Monday, December 31, 2007

Snowy Scenes

I've been reconsidering my decision to discontinue blogging, and instead, as part of my goals to refocus, reorganize, and rejuvenate in the new year, I need to decide on a focus for this blog. My original intentions have been lost over the past two and half years, and I hope to emerge well-rested (in mind at least) and with new energies.

In the meantine, here are some scenes around the house today after a little snowfall. The snow is of the wet yet powdery sort that lightly rests on everything it touches. All of the tress and shrubbery are hanging on to every flake.

We drove through the prettiest area, with tall trees on both sides of the road that in the summer is always cool and shady. Today the snow is almost acting like the leaves in the summer and it was so still. Unfortunately, the roard was slushy and very slippery, so I don't dare venture back out to take pictures. I have to content myself with shots around our land.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Cat

Zuzu enjoying the day.

Wishing all my readers continued blessings during the Christmas season!

Boy's Best Friend

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New (to us) Kitchen Table

While there are much more exciting things going on in the blogosphere, we've been in the midst of the little kitchen update.

Some close friends on ours have been moving out of their home into something smaller, and to help them out, we've been involved in the great Kitchen Table Swap of Aught Seven.

Their kitchen table and chairs are way to large for the new house, so here's what we did: my ever-patient DH spent yesterday morning dismantling our kitchen table and loading it, two leaves, and six chairs into his truck. (You can see our table, minus leaves, here.)

He drove one hour back to our hometown to my parents' house. There, he and my dad unloaded our table and loaded up their tables and chairs. They drove over to our friends' new house (just around the corner this time) and unloaded my parents' table there. (Following?) They then drove over to the friends' old house and dismantled their old table and loaded up it and six chairs back into DH's truck. Whew. My dad drove back to his our and DH drive an hour back here. Once he arrived, we reassembled our "new table" and promptly collapsed into our new-to-us chairs.

I should note: he collapsed because of all the physical labor. I collapsed due to feeling sick. Sidekick collapsed (or jumped) into his chair because he wanted a snack.

So everyone ended up with a "new table." I recommend this to anyone wanting to update their furniture without spending a dime! (Other than gas...)

I am completely in love with this new table, especially the fact that it's a laminate top (not oak) and doesn't need to be covered with a tablecloth all the time that will inevitably end up with drips, stains, etc. after five minutes. On the flip side, my mother is left wondering if her "new table" (our old one) is going to be too short to effectively use as a workspace. Both of us are satisfied, though, that we were able to help out friends in a tight spot and we hope they are happy with their new table!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Year of Merry Months

Exposures is discontinuing their Merry Months Picture Frame series, so I finally bit the bullet and purchased them! At the end of each month, I'll add a new snapshot to the appropriate frame so we will always have a year's worth of photos on our wall!

Exposures has other sets of 12-month frames that are just as charming!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Gift

I love to listen to this song over and over each Christmas. Something about it always makes me choke up a bit.

Madonna and Child Tea Set

Isn't this lovely? A mom on one of my message groups is buying it for her daughters for Christmas. I think it would be a lovely addition for any Christian family!

Our Advent Calendar

Our little guy is having a wonderful time placing each piece in the manger scene this year. It's hard to wait for the next morning!

Memorial of St. Nicholas

As many of you know, today is St. Nicholas Day!

From Catholic Culture:

St. Nicholas was born in Lycia, Asia Minor, and died as Bishop of Myra in 352. He performed many miracles and exercised a special power over flames. He practiced both the spiritual and temporal works of mercy, and fasted twice a week. When he heard that a father who had fallen into poverty was about to expose his three daughters to a life of sin, Nicholas took a bag of gold and secretly flung it through the window into the room of the sleeping father. In this way, the three girls were dowered and saved from mortal sin and hell.

Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra, is undoubtedly one of the most popular saints honored in the Western world. In the United States, his memory has survived in the unique personality of Saint Claus — the jolly, rotund, white-bearded gentleman who captivates children with promises of gifts on Christmas Eve. Considered primarily as the patron saint of children, Nicholas is also invoked by sailors, merchants, bakers, travelers and pawnbrokers, and with Saint Andrew is honored as the co-patron of Russia.

This is our first year truly "celebrating" and honoring St. Nicholas. We've been reading as much as we can about the saint. Demi's books are some of my favorites and her book on St. Nicholas is no exception. (Also check out Mother Teresa, Jesus, and Mary.)

I don't know how traditional it is, but in addition to our small family celebration, we are having a St. Nicholas Party this weekend for our closest family and friends. Several St. Nicholas treats are on the menu, and I think we'll have the kids decorate some St. Nicholas cookies (and other Advent/Christmas shapes).

To remember the saint's generosity and because I am Czech, St. Nicholas fills stockings in our house (not shoes), so I'll be sure to share pictures later!

Now it's time for my Sidekick and I to start our baking for tonight and Saturday!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Novena to St. Andrew

Today is the feast of St. Andrew, Apostle.

From Catholic Culture:

Today's feast traditionally marks the end of the Church year and beginning of Advent. Advent always begins on the Sunday closest to November 30, with this day being the last possible day of the old Liturgical Year. Christmas is right around the corner. An old saying reflected this:

St Andrew the King
Three weeks and three days
before Christmas begins.

St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland (home of my father's family).

Christmas Anticipatory Prayer

Christmas Anticipation Prayer

Beginning on St. Andrew the Apostle's feast day, November 30, the following beautiful prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas. This is a very meditative prayer that helps us increase our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and helps us prepare ourselves spiritually for His coming.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment In which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, [here mention your request] through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

I have also added this prayer to my sidebar for the season of Advent.

Why am I Catholic?

As we begin a new liturgical year this weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to post this video again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In the interest of full disclosure...

Kat with a K commented after this post:

I think that's a great idea! I should do that with MY clothes!

I did.

Not with all my clothes, but some. I like to wear layers and the combinations I have that only work one way, I hung together. Call me whatever you like (it's probably true), but I feel so free and organized. No more wondering where that periwinkle shirt is anymore. It's right with the periwinkle-accented flowered button-down hanging in a cute little package.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Obsessed? Perhaps.

I know I'm risking sounding like a huge control freak here, but I'm going to admit this anyway: last week I organized the little guy's closet into outfits.

(Far left are church/dressy clothes, middle is "everyday" and the right are sweatshirts that are multi-outfit appropriate.)

I was out shopping (the same time I picked up the curtains), and as often happens to me, I drew I total blank on what I needed for DS. "Make a list!" you say. Well, yes, sometimes I do, but I always forgot to write down exactly what he needs and (more importantly) in what colors. So standing in Old Navy, staring at toddler boys' sweatpants, I vowed to go home and organize his closet into outfits and his drawers into "extras" for those inevitable times that he spills water, or plays outside, or wipes sauce on himself. I did just that, and on my next trip out, I was able to pick up a few extra pants and shirts (in several different color schemes) to match everything in his "every day" rotation. Whew.

I feel so much better now and dressing him has become much easier. The bonus is that now DH can dress him without worrying about putting clothes together. I imagine this system will be even more helpful in the future should we have more children. Oh, and from now on, I'm only buying clothes in pairs. Same rule applies to hand-me-downs. If we don't have shirt or pants to match the item, it goes.

Oh, as I was editing this post, he just dripped most of his water bottle down his sweatshirt. Sigh. Good thing I know exactly what I have on hand (and clean) that he can wear next! And I took the water away!

New Curtains

Last week in my Commitment to Loveliness I mentioned choosing and buying curtains for the kitchen. Mission accomplished thanks to J.C. Penny's and a phenomenal sale!

(Note: I didn't iron until after I took these pictures. I wanted to make sure they would work before I made the effort!)

I feel so much better, especially with the curtains on the door. We felt so exposed, and now our privacy is restored!

Menu Plan Monday, November 26

Monday: Slow Cooked Chicken and Dumplings
Tuesday: Enchiladas
Wednesday: Grandma's Choice
Thursday: Turkey Soup
Friday: Vegetarian Pizza
Saturday: Eat Out
Sunday: Chili

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This keeps happening to me!

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Oridnary, comforting, and more than a little predictable
You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Chili with pumpkin muffins

Monday: Baked Ziti (or whatever I have on hand) with brown sugar carrots

Tuesday: Omelets in a bag with toast and homemade applesauce

Wednesday: Leftovers or tomato soup with grilled cheese

Thursday: Thanksgiving at Mom and Dad's

Friday: Garlic and Broccoli Pizza

Saturday: Eat out after Mass

Commitment to Loveliness, November 18

This week's Commitment to Loveliness:

1. Choose and purchase curtains for the kitchen door and window.
2. Continue working on decluttering project.
3. Hang artwork in playroom (we never had a chance last week).
4. Read. I'm terribly behind on my reading.
5. Spend time outside everyday, playing with the baby or walking.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Love that whole-grain crunch!

I found this on the blog of someone from my AP list.

How crunchy are you?

Do you have homebirths?
15 points for “yes” (unassisted)
10 points for “yes” (with a midwife in attendance)
5 points for alternative birthing center
2 points for “thinking about/would like homebirth
0 for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

I would consider it, but we live over 30 minutes from the nearest hospital, so it's never going to happen.

Will you circumcise future sons?
-5 points for “no”
-0 points for “yes”.

We do not circumcise.

Do you use cloth diapers?
20 point if you do Elimination Communication (no diapers)
15 points if “yes” (wash and make your own)
10 points if “yes” (wash your own)
5 points if “yes” (diaper service)
2 points if “thinking about it”
0 points if “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

I wish I made my own! Wait-- does folding prefolds count??

Do you observe your fertility signals using Natural Family
Planning/Fertility Awareness and use that for birth control/trying to conceive?

10 points for “yes” (observe and use for birth control/ttc) or you use ecological
breastfeeding/lactational amnorrhea
5 points for “yes” (observe for trying to conceive)
2 points “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

You bet!

Do you breastfeed exclusively for the first 6+ months?
10 points if “yes”
5 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of expressed breastmilk)
2 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of formula)
0 for “no” (don’t breastfeed by choice).


Do you co-sleep/family bed?
10 points for “yes” (all night every night)
5 points for “yes” (part/all of most nights)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no”.

We're down to part of the night now. The little guy sleeps in his own room full-time now, and I go in there if he needs me.

Do you use a sling/soft carrier?
5 points for “yes”
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

How could I survive without one?

Do you believe in/practice child-led weaning
(even if that means breastfeeding for several years)?

15 points for “yes” (complete child-led weaning)
10 points for “yes” (up to 3 years)
5 points for “yes” (up to 2 years)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (you’ll wean the baby at 1 year or earlier).

I'm somewhere between 10-15 here. Without another pregnancy, I think I'd let the baby nurse as long as s/he needed.

Do you tandem nurse/nurse during your pregnancy?
10 points for “yes” (nurse during pgcy and tandem nurse)
5 points for “yes” (nurse during pgcy, but wean before birth)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no”(wouldn’t consider it).

Hasn't come up yet, but I'm guessing I'll nurse during pregnancy, but try to wean before the next birth.

Do you eat organic/whole/natural foods and limit your meat?
15 points for “yes” (grow own/buy organic, shop only at health food store,
grind own wheat, vegetarian, etc.)
10 points for “yes” (grow some of own food, buy organic,
use whole wheat flour, bake own bread, eat some meat occasionally)
5 points for “yes” (try to buy natural, whole grain foods, etc.)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

10 points here. I wish we could adios meat altogether unless it was organic/free-range/grass-fed, but my DH is convinced he won't survive without it.

Do you use herbal/homeopathic remedies?
10 points if “yes” (very rarely see a regular doctor)
5 points if “yes” (but use a doctor occasionally)
2 points if “thinking about it” (see a doc for now)
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

As much as possible. Based on my recent experiences with doctors, I have half a mind to write them off completely. I guess they have their uses, though.

Do you homeschool?
10 points if “yes” (currently homeschool)
5 points for “yes” (will homeschool)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

We are without a doubt going to homeschool.

What's your take on childhood vaccinations?
15 points for no vaccines
10 for delayed, selective vaccination
5 points for selective, on schedule vaccination
2 points for thinking about not vaccinating
0 points for vaxing on schedule.

10 points here. We selectively/delay and avoid morally objectionable vaccines altogether (the ones made from aborted babies).

Would you/have you ever breastfeed/fed someone else's baby
or have someone else bf your child?

10 points if yes (have or someone has bf your baby)
5 points if yes (would)
2 points if maybe 0 if no (wouldn't consider it).

Maybe not BF, I would pump for someone and I would buy donor milk before I'd EVER use formula.

Do you use cloth/re-usable products for mom?
10 points if yes (make own)
5 points if yes (buy own)
2 points if thinking about it
0 points if no.

Thinking about it. It can cost a lot to switch over.

Total= 104

120 – 140 Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy Granola Earth Mama
90 – 119 Mmm! Love that whole-grain crunch!
60 – 89 Pretty Crispy
20 – 59 Sprinkled with Granola
5 – 19 Instant Oatmeal
0 - 4 Jell-O

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ready to Celebrate!

Birthday Breakfast

This is a delicious twist on traditional French Toast.

Julie Smith's French Toast Strata

1 lb. Loaf of French bread (We used Whole Wheat)
8 oz. (1 package) Cream cheese, cubed
8 Eggs
2 1/2 c. Milk, light cream or half and half
6 tb. Butter, melted
1/4 c. Maple syrup

Cut French bread in cubes. Place half of bread cubes in bottom of a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle cubed cream cheese on bread. Add remaining bread cubes.

In a large bowl, beat until well blended the eggs, milk, melted margarine or butter and maple syrup. Pour mixture over bread cubes and press down with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. Remove wrap and bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with hot butter syrup. Serves 6 to 8.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 35 to 40 minutes

If this doesn't make you smile....

...then nothing will and it's a lost cause.

Did it work?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pass the pearls...

You Belong in 1959

You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I knew it!

cash advance

Cash Advance Loans

Commitment to Loveliness, November 11

Emma is hosting another Commitment to Loveliness this week! Here is my list:
  1. Work on decluttering project.

  2. Finish digitizing budget for DH...this will be such a load off our shoulders!

  3. Finish preparation for DH's birthday.

  4. Hang artwork.

  5. Cheer up.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

For Kat with a K

The view from the kitchen porch this morning.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bedroom Complete!

Other pictures from this project can be seen here and here.

We finally moved our Sidekick back into his own room a few weeks ago. So, with no further ado, here are a few pictures of the finished project! I tried to take shots that showcase the floor and not the toys and humidifier in the corner (to the right of the window)!

Without a doubt, my favorite part about the room are the Wall Words (positioned on the wall above the bed and opposite the closet). My sister bought these for him for his birthday. If you click the photo, you should be able to read them easily.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Attention Boynton Fans!

While browsing in Borders on Wednesday, Sidekick and I were delighted, nay ECSTATIC, to find the latest release from Sandra Boynton, Blue Moo. It's a collection of "jukebox hits from way back never" that will be enjoyed by all.

I'm sorry to sound like a studio announcer, but not too sorry, because we simply can't get enough of Sandra Boynton's books, especially her musical collections. This one includes "Your Personal Penguin," which is the book and song that started it all for us way back in January, though "The Uninvited Parade" might be my favorite on this CD. Moo, Baa, La La La is another one of our daily (hourly) reads, and we always listen to her other three albums too! It's hard to resist when artists such as B.B. King, Patti LuPone, and Allison Krauss are doing the singing!

You can listen to samples from this and her other musical collaborations with Michael Ford here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wood Floors Revealed!

For reference, before picture is here.

Even the closet looks better!

As a side note, anyone have any ideas for curtains? There are four windows in the master bedroom, including the double window you see above. I was thinking maybe eyelet to match the bedskirt. Thoughts?


This is the wallpaper in our dining room (currently used as a playroom). Interesting, no? It seems people either love it or hate it. I love it, but not for a playroom!

Monday, October 29, 2007


Nunzio ponders the Stations of the Cross.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Piano Arrives!

Now that my sister and I have moved out, and no one plays the piano anymore, my parents generously asked my husband and I if we would like to have it. My husband has a full-size keyboard, but no piano. Finally, today, it arrived to join the organ, books, cats, and guitar in our living room!

For context, here it is placed in the room. The view is from the corner near the entryway.

For those cat-lovers among us, Zuzu is hidden in the picture below. I had no idea she was there until I was editing it! For the bibliophiles and librarians among us, there are eight bookshelves in this room (one is only 1/5 full) and the books are roughly cataloged according to the Dewey Decimal System. Old habits die hard. Or not at all, as the case may be.

Favorite Hymns

I promise some real posts soon, but in the meantime, I was thrilled to find these videos on YouTube of several of my favorite hymns as composed by John Rutter. My DH and I sang with a chorale that favored Rutter's compositions in several concerts and I fell in love with his work!

"Open Thou Mine Eyes"

"All Things Bright and Beautiful"

I can't embed this video, but I promise you it is worth the trip to YouTube to listen/watch. The images are kind of an odd choice (I don't get the stuffed animals in front of the stained glass), but the music is heavenly!

Monday, October 8, 2007

YEAH, Toast!



Commitment to Loveliness, October 7

I have a few updates to post this week, but first here is my Commitment to Loveliness for October 7!

  1. Organize fall/winter clothes. I think the cool weather will arrive for good later in the week!
  2. Finish sorting and packing baby clothes and items that we no longer use/need.
  3. Order new liturgical calendar for 2008.
  4. Try a new recipe: English muffins!
  5. Work on a baby and get-well gifts for some friends.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What Color Crayon Are You?

You Are a Blue Crayon

Your world is colored in calm, understated, deep colors.
You are a loyal person, and the truest friend anyone could hope to find.
On the inside, you tend to be emotional and even a bit moody.
However, you know that people depend on you. So you put on a strong front.

Your color wheel opposite is orange. Orange people may be opinionated, but you feel they lack the depth to truly understand what they're saying.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Why I am a Catholic

I may have posted this video once before, but I recently rediscovered it, and it's definitely worth sharing again!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Commitment to Loveliness, September 23

Emma is hosting another Commitment to Loveliness!

Here is my list of goals for the week:

1. Figure out a way to cover the shelves in my closet. I'm thinking floral fabric. Check with Mom for scraps.
2. Try a new bread recipe.
3. Date my May/June pictures and put them into albums!
4. Try to find an inexpensive throw rug for Baby's room, finish hanging pictures, etc. in the baby's room and move him back in!
5. Work on seasonal decorations.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Free Trial at Netflix

We received four cards for "Friends and Family" to try a free month of Netflix. Most of my friends and family already subscribe to this or Blockbuster, so I thought that if any of my readers would like to try a free month, email me (address is in my sidebar) and I'll send you the code and instructions.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Who Am I?

I'm not a big listener or fan of contemporary Christian music, but when I saw this video on someone's blog (I think it was Perri), I was moved. I heard the song again today on the radio, and I searched out the video to share. I dare you to watch it without a lump in your throat or a tear in your eye!

Friday, September 14, 2007

A New Day

Thank you Kat and Mimi for the kind words and hugs! Instead of retreating into the fort with cookies I made supper. Banging around the kitchen always makes me feel better and it's so productive!

I did eat my cookies later when my Sidekick was asleep. S'mores cookie, milk, and Ballet Shoes makes for a very pleasant late night!

I couldn't sleep anyway until DH returned safe and sound from his trip. He finally arrived at the stroke of midnight! Whew! I dislike being in this house alone late at night-- or all night! I still don't know all the house's sounds and settles, and I have way too vivid an imagination! Wednesday night I had a dream that we were being encircled by wolves and I was trapped on my bed and couldn't get to DS! Needless to say, after that I slept next to him. Now I understand why my mom often let us sleep in her room when my dad traveled!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Did you ever have one of those days where you just want to sit in the corner eating peanut butter cookies until you burst?

Yeah, it's one of those days.

I'll be in the corner if anyone needs me. Or hiding in the fort.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Hot Soup...

...on a rainy, dreary Sunday!

The Renovation-- Update!

The "Before" pictures are here.

Here is Sidekick's bedroom almost done! DH spent all day Saturday and all afternoon today working on the floor. The paint color looks more "pinkish" than it really is (Fortune Cookie).

What a difference!

We still need to add Quarter Round Moulding along the closet wall, and something like this for closet organization.

I'll keep posting pictures as we finish up. I'm so excited to finally put up the Wall Words he received for his birthday!

The Nice Matters Award

Emma has nominated me for a Nice Matters Award! What an honor, thank you!

“This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. "

Here are a few people I think are deserving of such an honor:

Kat: Kat and I have known each other for eight years now and have recently been experiencing a "friendassance" (as Phoebe says). We have so much in common and she is an inspiration to me. I'm so glad we've been spending time getting caught up. No more falling out of touch!

KitKat: I really admire this lady because of her uncompromising but graceful defense of Catholicism among very difficult people. I am also wildly impressed by her garden, and she has motivated me to really commit next spring and summer to my veggies!

Margaret: I don't know Margaret very well (yet!), but she is a lady in every sense of the word and I love reading her blog. If you haven't, come join her study group on Mulieris Dignitatem.

Perri and Andi: I started reading Perri's blog almost two years ago! I cannot remember how I came across it, but it's a daily read for me now. Her daughter Andi blogs too, and they are two of the funniest and kind gals I've ever "met." Andi's daughter Sophie makes numerous appearances on both their blogs, and that makes their blogs even more fun! Ladies, may I blogroll you? I can't believe I haven't already!

I have too many people to list for this award: Mimi, Mrs. Brigham, White Daisy, Chrissy, Erika you are all nice people and wonderful friends!

Crystal Clear Ice Cubes

If you really want crystal clear ice cubes, boil the water first and let it cool before freezing.

I've never heard this before! It isn't a practical tip for daily use (especially if you go through ice cubes like we do!), but for entertaining this would be fun and add a little "something extra," don't you think?

I saw this in our local, weekly paper tucked among some ads at the bottom of the page!

I found this video looking for an image of clear ice. The maker advises two additional tips for achieving crystal clear ice (ignore the spelling and grammar errors). Very interesting!