Outside my window - It's cold and grey and chilly. Thankfully the landscape still has color with green grass and past-peak-but-still-pretty trees. There's very few blooms left out there for the remaining nectar seeking foragers; the other day we noted many species all together on a lone goldenrod specimen. My birder girl goes out in the late afternoon to take her bird count, and lately the migrants are so numerous she has employed assistance with the tallies. Despite the chill she has willing helpers as the hundreds of passing robins are a worthy sight. (although, I don't know why, but it makes me sad.)
I'm hearing- Lovely harp music, along with Kateri reading Beatrix Potters aloud to Eliza. They are cozied up on the couch under an afghan, another sure sign of fall.
The girls' harp teacher gifted us with a new instrument this week - a twelve stringed wee little harp, just the ticket for slinging wildly upon one's back. Lydia tuned it right up and it's already quite popular, as it's delightful having such a portable instrument. The girls can wander through the house playing it like a proper minstrel and the sound of the wire strings remind us all of Patrick Ball.
(Now if only someday someone would pass along some bagpipes they don't want...;-) )
Thankful for- Last evening we hosted a big party with folks from our church, as we do each year when our priest friend from Mexico comes home for a visit. It is always a joy to have a houseful of people near and dear to us, enjoying food and friendship, music and prayer. It's also tradition for the men to sing compline together towards the end of the evening - such a blessing to hear them together with the Fathers' beautiful voices leading. We are so thankful for our holy priests!
Thinking about- how September and October have been so very full for us. Music performances, tea parties, history events, evenings with young friends around the fire, birthdays, dinner parties, sewing projects, art projects, and even an out of town trip for a couple of days. Sarah, the dear extra-extra-extravert, recently wrote about introverts vs extroverts, remarking that introversion or extraversion is not so much a matter of preferences for socializing or not, but rather a reflection of where you get most of your energy. This is very true! As a bunch of mostly introverts here we are obviously not averse to going and doing and socializing (we just had a big party!), but it doesn't exactly energize us. We have a great time at a party or outing, but afterwards we're not ready to do it again the next day; most of us need to follow up with quiet down time for rest and reflection. I kind of get tired just reading about the lists of activities that other families accomplish, all the time wondering HOWDOTHEYDOIT?, but now I understand that so much activity actually energizes those extra-folks. Amazing! For us, yesterday we partied, today we rest, and tomorrow we'll be back at it with another full day. :-)
From the kitchen- Kateri has twice made this lovely Lemon Snack Cake (using real butter and eggs of course).
It's one of those mix-it-up-right-in-the-pan cakes, making it a simple and fun recipe for young bakers to make all by themselves. A double recipe fit just right in a 9x13" pan and gave Kateri a chance to practice adding fractions to boot. The first one was so delicious she made it again for the party, where it was very well received and disappeared fast. I also made this cranberry pear coffee cake for the party, out of a fall cooking magazine my sister gave me a few years ago. I used goodly amounts of ginger and allspice and nutmeg for the spice - very tasty.
And Eliza made two more cheesecakes, this time pumpkin!
In the learning house -
Has it been two months already since we've started the school year?! We're still very much in World War II, with three people now reading through Churchill's series. I am also now hopelessly hooked in the time period as well - if only I could sit and read all day. (Did you see the video Fr. Z posted of Mass footage aboard an LST?! Be still our moony swoony WWII loving Catholic hearts!)
Eliza is reading Beatrix Potter, learning about all things patcherwatic (like the presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Paul Revere), and writing frequent letters to all of her favorite priests.
Kateri is excited about math, writing a series of cookbooks, and draws amazing pictures almost every day.
And National Novel Writing Month starts at midnight tonight! If you have folks wandering around blithering about needing another subplot or two more characters or seven more chapters in their outlines, you're not alone. Thinking ahead to those finished books reminds us it's all worthwhile to live with these delightful novel-obsessed writers for a month. Check out the Young Writers' Program for younger writers, where you can set your own word count goals.
I am working on- Making crocheted jar cozies: nice mindless handwork for when I'm doing school with the little girls. My college student takes yogurt and milk along in jars for his meals at school, and covering the jars seems to give them a little protection and makes them easier to hold. See how rustic:
One of my favorite things - Books! (but they always need their own post....)
Blessed All Hallows Eve, folks! Hope to be back here again soon...