{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}



photo 5

This graceful luna moth has been a regular visitor this week, with no less than three sightings. It is perhaps the only thing of that size I’ll tolerate next to my door with any pretence of equanimity. I’m still at variance with Nature coming indoors uninvited. This one respects my space. 😉



That’s a given. 🙂


photo 4

Posey knows how to spend a summer evening!

photo 3

Rascal and Dino have been charged with the duty of cleaning up their extensive LEGO collection. Rascal got the idea to store everything by color in our old workbox bins and strawberry baskets. The closable bin bottom right holds minifigure components. The one problem is that while organizing it they also stop to play for half the time…. or decide now that they have all they need of one color, to begin to build that one invention they were going to do that one day… 😉

photo 2

Some interesting minifig combinations. Super Bombur is my favorite. But what’s with the clean-shaven color-block Gandalf? The Spaceman Hobbit? The Yeti Hobbit?

In the mornings that I can get a row in on the rowing machine, the corgyn follow me downstairs. They wait until they hear the beep of the machine coming on and then they come galumphing down the stairs as quick as their stubby legs permit. Then they come over to me and check out the machine. Pippin goes off to chew on whatever LEGOs are on the floor (I do tell him to stop, and he does listen for about five minutes). Merry is the one I can count on for the ultimate in workout time support and encouragement.

"I'm here for you!"

“Yeah, I’m here for you!”

Thanks a lot, buddy!

Yarn along…. a curious development….

You may remember in my last post how I had to use some interesting stitch markers as I worked my way around the new project. Namely, that they were my daughters’ hairbands.


So you may imagine my shock Sunday morning, when I pulled my project of the bag to work on during the drive to Mass, to find that the stitch markers were gone.

The project was perfectly still upon the needles, no stitch dropped, no unravelling.

But the hairband markers were gone.


Then I remembered something I’d seen earlier this week, after I had dropped the bag next to my bed and left it there a while.

In their puppy days. They're bigger now.

In their puppy days. They’re bigger now.


Why? Because I remember seeing him laying down next to my knitting bag with a guilty look. And if these dogs like chewing anything besides stray LEGOs, it’s the hairbands the girls drop.

But how did he do it without completely disturbing my project? I guess I’ll never know.


Meanwhile, we’ve gone from yellow hotel room light to dark…natural light? Oh well. It looked much brighter on my camera phone.

As for reading, I have been skipping around the home library. I picked up some L. M. Montgomery, half-heartedly began Wives and Daughters, reread a Wodehouse again. I’m sort of in reading limbo right now. On the plus side, there are two fresh Wodehouse books coming soon that I pre-ordered in March! Huzzah!

Week Recap

The week ahead promises to be chock-full of its own amazing news so I want to put up some pictures before things start rolling around here. We’ve been thrown off as usual by the “spring forward” of Daylight Savings Time (my annual groan) and with Posy Pea’s arrival imminent we decided to take Spring Break this week instead of next. This morning we had the unprecedented experience of two night owls as Miss M and Sunshine decided to be bright eyed and bushy tailed from 3am-present (well, except for Miss M, who crashed around 6:45), and as I struggle to keep the eyes open I realize our Spring Break decision was probably amongst the wisest academic decisions I made this year. 😉

So without further eloquence…


My foyer shelf, all decked out for March and April. Gardening ….


…and Spring Cleaning are on the mind.


Getting out on the “last” cold weekend before Easter (the previous weekend).  Haus Meister took the big kids back to the lake for another nature walk (and yes they did return with another driftwood piece).


Two boys lost a tooth this week, one of them for the very first time!


An aunt and cousins came to visit and stay with us for a few weeks while we wait for Posy Pea and welcome her home! The children are loving the captive audience of their 5month old littlest cousin.


Reading assignments are less of a chore with such a smiling face next to you!


The oven fix mentioned a few posts ago worked for the door for all of three uses (not Haus Meister’s fault), but the error code soon returned and was replaced by another, indicating that we’d need to replace the entire control panel for the oven. As the door was still crooked, the temperature sensor still faulty, and now that, we decided just to replace the oven. What joy! What rapture!


Over the past weekend the weather warmed up, and so what did the corgyn do? They decided to stay glued to an inside wall. I question their intelligence.

When Miss M and Sunshine, in complete juxtaposition to their actions this morning, granted me a free hour on Friday afternoon by napping after school–both of them, at the same time–I decided to bring out my sewing machine. Almost eighteen months ago I packed up the machine because it kept tangling the thread on me as I tried to make some homemade gift bags during an Advent season. I had a pile of mending to do and figured I would at least see if I needed the machine serviced. To my surprise, the machine behaved itself and I was able to knock several mending projects off my to-do list. What a relief–I love to sew, but mending is my bane. How ironic is that? I also found a pair of cotton nightgowns at the bottom of my mending pile that needed to be scrapped. I upcycled the lower parts of them into petticoats/slips for my daughter and niece.


The girls were quite excited and wore the petticoats over their skirts the rest of the day.


With the balmy Spring air coming in from the deck door, the sunshine softly lighting the room, the recliner beckoning for impatient children to rest in while I “sew them up something,” and the corgi chewing on something or other down there, I become more and more convinced that I appropriated the best room in the house for my sewing nook. It’s not going to turn into a dining room again anytime soon.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

We had quite the funtastic weekend last weekend, but I’m going to show pictures a little out of order.




I am going to write a bit about the foyer today, so I’m starting with my wreath as it appears in January. In February (read: tomorrow, when we make our Valentines) we’ll add hearts.

All winter we’ve been struggling with the problem of the children’s winter coats. I should say, the problem of the children’s coats never being where they were supposed to be. Our coat closet is the smallest in the house, so back in the Fall I had moved the coats into the boys’ and girls’ closets. However, in the girls’ closet we recently made room for Posy Pea’s items and did some rearranging but alas, there wasn’t room for the coats anymore. And Princess would never really get hers back on a hanger anyway–it was always thrown on the floor. Ditto the boys. Coats always just thrown on the floor, because it’s just faster that way, right? Grr. So all the coats were crammed back into our tiny coat closet. Then, on Sunday, Haus Meister mentioned that something had to be done.

Fortunately, I had just seen a beautiful foyer idea from Rachel Meeks at Small Notebook. So I instantly replied: “hooks in the foyer,” and showed him the picture. He thought for a moment, and then added, “I have some hooks in my toolbox down in the shop. Let me go see.”


Of course, I should have taken a “before” picture. The needlepoint pictures (made by my mother-in-law’s great aunt) used to be on either side of the clock (a wedding present made by my father-in-law). That was it. The wall was used, but a bit boring unless it was Christmas and I had the cards taped on it.

It pays to be a packrat sometimes. We’d had the coat hooks since we’d been in the old Haus, just never used them. Meanwhile I moved the dry sink over (it was formerly pictured as our Advent table) and took the wall shelf off the boys’ dresser, where it had been collecting LEGOs and dust. Haus Meister is repairing the broken door on the dry sink and I am in search of Just the Right Drawer Knobs. Sometimes it’s fun to sit back and search for what you really want rather than just rush out to the hardware store and get what’s there.


The shelf belonged to my great-grandmother and in the old Haus it hung in our bedroom. Now it’s going to be a display of movable books by season. 🙂 As you see, in the early winter months I like to think about, plan, an occasionally execute craft projects. St. Joseph is our family patron so there is his picture, and the magazines on the top of the shelf are The English Home.

I also added a few books for February, at least for St. Valentine’s Day. 😉


I found a copy of The Browning Love Letters, written by Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett during their secret courtship and the few days after their secret marriage, in the library at Christendom College while I was a student. I borrowed it frequently until I had finished it. After graduation, Haus Meister found a copy online and gave it to me for Christmas. My copy came from Wales.




What our schoolroom board calendar looked like on Saturday!

Yes! We finally had snow! It lasted just until the next morning and was probably less than an inch, but didn’t matter. I got to stand outside a moment and enjoy the snow-stillness and listen to the sound of snow crunching under my feet, and the kids were beside themselves with joy.


They also insisted upon bringing out the sled Santa had given them last year…during the non-existent winter…that had never yet been used. Sunshine is sporting an old boy’s coat that I had forgotten (luckily) to donate, because this snow hadn’t been forecasted properly. The forecast said “wet wintry mix” of sleet and rain, so I figured they wouldn’t be going outside and on Friday night threw Sunshine’s coat into the wash. It wasn’t dry yet when the snow came!


The corgis weren’t sure what to make of it. This was their first snow.


It was her first snow, too. She was unimpressed. I just wanted to get one picture, though, right? Because we moms are like that.

Funny Real

The Blue and Gold Banquet for Rascal’s Cub Scout Pack was held this week. I signed up to make cookies and thought it would be grand to use blue and gold M&Ms in the cookies. I looked at the custom site on M&Ms and decided that I didn’t want to pay custom color prices for a banquet wherein half the moms were bringing desserts and also when it would be less expensive to buy a huge bag of M&Ms and just take out the blue and yellow colors.

So on Monday the kids used the non-blue-and-yellow M&Ms as counters for Math class and as incentives for doing jobs well. It was a very smooth sailing Monday.

My favorite kitchen helper was happy, too.


She waves “hi” whenever we take her picture these days. And yes, I did clean off my counter later. 😉

Third Day of Christmas Thoughts

Sorry the blog has been so silent of late. We spent the third week of Advent painting, painting, painting. We finished up the semester officially on the 21st with Rascal’s last math worksheet and then I kept the kids out of his hair so Haus Meister could still paint. Wow. The house looks better than when we bought it. Best of all, we can stay here and enjoy it! Unlike the last paint-fest, which ended when we left the Old Haus for the new.

So, here’s some of what’s been happening as we continue to attempt to recover from Paintfest 2012 and the Christmas aftermath.

  • Christmas Day itself was perfect. It was warm and satisfying and the morning, though rainy, was spent all of us together unwrapping presents, getting ready for and going to Mass, and then coming home to unwrap the rest because the kids themselves decided to take their time and enjoy things. I was amazed at that. And pleased. Of course, then the relatives came over and we cooked and feasted and sent things over to my brother-in-law who came down with something and stayed behind at our in-laws. The kids had fun with their cousins and there was bedlam. It was good.
  • I made it my personal mission to finish off the whole-cranberry sauce I’d made for Christmas dinner in order to make room in the refrigerator for the New Years dinner. I found you CAN eat too much cranberry sauce. It is not pleasant.
  • Thanks to Rascal having decided to try to play two dvds at once, our dvd player on the iMac is not cooperating. Thus we didn’t get to enjoy our favorite holiday movies (The Nativity Story, The Bishop’s Wife, The Great Mr. Handel, Miracle on 34th Street–although we did get to see that after Thanksgiving) this year at all. On the plus side, the kids have been so obsessed with The Nutcracker that we keep watching streamed versions of it as often as we can. The Balanchine 1993 version was replaced as our favorite by the 2000/01 Royal Ballet version with Anthony Dowell as Drosselmeyer. That was an incredible show and I was pleased that the kids would sit through it without the need for narration. Yes, The Nutcracker got us through many an hour during the Paintfest, and who can complain to 1hr 47 minutes of classical music? However, the video was taken off YouTube between yesterday afternoon and today. I’m quite disappointed. The dvd is now in my Amazon wishlist for next December. We’ll have fixed the iMac by then….
  • Overheard today as the kids watched a show on the Nativity on EWTN.com: RASCAL says to Dino– “No, it’s MAGI, not JEDI.”
  • Princess finally got the hang of some of the words to Joy to the World. It goes something like this now: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come / Let earth be sing her King! / They’re taking up the joy/ They’re taking up the joy / They’re taking up the joy, they’re taking up the joy, they’re taking, they’re ta-a-aking up the joy.”
  • Miss M wins the Nogger Award 2012. If you have a cup of egg nog (and we’ve only had the unspiked version available here), she will seek you out and demand a sip. And she’ll look so cute that you give in. And then she won’t give it back until she drains it.
  • Because Paintfest was going on during what I planned to be Bakefest, Bakefest happened in limited quantities. Most of those limited quantities were consumed by our children faster than I could bake them, including the cranberry-orange bread which Sunshine was especially drawn to as it cooled on the counter.  And then I blew an entire batch of my cranberry cider jelly by stupidly substituting liquid pectin for powdered. Sheesh. So if you usually get a goodie box from us…um…it’s still coming.
  • I’m uber proud of Haus Meister for all the painting he did. We’re talking living room, my “sewing nook”, the kitchen, hallway, both kids’ bedrooms, and the stairwell. In a week. And that’s after making sure the van had new tires, helping run the Cub Scout Christmas party, taking his wife to see The Hobbit, and running out on December 23rd to get a massively beautiful tree for our downstairs family room. Whew. And then cooking up an amazing Beef Wellington on Christmas Day. We pretty much need a vacation to make up for the vacation! 😉
  • I’ve been absorbed in my spare moments since Tuesday rearranging my Ravelry queue, planning projects and rearranging my yarn stash. My in-laws gave me Jane Austen knits Fall 2012 and I am pretty well convinced that eventually over the next 1o years I will have made myself a wardrobe of tops from those catalogs. I have all three that have been printed as of now, and my Ravelry queue is probably about 40% from them. Meanwhile, I am so close to the decrease on Haus Meister’s hat, and am resolved to finish it before the New Year.
  • Which is why I’m sitting here blogging, right? Actually, that has to do with the cranberry sauce. See above. I feel like my fat hobbit dog Merry, who hasn’t been quite up to speed since the Christmas dinner scraps. No wonder he’s my buddy.

Merry Christmas!

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


During the week I did finish the Master Bedroom Challenge. The only “hotspot” left is part of the top of Haus Meister’s dresser, but he was out of town on business and there was mail waiting for him that I didn’t want to risk being turned into scrap coloring pages or paper airplanes if left in the usual unlocked areas. Yes, we lock our bedroom during the day. Why? See indelible marks left on walls. I’m getting blue paint for my birthday in January! Huzzah! Other rooms need attention before then. Also, there has to be some room in the house where one can keep the breakable objects, right? So, it’s our room.

The icon on my bookcase (Haus Meister made me that bookcase, incidentally) is supposed to be on the wall with the other two, and will again when we get the back hook fixed.

Quilts make great slipcovers, don’t you think? The chair came from his late grandmother’s estate and the quilt covering it was made by my (happily still living) grandmother. His late grandmother made the quilt that covers the wine rack as a baby blanket for Haus Meister 32 years ago. We have the backing showing because it needs repairs, and there’s no wine or wine glasses on the rack. It was probably the most impractical anniversary gift we gave each other. But at the time we only had Trooper and found out the day he bought the wine for the rack that Jacob was expected. Now it has a new life as a side table in our room.

I know I’ve blogged the top of my dresser before–probably the very first {P,h,f,r} in which I participated. Unfortunately this is probably the cleanest it has been in a long while.

Thanks for the challenge!


Earlier this month we realized it had been a year since these critters came into our house.

Pippin and Merry. Shy, sweet little puppies. You could already tell that Pip is the energetic one and Merry is the snuggle puppy.

One year out, it’s hard to get them to stay together for a picture, unless it looks like this:

Merry is the *ahem* stout one on the left. Pip is on the right. If I try to get a picture of them outside, they run over and mob me and won’t stop jumping. They don’t sit on the couch together too often, preferring to hog choice corners or in an individual chair. They are typical brothers, competing for attention and in Merry’s case, the first bite of everything. But we love our crazy hobbit dogs.


The LEGO catalogs are being devoured over here in preparation for the annual Christmas wish list. Rascal especially liked this fellow.

However, as the project is a little too ambitious/expensive/involved for him right now, I encouraged him to look at other LEGO sets. However, he was determined to build this so he had me download the instructions and he began to build it from our own pieces. About 15 steps in he realized the enormity of the task he had undertaken and decided to curtail it.

Rascal’s Mini R2.

His dad designs robots for a living. Daily I am reminded that this son is practically his father’s clone.


Life with Miss M.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

 Another week speeds by! Health is generally improved around here, and we’ve managed to get back into a bit of routine.


Fabric!! I guess this also could go under “happy” but here it is. It’s for Princess, and the pattern I want to use for it is in the mail. Huzzah! This is from the new “Out to Sea” by SarahJane for Michael Miller fabrics (don’t I sound like an experienced crafter saying that?), and it is the first time ever I’ve bought a fabric the day it debuted. But unless Sarah Jane designs a princess with that cute redhead as model, there hasn’t been a more absolutely meant-for-my-Princess fabric in the four years I’ve sewed for her.


This little charmer

is 7 today! Happy Birthday Rascal!

You keep us all laughing and smiling. Your ideas about life and how things work are intriguing and shows more and more that you have your Daddy’s engineering mind. We are so proud of our big guy.

And remember to keep those LEGOs away from your ever inquisitive audience… 🙂


It’s tough being a corgi. So tough.


“Help! I’ve climbed and I can’t get down!”

It happens nearly every time someone leaves the main bathroom door open. Such a curious little climber. She stands there and shouts until someone comes to her aid.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}



Haus Meister hashed out an Ethiopian style dish for all of us one evening. It was fun and delicious! You use those bread rolls as utensils, by the way. Technically everything on that platter disappears by the end of the meal.



The recent bout of illnesses mentioned in yesterday’s post necessitated a trip to our pediatrician’s fun new office.

Some of us could have stayed all day.


funny real
Corgis (ours, at least) do not like collars. When Merry and Pippin came to live with us we found them a pair of nice English leather collars. The corgis appreciated those to the point of chewing them off each other’s necks. After last weekend’s walk in the park I thought to try harnesses to see if the corgis liked those better–this way we could actually walk the dogs! Novel idea. So anyway, I find these comfort harnesses….

And the dogs instantly feel humiliated. Pippin was not going to put up with it for long.

He chewed through his in fifteen minutes. I didn’t give Merry the chance and took his off to save for vet trips, etc. Oh well!