Follow our family's journey as we seek to nourish our souls with music and literature, good company, great cooking, time spent in nature, and always, the love of Christ especially through the sacraments of His Church.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Crowning of The Year

Oh, so much to share. So many titles I could have chosen! But this is a line from one of my favorite Christmas (Advent?) carols:

People Look East

People, look east. The time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.

Christmas really is the crowning of the year! There are a thousand things I love about the late days of December - the hectic preparations that overcome you no matter how organized you thought you were; the beauty of Christmas night, heading out to church in the snow (if you're so lucky); the exhale of sitting down to dinner on Christmas Day knowing that everything is done at last; the lazy, sleepy day after.

This year, I meditated quite a bit on another line from the song above: Make your house as fair as you are able. Not as fair as the neighbors', or as fair as your mom's, or as fair as that magazine cover or that other blogger's photos! Able means: within your means, your capacity, your ability. People like me need to be reminded that sometimes it's fair enough. I am genetically programmed to over-do until I drop. Intellectually, I know this. With some effort, I can intentionally put the brakes on my need to execute every grand plan that my head can come up with. That's what I tried to do this year, and it helped me move beyond survival to actual enjoyment of both Advent and Christmas. Tasks were fit in around the needs of lots of little people, my own limitations, and finances. Some things got trimmed, others adapted. 

One thing that has helped me is to remember this is not the only Christmas we will ever celebrate. Some ideas can be used next year! Maybe some traditions could alternate years, like the snow globes that are still packed away upstairs because I never got them out, and the kids haven't remembered (yet). 

On the bright side, every single thing I ordered from Amazon on December 18th arrived by Christmas Eve. This is when technology is my friend! The kids were clean and dressed. Most decorations got put up. The cookies and treats I envisioned got made. Mostly. 

The speed bumps? The tree never did want to stand up in its place in the exact center of the window. So we propped it up against the counter and decorated as usual. Looks gorgeous. Not perfect. The kids love it. We didn't get to a few of the recipes on that list in my head. No one noticed. This is the dessert table from Christmas dinner at my mom's:

See what I mean? Genetically programmed! (Isn't it beautiful?)

What emerged as important was the time we spent in worship and thanksgiving, the time spent together as a family sharing the blessing of the children's joy, and the time celebrating with loved ones seen too seldom, sharing their joy. It was a wonderful, peaceful Christmas Day. (Mom's table, again).

We went to Christmas Eve Mass earlier than usual, a snow storm on the way. Once home, after the now-traditional stop at Walgreens for something we forgot, we made Tourtiere, the traditional French Canadian meat pie that Jeff and I both grew up with. I still had plenty of wrapping and baking to do that night. Even though they could not get to sleep before 11 pm or even later, the kids got up at 5:30 am. Jeff and I were still up! We rolled with it and had Christmas morning, since we knew no one was going back to sleep. Then we left them playing with their new toys and caught a few hours' sleep ourselves (with Molly) before cooking some more and heading out to be with family. 

It was such a treat to have a Sunday right after Christmas this year. It was the most blissful day of rest all year! Being together seemed like a fitting way to celebrate the feast of The Holy Family.

Our celebrating is a long way from over. My sister's birthday celebration is tomorrow. Then, family and friends are expected over here on New Year's Eve. We will probably be with family again sometime that weekend. Epiphany is also early again this year, the day after New Year's, and we celebrate that day as well. Honestly, I'm still in rest and recovery mode, while halfheartedly reassembling the house to be ready for New Year's Eve. I'm not sure how we will celebrate Epiphany yet! 

To take the last line from the song, it is all for Love: Love, the guest, is on the way. It's about Him, it's for Him. He is the reason for this joy, this labor, this togetherness! We are so thankful that He has come and has given us hope and a reason to celebrate. Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!

Blessings of this beautiful season to each of you reading... May Love fill your homes and hearts, too.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Trial and Triumphs

How are your Christmas preparations coming? Predictably, we've had our ups and downs already - the days are growing short and there is still much to be done, both spiritually and materially.

Notably, we are way behind on our Jesse tree, and the kids have been watching too much TV. But our focus on good deeds is helping everyone to put forth some extra effort, always a joy to see.

Here's a peek at some of our recent activities, successes and failures!

We made snowflake cookies with blue frosting for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8:

(Benjamin has since had a much-needed haircut!)

We had early Christmas with the paternal grandparents last week. New Lego and K'NEX sets and books are keeping small hands and brains busy while Mom has so much to do! Definitely a win in my book.

Another Christmas gathering is scheduled for this Sunday at our house. I hope I can figure out what to do with the tree before then!

You can't exactly see from the picture, but two of the three feet broke off the stand, and the tree is leaning against the blinds. It can't stand up at all. We never even made it as far as ornaments! Getting a new tree isn't really an option, so we are trying to decide between a bucket of sand, or looking for a used tree at the Goodwill that we can swap out the stand with. (The bucket of sand sounds like more fun for the "chipmunks", don't you think?)

Needless to say, this is terribly frustrating for an impatient person like me. I have come to realize that I already despise tedious Christmas tasks, including fancy cookie baking and tree trimming. I know, Scrooge!!  Then when things go wrong, I am really not so much fun to be around. I am trying to keep the Christmas spirit by remembering that these are minor things which are supposed to add to our celebration, not define it. And I love the results so much that I will go through the aggravation to enjoy them later.

Fortunately, I have drowned my sorrows in the most decadent, easy pumpkin spice latte from Sarah. I finally broke down after weeks of eying her sidebar photo, and I bought the requisite holiday ice cream. In seconds I had something that rivaled the costly lattes available at those places we all know too well. Oh, soooo good!!

It was even better with a chocolate biscotti from the homeschool moms' cookie exchange this week. Happy sigh. I am trying to shut out the little voice in the back of my head, from a Mass reading on the first Sunday of Advent: "Make no provision for the desires of the flesh." Hmm. Still have to work on that one.

Now on the agenda: getting family photo, finishing Christmas cards, more baking, cooking and wrapping. Some new treats I am hoping to try are these darling meringue mushrooms that someone brought to the cookie exchange and some cereal clusters that I would write home about. Yum.

So those are the kinds of things keeping me from my blog these days... An ice storm is headed our way tonight and we are wondering if there will be power tomorrow. Every day an adventure! Hope the last week of Advent is going well for everyone.

Monday, December 6, 2010

St Nicholas Day Party

The St. Nick party last week was a success! We did have 23 kids and a total of 34 people in our house. It went amazingly well since there were plenty of activities to keep everyone occupied. We did 2 crafts: a color-your-own holy card with an image of St. Nicholas, printable here, and some foam ornaments that were simple even for little kids to put together.

I was thankful for my sister-in-law Katie supervising the crafts - she even cleaned up this mess afterward! Not a small feat for someone just about full-term with the newest member of our homeschool group.

Meanwhile, we finished setting out dinner in the kitchen (it was potluck).. You can see that some Dads were able to join us. Food, fun, and fellowship in the kitchen!

We had already made a nice dent in the dessert area by the time I took a picture...

...before we put on the St. Nicholas movie. The kids surprised us by relaxing long enough to actually watch the whole thing this year!

Then we played "St. Nicholas Chimney Toss" (inspired by Charlotte, here) with the kids grouped by age level. I had made a "chimney" out of a cardboard box, and the kids tossed in "bags of gold" in imitation of St. Nick  (see the moneybags on the table there?) The top scorers in each group won prizes.

I didn't get any action pictures since I was too busy running the game. But here I am with one of my favorite winners. Those are reindeer antlers on his head!

Finally, a large red sack appeared on the doorstep filled with treat bags for all the kids, a great finale to all the fun. A very good evening!

We just enjoyed relaxing weekend... now it's "real" St. Nicholas Day and the kids found their shoes stuffed with small treats and toys. Blessed Feast Day to all, and may St. Nicholas provide whatever it is you are needing today. God bless you, readers!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Season of Preparation

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was noisy and fun, just surrounded with beautiful, simple food and beloved family. I was so tired that we spent the next 2 days doing n-o-t-h-i-n-g! Literally. Therefore I am a little behind getting ready for the St. Nicholas party here on Dec. 1st. Grocery shopping was haphazard and I have no idea what we will be eating this week. But I did get lots of sleep!

I did manage to put a little thought into our Advent plans. It's just a beautiful time to me, and I am really enjoying sharing it with the kids as they get a little older. Here is our Advent wreath with lovely candles recycled from last  year...

We read the prayers together and the first candle burned during our Sunday night dinner.

I decided to make little cards with one-word inspirations on them as a focus for our good deeds. These are areas that we all need to improve on within the family, and we will each draw one randomly on each Sunday of Advent to inspire us for the week ahead. It was uncanny how perfectly matched each word was to the one who drew it this week!! God knows what we all need.

As always, for each good deed in the next 4 weeks, we will be adding straw to a little basket representing Baby Jesus' bed, making it as deep and soft as possible before His birthday. It's delightful to see how earnestly the kids are trying to please Him, at least so far! It's a great reminder to me of how important it is for all of  us to have a focus and motivation for our good works, and of how wise the Church is to give us these seasons and challenges to reach higher in our efforts to love and serve.

So granted, none of the above takes any time to actually do, so this year I am finally implementing a Jesse Tree devotional for each day. I've never done one in the past, either because I didn't get myself together in time, or the kids weren't really old enough to participate. I searched online and found there are dozens of versions out there, kind of overwhelming! Basically, this is a way of learning salvation history through well-loved bible stories. Each story has an accompanying symbol which is made into an ornament and hung on a tree. I settled on something that seemed very simple and sweet even for small children, with printable symbols to make it easy for me. Our tree is just a little Christmas tree I happened to have, although I would have liked a real branch if I'd had more time.  Here is our first ornament, the shoot from the "root of Jesse" (Isaiah 11: 1-2)

It's been fun putting the materials together and the kids seem to be into it. What kid doesn't love a story, especially a bible story filled with drama? I hope this will help us all to see the big picture of why Jesus' birth is so important and that there really is more to Christmas than shopping and opening gifts. We love everything about Christmas here, so it is a joy to deepen our understanding and discover greater meaning to our beloved traditions.

There will be lots of fun celebrations along the way, too. Advent is really such a joyful time! St. Nicholas day is big, and as I mentioned, the party for our homeschool group will be here, on Wednesday. It is a big party! I'm also planning a peppermint day, something yet-to-be-determined for December 8, (the feast of Mary's Immaculate Conception), and a Mexican feast for Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. I am sure there are more celebrations to follow, they're just not on my radar yet! We always drive around to look at Christmas lights around Christmas day, but I recently heard of someone who had a tradition of doing it for St. Lucy's day, December 13. I'll have to look into that.

One thing I still need to do is get together our Advent/Christmas book basket. That will be another post. For now, Advent blessings to all my readers! I hope this is a special time for all of your families. 

PS: Oh, and it's Catholic Cyber Monday at Lacy's - look at all these deals she has rounded up!! You could shop all day right there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Prep!

Is this what you're doing today? Well, even if you're not outdoors stirring a cauldron, times haven't changed too much - we're all still busy preparing for the feast. I think my baked sweet potatoes, ready for mashing, look exactly like the Pilgrim mothers' probably did!

On the menu at our house: traditional roasted turkey, sausage stuffing with apples and cranberries, red-skinned mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, cranberry salad, green vegetables, rolls, and promises of dessert brought by guests: pumpkin trifle and cranberry apple pie! I am making a maple syrup pie, which is traditional in my family, and a pumpkin pie will undoubtedly materialize as well. Such abundance - we have so much to thank God for.

Wherever you are this holiday week, I wish you and yours every blessing, and especially the gift of gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy your turkey and all the traditions your family loves! I'll be back after the big day.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cozy At Home Daybook

(It's about time for one, don't you think?)

I am hearing... Kids playing on the computer, dishwasher humming

Outside my window... gray and drizzly - real November weather!

Around the house... we are hunkered down in cozy indoor mode - crafting, reading, creating. The house is warm and glowing with fall decor. I am sorting clothes and trying to get everything put away for this season.

In the yard... Everything has been cleaned up and put to bed for the winter. A few flowers are still hanging on in a pot by the back door - I just can't pull them out when they are still blooming optimistically!

From the kitchen... Fall foods - apples, pumpkin, squash... and big plans for the big Thanksgiving feast next week. It's always fairly traditional here. Jeff and I adopted a stuffing recipe as our own a few years back - sausage stuffing dressed up with apples and craisins - so good and pretty too! 

Living the liturgy... We have focused on learning new saint stories this month, as well as praying for the Holy Souls. Earlier in the month we created some saint paper dolls using the templates here. Now I am trying to make a plan for Advent because it always sneaks up on me and I want to be prepared this year. We usually keep it simple - straws in a basket represent good deeds done for Baby Jesus, an Advent calendar hangs on the fridge, and our Advent wreath is lit at least on Sundays.

Learning notes... We have a simple routine now that involves a little table time every day and we have made decent progress in acquiring some helpful skills like telling time, counting money, writing numbers, etc. Lots of our time is used creating art and pictures, which I like to use as reading time since little hands are occupied and busy little bodies are (more or less) stationary. We have read stacks of fall-themed picture books, along with the kids' picks from the library - books on topics like space travel, electronics, and weather, which may or may not be way above their levels, but fun to look at none-the-less. I have been much more consistent with keeping notes each week on what we have explored, both formally and informally, and find it a good and encouraging habit for myself personally.

The kids this week... seem to have imaginations in overdrive. The complexity of their play is mind-boggling - I'm just getting used to having older kids, I think. Benjamin turns 6 on Friday and he's sooo excited. Birthdays are big fun here!

Last weekend... We did all of our activities, including Mass and confession, on Saturday. Sunday and most of Monday (before Jeff left for work) were total down-time - no commitments or appointments, just go ole' hang-out-at-home-time! It was much needed after a busy fall and with the holiday season rapidly approaching. Nice recharge - I recommend it!

Some plans for the week... It's a busy birthday week here. Mine is Thursday and Benjamin's is Friday! I will be hanging with my sis on Thursday and hopefully doing some last minute errands for Benj's birthday, and Friday we will have a small family celebration for him. We will probably take him to do something fun on Saturday when Jeff isn't working. I am also busily planning our Thanksgiving festivities next week, as well as the homeschool St. Nicholas party to be held here only 5 days later. I am looking forward to a low-key December focused on Advent!

Pondering in my heart... How to balance the excessive busy-ness of the upcoming season with the goal of turning inward and fostering thankfulness, peace and joy. And how to bring joy to those not feeling as celebratory this time of year...

I am thankful for... Online shopping. Did we ever really have to go out to compare prices and look for everything? Thanks, Mom, for ever getting me what I actually wanted for Christmas!! 

I am praying... for someone dear struggling with depression.

A picture to share... Benjamin's tomato project. These were started outside before the cold weather arrived - we are going to see if they survive indoors. Note 5-year-old's inability to make a normal face :)


Monday, November 15, 2010

November Ponderings

Well, I never had any visions of discussing weighty topics here, but November does make me pause to reflect on eternity and the hereafter. Not only do we begin the month with the feast of All Saints - a joyful celebration - but we (as Catholics) spend All Souls' Day and the entire month remembering the souls still awaiting their reward.

Lately, I have heard of the passing of several acquaintances, including Mr. Berquist, one of the founders of my Alma Mater. And this is also a time that I commemorate the pregnancy or infant losses of some dear mommy friends... always a hard reality to understand. Combine these with nature's movement toward cold and darkness, well - it's easy to ponder eternal realities!

Interestingly, it's also a time when the hint of celebrations soon to come bring some excitement and anticipation to the gray days. In fact, the very season we anticipate promises the antidote to death - death and sin give way to Light and Life! Recently, I read a passage in a booklet that captures the hope that Christians have:

"Death is now a supernatural event, a highway to Heaven. For Christ has given death new meaning... 'Thou hast made death glorious and triumphant, for through its portals we enter into the presence of the living God.' "

It's sometimes difficult for me not to let the material world and its present sorrows weigh on me. I internalize the troubles of others easily - and with the access to the world enabled by the internet - well, there are many, many sorrows. We need to feed our souls with hope and joy! Scripture reading is second to none for keeping us grounded in the eternal. There is a wealth of other reading available to encourage our hearts on this journey. One book I read a few years ago was a logical study of heaven - immensely captivating and one I would recommend: A Travel Guide To Heaven.

While pondering many endings at this time of year, how blessed we are to have the the comforts offered by our Faith - a new Church year beginning soon with the hopeful seasons of Advent and Christmas, the consolation of the communion of saints united in praising God in heaven and on earth, and the expectation of our bodily resurrection on the last day. Like the natural world around us, we rest in the winter of our existence, knowing that the coming of springtime is only a matter of time.

Read more about the Catholic belief in the resurrection of the body at the Knights of Columbus website here. Scroll down to Lesson 9.

(photo credit)

Monday, November 8, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Elizabeth! Congratulations! Send me an email to the address in my sidebar, and let me know what you want (3 snowmen?) and where I should send them.
I used and generated a number between 1 and 9 (knocked off the last 3 comments as they were a discussion between me and my sis :P) I got a 6, which corresponds to Elizabeth's comment.

Thank you everyone for coming over and playing! We'll be doing this again soon with something different. If you want me to leave you a comment on your blog the next time I do a giveaway, let me know here. Otherwise, just keep checking back. Thanks again!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's Cold!

Wishing you hot cocoa and leaf cookies and a warm jar candle on a chilly night. Love this time of year!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Lil' Giveaway

Update: I am extending my deadline to 11 pm Sunday, Nov. 7, since I had no internet for a couple of days and could not get in touch with some people. Thanks for all the comments so far! Keep 'em coming!

I've been wanting to do a giveaway for a while and I have plans to do more in the future! But I'm going to start with a little pre-holiday fun. If you read my Hickory Nut Harvest post, you'll know I'm on a holiday ornament kick.

So I am giving away a trio of hickory nut ornaments - your choice! These are handmade by me, at this table in this room seen in this post. All you have to do is leave me a comment on at the end of this post by 11:00 PM on Friday, November 5th, telling me which you like best: angel, snowman or woodland critter. I'm planning to use a random number generator to choose a comment. I'll pack up your 3 ornaments and send them right out. You can have three of the same, or one of each, or whatever combination you choose. Presto, a holiday gift for you or someone else, in the bag!! Looking forward to your comments!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Etsy Love

Is there anyone who hasn't fallen under the Etsy spell yet? My latest searches: natural ornaments, children's clothing, holidays... etc.... etc. I would love to have myself a little shop there one day.

Today I found these adorable watercolor postcards with rhymes. Oh my. Love!

They remind me of Sarah's adorable paintings, which I also fell in love with. I think they could make her rich someday.

OK. Drooling done. Back to everyday life now...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Review: Love, Warmth and Discipline

Love, Warmth and Discipline
Lessons from Boys Town for Successful Parenting
by Rev. Val J. Peter

As a parent, I am always open to reading new material on the subject of child-rearing. When I selected this book as part of the reviewer program with The Catholic Company, I was encouraged to see the subtitle: Lessons from Boys Town For Successful Parenting. Boys Town! I saw that movie! I also know that it's a place of healing and hope for hurting and troubled kids from all over the U.S., founded by the beloved Fr. Flanagan. Authored by his successor, this book was sure to hold some gems from some of the most challenging parenting situations ever faced.

Rev. Val J. Peter uses his experience with generations of kids to outline the challenges and solutions facing modern parents. First, by way of deconstruction, he explains the decline of the mental and behavioral health of our youth since the 1940s, and points to the weakening of parental and societal authority as the root cause. Next, he distinguishes three types of parenting: permissive, authoritarian and "authoritative" - which is not just a middle ground, but a combination of all the parental qualities that have been proven to help young people thrive. Fr. Peter describes it as "warm and nurturing, imposing firm limits, demands and controls." It's the model that has been used at Boys Town with great success.

A good part of the book is given to the research that backs up this model of parenting. Fr. Peter very generally outlines some of the goals of his approach: character formation, family skills, self-esteem through virtue, to name a few.  He further develops his thoughts on the importance of fostering resilience, a moral compass, and appropriate self-love. The text is ripe with anecdotes from real kids at Boys Town, which are mainly testimonials to the changes in their lives brought about by the program there. There is no doubt that kids are responding to these methods - something is working, and these once-broken adolescents are rising to the challenge of becoming secure, happy and healthy adults. Our own families can learn from these principles.

I think Fr. Peter offers readers a wonderful tool for developing their "big picture" parenting goals. His words are positive and hopeful, and he has a gift for inspiring parental confidence in those who might be confused or unclear on a solid path to happy, healthy family life. These are good reasons to read his book. At the same time, he left me wanting more - and I hope he is planning to write more on the details in a sequel! I'd love to see specifics about the family skills techniques, and the limits, consequences and structure used in the family groups at Boys Town. The "how-to manual" would be a great companion for this excellent overview.

Love, Warmth and Discipline can be purchased from The Catholic Company here. I was sent this book at no cost in the review program.

The Catholic Company

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Peek Into My Life

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hickory Nut Harvest

Remember that infamous nature walk? We went back there yesterday, but this time we drove. I had a specific mission in mind: picking up hickory nuts to use for fall crafts. It was getting dark when the inspiration hit, so we had to hurry. It took about 11 seconds to get from our house to the hickory nut tree on that road. I knew it was the right tree when the tires started crunching shells on the road! Thankfully, no one cried on this excursion.

I have seen hickory nuts at my parents' house and we must have the same variety here. I was always intrigued by the smooth white nut inside the ugly outer shell. It just looks like a doll's head to me and my brain immediately starts grinding out hickory nut craft ideas.

It turns out there are many different kinds of hickory nuts. Jeff and I had an argument this morning when he saw our cache. Apparently, our hickory nuts don't look like real hickory nuts, the ones he got paid for picking up in the yard when he was a kid in Arkansas. But those ugly things?! Those are not hickory nuts, as far as I know!  Here is a page showing the varieties. Here, we have shagbark hickories. In Arkansas, it must have been shellbark or kingnut. Funny how different they are! No wonder we didn't even think they were the same animal.

So here's a picture showing some of the nuts we collected. At the top you can see the nuts in various stages of breaking out of their hulls. Aren't those inside kernels pretty?

We were interested first in using the outer shells to make hickory nut boats, which I saw on this blog post. We needed half-shells, but they were so dried up that they fell apart in quarters and we had to glue them back together to make our boats. While I was melting a pumpkin spice jar candle in the oven (which is what you do when you have no beeswax per the instructions) we made little sails from toothpicks and scrapbooking paper scraps. Then we poured the wax into the hollow boats, let it set up for a few minutes, and then installed the sails. Voila! A fleet of lil' nutshell ships!  They smelled great too. So cute. Wish I had seen this in time for Columbus Day...

We read that hickory nuts are hard to crack, but we tried anyway. We had to hit them with a small hammer and pick the meat out with a skewer. I had to sit on the kitchen floor, which is vinyl over concrete - it was the only place hard enough to hammer on. (Note to self: try to avoid sitting on the kitchen floor. Way too much down there that should never be seen at close range!)

The nuts were delicious! They tasted exactly like a sweet, extra-creamy pecan - not surprising since they are related. After about 1/2 an hour of work, this is what we had. Molly made off with the stash as soon as I took the picture. She loved them! It was a lot of work for little result, but it felt very primal to harvest and eat something uncultivated straight from nature. I have a lot of respect for squirrels now, too.

So then we had time to play with the hickory nuts and other interesting items from our nature box, to see what we could create. (I'm surprised how few ideas I could find on the internet.) Here is what Benjamin came up with on his own. It's supposed to be a frog! He also wanted to use the glue gun on his own. (gasp!)

Here are a few of my creations. Forgive my lack of camera skills! I was stuck in a Christmas ornament rut, so that's what they're meant to be. They are about 3" tall.

Caroling Angel


Woodland Critter

I'm still mulling over some ideas for when I have more time. I was thrilled to find that there is a little book still in print from 1946 called Miss Hickory, about a doll with a hickory nut head and her nature friends. It sounds delightfully quirky, and this site gives instructions for actually creating the doll and her accessories - no pictures, though. I can't quite predict if the boys will enjoy this adventure, or if I'll have to wait for Molly to grow up a little. I plan to get the book and see! This stuff is right up my ally, so I know I will have a good time regardless.