Monday, December 22, 2014

Weekly Minutiae vol. 5~ 3 Days Until Christmas+Excited to Join the Family!

Sweet girl, from Stephen's instagram

This week was a little dark for us here. As the Advent lights flicker, I have been sick, and the Holy Spirit moves, and we must respond to the nudging. For me, that meant going to the Advent Reconciliation service at St. Augustine on Tuesday evening. I would have gone to our parish for the service, but Molly had a concert at school that same night.
Molly's concert

I had a lot on my mind and heart, and, as usual, talking to a priest helped a lot. I felt like just upon entering the church, I could hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit saying: "It gets easier." Things have been really hard with the kids lately. Sickness, messes, marks on furniture, broken vases, broken lightbulbs. After my confession,  the priest gave me some wonderful advice.  He said that when you are struggling with your kids, remember the whole,  "kids will be kids," idea, as he put it. His advice? Don't become upset with them.  Instead, he suggested this: "Tell her you love her."  (I didn't even tell him I had girls). It was such perfect advice, and it has been inside my head and in my thoughts and on my heart all week.

Tell her you love her.

I received a great gift this Holiday season.
I'm now part of the Association of Catholic Women bloggers. I first heard about this from Cristina, and I'm so thankful for the additional community in the blogosphere.
Read my first post at the very elegant site, here: Review of St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton

On Thursday, I was going to run errands  (so un-St.-Francis of me) while my Mom babysat the three younger ones.  I ended up beelining it and then waiting in line at the Tag and Title place, only to find out that I couldn't renew our registration, because our van has not been through emissions testing.  I then stopped by the post office, and decided to forgo the long line and call it a day (all I wanted to do was buy some Christmas stamps!), because it was a really, really, really long line, not worth waiting for.  I came back home, and declared it was a day, not of trivial pursuit, but of failed pursuit.

As I mentioned, Molly had a Christmas concert on Thursday night. It was amazing! Their school does an amazing job every year. I always laugh, cry, and feel my heart warmed with the Christmas spirit.
This photo is from Gaudete Sunday: we had a roast chicken, stuffing, caesar salad, rolls, and green beans. As we get ready for Christmas, we must stop and remember to rejoice. Christmas caroling, talks by the fire (ok, my parents' fire), and good food.

One of the best things about this week?  We made homemade hot chocolate mix for our neighbors.And speaking again of failed pursuits instead and trivial pursuits- we ran out of of organic, unsalted butter, so I started having pumpkin spice coconut milk in my morning coffee..... but that turned out yummy.
Granola from my dear Mother

funny things they say:

Friday Molly had a half-day, then the kids spent the night with their paternal grandparents, except Madeleine, who had pink eye. While Stephen was at his office Christmas party, we watched Frosty the Snowman and had this conversation:
Me: Whose birthday is on Christmas?
Madeleine: Molly's?
Me: No, who was born on Christmas?
Madeleine: Me?
Me: Jesus was born on Christmas!
Madeleine: No Mommy. Baby Jesus was born on Christmas.
true, very true.

Me: Did you know your cheeks are like butter?!
Anders: Butt-ah!

{Song playing on the radio}
Molly: Mommy, what song is this?
Me: What Child is This?
Molly: Jesus? oh, oh, oh. I get it now.

The winner of the Anthropologie candle was: Cristina! Please email me @ with your address and I will get that shipped to you!

The winner of the Book Giveaway was: Amanda P.!
Please email me with your address, and I will have Michele put a copy in the mail for you!
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas! We are especially excited as Mom and Dad, because we have a special surprise coming our kids' way on Christmas! So excited!

weekly minutiae (min-oo-shuh) updates, funny things they say, photo dumps, and the like,  a "blogging is fun" type deal with all of the fun trivial details that make life fun and/or interesting.

In January, this is going to become a Link-Up through InLinkz! Every Monday here at Picture a Skyline. This blog only gets about 25 hits per post, maximum 125. That's very small, traffic-wise.  Please email me with more questions. We're blogging for fun :-) Join us!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton

"It may be an excellent thing that cracks should be filled up, but preferably not by somebody who is himself cracked." -G.K. Chesterton

This quote comes from a description of when St. Francis, so full of indignation about his father, Pietro Bernardone's business, completely strips his clothing and goes begging in the streets for building materials for an obsession he has with mending the wall in the city.

It is not just any wall. It was the ruins of the Church of St. Damian, an altar and a place he had become accustomed to praying at. He worked, collecting stones and food along the way, until it was finished.

Is it any wonder that my understanding of St. Francis of Assisi was skewed by the watching of "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" in high school? As I began reading this work by Chesterton, I kept thinking to myself.. wait, wait, wait... I thought St. Francis was the guy who was really into Donovan? After throwing things out the window, he prances around all emotional and naked and stuff? Is it any wonder that a snippet on wikipedia or a 1970's rendition of his life could easily lead you into thinking he was sort of a stupid guy, or at least somewhat flighty?

"This sense of the great gratitude and the sublime dependence was not a phrase or even a sentiment; it is the whole point that this was the very rock of reality." - G.K. Chesterton

Was he a sentimental animal-lover, as many statues and artistic renditions or children's books would have us to believe? No. St. Francis was actually a very intelligent man. His rock was Christ. He was a poet. He was in high standing in his hometown (I have been to Assisi; it is beautiful!) In fact, he was somewhat of a prince of the 13th century. His mother felt he was too prince-like for her care. (quote).  He was of high status, and also an accomplished swordsman, and he "delighted in all the exercises of chivalry." (see chapter 3: St. Francis the Fighter). He attempted to go to war, but after some time in prison, a sickness brought him home, and so he re-interpreted his dreams of fighting to mean engaging in the spiritual battle of ministry to lepers of Perugia.

Prince-like though he may have been for the 12th century, he was not popular.

"All those limits in good fellowship and good form, all those landmarks of social life that divide the tolerable from the intolerable, all those social scruples and conventional conditions that are normal and even noble in ordinary men, all those things that hold many decent societies together, could never hold this man at all."  
-G.K. Chesterton

He took to a cave when in humiliation, his hopes for chivalry didn't pan out.  He seems to have a sense, though, that all of his aims, though illogical by worldly standards, made perfect sense in the economy of a spiritual life, and it made perfect sense in his own mind. The question was not a question of wealth or ambition, but of heaven and all of the rewards that awaited him there.

"He devoured fasting as a man devours food. He plunged after poverty as men have dug madly for gold."- G.K. Chesterton 

He dug madly for God's grace, Mary's grace, instead of gold. He searched madly for the stones, instead of status, for the chance to rebuild St. Damian's church and two other famous churches, and sang while he built them.  He preached boldly, and searched madly for followers- Christ's disciples- rather than searching for his father's acceptance. Why? Because of his genuine joy and genuine love for God and man.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday Culture: Gilmore Girls and What It Can Teach Us About Marriage

image found via

Let's be honest; with "Gilmore Girls" on Netflix for free right now, we've all been in a little bubble- watching those two beautiful ladies as they go through the ups and downs of Chilton, Yale, and Friday night dinners, in the lovely home of Richard and Emily.  We all collectively have a love-hate relationship with Luke and Dean, and our hearts pitter patter whenever Lorelai walks in the room.

It goes without saying that Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel are amazing actresses, but I have watched, granted for the first time (ever!) for me, I have been struck by just how amazing the writing really is!    Seriously, I think it could do another run for some several years, although I'm stopping with Season 5. But, you guys? The writing really is that good. And seriously, this show has taught me so much about marriage, and how to do it, and how not to do it.  Lorelai's beauty is a blessing in disguise. And watching Lorelai's parents, Emily and Richard, has been particularly eye-opening in regard to the what-not-to-do in a marriage. It has taught me more about marriage, on so many levels.

1. All Manner of Ridiculousness Can Be Forgiven.
It is clear from Lorelai's actions that she does not really look up to her parents. She makes several references, particularly in early season 4, that definitely indicate that she does not respect them as parents, or role models, and she sees more tension than good when she looks at their marriage to each other.  This is incredibly sad, and in fact one of the things I like the least about her character.  (Grow up Lorelai! Respect your parents! Geez louise!).

When Emily and Richard's marriage crumbles in the fourth season,  though, it is not surprising; Although to me, it does seems surface on so many levels. Emily is clearly an aloof mother, oftentimes unkind, and she becomes a shopaholic when Richard starts spending too much time on work and on business trips.  From the Yale vs. Harvard football game episode, it seems that Richard and Emily have become collectively a little too fond of the drinking, judging from the number of bloody marys and shots that they both drink.  It is a not a little disturbing to watch them making bad decisions, and it is no wonder that their marriage eventually ends up on the rocks (pardon the pun).  But in actuality, they have some serious strikes against them.

The main reason they start fighting, and Emily goes on a wild shopping spree, is because she finds out that Richard has been having yearly lunch dates with his old girlfriend from college, Pennilyn Lott. Although he swears that nothing happened between them, Emily's trust in Richard is shattered.

But it is not old friends that truly came between them. The eventual major blow that causes them to separate is that Emily finds a letter written from Richard's mother to Richard, dated the day of their wedding, and in it, his mother begs him not to marry Emily.  She claims that Emily will not be good for him. Despite all of Emily's problems, this is quite a sad plot twist, and in many ways, her not feeling accepted by Richard's mother deeply affects her core.

She ends up going on a date with another man, Simon, and Richard is left to live out in the Pool House. It is quite a sad series of episodes as we watch their marriage crumbling and the fights between them becoming more and more serious, and more and more bitter. One wonders if they will get back together at all.

*SPOILER* Yes, they do get back together. Ironically, a fender bender brings them back together, they reunite, and makes plans for a vow-renewal ceremony. Richard has to finally fight for Emily, when he sees Simon talking to Emily. He claims again that nothing happened with Pennilyn Lott, and she claims- rightly- that nothing happened with Simon. The truth that they are both remaining faithful through hard times causes their eventual reunion.

2. People Should Stand Up For the Truth
My question about the situation is: Why didn't Richard ever really stand up against the separation, or the claims that he was cheating on her, or was never really in love with Emily in the first place? This seems like a hole in the plot, or a flaw in his character, I'm not sure (I haven't decided) which. He seems to accept his fate-  to live in the pool house- almost completely passively, after years of  standing by his wife. He never takes serious issue with the idea that his mother disliked Emily. He grows a mustache,  yes, but granted, that seems to be the only serious outward protest or acknowledgement of the strange and sad situation going on between them.

He should have stood up to her wild claims that he never loved her. However, while discussing this issue together, my husband pointed out, that it shows that he truly loves her, because he didn't listen to what his mother said. He married her and loved her, despite what his mother thought of Emily. From Richard, we learn how to do nothing until your wife comes around... and maybe that's a good thing, even though it strikes me as very wrong and actually somewhat ridiculous.

3. No Man is an Island
Richard and Emily renew their vows with a ceremony and a second honeymoon. The sadness is brought back to a very happy reunion, and the only sad twist of fate is that Christopher tries to fight one last time to get Lorelai back at the ceremony for Richard and Emily.  Is he so foolish to think that after all this time, she actually will believe him this time? And is he even that sincere- if it took Emily practically giving him a shove in the "right" direction?

Lorelai proves one last thing about marriage.  She proves that no man is an island, despite her own best wishes. Throughout the first four or five seasons, she meets Luke for unofficial dates, constantly eating the food at his diner, developing a relationship with him- if not for love, then merely out of habit. They do eventually have a more serious relationship, but it would be mere flattery to say that they didn't actually have an "intimate" relationship - for all intents and purposes- all along.

What can learn and how can we takeaway marriage do's and don'ts by watching Richard and Emily?  And even more importantly, what can we learn from a woman like Lorelai, who is so fiercely independent that she runs from every serious attempt at marriage that may come her way? What do you think?

Maybe  we should bring this show back- this time as the "Gilmore Guys"? (Ha, ha). More of a focus on Luke and Dean and all of their many character flaws? The men in our culture today could learn a something from all of their mistakes. Or Luke and Lorelai's someday proverbial son, whoever-he-is?  I'm just wondering what I'm going to do when I'm done watching this on Netflix?!.... dun dun dun....!

What do you think about Gilmore Girls and What it Can Teach Us About Marriage?
*season 4, episode 9

Friday, December 19, 2014

7 Quick Takes~Book Giveaway from Michele Chronister

I'm happy to tell you that I have a giveaway for you today! Michele, of My Domestic Monastery and  will be giving away one copy of her book:

Faith Beginnings: Family Nurturing From Birth Through Pre-School
Let me tell you a little bit about this book and Michele, and her blog!

When I first discovered Michele Chronister's blog, My Domestic Monastery,  I always loved reading her writings, as I left inspired in my parenting and motherhood. There were many practical takeaways as I am always looking for ideas for things to do with my kids. As a convert to the Catholic faith, I have always struggled with how to apply my budding Catholicism to raising my girls and boy.

We became friends through blogging, and I know it seems like those connections may just be in passing or fleeting, but blogs are a like a conversation. There is a conversation in the Catholic Mom's blogosphere, and I am so thankful for people who take that conversation and improve it, for the benefit and betterment of all of us! When I picked up Michele's book this past Summer, I knew more Moms like me needed to read it, because it was first of all very down-to-earth and doable, and second, very well-informed.

Michele has a B.A. and M.A. in theology from Notre Dame. We have an incredible resource in our midst.   She also has the privilege of raising two very beautiful little girls. She uses her practical wisdom from parenting, combined with an incredible education, to bring you one very delightful little book!

Today I am thrilled to do a giveaway for you, my lovely readers. One lucky person will win a copy of this book.

To win, please follow Michele's blog My Domestic Monastery, via her email newsletter, or follow her  on instagram, handle is mydomesticmonastery. (Or head here for easy following).  Come back and tell me - in the comments- that you are following her!

Here's my original review of the book:

I love Michele’s blog because I always leave inspired in my parenting and motherhood!  I was so thrilled when I heard she had written a book, I immediately shared it with a good friend after reading it myself. It’s one you’ll want to pass along to those you love, especially other young Catholic moms. Excellent introduction for exposing your children to the Catholic faith, just as the title says. So much wisdom.

And, here are just a few links I have enjoyed around the internet over the past week or two, as I'll be Linking up to 7 Quick Takes today!

5 Faves: Blogging Resources @ Call Her Happy
also this: My Dirty Little Content Secrets
I'm already a big fan of Jenna's Five Favorites, and having her host it just makes my day every week. And if you are a blogging geek, these are must-reads! :-)
Advent Wreath Link-Up @ Catholic Mom
Second annual advent wreath link-up. Tour your way through the blogosphere to see the lovely ways advent wreaths are being used by real people in their real homes.
Celebrating Your Way Through Advent for Busy Families @ Two Os Plus More
This was full of so many great ideas. She covered all the bases for you. For a crash course in the Advent season, this post is for you.
Pursue Lasting Joy Rather Than a Completed Checklist This Holiday Season @ Verily
I really just wanted to give this article an "Amen."
How Rare is a Great Marriage? @Modern Mrs. Darcy
Everyone needs to read this.
I'm Not Bossy, I am the Boss: 40 Gift Ideas for the Entrepreneur in Your Life @ Entrefamily
There were some good ones on this list! Very techity techy.;)
5 Tips for Going from Grinch to Grateful @ Humble Handmaid
I read this when I really, really needed to read it. It made me do a little "chin-up" in the midst of holiday stress, the time when- although joy abounds- for the Mama, temptations to stress abound, too. I also really like her posts about her kids, also! It's a fun blog.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real~ Baking Love+ Real Housekeeping Article+A Giveaway from Anthropologie

Molly baking cookies with her Grandma.
My Mother-in-law Sandy gave us this cookie jar. It overflowed, so we had to put some of the cookies outside.

This had to go under "Happy" ~ Molly with her First Grade teacher, Mrs. DeSutter. She is so sweet, and she has been such a blessing to Molly this year!


Molly in her reindeer headband making a Gingerbread Castle!

Funny thing is, I was taking pictures of the little smokestack because I was completely enamored, but somehow it got cut off in my picture. Boo sad!

So... baking cookies is messy. . . I think she changed a total of three times during this misadventure.

We love messes...

And I'm not gonna lie, the finished product was so Pinterest unworthy I was laughing. :-)

Guess what, friends?! I have an article at Real Housekeeping today: 9 Ideas for Getting Picky Preschoolers (And School Age Children) To Eat
Check it out!
Annnnnd, drum roll please:
I have a giveaway for you from Anthropologie!!

This gorgeous candle has an amazing Balsam Forest scent, perfect for Christmas time, and it is a $30 value. It smells DIVINE. I think it is the perfect candle to bring out at this time of year. It is very festive, and it would brighten up any room right away! Simply follow me on all of the social media channels you see in the upper right hand corner, using my newly minted blog buttons (Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and Instagram) created with love, and leave a comment telling me that you are following me! I will announce the winner early next week!

Merry Christmas!

Linking up to Like Mother, Like Daughter today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Anders' Celebration of Life

To read Anders' birth story, click here.

I thought it was funny that Anders barely fit into his "My First Halloween" shirt...

3 months old!
I haven't said much about him or his personality on the blog, but Anders is pretty much an angel baby thus far.  Sure, he's had fussy moments. However, they never, ever last long. When I think about our family a year ago, he wasn't even on our radar. We were happily tootling along as a family with 3 girls. Little did we know we'd be parenting a baby boy so soon! What a precious addition. Wow. Just wow.

He had one other Halloween shirt that fit him better. I squeezed him in both for this photo shoot, but this one certainly fit him better of the two. ;)

Anders is such a boy. At 12 months old, we can always find him on the floor going "brrr" back and forth with a toy car or truck.

He has a lot of words: "ca" for car, tuk for truck, he can also say duck, and in response to 'What does a duck say?" he says, "cack, cack."

He didn't talk as early as the girls, but he is catching up at lightning speed. His first word was beach, when we took him to the South Carolina shore. That was an early word, and he's caught up a lot since last summer.

He figured out how to walk at a little over 12 months old. At 13 months old, he figured out how to climb down stairs. He could climb up stairs early, probably a few months before.  Whenever he is learning something new, he blows his lips out like the cowardly lion.
The girls have a little sing-songy rhyme they sing to him "Annnnnders, Eliot Beck... Anders Eliot Beck, bum bum!"

His personality... he's loves to play ball, he is very curious, he's sweet, and he's scrappy. People have said he's a Stephen-mini-me.

I can see that, but he's sensitive like his Mommy. If something hurts, he makes the same scowl that I made as a baby. He can be rather melodramatic, which I also think he gets from his Mommy. He likes to growl like a dog, just to be silly,, and I don't remember the girls doing that much if at all.

He loves books- he LOVES to read. We find him looking at books so often, his babysitter commented on it. We think he's going to be a little intellectual! :) His favorite books are:
Richard Scarry- Cars and Trucks and Thing That Go
Dr. Seuss- Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?
Richard Scarry- Best Christmas Book Ever
First 100 Words
Eating the Alphabet
Thomas the Train ABC's
Thomas the Train Christmas
Oh my goodness-- what did we ever do without you, buddy?!

He loves going for walks, playing at the playground, and playing jumping games with his sisters. They are very helpful and it has been so fun for them to have a baby brother!

At 16 months, he is in 12/12-18 month clothes, but he is quickly growing out of those.

Playing at Grandpa and Grandma's House
He's big like his Uncle Evan
Baptism May 25, 2014

He will probably be in 18 month clothes right around 17 months.

We're glad you're here, big boy!
chubby cheeks!


oh hey!

what's that? a bird!

Hi Mommy!
19 months old!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekly Minutiae vol. 4 ~ Christmas cookies and Santa Lucia

So, I have a little story to share with you today.  This is the one where I break down crying. So yeah. For two weeks in a row, I had a plan. My babysitter would come when she always comes, and I would go run a million errands out by the Mall. I had my long list of items, my purse, and a lot of energy and sans-kid time. Holidays + Little Time + Pressure = Stress, Lots and Lots of Stress.

I got to the Mall area, and realized that I was actually without my phone and wallet, and... had a gas tank that was on empty.  It hit me that I was a little more than useless.  Nooooooo!  I was so mad!  I just stared, wondering... what in the world am I going to do?! After a 30 minute bout with aimlessness and the aforementioned, ahem..... crying, I ended up reading at Barnes and Noble- without coffee, ugh! I just got a stupid Pepsi from the newsstand in the mall food court- yes, my friends just ended up reading, for three and a half hours, and made it home with just barely enough gas left in the tank.
A dear friend sent this Christmas Novena to me - I am thankful!

And... yeah. It happened again a week later (!!!), but I just rolled with it.  It's like my new tradition now. I go to the Shopping Center with a long list of items to cross off my to-do list, and I.... read.  Yeah, mmhmm...  I just read.  And I look at the "Artful Blogging" magazine, and that's about it. Take that, Mall!

Christmas books lit up by the lights from the tree

So, let's talk St. Lucia.

This short description includes some great tidbits of history about St. Lucia, or as she is called in Norway, "Santa Lucia." They remember how Lucia, a young girl, brought food to persecuted Christians hiding in the catacombs in Rome during the time of Emperor Diocletian.  I think I mentioned in a recent post that my maternal grandparents were Swedish, but technically they were/are Swedish and Norwegian.  I'm pretty sure the celebration is similar in Sweden and Norway, but somebody correct me if I'm wrong! I have many memories of bringing this 95 year old woman sweet rolls in bed when she came to visit us in December!
My Swedish/Norwegian Grandma Evelyn with her two daughters making homemade Christmas cookies!  | With her great-granddaughter, Evelyn, for whom she is the namesake

My Mom still makes scorpa, a traditional Norwegian food similar to biscotti, as well as Scandinavian cookies- sandbakkels and krumkake with her three sisters and her mother, who are all living in Nashville. We left the lefsa (dried fish) and a few other traditional foods in our family culture behind! What a wonderful tradition, I wish I could have been there.

So we're going with the daily play-by-play style for this edition of Weekly Minutiae (min-oo-shuh). On Monday, I went jogging. I know! That's an event, right? So I live-tweeted it. I think this might be a yearly tradition!  Have you ever tried it? If you can, use your microphone. That explains why I couldn't do a proper hashtag, without spaces between the words. I think my favorite tweet was "I have a cramp that's burning blazes #my moms words not mine." This phrase came from a story from a ski trip we went on when Molly was a baby. My Mom said that her bunion was "burning blazes." My brother-in-law Pete said, "I have no idea what that means." Later, on recollection of this somewhat comical conversation, I skied into a snowdrift. So that's the story behind the story. :-)

On Tuesday, we went to the Catholic Motherhood group that meets at my church.  It was so refreshing to be with other moms from my parish.  We discussed this book, The Incorruptibles, and shared conversion stories with a new member who was cradle Catholic and curious to hear our stories. I realized that even though I have known some of these women for a while now, I did not know their conversion stories. I was blessed to hear from them. If you are sensitive of death stories, or the discussion of exhumation, do not buy this book! (Just sayin.) If you want to learn more about this crazy phenomenon and you are not easily startled, this may just be the book for you!
Philipok, by Leo Tolstoy

Also we spent a very long time on Tuesday afternoon just reading from our basket of Christmas books. Yes, it feels nice now that we have quite a collection, between the books we’ve collected over the years, and the library books we are borrowing right now. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with my sweet girls on either side of me! We watched Home Alone and Home Alone 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

On Wednesday, we did our normal thing. Our babysitter came, I ran into a friend from elementary school at the mall play area (yeah, I told her "I'm a writer," and that was... well, a story for another day). We picked up Molly, I dropped off some nuts for a funeral at our church, and in the afternoon, we played game after game of "ring around the rosy" for what felt like hours and Anders officially likes the "all fall down" part a lot right now. ;)
And we made these gift tags. I think they're not too shabby for a DIY. :-) You should try it!

So my Mom and I made some Christmas cookies and Scorpa together on Thursday.
Swedish Biscotti, called Scorpa... Yum Yum Yum!
I have never made saffron bread, but I've made many batches of delicious Scorpa in the past! It's like biscotti but flavored with cardamom. Maybe I'll share the recipe here someday soon.
On Friday, we .... drum roll please.... went to the Dollar Store!
And on Saturday, we celebrated the Feast of Santa Lucia (or alternatively, St. Lucy) with almond bear claws ... that I bought. :) Molly helped me make the wreath.
To make your own wearable wreath, use two pieces of long Ivy twine, and tie the ends with ribbon. Shape into a circle. Make another crown of rosemary, also by tying long sprigs with ribbon. Layer the rosemary crown over the Ivy crown, and add birthday candles using two twisty ties (the kind you find from a loaf of bread). Use the twisty ties to combine the two wreaths and make them into one.
Btw, does anyone know if there is a movie about St Lucy? My girls would love it, I'm sure.

And now, a couple of interviews with a 6+4+2 year old from this past week!
Stephen: Today is December 11th, and what day of the week is it?
Molly: The eleventh. I know... it is the eleventh day of Lent.
Stephen: Ah.. Wait, wait, Lent comes before... what? When does Lent happen? Before what holiday? ....What feast?
Molly: Thanksgiving?
Stephen: Easter. So what are we in right now? 
Molly: I don't know. Lent?
Stephen: Advent.
Molly: Advent? I don't know what I was thinking about... oh, Lent.
Stephen: It's time to prepare for one of the biggest days of the year.
Molly: I'm drawing you as a heart... this is heart world.
Stephen: You're drawing me as a heart? Ok. Frances what did you do today? Did you spend time with Grandma and Grandpa?
Frances: Yeah! I made cookies!
Stephen: What kind of cookies?
Frances: The kind that are in the Santa cookie jar.  I didn't have time for dessert, but that's ok... I'll quickly do one.
Stephen: Why does it help to get it quickly? 
Frances: Umm... well...
Stephen: Frances what did you do today?
Frances: Well, you already know that.
Stephen: Well, what did we do for the tree today?
Frances: Oh yeah, decorated the tree with candy canes.
Stephen: Molly, tell me what you got this morning {from the Book Fair at school}.
Molly: It's a diary with a top secret pen and you write with it, and it's invisible, and when you put the light on it in the dark, you can put the light on it and see what you write.
Stephen: That's amazing! So why would you ever want to write invisible messages?
Molly: So no one knows I writed it!

Stephen: Is there anything else you want to say about today that was interesting?
Frances: Well, Molly's writing stuff in her diary and I don't think... I don't remember what else!
Stephen: That's fine, what do you want to do tomorrow?
Frances: Maybe I can get all the stuff Molly wants, maybe I can get the BFF thing Molly wants!
Stephen: Ok,  great. Say goodnight everyone!
Madeleine: Goodnight, phone!
~ ~ ~
Frances: I remember Easter last year. Can I get all of the same things on Easter this year as I got last year?
Stephen: What did you get last year?
Frances: It was a Chocolate Easter. I got Easter Chocolate.
(Well, that really must have really been something...)
~ ~ ~
Stephen: Tell me what you did today?
Madeleine: Played with my Frances
Stephen: You mean, played with Molly and Frances?
Madeleine: Because I need a little soap... and put it on my face, and then cheese!
Stephen: That doesn't look very good, it looks like you got soap in your mouth.
Madeleine: Yep!
Stephen: What does it taste like?
Madeleine: SOAP!
Anders: "I want to learn how to do all the things my sisters can do:-) Like talk, for example..."

Stephen: What else did you do with Grandma and Grandpa?
Madeleine: Played with Anders and Grandpa.. what is this little thingy?
Stephen: It looks like somebody glued a google eye to the sink. Did you do that?
Madeleine: No... it comed from Mommy because she put this little thing on. UH! I'll get it off... because Mommy won't get it off and I might break it!
Stephen: Did you bake today? What did you bake today? Cookies?
Madeleine: Um, cookies!
Stephen: Something else, or just cookies?
Madeleine: Something else?
Stephen: Um...Scorpa, right?
Madeleine: I want PJ's. 
Stephen: Because why?
Madeleine: Um because to get them wet for the water. (singing) Jesus loves... Jingle Bees! Jingle all the way.. How much fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.... gibberish.....{laughing, laughing, laughing}. What is that thing again?
Stephen: Um, my phone.
Madeleine: No I'm talking about that THING!
Stephen: It's the case.
Madeleine: So what do you do with your phone?
Stephen: Um, I read on it, and...
Madeleine: Put your case on it?
Stephen: ...What do you do on the phone?
Madeleine: I play the baby game.
Stephen: What do you do with babies, do you feed the babies?
Madeleine: Mmmhmm! And you put the soap on it!
Stephen: Ok.... say goodnight!
Madeleine: Goodnight! (mumbling to herself) Because this is a triangle, not a square. (???)

What is "Weekly Minutiae" you may ask?
updates, funny things they say, photo dumps, and the like,  a "blogging is fun" type deal with all of the fun trivial details that make life fun and/or interesting.

In January, this is going to become a Link-Up through InLinkz! Every Monday here at Picture a Skyline. This blog only gets about 25 hits per post, maximum 125. That's very small, traffic-wise.  Please email me with more questions. We're blogging for fun :-) Join us!

And stay tuned for a week of giveaways!