Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Morning in Mary's Garden ~ April 14, 2014

I must confess that I neglected to write two Mary garden posts in a row, but to make up for them I am going to tell you about one of my favorite Mary garden flowers.

Lily of the valley - Vintage postcard, 1908“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys,” ~ Song of Solomon 2:1.  These small delicate Lilies of the valley come in white, pink and blue. The Marian name for the Lily of the Valley is Our Lady’s tears. It is said that this delectable plant sprang up from the ground at the foot of the cross where Our Lady had been weeping. Another legend states the lily of the valley grew where Eve had wept when she and her husband Adam were cast out of the Garden of Eden.

“New upright shoots are formed at the ends of stolons, in summer these upright dormant stems are often called pips. These grow in the spring into new leafy shoots that still remain connected to the other shoots underground, often forming extensive colonies. The stems grow to 15–30 cm tall with one or two leaves 10–25 cm long, flowering stems have two leaves and a raceme of 5–15 flowers on the stem apex.” ~ Wikipedia

The flowers are bell-shaped and smell sweetly. They flower in late spring, usually in or around the end of March. The Lily of the Valley produce berries that may attract children. These berries may look edible to children, but do NOT EAT THEM! The berries are highly poisonous.  No part of the plant is edible, it is very poisonous. These plants, if consumed will cause abdominal pain, vomiting and can slow the heart rate down. If you decide to plant the Lily of the Valley in your Mary Garden, please teach your children not to eat any part of it. You might also consider growing the Lily of the Valley in an area of the garden that is not accessible to children.

Two other points worth noting are that the Lily of the Valley is considered the sign of Christ's second coming and it used in religious paintings as a sigh of humility.

 I hope you have a very blessed Holy Week. We will see you back next week with another edition of Monday Morning in Mary’s Garden.
#Easter #cross #flowers

Saturday, April 12, 2014

30 Things in 30 Days ~ Days 6 - 12

The blogging has been a little slow this week. I have been in the middle of spring fever and trying to get a lot of school and crafting done. We are plugging along through our school books and gearing up for next year. I have done some preliminary planning for next school year, since our baby is due during the time when I normally plan and do the majority of my book orders. I have been completing some of my 30 Things in 30 Days projects. I wanted to share some of the creations from this week.

Sewing a pillow quilted pillow case with Patrick.

Patrick's I-spy pillow. Made from leftover I-Spy fabrics from his quilt.
 DAY 7
Earrings made designed by Mia, made by me for Lent.
Hand-made earrings.

Reversible hair bands. The pattern can be found here.
Mia wearing here favourite new hairband. P.S. We shortened the elastic by an inch to fit her better. The adult size was a little loose.
Noah's I-spy quilt binding is finished. This quilt was nearly finished before Christmas. The binding was 1/4 finished when I picked this up this week.

DAY 10
Mia's 3 tiered ruffle skirt.
A close up of her skirt. It was a quick project.
A cute hair-do to match her cute new skirt.
DAY 11

Ties and bow-ties for Sundays and Holy Week Masses for the three youngest boys. I used a pattern that I bought on etsy. These were a really easy and quick project made in a few hours while listening to The Mysterious Benedict Society on audio. 
DAY 12

Making wet felted Easter Eggs.
It was a busy and productive week in this house. I am officially exhausted. With Holy Week upon us, I am not sure if I will get much done this week. I have a few plans, but my tummy will tell me if I need to slow down. I have had a lot of Braxton Hicks this week. I plan on slowing down and having the kids do most of the crafting. I will save my energy for some baking and perhaps making some Easter chocolate. 

I hope you are having a great weekend and a blessed Holy Week.
#make30 Challenge

Saturday, April 5, 2014

30 Things in 30 Days ~ Day 5

The 30 Things in 30 Days challenge has been great so far. I have finished more in the past few days than I have in months. I have way too many UFO's (unfinished fabric objects). I promise myself that I won't start another projects until some UFO's are finished.

I don't follow my own rules very well because today's projects wasn't a UFO at all. It was a quick project that I started and finished on Thursday in a few hours. I shared a quick picture in my Thankful for Everyday blog post: my bible cover.

The bible cover came together quickly with a mini-charmpack of Scrumptious from Bonnie and Camille. I had to add a strip of fabric in the middle to allow for seam allowances. I covered that with some thrifted lace. My favourite feature is the Japanese cotton labels. I used one for my bible highlighter. I though it was perfect. It says, "I carry your heart with me." It expresses exactly how I feel about my bible. The inside pocket is great for my notes, prayer cards, and scripture reminders. I added four ribbon bookmarks because I always want to remember what I read most recently. They are much nicer and don't fall out like my previous bookmarks (see front inside cover).

Have you thought about joining 30 Things in 30 Days? It's not too late. The blog icon will take you to Lisa's blog and the rules. The rules are simple. You don't have to sew, quilt or do anything fancy. Go look and join in.

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.

#make30 Challenge

Why I Clean My Home Before You Come to Visit

Bathroom Joy - I smile after scrubbing and cleaning each room.  It's the joy of knowing you get to spread your love for your family.In the past few weeks, we have welcomed visitors into our home. In the months before, we invited hardly anyone over. A combination of illness, morning sickness and winter hibernation are my excuses. They are lame excuses, I know.

I have been seeing some cute posters make their way around Facebook with regards to cleaning. I shared one the other day, too. It got me thinking about when and how I keep house. Although our home is kept mostly tidy, I don't deep clean often enough. I love the smell of a clean home. My family deserves a clean home, but they also deserve a good home-cooked meal, my affection and attention. They also need to have the opportunity to create, make messes and play freely as long as they clean up behind themselves. We all need to work together to create a comfortable home environment that is also conducive to learning, living out our vocations and being hospitable. 

Photo: ;-P

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Today's post was inspired by two very contrasting point of view. The first inspiration comes from this blog post by Cari Dugan, "We can't be friends". The other inspiration come from the beloved Anne of Green Gables in Anne of Avonlea in the scene preceding the awaited arrival of Miss Morgan,
"Anne, left alone in her glory, worked with a will. The floor was swept, the beds made, the hens fed, the muslin dress washed and hung out on the line." ~ Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montomgery
 First off, I am not going to criticize the article written by Cari. I agree with her, but I also disagree. I would never turn away and unexpected visitor because my house was in a happy disarray. My house is like any other that inhabits children. There are toys in open spaces, books on tables, sofas and blankets and pillows strewn over furniture. Children live here! You are welcome to come by for tea if you are in the neighborhood. On the other hand, if I know that you are coming, we tidy up and clean like crazy people. The entry area (which is tiny) is tidied up to make room for your shoes and coats. The toys, books, pillows and blankets are put away nicely. The crayons and paper snipsels are picked up. The vacuum is swung, the kitchen floor and the bathroom are given a quick "one-over" and the windows are opened to let in fresh air. If there is time, a baked good is thrown together quickly and put in the oven.

I encourage all of the children to help. Although, the following sums up my thoughts.

Cleaning with a toddler around d is like raking leaves during a wind storm. 
I try to instill in the children that they need to be hospitable. Our Lord wants us to open our homes and invite others in. I ask them gently, 

"If Jesus were to come today, how would you like to greet him?" 

Are we not all created in the image and likeness of Our Lord? Wouldn't we want him to come into our home and have a clean place to sit on (free of cat hair, toys and books)? Wouldn't we want to be able to offer Him a drink out of a CLEAN glass or cup and be able to offer Him a treat as a thank you for coming to visit. This is why I tidy up like crazy before friends or family come to visit.

This sums up my feelings, but I realize that this isn't what Our Lord would want either. 
If the kids get out the crayons and paper, books and toys before their friends arrive, so be it. They (toys and books) were out of the way during the vacuuming and the house smells fresh. Anticipation is the greatest part of having visitors and little children need to keep busy to bide the time until company comes. Life doesn't stop just because mom finally cleaned the house. 

I believe temperance here is the key. Having family and friends over is special. We try our best to tidy up each day. Our house is small and therefore can easily feel claustrophobic if not tidied often. We try to put everything back in its place when we are finished with it. We TRY. We are not perfect. 

So if you come over to our house, enjoy and relax. We find you so special that we want you to feel welcome. This is our home. No, our home isn't always this tidy or clean. YOU are special. We love you and just want to show it in our own way. 

I feel that I must add this final note: don't feel bad if your home isn't clean. Don't feel that we won't feel welcome at your home if you have toys everywhere, crumbs on the table or floor and have toothpaste goop in your bathroom sink. Our house has this side to it, too. We don't judge your home when we come to visit. We love you. We live our way even if it may be different from the way you live. We are not living a facade. This is us. 

Now you know why we will clean our home before you come to visit, unless you visit us right after the birth of a baby or after a death in the family. Expect a mess. 

God Bless, friends.
Oh yeah, Mom.  Start training your daughter for her life of drudgery!  What a crock!!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thankful for Everyday ~ April 3, 2014

Download this "Thankful" sign in high resolution + 2 other inspirational quotes (for free) on
One of my favorite blogs of all time has to be 'Lord, Make Me a Saint.' It was one of the first blogs that I began reading way back when I began our home school journey almost 7 years ago. I love the "realness" of Jamie Jo's blog. I especially enjoy her thankful posts. She began a link-up a few weeks back, so that everyone can show what they are thankful for. I have been meaning to join in, but never got to it made it a priority. I have so much to be thankful for. I am going to attempt a thankful post and link up with Jamie Jo.

I love this little poster, it really says it all.

 Thankful for my little guys who just don't want to grow up. Doesn't his face just say, "This crib is still mine! I will just ignore the girlie baby blanket behind me."

 Thankful for a daughter who is always willing to bake something and entertain her baby brother at the same time.

 Thankful for cool coloring books that were found during a clean-up of the basement a few weeks ago. This one is really fun because the pictures end up looking like stained glass. So thankful that I didn't donate it with some of the other stuff I found. 

 Thankful for our new window that actually keeps the ice and cold on the outside unlike it's predecessor that let both the ice and cold in. 

 Thankful for cheap entertainment, a.k.a. the free Lego club magazine that all of the boys actually took turns looking at. Thankful for clowns little boys who love to clown around in photos.

 Thankful for cuddly toddlers outfits. He is so snuggly in this outfit. Thankful that this outfit has been around for 3 of my four boys. He didn't want to pose for this photo, but I am thankful that he let his brother snap the picture anyway.

 Thankful for curious toddlers.

 Thankful no one got beat up in this picture. I think he was thankful that his brother set the magazine down to go to the bathroom.

 Thankful for Waldo books. I think I have mentioned this before. This little guy is getting really good at finding Waldo. I love all of the funny faces that he makes and I am thankful for the funny antics. He can make me laugh. Toddlers are so much fun to watch, aren't they?

 Thankful for a yummy batch of grain-free mini donuts baked by Mia. Luckily they didn't eat too many before our friends came to visit. I am also thankful for visits with friends. It is so refreshing to have tea while the kids play and have fun.

 Thankful that I found a few outfits and a few dozen dresses in a box in the basement for our little girl. I haven't seen some of these outfits for nearly 12 years. I am so thankful that we are having a girl and that I didn't give away every piece of girl clothing we own (I gave away most of it). I love boys, but I am so glad that Mia will have a sister. I always wanted a sister and I never got one. So I am doubly thankful to be soon a mommy to two girlies.

 Thankful for pillows. I love pillows. This one is one of my favorites. It is on the master bed and gets pounced upon by one of the littles almost every day. This pillow reminds me of the tickle fights and cuddles that I am so thankful for. Boys just love to be tickled.

 Thankful for the 'Word of God'. This is my copy of the bible. I love my bible. I am thankful for all of the words of wisdom and comfort. I am thankful for my bible highlighter, too. It helps me to highlight what is truly important. 

 I am thankful that I didn't totally kill this miniature rose plant. We bought it on a very cold day. The temperatures were way below zero that day. I should have known that the frost would bite it. This plant lost its blooms and all of its leaves. I am thankful that we have grow-lights and I was able to nurse it back to health. 

 Thankful for audio books from the library. This is a really good read. -lol- I know that I am not reading it for real, but I love being read to just like a child. I am so thankful that my kids introduced me to this book. I am thankful for the discussions and good times spent together listening to it.

 Thankful for melting icicles. These are from the neighbors house. Hubby knocked ours down. Apparently they were so long that they nearly touched the top of the door. Thankful that hubby took care of de-icing the front stoop and for the removal of the killer icicles.

 Thankful that I am not the only quilt crazy person in the house. Thankful that my boys love to sew and play with fabric, too. Thankful that it kept him busy while supper was being prepped.

Thankful for my sweat-shop. That is the nickname of my sewing room. It is too small to be a real bedroom and there are sliding doors to the backyard in this room. It gets so terribly hot in here in the summer because of the sun, so it is now my sewing room. Thankful for this space to craft with the kids and listen to audio books.

Thankful that the weather is about to change. Tomorrow the weather is going to spring like! 

Happy Spring! 
Thankful that you stopped by. 
God Bless, my friends.
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