A Great Weekend…pictures to follow

Hi, readers. I love that I know that people are actually reading my little nook on the web. I don’t see a lot of comments, but my “hits” counter continues to go up and up. I’m grateful that you visit me and care about my family and our goings-on.

This weekend was full of little adventures, good friends, and a special celebration. I don’t have a lot of time for photo editing and the like today, so you’ll have to wait a bit.

In the mean time, I want to introduce you to a special blog that is quickly becoming a favorite. You must visit a young a mom named Jess at http://themcclenahans.blogspot.com. The blog can be heart-breaking, but, it is also a beautiful testament to the power of faith. This sweet family lost a baby girl (I know…too much to even think about.). They still wrestle with the pain of the loss. They cry out to God, but they also have leaned hard into His strength and grace.  With her reflections on faith and loss, Jess also mixes in a good dose of parenting, crafting, organizing, just being, and GORGEOUS pictures of the couple’s precious son.   Today, The Macs have a special message to share!

Making the Switch to Springtime

The weather still isn’t sure what season it wants to be, but my calendar says Springtime.  We’re jumping in!

Our mantel is the centerpiece of our livingroom, and since the livingroom is really the center of our family life, I think of the mantel as the place where we first connect with the seasons and the atmosphere of our home.  Last weekend, I made a few subtle changes toward spring, and those changes began with the livingroom mantel.  I like to have little bits of natural materials all over the house.  Just small reminders that the divide between indoors and out doesn’t have to be so wide.


(I made this little clay pot in high school.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get it any bigger.  And the large pinecone is left over from Christmas.)


(Our older son made this bird at a library program last spring.  It is made of natural clay and Spanish moss.  I love it!)


(Red wool and autumn-toned cotton are replaced by…)


(…sage and lilac alpaca blends and green cotton.  The wooden truck gets to stay.)

And a beautiful addition:

For a few days now, the tulips have begun to bow their pretty white heads.  I think they look all the more beautiful as they seem to reach down to us from the mantel.  The bouquet stretches in a sweet, comical way.  I wish the tulips would last forever!

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Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

On Saturday, my parents and my grandma came to our house for our almost annual St. Patrick’s Day meal.  I served my usual menu: shephard’s pie, tossed salad (Thanks, Mom!), Irish Soda Bread, and an apple tart with custard sauce.  (Just a warning: the custard recipe is HUGE.  I cut it in 1/2, and that was NOT a big enough cut.)  This year, I added cantaloupe because we had a beautiful one ready to be cut.

Here are the sights of the day.  Enjoy!

Then this ^^…

became this ^^

The placecards were inspired by this post at Sweet and Lovely Crafts.

Lenten Tree 2011

You may recall our Lenten Tree from last year.

The tree is back!  I’m loving it even more now that our older son is growing in his awareness of “talking to God” and what it means to get ready for Easter.

I don’t know the true origin of the Lenten Tree, but we borrowed the idea from our church’s tradition.  I placed a few twigs (Thanks, Dad!) in a pitcher, and this year, I set the pitcher on a swatch of purple fabric, the color of the Lenten season.  On Ash Wednesday, when the tree first graced the center of our table, the branches of our tree were bare.  They were colorless and lifeless.  As the season progresses, we will fill the branches with colored ribbons to represent different kinds of prayers.  For example, red is a prayer for forgiveness; orange is a prayer of thanksgiving.  Blue is a prayer for peace, and a pink ribbon means that you are praying for wisdom.  We are using nine different colors.  As we grow closer and closer to the celebration of Easter, the tree becomes full of color.  By the time Easter arrives, it is bursting with new life.

I love how the tree is a direct reflection of the changes in the natural world around us.  In early March, the ground is dormant.  The world is still brown and gray.  But each week, we see the plants awakening; we see more color and sunshine.  Especially with a late-April Easter this year, spring will truly have sprung when the time comes to celebrate.  The tree makes the link from natural life to spiritual life so evident and accessible for little ones.

A wonderful blog friend (and real-life friend), Emily, has been contemplating praying with children at her blog, Watkins Every Flavor Beans.  At this point in my young family’s development, the Lenten Tree is a great way to pray together.  I tie a ribbon as a kind of record of a prayer that I’ve just prayed or have been meditating upon all day.  For the boys, we consider the very act of tying the ribbon to be a little message to God, a way of saying “Today I’m thinking about courage” or praise or patience.

This post is listed as part of today’s “Nature Table.”  Take a moment to check out all of the great ideas listed there.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Busy day today.  This morning, our son’s school held a Pastors’ Breakfast to honor the pastors in our community.  I agreed to bring a breakfast casserole.  Hot.  At 8 am.  I’m happy to help, and I love that they are having this event.  I’m even happier because our beloved pastor agreed to come.  We’re all excited.  But…having a hot casserole, myself, and a five-year-old ready to be at school by 8 o’clock in the morning was not easy.  Mission Accomplished.

The next stop was my place of employment.  I teach a Tuesday/Thursday section of a writing course at a nearby university.  I’m there now–looking over drafts, planning for class, and blogging.  Don’t tell! 

After I take off my academic hat, I will return home where my mom is visiting the kiddos.  We’re planning a much needed trip to the park with a possible icy treat.  Yum.  I am not-so-patiently anticipating that part of my day.

Finally, we will lug our weary selves (maybe I’m the only one who will be tired) to our church where we will be celebrating the final day of Youth Club with a Parents Night dinner.  The kids will perform songs and a poem (that’s my class!), and we will enjoy a pot luck meal.  Oh, that’s right…I’m responsible for taking a “veggie” to the dinner.  I opted for a broccoli and rice dish that I love.  Thank goodness much of it can be made ahead.

So that’s what St. Patrick’s Day looks like for me.  And you know what…I’m pleased.  I’m content.  Each step of the day puts me in contact with people I love, activities I enjoy, and a sense of accomplishment that I can never achieve on a lazy day at home.  Today is filled with blessings.

This is one of the "centerpieces" that I designed for the Parents Night dinner. Last week, each child made one, but I whipped up a few extras yesterday...just in case.