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Papa Stronsay Calendar 2013

The Papa Stronsay Calendar
 for the Year of Our Lord 2013
is now available. 

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Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

After a seven hour car ride, and a stop off at a Best Buy (to pick up a stacking kit for our washer and dryer) and Wegmans (because everyone needs a little Wegmans in their life), we finally arrived "home". The ride wasn't terrible. We timed the first leg up with the twins' naps and the second leg was spent watching Monsters Inc for the four millionth time, followed by Beauty and the Beast.

Poor Ryan nearly had a stroke when we arrived "home" and home was another hotel. He is a creature of habit and the constant displacement is really wreaking havoc on his little soul. I must have gone back into his room and retucked him in fourteen times tonight. At one point all three kids were crying, two had diapers filled with poop, suitcases were everywhere but we couldn't find anything we needed and the twins' pacifiers for bedtime were completely MIA. Joe and I couldn't even make eye contact with one another for fear one of us would start crying too.

In positive, moving in the right direction news our CO was issued today as was the final inspection from the bank, which means we are clear to close. I'm praying that we can close tomorrow afternoon. We'd unload our storage unit and cars tomorrow evening and then meet the movers at the house on Thursday morning. I think the transition to the new house will still be hard on the twins -- though at this point they've spent most of this year at the new house while I met with subcontractors and our builder, so at least it's not entirely unfamiliar. And I'm hoping that the simple things, like their furniture and toys, will soften the blow.

My inlaws were fabulous (as usual) while we shacked up with them over the last week. Shortly before the twins were born my mother in law bought cribs and bedding and converted one of their guest bedrooms into a nursery. I remember being really annoyed at the time. With the impending birth of Lola and some family issues, my mother in law moved into my house for three weeks this year. We really got to know one another and my walls and guard are completely broken down. Not only do I realize how stupid it was for me to be annoyed at her efforts, but I actually really appreciate them.

It was SO nice not to have to pack three pack and plays for the kids. When we go to their house, there is a place for the kids to sleep and over the last year she's stocked up on toys, sippy cups, toddler plates, booster seats. You name it, she's got it on hand. We just show up and run amuck. And, she wakes up with the twins and plays with them and does their morning routine just like we do it, which was a godsend this week as Miss Lola is still crying through most nights and my sanity is already hanging on by a thread.

The kids got their fill of tractor rides with Papa and a very special outing that entailed going to the barn to see (and ride) Papa's horse. Reese and Ryan are currently OBSESSED with farms, farm animals, farm equipment, and Old MacDonald. Actually, obsessed is an understatement. Reese pretty much goes nuts at the sight of a horse - be it on TV or the side of the road (we live in a rural area). And Ryan goes ga-ga over tractors. So our excursion to Western PA was well received, and the trip to the barn knocked their socks off.

Much to my amazement neither kid was afraid of the horse and I was sure Reese was going to end up getting kicked at one point as we tried to hold her back so her brother could ride with Papa. They went crazy over the barn cats too, chasing them shouting "meow! meow! cattttt!" Reese thought the white cats were sheep (seep! seep!) - hysterical. They begged to go back to the barn all weekend, but the weather turned nasty and we didn't make it back there this trip. Next time, for sure.

Grandpa was tickled. He's been joking around about buying the kids ponies since they were conceived, knowing full well I'm terrified of the things and my kids riding them. I keep telling him that I've seen Gone with the Wind and I know how that story ends. But after seeing the joy on their faces (all three of them) I just may cave. The time at the farm was once again a reprieve from all that we had going on back here. As a girl whose never had a place to call home, I'm so thankful for the family that I married into.

Miss Lola is stirring. Who knew there would come a time in my life when I dreaded going to after hours? Off to tend to my peanut. After all, tomorrow is another day.

granny chic, rachelle and the country living fair...

yes indeedy! my fabby book writing buddy Rachelle is packing up her little vintage suitcase, filling her mode of transport to the brim with books, granny chic finery and her partner in crime, 'the lovely Tracy' and heading to the Country Living Fair in Harrogate this week.

i am so proud of all the hard work she has been doing over the past weeks in the name of Granny Chic and our book... preparing goodies for the Granny Chic stall and prepping for her class on how to make Liberty wrapped baubles (not just for christmas but for any day of the year) which she will be demo-ing in the theatre every single day at 2:00pm, sharp as a whistle.

yes indeedy, just looking at the few snaps on her instagram feed (some of which i have kindly borrowed to share here) has my granny chic knees all weak and my crafty heart pitter pattering... surely if ever there was a stall worthy of a ganders at a fair such as this, t'would be this one for sure. if you are looking to purchase our Granny Chic book, Rachelle will have some and of course, if you already have one but fancy a bit of scribble in it then be all means hoppity skippity along to her fabby stall where upon she will get out her most spiffy of markers to do a spot of scribbling on a page or two, specially for you.

now i know the Country Living Fair is tres large and its easy to get lost or sidetracked or pushed out the way by another more intent shopper, but do not let that distract you from your path, no sirree! keep focused, head down, and move steadily like a salmon up stream, determinedly pottling towards all that is granny chic and goodly. you will find Our Rachelle alongside her fine right hand buddy Our Tracy, on stand M5 in the first hall. please do stop by, say hello, give my fine and dandy granny chic companions a hug or two and take in the wonder of Granny Chic via Rachelle's perfectly peachy surroundings she has created so brilliantly!

wishing i could tread the path with you, but i'll be there in spirit and will certainly be dressing in my best Granny Chic finery across the pond, in support of the besty book writing buddy i could ever have wished for

all photos in today's post belong to Rachelle from Ted and Agnes, if you wish to see more then may i suggest you visit here and do like i do most days when visiting, be inspired...


i noted yesterday,
between a movie and a meal
that perhaps the time had come
to retire my springified plastic flowers
in favour of something a little more fitting
to the coming joyful jolly season.
this made me a little sad
as i do like my springified plastic flowers

however upon closer inspection,
my sadness turned to joy
for indeed, 
such were the colours of my plastic pretties
they are most suited to
a joyful jolly bit of jolly~ness

after the movie and meal
but before the game of
3 card brag,
i found a willing jar victim
and a rather pretty scrap
of vintage lace.
several moments later,
along with several lengths of thread
and a cup or two of dried rice
my 'nearly retired but stopped in the nick of time' flowers
were doing a rather spiffy job
of bringing some seasonal cheer
to our fireplace



I'm so very thankful for these beautiful little people that I had the pleasure of spending the holiday with. I am also thankful that they happily ate dinner tonight. Ryan devoured corn and bread (biscuits). Reese at chicken (turkey), orange (sweet potatoes) and corn. They are getting so big. 

They played hard today, running around their grandparent's farm. They got several tractor rides and kept screaming "again" and "more". My favorite moment from today was Reese saw my mother in law unwrapping string cheese (for Reese, unbeknownst to her) and Reese demanded she "share". I almost died. Clearly we will need to work on the phrase "may I please have..." 

The kids are super excited to go see Grandpa's horse and pony tomorrow. They keep shouting "horse" and chanting "neigh, neigh, neigh". Ryan has also taken to repeating "E, I" "E, I" over and over again (as in e-i-e-i-o, because all animals live on a farm in his mind).

Lola continues to cry from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. and again from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., so I'm thankful to have extra hands on deck right now since I haven't slept in the better part of two months. Hopefully we'll catch up on rest while we're here.

Reese was particularly unhappy to share bunny with her sister. We had to stop dinner to move bunny to a safe and neutral resting space until our meal had ended. And, speaking of the meal ending, Thankgiving is officially over so I felt confident in breaking out Christmas pajamas. Now to just get a picture of all three of my kids in them, preferably looking at the camera. Hey, a mom can hope.

Happy Thanksgiving!

giving thanks...


Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

Bye-Bye Belvedere

We closed on our house yesterday. The end of our ownership was drama llama with annoying questions from our buyers mixed with their refusal to rent back to us through the end of the month, making us homeless. We lost money on the house. We lost patience with each other. And at the end, I felt happy to get rid of that ridiculous house and move on with our lives.

On Tuesday I picked the kids up from preschool, the movers were at our house loading up our stuff after packing what little was left unpacked on Monday. I brought the kids inside for lunch without giving it much thought. Reese ran through the door and thought the wide open space and ability to make her voice echo was pretty stinking awesome. She ran wildly up and down the hallways screaming like a banshee. Ryan walked in, saw the empty rooms and headed straight for the stairs. He climbed to the top and ran into his room. To the spot that his crib used to be, then to where his rocking chair used to be and then to where his bedtime books were on the wall. And as he ran from spot to spot panic started to set in and within minutes he was hysterical.

With all of the craziness of moving, getting us packed and loaded, finding us a place to live in the interim, etc. I forgot, for a moment, that this was the house we brought our babies home to. All I saw were carpets with stains on them that needed to be shampooed again. I didn't see that those spots were from my babies' sippy cups, from all of the mornings and nights they dropped to the floor, rolled to their backs and drank their milk while I tickled their toes. The scuffs on their wall was from the rocker brushing against it while I read them bedtime books. The scratches on the floor were from the kids chasing Gracie.

I certainly forgot that this empty house might have a profound effect on them, even though I've lost sleep over how hard the transition to the new house would be. So I found myself sitting on the floor of my empty bedroom, holding my bony boy, comforting him as I reassured myself that the new house was a much better space to grow up in and that he'd forget all about this empty house soon enough.

Six years of our life took place in that house. I walked down those stairs on my wedding day. We cried of the loss of our first baby in that living room. We brought home the next three to that same space. From the celebration of Lauren's gender to the twins' first birthday to the monthly girl's night ins and the annual Pumpkin Parties we hosted, our dining room was quite the party space.

I can say, with certainty, that I won't miss this house. I will miss the wall of R's my sister and I made for the nursery and hearing Reese point out all of her family members on our gallery wall each night as we walk up the stairs for bedtime. But I never loved this house (not like our very first house, which I loved from the moment I laid eyes on it) and we outgrew it so very long ago. I am thankful for the memories we made here, and I cannot wait to make new ones in the house that will hopefully hold my family until they leave to make lives of their own.

wordless wednesday...


a 'jolly joyful' garland recipe...

goodness me! the joyful season is almost upon us!

this year my cunning plan is to do just a few jolly things around the shed, plonk the tree up (this time in front of a window by popular demand of clan members, year after year) and be done.
i do like a jolly crafty make or two this time of year and i particularly like ones of the 'easy peasy' variety. the sort you can do alongside of your little critters and small beings.

a little critter taking the job of pom pom 'looker afterer' very seriously, and quite rightly so, 'tis a job of the utmost importance
this little recipe is an adaption of the 'quirky and jolly' string recipe in our Granny Chic book. perfectly suited to a windy rainy afternoon, cuppa in hand, and little paws and small fingers enjoying 'feeling a little crafty'.
and just a note before i begin. just a thought, my 'jolly joyful' garland colours were inspired by my mexico trip, however you may wish to go with a full on joyful time of year colour theme or you can go like me, a little bit more eclectic. after the joyful season is over, consider removing the bling which points to recent festivities and replace with doodahs (word courtesy of my adopted auntie) more suited to a shiny fresh new year.
so with that all being said, a year round 'jolly joyful' garland recipe may commence...


* yarn 
(in jolly colours of your choosing)
* pom pom making kit, various sizes 
(can be the shop bought ones or old fashioned cardboard homemade ones)
* embroidery threads 
(for stringing bling and doodahs)
* joyful bling from your joyful box bought down from the attic once a year
* anything else you wish to dingle dangle
(fake flowers, scraps of fabric, doilies etc)


* make as many pom poms as you care to make, if you have a specific place you will be hanging your 'jolly joyful' garland, perhaps the mantel piece or in a window then you may have to add or subtract once you start stringing together. be sure when making your pom poms you leave nice long tails from the yarn thread you used to secure your pom pom nicely so it does not fall apart on your 'voila! i made a pom pom' moment.

* one by one, tie your pom poms together using the string tails. leave a nice healthy gap between the pom poms. i myself prefer some closer than others, however you may prefer even gaps. now i have "mind the gap" voice from the london underground in my ears. so yes, heed that advice "mind the gap" so you have the perfect sized gaps you like and which are pleasing to your crafty heart. once done, this becomes the basis of your garland

note the nice healthy gap between pom poms, perfectly suited for a bit of festive bling to dingle dangle
* hang your pom pom string up where it will be doing its job, hang it securely so when you step back to admire after the next few steps, it does not do a sigh and then fall to the ground under the weight of all that festive bling. gather together your other bits of joyful bling and start to hang between the gaps of the pom poms. this maybe a brilliant time to have small beings help out. they are very good at random and eclectic bling hanging. you will have to be on hand to hold them up if need be, some little beings being unable to reach if the garland is hung up high. and this would never do.

continue blinging until you can bling no more...
* step back, admire your 'jolly joyful' garland and note how when the evening approaches, the hatches are battened down and its rather horrid outside, 'tis nothing but jolly and joyful inside thanks to some pom poms, a few crafty moments and box full of bling

all photos taken on dreary day, with lights on and frankly frank a little off colour (do you like how i blame frankly frank and not myself for the slightly pants photos! ha! good job he can't talk) but trust me, this jolly joyful garland is well worthy of a crafty moment or two

Assistant Deacon at Benediction

Br. Yousef Marie, F.SS.R. assisting at Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
At the beginning of Benediction, the deacon places the Sacred Host into the monstrance.

When the time comes to give the benediction, he hands the monstrance to the priest.

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