Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Eggs: What we did for art today...

Wednesday is our scheduled at-home-all-day  - but many weeks errands get thrown in and we find ourselves running ourselves around on a day that should be more enjoyable. It is hard to really relax and enjoy a school day when we are running.  At home all day, I am more likely  to get out a big project, enjoy it and clean up and get regular school accomplished before we even think about dinner.

We are looking ahead to Easter, getting decorations planned for the celebration we will host.

Pysanky inspired eggs. We made our first attempt several years back. I found some from that day and livened them up with a coat of Mod Podge.  This year, in preparation I ordered a few more tools and more dyes. We found the dyes I had made years ago tucked away in the back of the pantry still good. Red and yellow were dried up, so I thought we'd just play with the colors we found.

We took turns blowing out the eggs. This process worked well; just starting with a needle prick, enlarging to get the yolk out, then rinsing water through the inside of the egg.

The kids are at all different levels of patience and creativity. 
M is a natural artist and lots of patience..

We picked our favorite tool, and candle to work with and just worked with the wax to what inspired us.
tulips in the making:

even the dripping are pretty.

 M's came out really well. Her patience paid off - beautiful. She coated it with a clear glitter spray paint.

one of the older eggs livened up with a clear coat

Now I'll tuck away and bring out for our Easter decorations.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Counting Gifts up to 900

900 Sweet, cool, nighttime breeze on my face.
899 Cutting down our time in the car.
898 Pizza on the way home.
897 Egyptian Magic skin cream.
896 Willing babysitters.
895 Three mile walk alone with my husband.
894 "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner."
893 Being able to be flexible
892 Watching "The Way" with Craig. Good movie - inspiring a desire to go on walking pilgrimage
891 Having time alone to pray the stations and spend a few precious moments in adoration
890 Finding St. Anthony's adoration chapel - a beautiful improvement
889 "My God, make us to be of one mind in the truth and of one heart in charity."
888 Listening to Mx's advice about camera lenses. I love the natural color this lens picks up!

887 While trying to sleep, I hear low voices murmuring..."Shhh!"... giggles... (from my husband and one year old!)
886 Ability to comfort a little one who is ill after too big a day.
885 "If God be for us, who can be against us." - St. Paul in Romans
884 "Good words are worth much, and cost little." - Dear Abby.
883 Seeing pinecrest reopened - gives hope for our community.
882 Oreo cake balls - interesting and good.
881 Awards to put a smile on E's proud face. Nice ending to a big day.
880 "Of God, Thou art all powerful, make me a saint."
879 Lenten activity strips to draw: ending up with a candle to illuminate our family prayer time.

878 Cc: "Can we pray ten Hail Mary's together and let me lead?"
877 This sweet soul who prefers to be by my side:
876 Wild goose chase
875 Trying to be a good and helpful wife even though he doesn't know
874 back up plans and alternative schedules
873 A challenge and encouragement to make acts of silence, not speaking when words are unnecessary: "If you will cease to...speak that which profits not..your light will rise up in the darkness."
872 "O, God, come to my assistance: O Lord, make haste to help me."
871 An attitude of gratitude makes the day pleasant (telling teenage daughter to repeat over and over)
870 sharing my always too early dysfunction in common with my husband- who cares if it drive our kids crazy?
869 ability to joke with my daughter via text while she's off and away
868 Finding wildflowers in a barren field
867 dinner with Father, or rather sitting with Father while waiting for food ;)
866 stations of the cross with father L- so energetic and quick, like a workout.
865 Craig spending his afternoon off helping at the church property
864 a surprise spa for our hands with scented salt scrub
863 escape to hair cut with Cc
862 "Eucharist Heat of Jesus, furnace of divine charity, give peace to the world."
861 reminder that we live in Texas and it's February, so it's:
860 The water dumping out of the ceiling vent wasn't tub or toilet water
859 Reminded of my mother's courage
858 Invited to a peek into their class
857 Sharing giggles on the phone with my mother in law
856 Feeling safe and snug inside while the wind is angry outside
855 Homeopathy: Sting Stop especially
854 Starting a fiction only book club with friends
853 "Here's my mom, she's hardly busy at all."
852 All kinds of rain
851 Silly girl talk
850 Sharing and encouraging writing passions
849 Safety in numbers
848 A juicy super secret
847 Weekday birthday parties
846 Tag team walking partner so I don't go alone.
845 "Cast your care upon the Lord, and He will support you."
844 Kids finally going to sleep
843 1 down, 39 to go
842 Putting French braids in her doll's hair
841 Having Cc thread my needle, "I do it with my mind."
840 My kitchen faucet
839 "Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thee." *
838 Reminder that I am dust and deserve nothing but have been given the chance for heaven.
837 The start of the holy season of Lent
836 Opportunities to be a Witness
835 Fat Tuesday: an excuse to eat the remaining sweets.
834 Women sharing their life's experiences.
833 Dedication
832 No smoking in my house.
831 My homemade pizza was yummy.
830 New episodes to look forward to - even though its a long way off!
829 M sharing my love of office supplies and Pier One.
828 A pretty red chair
827 Precious life of my children
826 Missy L having lots of sisters to play favorites with.

*Lenten Prayers in italics are from my Forty Step to Easter book from Dumb Ox Publications. These daily reminders are treasures to be kept and to be repeatedly prayed.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Stations of the Cross

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee,
Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

The Stations of the Cross are a beautiful Devotion of Prayers to Jesus for us to meditate on what He endured in His Passion. I would encourage everyone to pray as a family. It is a beautiful practice, a beautiful prayer. Its a way to draw family members in to be a comfort for them throughout their lives.

We haven't always been good about praying Stations of the Cross as a family. When I was a younger mom, I worried I wasn't doing it "right". People would tell me it had to be done in a church. I knew my little ones wouldn't behave while we were up and down kneeling and moving through the church, and I wouldn't be able to pay attention and might end up mad. Yes, I know, anger isn't an appropriate emotion at church, but some kids can push their mommy's to that point. When I was a younger mother, worrying too much about everything else, I found it was easier to pray the Stations at home.

We have come to love Friday evenings in Lent for our special time to pray the Stations together. When my oldest was ten, he carved fourteen circle intentions in a log so I could place fourteen candles, each for a Station on Christ's Passion. We would have all the lights out, and light the candles on the log. We would take turns reading the station's details, recite the prayers together and then extinguish a candle. We would have a lone candle to help with the reading, for after placing Christ in the tomb, all lights are extinguished. They would be silent with amazement and respect. Christ is the Light of the World  and He has died and been placed in a tomb.

I had one very sensitive child ask repeatedly:
"Did Jesus die on the cross?" - (softly spoken)...
"Yes, dear; "
"but then what happened?"
long pause...
deep audible breath...
"HE CAME BACK TO LIFE!!" joyfully shouted, with a jump for emphasis.

It is important to introduce the stations to children when they are young, so they can understand the Passion, meditate on His Love and Sacrifice. The Passion was bloody, brutal, and extremely horrifically violent. He make it all new again by rising from the dead. Children seem to understand and accept without fear. It usually generates many deep questions.

Last year found us with our parish hall under construction and quiet Friday nights. We found another family  up for an adventure of visiting parishes far and near in our diocese for their Stations and support their fish fry, additionally to keep this devotion alive and well attended. Sometimes we had many join us, other weeks a little more quiet.

My children looked forward to going to Stations every Friday night! We enjoy the variety of styles of praying the stations.My sister's country church prayed by candle light. Some churches followed the priest station to station, others the hallways marked with the stations were tight, so we prayed from our pews. Some celebrated the "15th" station of Christ's resurrection, most didn't.

We have resumed this tradition this year. Our new host church hadn't had a fish fry in quite a few years, and had some difficulty getting it coordinated. Dinner was served an hour and half after ordered. We were blessed to have a visit with our priest while waiting. I am sorry to think he didn't see all best behavior while little girls were hungry for dinner didn't understand the wait. But, it is Lent, everything isn't to go perfectly, right? We need to have little things pop up and give us something to improve our demeanor, something extra to "offer up."

The dinners are not all Fish Fry's; we have a stone soup gathering and Enchilada Dinner to look forward to. We hope to host one here, praying the stations outside along a path in the trees, starting late enough to light the candles out and follow the station in the back yard. Last year my favorite Lenten moment was the sound of voices singing the Stabat Mater floating up through my neighborhood.

Like many prayers, meditations can take on different meanings to us at different points in life due to experience and spiritual maturity. It's one reason I like stations at different churches is the books vary and the focus of the meditation is different.

Consider the tenth station: Jesus is stripped of garments. Is it about atoning for our immodesty, our vanity, our attachment to wordly things, or treasuring people's opinions or our inability to suffer of the flesh when we fear it is all ripped anew? Good to reflect on. Each time could be a different focus.

Walking the Stations of our Lives: making memories, developing friendships, sharing fellowship and offering prayer.

Lord Jesus, crucified,
Have mercy on us!

Is there a William Tell in the House?

My children were so inspired by the 4H archery shoot. Their archery skills improved from shooting all day Saturday. Sunday, they brought out targets, bows and set up an area to practice in the back yard. They set up an apple target, something they tried to hit yesterday and missed. 
Photo Waller County Shoot FB
I heard there was even a side wager; Mir was closest with only a nick, and that didn't win the $$.

Craig has been itching to shoot. My husband has natural athletic skills and especially enjoys any kinds of shooting sports. I have seen him pick up a bat and win a home run derby without having touched a bat in decades, so why not pick up a bow and shoot the apple square on? (yes, we razz each other in good humor).

 A natural...
 Arrows all over the place, close; poor William Tell's son might not have made it.
 Craig's glancing shot

N - aka William Tell. His first shot went all through the apple and target. He says, "It was only ten yards, ten yards are easy. William Tell had 60 paces."

My modest archer.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Day Book

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Outside my window...Sunny and 65 degrees, beautiful! My overgrown and neglected weedy garden is calling to me to get busy.

I am is not unnecessary work, because I truly enjoy working in the dirt.  It is not my usual chore; it is therapy. I look forward to the quiet time or conversations with the sweet fellow gardener whose out there to keep me company.

I am thankful...for all the rain this winter. The dirt is moist and easy to weed.

In the kitchen...pot roast is slow cooking - but was delayed because the power went out, and the crock pot didn't turn itself back on.

I am wearing...old yellow tshirt and sweats that I don't mind getting dirty.

I am creating...plans for my garden. I want to expand it and till three rows for melons and corn, fence it to protect from deer, mulch paths around the beds and refresh the dirt. 

I am get started on seeds next week to grow in the garage I am going to be very choosy what starter plants we add this year.

I am the power in the house went off at the perfect time to flush everyone out in the backyard with me encouraging my husband to do large helpful turns in the weedy beds, making my job easy.

I am reading...The Power of the Positive Mom by Karol Ladd for me and By The Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder aloud, adding Robin Hood for N.

I am hoping...we are truly out of the drought this year. Last year I fought for my garden, despite the drought and high water bills until the deer started eating the tomato plants themselves (never saw that before). Then the poor creatures were eating the weeds out of my garden, for it was the only thing green around.

I am looking forward to...fried green tomatoes and homemade gazpacho as well as saving money on green and red bell peppers.

I am learning...patience, which is good since it is only February.

Around the house...dandelions are taking over the yard. We planted ten pallets of sod last spring and I want to freshen it up for Easter.

I am praying for...the health of my extended family: especially my Godmother/Aunt Gayle, Uncle Ky, Aunt LaTrieve and repose of the soul of my father in law JR. Cc added her brother Mx and cousin Patrick in our Sunday School intentions, so I'll add them too.

I am pondering...why my thighs hurt today. Could have been from carrying Missy L in the backpack on the ranch yesterday? Oh, no! It was from the aerobics paced Stations Friday night. hmmmm....

A favorite quote for today..."Constant complaint is the poorest sort of pay for all the comforts we enjoy." - Benjamin Franklin

One of my favorite things...freshly turned dirt, ready for planting.

A few plans for the rest of the week: probably routine of scouts, ballet, piano, math class, nature journal class, with daily mass, confession and Stations on Friday night.

A peek into my day...

The only thing the deer refused to each last year : one stubborn  cabbage plant. I will respectfully leave here to grow, (until I need the space.)


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Archery - Our First Competition

Our first 4H archery activity - outside of practice. A beautiful setting on a country ranch.

Jp - serious archer

N taking aim

waiting for their turn to shoot

targets with obstacles

Craig having a great time with his girls

Mir - not her first competition

The 3D shoot: animals -  only one shot

Friday, February 24, 2012

7 Friday Quick Takes

Life is good!
No special reason for saying this, just feeling good about life right now!

Driving to a birthday party in the middle of the day knowing its a school day, my son was almost giddy to realize that we are probably not going to do any more school today, while his school friends weren't out until 3.
After this many years of homeschooling, I do not feel guilty that there are children confined in a brick building while we are skipping through the daisies. We earn our days off from our formal schoolwork. Today could answer the homeschooling critics' tired question: what about socialization? You know, the question asked so much you'd think it's the one reason people send their kids to school.
We are learning all the time.
At today's birthday party, the children showed their piano skills (Music Appreciation & Performance), found crawdads in their natural habitat (Science), played board games (Logic, Math & Debate), told each other stories (English Composition:Narration), and our host's son made the cake (Home Ec).
I didn't need to record what we did today, because we do well beyond the government required 180 days of formal school. We could just relax and enjoy our friends without pointing out any learning was taking place.

Two things about the start of Lent:
It is surprising how many people can't stand to see rubbed ashes on someone else's forehead and many feel so compelled to tell you that you have something smudged on your forehead,(like it took a lot of courage to tell you that), and be almost insulted that not only you knew it was there, but that you didn't bother to wipe it off and that you seemed to prefer it stay there.
"Oh, Ash Wednesday? You Catholics still do that?"
Keep in mind, Lent is good for the body as well as the soul.

It's nice having children with range of ages. Nineteen to one really makes it like we have two families. I enjoy seeing my oldest contemplate adult decisions of what job to do or what stock to invest in and then have a little one year old proud of her accomplishments of coming downstairs alone or hearing her new word.
Children are a joy!

Red flag warning day.
Strong angry winds outside.
Fear from three days bonfire burning in neighbors' yard, burning fiercely last night.
Fear is worse than caffeine.
Praying for protection from fire.
Memories of wildfire fears too strong.
Our area hit too hard last year, area woods still black and scarred.
Limbs falling on our roof, limbs the size of small trees.
Making mental note - kids stay inside all day!

Evening walks have changed their tone from joyful silliness to caution and safety.
I love my time with my children on evening walks, especially now since the temperature is cool.
We joke about the wild deer stalking us, but there is a real danger: we have had two encounters with a human "threat". A creepy guy in an off-white four door long bed diesel dully following us.
We like to think we live in an area immune to danger. Our neighborhood is 50 miles outside a major city with most people on a little land. Houses are back from the road and spread out, which is what we like. We've had a reality check on our idea of safety. I think it's time to look into a woman's self defense class. 

Memory popped in my head of my first year in public school: fourth grade and they were teaching something in that Alabama town that my mother didn't want me to hear. So I was removed from the classroom to sit in the hall or library while this subject was taught. I imagine it must have been a bible-belt version of the reformation, but I don't know.
Kudos to my mom for protecting me.
I only recall curiosity toward me  from the other students on why I got to skip a class.
It is a piece of the puzzle explaining my passion for homeschooling. I too want to see what is being taught to my children and keep the junk away. I want them to have a joy for learning and a need to understand their faith and where that places them in the world.