Advent Daybook

For today, December 9, 2008 – the Feast of St. Juan Diego

Outside My Window… it’s very breezy today. The wicker bench on the front porch has already blown over and threatens to land in the Mary pond if I don’t go out and rescue it soon.

I am thankful for… the 2 hour long sanitary cycle on my front loading Whirlpool Duet washing machine. Don’t ask why.

From the kitchen… I put together a two week menu plan to squeeze food out of my one week food budget. Fortunately, I had really stocked my pantry within the last month. I hate to whittle through some of those stores, but the van repair/maintenance last week (mega-ouch!!!) necessitates a little creativity. To cheer myself after really jogging my brain cells and coming up with a frugal plan, I completely cleaned my kitchen and restocked my bake center. I took pictures in the sunlight – I’ll share them below!

I am wearing… a flannel jumper with a cream turtleneck. It’s chilly!

I am creating… Advent memories. Each Advent lived in our home becomes richer in our celebrations. It’s just beautiful. I have a whole post on our Advent plans and some of the things we’re doing…but living these Advent plans really means I’m present in those moments…not here on the computer, so my posting has been sparse lately. Hopefully I’ll get some pics up before the end of Advent – just ’cause I like seeing what other people are doing, so I’ll give you a peak at what we’re doing. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am reading… a lot of Advent picture books.

I am hoping… that we’ll be able to enjoy a family movie or two this week. My wonderful Uncle Ray (an incredible Disney fanatic) sent us some cherished old Disney’s to watch – Big Red, Tale of Two Critters, Yellowstone Cubs and others! We love the old Disneys – I have such neat memories of watching them as a little girl when they came on on Saturday night right after Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. It’s a treat to share them with the kids and they love them! And! I’ve never seen my cousin Victoria sing and her choir, the Lafayette High School Choir, was selected to sing in Disney’s Christmas program this year and she has a solo. Uncle Ray sent the DVD of the performance! Thanks Uncle Ray! We can’t wait to see her!

I am hearing… the Doodlebug reading a book. She is able to intuit untold truths by gumming to death small books made of cardboard. Amazing, is she not? I can’t tell you the wisdom she consumed from a small paper edition of “Anybody at Home”. I *can* tell you that most of the wisdom from that book apparently was hidden in the corners which no longer exist. Still no teeth.

Looking to the rhythm of the liturgical year… St. Nicholas day was wonderful here – stockings were filled and the children had a wonderful day. Peanut consumed an entire package of mentos gum in one day – the entire package.

St. Juan Diego’s Feast is today – and Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast is this Friday – this means Rob is dancing for joy as the menu takes on a decidedly Mexican flavor. Yum.

Around the house… I really, really, really need to get upstairs to tidy my sewing area. It’s still a mess from the All Saints Day costume sewing frenzy. There is so little time left in a day though, and after lessons and laundry and dinner and dishes and reading and prayers and, and, and…I feel like I sometimes just collapse. Maybe this weekend I’ll get my sewing area in order and it will look inspiring again. Right now, the sewing machine is draped with a foil covered anchor and a brown tunic and it looks like a monastery exploded all over the floor with black and brown mantles and robes everywhere….sigh. I must get a bit more organized. We’re into the second week of Advent and All Saints stuff is still out.

I will claim a moment for myself…
Lately, the only moments I’m claiming are the ones I proclaim will be full of relaxation on the couch for reading or watching something with Rob and then I promptly fall asleep. Depressing.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: See sewing room plans/whining above. Add to that lots of fun reading about Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Mexican Lasagna, Juan Diego’s Fajitas, an Our Lady of Guadalupe Tea with powdered sugar cookies shaped like crescents and you’ve got my week.

Here is picture thought I am sharing…

The bake center above was created out of necessity – my kitchen was woefully designed with 4 feet of counter space. Try cooking on that for a family of 6. I was inspired many, many years ago by Marilyn Shannon when she wrote a column on nutrition for CCL. She talked about how she had a bake center set up so that everything she needed to make their daily bread was within arm’s reach. Voila.

This is my kitchen. It’s a cheery room to be in, and actually a very large room (there is a whole side you can’t see in this picture – I’ll have to do a whole post on my kitchen one day) but so poorly designed. Sigh. Many lessons in contentment here. I do have a wonderful, large pantry in my kitchen – just to the right of this shot next to my ovens. I keep very little on my counters – more out of necessity than anything else. Anyway, frugal meal planning and executing always seem cheerier in tidy spaces – so…I wiped, scrubbed, restocked and polished. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now…(I can hear my husband saying with much hope)…I just have to cook! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. My kitchen also suffers from a dearth of counter space… mostly because the big kitchen island built by the previous owners is always covered in fruit, artwork, toys, and whatever there isn’t room for in our miniscule pantry. (Also, soda cans so the little ones won’t roll them all over the floor.) Your baking center looks lovely. Is your kitchen totally gated off, though? I was just wondering about those kitchen appliances down low… we still haven’t been able to find any good gates for our kitchen. I’m sure that gates would make life A LOT easier around here, but we’ve gone through 5 or 6 on the laundry room alone in the past 2 years.

  2. I was thinking the same thing as angela… I LOVE your baking centre, but was imagining the fun the littles would have pulling everything off the shelves. I think the days of organized beauty will have to wait for the littles to grow out of the unorganizing messy stage.thanks for sharing!

  3. Me three! That was my question — how do you keep the little ones out of the appliances on the bottom? Also please share what the goodies are that you have across the top shelves. I love it! You’ve got my wheels a turnin’! Lovely post.

  4. I share your frustrations on counter space. I have about 4 feet (probably less) of counter space in my kitchen too, and I’m cooking for 12 of us. We keep a table in the middle of the room – but the room was certainly not ment for a table – you should see my bruised hips!! I love the baking center idea – maybe one day. I hope all is okay from whatever caused the sanitary cycle necissity!

  5. You all make me laugh – this is the most anyone has ever commented on a daybook post I think – and all wondering how in the world the mixer and toaster, etc. stay put on the bottom of that bake center! ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, the truth is…when I looked for a bake center, I wanted one with doors down low and a butcher block top. I couldn’t find one at the time (Lehman’s has a nice one now!), so I settled on this open one. It’s quite sturdy, but there’s the whole open shelf thing…I’ll tell you what I do…Right now, all of the appliances are too heavy for the roving little gal to pull off…when she is able to maneuver appliances a little more, they (sadly) go live in the pantry for a few months.My learning room is in absolute chaos right now awaiting yet another total overhaul. Minimalism will be our mantra! The baby is just starting to walk and into EVERYTHING in there. We have gates up everywhere and it is just an untidy, overwhelming mess of Montessori, sculpey clay and books with piles and piles of stuff she shouldn’t touch all over any horizontal surface over 3 feet high. I’m just closing my eyes to it until our Christmas break in one week – and then…I’m goin’ in!

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