Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Highly Recommended Webinar

Last evening Wingnut and I participated in the first of 14 webinars focusing on Loyalty to Liberty organized by Dr. Alan Keyes. The topic last night was Preserving the Constitution. Dr. Keyes opening comments (more like a 40 minute lecture on the origins of the Constitution, the foundation of Democracy in the United States as laid out by our Founding Fathers, the failures of working Democracy as implemented, and the distinction between right and justice) were incredibly informative. Dr. Keyes has such a brilliant and fast working mind, and although I would never consider myself a scholar, I did come away with more knowledge than I ever had about the true meaning of democracy and liberty. After his opening statement, Dr. Keyes held a question and answer session via chat. I was floored by his ability to answer questions so fully and thoughtfully. It was as if he had already completely pondered every possible question beforehand. No need for a teleprompter or even notes, here.

While there were a few technical glitches during this first seminar, the hope it that full participation via usage of headsets/microphones, etc. will eventually occur allowing for verbal exchange between Dr. Keyes and seminar participants. Dr. Keyes is also offering "tuition" assistance to homeschool families desiring to join in. Next week's webinar will continue the discussion on preserving the Constitution with a view to give willing Americans strategies for returning to the principles of self-government our nation once relied upon for its greatness.

The information needed to join the Loyal to Liberty Webinars may be found along the left side bar of Dr. Keyes blog. Hope to see some of you there next week!
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Land of Tyranny

Excuse me? How in the world did this happen? This is straight out of the Communist Manifesto! When did we decide it was permissible for our government to take over private corporations? Why aren't we up in arms over this? Do we realize how truly serious this is?  Obama reassures us that he has no intention of running GM.  Oh really?  For some reason I don't believe him. This is completely NUTS!

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Bits 'n Pieces

Saturday night from 8:30 to 9:30 pm was Earth Hour organized by the World Wildlife Fund. In honor of Earth Hour our family joined the folks over at Creative Minority Report and turned on every stinking light in our house (not much of a stretch, as our kids leave every light on in the house 24/7 as it is). The kids thought it was hysterical. Stat Boy even proudly stated he'd turned his bedroom fan on too.

Now before any of you get all up in arms and start griping at me about "good stewardship" etc., stop right there. We are well aware of climate change. We home school the kids and yet they know all about the effort to go green, without our having to indoctrinate them. In fact, we have "green fatigue"! Which is what I believe the rest of the world must be suffering from. Enough already. We are aware! You'd have to be living under a rock to miss the ongoing effort to "save the environment". Our mirthful protest was an expression of our weariness of the whole commie campaign.

I'm doing great in our family NCAA basketball pool. In fact, Stat Boy has figured I've already won as I've had the most correct picks so far, and we all have the same picks left in the Final Four through the championship game. This is the most fun I've ever had filling out a bracket. Now if Carolina wins the title we will be one big, happy family.

In case you missed my younger brother eating his words in the comments section on Saturday morning, I thought I'd re-post them here for all to read. It's not often we older siblings get to bask in the glory of being right :-)

"I, Mau's Bro, have been talking smack about the sweet 16 game between North Carolina and Gonzaga. Being a Gonzaga fan, I felt it necessary to call names and belittle my sister and my nephew, Stat Nut. Based upon the outcome of the game last night, their wisdom of college basketball, especially Stat Nut (who called a 20 point throttling in favor of the Heels), is far superior to mine. Even though I remain a Gonzaga fan, I felt it necessary and appropriate to express my humbled position in the same venue I laid down my smack. Congrats to the Heels...by far the superior team last night."

I could read those words all day long!

Here is one more photo of Wingnut hob-nobbing with Dr. Alan Keyes. Isn't he a handsome devil?(Wingnut that is).

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Create in Me a Clean Heart, oh God

One of the most beautiful things about having children, is how close to holiness they really are. I love when our little ones begin revealing what they know and have learned about Jesus in their short little lives. On the way to Stations last Friday, Baby Wingnut was recounting for us how Jesus fell while carrying his cross.

"Jesus fell down," he told me.
"Yes, he did. How many times did he fall?"
"Three seconds," he answered.
"Well, not three seconds, but three times," I corrected.
"No. Three seconds, mom!"

Baby Wingnut has been such a trooper during Stations this year. He stands so sweetly between Wingnut and I, holding his booklet, following along; genuflecting, standing and kneeling at all the right moments. We've gone every week since the beginning of Lent and he's never made it entirely through the whole service. He's usually snoozing by the 6th Station, yet he's picked up that Christ fell three times.

He was extremely distressed this last week during Stations. The week after Laerte Sunday, our parish covers all statues and crucifixes with purple cloth for the remainder of Lent and through Holy Week. We came into the Chapel and he immediately turned to me and said, "I can't see Jesus." He looked around some more and continued, "I can't see Mary. I can't see Joseph, either." It's truly amazing what children can pick up and understand at such a young age.
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Lenten Soup Suppers

Last week we tried the black bean soup from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups. It was pretty good, but I make a much better one from a recipe from the folks at America's Test Kitchen that uses a ham steak for flavoring. I guess meat makes everything taste better. Still, everyone ate it with no complaint and it was perfect as a Lenten meal. I also made one of the cornbread recipes from Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking. The cornbread was fantastic, and I'll absolutely make that recipe in the future.

Tonight we are revisiting the Red Beans and Rice soup we had the first week of Lent. I am going to boost the amount of beans and reduce the amount of rice this time around and see if we like that better. I'm also making a new bread recipe, but this one is from the latest Cooks Illustrated Magazine. Ciabatta is one of my very favorite types of bread, with it's big airy , yet chewy interior and thin, crisp outer crust it's perfect for dipping in a little herbed olive oil. I had to make a biga last night before heading to bed, so this bread definitely requires a bit of forethought. I'll let you know how it all turns out in my post next week. Pax Christi.

Oh yeah, GO 'HEELS!
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Natural Beauty

For their fifth photography assignment the co-op students were to photograph landscapes. I had hoped we'd be deeper into spring when I assigned this particular task, but I was just a tad off. Regardless, they tackled the job and turned in some beautiful, nearly-spring landscape photos. Here are the tips they learned in class before heading outdoors:

The assignment for this week is to take a landscape photo. Here are the strategies we discussed in class:

Use a tripod if you have one
Think about your foreground
Have a focal point
Use the golden hours (sunrise and sunset)
Use the weather--remember bright sunlight may not be best--dark, foreboding weather might make more interesting shadows etc.
Use the rule of thirds--2/3 sky 1/3 land or 2/3 land 1/3 sky depending on your focal point
Use leading lines
Try framing your landscape(beneath branches or bridges or awnings or arches)
Make sure your horizon is level
People may be in a landscape, but they should not be the focal point
If you are photographing a tree or tall landmark your camera should be held in the portrait position. If you are photographing a broad panoramic view, your camera should be held in the landscape position.
Remember to take LOTS of photos over several occasions.

Send me your best shot and you may use photo software to punch up your photos if you desire.

Oleander got up bright and early to get a sunrise shot from our back deck. She used our photo editing software to give the blue in the sky that extra little punch.

JP waited until the last minute to get his photo taken, but he and I headed out on our rainy Thursday afternoon and got this shot at the pond. He also used the photo editing software to give it kind of a gray/green sepia tone.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Every Little Bit Counts

Even small successes matter. Join other successful mom's and post your successes for the week at Faith and Family Live.

This week my small successes are:

1) Its bedroom week if you fly with the FlyLady. This is one of my favorite zones as I try to keep my bedroom a peaceful and pleasant sanctuary. I truly enjoy the time cleaning, organizing, and making our space pretty. As well as tiding up a bit, I changed the sheets on our bed, replacing our winter flannels with crisp egyptian cotton. Nothing feels better than slipping under cool, clean sheets for the night.

2) I tackled the clutter in my closet and put all of our shoes on the shoe racks. I only reorganized my side because I just cannot figure out what to do with Wingnut's side. When I consider trying to clean it for him it feels like one of those impossible challenges that will never end. I'll just pat myself on the back for getting one side finished.

3) I was able to shoo the children outdoors most every day this week and I spent some of that time out there with them, either playing with Baby Wingnut or clearing out some of the garden overgrowth. Spring is definitely in the air and we all benefited from getting a good dose of fresh outdoor air this week.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Suspension of Belief

Baby Wingnut has an addiction -- an addiction to Wii Mario Kart. (Bet you thought I was going to say nursing, didn't cha?) We've cut him off cold turkey, because, quite frankly, we are tired getting beat by him. Actually, I'm just kidding on that last statement, little boys should be outside running amok, not in the dungeon playing video games.

When he asks me if he can play the Wii, I tell him Daddy said, "No." That had been working pretty well as he tends not to question Daddy's will. I fear the power of that statement is waning dramatically. Today he did not appear to believe Daddy would actually say no to the Wii.

This is the reaction Baby Wingnut gave when I attempted to use my tried and true line: "Mama, tell me the troof!"
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Basketball Rivalry

Friday night there is going to be a familial smack down. The 'Heels are meeting the 'Zags in the Sweet Sixteen. I may have grown up in Spokane, Washington, but in this house we are North Carolina Tarheel fanatics through and through. My siblings are huge Gonzaga Bulldog nuts. You may have noticed the constant smack exchange between my brother and Stat Boy in the comments section recently. Even my dear old Dad has gotten involved! Someone is going to be eating their words, and it ain't gonna be me! Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Darkness Falls

I've blogged extensively about Baby Wingnut and his continued love affair with nursing. We are in the process of weaning him and I think I've finally gotten him down to nursing only at night. The little guy is so intelligent. He's constantly looking out the window and saying, "Its dark now. I get to nursie!" When I correct him and clarify that it is not yet completely dark, he'll spend the next several hours telling me, "Look, it's black dark!"

Really, you have to applaud my perseverance. How can I possibly resist this face?

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Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm in the Militia Now

Evidently, because I voted for, supported, and have made monetary donations to Dr. Alan Keyes; a third party candidate AND pro-life activist; I'm part of a militia, and a potential domestic terrorist, according to a government information collection agency.

What kind of police state are we living in? Talk about "Big Brother". Sheesh!
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Living Vicariously through the Wingnut

Wingnut has had an eventful and distinguished Air Force career. He's shaken the hands of two presidents on three different occasions. He's flown Secretaries of State, Defense, Armed Forces, etc. He's been to Italy, Australia, New Zealand, France, England, Scotland, Russia, China, Korea, Costa Rica, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and countless other countries; so many I have completely lost track. I've waited patiently, like a good military wife; happy for his opportunities and successes and convinced I had the better part as he missed first steps, first words, and first birthdays.

Wingnut had a unique pleasure this weekend. It was the first great opportunity I was actually envious of, and Wingnut would say it was the best thing he's ever been privileged to do in his flying career, and it was not even with the military.

This is the guy Wingnut flew around on Saturday.

Not only did he get to fly Dr. Alan Keyes from Maryland to a pro-life event in South Carolina,

he had lunch with him AND spoke extensively with him.
They talked NFP, abortion, politics, economy, family and education. Wingnut had a marvelous time. He found Dr. Keyes to be humble, honest, faithful, down to earth, polite, extremely intelligent, and exuding an inner joy and hope. What an out and out honor!

Dr. Keyes also has a weblog we've just discovered. Check out Alan Keyes is Loyal to Liberty.
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fantastic Homemade Salad Dressing: Yes, You Can Make it Yourself!

Since discovering the secret to great homemade creamy salad dressing, I never buy prepackaged bottles of the stuff. Like most homemade foods, making your own salad dressing has so many advantages. It is less expensive and tastes infinitely better than store bought. You control the ingredients so it is definitely healthier than store bought dressings that often contain high fructose corn syrup and lots of chemical additives to stabilize and preserve the dressing. To up the health factor even more, you can use low fat or fat free varieties of mayonnaise and/or sour cream, although I prefer using plain yogurt to using fat free sour cream (I will admit I do NOT make low fat or fat free variations myself. I'll just use less dressing on my salad when I'm watching calories). Making your own is so quick and simple, you can teach your kids to make it. Once you know the base recipe all you need to do is try any number of limitless combinations of flavorings to get truly unique and delicious salad dressings.

The base of the dressing is this:

Equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream (lets start with 1/2 cup of each)
Several tablespoons of an acidic liquid like lemon, lime, buttermilk, or vinegars depending on the variety you want to make (begin with three tablespoons for our recipe but keep your liquid on hand if you need to thin out your dressing at a later stage)
Several teaspoons of minced fresh herbs like basil, oregano, cilantro, chives, or dill
Sweetening (usually a teaspoon of sugar or honey or the sweetener of your choice)
Freshly cracked black pepper

Here are a few of the variations we've come up with:

Buttermilk Herb
Begin with your base ingredients of mayo and sour cream and whisk in three tablespoons of buttermilk and the juice of half a lemon. Add 1 tsp each of freshly minced basil, chives and dill(if using dried herbs reduce amounts by 1/2) as well as one minced garlic clove and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until homogenous, adding more buttermilk if needed to get the consistency your family likes. This ends up being very similar to a buttermilk ranch dressing.

Cracked Peppercorn and Parmesan
Begin with your base ingredients of mayo and sour cream and whisk in three tablespoons of red wine vinegar. With the flat side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a handled pot crush 2 teaspoons of whole peppercorns placed in a ziplock baggy. When peppercorns are course in texture add to mayo/sour cream mixture. Add 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar and two tablespoons of grated parmesan. Mix until homogenous, adding more vinegar until the dressing is the consistency your family likes.

Southwestern Chile
Begin with your base ingredients of mayo and sour cream and whisk in the juice of one lime, one teaspoon of honey, and three tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Mince one clove of garlic, 1/4 of red onion (finely minced), and two tablespoons of cilantro(minced) and whisk into dressing. Mince one chile in adobo sauce fine and add to dressing along with two teaspoons of the adobo sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until homogenous, adding the juice of up to one more lime if needed.

I've also discovered the secret to perfectly delicious vinaigrettes, which I will save for a future recipe post. Now go make yourself a nice, big, healthy, salad!
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Art in Motion

This week the children took action photos. This was quite a challenge for the kids, but I was really impressed with their creativity and ability to get their moving shots into focus. These were the instructions they were given:

Capture motion in a photograph (this can be someone jumping, running, playing a sport, it can be a car driving down the street; a dog chasing a cat etc.)

Here are the tips we learned in class:

1) Get familiar with your camera's settings. To capture a motion photograph your ISO should be set to low and your shutter speed should be set to high. You may have to adjust these settings several times to get a good photo without too much blur.

2) Our digital cameras are not top notch enough to take good indoor action photos. Taking your photo outside will likely give you better results. Remember more natural light = faster shutter speed.

3) Set your camera to continuous shoot if you can. Turn off the preview and review features on your camera as they will slow down your continuous shots. Try turning off your flash, as flash will also slow down continuous shots.

4) Try panning your camera on your moving subject

5) You will need to take lots of photos to get one good shot

6) Catch your subject either coming into the first 1/3 of the frame or exiting the last 1/3 of the frame. This is a great way to convey motion.

This Stat Boy's selection, I think it is probably his best photo to date.  He actually took his time and thought out what it was he wanted to capture.  Since all things lead to basketball in our home this week, it is apropos that he chose this particular subject to photograph.
Oleander coaxed her little sister into posing for her this week.  I love the expression on Skoshi A's face and the contortion of her hands as she tries to keep the hoop going. Print Friendly and PDF

Lenten Soup Supper Week 4

Last week we had Pasta and Lentil Soup from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups. It was absolutely delicious an a huge hit with the family. It was extremely simple, quick, and very filling. Did you know a legume and grain served together make a complete protein? No near fainting spells at Stations last week. That is always a plus!

Today we are having Black Bean Soup from the same recipe book. This recipe has rice in it, so it will also contain a complete protein. I think I'll try one of the cornbread recipes from The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking to pair with this soup.  I'll post again next week and let you know how the meal turns out.  Pax Christi!
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Weekly Pat on the Back

Faith and Family Live is encouraging moms to give themselves a weekly pat on the back. What are your Small Successes for the week? Join the fun and post them at Faith and Family Live.

1) As homeschoolers my children are frequently asked if they get to do school in their pajamas. That is completely verboten in this house. They are required to get dressed before school every morning, no exceptions. I, on the other hand, very often teach school in my pjs. This week I decided I would make a positive change by showering and getting dressed before school just as I expect my children to do. It was a grand success :-)

2) It's bathroom/spare room week if you fly with The FlyLady. Wingnut and I have a sparkling clean bathroom. Hooray!

3) I've had about 8 very large bags full of clothing sitting in my bedroom for months now, waiting to be donated to charity. I finally hauled them to the van and dropped them off at a local charity. It's about time.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I'm Just Trying to Age Gracefully Here

Wingnut and I decided we would head out for a quick lunch and coffee without the kids before Wingnut's quick trip to Dallas this week. While he showered in our bathroom, I used the kids' bathroom to put on finishing touches. I very rarely use their bathroom and now I have a good reason not to. The lighting in that bathroom is much harsher than the soft lighting I have in my bathroom. As I was fixing my hair, I saw them. Three wiry gray hairs on top of my head. Red heads don't go gray! I've always believed the beautiful hues of auburn and strawberry just faded over time. What is up with the gray hair?!

Baby Wingnut joined me and watched as I plucked the offenders from my head.

"What you doing, mama?" He asked.

"I'm pulling out these gray hairs. Did you give those gray hairs to me?"

"No!" He boldly proclaimed, "I giving you white hair!"

Great, not only do I not get to fade gracefully in my later years, I'm going straight from a fiery red head to a white haired old lady. Where is that bottle of "Lucille Ball Red"?
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hope for Worried Mothers (and Fathers)

This is a post I've been working on for awhile now. After reading this great post by my "blogging brother", Sardonic Catholic Dad, I thought this post would tie in nicely.

One of my greatest worries is that I will fail as a mother and one or more of my children might abandon their faith. I know this is an irrational fear. I mean, eventually our children must choose for themselves and despite our best efforts and prayers we cannot compel our children to remain faithful followers of Christ. I still worry and pray, and worry and pray some more. I have special prayers I pray after each Mass, imploring God to protect my children's innocence and their faith. I will always pray those prayers, even as they enter adulthood. I also know my prayers will not fall on deaf ears.

At a special Mass we attended for children preparing for confirmation (our eldest son will be confirmed in April) our priest related a very personal, family story. He comes from a family of four boys. He very often tells stories of his family growing up in Maryland and stories of his brothers, and stories of his parents. His parents were living saints, one can tell just by hearing how respectfully and lovingly Monsignor speaks of them. His mother passed away several years ago, but his father is still living. His father and his brothers and their families will all come and visit Monsignor at the rectory at least once a year--another source of great stories from our priest. Anyway, in this instance he spoke of his oldest brother, who abandoned his faith as a young man, for no certain or explainable reason. Monsignor described his brother's slipping away from his faith as a failure to make the jump from a child's faith to an adult's faith, a step we must all take on our own, at some point in our adult lives. Monsignor recently visited his brother and his brother related to him he was coming back to the church and to his long lost faith after more than 30 years. Monsignor is absolutely thrilled, of course, that his prodigal brother has found his way back. I'm also sure his mother is leaping for joy in heaven, at the return of her delinquent son. Her prayers did not fall on deaf ears.

This story was of great comfort to me. As sad and disappointed as I'd be if my children chose a wayward path, I know it really is out of my hands. I could do everything absolutely correctly as a parent, and my children will still make their own decisions in life, for good or bad. But God will not abandon us. He hears our prayers and he will always be there when our children return to him, and thank God, they almost always do.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Mr. Clean. . .

. . . is a naughty little boy's best friend.
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Let the Madness Begin!

Our teenage son LOVES March Madness. He has been chomping at the bit all day, waiting for the selection show. He's practically giddy with excitement. We have our brackets all printed out and Stat Boy is helping his younger siblings fill them out as I write.

I've got Kansas, Missouri, Villanova and the 'Heels as my Final 4. Who do you like this year?

**Update** Not a single one of us has a team other than UNC winning the tourney. Brainwashing? Possibly. Wishful thinking? Most definitely. Go 'Heels!

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Is This Kid Smarter Than Me, or What?

Really, I've been working on weaning our nearly 3 year old Baby Wingnut. We've whittled away at it and he is now only nursing at night, but I think he is outsmarting me. I woke up one morning this week to overhear this little conversation Baby Wingnut was rehearsing to himself:

"I say, I love you so much, you're so beautiful and I want to nursey. You say, Ok, you can nursey."

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Abstract Photos

This week the kids learned about different compositional elements in photography. The elements they learned to use were 1) The rule of thirds 2) Triangles 3) Circles 4) Negative space 5) Leading lines and 6) Repetitive patterns. Their assignment was to take an abstract photo and employ at least one of those elements.

They got downright creative with this assignment. One young man took a photo of his Cookie Crisp Cereal in a pristine white bowl on a red checked table cloth, he was all over circles. Another child took a photo of an empty Coca Cola bottle on a picnic table between some kind of fencing. She had the bottle positioned perfectly in the left third of the frame. She could sell it to Coke. It was that good.

Next week we'll be working on capturing motion in our photos. I can't wait to see what the kids come up with for that one!

Here are the submissions from Stat Boy and Oleander:

You know what the boy cares about. Still he did a nice job composing his shot.
Oleander loves these Japanese dolls I got at a second hand shop in Japan. She took dozens of shots before selecting this one for her assignment. Print Friendly and PDF

Lenten Soup Supper Week 3

Last week we tried corn soup from 12 Months of Monastery Soups and it was a hit, except with the Boy. Let me warn you, if you make a soup that doesn't have much protein in it and the Boy ends up eating only bread for dinner, make sure he's NOT serving Stations of the Cross that night. I had to poke Wingnut and bring our teetering son to his attention during the Adoration portion of the evening. Stat Boy was a man and made it through the service without passing out or vomiting, but he came close.

This week we are trying Pasta and Lentil soup from the same cookbook. I have to make a biga tonight for the Italian boule we'll have to complement the soup tomorrow. Blessings!

*forgot to make the biga, guess I'll pull a boule out of the freezer to defrost :-(
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's Thursday. . .

. . . it must be time to give yourself a pat on the back. Head over to Faith and Family Live and join the Small Successes fun! Here are my small successes for the week:

1) I made my bed every day this week. It's nice to have one room in the house that is not a complete pit of despair!

2) While I don't follow FlyLady's guidelines religiously, I do keep track of what zone she's working in for the week. This was kitchen week and I managed to scrub down the counters, the stove, the microwave, my beautiful espresso machine, the mixer, and the toaster oven. Clean appliances make the whole kitchen feel cleaner, don't they?

3) I kept up with the laundry. I think the washer and dryer ran non-stop all week, but I managed to keep on top of it and even fold and put laundry away. Hooray!
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Facebook Caution

Much has been written about social networking sites like Facebook in the blogosphere the last week or so. Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda had some thought provoking, personal reflections about the topic on her blog. I'd have to say, I'm with Charlotte, I much prefer blogs to social networking. Facebook is fun for quick takes and blurbs about life in real time, but my blog is where I feel most at home and where I can write and reflect on deeper things and with greater variety. Facebook is where I can tease, poke, and keep up with my Dad and brother and sister, but they also frequently stop by my blog and leave comments for me here, as well.

I enjoy my Facebook page and I have mostly enjoyed being contacted by old friends from high school and college. It has been incredibly interesting to read what they have been up to, but there has been a down side to these reconnections, too. A good family friend identified the crux of the issue this last weekend when we were talking about social networking. He pointed out that there may have been a real reason we have drifted and lost contact with these friends from the past. I have personally realized this when hearing from old friends and I have had to establish with these folks who I am and what I stand for. I even had to express my concern and distaste for a certain life path an old friend has found herself upon.

I would caution you, if you Facebook you should follow two very important guidelines, based upon my experience. First, be wary of who you accept as a "friend". People contacting you from the past may not have real friendship in mind. Many are networking and attempting to grow client bases and contacts for their "causes". There is nothing wrong with this, per se, but I'm not on Facebook to be solicited for money making schemes or to join every charitable cause known to man (in fact I'm not interested in the vast majority of the causes I've been asked to join). Secondly, be sure you put it out there who you really are and what you believe. I've had many of my newly contacted friends express surprise at my "changed" lifestyle since college, but for the most part they have been respectful and have even admired my dedication to family and my faith. Facebook can definitely be a place to evangelize and I'll not allow it to be a wasted opportunity.
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Monday, March 9, 2009

Am I Missing Something?

When I was twelve, all I was concerned about were cute clothes and when was I ever going to be allowed to wear make-up. My girls, much to my wonder, are working on a well stocked arsenal. The only gift OJ desired for her birthday was a pocket knife. Her older brother and sister both have knives and she figured it was her turn to get one. She received a sweet Swiss Army knife and she was absolutely thrilled. Wingnut also gave OJ a tricked out paintball gun that will completely blow her siblings and their pathetic weapons off the course. He is now her favorite parent.

Karate Kid is all about her sparring gear for Taekwondo. She's begun asking for a sparring sword and throwing knives. Should I worry?

Stat Boy is my clothes horse. Thankfully he is not into cute. He goes for sports jerseys and t-shirts that mock Duke.

I think my kids are weird. They must be homeschooled. Print Friendly and PDF

Saturday, March 7, 2009

If God is For Us, Who Can Be Against Us

Mass Readings for March 8, 2009

The Old Testament reading for today always puts a smile on my face.  I know it sounds incongruous, I mean after all, Abraham has been commanded by God to sacrifice his only son. Let me explain myself.  The picture used for this post was drawn by Stat Boy during his kindergarten year.  It is a picture of the Old Testament reading.  You may recognize Abraham with his knife poised over his son lying on the bundle of wood.  What causes the mirth, for me, are the expressions on Abraham's and Isaac's faces.  Their faces display huge smiles and that just cracks me up.  For the rest of my life, that biblical reading will always be associated with the sweet and innocent drawing by my sweet and innocent little boy.
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Astronomy Buffs

The conversation in the van on the way to Stations of the Cross went something like this:

Baby Wingnut excitedly,  "Mama, look!  It's Venus.  Venus is a star.

"Yes, Ben, it's a special star.  It's a wandering star."

"Venus is a planet.  Mercury is a planet." Ben continued.  

Karate Kid jumps in and helps Baby Wingnut name the rest of the planets, including the minor planets, astroid belts, etc.

Finally, Baby Wingnut pipes in, "And Minnesota too!"

Ok, I guess he needs just a little more work on astronomy.
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Friday, March 6, 2009

Sweet Oleander

Today you officially become one of the big kids.  Happy 12th birthday, sweet girl.  We are so very proud of you and cannot wait to see what God has planned for you.  You have quietly carved out your own way in our family, never getting caught beneath the shadows cast by the achievements of your older siblings. Your talents and successes are completely unique and amazing.  Continue to model your life on those of your favorite Saints, as one can never go wrong imitating the lives of Saint Therese and Saint Joseph Cupertino.  May God bless and protect you, our glorious, gorgeous, gifted, girl. Print Friendly and PDF

Lenten Soup Dinners

Last week we made red bean and rice soup from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups and Irish brown bread from The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking.  The soup was very good.  It was creamy and hearty, but we all agreed it needed more beans and less rice.  I wrote that tip in my cookbook as I will be making that soup again in the future.  The bread was a little different. The children seemed to enjoy it.  With lots of butter is was fairly tolerable, but I most likely won't make that one again. Actually, I don't know why I didn't think to make cornbread.  It would have made a lot more sense, don't you think, to have red beans and rice with cornbread?

Tonight we are going to make corn soup from 12 Months.  It looks like a quick and hearty vegetable soup.  We'll also have Loyola buttermilk bread from Secrets, which I make quite frequently.  I have four stars next to that recipe. It is absolutely wonderful, moist and buttery, and very easy.  I'll post a quick review of this week's soup along with plans for our Friday soup next Friday.

Hope your Lent is going well.   Pax Christi!
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Weekly High Five

We moms are tooting our own horns over at Faith and Family Live.  Come check it out!

1) The Great Bedroom Swap of 2009 is nearly complete.  The two youngest girls' room is completely organized, decorated and CLEAN!  The two oldest girls are just waiting on mattresses before moving into their re-decorated room.

2) I watched half an hour of Spongebob with the kids yesterday.  You may think this is really not a success, but I watched a TV show WITH the kids rather than trying to get a million other things done that needed to be done.  Whatever you may think of Spongebob, we laughed our heads off, together.

3) I ran my eldest son up to the the piano teacher's house for one more rehearsal with his duet partner before the big competition this weekend.  It was a long and very busy day yesterday and I certainly did not want to get into the van again, but I did it and I'm glad for it.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Top Reasons Why 2 Rocks

Two year olds very often get a bad rap, you know with the whole "terrible twos" thing.  I happen to disagree that two is all that challenging.  So in honor of having a two year old that we absolutely adore, here are four of my top reasons why 2 rocks!

#1 Bribing a two year old is cheap. Ours will toe the line for a donut or an Oreo. Try bribing a 13 year old for so little!

#2 They will parrot anything: "These dames are driving me nuts!"(he has four sisters) or "Thanks, doll!"(once again, four sisters and he needs to butter them up) or "I am the champion, you the loser!" or "You smell like a country farm!"

#3 They give gifts directly from the heart: Our two year old has been known to give gifts of jewelry.  It may be his sister's plastic Disney princess necklace, but I love the fact that he already knows women love shiny, sparkly objects.

#4 They know how to talk to a woman: "Mama, you so nice, you so pretty. I want to nursie!" or "Mama, I love you so, so much.  You so beautiful.  I want to nursie!" or "Please, thank you, and sorry.  I want to nursie."

Anyone with a two year old, has had a two year old, or knows a two year old; feel free to add your reasons why two year olds rule!
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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You Know March Madness is Fast Approaching. . .

. . . when the two year old begins chanting,  "It was a dipsy-do, dunkeroo, slam-jam, baby!"

Go 'Heels!
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Fiery Orator, Indeed

This is the man I would have voted for as the first African American President of the United States. Could anyone explain to me how in the world Obama beat Alan Keyes in Illinois? The win for Obama in Illinois was the catalyst that launched him onto the national stage. Our country is in so much trouble and I don't think there is a way out of it, save Divine Intervention. Keep on praying!

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