Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Enjoying Little and Big Things

What else can you do besides knit when it's a bit rainy and the kids are watching The Fellowship of the Ring?  Blog of course!  Today I went into Nisswa to find a yarn shop or two.  I was lucky enough to find one.  The yarn was just gorgeous so I whipped up my latest knitting book find, Take Along Knitting, and decided on a project.  I'm going to try my hand at fulling yarn to make a needle case.  That should be interesting.  I chose BlueSky 100% Alpaca in a beautiful grape color #523.  I also picked up more needles in the right size to do the project.
Isn't that just lovely?

And here are a few pics of some of the little and big friends we've encountered while here.

We are having a wonderful time together.  It's so peaceful here and everyone is working well together.  It will feel great to return home refreshed for the tasks and chores ahead.  But for now, we are sleeping in, playing, cooking, fishing, shooting pop cans, hiking, reading, knitting, and soaking up all of this lakeside bliss in the North Woods.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Time to Recharge

We worked frantically trying to get everything cleared off our desks so we could take some time to recharge our batteries before the "official" school year starts.  Daddy really wanted to go camping, but with Nick's age, camping was just out of the question.  We looked up Agate Lake Resort on the off chance they might have a cabin open large enough to accommodate our family.  Turns out they did!

We rented a spacious 4-bedroom cabin just cozy enough and isolated enough to get away from the city and  get settled for a week.

Lots of fun for the kiddies!

Lots of down-time for me!
Here's what breakfast looked like this morning before going into Nisswa for Mass.

This is the cross above the tabernacle at St. Christopher's Parish in Nisswa.

The kids and my brother enjoyed a lot of swim action after lunch.  We are all having such a blast and much needed rest.

I may blog again this week.  I'm not sure...maybe if I need to come and play ping pong or watch a game on TV or sit in front of the fire place with Daddy, I just might bring my computer along.  Hmmm?  I've gotta think about that one!;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real - Oldie but Goodie and a Challenge

round button chicken

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~


This is the sewing machine my mom gave us back in May when we visited Texas.

It needed a little work so I took it in to have it retimed and tuned up.

I hadn't set it up for lack of space, but today I got it out and committed to having three machines on my sewing table!

It's a little tight, but it will probably work, and having three machines going will make for happier sewing children.

When I went to thread the machine and test it on scrap fabric, however, it just wasn't working.  It took a little thinking and retrying to figure out that it has to be threaded from left to right rather than from the right to the back.  The needle goes in with the hole going from side to side instead of from front to back.  I hope you understand what I'm talking about.  Hard to explain....just trust me!

Happy & Funny

Once it was going, voila!  It is a happy little machine, very sturdy and built heavy like a tank.  I also managed to use the drill to mount my thread rack.  It was taking up WAY too much space on the table so I needed it on the wall.  I'm definitely happy about that.

Nice straight stitches make me happy!

I find it funny that I don't realize how little thread I have until I see my own picture of my stash!


So our oldie but goodie machine is ready to go and is all set for fall quilting, homemade Christmas gifts, doll clothes, and garment sewing.  After picking up this recent find at Borders (which is going out of business all over the Twin Cities!), I'm excited to make pattern blocks for Monica and myself.

I'm ready for custom clothing.  Don't you hate buying things that don't fit you but fit a mannequin?  Since I'm humanly "squishy" rather than "plastic-y" my clothes need to have a little give here and there.  It will definitely be a challenge to drape muslin and create pattern blocks, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

See more Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real moments by clicking on the button above.  Oh, and I'm headed to the State Fair today so the kids can eat until they're sick, and I can watch them.:(  It should be fun...it always is!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yarning Along

I am enjoying knitting AGAIN!  After all the frustration with starting my shrug and trying to figure out how to join and knit in the round for Molly's skirt, I finally arrived at a happy place with my knitting.  I figured out how to join and knit in the round after watching this video and feeling so stupid that it was that simple.  OK, I'm not stupid...just slow or maybe I think things should be more complicated than they are.  Oh, well!

Yes, it's actually that easy.  After that, I had to get used to continuing to knit using the Continental method (that's the way I knit).  For some reason, I thought my yarn was switched to the other side and I was getting so confused.  Now I have the beginnings of Molly's skirt!

Furthermore, I asked our Art teacher, Miss Marianne, to show me how she purls.  She showed me after becoming so frustrated when I was showing her how I do it.  Auntie Leila mentioned Norwegian purling yesterday in her post about her grandson's sweater...very cute by the way.  Well, that's how Miss Marianne purls!  She doesn't call it that, but she did say her mother taught her how to purl and she was Danish.  Interesting!

So here's what I have....my knitting and my knitting bible that I use because I'm a visual learner.

The yellow is Molly's skirt and the burgundy is my shrug.  
See more yarny creations over at Ginny's and say a little prayer for all the people in her area that were affected by the earthquake yesterday.  I still can't believe an earthquake could occur on the East Coast.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I'm finally getting around to posting the kids' video of their play.  They did an excellent job both nights, but their second performance was much improved.  By that time they were more seasoned in terms of being comfortable having an audience watching them.  All of the parents and grandparents were pleased, impressed, appreciative of the opportunity, and were asking about next year's performance!

So without further ado, here it is...

Regarding the costumes Maria and I worked on for the play, here are the internet resources I used:
I also used McCall's Pattern 4107 for making the tops for the twins, Sebastian and Viola.

The Cast

After both performances, the kids and adults enjoyed treats, chatting, and playing with swords.  On the second night, however, there was a surprise birthday cake to celebrate Olivia's and Sebastian's birthdays which leads me to another important item.  This little chicky turned 12 on Sunday!

Monica's in the back with the burgundy t-shirt.  This photo was for the flyers.:)

I can't believe it!  She's growing up to be a beautiful young lady.  We're so proud of her  for rallying all of her friends, coming up with a play, cutting down the script, making the backdrop with friends, holding practices, and coordinating the dress rehearsals.  It was a sheer pleasure to work alongside the kids.  I'm looking forward to next summer!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Opening Night: Breakfast Jitters

The kids have been so excited with their play.  They've all worked so hard organizing practices, fixing props, learning lines, and coordinating all of the cues.  They are so excited for this evening.  I shot a little video of the breakfast jitters.  Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

They've had two run through rehearsals, a pre-performance pizza party, and are now dressing for the show.  They are all very excitedly running around redoing hair, primping their costumes, and going through their lines.  It's very cute to watch them with all their seriousness.

Last Minute Rehearsal

Pre-Performance Pizza Party

More to come later...!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Educational Music

I have a lot of musical influences, and they may not all be good.  I've gone through different phases with the genres of music I like.  Here are 7 favorites that I've justified listening to with the kids around for their educational value.

1.  Days of the Week - The Cure:  Friday I'm in Love

2.  Days of the Week - Black Eyed Peas:  I Gotta Feeling

3.  Counting in German - Kraftwerk:  Numbers

4.  Counting in Spanish - U2:  Vertigo (Intro)

5.  Correcting Grammar - Bodeans:  Good Things

6.  Back to School - White Stripes:  We're Going to Be Friends

7.  ASL - The Village People:  YMCA

I hope you are able to find learning comes naturally as you groove through life with all your favorite tunes!;)  See more Quick Takes over at Jen's Conversion Diary.  Of course, I didn't link to any of the actual tunes.  You can go look them up yourselves.  I'm too tired to do that because I stayed up way. too. late last night reorganizing for school to officially start!  Hah!  How's that for making you work and making you feel inferior all in the same post.  Evil woman, I know!;)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real - Random

round button chicken

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~


I found this authentic Tiffany floor lamp on Craig's List.
It fits perfectly behind my green chair and adds the height I needed in
this corner of the room.  Isn't it lovely?

A Renaissance Flat Cap I made for the play next week....I have 1 more costume
and 1 more flat cap to make.  Phew!

Jane doing stamping work on the deck.


Maria has been happy to attend a Band Camp over the last
two weeks.  She has decided to take private instruction, however.
She is enjoying the flute!

Our shipment of books for the new school year arrived
two days ago.  I finally got around to opening it.  The kids
love getting new books.:)


Maria took a picture of her dolls - Kaya, Pedro, and Marta Rose - to send to
one of her new pen pals.   The girls' dolls send tiny notes back and forth
through their owners...how sweet is that?  The pen-pal's dolls requested a picture!

This is part of the clearing project we have been working on.  Behind me was a large lilac bush.  We removed it that day.
Since then, all of those plants behind and next to me in the pic have been cleared away.

Here Monica is cutting limbs for brushing and hauling away the remains of the lilac bush.  All of that shrubbery behind her has since been cleared and removed.
I would like to write more, something inspiring, but I've been way too crazy busy to sit down and think.  I am very happy with all of the projects we've been undertaking...brushing, trimming hedges, I have 2 knitting projects going, I need to start on a quilt, finishing costumes, plus keeping up with the day-to-day.  Life has been fun with the kids...very busy, but fun.  They are growing up so much and are very capable now.  As a matter of fact, Monica is at a babysitting job this evening for our Adoration partner couple.  She'll be 12 on the 21st and has grown into quite the young lady.  Maria is also growing up quickly...they all are.  Even Nick is communicating a lot more by signing and saying a few words.  He can now say:  shoe, park, car, ball, bye, and hi.  He signs for "milk, " "more," and "all done."  It's such a joy to be the mother of this family.  I'm so happy...filled to the brim with love and joy for this life, this vocation, this journey.

See more Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real Moments over at Like Mother, Like Daughter by clicking on the button above.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Just Had to Share...

that our shrimp is growing!  It shed its exoskeleton and scared the bejeebers  out of us.  We thought for a minute that we had 2 shrimp.  See what I mean?

The pic on the left is the exoskeleton.  The pic on the right is the actual shrimp.  Can you believe it?  I didn't know they shed everything including their tentacles!  That is just too cool.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Little Flowers Summer Service Project

Our Little Flowers Homeschool Group finally finished the quilt they were making.  A service trip was organized to visit the Cerenity Senior Care/Marian of St. Paul Residence Center.  The residents were definitely waiting anxiously in the cafe area for the performers to arrive!  The girls and their siblings entertained with songs, music, visiting, and treats.

After the programs and social time, the girls and the mothers followed one of the residents that was selected to receive the quilt back to her apartment.  JK is in her 80's, a long time resident of St. Paul, and emigrated from the Czech Republic, the Sudetanland, after WWII.  She is truly a gem!  JK was thoroughly surprised and very impressed with the girls handiwork.  The moms were, too!

It was a special day for everyone.  These young ladies spread so much joy, happiness, and love today.   We are so proud of all of them!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

An Absolute Success

I couldn't have received a better miracle today.  The weather cooperated.  The sun kept shining and clouds would offer a reprieve from the muggy weather as a slight breeze would blow across the lake.  Daddy's party was a success.  People trickled in, ate, talked, and just had a fun time hanging out.

It was perfect!  I was so happy to see all the kids having a great time swimming, playing in the sand, sitting on the grass, eating and enjoying one another.

They said, "Mom, this was the best day ever!"  It truly was.  Thank you, Lord, for the gift of life, family, health, and friendship.  May You continue to be praised and glorified in all we do!

Thanks for all the prayers!:)  God is good.  May He bless you abundantly, too!
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