Well done, good and faithful servant

To you, commuter on the 6.15am bus
who study on spinning wheels for an hour before a long day of work:
Well done, good and faithful servant.

To you, mother of small children
who have wiped more noses and bottoms and floors than you could count:
Well done, good and faithful servant.

To you, wrinkled prayer warrior
who sits in the recliner in the musty retirement home and talks to God:
Well done, good and faithful servant.

To you, faithful writer of letters
to people far and wide who seldom reply:
Well done, good and faithful servant.

To you, pastor with the broad shoulders
who carries the cares of stubborn sheep:
Well done, good and faithful servant.

To you, teacher of difficult children
who are learning only because you care:
Well done, good and faithful servant.

To you, janitor of high school bathrooms
who provides for your family with this second job:
Well done, good and faithful servant.

To you, cubicle worker on the 56th floor
who does the mundane with quiet joy:
Well done, good and faithful servant.

To you, carer of the old or sick or frail
who wonders how much longer you could possibly go on:
Well done, good and faithful servant.

To you, with the sleeves rolled up
working hard
where God has placed you
at this point in time and space:
Take courage, you work for Him.

He places importance in how you work.
Be encouraged that your work makes a positive difference
and that even if no-one else notices, He does.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

Enjoying a spot of sewing

The week before Easter I decided that I’d love for the girls to have new dresses for Easter (which is a bit of an American church tradition, it seems to me), but I really didn’t want to fork out $30 a dress (times three!), so I had a scratch in my fabric stash and decided to sew something with some fabric I got ages ago in the hopes of making the girls dresses. They were smaller then, and there were only two of them, so the fabric wasn’t quite enough to make a whole dress out of them, so I poked around the internet at how to use a T-shirt and turn it into a dress.

I found this twirly T-shirt dress tutorial, which was incredibly useful. I made a dress like that for Laurelin, but didn’t have enough fabric to make such twirly skirts for Marica and Esther too, so their skirts aren’t so full. I still think they turned out cute!

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For the flower on the sash I used this tutorial, but didn’t use the ‘flower maker’. You really don’t need it!

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The whole thing was so easy — I managed to make 3 dresses in one day, even with the kids running around me. The flowers took a little longer, but they were also surprisingly quick to make. Such fun to do a bit of sewing again — now the bug has bitten me again… I should finish that quilt I’ve been working on for over a year now!

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April Fool’s Dinner

A few years back, on a whim, I decided to start a fun tradition for April Fool’s Day dinner: dessert for dinner (and no need to have dinner for dessert!). Turns out the kids think this is great, but the adults give a little groan at the thought. So this year, I decided to make waffles, and everyone could have any topping on it they liked — if they wanted all the toppings, that was fine too, so long as they ate it! For Ben and me I had some grated cheese and fried mushrooms too, and in the end the kids all had a cheese version too.

As for tricks… by the time we were done with school, it was already mid-afternoon, and I had to scramble to get a few things going. I colored the toilet water, put tape over the bathroom tap so they’d get sprayed, and I sewed their pajamas shut. Esther was very confused: “Mum, look at my pajamas! Who did that?!” So cute.

Lego Tower version 1

Marica and Esther and I (Ben) have been playing with Lego on Saturdays. Marica’s built up a decent collection of small Lego sets over the past several birthdays and Christmases, and building things with them is one of my favourite inside things to do with the kids.

Marica loves building sets from instructions, I enjoy building more free form stuff, and Esther likes playing with the stuff that’s been made. Each to his own. :-)

Last weekend we made a 15-story skyscraper, using a good portion of the straight Lego pieces we have. The footprint was an 8×8 square, and our “rules” were that each story had to be of the same colour, have at least one window, have a floor, and be at least five bricks high. Here are some photos Franci took:

The following week we added 7 more stories out of mixed colors (and didn’t necessarily have great floors), but unfortunately we didn’t take any photos of version 2 before it crashed to the ground from a child-induced earthquake.

Black and white trees

I love the way leaf-less trees look so stark in black and white.

These photos were taken in Prospect Park, Brooklyn a couple of years back.

And this one in Lancaster County.

March was heralded in by a snowstorm, and it looked like this in front of our house just a couple of weeks ago:

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Now that it’s mid-March, we’ve had some lovely warmer days, the snow piles have mostly melted and there’s a hopeful feeling in the air, but the trees are still stark and leafless. Not for long, though!

EDIT: I wrote this post earlier this week. Today, on the first official day of spring (and my birthday, no less), we are experiencing another snowstorm. Can you believe that?! Enough with the snow, already! :-)

She’s 8!

Marica turned 8 in February. It’s been so fun to see her grow up a bit more over the last year! I’ve especially enjoyed seeing her sense of humor develop a bit more (starting to understand and appreciate puns and subtleties), and to see her get a little bit more mature and responsible.

On her actual birthday, we had some special snacks in between our mini co-op classes — one of them being the kids making marshmallow snowmen. These two snowmen had already lost their scarves by the time I got around to taking photos.

DSC_0049 DSC_0051Would you believe that this was her favourite birthday present? The $2 pair of straw glasses!

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On the weekend, Marica had a birthday party here at home with 3 friends. Unfortunately 3 of the friends she invited couldn’t come, but we all had fun nevertheless (and perhaps a smaller group of hyper girls made it a little easier on the mother…?).

I’m a firm believer in good old-fashioned kids’ birthday parties. They can have a wedding-style reception one day… when they get married. In the mean time they’re kids, and they can have fun games, some cake and other party food (they don’t eat like this regularly, so then when they get it for birthdays it’s a real treat!).

For Marica’s party, we did Pass the Parcel, Musical Chairs, Musical Statues, Sock ‘Em, Balloon Burst, Find the Toy, and Pin the Eye On The Boy (a variation of Pin the Tail on the Donkey — Marica was keen to draw a picture for the game, so I asked what she can draw best and she said faces, so that’s what we did!). If you want to see the rules to any of the games above that might sound unfamiliar to you, you can have a look at this site.

After the games, it was time for the kids to make their own pizzas. While they were baking, the girls played some rowdy jumping around games downstairs, and then it was time for a pizza lunch, followed by cake. Marica has decided that she will have a new favourite colour each year, and her eight-year-old favourite colour will be light blue. The kids always get to choose a cake from my kids birthday cake book, and Marica chose the number 8 cake, much to my relief (nice and simple!). I had seen some gimmicky birthday cake candles recently and seeing that they were only $3 with free postage, I ordered it and hoped for the best, despite the Chinglish on the box. It was pretty cool — have a look at the video if you’re interested!

A Medieval Feast

Back in January, the homeschool co-op we attend put on a Medieval Feast. The organizers did a most spectacular job with the decorations, food and everything else that goes into organizing a big event like this. Most people came to co-op that day in costume, which made everything way more fun!

Entering the ‘castle’. Look, there’s even a moat!

DSC_0007They transformed the gym into a royal medieval banquet hall, and it really looked the part. The photos don’t do it justice at all!

DSC_0009DSC_0014Most people contributed food, and it was all so tasty. They did this really neat thing where you used a pita bread for your plate. Then eventually, you’d sop up the juices of the meal with it and have some hummus too. My mouth is watering just remembering it all.

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They got some guys from a local fencing club in to tell us a bit about the sport. A couple of kids got to have a go, and I was just itching to have a go too and relive a bit of my past. I guess it is not exactly a well-known fact that I did fencing for two years in high school. I even took part in competitions… and failed miserably! :-)

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Just look at this cake! (Much better than a real boar’s head, in my humble opinion.)

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Here are the four of us in costume. Marica was adamant that she was not going to go as something girly. No, she went as “A pleasant (male) peasant.” Esther was very pleased with her princess costume, especially the hat — concocted in a hurry the night before — and I wore my Eowyn costume from Ben’s LOTR party back in August.

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