Monday, December 19, 2011

Could you...?

...offer a reverent prayer or small deed for my father in law tonight? We would be so grateful.

One of the best means of assisting the dying is the one that Jesus revealed to St. Faustina and insisted that she use often, even continuously: The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. Jesus said, "My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet. ... Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior" (Diary, 1541).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Birthday Letter

Dear Ballerina Girl,

Happy Fourth Birthday to you, sweet girl! We have been waiting for this big day for quite a while. Being a three year old was a great deal of hard work for you and being the parents of a three year old was equally hard for your Daddy and I. You spent the year busy as a bee, wanting to take the whole world in. Your days, no matter how full, were never quite full enough for you. You greeted each day asking, "What are we doing today and who are we going to see?" You are a sensitive little girl that feels deeply. It is not an easy job managing such intense emotions. It's not an easy job teaching how to manage it either, especially when one is still learning (ahem). You prefer to do mostly everything yourself, except of course when you want me to do it for you. I never seem to get it right, or maybe it is set up so that I am not supposed to :) You have a very special relationship with your Daddy and he seemed to understand you much better than I did this past year. Thank goodness for him.

Being three, also marked some pretty big moments, like going to work with Daddy, sleeping over Grandma and Papa's and Fran and Grace's for the first time, breaking your arm (you were such a brave girl), extended play dates with close friends, your first recital, attending your first play (Frog and Toad), seeing your first movie (Winnie the Pooh), being a very attentive big sister to Little Man, and swimming under water. You have also loved to sing and dance in your own way, putting together elaborate costumes of whatever materials you can find around the house. Sitting down to paint or create is the only way you will take some time to be still. It seems to give you quiet and relaxation and the opportunity to invest yourself into a project.

All of us, especially you, are so glad to be in four year old land now. Despite the rough patches of being three, at the end of the day, you are truly a remarkable gift to your family and we are grateful that God sent you to us. When I told you this as a three year old, you would ask me if God drove to this family in a car. Now when I tell you this as a four year old, you give me a sincere smile and put your cheek against mine.

Happy Birthday to you, sweet girl.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


There was truly something magical about Isabella's first ballet recital. She was so excited and happy for it. She was very sparkly and rainbow-y. I think her happiest moment was when she received her bouquets of flowers, following her class' performance of the "Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog. The flowers were a surprise for her and the look on her face was sheer joy. She kept asking, "Are these for me?" We ended the day with a strawberry shortcake topped with little ballerinas that I found on - the best website for finding sweet and handmade gifts. Even John sat back to enjoy the performance without any disruption. Okay, I bribed him with fruit, playbacks of the pictures of my camera, and then in a moment of desperation a Yummy Earth pop.

Summer Rhythms

Music Man is a teacher so he has more time off in the summer which is always nice. We usually greet the summer as a timeless entity before us with big hopes and plans, that we usually don't see come to fruition. After 6 years of this, I decided to come up with a regularly weekly plan that I hope will help us get around to some of those plans! We just plan for the morning so as to leave afternoons open for all of us, as that is when Music Man heads to his business and the kids and I hit the pool.

Mondays - Nature Walks for the whole fam
Tuesdays - Weekly Outings (Zoos, Aquarium, Lakes, Fish Hatchery etc)for the whole fam
Wednesdays - Ballet for Isa & Work for Music Man
Thursdays - Preschool Coop for the kids and I & Work for Music Man
Fridays - Paperwork/House Repairs for Music Man and I while Grandma watches kids (You know the stuff that you can never get done with the littles around)

Here are a few pics of our summer to date.

Beet Kvass Day 1

My first post in 3 months and it is about beet kvass! I had to post these pretty pink pictures of this fermenting beverage. It is so good and so healthy and so much fun to make with a good friend. I have been making it for about a year now, but made a quadruple batch with my neighbor. You can find the recipe in the Nourishing Traditions publication.

Here is what Sally Fallon has to say about it, "This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments."

Apparently Ukranian homes are never without their beet kvass.

With local organic beets regularly available, my friends and I are trying to stock up for the winter. Since this is a fermented beverage, it is stored in a cool place. I will post more pictures on day 3 after the fermentation is complete so you can see the deep vibrant color of the kvass. We ran out of whey (poor planning on my part) so we used raw milk yoghurt instead which yields the same results. That is why you may see some white particles in the picture. We will reserve some kvass as starter for the next batch. Oh, and there will be more batches. I am happy to pass along one if you would like to sample.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One Hundred Mini Heart Attacks

"Daddy time" usually takes place in the evening after dinner while I am washing the dishes. I literally have my back to what goes on the living room, but I have an idea of what goes on. It involves jumping and throwing. Oh, and I get to clean up after it's over. Pillows (lots of them), blankets, mostly just furniture disarray. My kids know or I am laying down the law so that they will "know" that games they play with Daddy are not games they play with Mommy. Why? Because I am the party police? No! Because I am weak of heart and stomach. Oh, yeah and add overly cautious to that and a hint of the fact that I am my mother's daughter. Tonight, just as "Daddy time" had gotten revved up, I got called in to supervise because Music Man had to duck out for a few. The craziness had just gotten underway and could not be easily undone.

I just had one hundred mini heart attacks. When Music Man returned, I tried to steady the butterflies and I simply said never again. He smiled and said, "Yeah, kids, let's go! They're fine - what's wrong with you?"

What's wrong with me? I am their mom - that's what's wrong with me? I don't do rough play - I just do dishes!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chalk in My Pocket

My dear and very talented friend, Regina, just launched a new website on creative education for little ones. If you are a mom looking for fun and frugal ideas to make it through the rest of this bleary winter with your children, this is the website for you! Homemade puffy paint for bathtub, apple chips for a mid afternoon snack, lovey dovey hearts for Valentine's Day (next year that is) - it's all over there. I know her in "real life" and she truly is that cool:)

Stop by for a visit, but don't spend your whole day there, as you easily could!!!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

With Gratitude

holy experience

27. a good day after a really bad one

28. Music Man playing after dinner with the kids, "Daddy, get me and throw me!"

29. familiar faces at Mass

30. my cousin Marieannette's penne alla vodka recipe without the vodka

31. a balmy afternoon outdoors with the kids

32. a toddling little one continually in awe of snow

33. the helpful ways of Ballerina girl

34. an unexpected Valentine's day gift from a thoughtful friend

35. the first words of Little man (mama, dada, papa, water, ball, book, more, go)

36. an evening out with neighboring moms

37. a good month for Music Man's business

38. rediscovering the Little House series with Ballerina girl

39. a Sunday nap

40. help with the kids from Grandma and Papa

41. laughing on the phone with my only sister

42. catching Saturday night EWTN cinema with Music Man for the first time in months

43. learning the story of Saint Bernadette of Lourdes

44. trying out recipes from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Country Cookbook

45. making sure my littles wake up to something special on Valentine's Day just like I did when I was a kid

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Mother's Sabbath

Dave took off to the park with the kiddies. I helped get them ready with last minute changes, bathroom breaks, and snow suits, boots, gloves, and hats. That only took every bit of 30 minutes. And then I tried not to close the door on them as they were leaving. Really, though, I felt like I paid my dues since I tackled the snow gear and was going to spend the time tidying and preparing a nice dinner. Did I enjoy my 60 minute Mother's Sabbath? Heck ya. One glass of chianti and 2 chocolate hearts later, I was looking forward to their return.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas at Our Home

Christmas was a warm, quiet, and festive time for us this year. We spent the season preparing our hearts with the beautiful stories of Tomie de Paola. Check out Elizabeth Foss' website for a list of books for the little ones to read during the Advent season. Bella and Dave braved the frigid weather and collected the tree which we always enjoy decorating.

A sidenote about the tree. The first year Dave and I were married, he said he was going to put the lights on the tree. A few moments later he told me to come in to see the tree all lit up. How could he have put the lights up so quickly I thought to myself? I come from a long line of perfectionistic tree lighters. Growing up, it was my grandfather who put the lights on the tree each year. It was the most important job in decorating the tree. It required precision, thought, and an electrician - grandpa was the strongest choice. We would all patiently wait for the lights to be done so that we could put the ornaments on. Needless to say, putting the lights on was a process in our home, but it was always respected. Sometimes my dad would try to help my grandfather, but usually an argument ensued. One person did the lights. That was the way it was. When my grandfather passed away, somehow I took over the job of doing the lights, mostly because no one else wanted it. It was then that I learned first hand, just how complicated putting up tree lights can be. FAst foward to our first treelighting as a married couple. When I came in to see the lights Dave just put up, I was devestated. And so the first newlywed argument began! "You just threw them up there. It's supposed to take a long time! They don't even look right!" Since then, Dave, now carefully and very slowly puts on the lights each year making sure to position the lights on each branch level. He respects the art of tree lighting. Or he just wants me off of his case already. Just wanted to record this story for my children.

Anyway, Isabella and John love to go through the Christmas bins of goodies that only come out at this time of year. And a favorite in our home, is the Little People Nativity Set that a good family friend had sent to us last Christmas. It is perfect for little hands and Isabella, especially, loved setting up the Nativity scene over and over again. We also baked one cookie recipe each day in the week leading up to Christmas which left us with a nice assortment for company on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My grandmother wanted to know why the cookies were brown - they were whole wheat of course! Apparently, brown cookies are not appealing enough to bring to senior events. I am ok with that b/c it is just more for me:)

This year, we filled a little homemade crib with cotton balls for each generous and kind deed. On Christmas morning, Bella received her own baby Jesus all snuggled in the soft, cozy crib her good deeds had made for Him. She seemed to like that a lot.

We also painted lots of ornaments and designed crowns for the feast of the Epiphany. Following our Little Saints book lesson, we put stars up around the house which led to the manger. Each star directed an action leading to the next star, until we got to Baby Jesus, such as "Play your drum", "March", "Sing Silent Night". Of course the crowns were worn and royal scarves, I mean robes!

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