Monday, June 30, 2008

Help Please! (or famous last words)

I made the mistake of telling a friend the other day that I 'hate' clotheslines. "Hate' is a dangerous word. In reality what I hated was the rusty clothesline at our first house situated under way to many Oak and Pine trees. Between birds, sap and pollen the clothes weren't clean when the laundry was dry and I made Jeff tear it out of the ground.
So any way my famous last words sat in the house looking at me. I have few trees here. A spot right outside my enclosed back porch window. I could do this! Maybe I can save enough money to justify the second week of VBS during a year of increased costs.

Any tips? My line is pretty saggy even with a tensioner and 2 line separators.

Have you gone this far to save a little money?

If not what have you tried.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Un- Anniversary

23 years ago today we didn't get married. Even though the date was engraved on our one wedding purchase: our rings! After having to postpone we spent the very rainy day in Newport. I didn't realize it but my mother was absolutely sure I'd find my Aunt Millie and elope. We didn't. Our real wedding a year and a month later was wonderful.

I love you Jeff!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Strawberry season!

We have picked at Dickinson Farm, The Food Bank Farm, and Nourse Farm in Whately near Hatfield. Food Bank had the best taste. Dickinson was average for taste, good size berries and decent picking. By the time we got to trying Nourse they had been hit with lots of rain which can leave lots of problems: watery, bland berries, rot or disease. But we just had to try and it was really worth it. The berries were big and juicy but still had good flavor. They did lose some to rot (When they were ready to be picked no one was there due to rain) but the bushes were so bountiful it was easy picking.
Leslie was facinated with the unusally shaped ones and our friend Adria was able to come and pick. We saved the best ones to just eat (2 quarts) made a batch of regular jam and one low sugar. Then I put about 4 or 5 quarts in the freezer.
This is part of my strategy for dealing with prices this year. I'm going to take advantage of my canning jars and my huge freezer to save as much as I can. We started keeping a stocked pantry and freezer back in the Y2K days. (I felt with a large family we had a responsibilty to be ready although we did not go as far as stocking up water and hermetically sealed food. One sister did and I still have a 1/2 barrel of dry milk I use for baking. The grain mill they bought and gave us turned out to be a dud. The wheat was stronger than the metal! We were able to donate her wheat to someone with a good grain mill.)
Any way I think there is no better decoration to a kitchen than visible, beautiful evidence it is used.

Have fun this summer!

Oh and I couldn't help it -
Jeff and I shared some Berkshire Brewing Company Ale (better known as BBC around here.) Incredible micro brew!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Time to work, more

This morning I helped my daughter sign a $12,000 student loan. A very scary proposition but I am very sure she has picked the right college.
Today was also a laundry day though I have not gotten very far there.
Also done at the desk was ordering Algebra II, Rod and Staff PreSchool and balancing the checkbook.
David and Sarah were busy showing Marie how to use a 2 wheeler unsuccessfully and little Zoe successfully. Next came discussions of character- not picking on the one who was scared and being happy for someone elses successes. Then they made a HUGE batch of tortilla bread.

Then I decided I'd better get some strawberries preserved so I drove out to Granby. I did actually U-pick -which means I didn't get as many as I should but it was only $20.

And now I must get them frozen and make jam. (Why does that seems so hard today?)

Monday, June 23, 2008


This is the one for my in-laws. Its called Mystic Blues by Quilt Blocks for JoAnn. It was a Block of the Month kit. I saw it at JoAnn's for a year but could not justify the cost. Each square was precut, with all the instructions with the setting and label available separately. It was marked half price but I walked by again. Next visit they were half off the clearance items and I snatched up enough to make 2 full quilts.
Here is the other half. this one is bound in the Navy Blue. My parents' one is bound in one of the light greens. I labeled her's "Experiment" since I did most of my learning on hers. These pics were taken the night I labeled the quilting marks on the squares. I marked the borders the next day and I spent the weekend quilting the borders. Yes I know you are supposed to quilt before you bind but I was discouraged one day and I'm fast at binding. It got me moving again and I was less worried about ruining the edges.
This Block is Puss in the Corner. On my mother's the center square has a letter N for their current cat Nell.
This version of Bear's Paw is called Cross and Crown.
Block 2 wasn't available. (Apparently someone wanted to make a full quilt of the Hour Glass block. So I put in extra of this block: Grandmother's Puzzle. Appropriate I thought. As I quilt I am not trying for 12 stitches to the inch. It would never be finished and they know I'm an amiture. I love to quilt so that it looks homemade. When I washed the marks out of my mother's it came out with the soft, gentle wrinkles that give the quilting character.
I was pleased with the result. The instructions were clear enough. The precut pieces were cut on the straight of grain for the most part: only the Log Cabin square tried to stretch.
I did try using my machine to quilt parts just to speed up the process although it also made the layers more stable for the hand quilting I did.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Great Top Ten ideas

Start with Tech Tips for Catholic Teens' post Ways to Avoid being a Dud at Mass. then follow the links to be more productive (not a dud) at home and at work.

Peace today.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Don't forget!

Catholic Carnival is up and running!

Enjoy! and link to it-- it has our post about the New England Catholic Homeschool Conference.

Updated to include:

Homeschool Carnival is also up:

Monday, June 16, 2008


I finished my parents quilt! Just attaching the label now. I'll get a picture of the duplicate I'm working on for my in laws but for now----

Woo Hoo!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New England Catholic Homeschool Conference

Spread the word:

There will be a
New England Catholic Homeschool Conference!
June 6, 2009
St. George Parish
Chicopee, MA

The facility is perfect and right off the Mass Pike. There has not been a large conference in over a decade! We promise a full, energizing, helpful conference with Speakers you'll want to hear and lots of vendors.

But pray for us! None of us have done this before.

(yes I'll set up a web page but for now look here or at

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Plan

So I've been busy fighting migraines. Think I'm back now for a few weeks. My daughter is pushing for me to learn biofeedback but I can't picture being able to meditate in silence in a house that has 4 girls 12 and under.
Sunday's graduation party was nice. We all had fun. Lissa even came for an hour. With friends.
Monday was our last co-op class for Science so we cleaned upstairs while they finished. We went to fun party at night, a fundraiser for hunger programs. It turned out to be a nice night. We met pioneers in homeschooling and a couple that's wanted to ask us about it for a year.
Tuesday was completely lost to the same migraine I had all day Monday. We did some school and I swept but that was it.
Today is farm day, Sarah's first guitar lesson, and, I hope, our first meeting to plan a New England Catholic Homeschool Conference. Please pray for this!
I also want to work on my strategy for getting control of myself again after what I relearned through Bible study this year.

Here are some of my thoughts:

  • daily vitamin
  • 8:30 Mass by myself
  • exercise at Y
  • cut caffeine down more
  • drink more water
  • cut alcohol
  • actually play with the kids (not just watch) 1 hour a day minimum
  • 1 hard week cleaning then keep the kids outside
  • 1 hard week setting up school for next year then put aside
  • take advantage of the air conditioning to finish the quilt for Mum and Dad (I'm so close)
  • restart Cursillo group
  • once a week on a cool day- bake like crazy

Yes I think about it first and stay flexible and tweak the plan as needed, but I really have to get myself back so I feel like I have something to give again.


Friday, June 6, 2008

I've been tagged!

Just write down what you did first today…

'Just' she says! I'm on very late for me 6:05PM EST when I'm usually on at 8AM

Well I'll try.

* The first thing I thought today: Who's crying? (It was Leslie Lou needing water at 5 AM)
* The first thing I ate today: Did I eat breakfast? No, must have been lunch celebrating Lissa's Class Day Awards at Uno's. Apetizer was Pizza Potato skins.
* The first thing I drank today: Old coffe warmed up.
* The first thing I said today: "Get dressed before you eat"( I may have said good morning but not consciously)
The first action I did today: Made a fresh pot in case my father inlaw needed a cup when he got in from the Cape. (OK It was for me too)
* The first thing I read today: Program for Class Day. I wish it said which school the kids were going to and who earned which awards. I also wish they had announced the award Lissa received from Assumption. Without it we couldn't have considered it.
The first item of clothing: ColdWater Creek green tweed pants, Green embellished 3/4 sleeve light sweater and low blue pumps.
* The first person I spoke to today: Leslie 5AM, DH at some point, Did I remember morning prayer? I am so NOT a morning person.
The first chore I did today: Dishwasher*
The first blog I visited today: Ester's right after out family Yahoo site.

Add some more if you want to!

OK First Pleasant surprize: Female Class Vocalist sang a lovely Spanish modern Christian song and announced that it encouraged you to prayer and turn to God when things are hard! Yes its a public school.

Tag? Everyone but especially baby sis at Blessed Mom to One.