Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Totes Ma Goats

Billy goat was delivered last week and he is nearly as sweet and docile as our two does.  The boys and I have made several trips up to treat the goats to the arugula still growing in our garden.  They really love it.  So far no action that we know of, but we will have him for a month and according to the Goat Whisperer, his presence should trigger hormones in the females conducive to kid making.  We shall see.

Billy has had a rough go of it.  He has been sparring with the other billy in his home flock and lost one of his horns.  He does have a sweet disposition otherwise.

I couldn't get the three of them in a photo together as they were perpetually moving about vying for arugula from the boys, but billy is about twice as big as our does.

This is Elsa.

and Anna.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Thoughts on the Extraordinary Synod

During the synod in Rome, Catholic social media was in an uproar.  There were those who declared the sky was falling and others that scolded not to become overwrought.  It was difficult to sift through what the secular media was writing and read between the lines. While it was distressing to see outright dissent among the shepherds, in the end, I believe good and right thinking won out.

Rebecca wrote thought provoking post. I agree with her premise--In order to believe something, we must first ask questions and seek answers.   Unfortunately, I cannot necessarily join her in thanking Cardinal Kasper for asking the questions.  The problem with priests, bishops, and cardinals like Kasper is not that they are asking the questions, but they have already come to their own conclusions and their conclusions are in defiance of Catholic doctrine and they know it.  Their questions lack sincerity and are merely pretense.  Their questions are meant to be divisive.  

Katrina also wrote a powerful and moving post with her thoughts.  With all the talk of divorced/remarrieds and gays there was no mention of potential pastoral needs of single parents.  As she so aptly put, don't single parent households also have gifts to contribute to the Church?  

For a synod on the family, there was surprisingly very little said about children.  It really makes one begin to think there was a bit of an agenda at play. 

In the end, the synod will be misunderstood and misrepresented by statements such as this: "Unfortunately, today, doctrine won out over pastoral need. " (DignityUSA)

Of course doctrine won out.  It always will.  It is unchangeable.  Pastoral care is only as good as the doctrine it springs from.  A change in doctrine could not possibly result in proper pastoral care.  As our priest pointed out, God's law and his mercy are not opposed to each other.  True pastoral care helps the sinner to see his sinfulness, to repent, and sin no more.  True pastoral care does not accept sin under the guise of mercy.

There were good things that came out of the synod.  NFP and an openness to life were reaffirmed.  Families who welcome children with special needs were lauded for their sacrificial love and faithfulness. Finally, the voices of the theologically sound were heard above the din of discord and were victorious in defending Church teaching.

So, now what? The questions are out there--how does the Church reach out to divorced/remarried couples, homosexual couples, cohabiting couples without compromising Church teaching? These questions are not going away and our society is increasingly accepting of relationships that run counter to Christian values.  I believe now our bishops finally see how deeply counter cultural the Christian way of life has become.  I am praying they will now assemble a united front and teach with faithfulness, clarity, conviction, and charity on these questions.

“Let us pray for those pastors who leave the Lord’s sheep to the wolves of decadent and secularized society, far from God and nature. Sexuality is not a cultural fact, but a natural fact,”  Robert Cardinal Sarah of Guinea

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

{P,H,F,R} October 16

round button chicken

Wing nut and I were on our way to the movies and were witnesses to this spectacular sunset.  Of course, I didn't bring my Rebel with me, so I had to make do with Wingnut's iPhone 6.  Not too shabby.


This is a wonderful time of year for fishing and photography.  I've been bringing my Rebel along on our fishing excursions.  If I'm not going to catch any fish, I may as well catch some scenery.


So this is homeschooling in our house.  She was un-showered, in pajamas, curled up in a blanket, lying on the couch reading her religion assignment.  As I snapped this shot she squealed, "I'm not wearing any make-up!"


These are the last of the wildflowers.  I was actually surprised to find these in the thicket.  Most everything else has died back.  Winter is fast approaching.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Here We Goat Again

With all the synod business goin' down, it seems like every Catholic blogger out there has something to say.  Rebecca's post yesterday was one of my favorites and reminded me I haven't written about the goats lately.  How's that for a segue?

To catch you up on the goat happenings, we were having problems with our LaMancha, Bard.  She was being a very bad goat and we had begun staking her in our yard during the day.  She seemed to be doing better for a day or so, but if we weren't right next to her, she would bleat nonstop.  You could hear her halfway across the neighborhood.  We just tried to ignore her.  After several days she began to resist coming down into our garden.  She had a great little passive aggressive move she would use.  She would trot just outside her pen on the leash and then plop herself on her side and refuse to budge.  The girls dragged her down to our property for a couple days, but it really was obvious she no longer cared to come.  Stupid goat, stay in your pen, then.

Not too long after giving up on staking her, I received a text message from the family that houses the goats in their barn.  They felt Skoshi A and Special K were feeding the goats too much hay.  There would be hay covering their barn floor in the morning and it really could not be salvaged.  My girls assured me they were not giving the goats too much hay and were not laying it on the floor as bedding.  Oftentimes they weren't feeding the goats at night at all, as they seemed to have plenty of hay already on the floor and in their bin for the night.  I was convinced Bad Bard was somehow climbing the fencing and pulling hay down at night.  Our neighbors were positive this could not be possible.  Well, take a look at the photo I found and tell me it's not possible for a goat to get on top of a narrow fence and pull hay off a shelf. . .

Not only was she pulling hay down in the barn, she had found a way out of her pen during the day and was once again jumping on top of the coop and over into the orchard and stripping the fruit trees bare.  Enough was enough, Bad Bard had to go.  Our neighbors listed her online and sold her before the week was out.  I believe they received $15 more than we had paid for her originally.  I'm sure $15 isn't even close to the cost of the damage she wreaked, but we all breathed a sigh of relief to have her off our hands.  As cute, funny, and smart as she was, she was just too much trouble.

This week, our goat mentor is dropping off the stud and we all have our fingers crossed that his romantic advances are successful.  Using my handy dandy goat gestation calculator, we should have kids around March 14th.  I'll keep you posted.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Trouble with the Synod is . . .

. . .  too many eyes to see, too many ears to hear, too many mouths speaking.  Enough already.  Do we laity really need to know everything that is being said?  The Age of Social Media is giving the average Joe too much access to everything.

Trust me, I read much of what was written about the synod the first few days.  It made me angry to think dissident voices were even being given a voice.  I felt like Catholics, faithful to Church teaching, were being misrepresented and hung out to dry.  I've had to defend several of these particular Church teachings on many occasions, even to people close to me and whom I love dearly.  It's not fun or easy to be the one voice in the crowd.  What I was seeing coming out of Rome made me feel defeated and deserted.

Well, no more.  It's not over.  No Doctrine has changed, nor will change.  Our Bishops need our prayers for guidance and clarity.  We don't need to see, hear, or speak until it is over.  Until the final document is published and released I'll be keeping one eye closed, one ear plugged, and two hands over my mouth!

God, eternal shepherd, you tend your Church in many ways and rule us with love. You have chosen your servant bishops to be shepherds of your flock. Give them a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to their care, may they build your Church as a sign of salvation for the world.  Amen.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

10 Prayer Requests: Or Let's Lift Each Other in Prayer

It is an honor to be asked by so many of our friends and family to pray for their intentions.  When I receive a prayer request I say a quick "Hail Mary" for that intention and then I try to lift that same request in prayer as often as it pops into my head.  Unfortunately, recalling prayer requests after the initial "Hail Mary" does not happen as frequently as I would like.  I'm a spiritual slacker when it comes to spontaneous prayer.  A blessed few requests might receive a single decade of our family rosary later in the day.  A blessed few might receive a thought and a quick prayer in the wee hours when I have insomnia.  I'd like to remedy my negligence and what better way than to solicit help from you?  Today I will list 10 prayer requests; some are my own and some are intentions I've received from others.  If you feel drawn, select one or two or ten and please add them to your intentions.  If you have intentions you'd like prayer support for, list them in the comments and I will do my best, with the help of God's Grace, to pray for your intentions throughout the rest of this week.  Thank you in advance for your prayers!

1) Please pray for my adult children as they struggle with growing pains.  Both are trying to make their way in this world with varying degrees of success and failure.  Both are questioning the faith in which they were raised.  Both keep me up in the wee hours with worry.

2) Please pray for our Oleander as she nears a very big decision regarding a vocation to the religious life.  She will graduate from High School this December and is looking to enter the postulancy sometime between January and March of 2015.

3) Please pray for our friends Peter and Katie as they travel to China to finalize the adoption and finally bring home their daughter Felicity.

4) Please pray for our dear friends the Godparents, having just announced the impending arrival of their 7th blessing.  Godmother is struggling with severe exhaustion and morning sickness.  Pray for her strength and comfort!

5) Please pray for the repose of the soul of Leslie Chenet, the father of dear friends of ours.

6) Please pray for the Lenaburg family as they travel the last journey with their declining special needs daughter, Courtney.  Their's is a story that everyone should read.  It is a phenomenal journey Our Lord has asked them to take and they have done it so beautifully and faithfully.

7) Please pray for the repose of the soul of Timothy Nauman, and for the comfort of his lovely wife Mary.

8) Please pray for the mother of our friend Tiffany, who has an incurable type of leukemia and has really struggled with the chemo they are using to give her just a few more months.

9) Please pray for our godson, Freddie, who underwent corrective eye surgery in late September.

10) Please pray a prayer of Thanksgiving for our dear friend, Sam, who through the intercession of the Infant of Prague, was completely healed of Lymes Disease! Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, October 9, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} October 9


Our local Catholic homeschool group took a field trip to a pumpkin patch this week.  It was a beautiful day, nearly 80 degrees, and the kids had a blast.  While our garden has already died back after several hard frosts, things are still growing on the other side of the canyon.  


It was a really great deal for $4 a person.  We got hayrides, small pumpkin pie pumpkins, a tour of the farm, and then could spend as much time as we wanted in their fall wonderland filled with farm animals, hay slides, a bouncy house, a mini train pulled by a real tractor, and these cute farm animal tire swings.  He may look like he's holding on for dear life, but he was truly having a blast!


Wing nut was cleaning out some of his old military issued gear and found these "sport" frames for his prescription glasses.  Lil' Lamb put them on and said he was "Baby Anakin" (this would be from the pod racing scene in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace).  I think he looks more like a minion. LOL.


I posted a photo on my 365 project of a tomatillo last week and had several people ask what it was.  "Is it like a tomato?"  They are from the same family as tomatoes, but aren't exactly like tomatoes.  They are very tart and I use them in southwest inspired soups and stews as well has making green salsa with them.  Many folks will use unripe or green tomatoes as a substitute when tomatillos are unavailable, I'm thankful to have had volunteer tomatillos grow in our weed patch this year.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} October 2


Utah has been covered with these lovely wild sunflowers for several months.


I took the kids to the local renaissance fair just south of Salt Lake.  There was a very nice falconry exhibit staffed with very knowledgeable handlers.  They had falcons, hawks, owls, and eagles that have all been hand raised and trained to hunt for their owners.  I absolutely loved the cockeyed angle on this hood wearing hawk.


We've had an unusual amount of rain this summer/fall.  Our little guy loves to wear his happy little rain boots to stomp around in the puddles.


We've also had an unusual number of praying mantis this summer/fall.  We just step out onto our porch and see at least one climbing the rocks or stucco.  They are creepy, but we know they are extremely beneficial in keeping down the surge in other insects whose benefits are questionable, if not nonexistent! (Is that a double negative?)

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Writer's Block and Busyness

This space has really been neglected of late.  It's funny.  We have fewer children at home and I'm running around much less frequently, you'd think I'd have plenty of time to write.  It could be some of my new hobbies have taken up the energy and time I had for blogging.

I'm still trying to take photos every day for my 365 project, which is 65% complete as of today.  It is amazing how much I've learned and improved just by committing to taking at least one photo every day.  The great thing about photography is that it doesn't really take all that much time.  I can spend a few minutes each day choosing something to shot and another few minutes composing and shooting.  I can then just leave the photos on my camera for several days before uploading and editing several at a time.  I probably spend just an hour or two a week in total with this little hobby and I really enjoy it.

Our hobby garden has become so much more than that this year.  We are still processing squash, jalapeños, onions, potatoes, and tomatillos.  I spent an entire afternoon canning pickled jalapeños and tomatillo salsa.  I spent a good hour today stringing ristras to dry.  We are expecting our first frost tonight and that should be it for the garden.  We can then dump our four cans of compost right into the garden bed to be tilled under.

This will be the first year we have actually saved money by having a vegetable garden and I've come to the conclusion there are a few items that really are not worth the effort, time, or money to grow myself.  First item to go will be potatoes.  I've tried growing potatoes two years in a row and have had very little success.  I think this year I ended up harvesting only twice as many eating potatoes and the number of seedlings I planted.  That makes for some pretty expensive potatoes in my book.  Not to mention the mounding up of earth over the leaves of four mounds, the constant weeding around the mounds,  and then the careful digging and searching for edible spuds. We really don't eat that many potatoes around here, so they are definitely not worth growing ourselves.  I'm vacillating on whether to continue to grow my own onions.  I thought they weren't doing all that well this year until I went to dig them up.  I had over two dozen.  We do go through onions.  They aren't super difficult to grow.  Hmmmmmm.

We ended up with over a dozen butternut squash.  We don't really eat much squash, but I guess we will this winter.  The great thing about winter squash is its shelf life.  If anyone has any great creative ideas for using squash, send them my way for sure!

I do have posts floating around in my head.  We toured the Ogden temple in August and I have a bit to say about that.  I just haven't had the time to really sort through my thoughts and what I would like to write about the experience.  It was interesting, to say the least.  I guess I'll try to sit down and write more often as the weather makes sitting at a computer more appealing than being outside.  At the very least, I always have photos to post.

This is my favorite resource for canning, etc.  The recipes are simple and diverse.  There are great instructions for all manners of preserving foods, including freezing, drying, pickling, and canning.  Most recipes for canning/pickling come with instructions for putting up temporarily in the fridge or preserving for more longevity by hot water canning.

This is the tomatillo salsa I canned earlier this week.  We served some over taco pizza on Tuesday and it was fantastic!

These are my Ristras.  I can't wait to see how they'll look after they have completely dried.  I'll be sure to post an after photo here.

One of several dozen tomatillos which surprised us in the garden this year.  They are lovely fruits and so yummy too!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Sept. 11


I have enjoyed the abundant blooms of the cosmos Lil' Wingnut planted.  I think they'll stick around until it frosts.  The lady bugs and bees have enjoyed them too.


These are my farming sloggers.  They are super comfy and very easy to hose off.

We harvested the volunteer cantaloupe this week.  It was absolutely delicious. I saved the seeds for next year so that we might have "deliberate" cantaloupes. Ha!

6 jalapeño plants seem to be the perfect number.  We have harvested 3 times.  I've canned pickled rounds, and roasted and froze the rest.  We'll have one more harvest that I hope I can use for the planned on canning of tomatillo salsa in just a few weeks.  Hold off on the frost!


This guy is a bundle of energy.  He is always asking me to take photos of him jumping.


The mountains are beginning to turn color.  Fall and winter are not far off.  We should reach peak color in just a couple weeks and then snow will coat the mountains days later.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} September 4


Special K has been posing for me while I practice taking silhouette shots. This was our favorite silhouette this week.


The boys playing happily together--a rare occurrence.


Lil' Lamb has been posing for me lately, too.  His are usually silly poses, or jumping poses.  He's a bit of a ham.


I've had a very large volunteer growing in my garden.  I thought maybe it was potato or a tomato plant.  Surprise! It's a tomatillo!!! I am so excited.  There are at least 2 dozen tiny tomatillos growing on the one plant.  I'm hoping we have enough growing season left to see these to maturity!

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Baked Gnocchi

1 lb bacon; diced and sautéed until crispy
4 cloves garlic; minced
pinch crushed red pepper
28 ounces diced roasted tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
16 ounces sliced mushrooms; sautéed in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper
4 ounces goat cheese crumbles
2 cups baby spinach leaves
32 ounces gnocchi; prepared according to package directions
2 cups shredded mozzarella or your favorite Italian, melty cheese (we use pecorino tuscano)

In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel covered plate and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tbsp of the bacon fat. Gently sauté garlic and crushed red pepper for 30 seconds.  Carefully add tomatoes.  Sauté, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes.  Add mushroom, goat cheese, and spinach.  Season with salt and pepper. Stir until spinach has just wilted.  Stir in prepared gnocchi. Spoon into a 9 x 13 casserole pan.  Top with cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling.  Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

If you can find diced pancetta, use that instead of bacon--it is that much more delicious!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Homeschool Plan 2014/2015

Believe it or not, we are already two weeks into our school year.  We have a big trip planned during this fall and so we needed to get a jump on math and science.  Once again, I am providing a list of what will be doing in our homeschool this year, as well as links for easy reference.  Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us and our new school year!

Wingnut Jr. 3rd/4th grade:

Math-- Saxon 5/4 (Christian Book)
Language--     The Well-Trained Mind Level 3 (Peace Hill Press)
                      Spelling Power (Christian Book)
                      Getty Dubay C (Christian Book)
History--          American History Civil War to Present (my own curriculum)*
                      Our American Heritage Map Study Skills (Christian Book)

Science--        The Animal World (my own curriculum)**

Art--                Artistic Pursuits Book Elementary 2 (Artistic Pursuits)

Music--             Piano lessons

Religion--         Virtues in Practice Year of Hope (Dominican Sisters)
                      The Apostolate's  Family Catechism

Latin--              Prima Latina (Memoria Press)

Special K 7th grade:

Math-- Saxon 8/7 (Christian Book)

Language--  Lightning Literature 7 (Hewitt Homeschooling)
                       Language Lessons for the Elementary Child (Queens Homeschooling)
                       Spelling Power (Christian Book)
                       Getty Dubay--44 United States Presidents (Christian Book)
                       Vocabulary from Classical Roots A (Christian Book)
                       The Creative Writer, Level 1 (Peace Hill Press)

History--           American History Civil War to Present (my own curriculum)
                       Milliken Map Skills United States (Christian Book)

Science--          Concepts and Challenges 3 (Emmanuel Books, although I don't believe it is available any longer)

Art--                  Artistic Pursuits Jr. High 2

Music--              Piano lessons

Religion--          Virtues in Practice Year of Hope
                       The Apostolate's Family Catechism

Latin-- Prima Latina

Skoshi A 10th grade:

Math-- Saxon Geometry (Christian Book)

Language-- Lightening Lit Shakespeare Tragedies and Comedies and Sonnets (Hewitt Homeschooling)

                             Writing with Skill Level 2 (Peace Hill Press)
Adventures in Editing part II (Peace Hill Press)

Vocabulary from Classical Roots D (Christian Book)

History-- MODG Ancient History and Literature (Emmanuel Books)

Penguin Historical Atlas Ancient Greece and Rome (Christian Book)

Science-- Prentice Hall  Biology (Kolbe Academy) ***

Art-- Artistic Pursuits High School 2 (Artistic Pursuits)

Foreign Lang-- Italian II (Rosetta Stone)

Religion-- Prove It! (Emmanuel Books)
                               The Apostolate's Family Catechism

* For American History we will be reading several historical fiction novels, biographies, using the appropriate History of US titles by Joy Hakim, using appropriate titles from Learning through History magazine as well as coupling our US history studies with grade level map skill resources.

** Several years ago I wrote a grade school level science curriculum that focused on the Animal Kingdom. It begins with learning about animal classification and then exploring each of the different animal phyla. The resources for study include several DK Eyewitness Books as well as Kingfisher's Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia. Wingnut Jr. will compile an illustrated journal for each phyla as he studies with drawings and observations he can record within.

*** For high school biology, I will rely heavily on the Kolbe Academy syllabus, while also accessing appropriate content from Khan Academy online. We have also joined up with several other homeschool families and will be offering labs and experiments in our home once a week. Most of our lab materials will come from Home Science Tools.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} August 28


Skoshi A received a dragon kite for her birthday--following the theme All Things Hobbit ;) She was able to get it airborne for a few moments last evening in the breeze and I snapped a few shots.  This one was by far my favorite, capturing a cool sun flare against the lovely Utah sky, and of course my pretty girl ;)


This will be the first year we will actually save money having a garden.  It has done extremely well.  I spent last Saturday processing ripe veggies, including canning 8 pints of pickled jalapeños.  We've harvested zucchini, green beans, peas, asparagus, several varieties of lettuces, and cucumbers.  Our harvest, along with the generous gifts of swiss chard and kale from our neighbor, mean I haven't had to buy a vegetable in over a month.

Wingnut is more of a pie guy than a cake guy.  I made one of his favorites for his birthday yesterday--Dutch Apple Pie. Yum!


Lil' Lamb has become more cooperative of late for photographs.  This week, however, he was full of energy and could not stay still.  I still love this shot of him and laughed to see the flower petal clinging to his cheek from his roll in the flower bed.


Bad Bard isn't much better about having her photograph taken.  She is a bundle of energy and rarely stays still long enough to stay within my frame.  This was the best shot I got of her funny little face.  It doesn't show her true personality all that well.

For more  of this week's {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} check out Like Mother Like Daughter: {P, F, H, R}

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