Friday, January 30, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in every day life~
~Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter~

{Pretty}
My 1980's crafting is coming right along, and I love, love, love it.  I cannot wait to see this as a stocking.  
Moving the sewing room  or rather, losing the sewing room, seems to have been the way to go.  I'm already getting much more done.  I finished Faith's curtains and am just working on the tie backs, if the light in her room was decent I'd share some photos but for now this will have to do.

{Happy}


While we are not going to be caught complaining about gorgeous 70 degree weather, we have been a little sad to not see snow this year.  When we heard all about the Blizzard Juno, we decided to make our own fun with some homemade play dough and watching Frozen.  So of course I was out of blue food coloring and the snow had to be green, we added sparkles though so it still glittered like snow.  They had fun and it made them very happy.
Faith is also happy because we've come to a compromise about 'hair'.  She wants to start fixing it herself, which seems to translate to not fixing it at all *sigh*.  Every other day, I still get to fix it. 
 This was a 'she' fix it day.
*Play Dough Recipe at bottom of post*

{Funny}


I love these vintage ecards.


Samwise will probably fill the funny forever with all the material he provides.  Yesterday Benjamin needed to take a shower.  Samwise was determined to go INTO the shower with Ben.  Once I finally convinced him Ben would be fine, he stood outside the door of the shower and cried, I mean really cried.  Such a funny guy.

{Real}



Jessica always has great inspiration for celebrating the Liturgical Year.  I got the idea for baking star cookies for the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (January 28th) from her and the kids were thrilled.  This recipe was shared by my good friend Laura (who has a birthday soon and I hope she lets me bake her a cake again this year)

Best Sugar Cookie Recipe:
*I double this*
1/2 cup butter, softened (make sure to use real butter)
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar 
or
*do not use the baking soda, cream of tartar but instead use 3 teaspoons baking powder*
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream together the butter, shortening and sugar.  Beat it for a long time - you want it to be really, really light.  Add the eggs one at a time and incorporate well after each add.  Add the vanilla.  Mix together the flour soda, tartar (or baking powder).  Then add to butter mixture slowly.  Don't mix too much after all the flour is blended in.

Roll dough out on a well-floured surface.  Keep it thick about 1/2 inch.  

Bake at 425 for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned.  Immediately move to a cooling rack.

Play Dough:
4 cups flour
4 cups water
2 cups salt
4 tsp cream of tartar
glitter
food coloring of your choice

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly.  It takes a while and is hard to stir but it will form a ball.  Once ball is formed, knead it until it is smooth play dough.  My kids especially like to play with it while still warm.




Friday, January 23, 2015

More Samwise (sorry, not sorry)

Of course we would find the one dog with more personality than our children combined 
(and if you know us, you know that's a LOT of personality)

Each morning when the older boys leave on the bus...as soon as he hears the door open he starts crying, seriously.
I couldn't get a shot of his paws over his nose but he does that and we really do have to stifle our laughter because he is just torn up...every.single.time.they.leave.

BUT....
When they come home, he turns into Buddy the Elf

 
and starts crying all over again...he can't stand it and wiggles, jumps, and shakes until they all give him some love.  He is hysterical.
If he hears my keys rattle it is all...


and then he races to the door, if he makes it all the way to the van
he gives you this sad eye look (ignore dirty van)
You are not leaving with out me??? right???

and no we usually take him with us because we are all a bit smitten by this wonderful gift of a dog



Thursday, January 22, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in every day life~

~Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter~

{Pretty}
Sunday was such a pretty day, balmy and not cold at all.  We decided it was the perfect day to take one of our long hikes at Hagerman.  

Still stitching away at Benjamin's stocking.  I'm going backward through the family, Ben up to Pete.  I've always wanted to make these but never felt I had the time and realized if I had just started on them, many would be done by now.  The kids each picked out their stocking (except Noah, he is getting a Noah's Ark stocking) and I'm loving this project.  It's the 80's teen in me I'm sure.  I spent many a night sitting on the couch with my Mom watching Dallas, Fantasy Island, or on Saturday SNL, and Night Tracks (pre-MTV days) cross stitching while my Dad worked late nights as a Deputy Sheriff (so we always had the scanner going too).  Those are good memories and working on this project takes me back there.

{Happy}
We decided over the Holiday's to quit sitting on the fence about 'do we have time to add one more thing' etc...etc...  This guy really needed something that was his.  He is uniquely sandwiched between the only girl in the family and the baby. We wanted him to have something special, and have been thinking and praying about this for a while.  When talking to a dear friend and the mother of one of his good friends the idea of giving Scouts a try formed.  Pete and I discussed it, contacted the troop that his friend is a part of and they had an opening.  So voila, our guys is a Bear Cub now.

Just in time for the Pinewood Derby

He is beyond excited about this and already enjoying the activity of creating his derby car.  
I think we've made a good decision here, Scouts is already making him very happy.

{Funny}
We are having a fun time finding these meme's and signs on the web.

We didn't get Samwise to be an alarm system, but we are loving the German Shepherd Community..

and how protective this breed is.  Meanwhile....

does this look very 'alarm system` worthy'?
 Nope, and we like that just fine. 
 He did about bust out our window yesterday because a stranger was walking through our yard...the stranger was 2 and had gotten away from her mother.  I was like "Really, Sam - a 2 year old??" and he just kept giving me this confused puppy look of  "wait, that was wrong?"  and he continues to be scared of poodles at the park while Linus is saying "he doesn't realize he is a German Shepherd does he"...we love this dog and all the comic relief he brings to our every day.
Sam, Ben and the garbage debate...every. single. day...they could sit there for ever waiting to see if Sam will go for it or not - while Ben keeps telling him "nope, no, don't do it' and then laughs his head off when Samwise goes for it....ugh!

{Real}

The brouhaha over the remarks made by Pope Francis this week caused quite a stir.  I want to clarify that the Pope did not depart from church teaching and the whole idea of having a large family has actually been supported and praised by the Pope.
I receive far more sweet and kind comments about my family nowadays, and oh my goodness do I love that. 
 I was the target of some pretty nasty comments back when I had lots of little, little boys and seemed to be consistently pregnant.  When hormones are at their worst and children are having a bad day, that is when some mean spirited person would swoop in and zing me - and the 'be like rabbits' media spin 'breed like rabbits' comment took me right back there. 
 You see, I understand all the nuances and deeper layers of church teaching and the context to which the Pope was speaking...but the person who wants to use those words to justify their saying something about my family size or 'responsible procreation (if they even know that word)' is going to now feel like they can, because they are not going to investigate all the context and nuances - they are just going to stand on their soapbox and now quote my own Pope to do so - and that is what I have a problem with.   I would NEVER pretend to think I had a right to tell someone else how many children to have or how to live their life but because I have a large family or 'a litter' (yes, that one has been used to describe my family. 'or breed like a rabbit' (yes, that one too) now their is an assumed justification by the ignorant in not holding back and zinging that poor pregnant Mama while she shuffles along her little ones...and that is what pains me about the whole thing. 
 Do not use the Pope's words to inflict pain on a Mama.  
It is ignorance that hurts the most about the whole thing, because the ignorant will be the ones to use such commentary to hurt.
~Love one another~
Besides, having lots of children....many never get to experience this and I realize how blessed I am to have been given this gift.


Who else but older brothers would help all the younger ones when a hike becomes too long...

and you just want to be held for a while.
A brother can carry you and does not feel burdened by your weakness.
We need to do that for one another~


Please join Leila for today's PHFR.





Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Country Potato Salad


As I shared in last week's 'menu', on Saturday we enjoyed BBQ and nothing goes better with smoked ribs than a good country potato salad. I also smoked a turkey using the same method for smoked chicken, the only difference is that I put it in the oven at 325 to cook for about an hour at the end just to make sure it was cooked throughout the bird (it was over 25 lbs). 
I don't think I've ever met a potato salad I didn't like and everyone seems to have their own variation (I also love mustard/olive combo's) but this is what I do the most and thought I would share it.  

Country Potato Salad
10-15 red potatoes chopped up and then boiled until tender (drain off water)
3 boiled eggs, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion diced
2 pickles, chopped up
1 cup mayo
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
salt/pepper to taste
1 Tbs dill weed
1 tsp. celery salt
paprika sprinkled over top

Mix all in a large bowl and chill before serving - sometimes I add chives as well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Room of My Own

As long as I can remember, I've wanted a sewing room.  A place to fix up, have all my supplies handy and most important - a place to create.  I love seeing the sewing rooms of others on the internet like Heather Bailey, Lindsay Wilkes, or Alicia Paulson and dreamed of setting one up for myself.  In the latest part of Summer, the opportunity presented itself for me to claim a room.  It felt a little selfish (we still have 7 children living at home) but I justified the space and Pete agreed - it was time.  

I didn't do much other than move into the room.  We've been on a roller coaster ride this past Fall with homeschooling and making trips to Children's hospital for Benjamin *and many, many visits with Dr.'s educators and the like locally) as well as all the 'normal' that comes with family life.  I've always been such a strong person, but this past Fall/Winter I've been more fragile than I'm used to.  All the information about Autism has been so helpful and it hasn't been the end of the world in the slightest - in fact, it is giving us answers we needed.  Yet, I'm more overwhelmed than I've ever been and as I've shared more than a few times - my coping mechanisms seem to be on the blink because I've just been worn thin by life lately.  I hate sharing that because, I've read how others are really being taken to task and all the pain they've experienced and the beauty and grace they've allowed us to glimpse into this precious window of their world...I feel, I have no excuse to be so spent. Yet, the reality of children actually growing up and moving away in addition to all that is going on within normal family life + allowing myself to accept the very 'real' of Autism has been too much.  I've been blindsided by it (well, I didn't really mean to start whining, sorry) and going into a separate room to sew hasn't felt right.  I don't want to be away from my family, and the available time to sew has coincided with family time.

*Katie Daisy*

This weekend our oldest child, living at home, requested to pay rent if he could possibly have his own space.  He didn't know I had already shared with Pete that the time for the sewing room wasn't right and even though I still want it one day, right now we should make it back into a bedroom.   We let Isaac know that while he is in college, he needn't worry about paying rent and that we would consider some room changes.


I can understand his need for a little quiet.

I posted this to Instagram recently:
I stayed up past midnight with a quiet house for the first time in years Sunday night - just to enjoy the silence.  Don't get me wrong - I love my rowdy bunch, but I crave quiet at times and rarely find it so I understand Isaac's request.
*not the actual post, but same sentiment*


Our house is perfect for us.

 The dining room has been an ideal place to set up as a school room too - but, the kids were using those desks very little and gathering around the table more often than not.  When they wanted to work independently, they went off to their bedroom to sit at a desk.  The cluttered look of all those desks was also starting to wear on me visually.


So, we did some room re-arranging yesterday with bedroom to be changed up soon.  Isaac will get his own room and I'm not sad to lose the sewing room.  I think I'll get a lot more accomplished being in the heart of the home:

The table itself is cluttered, but it is the best I could do.  

The hutch has been on the back wall for so long, moving it to the side created a whole different feel and it really does look pretty here.


Fabric is absolutely one of my favorite things and seeing stacks of all those pretty colors has always inspired me to get to quilting and creating.  I took over this bookshelf to keep my fabric close by and hope it doesn't look too strange in the dining room. We moved the computer desk out of the dining room altogether. *Elijah made both of the bird houses*


All the kids school books have been living here in baskets.  I'm moving the baskets to a closet so that they can easily be reached during school hours - and then put away.  I love having a less cluttered hearth and the Holy Family helps us refocus on 'hearth and home/family'.

I may have lost out on a room of my own, but it is fine because I wasn't really using it anyway.  Isn't it funny how you think you want something only to find out it just wasn't right for you (at least not now).  I know I'll get more accomplished on my projects having my sewing in a central location.  Isaac gaining the room is the best plan for the space and I'm happy to pass it on to him while he is still with us (and I know his time at home is very short right now *sigh*)


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Backyard Picnic with Samwise







Madeline (our cat) was trying to get into their tent.

Sam says "Thanks for the distraction Madeline"








The weather has been wonderful the past few days.  The camp out wasn't enough outside time for the kids, they've been living outdoors soaking up the sunshine and warmth.  We ate lunch picnic style and I loved snapping these photos of them enjoying their time, specifically watching Sam enjoy them enjoying their time.  This is absolutely the best dog, why did it take me so long to know how great German Shepherds are?  
P.S. Benjamin and Samwise have this constant blanket game they play regardless if Ben wants to or not.  There are days that I watch as Ben walks through the house wrapped up in his blanket and Samwise is literally being pulled behind as he sits on the blanket.  He is almost too heavy to get his ride, but Samwise hasn't quite caught on to that.  When Ben fusses at him, he is smiling the whole time - those two are becoming best friends.
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