Friday, October 9, 2009

Frugal Baking Thought of the Day

Use less!

Not being one to want to forgo the use of things like nuts and chocolate chips in baked goods (the rare ones that I actually make...) simply because we are poor, the thought occurred to me the other day that I can just use half as much.

Sure, there would not be quite as much goodness in every bite, but enough to get the general idea. I put this idea to use in a batch of muffins I made from some failed tapioca pudding. I'll post a photo later. Too bad I didn't get a picture of the pudding: it looked awful.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Big Helpers, Big Sweaters, Big Eyes

The girls earned some extra movie time this morning for helping me clean up the house a little. (Of course, as any Mom of preschoolers knows, the movie serves the purpose of allowing Mom to really clean up the house without interruption.) Don't worry--it's School House Rock, so it's educational.

We've also been sporting our sweaters lately as we keep the heat (and hopefully the gas bill) low. This giant one that Susannah is wearing is a hand-me-down from Maggie that I just love. It's supposed to be this big. Her eyes, however, are just naturally that big.

365.8: Big Eyes

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Not Imperfection

I am a perfectionist. It may not be obvious from my kitchen full of half-cleaned dishes, or from the piles of clothes flung over my bed. It may seem odd that a "perfectionist" would skip days in posting photos or stay up late to write a blog post when she has to rise early enough to be out the door with her husband in the morning.

The dishes? I have to do the just right, but I don't have time, so why do them at all? The clothes? I wore this outfit once, so I'll fling it over the bed because I can't put it back in the closet because it's not absolutely clean. The blog post? Must write the most beautifully crafted blog post that creatively ties in with above photo. (I have no delusions about the "beautiful craft" contained in this post, let me assure you.)

My many half-attended-to blogs are further testimonies to my perfectionistic tendencies. Not satisfied with a personal blog that portrays the various facets of my interests, I want each post to perfectly fit into a cohesive vision for a blog that will one day make it big.

How often does that happen?

So instead, I am trying to be satisfied with, not imperfection, but reality. I love the idea for my blog "Trenches of Motherhood." I also love the title of this one. For this photo project, I am coming to terms with the directions in which I feel pulled. Most of these photos will contain my kids, so I want to post them here. But when I decide to ramble about motherhood and life and perfection? For now, I will also put it here.

I am not ready to let Trenches die completely. But then again, I over-think things. I haven't met a decision I've made that I didn't contemplate changing. I am tempted to write a lengthy explanation of why "Sibling Revelries" really applies to my life in general rather than being a cute family blog title. My life is formed by my siblings, we are all siblings in Christ... but it stretches thin very fast.

Sometimes life fits together neatly. Other times, Mickey Mouse is your computer buddy, staring up at you slightly lazy-eyed and having lost his shorts weeks ago. Less than perfection, certainly. But mainly, just reality.

365.7: Mickey

Monday, October 5, 2009

365.6: Icons

After I attempted to get a few good shots for today, my camera remained on "Sepia Tone." I happened to pick it up and this image flashed across the screen as I was moving it to another location. Much better than my orchestrated attempts, I thought. I centered the image and snapped the photo. These hang above my computer desk.

365.5: Five Years

Happy anniversary to us about a month ago. I can't throw anything away, can I? (No, they aren't from my wedding--I tossed the bouquet when we moved last. These are just a surprise anniversary gift from Andrew.)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

365.4: Readers

Many of our mornings are spent thus: Mom on the computer while the girls entertain themselves. Maggie loves to "read" and has actually been making comments that lead me to believe that she may be ready to learn to do more than look at the pictures and recite the stories. She points out when two words on the same page are the same or when a word has two of the same letters. She knows all of her capital letters and most of her lower case letters.

We have begun a very informal and loose home pre-schooling with her this year, using the Five in a Row curriculum. I think it may be time to add some phonics.


Since I am moving things over here, I'll introduce the little project I have undertaken. Some friends of mine are doing a photo a day for a year--365 photos in 365 days! I am joining them and am on about day 4 and have transferred the posts over here because I am that anal.

I'm keeping the original dates of the posts, so look below for new photos. Enjoy!

My Blogging Home

I have felt rather schizophrenic (no matter how many times I attempt to spell that word, I will always need spellcheck to correct it for me) having about three different blogs. My attention is split between them all, and therefore, none of them receive much attention.

I think I am coming to a decision that I will make this one my home. (My decision-making process takes a long time, to which anyone who knows me will attest.) This was my first blog, I have put the most work into its layout, and it just looks the nicest to me.

I'll leave the other blogs up, but probably begin posting here with labels that refer to my various trains of thought. How novel. I am feeling less schizo already.

Friday, October 2, 2009

365.3: Sticker Elf

As I was occupied doing something, the kids were also busy. I turned around and Susannah's hair was adorned with stickers, which made me think of Narnian wood nymphs with hair trimmed in leaves. Nanna's always looked sort of elven.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

365.2: Clean

Not wanting all my photos to be of my children, I had to look elsewhere for inspiration.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

365.1: Sisters

While I had some more interesting and better-lit shots from Day 1, I couldn't decide between them. So, I'll just post my first one. My girls are so big!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Photos from Holy Week (and More)

So of course, as soon as I commit to updating my blogs, I end up getting a writing assignment, so that will take up much of the time I thought I would use for blogging. Maybe I can do this when I get bored. In the mean time, if you'd like to see some photos of our kids (and other people's) at the church we are assigned to in PA, go to their lovely website: And for more recent photos, go to their home page ( and click on "Recent Photos" in the bottom right hand corner or "Photos of Parish Life" on the left.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

About Time

As our time in North Eastern PA (NEPA) comes to an end, I am attempting to regain a routine of writing that (if I ever get another assignment) will bring in some extra cash when we move back to Chicago. For the time being, I am hoping that my forgotten blogs will benefit from my new schedule. I'm sure my poor children will be more often in front of the TV (well, more likely, they will spend the same amount of time in front of the TV, I will just be writing instead of doing nothing on Facebook), but I've also scheduled in some time to "do school" with them in the morning (we purchased Volume One of Five in a Row, a children's-literature-based, early childhood education curriculum), followed by getting out of the house to a park, a playdate, or just on a walk. I'm not sure I'll have time for everything I've scheduled (especially that pesky housework), but it's worth a try!

In the next month, in addition to trying to get some more productivity out of our days, we will be wrapping up our time in Simpson. Andrew is finishing his second to last week of classes this week and turned in a major paper today. Maggie is coming to the end of her year of Suzuki piano lessons with Mrs. Lichtenstein and will have a Progredi Class on Friday (a sort of group lesson/pre-recital) and a recital at the end of the month. (For those of you incredulous that a three-year-old would have anything to do at a recital, apparently all the little ones do is their bow, which they begin and end piano time with -- her teacher says that you only do something for a recital if you are completely confident in it, and Maggie is very good at her bow). Susannah continues to add words to her vocabulary and is very verbally communicative; she also loves to climb and "walk with Mommy's hand" around the block with the family. As for me, tonight I am attending a dinner in honor of the "graduating" seminary wives (and I am not sure whether I am considered one of those or not, since Andrew is not graduating, per se).

This next month will bring many goodbyes and a ton of packing, with a good measure of uncertainty as to our future. As we know more, we will share. At the moment, all we know is that we are being sent back to Chicago to serve with Fr. Pat Reardon at All Saints, which we are looking forward to immensely. We don't have a new address yet, and may spend some time living with my parents, although we keep threatening to do this and keep disappointing them, so I'm not going to commit to anything right now.

In the next post, I'll add some of my favorite poses from a recent trip to Cracker Barrel, which most likely, you've all seen already, but for the few of you hold-outs not on Facebook, they will be new.
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