Friday, November 30, 2007

Poetry Friday

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued

Robert Frost

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An Advent Paperchain

This year, to go along with our non-traditional advent log, we have made a non-traditional advent calendar-paper chain. We have used the colors of advent--purple and pink--with Christmas highlighted with a red chain.
Here, Mark and Grace hold up our chain. Tags have been added with certain exciting events that take place as we are counting our way to Christmas.
Included on the tags are saint days, family birthdays and Christmas parties. I think I will add other tags with things such as making cookies and decorating the tree. I have written some dates on the paper chain also.
We will tear a chain off everyday, bringing us closer and closer to Jesus' birthday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Warm and Cozy

I made this cozy fleece outfit for Kimberly last night. I couldn't resist. You see, the s and I went out shopping last week on "black Friday" and I was amazed at the prices of baby clothes. So being the frugal mother I am, I took a piece of fleece we bought to make baby blankets
and made this. The cost was about $5.00. You can't beat that.

I used McCall's pattern M4642. It was much more simple to put the zipper in the front than I expected. There are certainly more of this type of outfit for Kim in the future.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Our Advent Log

Inspired by Dawn's advent post last year, when the need arose for a new advent wreath this year, I decided to go the untraditional route and make an advent log.

I sent my wonderful husband outside at my Dad's house on Sunday, and he graciously cut down a birch tree. (It had died and needed to be removed anyway.)
I told both Pat and my Dad what my idea was and they headed downstairs with the log and then emerged with this log with the holes drilled into it perfectly.

Yesterday I purchased new candles for the log and they fit perfectly. It is very sturdy. Last year we just used four candlesticks, and that wasn't practical or safe. This is perfect.
I have added the artificial greens to it and it looks ok, but I think the next time I am at Mom and Dad's, I will cut some cedar to place around the candles.
It has a lovely, simple look that we are sure to enjoy for at least the next several years.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Two Great Books

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub is a book and tape full of fun. I was able to get it from the library but it is a book that I will definitely be buying. It is about a poor page who is having an awful time getting the king out of the tub. The story is cute on its own, but the cd is full of nonsense songs that make this book hilarious. We listened to it for the first time at lunch today, and then the kids played it two more times in a row. They probably would still be listening, but we had schoolwork to finish up.
The next book we shared was a Catholic Mosaic book, The Miracle of Saint Nicholas.
This book is about a church in Russia that was forced to close its doors during the communist rise in the early 20th century. It takes a miracle, and a young boy's dream to open the doors to this church once again.

The story centers around an icon of St. Nicholas, and I was able to find this wonderful icon coloring page at the St. Nicholas Center website. It almost matches the icon in the book perfectly.
Two great books for the cold. snowy days ahead.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Liturgical Wheel

As the Liturgical year draws to a close I wanted to show the children the yearly cycle of the church. I found this very simple version of the Liturgical wheel at St. Francis Academy
that we used as a coloring page.

We are very excited to be headed into the season of Advent, which will be full of our preparations for the coming of Our Lord as a baby.

Today we were also reminded that the Baby we are waiting for is also the King of heaven and earth. Tomorrow we will celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, and in honor of this day we made crowns to remind us that the same Baby born in a manger, the same Jesus who died on a cross, is the same Jesus whom is the Supreme Being, the King of heaven and earth.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

What Matters If The Cold Wind's Blast

What matters if the cold wind's blast,
What matters though 'tis snowing,

Thanksgiving Day has come at last;
To grandmamma's were going.
Wrapped in furs as warm as toast,
O'er the hills we're fleeting;
To welcome friends, a merry host
And grandma's smile of greeting.

The sleigh bells jingle merrily,
And though the flakes are flying,
At last beyond the hills we see
A little mansion lying.
I'm sure we'll find sweet cakes and fruit
And pumpkin pies so yellow;
For grandma knows just how to suit
Each hungry little fellow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tied Fleece Baby Blanket

I was discussing with the bigger s different options as to what service project they would like to do during the upcoming Advent season.
We certainly love babies around here, so it was natural that our ideas began to lean toward babies in need in out area.
We went to our local Catholic Charities office and talked to a very nice lady, and she told the s that they were in great need of newborn baby blankets. They are needed for families that are having a hard time and for families that are adopting babies.
So now, we have a mission.
This is our first blanket--I told the s that it is the practice blanket.
We started with 1 1/2 yards of a fleece material. We did NOT use a contrast color for the back of this first blanket- but we will in the future.
1 1/2 yards was enough for the front and back of blanket.
Put wrong sides together and trim the selvage edges

Next, cut a 4in. by 4in. square out of each corner

We then laid a piece of scrap selvage edge along the length of the blanket edge. Then we cut 4 in cuts into the blanket along all four sides- moving the scrap as we moved around the blanket--this keeps the cuts even. I have heard that some people use masking tape to mark this cutting line, but it didn't seem needed, and my 12 year old did just fine with the scrap of material.

At any time you could pin the front and back together to prevent the material from slipping. I added a few pins just to make sure it didn't move while we were tying the blanket together. I probably won't do this again because it didn't seem to want to "move" at all.

Now you tie all these edges together. We tied every other together on one side of the blanket and then turned to blanket over and finished the others ties. This seems to make it stay more even.
This was a lot of tying! But Laura persevered and we ended up with a very nice practice blanket--it came out so well that we will certainly be taking it to Catholic Charities to wrap a new little blessing up in it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

No Turkeys Here!

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Oridnary, comforting, and more than a little predictable
You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Emerging from the depths....

of sickness.
There now seems to be a little light at the end of a big storm. 11 of 12 family members have had a real stomach bug around here, some have even had it twice. I have to say that this has to be every mother's worst nightmare. Blessedly, I have always had help at home to take care of so much sickness at once.

Matthew seems to be the only one to escape this illness, maybe because he was out hunting during the worst of it, or maybe he just didn't breathe when he was home. However he escaped it, we are happy to have the 7 point buck that he acquired for us. Yummy, yummy!

Schoolwork has also started back up today.
We are behind on our Thanksgiving crafts so that is what we tackled first today.
Mark colored a wonderful turkey and then cut out the tail feather area.

Then, on the back of the turkey, he glued yellow and orange strips of paper.
We then carefully cut the whole turkey out, being careful to keep some of the strips secured to the back. nice turkey, Mark!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Train Playmat

I have been looking for a train play mat for Luke, who just loves Thomas trains, and the ones I found were very expensive. So, today I found this cute Thomas fabric with tracks all over it. I also bought felt for a backing, and for about 5 dollars and 1/2hour of time I made this.
I used felt for the backing by placing rights side together, sewing, and then turning the whole mat right side out. I then sewed around the whole outer edge to keep it looking sharp.
Luke loves the print, especially since he doesn't have all the trains. The pictures on the fabric are friends for his trains.
I used 1 1/2 yards of the fabric, and I am glad I did because there is plenty of room for plenty of engineers!

First Snowman of the Season

Unusual technique, but wonderful results!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Poetry Friday

The North Wind Doth Blow
The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He'll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Pilgrims and I

have been learning about the first Thanksgiving.
We have enjoyed many books and crafts suitable for the season.
Below are the books we have been enjoying.

Laura's Wonderful Birthday

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Product Review: Tall Stacker Peg Building Set

I recently received this package in the mail and I want to tell everyone how thrill we are with it.
It is the Laura Tall Stacker Peg Building Set.
If you go to their website, you also see that all of their products are proudly made in the USA.

This set is a little pricey but certainly worth every penny. There are plenty of pegs and boards to keep many kids happy. They are easy for the little ones to put together, but also engaging enough for the older kids.

I also have many of the Lauri brand puzzles and a very good thing to know about these puzzles is that the company does have replacement parts for most of their products.

But, everyone does need to know, that if you want to use the box for a boat, you do have to remove some of the toys.