Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Say It Isn't So

It's not true. This isn't happening. It's all a dream. My sweet, firstborn baby (shown above, just last month) IS NOT graduating from high school tomorrow.

She HAS NOT been transformed overnight into a beautiful, talented, confident young woman. She does not have a driver's license or a facebook account. And she is MOST DEFINITELY not going away to college in 2 1/2 months.

Feel free to visit me in my new home state--DENIAL.

We love you, Lauren, and are so very proud of you!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cookie Art

I used to make a large variety of Christmas cookies, sometimes sharing a "baking day" with Len's sister. The past few years have been less productive, but the ONE cookie my family MUST have is gingerbread. I mix, roll, cut, and bake as I can fit it into my life, and then we decorate later.

We decorate with icing and sprinkles, which look great against the dark cookies. I grew up decorating sugar cookies with egg yolk paint before baking, but I find it tiresome to roll, cut, decorate, AND bake all at once. Besides, the sweet (store bought) icing contrasts nicely with the spicy gingerbread.

Why am I writing about this in May? For Marianna's tea party last week, we used cookies as the craft and favor. We made the cookies a few days ahead and stored them at room temperature.

I set up the island with waxed paper work stations, piles of cookies, bags of icing (pint size freezer bags with a hole snipped in a corner), and LOTS of sprinkles and colored sugar.As the girls arrived, they donned aprons over their party dresses and set to work.

This was definitely NOT one of those "less is more" occasions!

We left the cookies out so the icing could dry during the party. Or, it would have dried if it had not been applied quite so thickly...
As the girls left, we piled the cookies into cute little buckets I bought after Easter. I'm not usually so coordinated (matching paper, elegant tag, etc.)--can you tell I had fun planning this event?

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Latest Excuse for Not Posting This Week

Tomorrow is Marianna's birthday tea party. We'll have eight girls here by noon, using the good china and enjoying tiny sandwiches and wraps, scones with cream and jam, and assorted little desserts, including a 6" cake decorated with sugared roses.

Getting ready for this is a lot of work, but it is the kind of work that is oh-so-fun! As of this moment, the table is half set. Other things on the "done" list include:
  • place cards made (silk flowers hot glued on)
  • gift buckets lined with tissue, ribbon and tags attached (more silk flowers)
  • lemon bars
  • tiny layer cake
  • raspberry bars
  • scone dough rolled and cut
  • gingerbread cookies made (to decorate and take home in the buckets)
Gosh, it seemed like I had gotten more done! Still on the "do" list:
  • finish setting table (wash some dishes, too)
  • bake brownies tomorrow
  • bake scones tomorrow
  • make sandwiches (cucumber, peanut butter)
  • make wraps (turkey, ham)
  • whip cream
  • lemon wedges, sugar cubes
  • flowers for table
  • color icing for cookies
  • decorate tiny cake
  • arrange cookie decorating on the island with waxed paper, icing, sprinkles, etc.
Aack! I have hired Lauren to be my assistant tomorrow--taking pictures, supervising gifts, helping with cookie time and arranging/serving courses. So, wish me luck. I know we'll all have a good time; I just hope I don't go too crazy getting ready for the good time.

By the way, the cup and saucer above were a birthday gift to Marianna from her godparents. Anne passed on these heirlooms (and a matching plate) that had belonged to her grandmother.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Today is Pentecost Sunday, and the Holy Spirit has been active here this week.

First, some background: I used to go to 6:15 a.m. mass several mornings a week. It made for an early start to the day, but I am a morning person, and it fit with the morning carpool. I even took Marianna and Rebecca along when they were little babies. The daily mass habit never lasted into the summers, and it fell away completely a few years ago. I now walk Dusty in the mornings and drive the afternoon carpool.

So there I was at Marianna's First Communion mass, listening to the sermon, which of course was on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I thought, "I could be here and meet the Lord of the Universe in person every day, and instead I'm walking the dog?" It just didn't seem like I've got my priorities lined up properly. We went to a lot of effort to go to mass with the pope, but at every mass I can be with Jesus. Who is more important?

Immediately the objections began: Who will walk the dog? Can I get up early enough to walk and then go to early mass? Argh! No way! What about 9 a.m.? That would mess with the school rhythm, and I 'd have to take everyone along--ugh. I know homeschoolers who go to noon mass, but that would mess up the school rhythm AND lunch. And on and on . . .

I didn't want to let this go, though. I was really struck on May 3rd that this should be my priority. On the other hand, I do have a vocation as a wife, mother, teacher, etc., and I need to take that into consideration, too. I lit a prayer candle and talked to a "nooner" who made it sound a little less scary. On with the discernment . . .

The day after Marianna's FHC, our family stayed after mass for the May procession and crowning of Mary (by Marianna!). As left, Marianna said, "I wish I could go to church every day." !!! How can I put a limit on enthusiasm like that?

Monday I talked with the homeschoolers, explaining my call and the scheduling dilemma. They (very casually, it seemed to me) suggested that we could all go to 6:15! This sounded too good to be true, and the more I thought about it, the more I decided it was. They normally get up at 7:00, and changing that by more than an hour would either not last long or would increase overall crankiness. But now that the children [except Rebecca :-( ]want to go, I need to find a way to bring them, too.

So for now we've settled on noon mass. We made it a couple of times this week, and will begin in earnest tomorrow. We'll either get a lot less school done, or work harder to be efficient. I don't know what will happen when summer comes. There's more free time then, but the lack of structure has somehow always kept me from even trying to get out the door. Time will tell.

That's our family's "prompting by the Spirit" tale of the month. Ask me in a while how it turns out. Pray for us.

First Holy Communion

Well, Marianna received her First Holy Communion last Saturday (May 3rd). It was a beautiful, joyous day for the whole family. It was so touching to watch 66 lovely souls receive Jesus for the first time.
Marianna's godmother flew in from Michigan for the occasion, just a week after my trip there for her daughter's FHC.
Afterwards we had a party with friends and lots of family (16 of 20 cousins were here!). I can't articulate what a wonderful day it was. Trust me.

Happy Mothers' Day

Enjoy your babies!