7 Quick {Change} Takes

Linking up with Kelly this week to share a bit about our new home and all the changes that have taken place for us in the last four months!

1) New House.  We bought our first home in May.  It’s a four bedroom 2 bathroom ranch, with a partially finished basement.  The unfinished part of the basement has a large glass door that opens out to the backyard, and I have fixed it up as a school room.  The yard is sloped, but a large swing set came with the house, and there’s lots of room for the kids to play, so that was a huge selling point!  The tiny kitchen presents a challenge, but overall I like living in a smaller house with smaller rooms, because it is much easier to control the mess and keep it clean.  The third bedroom upstairs has also been a blessing, as we finally have a nursery and can better sleep train our youngest.


2) New town.  In order to be closer to my husband’s job, the new house is 70 miles from our old home, and we are in a new town.  We have visited here several times over the years, and are thrilled to live here now.  Fredericksburg is an old, historic Virginia town, Southern in tradition, and the sight of numerous Civil Wars battles.  At least once a week, we pass the large Confederate cemetery downtown.  While it has a small town feel, there a myriad of activities and stores and historic sites and playgrounds and pools.  We try to get out and explore a new place each week.


3) New parish.  Moving from a small “country” parish to one of the largest parishes in the diocese has been a positive and exciting experience.  There are dozens of activities, ministries, group and activities at church every week, four priests and two deacons, as well as a parish school.  The first event we attended (not including Mass which we of course started attending right away) was the parish picnic.  There were half a dozen bounce houses for the kids, craft beer on tap, live music, a magician, and tons of food and tents.  The kids were thrilled and Bobby and I were stunned (in a good way 😉  With the start of September I have been able to join a women’s Scripture Study, Grace has begun religious education classes once a week and we are exploring other ministries.  Liturgies with Latin is probably the one thing I miss most here, as well as silence during Communion.  All the priests are very reverent and homilies are good, but the choir always sings all through Communion on Sundays.


4) Grad school.  In July, my husband started a second Masters program in education, with a focus on becoming a Catholic school principal.  This meant he was gone for two weeks over the summer, and now works online several nights a week doing online courses.  He really seems to enjoy the new academic challenge, and I hope it opens doors for his career advancement.

5) Homeschool.  Although I’ve sporadically done preschool with Gracie for the last two years, this year I bought a real curriculum and intend to do kindergarten 3-4 days a week.  We are using the Catholic Heritage Curricula, and God willing, we will get through a whole year!  Although the school room is in our unfinished basement, I think it will work out well.


6) No job.  After frustrations and difficulties increased regarding my work-from-home job, and I knew I could not both homeschool and do this job, I quit in August.  Slowly, the stress and affronts of that job have faded, and I’ve realized that the constant feelings of failure and being overwhelmed have subsided.  I am struggling to find a good way to replace that lost income, but reveling in the freedom from a difficult boss.

7) New friends.  My overview of recent changes would not be complete without mentioning the new friends we have been meeting.  I have already met several lovely moms with kids of various ages, and look forward to getting to know them better.  Old friends reading this, I still miss you very much, and I hope you will come visit soon!

{7QT} Fuzzy pjs, little toes and baby bundles. 

I laughed at Kelly’s 7QT for surviving life with small humans, and thought I’d quickly write up seven funny, weird, and cute things about my little darlings.

Here they are in all their cuteness.

1) My oldest loves fuzzy fleece pajamas. She is thrilled it’s finally cold enough to wear them (during the day; she gets too sweaty wearing them at night). Good thing they make these for five year olds.

2) My two year old, on the other hand, abhors clothes of any kind. Not long after breakfast she will wander into the room where I’m nursing the baby and she’ll be naked. Now that’s it’s getting chilly, she wraps herself in a sheet to keep warm. When I asks if she wants to get dressed, the answer is always no.

3) The baby has mastered crawling in less than a week. No half hearted belly flops for this one–she has a great form already and can go get that peice of paper to chew on the other side of the room.


4) Speaking of crawling, the baby is teaching me more humility by showing how dirty the floor is. She’s like a human mop. I pick her up and she’s covered in crumbs and dust. Maybe those dust suits for babies aren’t a bad idea.

Note: this is an Amazon picture. my baby is much cuter.

5) Why do kids like chewing on their toes? Is this a universal phenomenon? Those wiggly things at the end of their feet seem to just say “eat me”! And then they nibble on their siblings too! It’s like the way cats sniff each others butts. I’m so glad these are things adult humans are not compelled  to do.

6) Here’s an important mom lesson: only bring home library books you would also want to keep, in case your two year old scribbles all over them and you have to pay $22 to the library.  Yes, that was the price of my honesty in telling them my daughter had done this.  At least I got to keep the book.

7) Every morning, all three girls end up in my bed.  Most mornings, they will snuggle for a little while before insisting on breakfast, giving Mom time to arise from her slumber.  Especially on mornings when I am NOT awakened by a diaper in the face and the announcement, “I didn’t pee in my diap-or!”, I love snuggling with my sweet girls, and seeing their cute faces.

7QT: Cookbook Club

{Note: Totally inspired, or at least motivated, by these two posts today: http://mcsisters.com/2015/11/13/7qt-frivolous-minutiae/ and http://fountainsofhome.blogspot.ca/2015/11/i-miss-blogs.html.  As a newbie blogger, I’ve been a bit intimidated about writing. I created the blog as a place to hold some thoughts, memories and pictures.  But I’ve often felt like I “had” to be witty, profound or at least positive to write a post.  But that’s not the way I’ve been feeling for awhile.  Life has been hard, challenging.  I’ve been constantly sick (apart from being pregnant, and a new experience because I’m usually so healthy).  My husband started a second job and has been working more than ever.  And the list goes on….

Soooo, I’m going to try and be a but more real, a bit more frivolous, and just try to post even a very short thing every week.  After all, its my blog, so I can complain on it, right?  And despite the challenges, my girls are fun, silly and adorable, and I could just write about the latest antics with them!  So here goes, with a post about Cookbook Club! }

Seven Quick Takes

  1. Last night was the first meeting of Cookbook Club, started by a friend who got the idea from this article: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/10/how-to-start-a-cookbook-club.html. Basically, the group picks a cookbook for the month, then everyone makes one recipe.  So you get a fancy, gourmet dinner party and only have to make one fancy dish.
  2. For this first month, we did Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I was very excited about this, as I’ve always been intimidated by French cooking.  Many of the ladies, including myself, wore pearls, heels and blouses, in honor of Julia Child.  (An excuse to dress up, what fun!)

  3. I made crepes fourrees et flambees, or crepes with orange-almond butter, flambees.  I’ve made crepes before so didn’t think it would be too hard.  Her recipe was more involved than the ones I’ve used, and it took awhile, not to mention assembling them with the butter and almonds.  But I was most intimidated about setting them on fire!

4. Tada!  It worked!  I had to pour on extra brandy (used too much, in the end), but they eventually caught flame, and it was very impressive!  And they still tasted pretty good.

5. As you can see, other lovely ladies brought a host of delicious foods!  Thirteen ladies came, one brought wine, so there was twelve dishes total.  The food served included French onion soup, filet mignon and potatoes with mushroom sauce, risotto, quiche Lorraine, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, and an amazing 21 layer crepe tower with spinach filling.  Desserts included chocolate mousse and apple tart, as well as my crepes.

6.  All of the food was amazing!!!  Really, it was incredible.  Everyone did such a great job, and it was truly a culinary tasting experience.  It was also a lovely and relaxing evening out, and a chance to visit with other ladies.

7. I would recommend a Cookbook Club for anyone looking for a new and awesome way to host dinner parties!  And it just takes one person.  Not everyone there last night had met before, but I think we are all looking forward to joining forces again soon for a unique culinary adventure.

7 Quick Takes: Autumn

  1. Down here in the valley, the leaves are just starting to change color.  But last weekend we drove up to Skyline Drive and the colors were at peak and absolutely gorgeous.  Its still hard for this New York girl to remember how late fall comes to Virginia, even though I’ve lived here for the better part of the last twelve years.  I just appreciate the fact that I still live in a place where the change of seasons still happens dramatically and with each season comes a different vista to view.  Here is the one tree in our yard that has really begun to change color so far.

2. I’ve only bought one mum, and just a few little pumpkins, but I love how my simple autumn displays turned out with them.

  
3. We went apple picking a few weeks ago, and there’s been lots of pies, crisps, and apple meals.  Oh, and apples and cheese for lunch.  My favorite cheese to have with fall apples is the Trader Joe Creamy Tuscano dusted with Cinnamon.  So good.

But it looks like we’re going to have to go apple picked again, because the first half bushel we picked is almost used up, and I still haven’t made any apple sauce or apple butter!

4. The girls are looking so cute in their fall clothes.  Grace usually dresses herself every day, and I’m amazed at her color and dress sense; her outfits usually match pretty well.  Theresa just looks cute in everything, but I was really trying to capture this very fall outfit I put her in today!

   

5. Lots of singing and dancing in the house these days.  Grace likes to make up songs about everything, as well as singing ones she’s heard.  She even made up a song about the dead mouse they found outside!  Here, she’s dancing down the street during the Festival of Leaves last weekend.

6.  I finally cleared out all the dead plants from my garden beds, and covered them with grass clippings.  Also, the prediction of 30 degree temperatures this weekend makes it necessary for me to bring in my patio plants.

7.  I’ve enjoyed reading the {31 Days of Writing} undertaken by several of the bloggers I follow.  But my October 31 days resolution was more simple: say at least one decade of the Rosary every day, in honor of the month of the Rosary.  So far, I’ve only missed one day, and we’ve done it as a family a few times too.   I’ve also tried to make time for daily Mass once or twice a week, which I think has been a great blessing.  And today, Theresa genuflected for the first time at church 🙂

And a number 8 bonus.  Every day has been warm, sunny and beautiful. And I prioritize getting outside because I think it will be the last “nice” day, but all week had been gorgeous. Such lovely weather and the girls love it too. 

  

Seven Quick Takes

Linking up with This Ain’t the Lyceum.

1. Tuesday was the first day of my husband’s 10 week summer vacation.  (He’s a teacher 🙂  He’s caught up on sleep, but has also been super helpful with taking the kids, washing dishes and even making meals.  This is because…

Going to school with Daddy, on one of his last days.  She always asks to go with him, and was thrilled to spend a few hours at his school.

Going to school with Daddy, on one of his last days. She always asks to go with him, and was thrilled to spend a few hours at his school.

2. This month is the busiest time of my work-from-home job.  Usually, I email for about an hour a day.  The last two weeks, it’s averaged 5 hours a day of calling, emailing and texting.  I’m tired of being online and don’t know how people work this way all the time.

“Shopping” for a snack. Playing while Mommy works.

3. With all the time online, I’ve tried really hard to get outside at least a little every day.  On Tuesday, we got out for an afternoon hike.  We did our new favorite hike: 2 miles on the Dickey Ridge Trail, into Shenandoah National Park.  Great trail to do with kids, as it follows a little creek and is fairly level for the first mile.

Go hike!  One of Grace's favorite activities.

Go hike! One of Grace’s favorite activities.

4. I’ve also worked a little on the garden.  Harvested and cleaned out the snap peas and bok choy; still working on eating the rest of the lettuce, and harvesting the carrots and beets.

Height of the first crops in this garden.

Height of the first crops in this garden.

Harvesting and getting ready for the next planting.

Harvesting and getting ready for the next planting.

5. The summer vegetables are growing, and lots of cucumbers will be ready to pick soon.  And I’m loving the fresh herbs.  Winter without was so bland.  They smell so fragrant and lovely and taste so good!

The new, beautiful bed, Bobby built this year.

The new, beautiful bed, Bobby built this year.

6.  I actually got out one week for the parish women’s craft night, and worked on my quilt that’s been in progress for over seven years.  It was a much needed night out, and sewing was wonderfully relaxing after all the work pressure.

7.  On Friday we went to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Homeschool Conference in Fredericksburg.  Now that we are actually looking at textbooks and curriculum to use in another year or two (going to do simple pre-school this fall), I am so overwhelmed!  Still, it was really fun, the girls were so good, and we bought a few great books.  And have more ideas for the future.