Tag Archives: Children

Mermaid Skirts! by Niamh

photo-6I have taken a sewing class three times. It’s really fun. So far I have made a drawstring bag, two skirts, and a little purse.

photo-6 copy

The last project I did in my class was a skirt made with really cute fabric with mermaids and little seahorses on it.


I was excited when I got to sew a skirt at home for Clara. We are going to wear our matching skirts for Easter.



For my next project I am going to make an apron. I would also like to make a skirt for my American Girl doll, and maybe for my sister’s doll too.

By Niamh


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(M)Other Love

It’s been a while since I posted, due to general business and a trip abroad.  More posts to come, but here’s something for Mother’s Day…..

“Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.”

-James Joyce

“A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.”  

-Victor Hugo

“My mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart – a heart so large that everybody’s joys found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation.”

-Mark Twain

“Mother is a verb, not a noun.”


“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me.  They have clung to me all my life.”

-Abraham Lincoln

“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.”

-William Makepeace Thackeray

“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.”
-Zora Neale Hurston

“One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters.

-George Herbert

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.  

-Honoré de Balzac

Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that suppose to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing.

-Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

My mother’s love for me was so great I have worked hard to justify it.

– Marc Chagall

“[A] mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled.”  

-Emily Dickinson

“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.”

— Maya Angelou

“By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.”

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“Giving kids clothes and food is one kind of thing, but it’s much more important to teach them that other people besides themselves are important and that the best thing they can do with their lives is to use them in the service of other people.”

— Dolores Huerta

“Mothers are all slightly insane.”

–J.D. Salinger

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.”
-Mark Twain

Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease.

-Lisa Alther

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”


Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee

Calls back the lovely April of her prime.

~William Shakespeare

“Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.”

-Marion C. Garretty

One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder

where you are when you don’t come home at night.

– Margaret Mead

A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories. –

Honoré de Balzac

The strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.

– Barbara Kingsolver

The mother’s heart is the child’s school-room.

-Henry Ward Beecher


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Signed, Sealed, Delivered

“All you need is love…” The Beatles

I am still not sure what my husband and I are doing for Valentine’s Day.  There’s still time.  We did get some crafts done around here though and had a great time doing them.

We made some Fimo hearts similar to those I saw posted on Oh Happy Day last year.  The girls then wore them to a Valentine’s  exchange that we had at the park this week.

Our contribution to the Valentine Holiday Co-op was inspired by a friend’s pin on Pinterest (Thanks Belem!)

Styrofoam Block-printed Valentines

So simple and fun! Reuse your styrofoam take out box or tray by making impressions into the surface with a pencil.  Use a brayer to spread paint over the surface and then print onto paper or other medium.

Decoupaged Valentine Mailboxes

“Here I am, baby……..”

“…signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours..”

Stevie Wonder


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On Learning Gratitude by (trying to) Teach Gratitude

Few people, I suspect, become parents with visions of admonishing their children to be grateful for the privileges, opportunities, and advantages they enjoy.  In fact, didn’t most of us, prior to becoming parents, have a list as long as our arm of ALL those things our own parents did, that we would NEVER NEVER do? Ever?

Oh, humility, thy name is parent!

I suspect that gratitude, like empathy, is learned and that our actions rather than our words do far more to impart the value of both virtues.  Therefore, I find I must continually consider my own disposition and attitude when correcting or directing my daughters.  We’ve all been thinking about and considering what or who we are grateful for during this season set aside by Americans to reflect and be thankful.

So am I learning gratitude by teaching it, or teaching it by trying to learn it? Good question.  I’m still working on all of that.

‎”When you get, give. When you learn, teach.”Maya Angelou (quoting her paternal grandmother,  Mrs. Annie Henderson)

We return thanks to our mother, the earth,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams,
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs,
which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun,
that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit,
in Whom is embodied all goodness,
and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.
~ Iroquois ~

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.  ~Seneca

O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
~William Shakespeare

Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.
~Standing Bear ~

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.  ~Aesop

Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.  ~William Shakespeare

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

All that we behold is full of blessings.  ~William Wordsworth

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.  ~Cicero

Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.
~ Ancient Indian Proverb ~

On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.  ~William Jennings Bryan

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. – W.J. Cameron

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. – William Faulkner

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Nibsy’s bookclub, the Canterbury Tails Literary Society and Tea Circle, took on a photography project at the park recently.  Our focus for that meeting was the shifting of the seasons from summer into autumn-of course being in Southern California, the change is not as marked as it might be in some other places. And the weather that day? Oh, it most likely did not crest 100 degrees, but it was darn close.

They all took to the activity like, well, ducks to water.  The gallery below is comprised of photographs I took of the children engaged in their photography, as well as some tree trunks, leaves, etc.  I am hoping to publish another post sometime in the not too distant future featuring the actual photos the kids took.

Note: Click on any photograph to view it larger.

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In the garden

While we were up in Sonoma County a couple of weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to spend half the weekend with half of a couple we love dearly.  I met them while I was a student at Santa Rosa Junior College, and have maintained a friendship with them both for quite a long time.  For the very same reasons that they engaged me as a student, I am always very happy to bring my children to soak up some of the atmosphere of music, art, learning, and culture that permeates their beautiful home.

Wandering around looking for good things to eat

No photos, please!

Nibsy spots the blackberry vines cascading over the back fence..

A little tart perhaps but still very good.

Cherry tomatoes

Morris the Cat

Checking for fish, no doubt.

Water garden

Lady FitzGrump amongst the squash

With such a gorgeous and abundantly productive garden to harvest from, the girls were delighted to help pick vegetables, herbs, and fruit for dinner.

Fresh picked lemon

Swiss Chard

Sackful of greens


Basil picker

So what did we make? Will made some incredibly tasty Ratatouille.  I don’t know specifics for that recipe but it was delicious.  Here are a couple of good recipes for Ratatouille: one from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and one created by Thomas Keller of The French Laundry for Remy the Rat (who you might remember from a film called, Ratatouille).  That recipe is Confit Biyaldi.  We used the Julia Child recipe at home but think that Remy the Rat’s recipe looks very tasty as well.

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Mason Jar Butter

I got this idea from a post I saw at Craft Knife.  We’ve tried it twice now.  This is so easy I cannot believe I haven’t been making my own butter for years…..except that when you come right down to it, buying pre-made butter is probably far less expensive ounce-for-ounce than heavy cream .  But that’s not nearly as much fun, is it?

I am borrowing the instructions from that post since trying to come up with something different seems like reinventing the wheel:

Necessary materials

  • Clean Mason jar with tight-fitting lid
  • Heavy whipping cream

1. Fill the Mason jar about 3/4-ish full of cream.
2. Shake the crap out of it until it turns to butter with a little buttermilk on the side:

Making butter in a mason jar is supposed to take approximately 10-15 minutes of vigorous and consistent shaking. You can stop during the process, unscrew the lid and check on the progress of the process-and you’ll still get butter, or if patience wears thin: whipped cream. We spent longer than 10 or 15 minutes since we took frequent breaks to check on sample the cream as it moved along.

 Clara was only interested in the first step, and only after I’d let her have some cream for her sliced peach.

We’re going to follow up on this activity with an  oil vs. water science experiment and continue with the oil-wants-to-separate theme. Nibsy was amazed how quickly the cream transitioned into butter once it had reached the whipped cream stage-and that it actually turned yellow.

The homemade butter found a happy home on and in a number of food items in our kitchen.

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