Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What We Did Wednesday

There's nothing quite like scrambling to make a feast day special only to find that God had already laid the groundwork far in advance. 

Like when you wake up on the Annunciation, which also happens to be your husband's birthday.

I scrounge in the freezer and come across a box of frozen pastries we purchased from a school fundraiser.

Heck, sure, let's celebrate with those! Wait, what's that? These happen to be BLUEberry flavor. How preordained, since we always declare a BLUE day at our house when it's a Marian feast day. 

Let's be productive and grab a toddler to help whip up a cake this morning. Daddy's choice was a (boxed) Angel Food Cake. What's that? The ANGEL Gabriel appeared to Mary and it's called the Annunciation. 

TODAY's feast day. Interesting. 

Daddy decided to stay home with us today and take a vacation day from work. Which, if you are around here ever, you'd know that actually going to work is more of a vacation. None the less, he accomplished some more work in the basement bathroom. We tried to leave him alone as much as possible. Some of us doing better than others. I think he's like a magnet for the little girls when they know he's around. I don't blame them.

School time found the girls coloring Annunciation coloring pages. Gianna is suddenly a superstar colorist or whatever you call someone who colors. 

We also took the time to play a game and put together some puzzles.

Someone showing off her rather brightly colored Annunciation. 

Before lunch we got the cake frosted. Take about 8 oz Cool Whip and some thawed strawberry juice and mix together. Frost the Angel Food cake with the fluffy 'frosting' and put it in the freezer. 

Serve later with the thawed (and slightly sweetened) strawberries on top. A nice spring time cake and light enough to celebrate, but also remain Lenten. 

For lunch, God again inspired me when I read it was Waffle Day in Sweden today for "Our Lady's Day." Serve with BLUEberries and again, how can you go wrong?

Smile along with your kiddos who are looking especially ANGELic for your birthday shot. 

Lastly, grab a photo shoot with your lovely and the baby belly. 

We totally had this feast day and birthday down.

Even if I didn't have them all perfectly planned at 5:30 this morning. By this evening, we looked back with fondness on a great day to celebrate both Mary and our favorite Man of the House. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Spring! {And A Sneak Peek At My Latest Project}

It's finally here! We made it! 


Did you hear me squeal? Did you too?

If you're like me, there were some days I thought I wouldn't make it. 

Long, cold winter days made it tough, but we survived. 

I feel like I let out a huge sigh of relief when we finally make it through the winter days. 

Spring also brings a newness, fresh air and new perspective.

New life also happens in the spring, which makes it such a beautiful time of year.

Sometimes spring also brings new vision and you see how far you've come.

That would be a mug shot of my latest project. It's also another reason why the second part of winter felt long and *blah*.  But now, now, the days are brighter and I feel better.

And we're pretty excited to see how this project turns out and to behold the final product.

Our newest addition, coming mid-September!

Remember my little mention the other day of God stretching me this Lent?
Well, there's more to that story.

I hope to post it soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Marching Toward Spring And A Little Lenten Thought

The days keep ticking and another week begins before I'm even aware of it. I guess this is March and we keep marching along. 

A few things from around home, just to catch up with randomness.

Here's the new printable I have in the kitchen window for this month. I'm finding that this simple monthly act changes up things at the sink, but also keeps me enjoying the seasons/holidays. 
It's a creative and yet inexpensive way to decorate.

After smelling nearly 50 scents at the local Walmart, I decided this one was springy fresh 
and bought it. Thankfully, it was just as lovely when it melted in my plug in warmer. 

The month started out with this view outside my window.

 It made me eager to do some cleaning and I began by taking down a bunch of curtains to launder. 

I also started the task of washing the inside of the windows and the wood work, etc around them. Mission complete! 

This week we've had a couple days off of school for a little break. It's allowed me to catch up on a few things, but also work on a little spring cleaning. 

We're hosting Easter this year, so I better keep on cleaning!

Earlier in the month we were pretty cold outside, so the kids all kept busy indoors.

Which led to more disasters messes than I'd care to count.

A few projects have gotten checked off the list and a couple are getting started. The major project is the basement bathroom.  
No photos just yet. 
The basement has slowly been getting finished, but now with two bedrooms and a school area down there we wanted the bathroom finished. 
It will be a slow work in progress since Reed will be doing a good portion of the work (aside from the plumbing which is not his favorite thing).  Not that he's slow, the time is just limited to focus on it. 

Last weekend was a busy one at church, but after basking in the glorious sun I did get another indoor project complete.

I repainted our main upstairs bathroom back in January a gray color. I wanted to change the sheer curtain that had been in there, but was undecided on fabric. 

Last week I scoured the local JoAnns and found a fabric I liked for 40% off. 
With such a small window I only needed to grab one yard and spent maybe $5 on it.

Less than an hour worth of work and I had my new half curtain. I only wanted enough of the window covered for privacy (even if it is just facing the backyard and is on the second floor), but allowing plenty of light in. 

We also celebrated Pi Day last Saturday because I actually remembered the day before and made a note of it. That happens nearly never. 
Reed took the time to whip up an apple pie for us to enjoy. Yum.

Lastly, we come to the latest project on my to-do list that came to fruition on Sunday. 

Our diocesan newspaper has a Lenten Pay It Forward project that provides 'seed money' to three projects each Lent. They ask for submissions for worthwhile projects that anyone across the diocese can participate in. 
Thanks to a little nudging, a friend of mine at the diocese suggested in January that we submit a project. Feeling like I was quite inadequate to take on a charitable project, I almost passed it up. 
Upon further thought and prayer, along with conversation with my husband we decided to go for it.

I felt so out of my league. This really wasn't a 'normal' thing I'd do and put myself out there in front of other people like this. Well, God's hand was in it and our submission was chosen as one of the three projects for Lent.

I had decided to submit the idea of a Baby Shower that would benefit the local crisis pregnancy center. There they do pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and pregnancy counseling. Moms and dads can go through an educational program and clients can get the help, support, and baby/toddler items their children need.

With the help of a few other women, we began planning the baby shower and moving forward.

We had just under 20 women join us on Sunday for a baby shower complete with food, games and prizes. It was so fun! 

The outcome was this:

THAT adds up to just over $1000 worth of gifts!!

In addition, we also received cash donations. Our parish hosts an annual Lenten Fish Dinner with a freewill offering. It was decided beforehand that half those proceeds would also go toward our project. Those donations ended up being around $1000 in cash that the pregnancy resource center can use for their needs!

I share this not to toot my own horn. I share it because this project became a hidden Lenten lesson for me. All the preparations and work from our handful of ladies turned into several handfuls of generous ladies. That generosity turned into a mountain of tangible gifts.

The faith of a mustard seed. 

Something small that turned into a really big thing.

That kind of seems like what this Lent is about. Maybe not the big successes or triumphs, but the small ways that I have been stretched. The ways that God still proves how amazingly He provides for me and helps me to grow in a liturgical season that lasts just six weeks.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ten on Ten: March

I'm feeling like photos are about all I've got time for posting these days, I decided to join A Bit of Sunshine for Ten on Ten. Each month I tend to miss the boat and the tenth of the month, but I was prepared today. Once a month on the tenth taking a photo an hour for ten consecutive hours. Finding life and beauty in the ordinary things of our day to day!
It's just an ordinary March day, so consider this a bit of a 'day in the life' post.

:: The 'ol blog needs a little spring makeover.

:: Deceivingly calm. I call it the calm before the usual daily drama. And the lashes and eyes get me every.single.time.

:: School time at the zoo.

:: Game time before lunch, anyone? Again, more calm, but this time before feeding time at the zoo.

:: The theme is stark and plain. Branches in a vase filled with lentils. (LENTils. Get it?)

:: Toddlerism of the day. 

Me:  'Who ate all that candy and why is the pile of wrappers on the counter?'

Gianna: 'I'm pretending to eat a lot of candy like daddy does.'

:: The lure of springtime mud is just too tempting.

:: Fresh air and a brisk walk bring back life. 
Slowly, the earth will respond and rejoice as much as we do.

:: Toddler Tuesday bonus- the girls just figured out how to do this today.
And found it absolutely hysterical. 
Honestly, I was kind of grossed out over it.

:: When the days turn brilliantly beautiful, suppertime meals became pathetically plain and easy.
Today was one of the whirlwind, running-in-circles-with-nothing-in-particular-there-are-literally-ten-thousand-messes-in-this-house-and-dirt-and-crumbs-and-stuff-all-over-the-floor kind of days.
A skillet supper sorta day. 

Ten hours. Ten photos. Not a bad day.

I hope your day was as beautiful in the ordinary as ours. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

One Word Wednesday

Joining the wise Billie Jo and cheating following her example today while trying to hop back on this blogging train.




We're comin' for ya, Spring!

Monday, February 23, 2015

February Wrap Up

Sometimes things happen and days turn into weeks around here. Have you noticed?

While I had the best of intentions to post birthday and Valentine's photos last week, a bad tummy bug hit a couple of us here. It's odd for me to get sick and then even though I was technically 'down' and had so much time on my hands, I still wasn't feeling well enough to even pick up a book to read.
So there goes any productivity, even on the sickbed. Sad and unfortunate.

Finally bouncing back and praying to the good Lord that the last three remain unscathed, I'll quickly try to attempt a wrap up via photos and we'll call February finished even if the calendar says it's not quite.

Two days of fun began with our homeschool group's annual sledding Valentine's party.

The big kids each made Valentines boxes for the exchange with the other kids. Each of them created their own themed box and used their unique creativity (and the help of Pinterest).

Lily went with the Frozen theme and did Elsa's castle in box form. Surprisingly, no other kids went with Frozen so hers was unique. 

Jonah is my super-creative, sometimes over the top, but has trouble putting his B-I-G ideas into action, child. He wanted to go with the Lego movie theme and created the Double Decker Valentines box. (click the photo to see the speech bubbles)

Another project knocked out of the park and completed on time. 
Again, another unique box among the others. 

The following day was Valentine's Day and our parish's annual Winter Carnival, an all afternoon and evening affair. The worst part was that the temperature was frigid cold and the actual lack of snow put a damper on some of the outdoor activities. 

There were indoor and outdoor games for the kids along with horse drawn wagon rides through town as well. The little kids especially enjoy the indoor games with prizes and the creation station activities. 

The kids warmed up by the bonfire outside during the scavenger hunt Reed put together. 

In the evening, our Bishop joined us for Mass and chili supper. A tradition our priest, Fr. M started last year was an evening movie with the kids. This year it was Big Hero 6. The kids think it's a pretty big deal to watch the movie with the priest and at church. 

Before Mass, we've also started the tradition of doing a pinata. 
You may remember Olaf from last year when we watched the Frozen movie?

This year one of the moms who helps plan the event made the cat from Big Hero 6, Mochi. It was pretty awesome and must have taken a lot of time. 

As with last year. another huge hit and another successful winter carnival.

The following two days were when Margaret got sick and I followed. Feeling like we'd both bounced back, Tuesday was Gianna's 4th birthday. No birthday post for my sweet girl because I hadn't had time to prepare it, but we did a little bit of celebrating. Since we'd already celebrated the two girls together, her birthday was simplified and my parents spent the day with us. 

I was still on the mend and hadn't any idea the next couple days that followed I'd relapse with the ickies. Please pardon the less than stellar family photo, but I guess they can't all be perfect. 

Now you know how we roll around here. 

With that, we survived the next few days and I had one more down for Thursday. 

How's your Lent going so far? Let's just say mine has started off with knocking me down and running me through the wringer. I joked with someone when I said I thought Ash Wednesday was perhaps my last. That evening I was pretty sure that the next 39 days of Lent were gonna be smooth after that ride. 

We had one or two days with temps in upper teens and then the cold blast is going to be here again. 
I guess we're getting the cold January weather in February instead. Crazy winter!

We took advantage of the sunshine and bundled up to at least get some fresh air. 
After last week being cooped up, I needed it.

The girls didn't want to come inside and instead looked at me through the door as I warmed up indoors. 

Poor girls, they just want to be outdoors running around like hooligans and riding trikes and bikes again. 

Heck, I do too. 

Here's to March around the corner and warmer days at my window. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

February Fun

It's that time of year again when we are just about ready to scream, put up the white surrender flag and give in to the winter blahs. The calendar tells us it's February and if you're a homeschool mom you know exactly how many days of school are left (ahem, that would be 74 for us).

Thankfully, this winter has been bearable. Besides that, God knew what He was doing when he blessed and surprised us with two sweethearts born this month. Just the idea of having two birthdays to celebrate, however low key and simplified we do them, they are still celebrations to look forward to. They are two very wonderful reasons to get my act together, stay on task with birthday planning/gift buying, and the days swirl by at rapid speed.

Last week we celebrated birthday #1 and enjoyed pink velvet cupcakes with buttercream frosting, decorated with candy Olafs and snowflakes (thank you, clearance aisle). They were a hit!

So were her dress up clothes she received as a birthday gift from us. It seemed odd that she was even more excited over the Firefighter dress up clothes than the Elsa dress. 

She was one happy three year old, content with yummy cupcakes and gifts on her birthday day. 

This past weekend fell smack dab between the girls' birthdays and we celebrated their birthdays with a few family members. 

You better bet there was a Frozen cake!

I went with store bought and had them keep it decorated minimally with just snowflakes/sprinkles. I had found a set of Frozen character toys online that I thought would serve well as cake toppers and toys afterward.  Always thinking I am. 

They worked and the girls were happy to find out that they could play with them later. 

Don't even ask why they are on the counter posing with the cake. They insisted on it. 
Odd angle much?

These crazy girls, my Irish twins. They certainly are hard to capture lately with smiles and looking at mom with the camera. 

Silly Sisterly Love.

You know us, we'll celebrate at least one more time next week on Gianna's birthday day too. 
It falls on Mardi Gras this year, so there's sure to be more cupcakes and other treats to consume before Ash Wednesday.

In the meantime, this week is all about planning for Friday and Saturday.  Besides setting up/decorating and some cooking for our parish Winter Carnival, we're heading to our homeschool group Valentine's Day sledding party get together on Friday. 

Speaking of, are you looking for printable Frozen Valentines?

FREE Printable Disney Frozen Valentine’s Day Cards

There are cute FREE ones over here.

How about Minecraft Valentines?

Scroll down to find them over here.

Saturday you'll find us at our church stirring the chili, snacking on munchies, playing games, hitting the pinata, having Mass with the Bishop, consuming the chili and watching Big Hero 6. 

We're celebrating Big before Lent hits next week.

What are your plans this week? Are you preparing for Lent? 

Let me know since I'm going to need a little help getting around to all that preparing. 

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