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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What a day!

My husband thanked me at the end of the day yesterday.  It wasn't anything in particular that I, or we did.  I think it is more what we didn't do.  For the most part, we were all home.  We did a bit of work (note the bed in the previous posting), but we spent a lot of time playing.  Dave and the kids swam in the pool, rested, cooked on the grill and ended the day in front of our outdoor fireplace making smores, drinking a beer.  He said it was probably one of the more enjoyable days he has had.  Great weather helped to some extent, but I also think the relaxing time, of having a clear schedule (yes, there is plenty to be done, but yesterday wasn't the day to do it), and just having everyone home was pleasing to him. 

I have to remember to plan for more days like this, where we focus not on the things that need to be done, but on each other, enjoying each other and playing around. 

Hope you all had a Happy Memorial Day!
God Bless,

Monday, May 30, 2011

Beach, birthdays, and a bed

It has been a couple of weeks since my last posting.  We had our yearly trip to the beach with Dave's family.  It was so relaxing and enjoyable and we all had a great time.  The kids seem to get more and more out of our trips as the years go by.  This year, they enjoyed boogie boarding in the surf quite a lot!   Daniel loved the but was not too sure about the ocean itself.  I particularly enjoyed the fact that there was nothing pressing me - - nothing to get done.  I could crochet at my leisure, especially during Daniel's nap time. 

When we got home, the girls had their dance recital.  Each year we get more amazed at their accomplishments, and this year was no different.  I enjoy watching them perform and this year, you could really see the growth in their abilities.  No longer are they looking for guidance from the sidelines.  It was enough to bring tears of joy to a mama's eyes!

Our next big celebration (May seems to be a month of celebrations!) was the twins birthday.  They are officially teenagers - 13!  They each had a friend over.  We put 26 candles on their cake - 13 on each side so that they could each blow out 13.  I could say that it seems like yesterday that I was bringing them home from the hospital, but I'd be lying.  I will say, though, that time does seem to be going by quickly.

This weekend was also Memorial Day weekend - - a time to remember those who have kept us free - - those who have come before and gave either all of their lives or a portion to keep us safe and those who are serving today in our military.  I pray for all families who have loved ones far from home, those who have come home broken and those who have lost their lives.  I am not sure how much we, here at home, realize the sacrifice that is being made by member of our military and their families, far removed from the battle and the terror that must be there.  It's almost as if we are disconnected from the reality of the war, kept busy with our lives, not realizing the sacrifice that these brave men and women make for us.  I know many do live with the reality of the wars, but there are also just as many who don't.

That brings me to the last thing - - the bed.  You can see Daniel sitting on top of it in the picture.  Just before we left, I was thinking about how to come up with a toddler bed for Daniel.  Right now he is sharing our bed and really it is getting time to move him into his own little bed.  He will still be in our room, but in his little corner.  I found this link to an upholstered  toddler bed.  I batted my eyes at Dave (okay - I asked him) to help me make it today, and he did! He and Alex put together the wooden frame.  Andrea and I upholstered it with a really cute ivory with lime green toile and then made the bed.  Andrea sewed a pillow cover.  I had found the ABC fleece at JoAnn's and thought it would be great for his bed.  We then added his quilt that I had made him before he was born.  Dave jokes and says that Daniel probably won't sleep in it, but he does seem tickled by it right now.  I owe Dave pretty big, though, because it was awfully hot and he was dripping with sweat while he slaved away for me!  Boy, I love that man!

Currently, I am working on learning to knit.  I am teaching myself to knit by sewing some "dish cloths".  I am not sure if I will have the heart to use them as thus and am thinking of stitching them together into a blanket.  That is, if I get past the first one!  I am using them to learn - - kind of like a sampler.  I have found the Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting to be extremely helpful, though I am not sure I will have the book long enough to complete any of the projects inside.  I'd like to try the men's hat they have in there for Dave and the boys.  I currently have the book on loan from the library so perhaps I will have to ask for it for my birthday. 

Well, I am going to sign off for now - - the pool is calling me!  God Bless you and Happy Memorial Day!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Felted basket

I am so excited!!!  I was crocheting this without knowing how it would turn out.  I wanted something more basket like, rather than just a bowl.  I washed it once, and it was still pretty floppy.  I washed it again, and it felted more , but still floppy.  I washed it a third time and stuck it in boiling water, and wow.  What a surprise for me!!!  I used Paton's Classic Wool Yarn.  It shrunk quite a bit, but it is nice, soft and the sides hold.  I don't have a pattern for this, but will be doing more as I make baskets for our shelves, so I will try to get a pattern together. 

God bless!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Felted Bowls

I was picking up some more roving at the Knitting Cottage in Waynesboro, PA the other day and they had all of these small roving balls in this really cool felted basket/bowl.  It was tempting to buy it outright, trust me. 

I thought that I could perhaps make a felted bowl.  I am not a knitter, nor much of a crocheter, for that matter; but I thought that I could manage with the little I do know of crocheting.  Really, most of crochet is based on four basic stitches - single, half-double, double and triple (or treble) crochet. 

Small Felted Bowl

This little grey bowl with the pink edge was my first attempt.  I love the feel (it is very soft) of this bowl.  It wouldn't hold much and the sides are soft, rather than stiff like a basket, but it would be good for holding little things, like on a dresser and such.  Unfortunately, I really didn't keep track of my stitches and ripped and reworked it so that the bottom would be flat, so I quite lost track.

Larger felted bowl
My next attempt at making a felted bowl is this dark brown/ecru color.  This time I kept track of my stitches, and so I have a pattern that I can share with you.  It is a little bit larger than the other one and I alternated the brown and ecru.  I also added a scalloped edge on this one.  The pattern is available here.

To felt the bowls, I placed them in the washing machine, set it on hot wash, added a little mild detergent (Woolite) and let it go on a quick cycle.  I am thinking the longer cycle would work better, because I had put the second one through a second quick cycle and it looked even better. 
The picture doesn't do these justice, but they are cute. 

I also wanted to share with you this cute little hen with her baby chick.  The pattern for these can be found here.  There is a story to go with them in the newest issue of Living Crafts.  I have to thank my friend, Mary, for introducing me to this magazine!  The Knitting Cottage sells back issues for $2 (Yippee!).  The newest issue also has instructions for making cleaning tools (dust mop and dusters) for your little kids.  I am excited about this.  Daniel has been "helping" me sweep for a while now and the little broom I picked up at Toys 'R Us is really useless.  They always have some little needle felting idea, as well as knitting, crocheting and natural craft ideas. 

Well, that is the post for today!  I best get moving along! 

God Bless,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Today is the day to break out those macaroni necklaces your children made for you in preschool - - that is if you still have them - - and proudly wear them.  It is a day to celebrate both being a mom and having a mom.  It is a day to pay tribute to the mothers who have been part of our lives, as to celebrate our own motherhood.  Because, let's face it - - being a mom is tough work, but I will say that being a mom is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had.

I remember the day that I held my oldest son all day - - my first day home from the hospital.  All I could do is sit and marvel at how perfect he was -- how tiny and how perfect.  It reminded me of how imperfect I was.  And I was a little overwhelmed with the emotions of being home and having this little guy to care for.  I must have cried most of that day.  I had called one of my friends, but she wasn't home, so I talked to  her mom for about an hour.  I think I cried more than I talked.

The next time I came home from the hospital with twins.  Again, I marvelled at how perfectly formed they were.  How precious!  We had some issues with jaundice to work out, which kind of scared us a little, but these two babies were so loved.  How God had entrusted me with them, I will never know.  Thank gooness, he equips the called, because I don't think I was equipped to begin with.  Of course, God gives us helpers.  Unlike my first time bringing a baby home as a single mother, I was blessed with my husband this time around.  Along with my husband came his wonderful family.  And I continue to be blessed through his family.  

 The third trip home from the hospital came around Christmas time, as we brought our younger daughter home on December 23rd.  Usually, I wouldn't prescribe having a ton of people around, but as a new mom at the holidays, having family all around us was great.  Everyone came to see us since we had moved away from our hometown.  I got to sit and didn't have to lift a finger.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law took care of everything. 

Sadly, the fourth trip home, didn't include a trip home with our son.  Born at 17 weeks gestation, little John Marie woud be buried in the plots that my husband and I had purchased so that he could be buried with us.  John Marie's birth, though heart-breaking, gave us a new appreciation for life.  Again, he was perfectly formed for his gestational age.  You could count his fingers and his toes.  You could see his eyes and ear buds.  We heard his heart beat at 6 weeks gestation -- when he was the size of a grain of rice and we got to hold him, small though he was after he was born.  Yes, we were sad, but God still provided us with plenty of blessings in this little miracle. 

This last trip home from the hospital, we came home with our youngest dear son.  We worried through this pregnancy, especially after the miscarriage of the last one.  By far one of our more positive experiences in the hospital, Daniel stayed with me just about the entire time.  Born two years after the miscarriage and nine years after his sister, we were, and still, are thrilled to have him with us.  I look at him and I see the others - - Jeremy, now 16, learning to drive; Andrea, now 12, who is growing into a beautiful young lady; Alex, her twin, still rough and tumble and a "love-sponge", and Jenna, now 10, who still wants to be the baby every now and then.  Having him gives me a new appreciation for them and where they are at in life and how far they've come - - reminding me of how limited our time with them truly is. 

 As a mom, our children tend to define our lives.  At least for the time they are with us.  We truly are blessed when we welcome children.  Even though not every day is sunny, having them on our journey called life, makes it less lonely and more bearable.  They provide us with the occassional tears, but they also have a way of providing us with a ton of laughter. 

God Bless you all and Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Added Pages - Updates

I am adding a page for crafting links - - I will try to keep them categorized under headings and will comment on the ones that I have used.  This way, the projects that I find will have a home for easy finding.

I have also added a page for Ordinary Time, Montessori Resources (recent), and I've added to the Lent and Easter page. 

Enjoy & God Bless!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A cute picture

I normally wouldn't post this often in one day, but Andrea was playing around with the sheep and gnomes that I made.  I guess my gnomes can second as shepherds.  Enjoy!

In Christ,

Now for the sheep . . .

Little Felted Sheep
I had been planning on making the sheep for the Good Shepherd play set from wood, but that idea fell by the wayside when my friend introduced me to needlefelting!   What better thing than to have sheep made from - - well, wool!  I love the look of the sheep with the wooly fur (see previous post for links to tutorials for animals), however, I do not have that wool and would probably have to get it from somewhere on line, so therefore, I am making do with what I have.

The tutorial at Knitpicks is easy and quick for making sheep.  I made some modifications, as I do not have black paper clips, so I modified and used pipecleaners and I do not have dark brown wool, so I used grey instead.  I imagine that you could also use black for the face, too,but I don't have black either.  I added eyes to the first one I did, but I think I like them better without them.

I had to modify the instructions, because the pipecleaners will not go through the felted wool as I imagine paper clips would.  So instead of poking them through, I laid them over the sheep and used wool and felted them in place (see picture below).  

Lay leg down and use wool to "felt" over the leg
and secure it in place.  You will bend the legs down
when you are done. 

This picture shows both legs "felted" in place.
This seems to work out and they came out quite cute!  Each one took about 20 minutes at the most to make.  Another hour and the flock will be complete - - but school and activities are calling me.

God Bless!

Needle Felting - - More fun stuff

These two little gnome dolls were fun to make!
The one in the little green coat came first - - hence the huge eyes - - but still kind of cute.  I found that you really need to use a tiny, tiny amount of wool for the eyes - - and what you think is tiny, still may be too much!  The tutorial for these little dolls are found at  Now if I can find directions for the little sheep she did, as well,then I can make the sheep for the Parable of the Good Shepherd! 

Needle felting can be addictive and fun!  What is also great is that it doesn't take much time to complete a little project, which is great for those of us for whom long projects usually don't end up finished (so says the cross stitch that has been in the closet waiting to be finished for at least 16 years!). 

Here are some more links to tutorials and directions for little felted things - -

Hummingbird - I did attempt this one, but didn't like how the wings turned out, but something to work on!

Sheep - Haven't tried this - and don't have curly wool - - - but they are sooo cute!  Here is another site for sheep.

Toadstool - - a perfect accompaniment for those gnomes, eh?

Little Bird

That is about all I found on a brief troll of the web so far today - - but I am sure there are lots more out there.  Now to find those sheep!!!

God Bless,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Juan Diego Video Giveaway!

The lovely ladies over at Raising (and Teaching) Little Saints are offering a giveaway of CCC's Juan Diego: Messenger of Guadalupe.  The contest ends May 10th.  There are some things you need to do to enter.

We love many of these CCC movies.  They are great for celebrating saint feast days or could be pulled out if you are studying certain countries - - (Juan Diego - Mexico, Fatima - Portugal, St. Patrick - Ireland, St. Bernadette - France, etc.).  The stories are very well presented and the illustrations are very good.   I have one child in particular who would watch these over and over. 

I have been hoping and hoping that CCC would add to their line of saint titles.  It appears that there is one, The Adventures of the Apostle Paul, that has been added to their list.  I will have to look more closely at that one and perhaps see if it can be added to our Christmas wish list.

Recently, we have cleaned out our VHS collection.  The CCC videos are some of what we held onto because they are so treasured here in our home.

So, hop on over to Raising (and Teaching) Little Saints to enter their giveaway.

God Bless,