February 2010 Archives

Monday Morning Music


I love all things Dolly. I was surprised at how well this duet with Carrie Underwood went. Love it. Love her.

A finished project!

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Less computer time means more reading and crocheting time in the evenings. Here's a project I finished for the Ravelympics--a pretty afghan.

LaMa, totally something you can do, and I'm happy with the way it came out!

Wind Chime Afghan

And then there's this picture, which isn't the best but gives you more of an idea of the detail to the afghan. It's a good and easy pattern, and fairly portable, until you get to the joining row.

Wind Chime Afghan

Yay me!

Now, the beginning

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Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And so what is YOUR plan for Lent? The past Lent was very difficult for me, as will this be also, since it leads up to the first years mind for my dad. Last year, I took nothing on as additional "work" because just living through life was enough.

I feel stronger this year and in need of committing to doing something, so I've thought and thought about what needs rearrangement in my life. After spending some time in prayer it seems these three things are appropriate:

1. Add the noon Wednesday mass to my weekly schedule. More frequent reception of the sacrament will be to my great benefit.

2. Off the computer, except for email, which I must check because of my volunteer jobs, by 9 a.m. I flirted with a complete computer fast, but came to the conclusion that, at least for this year, I simply needed to put it in its proper place. So, I can do whatever I want--play my games, post to the Summas, read my news sites, etc. But at 9 a.m., away I must go to my other responsibilities. I think this is a useful discipline. And if I need to read a little more, then I can hop myself up out of bed earlier. Trust me, that's not likely to happen just for the computer.

3. No snacking between meals. I'm not giving up any particular food. I just need to put food in its appropriate place in my life.

Come to think of it, God is working hard with me about appropriate times for all my work and play. It's a consistent theme of my meditations lately--how to arrange my rather unstructured life to build up the routine and habits that can undergird a stronger spiritual life. This is something that bears some more thinking about, because it is only now that I am beginning to see that discipline and obedience (that hard, hard word) can truly bring freedom.

And I could use me some of that!

On the reading list for Lent?

The Way of the Cross by Caryl Houselander
A City Not Forsaken: Jerusalem Community Rule of Life
Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life by Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.
The Friendship of Christ by Robert Hugh Benson

How 'bout you?

And remember--let's fast and discipline ourselves joyfully, not putting on sackcloth and ashes but washing our faces and putting on smiles. We do it for ourselves and for our God, not for the world.

Happy Wednesday, ya'll!


can you tell the smock's plantar fasciitis has kicked in again? well, since most shoes designed specifically for this condition look ... uhm ... eco-friendly rather than fashion forward, you'll never see me in a pair. in public. but since i can still manage motion in a good pair of flats with a hidden support, i think i'd opt for these aDORable little fred perry "heavenly pink" gingham flats because beauty doesn't always have to be painful.

and since i'm having so much fun, while i'd never actually wear an animal print, i'd enjoy envying someone else who could step out in these whimsical little puppies...


Pretty Shoe Tuesday

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I would show you patterns, but today, it's SHOES! And that's because I'm tired of all my winter clothes and stuff. Yeah, I live in Texas for a REASON, and that reason is NOT continued cold weather. I hate my coat. I hate my mittens -- well, except for the groovy ninja mitts made for me by LaMa which I treasure. I'm tired of the cold. I have things to do that do not involve shivering.

Fortunately, the weather is warming up a bit over the next few days--until it starts raining later in the week (boo!). Not warm enough for sandals or spring shoes, but we can LOOK, can't we? Yes, we can!

Oh, look! It's Summa Pumas! You've gotta love a shoe that has florescent pink listed as one of its colors. Don't you? We do.


Summa sandals, version 1, by the absolutely INCOMPARABLE Beverly Feldman. Are these not just to DIE for? Yes, they come in silver and gold as well, but why would you even look at anything other than this darling pink number? Pink, in our world, is a neutral anyway. Isn't it in yours?


Summa sandals, version 2. These are by Stuart Weitzman, and they are ultracool:


If you're not so into sandals yet, how about some Summa flats! You know that the Summas have a long term love affair with all things Kate Spade (I personally want to buy a B&N Nook just so I can have a Kate Spade cover for it!). These shoes just scream, "Summas! Buy me now!" Can we resist? Well, our pocketbooks may make us resist, but in a perfect world? All three Summas would have these on their feet:


And finally, Summa heels! These are the Carlos, by Carlos Santana. Now, myself? I don't get how come Carlos Santana gets to design women's shoes, but maybe that's just me. But these? I like!


Dream away, Summa lovers! Happy Tuesday to you all!

Pretty Pattern Tuesday


I saw this bag on Ravelry on queued it with lighting kninja reflexes:


It reminds of a carpet bag. Delightfully Mary Poppins-esque and so practical. The galloping horse intarsia motif was the deal sealer. I've had my eye out for just the right pattern to attempt intarsia and I think she may be it. The pattern is free here.

I have a few friends having spring and early summer babies this year that I have baby-knit plans for. Also a cousin getting married next month that I'd like to gift with hot pads. Some Easter baskets goodies and the bathmat I mentioned in an earlier post, some more progress on the log cabin blanket and then, then I'll learn intarsia. And hopefully have a sweet new "carpet" bag for those umbrella rides.

Monday Daybook

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For Today, February 15, 2010

Outside my window... Only little patches of snow are left. And I think that melting snowmen just look awful.

I am thinking... about a line from the current Bible study we are doing on Sunday morning and pondering the link between suffering and obedience.

I am thankful for... being temporarily caught up with Diocesan reports after last week. Now to get current on parish reports. I caught up with personal finances on Saturday. I'm feeling lighter!

From the kitchen... I'm at a loss here. I've yet to figure out the cooking for 2 thing and my creative juices are running a little dry in the kitchen. (Oh, that didn't sound right!)

I am wearing... the same black track pants I apparently wear every single Monday morning, a red fleece snowflake hoody, sneakers, perfume.

I am creating... a new afghan for the Ravelympics. I'm trying to complete a whole afghan during the time the Olympics are on. It's coming along.

I am going... to the grocery store and to JoAnn's for 2 more balls of yarn.

I am reading... a quick reread of Haven Kimmel's She Got Up Off the Couch for book club. Then it's on to So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger or The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer.

I am hoping... that I can continue with my catching up process this week and not fall back into the Slough of Despond.

I am hearing... The heater turn on again and wondering just how much our heating bill will be this month. Brrrrr.

Around the house... I need to sweep and mop. Yuck.

One of my favorite things... is Lent. I need a time to think about God.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Regular round of home things. Making at least a start on our income tax return. Noon mass on Wednesday--"Remember thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return." First of the Friday Lenten suppers at church. I need to dust off my meatless meals!

Words I'm pondering "It is no great merit to serve one's king in the piping days of peace and amid the delights of court life. To serve him during the hardships of war and amid troubles and persecutions is a true mark of constancy and fidelity." --------St. Francis de Sales

Here is picture thought I am sharing... This is the afghan I am working on for the Ravelympics--3 out of 10 strips done!

Wind Chime Afghan

Happy Monday, ya'll!

Monday Morning Music


OK, so maybe this is a kinda "anti-Valentine" song for Monday. I loved it so when I was an angsty teenager!




You get birthday snow and everything! Hope your day is perfect and you do nothing except what you wish. I mean it. Nothing.


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Probably the best PSA I've ever seen. H/T to The Anchoress, from whom I snagged it.

Booking Through Thursday


Oh, today's question is near and dear to my heart:

How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn't work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?

In the book Gifted Hands by brilliant surgeon Ben Carson, one of the things that turned his life around was his mother's requirement that he and his brother read books and write book reports for her. That approach worked with him, but I have been afraid to try it. My children don't need to "turn their lives around," but they would gain so much from reading and I think they would enjoy it so much if they would just stop telling themselves, "I just don't like to read."

This touches so close to home with me, because it is one of the MAJOR reasons that we started homeschooling, and is the very base on which we built our homeschooling curriculum.

The Zman attended kindergarten and first grade at our local public school. While I had briefly considered homeschooling when it was time for him to enter kindergarten, I was still working and there was no real way for me to stay home quite yet. We had a plan in place for me to come home, but we had some financial goals that we wanted to meet before we cut our income by MORE than 1/2.

So, we put him in school and started the process. He began learning to read, and seemed to enjoy school. When he was in the first grade, I worked only part time--starting to make the transition to home--and volunteered a couple of days a week up at the school. My dream volunteer job was working in the library, and I did that quite a bit.

It was there I had my giant revelation with kids and books. In a media saturated culture, books and reading were dropping further and further down the list of "things to do." Really, really bright kids were coming into the library looking for recommendations for books for book reports. But when I would pull out a book that was a favorite from my childhood, or even a good new book, the kids would look at it and say, "Oh, I can't read THAT. It might be good, but it's just too long."

Too long? What? We won't try unless the book is under 100 pages or something? My unease built. Teachers were trying, but they were up against it. When kids have soccer 3 nights a week and scouts 1 night, youth group at church one night and reams of math problems and "projects" to do (can you catch my absolute *love* (not!) of most of the "projects" sent home? You can?), there was simply not enough TIME for reading. And when you couple that with the hours spent watching television and playing video games (neither of which I am completely opposed to in priniciple), well, it just wasn't good for reading.

And I could not BEAR to raise a son who was a nonreader. It's too much a part of who I am.

So, when other events conspired to make homeschooling possible, even necessary for his second grade year, we came home.

And started to read. And read. And read. And read.

We read everything. Zman had a long and lovely reading affair with the Tintin graphic novels. He read books on Tasmanian Devils and fairies. And I read TO him every single day after lunch while he colored or played with cars on the rug or just sat on the couch and listened. For an hour. And sometimes for more.

We used Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook to get started and then we a million other things that were recommended by the librarians at our local library. We read the Taryn series by Lloyd Alexander. We read Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. We read Lord of the Rings (yes, all of it). We read Narnia. We read Undaunted Courage about Lewis and Clark. We read. We read. We read.

And that's what I'd tell a parent who had "nonreaders". Start out by spending your time turning off the TV and video game and read, read, read to them. And then let them listen to books on CD. And then let them pick what seems good to them.

And I think it'd work. It did for us.

Whatcha Readin'? Wednesday

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Boy, it's been awhile since I did one of these, hasn't it? I'll have to do my annual list for 2009 (which wasn't so very extensive--see entry a few below for why that was!) one of these days soon. I mean really, aren't you just WAITING for the MamaT awards?

I knew you were.

But that's for another day. Today we'll just talk about what I'm reading NOW.

So, what IS on the nightstand? Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. I should finish this one tonight. Reichl was the New York Times food critic for 7 years, and this book is a memoir of her time there. It includes some of her reviews and some of her recipes. How can you NOT like a book with recipes? You can't. Besides, Reichl is a wonderful writer and explains food and her dining experiences very well.

We had read her memoir of growing up, Tender at the Bone a couple of years ago in book club. When we heard about this "further adventures of...." book, we just had to put it on the list for this year.

Thumbs way up on this one. There's also another book by the same author: Comfort Me With Apples. I'd like to read it, too.

Also on the nightstand? Reed of God by Caryl Houselander. I am such a huge Houselander fan. Her book The Way of the Cross, structured as a walk through the stations of the cross, is a must read for me each Lent. LaMa, I highly recommend it.

I also recommend Mauriac's Holy Thursday if you're still looking for inspiration.

Next up? Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food or Leif Enger's So Brave, Young and Handsome. It's a toss up on those two. I'll let you know.

I'm glad LaMa is reading Mariette in Ecstasy. It's one of my favorites. I'll be interested to hear her take on it. But I almost hate giving people recommendations--especially for books I really, really like. Because if they don't love them like I did, well, maybe I'm nuts, but it makes me feel SAD. Here's hoping she likes it!

Hope your Wednesday was wonderful. Good night, ya'll!

if u really heart the smock ...



yes, you too can find this incredible delectable at lollyphile! it's the caffeinated maple-bacon lollipop, just in time to order it for the smock for saint valentine's day! can bacon possible get any sweeter?

Whatcha Reading Wednesday


My crafting has stalled a bit in the past few weeks so that I can catch up on reading in my Me Time. Crafting and reading are the two hobbies that I never tire of so I rotate them and attach myself like a hungry babe. And so.

I recently got these cookbooks and have been whipping up delicacies for the kids as well as for selfish reasons:

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats

I'm halfway through the novel Mariette in Ecstasy, as recommended by MamaT. I read the reviews and can't wait to see how it ends. I didn't make the connection that the author, Ron Hansen, also wrote The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which I read a few years ago. Really interesting.

On the school front I have The Unschooling Unmanual and Family Math awaiting my attention. I wouldn't describe our homeschool style as unschool, I'm hesitant to describe it as anything other than eclectic. The unschool book is a compilation of some of my favorite education authors and am looking forward to cracking it.

Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitter's Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Pictures
is by far my favorite knitting book and the only one I've ever seen fit to purchase what with the interwebz and all the free patterns therein. I've borrowed the library and a generous friend's copy many times before finally ordering my own. I have yarn for their Absorba bathmat all ready to transform. Remember my log-cabin-super-long-work-in-progress? It's from that book, too.

And finally, to start with Lent, an old favorite: The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ , which I plan to pair with more Masses, more confession and more prayer. I've been dry and gray in my interior and this Lent plan seems like a huge feat to me. I'm praying for strength, springy and fruitful insides for Jesus to stroll in come Easter. Or at a least humble and honest attempt at it. Good literature to meditate on is going to be huge. Recs welcome, as always.

Pretty Pattern Tuesday

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I also hang out over on Ravelry, a fiber arts website full of knitters, crocheters, and weavers. Every time there is an Olympics, they have a Ravelympics--where we can compete in silly events making different things. I am on the Crochet Liberation Front's Team Flaming Hooks. And during the Olympics I will be trying to start and complete an entire afghan!

Now, I love the Olympics, and I watch them a whole big bunch. Especially this year when we have a DVR and I can actually DVR the weird sports that I love and that get no air time on the major networks. You know, like biathlon and ice dancing. And curling! Who wouldn't like a sport that has BROOMS in it? Come on!

Anyway. No matter how much I actually love the Olympics, a whole afghan in just a couple of weeks is a challenge. I had to find an afghan that I liked that was still simple enough to give me a shot at completion. Without breaking my fingers or wrists off due to overuse. No small task, that.

But I found one! And I purchased the yarn. And it's waiting for me to start. No chaining, no nothing until the opening ceremonies start on Friday.

Here's what I'll be trying to make:


And here's the link to the pattern. It's called the Wind Chime Afghan. You might have to register on the Lion Brand site to get to the free patterns, but it is totally worth the registration. They have lots and lots of free patterns.

And if you are a knitter or crocheter or spinner or other fiber type artiste, come on over to Ravelry and check it out. And look for me (SummaMamaT) or LaMa (beanymama) over there. We'd love to have you as fiber friends!

Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

Oh, and P.S. As an update on yesterday? I can see the floor of my office/craft room. Today I should be able to make even more progress! Thank you for the prayers and best wishes.

For the Smock:


Mmmmmvelopes. Yep, bacon flavored envelopes. Now there's a concept she'll be able to get behind:


Hi all!

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It's been a long time since I've been here. Yeah, it still looks good, and homey!

It has been a well, interesting (is that the word? interesting?) time at CasaS here for the last bit. You know those tests you take in women's magazines? Those "Measure Your Stress Level" tests? The ones that tell you to take some time for yourself, or a hot bubble bath or something like that so that you don't become a homicidal maniac and take out the whole neighborhood with your shotgun?

Can you take out a neighborhood with a shotgun?

Never mind.

I'm not one to talk about the stressful things in my life. I react simply by shutting myself away as much as possible and coming out when it seems like the worst might be over. You know, like that woodchuck or gopher or whatever he is up in the great white north.

I've been hiding. And now I'm poking my head out a bit. In hopes that something else doesn't come along and whack me. It's been a bit like Whackamole around here. (How's that for mixed animal metaphors? Woodchucks, gophers and moles! The trifecta!)

In the last 18 months I have dealt with:

1. My mom dying.
2. Finding hubby's dad who had walked away from the family 5 years ago.
3. Finding out that said dad has dementia or brain damage from abuse suffered while he was out of touch with the family. He'll never be the same.
4. A terrifically good friend of mine, Miss Betty, discovering she had cancer and dying within 6 weeks.
5. We ran a parish capital campaign that I had to be involved in.
6. Taking care of a dad that was completely lost and heartbroken after the death of my mom.
7. The death of my dad.
8. Various complications arising from meeting his last wishes.
9. McKid decides to go to afterschool care instead of my house (after 7 1/2 years--no more kiddo every single day)
9. The ZMan graduated from college! Yay!
10. We moved.
11. Wedding planning and preparations--everything from dresses to dinners to sleeping arrangements for traveling guests.
12. The Zman and The Beautiful Celeste (hereafter, TBC) got married!
13. PapaC and I turn into official Empty Nesters.

Wow. Just looking at it, it's no wonder I've been in a tailspin. And tailspin it truly was, and maybe still is, a least a little bit.

During the tailspin time, I've dug myself a bit of a hole with other responsibilities--and they are all staring at me, with deadlines approaching. Now I see, for the very first time in my life, how people get so behind with things that they just give up. Because it's tempting to lie on the couch, or play Mafia Wars on Facebook, instead of tending to business. It's easy to think, on Monday, that THIS will be the week that you turn it around.

And yes, I'm thinking that this Monday. But this Monday is a little different, because for the first time I've felt like sitting down and writing about it, just a bit.

And I think that's hopeful.

So, it's off to capitalize on the energy that I have for today and get some things started. I can't finish 'em if I don't start. Right?

Happy Monday, ya'll!

Monday Morning Music


The Who, from back when they could sing, not like last night at the Super Bowl. I thought they were dreadful at half time, and those who thought they were great are on something. Just sayin':


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Bump+ is a new web show following three women trying to decide whether or not to abort their babies. Now, they're just actors but oh, sweet Mother Mary.

From the website:

"About Bump+

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court gave women a choice. Thirty-seven years later, we're giving them a voice. BUMP+ is a provocative web series from Yellow Line Studio that follows the fictional stories of three women facing unintended pregnancies.

BUMP+ The Experiment is an attempt to determine whether story can succeed where nearly four decades of angry rhetoric and political posturing have failed.

Inspired by President Obama's call to people on both sides of the abortion debate to open the lines of communication and find workable solutions to the problem of unintended pregnancies, Yellow Line Studio is starting that conversation inside the safety zone of a fictional world based on real life situations.

Is our society willing to give it a try? How authentic are these characters? And how serious are we about an open, honest exploration of this controversial topic?"

I haven't seen an episode yet. I'm afraid to go watch them. Have you?

Pretty Pattern Tuesday

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My littlest one will be two on February 12 (a birthday she shares with our MamaT!). That her big day is so close to St Valentine's Day makes me want to Valentine the heck out of everything to do with her birthday. Hearts, red, pink, sweets, the whole nine. This may get annoying as she gets older, I checked with with MamaT just to make sure, but I'm enjoying the themeyness wholly while it lasts.

This bunny pattern delighted me for her Valentine/Birthday creation. It's a Japanese pattern, by way of a French blog, with a free pdf link in English! Bravo!

It's a simple pattern, as well. I made these Mama and Baby bunnies for her with my very limited crochet abilities in just a few days:


The red yarn I used came from MamaT, so they're fused with extra birthday goodness. Can't wait to give them to my Mila!

What's Playing This Monday Morning


I'm pretty sure this last January was the longest month in the history of months. This morning we're welcoming Hopeful February with music. Okay, we welcome nearly every morning with music but today's has been dedicated to the end of January 2010, in any case. We have on Cat Power, whose Sea of Love cover is one of my very favoritest.

Now! Off to start school and instruct my children in the fine art of making up words. Favoritest and the like.



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This page is an archive of entries from February 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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