Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hollywood or Bust Update

SNOW IN LOS ANGELES!!! Yes, Keegan and Ian are experiencing snow in Los Angeles! The last time it snowed in L.A. was in 1962, in trace amounts. CRAZY!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hollywood or Bust Update

Keegan and Ian have power!!!!!!!

Lenten Spring Cleaning Plans

During Lent I am going to focus on cleaning and organizing, sorting and purging in every area of my home. This will require a great deal of discipline and focus, as I am easily distracted and at times prone to slothfulness. It will also require that I continue working on breaking my attachment to material possessions. This is an area that continues to need refinement despite the fact that God has been working with me on this one for quite some time. It is a challenge that I can meet only with the Holy Spirit's intervention and I look forward to this challenge. As I reflect upon Christ's sacrifice and gift of mercy this Easter season, it seems to me that the cleanliness of my home can symbolically represent, in such a small way, the cleanliness of my soul through the sacrifice of Christ.

Here is my lenten spring cleaning schedule:

March 7, Monday: Learning Room/Studio - clean and organize bookshelves and art supplies.
March 8, Tuesday: Learning Room/Studio - clean and organize desk and closet.
March 9, Wednesday: Stairway and Mud Room.
March 10, Thursday: Rec. Room.
March 11, Friday: Rec. Room.
March 12, Saturday: Front Yard.
March 13, Sunday: REST
March 14, Monday: Hall and Hall Closets.
March 15, Tuesday: Master Bedroom.
March 16, Wednesday: Master Bedroom, inc. drawers of dresser and night stand.
March 17, Thursday: Master Bedroom, inc. closet.
March 18, Friday: Front Porch - clean and decorate.
March 19, Saturday: Back Porch - touch up paint and decorate.
March 20, Sunday: REST
March 21, Monday: Clean fridge, freezer, microwave, coffee pot and tea pot.
March 22, Tuesday: Clean ceilings and light fixtures.
March 23, Wednesday: Clean windows.
March 24, Thursday: Clean blinds.
March 25, Friday: Laundry Room.
March 26, Saturday: Back Yard.
March 27, Sunday: REST
March 28, Monday: Organize pantry and built-in hutch.
March 29, Tuesday: Clean and organize kitchen cabinets and drawers.
March 30, Wednesday: Dining Room - clean and organize buffet and china cabinet.
March 31, Thursday: Living Room - clean fireplace and sort through DVD's and books.
April 1, Friday: Clean door handles and doors
April 2, Saturday: Garage.
April 3, Sunday: REST
April 4, Monday: Boys Bedroom - sort and purge clothes and toys.
April 5, Tuesday: Bathroom.
April 6, Wednesday: Clean doors and door frames.
April 7, Thursday: Clean van - inside and out.
April 8, Friday: Clean other vehicles.
April 9, Saturday: Kitchen Storage Closet.
April 10, Sunday: REST
April 11, Monday: clean oven, range and hood.
April 12, Tuesday: Grocery shopping/ errand running.
April 13, Wednesday: Dust and baseboards.
April 14, Thursday: Vacuum.
April 15, Friday: Mop.
April 16, Saturday: Grocery shopping/errand running.
April 17, Sunday: REST
April 18, Monday: assemble Easter baskets.
April 19, Tuesday: prepare Easter outfits.
April 20, Wednesday: begin Easter dinner preparation.
April 21, Thursday:
April 22, Friday:
April 23, Saturday:
April 24, Sunday: EASTER SUNDAY!!!

Spring Intentions

The weather was just incredible today - a balmy 68 degrees. It felt like spring, it sounded like spring, and it smelled like spring. The snow and ice are mostly melted. It has me looking forward to what is to come. Spring. Easter. Flowers. Garden. Birthdays. My mind is swirling with thoughts and ideas regarding what needs to be done during this upcoming season and what I might like to do to make this season memorable. Some thoughts and ideas include...

*ordering my seed from Bakers Creek, starting those seeds immediately upon
arrival, and expanding my garden.
*creating a notebook with planting information and recipes for how to use and
preserve my spring and summer produce.
*celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday, just because it's fun to do. Maceo will be performing
at the library on this day.
*do my spring cleaning through the lenten season, clearing my house and my life
from clutter.
*celebrate Shrove Tuesday with pancakes, sausage, and stuffed strawberries or
a fruit salad.
*maybe make 'mardi gras' masks.
*go to Ash Wednesday service at church.
*set up an 'altar' at center of dining room table with a cross, crown of thorns, alms
box, and bowl with soil and votive candle.
*plant grass seed in that bowl of soil on Palm Sunday.
*make Stations of the Cross votives and do the stations with the boys.
*make 'crowns of thorns' with pretzel sticks and chocolate.
*celebrate Herb's birthday.
*celebrate Saint Patrick's day.
*celebrate Saint Joseph's day.
*mail birthday package to Keegan and Ian.
*have lenten teas.
*decorate front porch for spring.
*celebrate Christian's birthday.
*have a Messianic Passover dinner.
*continue work at food pantry.
*dye eggs.
*make resurrection eggs.
*play Exodus game.
*play Holy Week game.
*force forsythia.
*visit a nursery and buy Easter lilies or hellebores, the lenten rose.
*make resurrection cookies.
*make hot cross buns.
*read The Three Trees.
*hide the alleluia.
*recognize Rose Sunday.
*do readings on Good Friday as extinguish candles.
*silence at 3pm on Good Friday.
*pick out Easter outfits.
*celebrate Saint George's day.
*recognize Saint Mark's day.
*begin countdown to pentecost and celebrate pentecost.
*create lenten countdown calendar for kiddos.
*read scripture - lots of it.

I love this time of year - it seems so full of possibilities!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Saint Valentine's Day!

Today I was hoping to focus on the history of Valentine's day and to study the Saint for which this day gets its name but I misplaced the book that I was going to read, Bishop needed his allergy shots and a host of errands needed to be done and they all needed to be done before cub scouts tonight. Instead, the day became a very simple celebration of family love. After Bishop got his shots I took him sledding for the first time - he loved it. And after the errands I treated the family to a simple dinner, reminiscent of last years feast that was entirely imported from Chicago. We had Chicago-style pizza made at a local pizzeria, cheesecake, and chocolate covered strawberries.

Two of my valentines seemed to enjoy it!

Happy Saint Valentines!
I hope your day was filled with love!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We Still Have Snowflakes!

Outside the temperatures have risen and the snow has begun to melt but inside, regardless of temperature, snowflakes abound.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hollywood or Bust Update

The saga continues...
Yesterday Keegan and Ian had their electricity turned off. The apartments website said that all utilities were paid and, in all the conversations with management prior to the move and at the time of the lease signing, no one informed Keegan otherwise. Electricity had been on for the last month and a half and no bill was received but they were told that they were responsible for the power bill and would just have to go without until they could get it set up in their name. Presumably, it states that they are responsible for it in their 40 page lease agreement but had failed to notice it the day that they signed it. Hopefully, they will get it all set up on Monday and we will report the management company to the BBB for their false statement on their website. In the meantime, they have an adventure on their hands - life by candlelight. Also, the financial aid check has not come in. Money is low, food is low, and power is off. But, this too shall pass.
On a positive note - Ian has a job at a pizza joint! Yay!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl Sunday

Superbowl XLV - Steelers vs. Packers. Go Steelers!!!

Well, for those of us cheering for the Steelers the superbowl proved to be a little less then super, but overall Superbowl Sunday was a blast. Initially, I had envisioned inviting Sarah and her family over for a little party. FYI: Sarah is a Packers fan and Herb is a Steelers fan. I opted not to issue invites after learning of the storm heading our direction. I wasn't sure that we would all be dug out of the snow in time to party. So our party was truly a little party; just the immediate family - Herb, Christian, Maceo, Bishop and myself. We had a nacho bar, relish tray and a superbowl cake. It is a family tradition that I buy a superbowl cake if a family member's team makes it to the big game.

It was a good time - good food and good company!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

A second new year celebration, this time celebrating the lunar new year, commonly known as Chinese New Year. In the a.m. we did some mapwork related to China, tried our hand at chinese writing, and took a look at the chinese zodiac. It was fun to figure out what sign each family member would fall under, then look at the characteristics attributed to them and see if they were a match. For us, most often they were not a match. It was entertaining, nonetheless. Incidentally, the year 2011 is the year of the rabbit and Maceo was born during the year of the rabbit. We also read about the history of the chopsticks and proper chopstick etiquette. We attempted to consume our dinner of rice, beef and broccoli, lo mein, and egg rolls with our chopsticks. Some were more successful then others. Maceo used the cheater chopsticks and I ended up resorting to a fork but...

Bishop was quite successful (even while he was dodging flying chopsticks!)

He learned that eating rice off of his plate with his chopsticks was nearly impossible. He switched to a small bowl and found that it was much easier to hold it near his mouth and kind of shovel it in.
We discussed the history of fortune cookies. I tried my hand at making them but my recipe was a failure. But I had on hand the chinese fortune sticks. They were an entertaining diversion.

Once again, wishing you a happy new year!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Celebrating Candlemas

Candlemas - a day set apart on the liturgical calendar to recognize the presentation of our Lord in the temple. The day is referred to as Candlemas because, in the Catholic church, candles are blessed on this day to serve as a reminder the words of Simeon who called the babe in his arms "A light to lighten the gentiles and the glory of your people, Israel." Luke 2:32

For our recognition of this day I was truly inspired by the liturgical teas over at Cottage Blessings. The author of this blog, Alice Gunther, has a special way of making the scripture come to life in a truly memorable fashion. I am certain that you will be inspired by her ideas as well. I followed her tea ideas very closely.

We started our day making these edible candles. They were so easy to make and looked quite striking on our table.

We had our tea by candlelight. Bishop picked miscellaneous candles from my stash (most of them remains from advent) and we lined the buffet table with them. They created quite a glow and set a reverent tone.

The tea involved reading Luke 2:22-40 and presenting foods and such that are symbolic of significant people and elements found within the scripture. This included (remember: Alice gets all credit for these ideas):
*A pair of turtledoves

representing the loving arms of
Simeon as he held the Christ Child
and said, "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace,
according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation." Luke 2:29-30
*Cubes of Cheese and Grape Tomatoes
skewered with cocktail swords
representing these words spoken by Simeon as moved by the Holy Spirit,
"Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted,
and you yourself a sword will pierce,
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:34-35
*Strawberries with Whipped Cream
representing Mary's pure heart.

*Sugar and Milk
both white representing
the purity and righteousness
of Mary and Joseph
which is associated with
purity and purification
*Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
representing Anna, the widow
who worships in the temple day and night,
the black outer shell shows that she is a widow
but inside you will see the purity of her devout heart.
*And, of course, the Edible Candles
representing Simeon's words,
"A light to lighten the gentiles and the glory of your people, Israel" Luke 2:32

It was a lovely and memorable experience for all of us - one we will truly treasure!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snowflakes Everywhere

It is a winter wonderland here. We are homebound due to the fact that at least a foot of snow has fallen today. Maceo worked on creating and editing films on the computer. Bishop bundled up and went on an 'arctic expedition' which involved shooting his bb gun while it was snowing. As for myself, I got a pot of chicken started for some homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner and sat before the fire making paper snowflakes. Years ago, I had purchased this book at a thrift store for 27 cents. For the last several winters I have tried to entice the boys to help me make them but they have never been interested. I opted to do them myself. I now have 23 beautiful snowflakes to hang on my windows tomorrow.
It was a pleasant pursuit and we now have snowflakes everywhere, both outside and in.