Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Advent, Advent

Advent, Advent, ein Lichtlein brennt...

In German this means, Advent, Advent a little light burns. I have been burning the candle quietly at home and enjoyed it's glow. It has been nice to have taken a little break from blogging to enjoy advent and my family. We have been busy and are enjoying a relaxed season. I want to share a little picture collage of what we have been up to.
Reading Christmas Stories under the tree.
Praying together.
Finishing up Christmas gifts. This little table runner is for Oma. I sure hope it makes it there on time.

Decking the halls, or rather our home for the season.
Decorating the Christmas tree. Oh how I love looking at the old decorations from years gone by.
Making Christmas cards...
and other things.
And doing lots of baking.

The most special thing this advent season has been watching our little guy grow.

So if you don't hear from us or see us online it is because we are making memories. We wish you and your families the warmest wishes for a truly blessed Christmas.

God Bless.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christ the King and Other Things

I can hardly believe that the end of the liturgical year is nearing it's end. Yesterday we celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King. In the past, we baked a crown shaped cake. Since going grain free, this has been a challenge. I miss doing special baking for feast days. I really do. I see what others are making to enhance the special liturgical feasts and feel pity on my children because I can't do what other moms do. Every feast day seems to have more food ideas than anything else. I have been a bit of a pill and skipped celebrating feast days unless I have something food-wise to share with the children. Yes, that is lame.

Our diet is very restrictive, but healthy! Our health has benefited in many ways. We are seldom sick. If we do get sick, we recover quickly (usually). I do feel however, that I have let our spiritual health go a little down the tubes. I should care more about feeding our souls, than our bodies. Nonetheless, I made the effort to do both yesterday. I encourage Mia to make a cake. The batter is actually for donuts, but it make a great little bundt. I found a frosting recipe online and decorated the cake with trail mix. Our Christ the King cake isn't exactly fit for a king, but I think it is the thought that counts.

We spent the afternoon on the little hill behind the local public school. We had a lot of good laughs. Who knew that you could sled while babywearing? I don't think the baby minded at all that we slid down a few times.

The other kids had a blast. They slid so far that they went right under the fence. We changed hills and no fences or buildings were hit.

The rest of the week will be spent preparing for Advent and Christmas. I have so many projects that I am working on. Wish me luck. I hope you all had a great weekend.
God Bless friends,

Friday, November 16, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments on SouleMama's blog for all to find and see.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Needle & Thread - Practise Run

I am busy thinking about Christmas and furiously working on all my homemade projects. I ordered some material online (oh the selection, I had to hold myself back) and am raring to go. The only problem is that I ordered some through etsy, other at Joann's and others yet through Connecting Threads. Mia and I worked together on a practise run of a doll quilt that we plan on giving to Owen.

This is not the doll quilt that we are giving Owen. This was made with fat quarters that I cut into charm squares and toyed with the placement. It still needs a binding because I blew the first binding and had a little melt down. Oh well, we will bind it and I already have a beggar  taker for this one. My two year old kept telling Mia, "My have it! My have it," while she stitch ripped the binding off. It is a little girly looking, but this little guy loves kitties. If you look closely, you will see all of the kitties.

Owen is a huge Raggedy Ann and Andy fan. Yes, my seven year old loves dolls. He has two waldorf dolls that he calls Johnny and he loves them to death. He asked me to make him some more doll clothes for Christmas. Then I found some really neat charm squares. I knew that I wanted to make a dolly quilt for his new doll. I am so excited for him. He loves listening to the Raggedy Ann and Andy audio stories that I downloaded on his little ipod. In the summer, I found a hardcover book with the Raggedy Ann stories. I can hardly wait for Christmas.

I just picked up One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are  from the library. I hope to read this when I get some time. I really should buy this book. This is my second time charging it out of the library.

Check out this week's edition of Needle and Thread.

God Bless friends,

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Yarn Along ~ November 14th

Well, the race is on. Christmas gifts need to be made. I am off to an ok start. This week I finished the hat that I was working on for hubby. My son kindly modeled it for me. My son likes it so much that I might make him one, too.
I also started a little sweater vest for the baby. It sounds stupid, but I need a quick project to give me a sense of accomplishment. The hat took me a long time. The ribbing almost did me in. I was reading some older yarn alongs and found this little pattern.
I am knitting with a stash yarn Hopscotch Reynolds Kids that I bought really cheap. It is so soft. I usually knit with regular 100% wool, but this is a nice 100% superwash wool. This will be hopefully prove to be handy with my little guy full in teething mode. I wonder if he will have any teeth before Christmas. The oldest three were all born in July/August and had teeth by Christmas, actually they cut their first teeth on Christmas Eve day. Patrick was born in February, so he definitely had teeth by Christmas.

I haven't been reading a lot of anything, but patterns, lately. I have a whole bunch of books out of the library for inspiration.

What are you making? Are you busy trying to finish Christmas gifts, too? Don't forget to drop by Ginny's blog and see what everyone else is up to.

God Bless friends,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Battling the Blues

So, last week I was a little down. Actually truth be known, I wasn't sure if I was battling post partum depression, or not. Now, I caution you, I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to know anything about treating post-partum depression. I am just going to describe what seems to be working for me at this point in time.

I mentioned last week, that I was reading the book After the Baby's Birth...A Woman's Way to Wellness: A Complete Guide for Postpartum Women. The most helpful part of the book for me was the list I found on page 260 titled: Coping with PPD.
  • Make sure you get enough rest.
  •  Do something for youself each day.
  • Take a good look at your diet.
  • Avoid isolation.
  • Exercise everyday.
  • Relax. Meditate or pray.
  • Let some things go.
  • Seek professional help.
Now this list is paraphrased and I left out all of the explanations. I prayed about this list and asked for heavenly help. I took a good look at my routine and noticed that I put my needs after everyone elses. I shrugged off my needs, but paid the price physically and mentally.

So, I set myself some rules to cope and I am doing much better. I am still struggling, but I am coping as opposed to letting it all continue as it was.

So my rules look something like this:
  1. Get to bed by 10:00 pm! Done deal, no excuses. A new mom needs sleep and getting to bed earlier sure helps.
  2. Do something with my hands everyday! I need to be creative. It relaxes me and gives me a sense of accomplishment to work with my hands. I love to knit or sew!!!
  3. Diet! Arghhhh! I hate that word. We are a grain-free family, so I think a lot about what we eat. Our meals are made from scratch, but I must remember where I live. I live in Canada and have a high need for Vitamin D. I also am celiac and tend to be low on the B vitamins. I am breastfeeding, so I need to get lots of Calcium and Magnesium. And I love to drink coffee with almond milk and sugar. --- So I just started taking vitamins again (I shouldn't have stopped)and asked my dear husband to remind me if I forget. And I now take my coffee (max one a day) without the sugar. What a difference the vitamins make!!!
  4. Avoid isolation. I try to get out more. Last week, I made it out with all of the kids to two homeschool events. The -15 to -20C temps on the weekend kept us in for the most part.
  5. Exercise everyday. --- That one needs work. Doesn't chasing kids count?
  6. Relax. Meditate or pray. --- We started praying the rosary as a family again and I am making more of an effort to pray on my own, daily. It should be a given, but I am not a perfect Catholic, I am a practising one. (emphasis goes on the practising)
  7. Let some things go. --- For me this isn't about not doing the laundry or dishes as the writer suggests. In my case, I need to let go of the hurt and pain of the past. I need to stop bashing myself. This needs a lot of work. My low self-esteem is not the example I want to radiate to a lovely daughter.
  8. Seek professional help.--- I called Catholic family services, but it is so expensive. I am just going to have to try to cope on my own for now. If things get worse, I will talk to the priest or a doctor. That reminds me that I need to find a family doctor.
The road to a healthy lifestyle involves so many things, but it is the exclusion of one thing in particular that can lead your life into a disaster. Disaster happens when you omit God from your daily life, your daily struggles. He is willing to give you the grace you need to carry on. He helps with making the right decisions, surrounding you with support and His love. The Saint Michael prayer has also played a major role in my healing. When I find myself falling, I pray to Saint Michael. The devil wants me to fail, to give up, to be lazy and listless. He wants me to neglect myself and my family. I feel as though the battle is just as spirtual as it is physical. If I can conquer the negative thoughts, I have half a chance at gaining back my health.

I want to thank you for stopping by and reading this post. Please share if you have ever struggled with post partum depression. What helped you? How did you cope?

St. Michael, pray for us.

Living Simply and Thrifting

I have a weakness, I must admit. I love thriftstores. We venture out to the thriftstores once a month or so. I am always amazed at what I find.

On Thanksgiving weekend, I found a few nice pyrex bowls and a gravy boat. I don't have any fancy serving dishes and I want to eventually get away from using plastic bowls. Secondhand is the way to go. I don't have the money to buy new and I love vintage pyrex. If you can get it in a thriftstore, you are lucky. People sell the stuff on ebay, craigslist and etsy for lots o' cash.

This past weekend, I found a few sleepers for the baby. He is growing so fast and I don't have a lot of thicker sleepers in his size. We never needed them for long in Germany. At $1.99 a piece, I think I got a great deal. The one on the right is from H&M. We bought a lot of clothes from H&M when we lived in Germany. Most of the outfits from H&M have survived four children already. So you can imagine my joy to find such a treasure.
I also found a book that I put on hold at the library last week. Now normally, I wouldn't run out and buy a book that I can get at the library, but I am number 13 in the queue. In the whole city, there are only three copies and you can have the book for 3 weeks at a time. At best, I won't see the book before January or February. So I bought it for $4.99 at the thrift store.
I realize that I already have 5 children and that I should already know something about the topic of fertility, but in truth I know very little. I promised my husband that I would try to get on top of it. I am not ready to have another baby anytime soon. I have my reasons for wanting to delay a pregnancy, but have no idea how. This is embarassing, but true. When researching books on NFP, I stumbled upon this one. Then I googled the title and added the word Catholic to the search. I found a lot of great information from a Catholic perspective and what advice to avoid (the stuff about using condoms for example) while reading this book. It was widely commented on how much good information is contained and that people generally learned more from this book than in a NFP class that they attended. I just need to dive in and begin reading. Have you read this book? What are your experiences with NFP?

I am dying to share our thrifty Christmas ideas. I can't or I will spill the beans on who gets what for Christmas. What I can say, is that we are doing a homemade and thrifted Christmas. We are avoiding buying anything new, unless it is to make something.

Happy thrifting my friends,

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Needle & Thread ~ November 8, 2012

I have just gotten back to sewing and knitting after having baby number five. He keeps me busy, so blogging, sewing and knitting have to be done quickly and when there is time.

I meant to post this a few weeks ago, but never got to it. I made a little table quilt for Thanksgiving. It was supposed to be made before our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, but it wasn't meant to be. The baby slept after dinner and I whipped it up as quickly as possible. I used the "quilt-as-you-go" method to piece this runner. It was intended to use fall-like colours without looking like a Halloween or Thanksgiving piece.
I am still trying to finish, Into the Free: A NovelbyJulie Cantrell. I really like it, but have been spending every free minute doing other things. And when I am nursing, I tend to read books about Motherhood or Postpartum mothers. I might have to get this from the library another time, perhaps in January when Christmas gifts are made and I have a little older baby.
Don't forget to visit Elizabeth's blog and see what others have been sewing and reading.

God Bless and thank you for stopping by!

Thankful Thursday

I am always so inspired by Jamie Jo's "Thankful" posts and I want to dedicated today's Thankful Thursday post to her and her baby who is undergoing surgery today.

I am thankful for...

Jamie Jo's friendship I have never met her in real life, but have gotten to know her through blogging, emails and shared snail mail. My kids love being penpals with her kids. Don't you just love the little outfit she sent for our little Adam? Thanks Jamie Jo!!!
My daughter who loves to cook She made blue applesauce from the The Kid-Friendly Food Allergy Cookbook: More Than 150 Recipes That Are Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, and Low in Sugarand it was delicious by the way.

Big brothers who cuddle with the baby 
Time spent on the couch reading and being read to
Baby Smiles

The First Snow & Walk in the Woods

New Yarn I ordered some yarn to make Christmas gifts for the kids and hubby. I just love ordering yarn, but I hate spending the money. I am cheap, but don't mind spending money on quality.

Ravelry I love to have a place to organize patterns that is virtual. I love finding nice patterns that are free and seeing how they turn out.

Scraps I am hoping to make a new quilt out of my scraps. I will have to purchase the sashing, back and binding fabrics, though. It is exciting to be making a quilt with the scraps. It will be a couch quilt for cuddling up and watching movies under. I love that the kids recognize where the scraps come from. I love hearing, "That was from my_____________." I am thankful to have been blessed with the fabrics and the memories they have made.

Renos I love that my husband loves me and thinks that I deserve a great place to work, create and make memories. My husband revamped our home office/sewing room/school room. He told me that I could buy furniture to fit this incredibly small space (7x12ft) and finally make it work for everyone who uses this room. I wanted a simple, clean looking space. I didn't want him to spend a ton of cash, but I wanted it functional. I measured and pick out and he bought, built and arranged everything for me. This is a peak of the one corner of the new room.

I am so thankful for all of the things that I don't remember to mention. I mentioned yesterday that I was feeling depressed. That is a work in progress, but the thankful posts help me to see all that I have. I have been very blessed. My life is far from perfect and I need lots of work if I ever hope for heaven. Being thankful is just one part of it and I am glad that you stopped by. I am thankful for comments and suggestions, too friends.

Have a wonderful Thursday!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chance to Win

Connecting Threads website is hosting a giveaway. Three lucky subscribers will win a $50 gift card for their online store. I first learned about them following a thread about finding fabric online with relatively attractive shipping prices to Canada. If you live in the US, you get free shipping when your order is over $50. I placed an order with them last week and can't wait to see it arrive. I need some fabric for Christmas gifts. Nough said.

Well, in order to win the $50 gift card, you need to start a wish list and email it to a friend, post it on facebook or on your blog. So I am blogging about it. The thread below is a link to my wishlist.


Thank you for stopping by,

Yarn Along

I am knitting with full force, trying to finish all of the Christmas gifts for this year. I am a little late in starting, but I am still hopeful. The baby cuddles with daddy every evening for a few hours and these few precious hours are filled with knitting as quickly and accurately as possible. This is hard to do -- quick and accurate.
I am using Berroco Ultra Alpaca in the colour Pea Soup. The project on the left is an Irish Hiking Scarf and the one on the right is the Lina hat, both projects are free from Ravelry. I intended on starting with the hat and then using up all of the remainder of the yarn on the scarf, but as life has it, I didn't have the right needles for it. I knit up nearly one skein for the scarf and bought needles for the hat on the weekend. This hat is taking me a long time. The cable rows take me about half an hour each time. This has me very concerned about getting all of the other projects done on time. I intend on knitting a few Milos and they are quick knits, but I also have two shawls on my list. Wish me luck.

After a few really rough days, I pulled the book, After the Baby's Birth... A Woman's Way to Wellness off of the bookshelf. I think that I may be suffering from postpartum depression. I have been struggling with everything lately. I broke down yesterday pretty badly after my bed got peed on. Yes, peed on. We have a duvet on the bed and it was soaked. It made the washing machine leak when I tried to wash it. Arggggh. I am finding it difficult to cope without family around for this baby. A lot of negative feelings from my childhood are surfacing and I don`t believe that I have ever recovered from the last few miscarriages. I keep forgetting to take my vitamins and stopped exercising when I got a terrible bout of mastitis. I don`t usually share my feelings with anyone other than my husband, so this is difficult for me.

I am a terrible self-critic. I have always claimed to hate myself. I never measure up to my expectations and fear that I will be the person my family always thought I would be. I was always told that I am just like my mother and that in my case is not a good thing. I will never know the exact details, but my brother and I were abandoned or surrendered when I was three and he was one. This piece of history haunts me still, thirty years later. How do I know that I won`t do the same thing? I haven't yet, but nine years ago this pushed me to my very limits, when my two oldest were three and one years old. I nearly jumped from a third story window. I recovered and thought that was behind me.

Yesterday, during my meltdown, I realized that these feelings have surfaced again. I nearly called up my mother. (we have contact) All I wanted to do was scream profanities at her. I held back, as any decent Catholic should do and broke down. Why didn't my mother love me enough to fight for me? Why did she give up on us? Why does she appear to love her dogs more than her children? She cares for other people more than she cares for us. Why am I such a failure in her eyes? How come? Why? Will I ever be like that? I was always told that I am like her, am I?

At the end of my pity party, I picked up the pieces and pulled myself together for the facilitator visit. I prayed the St. Michael prayer a number of times. I needed all the help I could get. I made it through the visit and finished making chicken soup. I somehow knew that I would need a warm bowl of soup after the visit and was very thankful for having started the stock before the visit.

Whether or not it is postpartum depression, I have vowed to not miss my vitamins, start exercising and taking better care of myself. I will try not to read other blogs and wish that I had their lives, families or more of anything. (I need to go to adoration and confession.) I am not such a bad person despite my rough start in life. I am talented in a few things (I am a pretty good knitter) and am a great mother. I know that I would never intentially harm any of my babies. I have some mourning to do and I need to move on. I have a wonderful husband and great kids and I need to stop writing so that I can get back to spending time making them some great Christmas gifts.

Sorry that this post got a tad lengthy. Now is the time to go to Ginny's blog and see what everyone else has been up to.

God Bless Friends,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yarn Along

I am finally joining Ginny once again for a Yarn Along. I have just begun to get back to knitting in the last few weeks. With a tiny baby, I find it extremely difficult to find the time or free hands. But, I had one UFO (unfinished object) from last Christmas that needed to be finished. It was a hat for hubby. It turned out a lot larger than I had hoped for. He likes it and it is "in" to wear oversized slouchy hats around here, so it fits in. I am not into following fashions, but this fashion worked in my favour. Sorry, that I am the model. It looks better on hubby, I promise.

If you  are a child of the 70's or 80's you will hopefully recognize the motif, Space Invaders. My ravelry notes are here.
On the weekend, I began working on my first Milo vest. I love how quickly it is coming together. I am nearly finished. I am just working the bottom section and should have it finished this evening if the baby decides to cuddle with daddy after dinner. I ordered some more yarn to make a few more Milo vests for the other boys and another one for the baby. This baby likes to be warm, really warm. I plan on making the Milos as Christmas gifts. I also have a few more patterns queued on Ravelry for this Christmas. Hopefully hubby will get his gift under the tree this year.

I am also slowly working my way through Into the Free by Julie Cantrell. It is a really good book so far. When I have it in my hands, I can't put it down. Unfortunately, I don't get into my hands very often. This is one of those books where the characters really come alive and you feel like you are right there. It is very gripping so far. I have to hurry and finish it because it is due back at the library on November 2nd.

What have you been working on or reading? Join Ginny and the others at Small Things to see what they have been reading and knitting.

God Bless friends and thank you for stopping by,

UPDATE: My First Milo is finished. It has some growing room and it looks absolutely adorable on my big little guy.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thankful Thursday

It is about time that I blog again. What a better day than today is it to blog? Thankful Thursday posts ground me and humble me. It forces me to slow down and to take time to thank God for all of the graces and blessings that He has bestowed upon me (even when I don't deserve it.) I have had many things to be thankful for these past few weeks.

I am thankful for...
a new baby...
a lovely daughter who turned 10!

a big sister who cuddles little brothers (she's holding the baby)...
a husband who holds the baby to give me a much needed break...
baby sporting the vest I made (it won't fit for much longer)...

time found to be creative...

baptism cupcakes that turned out o.k.... (the toppers are from here)
a newly ordained priest and a newly baptised baby (Septemer 9th)
fresh from the garden tomatoes...

for a big brother that can hold a baby while reading...

for little guys who potty train themselves...
for a baby that sleeps in the swing from time to time (allowing me to eat a meal)...
for a sunflower seed harvest...

and for many laughs and tears. It has been a busy few weeks. I am thankful that I survived them. It is crazy with a newborn in the house. I am so grateful that he is such a good baby. I am thankful that he has managed to gain weight very well. His last weigh-in was at 5.5 weeks and he tipped the scales at 11lbs 2oz. He nurses well and has a good appetite. He also sleeps six hours straight at night (usually).
I am thankful that my two year old is day trained on the potty. It was his idea to start training a few weeks after Adam was born. That surprised me, but I'll take it.
I am thankful to have finally found a reading and math program that work for Owen. I would also appreciate prayers for Owen who really struggles with these two subjects.
I am thankful that our garden did well despite the hail storms and rainy summer.
I am thankful for all of those people who pray for us. We love you.
Have a wunderful Thursday!
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