September Days

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September was busy and beautiful. We started a new year of school at home together. We visited the local Wildlife Park, the girls started Irish Dance lessons, our oldest daughter turned six and had a sweet little party with her friends. I am so grateful to be going to bed truly tired. The days are so full right now with two busy girls who love to dance and sing and color and play LEGO and be read to..and my little son who is like a party in a can. He is always smiling and climbing things and laughing unless he is teething or sick in which case he is hanging off my legs all around the house or screeching and trying to hit me while I read to his sisters. Yikes.

In any case, I am ready for the cool days and hot drinks and a lap full of wool.

“Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I was a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive Autumns.” -George Eliot

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Day 1

DSCF2322 DSCF2326 DSCF2332 DSCF2334 DSCF2335 DSCF2340 DSCF2341 DSCF2342 DSCF2343Breakfast out together. Stories. Coloring. Naps. Lots of good end-of-summer fresh air. Great first day and happy their Daddy was here to share in it. Taking huge comfort in these words. Every last one of them and know deep down in my bones this is right. Praise God for Day 1.

End of Summer Post

We are coming to the end of the summer and as always I am pretty happy with that. It’s no secret that Autumn is my absolute favorite season. I could list off the things I love about it but I have done that many times over on this blog, I’m sure.

My mother is getting remarried in just a few short days and although I am very happy for her, there is so much emotional baggage that goes with it that I am trying to keep busy and focusing on Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

DSCF2278I am so thankful for this little cutie who lights up every time I come into view. He is God’s *hug* to me these days!!

Here’s what’s been keeping our days happy lately..

Listening: Mary Poppins Original Soundtrack …my girls are in love! Chim-chimney! and for me.. my I-need-to-cry-and-be-inspired music.

Reading: Kisses from Katie ..I just finished this the other night. It has touched my heart and challenged me in ways I never       thought possible. It’s got me praying that dangerous prayer again… show me YOUR will Lord and help me to do it! I give you my yes no matter what.  The girls have been reading anything by Elsa Beskow we can manage to check out of the library. Their favorite right now is “The Curious Fish“.

Watching: I found You’ve Got Mail at Value Village the other night and almost cried. It is “my” movie! If I ever had to identify with a character in a movie, it would be Kathleen Kelly.. this movie makes me sob every. single. time.

Eating: This weather has got me thinking about fall foods I am excited to bring back into rotation. We have a dutch oven we bought at the end of Spring last year and I am super pumped to try  cooking this chili. I am also pretty happy that it is Pumpkin Spice Latte season, I won’t lie. The girls helped me make some pretty killer cookies two weeks ago that are going to get made a lot. I just know it!  We subbed half of the butter for peanut butter.

Touching: I have GOT to sort out the mistake I made on Lucy’s birthday sweater. I’ve just got the sleeves and hood to go and just under a month to sort it all out. I’ve never knit anything so big before, but I know I can do it! It is, of course, purple.

Here’s to the end of summer, friends! It has been a full and busy time for our family. We have been very blessed to spend time with family, watch Oliver start solids and sit up on his own, the girls had their first swimming lessons, we added to our family, Oliver cut four teeth and we started preparing ourselves for our first year of homeschooling this fall. God is so good to our little family and I am thankful for all the crazy days and the fun that goes on under our roof. In all the times I prayed about my future as a teenager, I don’t remember praying for an easy or comfortable life. I prayed for love, adventure, passion, joy, laughter, and warmth. Wow, did my God deliver!! 🙂

These Days

The longer I am gone from here, the harder I find it to come back. Not because my desire to blog has run dry, but because I don’t know where to start. I usually take blogging breaks because I feel like I have nothing to say, but by the time I’m ready to sit down and write, there is too much to say! I’ll just dive right in..

I started a new job about three weeks ago. I am working part time 3-4 nights a week at Starbucks. This has been wonderful for me. Anyone who knows me knows I like to be with people, have a need to get out of the house from time to time, and I love a good latte. I was a little nervous about going back to work, not having been in over 3 years but it’s turning out to be exactly what I need right now. I cried my fair share of insecure tears when leaving the house the first few nights but it has gotten easier. The beauty of it is that I don’t start until 6pm. This gives Ben time to get home from work, supper is on the table when he arrives, we get about 15-20 minutes together at the table and then I leave. I am thankful that he is such a great dad and I can trust that all is well with the girls when I go.

Speaking of leaving the girls with Ben for bath/bedtime, he has started doing something with them that my siblings and I did when we were little and I am so excited I just have to share. When we were kids my mom would get the bath ready, bring us into the bathroom, strip us down, and let us draw ALL over ourselves with markers. We thought this was the funniest thing ever! Then we would get into the tub and it would all just bead off and change the colour of the water. We use Crayola markers which are all washable I think. Try it sometime! The girls love it!

Halloween is quickly coming and we are excited to be giving out treats this year in our new neighborhood. We’ve also been invited to an All Saints party which I am really looking forward to. We never celebrated All Saints day when I was growing up, so it will help me to see what we can do each year to make it just as and more special than Halloween. Abigail is going to be a bumblebee and Lucy is going to be a princess if I can get her to leave her dress on for more than a minute. She really takes issue with any clothing with tags, or anything the slightest bit itchy. I am hoping that over time she won’t mind so much, because someone from Ben’s work just gave us four Princess dresses in really good nick.

We are in full Autumn mode in our kitchen these days. The meal plan was very successful for an entire month! We saved money, groceries were faster and so much less food went to waste. We kind of half stuck to it in October but my plan is to get back on our menu plan for the month of November since everyone (the girls especially) liked it. It will be helpful since we have two lovelies coming from the NET Infuse team to stay with us for a month. We are so excited to have them in our home and share our faith with them and vice versa.

Well, the girls are waking up so i’ve got to run but I will be back to post some pictures of my recent knitting adventures! I don’t know if anyone even comes here anymore, but either way, I will be back. Bless your day~

Autumn Meal Plan

The time for soups and stews, crockpots and crisps is finally here! I could not be happier! Truth be told, I am a terrible summer cook. I grew up in a family that BBQ’ed a lot in the summer and it left me feeling like maybe we should just eat a bit of  whatever is in the fridge during hot days. I lack inspiration for meal planning during the summer, though I hope to get better at it with the years.

If you have been reading here since last Autumn, you might remember that I shared with you our month long meal plan. I won’t lie, it was totally unsuccessful and we didn’t stick to it. I think it was just too much variety and it made for expensive groceries. I still like the idea of meal planning and I think it can save you a lot of money so I am back at it!

After reading ‘Simplicity Parenting’ by Kim John Payne recently, I have decided to really simplify our meal plan for this fall. I usually make a new plan every single week and although it’s nice trying new things I actually find it a lot of work and the girls start asking for their favorites over and over again. We decided to put together a week’s worth of our absolute favorite meals and use it week after week for at least a few months and see how we like it. The beauty of it is that it makes groceries a no brainer and I can shop for all of my pantry/freezer stuff for the month in one trip. The other lovely thing is that one batch of soup or stew is enough for two meals and I can freeze enough for the following week. Here is what we will be eating:

Sunday: Pork roast, applesauce, mashed potatoes, veggie of some kind

Monday: Chicken Stew and breadrolls

Tuesday: Cottage pie made with leftover roast

Wednesday: Pumpkin Soup and breadrolls

Thursday: Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

Friday: Cabbage Rolls

Saturday: Homemade Pizza

I will try and remember to blog about this in a few weeks and let you know how it’s going. Lucy is very excited about Pumpkin soup and has been talking about it for a few weeks now. I take so much comfort in these meals and these recipes that have been part of me since I was a child. I cannot wait to start making apple crisps and do more baking with the girls. The air is definitely changing and we are grateful for these days that are slowly getting cooler. I even bought tights for the girls today!  A sure sign that the cool days are coming.

A Family That Prays Together

 “Everyone knows that the Christian family is a special sign of the presence and love of Christ and that it is called to give a specific and irreplaceable contribution to evangelization. … The Christian family has always been the first way of transmitting the faith and still today retains great possibilities for evangelization in many areas. Dear parents, commit yourselves always to teach your children to pray, and pray with them; draw them close to the Sacraments, especially to the Eucharist, … introduce them to the life of the Church; in the intimacy of the home do not be afraid to read the sacred Scriptures, illuminating family life with the light of faith and praising God as Father. Be like a little Upper Room, like that of Mary and the disciples, in which to live unity, communion and prayer!”.     – Pope Benedict XVI

 

I am a cradle Catholic. So is my husband. We both grew up in Catholic homes where we went to Sunday mass, attended catechism classes and were confirmed in the church. We both remember our parents praying with us before bed when we were small children. We both remember those bedtime prayers stopping when we were getting too big to be tucked in anymore. I say this not to criticize our parents, not even a little bit. Without our parents love and commitment to taking us (sometimes unwillingly) to the Eucharist week after week we would not be where we are in our faith.

When we became parents decided that we wanted to incorporate a family prayer time into our daily life. We knew that it should be something simple, realistic and age appropriate to our kids. Some families with young children  pray a Rosary every evening before bed and more power to you but that is not for us right now. We would pray together every few days when Lucy was a baby but we never found the right rhythm until we moved back to Halifax and into our new apartment. She was 9 months old at the time and we were getting into a nice routine with her of supper, bathtime, nursing/prayer then bed.

The next thing we decided was that our family prayer time would happen in our living room. Now this may not seem like a big deal to some people and I ask you to please bear with me. We decided to do this in our living room because we don’t want to grow out of praying with our kids once they are too big to be tucked in. Our living room is where we live, we laugh, we fight, we play and we pray. Praying there also becomes a way of including others in our prayers when they visit and we ask them to join us for family prayer. It helps Lucy to point to pictures of people in the room and name them when it is her turn to bless others.

I want to share with you what our family does every night before the girls go to bed. After they have had their bath or just put on their pyjamas, we all gather in the living room. Ben and I sit together on the couch and we start..

We make the sign of the cross to start.

We each take a turn to give thanks for 2-3 things about the day.

We pray for anyone who has asked for our prayers or who needs them.

We say an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory Be.

We say St. Matthew and St. Rosalie, pray for us! (These are our family Saints, babies we have miscarried).

We make the sign of the cross to finish.

There is nothing fancy about what we do. The most important thing is that we do it. Every night. Even when the girls don’t want to. Even when we don’t want to. Consistently. Sometimes it goes beautifully and Lucy is praying for people and telling Jesus wonderful things and other times she says things like, “bless our lamp”. Miss Abigail knows who Mary is now, she says Amen with us and does a funny arm movement as her sign of the cross but you know what? I love it. I love all of it. There is something so beautiful when you hear your children  praying the Hail Mary and you think, “we taught them that!!!!”

We know that as our children grow older our prayer time may change slightly. We may work ourselves up to praying a family rosary every night. For now we want to focus on short, simple, consistent prayer time to carry us through this time of toddlerhood. Also, we can’t expect anyone to pray a rosary if they can’t pray a Hail Mary, right? We are really happy with what we do. Lucy knows about 1/2 of the Our Father and all of the Hail Mary and Glory be. We don’t say those prayers more than just that once a day usually, but over time it is amazing what young children can pick up.

If having a family prayer time is something that you’ve thought about doing but always felt like it would be too hard to do, try something simple. My kids don’t sit like angels on the couch the entire time and I don’t expect them to. They are 18 months and nearly 3 years old. At prayer time we give them each a rosary to hold and a few books with children’s prayers or holy pictures. It gives them something to focus on, if only for 5 minutes. This is how we begin!

The other part of the quote from Pope Benedict talks about reading scripture together in the home. I personally really LOVE scripture. I don’t read it as often as I should but the stories just make it all come alive for me. We recently went through our kids books and got rid of about half. There were some pages torn, or in rough shape and we widdled the bookshelf down to the ones they really love. Among those books we put in a few different Children’s Bible story books. My grandmother gave one to Lucy when she was a baby with really realistic but still cartoon images. They love it. We talk about Noah and the animals, she’s asked me about the picture of Abraham and Isaac. These two things, prayer time and reading scripture, really are possible and can be kept simple. God only asks us to bring the children to Him. He didn’t say they had to behave or always love it. He just asked us to bring them. We do this each Sunday when we go to church but can we find a way to bring them to Christ in our homes? Are we bringing ourselves to Christ in our homes? I mean no harm when I say this but, if we can’t find Christ in our homes, it’s unlikely that we will be able to find Him anywhere else.

We have found much peace in bringing family prayer to the front and center of our home. We pray that you and your families would know that peace as well. Bless you!

Welcome September!

Here we are already September and i’m asking myself where the entire summer went? The days didn’t feel busy or rushed but come the end of the week I wondered how it could have flown by so quickly. The furthest we ventured from home this year was to visit my sister and her family in Moncton. Other than that we stayed pretty close to home enjoying our first summer with a backyard all our own and a few day trips nearby. There has been a lot of time spent eating watermelon, hanging out in the kiddie pool, playing on our neighbours swings and just being together. A good part of our summer here wasn’t the warmest and I needed to bite my tongue to not wish the time away until Autumn. I cannot tell a lie, I am so happy to see cool days coming with the promise of sweet hot drinks, warm blankets and good books.


Easily my favorite picture taken last Autumn

Everything about this weather makes me want to cook using our stockpot, light candles and knit. I know that Autumn inevitably brings Winter but I ignore that and fall madly in love with this season every single year. Here is a short list of things that I love about Autumn…

The excuse to drink more hot drinks

Dark house = more evenings by candlelight

It feels nearly time to watch my favorite movie, “You’ve Got Mail”

The rhythm of daily school bus sightings from our living room window

School supplies

Everything pumpkin flavored / scented

Apple pies, apple butter, apple sauce, sour cream apple cake (Ben’s favorite)

Pumpkin Loaf

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Hawksley Workman – Autumn’s Here

My mom’s birthday

Lucy’s birthday

Exciting feast days

Soup

My crockpot

Playing outside without hats, sunscreen or sweat

My red boots

Hibernation

My first Autumn of knowing how to knit!!

KNITTING

Putting my pajamas on mid afternoon

More desserts after supper

Fall decorations

How everything is sad but beautiful and still so full of life

Changing of the leaves

If you are a lover of fall, I would love to hear what you are looking forward to as these days get cooler and darker….