Inside there are rainbows

It seems that this will be the winter to measure all other winters by.  We had about three feet of snow on the ground last night before we tucked up in bed.  By the time my eyes opened this morning, there was already another 2 inches of fresh snow.  The forecast is for up to 20 inches of snow over the course of the next couple of days.  We may also get a layer of ice over that.  That should make for some beautiful photographs once the sun shows its face again.

While winter blankets all things outdoors, we’re snugged up in the house.  Inside there are rainbows.

You can make your own using the instructions in Feltcraft and some beautifully coloured wool felt.

Days to Remember

Brian arrived safely home on Saturday afternoon.  After meeting him at the terminal, we  made our way out to dinner at one of our favourite restaurants.  Being a Saturday evening, the lobby was teeming with humanity.  The wait was long, and it was loud, and the warmth was frequently penetrated by arctic blasts from the front doors as more diners arrived.

We sat and chatted, trying to keep the children distracted until our table was prepared.

Suddenly I became aware of someone standing on the periphery of our little family circle.  I looked up to see a face I knew well.  A face I hadn’t seen in several years.”Mary!”, I exclaimed.  We embraced each other and the years melted away.  We had an opportunity to catch up with each other – talking about our children, and life in general.  It’s hard to express what a joy it was.  An unexpected blessing.  Those are always the best, aren’t they?  Like a splash of colour in a dreary landscape.

The same kind of magic held the children spellbound in the presence of their Papa.  He becomes the point of colour in their scene.  And  it produces a day or two of blissful harmony in our home.  A warm glow of contentedness.  They wait to be read to, cuddled, petted, told stories of Papa’s week, shown photographs.  Their world is once again in order, the stars and planets set into proper motion again.

The sun shone all day yesterday, made all the brighter by the snow outside the door.  These are just the sorts of days that invite us to pick up a book and get lost in the story, or in beautiful pictures, curled up together in the sofa or seated companionably at the table.  They are days filled with beautiful music, and domestic hum.  Days filled with wood fires and cocoa, stories and naps.  They are days filled with the soft colour of love.  The kinds of days that will be remembered to our grandchildren.

And just maybe they’ll sit in the winter sunlight and share a book that was enjoyed by parent and grandparent before them.

Craving Green

It always happens this time of year.  No matter how much we are enjoying winter’s pleasures, our thoughts begin to turn to spring.  And growing things. Maybe it is because there is such a lack of colour.  Skies are gray, the leaves have all gone, the birds have flown away to warmer climes.  And the ground is covered with a thick blanket of white.

It is exquisitely sparkly.

But without colour.  And we are beginning to crave GREEN.

So this week I allowed the kids to use a teaspoon of chia seed from the pantry to sprout.  The wonderful thing about chia is that it provides nearly instant gratification.  By the next morning, the children could observe tiny threads emerging from the seeds.  Over the next several days, roots crept out and nursery leaves stretched upward toward the light.  Yesterday, the miniature garden was transferred to a terra cotta pot filled with potting mix and is bringing a little bit of springtime to the kitchen.

It is hopeful.

Grow your own::

dessert plate

paper towel, dampened

1 tsp. chia seed, dampened

small clear glass mixing bowl or wide-mouthed jar (pint should do nicely)

spritzer bottle with water

potting mix

terra cotta pot


Place the dampened paper towel on top of the overturned dessert plate.  Spread your dampened seeds evenly onto the paper towel and spritz if needed. Place your glass bowl over the top and set your terrarium in a sunny spot.  In about 3-4 days, your chis should be ready to transfer to the pot.  Simply place the paper towel right on top of the soil, trimming the edges to fit neatly.  Make sure your potting mix is plenty wet so that your chia won’t wilt.  Place on your table, or in your home-school room to enjoy.

Happy, blessed weekend to you!

Family Centered Friday

Something new for our family.  I have loved participating in Amanda’s {this moment}, so much so that I found I wanted to share more.  I will continue to participate in Amanda’s weekly offering of special memories.  In addition to sharing a special moment (or moments) from the previous week, I’d like to also share our plans for the weekend, or the coming week. It’s evolving.  Once I’ve got it all worked out, maybe you’ll want to share your Family Centered Friday thoughts with us and our readers, too.  For now, here are a couple of pictures from our week::


Josie gets a smooch from big brother Louis.

This weekend Brian and I will be attending the NOFA Mass Winter Conference for a little inspiration as we wait for the State to issue their final approval on the farm.  And there is sure to be LOTS of time spent in the newly fallen snow in the yard – snowfamilies, forts, and who-knows-what other creations.  And playing in the snow always means hot cocoa on the stove.  Here’s our recipe::

  • 1 c. good quality cocoa powder
  • 2 c. organic sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/3 c. boiling water
  • 1 gallon milk
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • Combine cocoa powder, sugar and salt and pour into a very large heavy-bottomed pot.  Add boiling water and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Slowly add the milk, stirring all the time.  Heat through, add vanilla.  Serve in special mugs and pass the marshmallows!

**you can substitute orange or mint extracts, or drop in a cinnamon stick for a change of flavour.  Or add a little peppermint schnapps or coffee liqueur for a grown-up treat!**

Have a beautiful weekend with your precious family!


Toward Beauty in 2011:: A Resolution

This year I want to do something new. Several somethings new. And rather than publish a litany of resolutions, perhaps it would be better, and more realistic, to share them – and implement them – over time, possibly the whole year.

One of those things is to rely more heavily on my heavenly family to help me with this most important ministry to my family, my magnum opus as a dear friend has so aptly named it. I was gifted with a headstrong, perfectionist personality. And also with a very full, imperfect life. The two battle mightily with each other and do the work of forming me into a more beautiful creation. Like a piece of metal at the Master’s forge. Though I rather think of my self more as a silver serving bowl than a gleaming sword. Empty, and waiting to be filled with good things for others to be nourished by.

So today, on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, I thought it appropriate to enlist her help. She is first among the disciples, and was given, at the foot of the cross, to be the mother of all. Who better, then, to beg help from? I found this beautiful prayer of consecration about one week before Joséphine was born, when I was experiencing terrible fear about her impending birth. It is contained in a tiny little book I bought at the Abbey, compiled by Fr. Francis Coomes.

This act of consecration can be made for any child of any age, though originally intended for a baby. We will be using it for all eight of our living children. I hope that you will be inspired to do the same::

Holy Mary, Mother of God and mother of all the faithful, I place my little child [NAME] under your motherly protection. To you I completely consecrate my child, body and soul. Take him/her under your care and keep him always. Protect him in his infancy and keep him sound in body and mind. Guard his youth and keep his heart pure, his thoughts ever holy and directed to God and the things of God. Protect him always throughout life – in his joys and sorrows, in his successes and failures, in his dealings with others. Always and in all things be a true mother to him, Mary, and preserve him. I commend him entirely to you.

Remember, Mother Mary, that through this act of consecration, he becomes in a special way, your child as well as mine: guard him and keep him as your very own. Amen.

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