Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: The "A" String

Good morning friends!
I hope today finds you well....
Here's our Almost -  Wordless -  Wednesday!





After much anticipation, the boys began violin lessons this week....

They. Love. Their. Violins.

(Though each has already broken a string. Both "A's."  No more tuning against the piano! )  Here they are with their very kind and accommodating, very talented teacher. Now I want them to hurry up and learn  "Devil Went Down to Georgia!!" 


Thank you for stopping in.....  
I'm happy to link up for the Wordless Wednesday hops with:
Nancy at Do Small Thing with Love

Small Things


And Create With Joy

Wordless Wednesday


Have a  wonderful day! Until next time,



~Chris

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Memoir Monday: The View from Our Cabin


Welcome back friends, to Memoir Monday!

Here are memoir posts from previous weeks, 
if you'd like to click around:


Please link to the other bloggers who've contributed their memoirs as well. Their posts are rather inspirational.

Summer's less than six months away and my family's recently 
reserved our camping/vacation "spot" for this upcoming year ...I've gotten to thinking about our past years there and how vastly important those dear days, those dear summers, those dear memories have been.....yes,  because of our planning, I've been pondering. And also because of  one of  my replies to  Monique's 11 fun questions 

So I reflect on summer after summer after summer.....

2006
 
2006
                                           

The lake. Our lake.
          The lake that captures western sun and turns glassy waters pink like salmon as day draws dusky. That captures eastern sky with new day’s brightness, flourishing crystal waters as an orange never-used crayon. That dawns with possibility and newness. Each day, as if untouched.
          The lake that sees summertime memory making. Whose permanence is landscape to our memories. The backdrop for so little, yet so much:  Horse shoe clinks. Badminton swishes. Dock jumping. Fledging friendships begun over sand castle building. Catching first fish. Rowing first boats. Grilling quiet dinners.
          And yes, even the mosquito bites, the sunburns, the poison ivy, the late afternoon, sans-nap toddler, tantrum-ing and rife with wriggling, wet sandy bathing suit.

2011
For memories, like life, we find, even here in this perfect haven, are punctuated with the good, the bad. Those light, airy, happy and those etched with tinges of sadness or regret. Because our yesterday and our today are not all sunshine and unicorns.
          The lake that mirrors staggering old growth pines from island to shore. Alone. Unrippled. Undisturbed. Perfect. We dub it Tom Sawyer Island, our island in lake’s middle.
          And even in the weeds, beauty. Rooted dozens of feet below surface in muddy, silty lake bottom. Lily - pad clustered flowers. Delicate mauves and lucent yellows. Pinks, pastel and radiant. Greens, lush and lime-y. Radiance brimming as we approach and admire up close their inviting newness in screeching, clunky rowboat.  Nature’s decorations. These petals curving skyward. Giving homage it seems, to their creator.

2007
And the summer sounds, the-unnoticeable-elsewhere-yet-intensified-here soundtrack of the lake. Canoe and paddler rhythmically slicing glassy waters. A widening V disappearing, reappearing. Whose continuous beat, it seems, if set to metronome, would not falter.
          The insistent cicadas. Grabbing us, pressing into our consciousness, forcing us to notice. Throbbing. Louder, thicker. Their near hysteria, unremitting, garnishing our senses. An awakening to the ever presence of God’s creatures. Even the insects we deem unappealing. These creatures, at the lake, our lake.
2008
          And above, azure skies hold chunky, ragged-edged clouds of pure white. Sailing, racing almost. Casting silhouettes of pine, of birch, of long necked Canada geese ashore.
          Our lake is storybook. A storybook that is real. As real to us as deadlines, as commitments, as taxes, as ever present life, as eventual death.  And so, we create intermission in our lives, a schedule-less time out to touch this realness and live the lake’s story summer after summer.
          With those who matter most. Discovering what matters most.
2009
          Even on days not idyllic, not picture perfect. When storms threaten and drizzle lingers. Days whose dawns hold sticky grey-ness and a promise for dullness ahead. Whose afternoons hold a harsh word for which we eventually ask forgiveness or offer forgiveness. On these days too, even on these days, it is a place where eternity is glimpsed.
2012

          It is a place whose stories will be lived and relived in many times and many places: 
Southward on I -87 as we wind homeward the Saturday bookending our week. 

On a Tuesday evening two years from now after baseball practice, over an uneventful spicy chili and crusty Italian bread dinner. 

Over our Thanksgiving feast a half dozen years from now, pumpkin pie and simmering cider fragrances wafting throughout dining room.  

Or Christmas Eve a decade from now, tree adorned and Adirondack ornaments admired once again, as my boys settle into home after an autumn away at college. 

During tuxedo fittings where one son is groom and one, best man, two decades in the future. 

And perhaps as their own children, the same ages my boys are now, trick or treat together, flit around playgrounds together, perhaps even swim to our island or cast fishing lines together.

2010
          Our lake is the closest place to Heaven that there is on Earth.


How can you sponsor a child through Compassion International?
Wait til you see these adorable faces!

  
 




Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
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Until next time,

~Chris



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Saturday, February 23, 2013

~Honesty in Writing~





Hi there, on this dreary-outside-but-lovely-inside-end-of February afternoon!

Thanks to my dear friend, Denise, for posting this on her Facebook page:   I just love Anne Lamott's honesty about writing, don't you?  A tongue in cheek view on writing, but kinda true. 

I hope, my friends, that you are having a lovely, relaxing/productive weekend. We are heading out into the drenching rain to  Timmy's basketball game in just a little while. We're reading The Hobbit and  before we go, we're being drawn to one more chapter.....

Blogging friends, it will be Monday before you know it! Please consider linking to my Memoir Monday blog hop. I'd be honored  to have you join in.


Until next time,

~Chris


Friday, February 22, 2013

Artful Friday~ Mercy Crosses, Lenten Wreaths, Rosary Making, Music Lessons

                                               Good morning friends!


As you know, I've devoted blogging on Fridays to our endeavors 
within The Arts in our homeschool.
 This week, I've a few more Lenten projects, as well as progress in our music study.

If you'd like to read my  previous posts within The Arts,  I'm happy to 
re-share them here:
Everything You Need for a  Cezanne Study
The Arts in Our Homeschool This Week
 ( knitting, winter crafts, the theater and piano)
 Lenten, Valentine and Papal Crafts

We had a pretty busy and enjoyable week; nothing gets the creativity going like  a liturgical season! Here are a few more  artistic/spiritual endeavors within our Lenten study:

Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy Crosses

                    We began with simple foam cross cut outs as well as a package of  foam-y flower stickers. Easy and time saving during a busy week.   Both items obtained at The Dollar Tree.  Love The Dollar Tree, don't you? 
                                              

The kids glued a cross on each of two  pieces of pastel card stock. 
They then  wrote key words  from the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, after an in depth discussion of ways that, as a family, we could endeavor to accomplish as many of  the Works as possible during Lent. And of course, during Ordinary Time as well.
 There's a great explanation of the Works of Mercy at this site. 
Every time they/we accomplish a Work of Mercy,
 they'll stick a flower on the cross;
 by Easter, hopefully, the crosses will be covered!

Not an artistically challenging project for either of my kids, as they are 10 and almost 13, BUT the faith and  the service meaning behind the project is, of course of utmost import and will serve as a tangible  and visual reminder of living the way of the Cross this season.

                                                                       ~Creating~

                                                             
            The finished crosses. 
                   A bowl of stick-on flowers, below, on a table.

Lenten Wreaths




Here's a  simple, no -frills but extremely lovely decoration to remind and instill  
in us all to 
"PRAY, FAST, GIVE ALMS" 
which I found at A Blessed Journey.
Above, are the items needed to create the wreath.
 Again, all were purchased at The Dollar Tree. 
As you can see, you start with a
simple wreath (about 10 inches in diameter), purple ribbon
 (  I picked up dark and light  shades for my kids to choose.) and purple card stock.

About to wrap the ribbon around wreath:

Adding letters to the card stock "mini banners."
I love the "Sticko" brand. 
And here, affixing the card stock "mini banners" so they 
hang from the center.



                                       
                                Here's T's wreath hanging from the den doors:
                          He decided after all, that he didn't want the ribbon on the wreath.
                              K just did not get to work on his as of yet.....perhaps today!



                                     
And here's K's lovely wreath:



                                 

Rosary Kits
My kids literally collect rosary beads. They have a thing for rosaries, seriously. Some go in backpacks on trips; a couple stay in a pouch in the car; some have special origins
 ( communion gifts, etc) and stay tucked away in memory boxes when not being being used. They even have glow-in-the-dark rosaries for the tent, when we camp, too.

Despite the abundance,  this liturgical season, I wanted to make  rosaries with the boys while we read scripture and just talked about our Lenten "progress."

There are so many lovely spots on the web from which to purchase kids'  rosary making kits. So many.  I choose this one because of my family's special affinity for  Our Lady of Guadalupe and the fact that this particular site features easy to make OLG kits.
 The home  schooling mom  who runs the business was lovely as well. We had a long chat a few weeks ago when I called to order the kits.

K created this absolutely beautiful OLG rosary:  The variety of colors for the heart beads represents St Juan Diego's Aztec nation.




And here is a beautiful diagram he made, just for fun,  which explains the rosary:


Shown here, is a beautiful set, which was my Mom's. K took the picture, then digitally described  the prayers.  Isn't it well done?


  T, meanwhile, made the St Benedict rosary: The black heart beads represent the habit of the "Black Monks" of St Benedict's rule. Legend has it that when St Benedict made the sign of the cross over a poisoned goblet of wine, the goblet shattered. The purple heats of the third decade are symbolic of the wine and  this miracle.

                                                       



Even though it was not Our Lady's feast day,  we  read the Tomie dePaola classic on Our Lady while making the rosaries. Couldn't resist.

By the way, do you know this book? We used this constantly when my kids were younger. It gives a decade by decade, mystery by mystery explanation in graphic novel format, really grabbing the kids.

                                                              


Not Lenten related, but "art"-related:
Piano study

As for our family piano study, there are  a variety of resources I'm using to  teach the the kids, which I link  here.  and here. ENJOY!

                           


Thank you very much for  stopping in, friends, to share out work and fun in "The Arts" this week!

If you are looking for papal resources/crafts, here's a post I wrote with a few ideas.

Have a lovely weekend....

Until next time,

~Chris




Subscribing Issues~

Good evening friends!

Feedburner has been awfully difficult of late with subscribers to my blog.  My son opened up the blog's feedburner site  two nights ago and worked a bit of magic, it seems. It appears that subscribers are actually GETTING posts by email, as I did a test with my two email addresses and with my son's. Success, it seems.

And that would be wonderful!

From what I understand, those who subscribed in  readers, did receive posts though.  Not email subscribers. Hmmmm.

I apologize ! 

So to those of you who did sign up and did not receive emails, if you'd  like to re-subscribe with the "new and improved" thing-a-ma-jig that my son installed,  I'd be honored. Let's just hope it continues to work!~

Have a wonderful night!


Until next time,

Have a lovely day,

~Chris

Thursday, February 21, 2013

~ Passing Time, Filling Time ~


                                                   Passing Time, Filling Time

            As we leave Ordinary Time to enter the season of Lent, we ready our homes, our families, our souls. The window washing, the pinning up of the handmade crosses and sentimental Easter d├ęcor,  the burying of the “Alleluias”….Those are the easy details.

Please click to  read the rest of my column here at Catholic Mom.com

...And thank you for stopping in  today, friends!

Until next time,

~Chris


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Natural Disasters R Us, Etc...


Welcome, friends, to my version... 
The  (not quite ) Wordless Wednesday:
 The Weekly Scrapbook. 
I'm very happy to link up  at Do Small Things With Love.
and Create with Joy.

                      Wow, what a busy week!
The "natural disaster" reference?  I "stole" that from this super cute mug made by the director of the wonderful production in which my son had the privilege of being involved recently. 
This was the play that an historic hurricane  in Fall of 2012 
AND the  blizzard  of 2013 could not kill.....

"The show must go on!!" Indeed!

How cute is this? 
Several lines are highlighted and a perfect  illustration sums up the 
theme of this Arthur Miller classic. 
Each cast member received this lovely keepsake.

The last curtain call:
Timmy's third from left


Timmy and the director, Carrie, as well as the show's protagonist, "Joe Keller," 
 at a  gathering after the last show:

 

And, Whovians that we are, here's a little "show gift" we got for Timmy:
Do you know the episode represented by this tee? Amazing. The best.
He was thrilled. This boy loves his Doctor Who.

~Flowers that my sister, Timmy's Aunt Pat, brought to the show~
She left before I realized that I did not get a snap of her, too!
<sigh>
Well, the show is over and what a run! What kind, talented people in the theater group!
Fantastic experience.

Also this week:

~Valentine's Day~
More shots of our day and crafts from Valentine's Day week are here.
And my Lenten reflection for the Keep Love in Lent blog hop is here.

A fun day at the park a week after the blizzard:
Homeschooled kids get the whooooooole park to themselves on a school day...



~Basketball games this weekend~
One  kept score/ the other played...
There he is driving the ball in!











AND, drumroll, please!
Summing up the week in our family and in my blogging life:
My First Award: 



To say I am excited is an understatement!
What a honor.
 Truly.
Great news and very very exciting.

THANK YOU, thank you, thank you 
to Monique at Mountain Grace for nominating me!

I'm astounded to be grouped with such beautiful, dedicated bloggers!
Monique, you're a gem.
Have you been to Monique's blog today? This week? 
Click over there. It's a refreshing, beautiful treat, aptly named.
A post  around the award as well as MY nominations 
(What fun!) coming soon.
Thanks for stopping by, friends! I hope all is well with you and your family!

And although it is only Wednesday, I'm throwing  this thought out there to you...:
Please consider joining in my "Memoir Monday" blog hop...
I am linking my most  recent memoir post  here, which also includes links to the bloggers who join in this week as well....We would love to have you link up!
Thanks.


               Small Things                                                    Wordless Wednesday

Until next time,

Have a lovely day,

~Chris



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Try a New Recipe Tuesday: Easy Oven Baked Pork Chops


                                           Feeding Big


Aren't Tuesdays fun? Several recipe blog hops have introduced me to 
wonderful bloggers and  awesome food combos! 
 The joy of blogging! 
 I'm happy to once again,  join in Lisa's Try a  New Recipe blog hop , as well as 




These pork chops are so incredibly easy; you can prepare them  and toss them in the oven in a matter of minutes, including  the clean up. On a busy homeschooling day, when you're wrapping up the day's work and getting set for evening extra curriculars, these are perfect! Simple, tasty, no fuss! I will sometimes put frozen french fries or some potatoes in the oven to bake alongside the chops and possibly steam some broccoli or toss a quick salad.

Here goes:

                                                    Easy Oven Baked Pork Chops

Ingredients

 6 pork chops ( boneless ) 
1 egg
1 C bread crumbs
pinch of oregano
pinch of salt,pepper
1/2  tsp chopped garlic

Mix together last 5 ingredients.
 Dip pork chops. ( My kids like them really smothered in the bread crumb mixture.) 
 Place in roasting pan.
Bake 20 min or so.

Enjoy! And please head over to our blog hosts, who have linked some pretty amazing recipes!




Until next time,

Have a lovely day,

~Chris