Monday, November 3, 2014

October in Words and Pictures

As I mentioned in my last post - before falling off the face of the blogworld for three weeks - I've recently taken on a lot of commitments.  Life has been busy busy busy, and it's been hard to spare many moments for blogs - either writing or reading them, so my apologies to those whose I try to keep up with!  Here's a look at a few of the things that have been going on for me.


I've been trying to plan out one (easy!) craft a week to do with the kids.  They really enjoy it, and I get the benefit of having free but cute seasonal decorations for my house.

Some of the recent ones were...
Paper-bag puppet owls.  They look great on the wall and I may even save them for next fall, but I don't recommend making these with really young kids.  I pretty much spent a half hour cutting tiny things out of construction paper, while the kids sat - impatiently, of course - and waited.

Various ghosties for the chandelier.  Kleenex wrapped around a balled Kleenex, and cotton balls glued onto card stock.  Very simple.

And some gorgeous fall leaves ironed between waxed paper.  The number of stained-glass windows in the house just doubled!

I've also been working on some crafts of my own.  Mainly, the baby quilt I'm making at my quilting group.  I don't have any in-progress photos now, but here's the fabric I'm using:

Sly couldn't decide what he wanted to be until the last minute.  I wasn't too worried, because we had his costume from last year as a backup. He finally settled on being a cowboy, and luckily, I was able to throw it together with things we already had around the house.  I pleaded with Stella to be a cowgirl, because how cute would that have been?  But she insisted on wearing a masculine-looking pre-packaged bunny suit we had.  Oh well.  Linus wore his winter bear suit.

Our new neighborhood turns out to be a great place to trick-or-treat.  Our block was packed with kids, and most of the neighbors came to the bottom of their stairs/end of their walkway to hand out candy, instead of staying indoors (we also had pretty mild weather).

Some friends invited us all to a Halloween party after trick-or-treating.  Costumes were "encouraged," so Tom and I scrambled to get something together, literally minutes before leaving.

I dressed in orange and black, and threw on a bunch of dead animals [minks].  Aaaaand....yeah.  I don't know what I was, but I looked Halloween-y, anyways.

Tom slicked back his hair, put on a power tie, grabbed some dry wall tools and went as "a banker on Dry Wall street"....Okay.

Soul Cakes
For several years, I've been wanting to bake soul cakes.  I can't really figure out if they're more appropriately made for Halloween or All Soul's Day.  In the end, I decided not to make them this year for the same reason I've always declined to in the past: we're already eating WAY too much junk food around Halloween, and we absolutely don't need any more!

All Saint's Day
We went to Mass on Saturday, which is when my church observes the feast.  And....that was it.

We had the opportunity to go to a couple different dress-up-your-kids-as-Saints parties, but I opted out.  Figuring out Halloween costumes for the kids was enough for me this year, and I didn't think they were quite old enough to really understand or appreciate dressing up as Saints.  I know some moms just do one costume, having their kids trick-or-treat in their Saint outfits.  My concern is that doing so would just be an invitation to your neighbors to be labelled as "the Catholic weirdos." Perhaps if I were holier, I wouldn't mind so much.

I promised Sly we would try to go to an All Saints party next year, though. He's already decided who he'll dress as: St. George.  A knight who slays a dragon?  I would guess that he is many little boys' first pick.

Other Autumnal Happenings
We're still soldiering on with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons - Sly and I, that is.  The daily lessons have been earning me some time off Purgatory....or sending me to confession.  Depending on how much patience I can muster that day.
ready to read!
Stella got into a tube of brand-new (and not-that-cheap) long-lasting lipstick and put it all over her face.  I may have freaked out a bit and caused her to cry uncontrollably for the next twenty minutes.  It took two days and several hard scrubbings to get it all off.

After a lifetime of half-doubting the existence of most people's "allergies," I finally had to humble myself and go get allergy testing done, at the recommendation of my doctor.  And guess what?  I've got 'em!  Among a couple more minor things, I am allergic to dust mites.  This explains so much.  I won't bore you with all my symptoms, but basically I wake up many mornings feeling like I have the worst sinus infection ever.  Because, uh, dust mites live in my bed (and yours too!).  It feels pretty empowering to know this, actually, and to know that there's hopefully a way to make things better.

We took a walk in a city park, and got to enjoy the last hurrah of the deciduous foliage.

Oh, and I finally re-painted our bedroom!!  No more peach walls with peach trim.  It looks great, but I'm going to wait to take photos after we hang our pictures and curtains.  And knowing the pace we've been moving on our home improvement projects recently....that might be a while.


  1. Hahaha Stella's face with the lipstick. Hopefully the tube's not completely gone. That is a bummer. But still funny.

    Great pictures all around. Sly's looking older! I'm curious to see the bedroom and quilt in progress. I have a backlog if baby quilts but just am not motivated to sew. Quilting seems like more of a winter thing and we too have been squeezing out each last hurrah of nice weather.

    Autocorrect is being bizarre this morning. Typed "is" and it turned to "Isis". "And" became "abandoned". Creeeepy.

  2. Love the colors of the baby quilt!

    Oh my goodness, Stella! It could almost have been part of a halloween costume, ha!

  3. Glad to see a new post. :) I enjoy your blog so much, it makes me feel more connected to other stay-at-home Catholic moms.

    1. Thanks so much, Marianna - I'm glad to hear that!

  4. I love that quilt fabric!
    For costumes I just doubled what my kids wore for Halloween. The oldest was an army man then became Fr Emil Kapuan on All Saints. Then a knight became St George and a dragon became the dragon St George slayed. Two days, one costume (I go for easy and not obnoxiously Catholic).

    Also, glad we are both getting out of Purgatory with that reading book! Yesterday I got told "Mama thanks for not correcting me in your mean voice today". Oops

    1. the "mean voice" quote had me laughing. But yes, I'm just as guilty.

  5. If it were me I would totally buy Sly a knight outfit and sword for Christmas. Two birds amiright?

    I let my husband teach the kids to read. The kids really enjoy the special time with him. Plus he truly loves that kind of stuff, whereas I only do it as a means to my purification. We do use 100 easy lessons. But my aunt who home schooled 6 mentioned to me that even that one wasn't a great fit for all her kids. I took my daughter (4) to Target and we picked out a really fun and colorful preschool workbook that has a bunch of handwriting lessons in it. (leapfrog maybe) She loves it and will do several pages a day easy. So our family doesn't bother with the handwriting portion of 100 easy lessons, since we're getting that done elsewhere. It seems to work well.

    I hope you post pictures of the finished quilt. I love the fabric.

  6. A banker on Dry Wall St.!?!?!?!? Love. it. I think your husband wins the prize for most creative costume!
    The lipstick... oh, poor girl! And poor you! But it's definitely a story you'll look back on in hysterics :)
    The photo of you and the kids in the park is so beautiful!
    (ps - least year we let our kids go to a Halloween event hosted by our parish school. They were dressed in their saint costumes and we TOTALLY were the Catholic weirdos there!! Even at the church school! My poor kids. I didn't do that to them again this year and we just went to an All Saints Party where they fit in a little better. I hope I'm no scarring them for life... ;) )

  7. I too hope to see finished pictures of the quilt! The darker blue floral is the same fabric my girls' summer Mass dresses were made out of, so pretty! And you'll be happy to know it wore quite well!!

  8. Those minks are wild! do look Halloween-y!!!

    How old is Sly?? The reason I ask is that because in my experience teaching kids to read (and uisng the 100 Easy Lessons book) is that starting too young just leads to frustration I generally wait until my kids are least Kindy age around 5-5,5 before starting to teaching reading, and it goes much smoother than if I try to start younger (when they are four). So far, all 3 of my kids have started to figure out how to blend sounds around their 6th birthday and they gained reading fluency around their 7th birthday (well my 3rd one won't be 7 until Feb, but he is on the same track and starting to gain fluency). I really believe that reading is just as much of a developmental milestone as walking or talking,...and while some kids do learn to read young (4-5), many aren't developmentally ready until age 6-7 and starting younger doesn't really make them learn any sooner.

    I hope you don't mind me giving you advice...I just know that with my oldest we struggled through Teach Your Child to Read when she was 4 and it just lead to a lot of frustration. I wish someone had told me that if a kid isn't "getting" it, then it's okay to wait until they are older and something which is a struggle at age 4 will be a snap for them at age 6 and they ultimately do all learn to read.

    1. No, I don't mind you giving the advice. I appreciate it. I've begun to realize that what you say is true. If I had waited, this would all come more easily for him. I've slowed down the pace, and we're only doing a half lesson a day now. If this still proves to be too much, I will consider the possibility of dropping it completely for a time. It's hard, though. I feel like I have this great gift to offer him, and it's so hard to wait!

  9. I have those two big fabrics on the end! I used the blue flowery one (left) to recover our dining room chairs and the white hummingbird one (right) to make curtains for the dining room. Such pretty fabrics!

    1. That sounds lovely! I've been eyeing these fabrics at JoAnn's for the past few months, and was happy to find something to use them for :-)