Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Well here are some pics from the last week.

We had a great spell where the girls were going to bed really easy after deciding that they wanted to push their cots together to make a big bed. Things have slid a bit latley with my sister visiting from Florence but really all things considered they are going to bed really nicley together.

I have been spending every free spare moment in the yard, raking, cleaning out brush, moving stones, mulching, composting, etc. It is looking much better already. The girls and I started our seedlings this last week a bit late but at least in March! We planted peppers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and sunflowers for good measure. I hope to get enough sun on the eastern side of the house to plant them there.

Angelica is back to her old ways, picking up earthworms, salamanders and even finding a few caterpillars already.

I went to the library this week to get a Chesterton book but ended up getting this wonderful book by Madeline L'engle called "Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art." It is a wonderful read. I'll post some favorite quotes soon.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I didn't sit here to complain about taxes-it just ended up happening.

Most years I get my taxes done early and put off raking the remaining leaves in the spring. This year I have done the opposite. The ocean of leaves that covers my front yard has been all cleared but for a couple small piles. My taxes on the other hand are still not done and April is just around the corner.

Does the American government PURPOSELY make tax time fall in around Easter to distract us? Is their any REAL reason why April 15 is some kind of magical day? I am sure there are some delicious conspiracy theories about this out there but it is more likely the total lack of imagination that is the reason for the totally boring "April 15" date. Come on folks. How about the "Ides of March" that would be a cool day! Or the spring equinox--March 21. ( Also a cool day.) Chinese New Year, maybe? Oh well. I suppose nobody in Washington really cares that April 15 is a boring-nothing-but-tax-day.

But for us Catholics, we can care because it is the feast day of Blessed Damien the Leper. Well, this year we can pray that he will heal us all of economic leprosy that eats away the money we live off of.

In the end I have to admit that while I love sticking it to the government with all of my sweet sweet deductions.

Raking leaves is probably better for my soul.

Blessed Damien the Leper, pray for us.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Z!

Well this Sunday was Z's second birthday, and Joespha popped in to deliver her gift for Zita. Here we all are tooling around with it.

Ben drew a number two on Zita today to celebrate her age.

Of course Angelica wanted one too.

Here was the birthday cake.

And Zita blows out the candles.

We were pretty zonked today after running up to Alexandria in the cold yesterday to look at a car. The kids slept fitfully last night too so it was good to take it low key today as we all recovered from a hectic Saturday. We are having a mechanic look at the new car to bring it current to inspection but looks like Hatkes might have new wheels this week so I'm praying that St. Joesph will get it all straightened out for us.

But of course the BEST thing today was seeing the preists in Pink! Pink sundays are so great.

Friday, March 16, 2007

FIxed at last!

Well, I am so glad blogger fixed their little photo upload problem. I was beginning to feel withdrawl symptoms. This was my front porch earlier this week. I had hauled all the bedding out to air it out. Then I washed all the snow gear and hung it out in the spring sunshine and packed it neatly away. I must have jinxed things as now, however, my crocuses and daffodils are burried under three inches of snow. This is certainly testing the limits of my tolerance for cold weather.

But the funniest thing that happened today, by far, was with this squirrel who has been eating out bird food was out on the window sill. Ben tried to scare him by comming out onto the back porch (which he uses as a launching point to reach our window sill--the squirrel that is.) We thought he would get scared and not know what to do. But instead he jumped two stories off of the window sill and hopped away. I have never seen a squirrel jump from so high in my life. I thought he would kill himself.

And lastly here is a picture of my own dear beet kvass, the butt of many jokes around here (my husband, I beleive enjoys teasing me about it the most.) Dear kvass, we will always have each other.

Testing testing testing.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Blogger is having "technical difficulties" right now for Mac users using Safari. So looks like no pictures from my computer right now. Instead I'll post a picture from somewhere else in Cyberspace.

So this is a picture of someone else's beet kvass. I made some too this week and have been drinking it to cleanse my liver and scare my neighbors. It also looks really cool on your window sill.

Say it with me now. BEET KVASS!
Curse you blogger. You won't let me upload any pictures for some reason. Well not any from my computer, at any rate. The ghosts of livejournal are comming back to haunt me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

P &P. . . .

Curse you blogger, it makes me not want to post as much when I don't have a cool picture to post. Ah for the primitivism of livejournal--where the purists hang out-(well not the REAL purists. They only write in real journals or keep sketchbooks using primitive implements known as pen and paper. ) But seriously with livejournal things are not so visual. Perhaps that is why Blogger is more Catholic. Because it is visual.

Jen called me up last night and asked if my kids were in bed yet and did I want to walk over and watch the new P&P with her which I had promised to do ages ago. Once my chirren (Mary's word--she needs to copyright it) were in slumberland I walked over and we brewed some cinnamon tea and watched Keira Knightley sulk about the screen.

Okayokayokay, it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. AND it was nice to see some of the perks of a bigger budget, nice costumes, artsy music, etc. Jane was also prettier. Yeah way prettier. I'll give you some nice visuals here.

Old Jane vs. New Jane. I'm sorry but Jane is suppsoed to be the really "hot" Bennet sister. New Jane fits the bill much better. Old KK--however I thought was a dissapointement as Lizzie as she only was remotley good when she was copying Jennifer Ehle. More visuals here. Old spirited Lizzie vs. pouty vampire Lizzie.

I was "bewitched body and soul" by the little romantic license. Having Darcy in profess his love in a downpour is much more romantic than the stuffy drawing room. BUT at the end of the day I felt the film hijacked all the romantic parts of P and P and none of the substance. The acting performances in the A&E version were far superior and that always wins.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Musings on John Holt. . .

I have been reading John Holt's book "How Children Learn." It sounded a little more upbeat than the prequal "How Children Fail." I'v always thought that was such a funny title. Anyway I am enjoying the book immensly and one of his suggestions has already been very popular with Angelica. He talks about how he learned to read from signs so he suggests writing signs on index cards and taping them around the house. It is important that the child watches you do this too and that you act like you are doing it for fun, not to teach them anything. (i.e. If they ask you, "what does that say?" you tell them what is written on the card instead of saying "what do you think?" or "Sound it out. because then the roose is up)

So I started writing labels and taping them to things like "bed", "floor", "mirror", "toilet". Angelica was very much in the spirit of things and demanded to make her own (john holt says let them do this even if theirs are not correct or just plain nonsense.) So Angelica decided to label "banana" on the fruit bowl with the bananas in it. Today Zita pulled "refridgerator" off of the fridge and tried to wear it, at which point Angelica laughed when I pointed out that Zita was wearing the label for the refridgerator. Angelica then insisted on having me make a label for Zita. So Zita walked around the house for a little while today wearing the label "Little girl ZIta" I wish I had gotten a picture. It was pretty cute.

Oh, but the whole point of the lovely picture of the chicken pooping is that my favorite John Holt quote so far is

" There is more real learning in a good picture (drawn by the child) than in twenty workbooks."

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Care and Feeding of Drying Racks.

Sorry this is so late but, yes Maggie we are still living without a dryer. I prefer to call this "living with a drying rack." (Which is a companionable creature in the winter. ) Drying racks are perhaps the only feat of Italian engineering, save the above the sink disk dish drain cuboard (yeah that' s next on the list.) But man this thing is so great. Yes I even hauled it across the Atlantic ocean just so it could sit about with its strangley amiable coutanence and display all my clothes for me with is spreading arms.

Besides I just love hanging my underwear on it. (In rainbow order of course-the drying rack settles for nothing less than pure artistry.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Winter breakfasts.

I have to say in the winters we tend to circulate between three different breakfasts.-- Oatmeal, eggs and toast, and pancakes and bacon on sunday. The addition of raw honey, various toppings like coconut, appleasauce, raisins and cinnamon, etc, has made the oatmeal more exiting (I still have to try almonds and cranberries.)

But I am am starting to get anxious for the summer smoothie time to come again. It just doesn't feel right to wake up on a cold morning and mash cold fruit and yogurt in the blender. So anyway, the other morning I caught some shots of the girls helping with breakfast. Here they are. This was an eggs and toast morning as you can see.

Monday, March 5, 2007

woops. . .

Yikes! I forgot about the movies part. . .

No this is not a picture from Lord of the Rings II.

There is a film hitting our side of the ocean this spring from German filmaker, Philip Gronig. Years back he asked some Carthusian monks if he could make a documentary on their life. They said that they would pray about it and over a decade later they called him and said yes. It came to the theatre while we were living in Italy and made a big splash in Europe. (responding to spiritual starvation, I'd say) Anyway its making its way to the next spritially starved part of the world and one can only pray that it will do good here as well. Now I have to say I haven't seen it yet. But the Catholic reviews thus far seem good and in any event if it doesn't play in your city you may do well to Netflix it. Here's the link. I hope its as good as folks say. We could all do with a little more silence in our lives. . . .

For more info go here. http://www.diegrossestille.de/english/

Wildlife, Movies, etc.

We have been having some birds comming incredibly close to the house lately. Part of this is luck, part of it is that I have been putting bread crumbs out the back sill and part of it is that some of the few trees to escape thus far, the Virginia developers' machinary are located directly behind our house. So here is a what the girls and I caught this past week.

Well how about the arctic BLAST that came this past Sunday. I have to admit I would have been very happy ending winter on that last snowfall we had the week before but no, Virginia always has to make it last that little bit longer than is comfortable.

Ben watched the Zita for me this past Friday while I took Angelica to stations and it was really exiting to see how when I had the time to explain everything that was going on to her she really enjoyed and followed along with Stations. Morbid as it may seem to some I think that Stations of the Cross are such a great meditation for children. Some of it is stuff that they identify with at a very young age, like falling down, getting hurt, etc. Also since it is such a visual and pictoral spiritual exercise it really lends itself well to children. I can remember at Kolbe as a kid they had these stations that they would put up in Lent that the kids of some class had drawn long ago and I loved them so much as a child.

One of my dreams has always been to have an outdoor stations of the cross. My BEST stations memory is doing these outdoor ones in a redwood forrest in California when I was in Junior high with this one preist. The stations were beautiful cut wood ones and they were hung on redwood trees throughout this trail, so it actually took you a long time to walk from one to the next. Hello? Why hasn't Christendom done something like this yet?

Anyway I'm rambling here. The other thing that I did this weekend was go to my first flea market of the season. Loot? Two bowls and a cute little tin birdhouse. Not bad considering I needed the bowls. I'm really wishing I had bought the bulliten board now, though. . . . .

Saturday, March 3, 2007

BAKING BREAD with Beth. . . .

Beth and I have been reading the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book cover to cover in an effort to improve our bread. I know whole wheat does not have to mean dense brick! But how to do it.. . . ah there's the rub. So yesterday we decided to try and do her walk-thru-a-loaf together to see how things went. The results were much better but I'm still dreaming of the day I achieve the "oven spring" --sign of a true baker.

Until then the bread is less of a brick and hey, my kids'll eat it.

I do miss the bread of Theresa in gravagna the most. . . . . so for now we do what we can in our own little kitchen.