Friday, November 29, 2013

7 Quick Takes....A Week in Review

1.  We survived the build up to Thanksgiving.

2.  We survived Thanksgiving.

3.  The kids don't appear to be scarred by the half naked woman on the billboard behind the parade that they watched for 3 hours yesterday.  But I do agree with the sentiments expressed in this blog...Momastery.  It didn't belong there.  It doesn't belong there.  And just because my kids didn't seem to notice it, doesn't mean then didn't notice it.  I know my sons.  They noticed it.

4.  We didn't shop on Thanksgiving.  Oops....actually we did.  Matt and I purchased a Christmas present online while we were drinking our morning coffee, discussing who was left on the list and debating what to gift them.  But we did not shop on Black Friday.  We don't.  We won't.

5.  The Christmas decking of the house has begun.  I still don't know where to put everything.  We still don't know how best to dress our double front doors.  But we do have a second Christmas tree to set up this year...a fancy one in the living room.  I didn't finish the embroidered tree skirt like i planned to, but I do have an odd white tablecloth that is shortly going to be sliced, diced and converted into a tree skirt.

6.  Matt had to work today.  This sucked.  He will also have to work over Christmas.  He only has Christmas Eve day and Christmas day off.  I am grateful that he has an excellent job.  I will be happy when the massive project that is sucking up these holidays slow down.

7. This is the breakfast of champions.  Note, lean sausages.  It honestly can't be any worst than a stack of pancakes or french toast.

Twas the Day Before Thanksgiving....

Today was one of the days where I forwent any and all other activities to bake pies.  Baking is not one of my things.  Cooking, I like.  Baking, I tolerate.  But Thanksgiving finds us all alone and all on us.  So bake I must.

I snapped a photo as I was nearing the end of assembling all three desserts.

It doesn't truly capture the mess that I made.  On the left, the stove and its adjoining counter tops is cut out of the picture.  That area was also covered in various pans, bowls and food stuff.  It was a feat that took me most of the day - the preparing, the baking, the cleaning.  Two days, if you count the fact that I made and froze the pie dough yesterday.  We'll find out tomorrow if it was all worth it.  Joshua claims it was, having already stuck his finger in the pumpkin pie.

Pioneer Woman's Scrumptious Apple Pie

 This a blueberry crumble recipe from the boys' Redwall Cookbook.

From Scratch Pumpkin Pie
You really do need the pumpkins from the front porch to make this one authentic.  Josh has been waiting for me to do something with those pumpkins since the day after Halloween.

 The Pie Crust 

Being the Night Before Thanksgiving means our family made the trip downtown for the annual Festival of the Trees.  A boatload of beautiful trees, little girls dancing to The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, futile raffle tickets and debates over baskets and a visit with Santa.  It's what we've done the night before Thanksgiving since Matthew was a baby.  The only thing missing was the large display of Nativity sets from around the world.  I was sorely disappointed that this exhibit wasn't included this year.

We capped the night off with dinner downtown.  This seems to be turning into a new tradition for us, grabbing a bite at a little well known - or not - place downtown.  Tonight we had a certificate for an Asian cuisine place.  Sharing a plate of sushi and eating noodles, fried rice and orange chicken family style at the end of a long and busy day was a good ending.

.....A dirty martini would be a perfect ending.....

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Short on Time

I feel so short on time as these holidays approach.  I keep staring at the calendar and asking Matt, "Is Thanksgiving late this year?", "Is Advent short this year?",  "How is St. Nick's Day only a week after Thanksgiving?",  "How is it the kids only have 2.5 weeks of school and then they're off again for Christmas?"  I don't like the feeling of being rushed or that time is shortened.  It kicks off feelings of not having time enough to do all the things we'd like to do.  It also makes me fear that everything will fly by so quickly we won't have time to enjoy the things we are trying to do or do manage to do.  That being said, I'm grateful that after several busy weeks of errands, appointments and just not being home for one reason or another, I have today and tomorrow with nothing to take me away from the house except for morning drop off and afternoon pick up.  This means I can wear my sweat pants and catch up on laundry.  I can finally sit down and plan out a few more weeks of the boys' Religious Ed lessons.  I can sit down and sew something without breaking it into ten minute intervals of work.  I can sit down. 

In other news, Banshee is becoming a closet couch dweller.  She's been caught many a time when we return home and now also in the mornings when Matt gets up.  We can hardly blame her.  With all the hard floors, even with her various pillows and blankets, it can be cold on the floor.  We can hardly get upset.  She's not one to scratch things up.  The worst that happens is a tell tale pile of white fur.  Unfortunately for her, my lovely two days at home are going to seriously mess with her napping schedule....unless she gets brave!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


We are "homeschooling" the boys' Religious Education classes.  This isn't when I want to write about why or how that works for us.  I only want to share what the monkeys were up to today to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King.

We had to start with their Unit 2 tests. These were quickly done and out of the way, leaving us time to talk about the readings and Gospel at Mass this morning and the activity they did in Children's Liturgy.  They created crowns.  Check!  I had planned to do that at home, and I'm not foolish enough to make them do it twice. 

Then the BIG project for the day.  We learned about the Liturgical Year.  The boys put together a poster representing the cycle of the Liturgical seasons.  Then we filled in the dates, starting with the upcoming season of Advent - the beginning of the church year!  We filled in some important feast days and holy days of obligation around the circle.  We talked about the main colors used in the seasons and did a little "quiz".  I also took the opportunity to talk to them about Advent, why it was once called "Little Lent" and what we can do during this time to recapture that time of preparation for the birth of Christ.

Our family has traditionally done a lot of great Advent things.  We have nightly readings from Matt's childhood Advent book and light our Advent wreath.  We have a beautiful Advent calendar sewn by one of the boys' Aunt.  Each night an embroidered animal or person is put in place.  By Christmas, it is a gorgeous Nativity scene.  This year we are going to abstain from meat during dinner on Monday nights.  We are also going to make time to go to Reconciliation next weekend.  Joshua is a little peeved, because he hasn't made his First Reconciliation yet.  But as we discussed at dinner, there are other sacrifices he can no more gimmies, no more additions to his list, no more mention of his list.

The hardest part of this season is being patient.  It seems so long to the kids and far too short to the grown ups.  It is only one piece of the liturgical cycle.  A small piece as the kids saw a little more clearly today.  But it is one of preparation, preparing for the birth of a King.

Friday, November 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes...A Week in Review

Apparently it will take a bit for me to get back in the habit of blogging.  This will do for now....

Several blogs I enjoy do a 7 Quick Takes post on Fridays.  They link and catalog other people's posts.  I won't be linking or cataloging, or participating in those others.  But I like the idea of a Week in Review, for the purpose of keeping family and friends up to date, forcing myself to make time to actually write these things down and some weeks just to look back and remember that yes, that really happened this week.

1.   My boys are bright.  I am grateful to God for their many gifts and talents.  I am thankful that they enjoy school and learning, it isn't so much a chore for them and our biggest dilemma is sometimes making sure they are challenged appropriately. 

Joshua brought home a packet of 1st grade sight words lists.  We were to review the lists nightly, stopping when we reached a list where he missed 2 or more words and practicing that particular list for the evening.  Lists he did well on don't need to be repeated.  The first night he flew through the entire packet.  All 50 lists of 10 words each.  I had to stand there as he rattled off 500 words, huffing and rolling his eyes as he did so.  His teacher sent home the next packet - the first batch of 2nd grade sight words.  I wrote her a note so she knows to send home the next set of lists. 

Matthew is bringing home awesome grade after awesome grade.  He works hard for each one and is developing some great study habits.  He is seeing the benefits of Mom and Dad forcing him to study a little every night.  He only has to study a little every night, including the night before the test, and he's "passing with flying colors, Mom!" 

2.  The temperatures are supposed to plummet this weekend.  This means my foot is probably going to ache and I needed to bring out the down comforter.  Banshee was tickled pink at this, already trying to claim it as her own.  Again.

3.  Today, Matt and I are going to meet with a lawyer.  We are finally being grown up about stuff and writing a will, including guardianship for the kids should something terrible ever happen.  I will be perfectly happy when this is over and I can forget all about it. 

4.  I stutter and never know exactly the best and quickest response whenever asked if I stay-at-home during the day.  This is a loaded topic and deserves it's own brain dump.  But it's on my mind because I've been asked twice this week - in a positive context.  But not all contexts are positive when it comes to this question.

5.  I'm tired of pumpkin spice.  It's time to bring on the peppermint mocha.  ...I will admit that I miss living 5 minutes from the nearest Starbucks.

6.  Almost all the good Halloween candy is gone and we still have too much of it. 

7.  The boys have outgrown their school shoes.  Matthew will likely outgrow his clothes before the winter is over.  In length only.  Joshua is trying to outgrow all of his clothes faster than Matthew outgrows his, forcing me to buy him new clothes because I can't pass on to Josh what Matt is still wearing. 

And that's that.  7 quick takes and a cup of coffee.