Saturday, November 29, 2008

St. Nicholas of Myra

I just discovered that a movie about St. Nicholas is being made! I am very excited about this. Click here for more information about it. I have a special love for St. Nicholas. When I decided to join the Catholic Church I had a really hard time coming to grips with the saints. It felt blasphemous to me that there were statues of other people in church and that people prayed to anyone but Jesus. It made me very uncomfortable. In true fashion, God used my dislike and turned it into devotion. I really think God has the best sense of humor.

Anyway....when we had children it was very important to my husband that they believe in Santa. I really didn't like this idea but honored it. I decided to do some research into how Santa came to be and what did I discover......St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was so selfless and embodied all that Christ taught about love that I couldn't help but love this saint. I was able to teach the boys about who Santa really was and what he was all about. St. Nicholas was my gateway to a great love of the saints.

I began to realize that the saints are people who lived their lives for Christ, often suffering because of it. They are wonderful role models for all of us. They are people we believe are sitting in Heaven with Jesus so why not ask them to pray for us? We ask that of each other and we're not face to face with God. So now I adore the saints. I try to teach the boys about these amazing men and women but by always showing them that what is amazing about their lives is that they lived to show the Love of Christ to the world. This is how we should be acting.

I hope this movie keeps that aspect of Nicholas. Thanks, St. Nick, for showing me the way! By the way, his feast day is December 6. Click here for some wonderful feast day ideas.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Enough already

With the wristlets, I mean. I'm really on a roll. These are so much fun to make. I use my wristlet everyday and I really love it. My goal was to make a wristlet for each woman on my side of the family by Thanksgiving. I've done it. Here they are:The above wristlet was made with fabric from Heather Bailey that I've had sitting around for quite some time. This one is for my mom. She likes browns and greens. I lined it with some really lovely brown mottled fabric. It is hard to see in the picture. I made this one with the zipper pull hardware.
This is the brown and cream fabric I used to make my mother-in-laws tote bag. I lined it with some heavy pink cotton. The interlining on all of these wristlets is white flannel. I had been using a heavier denim which was really difficult to turn. The flannel makes the writslet just as sturdy but it is easier to work with and I generally have scraps of it in my stash because I use it to back my quilts. I'm definitely sticking with it as the interlining. This wristlet may be my favorite. I used the left over strip from my mini quilt mistake. I really love both the red wristlets I've made. I'm going to give them to my nieces who are both in college. I found some smaller clasp hardware today when I went to the Fabric Outlet. These work a bit better and cost .25 cheaper. Only $.50 a clasp and $.20 per D ring. The zipper cost me $.35. What a bargain.

Here they all are in their splendor. The browns will go to my two sister-in-laws and the Japanese fabric wristlet is for my youngest niece.
I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving. Nathan made the cake for our dinner tomorrow. While he was cooking I asked him what he was thankful for. He told me the first thing he is thankful for is God because without God there wouldn't be anything else. I'm thankful for such wonderful children. What are you thankful for?

Ok, I really love this.

This is a really cool advent idea. Willow Tree Toys has lots of great Waldorf toys. I so wish I had gone that route when my boys were little. Sigh....they grow up so fast.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A day at home myself. What a luxury. This will happen tomorrow. I spent my evening doing a few errands so I would have some uninterrupted time in the sewing room. I'm not very good at sewing after a day of work and an evening of helping with homework. I want to give out wristlets on Thanksgiving to the gals on my side of the family. They've all had birthdays that I've overlooked (I'm REALLY bad about that). Here are a few that I'm finished with:This is more of that lovely brown and blue fabric. I really like how this turned out. I made this one so that the strap is attached to the zipper. The lining and the strap are made with coordinating blue fabric. I think this is my personal favorite so far. I do love this lotus flower fabric from Amy Butler. You know I'm nuts about red. I lined this one with Olivia dots. I'm having a really hard time giving this one away.Here they are together. I decided to try to line the next ones with flannel. The denim I used was really hard to turn although it makes for a really sturdy bag. I'll try to post more tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Brown and Blue Christmas

I am terrible and I mean TERRIBLE about knowing what is in style, in fashion or looks cool. I guess I just never really cared that much. I like what I like and that's all there is to it. So right now I'm liking brown and blue. The tote I made for Mike's mom is brown with some blue in the lining fabric and this messenger bag has it all right in the main fabric. Mike's sister loved the messenger bag I made for myself this summer and so I decided to make her one for Christmas. One of my favorite features of this bag is the strap. There is batting in it to make it nice and soft on your shoulder.
I didn't think to take a picture of the inside of the bag. I used a piece of blue swirled fabric for the zippered pocket inside and I really like the way that contrasts with the brown fabric. I had quite a time taking pictures of this bag. Sorry they aren't better.

All this sewing has made my back ache. It has to do with cutting on a table that is too low for me. It could also have to do with the extra 30 pounds I'm carrying around. I really need to get back to exercising and eating healthier. I'm noticing the effects of my poor habits on my children and that really bothers me. My husband and I are not at all into sports. Therefore, my children aren't into sports. I laugh about the school assignment that requires them to read so many minutes a day and for us to sign off on it. I just sign the paper at the beginning of the week and tell them to fill it in at their discretion. My kids are ALWAYS on the couch reading. I think the gym teacher should have a similar assignment that has to do with going outside so many minutes every day.

I think I'll have to make our family an assignment. Over the years I've gotten good at making "reinforcement calendars." By that I mean ways to earn a reward because of extra work completed. Having a child with Autism means he's had to work hard when other kids were just out having fun. I like to reward that hard work. Incentives I think we call them in the grown up world (I got an extra $100 in my pay because I didn't take any sick days!!!). So, I'm thinking the kids and I may need some incentive to get our "rears in gear". It's cold outside here in PA.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Still Breathing

Sundays are often very busy around here. They generally include visiting Grandma and Grandpa O. or Nana and DadDad B. We will be seeing those relatives on Thanksgiving so today after church we finally went to visit Uncle Duke and Aunt Mimi (Mike named his aunt and uncle when he was little and the names stuck) to deliver the long overdue thank you quilt. It was very well received which always makes me happy!Some grocery shopping and cursory cleaning of one wall of windows in the sunroom and the day was almost over. I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner for Mike's family this year so I'm gearing up for that day. I hate to admit that in almost 16 years of marriage I've never roasted a turkey. I'm a bit nervous about it but I can cook lots of other things so I'm sure this will work out fine.
The pictures are of a baby quilt I'm working on. I'm happy to report that my design wall works wonderfully. I've had the blocks to this quilt hanging for over a week and nothing has fallen down. I need to purchase some more of the Beatrice Potter fabric for a border before I can work on this any more. I don't really have anyone in mind with this quilt but I know quite a few pregnant women so I'm sure I'll be able to find a home.

Mike will be away tonight so I may see if I can get myself back into the sewing room. More finished projects this week.

Happy Feast of Christ the King!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Catching Up

I feel like I'm finally able to take a few breaths today. Life has been so busy. I guess I'm still adjusting to working full time. I'm counting my blessings, however. My job provides us with a little extra income, I am home when the boys are home and have off most of the same holidays and over the summer when they are off school. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. We have off Wednesday through Monday. Since I have off Wednesday and the boys do not, I'm able to participate in Nolan's Thanksgiving party at school. Being at my boys' school to volunteer is one of the things I miss most about not being home. Well, I made a pact with myself that I would clean the house when I got home yesterday so I would have time to sew today. We had the most wonderfully snowy day yesterday. The boys went outside to play while I cleaned the first floor. I moved furniture and everything. This morning I did a little more and then spent a few hours sewing. I'm hoping to get back into the sewing room later tonight.I'll share more pictures this week of some of my projects. This tote bag is for my Mother-in-law. Her birthday is in a few days. She and my Father-in-law are away for a week but are coming over for Thanksgiving so I'll give it to her then. She always has lots of books and papers that she is taking places (she teaches college and directs the choir at church) so I thought this would be useful. I really love the outside fabric. The lining is left over from my living room curtains. I used batting for the interlining which turned out great. I'm really pleased at how this turned out since I sort of eye-balled the size.I also started working on a quilt for my sister-in-law. I found this fabric on my last fabric outing with my friend, Paulette. My sister-in-law has a devotion to the Blessed Mother and I thought of her when I saw the fabric. I'm still working out the plan for the quilt but I'm excited about it. Her birthday is in the beginning of January so I may save the quilt for a birthday gift. I'm just not sure yet.

I am excited about a present I ordered from Alice. I have admired her artwork for quite a while and decided to order two sets of these for my mom and mother-in-law. I'm also planning to make a few of these for the women in my life and of course I've been making wristlets. I want to modify the wristlet pattern somehow to make holders for the boys' gameboys and cartridges. More on that if I get around to it.

Speaking of the boys....they are supposed to be cleaning their room. I better go make sure things are progressing as they are meant to. I want to make a quick stop to the craft and book stores this afternoon. Happy Saturday......

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Nathan came home from school very frustrated the other day. This is a more common occurrence than I'd like but we're working through the issues and difficulties as they arise. This day's particular problem had to do with Spanish class. As most of you know, Nathan has a language disorder. One of his problems is that it is very difficult for him to learn vocabulary. English vocabulary. So to add Spanish to the mix is tricky. He was enthusiastic about the class at the beginning of the year but then the class sort of went to the back of my mind as we were struggling through some of his other classes. Well, the Spanish vocab has continued to accumulate and Nathan has not been memorizing it. The traditional method of flash cards wasn't doing it for him. He was feeling very frustrated as was I. So, we studied and then just put it away for another day.

I drive about 25 minutes in the morning to get to work. It is actually quite a nice drive as it is a pretty straight shot without too much traffic. Time to refocus my brain from home to work. Well this morning I was thinking about our Spanish problem and a solution (I hope) popped into my mind. I was thinking about the spelling program I used with Nathan last year called The Phonetic Zoo and how it really did seem to help him with his spelling. So I thought, "Hey, why can't we do something similar with Spanish?" So tonight I whipped up our new program. I printed out pictures of each word using a program called Writing with Symbols 2K. This is the visual input which Nathan needs. I then took my MP3 player and recorded the English and Spanish words several times. Now, Nathan can listen to the recording while looking at a picture of the object and (please, please, please) learn the vocab. The best part is that he can do this on his own and it doesn't take such a long time. We gave it a go tonight and he seemed to like the idea. I'll let you know if this works!

Head on Over

To Oh, Fransson for a free pattern tutorial. Elizabeth creates the most fabulous patterns, you know I've gushed about her before. I know a few women in my family who would love a purse like this. I also noticed Elizabeth has the patterns in her etsy shop on sale, 2 for $15.

I have been sewing here and there. I'll try to post some of my work soon. I have Christmas on the brain. Happy Wednesday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Proud, again

Ok, ok......I'm a proud Mama. Nolan served at the Altar for the first time on Saturday night. He was quite nervous which was to be expected. I helped him robe and gave him a few hugs and then went out to sit with Nathan. Next thing we know, Fr. Leo comes out and says they are one server short and would Nathan serve as Book (bearer, holder, server???). Ok, now, at our Parish they only train you on one job at a time. So, Nathan has never even thought about how to do the other job. But, he was up to the challenge. So.....he robes up and we have the team of Bitts, Leo and Bitts. We are so blessed to have a wonderful priest. I am so thankful that my boys are growing up with such a Godly priest as a role model. The Mass was a bit comical with them both not really knowing what they were doing but they tried their best. They both told me they plan to bring their alter server crosses (they are presented with these after their first Mass) to church every week in case someone doesn't show. My boys are not usually the first ones to volunteer for something so I'm extra proud.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blog Award

A while ago Michele tagged me with this little award. Thanks, girl, I love your blog, too. Apparently I have to answer these questions with only one word. I'm pretty tired right now so we'll see how this goes.

1. Where is your cell phone? none
2. Where is dh? work
3. Your hair color? brown
4. Your mother? thrifty
5. Your father? pesty
6. Your favorite thing? family
7. Your dream last night? none
8. Your dream/goal? teacher's certification
9. The room you’re in? basement
10. Your hobby?
11. Your fear? failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? home
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you’re not? fashionable
15. One of your wish-list items? time
16. Where you grew up? E. Petersburg
17. The last thing you did? quizlet
18. What are you wearing? fleece
19. Your TV? none
20. Your pet? cats
21. Your computer? on
22. Your mood? tired
23. Missing someone? Mike
24. Your car? Ford
25. Something you’re not wearing? jewelry
26. Favorite store? fabric
27. Your summer? fun
28. Love someone? many
29. Your favorite color? red
30. When is the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? yesterday

The people I would tag have already been tagged so I'm just going to pick on Amy. Here are the rules:

  • Display your award.
  • Link back to the person who gave you the award.
  • Nominate at least 3 other blogs.
  • Put links to those blogs on yours.
  • Leave a message on the blogs of the people you’ve nominated.
  • Enjoy your award!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today is the feast of St. Martin of Tours. In my religious education class on Sunday we read a little story of St. Martin. We made candles and played a game about Random Acts of Kindness to earn dimes. After earning the money we took our candles and our money and processed to the church to put our money in the poor box to remember that St. Martin was full of charity for others.

Martin was a Roman soldier but was more interested in Christ than soldiering. While a soldier he came upon a beggar who was cold due to lack of clothing. Martin was filled with compassion and cut his cloak in two with his sword. He gave half to the beggar. In keeping half he was able to continue to fulfill his duties as a soldier. That night he drempt that he saw Jesus wearing the half cloak. Jesus told him that in clothing the beggar, he clothed Christ. Martin went on to become a monk and was eventually the Bishop of Tours. Read more about it here.

The one thing I really miss about homeschooling is the extra religion we were able to learn. I still try to incorporate that learning into our lives in whatever way possible. Today we had pancakes for supper (something that will definitely be memorable to my boys) because I read that sometimes children celebrate St. Martin's day by having a lantern walk followed by a pancake supper at the church. We ate by lantern light and during dinner I told the story of St. Martin.

Our lives are so full of work and school that I often wonder how we ever get anything else accomplished. I see so many wonderful fruits from this labor of work and school that I know we're on the right path. I just have to work a little harder to get everything in. I guess the saints of old didn't have it so easy so I shouldn't complain.

On another note, for quite some time I've felt the call to become a teacher. Specifically a special education teacher. More specifically, a special education teacher in the Catholic schools. This first hit when I was homeschooling the boys. The Catholic schools in our county do not really accommodate children with learning differences. Our son was not able to attend a Catholic school due to his disability. God put such a burden on my heart to find a way to change this. At that time I looked into getting my Special Ed. certification. The price of going back to school was just overwhelming. I figured there would not be a way for me to do it. I put the idea away. I should know that God works in His own time. We knew it was time for the boys to go back to school. We did our research, we visited, we enrolled the boys in a local Mennonite school. I got a job. My job will reimburse college tuition. The organization I work for has partnered with a local university for those with a college degree to get their teaching certification. I live within walking distance from the location of these classes.

So what do you think??? An answer to prayer? I am still very nervous about this. I work from the moment I get home from work till the moment the kids go to bed on the boys' homework many nights of the week. In between writing this blog entry I was quizzing Nathan on his Bible memory. The idea of beginning my homework at 9:30pm is daunting for me. Well, I've got my enrollment application filled in. I plan on asking two colleagues for references tomorrow. I have my transcript letter ready to mail. I'm just going to do it.

Pray for me!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Nathan was an altar server for the first time tonight at Mass. He did a great job and was very excited about it. I think the more he does it the more he'll like it. My favorite part of watching him was during communion when he was sitting on the altar and his lips were moving. I knew he was praying. He told me he was praying that Barack Obama changed his mind about abortion. Thank you, God, for such an awesome boy!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Wow, I'm glad it's Friday. Not that the week was bad or anything. I had three nights of training this week, four hours each night. I don't like being gone that much. I purposely kept the weekend free after a hectic week like this one. I just returned from the library with Nolan (he and Nathan are into these books, in true boy fashion) and finished raking the leaves out front. When returning the rake to the shed I noticed that my roses are STILL blooming. Aren't they gorgeous?

I took a personal day on Monday because the boys have off school and we have parent/teacher conferences. I forgot to tell you that the boys got their report cards. All A's and B's for both boys. This is really extra special since their school grades a bit harder than most schools around our county. It is especially worth note that Nathan made the honor roll. This from the child who couldn't ask questions, didn't know how to differentiate pronouns and couldn't play when he was a preschooler. I am so proud of both my boys.

I've got quite a few things I want to accomplish this weekend inside and out. I'm hoping to work on a few Christmas presents. The house could use a good cleaning as well. I think we have an extra cat growing behind the refrigerator!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Food, Friends and Fabric!

Yesterday my good friend, Paulette, and I went on our occasional breakfast and fabric outing. I found out about a new fabric store nearby and so Paulette and I spent Saturday morning chatting, eating and shopping. We started at 8am so we could be home by lunch time. I need to remember my camera next time so I can show you our fun. We stopped for breakfast at a local diner and then were off to Sauders. This was a gold mine. The fabric was inexpensive and plentiful. I bought quite a bit but didn't spend a fortune. I've got some baby quilts and Christmas presents in mind.Here is a belated present for my niece. She likes Japanese and Chinese things and so I made her this little wristlet with boxed corners. I'll give her the rest of the fabric, too, since she is a sewer herself.I haven't managed to get the lining to look quite as nice as the pattern looks but this one came together a little easier than the first. The bottom corners look nicer on this one than the first but I just made the flat wristlet that time. I think the next time I make this one I'll add a few more inches to the depth so it will hold more.

I'm excited about my other fabrics. I'll try to show you them soon. This week will be very busy as I have a training three evenings this week. I don't think I'll be doing any more sewing before next weekend.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

All Saints Day

Today is the Feast of All Saints. The children all dressed as their favorite saint and processed into church with the priests. I took a video of the procession on my digital camera but I always forget that I can't hold it sideways for a video. So the video is sideways.....if you don't mind neck spasms it is fun to watch.

After Mass we had a pizza party and games/contests for the kids. It was so much fun and I was so delighted at the number of families that participated. I don't like to put other peoples' children on my blog or I'd share all the pictures. Here are my kiddos as St. Francis and St. Michael the Archangel. Since I made this little outfit and I'm sure her mother won't mind, here is Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.And since she has her own is Xia as St. Therese, the Little Flower.
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