Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On Being the Mother

Doing Amahl and the Night Visitors was kind of a dream come true for me.

Amahl web
First dress rehearsal--I had to laugh when I saw my makeup design. I look awesome, don't I? At least I didn't have to really worry about hiding the real life dark circles that were under my eyes! I got to accentuate them instead.

Listening to it with my husband and children is one of my favorite Christmas Eve traditions, if not my most favorite. I love Menotti's operas in general, and while my dream role would be Magda in The Consul, playing Amahl's mother was right up there on the list.

IMG_1781 Amahl web
My rags. Of all the roles I've ever played, this is definitely the most raggedy. Pieces of my costume were all over the stage every night.
As it turned out, the character of Amahl's mother is someone I have a lot in common with, which made it even easier to play her. First of all, she is a mother. Her character isn't even given a name beyond that. In the list of characters at the front of the score she is called "His Mother." I just love that. Sometimes I feel that "Mom" is the only name I have, and I certainly feel that it is the most important one.

IMG_1783Amahl web
Me and my Amahl. This girl was FANTASTIC. She has never done anything on the stage before, but she is an incredible musician, singer, and actress. We were so lucky to have her, and she definitely stole the entire show.
As a widowed mother (which I do not have in common with her, thankfully), her entire world is Amahl. She loves this kid more than life itself. And even though she yells at him a lot, and gets frustrated with him and tells him she's going to spank him, she would never in a million years lay a hand on him. He is her everything. It's just that, like a lot of mothers, she's overwhelmed. She's overwhelmed with the task of raising a child, she's overwhelmed with the realization that she doesn't know where their next meal is coming from, she's overwhelmed with trying to get her home ready for unexpected visitors, she's overwhelmed with the need to make life as wonderful as possible for her little boy, and she's overwhelmed with love.

Not so different from most mothers I know.

Amahl on stage web
A picture one of my BFFs caught for me on opening night. I like that The Maestro is in it, too, down in the pit. And see? Amahl's mother is sweeping the floor. Just like every other mother in the history of the world.
At first I thought it was a little strange we were doing Amahl at Easter time, but now I see how it is completely appropriate. When Amahl is healed of being crippled, things change for his mother. She is, of course, amazed by the miracle, but she gradually lets Christ open up her heart and she feels joy--for perhaps the very first time in her difficult life.

I've been working on that. Feeling joy, no matter how overwhelmed I feel or how difficult my life is or how awful my house looks when an unexpected guest shows up. And I've been working on opening my heart to Christ and his healing power.

Speaking of feeling overwhelmed as a mother, and of letting Christ in, I am guest posting today over at Chocolate on my Cranium about that very topic. It is part of a series of guest posts on how to deal with being overwhelmed as mothers. Click HERE to read my post.

More opera moments on Overstuffed:
Dona Nobis Pacem
To Be the Giver of a Gift
My Secret Life

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Easy DIY Framed Bulletin Board

Recently, we implemented a new system for chores and allowance. It is still working really well, but I have not been super pleased with my ugly, taped to the cabinets, checklists. Then we started using a different brand of tape and it began to take the paint of the cabinets. This made the need to find a better way to put them up all the more immediate, and now it would have to include some way to hide the damage the tape had done to the cabinets already.
Chore Charts
If you look closely at the top of the photo, you can see where some of the tape damage is. Boo.
I decided that a nice framed bulletin board right on the cabinet would look really nice, but I couldn't find one that was the right size anywhere.

So I made one myself.

I took measurements of the side of the cabinet, and then ran over to WalMart and found a frame that would fit all of the checklists and was the perfect size for the cabinet. I also bought a package of square corkboard.

DIY framed bulletin board

I took everything out of the frame and used the glass as a template to cut the cork. Since my frame is rectangular and my cork was square, I had to cut two different pieces to fit.

DIY Bulletin Board

Once I had all of the cork cut out, I slipped it into the frame. I just had to make sure that the place where I seamed the cork inside the frame was with two straight edges instead of the edges I had cut with scissors. As soon as the cork was in the frame, I added the back of the frame back on and used my favorite Command velcro picture hanger doodads to hang it on the cabinet.

For about 15 minutes of work, I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It makes my kitchen look a lot fancier and the girls have had renewed interest in their chore charts, too! Hooray for functional AND beautiful!

PS Chloe has already commandeered the extra cork and used it to make granola bars for her American Girl Dolls. She even painted one side of them with brown paint so they are chocolate covered. Love her.

You might also like:
Our System for Chores and Allowance
6 Things That Will Help Any Mom Stay Sane
On Schedules, Routines, and Lists

This post is linked at:
Your Homebased Mom--Inspiration Monday
The Adventures of Noble & Pond--Come Along Wednesday
Living Well, Spending Less--Thrifty Thursday

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday 2014

Easter Sunday Photo close up web

What a gorgeous, gorgeous day today was! And what gorgeous, gorgeous girls I have!

The girls woke up early to find their Easter "baskets." We don't have a traditional basket we use every year, so I end up buying some sort of basket/container every single year and it has made me wish I invested in nice baskets when they were babies. But this year I had the brilliant idea to use cute (and super inexpensive) baseball caps to hold all their goodies!

The hats were a hit. I splurged and got them each a nice new book this year, too. I just hate all the candy, so they really didn't get much. Just a few jelly beans, Hershey's kisses, a Cadbury egg, and the obligatory chocolate bunny (And can I just say it was nearly impossible to find gluten-free chocolate bunnies? Sheesh.) Then they each got one non-candy item as well: hair stuff for Bria, earphones for Chloe, and the cutest little lamb named Babs for Sophia.

The books they received were:

Dangerous by Shannon Hale for Bria (I'm thinking I'd like to read this one, too.)

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord for Chloe (She recently read Rules by the same author and really liked it.)

Ever After High: The Unfairest of Them All by Shannon Hale for Sophia (Yes, we do love Shannon Hale around here, and Sophia's latest craze is Ever After High.)

Sophia had been looking forward to that Cadbury egg for weeks. She's my kind of girl...I could eat those things all day. Mmmm.

After church the weather was simply gorgeous. So, we quickly took our Sunday photos, changed our clothes, and took the dog for a two mile walk. I'm pretty sure it was the happiest day of her little puppy life, because, what with the unusually cold weather and totally overstuffed schedules we've had this winter, she hasn't gotten many walks that were longer than a block or two. I'm pretty sure it was also the happiest day of my life. Despite all of the snow still on the ground, it felt HEAVENLY.

Easter Sunday Photo
I'm so blessed with these three (four, including the dog!) beauties.

After our walk, Sophia and I got the table all set for Easter dinner. We found a tutorial to fold bunny ear napkins and had fun learning to do that, even though it admittedly got a little frustrating for both of us. I received the flowers last Saturday night on closing night of the opera. They are getting a little past their prime, but they were perfect for an Easter table.


Sophia was set on making bunny place cards, so we rummaged through the crafts supplies and came up with these cute things. I helped her with the first one, but she made the rest of them herself. I sure love her and how much she wanted to help get the table ready this year. She knows how much I love a beautiful table!

Easy Easter place cards for kids to makeUntitled

I cut out a template for the bunny ears, and she used it to cut the rest out. We then glued the ears to a piece of cardstock. We used embroidery floss for the whiskers and just put a bit of adhesive down on the paper and stuck the floss to it (I used the Stampin' Up! Snail Adhesive, but one like THIS would work great, too). Then we put a bit more adhesive down for the cotton ball nose and glued the eyes on. Easy peasy!

Once she was finished writing the names and decorating the ears, we folded another piece of cardstock in half and glued it to the back. It worked great for an impromptu crafty project for her and they looked super cute, too.

As I type, The Maestro is putting the finishing touches on his famous roast and we are all looking forward to a wonderful Easter dinner together.

I hope you all are having a blessed Easter, too! Happy Easter!!

More Easter fun at Overstuffed:
End of an Easter Era
And I Believe in Matching Easter Dresses
The Grabbing Hands Grab All They Can

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