Friday, November 30, 2012

St. Andrew's Day

This morning we went to a local school performance of The Nutcracker.  Is it me or is that show just WEIRD?  How funny that it has become such a Christmas classic.  Nothing says the birth of Christ like lifesize attack rats, scary magic uncles, and creepy toy soldiers coming to life.

The boys loved it, though, and have spent much of the day vying for who gets to be the evil rat king and who gets to be the good king (a.k.a. the nutcracker).  

Then we came home and went fishing in honor of St. Andrew...

Dinner was panko encrusted swai (which is a type of fish I have never heard of but it was next to the tilapia in the freezer case and I was feeling adventurous.  Just stick with the tilapia.)

And lest you feel intimidated by my liturgical prowess, know that this was yet another totally not worth the effort type of meals.  Several children wouldn't eat it and really, it was not impressive.  I should have just made tuna cheesies, the boys' favorite, and called it a win.  But we're talking about me here.  

We ended our evening by beginning the St. Andrew Christmas Novena together, which is not actually a prayer to St. Andrew but addressed to God Himself.  It begins today and is prayed every day until Christmas.  We've prayed it as a family the last few years after learning about it through Elizabeth.  It is such a beautiful prayer and I encourage and invite you to pray it with us!  

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. 

In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. 

(Pray 15 times either throughout the day or at once.)
See Lena for a tutorial on making a beaded chaplet to help keep track.  Ours are just simple knotted cords.  I love that hers have the prayer attached for easy reference!

Hope to be back this weekend to share some of our Advent plans for this year!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} and a Winner!




This is one of those "Can you spot the differences?" picture games...

The first snow of the year and my kids chose to celebrate by running out to the porch to...make snow angels?  Build a snowman?  Catch snowflakes on their tongues?  Nope.  By grabbing bowls and running back inside to make "snow candy" a la Little House on the Prairie.

I'm not sure why but turkey pot pie has become a little Solemnity of Christ the King tradition around here.  I suppose because it normally falls right after Thanksgiving and because it sort of resembles a crown.  And we really like it.  So there's that.


We have a winner!  (What?  It's real.  (Streeeeetch.))

Amy Caroline from Knit Together Designs!  (Oh my goodness, I need to explore that page!)  
Please email me at betterthaneden1(at)yahoo(dot)com with your shipping address and I'll send it out ASAP!
Thank you to all who entered!  I always feel bad for all the people who don't win but I'm pretty sure the husband wouldn't be down with me buying copies for all of you :)  I'm certain you will have a wonderfully blessed Advent regardless!

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yarn Along

I haven't been around for Yarn Along in a few weeks!  Pretty much because there hasn't been much knitting happening during that time.  I just lost the drive for it for a little while (does that happen to you?) but I've been creating and crafting in other ways.  I'm hoping to catch the bug again, though, in time to create some Christmas love.  I pinned this Knitted Chainmail Hauberk a while ago and am hoping to get three done for the older boys in time for Christmas.  Knights need them some chainmail, right?  I'm using simple Paton's wool in a darker shade of gray than I would like.  I'm finding the pattern a bit wonky and a bit more complicated than it needs to be but once I get the hang of it I'm hoping it will be a quick knit with such huge needles.  Those needles feel so awkward when you're not used to them, though!  There's also a helmet pattern I may attempt as well but now I'm getting just a wee bit ambitious...

We've been enjoying some more of The Mistmantle Chronicles and are now about half way through the third book, The Heir of Mistmantle.  These books are wonderful.  I've been reading them aloud with John Paul at night and he is always begging for more.  The writing is superb and the stories are so engaging.  There is a lot of allegory just like in The Chronicles of Narnia but not overly done, in my opinion.  I've been sucked into the stories as well.  I highly recommend these books for older children.  It's a little bit intense for the little ones so I've been keeping it for just John Paul for now.  Though there have been a few nights and early mornings when I can put my ear up to their bedroom door and hear John Paul whispering the stories to his brothers while they lie in bed.  So sweet.  I did finish In This House of Brede finally and really enjoyed it.  I'm planning on taking a break from the Mistmantle books to read The Hobbit with the boys.  Brian's read it with them before but can you believe I've never read it??  The book must be read before I even think about THE MOVIE that is coming out next month!  That's the rule, right?

So what are you creating lately?

Oh!  And P.S.!  Don't forget you're invited to enter the Advent reading giveaway...just a few hours left!

Joining Ginny and the gang...

Monday, November 26, 2012

An Advent Reading GIVEAWAY!! (Closed)

Thanksgiving weekend is over and I hope you had a good one!  We got to see family and I didn't feel all that horrible about eating two of our turkeys.  And my newest little niece was Baptized yesterday on the Solemnity of Christ the King, so yay for that!  Now this week the fall decorations are coming down and Advent plans are being made.  How great is it that we get a FULL week to prep for Advent.  I like that.

Now on to the good stuff...
Y'all (my husband said I had to put that in here.  He is amused when I use the word y'all), guess what?  It's the first ever Better Than Eden giveaway!

I'm so grateful for all the kind comments and lovely readers that meet me here.  And to show you how much I love you and also help deepen someone's Advent, I'd really like to give one of you a free copy of Advent and Christmas with the Saints compiled by Anthony F. Chiffolo!!  
Woo-hoo!  Free book!

This book contains a daily Scripture reading, words from a saint and a short reflection upon which to meditate.  It begins on the First Sunday of Advent and goes right on through the twelve days of Christmas.  The daily readings are only about two pages so it is the perfect meditation for those bleary-eyed early mornings with a cup of something hot in your hands.  Doesn't that sound nice?

To enter simply leave a comment!  That's it!  For additional entries share this giveaway to Facebook or on your own blog (come back and leave another comment so I know).  If you are not already a follower, click on the follow button to the right for an additional entry!  (Up to three entries, please!) (Oh, and if you comment anonymously, please leave an email or name so I know who you are!)

The giveaway is a short one and will only be open until Wednesday, November 28 at 11:59 p.m. so that a winner can be chosen randomly the very next morning.  I'll ship it out priority as soon as I get info from the winner and hope that it gets where it needs to be as soon as possible to Sunday, the first day of Advent!

How'dya like that?  Now get entering!

P.S.  And please do check out my Intentional Advent invitation and let us know how you are deepening YOUR Advent this year.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

An Intentional Advent - And You're Invited!

Every year it seems to increase, that rush to celebrate Christmas and the inadvertent loss of the richness and meaning of the celebration itself.  Thanksgiving becomes merely a "gateway holiday" and carols are being blasted before Advent has even begun.  I know most people don't get it and simply just want a good time.  I get that.  So I will try not to rant but perhaps you would you allow me just a few thoughts?

We live in a culture where we want the fun now.   We want to imbibe now.   We want to celebrate now.  We want to harness all the delight and joy of Christmases past and recollect and relive them now.  It's a cultural problem, really.  From simple things like saying no to that extra treat to waiting patiently for the light to turn green to much bigger things like waiting until Marriage to partake in the act of making love, the world says "why wait?  Do it NOW" and we nod in agreement.  And with the help of modern psychology we delude ourselves into thinking that it's the denying ourselves and waiting that is harmful.  Because, of course, we will just explode if we don't give in to our healthy appetites.  And we're talking about Christmas, for crying out loud!  Of course it would only be a good thing to just want to celebrate it more.  Right?

But in steps the Church.  That mean old grumpy Church.  When all the world is screaming do it NOW, the Church whispers wait.  When the world declares more is better, the Church says the right time is better.  When the world sings that the season is here, the Church says no, it is yet to come.  And she is right.  After all, she was the one who set it all up in the first place.  I've found more and more each year that the more we wait in joyful expectant hope during the season of Advent, the fuller and richer and more fruitful our celebration of Christmas.  The more we humble ourselves before the wisdom of two thousand years of Tradition and teaching (even if we don't always get it), the more we DO end up understanding deep within our hearts the mystery and depth that is the Christian life.

There is nothing like those last few weeks of pregnancy.   I think back to those weeks before my first was born and I want to shake that young inexperienced little girl and tell her, "Get READY.  Your life is going to be completely changed and your world rocked.  This baby thing is the realest, hardest, craziest thing you will ever do.  And it will be worth it.  So very very worth it.  But be prepared."  And I wish I would have.  I would have prayed more, sat more, read more, written more, and most definitely slept more.  I would have learned more from parents I admired and frozen more meals.  I did a whole lot of celebrating and was incredibly grateful for the gift of this new little child but I did very little preparing of my own heart for the demands of motherhood.  Those last few weeks are a gift but often we see them only as a burden, yearning for that baby to be out before he or she is ready.  And we know that some of the most important, life-giving developments happen in those last few weeks and days.  A child born before they are ready has obstacles to overcome and sometimes the effects of emerging too early are lifelong.  It really shouldn't surprise us that the same culture that continues to rush the celebration of Christmas also has an epidemic of unnecessarily induced births and some of the highest infant mortality rates in the industrialized world.  We just. can't. wait.

But maybe it's time.  Maybe it's time to challenge ourselves to wait.  Even when it's hard and it hurts.  To force ourselves to wait and pray, prepare and hope.  When everything around us and in us wants it now, to maybe deny ourselves and our own false wisdom and yield to the wisdom of tradition.  And of course, we do this without sour-faces and miserable sighs.  We wait in JOYFUL hope for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But we still wait.

So I try not to rant.  I do my best to prepare and wait within my own little domestic church, and observe the seasons the way the Church in her vast wisdom has organized for centuries.  If the Church isn't singing Christmas carols, then our little church doesn't either.  If the Church curtails the decorations, then so does ours.  And if the Church celebrates Christmas beginning at sundown on December 24th, then that's when we will begin to celebrate it, too.  The Church has given us Advent and rather than just be a time of sitting on our hands until the real fun begins, it is a gift in itself.  It is a time for penance, reflection, almsgiving, prayer.  A time to truly prepare our hearts for HIM.  Advent gets us ready for the One who wants to renew, restore, and transform our lives yet again and that takes time and patience and the hard job of waiting.

Will you wait with me?

I'm challenging myself and our family to live the most intentional Advent yet.  And I think I want to challenge you, too.  We have a full week until it begins.  What will you do to observe Advent more this year?  How will you more fully live the life of the Church within your family?  What will that mean for you?  Even if it's one small thing...can you do it as a gift for Him?

Some ideas:
No treats and a simple menu until Christmas
Turning off the t.v. and Christmas carols during Advent
Holding off on the decorating a few weeks
Extra acts of charity and service as a family
Special devotions prayed individually and as a family
Beginning the tradition of the Jesse Tree.
Increasing your financial giving to your church and the poor.

I'll be posting about some of our family's plans this Advent but I'm going to wait on that for a bit.  (You can read about some of our little traditions here, if you'd like.)  I don't want anyone thinking this is what I think they should do.  Pray about it and reflect on how your unique family can observe Advent more fully.

And then?

Then come back and share with us how you and your family will be deepening your Advent this year.  If you have a blog, post about your family's plans (and feel free to grab the image below, link back here, and add your link below so we can see your post!).

Wait with us.  I'm inviting you.  HE'S inviting you.
I can promise you this: 
He will be worth it.

Also linked at:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Stairway Redone!

Before I show you our revamped stairwell, let's rewind a bit, shall we?
This is what the stairway looked like when we moved in:

Dark (poorly) stained (but real!) wainscot, yellowed pineapple wallpaper, brown trampled carpet

Upstairs view

Just so you can get a glimpse of how nasty the carpet really was.  Matted, thin, and an ugh shade of brown.

It took us way too long to finally get this project done.  I never really think of the stairwell as a 'room' so I just always put it off and out of my mind.  Except, of course, every time I walked up and down those stairs and thought, "man, we really need to do this soon."  The upstairs part of the carpet was pulled up very soon after we moved in three years ago and all the upstairs floors were painted the same color.  But we left the stairs.  Until this past summer when we finally pulled it up to tackle the job.

We do feed the child, I promise.  The poor boy comes from a long line of waifs.

This is the horrid enamel paint that was underneath the carpet.  What do you even call that color??

And now...

What do you think???
I know you're surprised I picked white and neutrals for the paint ;)  It is so much lighter and brighter now and since the stairwell is enclosed and was so dark before, I think it is much improved!

The painted runner was inspired by the photo here

The words were my idea.  We have fourteen steps so I decided to list the fruits of the Spirit and leave the top and bottom either blank or add some sort of design.  I don't know.  Is it too cheesy?  I think I like it for now.  But if I decide it's bugging me, it's pretty easy to paint over.

At the very least maybe it'll help us all to learn them...

Upstairs landing

See that handrail?  I decided I didn't want just an off the home improvement store shelf boring wood rail if I could help it.  I wanted maybe something metal mimicking the old iron hooks that were left in parts of the house.  (That's weird, I know.  But I really really like those old hooks and how they go with the old wood.)  I didn't know where or how we would do that and didn't think much about it.  But then when I was going through my crazy woman house purge and was up in the loft above the garage, we found this pipe/bar/handle thing hiding sneakily against the wall!!!  I wonder if it was originally hanging here because it fit PERFECTLY.  And I was a happy camper.  I brushed on some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint to try to darken it a bit.  It looks a little blacker than I was hoping but I still like it.  And the boys have been having a ball using it as their "fireman's pole" since it has remarkable sliding capabilities.  :)

For some reason, this view makes me happy.  The "new" old pine floors contrasted with the neutral's quite fun to see it every time I now walk down the stairs.

Want to hear something else quite fun?  This whole stairwell project cost us about....$20.  Yes, ma'am.  Taking off the wallpaper and ripping out the carpet were obviously free.  I used all paint that we already had on hand from doing other rooms.  The only things I needed to buy were the alphabet stencil, the paint for the railing (which will be used again for other projects), some primer for the wainscot, and a new light switch cover.  Isn't that sweet?  I love that you can make such a difference to a room with just paint and some (or a lot of) hard work!

What projects are you working on now?  What's your favorite home project that you've completed?  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful...and um, Blogger Advice Needed :)

The turkeys (yes, two...those birds were WAY smaller than we anticipated!) are roasting, pie is done, potatoes are prepped and littles are napping.  The calm before the I'm popping in here to wish you all a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving.

So I'm thankful for many things.  But to be honest, I need to be more thankful for well, everything.  Don't we all?  Are we ever truly thankful enough for every single gift that has been bestowed on us, most unworthy humans that we are?  Probably not.  But we will try today, yes?  We will try to be thankful for the uncountable joys, gifts, comforts and blessings.  But living a life transformed by redemption we also strive, through His grace...always through His be thankful for the hurts, the sufferings, the trials, the crosses.  For it is in them we become more like Him.   It is impossible on our own.  But with Him, in Him, we can even be thankful for those.  That's the thing that saints are made of and it is the grateful life to which we are all called.  And sometimes that starts with being thankful for the little things.  Like turkey and stuffing and pie and friends and family gathered together in a warm home.

So today I will make my own puny little efforts, begging on His grace, to be truly, honest to goodness grateful for all of it.  And then attempt to be that way every day.  Let's pray for each other today that we can respond to His grace and become the redeemed and grateful people that we should be.  

And er, (awkward segue ahead) I'm so very thankful for all you dear readers.  Readers who share with me your joys, sufferings, and advice.  Speaking of which, (see how I did that?) I have apparently reached my  photo storage limit through Blogger/Picasa and I am not allowed to upload any more pics unless I buy more storage space.  It's not a ton of money but I'm wondering if there is any other way I should be doing this?  Preferably free but not too complicated?  Suggestions, other bloggers?  Because I really really want to show you my new stairs and until I figure this out, alas, I cannot.  

And, um, yes...Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Completely Random Thoughts on a Tuesday

- The turkeys were processed today.  And I didn't even get to get a picture of them before they left.  I was hoping to get one last picture because they are such neat birds but they were already locked in a luggage carrier (?) in the back of the husband's truck.  He's doing the messy part.  I get to cook them.  And I'll probably feel awful the whole time.  Dare I even say there is a huge part of me that is more than ever tempted to vegetarianism...

- Please say a prayer for Auntie Leila!  Apparently she is in the hospital and will need surgery.  I hope it isn't anything too serious and that she is brought home healthy very soon.  God, please be with her and bless her.

- I have been a busy little bee the past few weeks working on and finishing so many projects.  It feels so good to get all those projects that were long sitting in my little brain out into the real world!  Pics soon I hope?  

- I'm so happy the floors are done!  The other night John Paul looked around and said "it looks like a KING should live here!"  The room looks so so much better and our house is now 99% free of disgusting carpet.  The mudroom carpet will stay until it decomposes.  

- Apparently my growing unease with eating animals has not been passed along to the children.  Last night at dinner Michael declared how much he "LOVES eating pig."  It was bacon, after all.

- I'm trying to get my husband to love coffee.  Is that weird?  I drink a few cups of 20% caffeinated coffee a day.  (Yes, 20%.  Four scoops decaf, one regular.  I'm a lightweight, what can I say?  And I know fractions.)  Long ago he gave up his Pepsi addiction so now he normally just drinks water.  Which is fine and healthy and good but there's something warm and relational about sharing a cup of coffee with someone sometimes, isn't there?  It's just not the same when it's a glass of water and I just can't get excited about tea.  I also think that extra boost of caffeine might just get me some projects done, but that, OF COURSE, is secondary.

- Right now I have only ONE doula client!  Now that the Lukester is getting bigger I feel like I can begin taking more clients.  So if you live in the area, please feel free to pass my name along to any women you think may be interested in doula support for their birth!  Do you know Cesarean rates are FIFTY percent lower for mothers who have a doula present?  And their labors are TWENTY-FIVE percent shorter??  True story.

- We sold most of our pullets over the past few days.  We now have four old lady hens, 4 laying hens,  and nine pullets.  And that is more than enough for now.

- I absolutely LOVED this post from Haley about Advent and Christmas.  You really should read it.

- Speaking of other ladies online, my friend Theresa just started a blog and she's a natural.  Hop on over and check it out!

- You know what grammar faux pas drives me batty?  The misuse of the word literally.  What's your grammar pet peeve?  (Please don't say people who can never remember how to properly use commas or the proper place of punctuation marks in relation to quotes.  In that case, I apologize profusely.  It's not intentional and try as I might, it just always looks wrong.)

- Another question:  what's your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner?  

- Another question:  what happens when Mary indulges in an extra two cups of 20% caffeinated coffee while the THREE littles are napping?  (Answer:  spastic posts like this.)

- Do you know my shopping for Christmas is almost completely done?  I have a bunch of things to make but the shopping part is nearly finished.  Which makes me happy since I don't like to do that part during Advent.  

- And because I said the above, the littles have all awoken with a bang so I'm off to do some sort of obligatory Thanksgivingy craft thing, I think.  

If I don't get on here before have a wonderful Thanksgiving, friends!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

You guys.  For once my compulsive refreshing of Google Reader paid off big. time.  I GOT A SPOT ON JESSICA'S JESSE TREE ORNAMENT EXCHANGE.  I know!!  I'm so excited about it.  Last year I mentioned to some friends about doing this very same thing and they were all like "ummm."  And my dreams were quashed.  But now?  Now I get to do it with all of these fun people and I totally feel like one of the cool kids and I'm sort of nervous that my ornament will not be good enough.  But it will be, I think.  We've done the Jesse Tree for years and our salt dough ornaments are in sore sore need of replacing.  Every year just a few more broke and we still couldn't figure out what a few of them were even supposed to be.  Mary is kneeling and she has what appears to be a bullet wound to the head.  Quite disturbing.  So, yes.  I'm excited and working hard on my ornaments to send in.  And super pumped to see what everyone else makes!!  Squueeeee!  (FYI, that's me excited.  Not me imitating a pig.)

Hey y'all.  Thank you for the prayers the other day.  I felt em.  And sorry if I was whiny.  I try not to be.  (Hear that, husband?  Stop that laughing.  Just go with it.)  I remember a friend saying to me once when we were talking about sleep stuff that there is a reason sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique.  And it's so true.  Ask me anything, I'll probably tell it to you.  It makes you (or at least me) feel completely cracked out.  But it's a tad bit better with all that three hours in a row I got last night (woot!).  You know what is fun, though?  You know that glorious day when you get a longer stretch of sleep and you wake up feeling fan-freakin-tabulous and knock the heck out of that day with all the energy you have?  Well, people who are getting all that sleep EVERY night don't get that.  So there.  It's like when you fast for Lent and then it's EASTER!  You appreciate that given up thing so much more, right?? Right?  

So.  This Thursday is Thanksgiving.  The day when we all eat Turkey.  (Is that sort of weird that so many people are eating the same thing at the same time?  No?)  That means that the TURKEYS we raised this summer are being, ahem, processed this week.  I'm actually having a mini hard time with it.  I barely helped with them and hardly ever played with them (turkeys are quite playful, you know) but still.  I'm all for knowing what's in your food and being self sufficient and buying local, yada, yada, yada.  But there is something to that ignorance is bliss sort of thing.  It's going to be weird sitting at the table on Thursday a bit guilt-ridden that I'm eating the very bird I looked in the eye.  Or it could also be delicious.  Or both.  I'll let you know.

Ha!  My baby's pretty cute.  He's also eleven months old now.  Don't even.

I mentioned something the other day about making simple but real food and a number of you (what? Two is a number.) asked for soup recipes.  I plan on posting a few of our favorites when I get a chance.  Would anyone be interested in a linkup of sorts sharing your favorite go to recipes for your family?  Let me know and I can make. it. happen.

Oooh.  I know what I wanted to ask some of you.  So the spam comments don't really bug me normally and I know other people have been having issues with crazy amounts of spam.  Me as well.  But they've gotten vile and completely offensive so now what to do?  Is there some trick I don't know about?  I know I could turn off anonymous posting but I'd rather not.  Is that the only way to thwart the grosstastical spammers?  Are y'all still having the same spam problems?  

Who else is pumped for Jen making her reality TV debut?!?  It is on my calendar and I know it's going to make me laugh and be all sorts of awesome.  I hope I can get it to work on this here computer.  Oh, we knew her when.  Or never.  But I link up on her site so she and I are, y'know, tight.

Go see her!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} - flooring edition


I'm rather proud of my November faux-mantel.  Do you know someone was THROWING AWAY that fireplace surround?  I know!  I passed by it early one morning after grocery shopping and it was sitting by the curb.  I couldn't get it myself but I totally sent Brian to save it from the garbage truck.  If I can't have a real fireplace (sob), I will at least have a mantle.  And lest you think I'm super creative and crafty, I most definitely pilfered that idea from here.  Hers is much cuter but I'm still proud.


Sneak peek of our floors!  They are DONE!


Oh fine.  Real pic from this morning!  Sock skating on the refurbished floors.


All of our living and dining room shoved into the library.  And this was after I pulled out a few things.  I do not do well in chaos.  So glad that we are on the other end of that project!  Now to chill for a few days weeks before embarking on the next one...

Linking up with the ladies...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Joe David Smith

I've been banished upstairs to lay in my bed and eat pretzels and cheese and watch Parenthood whilst my other half puts another coat of polyurethane on the floors.  Taking one for the team, that I am.  But since I am still wordless (or possibly just lazy) I thought I'd entertain you with this little gem brought home by John Paul from art class this afternoon:

File under:  One more reason I'm glad my son doesn't go to public school.

Meet Joe David Smith, the scarecrow that apparently has taken a night job as a soldier in the Armed Forces.  I think we should all be thanking him for his sacrifice.  Quite obviously his service has done a number to his joints.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Building an Air Powered Gun

Yep, the title is correct :)  Never thought you'd get a lesson in firearms on this here blog, did you?  But I present to you my first ever guest post.  Eight year old John Paul was thrilled with the prospect of being able to share with you all his latest project.  And (insert motherly instinct here) please know that if you do make this gun it is REALLY powerful and could definitely hurt someone.  We made the mistake of testing it inside resulting in a flesh wound to one of our library doors.  Please be careful!  

Okay, stepping aside...take it away, John Paul!

During the past few weeks I’ve been working on this gun with my dad.  First I drew the diagram after seeing the picture on this site.

Then my dad bought the pieces and we worked on it.  Here’s how to make it:


Two ½” diameter PVC pipes cut to 5’’

One ½” diameter PVC pipe cut to 3 ½’’

Three ½” PVC curve pipes 1’’diameter

One ½” diameter PVC pipe cut to 22”

One ½” diameter PVC pipe cut to 1 ½’’ 

One ½” diameter PVC valve

One good quality plastic bottle

One hand pump

Duct tape

Super glue

PVC cement

PVC primer

First you cut the pieces to the sizes written above.  Using the diagram, glue the pieces together with the PVC cement and PVC primer.  If you don’t know how to do it, this is how: First, put on the PVC primer then put on the PVC cement (on both pieces).  Stick them together and hold the pieces together for thirty seconds.  Now glue the hand pump on with the super glue.  Glue on the bottle with the PVC primer and cement.  If that does not work then use the super glue to glue it together.  We used a rubber ring between the bottle and the pipe. Use the duct tape to stabilize the hand pump.  The gun is now ready to shoot.

First close valve.  Put bullet down barrel.  Then pump air into bottle until it is hard to pump.  MAKE SURE THE GUN IS NOT FACING PEOPLE OR BUILDINGS.
Turn the valve.

DART - Use a ball of foil glued onto a dowel and put feathers on the other end.
FOIL BULLET - Use a piece foil and crumple it into a ball.
NAIL BULLET - Hammer a nail into a dowel.
DOWEL BULLET - Use a piece of dowel.
(Mary here.  You could also use um...marshmallows.  Softer...i.e. less cool.)

Once you shoot this gun it will work great! I put a scope on it but I could not even tell if it worked because it shot so fast.  It shoots as high as three of our houses stacked on top of each other.  I can hardly see the bullet when I shoot it because it shoots so fast.  Once you have one you will like your gun, too. 

Here is a video of me shooting it:

I wanted to show you how to make an air powered gun so that you could make one, too.  I hope you enjoyed my post.  Please let me know if you made one by leaving a comment!

(Mary here.  Please let us know if you have any questions.  Not that I could answer it.  But John Paul would love to ;)

Happy shooting!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A November Morning Daybook

Outside my window...
A cool November morning.  No snow and it's supposed to be in the mid 60's today which is awesome because we've had dreary cold day after dreary cold day lately.

Thankful for...
You know, I'm not naturally a super grateful person.  I need to be more intentional about that and the blog has been uber helpful in that department.  But lately I've been a sour face cranky pants.  (Why can't I be a lazy, let everything go sleep deprived person instead of a angry crazy world is ending sleep deprived person?  That would be more fun, I think.)  So I'm thankful for the upcoming holidays, for our cozy autumn evenings, that I am on the ball with our Christmas preparations, for teething sick babies and toddlers, and that I was only woken four times last night (I know, right?) so today is starting well.  And...Brian is refinishing our floors!!!  (Jazz hands, Snoopy dance, flips of excitement all in one!)

Thinking about...
Big things.  The last few months have been really tough.  But the words just don't seem to come lately.  I wouldn't mind a few prayers if you could.

We're sort of back in the swing of things learning-wise since our vacation.  That with all the disrupted sleep really threw us off.  We're making sure to take care of the core now - math, writing, Latin.  The rest just seems to take care of itself lately.
  Sarah has me really intrigued with the Catholic Classical Memory program, though.  I think this is what I've been looking for but didn't know existed.  

From the kitchen...
The normal stuff.  Nothing fancy here, folks.  But real food on the cheap is my specialty.  And lots of soup because it's FALL!!  (Ahem, and it's CHEAP!)

Fall beauty in our home.  Or trying to, at least.  Also working on a few decor projects that I've been putting off forever.  And a new stairwell.  And FLOORS REDONE!!  And Christmas gifts.  And Thanksgiving plans.  And not many blog posts.

To go to the Naval Park this afternoon.  The sanding and refinishing of the floors is awesome but really hard.  Which is why we've put it off for so long.  But the chaos and naps lost will be worth it right?!?   So for our second day in a row I have to leave with all four kids and be gone all day long.   I think this is harder than when he was gone for four days on retreat last week.  At least then you can hunker down at home.  But I won't remember the exhaustion in a few weeks, right?  And it's supposed to be a beautiful day and it's Veteran's Day so I think it's the perfect place to go.

In Him.  
Not our president.  Or any other elected official, for that matter.  HE is the one in Whom I hope.  And trying not to forget that.

In This House of Brede by Rumer Goden.  Really really good.  I've been taking a long time with it which is not that normal for me.  But it's more a book for savoring rather than devouring, I think. 

For a cousin in law having surgery this week.  And for a young man named Chris suffering from late stage cancer.  God, be with them.

And for our country.  Oh man, how I'm praying for our country.

The boys coloring and the monitor humming as Luke naps.  Which would be so blissfully quiet if it weren't for the BLASTED SANDER BEING RUN IN THE OTHER ROOM.

Around the house...
Did I mention we're finally refinishing the floors??  I'm excited.  But the house is in a state of necessary chaos and that is very very hard for me.

One of my favorite things... 
Watching Luke toddle around like a drunken sailor.
And how many people have told me that they miss it when I don't post and wondering when I will write again.  It means a super duper lot.  For real.  (But, hey, you're free to leave a comment now and again, people. Just sayin.)

A few plans for the rest of the week...
I'm thinking we'll need to leave the house again tomorrow.  And then lots of house putting back together, I hope.

A picture thought to share...

Sorry, ladies.  He's all mine.

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