Thursday, March 22, 2012

St. Joseph's Day

Like all things I have been doing during this moving process, I decided to have a low key feast of St. Joseph's meal. I didn't want it to be a big production so I decided to just use the entry table as our St. Joseph's Altar.  Since we are still in Lent I used a vintage lavender tablecloth with butterfly crochet-work.  An amethyst glass vase we received as a wedding gift held a bountiful bouquet of Lenten roses. The hellebores are finally yielding so many blooms that I can cut a lot and still have a lot of color in the garden, just in time for me to move away. So I decided to give myself a big bouquet this year! 
My nice St. Joseph statue is packed away somewhere, so I took this opportunity to dig up the one we buried in the back yard to encourage a sale on our house. Good thing I kept him wrapped up in a plastic bag! My Little Helper helped me put together the altar and we talked about what the different items symbolize.  (I of course had to reference the Virtual St. Joseph's Altar.)

 I didn't have all the items this year; I always forget about the fish.  MLH is very particular about how to arrange things, he wants everything it be "beautiful" but our opinions differ on what constitutes a beautifully composed tablescape, so I took some pictures of my way and then let him rearrange everything around the perimeter as he preferred.
Wine, bread, fresh fruit, fava beans, candles.
This year I was able to find fava beans!  I have lamented so much the past few years.  Bob's Red Mill now offers the dried variety and I found them at Fred Meyer's even!  How easy was that!?
In keeping with a simple meal I only made the St. Joseph's Day soup from the Italian Holiday Cookbook.  This soup is so good, especially for a vegan meal.
Baby Boy is getting pretty good at feeding himself with a spoon, although he still only wants to eat store bought baby purees.

A couple days later the boys and I walked over to the old Mt. St. Joseph's nursing home to leave some flowers for St. Joseph. It was rainy so I thought the snowsuit would be the warmest thing for Baby Boy who seems to have a constant runny nose.

That big white St. Joseph statue sure is tall!
I let Baby Boy walk a bit on the way home.  This photo cracks me up because he looks like a little jawa or ewok with that walking stick. Or maybe I watch too much Star Wars.
Because I wanted to honor St. Joseph as much as possible now that we have a contract to sell our house, I also did this pipe cleaner craft with MLH.  On each flower I asked him who he wanted to pray for and he gave me a good list of people.  I should do more of these crafts.  Hopefully I'll be more motivated after we move into the new house.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patrick's Day

With St. Patrick's Day falling on a Saturday, one would assume I would be doing something big. Not really. One of my Christmas gifts from Mr. W was tickets to see Wicked. And it turned out it was coming to town on St. Patrick's Day.
That's okay though, instead I had a little tea party with my boys instead. In an effort to empty our pantry before the move I've been picking recipes based on what's available. So I decided upon brownies from scratch. I've never made them from scratch before, but I have lots of cocoa powder so it seemed like a good idea.
I did make them nearly vegan, I substituted in margarine and almond milk. I would have used my current egg substitute of 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tbsp water = 1 egg, but I've been doing that so often I've run out of cornstarch!

The night before My Little Helper had his very first sleepover. He has been asking for months, but we just haven't gotten it coordinated or the invitee's parents haven't felt their child was ready yet. When I suggested it to Ms. Mc though she felt that N would love it. My Little Helper was so excited!
He does need to work on his hosting skills though. Things like letting your guest have first pick of which color cup he wants. Serving your guest first. Not doing a puzzle if your guest wants to do something else instead. It was definitely a learning experience for all of us.
The boys were so excited to sleep in sleeping bags that they got changed in to their jams almost immediately after dinner. They did the teeth brushing routine together. It was so cute! I decided that since they would probably stay up talking and playing, it seemed to early for bed, that I ought to have them sleep in the office so Baby Boy wouldn't be kept up late too. They chose the little dormer corner. Ah! I knew that children would love this little corner and had plans of making it a little reading areas with cushions and pillows if we had stayed here and this became one of the boys' room.OLH kept coming downstairs to get more toys. At some point I heard such shrieking coming from upstairs that I decided to go up to investigate. It occurred to me that I only hear my son making noise. Poor N, he was hiding under the covers while being shrieked at. MLH wanted him to listen to his story so that's why he kept raising his voice. Eventually I got him settled down and they both fell asleep.
The next morning Mr. W made bacon and pancakes for breakfast. I picked some daffodils from the garden which N really liked. I told them a little bit about St. Patrick using the shamrock to teach the people of Ireland about God having three forms. I used the Royal Tara teacup with shamrocks on it as my visual aid and tried to be as brief as possible. The boys stayed in their jams all day and continued to play in their sleeping bags.After N went home MLH and I finished the brownies by making mint frosting for them in honor of St. Patrick. I let him spread the frosting out. He also wanted to add sprinkles. So pleased with himself. I set the table with a cloth my mom brought me as a souvenir from Quebec; the green and white gingham seems cheery for St. Patrick. I didn't time tea exactly right though because Baby Boy was already down for his nap. The three of us did have a nice treat together.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thinking about the boys' bedroom

When the previous owners added wainscot to the walls of the dining room (or at least when they reconfigured the doors and had to have custom woodwork milled) they ended up with extra wainscot. I believe that is what is installed on the walls of the boys' new bedroom, and why it is only on two walls.That coupled with the stained waterfall style dresser and desk that we will put in the bedroom makes it pretty wood heavy. I like to break that up with either iron beds or a painted beds. Something in red or blue would be my first choice.
We will keep the red, white, and blue baseball theme so the beds will have this baseball bed spread from LoN. (I ordered an extra one for Baby Boy.)I have considered bunk beds. I think Our Little Helper would enjoy that, and Mr. W seems to be advocating for it too. But I worry that it will end up being too massive in the room, even if I go with a painted wood.
At some point before Christmas I was at Bridgeport Village and took a peek in the Goodnight Room, they were in the process of moving to another location and had some of their floor models on sale. They had a rustic sort of blue painted bunk bed which had some storage drawers underneath. It was crazy expensive though. I expect we're going to have Our Little Helper sleeping on a mattress on the floor for awhile before we can afford something.
In the last LoN catalog I saw they had Jenny Lind style twin beds with red and blue options...kinda. The red is more of a raspberry which might read to pink for me, and the blue is a pale blue which I don't think is very grown up.
I just found this iron bed which has royal blue and red options which is just what I have been hoping for (yet have been unable to find online previously.) It seems so cheap to me compared to other prices, that even if we change our minds in the future, we haven't invested too much in these.Link

Friday, March 9, 2012

Well, we did it.

We sold the house! The inspection period is over; the contract has been signed. There is no going back now. It feels a little anticlimactic though. Or maybe I'm just still not letting myself get too excited?
Earlier this week they had their inspection. The big issue, which was no surprise to me, was the roof. It needs to be replaced, which I knew 4 yrs ago when I had my colleague who is a roofing subcontractor out to the house to do a repair. Every year since though it hasn't been made a priority in our budget. Another issue was wood stove; it is certified (I guess the rules about EPA certified wood stoves is a big deal around here) but there is some concern about the connection point on the ducting.
When they came back to us with an addendum they wanted some money off for the roof and to redo the walls in the downstairs bathroom. Additionally we need to make the repairs to the wood stove prior to closing.
At first I wanted to contest the issue with the walls, I didn't agree with the inspector that it is moisture getting in there, but rather a bad DIY job by the previous owners. That's just cosmetic to me not a structural issue. But when I considered the time and effort it would take to get someone out for a second opinion, I thought, "eh, is it really worth dickering over $1,500 when taking into account the overall cost of the home?" Not really. And Mr. W really didn't think so, he wanted to get it done.
So yesterday, with very little fanfare, he signed the paperwork to sell his first house. I'm so proud of him. He's a good saver and money manager. As I type this I'm sitting on the front porch of the Laburnum Bungalow with the boys playing in our front yard in the early March sunshine. I'm going to miss this house. I've made a lot of good memories here. I have only a month to soak up and appreciating every little bit of this house.

Mason bee bungalow

Earlier this week when I had to be out of the house for the inspection, I went to the Backyard Bird Shop to fulfill the final requirement of my Backyard Bird Habitat certification: habitat for another native species. The coordinator had recommended I add mason bees. They are not combative and help with pollination. They don't require a hive in the traditional sense. She said I could go to the BYBS and buy a house for them and a box of bees. It seemed easy enough.
I selected a small bungalow and a box of 10 bees, 5 male, 5 female. They are hibernating cocoons so I needed to place them in the refrigerator once home. The shop keeper warned me against forgetting them in my purse lest I here a buzzing sound emanating from it. Ha! Can you imagine?!
Then I needed to pick a spot that was protected, received early morning sunshine. I considered the front yard where there are more flowers, this is also the areas where the coordinator recommended I place it. However the bungalow was too big to fit next to the stair railing where she suggested. I decided the back yard made more sense since that is the area with all the natives. Plus I could mount it high up on the fence so it would be sure to not interfere with the new owners and their guests who may want to hang out on the deck. I'd been monitoring how the sun hits the fence posts for a few days to select the right spot.
I got out my drill and bits for possibly the last home project in the Laburnum Bungalow. ::sniff:: My Little Helper was very excited to hand up each tool to me while I was at the top of the ladder. He really felt it out to be painted first and suggested a black and yellow paint scheme. What a creative boy!
First I mounted the Bee Bungalow to the top of the post.
The next step was attaching the cardboard box with the hibernating bees underneath.
 I was told to afix it temporarily with a rubberband and open one end. The bees will come out of hibernation and exit the box and look for a new home. Hopefully they'll choose the bungalow. The timing works out really well, from everything I've read it seems they come out of hibernation in mid March and April.

You can't really see the bee cocoons in there, but they looked a lot like potato bugs. 
I've finally got some new growth on one of the Mock oranges I planted in the fall.  I'm a little sad that I wouldn't get to see how well these ill in this year (or the future for that matter.)  
It was such a nice sunny day that the boys and I played outside for awhile.   It's not often I'm warm enough for snacks on the porch in early March!  
My Little Helper alternates between not wanting his picture taken and wanting me to take lots of pictures of him. Today was one of the latter!  "Take another picture of me!"
Baby Boy doesn't mind me taking photos, but he's so interested in the camera that I don't get many good shots before he's suddenly in my face and trying to grab it out of my hands.