Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tree Gazing

My Fritter has been in heaven since we put up our Christmas tree on Sunday.  That day we only added lights, but that was all he needed to understand that something wonderful was happening.  Yesterday we added the garland, and he is convinced (and has almost convinced us) that it is ice and snow hanging on the tree.  He's also taken to wearing his hat and gloves inside while watching a movie, and he pretends our white tile is snow covering the floor of our house.  I can see it with him.  I don't know how to break it to him that it just doesn't snow where we live.  ;-)  Then again, maybe I don't have to.  His imagination has made it almost real for him, and what we can't and the weather won't provide, he is able to make possible.

Though we won't be home for Christmas this year, and though it will be hard being away from family, I think we are going to have a wonderful one all the same.  We are baking, and decorating in little bits, and reading Christmas stories, and retelling THE Christmas story over and over again.  The wonder of the season has taken its hold on us, and I'm unwilling to break us free.

Every morning, while it's still dark, I turn the Christmas tree lights on.  Sitting next to it with my prayer book and a hot cup of coffee I speak to the One whom Christmas is all about.  It's never long before the pitter patter of Fritter's feet join me, and while I pray, he gazes at the tree and snuggles close to me.  These are the days I will cherish forever.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Waiting and Searching

I've been at my computer most of the day.  Oh, I've gotten up to feed the children, clean the kitchen, shower, ect.  But, I've mostly sat here.  Waiting.  And searching.

Waiting for the Famous Footwear site to come back up, because they have one amazing deal today (and 18% cash back with Ebates) and a certain someone is going to benefit (hopefully) from my labor today.

While waiting, I've done some searching.  Searching for gifts for the kiddos, checking prices, making lists, and these will wait (more waiting) for my hubby to get home and give the final A-OK.

I could have posted the three reviews I have waiting in the queue, while I sat here waiting, but I was too busy searching.

This little game I've played today of waiting and searching reminds me of what a special time Advent is.  It's a time of waiting for the Christ child.  A time for preparing our hearts and our homes to receive him.  And a time for searching for him in others, and ourselves as well.  I love Advent.  It seems to be a time just on the verge of magical.  Waiting for the mystery to be revealed is almost as wonderful as beholding it.

Have you begun searching and waiting and preparing yet?

Monday, November 22, 2010


I mentioned before that I am going back to basics on just about everything.  Today I decided I needed to do a little planning for Fritter's homeschooling (which we are very behind on).  I planned for the next 6 weeks and wrote down the books needed at the library on Wednesday. 

And then?  I veered from the basics.  As long as it's planned well though, I should be able to do it. Right?  ;-)

Since Thursday is Thanksgiving I already have baking to do, so I planned a lot more.  I love baking cookies and candies and treats during Advent (and how fun is it to tell my family hands off until Christmas?), so I planned out all the sweets to bake until Christmas, and what days I plan on baking them.  Included in this list are St. Nicholas Pfeffernuesse, Russian Tea Cakes (a family favorite), and Snickerdoodles, to name a few.  It looks like our mom's group is having a cookie swap in December as well, so I'll have to bake extra.

Also, I was inspired by Elizabeth Foss' article in the new issue of Faith & Family about Advent books.  So I decided we are going to add to our collection of Christmas books this year and every year hereafter.  I took her list as a starting point and plan to pick them up on Wednesday, along with Ladybug's birthday gift and another for a birthday party.

I planned the feast days we are going to celebrate, and how, and when I need to do what so it actually happens.  Follow through is one of my biggest problems.  This will be the first year we celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas, we'll go to Mass on the Immaculate Conception (remember, it's a holy day of obligation), we can't forget my patron St. Lucy (which happens to fall on my birthday), and of course Christmas and the feast of Mary, the Mother of God. 

I did a small amount of research to learn about the O Antiphons, and we'll pray those as we light our Advent wreath at dinner.

It's a lot to do, but it's all written and organized in my calendar, and I think I'll manage.  I am so excited about the start of Advent this year!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Back to Basics

I am not a great cook.  In fact, I'm not even really a good cook.  And for that reason I should have started cooking basic things right? 

When I was first married, I imagined I was going to be the perfect Donna Reed wife and make everything from scratch and alter recipes to my hearts content and my family would eat so wonderfully.  And then reality hit (about six months ago) and I realized that though I was making most of my food from scratch, and though we were eating really healthy, not much of the food I prepared ever really turned out right.  The meat would be burned and dry, the potatoes or pasta or rice undercooked, and I always seemed to forget to add salt and pepper.

So I have decided that in this area (and many others) I need to go back to basics.  I need to perfect (or at least as close as I can come) a few good meals that my family enjoys, before I can move on to anything else.  Why did it take me five years to figure this out?  I'm a slow learner, I guess.

I have always made a weekly meal plan, and managed to keep a decent food budget (usually).  And since Friday has become my shopping day, I do my meal planning that morning.  My next step is to think about our coming week.  Our busy days, our not so busy days, ect.

Today is Friday, and Friday has always been pizza night since finding Jennie's recipe.  It's one thing I make that turns out and my family loves it.  But we are going to a party for my hubby's work tonight, so I don't have to cook.  (Yay!).  We could have pizza Saturday, however, I have leftover cabbage rolls in the fridge, so we'd better eat those.  Sunday is usually leftover or sandwich night, but again, we are going to a barbecue, so I don't have to cook again (but I do need to bring something.  I'm thinking a dessert.  I AM good at baking!).

So the real work begins on Monday.  On a beginner's cooking website (can't remember where), they mentioned baked chicken and veggies is a good easy place to start.  That will be Monday's dinner.  Tuesday is usually tacos of some sort, and last week we had fajitas, so we'll have regular tacos this week.  Wednesday...we should do something pasta.  I have leftover spaghetti sauce in the freezer from a few weeks ago, and Wednesday might be a good day to bake, so we could have fresh bread and a salad as well.  Thursday is Thanksgiving, and we are going to a friends house.

Hmmm...looks like I didn't have to cook much at all this week.  Bonus!

Back to basics meal planning is done!  Thanks for your help, oh great blog!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Moving Forward

As of yesterday I have turned comments back on.  I'm hoping that time will have been the cure for that issue, but I'll still be leaving comments moderated.  I thought of leaving comments off forever, but I love hearing from you all.  So we'll see how it goes.

I've been feeling lately like there needs to be a change here.  It took some time though for me to decide what those changes should be.  Since I started using facebook and twitter, I've noticed that all my creative energy (the little I have combined with actual time on the computer) was used up in the small updates there.  And my blog was being left all alone.  I agree with Jennie on many of her points, and though I was thinking many of the same things before her post, it is that post that has helped catapult me into making a decision.

So one of those changes is going to be how I use my computer time.  If I have something to say, I plan on saying it here, not there.  This little space helps me to process things in a way I cannot do on facebook.  And really, how much writing practice and how creative can I get on facebook?  Not much.

However, I do still plan on checking into facebook maybe on a weekly basis or so.  It seems to be one of the few places I can stay up to date with friends and family I rarely see.  Hopefully my lack of time spent on there will allow me a small amount of time to spend here.

I am also reevaluating what purpose I want for my blog.  Is this just a place to update about my little family?  Do I share some of my random deep thoughts with you all?  As little as I write about Catholic stuff anymore, should I still be called Catholic Wife and Mother?  Who is my audience?  Am I writing to family and friends I know?  Or to a general audience that I hope to share things with and perhaps in my small way encourage?  These are all thoughts that I have considered in the last few months.

And the answers I have come up with (for now at least) is that my audience originally was a general audience that I hoped to share and connect with, encourage and also be encouraged.  Originally I wrote about my little family, and also my random deep thoughts.  But over time my blog has drifted to just be a family update site.  I want to go back to my original plan.  It's what has kept this blog alive for the past 3 or more years.

As in most things I have encountered lately, I am realizing that I am at a point in my life where I have to refocus and in many things get back to basics.  Only with a firm foundation can I hope to improve and continue forward.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Walking Contradiction

My almost two-year-old has become...almost a two-year-old. What else am I to say? Ladybug is a handful, but she is also incredibly sweet.

Case in point: after lunch Fritter ran inside to tell me that Ladybug had gotten in the fenced off area. The fenced off area where our newly planted grass is cultivating despite my not-so-green thumb. The fenced off area that I had just turned the sprinkler on. The fenced off area that by now would be wet and muddy. Yeah, that fenced off area.

But watching her soaked self climb out of the fenced off area was super cute. And she seemed so proud of herself, so I had to take a couple pictures. I'm hoping I didn't just reinforce a bad habit. *sigh* Two-year-olds are walking contradictions.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meet Me In March!

What could be more amazing than seeing baby's profile for the first time? Umm...besides actually meeting baby for the first time. ;-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I don't have much time to actually write about our Halloween adventures today. Just know we had so much fun, and you'll have to settle for the story in pictures.

Our trip out to a friend's house for a hayride.

Everyone's favorite person (and Ladybug).

Daddy helping Ladybug with her costume.

Daddy and Ladybug being a...ladybug!

Fritter as Thomas the train.

Side-view of Thomas

We had such a wonderful Halloween. And I cannot tell you how happy we all are to have daddy home. Fritter and Ladybug have barely let him out of their sight, and sending him off to work this morning was not easy on any of us. Thankfully, he's only working a few hours before he comes back home to us.
At Mass yesterday I looked at my two children between my husband and I, and felt the little one in my belly and could think nothing but, "My cup runneth over." And I'm truly grateful.