Tomorrow

It’s funny how our moments throughout the day can so clearly shape our attitude and feelings. Today couldn’t have been a more perfect example.
I started out with a headache at 8 a.m. so I was feeling pretty proud of myself when Alex and I finished grocery shopping at 10 a.m.  The headache had grown into a dull throbbing pain and I’ve been getting some pretty bad migraines lately so I thought a quick stop at McDonald’s for a coke (the caffeine) on the way home would be justified. For those of you who know me, you know the one thing I haven’t been able to give up is coke. But that’s another argument for another day. My point is, Dustin and I have had tons of experience with coke in the car – one might say we’re kinda experts in the field.
Unless the sweet McDonald’s employee gives me a torn cup…without a lid firmly affixed. The result – one large coke covering 65% of my car’s interior. I kid you not. I think it exploded! And then Alex spilled chocolate milk and said HE was angry at the mess.
I paid a dollar to NOT drink coke, spent thirty minutes cleaning the car, and then had to shower since I was soaked from arm pits to knees. You would think I’d learn a lesson here, but no. There’s more.
As I’m finally fishing up my second car cleaning this week (if you want to see my car clean come now!) and ready to scrub the sticky off my legs, my sweet, big scardy-cat of a dog pees her way across the entire family room floor. And she’s a pretty big dog. With a bladder the size of Lake Michigan. And I just used all the cleaner on the car.
I decide after all of this, and I still had a headache by the way, an easy dinner was in order. I got out my brand new bag of rice, added it to my steamer, and found BUGS. In complete defeat I tossed it all down the drain which promptly backed up into both sinks and the dishwasher.
Then I had to wait for Dustin to take the drain apart.
Some time later as my headache began to fade (thanks to a McDonald’s coke – I took my mama with me on my second trip) I realized that some days God just doesn’t want us to be worried about all the little things because –
THEY. DON’T. MATTER.
I’ve spent the past weeks trying to check off my list things I have put off for months but now isn’t the time. Truthfully any other time I would have gotten a good chuckle out of all the crazy things that happened, but not today. God could see I was missing the big picture and he spoke through the familiar voice of my mama tonight when she reminded me that tomorrow is a new day and we get to start all over again.
God, I need a big do-over so help me do it right. And if all else fails please let there be coke in the fridge and a restaurant gift card in my purse!
 

Latest Sewing Projects

I’ve finally had some time to sew again!  We needed a new mass bag for church so I thought I’d dig out some scraps of fabric (all from the remnants bin) and try out a tote bag pattern I have.  It came out pretty cute, although I still might think about designing my own tote one of these days.  I do like that it has a separating zipper at the top and a pocket on the outside, but I don’t like that there is no pocket on the inside.  If I’d been thinking I would have added one.

Mom and I love little sewing shops.  Our favorite is our friend Kim’s quilt shop, Hennig House, just up the street from us.  Alex loves going with us because she has goats, cows and some hens (which of course he has named).  Kim has her own line of patterns, kits and other goodies, Buttons and Bees, and I recently picked up a cute apron pattern and thought I’d give it a try with some nice fabrics sitting on my shelf.  If you’re ever up this way, be sure to stop by and visit her shop for tons of great ideas, especially if you fancy yourself a quilter!

My fabric “stash” has really grown and I have so many project ideas just waiting for me.  I have a few new ideas for my own patterns too so hopefully soon I’ll have some more to post!

Fun in the Kitchen

So, my Mom got me this incredible cookbook for Christmas – Building the Family Cookbook by Suzanne Fowler.  Not only does it have some great recipes, but it’s a simple way to incorporate a Catholic culture into something we do every day – cook!  Each recipe celebrates a saint’s feast day and gives a short history of the saint’s life and achievements.  Alex loves to ask what we’re going to make each week, and he listens patiently as I explain why we celebrate the life of that particular saint.  I can see this cookbook becoming a staple in our home year after year.
On January 1st we celebrated the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and for the first time in my life I made a soufflé.  Despite my best attempts to sabotage my own cooking, it came out quite delicious (and fed us for four days).
On January 4th we celebrated the Feast Day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton with Colonial Brown Bread.  I haven’t always been the biggest brown bread fan, but this one was slightly sweet, very rich and almost gone in no time.
On January 6th we celebrated the Epiphany of the Lord with a King’s Cake – another first for me.  Alex loved every messy step and although I almost succeeded in burning down the kitchen, we all enjoyed the final results and Daddy got the baby!
The Making of the King’s Cake
 
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On January 17th we celebrated the Feast Day of St. Anthony of Egypt with a very savory Pork Roast, although I just slightly overcooked it.  I don’t cook pork often!
This past Friday we made Cheese Arrows to celebrate the Feast Day of St. Sebastian and it’s the first recipe that hasn’t turned out well.  Edible, but I’m certain nothing like they were supposed to taste.  We’ll hope we do better with that one next year!
We have some great recipes coming up this week and Alex and Daddy will be particularly excited to see St. John Bosco’s Pizza by the Yard…

Introducing Inspired Moments Gifts!

I have been busy.  
Really busy.  
I’m not one to sit around and wait for things to do, so being busy is nothing new to me.  But being this busy is and I’m exhausted.  And elated, because the launch of my new business, Inspired Moments Gifts has gone really well and I’m enjoying the work immensely.  I’ve sold a number of my purses, gift bags and hot/cold therapy packs already and I’ve had a number of requests for more!
Give me just a moment to show off a few of my creations.
Construction of my very first purse – The Hold Everything Wallet
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My second purse, The Everything Bag
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My Fabric Reusable Gift Bags (various sizes and styles)
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My Hot/Cold Herbal Therapy
Made with 100% flax seeds and dried lavender

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My Sunday Afternoon Bag (not so secretly my favorite)
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Most of these items have already sold, but I still have a few available (hint, hint).  I’m already spending my few last available brain cells on ideas for new styles coming up this next year.  I’m absolutely thrilled to admit that I have enough orders right now to keep me busy until the end of this year.
Happy sewing to me!

Baked Alaska!

I owe you a post all about “C” week, I know.  But I have so many things to blog about and so little time!  Or, really, I just can’t wait to post about my beautiful birthday cake and cake almost always takes precedence over everything else in the world, so here are some yummy shots of my first-ever taste of Baked Alaska. 
Note: I’ve waited thirty-something years for this, but it was worth every bite. I’ll be forever grateful that Dad possesses those cooking skills you need for an endeavor such as this or I’d be waiting another thirty-something years to try it.

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Y.U.M.  Need I say more?  There’s an entire, beautiful half of cake left in my freezer, calling out to me…You’ll have to stare longingly at my cake and wait until tomorrow to learn about our adventures during “C” week.

Birthdays

I love birthdays.
  1. They are a celebration of life.  I love life.
  2. They include my family.  I love my family.
  3. I usually get at least one book.  I love books.  (This year I got two books)
I love birthdays because I don’t have to cook.  There are two days out of the year that I refuse to cook, and my birthday is one of them.  I love my husband and son and I love to cook for them the other 364 days, but on my birthday I take a holiday from cooking.  
Anyhow, here are a few highlights from my day:
This year Mom took Alex and I out to lunch at one of my favorite places to go for good, wholesome, healthy food – Central Market Café.  The sweet potato fries are delicious – and the poor little bird with only one foot that shared with us thought so too!  Here’s happy moment at lunch today (yes, even on my birthday we had some not-s0-happy moments too).  Alex loves to give kisses.

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Dustin and Alex took me to another of my favorite spots in town to get some good down-home southern comfort food for dinner – Hoover’s.  You simply can’t go wrong with chicken fried steak, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes and fried okra.  Comfort food for sure!
After dinner we stopped in at the Austin Farmer’s Market at The Triangle and came home with a few things we haven’t had before.  And that’s saying a lot since we try just about everything!  The band playing this evening inspired Alex to start a dance, which in turn inspired every little girl under the age of 5 within the park to join him on stage, which everyone else thought was super-adorable.  Ahhh.  I love that little boy!
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Off the subject of birthdays now and on to other things – Alex’s quilt is finally done and now has taken the place of his Dick & Jane quilt on his bed.  I would never have finished…who am I kidding – I would never have gotten started – if it hadn’t been for Mom and all her patience, time and closet full of material.  It may have taken forever (seriously, this may have been the slowest-made quilt in history) but it was worth every triangle we cut out, and every crooked stitch I sewed.  I’m not sure when I’ll make my next quilt, but I do know it should never be bigger than the one I just made, or there’s a chance it will never be completed.  I am a year older after all, and there isn’t all the time in the world to sew…
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And finally, those long-awaited pictures of the pulley system that Dustin made for Alex are here.  I won’t keep you in suspense any longer!

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(Those little dinosaurs show up EVERYWHERE in this house!  It was only a matter of time before they stopped by to check out the freshly painted wood.)

Ironing? Who does that?

I do apparently, being the Good Wife and all.  Finally, after 12 years of marriage, I ironed my husband’s clothes.  All of them. 
Now I know why I haven’t ironed in 12 years.
But they look pretty spiffy, if I do so say myself.  I even made an attempt at my own homemade spray starch.  Thank goodness I didn’t ruin any clothes.  It may have been good enough for my grandmother, but it wasn’t any good for me.  Maybe I didn’t get the right mix of water and cornstarch.  Maybe you do have to cook it, although many recipes say you don’t.  Maybe my spray bottle didn’t have the right kind of sprayer.  There are so many variables for such a simple recipe (could just be I’m not cut out to make ironing starch – lacking those skills in the kitchen and all).  Turns out properly starching your husband’s work clothes is more complicated than one would think.
Now I know why I haven’t ironed in 12 years.
Then my mom came to the rescue and introduced me to Mary Ellen’s Best Press Clear Starch Alternative.  A little miracle in a bottle.  Smells nice too.  My husband now has an entire closet of dress shirts and dress pants all neatly pressed and ready to wear.
Maybe I will iron again before another 12 years pass.  We’ll see.

I can hand wash…really, I can (not)

While the sight of laundry hanging on the clothes line brings a particular joy to my heart, the sight of a dish tub does not.  Nor do purple gloves and a bottle of dish wash.  And certainly the constant reminder of why I have to hand wash, sitting broken in my kitchen, does not elicit the slightest joy for me.  So it is with a deliriously heartfelt thank you that I can now say I have a brand new dishwasher, humming quietly this evening, washing the dishes for me.  Thank you hardworking husband for acquiring such a beautiful modern appliance for me, and thank you for installing it with the assistance of one father and one son.  Three guys working in my kitchen tonight was enough to keep me out of sight and busy with other housework.  It turned out to be a very productive evening on The Homestead.
Are you sure it was me that said only a short (who am I kidding – long) month ago, “it’s not that big of a deal.  I can hand wash a few dishes.  No, really, I can.”
I’m sure that was just another attempt on my part to prove I am the Good Wife. 
Ha. Ha. Ha.  This joke’s on me.

The Laundry Line

Go ahead.  Call me crazy.  I know many of you will.  But there is something ridiculously beautiful to me about laundry hanging outside on the clothes line.  It reminds me of a time when life was a little more simple – we weren’t in such a rush, and we didn’t spend every moment glued to our iPod, cell phone, or computer.  I love the motion of taking one clothes pin at a time, and hanging each fresh, clean piece of clothing, watching as it  stirs in the breeze.

Except when there is no breeze.

Still, I never mind hanging the clothes out to dry, and I never mind taking the time to pull them down, one by one, and toss them into the laundry basket.  I like the repetition.  I like knowing I am doing something women have been doing for centuries before me.  I like keeping a link to the past.  I remember my grandma hanging her clothes out to dry, and if it was good enough for her, it’s good enough for me.  (Don’t worry – I still use my dryer plenty of the time!)

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The Good Wife

That’s me.  No, really!  Well, I work hard to be a good wife, although I mostly fall short in my attempts.  But hey, I learn a little more each day so it’s never a total loss!
I have gone from barely-a-penny-to-my-name post college student looking for work, to career woman, to full-time mom and struggling business girl.  Life’s been hard, but it’s been good to me, so I don’t have any complaints.  Except that maybe I could have been given a few more skills when it comes to cooking, but I can put on a decent dinner so I’m not really complaining…(thankfully being a good wife doesn’t rely only upon being supremely skilled in the kitchen.)
Here on our homestead (an almost perfect two story house located in a not quite so perfect little neighborhood in the suburbs of the big city) we have two dogs, two cats, 7 fish, one little boy, a hard-working husband, and me – the ever-struggling-to-be Good Wife.  Life’s always an adventure for us.  Upon leaving my job to spend my days making a home and raising a child, I had many well wishes from many well meaning friends and other people.  It wasn’t long before they started asking how I was really doing being home all day.  It’s not an easy answer and it’s not one I’ll take time to ramble on about now, but when I think about the answer, I’m reminded of what I love most about my life now.  It’s messy, it’s sometimes ugly, it’s always wondrous, and it’s the one I choose to live.  I . Love. Every. Moment. Period.  (Especially the ones that make me cry and laugh all at the same time.)  Isn’t that what the best of life is all about?
We’re glad you took a moment to visit.  Stop by from time to time and see what’s new at our blog-home.  Pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea, and read on for a laugh, a good cry, some insight into what makes us tick, and maybe – just maybe – a few good lessons along the way.
– The Good Wife