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Category Archives: Gathering My Thoughts

Gathering My Thoughts ~ Apples to Apples

Outside my window: Saturated earth. Such a blessing here in this parched land. Over the past three days, we’ve had about 5 inches of rain come down and the earth hardly knows what do with it.

looking outside

Listening To: Finally a little bit of quiet after struggling for over an hour with getting the girls settled for their naps. They haven’t been good about going down lately, but the rainy days over the weekend made a change in that. The sun is back out today, though, and so are their indefatigable dispositions.

Clothing Myself In: I’m wrapped in one of my favorite sweaters I picked up at Anthropologie last year. {Don’t they have just the best sweaters??} It’s a sage color, knit all around and felted on the torso. It swings across and clasps at the shoulder. I made the extra effort of getting everyone dressed before lunch today. Quite the accomplishment, I tell you! 😉

Talking With My Children About These Books: So many great books to read this time of year! I’ll try to keep it short….

  • Lucie especially loves this book filled with poetic prose and beautiful pictures of this adventurous scarecrow.
  • This one hasn’t lost his fascination over the past few years and has been a great way to teach the lifecycle of the pumpkin so there are no hard feelings {at least in theory} when our jack o lanterns die at the end of the season.
  • This fairly new release we found at the library has the cutest illustrations and has been a hit for our highly imaginative, little one.
  • This sweet, sentimental story may have had me in tears at the end.
  • A great one to garner excitement for apple picking {although, that wasn’t necessary here}.

In My Own Reading: I recently finished A Gentleman in Moscow which I wrote a bit about here. I also quickly read through The Awakening of Miss Prim. It is next up to be discussed over at the Fountains of Carrots podcast — any day! — so get to reading before the spoilers come out! Just released today!

My knitting has been a distraction lately, so I haven’t picked anything up in about a week. But I’m about to commence reading Everyone Brave is Forgiven. It was recommended to me by my fellow historical fiction fan friend, Megan. She never steers me wrong. I’ve partly held off on starting it because it will mean having my nose stuck in a book for hours on end. I always get caught up deeply in those types of reads.

Thinking and Thinking: About the cooler weather and all the wonderful autumn and winter activities ahead of us. I definitely should search out one of those printable Fall activities you can find on Pinterest to keep us inspired. The girls are already begging to go up to the dusting of snow in the mountains. Pumpkin carving is happening this weekend.

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picking apples with daddy

Pondering:

St. Teresa of Avila’s feast day was this past Saturday. Funnily, I kept running across quotes of hers all day {and not in the expected places, like social media}. This prayer/poem of hers really touched me and is one I want to keep close.

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: It’s hit or miss but we’re trying to get a routine to our mornings of “schoolwork” and chores, followed by a more relaxing afternoon. {Although, the afternoons have been anything but relaxing lately as my children are heavily protesting nap time…but need it.} We need a better wind-down routine in the evenings for everyone. Working on it.

sticker work

Creating By Hand: My knitting has really taken off. I’m enjoying trying different weight fibers, stretching myself with increasingly more difficult patterns. I’m working on my first adult socks. The pattern I chose was a bit more challenging than I probably should have with my first pair, but I’m getting through it. I’m about to the toe bed. I love the colors of the yarn.

sock knitting

Stephen and I took a trip {just the two of us — oh, the novelty!!} to Portland a little over a week ago. There was a yarn shop about two blocks from the place we were staying. Let’s just say, that was a huge danger for our bank account. I’ve been eyeing Quince and Co.‘s yarn online ever since I was introduced to it through Making Magazine a few months ago, and was pleasantly surprised to find they carried it at the shop in Portland. I came home with a huge bag of it.

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Evelyn already has a hat knit from their Lark line in Clay and Egret, which I started and finished in an evening. It was my first foray into Fair Isle and I’m very happy with the result. I’m about to start another for Steve in Quince’s Osprey. I also went out on a limb and purchased myself enough to make my first sweater from Chickadee in Malbec. I’m anxious to get it cast on.

Learning Lessons In: Making boundaries…and keeping them in charity.

Encouraging Learning In: All things apples. We travelled to Apple Hill during the week last week before the rain hit. We feasted on caramel apples, baked goods filled with apples and toted home 40 lbs of apples to make pies, applesauce, apple butter, and who knows what else. On Saturday morning, just as the drenching began, we took the girls to an orchard just a short way from our home so they could pick apples from the tree. This was Evelyn’s one wish for the apple season. Glad to see it fulfilled. Lucie enjoyed it just as much, and they were adorable munching those juicy orbs straight from the tree in the drizzling rainfall.

high hill ranch apple hill

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Today, we were working on patterns with some apple stickers. Later in the week, we’ll be stamping with apple halves, learning about the life cycle of apples, taste testing apples to choose our favorites, and there will certainly be some baking!

Crafting in the Kitchen: I spent about an hour this morning chopping up about 10 lbs of apples to make apple butter in the crockpot. I plan on canning most of it. There is another 40 lbs waiting by my front door to be turned into some sort of appley goodness over the next few weeks. Ideas anyone?

eating apples

To Be Fit and Happy: I really need to work on this. I begin something for a few days and quickly fall off. I’m just not motivated. I can’t find my groove. I’m thinking of signing on for Barre3 again and alternating that with my rowing machine for cardio. I really want to run, but it is so difficult to coordinate with Steve’s schedule going into the fall and winter months.

Loving the Moments: I’m really enjoying the curriculum that I’m working through with the girls. Yesterday, we did some apple graphing. There was also a trip to Apple Hill and Machado’s Orchards, near our house, last week for apple sweets and apple picking. We have some other apple activities this week, including stamping, pie baking, and taste testing different varieties for our favorites.

picking apples

Living the Liturgy: Looking forward to the feast of St. Pope John Paul II this Saturday. He’s one of my favorites, so we’ll be sure to celebrate him in style. Something with apples? 😉

I would really like to do something special for the Feast of All Saints this year, but also don’t quite have that figured out. Need some time to plan.

I’m greatly looking forward to Advent this year and trying really hard not to let it sneak up on me. I’m especially excited to work along with Blessed is She’s Advent journal this year and use the Jesse Tree cards once again.

Planning for the Week Ahead: Steve is switching to a new job mid-week, back to his longer commute, so we are gearing up for that change which affects the whole family dynamic. Hoping for a smooth transition and still plenty of time to enjoy together.

taking a leap

 

Also, linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along this week!

Gathering My Thoughts ~ Height of the Summer

homegrown sunflowers

Outside my window: Heat. For one more day temperatures hovering around 100, and then we’re dropping down into the 80s for a little while. Looking forward to the reprieve.

relaxing with daddy in hammock

Listening To: The hum of the air conditioner and the squeaking ceiling fan above my head.

Clothing Myself In: Still in pjs at 2 in the afternoon. When we aren’t going out, I’m terrible about getting myself dressed.

relaxing at the cabin

Talking With My Children About These Books: A few favorites this week from the library:
How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow by Wendell Minor — It may seem early for this, but the pumpkins in our garden are ripe so it’s a topic of conversation right now. I hope none of our pumpkins are as big as the ones suggested in this book, though! 😉

Bear in the Air by Susan Meyers — A super sweet story about a cute little bear that gets bumped out of his owner’s stroller and goes on quite the adventure. My children are especially taken with the illustrations.

My Garden by Kevin Henkes — Great for the imagination. If only our garden would grow

In My Own Reading: Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt and Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss. Can you tell my mind is gravitating towards school days? I’m gaining great inspiration from these about a little “curriculum” to follow with Evelyn this year. Both are wonderful resources for reading to your children, too, even if you aren’t doing home education.

Also, anxiously awaiting The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera recommended highly by Christy. The Fountains of Carrots Facebook group will be discussing soon on their page so jump on in if this is up your alley!

socks and flip flops

ladybug backpack

Thinking and Thinking: About the Fall. Gardening, schooling, birthdays, cooler weather. It is just around the bend.

Pondering: These words of Pope Francis during World Youth Day last week, applicable to any age:

God expects something from you. God wants something from you. God hopes in you. God comes to break down all our fences. He comes to open the doors of our lives, our dreams, our ways of seeing things. God comes to break open everything that keeps you closed in. He is encouraging you to dream. He wants to make you see that, with you, the world can be different. For the fact is, unless you offer the best of yourselves, the world will never be different.

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: We’ve been rather lax with a schedule of any kind this summer, but I’m kind of looking forward to falling into a bit of one as we move into the autumn months. I need a bit more regularity to my days and I think they girls would benefit with a tad more routine. It’s been good, though, to relax some, though.

riding cars at state fair

sierra wildflowers

Creating By Hand: I finished a scarf and hat set for my brother who is headed off to Michigan in a few weeks for law school. Can’t have him freezing to death! This is my second Barley Hat and loved the formation of the Purl Ridge Scarf. Perfect for a double wrap and fittingly masculine. {But modeled here by Evelyn.} Oh, and can I tell you how in love I am with Malabrigo yarns?? <3

purl ridge scarf

barley hat and purl ridge scarf model

barley hat

barley hat and purl ridge scarf model

Learning Lessons In: Home education. Nervous, but excited, about the prospect. Reading all the books I can, praying about the direction the Lord wants us to take with this, and trying not to be the perfectionist I have a tendency towards.

Encouraging Learning In: All. The. Things. Evelyn has hit the “why?” stage and I’m trying to be patient with the onslaught. The latest: What is electricity? Why do we need those black lines to carry it? Why does it zap us? etc. I wish my brother, who is an electrical engineer, was a little closer right now. 😉

walking in tandem at the beach

Crafting in the Kitchen: With tomatoes coming out of our ears and frequent trips to the farmers’ market for all sorts of seasonal finds, ratatouille was an easy choice last night. {Although it barely touched the plethora of tomatoes covering almost all the surface of my counter.} My recipe was from the Laurel’s Kitchen Cookbook {what? you didn’t know I wrote a cookbook?? ;)} I substituted a red onion for a regular as that is what I had on hand, as well as tossing in fresh basil in lieu of the dry. I used white eggplant from my mother-in-law’s garden which I might just prefer to the traditional purple. Surprisingly, it turned browned when cooked, too!

To Be Fit and Happy: I’m not, and something’s gotta change. I did a 20 minute Pilates video with my girls this morning which was a good kickstart. I will be attempting to follow the exercises in Core Performance Essentials as soon as it makes its way to my house via the mail. I’ve got some serious work to do on my core which has never been this out of tune. It’s been difficult for me to know where to begin on this whole endeavor of reconstructing it, so I’m feeling sort of thrown for a loop, discouraged. Just need to commit and make it happen.

Lucie Little Tikes car

Evey running

Loving the Moments: My girls playing together. Watching their joy in interacting together makes all the difficulties of two toddlers just melt away…almost. 🙂

sisters in Hanna Andersson

sisters in the pool

sisters "scrubbing"

Living the Liturgy: Looking ahead to feast days this month….. We’ve got Lucie’s baptismal day on August 6th (Feast of the Transfiguration), St. Lawrence on August 10th (my patron), Assumption on August 15th (Holy Day of obligation), St. Rose of Lima on August 23rd (patron to both myself and Evelyn), and a few others in between. I’d like to get back into living a bit more liturgically and I think this month will be the one to ease back in.

Planning for the Week Ahead: Halfway through this one, so looking toward the weekend full of home projects and a pool/birthday party. Definitely can’t wait.

 

Linking up with this week’s Yarn Along over at Ginny’s. 

Gathering My Thoughts ~ Busy, But Happy

chasing bubbles

Outside my window: Sunshine, yet coolness. We had a wonderful spring rain yesterday and the air is fresh and light.

Listening To: Quiet while the girls rest.

strawberry picking

Clothing Myself In: Half pjs, half active wear — which the only activity I’ve done in it so far today has been dishes and general cleaning. And perhaps a few laps around the backyard with the girls.

Talking With My Children About These Books: We finished our last chapter of A Bear Called Paddington this morning. Breakfast included English muffins slathered in butter and marmalade in his honor. The girls have been inquiring about marmalade as it is Paddington’s food of choice, so we dropped some in our cart during our weekly shopping trip. They are both big fans. I wasn’t much when I was little, but I love it now too.

I’m thinking of Mr. Popper’s Penguins for our next read-aloud. What are some of your favorites to do with young children?

paddington marmalade

In My Own Reading: Provence, 1970 — I purchased this on a whim as I needed an extra book to fill my cart on a buy two, get one free sale through B&N. It is written by the grand-nephew of M.F.K. Fisher who seems to have inherited his grand-aunt’s talent for writing, detailing the winter of 1970 and how it shifted the American way of cooking and eating due to this group of food writers that includes M.F.K., Julia Childs, James Beard, etc. Probably more of interest to the foodie set and those interested in the evolution of the food scene in America, otherwise, you might find yourself bored with so many details of the relations between these writers.

Thinking and Thinking: About making a Summer Bucket List with the girls. We have plenty of things planned {which I will add}, but it is fun to have a few spontaneous options so when we find ourselves with downtime on a Tuesday morning, we have ideas of fun to be had! What should we add?

painting each other

Pondering: “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ~Sylvia Plath   {Thanks to Verily.}

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: Although we don’t have a strict schedule, and I don’t believe in one with very young children, we do have a happy rhythm to most our days which I really love. One of the most essential parts of our day is nap/quiet time. They need it, I need it.

painting in the sun

Creating By Hand: I have some teeny, tiny socks I’m working on {The needles are so tiny!!}–my first pair of socks ever–for my littlest nephew born this past Monday evening. At some point this week, I also hope to stitch up his blanket. Warmer weather has me switching into stitching project-mode rather than knitting. I just don’t feel like it much when it is so warm.

Learning Lessons In: Being easy on myself. I’ve had a heavy dose of ‘guilt’ in just about every facet of life lately, most of it completely unwarranted. It makes me less than my best when I’m thinking about all my errors {or what I perceive to be such}. And it truly has not been helpful in regards my attitude/outlook on life. Trying to turn that around. My husband helps me immensely.

sock knitting

Encouraging Learning In: We have a new Chick Fil A being built in our town. I pointed this out to Evelyn the other day. She’s ecstatic…but was a tad confused why we couldn’t go there yet. Currently, it is only framed. When I began to explain that it still needed to be built, a light bulb went off in her head. “Buildings are BUILT BY PEOPLE! They’re not just there.” So now every other question is: Who built this? When was it built? It cracks me up. 🙂

Crafting in the Kitchen: Inspired by Britt‘s Instagram post last week, we pulled out the Joy of Cooking to make our own oatmeal cookies, sans raisins, this morning. They are a definite hit.

tea time

To Be Fit and Happy: I have a rowing machine sitting in my garage that is just begging me for a good workout. We finally got a bunch of things cleared out this weekend that mean I can actually access it. Now, I just need to build up my motivation….. I’ve been inactive for too long.

Loving the Moments: Lucie’s spontaneous hugs and kisses with an ‘I wuv you’ tucked into my ear. The point at which they begin to offer affection and endearments without promptings just makes you melt into a puddle…and offer whatever treats their little hearts desire!

Living the Liturgy: The feast of the Sacred Heart is coming up this next Friday. It is one of my favorites. I’m thinking of what to do to commemorate the feast with the family.

organized simplicity lists

Planning for the Week Ahead: We have a long weekend on the horizon. We’re planning on house projects that have been put off too long. I’ve been working, piece-by-piece, on decluttering our storage office room that has become out of control. Major progress was made yesterday, so painting, new bookcases, furniture rearrangement, etc. will be possible on Saturday.

Gathering My Thoughts ~ Pausing

Outside my window: The clouds have rolled back in and we are waiting for another rain storm to hit this afternoon. The rain this season has been abundant and much-needed, but the cabin fever has been difficult to deal with. Fortunately, we escaped outside to the playground the other day when there was a break for a few days between rain showers, so the girls could get some of their wiggles out.

winter outdoor play

Listening To: Only the espresso machine at the coffee shop. A quiet morning to myself, SO much needed.

blue bottle espresso

Clothing Myself In: My favorite new blouse I picked up at Anthropologie last week during their sale on their sale {the only way I can afford their pieces}. It is a pale, blush pink with the sweetest lace work on the shoulders and front. {I found the link!}

spoon selfie

Talking With My Children About These Books: We are a little behind in our letter learning. This week we’re doubling up with ‘D’ and ‘Z’. The girls really love the song “Five Little Ducks” so we picked up a book at the library of the same title that has pictures of the song and it is on repeat. Our library frequently has a shelf with new picture books that have recently been published. One of our favorites lately is One Bear Extraordinaire. It tells the story of a traveling bear musician who picks up other musician friends along the way to form a band. The moral of the story is that we all have a way to contribute {although it may not always be easy to discover our talent}. Virginia Burton’s The Little House has sparked lots of conversation about why she is sad to live in the city {as Evey really likes to visit big cities}.

sitting together

In My Own Reading: I’ve recently started The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah after it was recommended by my friend, Megan, in her reading list from 2015. One of my favorite genres is historical fiction so I’m very much enthused to read this novel set in France during WWII. I also finished Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson which I’m hoping to share my thoughts on in a post soon. It was just too good to do justice to here (pun intended).

hotel hopping

Thinking and Thinking: I’ve been steeped in thought and emotion about the PRO-LIFE issues this past week. The anniversary of Roe v. Wade with the March for Life in D.C. {with prolonged suffering through this year’s snowstorm}, the Walk for Life in San Francisco, the charges against David for his undercover work while the true criminals are merely dismissed….lots to storm heaven about.

sf ferry building

Pondering: “A good journal entry–like a good song, or sketch, or photograph–ought to break up the habitual and lift away the film that forms over the eye, the finger, the tongue, the heart. A good journal entry ought to be a love letter to the world.
Leave home, leave the country, leave the familiar. Only then can routine experience–buying bread, eating vegetables, even saying hello–become new all over again.”
~
from Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr

Journaling has always been a must for me when I travel, but I’ve fallen out of the habit. I love to have my thoughts and experiences jotted down so I can return to them again years later. The memories soften and fade, but writing them down helps me keep them intact.

This author has an amazing ability to draw his reader right to the time and place he is experiencing. I hope someday my journaling is half as good.

Also, I want to begin keeping a journal for each of the girls with memories of their childhood. I should get something today.

hotel hanging

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: Admittedly, rhythm hasn’t been our friend lately. We’ve been traveling a bit this month and it has thrown schedules out the window. Re-orienting in February.

shirley temple

Creating By Hand: I just finished knitting a hat for myself in a lovely shade of raspberry using the Barley pattern in the looser style. A trip to Carmel in early January allowed me to stop by one of my favorite yarn shops, Knitting By the Sea. The lady who owns the store introduced me to my first knitting pattern — a simple hat I knit for Evey when she was a few months old — and got me going on one of my favorite hobbies. I told her of her influence when we visited this time, which pleased her to hear. She helped me, this time, pick out a wonderful yarn for my own hat.

raspberry barley knit hat

Learning Lessons In: Slowing down. I’m not good at this, but my health and sanity require it.

doctor lu

Encouraging Learning In: Potty training. Still potty training. We’ve had more accidents in the past 24 hours than I care to think about, and this is after Evey has been doing great for almost a year now. She’s started waiting too long to make it the bathroom in time and is continually going on the floor. I guess we’re back to frequent reminders. I do hope this habit is broken quickly. I was thinking of getting Lucie started but this is quite discouraging.

lu at the playground

Crafting in the Kitchen: A set of delicious Morning Glory muffins found their way into our hands on Saturday morning. Evey and Lucie assisted me in their creation on Friday afternoon. We had a wonderful time working together. We hadn’t done much baking together in a while, and I realized I need to make it happen more often. Perhaps we’ll jump in again today.

hot chocolate morning

To Be Fit and Happy: I’m finally keeping my fitness commitment a bit better this month after making just the minimal–one 30 minute workout a week. And I usually get at least one more in. I’m also recovering with physical therapy from a shoulder injury I received from my dear daughter, Lu, who wrestles more than cuddles when she’s being held {and she loves being held}. I’m hoping to commit to another workout or two this coming month once this has cleared up.

fashionista

Loving the Moments: I celebrated my birthday this past Monday and felt so blessed with not just one, but TWO delicious meals prepared by my family. Sushi, then strawberry and red velvet ice cream with chocolate cookies. Lamb shepherd’s pie, then a homemade red velvet cake. Yum, yum, yum. So spoiled and loved.

taking over the bed

Living the Liturgy: Thinking of Lent which starts in two weeks{!!!!}. I’ll be following along with Blessed is She’s On the Way, including using the beautiful Station of the Cross cards. {The physical copies of the workbooks are sold out but I highly recommend grabbing a digital copy you can print yourself!}

carmel beach in january

Planning for the Week Ahead: Our 4th wedding anniversary lands this week. We’ll be postponing most of the celebration until Steve is done with his exam in late February, but I want to make a special dinner this week. Any recommendations?

Gathering My Thoughts ~ Brought to You By the Letter ‘T’

starbucks-fall-cup

Outside my window: The air conditioning is on today and, as usual, California is notorious for joining the autumn game late. It is nearly 90 degrees today. Not feeling like autumn one bit.

dancing-in-the-rain

Listening To: Evey is working on her letter for the week at the white board – ‘T’. It is quiet as Lucie is still resting, so I’m just listening to her organize the markers as she works.

Clothing Myself In: A simple skirt and shirt combo that I threw on before we went shopping this morning.

L-snacktime

Talking With My Children About These Books: We are on the letter ‘T’ this week in our curriculum. There will be lots of discussion about our favorite mode of transportation this week — TRAINS! Our list includes: Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherry Dusky Rinker, Train by Elisha Cooper, How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton, Hey Mr Choo Choo, Where Are You Going?  by Susan Wickberg {one of our all-time favorites}, Tea Rex by Molly Schaar Idle, The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco, and One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies. 

We mixed it up with a few non-train books for some variety, although I doubt the girls would mind if it was ALL ABOUT trains. 😉 One of these days, I need to write a post about our favorite train picture books. I’m pretty sure we have come close to reading them all.

L-in-contemplation

In My Own Reading: I finished Emily Freeman’s Simply Tuesday last week and I’m planning to join the (in)courage group in reading through it again starting at the beginning of October. Such a great read, one that needs to be pondered several times over. Is anyone else interested in reading along? I would love to discuss with a smaller group too. Perhaps we could make a Facebook page to facilitate.

I also just finished Witness to Love which I wrote a lengthy review of last week. This ministry is wonderful and sorely needed.

I’ll be starting Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection later this week as it finally came in from the library.

three-of-three-cardigans

Thinking and Thinking: About Christmas gifting. I have a dozen or more projects that I would like to accomplish for gifting so I’m getting my ducks in a row to get things started. So much to do, so little time. 😉 It really is coming up on us quickly!

watching-pope-francis

Pondering: Still drinking in all the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, from his visit last week. I’m hoping to write a post of a few of my favorite quotes, but in the meantime, here is one:

“And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus, and His life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, in the failure of the cross.”

~ from Vespers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

asleep-on-the-stair

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: We are trying to get the girls on a better sleeping schedule. Bedtime has been a little too flexible as of late and it is making them extra tired and cranky. Better nighttime rest, also means better naps–something all of us appreciate.

baby-cardigan

Creating By Hand: Still finishing up my series of three sweaters using the In Threes Baby Cardigan pattern. I’m about halfway through my last one–a red one for Evelyn. I can finally share the newborn one I made for my sister-in-law that I gifted her this weekend at her shower. There is something so sweet and precious about tiny knits, particularly ones in pink for baby girls.

Also, made a little blanket with starburst stitching on the edge. I have a few more blankets for little babes in the queue this week.

baby-blanket

Learning Lessons In: Patience. Mine has been a little thin the past few weeks, so I’m learning what I need to say ‘no’ to in order to reduce the anxiety which decreases it.

Encouraging Learning In: Also, patience? 😉 These little gals want it…and they want it NOW!

E-picking-apples

Crafting in the Kitchen: Moving into a rhythm of Fall foods–apples, squash, pumpkins, etc. Later this week, we’ll having one of my favorites–stuffed acorn squash–which I will share the recipe for soon.

To Be Fit and Happy: My brother, Raphael, is on the same crew team that I was in high school. This past weekend, his team hosted a pancake row, where they invite family members for a little breakfast and a chance to jump in one of the boats and try their hand at rowing for a mile or so. He invited me to come along and I jumped at the chance! I hadn’t been on the water since high school, and I do love it so. I wish there was a Masters team nearby that I could join. Perhaps some day. 🙂

rowingLoving the Moments: We’ve witnessed some great moments of childlike faith from Evey the past few weeks and it is so inspiring, both from a parenting aspect and in my own walk of faith. Just yesterday, we were going to see the Supermoon eclipse but there was some cloud cover which was going to make it very difficult to see the moon. We told Evey that she should ask Jesus to move the clouds so we could see it better. She let out a sweet prayer and, sure enough, the clouds moved just at the moment of total eclipse. On the way home, she kept peeking out the window of the car, hoping to catch another glimpse of the moon but all the city lights were making it rather difficult. She says from the back seat, “Jesus, could you please move the lights so we could see the moon?” 😀

supermoon eclipse

Living the Liturgy: Two great saints celebrated this week — St. Therese of Lisieux on October 1st and St. Francis on October 4th. I picked up a few roses at the store for the Little Flower’s feast. I’m sure we’ll have a little treat the evening of after our dinner. St. Francis loved animals and nature, so perhaps we’ll go for a little hike on Sunday.

fall-flowers

Planning for the Week Ahead: Two of my friends had babies this month and we are on dinner duty this week for their families. One we have yet to meet so are looking forward to seeing her. Our week of the letter ‘T’ involves a trip to the train museum tomorrow after riding the train down to Sacramento. So much fun with choo-choos this week! Also, about to start a ‘t’ea party with my sweet girls….

Gathering My Thoughts ~ Extra Time with Daddy

we-be-rollin

Outside my window: We were so blessed last week with daytime temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Today, summer comes back with a vengeance, soaring into the 100s by Thursday. Ugh. Is the splash pad still open?

Listening To: The ever-classic Ray Charles–Lucie’s choice. She very emphatically said no to the quieter hymns I started to play. Girl likes jazzy music.

Clothing Myself In: Workout clothes. I dressed in these out of my pjs when we went to the store earlier this morning with the intention that it would remind me to get my workout out done when I got home. It’s mid- afternoon and it still hasn’t happened.

Evey-and-her-easel

Talking With My Children About These Books: We are on letter “M” this week in our lessons. Our selection for the week is: First Pictures of Mary by Maite Roche, Madeline by Ludwig Behelmans, The Mitten by Jan Brett, The Town Mouse and the County Mouse by Helen Ward, and Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. This is the first week that our selection is entirely composed of books I’ve read before — all great ones too! We may add on some others before the week is out.

I can’t speak highly enough of Maite Roche’s books. {The first one listed.} They are published through Ignatius Press. We currently have the Easter one and My First Prayers for the Family, but hope to add her others over time. She is a French writer so they are all translated from the original language.

cousins-reading

 

evey-and-logan

In My Own Reading: I’m looking forward this week to starting Emily Freeman’s latest book, Simply Tuesday. I read A Million Little Ways about a year ago, and absolutely loved it. She has such a beautiful way of assisting her reader find depth and meaning to their life, even those who perform the simplest and most mundane of tasks.

Thinking and Thinking: With the way the polls are leaning currently, the upcoming presidential election has me feeling quite uneasy. What our country thinks is acceptable {even if they are not satisfied with the current governance} is scary to me. Even if they are not satisfied with the current governance–or the last few presidents’ terms–we can’t just elect somebody because they sway the opposite direction and oppose what we don’t like. We have to choose what is right and good.  A college professor of mine wrote a great little post titled ‘When Scoundrels are Honored‘ that reflects a bit on this.

practicing-g

Practicing the letter “G” {we’re working on it ;)}

glitter-paint

 

Glitter paints during “G” week

Pondering: “What is the goal of Catholic education in the midst of the flurry of screens and devices that bring the modern world to our fingertips? It is to keep the human person at the center of our enterprise. The world of information may be only a swipe away, but we should know better than to think it is the most important world. That honor goes to a world made of flesh and spirit, of encounter and conversation. That world must guide our schools, and everything else must follow from it.” from ‘Catholic Education in the Digital Age’

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: This transition back and forth between summer and fall means a transition of schedules so we’re fluctuation between the two and suffering a bit of exhaustion from it. Looking forward to the full switch into cooler weather, warmer foods, a little more time relaxing indoors.

knitting-and-reading

Creating By Hand: I’m on my second of three sweaters using the fabulous In Threes Cardigan pattern. The current one is for Lucie. After finishing the first for my sweet niece {soon to be here next month!}, I took the girls to the knitting shop to pick out colors for ones of their own. Lucie fell asleep on the way, so Evelyn took over the duty of choosing colors. She picked a beautiful blue with flecks of green and purple for Lucie and a radiant red for herself. I’m about 3/4 done with Lucie’s, then I’ll get to work on Evey’s and hopefully be done before the cool weather hits. {Linking up with Ginny’s #yarnalong — be sure to check out more inspiring projects there!}

Learning Lessons In: Finding ways to make time for what is truly important and fulfilling for me and my family. I’ve read Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home but had forgotten about her idea of the Power Hour. Anne writes here about how she uses that hour weekly to dive deeper into things that enrich herself. I’ve been trying for several months now to delve deeper into my photography, but have been unsuccessful so far. I’m going to set an hour each week, starting this week, to make this happen. It is important to me so I need to make it actually so.

riding-the-car-waves

Encouraging Learning In: Not standing on furniture. My little daredevil is turning up the heat, standing on chairs, tables…rolling cars! She doesn’t seem to understand the consequences even when she tumbles, so I’m hoping something influences her in a positive way!

Crafting in the Kitchen: We’re enjoying the tomatoes from the market as my plants have been growing horribly this year. We really enjoy this stuffed chicken using tomatoes and feta that I shared last week. Thursday I will share a favorite pancake recipe that will get you inspired and excited for the autumn. We’ve made it twice already in the past week.

tomatoes-in-the-trunk

To Be Fit and Happy: I was doing well in this department but have been slacking off over the past week. I need to find an activity that I can interchange with the Barre3 classes. I’m hoping to go running once or twice a week once the evening temperatures have dropped a bit.

Loving the Moments: We enjoyed a three-day weekend with Steve home. It is such a joy for me to witness the moments he is able to spend bonding with the girls. They love their daddy so much. Both run, shouting with glee, to greet him when he walks in the door every evening from work. Many times, Lucie prefers his company to mine. They snuggle on the couch and sometimes watch funny animal scenes on his iPad. Evey always gets him to build the best forts and they read together inside. Such wonderful moments to witness. <3

sliding-with-daddy

blowing-bubbles

Living the Liturgy: Today is the feast of the Nativity of Mary. We will be enjoying vanilla ice cream {pure — in honor the Virgin Mary} to celebrate.

Planning for the Week Ahead: As mentioned earlier, it is going to be super hot this week so we’ll be spending the majority of time inside {unless we can find a good splash pad that’s still open}. We’ll send a meal to a friend who just had a baby late last week. We’ll probably make milkshakes and eat popsicles. And I’m hoping to get a bit of writing in. I’ve been a little “dry” these past few weeks….hoping for inspiration!

happy-birthday-to-mary

Taken after I wrote the post…Happy Birthday to Mary, she sang! 🙂 

Gathering My Thoughts : Reading, Recipes, and Relaxation

swinging-with-daddy

Outside my window: Heat, heat, and more heat. This week is a scorcher. We’ve had some fairly mild weather this summer, minus a series of a few days here and there. I’m grateful. And I’m ready for the Fall. The only good thing about this heat is that it might make my tomatoes turn red. Here’s to hoping.

Listening To: My husband and daughter make pizza for dinner. She asks so many questions about everything. I’m glad he’s fielding them for now as my brain hurts a little from the continual bombardment throughout the day. 🙂

Clothing Myself In: My favorite blue skirt {similar to this one} and tank top {this one but it’s sold out!}. Light and breezy to stay cool in this heat.

books-for-b-week

Talking With My Children About These Books: We are starting on the 26 Letters to Heaven curriculum {loosely} this week. Evey has been showing a strong interest in learning letters so I decided to seek out a easygoing curriculum that would allow me to introduce them better to her. I’m planning to do another post in the next week or so about books I’m using for education with her and my reasons for doing so.

We’re not doing the letters in order. “B” is the letter of the week. Our books for the week are: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, Angelina Ballerina by Katherine Holabird, Berlioz the Bear by Jan Brett, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter, Seven Hungry Babies by Candace Fleming, Beach by Elisha Cooper, Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff.

Have any others we should add??

In My Own Reading: Over the past week or so I’ve binge-read two novels: The Orphan Train and The Girl On the Train. The fact that they both have to do with trains didn’t occur to me until I picked up the second to read it. As with a lot of my pleasure reading these days, both of these came recommended by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy. The first was also recommended strongly by my mother, hence, it ended up as my choice in the category of “a book recommended by your mother” in the Reading Challenge. It was fantastic. It follows the story of a young, orphaned Irish girl when she is shipped to the Midwest to be adopted and tells of the life she found when she got there. It is interwoven with the story of a contemporary orphan. Highly recommended now by me too! 5 out of 5 stars.

The Girl on the Train is a high-speed thriller {you see what I did there?} which I sped through in a matter of 24 hours. I was a bit hesitant to read this when I saw it listed as a thriller as I am not too fond of blood and guts and crazy psychological yuckiness, but it was pretty easy to stomach and the plot pulled me right along to the end. 4 out of 5 stars.

Thinking and Thinking: About the Autumn and all the wonderful flavors of the season that will soon be coming. {Despite the fact we still haven’t harvested any of our tomatoes yet this year. They’re on the slow boat.}

I’m also very excited about all the crafts and such I’ve been planning to do with Evelyn. Her imagination is really taking off and she loves creating and crafting {I’ve got a kindred spirit. ;)} so we’re going to go at as many as we can stand! 🙂

candlelight-family-dinner

Pondering: 

“It is God himself who teaches us the importance of dedicating time to contemplating and enjoying the fruits of our labours, not only in our employment or profession, but through every action by which we as men and women cooperate in God’s creative work, even in times of difficulty. In the workplace too, we celebrate – a birthday, a marriage, a new baby, a farewell or a welcome. True moments of celebration make us pause from our work, because they remind us that we are made in the image and likeness of God, who is not a slave to work, but the Lord of work! And so we must never be slaves to work but rather its master!

Moments of rest, especially on Sunday, are sacred because in them we find God. The Sunday Eucharist brings to our celebrations every grace of Jesus Christ: his presence, his love and his sacrifice; his forming us into a community, and his way of being with us. Everything is transfigured by his grace: work, family, the joys and trials of each day, even our sufferings and death. May we always recognize the family as the privileged place to understand, guide and sustain the gifts which arise from our celebrations, especially the Sunday Eucharist.”

~Pope Francis, General Audience, August 12, 2015

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: Since we’re in the space between summer and Fall, we’re sticking to our summer routine here for a little while longer still since the sun is up a bit earlier. It also stays hot here often into the early days of October. Early mornings are spent outside in the {semi}fresh air, afternoons indoors in air conditioning crafting, watching a show or two, prepping for dinner, etc. I’ve enjoyed the rhythms of our days this summer, hoping to find a similar one that works this Fall.

knitting-pink-sweater

Creating By Hand: Knitting tends to be a seasonal craft for me. So, since the cooler weather will be upon us soon, I’ve busted out my stash. There are a few babies making an appearance within the next couple months so a few items for them are first up on my list.

I found a fabulous little cap-sleeve sweater I’m creating. I’m about halfway done now. If it continues as well as it has so far, I will probably make both of the girls ones for the cooler months. {Joining up with Ginny’s Yarn Along this week. Join us if you like to knit or crochet too!}

Learning Lessons In: Balance. Time is precious. I want to use it wisely. Figuring out priorities and making sure I’m giving of myself in the places where God most wants me to be.

Encouraging Learning In: Sweeping. Evelyn insisted on a dustpan and broom to take home with her when we were shopping at Ikea last week, so she’ll be in charge of that chore…once she learns it is more than just brushing things around the room. 😉

sunday-dinner-with-wine

Crafting in the Kitchen: I’ve begun posting weekly recipes focused around what is in season on Thursdays here on the blog.

A few recipes to use up the last of that summer produce include: Breakfast Peach Crisp, Salmon Bread Salad, Blueberry Banana Bread Muffins, and Tortellini Salad with Avocado and Broccoli.

To Be Fit and Happy: I was having a really hard time fitting exercise into my days, really just getting motivated to get it done. But I revived an exercise accountability group on Facebook that I had with a few friends, and it’s helped me get my backside in gear a little more frequently. I’ve been doing the Barre3 workouts 3 times a week. I’m hoping to up that to 4 or 5 within the next week or so. I think part of the problem was I was trying to do too much to begin {I’m really out of shape} and starting out slow, not doing back-to-back days, has helped me immensely in wanting to do it, rather than forcing myself.

drawing-a-cow

Loving the Moments: To go along with our “schooling” I purchased Evelyn a new easel. She loves the whiteboard. Literally spends an hour or more every day doodling there. She draws a lot on paper too, but an interesting thing happened when she began drawing vertically: she’s drawing realistic figures! She made me a cow the other day and began adding accessories and such to it, naming each thing. It was quite discernible. This is the first I’ve seen her do this. I love to witness these milestones! 🙂

Living the Liturgy: This coming Sunday is the Feast of St. Rose who is a patron of both Evelyn and myself {her middle name, my Confirmation saint}. We’ll celebrate by going to Mass and enjoying Root Beer floats for dinner that evening. If you couldn’t guess, our letter next week will be “R”. I need to think of a good “R” food to serve for dinner….

painting-her-legs

Planning for the Week Ahead: We’re about halfway through {I started writing this on Tuesday but the time gets away from me}. We have dance tomorrow, I’ll enjoy our monthly dinner together with my mom in the evening, then winding down to the weekend, Steve and I are looking forward to a much-anticipated date a local winery where we’ll be savoring a tasting-and-pairing menu alongside a tour.

 

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Gathering My Thoughts : {Summer Play}

strawberries

Outside my window: Plants to be watered. I’m procrastinating a bit this morning on getting outside and watering my garden but I’ll regret it if I do for too long. It’s going to be a hot one.

Listening To: Good ol’ Bebo. He’s one of our go-tos for inspirational music and a good jam.

Clothing Myself In: Comfy clothes. I slept about 4 hours last night and I have no desire to get out of clothes that I would happily fall back asleep in. Hoping for simultaneous naps this afternoon….a great joy of motherhood.

abacus fun

building blocks

fun with daddy

Talking With My Children About These Books: We have an annual favorite we get every summer: Elisha Cooper’s Beach. The beautiful watercolor pictures and descriptions of a day at the beach help relieve that itch when you can’t visit.

In My Own Reading: Just finished Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. Still processing but hoping to get a post up soon on my thoughts regarding vulnerability and shame {the topic of her book}. Next up on the book shelf: The Man of Villa Tevere by Pilar Urbano and Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Steve just finished the former. It’s a biography about St. Josemaria Escriva. He said it was one of the best books he’s read in a while so it’s made its way to the top of my stack of to-reads. The latter is Rubin’s latest about developing good habits in our lives and how to do that well. I’ve enjoyed her books, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. She has some great insight into having a positive outlook on life and living one’s life intentionally. Stay tuned for a review of her latest.

Thinking and Thinking: About how quickly this summer is passing us by!

Pondering: 

“Anyone who can casually discuss tearing children to shreds while having lunch and a good cabernet is a victim of the father of lies. Anyone who thinks that divvying up murdered bodies does “a little bit of extra good” is a captive subject of the dictatorship of relativism. This video reminds me that anyone who traffics in abortion loses a vital and beautiful spark of humanity. Evil coarsens us and deadens us—robs us of the freedom life offers.”

“This week’s video put a human face on the power of the culture of death. Let us pray for those who promote and support the abortion industry. Let us pray that they might experience conversion. Let us pray that they might know mercy and freedom. Let us pray that through Jesus Christ, who came to the world as an unborn child, every abortionist might rediscover the dignity, the joy, and the beauty of humanity.”

Great thoughts by Bishop James Conley reminding us of the power and importance of prayer for those who are ensnared by the Culture of Death so prevalent in our society. Let us pray for their release from the darkness.

bubble

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: The warm days have us running outside first thing in the morning for some fresh air. There is a slowness to the mornings which I’m really savoring. I usually try to get a few things done in the garden while they bike and dig in the dirt. Bubbles and sidewalk chalk usually make an appearance too.

Creating By Hand: I bought some yarn for a project that will be a gift this Fall. I haven’t done any knitting projects since last winter. It’s kind of a seasonal habit for me. Time to start thinking of warmer clothes and cooler seasons.

leaf

Learning Lessons In: Parenting an extrovert. Until our sweet Lucie came along, we were a family of introverts. 😉 She has such a strong need for interaction with others that goes beyond my comfort zone, BUT is so good for me. There are so many people we end up chatting with that we otherwise would probably have walked past because she reaches out to all that pass her by. Her need for exploration is strong, so I have to be extra vigilant about dangers to her, but I love watching her venture out. Her exuberance is a delight…and a challenge all in one! 🙂

Encouraging Learning In: Puzzle making–Evey’s absolute favorite pastime. We’ve graduated to 24 piece puzzles without a guide board and she’s fantastic at them. These petit puzzles by Petit Collage are her favorites. {And at $5 each, the price is right!} We also enjoy their floor puzzles and colorful alphabet flash cards.

farmers market haul

Crafting in the Kitchen: Weekly trips to the Farmers’ Market has yielded us an array of fresh produce to work with in the kitchen. I love supporting local farmers and enjoying such rich, flavorful food. We’re in peach and nectarine season currently. It’s been difficult holding onto enough for a pie or cobbler as the girls and I just want to munch them all up at lunchtime every day. Salads have been frequent here too as the warm weather is a strong deterrent for turning on any heat source in the kitchen. Our neighbor produces a wonderfully peppery arugula we purchase frequently.

To Be Fit and Happy: I managed two days of Barre3 last week. Hoping for three this week. There is a noticeable improvement to my energy and mental clarity on the days I dust off the cobwebs and get moving for even just 15 minutes. Gotta stay motivated.

fort!

Loving the Moments: Family time on the weekends. Our ability to indulge in time together has increased tenfold since Steve completed his Masters program, and I couldn’t be more grateful. {Love language–quality time–may have something to do with this.} This past weekend, Steve and I spent Saturday morning working on a project for a new business endeavor he’s attempting. Then, the afternoon with Uncle Eric and Aunt Lindy swimming and enjoying dinner together. {So fun to have them closer now!} Sunday morning, we went to the State Fair in Sacramento. We enjoyed taking in a few exhibits before the sun began scorching us. Steve got a perfect hat for the hot weather that he’s been searching for for some time now. Evey and Lucie enjoyed visiting Smokey’s Safety area and learning all about fire safety. The rabbit, guinea pig, and fowl exhibit was a huge hit and we made it out without any fingers getting munched. And the kids’ play area with larger-than-life blocks was hard to pull them away from. Steve and I each enjoyed a beer at the craft brewery pavilion and meandered through the county exhibits while the girls slept in the stroller, gaining new ideas for places to explore nearby. Church and Sunday dinner together were a perfect ending to the {too short} weekend.

smokey the bear

smokey the bear

Evey fire truck

 

naptime explorations

Living the Liturgy: We are currently celebrating “Ordinary Time” in the Church’s calendar. I love this post by Laura Fanucci on 3 simple ways to celebrate Ordinary Time. Celebrating the hidden holiness of daily life. Summertime is a great time to just relax into the every day. Love it.

Planning for the Week Ahead: Cleaning and errands are the biggest things on the to-do list this week. {And that’s plenty!} We’re hoping to hit up Wee One Wednesdays in Roseville tomorrow. Storytime, art projects, and splash pad fun — all great things for some mid-week fun!

 

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Gathering My Thoughts : Summer Rhythm {And Answer Me This!}

Putting some thoughts to “paper” as we embark on a new week. {Inspired by Elizabeth Foss….}

Outside my window: Heat. We’ve had some scorchers past one hundred degrees the past few days, our first heat wave of the summer. We’ve been a little spoiled so far so I’m worried we’re in for it come July.

running

Listening To: French Cafe radio on Pandora. I love the rhythm of the sweet love songs. I keep thinking of brushing up on French. This is helping to inspire me.

Notre Dame at dusk

Clothing Myself In: Tank tops and shorts. This is my ‘mom uniform’ of the summer. Sometimes I exchange the shorts for a skirt, but easy to don and easy to move in are essentials for me of my summer wardrobe chasing two toddlers around.

DSC_0051

Talking With My Children About These Books: We’re a little stale with books this week as we missed our trip to the library. Same as last week. Although I’m looking forward to picking up Train Song, recommended by a friend last week that just came in at the library. Just need to get out there and pick it up!

sisters-reading

In My Own Reading: I finished Marie Kondo’s, The Magic Art of Tidying Up, this week. Still thinking over her method and how I will incorporate any of it in my own household. I like her notion of throwing out things that do not inspire joy. It reminds me a lot of William Morris’ : “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” which I really appreciate and try to live. I certainly have some work to do in my home regarding purging but I just don’t think I will end up with things as sparse as she suggests. I’m also not into the animistic view she has regarding objects–thanking them for their assistance to you or greeting them. I am appreciative of the gifts God has given me but they come from Him, they are not living beings to be interacted with.
It was my ‘book that was originally written in a different language’ for Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Reading Challenge, as it was originally done in Japanese. Not sure which topic I will pick up next but I’m enjoying working through this list. It’s getting me outside of my comfort zone a bit in my reading topics.

kitchen-sink-window

Thinking and Thinking: Of Friday’s decision by the Supreme Court on the issue of ‘same-sex marriage’. Here are a few thoughts that I had which I posted on a Facebook group today:

Yes, it is certainly a moral issue, but what occurred yesterday is more disturbing because of its political ramifications. The justices of the Supreme Court whose very job it is is to uphold the Constitution decided to blatantly dismiss it and acquiesce to the demands of the LGBT community on the basis that it was something they “wanted”. The States have voted AGAINST this time and again, and our justices decided to override the voice of the people. This is not how our government was established. I think it certainly paves the way for further abuses of power. I pray this can get sorted out. 

And I am most certainly praying for the CHANGE OF HEART amongst those in our country who are indifferent to this issue because this is very damaging too. I believe the majority of Americans are against it, but too much into this false understanding of “tolerance” to stand up for what they really believe in and are allowing themselves and true ‘rights’ to be trampled upon. If those who were against same-sex ‘marriage’ were as convicted those who are, I think this would die. {Justice Kennedy is an excellent example of this — read his Decision if you haven’t yet.}

Praying for our country and our children.

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Pondering: There is no greater force against evil in the world than the love of a man and woman in marriage. After the Holy Eucharist, it has a power beyond anything that we can imagine. ~ Cardinal Raymond Burke

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: I’ve been working hard to get our yard cleaned up and our garden growing, so we head out most mornings immediately after breakfast to take care of things before it heats up too much. Chores are done and errands run in the morning too. Usually that is followed by Lucie’s nap, Evey’s nap, lunch, and hanging out inside in the afternoon reading, watching a show or two or crafting. It’s a good rhythm for warm summer days.

spring-showers

Creating By Hand: Bouquets of flowers. I love fresh flowers scattered throughout the house so Evey has been helping me pick out bouquets {until our cut garden blooms!} at the grocery or farmers’ market that we bring home and throw together in vases. My mom puts together the bouquets at her parish and I’ve learned a few things from her about arranging so I’m trying to put that knowledge to good use adorning my house with beautiful arrangements.

flower-arrangement

Learning Lessons In: Stepping back from overanalyzing and more doing, talking….

sitting-at-the-park

Encouraging Learning In: ABCs — Evelyn is jumping into learning her alphabet organically. We picked up Chicka Chicka Boom Boom at the library recently. I hear her attempting to ‘read’ it herself. She tries to memorize most of the books we read repeatedly. This is working well with an ABC book as it is helping her memorize them without much effort. She also likes to do a Winnie the Pooh ABC tracing game on Daddy’s iPad so is also learning how to make them. I’m thinking of doing some more direct learning of how to write them with her. Perhaps while Lucie is napping.

chalk painting alphabet

Crafting in the Kitchen: I hadn’t been baking much lately but this week Evey and I made banana bread muffins {we added shredded coconut and pecans} which were just the perfect breakfast addition for a couple mornings and an enormous pink birthday cake for Lucie’s birthday. Ever since the calendar flipped to June and Evey spied Lucie’s birthday on the calendar, she’s been talking about making a ‘pink cake’ for Lucie’s birthday. It just so happens that Lucie is in love with strawberries so I sought out a cake that would meet both criteria. This one from Smitten Kitchen fit the bill but it was the most decadent cake I’ve had in a long time. It was like a strawberry pound cake, adorned with the sweetest cream cheese frosting. We enjoyed every bite {and we still are!}. Hopefully, more baking this coming week….

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To Be Fit and Happy: I fell off the Barre3 bandwagon when I caught a cold earlier this month, but I’m going to try to take up some more physical activity this week. I have been working hard to clear the garden of weeds so there has certainly been some physical activity this week that has left me nice and sore. Evey keeps reminding me I need to exercise so that will help get me back on track. 😉

running-at-the-beach

Loving the Moments: My girls have been very affectionate this week. I’m loving the moments were we just sit together and enjoy each other’s company. Lucie throws out kisses every time she hears a loved one mentioned, or even spontaneously. It is just the sweetest thing. Evey, who tends to be always on the go, is actually pausing to sit with me and just be. Loving this too.

at-the-park-dancing

Living the Liturgy: We had grand plans to do some sort of bonfire for the feast of St. John the Baptist this week but it didn’t happen. {Mostly due to the fact it was scorching hot outside already and we didn’t want to contribute to the heat.} We celebrated St. Josemaria’s feast with dinner out and a date night for my husband and I. He’s a great friend of ours and a big influence on our relationship. {We even had the opportunity to visit his resting place in Rome and attend Mass there on our honeymoon.}

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Planning for the Week Ahead: Fourth of July is on the horizon. Evey is into the red, white and blue and American flag so she’ll be helping me do some decorating this week. {Stars and stripes forever!} 😉 Also looking forward to seeing Steve’s family’s newly renovated cabin and helping them get moved in this week!

 

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Answer Me This! with Catholic All Year

This week’s installment of questions:

new-home

1. How long have you lived in your current home? We’ve owned our home for a little over two years now. I’m still working to make the house ‘our home’ as we’ve been distracted with several things over the past couple years, but finally making some headway painting and creating the yard we want.

2. How do you find out about news and current events? My husband. 🙂 He is much more up-to-date on what is happening the world than I am most of the time. I find out many things through Facebook, but if I want to know the world beyond what is reported there, he’s my ‘go-to’ source.

3. Would you be able to make change for a twenty right now? For a dollar? Nope. I’m rarely with cash these days. And I try to get coins out as quick as I can otherwise I have a hard time closing my wallet.

mussels

Muscles…or mussels. Get it? haha. Part of a paella dish, one of the best foods I’ve eaten–also on our honeymoon.

4. What’s the craziest food you’ve ever eaten? Frog legs? We had them in Spain on our honeymoon as my husband is more adventurous than me when it comes to food {although I tend to be pretty open to trying new things} and he ordered them. Not a fan.

5. Which of the commonly removed parts have you had removed? (tonsils, wisdom teeth, appendix, etc.) I had my adenoids removed when I was about 12. My wisdom teeth were removed along with four other adult teeth {canines} as I have the tiniest mouth on the planet and it just couldn’t accommodate eight entire adult teeth.

soccer-america

6. What’s your favorite sport to watch on TV? Soccer or American football. Although I would still rather watch these in person. I like being able to cheer LIVE.

Gathering My Thoughts: The Beginnings of Summer & Answer Me This

lucid-eating-corn

Outside my window: The heat of the summer and thoughts of making it outside to take a swim with the girls and Steve sometime this evening.

Listening To: The loud hum of the air conditioner. {Thank God for air conditioners!} Need to have it looked at before summer is in full swing. Although it may be too late…. Also, my daughters chatting and playing together. They adore each other and it makes my heart sing.

Clothing Myself In: Pjs still. There is a trend on Mondays that I just can’t break. We had a long weekend so my husband proclaimed it ‘pajama day’ so I’m only following orders, anyway. 😉

target-shoppers

Talking With My Children About These Books: Evey is on a birthday literature kick. {Well, it’s not limited too literature. She wants to bake someone a ‘birthday cake’ every day and celebrate someone’s birthday. Little party animal, that one. ;)} We picked up Bears and a Birthday and Happy Birthday, Bunny! at the library on one of our recent trips and we read them daily and discuss making Lucie’s birthday cake next week. Apparently, it is going to be the flavor of ‘pink’ — no exceptions. We’re also still making our way through books about trains. She really loves one called Locomotive. It is a beautiful non-fiction, Caldecott award book that is appropriate through late elementary school ages. Telling the story of a trip on the early railroad from the Midwest to California, she loves pointing out on the map at the front the spot that is Sacramento, where Daddy takes the choo-choo to work. We’re already working on our map skills at two-and-a-half!

In My Own Reading: These past two weeks have found me with my nose stuck in quite a few books. I finished Still Life, The Homegrown Preschooler, and A God in Ruins. I’m about to start The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’ve been waiting on it from the library for over four months. It’s a popular one and I’m looking forward to seeing if it’s all it’s hyped up to be. {And hoping that it has a profound impact on my house making too. ;)}

Thinking and Thinking: Trying to determine where God wants us to be as a family. Now that Steve has finished his Masters program, he’s trying to figure out where to go on with his career. But that also means the possibility of us moving to another location. It’s difficult discernment. Say a prayer for us, will you?

steve-and-laurel

Pondering: “A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.” – Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator 

Keeping light-heartedness alive in my life….

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: Last week was hard with the girls and I sick with colds. We’re still recovering this week but I’m hoping to get back a bit to our daily schedule. Although, there are a lot of activities outside the house happening this week so we’ll see how successful we are in this.

Creating By Hand: Mostly dreaming, but really determined to get out my machine, at least by the weekend, and get some baby blankets and knit jersey dresses stitched.

yummy-pizza

Learning Lessons In: Patience. I’m running a little thin with it lately. Learning to take time for self-care makes this a much easier task.

Encouraging Learning In: Summer enjoyment. 🙂 I want the girls to remember summers as times of {mostly} family fun and relaxation. Of course, we have chores and such that never go away, but it is important to slow down and savor this season a bit.

Crafting in the Kitchen: I want to bake…but I don’t want to turn the blasted, hot oven on. Oh, the conundrum. I have a trio of well-ripened bananas on my counter begging to be made into banana bread. Perhaps an early morning baking session is in the near future.

getting-on-up

To Be Fit and Happy: I signed up for the Barre3 classes online and even started one of the programs to help keep me on track. But: sickness. It seems like every time I start to make progress in getting active again, sickness rears its ugly head and sets me back again. I have been getting out the garden and putting in a good workout with the removal of that ugly Bermuda grass, so at least there’s that.

Loving the Moments: Very proud of my brother-in-law who graduated from the Dugoni School of Dentistry at UOP. Steve and I were able to have a little “vacation” while my parents watched the girls and we attended all the festivity over the weekend. I’ll have to share a post of the revelry sometime this week. Without babes in arms, I was able to take quite a few photos. {You’ve been warned! ;)}

dental-school-graduation

Living the Liturgy: We thought about and had the intention of doing the Enthronement to the Sacred Heart together as a family on the feast day. But it came and went. {I did write up a nice, little post about devotion to the Sacred Heart, if you care to take a look.} We’re not going to give up, though. Hopefully, sometime this week it will happen.

Planning for the Week Ahead: Much on the calendar this week. I’m going to attempt to keep quiet moments for us as a family even as we forge ahead through the week’s activities. It’s essential to our well-being, collectively and individually.

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Also, joining up with Kendra for her summertime series — Answer Me This — where you get to know us bloggers a little better through a series of fun, random questions that she posts each week for us to answer. This week’s:

1. Any big plan’s for the summer? We’ve taken our two big trips of the year {New York and Los Angeles} so we’ll be hanging close to home for the summer. We’re hoping for a weekend camping trip to the coast, a day trip to San Francisco, and some time at the family cabin in Serene Lakes.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child? I really can’t think of anything for this. Perhaps I am too much of a realist?

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride) I’m not a big fan of amusement park rides but I did enjoy the Medusa at Six Flags quite a bit in high school. Not sure how I would fare on it as an adult. {I seem to get motion sickness on swings now. No bueno.} I do enjoy the Ferris Wheel and Carousel, so we’ll go with those. 😉

4. What’s on your summer reading list? I’ve always got a stack of books a mile high so I’ll try to narrow it down to priorities. 😉 The one I mentioned above — The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up — is next on the list. Then, Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation by Alexandra Horowitz and, hopefully, some writing and copywriting books to help me step up my game.

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public? On a park bench in Swansea, Wales. That was glorious. Also on public transit a few times, but I don’t know if that counts. I think most people do at some point if they ride it.

6. What is your favorite smell? Lavender and red, ripe strawberries.

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