May is our busiest month and I'm not sad to see it end. The pace overwhelms me and I think it is the reason I am currently sick (still!). Too much happened to keep a nice account of it here.
We'll keep school moving through the summer for a number of reasons. I've outlined monthly unit studies and other text books are on their way. This is easier for me than stopping and starting once again in the fall. We've established too many good habits to let them slide now.
The children are behind me painting wooden tea sets and trees - my son sticks his tongue out when he's concentrating hard on something, so funny. I'm knitting up a nice cotton hat for summer vacation. There are flowers to be planted, tomatoes to pick - summer stuff.
What I said to my husband who was so excited to see that I had purchased Kool-Aid.
I've been planning some fun activities for the children in this last week of May. So, in my last Knit Picks order, I included a skein of bare merino yarn so we could try our hand at dyeing. We didn't use lichen or heather, but Kool-Aid. I considered proper dye, but it just seemed to complicated, expensive, and dangerous to use around children. Kool-Aid was inexpensive and easy. We used the Knitty Guide (great color chart there).
We used the outdoor "sun tea" method mentioned on the Knitty site. We let the yarn sit in bowls in the sun for about two hours, I think. It's drying on the clothes line right now.
The whole project was super simple and cost well under $10.00. The children had so much fun squishing the yarn into the kool-aid bowls. Honestly, it was one of the most fun projects we've done together (except that Mommy was a tad bit grumpy because Mommy's had a bad cold for the last five days). Now, I'll whip up a very! bright! little hat.
Fired with a housewifely wish to see her store-room stocked with home-made preserves, she undertook to put up her own currant jelly. John was requested to order home a dozen or so little pots, and an extra quantity of sugar, for their own currants were ripe, and were to be attended to at once. - Little Women (of course!)
2 pounds of strawberries, washed, trimmed and cut into quarters (if large)
9 ounces of blueberries, washed (check for stems)
3 cups of sugar
juice of half a lemon
1 box of powdered pectin
We cooked the fruit, lemon juice, pectin, and a quarter cup of water until it boiled. We then added the sugar and cooked until the mixture reached 220 degrees. Ladle into sterilized jars and seal. More info here: Canning and Preserving
*This is an adapted recipe and hasn't been tested except by me, last night. It's delicious as we made it, but obviously pectin and sugar levels vary so....
Did you know you can find hair styling demos on You Tube? Isn't that amazing? I have only a few styles in my repertoire for myself and my daughter - brushed, ponytail, braids, and ballet bun. I've never been able to use a curling iron. But I clicked on You Tube and learned how to curl with a flat iron. And the video had 1400 comments.
The children aren't letting me write today so here's just a snippet of something that has made our lives a bit sweeter lately. I noticed when my children play house they call each other "Dearest." Isn't that precious? So I started addressing them in this manner and it's just really hard to maintain that snippy mom tone of voice when I start or end every sentence with "Dearest,..."
One little word and we're all so cheerful through the day.
Summer is fast approaching. I think I cool spring days are long gone. The roadsides are a bleached straw color now instead of waves of blue and green. The grass has a hot, pungent smell to it. But I greet it all peacefully. Sprinklers, cherry limeade, fresh tomatoes, canning berries, and laundry that dries on the line almost instantly. Happy summer days.
And also - The new typepad format is driving me crazy.
Anyway. Our annual Spring Performance was last night. The ballet part was wonderful. My daughter seems oddly comfortable on stage.
The fund raiser part was also sort of wonderful. It was a dressy sort of dinner. I was a bit worried about finding something to talk about with the other strangers at our table, but either someone planned well or it was just a happy coincidence - we were mostly homeschoolers. The dinner conversation ranged from sports & homeschooling to helping young adults avoid sin. It was rich conversation.
That's all I'm going to write about it. The good stuff. There's much more that happened, but I'm just too tired and headachy to think about it. I have three day old dirty dishes in my sink right now. I'm ready to return to normal.
I hesitate to be overly judgmental, really I do, but sometimes I just cannot help myself.
Mary Ellen recently wrote about dressing modestly. I agree, particularly when it comes to dressing for Mass. Of course, there are exceptions and circumstances which prohibit modest and appropriate dress every single week. These situations are rare, however, and I don't think standards should be permanently lowered to expect sweatpants at Mass. It doesn't take a closet full of expensive clothes to be pleasantly dressed. I have one dress I wear every week. I just vary when and where I go to Mass so it's not obvious. :)
Aside from attire, though, young people and their parents need to remember that their behavior during Mass affects the rest of the congregation. I'm not intolerant. I don't mind screaming babies or even the occasional cell phone ring. It's not the distractions that bother me, it's the blatant disrespect. This evening I sat next to a young lady who filed her nails throughout the Mass. I tried hard to excuse this, distracted as I was, attempting to think of some horrible medical condition that would require prompt nail filing, but could not (if one exists, please let me know!) This is simply not OK. Personal faith aside, it was highly disrespectful, highly distracting, and kind of gross. It has become common to excuse offensive behavior with a shrug of "to each his own". Frankly, I'm tired of it. "At least they attend Mass." people will say, as if that's all that should be expected. We tried this argument with my parents as teenagers. It's funny now, "Why are you so concerned with our grades, Dad, at least I'm not sneaking out and drinking every night." My Dad and Mom, very wisely, called us on this, refusing to lower their standards.
Perhaps the young lady was never taught appropriate manners. So in the off chance that she shall stumble upon this (but really just to vent):
* sipping on a large bottle of water during Mass, unless medically necessary, is not OK
* filing your nails - not OK
* bickering with your family during the consecration is not OK.
* pulling out your noisy little tin of Starbucks mints and popping one in your mouth only seconds after receiving the Eucharist is NOT OK.
And really, I don't have hard feelings toward this young lady, but I feel as if we should stop excusing this behavior. Very simply, we should instruct and expect our children to behave reverently during Mass. It has taken three long, humiliating years for me to teach my young spirited son appropriate behavior and dress, but now he smiles and remarks upon his "astinguished" (distinguished) outfits every Sunday. And now with a great sigh of relief, I can sit peacefully with the rest of the congregation until we are formally dismissed.
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