Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Curious Case of Judas Iscariot


The gospel reading for today recounts the troubling revelation of the betrayal of Christ by Judas. For me, Judas' very existence and the part he played in handing Jesus over to be condemned is a puzzle. Even the gospels treat Judas with varying degrees of culpability. John, being the most condemning, describes the Iscariot as a thief and motivated by pure greed, allowing for Satan to have influence over him. Matthew's Gospel is the most forgiving, recounting Judas' deep regret and desperate attempt to right his wrong with the chief priests before hanging himself.

In artwork, Judas' betrayal with a kiss is a compelling and often striking image. Christ's grief in losing one of the twelve is profound and heart wrenching. Regardless of his motivations, there is a lesson for us. The article discussing Judas Iscariot from New Advent communicates this lesson better than I could ever paraphrase:

". . .it may be urged that in exaggerating the original malice of Judas, or denying that there was even any good in him, we minimize or miss the lesson of this fall. The examples of the saints are lost on us if we think of them as being of another order without our human weaknesses. And in the same way it is a grave mistake to think of Judas as a demon without any elements of goodness and grace. In his fall is left a warning that even the great grace of the Apostolate and the familiar friendship of Jesus may be of no avail to one who is unfaithful. And, though nothing should be allowed to palliate the guilt of the great betrayal, it may become more intelligible if we think of it as the outcome of gradual failing in lesser things. So again the repentance may be taken to imply that the traitor deceived himself by a false hope that after all Christmight pass through the midst of His enemies as He had done before at the brow of the mountain. And though the circumstances of the death of the traitor give too much reason to fear the worst, the Sacred Text does not distinctly reject the possibility of real repentance."
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Celebrating Holy Week with Children

As much as the Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection are a mystery for us, they are even more so for children. It can be a real challenge to observe Holy Week with small children, and yet if you incorporate just a few simple traditions, Holy Week can definitely leave an impression upon them.

Last night I printed out blackline masters of the Stations of the Cross for my younger three children to color and cut out. As they finished their work we glued their Stations to slightly larger pieces of colored paper and I wrote the title of each Station below the pictures. As we were taping our Way of the Cross around our dining room, Lil' Wingnut suddenly remembered he had seen this done before and exclaimed, "Hey, we did this when I was two! Can I hold the Cross?"

This week, we'll be praying the Stations of Cross each night before bedtime. Lil' Wingnut is completely enthralled with the idea. This morning he got up on his own and had to run downstairs to make sure the pictures were still hanging on the wall in the dining room. He then walked about the dining room and asked me to read off the titles for him. Even the smallest of observances can really make an impact on your children.


*We use the pictures and prayers from Lent and Easter in the Domestic Church. Their website has graciously posted their version which you can print out. If you open the pictures in a separate window you can print them out as well.
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hosanna!


As he rode along,

the people were spreading their cloaks on the road;
and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of his disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy
for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
They proclaimed:
“Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest.”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,
“Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”
He said in reply,
“I tell you, if they keep silent,
the stones will cry out!”
--From the Gospel of Saint Luke

Here's a link to an article describing many of the traditions associated with the celebration of Palm Sunday in the Catholic Church.
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Side Effects of Fasting

As one of my Lenten fasts, I gave up spending time on Facebook. I really haven't missed it much, although occasionally, Lil' Wingnut would say or do something cute, funny, or shocking and I'd think, "Boy, I wish I could post that on Facebook." I've also missed reading what my brother, sister, and mother-in-law have been up to. I really do need to use the phone more often.

One side effect of fasting from Facebook I've noticed is my blogging has been more consistent, and I haven't been suffering from writers block. I've been considering the reason behind this surge in blogging and have come to this conclusion. Whereas I would post daily events as a status update on Facebook immediately after they had occurred, when it comes to posting daily events on my blog, I tend to ponder these things, mulling them over for hours or even days before turning these happenings into a post here. I'm truly beginning to wonder if this fast paced world we live in, where we can tweet or post in immediacy, gives us enough time and distance to really consider our daily struggles and blessings.

When we have finally passed through the desert of Lent, I will likely go back to using Facebook, but my hope is to consider more carefully what I post as status updates, and whether I might better express my thoughts, feelings, ideas, and conclusions in this space.

As Holy Week approaches, I will not be posting here as often. I may leave pictures or scripture passages here as reflections. May you have a most holy and blessed week as the celebration of our Lord's passion, death, and resurrection draw near.
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Small Successes: Be My Hero


Small Successes for March 25, 2010

1) Beside homeschooling my own children, I'm teaching two classes outside our home. On Wednesdays I'm teaching ballet to ten little girls. On Fridays I'm teaching a 90 minute Ancient Greek history class to 22 elementary/middle school students. It can be pretty daunting, but this week I was pro-active and got my lesson planning for both classes done before Tuesday afternoon. Teaching is so much easier if you come with a plan in hand.

2) Spring has finally sprung and we are waking from our long winter's hibernation. Hooray! I am determined to make sure the kids get plenty of fresh air and sunny D. We've implemented mandatory outdoor time. Actually, it hasn't been as difficult as I thought it might be. Our three youngest beg to go outside from the moment they are up and dressed each day. Funny how clean the house stays when the children spend all their time outdoors.

3) Our kids love squid. Weird, I know. They have been begging me to try my hand at making fried calamari. As part of our celebration of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph last Friday, we fried up a batch. I was able to find cleaned calamari tubes and tentacles (ewww, I know) in the frozen section at Safeway. I was surprised how simple fried calamari is to make. Cut the tubes into rings. Cut the tentacles in half, lengthwise. Toss in flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, shake off the excess flour, and fry in very hot oil. The key to making sure your calamari is not rubbery, is to fry at 375 for just 1.5 minutes and then make sure the oil comes back up to temp before frying the next batch. The finished product should be a light golden brown. Serve immediately with homemade marinara. The family all agreed, it was the best squid they'd ever had.

What are your Small Successes this week? Leave your link at Faith and Family Live.

Have a happy and blessed Solemnity of the Annunciation today!

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

God in the Back Seat

Five years ago, this coming August, we lost a precious baby boy at 18 weeks gestation. It was a devastating loss for Wingnut and me, and for our children. Mercifully, our parish offers burial for just such losses. Our wonderfully, supportive priest gave our baby a place and we were allowed to give him burial in holy ground. We mourned the loss of little Josef as a family.

One year and 10 months later we were blessed with Lil' Wingnut. He has been a beautiful consolation for us all. Many times we've recalled that if God had not chosen to take Josef to Him, we would not have this precious, precocious three year old today.

Lil' Wingnut's siblings have told him all about baby Josef. He's visited his grave with us on several occasions. He is very aware of his existence. Recently he has been bringing his lost brother up in conversation. Just last week, while riding in the car, he said, "I wish my brother, baby Josef, had not died."

I responded, "Well, if Josef had not been taken to heaven when he was, we would not have been given you. You might have been born into a different family. That would have been too bad for us. You know, I believe God has something very special planned for you."

"Yeah. You know God is in the sky." He innocently replied.

"Well, Lil' Guy, God is really everywhere."

"Everywhere?"

"Yes, everywhere."

"He's in the car?"

"Yes, he's in the car."

You should have seen the look on his face as he slowly turned to look at the empty seat next to him. I think he fully expected to see God sitting there right next to him. This one makes me smile.

I thank God each and every day for this consolation He has given us. Lil' Wingnut serves as a reminder, that while in the depths of sorrow we may not see the hand of God at work in our lives, but in Him we are always given solace.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Little Stephen King to Brighten Your Day

Stat Boy is working on creative writing this semester. He has actually been enjoying it, at least I think he is. How could he not when he is allowed to turn in assignments like the following:

The Crazy Creepy Clown

Hideous and unflattering, the powdered face of the creepy clown smirks sinisterly as he runs around the arena with his twisted knife. Children shrink away in pure terror as he comes near, and sigh with relief as he stalks away in his red spotted pants. His bloated stomach hangs out of his sparkly blue shirt and jiggles whenever he moves. The tyrant's blood red hair has bugs and dirt in it, and he has a half shaved beard on his double chin. When booed by the crowd, the poor, sinister clown struts off to his dark lair.


The boy has only been to a circus once. I think he was about two. I guess it made quite an impression on him. Yikes!
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Stupak, Meet Judas

219 votes "Yes". Stupak and his buddies put the vote over the edge last night. Does anyone believe Obama's 11th hour Executive Order is worth the paper it's written on? Really? Stupak knows it is not. His fellow pro-life dem from Mississippi, Travis Childers, urged him not to believe in Obama's sincerity.

For anyone who still believes Stupak is some kind of hero, you must have missed his vitriolic speech on the floor last night when it came to the vote to recommit. A vote to recommit would have sent the newly passed bill back to committee and made the entire process begin again. It was a last ditched and ill-fated move by the Republicans. Stupak stood up and let his true colors show as he lauded the Democrat Party as the true"party of life", patted himself on the back as the leader of the group of democrats that gave America healthcare reform without compromising their principals, and then attacked the Republicans as being disingenuous and uncaring. Stupak is no hero. He is a politician and a snake.

This is my blog and I'll rant if I want to.
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

How We Spent our Saturday Afternoon

Our 13 year old is a budding activist. She really wanted to go to the Kill the Bill and Storm the Hill Rally in DC, so she and her siblings made posters and we went as a family to exercise our right to peaceful assembly.

Here are our little protesters proudly bearing their posters. We had a second set of slogans printed on the back with other reasons Obamacare is evil, in case Stupak's group got their pro-life language back into the bill. They haven't, and from what I've read on CMR, Stupak is done trying to reason with Pelosi.

Our little activists were a popular attraction at the rally. Folks wanted to have their pictures taken with them and their posters, but our kids were no match for this cute little couple and their poster that read, "Our family of 8 survived the Great Depression Without a Gov't health plan."

One news outlet reported the rally drew just over 2000 people. This is the post rally, rally on the steps of the Rayburn House Office Building. This post rally, rally had at least 2000 people at it, there were thousands more at the main rally on the steps of the Capitol. I think the media uses fuzzy math.

Wingnut and I thought the assault rifle was bit much for controlling jaywalkers. This really was a very peaceful and mostly civil demonstration.

Lil' Wingnut is too young to remember his first March for Life, but you can see on his face he was not enjoying this rally much.

Tomorrow is the big vote. Pray, pray, pray. Offer your Mass tomorrow for a holy outcome. God's Will Be Done!



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Friday, March 19, 2010

Have You Shoveled Yet?

Our associate Pastor gave one of his best and most cohesive homilies this last weekend. He made a wonderful parallel between the recent winter storms we've had on the East Coast and venial (lesser) sin.

Paraphrasing: The snow began accumulating slowly. One inch, then it was two inches, before you knew it there was 1/2 a foot of snow, then a foot, and a second foot, until an entire metropolitan center became completely paralyzed. Venial sin is just like that snow. Before you know it, you are paralyzed and trapped under a pile of sin.

One of the most important elements of Lent is penance. There honestly isn't a better way of addressing this detail than going to confession. If you haven't gone yet, it isn't too late. Do your soul a favor and get shoveling!

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
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Lenten Soup Suppers: Solemnity of Saint Joseph

Last week we had Red Beans and Rice (I ended up using my own recipe minus the sausage and chicken stock) with homemade tortillas. It was wonderful and delicious!

In celebration of this Lenten Solemnity, we will not be having a Lenten Soup Supper. Instead we are indulging big time with Coconut Shrimp, a nice salad, a pan cookie, and ice cream. Hope you all have a wonderful celebration today!
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Small Successes:Small Stuff, Big Difference


Small Successes for March 18, 2010

1) In celebration of good Saint Patrick, I made our traditional Glazed Corned Beef and Irish Heritage Cabbage. Children really love tradition, and ours are no exception. I hope they look back at even these small little celebrations with fondness.

2) I taught the first of 6 beginning ballet classes to 10 sweet little girls at my blogging buddy, Sam's home. Oleander was my assistant, her being a real ballerina and all. It has been 20 years since I taught a ballet class. I can't believe how much fun we had.

3) I've been sick all week. Sneezing my head off, watery eyes, low grade fever, and aches and pains. In spite of feeling under the weather, I was able to keep on top o' the laundry. Whew!

What are your Small Successes this week? Leave your link at Faith and Family Live.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Confessional is NOT Soundproof

Saturday we packed everyone into the 12 passenger and made our way to confession. Before heading out the door I had helped Special K examine her conscience. That done, she was raring and ready to go. I had her stand in the front of the line and when her turn arrived I led her to the confessional, guided her inside, and walked back to my place in line. Standing about 25 feet away from the confessionals, everyone in line could hear our sweet little girl very loudly making her confession to the priest on the other side of the screen. The sound of her choked up little voice was incredibly sweet, but it was a little disconcerting that we could all hear her. To save us all from inadvertently listening, Wingnut began repeating, "The confessional is not sound proof. The confessional is not sound proof."

She made it thorough her act of contrition and came skipping out of the box, her little soul pure as snow. I'm sure the angels in heaven rejoiced in her innocence. She sure is a sweetheart.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

V8 Roast Beef with Gravy and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

While my dear mother-in-law was visiting, she mentioned one of my sister-in-laws had made the most delicious pot roast she had ever had. My sister-in-law had cooked the roast in V8 juice. I thought this sounded fantastic, so I gave it a try. It really was one of the best roasts I've ever eaten, especially with a gravy made from the pan juices.

V8 Roast Beef

1 three pound chuck roast
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
2 onions quartered
3 carrots cut into chunks
2 celery stalks cut into chunks
3 cups V8 juice

Salt and pepper roast on all sides. Heat oil over medium high heat in a heavy dutch oven. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides. Add onions, vegetables and juice to pot, cover with a lid and place in a 300 degree oven. Roast at least 2 1/2 hours, turning roast occasionally. Roast is done when a fork slides easily in and out of the meat. Remove roast from the oven and skim two cups of liquid from the pot, reserving in a heat proof vessel. Slice roast and return to pot to soak up juices and to rest until gravy and potatoes are ready.

V8 Gravy

4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups reserved pan juices from roast
2 cups chicken broth

In a sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir together constantly until mixture begins to darken into a nutty brown roux. This will take about 7 to 10 minutes, be very careful not to burn the roux. Slowly add the pan juices and broth to the roux, stirring constantly with a whisk to avoid getting lumps. Once stirred in and smooth, heat and stir occasionally until thickened into a gravy. Serve over mashed potatoes and V8 roast.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs red potatoes cut into evenly sized chunks (I do not peel the potatoes, we like the skins on)
3 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
Water to cover potatoes in pot
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk(we use goat's milk due to an allergy to cow's milk)
salt and pepper to taste

Place diced potatoes and smashed garlic cloves into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a gentle rolling boil until potatoes and fork tender, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of potatoes. Strain and return to pot and place over medium low heat. Add butter and milk and mash the potatoes to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.


After creating this meal myself, I thought I'd check out V8's site and see if they had their own recipe, they do. You can see V8's version here. Bon appetit!






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Monday, March 15, 2010

March Sadness

In case you missed it, we are huge North Carolina Basketball fans in this house. March Madness is the highlight of our spring, next to Easter, of course. The 'Heels won the NCAA tournament last year. It was magical.

Every year we faithfully fill out our brackets and gather around the TV to watch some great basketball. Carolina did not play well this year. In fact, they played downright pathetically. It has been depressing, deeply depressing to watch our team skid to the bottom of the rankings. Carolina is not going to the NCAA tournament this year. No Sweet Sixteen, no Elite Eight, no Final Four. Heads are hanging in our household. We are all so down in the dumps, we are not even filling out brackets this year. Big deal, they made the NIT tournament. No one fills out NIT brackets. No one.
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Inflated

Every once in a while I check out my blog stats on Site Meter to see who's reading. Recently I noticed my readership had nearly tripled. I was a bit surprised, until I dug a bit deeper and looked at my entry page statistics. Nearly 90% of my hits have been one of two related posts, this post, outing Thomas the Tank Engine as communist, and this post, also about Thomas, but written by my very funny hubby. Digging deeper still, I discovered it isn't so much the posts, but the images I used. Can anyone tell me what the latest fascination for Thomas the Tank Engine images might be? Boy, I'm feeling a bit deflated, now. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, March 12, 2010

Red Beans n' Rice

For our Lenten soup supper tonight we are having red beans and rice from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups. I'm vacillating between making homemade tortillas or Swedish rye bread from The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking. I think tortillas sound like a better pairing, don't you?

Last week's Shrimp and Corn Chowder was wonderful. I did leave out the creamed corn (ewwww!), and for those in our family that do not appreciate cream based soups, I separated out a pot of soup for them before adding the milk to the rest. One thing I would have changed, I would have blended the soup before adding the shrimp and corn. Blending after those additions caused the soup to lose some of the charm it had with the whole kernels of sweet corn and larger chunks of shrimp. The Monastery bread I started earlier in the day did not make it to the table in time for dinner, so I made homemade biscuits instead, which went really well with the chowder.

Keep having a Holy Lent!
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Small Successes: You Did It!


This week was all about staying afloat. We had a jam packed week with our JA Biztown visit, our upcoming homeschool portfolio review, and a piano competition this weekend. Here are my Small Successes for March 11, 2010:

1) After months of planning, and weeks of teaching, our group of homeschool kids finally had their day at JA Biztown. I had so much fun playing the proud teacher of 24 very smart and savvy kids. I think I might even sign up to lead this program again.

2) We have our annual portfolio review today. Due to the overwhelming number of homeschoolers in our area, our family has been handed off to a new reviewer. I was completely bummed out over this change. I'd developed a wonderful relationship over the last 8 years with our previous reviewer. Ugh! Anyhoo, the kids portfolios are organized, books line the dining room wall, and I've written up and printed complete bibliographies for each of the kids. I'm ready, but a bit nervous. I sure hope this reviewer is as homeschool friendly and supportive as Mrs. Hadnott was.

3) This week the laundry monster tried to get the best of me. All the laundry is washed and dried, but I still have one huge basket to fold. It won't be happening today, and likely not tomorrow either, I think I may need to hire some laundry fairies to help me out, just this once.


Got Small Successes? Head over to Faith and Family Live and leave your link.
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I Feel Like I Was Hit by a UPS Truck

For the last 6 weeks I've been preparing a group of 24 homeschooled students for a day at JA Biztown. Biztown is a simulation program for elementary and middle school children where they have the opportunity to run a city for a day. They learn about running a business, including taking out a business loan, making payments, paying taxes, pricing merchandise, working as a team, etc. They also learn about personal finances; making deposits, writing checks for payment, keeping an accurate register, and opportunity cost. Saving money, investing in stock, buying health insurance, exercising the right to vote, and making a profit are all part of the experience as well.

Our group ran the bank, a financial planning firm, the Best Buy, and City Hall at the Junior Achievement facility yesterday. Combined with two other homeschool groups we had 84 kids running 11 businesses for about 6 hours. It was fast, furious, confusing, loud, and a whole lot of fun, but today I feel like I have been hit by a UPS truck.

Skoshi A was an absolute crack-up, from the job she interviewed and was hired for (IRS agent), to how faithfully and diligently she did her work. She even took me along to visit a couple of businesses that were refusing to pay their taxes and had me "lean" on them for her. I can't believe my little girl was the "Tax Man".
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Comfort Food with a Little Heat

Early in our marriage, before our children came along, Wingnut and I would most often eat very spicy food. Funny thing about kids, they typically don't like spicy so much. One of our favorite dishes to cook up on the weekend was Chile Verde. This is a hot and tangy little pork and green chile stew served with warm tortillas or over white rice. I've really had a hankering for this dish recently, but 5 out of 6 kids won't touch the stuff. Sunday I decided I would go ahead and make up a pot for Wingnut, Karate Kid and me, and make a pan of browned ground beef for burritos for the rest of the crew. I even made authentic homemade flour tortillas. Have you ever planned a supper and have it turn out better than you ever hoped for? That was exactly how our supper turned out on Sunday. This was the ultimate in comfort food.

Following are the recipes I used for our Chile Verde and homemade tortillas. The tortilla recipe is one I adapted from recipes I found on the internet. The Verde is our own original recipe. Enjoy!


Authentic Flour Tortillas
(makes 24, 10 inch tortillas)

6 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup lard ( yes, you MUST use lard)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cup water

In a large bowl stir salt and flour together. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, cut the lard into the flour mixture. Add water and stir together until the dough comes together. Dump dough out onto a flour dusted counter and knead until thoroughly mixed and smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball into an approximately 10 inch circle and cook on a preheated nonstick skillet set over medium heat until tortilla puffs and blisters. Turn and cook on the other side until blisters brown. Place between two clean towels to keep warm.


Chile Verde

8 boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
4 poblano peppers, diced
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, diced (remove seeds and ribs if you don't want too much heat from the peppers)
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp mexican oregano
4 cups chicken broth

Place flour, salt and white pepper in a large ziplock baggie and mix together. Add pork cubes and shake to coat. In a large skillet heat oil until shimmering. Place pork cubes into hot oil, being sure to shake off any excess flour, and brown on all sides. Be sure not to over fill the skillet. You will need to cook the pork in approximately 4 batches. When browned on all sides remove using a slotted spoon and set on a platter covered with several layers of paper towels. Set aside. In a large dutch oven or soup pot heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add chiles, onion, and garlic and saute until onions are just translucent (about 5 minutes). Add cumin and oregano and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add reserved browned pork and chicken broth. Bring stew to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer until stew thickens and pork becomes tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve over white rice with shredded cheddar and sour cream, or fill flour tortillas with stew, topping with cheese, and sour cream and wrapping tortilla into a burrito.


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Monday, March 8, 2010

Proper Sleepover Etiquette

For 13 year old girls, proper sleepover etiquette is not innate. It must be taught. When I turned 13 and was privileged enough to have a couple friends spend the night, we always behaved like proper young ladies. We did not giggle and squeal. Young ladies of my day spoke in muted tones and smiled politely. We would not think of excluding our sweet little brothers and sisters from our festivities. In fact, we joyfully invited them to join us in our celebration without being prompted. We never filled the house with the stench of nail polish. Our favorite activities were a quiet game or charades or sitting calmly and primly with our stitchery. We always went promptly to bed at 8 o'clock. My mother never had to storm out of bed and inform us it was 4 am and didn't we think it was about time we went to sleep.

What? You don't believe me? Just ask my dear, sweet brother, Walt. I know he'll tell it like it was :-)
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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Birthday Ballerina

My dear, sweet, lovely, ballerina girl;

When was it that you blossomed into a lovely young lady? Wasn't it just yesterday you were this little girl?
We are so proud of the young lady you've become. You are a blessing to our family, a loyal friend, a bright student, and an extremely hard worker. We know God has a very special plan for you. May He continue to Bless and protect you as you continue to grow into the faithful woman He has planned. Happy birthday, Oleander. We love you more than words can say.
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Friday, March 5, 2010

Lil' Wingnut, Boy Genius

I kid you not, our three year old taught himself how to read. As proof, I'm posting video of the Lil' Wingnut reading a book he has never seen before. I'm not proud or anything, really :-) If you have 7 minutes to spare, take a look. He's pretty funny, to boot.


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Lenten Soup and Bread: Shrimp and Corn Chowder and Monastery Bread

Karate Kid had a special request for tonight's Lenten soup, Shrimp and Corn Chowder from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups. It looks very simple and spartan, like most of the soups from the book. I will be leaving out the can of creamed corn. I can't abide the stuff. Paired with this soup, we'll be trying the Monastery Bread recipe from A Continual Feast. The recipe for this bread reportedly goes back to the monastery founded by Saint Benedict.

Last weeks Greek Black Bean Soup from 12 Months was absolutely wonderful. I ended up making corn bread to go with it instead of the rye bread, as I thought corn bread sounded like a better pairing. I used the southern cornbread recipe from The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking. I won't be making that particular recipe again. It was incredibly dry and absolutely NOT Southern (Southerners do not sweeten their cornbread).

Pax!

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Small Successes: Sweating the Small Stuff


Small Successes for March 4, 2010:

1) My mileage has increased slowly and I'm finally nearing the distance I was running before Snow-a-palooza. This weekend's weather and schedule are looking really promising and I'm hoping to get in at least one 4 mile run by the end of the week.

2) The laundry baskets have all been emptied at least one time in the last week. We've kept up with folding and putting finished laundry away, as well. I even iron/steamed some of Lil' Wingnut's dress clothes and a couple of my blouses and I ironed a cute patch on Skoshi A's jeans covering a hole in the knee.

3) I've been pretty consistently planning menus and grocery lists, resulting in incredibly few nights of eating out for the family. We haven't so much as hit a Chick-fil-a in several weeks (although individual kids have been treated after their dental appoints the last couple weeks). Last night, I worked my heart out on a special Indian dish, Chicken Biryani. This dish requires quite a bit of prep, tons of ingredients, and several steps to complete successfully. I thought everything was going wonderfully, until I dished up dinner and realized the bottom of the dish was burnt. The entire entree had that off and burnt kind of taste and much of the rice was still crunchy. I really wanted to toss the whole thing and order take out, but I resisted. We ate the ruined meal. Wingnut doused his with Tabasco and even went back for seconds. I swear the man has no taste buds.

Proud of any Small Successes this week? Post yours at Faith and Family Live.
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

Brothers Matthew and Patrick Archbold of CMR, have a lovely little family feud going on their blog regarding Patrick's cheesy profile picture for the National Catholic Register. You can read Matthew's hilarious post here.

In the meantime, I've been blog-jacked by my own brother. I can't believe it. He actually has a fan base, right here, in my personal space. Can I never get away from him? Seriously, I only got 13 months of one on one attention from our parents before he arrived on the scene, kicking and screaming, and biting. Poor me. Why does my brother torment me so?

Here are just a few comments left on MY posts on MY blog:

And what's up with Walt being serious at all? I was a little concerned. Glad he threw in the silly stuff at the end. Otherwise you might have thought he was sick or something. :-)


And a big shout our to Walt (the whole family are all big fans!).....I would encourage him to start writing his own blog but I follow too many blogs ;-)


Where's your brother's opinion now?

Seriously, who does he think he is? For goodness sake, Walt, get your own blog, already. Don't make me post embarrassing photos of you here. You know I'll do it. You've been warned.
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Tyrant and the Tenderheart


What has happened to my little lover? The little boy who once asked me to marry him on a daily basis and would greet me at the door, kneeling with a cushion in his hands topped with a gift of jewelry, has become a rogue. He is constantly beating on his sisters, especially Special K. He terrorizes them, hits them, kicks them, and pulls their hair. Our despot has been spending time sitting in time out due to his nearly constant bad behavior. Where did our little sweetheart go?

Wingnut had enough of the terrorist this last weekend, and after pulling Special K's hair for the up-teenth time, he had it out with Lil' Wingnut. After lecturing the lil' guy on proper behavior toward ladies, Wingnut did what so many of us parents have done, he offered to have Special K pull Lil' Wingnut's hair in retaliation. When parents make this kind offer we are most often met with silent faces filled with confusion, resulting in inaction. Special K, however, completely collapsed into a heap and began weeping at the idea of harming her baby brother. Tyrant, meet Tenderheart. You don't deserve her.
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Monday, March 1, 2010

Lame or Not?

Every year, it's the same discussion, do we continue to abstain and practice our Lenten sacrifice on the Sundays of Lent. Is this an East Coast thing? When I converted to Catholicism nearly 15 years ago we lived in the Southwest and I never heard of Sundays not really being a part of Lent. Eight years ago we moved to the DC area, and many of our family friends let us in on this little custom. The belief is Sundays are little observances of the Resurrection and Catholics are not supposed to make penitential sacrifices on Sundays, they are supposed to celebrate, therefore, Sundays during Lent are not part of Lent (Lent is 40 days long, but if you do the math, from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday is 46 days, remove the Sundays and you have 40 days of Lent).

I have always thought this idea was completely lame. I mean, if you're going to make a sacrifice during Lent, MAKE A SACRIFICE! Is it really that difficult? Anyhow, this year we made a compromise, we left the decision to observe Sundays of Lent with sacrificial penance a personal choice, rather than a family devotion. Some of us are continuing to give up our desserts, etc., on Sundays, others are not. I guess some of us are just holier than others and have greater will power--hopefully ya'll know I'm just kidding :-)

What do you think, is this tradition silly? What does your family do on Sundays during Lent?
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