and go, but on the days I give in to my laziness, I invariably lie awake feeling guilty.  So, just do it.  God is good enough to make everything else work out during the day.

Another mom who was part of this conversation, lamented that they can't consecrate their home to the Two Hearts because they won't be able to follow through with the subsequent requirements: 

Frequent Holy Communion
Daily Family Rosary
Monthly Holy Hour
Daily Renewal of Consecration
(These are the requirements listed on our family certificate)

I can't keep the 10 Commandments perfectly, but I haven't give up trying!  I think the most important thing is to make the consecration and keep working at perfect fulfillment of the rules.   It is my fervent hope that the graces we've received will make up for the inevitable gaps in my parenting skills and prayer life!

I'm not surrounded by little ones anymore, so maybe this is all due to my age (urgh!), but that doesn't mean we didn't try when they were little.  There's never a perfect time that makes it easy to pray!  I have a good friend who used to pray more than one rosary per day as she did it while lying in bed with small children who wanted her with them as they went to sleep!

Think over your day and find those routine moments that lend themselves to prayer.  Keep track of Hail Mary's on paper throughout the day.  I sometimes pray Memorares for individuals, one at a time, while I'm pumping gas.  I'll pray for family members as I fold their laundry.  And no matter what your age, whenever you're awake in the middle of the night, pray.  Someone needs it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

7 Quick Takes on Gratitude


We had another morning reflection this week given by a great priest on his day off.  Thanks to his good friend the Holy Spirit, it was timely and repeated a theme that I had already been thinking and reading about!


The reflection was based on the story of the 10 lepers, which I'm sure you know.  Jesus healed the 10 and sent them to show themselves to the priest, but one came back to express his gratitude---the Samaritan, the one least expected to do so.  Jesus questioned where the other 9 were.


Jesus was offended that only one came back.  He was offended because He loves us so much, and it hurts when the gifts He gives us are ignored.  Don't you feel the same way when you work hard for your family and it goes unnoticed and unappreciated?  I know I do.  

A lack of gratitude is a sin against Charity.


Some obstacles to gratitude:

  • We are too busy to notice or acknowledge those moments when we've been given a gift or protected from something bad happening.  How many times have you passed a pedestrian on the edge of the road and realized that if you had been reaching for your phone or your coffee you might have hit them?
  • We have a sense of entitlement.  We receive gifts day in and day out, and we begin to expect those routine gifts.  
  • We have "pending issues" with God---perhaps we feel that there was a time in our lives when he abandoned us.
  • When times are good, we are not thankful.  Refer back to that sense of entitlement---we get used to things being good and we think they should always be this way!


How to form gratitude:
  • Be grateful to others.  Take time to notice and say thank you.
  • Spend 15 minutes once a week thinking of things that people have done for you.
  • Write thank you notes---with a pen! on real paper!
  • Spend your time while in line for communion thinking of things that God has given you.  You are about to receive a little piece of Heaven; it's like being in line to enter the Pearly Gates, so be grateful!


Some fruits of gratitude:
  • It makes us more humble, and that sense of entitlement goes away.
  • It takes off some of the pressure because we are not so independent, which makes us feel as if we are alone in the world with no one to lean on.
  • Relieves stress


Work on cultivating gratitude in yourself and your children.  Your spouse can help by reminding the children of all you do for them---just as you should be reminding the children of the hard work of your spouse!!

Thank YOU for stopping by to read!  And thanks to everyone who comments also!  Have a great weekend.

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Autumn Yarn Along

It is such a fall day!  It's cool and clear out, but it's breezy and I can hear the leaves blowing across the yard as I sit by the window and knit.  There aren't too many leaves....yet...because it has just now gotten cool enough at night that the leaves are starting to turn.

I've been working hard on the Color Affection, and I just started using the forest green and doing the short rows.  It seems to be going quickly, but these "short rows" are going to get pretty long, pretty soon!  And now that I'm juggling 3 yarn balls, it's no longer a car project.  That means I need to find another car project, pronto, to give me something to do in all those spare minutes!

Today, I'm cold, cranky, fighting off Meg's cold, and would be perfectly content to sit in the armchair with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on the arm while I knit.  (It's 99.9% straight knitting which I can do without looking.)

I'm reading Harry Potter simply because I've been checking out audible books from the library, and they had The Goblet of Fire.  I listened to that, and now I have the last one, Deathly Hallows, already downloaded, but I've got to zip through Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince before I listen, because you can't just skip 2 years, right???  I'd really like to know what the librarian, who ordered 3 of the 7 books in audible format, was thinking!

I would be reading Allegiant, but I must have gotten distracted when I pre-ordered it, and it's just been sitting in my shopping cart....waiting.  It will be here tomorrow...only 2 days late.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lazy Friday Quick Takes


I'm going to write a blog post because I'm too lazy to get up from the computer to go knit on the sofa!  I've been here all morning---since I got home from carpool---alternating between reading blogs and compiling news for the school newsletter.  I'm done with that for now, and just can't get up.


I'm not the only one with that problem, I guess.  She dragged herself out of bed the 2nd time I woke her up, and did her schoolwork, but she can't seem to make any further progress.


This is where I was between 4 and 5 a.m. today.  I just love this adoration chapel and the crucifix, so much so that I had to snap a picture with my phone.  I was afraid the shutter would click, but it didn't with the phone on silent.  However, it's a bad picture, so I may have to try again.  I enjoy just sitting and gazing at this crucifix---sometimes that's easier than trying to pray words because my mind wanders very quickly when I'm tired!  Though, honestly, sometimes I do find myself wondering why Jesus has a red velvet-lined pie plate behind Him!


Here are my 3 fabulous skeins of yarn that I won.  I finally decided to knit a Color Affection.  It's going to be a lot of knitting on small needles!


I have a lot of knitting to do, and my elbow hurts.  I don't think it's Knitter's Elbow, because it's on the bottom and hurts when  I rest my forearm on the table, and it doesn't hurt when I knit or do anything else, but I've no idea what it could be.


Is everyone else craving yummy, creamy, pumpkin-y coffee beverages?  With the onset of cool weather I can only assume that our bodies are encouraging us to get fat for the winter scarcity.  As if.


My brain is very tired today from lack of sleep, so it's hard to come up with 7 takes!  There is also something weighing heavily on my heart which I could use some prayers for.  I'd appreciate it!


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


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