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Showing posts from September, 2011

My BFF {5 minute Friday}

Joining Gypsymama today for a five minute un-edited freewrite on the topic of her choice: On Friends... Twenty years ago I went off to a college where I only knew one other person from my high school would be there.  We were placed in different dorms, thus different social circles and rarely saw each other. Thank goodness that on that first day of orientation, my mother recognized a former classmate of hers across that sea of frightened freshmen faces and their parents.  Thanks to that moment of recognition, I was introduced to Jenn, a stunning brunette with dark chocolate brown eyes and a welcoming smile.   She lived in the same dorm up on the third floor.  Many all-nighters were spent together while sipping Mountain Dew and sort of studying.  By our senior year we were off-campus roommates racing together to Shakespeare class where it was my job to keep her awake.  Our long-distance friendship began that winter when she left for a semester of study in France.  Across the lines of

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real {Women of Faith 2011}

~PRETTY~ My mother.  Isn't she pretty?  We went out for breakfast yesterday and found a delightful restaurant on the boardwalk.  The sound of the waves crashing while we sipped coffee and chatted was so special.  We will be back next week! ~HAPPY~ I've been away from the blog for a few days.  My mother, sister and I spent a fabulous  girls only weekend   in Charlotte.  We attended the  Women of Faith Imagine  conference.   Last fall we had attended  WOF (Over the Top)   in Greensboro, NC and had such a moving experience we signed up again for this year.  Sheila Walsh was a the main headliner along with Dr. Henry Cloud, Luci Swindoll, Lisa Parker, author Karen Kingsbury and dramatist Nicole Johnson.  One of the best parts of women of faith is always the music.  We were treated to two concerts, one by Mary, Mary and one with Natalie Grant .   She sang   Peace Like a River  and my tears flowed like one too!  I dare you to listen to her sing it and not get c

Pretty,Happy, Funny, Real {Signs of Fall}

~PRETTY~ Look at this peachy-pink September sunrise!  What a breathtaking way to begin my day.  Thank you God! ~Happy~ The holiday Coffee-mate creamers are slowly appearing in stores and therefore, in my morning (and afternoon) coffee. Yum!  Gets me thinking ahead to a the chilly, cozy evenings ahead.  ~Funny~ Halloween costumes have already been purchased and now begins the please wait 'til Halloween to wear them battle.  This year all three boys will be characters from Super Mario.  This is KC as Toad, wearing the mushroom hat. ~REAL~ Fall brings lots of rainy days and soccer games.  Unfortunately, it also brings rainy soccer games! Grama Bebby is here!  My mother has arrived from far away and will be staying and playing with us for the next month.  She is a former music teacher which comes in handy when the boys need help with recorder practice.  Thank you Mom!  We are so blessed to have you here with us. xo

Beginning of Fall Daybook

A photo thought...   My gardenia bush is suddenly in full bloom again and I am delighted. Outside my window... I don't quite know yet.  It is so early that all is dark and I hear crickets chirping.  I believe it is going to be a cloudy day in the 70s with a chance of rain tonight.   Another cozy day. I am wearing...  Pjs and slippers and glasses.   Lately I have been wondering about my aging eyesight so I found the pair I got 15 years ago for an astigmatism and they seem to be helping.  I've noticed it harder to see my son's face clearly while he is singing in the choir at Mass.  :( I am thinking... a billion things at once.  So much to do and not enough time to do it! I am hearing... The flicker of my candlewick candle.  It is supposed to sound like a crackling fireplace but it sounds more like a spluttering flame.  I am also hearing RW who got up early to finish his homework since he was too tired after soccer practice last night. I am thankful for

Creating My Personal Space

It rained all weekend.  A beautiful, gentle rain that seemed to wash away the last remnant of summer heat.  We broke out the boys' long pants, my slippers, and lots of fall-scented candles to glimmer in the dim daylight. Along with the rain came the first round of back to school sniffles and sore throats.  The weather was great timing, cancelling soccer practice and allowing us to slow down and stay inside where rest could be found.   There is a windowed corner of my bedroom that looks out over the backyard and the tall craggy trees that separate us from our neighbors.  With everyone inside all day, I found myself in need of a quieter space where I could plan the week's meals, errands, and general schedule.  I thought of that empty corner and how I had often longed to sit there and enjoy its view. Inspired, I dug out the old card table, brought up a dining table chair that will not be missed, grabbed an old, unused desk lamp and created my personal space .   With the

5 Minute Friday { J. O. Y. }

Joining with The Gypsy Mama for a five minute un-edited free write  about the topic of her choice:   JOY... ::: Not long ago, our surfer-cool priest gave a homily about joy.  He said something I haven't forgotten.  He said,   J.O.Y. stands for:  Jesus Others You If we live life in that order we will find an everlasting joy . It's a simple acronym for ordering our priorities.  The truth is, I usually live my life like this: Y(me). O. J. While I am often joyful, I think living joy backwards is a short-lived, shallow-depth kind of joy. It is more of a temporary happiness, an instant-gratification joy that is in constant need of refilling. When I do manage to turn my YOJ around, I experience a deeper peace of mind and soul.  It feels good to begin my day with the word of God, to serve my family a great breakfast, to see them into uniforms and off to school smoothly and unselfishly.  Sitting at the computer, calling out to them to wait one more minu

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

~PRETTY~ At the end of Spring I planted several herbs: oregano, mint, chives, basil, parsley, rosemary and thyme.  This is my lemon thyme plant.  I have loved having them to snip and use in my cooking. They are so easy to grow and give color and scent to the deck.  Often my boys will run their fingers up the rosemary as they walk by, carrying the piney fragrance with them on their way.  ~HAPPY~ This tiny toad made several boys quite happy recently.  They wanted to bring him into the house and keep him as a pet!  I assured them he would have a much happier life living in the great outdoors.  :) ~FUNNY~ Little KC wanted to ride his scooter so I asked him to please go put on his helmet first.  This is the helmet he chose!  I guess he is a knight on a shiny scooter. ~ALSO FUNNY~ Why is this the book he wants to read before falling asleep? ~REAL~ A bit too real!  This is me at the dreaded  gym. I really do not enjoy exercise.  At. All.  I have always b

School Morning Prayer

A small book of prayers to pray over your children. I like this little book.  It is full of very specific prayers to pray for your children from conception to adulthood.  As many of us are getting back into the swing of school days, I thought I would share this here. My son just came and looked over my shoulder and said, "Looks like a good book."  I smiled and replied, "It is." SCHOOL MORNING PRAYER by Julie Cragon Lord, as I wake my child for school may I help him to face a new day of exciting possibilities. May he be grateful for the chance to learn and  open to the teaching he receives. Help him to love his school,  to embrace the challenges set before him, to enjoy his teachers and his classmates. Keep them all in your care and bring us back together safely at the end of this day. Amen.

What Does Your Home Say About You?

Years ago, in a Bible study group I attended, someone asked a thought-provoking question: Would guests visiting your home  know you were a Christian  without you telling them with words? Once in a while, an e-mail makes the rounds at the end of which  the reader is "dared" to forward it to others. Dared because forwarding it reveals that the reader is a believer. I don't care for those e-mails. I don't feel the need  to forward my beliefs  to anyone's inbox. But, I can hang a cross  in my own home. My own living space can be  my silent witness  for my guests and a  constant  reminder for myself . What does your home say about you?

Sunday Soup Night {Tomato Rice Soup}

This soup is surprisingly addictive despite its humble (and inexpensive) ingredients. The recipe comes from "Grandma Ann" who often made it for her four children many years ago.  My whole family loves it and it makes enough for leftovers to go to school in lunch-boxes the next day.  It is a fall-weather cozy classic! TOMATO RICE SOUP INGREDIENTS 3/4 cups brown rice 1/2 to 1 pound ground beef 4 stalks celery, diced 1/2 large red onion, diced 3 14. oz cans tomato sauce 2 T. beef base salt and pepper to taste PROCESS 1.  In a large soup pot boil rice in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes.   2.  Meanwhile, season ground beef with salt and pepper and brown in a skillet.  Set aside. 3.  After rice has boiled for 20 minutes, add 6 more cups of water, tomato sauce, celery, onion and beef base.  Bring to a boil.  4.  Reduce heat to simmer and add browned beef.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper if necessary. *May need to add more water the second

This Moment {sky}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real {lots of links}

~PRETTY~ See that lovely tray beneath the Arnold Palmer makings?  Well, that tray was a freebie from Dayspring thanks to my blogging buddy Mary Jo.  A while back she offered a giveaway on her beautiful blog and I won and I never win anything!  Anyhow, I think of her every time I use it and have had many compliments on it as well.  Here's the link if you want to get one or give one to someone you love.  Thanks MJ! ~HAPPY~ The weather cooled a bit last week and the boys took advantage of it to get dirty!  I just love the all-boyness of my guys (and a dear little friend, too).  Boys, shovels, sticks, trees, and dirt just go together and make us all happy. ~FUNNY~ Phone Bling!  I admit to being a bit of a glitter-gal and when I found these I was hooked.  I have one on my camera, car key and I had one on my cell phone until I got a new case. I even cut some out and sent them in some letters I wrote to friends to share the bling !  Check out this site to see

Creating An Autumn Rhythm {four steps to a cleaning schedule}

September requires a new rhythm.  After the carefree days of summer, September brings about a need for more structured mornings, menus, and time management.  I have spent too much   quite some time evaluating what I need to do differently for the fall season to maintain the house while being more on the go.  These four steps may help you find your rhythm too. 1. W RITE OUT THE SCHEDULE Start by plotting out the obligations for each day of the week.  Being very visual, I like to plug these things into a chart.   My weekly obligations include: Weekend Mass School Mass Soccer practices Soccer games Exercise classes Groceries Errands Here are some printables I used to help me write all this out.   momAgenda Weekly Planner Organizher Weekly Planner 2.   W RITE OUT A LIST OF WEEKLY CHORES Write down everything you think needs cleaning each week.  Now go through and cut some chores out!  For example, I no longer have mopping on my weekly cleaning schedule.  I

So Easy Strawberry Jam {back to school lunches}

Strawberry season is coming to an end but there is still time to make the most delicious jam for all those back to school lunches. Run out and buy the most beautiful berries you can find - preferably at your local farmer's market. Wash them, hull them, cut them and pour them into a big pot. Blend them into strawberry soup with an immersion blender. Add lots of sugar and see it glisten. Fill four or five pints jars or seven or eight half-pints.  These are great gifts for teachers, neighbors and friends. Make your first PB& homemade J. Make extra for the kids who will want some too. Send a strawberry hug to school with your sweeties. So Easy Strawberry Jam  adapted from Better Homes and Gardens I NGREDIENTS (makes about 8 half pints) 7-8 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered 1 1-3/4 oz. powdered fruit pectin  1 tsp. butter (to reduce foaming) 7 cups white sugar P ROCESS 1.  Put berries into dutch oven or heavy