Saturday, February 19, 2011

Snow Moon

There is one glory of the sun and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars...
--1 Corinthians 15:41


Spurred by this post at By Sun and Candlelight, I dragged out both of my cameras and attempted to get a picture of the moon.

I love the full moon. One of my favorite pictures from my trip to England several years ago is a very blurry, snapped-out-the-window-of-a-moving-cab photo of the full moon over Big Ben. I've never really gotten a decent picture, although every now and then I'll try. I have one somewhere (also blurry) of an orange harvest moon over a field near our house. Oh, to have decent photography skills.

I tried the night settings and the portrait settings on a timer, all on a camera stand, and got a few variations. This is the best one... I don't actually know which setting it was! (I think it was the timed portrait setting.) But I learned a few things all the same, not just for this application.



All the kids said it looked like the sun.

Incidentally, Dawn keeps referring to the different names for full moons according to when in the year they occur. I think I learned of this sort of nomenclature when I first learned the true meaning of a "blue moon." It's really enchanting to think of each moon according to its unique season. I'm going to have to learn them all.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quick Takes Friday


My life is full of random trivialities, the kind that are not easily spun into entertaining blog content! So to ease back into Quick Takes, I thought I'd share with you what's helping us get through these gray days.

1

Blocks!


A standard of childhood. We got a few new sets this past Christmas, and they've been a daily staple for everyone under the age of ten (and occasionally including them). This castle set and the tree set below, complete with bark, stay in a little den off the main homeschooling room. (My little boys are completely in thrall to the tree bark set--wish I'd known beforehand to equip my oldest with a saw, some sandpaper, and a few fallen limbs. We'll just have to make an outdoor set.)


2

Playing cards


The kids' 3-deck canasta set is currently missing a few cards :-), so while we root those out, they have been playing Go Fish, Old Maid and a game they learned over the holidays that they call Egyptian Rat Race. (I'm told the original name of the game is more vulgar, but I haven't bothered to find it out.)

3

The Scrambled States of America


Another Christmas present. We checked out the book from the library before and thought it was really cute and engaging; I mean to add it to our family library. The game looked promising, and it delivered. It has alternate rules for younger players and early readers, so most of the kids are able to play. They really have fun with this one, and it's one of those games I can chalk up as school!


4

Artist trading cards (ATCs)


Ever since last year's two swaps at Pondered in My Heart, we've been intrigued by these little art pieces. I make blanks by cutting cardstock--I usually get 9 out of a sheet, and I also typically reinforce them after we make the art--and the kids dip into them when they want to create. Sometimes we'll do a project using them, like the tape resist tree (H/T The Crafty Crow) on the right.
5

Um, my cluttered desk


I hesitate to show you this, but the truth is, it's kept us plenty busy. We're trying to cut through some paper clutter and function as a homeschool in largely the same space. Usually that doesn't work very well, and I'll be honest, it's getting old now. But you see that gray table in the foreground there? That's a sorting table, and it never looks the same at the end of the day. I decide what to do with stuff, stage it on the table, and the kids put it away. I'm actually gaining some ground against years of saved-but-chaotic records, kid-art, bookwork, etc., plus it's frequently handy for laying out the kids' schoolwork as it shifts from undone to done. That table might actually end up a permanent part of my desk arrangement. (If I can talk my husband out of taking it back to his office.)

6

"Secret heart" valentines


We did this project, which I found (also via The Crafty Crow), yesterday. I drew different heart pictures with a white crayon on the pages of a mini watercolor book, and then I tore out the pages and let the kids paint over them and see the hidden pictures emerge. They could (and often did) actually see what sort of picture was there if they tilted it in the light, but they still loved to fill the pages with color and lift out the white heart designs.

7

Tylenol infant drops


Yes, Tylenol has been helping us get through the last few days. We have a cold running through the house. It's not terrible, but it starts with a yucky sore throat and a fever that hang on for the duration. Most of the kids play right through it after breakfast with a bracing glass of juice. But for my 9-month-old, who I suspect might be cutting more teeth as well, a sore throat and fever are a little much to handle. On top of that is the noise of a houseful of boys (and girls, albeit in self defense, except when they start it, of course) and the poor sweetie can't seem to sleep for more than 15 minutes as a rule, and is cranky all day through. So I try to give her a little relief every now and then.

Next week (if I manage it) I'll show you my more mind-numbing diversionary tactics!

See Jen's place for more Quick Takes!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Some Advice for Every Day

Do you really want to be a saint? Carry out the little duty of each moment: do what you ought and concentrate on what you are doing.

--St. Josemaría Escríva, The Way

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Frozen Yummy Goodness

Or, "When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemon Gelato"
Image Credit

Lisa Hendey blogged about her new ice cream maker over at Faith and Family Live. I posted a slightly wordy comment and then, inspired, went to get started on a recipe for daiquiri ice I've been holding on to, waiting for summer to roll around. Psh, I decided. Who cares if it's February?

That's when I discovered that my own ice cream maker's little paddle, the part that churns the mixture, was missing. As I had my little kitchen minions search for the missing piece, I began to remember an exchange between my son and me a month or two ago, that went something like this:

Son: Mom, what's this?
Me: I don't remember. [Inspired by FlyLady principles from years ago] And if I don't remember, I must not need it very much. Toss it.

Sigh.

The sad thing is, I don't even remember for sure if it actually was the paddle he showed me. It could still be buried somewhere in mismatched plastic storage lids.

Well, I mentioned a lemon gelato recipe in my comment and figured I'd post it as promised anyway, especially since it has alternate instructions for making it without an ice cream maker. I don't remember where I got it, and couldn't find anything that looked similar in a quick search, so here's the recipe straight from my card.

Lemon Gelato

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups marshmallow cream
1 cup nonfat sour cream

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Add marshmallow cream and whisk briskly over very low heat until the mixture is creamy and smooth, approximately 4 minutes. Whisk in the sour cream. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a medium-sized bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

Remove the mixture from the refrigerator. Whisk if separated and pour into the freezer compartment of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions. If you don't have an ice cream maker, pour the gelato mixture into a shallow baking dish and freeze until solid, about 6 hours. Break into chunks and pulse in a food processor until smooth. Serve immediately or transfer to a lidded plastic container and freeze.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Tangent on Bookshelves and a Movie

Karen Edmisten wrote a little blurb yesterday about an article she read about decorating with books. There's a little thread about this sort of thing in a British movie called "Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence." A shallow young music exec confesses to his new crush that his decorator did exactly that in his home (it's gotta be old books), and she challenges him to grow a little by taking them all down, reading them one at a time and putting them back on the shelves. (The relevant part is from about 2:24 to 3:55.)



He's not the lead (and she is) so he tries to take her advice but doesn't do too well. But it's a very human little scenario--she planted a seed.

Thought I'd share.

(Its American title is "The Very Thought of You." I fell in love with it as a young wife. There's some troublesome conversation and language, especially in the unedited version, but the onscreen action is clean. It's available from Netflix.)

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