Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kari's Birthday

“The death of a beloved is an amputation.” ― C.S. LewisA Grief Observed
 Today, my brother's sweet wife, Kari, would have been 28 years old. She left this world very young. Please offer a prayer for the repose of her soul and for the peace and comfort of the family she left behind, especially my brother and her parents, brother and niece. Grief is a process, a journey. It's not over in a day. It comes and goes. You want the world to just stop while you deal with it, but life always goes on.
“For in grief nothing "stays put." One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?
But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?
How often -- will it be for always? -- how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, "I never realized my loss till this moment"? The same leg is cut off time after time.” ― C.S. LewisA Grief Observed
“I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.” ― C.S. LewisA Grief Observed
We have decided to honor Kari's memory with a donation to the Education Fund of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (and also with a Mass). We plan for this to be a yearly gift. Kari was a teacher, a Texas girl through and through and she loved flowers. It's just a small little thing, this gift of ours, but I hope it will help us remember her in the years to come and what a gift she was to my brother and this world even though she was only here for a short while.
“I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they'll 'say something about it' or not. I hate if they do, and if they don't.” ― C.S. LewisA Grief Observed
“Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything."
― C.S. LewisA Grief Observed

Eternal rest, grant unto her O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon her.
May her soul and all the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

WWRW: Convert stuff

I haven't participated in this link up in a while because frankly, I wasn't really reading much. I was doing a lot of embroidery and sewing of dolls and I was watching a lot of old, junk TV. I can now say that after hours and hours of research… I much prefer the Angel series over Buffy… don't judge! In my defense, my husband was in training classes for two weeks… in Seattle! TWO WEEKS! That's a long time! Ok, those of you who have husbands in the military can laugh at me. I'm a wimp, I know.

But he's been back for a while now and other than doing some spring cleaning and wardrobe refreshing for the kids, I really had no good reason not to pick back up with some reading. 

Since I still find that it's easier to read using the Kindle app on my phone and I saw that Jen at Conversion Diary was offering a free ebook to go along with pre-ordering her new book, I thought this was a good way to begin again. The download comes in pdf form but if you are like me and you want to read it in Kindle form (meaning you can change font style and size), you can email it to your Kindle (you'll have to find your specific Kindle email address over at Amazon) with "convert" in the subject line and it will arrive in your Kindle library in Kindle form. Isn't that cool? And the irony wasn't lost on me. I had to convert Jen's book..."Convert" ---> Conversion Diary. Tee hee hee. I am easily amused. Hah!

I will have more to say about this little .pdf gem in a future post. There are so many thoughts swirling around in my brain, I need time to sort them all out and this week is too jam packed to do that. Let me just say that this was an enlightening work. Like lightbulb moment epiphany. Like jaw dropping, smack your head kind of epiphany. (OK, maybe that's a little hyperbolic, but I don't think Jen will mind being prone to hyperbole herself.) It explained a lot. It encouraged a ton. It really helped me look at things from a completely different perspective that I don't know I would have ever seen without Jen's guidance. What I enjoyed most about it was the practical "action" items for those who were interested in that (you know, actually putting one foot in front of the other to get something done) and the practical, common sense approach to everything else for those of us just looking for some inspiration and insight. I really felt like for the first time since reading Jen's blog that I had something in common with her, something I could relate to (that common sense practicality), that I was learning more about her thought processes and even her real self. (I'm not saying she puts on an act or anything but you know how a blog is only a small glimpse…SEE… too many swirly whirly thoughts…blah.) Suffice it to say that it perfectly whet my appetite for her book coming out soon. I'm even more interested in reading her story than I was before.

Head over to Housewife Spice for more reading inspiration.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Catching up… on a Tuesday!

Pssssttttt… I am still closing the Etsy shop down for Holy Week and Easter Week, but I'm giving it a couple of extra days to stay open than what I originally thought I would. There are still two dolls and three kits available. I can get any of those items to you in the mail the day after you purchase them. So, if you're still looking for an Easter Basket idea you've got just a couple of extra days to do it. I will put the shop in vacation mode on Friday morning.

I've been catching up on some work I've needed to do here at home so it feels like I've been a little AWOL. I've been using the 7QT link up as a chance to kind of catch up on what's been going on, but here it is a Tuesday and I feel inclined to just chat.

We have another book club meeting coming up on Friday. It seems like a shorter time between this one and the last one because the last one was pushed back by a week. This month's book selection is The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley. I've got some simple, but fun activities planned. After reading the book, I just knew that I wanted a pail of hazelnuts on the table for decoration.
I called around and found out that hazelnuts, while always available up at the gourmet grocery store, are kind of expensive! I don't collect dues from the families who participate in our club, so everything I provide comes from a basic budget that I set in my mind. What do you do when hazelnuts threaten to break that budget?
Fill your pail with rice and only a shallow layer of hazelnuts on top. These kind of little things make me giddy. Weird. I know. You can breathe easy now that you know too. :)

Oh, something else I forgot to post about before… April Fool's Day. We usually try to play some kind of food prank on the kids. This year, I was sidelined with a strained muscle in my shoulder and just couldn't do anything creative. I know they were disappointed but I told them that I reserve the right to surprise them with a food prank at anytime in the coming months, when they least expect it! Mwah hah hah!!! On your guard, kids. You've been fairly warned.
The kids had fun playing some pranks though. Shortcake switched not only the kitchen drawers around, but all the cabinets too. So you thought you were grabbing a mug and got a plate instead. BigBoy changed the computer's and the iPad's wallpaper to a picture of himself blowing a raspberry with a caption that said, "April Fools!" Sunshine knitted these tiny little Adipose dolls (Doctor Who reference) and hid one for everyone to find (purses, sock drawer, school cubby). "The fat just walks away…" What is she trying to tell us? ;)

In other news, BigBoy got some braces put on his top teeth to help correct a pretty massive overbite situation. This is Phase One of his orthodontia treatment. He will get an expander in June for about 9 months and then Phase Two braces sometime when he's a teen. 
He was a little nervous before his appointment but very brave and gave me his best "evil grin" when we came back home and The Professor told him that he was now 0.02% cyborg (FoxTrot reference). 
Little Miss Cupcake is quite a handful these days as she asserts more and more of her strong will but we love her dearly. She is all fired up and ready for SUMMER! (She thinks spring is summer.) She insisted on wearing this little shrug I crocheted for Sunshine year ago to go along with one of her pretty new dresses. I think this one is her favorite from thredUP.

So, that's what's been going on over here. I'll be back later to post about the book club. I'm really excited about this one!


Friday, April 4, 2014

7QT: April 4, 2014

{affiliate link} thredUP… have you heard about it? Of course you have. Everyone is talking about it. It's like a really good quality secondhand store online. What's not to like? Well, my natural skeptical nature says "Plenty, I'm sure"! So, I looked and looked and couldn't find anything that I was even remotely interested in for myself, but I am a terrible shopper so don't be put off by that. Lots of lovely ladies have found great deals on beautiful outfits for themselves. I hate to shop for myself but I love to shop for the kiddos. Since the potty train will be pulling into our home station just as soon as it gets consistently warm, I decided to load up on beautiful summer dresses for Cupcake. (I find dresses are so much easier to potty train in. I just couldn't get my boys to wear any… that's why they took so long. KIDDING BOYS!!! :)

Anyway, still skeptical me was expecting to be disappointed but I am pleased to say that each of the dresses I ordered was precisely as it had been described with the exception of one. One of the dresses was a Gymboree summer dress that was listed in like new condition, but the elastic ruffled sleeves had obviously been stretched beyond belief (either that or the elastic was too cheap to hold up for regular wear and tear). When I tried it on Cupcake, the bodice hit just above her belly button. Being handy with a needle, I was able to fix them…just not my opinion of "LIKE NEW". Maybe it was a defect that was missed since they aren't likely actually trying these on real children during their evaluation process.

I have decided that when the time comes, I'm sending my daughter to Ireland to find husbands and get married because I want to see this happen in person one day…

Karen's post last week brought so much peace to my heart the other day. I can't stand people in the middle of the journey giving advice. I personally hate to give advice and feel very uncomfortable when asked "How did you homeschool your kids?" I'm not done yet! Not even with one of them, so don't ask me that right now. But people like Karen, Auntie Leila, even my own mother-in-law who have finished the course with at least one child are the ones who can look back and be a light, an inspiration to those of us still on the journey.  Go be inspired!
Now that I have a daughter in college and a high school senior who has taken classes,  I've seen some of the fruits of our relaxed homeschooling. I look back and recall the worries I had over the years, the ways in which I questioned myself, and wondered if what I was doing would work out.
So, here are some of the questions I used to panic wonder about, and the answers I've observed...

And speaking of Karen Edmisten… she alerted me to something my book budget really didn't need to know about. Amazon has Matchbooks {affiliate link}. What are Matchbooks, you ask? You can purchase a Kindle version of a physical book that you purchased from them for only $2.99 (or less if the Kindle price is normally less than that). So, for example, The Professor's Latin book {affiliate link} is a qualifying book that we purchased for him. Now, we can go get the Kindle version and he can just take his Kindle with him when we go to the orthodontist instead of lugging a big huge book. Awesome sauce!

It's spring in Texas and that means storm season. Fellow Tornado Alley residents, stay safe! Did you know there is a weather radio app for your phone? I'm trying to decide if we need to replace our old weather radio that died or if this will be enough. What do you think? We've already cleaned out the garage enough to be able to fit both cars in case of hail and cleaned out the master closet as a storm shelter. If you want to see some amazing photos of what a Texas spring storm looks like, check out this link.
Creepiest spam comment I've seen in a while…

I couldn't resist commenting. Well written!
Take a look at my homes page :: chainsaw reviews

Um… no. thank. you.

Trickiest spam comment I've seen in a while…

Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and
i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you
protect against it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?

I get so much lately it's driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

Visit my site:: Plantar Fasiitis Shoes (

So close, Tricksey Spammer. So close.

Playing along with Jennifer and the cool kids.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

FYI… Last day to enter the giveaway!

It's your last day to enter the giveaway below. The winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter tomorrow so be sure you've claimed your entries using the Rafflecopter widget. Have a good day!


Monday, March 31, 2014

A Pillow Doll Giveaway!

Apparently, I need better lighting when I embroider. Or glasses. Probably both now that I think about it. It wasn't until I was finishing this doll that I noticed I had accidentally grabbed the variegated red, not the solid color red. See how the left side of his cape is lighter than the right side? Don't worry if you can't. My color blind husband can't either, but I can. Since I don't feel like I can sell this one in the shop, I'm offering it here as a giveaway.
You can enter below using the Rafflecopter entry widget for a chance or multiple chances to win this little Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Paul II Pillow Doll. The giveaway closes Thursday night at 11:59pm so I can get the doll in the mail to the winner on Friday. 

If you don't want to wait until the giveaway closes, there is one JPII doll in the shop right now. I plan on putting the shop on vacation starting April 6th so, if you'd like to place an order for anything over there for Easter, please keep that deadline in mind. 


Friday, March 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes :: In (Mostly) Pictures


Our Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book club included lots of fun treats for the kids to make: Edible Teacups, Chocolate Spoons, Crazy Colored Mustaches, Fairy Wands, and Candy Sushi. Next time, we won't pick this book during Lent!

The Princess is not amused...


…until mama busts out the REAL paints. Watercolor pencils just don't cut it. 

We are beginning a new adventure with our teens… a monthly board game playing afternoon. First up was Lord of the Rings Risk. Huge success all around!

 I had a custom request come in that allowed me to get a little creative and try my hand at some new designs. The one on the far left is St. Genevieve, one of my first designs. Can you tell who the other two saints are?
Sadly, I have to admit that it wasn't until someone else requested St. Teresa of Avila that I actually made a St. Teresa of Avila. I had thought about making one but just hadn't gotten around to it. There is one already waiting to go in Cupcake's Easter basket. 

An IG friend mentioned that she thought she could make a coffee table book with pictures of ugly waiting room carpet. This is my contribution. It was at the orthodontist's office. Is it just me or do those look like tiny little teeth lined up in rows? Creepy. BTW…we LOVE our orthodontist! Just not his carpet. And with two already in braces, a third on the way and BigBoy starting Phase I of his treatment soon, we will be spending a lot of time trying not to count the creepy tiny teeth on the floor.

For those of you who might be interested, there are some new kits and dolls up in the shop. I'm going to be doing a giveaway next week and then I plan to put the shop "on vacation" starting April 6th through Easter. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy Feast of the Annunciation

Mary's "Fiat" was really a gift to us all. 

Here is a little gift for those who asked…
I added the most popular embroidery designs back to my Scribd account. These are some of the original designs I made. The new ones are not in any kind of publishing shape yet.

If you'd like to print them off and use them for yourself and your family without having to purchase a kit from my Etsy shop, please feel free to. I'm not charging a download fee or anything. I like sharing. All I ask is that they are only used for personal use and are not sold or distributed for profit in anyway. You may not sell anything that you create using these designs either. Please do not use the images for anything else besides embroidery patterns (or simple coloring pages) without my specific prior approval. And please do not upload them anywhere else on the internet or on any other kind of electronic device. Sorry to be so limiting, but I've had problems with my designs being stolen in the past and used without my permission. Thank you for understanding.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

{p,h,f,r} First Day of Spring edition


~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~ with the lovely ladies at Like Mother, Like Daughter



Sharing a fruit rainbow with your big brother and getting a card in the mail… it's the little things that can bring such joy.


My big girls dumped cups of water on our back porch just so their baby sister could splash in the puddles. She insisted that they splash too. Silly girls! Oh, I love them so.

Do you see that scowl on her face? I'd love to pretend that that's the face of a serious artist at work. Sadly, it's the face of a toddler firmly embracing her Terrible Two's grumping because mom didn't bust out the "real" paints for her rainbow but tried to get by with some water color pencils. Bad mom! Oh… and that piece of cheese. We call it "crabby cheese". You can guess why.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Please pray and give if you can...

There was tragic news in the Catholic blog/FB world yesterday about two little girls who died in a car accident. Olivia and Emma Lewis passed away after being Life-flighted from the accident scene in Wyoming to Salt Lake City. Their dad is a professor at Wyoming Catholic College and is also an alum of the University of Dallas. Today, the internet world is coming together to help this grieving family not just with prayers for their peace of mind and comfort, but with financial help to assist them in covering hospital bills and funeral costs. Please donate something if you can. It won't take away their pain, but it will ease some of their burden. If you can't, please commit to praying for this young family and the incredibly hard days to come.