Saturday, March 29, 2014

Too Silly Sisters Giveaway!

My friend Lori is having a giveaway at her blog. Check out her adorable necklaces!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

First Holy Communion

I'm a couple months late on this post, but better late than never!

After jumping through hoops because of new guidelines in our diocese requiring children to have two years of parish sponsored religious education in order to make their First Communion, I finally found a priest (outside of our diocese) who was able to give A7 his First Communion at the extraordinary form of the Mass. A7 was so excited! My one regret from that day was that I didn't get a picture of A7 actually receiving his First Communion. In fact, I didn't even get one of him with the priest or in the church :( Everything went by so fast, there wasn't really time for pictures. Before mass the Father interviewed A7 to make sure he was well prepared. God must have given him extra graces that day, because I am still surprised he was able to answer most of the questions Father asked him. Father told us to sit in the front row during mass, which was nerve racking because our family probably had the noisiest kids in the church, right in the front row for everyone to see. Also, we don't attend Latin Mass as often as we should and this parish didn't have the helpful red booklets to know when to sit and stand like they have at our local Latin Mass parish. Once again, through the grace of God, we thought it would be a good idea to attend Latin Mass for several Sundays before A7's First Communion. That gave us just enough knowledge of the extraordinary form to make it through A7's First Communion Mass without looking foolish. Of course A7 was so nervous after the interview with Father that he didn't make a peep the entire mass. We had a lot of family waiting outside, and after mass A7 and I had to meet with the priest so he could get all of A7's information to make sure it got sent to the parish where he was baptized. After the baby is born we'll try to take a trip back to that parish and take a few pictures, just so I can remember what the church looked like for A7's special day.

Although I didn't get pictures at the church, I made up for it by taking WAY too many of the cake. It was an interesting experience making the cake. I don't know why I got the idea into my head that A7 needed a special homemade cake for this occasion. K advised me to just buy something from the bakery. Sometimes he knows me better than I know myself and usually gives me pretty good advice. Maybe I should learn to listen to him...

I scoured quite a few blogs looking for cake ideas, and ended up combining ideas from several different blogs. I got the most inspiration from this blog. J12 made marshmallow fondant for the cake, which is what the grapes and bread are made of. K and I went grocery shopping and left B4 and J12 in the kitchen while we were gone. The recipe makes it sound. so. easy. Judging from the look of the kitchen and J12's hands when we got home, I would actually say that making it is a messy, sticky process. Eventually the fondant got to the right consistency, and after that it was really fun to work with. But it took a LOT of kneading to get it that way. And if we didn't have enough Crisco on our hands while we were kneading the gooey mess, it was a completely lost cause. But it was fun. And memorable.

Here's a picture of the cake in different lighting, just to show that the end result wasn't greasy and shiny looking.

The candy melt was ordered off Amazon. I saw it here and it looked easy, so I decided to give it a try. It WAS easy! Next time, forget the cake, I'm just making candies for everyone. Solid colors of course, to keep things simple since I'm quite challenged in the kitchen.

The boys also made cookies. I got the cookie idea here, just because it also looked easy. It was easy, and A7 enjoyed decorating them.

After the cake was made, K and I thought it needed to say something. I was tempted to just leave it as it was so I wouldn't mess it up, but that just wouldn't be as special. So with a nervous, shaky hand I wrote, hoping I wouldn't ruin the entire cake. I guess it turned out okay. I just used store bought icing, added a few drops of blue food coloring, and put it in a ziplock bag and cut a small hole.

I used the leftover icing to decorate the waffles in the morning (Yes, another idea from a blog-Sorry, I'm not very creative and can't come up with anything on my own, but my kids still think it's fun, and that's what matters!) We also had cranberry-orange juice (Now that IS my own idea. Ever tried it? It's yummy! It's the only kind of juice I'll drink.)

After A7's First Communion Mass, my mother-in-law was kind enough to open up her home for a small reception. I emailed her this punch recipe, leaving out the almond extract since B4 is allergic. We also halved the recipe. It makes a lot!

It was a great day! We are all so thankful that A7 is able to start receiving Holy Communion!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Straw Bale Workshop

Between baseball season, pregnancy fatigue, homeschooling, and home building, I'm obviously far behind on my posts. Not that I have any rule on how often I have to post on here. But anyway, I'm going to gradually try to catch up, at least with my pictures (because pictures are easy). Anyway, a couple of months ago K took the boys to a workshop to learn how to build a straw bale house. This is something we had researched a lot and were seriously considering for our own house, but I was still a little nervous about the whole idea, not knowing what we would be getting ourselves into. So when I found out about the workshop, I signed up K and the boys so they could learn hands on what it would be like to build a straw bale house and then K and I would have more information to make a decision about whether or not we want to build our house with straw bales. After attending the workshop we decided that we need more time to plan for that type of construction. We would need to be very careful about choosing high quality straw, and locating the straw could turn out to be quite time consuming. We also live in a county that requires building permits, so we would have to get some sort of engineering plan to meet building codes. And finally, although it may not be completely necessary, we don't have a tractor or any tools. When you're building a house with cash, money disappears. Fast. Time is also an issue. We have to figure out some sort of house for us to live in since we can't live in an apartment for the rest of our lives. It takes a lot of time to build your own house, and K does have a 40+ hr./wk. job. He also committed to assistant coaching A7's baseball team this season, and goes to J12's games as well, so time is scarce. Straw bale construction is definitely something we will consider doing in the future though, because straw bale homes are gorgeous and have numerous benefits (if they are properly constructed). Anyway, regardless of whether or not we ever decide to build with straw bales, I'm glad they got to have the experience of building a straw bale house. It was very fun and memorable for K and the boys. They learned a lot of new things, met interesting people, ate good food, and had the “fun” of tent camping for an entire week! They brought home several ticks, and I even had a scare with A7 thinking that he had a tick borne illness since they removed several ticks from him while camping. A week or so after they got home, he started vomiting and having other symptoms associated with various tick diseases, so I took him to the doctor and had them take his blood...just to be safe. Fortunately, I think he just had the stomach flu.

Here are a few pictures that were taken from the workshop.

Before doing any work, they spent several hours in "class" learning techniques and about the construction process. The blue tarp is covering the straw bales to prevent them from getting wet. Wet straw is very, very bad and can lead to mold. Fortunately, it rained the first night they were there and after that the weather was beautiful the entire week!

This is where the first layer of straw bales will be placed. The nails are there to keep the straw from moving around. I believe the rocks have something to do with moisture prevention, but I don't completely remember how it works.

They decided to move all of the bales into the house so they would be at an arms reach while they were building the walls. There's J12 on the left, carrying a bale.

They set A7 up with a hammer, nails and wood. He loves that kind of thing! Definitely my kinesthetic learner!

My awesome husband!

This is the house after most of the bales are in place. Looking good!

I don't know what to call it, but these little wall cut-outs look really neat when the house is complete. They're basically a little built in shelf that you can put things on, like a sculpture or vase.

The house with windows.

The interior.

Here's K plastering an exterior wall.

They didn't complete the house at the workshop. They finished the straw and some of the plastering, but the homeowners had a lot of plastering left to do themselves. Apparently the plastering is very time consuming, but it looks so beautiful when it is all finished. I can't wait to see the "after" pictures!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Grammar Nazi

I actually AM a grammar Nazi (just ask my husband who carefully checks his emails before sending them to me), but this is still hilarious. Thanks Leila, for sharing!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gemma Marie

We buried her in December, but I just got the pictures downloaded from K's phone. They're so sad. Her box is so big...