November 30, 2013

7 quick takes on Thanksgiving

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!
It was our nineteenth Thanksgiving yesterday. I have tried to remember every single one of them. I remembered the very first one, on the rancho, in Texas. Very unique experience ! And I remembered the rest; where and with whom. Amazing, have many there have been already!
This one we spend at home, just by ourselves. It has been like that for the last few years. Our own family is far away ( and does not celebrate Thanksgiving ), and friends are spending it with their own families.

In the mid morning we decided to take Christmas pictures...outside. It was sunny, but cold with freezing wind. I made everyone take their coats off! The session went by very fast:)

 Children were thankful each in his/her own way:
Kubus was thankful for trucks.
Kiki wrote a thanksgiving poem.
"I am thankful for the stories
I read again and again
To the movies, plays, and voices
That sing and never end.
I am thankful for the food
Prepared with care and love
To the soil, the earth. the sun and rain
And things like mammals, beasts , and bugs.
But I am most thankful for
Is He who gave me life
And the family and friends who love me
And helped me to take flight"
Zuzia wrote her own thankful story:
"When they said: what are you thankful for? I say I truly don't know where to start! So then I stand up straight and tall and say I'm thankful for the city, the river and the waves, and I can't forget my friends and family, and the poor little creatures who live in this beautiful world with us. Then I finish it with saying and that's what I am thankful for!"
Andrzej said only one thing comes into his mind. He was thankful for his family.
Later in the day he was thankful for his two favorite football teams to win; the Cowboys and the Longhorns:)
 I, myself have to say I am thankful for my faith, my healthy kids: growing writers and the little, sweet truck lover; Andrzej who takes good care of us all; for warm, cozy home and good food on the table:)
Speaking of the food;
We started our own tradition this year. We forwent  the turkey and went for the things that everybody likes. There were ribs, roasted potatoes, sweet potato casserole, garlic flavored green beans and for dessert apple pie with vanilla ice cream. And you know what? Everybody was happy for a change.
I think we will keep it that way!
Few pictures from the event. Just because I like it!



November 19, 2013

The Apple Cake


It is hard to deny that the autumn days are getting fast toward the end. Yes, the colors are still somewhat on the trees and mostly under, and there is no snow on the ground, at least not for a long time. But the air is cold, the days are short and there is freeze at night. My evening walks are chilly, and in the darkness. I have to walk really fast to keep warm:)

In the spirit of ending autumn, and yet before we explore the books about Thanksgiving next week, I read to kids a lovely book "the Apple Cake" by Nienke van Hichtum. I found the recommendation on Elizabeth Foss blog. I do go there for literature and other uplifting readings. I am yet to be disappointed, and I doubt that it will ever going to happen:)

I read the book once, twice, and even Kubus was interested. Bear in mind that he mostly loves anything with wheels:)
The story is about giving and receiving and about the joy that they bring. It ends with a delicious apple cake and a recipe for it. I had to bake it.

A perfect way to start saying good bye!


November 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Zuzia has accused me today of neglecting my blog. Between headaches and anxiety battles and trying to take care of the house and family, sometimes blogging is last on my list, even though I do like doing it.
My 7 quick takes today will reflect on the last week. It makes sense, 7 takes 7 days of the week:)
Last Friday.
Since last year Kateri decided that she really wanted to try fencing. We have dismissed the idea of signing her up for this unusual activity, due to the fact that when and where and for what cost of time and money would that make any sense. To our great surprise, Kateri's new school offered up fencing program. The kids get bussed to the fencing facility but it is up to parents to pick them up. I was hoping that she won't get particularly attached to this new activity, but I was wrong. So on Friday's crazy afternoon traffic, the one I would like to avoid, you can find me getting to the other part of state, picking her up.
 Another crazy schedule. It included Kateri's Girl Club meeting in Mass ( thanks to our kind friend to offer a ride ), Zuzia's swim meet, and Kateri's 2 basketball games!
 I, myself,  had managed to bake cinnamon rolls and bread.

 After our weekly dose of prayer, and singing ( on my part ) I was hoping to go to Ikea. I really wanted to update few things in the house. Andrzej said it is out of the question. He wanted to stay home and rest a little. I can't blame him, but on the other hand I can't go there by myself either. Blame this on my crazy dizziness.
Day off from school, as I have mentioned in the previous post. It did not started well. I decided to take care of my oldest daughter's health and throw away the remaining Halloween candy that were scattered on her desk together with the empty wrappers. I think, it was the mess that made me do that. Let's just say that I did not score any points with Kateri and she still holds me accountable of making her life bitter that day.
First snow. Chilly, unpleasant, brrr... Fortunately it did not lasted long.
But Kubus insisted on playing in the sandbox. I was freezing as I watched this happy boy playing with diggers and bulldozers and dumptrucks!

My previous Yarn along day. I am still working on my orange vest. It is slowly progressing, but nothing to show off yet.
In the afternoon, we hosted the Junior Girl Club meeting. Lovely girls, lovely time, delicious cupcakes!
Pilates class  - 10 miles.
Picking up Kateri from school - 25 miles.
 Basketball practice - 12 miles.
 Visit at the doctor - 20 miles.

So much for staying at home mom!!!

November 12, 2013

November 11th


Having day off from school on November 11th, we could accomplish almost everything that I have planned.
In addition to remembering all the men and women in service and praying for them, I had to make sure that my kids will always remember that it is also Polish Independence Day.
There was a concise lesson in Polish history, which Kateri declared that she knows, ( not really ) and few geography points.
However most of the time that we spend together, was celebrating Martinmas.
I find it fun, and rewarding to introduce my children to different traditions and customs from all over the world.
We decided to reuse our lanterns from the last year and just add a handle and go for a small procession on our street. It was short, because Kiki is afraid of the darkness, and honestly we should have left her home, but nevertheless we managed to make a round. Kubus and Zuzia had the most fun. I wish we could gather children from the neighborhood and go all around, like on Halloween, just without the scary stuff and candy.
As for snack, which goes well as a breakfast, we made St Martin's day croissants. It was Zuzia'a call. After a weekend of baking cinnamon rolls and bread, I have yet decided to make another batch of yeast dough. The good thing is that they are yummy, the bad that I could not resist eating them. So much for my gluten free diet, which was going well...
 I would lie if I said that everything went smoothly. The little kids, I can get them excited and happy, but when it comes to the older one, it is a different story. I am lucky if she wants to celebrate with us for more than 10 minutes. But I will take all that I can, and hope that one day she remembers it fondly...

November 4, 2013

Fun with leaves





On Saturday Kubus requested jumping into a pile of leaves. He got his wish; older sister joined the fun later. Oh, the playful, worry free childhood, don't you ever leave!


November 3, 2013

In November

Every November we, as Catholics, are obligated to visit the cemeteries and pray for the departed.
In Poland we visited the graves of family members, friends and acquaintances .
There were crowds of people there, freshly cut flowers and multitude of candles. The sky at night was bright above...
Here, we continue making the yearly visits to pray for all those who went to meet the Lord already.
We are doing it, because it is a Christian obligation, and we are doing it because of the tradition. We are trying to teach our children the importance of prayer for the dead ones and teach them that death is a big part of every person's life, however terrifying that thought might be at their young age.
We took the kids today to pray at the grave sites; day after the All Souls. It felt right, to do it on Sunday, after the mass. It was cold and windy. The place was empty, nostalgic and quiet. Except for the bells from the nearby church.
The children have quieted for a moment too...

November 2, 2013

All Saints Day {phfr} edition

There are days in a year when I really miss Poland. I miss Poland and her beautiful traditions and customs. I miss richly living the Catholic faith. The faith that nobody talks about but lives it. It is the feasts days and Holy days that fill churches and homes with people and gatherings of the families.
All saints day is one of them. It is a day free of work, full of prayers for the dead loved ones and full of people in churches and family gatherings at gravesite of the loved ones that departed. Very sad and nostalgic yet uplifting at the same time.

We don't have it here. I try to explain the different culture that I and Andrzej grew up in, but you have to live it to believe it. It is hard for my kids to grasp it. But different country means new traditions that we try to implement in our lives.
The kids still go to school, Andrzej goes to work and nobody visits the cemeteries. Yet there is time for prayer and All Saints Mass celebration.

The new thing that I came to like, are the All Saints parties for kids. No, we had never did that growing up. For the past few years we have been attending those. I love them and my kids too. I owe big thanks to my wonderful friends who make sure that those little celebration take place.

I have to say that this year it was last minute ideas for the costumes.
They are not very sophisticated, nevertheless we accomplished being dressed up as saints for the party.
Here are my saints as I join Like Mother, Like Daughter for the weekly edition of {phfr}.

{pretty, happy}
 Beardless St. Joseph.
Saint Hedwig, "King" of Poland.
Very serious Saint Lucia:)

Trying to take a picture of my little saints. St. Joseph insisted on using flashlight and later fixing St. Lucia's head wreath:)

"Saints" of modern times! One listening to the Ipod; another reading Pokémon book and the last one without his tools for a moment. He wasn't kind to St. Hedwig next to him!
Wishing all my Catholic friends a very solemn and full of prayers and memories, All Souls Day,