Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Vows Are Taken

It was a joyful, reverent nuptial mass.  The reception was delightful.*  The weather wasn't perfect, but that's okay.  We're winding down from a phenomenal weekend.

Above is the only picture I have so far.**  More to come, I'm sure.  Literally thousands were taken on Saturday.  Lauren enlisted three of her Aegean Center friends to photograph the day.  The first memory card to be downloaded held over 1200 shots!

It is such a blessing to have my daughter married to a good man, beginning a new life filled with love and hope.  We parents dream of the best for our children.  I'm incredibly happy that these two have found it in each other.

*My children registered shock (Joe's face was priceless) at my dancing; not sure whether it was due to my lack of inhibitions or absence of skill.   ;-)
**Not sure if it will work for you, but when I click on the picture, it appears larger and sharper.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Countdown Continues

Except in the kitchen, my housekeeping style is more "tidy" than "clean."  Our family is proficient at picking up, and cooperates well for the regular daily and weekly chores.  But we don't dust.  Or wash windows. Or wipe baseboards.  You get the idea.

With the wedding coming up (8 days!!!), it's time to clean a little deeper than usual.  I proposed a housecleaning list, but never got around to writing one.  Who did?  Bingo--my marvelous husband. 

This dry erase board in the kitchen is our central spot for doodling, reminders, and announcements.  (The whole board was once marked off with auto striping tape to make a deluxe--and EPIC FAILURE--chore chart, but that's a tale for another day.)
He may not have great handwriting, but his ideas and work ethic are second to none.  =)  Len wrote down dates and areas, and every evening has led the charge.  We're not covering regular work, but decluttering (the mudroom), wiping walls and baseboards (the bathrooms), etc.  Our home will never be magazine-perfect, but it will soon be both neat and clean, ready for our biggest hospitality event so far.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tennis, Anyone?

I made a new friend last year. Her oldest is the same age as my youngest; we met through our daughters. We co-oped for writing, art, and science with a third family, and the girls shared a tiny homeschool ballet class.

J's role in the co-op was hosting a four-year-old boy so the co-op (which included older siblings) could run more smoothly. I think she would have enjoyed teaching, but with a napping toddler at home, it was not to be. And she was a huge help. The four-year-olds had more fun at her house, and the writing class was easier for us other moms to teach. I'm all for multi-age schooling, but some subjects are just plain harder to get through with an active non-reader looking for fun.
Anyway . . . This summer, J is sharing her expertise by teaching tennis to several little ones (5-7 year-olds).  She is an incredible teacher, with a long list of games, prizes, and motivational ideas in addition to her sports knowledge.  She is incredibly positive and patient with the group.  Rebecca is having a blast!

Lately I've been benefiting so much from the generosity of other women who have been willing to share their time and talents with my children.  Thank you, ladies!

Monday, August 13, 2012

So Not a Surprise

In a recent issue of Life Site News, Angela O'Brien reported on the results of a study conducted by Dr. Ross O'Hara at Darthmouth College in New Hampshire.  Guess what?  "Exposure to sexual content in popular movies predicts sexual behavior in adolescence."  Really?

The study sounds interesting.  O'Hara and his colleagues coded 684 top-grossing movies (1998-2004) for seconds of sexual content. 

"The researchers then recruited 1,228 participants, from 12 to 14 years old. Each participant reported which movies they had seen, from collections of fifty randomly selected movies.

Six years later, the participants were surveyed to find out how old they were when they became sexually active, how many partners they had, and how risky their sexual behavior might have been. According to O’Hara, those who had been exposed to high levels of sexual content on film had more sexual partners, indulged in riskier sexual behaviour, and became sexually active earlier."

While the study did not prove causality, I'm convinced of the connection.  The researchers mentioned that the movies appeared to change "sensation seeking" and "also speculate[d] that adolescents learn specific behaviors from the sexual messages in movies."  Read the whole article here.

Regarding media content (especially movies and books), Len and I have always been among the strictest parents we know.*  It hasn't always been easy. 

Sometimes it's hard to decide how "bad" a film needs to be for us to say no to it, and sometimes it's hard to stick to our guns against a child's opposition.  And when they say everyone else is allowed to read or watch [insert title here], I believe them.  I know we're on the edge of the bell curve.  Maybe my kids have had to miss some fun, and maybe we censored some media that didn't deserve it, but overall I'm glad we did.

As researcher Ross O'Hara stated, "This study, and its confluence with other work, strongly suggests that parents need to restrict their children from seeing sexual content in movies at young ages."


* It's been a blessing that Len and I are on pretty much the same page regarding appropriate media.  Supporting each other and presenting a united front has been invaluable.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Making Room

These days I've been cooking from the freezer without replenishing it.  I want it to have enough space for Lauren and Adam's wedding cake!

As it turns out, the cake and platter don't fit on that bottom shelf (unless I'm willing to let the door smush the icing--not!).  I'm going to remove the top two shelves and the juice bins on the door so the cake will be able to settle on the shelf just above the veggie basket.  Details, details . . .

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sew Amazing

A friend who knew I was sewing with the little girls this year showed me a quilt top she had made and recommended Quilt in a Day by Eleanor Burns.  Apparently she is a strip quilting/machine piecing pioneer.

I eventually did some research and mentioned that I would try quilting with Rebecca this fall.  Unfortunately, I doubted Marianna would have time due to commuting, school, homework, sports, etc.  Well, C volunteered to teach Marianna the process this summer.  What a gift!

She met us at the fabric store (in the last few days of a big sale) and spent nearly two hours coaching us through fabric selection.  (Log cabin piecing requires a specific size and color coordination.)  Here's what we purchased:
 And here's the result so far:
This is the quilt top (fields and furrows pattern).  I'm told that Marianna sewed nearly every stitch herself.  Soon the team will tie the top to the batting and backing (a turquoise sheet--the patterned border will wrap around to the back), then bind the edges.

I'm grateful and impressed.  Marianna is justifiably thrilled and proud.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Busy Days

Lauren and Adam's wedding is two weeks away! My days alternate between busy and procrastinating, but Lauren seems to be working every minute on detail after detail. Here's a glance at what's been going on here:
Alterations Continue (I had a larger picture here but was told to remove it because "it showed too much.")
I'm baking the wedding cake--my "usual"--hazelnut with raspberry jam, chocolate ganache, and French buttercream.  For Len's birthday I made a sample to test a bittersweet chocolate (thumbs up!) and try out an icing style that the bride is considering.
A florist will prepare the church arrangements and boutonnieres; Lauren and her helpers (many guests are artists . . . ) will create the bouquets and centerpieces.  This was our "field trip" to a floral wholesaler in MD.
 The refrigerated room--note our sweaters--brr!

Lauren's photos served multiple purposes.  Most flowers were neither labeled nor priced, so she brought her camera to the next room to show the salesman.  He identified the plants and looked up their current prices.  She's also used her pictures as references while planning her order.
Adam's uncle will be renting his town house to the newlyweds (and Adam's brother).  Friends and family have been working hard to clean after the previous tenant's departure.
Allegedly power washing the deck . . .   :-)
 The Groom painting yet another ceiling
 The Father of the Bride, painting the kitchen
I've always baked wedding cakes in stages, so it was fun to pile up the ingredients to get a perspective of how much richness is going into this dessert.  The cake (and icing) will need 44 sticks of butter (44!), 32 eggs, and 11 cups of sour cream (those are gigantic tubs in the photo)!  It will be 4 tiers:  6", 9", 12", and 16" in diameter.  We will NOT run out of cake.
 Cake mixes for the days to come--8 double batches of dry ingredients
Of course there's lots more going on--dance lessons, program writing and rewriting and editing, music plans, DJ interview, caterer and venue details to finalize, the flower girl's dress and basket to prepare, and on and on and on.

Many hands are making light work, but Lauren and Len especially impress me with their dedication and continuous efforts.  I am so grateful to both of them.