We had a splendid weekend enjoying a visit from the Doodle Acres gang. Getting to know this fun and faith-filled family has been one of the greatest highlights of being in this bloggy mom world. We first met Heather and Hope at a FCL conference, and then they came to visit us for the first time about a year ago. I recall being slightly apprehensive back then, wondering how the children would all get along for a whole day as they hadn't even met each other before. Heather and I were just reminiscing about that first visit, how we sat in my kitchen watching the little ones play and hearing constant outbreaks of riotous laughter coming from the bigger kids in the cellar below us.
It is a dangerous business going out your front door.
Indeed they got along. The children all share a great mutual fondness for many things from LOTR and literature to Shakespeare and sewing, thrifting and theater, Latin and music. Josiah filmed some impromptu scenes during that first visit, and in subsequent get togethers they produced a short film with a script written by Hope, directed and edited by Josiah, made complete with a score composed by Jonathan. This time around they started in on a new and larger project, again written by the multi- talented and lovely Hope. It's kind of like Lord of the Rings meets As You Like It, and the mixture of Ganymede and Aliena and Sam and Frodo with a little Aravis thrown in suits them all very well.
At about 11 pm on Friday night, after tidying and cleaning the whole house in preparation for company, I beheld these daunting book stacks. I asked Michael if I should bother attacking The Pile, and he very kindly replied, Nah, they're homeschoolers too - they know about book piles. Isn't he a sweet husband? And upon seeing it dear Heather said something to the effect of, Oh, you left books out for me to look through! Isn't she a grand friend?
Behold the filming crew, from right to left, Arwen, Andrew Adamson, Mr. Tumnus, an Atmospheric Extra, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Macready (those aren't characters in the new film, that's just who everyone looked like at that moment):
Beware the evil Count Brone. You only get a head shot as his surcoat emblazoned with his coat of arms is Top Secret (not to be confused with the chapel in my cellar which is a Deadly Secret). I do love his scruffy villain look:
But never fear, 'Amon' escapes (thank you so much dear Hope, for not breaking your legs or anything whilst climbing out my living room window):
Here we have Lord Thaddeus making applesauce with the help of Eudora (Will she try to steal the apples to feed the horses? Nah, she'll forget.):
This is Radel, the Half Dwarf, obviously quite tired out from a day of forging tools in the mines (or from filming):
These are two of the little people, who played together delightfully all weekend while staging a covert Cuteness Competition (no winner was declared):
This is not Josiah. Nor is it the Ranger Giles, nor the Captain Gorlias, but Nicodemus, son of Lord Thaddeus and brother to Lady Gelasia (even rangers, captains and foot soldiers like to dunk their peppermint sticks in cocoa):
This is the lovely Handmaid Miriam, servant of Lady Gelasia, wearing a lovely gown crafted by said Lady (and everyone knows drippy sleeves are so exciting):
Besides filming, there were also games to play:
And lots of food to eat. Here they are all doing their best Oliver while I serve the soup (this is a merry band of folks, I tell you):
When it got too late at night for eating or filming or playing games we took to singing. We sang Christmas carols in English and the more talented among us sang chants in Latin. Jonathan was pleased they could pull off Lo, How a Rose Ere Blooming in four-part harmony, and he kept our guests from leaving on time Sunday night as they sang the Byrd Kyrie from the Mass for Three Voices.
It was quiet and lonely after they had gone, but we were left with lots of warm, happy and hilarious memories (and lots of film footage as proof).
So you see, Bilbo had come in the end by the only road that was any good.
Northern Harrier This is the second Harrier we've seen this week. I actually spotted the first one, which was quite dark unlike this one. Of course I had no idea what it was, but I knew to call Lydia. (Josiah says he can tell when there's a bird by the way I say Lydia.) They do not normally reside in our area, and it is past migrating time, hence Lydia is occasionally heard muttering, But why are there Northern Harriers flying west in January?
House Finch, yellow variant
This House Finch is the first yellow variant we have seen, and it seems to be hanging around for the winter. According to the field guide, yellow variants occur 'occasionally, most frequent in the southwest', so it seems to be a rather unusual sighting for this area.
Here's a peek at a few outfits I gave my big girls for Christmas. Finding modest looking and modestly priced clothing is no longer as simple as it was in their Lands End and Hannah Andersson dress days, but I've been having fun altering some finds from the thrift stores. It's amazing what nice things can be found for so little at these shops, and it's fun and easy to refashion things for a cute, trendy and unique look (okay, Josiah alters his stuff for a unique look that is cool, not cute). Thrifting, 'upcycling' and everything vintage are all very popular right now -it's a great way to save a ton of money, exercise creativity, and 'go green' as well by giving new life to old castoffs.
For example is this fun jumper-
This was one of those looong relatively straight jumpers, down to about ankle length and with a simple back vent. It's a pretty pattern and of quality fabric ('Woolrich' brand) so for a couple of dollars I thought I'd give it a try. I cut off the bottom twelve inches or so, cut the trimmed strip in half length wise, pieced the two parts together and gathered it along the long edge. I sewed it back on as a perky ruffle, and pinned on a flower made of felted sweater scraps for added flair. We both think it's super cute!
We have quite the stash of felted sweater scraps, so I was able to pick out colors to match the skirts quite nicely. I followed Betz White's directions, bonding the flowers on and them embellishing them with buttons and a bit of embroidery. Again, we all think they are very cute!
You can tell how they love posing for these bloggy pictures! :-)
(Hoods and swords by Josiah, and that will have to be another post!)
Do you have your copy of Alice Cantrell's lovely calendar yet? Alice was so kind and generous to share this little gem - a whole year's worth of her delightful watercolor illustrations in a handy calendar. I've printed one out for myself, and it's fun to see them popping up on other people's desk's as well. I enjoy the cheery pictures so much I thought of another use for them. You know how we girls like to keep track of certain things from month to month, but not necessarily on the wall calendar? ;-) Behold the mini-calendar-
I printed out Alice's calendar in miniature - I adjusted the page scaling to 'multiple pages per sheet' and set it to print four pages per sheet like so-
Then I cut them with the paper cutter and prepared to connect the pieces in a year-long line. I needed to trim a bit from the top and bottom of each section to get them to line up properly - check them out before you actually tape them to make sure everything matches. You can leave them with three months on a page, or fold them tiny into a twelve way accordion style:
If you want to fold them down to one month on a side you need to also trim the side edges of your sheets before you tape them - hold your pieces up to a window and make sure all the months are aligned properly.
Once I was sure everything was trimmed up evenly, I taped them together on the back with packing tape, leaving a tiny gap so they fold easily.
I gave them a final trimming after they were taped to square things up.
Then I folded the little one up. A scoring blade in the paper cutter or folding tool is handy, and voila - a sweet little mini-calendar for you or your girls. Thanks again, Alice!
O God, who on this day didst manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles by the guidance of a star: graciously grant, that we, who know Thee now by faith, may be let even to contemplate the beauty of Thy majesty - Collect, The Epiphany of Our Lord
Hope you all enjoyed a Blessed Feast of the Epiphany today! And as you can see, if you peek in the window here it is still definitely Christmas around here. We are easing back into regular work and routines, but I whole heartedly agree with what she said - we are not quite ready to 'let go' of Christmas and Holy Mother Church tells us it's not quite time to. I still need and want more time to gaze into the manger and see Him lying there.
O my Jesus, while I beg You to reveal Yourself to the world, I also beseech You to reveal Yourself more and more to my poor soul. Let Your star shine for me today, and point out to me the road which leads directly to You! May this day be a real Epiphany for me, a new manifestation to my mind and heart of Your great Majesty. He who knows You more, loves You more, O Lord; and I want to know You solely in order to love You, to give myself to You with ever greater generosity. - Divine Intimacy - The Epiphany of Our Lord
Today we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.
In the Name of Jesus let every knee bow, of those that are in Heaven, on Earth, and under the Earth: and let every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. O Lord our Lord: how admirable is Thy Name in the whole earth! Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. - Introit, Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (Philippians 2:10-11, Psalm 8:2)
O God, who didst constitute Thine only-begotten Son the Saviour of mankind, and didst bid Him to be called Jesus: mercifully grant, that we who venerate His holy Name on earth, may fully enjoy also the vision of Him in heaven. - Collect, Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
The Holy Name is unlike any other name on earth. It is itself a prayer, ofttimes repeated continuously by those who seek to pray without ceasing. It is the first utterance that comes to the heart and mind and lips when we are in grave distress - our soul instinctively cries out to the Name that is above all others. It is the Name by which we are saved. It is the Name by which we live and breathe and have our being. This feast day, and this month of January dedicated to the Holy Name, is a perfect time to increase our love and practice devotion to the Holy Name. We can make a prayer card with Philippians 2:9-11 on it, and give it a prominent position in our homes. We can take the time to memorize these verses this month if they are not already known. We can teach our children the custom of bowing our heads whenever we hear His Holy Name. We can encourage older children to pray the litany of the Holy Name as part of their daily prayers. And we can instruct our children to make reparation for sins against the Holy Name. Whenever we hear the Lord's Name taken in vain we silently pray the first few lines of the Divine Praises (or as much of the Praises as can be recited given the circumstances).
Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints.
(Optional) May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen.
At Mass today Father began his sermon with the words of St. Bernard of Clairvaux:
"The Name of Jesus is Light, and Food, and Medicine. It is Light, when it is preached to us; it is Food, when we think upon it; it is the Medicine that soothes our pains when we invoke it. Let us say a word on each of these. Tell me, whence came there, into the whole world, so bright and sudden a light, if not from the preaching of the Name of Jesus? Was it not by the light of this Name that God called us unto [H]is admirable Light? Wherewith being enlightened, and in this light, seeing the Light, we take these words of Paul as truly addressed to ourselves; Heretofore, you were darkness; but now, light in the Lord." (do read the rest of St. Bernard's words here)
Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, hear us. Jesus, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us . God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us. Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on us. Jesus, Splendor of the Father, have mercy on us. Jesus, Brightness of eternal Light, have mercy on us. Jesus, King of Glory, have mercy on us. Jesus, Sun of Justice, have mercy on us. Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us. Jesus, most lovable, have mercy on us. Jesus, most admirable, have mercy on us. Jesus, mighty God, have mercy on us. Jesus, Father of the world to come, have mercy on us. Jesus, Angel of great counsel, have mercy on us. Jesus, most powerful, have mercy on us. Jesus, most patient, have mercy on us. Jesus, most obedient, have mercy on us. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us. Jesus, Lover of chastity, have mercy on us. Jesus, Lover of us, have mercy on us . Jesus, God of peace, have mercy on us . Jesus, Author of life, have mercy on us . Jesus, example of virtues, have mercy on us . Jesus, zealous lover of souls, have mercy on us . Jesus, our God, have mercy on us . Jesus, our Refuge, have mercy on us . Jesus, Father of the poor, have mercy on us . Jesus, Treasure of the faithful, have mercy on us . Jesus, Good Shepherd, have mercy on us . Jesus, true light, have mercy on us . Jesus, eternal wisdom, have mercy on us . Jesus, infinite goodness, have mercy on us . Jesus, our Way and our Life, have mercy on us . Jesus, joy of Angels, have mercy on us . Jesus, king of Patriarchs, have mercy on us . Jesus, master of Apostles, have mercy on us . Jesus, teacher of Evangelists, have mercy on us . Jesus, strength of Martyrs, have mercy on us . Jesus, light of Confessors, have mercy on us . Jesus, purity of Virgins, have mercy on us . Jesus, crown of all Saints, have mercy on us .
Be merciful unto us, spare us, O Jesus! Be merciful unto us, graciously hear us, O Jesus!
From all evil, Jesus deliver us. From all sin, Jesus deliver us. From Thy wrath, Jesus deliver us. From the snares of the devil, Jesus deliver us. From the spirit of uncleanness Jesus deliver us. From everlasting death, Jesus deliver us. From the neglect of Thy inspirations, Jesus deliver us. Through the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation, Jesus deliver us. Through Thy Nativity, Jesus deliver us. Through Thine Infancy, Jesus deliver us. Through Thy most divine Life, Jesus deliver us. Through Thy labors, Jesus deliver us. Through Thine agony and passion, Jesus deliver us. Through Thy Cross and dereliction, Jesus deliver us. Through Thy faintness and weariness, Jesus deliver us. Through Thy death and burial, Jesus deliver us. Through Thy Resurrection, Jesus deliver us. Through Thine Ascension, Jesus deliver us. Through Thine Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist, Jesus deliver us. Through Thy Joys, Jesus deliver us. Through Thy Glory, Jesus deliver us. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord Jesus! Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord Jesus! Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord Jesus!
Jesus, hear us. Jesus, graciously hear us.
Let us pray. -
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who hast said, "Ask and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"; grant, we beseech Thee, to us who ask, the gift of Thy most divine love, that with all our heart, words, and works, we may love Thee, and never cease to praise Thee.
Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy Holy Name; for Thou never failest to govern those whom Thou dost solidly establish in Thy love. Who livest and reignest for ever. Amen.
That's 3,828 cookies in 28 varieties to be precise. And we are rather precise - that's Jonathan's job with the pencil and clipboard. As I've blogged before, baking cookies is our family Christmas Tradition with a capital T. We look forward to this time every year when we spend two full days together in the kitchen baking Cookies. We make up pretty cookie plates to give as gifts, and we have plenty for ourselves to enjoy as well (but not until Christmas Eve). We all love our cookie baking time together - everyone works together, everyone is in a Jovial Mood (veering off into punchy as it gets late at night), we end up with tons of yummy cookies, and we have a Really Grand Time together. Some memorable quotes:
me: Kateri, don't snitch the sugar! her (with a grin): I'm not snitching sugar, I'm snitching butter!
We chop all the nuts in the food processor, and the almonds are quite deafening as they are so hard - standard procedure involves someone shouting Nazgul! while everyone ducks with ears covered.
Eliza the taste tester approves: 'nudder one!
a supervisor implores the younger ones not to overwork the dough: Don't make them rubbery!
a baker's lament: Bowls are as scarce as hen's teeth in this house!
you know who said this: My hands are so greasy I can't pick up my binoculars!
Part of the ritual is counting all of the cookies and documenting how many we made of each kind. (Back in 2004 when people were obsessed with counts and recounts we took up chanting Count every cookie, every cookie counts!) It has become Jonathan's job to be the official counter and it suits him well, and we end up with quips such as:
We must preserve a hermeneutic of continuity in the size of the almond moons!
Congratulations, girls, we have a net gain of three lemon poppies from last year!
We listen to music while baking, but it can be distracting, hence 'No more deceptive cadences - they make me lose count!'
If you live nearby you can stop by for cookies and a cup of tea - the Russian teacakes and cinnamon crescents and lemon poppies are just getting aged to perfection. I think I'll go put the kettle on...
Remember, O Christian soul, that thou hast this day, and every day of thy life: God to glorify - Jesus to imitate - The Angels and Saints to invoke - A soul to save - A body to mortify - Sins to expiate - Virtues to acquire - Hell to avoid - Heaven to gain - Eternity to prepare for - Time to profit by - Neighbors to edify - The world to despise - Devils to combat - Passions to subdue - Death perhaps to suffer - Judgment to undergo.
Thanks for stopping by! My name is Kimberlee. I am a Catholic homeschooling mother of seven children ages 10 - adult. This is my place to share all these things I treasure, and ponder in my heart.
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