Saturday, March 7, 2015

Seven {Not} Quick Takes




Yikes! I blinked and suddenly it had been weeks since I last posted on ye old blog. Things have been…a little busy. Linking up with Kelly from This Ain’t the Lyceum to try and catch things up in 7 Quick Takes.




Veronica had been expressing some interest in learning to sew for a while, so one afternoon we took the opportunity to sew up some paper garlands for Valentine’s Day. It’s a great, easy project for an extreme beginner.



And there they are, in all their blurry glory!



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This year Veronica had the opportunity to volunteer with Paul and the Greyhounds of Fairhaven at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. She wore the dirndl from my mom and I made her a cap to go with it. It’s based on the traditional German goldhaube from this post, though I definitely messed up in a few places and it certainly isn’t as fancy as the original. But it works!



I finally finished Jacinta’s quilt early last month! Getting good pictures and getting them uploaded took a while, but here it is.


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It’s a disappearing nine patch, which I learned to do from this video tutorial by the Missouri Star Quilt Company. I’ve done three quilts using this method, and I love how they each come out so different. I will admit I am not much of an improviser, so I usually plan out my pattern in advance instead of using the “tossed” approached that Jenny does in the video. Planners gotta plan.


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A while back I asked Jacinta what her favorite colors were and she told me pink, red, and purple. I opted to go for aqua instead of purple and I love the prints I was able to bring together.


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Those mushrooms! Too adorable.


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As much as I try to plan ahead, it seems like I always have to cobble together my leftover pieces to get enough fabric for the backing. It makes it a little fun, I guess. Since I finished this, I’ve made one crib size quilt top and cut most of the pieces for another twin size quilt, so look out for more to come.



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February also saw this little guy get baptized.  Sebastian is quite a bit older than any of the girls were when they were baptized, and we only just managed to squeeze him into the shirt I had picked out. You can’t see it in the photo below because his white garment covered his rolls.


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Here he is – with Paul and me and his godparents – studiously avoiding looking at the camera in favor of his very interesting feet.



And then getting the most peaceful sleep of his life.




For Mardi Gras, we had friends over for dinner and the kids all colored their own masks. But I neglected to get pictures until the day after.



This picture is not from Mardi Gras, but I feel it really captures that Fat Tuesday spirit. I just wish I had been able to snap the moment when she leaned over and licked the chocolate off of her tray.




To keep life from getting too boring (ha!), we participated in our first peg doll swap with our homeschool group. Every family picked a different saint and ours was St. Patrick.



Paul and I painted twenty-five St. Patricks.



We couldn’t decide how to do the eyes at first so some of them have one kind of eyes and the rest have another. We like to spice things up a bit.



When they were done, I met up with the other moms at a restaurant and we swapped! At the bar! Here are some of the others. My favorite part of this picture is the collection of alcohol bottles in the background. We are Catholic, after all. I think St. Patrick would approve.

For more info about peg doll swaps, check out this post on Catholic Icing.




Finally, at the beginning of March this guy turned six months old. And started eating food. He looks so thrilled! I’m not sure if it’s because of how much he is enjoying that Chicken with Chicken Gravy flavor, or the awesome pink bib he is wearing.



And just in case you think it is an isolated case. Older sisters, for the win!

Visit Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for more 7 Quick Takes fun!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real}: RenFest Edition

It’s that time of year again! The Arizona Renaissance Festival has opened it’s gates to transport us back in time to an age when Kings and Queens ruled, men were Knights, and women wore chainmail bikinis. Wait, no. Corsets.

This past weekend we made our yearly visit.



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Jacinta and Ari wore the dresses that are being slowly passed down from girl to girl each year. But Veronica was very excited to wear a dirndl that belonged to Omi (my mom). It was a gift from her Omi when she visited Germany as a child. This picture doesn’t do it justice, it really is just lovely.



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One of the girls’ favorite parts of the day was sitting and playing music with this lovely lady whom I did not get a picture of, unfortunately.


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It’s one of the things I love most about the Festival, that the cast are so welcoming of children. They make a big effort to interact and often have small trinkets to give away, much to my children’s delight.


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I think they would have stayed there for hours if they could have.


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And then there’s this guy, dressed as Link. Gets me every time.



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When Moira first attempted to climb the steps up to this slide, she only made it about halfway before coming back down. A couple more tries and she still wasn’t comfortable going all the way to the top. Paul lifted her onto the slide a few times and let her go. Once she had that taste she couldn’t be stopped. It was straight up the steps and down the slide, all on her own, over and over and over. It’s hard to see her face, but this little fairy girl loved that slide. Pure joy.



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One of our long standing Ren Fest traditions, in addition to eating a smoked turkey leg, is enjoying a Renaissance icee.


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They are tasty and refreshing at the end of a long day.


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We usually split a couple, but some were not on board with this idea.


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My vision of the family happily sharing a treat together, relaxing on the green, with the late afternoon sun shining in through the trees and Tartanic playing nearby…well, it didn’t exactly work out. But the icees still tasted good. Huzzah!

{pretty, happy, funny, real}, capturing the context of contentment in everyday life, every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Friday, January 30, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


A little late on my phfr this week, but late is better than never!




I’m getting close to being done with Jacinta’s quilt (finally). It’s a Disappearing Nine Patch using mostly aqua, red and white fabrics. Hopefully I’ll be able to share the whole thing soon.





This guy gets the happy spot today. He is just too full of cute and smiles.




It’s citrus season and we’ve been eating a lot of oranges around here. So it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. Judging by Moira’s laughter, it was the most hilarious thing ever.




Sorry for the gross filter pic, but is that a Lego in the dishwasher? I don’t know how that even happens.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}, capturing the context of contentment in everyday life, every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Linking up with the lovely ladies of Like Mother, Like Daughter today for {pretty, happy, funny, real}.



Some of my recent fabric acquisitions. There is a wide world of fabric out there, friends, all accessible so easily via the internet. It is very dangerous. These pretties are both limited edition collections from Art Gallery Fabrics (my favorite!) and this picture doesn’t do them justice at all. The top is Gleeful by Sew Caroline, and the bottom is Priory Square by Katy Jones.

Just adding to my stash, and my long list of projects!




Seeing these kids all cuddled up together really does make me happy. Veronica is a great big sister! Sebastian is getting to be chunky, and that is a typical Momo pose if I ever saw one.






The cheeks! The expressions! He has lots of both. This guy cracks me up.

Also, it is very hard to get a good picture in our poorly lit house whilst baby is bouncing all over in the jumperoo. Blurry to the max.




This child. Oh, this child. Here she is, holding in her little hands two stolen meatballs that she had hidden in her nightstand. From the previous night’s dinner. She must have stolen them right out from under my nose while I was cooking. Ariadne, counter-surfer extraordinaire.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}, capturing the context of contentment in everyday life, every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Secret Eating

This morning I caught Ari red-handed with these meatballs.



She snagged them from the counter last night while I was cooking and hid them in the drawer of her nightstand.

Because who knows when you’ll need a high protein snack?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Meal Planning, A Habit for 2015

I’ve done meal planning on and off over the years, sometimes more successfully, sometimes less. I’ve certainly noticed that the times I keep up with it are less stressful because I have one less thing to think about. The meal preparation still needs to be done, but the decision-making does not. And that makes a big difference in my day.

In the past I’ve used a spreadsheet to keep my meal plan, but there were a couple of big flaws in that system for me. First, I had to sit at the computer to use it. And that meant distraction became a huge temptation. Sometimes before I knew it, I had frittered away my meal planning time doing any number of other things. The other problem was visibility. My meal plan was never readily accessible in the kitchen, which is one place where I really needed to see it.



When my sister-in-law gave us this menu board as part of our Christmas gift, I knew it would be a perfect way to get back in the habit of planning. It takes care of the two big flaws I mentioned above – I don’t have to use the computer and it lives in the kitchen where I see it regularly. In addition, it’s portable, so I can sit at the table with the grocery ads and get my shopping list done simultaneously. And it’s flexible, so meals can easily be switched around or substituted as needed. That aspect came in handy when I was hit with the double whammy of nasty cold plus mastitis. Having a couple of easy second-string meals lined up meant I could languish on the sofa in peace. Haha, just kidding. I have five kids. But at least I didn’t have to worry about dinner.

What a thoughtful gift, right? I’ve been using it for two weeks now and it’s been a huge success!

Do you meal plan? What system works for you?

Monday, January 12, 2015

A 2015 Reading List

Some things I noticed popping up a lot around the beginning of January were people’s lists of books to read this year. I have never been that intentional about what I read, just moving from one thing to whatever seemed interesting next, and when I saw this 2015 Reading Challenge from Modern Mrs. Darcy I decided to do it.

You’ll notice I have more than one book listed for some most categories. That’s either because I couldn’t decide between them, or because the book I chose is part of a series and I need to read the preceding books first.

A book you’ve been meaning to read: Pope Awesome and Other Stories by Cari Donaldson. I bought this book last year and promptly misplaced it. This year I’m going to find it and read it!

A book published this year: Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars 2) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham. Which means first I must read The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars 1). I became a Veronica Mars fan in a major stream-fest last year so I was excited to see there are books in addition to the show and movie.

A book in a genre you don’t typically read: Bossypants by Tina Fey and Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. The genre I don’t typically read being non-fiction. It’s not that I don’t EVER read it, just not often. I am a fan of both of these funny ladies so I have high hopes of enjoying their memoirs.

A book from your childhood: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Both classics that I remember enjoying.

A book your mom loves: The Soul Sanctified, which is more of a devotional, but I plan on including it in my prayer time. She just happened to give us a copy (thanks, Mom!), so I’m ready to go.

A book that was originally written in a different language: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. I liked the movie but my husband said I need to read the book, so I am taking his advice.

A book “everyone” has read but you: Unplanned by Abby Johnson. I really do think most people I know have read this, and I haven’t yet. Another possibility is What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, which I have seen mentioned by several of my favorite bloggers. On the internet, several sure feels like everyone, so.

A book you chose because of the cover: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It looks intriguing, and the description just makes it sound more so. Also, Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Book 1) by Marissa Meyer. It was actually the upcoming Lunar Chronicles book, Fairest, that caught my eye, but I must start at the beginning.

A book by a favorite author: Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury and The Ball and the Cross by G.K. Chesterton. Two of my favorite authors, two books I haven’t read yet.

A book recommended by someone with great taste: The Once and Future King by T.H. White and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susana Clark. Both of these were recommended by Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas on her list of books that have stuck with her, so they should be great!

A book you should have read in high school: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. How I’ve never read this, I don’t know.

A book that’s currently on the bestseller list: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Heard of the book, heard of the movie, decided to see what the hype is about.

And that’s it! My plan is to read most of them (I’ve started Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell already), but some I will listen to whilst cooking, cleaning, quilting, etc. We’ll see how I do!

What do you have plans to read this year?