Saturday, November 28, 2009

Putting My Best Foot Forward

Can't remember when it happened, or how it came to pass, but I'm not a big fan of Christmas. Aghast! I know!

There are several things I love about Christmas: the tree, the music, the cookies and the love and goodwill that can come from a complete stranger.

Then there are the things that bring me down. The commercialism, the wishes of "happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", the anxiety of getting all the gifts bought and wrapped, the added stress on a single income budget and etc..

Last year I believe I had an easier time with Christmas. Most likely because I was caught up in it being our first in VA in our new house. This year however, with it being our first without dad I'm trying to go into the season with my eyes wide open. Maybe if I go into it fully aware that it will be difficult and I need to focus on the true reason for the season all may just turn out well.

Mom is flying in December 22 and staying until January 4. I'm bound and determined to make this a wonderful Christmas for her and in order for that to happen I need to be in the right frame of mind.

Advent starts tomorrow. I already have the wreath on the table with candles ready to light. (Need to replace them with new ones, but they'll get us started.) After reading the blog of an online blogging friend, I'm going to use her ideas of incorporating the Jesse tree into the ornaments for our tree, and remember the saints who have feast days during Advent. As I did last year, I will celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas with a small gift for each of the kids and we'll read the story of St. Nick.

I expect there will be some days that will prove to be more difficult than others, but I'm going to put my best foot forward and make this a blessed Advent and Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Feeling Blue on Thanksgiving

Growing up my mom always did an awesome job hosting Thanksgiving. Even if we didn't have company for the day, she would decorate the table and make every last side dish you could imagine for dinner. I only remember one Thanksgiving dinner at an Aunt's house as a child, the rest were always at home.

When her and dad moved away to Florida, our family started having their own dinners at home with our kids. Now that Mike and I have moved so far away from family there really are no prospects of Thanksgiving dinner with family. The friends we have made here already do their own traditions. Last year was our first Thanksgiving in our new house and Mike's mom was here making it very special.

This is our first Thanksgiving without my dad, making this one even more difficult. Even though we most likely wouldn't have spent the day with him and mom in person, we still would have chatted on the phone. The chat most definitely would have included his story about how he dropped the turkey on the kitchen floor as a young man.

Mike has also decided to go into work for a few hours. This not only will help someone else have time with their family on the holiday, but hey, the extra money from the OT is nice before Christmas. Can't be upset with him for that, but it will make the day all the more lonely.

The other day I watched the Food Network. All their shows are on preparing Thanksgiving, from the food to the decorative table. Giving me every reason to feel inadequate in my abilities to prepare the same festive mood!

So, I have several reasons I'm feeling down this year for Thanksgiving. Guess I better spend some time in prayer on this one.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Is it worth the effort?

Hanging laundry on the clothes line? Am I saving money on the electric bill? I don't do every load, because my family really hates the towels when they've been hung on the line so I'm not really sure it helps to only do a few loads a week.

I have some friends back in New England that actually run clothes line in their basement and hang all their laundry all winter long there. They are completely convinced this is a benefit for one reason or another. Some conservationists think it is an essential way to "save the earth".

My brother-in-law is dead set against any laundry hanging out on the line. He thinks it makes your house look like a ghetto apartment. Now that we live out in the middle of no where without anyone driving by the house that isn't a real issue for me.

It does offer a schedule on the laundry chore. Instead of it being an interruption in the schedule of the day to stop and fold laundry when the dryer rings, the laundry gets hung first thing in the morning and taken down later in the day before dark.

Weigh in with your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Catching Up & A Thankful Woman

On the home front:
In our house in CT we had lots of books. I believe most home school families do. The shelves those books occupied however were really nothing to write home about. They were purchased on the cheap, as we needed, as we expanded. It was a real hodge podge of a mess. So, when Mike and I were planning the move we believed it was just crazy to spend the money on the movers to move the bookshelves that were really of low quality. Now that we've been in our new house just over a year, the only thing really left in boxes are the thousands of books that had no home.

Our family room is finally being used as it should be and one missing link to that room were the books on bookshelves. My wonderfully creative husband bought some materials and put together an awesome book shelf. He keeps reminding me he isn't a carpenter nor does he have proper tools for such projects, but I think he did a wonderful job!

Now I will have to get to work unpacking those boxes!

In the knitting bag:
The yarn shop Woolworks in Connecticut had a store wide sale this past weekend and the store owner, and good friend, Jen allowed me to partake. I replenished my always depleting sock yarn supply. Any of my knitting readers out there should definitely consider calling her up and placing an order, the variety of yarn and prices are spectacular. Have yet to find a shop that can compare anywhere. Here is what I got:

Have another pair of socks on the needles for my sister Laura to give as a Christmas gift. These will be in the mail to her by the end of the week.

Just a footnote to these socks (pardon the pun) if you've never worked with Comfort Sock yarn from Berocco, don't hesitate. It is sooo super soft and is a great price.

A Thankful Woman:

My list of 5 things for this week:
  • My husband's ability to hunt. His hobby of hunting provides our family with meat in our freezer and to feed our hungry bellies. (Wish my knitting had the same benefits.)
  • My knitting. It doesn't feed any hungry bellies, but I pray it shows my love to those who receive it.
  • My chickens. They give us an abundance of eggs and more hours, than I care to admit, of entertainment.
  • My belief in God. Not quite sure how people without this can function in their lives.
  • My love of baking and cooking meals for my family. This makes a huge part of my job that much easier.

Monday, November 16, 2009

5mart Martha Monday

Didn't do so well on last week's list. Actually considered skipping a week and not making a list, but here I go again. As my blogging friends have said you need to at least have a starting point and it is okay if you don't get to everything on the list.

This week's list:
  1. Finish the socks I'm making for my sister Laura to give as a Christmas gift, and get them into the mail.
  2. Continue making daily house keeping visits to the kid's bathroom. This really worked out well for me I didn't faint when I did the weekly cleaning.
  3. Investigate some new recipes for venison.
  4. Clean the shelf in the laundry room.
  5. Clean and organize the canned goods in the pantry.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Progress at Rock Climbing

The kids have been rock climbing several times and last week they started their home school rock climbing 6 week program. This week Haley finally made it to the top! I'm so proud she decided not to give up this time and the sense of accomplishment I read on her face was priceless. It's these little rare moments I thank God I've been given to enjoy as a stay-at-home mom.

Their instructors are teaching them little things about rock climbing. It's pretty cool! They don't just go in and climb, they learn different holds, how to tie a proper knot, and problem solving. The benefits to their self esteem and confidence are just a bonus.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Thankful Woman

My list of 5 things for this week:
  1. For my veteran husband. They were some difficult years, but I'm so proud to be married to a veteran.
  2. I'm thankful I'm an American. We live in an incredibly awesome country, I believe this with all my heart. Most likely the reason I spend more time than most people watching the news.
  3. My children! They are truly a blessing from God.
  4. I'm thankful to be a stay-at-home mom who is allowed the privilege of being my children's teacher.
  5. Last, but not least on the list, I'm thankful for my ability to multi task. This comes in handy when considering #4. LOL!

Monday, November 9, 2009

5mart Martha Monday

Was a little more productive with my list from last week. Didn't make it to Goodwill with dad's clothes and the ironing "pile" still didn't get tackled. The good news is the "pile" only has one shirt and a lot of cloth napkins so this could be why I'm not feeling pressured to get it done. Would like to have it gone from the floor of my closet is the real reason it will be on the list again this week.

Thanks to my on line blogger friends and their words of encouragement last week! The list can't rule my life only give me a starting point. I'm learning this, thanks to you!

This week's list:
  1. Bring the last bag of dad's clothes to Goodwill. (continued prayers please)
  2. Tackle the ironing "pile".
  3. Clean the shelf in the laundry room.
  4. Make daily house keeping trips into the kid's bathroom. So, when the weekly cleaning comes I don't feel like passing out from the sight of it.
  5. Write that pesky business letter I've been putting off.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Can Feel My Blood Boil!

I know we are told not to judge. Let me say that this is definitely something I struggle with and it is part of my daily prayers to correct this flaw in myself. However, this morning I can't help myself. To my defense if you're going to put yourself out in the public eye and take a political view on something you need to be subject to a little judgement and criticism. So allow me this indulgence because I just have to voice my opinion and frustration on a particular Catholic woman.

I'm so sorry! Just the sight of her sets me off! She claims to be a faithful Catholic, but her words, actions, and votes just don't portray it and I'm so frustrated! Am I alone out there on this view? Please come to my rescue and tell me how you feel. Tell me if I'm wrong, I can take it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Catching Up

On the home front:
Saturday! Mike is back at work. Most people get to really love the weekend, but with a husband whose work schedule is Saturday, Sunday, Monday 12 hour shifts, it really stinks. The poor guy doesn't even get the opportunity to go to church with his family! Next weekend he took off, to get some hunting in, and I'm so looking forward to it.

This past week the kids and I started doing school during the week, so we now have our weekends free. Mike and I decided that with the colder weather setting in this would be a better schedule. We most likely won't be doing any impromptu "field trips", and this would give Mike an opportunity to help with the school work load. Our first week went really well and I have to say although I was hesitant in the switch it feels good.

Last week we made some changes in the house I haven't updated you on. We finally have our family room set up in the downstairs. It's taken some getting used to and Mike still needs to make the book shelves, but it feels better to be utilizing our entire house. It is really nice to have an entirely new view of the yard.

In the knitting bag:
Finished the leg warmers I was making for Faith. (can't recall if I posted these yet) She may get to use them tonight for church, it is really cold today.

Finished making the socks for Haley. She chose this yarn back in March, but I'm making her wait until Christmas for them. (However, I'm thinking now I'll surprise her with them on Saint Nicolas Day.)

Took the afghan I started some time ago out of hibernation. This feels really good on my lap with the cold weather. However, it is too big to take out of the house so, I'm left finding something else to cast on for when my knitting goes with me. Most likely this will be a pair of socks.

On the side:
The kids started their rock climbing program. My kids have been rock climbing a few times now at a local place. I decided to contact the owner and see if he would be willing to put together a program for some home schooling kids. We have 11 kids doing a 6 week climbing program, and this was their first week. Everyone had a really great time and we are all looking forward to the weeks to come.

Monday, November 2, 2009

5mart Martha Monday

Well, from last week's list I didn't do anything. Hadn't realized it until this morning. Wow! This is why I hate making lists. If you don't get to the items on it you feel like a failure. Even though I didn't do the items on last week's list I was still very productive last week just in other ways. Also, there were extenuating circumstance why a couple of the items didn't get completed. I will not allow this to detour me! It's just a list! Right?

Thank you to Therese for the idea to create a list. Be sure to visit her blog.

This week's list:
  1. Iron the "pile".
  2. Work very closely with Jacob and Haley and their lesson plans for school work.
  3. Bring the bag of dad's clothes to Goodwill. (This is difficult on many levels. Prayers please!)
  4. Hang the dark clothes on the line. (Hopefully the weather co-operates this week.)
  5. Work on getting an earlier start in the mornings. (Don't be aghast by this. I am a person who loves to sleep. It is an inherited trait, and can't be helped.)
Lord, please help me to be more Martha like in my duties, and not be ruled by a list.