Easter Feed

Easter Sunday, 2012 ~ A Recap

 Hello, everyone ... and a Happy Easter to you!

I hope you all had a nice weekend, and a lovely holiday, as well. I thought you all might like to see some pictures from our Sunday?

(Now first ... please let me "warn" you ... this is an awfully long post. I know it might be a little "tmi" for some folks, but please keep in mind, I use this blog as a big family scrapbook and many years from now I'll be glad I captured every last detail!)

So ... away we go!

Well, Earlybird was up SUPER early (as usual) so we let him look through his basket provided he leave his brothers alone. Bill and I enjoyed our (strong) coffee while EB dove into his goodies ...

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The Easter Bunny always brings EB a few candies he can have - natural/organic jelly beans and "safe" chocolate bunnies - but mostly special books and toys. Like a ruler of his own, a turtle bath sponge, a Lego to build, and brand spankin' new crayons. Thankfully, he never seems to miss all those extra candies his brothers get in their baskets. :)

Finally, around 6:30 we allowed EB to wake up his brothers ... and I just had to share this picture - fuzzy and dark thought it is - because it cracks me up! Two tousled bedheads, squinty eyes, folded arms ... a general air about them of, "Huh?"

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EB, ever the master of ceremonies, was quite happy to welcome the boys to their baskets ...

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The older boys also get candies from the Easter Bunny (of a more traditional sort) as well as a couple of magazines, a new sketchbook and maybe a Wii game.

Archie just sat back and observed ...

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... most likely making mental notes for later.

And so the day began ...

Now, my mum and I started planning this dinner (this day) many weeks ago. And regular readers of my blog know this because I've talked about it quite a bit! We were expecting a party of 23 people in all, so that takes a lot of organization - particularly when it comes to food preparation and seating arrangements.

We'd be nowhere without our various lists ...

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As much as I love the holidays - Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas - I almost love the "lead up" even more. Because I love the anticipation and I have such fun working with my mum putting this all together. I especially love how, as Mum and I work, I glean all these great tips and hints. Like how to care for Gram's silver, and what pans work best for what foods ... bits of information I know my mum gleaned from my gram. And I feel this is a way we keep her with us as we go along. ❤

So, in getting creative with seating, we transformed the learning room into a table for four:

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Setting up a small table as a sideboard:

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The dining room table can be expanded to eight, but we squeezed 10 chairs around it:

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We set this table with some of my mum's "Blue Danube" china and two of my "English Countryside" plates. We also combined silverware sets ... but all the linen napkins once belonged to my grandmother.

And, finally, we had a table for six set up in the family room:

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So where did that leave the other two guests? Why, that would be Bookworm and Crackerjack - who kindly agreed to sit up at the kitchen island all on their own.

Now, for a few lots more pictures from the dinner party itself ...

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I know this punch looks like nothing special - indeed, the lighting is terrible in my "cocktail bar" (aka the china cupboard on any other day). But I promise you, it was delicious! It was quite a hit, and though the picture does not show it, the shade was the prettiest peachy-pink. It looked just like an Easter morning sunrise. :)

The punch recipe (which I found online) consisted of strawberries, pink lemonade, cold black tea and ginger ale ... and they tell me it was fantastic with a splash of coconut rum. ;)

(Added to my party notes for future gatherings ... a punch ladle!)

Here are two of my smiley guys ... Crackerjack and my brother, Matt.

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And my lovely cousins, Kate and Kara with their handsome gentleman friends, Paul and Manuel.

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(How time has flown ... I used to babysit these girls!)

It's hard to tell from this picture, but the two couples are playing table-top soccer. We moved the foozball table up from the playroom and onto the deck for the day. Here's a great big party/small house trick ... lure the guests outside, lol!

Here's my CJ setting up "lawn bowling" for the younger kids ...

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We even had two little doggies attend our Easter party!

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These pretty pups are "Lily" and "Sophie," who belong to my cousin Colin and his wife, Tina, who were on from New York. Though Archie and Oliver were "sequestered" for the day (in the older boys' bedroom), the dogs were kept outside in our fenced-in backyard. The house was already chaotic enough!

So, I have to show you this neat little thing ...

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I saw this idea in a magazine ... you (meaning, Bill, who did this for me) simply cut a small purple cabbage in such a way it will hold a thick dip (in this case, spinach) and then arrange your fresh veggies all around it. Isn't it so springy?

Here's part of our Easter party ...

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(From left to right): Kate and Paul, Uncle Karl, Grandma Barbara (Bill's mom), Bookworm, Kara, Auntie Marcia and Manuel.

And here's a few more ...

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(L to R): My sweet sister-in-law Ami and her boyfriend, Eric, Bill's dad (aka Grandpa Bill) and finally, my Bill. :)

So we served cocktails and appetizers at 1:30 ... and in addition to the veggies and dip, there was artichoke dip with French bread, devlilled eggs (made by Bill's mom), assorted cheeses with crackers, grapes and apples ... and cheese straws and breadsticks served with pesto.

Dinner was ready about an hour later ... 

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I use our L-shaped kitchen island for serving, "buffet style" at most of our gatherings. It's central and convenient as most of our house is open from room-to-room.

Our Easter Dinner Menu, 2012:

baked "honey" ham

roast turkey breast

potatoes au gratin

broccoli casserole

antipasto salad*

Annie's macaroni and cheese* - EB's one request, lol!

baked beans*

roasted spring vegetables

cranberry sauce

assorted mustards

Uncle Karl's Irish soda bread

assorted dinner rolls

(I put an * beside the things I made/prepared myself - everything else was contributed by somebody other than me.)

Here I am with my mum, who was keeping EB company while he "chilled" on the couch.

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(EB's not always one for the dinner table. Not for long, anyways, lol.)

And here we have the "dining room" party, which included my dad in the bottom center, then, going counterclockwise: my (little) brother Matt, my cousin Caitlin, and my cousin Colin and his wife, Tina, as well as their two (adorable) little boys, Connor and Finn.

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Oh my goodness, I have to show you this sweet little boy ... Finn is my first cousin's son, so I'm not sure if that makes him my second cousin (once removed)?

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Whatever it makes him, he's such a dear little boy ...  and yes, the baby-lust was surging strong. ;)

So after a brief intermission, in which I had lots of help putting away the leftover food - I set Bill about making coffee, and we got desserts out on the buffet ...

Our Easter Sunday Desserts, 2012:

Auntie Marcia's butterscotch pudding

(served with whipped cream)

cream cheese-frosted vanilla "bird nest" cupcakes*

Guinness Cake*

rhubarb grunt*

Easter blondies*

assorted cookies and candies

freshly brewed coffee

(same * rules apply)

A few shots of the dessert buffet ...

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After desserts there was an Easter egg hunt in the front yard!

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Caitlin and Colin with Connor.

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Crackerjack, Earlybird and Connor.

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Dad and Auntie Marcia.

(As you can see, there's a lot of height in my family ... it just skipped me and my mum, lol.)

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Earlybird, giving the thumbs up!

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My three "Boston Boys" ...

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... spending a special day with their "New York Cousins."

:)

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So by sunset, the party was over and our guests had gone home ... the flowers had drooped and the flames had burned low ... another Easter Sunday was over ...

But a whole Easter season just begun!

Alleluia! 

In my heart, this is what Easter is all about: celebrating the LIFE and the LOVE with which we have been so richly blessed, and all the amazing things we get to enjoy simply because God is so GOOD ...

I thank Him for every year we're together.

Well, my friends, I hope you have enjoyed this rather lengthy "peek" at our family's Easter celebration, and I thank you for sharing in our joy. I had such fun telling you all about it!

"A joy shared is a joy doubled." ~ Unknown

So have a good night, everyone ... I will see you again very soon!


Our Easter Monday Mantel

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Well, despite all my checklists and planning ahead, I just didn't have time to set up our "Alleluia" before Easter Sunday. Luckily though, we have a whole season to celebrate! So today I worked on this nice, quiet "day-after" activity ... it gave me time to think and refocus. :)

(And thanks to Mary Ellen for the inspiration!)

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This spot (our nature shelf on most days), was our Lenten altar, if you remember ... the plain grapevine cross is now bursting with life (flora and fauna) and the bare mantel is now covered in flowers ...

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(tulips from yesterday's dinner and forsythia from the yard) ...

... and candles ...

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(My parents brought this back from Ireland for us.)

... and our lovely statue of the Blessed Mother ...

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... with whom we REJOICE in the MIRACLE of EASTER!

Of course, I had much help putting this all together ...

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;)

I'm still working on my Easter Sunday Recap post ... trying to pare down my pictures, because I took a lot of them! (As in ... we uploaded 445 images last night!) I hope to have that post up later this evening ... and I promise it will contain far less than 400 photos!

Hope you've all had a nice day ...



Blessings to You!

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"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song."

Pope John Paul II

Good Sunday Morning, my friends!

It's a glorious morning and before I get on with my day (one boy is up, the others will be soon), I wanted to pop in and say:

Take JOY in this day, this Sunday of all Sundays!

I'm wishing you and yours a beautiful Easter ...

With a glad heart and much love,

~ Dawn


Easter preparations are under way ...

And a Happy Easter Eve to you all!

Busy day here, lots of bustling about in the kitchen - baking, chopping, mixing, etc. Then, as the sun set, there was boiling ... and waiting ... and finally, mixing up those funny little tablets. Plop, plop ... fizz, fizz ... and beautiful Easter eggs were born!

Earlier, I made my rhubarb grunt ... a New England specialty, and family favorite.

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Such pretty spring colors.

Here we have cooling: cupcakes (for decorating tomorrow), Easter blondies, Guinness cake, and the aforementioned rhubarb grunt.

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And I have to show you this lovely lace apron ...

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My mum brought it over today ... it belonged to my grandmother, and she thought I might like to wear it tomorrow while preparing dinner.

She snapped a picture of me wearing it while I was talking on the phone:

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I can remember my grandmother wearing this apron at the holidays ... and I'm so pleased to have it now to wear myself. :)

And just a bit ago, Bill "did the eggs" with the boys.

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As the evening set in, and the light grew soft ... 

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... there appeared three festive baskets on our mantle, just waiting for something "special" to happen tomorrow morning. Before any little boys open their eyes and think that first happy thought ...

:)

So we have one boy in bed sound asleep - and now we're just waiting on the other two. Bill and I are sitting here, watching The Ten Commandments on ABC. How I love this movie! It made such an impression on me when I was a child, and to this day I watch it every year, and enjoy every minute of it.

 So much of what we love is fed by tradition. Holidays for me are all about tradition ... the everyday kind and the kind with a capital T. It brings us together and it makes what we do a little more meaningful ... a little more memorable each year.

So I'll bid you a good night, my friends ... and a Happy Easter Eve ... with a wish for quiet and peace in your heart ... and a hope for a bright and blessed new morn!



Green Glass ... Like Spring Grass

Good Friday evening, my friends. I hope you all had a nice day. :)

Easter glasses

I wanted to show you my lovely new Easter glasses - aren't they pretty? I saw them at Pier One Imports a while ago, and today my mum surprised me with a set of six! I love the shape and versatile color - they will be perfect not only at Easter, but at other holidays too. They look chunky, but they're actually quite light. And they stand about five inches tall ... perfect for punch, don't you think?

I had just finished washing them and had set them in the window to dry ... the setting sun looked so pretty behind them, I had to take a quick snap. I thought you all might like to see. :)

Well, tomorrow, Holy Saturday, will be a very busy day for us (as it will be for many of us!), with lots of final holiday preparations ... but I do hope to stop in one more time before Sunday sunrise ...

For now though, I will say *Good Night and God Bless* and I hope to see you all again very soon!



Tuesday Tea: Roosters & Resurrection Rolls

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It's a fine day here in New England ... the sun is shining and the wind is brisk ... the rest of Holy Week stretches before us and the weather promises to get even better. How nice it is to usher in Easter with true Spring all around us.

(This is not always the case in our part of the world ... Easter can be quite wintry, some years!)

Anyhoo, today's tea was a nice refreshing break ... we were up early and at 'em - with the roosters, as they say! - and so my theme this week is: roosters! I have always loved roosters (for their connection with "dawn" and their colorful looks) and of course, they are symbolic at Easter:

"Amen, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times."

My friends, are you familiar with Petook: An Easter Story, written by Caryll Houselander (and illustrated by the fabulous Tomie de Paola)? I placed the book in my reading corner today, as Petook is a rooster, you see. Oh, this book is a treasure, and I make sure to take it out of the library each year during Holy Week. I used to have little boys sitting at my feet as I read, but these days I just read it aloud to Earlybird - if he'll sit still! - though quite often the older boys will make a casual comment or take a peek over my shoulder ...

I love how good book memories stay with you no matter how old you grow.

:)

So here's a little peek at my afternoon "Rooster Tea," and a recap of our faith @ home craft - we made "Resurrection Rolls," another Holy Week tradition.

First, take a look at this tiny fellow, resplendent in color and finely made glass:

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And my cup today is a new absolute favorite - a big (really big!) ceramic mug, painted in the most cheerful colors:

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My tea? Earl Grey (full test, not decaf).

My snack? A resurrection roll (details below).

This is a cute coaster I've had for years:

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 ... it makes me happy to put my morning coffee down on it. :)

And here's a wooden rooster, found amongst the boys' playthings:

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Our "welcome" flag:

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Now, these guys have nothing to do with tea (or roosters for that matter), but I could not resist sharing this:

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So sweet. :)

And speaking of sweet, now for those resurrection rolls we made!

A quick set-up ...

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A buttery-spiced marshmallow all ready to roll ...

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Neat little packages:

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Fifteen minutes later ...

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Done!

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You see, the marshmallow melts but the crescent roll holds its shape - so what you have resembles an empty tomb ... and it reminds us of the Resurrection ... hence the name.

**

Well, I'd best wrap up as the day's coming to a close - Bill's on his way home and I've got supper to start. (As I suspect you do too - if not now, perhaps soon - or already!) I do hope you've all had a nice day ... and I thank you sincerely for stopping by ...

I'll be back here to see you again soon!


Edit: My friends, Bill just came in and I'm just finding out about the tornadoes in Texas. Prayers go out to all in Texas, but especially the victims of these horrible storms. And to my dear readers from Texas, please leave a note when you can and let us know you're all right. My heart is with you tonight.


Holy Week Cleaning

Wide-moth

I like to spend the start of Holy Week doing a bit of "spring" cleaning around the house. For one thing, it's part of our Catholic tradition, but for another, it's a very practical routine. We host Easter dinner here, so the house does need to be cleaned ... but the nearer we get to Sunday, the more I want to focus on things other than cleaning. To have a clean house (and quiet mind) when entering the latter half of the week is, to me, a true blessing!
 
So I set up a little schedule for myself:

Monday: de-clutter
Tuesday: dust and vacuum
Wednesday: wipe and wash
Of course, I'm already behind schedule, lol ... yesterday was a bit busier than planned ... but that's ok. I will continue de-cluttering this morning (i.e. "putting out fires," as FlyLady says) and then I'll move on to dusting and vacuuming this afternoon. I have my rags all ready and my vacuum "volunteers" all lined up. ;)

And tomorrow I'll mix up a little bucket of herbal wash and give everything a good once over. The day will be mild, so I'll open the windows and let all that fresh spring air move through the house ... 

 And that will feel very nice.


Wherever I am in my schedule, I do hope to sit down for "Tuesday Tea" this afternoon ... I'll take a short pause and see where I'm at ... and then I'll be back here to share it with you all.

Have a lovely Tuesday, my friends!


Palm Sunday Breakfast

Happy Palm Sunday, everyone! And Happy April, too!

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Goodness, but it was a beautiful morning ... quite sunny and fairly mild for April first. In fact, I wore a light sweater to church - not a jacket! (Though admittedly, I shivered a bit on the way in and out.)

And did I remember to say "Rabbit, rabbit" first thing upon waking today? Why, yes - yes, I did - but only because it was 2 a.m. and Earlybird was talking in his sleep ... and, light sleeper I am, I was awake. So there I was lying in bed, straining to hear what he was saying - to determine if he required help, or was just talking ragtime - when it hit me: Rabbit, rabbit! Lol. So now I'm set for a month of good luck (or so the old tradition goes). And it began with EB not actually waking up, but staying asleep ... though unfortunately, I could not do the same ... *yawn*

Anyways, today we had a little breakfast after Mass. This is one of my favorite days all year ... there's just something about Palm Sunday - I've loved it dearly since I was a young girl. :)

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This is a coffee cake I picked up at that bakery on Friday. To be honest, it was not as good as homemade ... but it was still quite nice - especially to have something all ready. :)

We also had a Palm Sunday "punch," toast with fig butter, assorted sweets and a lovely ricotta/ham pie as well as a winter squash quiche my mum brought.

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It seems like we had a lot (I tend to do food for 20 no matter how many I'm serving, lol!) but this was a very easy meal to pull together. After all, it was mostly prepared things - we'll be doing enough cooking next weekend!

And not surprisingly, with all those good smells wafting around, Archie was lurking about ...

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("Am I invited to Palm Sunday Breakfast?")

And here we have EB, Crackerjack, Papa, Bill (a bit obscured by the forsythia), Uncle Matt, Bookworm and Nana.

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Sunday mornings don't get much better than this. 

Here's my sunshiney mug ...

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... filled with the caffeine that keeps me sunshiney, too. ;)

And here's our palm cross:

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We had a palm cross for many years, but it finally fell apart, so I "splurged" on a new one last weekend. We usually hang ours on our front door (or as in this case, the sliders to the deck) but the stake design intrigues me ... is this meant to stick in the ground?

And here's another lovely cross, this one in front of our church:

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**

Well, my friends, I hope you've had a nice Sunday, too. I must say, I'm quite excited about our television plans tonight! First we'll watch Once Upon a Time with the older boys ... then we'll shoo them off to bed and tune in to Masterpiece Theater ... Great Expectations begins promptly at nine. So I'll be back here tomorrow morning with my "Masterpiece Monday" post ... where we can chat about all our viewing experiences, the good, the bad and the ambivalent.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and your loved ones. I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend. :)


Friday Lunch Break

Rice ball

Well, today was our last "Fishstick Friday" until next year ... next Friday (Good Friday) we'll have a simple soup and crackers for lunch. So the boys had their fishsticks and I had a spinach and goat cheese rice ball (shown above). I've never had a rice ball before - it was quite tasty, and very filling! I got it at the wonderful Italian market Mum and I shopped at this morning. (Papa came over to "supervise" the boys while we ran a few Easter errands.) We ordered the ham *and* turkey, and purchased special candies from the "special candy store" (which have since been stashed away). At the aforementioned market I also bought some nice things for this Sunday's (Palm Sunday's) breakfast: fresh asparagus and new potatoes, a lovely ricotta/ham pie and some pretty glazed pastries (taralli, I think they are called?).

Now we're home again, and the boys have finished their lessons - and lunch! - and the rest of the day stretches before us filled with bright sunshine and promise. I've got lots on my to-do list so I'd best get along with the to-doing.

Hope your day's going well, everyone ... see you here again later on!

:)


Coffee, Flowers, Cats and Books ...

Happy Wednesday, my friends!

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The sun's been such a tease today - as it can be at this time of year - slipping in and out of the clouds. We had a few sprinkles, then bright sun and now dark gloomy skies ... there's a chill in the air, but not so much you'd need a warm jacket ...

This feels decidedly March.

And this is my last "Teatime" in March - for next week we'll be in the first week of April! (I'm feeling a butterfly theme for next week.) But instead of tea today, I snuck some leftover coffee from the carafe and added a new creamer I bought. Now, I'm not usually one for non-dairy creamers, nor do I generally like flavored coffee, but considering that delicious "Caramel Almond" iced coffee I had at Dunkin Donuts recently, I thought I'd give this stuff a try. I happened to have a coupon last week and it was on sale and it promised all-natural ingredients ... all this to say ~ I'm a sucker for a good marketing campaign, lol!

Anyhoo, the resulting concoction actually wasn't too bad - though it will probably taste better cold - and with my crisp, little almond-flavored cookie I dunked in it, it did have that yummy flavor I was looking for. (Not to mention a little kick of caffeine!)

*❤*

A few more notes from my day ... I thought this made a fine little posy:

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It's a plain glass votive (for candles) with a small bunch of snipped forsythia tucked inside. Wouldn't this be pretty at the Easter table? I'm thinking a thin ribbon could be tied around the middle of the "votive vase" to dress it up a little. But how simple a project, and so inexpensive? You could make up a whole bunch of them to scatter along a dining table, in between candles, or perhaps on a buffet. The votive can be found at the craft store for about a dollar, and of course, forysthia (in most parts of the country) is readily available right now ... but the thing is this ... will there be forsythia still in bloom come Easter?!

So I enjoyed my coffee and my cookie and a quiet half-hour while my kids were occupied in one way or another. I'll admit, I considered a catnap, but in the end, I left that to Archie ...

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(Is he not the cutest?)

I was also tempted to work on my Easter plans, but I knew that would get me revved up instead of relaxed, so I decided to just to sit and drink and nibble and think ... :)

And when Bookworm returned, he brought home my library "holds," two wonderful Easter story books:

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Petook we've enjoyed for many years now, but The Colt and The King was a new find for us. And I will tell you, that as I read, I wept a little, because it is honestly such a touching story. The tale is told by an old donkey, who, when just a young colt, carried a very kind man - a great king, he soon realized - into the city of Jerusalem. But amid the cheers and shouts and waving palm branches, the little colt grew terribly afraid ...

"Jesus saw me tremble.

He came and stood beside me,

his hand upon my back.

In his voice was a river of quiet;

in his touch, a shelter of peace.

And my fear flew away

like a bird set free."

{How absolutely beautiful is that quote? I think I might have to frame it.}

 And as the colt carried Jesus further, he quickly realized he didn't want to leave him with this "worrisome crowd," but instead, to take him to his own hillside home where he could enjoy peace and quiet. The story ends with the colt - now a grown donkey - acknowledging that though he's not seen Jesus since that day, he knows that he will again someday ... and when he does, he'll share all that he has with his friend ...

 "My hillside will be a throne for him, and at night the stars will weave him a crown."

(And now I know what I'll read to EB on Sunday.)

I have a real fondness for books like this, that weave the natural world we know so well, into the Faith we hold so dear. I think they are wonderful for young children who so readily love animals and the great big outdoors ... but are just getting to know the ins and outs of their Faith. I know my own Earlybird really responds to these kinds of stories. All my boys have ... nature nuts we are and always have been. :)

 ❤

Well, my friends, I've taken up enough of your time, so I'll wrap up ... but I do thank you for stopping by and sharing "tea" with me - and more than just a little conversation. I hope your day was a good one, and I wish you all a pleasant good night ...

See you here again very soon!



Ham ... or Not Ham?

 (Planning Easter Dinner)

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This is the question my mum and I first ask ourselves as we sit down to plan Easter Dinner each year. Bill and I co-host the holiday with my folks, in that, we always hold it at my house, but my mum does most of the cooking. We plan, shop and prep together ...

... it's always so much fun. :)

And we always have a large crowd (18 this year!), which is lovely, but it all takes a good bit of planning and "do-ahead." So with Easter Sunday fast approaching, we started the conversation last week ... and we're honing the finer details just now ... but the answer to the above query was ...

"Yes."

 (But there might be turkey, too.)

So on paper, our Easter Menu looks like this at the moment:

* Cocktails and Appetizers *

a big fruity Easter punch - something pink and refreshing - that can be made a bit more "lively" with a splash of light rum or sparkling wine

assorted soda//beer/wine

artichoke dip with French bread

assorted cheeses served with fruit and fig butter

fresh cut vegetables and herb dip

parmesan cheese straws with pesto

* Dinner *

ham (and possibly turkey)

roasted spring vegetables

mashed potatoes

salad

devilled eggs

baked beans

Irish soda bread

toasted dinner rolls

assorted condiments

* Desserts *

freshly brewed coffee

rhubarb grunt

Guinness cake

bird nest cupcakes

*tbd*

assorted Easter candies

~***~

So, as you can see above, I have my Easter Planning folder all ready to go. I used spring colors because they make me happy - yellow folder, ivory and aqua paper, vintage sticker. :) And on that paper I wrote out our menu, things to do, errands to run, etc. Inside the folder I have last year's checklists (for reference) and magazine clippings and printouts with recipes and ideas I'd like to use. I also have a list of Holy Week plans and activities stapled on the inside cover.

So it all looks very organized, which is a good first step! The trick now is scheduling those to-do's over the next two weeks so it all actually gets done. I want Easter to be a glorious day of celebrating with good food and family, but I also want to keep myself grounded, relaxed and with a very open heart. I don't want to lose sight of the true beauty of Easter because I'm trying to frost those darn cupcakes, lol! This is why I find a detailed "do ahead" plan so helpful - for any day, really, - but especially at the holidays.

And when it all comes together with energy and good cheer ... then we can all relax and rejoice ... Alleleuia!

***

Well, I hope you're all having a nice Tuesday ... it's bright and brisk here again (only in the 40s!) so it feels more like March. I don't think I'll get my Teatime post up today, but I will definitely do so tomorrow ... I hope you'll join me if you can!

Take care, my friends! 


A Sunday Morning Hello

This is a quick, easy (and tasty!) activity to go along with this week's gospel (as well as Easter in general) ... Resurrection Rolls! I posted about it a few years ago ... just thought I'd mention it this morning in case it might be helpful to someone. :)

So Happy Sunday, everyone ... I'm working on my Easter menu and holiday plans today ... I'll be back soon to post about that!

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(Oh, and p.s. It's International Waffle Day ... we had ours this morning with that strawberry-rhubarb sauce I made the other day. Delish! :))


Felt Banners for Lent & Easter

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Well, here we are almost halfway through Lent and I'm finally getting our banners up!

I've had the supplies for over a month now, but I only found the time to work on this project yesterday. Now, this was supposed to be done with Earlybird - but he was far too busy playing outside yesterday to help me, lol.

Here are the simple supplies:

Banners 1

  • Several sheets of plain purple and glittery white felt.
  • Adhesive-backed felt letters in purple and glittery white.
  • Wooden dowels and ribbon (purple, shown, as well as gold).
  • Fabric scissors and (not shown) a hole punch.

I just laid a sheet of purple felt on top of a white sheet, and cut them to fit (the white was a bit larger). I punched a hole in the top of the sheets, near the outer edges. (This was tricky as the hole punch really could not get through the felt easily. What I did was to punch the start of a hole and then used my fabric scissors to enlarge the hole.) I then threaded the ribbon through the holes and attached it to the dowel as shown below.

Banners 3

I shaped the bottom of the sheet a little to appear more banner-like. And lastly, I pressed sticky-backed felt letters onto each banner ...

Banners 4

(Note: I had purchased two-sided tape to sandwich between the felt sheets, in order to fasten them together, but I found it made the felt buckle. And really, the sheets kind of stay together without tape due to static cling.)

Once the set was complete, I hung our new banners in the learning room!

Banners 6

Banners 7

The banners display simple Lenten messages: Pray, Give, Wait, Faith, Hope.

Banners 5

But here's the really neat thing ... on Easter morning the boys will find white banners hanging here instead. (The reverse side!) They will be decorated (secretively, by me, on Holy Saturday) in all kinds of Easter finery - gold, glitter, sequins and what not ...

... IF I can keep the cats away from them, that is!

Banners 8

(Nothing is sacred, I tell you.)

Now, these banners were pretty easy to put together - I worked them up in under an hour - and I think they would be fun for any holiday or festive event, like a birthday, graduation or anniversary. Perhaps for a new season, like the Spring Equinox ... or, if you happen to keep a liturgical corner in your home, you could have an interchangeable banner for the various feasts and seasons of the year. Purple and pink for Advent and Lent ... white for Christmas and Easter ... green for Ordinary Time and blue for Marian feasts, etc. And you - and/or your children - could decorate them with all kinds of felt shapes, letters, sequins and fabric paints, etc. Because despite the fact I could not lure EB inside from his dirt pile to help me with this, lol, this really is quite a child-friendly craft. A nice project for a homey afternoon. :)

***

Well folks, I'm going to sign off as I have quite a busy day ahead ... in fact, I am going to postpone my usual "Tuesday Tea" until later this week. Most likely Friday, I think. I am planning a little "Irish" tea in honor of Saturday's feast, so I do hope you'll join me!

But before I go, I would like to thank you all for your very kind interest in my Spring Newsletter! I am so pleased the idea has been so warmly received! I am keeping track of all your email addresses and once I get a little further along in "production," I will contact each of you in regards to your snail mail address. I can't promise how quickly this will happen ... but it will certainly be sometime this Spring!

For now, my friends, I wish you all a very pleasant Tuesday ... thank you so much for stopping by. I will see you here again very soon!



Springing Forward!

Spring forward 2

Did you remember to turn your clocks ahead this morning?

We changed our clocks before we went to bed Saturday night - I don't like to attempt mental math before I've had at least one cup of coffee - and boy, did the morning come fast! (There was a whole lot of yawning at church, lol.)

So I thought I might take a few minutes today to list a few of my favorite Spring Things. I've so enjoyed reading about all of yours ... especially since we are all from so many different corners of the word. But it seems, wherever we're from, Spring is quite special to all of us. :)

Spring forward 1

Spring Things I Love:

Spotting the first blooming crocus. (See above.)

All the planning and preparing for Easter, especially working with my mum.

The hope and promise of a new garden: making plans, starting seeds, turning soil.

Hearing peepers in the woods at night.

The smell of Easter lillies.

The taste of white chocolate.

The change of light ~ the new brightness to the days that lasts into the evenings.

Seeing the first chipmunk appear after winter hibernation.

Hearing (and maybe seeing) a flock of red-winged blackbirds passing by.

Baking rhubarb crumble.

Watching the goldfinches go from beige to bright yellow.

Setting up the Spring book baskets.

Seeing new lambs at the farm.

Visiting a local sugarshack - bringing home a new supply of maple syrup.

Organizing holiday clothes: buying new things, laundering and ironing it all so everything's fresh and crisp for Easter Sunday.

Holy Thursday evening ~ attending the Mass of the Lord's Supper.

Watching The Ten Commandments as a family, one night before Easter.

Watching the boys search for eggs in the yard on Easter morning. The neighborhood is so quiet ... the sunrise is so soft and lovely.

The way the air smells these days ... like fresh dirt and green, growing things.

Looking for - and finding! - pussy willows down by the river.

The way the neighborhood comes alive on those first sunny, warm weekends.

Visiting the local nursery in mid-May ... coming home with some new things for the garden.

Spring Cleaning. (Honestly ~ I love it!)

Those few days in May (usually around Mother's Day) when the lilacs are at their peak. 

 Finding tiny violets and johnny-jump-ups in the lawn.

Our annual "Search for Spring" nature walk.

Celebrating Easter Sunday with our family.

***

Well, my friends ... I'm sure I could go on with my list, but I'll stop here for now. It was especially fun working on this list today - as it truly feels like the perfect Spring day. Sunny and mild-ish with just a bit of a cool edge to the air. The rest of the week looks to be absolutely amazing around here - sunny and up around 70! :)

So I'll be off now, but thank you so much for stopping by, and for all your kind and thoughtful comments. Have a great Sunday night ... and I will see you all again in the morning!



A Project for 7 Sundays ...

... making a "stained glass" cross.

Stained glass cross 6

Some of my readers might remember this project from four years ago (though for the life of me I can't find that post, lol). Anyhoo, it was fun and pretty and I thought we might do it again this year ...

 You see, we have large glass doors in our family room that are paned, and the middle section of the middle door has just the right number of panes for this project (seven panes for seven Sundays). Now, that's not to say you couldn't do this project without window panes! It's just the design of the door was what inspired this project. :)

So each Sunday between the First Sunday of Lent and Easter Sunday itself, I will make one panel of our cross. Each panel will feature the same overall design and colors, but the center image will be different, symbolizing something from that week.

I used just a few simple materials:

Stained glass cross 2

Black construction paper, transparent vellum paper and multi-colored art tissue. Decoupage glue is shown above, but I ended up using a glue stick instead.

I cut a frame out of the black paper (sized to fit the both the window pane and the vellum sheet) and then I looked for an image for the center of my panel. I chose a daffodil for this week, to go along with St. David's Day.

Stained glass cross 3

I centered and adhered the image onto the vellum sheet and then stuck torn bits of tissue all around - this created the "stained glass" effect.

Stained glass cross 4

Then I placed the final results in the door ...

Stained glass cross 7

(I love how this project emphasizes the return of the light at this time of year.)

Stained glass cross 8

Six more to go and we'll have our cross for Easter!

It's not a hard craft to do, but it is time-consuming and a little bit fussy. I wouldn't want to make all of the panels at once, but making one for each Sunday is pretty do-able. In fact, I like how the cross will be built up all throughout Lent ... and to lend to the "suspense" I'm keeping the weekly images a surprise for Bill and the boys. ;)

***

Well my friends, I hope your Tuesday is off to a good start ... it's very bright and cool here this morning, but it definitely feels a little like Spring. I'll be back here again later today to share a spot of tea with you all ... until then, thanks for stopping by, and have a nice day!


A Lent Chart for Earlybird

Foam lent path 2

EB and I worked on this very simple project after lunch today. I wanted to give him something of his own to work on this Lent, and I thought a little chart might do. My hope is it will help him keep track of the days (because Lent is a long season!) and keep his focus on managing everyday behavior.

We used a large sheet of white foam (the base of our chart), a piece of sticky-backed gold foam, and peel-and-stick felt letters and foam shapes.

Foam lent path 1

So I cut a cross out of the gold foam and put it in the upper right corner of the white sheet. Then I used the purple felt letters to 'title' the chart. I then spaced 43 foam shapes on the chart to be sure they'd fit ... popped them in a ziplock ... and then EB and I added the first five shapes to represent the days of Lent so far.

Each afternoon until Easter, EB will get to add another foam shape on his path. First we'll talk about what good things he did that day (helping others, showing love) as well as how he behaved himself (trying hard, listening). Once we've talked about all those nice things he did, we'll add another shape to the chart (which will eventually look like it does in the top photo).

And if it's been a tough day - and we certainly have those! - we'll talk about that too. What could he have done differently? Who needs to hear an "I'm sorry?" Praising him for good behavior is very important, but I think equally important is helping him understand what he might have done wrong, and then helping him to make amends ... 

These days get a foam shape as well. :)

Once we had the chart ready, I hung it in his reading corner:

Foam lent path 3

So today, for instance, EB worked very patiently on a puzzle and he very nicely asked Crackerjack to help him. They worked on the puzzle together for some time, and not only did they not squabble, lol - but they finished it! That was a nice effort on EB's part - very deserving of a foam shape!

Foam lent path 4

(Oh, and please disregard CJ's torn pants ... the boy just will NOT give these up! His "lounge pants" he calls them, lol. He changed into them directly after Art class this morning.)

**

Well friends, I'd best be off now as I have much to do before evening descends. Tomorrow I'll show you the "stained glass" project I worked on this morning and of course, as it's Tuesday, there will be tea in the afternoon. I do hope you'll join me!

So have a good night, everyone  ... see you here again very soon!



My Lenten Binder ~ A Place to Plan & Ponder

Sweet-pea-blooms

Good Friday morning, my friends!

So, as I've mentioned a few times now, I've put together a little Lenten binder for myself. I made this up as a special place in which to keep track of our activities through the season. Avery just so happens to make nifty little "half-size" binders in all kinds of colors, so I chose purple, which is the liturgical color for Lent.

Lent book 1

On the front cover I placed a pretty butterfly, a traditional symbol of Easter ... and inside the binder I have a couple of pockets, some dividers and filler paper.

Lent book 2

Inside the front cover I stuck an Easter card we received from our pastor, and in the pocket on the right, I tucked our parish Lent/Easter schedule.

Then I have some general notes up front:

A Spring Cleaning Checklist

Lenten Nature Notes

Goals (Personal, Family)

Craft & Activity Ideas

Meatless Meals Planning

Lent book 3

Then I have five divider tabs:

Our Lenten Journey ~ a page for each day from Ash Weds. through 3/31

Holy Week ~ a page a day for Palm Sunday through Holy Saturday

Easter Celebrations ~ Easter Vigil through Easter Night

Through Pentecost ~ Celebrating the Rest of the Easter Season

The Stations of the Cross

**

And that's that!

(If you'd like me to expand on any of my binder sections, just let me know.)

But now I must be off. Our day is underway, and I have a bunch of things to catch up on. Later today I hope to post an update on my planner/calendar/file folder situation ... but I'll have to see where they day goes. My to-do list is quite long this Friday ... and things always seem so 'do-able' before noon!

Either way though, I'll be back very soon ... enjoy this day, everyone!

Violet-blue-butterfly


Rhubarb on a Rainy Day

It's been a dark day here - rainy and raw. The older boys are at a birthday party, while Earlybird (still feeling poorly) and I are just home this afternoon. Taking it slow, keeping it quiet. He's watching a Disney movie on TV at the moment and I just put a rhubarb grunt in the oven. Dreary as it is outside, I must say it feels pretty cozy in here ...

Sometimes it takes a sudden stomach bug to make you realize what really needs to happen, and when it's time to put on the proverbial brakes. I've pared down our commitments this week so I can focus on what's most important: getting EB better, keeping the rest of us well, and preparing our hearts and home for Easter ...

So tonight I'll just quickly share that rhubarb grunt recipe with you all. I posted it here, a few years ago. Whole Foods had lovely stalks of ripe, red rhubarb this weekend and though it was pricey, I splurged ... because there's nothing like fresh rhubarb in season.

Rhubarb1

Have a lovely evening, my friends.

:)