Friday, September 30, 2011

Living Simply - Autumn has Arrived!

I love autumn. It is my favourite season. I love the colours, the scenes and the smells. I love snuggling in warm blankets by candlelight, sipping a hot cup of tea or coffee. I love going for walks and enjoying nature. Here are some of my latest photo impressions of my favourite season.
All of these pictures were taken in the neighbourhood that I live in. The kids collected leaves and pinecones. The last picture is of the wreath hanging on our front door. The wreath itself cost $5 and all of the embellishments were things that I had lying around the house. I learned how to make the flowers here.

God is so good. Autumn is God's greatest art project in my opinion. He uses no shortage of colours, textures, line, contrast and perspective. The images are like a colourful symphony.

Autumn flashes by so quickly in our neck of the Canadian woods, that you have to capture these moments and savour them for as long as you can. The winter here is long and hard. I am especially thankful that this Autumn has been longer than usual. Last year, we had snow in September and all of the leaves fell on one day. This year the leaves are still on the trees and are falling more deliberately and slowly. Hopefully, we can take a few more walks, collect a few more leaves, sip tea by candlelight and savour every moment of Autumn.

Autumn Song

by Katherine Mansfield

Now's the time when children's noses
All become as red as roses
And the colour of their faces
Makes me think of orchard places
Where the juicy apples grow,
And tomatoes in a row.

And to-day the hardened sinner
Never could be late for dinner,
But will jump up to the table
Just as soon as he is able,
Ask for three times hot roast mutton--
Oh! the shocking little glutton.

Come then, find your ball and racket,
Pop into your winter jacket,
With the lovely bear-skin lining.
While the sun is brightly shining,
Let us run and play together
And just love the autumn weather.

God Bless and enjoy the autumn.

Living Simply - Homemade Wipes Solution

I mentioned in an earlier post that we cloth diaper (most of the time). Before the baby was born, I made homemade baby wipes. I reused old receiving blankets and thin baby hooded bath towels to make two sided wipes. I sewed up about 50 of these and made my own wipe solution. I searched the internet for recipes and took what I had on hand to make my own wipes solution. I use the following:

Wipe Solution
1 quart mason jar
4 cups water
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. castile soap (I use Mountain Sky Honey Almond or Dr. Bronner's)
4 drops tea tree essential oil
4 drops lavender essential oil

I read that it is a good idea to use distilled water because the solution tends to keep longer and doesn't go rancid. I use tap water because I have it on hand. So far, I haven't had any problems. Tea tree oil and lavender oils are said to be anti-bacterial and keep my solution from going rancid. I just put everything in the jar and shake it up. It's that easy.

This solution lasts me a really, really long time because I use it diluted in water. I have a bowl of water on the shelf above the change table and put a few tablespoons in it every time I change the water. I have a stack of wipes in the top drawer of the change table and use them as needed.

The white bowl (an old microwave bowl, that no longer has a lid = useless in my kitchen) is the water/wipes bowl. Yes, I confess that I do buy diapers. I use cloth during the day and disposables by night. A box of 156 diapers at Walmart for $17 lasts a really long time. I haven't found a cloth solution (that I can afford) that keeps my baby, his pjs, bed etc. dry overnight, so I gave in to disposables. It is not ideal in my opinion, but it is like hugging half a tree.

God Bless and have a great day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Living Simply - Hair

Living Simply often means finding out how to "do it myself". With internet resources galore, (especially pinterest), I have been trying to do Mia's hair more often. So far I've tried this...

and this...

Here are some of my favourite styles that I have been inspired by.

Here are a few websites dedicated to hairstyles for girls:
She Does Hair
Girly Do Hair
Hair Styles By Mommy

If you know of anymore websites that feature girly do's, don't hesitate to comment. Also, if you know by chance of any really good tutorials for making hair accessories, leave me a comment. God Bless and Happy Feast of Padre Pio.

The Week in Review

This week has been crazy, not crazy busy, but crazy. We I have been trying to get back to some kind of normal. It has been a real challenge. Between math and reading lessons, I have made arrangements with a funeral home, emailed with the parish priest, talked to a dear friend living half way across the country, baked, cooked, potty-trained, cried and laughed. Oh, but the one thing that has changed my life this week is 'Pinterest'.

I know that I am little slow at jumping on band-wagons, but when I saw this band-wagon, I knew that I had to jump on. What a novel idea, pinning pictures of things that inspire you, diy stuff, art, anything at all, all in one place that doesn't junk up your favourites bar on your computer. People all over the world have great ideas and you can collect your favourite ideas in one place! Can you tell that I love pinterest? If you haven't already joined, what are you waiting for?If you want to follow me, go right ahead. I don't mind.

I did mention that we did manage to get some schoolwork done. Owen is trying really hard to learn his ABC's. We are doing lots and lots of worksheets. I am a Charlotte Mason type of gal, but he is a worksheet, hands on, don't read about it, let me touch it and make it type of kid. So, ideals are thrown over board to help this little guy finally 'get it'. We are getting somewhere. He actually recognizes some letters and knows their sounds. We are doing lots of preschool stuff, but he absolutely doesn't mind even though he is six and is technically a grade 1 student.
Read, build, write worksheet from
A is for Ark, Annabel (the doll), acorn squash, apple, airplane, allspice, "a" puzzle piece. The scavenger hunt idea is from here.
Get Ready for Reading worksheet from
B is for boy, bunnies, banana, blanket, book, and bear.

B is also for buns. These are made from a grain free recipe that I found on pinterest. insert smiley face.
B is also for bibs. I haven't posted much specifically on living simply, but I really should. We are so short on cash right now, and really desperately need bibs. Do you have bibs that are fraying and falling apart. I have been using the same bibs for 11 years now (most of them are that old). I only have two that are not a wreck. The bibs in this house are so bad that they don't do their job anymore. They are sad and ready for retirement. I have a little stash of nice material that I have bought on sale. Did I ever mention that I never pay full price on non-essentials if I can help it? Btw, our local fabric store has a 'Buy 1, get 2 Free' bin with bold ends and rests. I shop there mostly and on occassion I buy 50% fabric from the quilting section. So, to make a long story short, I raided my stash to make some bibs. I found two patterns (pattern 1 & pattern 2) on pinterest that I really like and morphed the two patterns into these:
I used the pattern from the second pattern and the sewing/quilting method from the first. The second bib is a little bigger, since I was making it for my 19 month old. He loves his new bibs and modeled one of them for me.
To finish the post, I will give you a crossword created by my oldest. He used an online crossword generator to create a crossword for George's Marvelous Medicine by Ronald Dahl. We do alternative book reports for fun. This is our favourite list of alternative book reports.

Answer Key

I hope that you had a productive week. God Bless.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Shrine of the Holy Innocents

"Often children who have died before birth have no grave or headstone, and sometimes not even a name. At The Church of The Holy Innocents, we invite you to name your child(ren) and to have the opportunity to have your baby's name inscribed in our "BOOK OF LIFE". Here, a candle is always lit in their memory. All day long people stop to pray. On the first Monday of every month, our 12:15pm Mass is celebrated in honor of these children and for the comfort of their families."
The above mentioned quote comes directly from the Church of the Holy Innocents website.
After I miscarried, I posted a note on my facebook page. A seminarian friend of mine sent me a message. It was so sweet, but I didn't actually read it until today. I noticed that he sent me some links that he received from the nuns at the convent next door. He is in a seminary half-way across the country, so I figured they wouldn't really be of any help to me. Was I dumb blind, or what?

My friend sent me a link to Morning Light Ministry, a Catholic ministry dedicated to helping bereaving parents of miscarried, stillborn, and children who died in infancy. There are prayers, words of comfort and many more aids for bereaving parents. You can order a special prayer card in your baby's name. I plan on visiting this website again to read and to order a special prayer card.

My dear friend also sent me a link to the Centre for Reproductive Loss. After reading a little here and there, I stumbled upon the "links" icon. I was suprised that there are so many organizations dedicated to fertility, infant loss, miscarriage and abortion. Again I felt dumb humbled, that I am not alone in my loss. One particular link caught my attention, the link to the Shrine of the Holy Innocents. I was born on the feast of the Holy Innocents. My mom told me that I was the only baby born that day that wasn't stillborn. What an creepy thought. Why did I live? Why did those other parents have to suffer so much. My mom was a teen mom. Life isn't always fair.

Anywho. The Shrine of the Holy Innocents has a book of names of children who were miscarried, stillborn or died in early infancy. If you have miscarried, experienced a loss through stillbirth or infant death, you can have your baby's name written in this book. You can even receive a certificate that acknowledges the life of your child, no matter how brief it may have been. When I saw this, I stopped what I was doing to blog about it. If you have ever experienced a tragic loss of a little loved one, I urge you to check out the links I have mentioned.

On another note, my daughter helped me finish our baby casket. I thought I would share our pictures. It was made with love. Please excuse the bad lighting. My camera takes less than acceptable photos when the object of capture is all white.
The little box is from Michaels. My painter hubby painted it white. My daughter made the cushion and I hotglued trim around it. I sewed on the miraculous medal from one of my homemade earings (I lost the other one a few days before the miscarriage - divine providence?) and hotglued a little rose on top.
I took a petalbox template from and cut it out of white felt. The baby will be placed inside a heart shaped box inside of this petalbox. I sewed on a little bit of pink ribbon (all I could find) and a little button. Right now it is just pinned together.
I learned how to do pintucks in order to make a lining for the box. My big boy gave me a rosary to give to the baby. It was one that he used his own money to buy. My little big boy made a picture and I rolled it up for the baby. Everyone contributed somehow or other. The baby contributed by being a good boy while we were working on it.

“Then He took the children in His arms,
placed His hands on each of them,
and blessed them.” Mark 10:16

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Feast of Padre Pio - September 23rd

On Friday, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Padre Pio. Noah studied this Saint
in depth last year and dressed up as him for our home school All Saints Day gathering. Since then, Saint Padre Pio has become one of our family's favourite Saints. You can watch a little video about him, to get to know a little bit more about him.


This Friday, we will be burying our miscarried baby. This just happens to be the day that worked out for my working husband, our parish priest and the cemetery. I would like to think that Padre Pio has his hands in this, but I won't know until I possibly get to meet him in heaven. This day is also my mother in law's birthday as well as the birthday of our dear friend Dee-dee (as his family and we like to call him).

While helping Mia search for some ideas for honoring his feast day, I found some quotes here, that really struck with me:

Let us try to serve the Lord with all our heart and will. He will always give us more than we deserve.

Endure tribulations, illness, and pain, for the love of God and for the conversion of poor sinners.

You must concentrate on pleasing God alone, and if He is pleased, you must be pleased.

Prayer is the best weapon we possess. It is the key that opens the heart of God.

Here is the chronology of Saint Padre Pio's Life.

Saint Padre Pio often spoke and later wrote about the significance of his guardian angel. I am not a Padre Pio expert, so I won't go into detail. But, I thought it might be a great idea to do an angel craft in honor of his feast day. I read somewhere on this world wide web, that children should draw a picture of their guardian angel for the feast of Saint Padre Pio. Being a huge scrapbooking and papercraft fan, I thought we might take it a step further and make these with the stuff I have around the house.

Photo Courtesy of Ginger and George

I will try to post picture of our creations, but don't hold your breath because I seldom get around to taking pictures of our creations.

Friday, September 16, 2011

First Day of School (posted a little late)

We actually started this school year on Labour Day. This is a little late for us, but condidering all that had been going on, it wasn't that late. We weighed and measured everyone. The kids were surprised at how much they actually grew this past year.

Noah is 58 1/4" and is in Grade 5
Maria is 52 3/4" and is in Grade 4
Owen is 45" and is in Grade 1
Patrick is 32 1/2" and is my cuddle bug / teacher's assistant

This year we are trying something new and doing circle time. I found a really neat calendar learning idea here and new that I wanted to use this for Owen especially. We tweeked it to suit our needs and added some German Calendar wheels to the bottom right of the foam board. The one for the days of the week can be found here and the one for the months of the year can be found here.
The best thing about the first day of school is trying out the new school supplies. New markers are so much fun!
The big kids get to work on their schoolwork. This year the workboxes are working for us. It has made my life so much easier. There is even time for the fun stuff.
It is hard when you have noone to play with.
All in all our first day went well. Today is day 10 and we got a lot more done that I thought we would. We have taken the last few days a little more relaxed, but that is because I needed time to prepare a little casket for our baby's burial. Today we go to the cemetery and take care of the paperwork and will hopefully be able to bury our baby next week. Please keep our family in your prayers that we will soon find a new normal and get back to school and family living.

God Bless and thank you for stopping by.
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