Friday, June 27, 2014

7QT: Mud, Coffee, Darth Vader on the Trombone, and Some Other Stuff

"Leia's Mud Wallow" so-named by herself:
Yes, we've been having a good bit of rain!
Swimming is serious exercise. We had a great day at our friends' pool, and I was so happy, relaxed and tired after. Wow. But the kind of happy tired you feel on a good vacation.
(Related note: I did get a photo from Fyodor of my amazing pregnant self at the beach last August. It is amazing, and special. And not gonna be public! Cuz, wow. That is a whole lot more of my skin exposed than I am comfortable with.)
Blue Willow plates:

 I love them. Not all are created equal. Guess which is my favorite!
Best blue color, best pattern transfer and plate quality....
'Royal' blue willow plate, bottom center! I wish I could find more of these...

Fun family get together last weekend with my husband's brothers and their families with Kim and Bella. We celebrated Bella's fourth birthday, too! Fun Rainbow party, and my little girls got to take home the decorations:

Look Auntie Kim and Bella! (The bedroom is way too untidy to show more than this.) Isn't this a great drawing of Rainbow Dash? That cute rainbow tail is taped on, 'cuz the kids played 'pin the tail on the pony'.

The Ergobaby carrier is a home run hit!
Here's Bilbo sound asleep and so comfy. And the other day I even put a grumpy, post-nap little girl on my back with it and carried her around while I finished making dinner. Perfect way to short circuit any after-nap tantrums! She is near the weight limit, but was actually not too heavy carried this way, and she felt very cared for and was happy and peaceful. Win-win.
I love coffee. And cream. I gave up half and half in my morning cafe for a couple weeks to see if I could lose a few pounds "French Women Don't Get Fat" style, by cutting out one high-calorie item that I eat regularly. I used whole milk instead. The coffee was barely worth drinking anymore! It may have worked, but boy did my quality of life decrease as well! (Yes, #firstworldproblem.)

Our Haldir is about to turn 11. He plays the trombone. I'm making the kids keep practicing 30 min a day all summer, and he needed something fun to work on:
Oh yeah.
Have a great weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
or maybe this week, its

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Our Little Oratory

The Little Oratory
For Auntie Leila's Linkup
Liturgical colors, inspired by Catechesis of the Good Shepherd!

 We're missing Easter or Christmas. "White is for Celebration". I'll have to add those as time goes by.

Red for Pentecost:
Lovely St. Anne statue, made in Italy, that I found on a super lucky thrifting trip just recently! I was thrilled, because statues of any quality at all turn out to be really expensive. St. Cecilia is there too, in black, low relief plaque, a wedding gift for my husband and me, who are singers.:
My Resurrection icon:
Green for Ordinary Time:
  I have had my eye out for a nice Good Shepherd statue. I found this image (below) at Goodwill! I was thrilled. It is heavy glass, engraved from the back and smooth on the front.

"Purple is for preparation". Lent:

I have a set of art prints I bought in an art appreciation set from Catholic Heritage Curriculum, and they happen to fit into this black easel type frame! I have collected some other images that I like to include, and I rotate them monthly or by the liturgical season.

{p,h,f,r} Poor Light and a Kid in a Scissors Stage

round button chicken

(It's dark today so this is the best pic I could get of what looks very beautiful in person. I know I need to use a photo editor. I'm sorry you all have to look at such poor quality; but at least i'm blogging! which is really fun for me.)
 Here is some pretty 'catmint' drying upsidedown. We have to put it way up, or the cats will go after it! Catmint looks wonderful as a complanion planting with roses. It is also the same thing as catnip!

( edited to include a slightly better pic, now the sun is out. This window seat area is pretty)

The prettiest thing around here that I can shoot in such poor light is our little Mintpaw:

My kids loving each other and being happy together makes me happy!
'Mercy Watson' books. are. so. funny. Check them out from your library. You won't regret it!
I have a kid in a scissors stage right now. Whew! Never a dull moment. Here is a 'pruning' job of this poor plant, thanks to her. (In my 'little oratory' post you can see the before and after!)
In fact, here is a new case! At least this time little Leia cut something that belongs to herself. 

Here is her poor, shorn princess doll. I decided to go with it and dress her up as a nun! Leia was really interested in a picture of St. Catherine of Sienna recently, so here's a chance to talk about what it can mean to forswear attracting men for the sake of loving Jesus with our whole heart... I cut up an old sheet for the transformation.
Go to LMLD for more 'capturing the context of contentment'!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Answer Me This"; Getting to Know Me Through Kendra's Random Questions about Swimwear, Dishes and Other Things

1. When's the last time you got a new bathing suit?

This is the question which got me to go ahead and participate in "answer me this". I am in a very similar state in life to Kendra, with six kids, including an 8 month baby. I have several odd 'tankini' pieces, as well as board shorts and a sarong. I just got 'new' board shorts at Goodwill in the last couple months. Does that count?
 I started buying tankini separates several years ago because they became ubiquitous, and I thought it would be useful for nursing. It actually isn't, for me. The band underneath the bra part of the top is so snug, it just makes more sense to nurse via the neckline, and use a sarong or whatever to achieve the privacy I want. I actually hate tankinis, because with all the body-image discomforts of a bathing suit, who needs to add muffin top?! I love some of the classy, more modest suits that are reminiscent of old Hollywood:                       
(this is from
And Simcha (read these posts!) found a wonderful one from Walmart.
I agree with Kendra that, while how I look at the beach is not the most important thing in the world, and I want to look and feel modest, I don't want an old lady bathing suit! I have a few pretty tankini tops that I wear, depending on pregnancy, postpartum weight, etc.
 I wear 'board shorts' with swimsuits because they look good on my 'boyish' build, and make me feel confident. Here's what fits at the moment.
 Last summer I was so pregnant that the last time we went to the beach I had to wear a bikini (14 years old, bought and never worn for my honeymoon!) and kept myself wrapped in a huge scarf, because there was just nothing else I could wear! I was rather self conscious. I might try to find a photo, though... There is something so amazing about a pregnant belly like that. (Edited: There sure is. But I think the pics will remain private. 40cm more exposed skin than I am comfortable with!)

2. Who made the last incoming call on your cell phone?
This one! This question cracks me up, as if Kendra knows that I am not a phone person, I am always forgetting, to my husband's frustration, to take mine with me, and use email or text, (now that I have realized the beauty of texting) instead of talking on the phone whenever possible! (Introvert, obviously). So, last phone call to my phone was my mom. (And that's kind of rare, because she doesn't love talking on the phone either! 90% of the time it's my husband.)

3. If you receive communion, do you receive it in the hands or on the tongue?
I was raised in the 70's-80's in a parish that had whole wheat, soft, crumbly unleavened bread, not round flat hosts. I never heard of receiving on the tongue til I was in college, I think. Theologically, I agree that both are fine. (My husband always quotes Cyril of Alexandria or someone who preached centuries ago that people should receive reverently by making their hands a throne). I actually worry that encouraging people to receive on the tongue could sometimes foster an attitude that pushes people away from the Lord, because of fears about our unworthiness. Funny thing is, right now I carry a big baby in my arms to communion, and receive a special super-low gluten host on the tongue because that's what my pastor prefers (when he sees me with my arms full?). I have to remind myself to stick out my tongue far enough.
By the way,  I am so, so grateful to him for providing me a GF host. It was a real trial during that year of the Flu when the parishes in our diosese stopped providing the cup for communion, and there was no host I could have either. The first time our pastor had a GF host for me I was so stunned and grateful:
"The Body of Christ. Gluten free."
"Gasp! Really? Praise God!"
Not the way the dialogue usually goes, but so sincere :)

4. Do you have a tattoo?
No. I would possibly entertain the idea of some cool Celtic Christian type symbol, but my husband is not keen on them.

Which is fine. I was just googling Cectic cross tattoos, and after looking at all of them, to maybe put an image here, my interest is significantly decreased! Maybe because so many of them are images of fresh, pink, sore, inky skin... 

5. How many dinner plates are in your house?
I just got rid of a bunch of cheap, heavy generic plates because they were just so heavy for my table-setting and dishwasher-unloading children (delegation is the key!). I replaced them with a set of pretty china from Goodwill which we use every day. 12 plates including the salad size plates that we use to serve the little kids:

 I also have about 8 inexpensive Willow design plates:

And 13 dinner plates of our china from our wedding registry. 

I adore blue dishes. In 2000 there was precious little to choose from, compared to now. I didn't even register for everyday dishes because there was nothing I liked in the stores! Now, on the other hand...
I adore blue and white plates! These are all odd, thrifted ones. We rarely use them for eating, so I won't count them. I also have a ridiculous attraction to buying cute little pitchers and cream and sugar sets

So, 12+8+13, that makes 33. Oh my gosh, I hope I never have to serve a sit-down dinner to 33 people! I can do baptism and first communion celebrations for fifty, but we use paper plates.

6. Do you have an accent?
No. I live in Northern Indiana and as far as I can tell, I talk like the people on the news. My Dad is from Southern California and my Mom is from Ohio, and I have never noticed them having accents. What would they be? But I do love putting on an English or French accent now and then. And one of my daughters and I pretend to be Jacques Pepin and Julia Child sometimes when we cook together, with our 'impeccably clean' hands. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

7QT: GF Waffles, Baby Sign, Transplanting Vines and Children, and Delegating Housework

--- 1 ---
It was Father's Day this week. Bilbo loves his dad.

--- 2 ---
I went to St. Vincent De Paul last weekend and got some awesome, super cheap, Notre Dame t shirts and sweatshirts! I did not mention St. Vinnie's in my secondhand clothes post, but I do like going there for ND items. This location is right near ND and they pull out all the ND clothes, from nice polos and buttondown shirts, to sweatshirts and t shirts, onto a few dedicated racks. 
Luke loves his Notre Dame shirt!

--- 3 ---
I made waffles for a reward for the kids. I adapted the 'sweet milk waffles' recipe from this cookbook and I used ricotta. And they were out of this world.
 Ricotta Waffles (GF, no eggs) makes lots
4c GF flour
2T baking powder
2c ricotta cheese
1 cup milk
1c melted butter
1t vanilla
3 jars babyfood applesauce (about 10 oz) mixed with 1T additional baking powder. This replaces the eggs.
Combine dry ingredients. Add dairy ingredients and vanilla. Combine well. Mix applesauce with extra baking powder; it will foam up like crazy. This takes the place of beaten egg whites. Fold this gently into batter. Bake as normal on waffle iron. I do them only 4 min. The texture is dense and tender, and the outside has the perfect crispiness!

--- 4 ---
Fyodor and I have very verbal children. They tend to talk on the early side, and start using baby sign language sometimes as early as nine months. Or eight. Bilbo is saying MaMa and num-num (what I call nursing with him); and signing all done/up and raising his hand to greet people!

--- 5 ---
The yard and garden are looking better this summer than ever before!
 My Oakleaf Hydrangea is doing well, and I just transplanted a big clematis vine behind it.
These lovely things are blooming now, when I used to have a flowerless gap of time in June! I brought these in on a dark, cloudy day and they seem to produce sunlight!
Last summer I was growing this little guy inside and could hardly tolerate anything at all. Doesn't he look nice transplanted into the garden ;)
--- 6 ---
I have realized the key to thriving as a mother of six, and that means getting things done as well as getting a tiny bit of rest, is delegation. Look at all we got done yesterday morning before lunch. So many floors swept, mopped, vacuumed! Then we left our nice clean home and went to the pool! What a great feeling.
Kids put their initials next to chores they chose. Only a small amount of squabbling. I took the last couple jobs no one chose. Boom! Clean house.
--- 7 ---
I have been trying and trying to find a way to back carry little Bilbo since he got huge at about 4 mos! I love this African way, but he doesn't like the process of putting him back there and fights me.
 So, I just bought an Ergo off ebay. I hope it works like I hope!

For more Quick Takes, visit Team Whitaker

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

{p,h,f,r} Shabby Chic, Even More Kids on the Couch, and Revealing Photos

{pretty, happy, funny, real} with Like Mother Like Daughter is such an upbuilding, affirming, fun thing! Thanks so much, Auntie Leila for starting it in 2011!
round button chicken
My Shabby Chic flowers!
 It is so fun to have something little and fun and creative, (and cheap!) to do with pretty scraps. I learned from Tricia from the UK on youtube. 
This tiny linen one is my favorite. So 'shabby' and cute, even though my pics are not that good. 
Lily is doing better! 
And we put three more on The Green Couch!
We had my sister's three daughters over last week. Her sweet little one (second from the left) just got out of the hospital. thanks to anyone who said a prayer for her!
Also, my darling husband took all the kids to the Big Box store last week so I could have an hour or two of peace and freedom. Here's my happy selfie I posted on facebook right after I changed into a clean shirt and served myself an ice cream cone:
Do I look happy? I was happy.
Some kids I know like to play with the settings on my ipad camera.
The wish list of a boy I know who is turning 11 
And this shot of my fridge is pretty much a snapshot of our life. I wonder what Sherlock would deduce?
find more {p,h,f,r} at LMLD!