Michaelmas Day!

Yesterday was the Feast Day of the Archangels, which was traditionally celebrated as Michaelmas. This day was a big deal, especially in the British Isles, where the harvest was being gathered. I wanted to start a tradition of celebrating this feast, and came across several hilarious/weird old tradition in my research, including unmarried girls digging a triangle shape out of the ground before pulling out carrots to present their beloved (Scotland), picking all the blackberries before Satan could “spit” on them (Ireland), and Queen Elizabeth allegedly proclaiming goose should be eaten on this day every year, as she was eating goose when she heard that the Spanish Armada was defeated (how this was attributed to September when the battle actually happened in July no one can account for).

Tradition calls for a roast goose, carrot and apple dishes, blackberry desserts, and whatever other fruits of harvest you have. Our gardens are going to be barren until next spring, and I’m not in the time of life where roast goose is possible, so we made do with the following:

*Apple-Mustard Chicken

*Ginger-Honey Glazed Carrots

*Homemade Sourdough

*and a Dragon Cake!

One of Tom’s college friends used to make this for them at Michaelmas, so we decided to give it a try this year. He looks a little sad…


…but so would I if the Prince of the Heavenly Host had just routed me. By the way, he tasted really delicious, as only something that is made of lots of buttery dough stuffed with sugar and dried fruit can.


Lucy with our feast, as Daddy tries unsuccessfully to get her to smile at the camera…


Magdalena is a slightly better subject


We had both soft and hard cider, so you know it was a good meal.

It was a great start to this week which is filled to the brim with great Saints’ days. We’ve got some more planned for those, so stay tuned!

Lucy holding her "Happy Michaelmas" sign...expertly decorated, obviously.

Lucy holding her “Happy Michaelmas” sign…expertly decorated, obviously.

IKEA for Toddlers at Little House in Chicago

Do you read Little House in Chicago?  Sweet Tess is our friend behind that blog, and today she’s graciously allowed me to ramble and take horrible pictures of our favorite IKEA products for Lucy! Go check it out!

PicMonkey Photo

Toddler Spirituality

Toddler Spirituality

In my last post, I alluded to the struggles we’ve been having with Lucy’s behavior. Now, I’m well aware that it’s normal toddler button-pushing and angst, but we’re still parental noobs, so keep that in mind as you experienced parents laugh us and our intensity away.

One of the more frustrating aspects of the toddler psychological profile is the tendency to heed the parent’s command for a brief two seconds before recommencing the undesirable behavior. It’s a little game to them, though they don’t even know it: listen to Mommy. Remember it’s more fun to do what she asked me not to. Do it. Listen to Mommy…annnnd rinse and repeat. Obviously, it’s a game they win. I mean, not that the parents don’t try to win, but almost any adult who’s interacted with a 1.5 year old knows that a battle of the wills doesn’t get anyone anywhere. So we try, again and again to stop the naughtiness, only to have it rear its ugly head the moment we turn our backs (or not; the toddler knows no shame).

I realized, while pushing down the anger and frustration over Lucy’s inability to control herself once again this weekend, that spiritually speaking, I’m very like a toddler.
That’s wrong. It will hurt you,” says God.
Ok, I’ll stop,” I reply.
Two hours, two minutes, or two days later…guess what?? There I go again. The same sin, the same struggle, the same lack of self-control. And I’m an adult, fully rational, and very well-formed. Lucy can barely string together two word sentences. I’m fairly certain that God doesn’t rant and rave or even huff in disgust when I (again) do what He’s expressly asked me not to do, for my own good. And at the same time, He doesn’t lower the standards just because I’m not exactly meeting them.

What I’m saying is, I can read parenting advice books and blogs till the cows come home, but there’s a pretty great blueprint of how to discipline that’s been around since the world began. I can find it in the grace of the confessional, and in the story of redemption played out over and over in the Bible. Hopefully, I can remember it better when my toddler scratches the baby again, throws food on the floor again, and so forth. The path to perfection is a gentle slope, and we’re all a bit like toddlers, stumbling our way up it to the merciful Father.

The rascal herself


1. Listening to…
Magdalena gulp down her 3rd lunch/afternoon snack #2
The upstairs, for the sounds of the inevitable Lucy wake-up

2. Drinking…

Second coffee with raw milk, finally! So far, the baby hasn’t staged a gaseous rebellion, which is probably because it’s raw. But, not getting my dairy hopes up, and will wait a bit before reuniting with my long-forsaken and dearly beloved yogurt and cheese.

3-4. Laughing about…
Nine or so of our close friends, helping us roll out our new area rug, lifting all sorts of furniture out of the way, hastily cutting the too-wide rug pad, and the hullabaloo of everyone shouting different directions for rug placement. Such a fun night and fun people.

Lucy’s hysterical “sentences”:
“Souah dough bett!”
“Uh oh! Baby! Cying! Sat.”
“Punge! In it!” (as she runs to the sink with her little sponge and begs for water “in” it).
And the sweetest, “Holdju!” Which she frequently requests as I’m trying to get her to walk down the stairs while I’m also holding Magdalena.


5. Cooking…
Whatever’s quick! Or utilizes the slow cooker. We made a really tasty “pasta” dish with yellow squash peeled into ribbons in place of pasta. Sautéed with pesto, tomatoes, and lots of Parm. Super tasty/summery/speedy. Also got back on the sourdough train and it’s glorious. Lucy agrees.

6. Reading…
I finally made it to our local library for story time, and got a card. The system has tons of e-books and e-audio books which I’m pumped about. Tom and I started a Trollope novel together, and I’m going to start Helprin’s A Winter Tale. I’d love suggestions as well!

7. Clicking
Well, Lucy is officially a toddler, with the behavior to go with it. We have had several broken items (pulled down from a surface, so we’ve learned our lesson…), and LOTS of sneak-attacking Magdalena.

These articles are helpful:
5 Reasons We Should Stop Distracting Toddlers
Effective Limit Setting with Toddlers

Enjoy your weekend…(as I finish this post a full 24 hours later, in the exact same position: nursing babe, napping toddler). Go see Jen for more lists of seven!

Feathering the Nest, Vol. 1

Just a few peeks into what our new home is starting to look like!

Here are my favorite little touches.

The Secretary

We searched for this piece for about a year and a half. My mom’s friend saw it at a furniture finishing place, and we snapped it up. Fun fact: we’re the second owners, since this had been in a banker’s family since the 1930s.



The Peg-Board

Our kitchen is tiny, but we don’t mind. Everything is easy to reach and it’s quick to clean. But the trade-off is a lack of storage, so our hand-made peg board is super handy. Anything that allows me to grab a cooking implement with one hand, without any bending over or pulling out of cupboards is also awesome, since I’m usually cooking one-handed.


Reclaimed Wood End Tables.

I can safely say we looked for HOURS online for end tables. Why is furniture shopping a thing from hell?? Finally we decided to try Etsy, and voila….
some very sweet and very affordable tables. It’s also great that we were able to support a small business and get something handmade.



Yellow Pillows (or “tillows”, as someone around here calls them)

We love the color pop. And they’re lumbar pillows, so…back support! World Market find.


Peacock Armchair

Also from World Market. We wanted a wingback, but see above observation on furniture shopping. This little chair fits the bill- plush, velvety, looks fancy-but-not-fussy, and has a small footprint. Lucy declares “IN!!” whenever she sees it. We’re working on prepositions.


And that’s all the time the babies will grant me today. Also, I’m posting from the WordPress App (gag), because Ye Olde MacBook has gone and died. Like, won’t charge, won’t turn on at all, dead. So please forgive any and all oddities of this, and probably future, posts.