Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

(I hate that this pic is blurry…but it was such a cute one of the kids before Mass that I had to post it.)




May you continue to experience the joy of this Christmas Season like this little one…





 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December...

I have a love/hate relationship with December.

So very, very busy…

…but always with worthwhile endeavors.

So often, we say that we "just need to say no".

But when the Christmas Concert at school is part of the performance grade for Music Class…

…and your husband is giving the tour of his Fire Station for your son's Tiger Cub Scout troop…

…when your Catholic Women's prayer group (we are studying the Gospel of Matthew this semester) is such an integral part of your prayer (and friendship) life…

…well, one can begin to feel a bit overwhelmed with commitments.

And to be honest…

…I have said no to some things (much to my daughter's chagrin).  *frown*

"No" to Ecumenical Christmas Caroling at our 155-year old "original" Catholic church on Sunday night (can you even imagine attending Mass on the Kansas prairie 155 years ago?!)…

…"no" to Parent-Watch Night for Mary Catherine's dance class (I feel like a heel!)…it wasn't my carpool night (thank goodness for carpooling!) and the boys were sick (again)…

…"no"to being a chaperon for Mary and Ben's school field trip (today)…which would mean finding daycare for Luke for the day…(ugh)

But tonight is it.  The Tiger Cub tour at the Fire Station is this evening and then we have no more commitments for December until the Weekend of the 21st!

Breathe.

I promise to be back soon to share pictures of all the other things we have been up to and to show you the awesome gifts I received from my new friend, Ellie, of Nova Scotia, Canada.  We participated in a "Grateful Swap" and sent each other care packages.  Ellie and I were a perfect match and she sent me some incredible goodies…many homemade!!!

Thank you, Ellie!  My daughter has already taken the sea glass to school for show and tell!  *smile*


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 3 ~ Embracing These Last Days of Fall

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen 

in one autumnal face.” 

~John Donne~




Relishing these last few days of Autumn…

…where balmy temperatures (60s!) 
and filtered sunlight beckon us to take to the outdoors and enjoy one more family bike ride.



December Photo Project 2013


Additional photos from yesterday afternoon…







Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2 ~ 'Tis the Season...




'Tis the Season…

…for the Stomach Flu.

Round 2.

Benjamin.

Unexpected extension to Thanksgiving Break!

*Note to Self:  Pick Up Color-Safe Bleach*

December Photo Project 2013


Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 1 ~ Nativity Set



A brand new nativity set…

…perfect for tiny hands to play with.



December Photo Project 2013








Additional photos captured this evening…





The December Photo Project

Because life gets so hectic at times…

…and blogging is always the first thing to go…

…I thought I'd sign up to participate in the…



December Photo Project 2013


I'm looking forward to sharing with you the images I capture during the month of December…

…and allowing myself not to have to "write" a lot this month.  

A picture speaks a thousand words, no?

And maybe learning how to shoot in manual mode.  
(I'm still fighting with my camera and "cheating" by flipping the switch back to "automatic".)
*sigh*

Wish to learn more about the dpp?








Beauty on Sunday…Advent

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
 ~Philippians 4:8~






"It might be easy to run away to a monastery, away from the commercialization, the hectic hustle, the demanding family responsibilities of Christmas-time.  Then we would have a holy Christmas.  But we would forget the lesson of the Incarnation, of the enfleshing of God - the lesson that we who are followers of Jesus do not run from the secular; rather we try to transform it.  It is our mission to make holy the secular aspects of Christmas just as the early Christians baptized the Christmas tree.  And we do this by being holy people - kind, patient, generous, loving, laughing people - no matter how maddening is the Christmas rush…"

Meanings of Christmas
~Fr. Andrew Greeley~
Woman's Day, 12-22-81


Wishing you a blessed and peaceful start 
to the Advent Season,









Monday, November 25, 2013

Catching My Breath

If you've read here for any length of time…

…then you know when I disappear for a week or more at a time there's usually something going on at our house.

Last week was filled with meetings, appointments, and make-up/rescheduled work hours because of sick kiddos (Luke) and then this week didn't start off much better.

Mary Catherine has the stomach flu, and again I find myself juggling lots of responsibilities.

Sometimes that means having to take a break from blogging…

…which I hate!

Half-day of school tomorrow…Grandparent's Day Celebration (we had to cancel our Grandma Visit b/c of the flu!)…and then carpet cleaners coming.

Need I say more???!!!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Beauty on Sunday…Birthday Cake Bunting

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
 ~Philippians 4:8~



First Grade...

Seven Years Old...

"Spongebob" cupcakes (store-ordered) 
for the school-day celebration.





But for this weekend…

…just this…

a simple angel food cake with homemade whipped cream.

And a tiny "birthday cake bunting" that I made!




Polka dot bunting…polka dot candles…and stripey-straws…

= swooney cute birthday celebration!

Boy-ish (or gender-neutral)…but not cartoonish...











Wishing you a blessed Sunday as we celebrate with our Birthday-Boy,






Thursday, November 14, 2013

Quick Bread…Chocolate Pumpkin (Recipe)

I'm always looking for new quick bread recipes, and was excited to discover this recipe by Paula Deen a few years ago.  

I've made her chocolate chip pumpkin bread several times and it is delicious…and easy to make.

Enjoy…after all…how can one go wrong with pumpkin and chocolate???!!!





Recipe
(Makes 2 Loaves)
(From Cooking with Paula Deen, Sept/Oct 2010 issue)

2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease (spray) 2 (9x5-inch) loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, and water.  In another large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  

3.  Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring until blended.  Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

4.  Bake 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  

5.  Cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
Prepare Pumpkin Bread as directed.  Stir 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate into batter before pouring into prepared pans.  




We decided to eat one and freeze the other for Thanksgiving week.  The first loaf is gone!  
*smile*

(Yup…Christmas movies are already available on Netflix for viewing…)





Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's So Very Mary…Making Her Room Her Own

 Today, I'm linking up with Kim over at Savvy Southern Style for her Wow Us Wednesday party.



Yesterday, I shared Mary Catherine's bedroom reveal.  A room fit for a queen tween!

While mainstream media/pop psychology might consider the average 8 or 9-year old a "tween" we prefer to keep our under-10 crowd in the "child" category in this house.  *wink*

That being said, I do realize that my little girl is growing up, and that it is time for her to have a bedroom befitting that of a grade-schooler.

After all the updates (bedding, wall art, window treatments, etc.) that we made to the room, it was feeling a bit…"big box store-ish".  (More Images here)




So, to combat the "model-home" look and feel to her room, I gradually started adding back in cherished dolls, keepsakes, quilts, etc.

The first thing that I did was to begin working on a quilt for Mary's bed that the dog can lay on.  In addition to allowing Mary to pick the wall color (she originally wanted the room hot pink…yikes!), I took her to the quilting/fabric store to pick out her favorite patterns and colors.  Although still a work in progress, here is what her bed quilt is starting to look like…

Mary laid out all the squares to be pieced together.  She insisted that she like the order and layout of the squares…(obviously, we have not had a quilting lesson on contrasts…light vs. dark…large print vs. small..no two of the same pattern together…etc.)

So, this is her quilt. The quilt that she designed and that mama is just piecing together and then quilting for her.  Love this girl.








(Sorry for some blurry pics…still working on learning how to shoot in manual mode…)


I have a ton of work to still do on this quilt…sashing…border…quilt and binding, but at least you can get a feel for warmth/personalization it adds to her room.




In addition to her full-size bed quilt, Mary Catherine made a doll quilt for her American Girl Doll, Suzanne, with help from a quilting friend.  According to my girlfriend, Mary has quite the affinity for the sewing machine and took to piecing right away.  (Mary has more patience than I can ever dream of having!  She's a super easy-going kiddo!)

Notice that the doll quilt is from a similar fabric line as her full-size quilt.   I love how they compliment each other.   LoVe.









Wall Art.

In October, my husband and I traveled to the beautiful Ozark Mountains for a little Fall Get-Away…and to celebrate our 20-year wedding anniversary!

While peeking into windows of different art galleries and antique shops of Eureka Springs, AR, I saw these adorable one-of-a-kind original canvases.  The minute I saw them, I knew one would have to come home with me…




…after years of infertility and loss, our daughter Mary Catherine was our dream come true…and to this day, I think of Mary when I hear this song.  This little canvas is part of the vignette over her bed.

In addition to the wall art, we placed my vintage Holly Hobby doll cradle at the foot of her bed to house her American Girl Doll collection.  I've toyed with the idea of painting the cradle, but for now, I'm going to leave it as is…









Her First Holy Communion Veil.

I just can't bear to pack this up yet…even though her dress has been cleaned and bagged.  Such a beautiful and special day for our girl.  I get teary-eyed just thinking about it!







Sorry…I got side-tracked there…  *wink*








And finally…a unique doorstop.

I am always looking for unique and creative ways to keep bedroom doors propped open during the day, but easily removable at night for safety (fire) reasons.

Recently, my mom gave Mary a vintage travel make-up case that belonged to her.  Mary LOVED this gift and inside of it is stored all sorts of jewelry, lip glosses, hair pretties, etc.  It is her treasure box…albeit, a very pretty one!





So there you have it…just a few of the ways that I've made Mary's space her own with one of a kind wall art/vintage toys/handmade items, etc.