Saturday, December 9, 2017


Genevieve literally worked on her costume for the whole month of October.  She wanted to be Hestia the goddess of the hearth.  She found pieces of clothing from her closet and the dress up box.  Then she cut out a bunch of flames from different colored paper and glued them together.  She then pinned them all over the clothing.  She taped some to a black headband and some to a flashlight.  I was proud of her for her diligence and her creativity.

Bobby wanted to be Captain America from our dress up box.  Judah had asked for a Robin costume for his birthday.  Drew got the Luke Skywalker costume and Isaac the Jedi robe for gifts this year.

Hannah used Genna's Saint costume gown for her easy costume of Athena.

We met up on base with some homeschool friends to go trick or treating.

Bobby's friend hat loves to give kisses!

Bobby trick or treating!
It was a cold night, but not too cold for costumes as long as we layered underneath.  Bob and I were pulling up the rear big time.  He wanted to go home about halfway through, but he kept going.  Everyone had a friend and so all were happy!

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Carnival and a Halloween Festival: Where I Conquered a Fear.

The Sunday before Halloween we went to Mass, to an All Saint's Party and then back home to change into warmer clothes and take the train into the city for the carnival.

At the carnival, we first saw the bumper cars.  Now, please, don't judge me because I feel badly enough about this as it is.  I had not been present during the other German bumper car events, but I should have watched a round closely before allowing all six of my children to go on them.  Bobby was crying to do it and Brian said Judah had done it before.

There are no rails to keep people out, so I could walk right up to the edge of the ring if need be.  I paired people up according to the younger kids' needs and instructed the big kids to pull off to the side if it was too rough for the little one they were driving so I could take them out.  First bump and Bobby was screaming.  I get him out quickly.  Then I look over at Judah and he is screaming as well, but Hannah for some reason did not drive him over to me.  After I got her attention she brought him over.  I sat with rather inconsolable babies on the edge of the ride.  Oops!  We later found the bumper cars for younger kids at the end, but by then they had all had enough bumper cars for the day.

Brian and Genevieve went on a super spinning, fast ride together while the rest of us wusses watched.  The kids played a few games and we ate dinner.  They were getting cold and we were actually trying to catch the 5:30pm train back home.  

However, we weren't thinking ahead enough and after ordering the hot chocolates realized that we'd never make that train.  You see there are no disposable cups here.  Everything is served in a mug or glass even at festivals.  The way they keep you from stealing their mugs is by collecting a "Pfand" or a deposit and giving it back when it has been returned.  You can take the mug home as a keepsake, but only for the price of the Pfand.  In our case, with so many mugs it was going to be over 15 Euros worth and so there we sat trying to drink our steaming hot cocoa and missing the train.  That meant we had some extra time to kill and the ferris wheel was now brought up.  It must have been the liquid courage or something (I had not had a cocoa, but a Gluwein instead.) because I suggested we all go on it.  I am actually quite afraid of heights and have never been on a ferris wheel ever.  I have done the skyline rides, but usually against my will and with my eyes shut tight.  My mother may or may not have some stories to tell about that that involve me claiming my parents were kidnapping me in hopes that the guy running the ride would not make me go with them.  Anyway, this was big!

It wasn't even that I was taking one for the team.  Isaac, Hannah, and Drew were all scared to do it too.  They didn't want to go.  I made them.  :)  I can't even believe it as I'm writing this.  Me, the girl who hated that my parents made me go on certain rides that were too high or too fast totally made my children go on the ferris wheel.  BUT  I let all the scaredy cats ride in my bucket, and sent Genevieve and Judah with their daddy.

The next day after school and work (for Brian) we went to a Halloween festival in a nearby village.  Hannah and Bobby stayed home because it was cold and Hannah didn't want to go.  The rest of the kids dressed up and we ate fest food of brats and crepes with hot drinks.  My hands were in gloves and so I really didn't get any pictures of this.  But it happened.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

All Saint's Party

This year the RE at our church had an All Saint's Party so the homeschool group didn't have to plan it.  The weekend before I threw together some costumes to fit everyone's desires, except for Bobby who didn't really want to dress up at all.  He asked to take his costume off a bunch of times, so I distracted him with food.

The cutest angel and St Francis of Assisi 2 year olds ever!

These look like wedding photos!

Bobby AKA St. Francis of Assisi

To make his costume, I trimmed off the edge of one of my two brown "monk" tunics that the kids had used in a history lesson years ago and sewed it on to the top to make that brown part that hangs over on St. Francis's tunic.  Then I drew a bird, traced it onto white fabric with fabric markers, sewed it together and stuffed it.  I pinned the birdy on his tunic and he was ready to go.  It was, probably, a 15 minute project altogether.

The saints lined up to announce themselves and a few facts about themselves.

Mother Mary with her baby brother as Jesus is standing next to St. Isadore.  (Not my kids, but such a cute picture!)

Isaac AKA St. Sebastian

To make his costume we went with the red over-sized t-shirt and black pants.  I poked holes in the front of the shirt where I inserted a few arrows and hot glued them to a cardboard circle on the inside of the shirt (tips cut off, of course).  Brian tied some ropes around him as though he was tied to a tree.

Hannah AKA St. Joan of Arc...all I had to do was cut up a gray t-shirt into a "breast-plate" and put a duct tape in the shape of a fleur de lis.  We already had the sword and cape in our dress up trunk.

Genevieve AKA St. Rose of Lima...She has already been St. Rose before so we already had the head dress.  The old dress did not fit her anymore, so I made a white dress from curtains that I got at the thrift store for less than 50 cents.

St. Isaac Jogues and St. Andrew the Apostle and their friend were on the front row.
Drew AKA St. Andrew the Apostle...I also made his tunic out of curtains that were less than 50 cents at the thrift store.  I used an old green fabric to sew a loop for his sash.  We had a braided belt already in our dress up box.  He made the fish out of cardboard and string.  Super easy as well!

Judah AKA St. Isaac Jogues...This is another repeat so I had no work to do on this one at all.  Isaac was St. Isaac when he was little.  The costume fit perfect.

It was a great way to celebrate the Saints and learn more about them!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pumpkin carving wasn't as bad as I remembered it.

This (along with making gingerbread houses) is not my favorite thing.  I kinda dread it.  Last year, I got out of it by having Daddy do it when I was out of town, but this year I was not so lucky.

It's not that I don't like the process of pumpkin carving, quite the contrary, in fact.  I used to carve elaborate pumpkins before we even had kids.  I love artsy things, and this is right up my alley.  However, fast forward many years and give me three to five pumpkins to carve (myself!) and throw in some super sharp knives, a bunch of kids who don't want to get their hands dirty but have all sorts of opinions about what their pumpkin should look like with none of the skills to make their dreams come true surrounding you and all taking at once and there you have the reasons I stopped enjoying the process several children ago.

However, all that has changed.  The three big kids only needed me to cut open the top and they did the rest.  They drew their design on, carved it all by themselves, and no one cut themselves this year!  The three little guys did need help, but this year we staggered the pumpkin carving with only two carving at a time.  This meant one big kid and one little kid at a time.  Their pumpkins were smaller and so didn't take as long.  Drew did the drawing on his pumpkin first and I gutted and carved it for him.  Judah helped with his drawing and chose a heart eyed emoji for his design which was easy enough.  We did all this while Bobby was napping and when he woke up, I drew with markers on his pumpkin and he was happy with that.  It was really not that bad, on the whole.

We ended up with three emoji pumpkins and two traditional ones, plus Bob's baby pumpkin.

The flip side

Genevieve was busy that day finishing up her costume for the next night, and so she waited to do hers until the next day.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Fur Elise: Performed by Hannah

Hannah has been really working on this song.  She is very proud of it, and I love how a good song can make a child really enjoying practicing the piano.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Other than Mothering

Although I don't do much other than "Mothering" I do sometimes steal a moment or two away to do something I love.  I made this saint doll for Brian's newest godson for his (late) baptism gift.  I made him a soccer hat (they are a big soccer family) for his birth gift, but I think I forgot to take a picture of that.  He is named after St. Maximilian Kolbe and so I made him that saint and picked a beautiful quote from him for the back.  I haven't made these in a while, but now I'm already in the middle of my second one, and Drew and Judah have requested one as well.

One night I went to a Ladies Night Out with women from my church group.  It was a "Wine Tasting and Pasta Making" event.  We were taught how to make pasta by a chef trained in Bologna, Italy.  He was American and owns a shop called Ciao in Landstuhl.  De Vine (you only get the joke in this name if you know the German word for wine is die Wein, pronounced de vine) is a wine shop across the street from Ciao and has a large room upstairs perfect for pasta making in a large group.  It was a long even with some down time when the dough needs to rest or dry which is when we were able to sample the Italian appetizers.  The wine tasting was interspersed throughout the evening and led by the son of the founder of De Vine.

I don't know why this picture flipped upside down when I uploaded it, but oh well!  This was my appetizer plate.

This is how we took it home to cook it the next day.

And my dinner the next night!  Fresh pasta is amazing!

I have also taken a shot at Zentangle Art.  The girls took a free class at the library in the summer and I was immediately drawn to it.  I love patterns and doodling.  My godson's sister asked me to draw her a swan, and if you knew this girl you'd understand why I dropped all my other projects to fulfill her request.  She's a sweetie.  I started with the outline of a real swan and then decided to go a different route and Zentangle the swan.  I drew everything inside the swan in pen, but I had a couple pencil drafts of the big swan first.

It's really on white paper, but the poor lighting in our house made it look yellowish in this picture.
Genevieve has been drawing more lately too.  She drew this owl for a friend as well.  I am very proud of her.  She seems to have it in her head that Hannah is the artist of the family, but I think she's got her fair share of talent.  Looks like we may have several artists in this family.

I have also become fond of hand lettering.  I have been making quotes to post around the house.  I am currently working on a canvas for each of my children with a quote from a classic book, Winnie-the-Pooh, Peter Pan, A Single Shard, Jane Eyre, etc.  I will have to really work hard to get all the hand made gifts ready before Christmas.

An example of the quick hand lettered quotes from saints that I've been posting all over the house. 

Finally, I went on a Catholic retreat.  Brian stayed home with the kids (or rather took the kids all over the place without me).  It was good to get away, spend time with friends, go to daily Mass, and get lots of extra uninterrupted prayer time.  It was in the Netherlands (barely across the border) at the Rolduc Abbey.

This was right across from my room.  It made me happy!
 I was supposed to have a roommate assigned, but I never met her. Her stuff was in the room once when I went to grab something and then it was gone the next time.  I never did meet her or find out why she didn't stay.
Basement Bar- for hanging out in the evenings after the scheduled events were completed

A beautiful chapel in the Abbey!

Courtyard View from my window

That's all, Folks!