Friday, July 30, 2010

Meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries: The Carrying of the Cross

Christ Carrying the Cross by Lotto

I've been busy the last several Fridays and have neglected posting the continuation of this series of lovely meditations from the 1950s. You can access the previous posts here, here, and here.

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: Jesus Carries His Cross

In Pilate's court Our Lord stood as a ready victim for the sins of men; but He was not to be crucified there. The salvation of mankind was to be achieved on the heights of Calvary. He must struggle over the difficult and exhausting way to Calvary where the sacrifice of submission was to be performed. It was one thing to be willing to die for the sins of men, it was quite another thing to make an agonizing journey in order to embrace death. Between contrition for sin and rehabilitation of character the way is often as difficult as between the court of Pilate and Calvary. Across a soul a single serious sin breaks a trail; the second serious sin follows that course more easily, the third more easily still, and so on. It is far easier to stay where one is, but nevertheless on must gather together all of one's depleted forces and heroically make one's way to Calvary and there surrender one's soul, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

When a person sins he turns away from God, and as he repeats sins he acquires a certain momentum in fleeing from God. Only the grace of God can stop that soul from hurtling into hell, and only the grace of God combined with courageous amendment can lead that soul back to God.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Small Successes: My Mommy Came to Town

I haven't seen my mommy in three years between her moving to Florida, having back surgery, etc. she hasn't been able to swing a visit. The last time she saw the kids she was still taller than most, now most are taller than her. The last time she saw Lil' Wingnut he had just started walking, now he is a walking, talking, Mr. Personality who has completely endeared himself to her. Of course, since she was coming for a visit, my Small Successes sound a little too impressive.

1) The little girls and I went through their room and gave it the deep clean treatment, tossing trash and reorganizing every nook and cranny as well as washing all their bed linens and scrubbing down fingerprinted walls.

2) The bathroom my mom is using got the deep down clean including a bathtub scrub, toilet special, shower curtain wash, and floor mop. This is usually the bathroom the kids use and it is a real job to keep clean even when company isn't expected.

3) I'm finally into the second trimester and I'm feeling soooooo much better. I even got out the door to walk twice this week. I was all dressed and ready to go this morning, but it was already 90 degrees and humid. Mama don't do heat and humidity while pregnant. :( Hopefully it will begin cooling down around here and I can get out more consistently. I know I'll feel a lot better if I'm able to get even a little exercise during this pregnancy.

Have Small Successes to share? Leave your link at Faith and Family Live.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sherry Shrimp and Grits

Oh boy is this dish yummy and perfect for a Friday night.

Sherry Shrimp and Grits
Serves 8

For the Shrimp:
1 1/2 pounds peeled, deveined shrimp with tails removed
2 small shallots; minced
2 cloves garlic; minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dry sherry (do NOT get grocery store sherry! Get it from your local liquor store)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Grits:
2 cups vegetable broth
4 cups clam juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups old fashioned grits (be sure they are not the quick cook type)
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan bring broth, clam juice and heavy cream to a simmer. Slowly add the grits and whisk gently to combine. Cook on medium low to low heat, stirring almost constantly until smooth, thick, and creamy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet melt butter over medium high heat. Add shallots and saute until golden and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 more seconds. Add shrimp and saute until just pink, about 2 minutes. Add sherry, bring to a boil and cook about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve grits in large soup bowls and ladle portions of shrimp over the top making sure to drizzle a bit of the sauce from the pan over the top.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Got Your Back

You know what the best thing about having siblings as an adult is? They are there to go to bat for you. I know my brother and sister have had to run interference on several occasions for their fringe Catholic, homeschooling, big sister with all the kids, and they have always done me proud. I don't know what I'd do without my sibs. I count them among my best friends and I miss not being able to see them. They both live across the country but we text or facebook or call almost every week. I love you two. You are awesome! Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, July 26, 2010

Early Pregnancy Ramblings

As far as I can tell, this pregnancy is going well. I haven't seen a doctor yet, as I changed our health plan soon after discovering we were expecting, and since we are new patients, I did not get a priority appointment. My first appointment is on the 10th of August. I told them to not be shocked if I'm looking pregnant by then. It would be so reassuring to just hear this little one's heart go pitter-pat. I'm having to be heroically patient.

Mercifully, I'm into the second trimester and the nausea is gone. I do think it helped that I've given up coffee altogether. If you know me at all, you know that is a huge sacrifice for me, but really, coffee was not sounding good at all and I always felt sicker after drinking some. Southwestern food also seems to be a nausea trigger for me. I can't even bear to smell Karate Kid's homemade salsa. Who am I?

It's been five weeks since I've been able to workout at all. Between nausea, exhaustion, vacation, tennis lessons, swimming lessons, and the incredible heat and humidity, I could not drag myself out the door for anything worthwhile. I was finally able to go for a brisk 3 mile walk this morning. It felt great.

Because I have never, ever thrown up during a pregnancy, I always, always gain weight during the 1st trimester. I've already gained 11 pounds. I always gain that much during the 1st trimester. I was hoping that since I'm in better shape I would not gain so quickly. I'm a little down about that. Not much I can do now. Thankfully, I tend to gain a little more slowly during the second trimester and now that I'm feeling better, and the weather has cooled a bit, and our schedule is normalizing, I'll be more likely to get out and get some exercise.

13.5 weeks down, 26.5 weeks left to go.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Small Successes: Do You Fly?

Small Successes for July 22, 2010

Do you fly with the FlyLady? We do to a certain extent and it has really helped over the years to spend each week focused on just one zone in our house. If you haven't checked out her home blessing website and you are floundering with the housework she is worth a gander.

1) If you fly with the FlyLady, we were in the master bedroom this week. This is my favorite week. Our bedroom is my sanctuary and there is nothing nicer than heading to pray or read or sleep in a clean and organized room. Our room rarely gets out of control so cleaning this zone is relatively quick and easy. I did vacuum, dust, and wash the bedding this week. Hooray for crisp clean sheets!

2) I finished filling out portfolio review forms for the year and sent our intent to continue homeschooling this coming year. Nothing like staying legal with the county :)

3) I've really been focusing on the plan for Karate Kid next year. She really has exhausted what math there is offered for homeschoolers and so we've decided we will dual enroll her at the local community college. I was looking at the dual enrollment offerings and there is much there for her to be excited about. I've selected a math course for her, but now she gets to choose between Italian, Journalism, World Literature, and Creative Writing. I wonder which course will most intrigue her. She and I also came to a decision on science for the coming year. I plopped down $240 for her Anatomy and Physiology course through Kolbe Academy. We've really loved the high school science courses she has taken from Kolbe. This one should be a very interesting one.

Bonus: My tart adventures continue. Last night it was a lemon curd tart. YUM! I also came across the easiest tart crust recipe you could imagine. Absolutely no refrigeration or rolling required! It was absolutely buttery and delicious. If you're a tartophile, you have got to try this recipe for the crust!

Have Small Successes to share? Leave your link at Faith and Family Live.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Movie Review: Inception

Christopher Nolan is likely the most interesting and talented writer/director/producer in Hollywood today. Wingnut and I have been fans since his low budget days and his film Memento. We've pretty much loved every one of his movies with the exception of Insomnia. We absolutely love what he has done for the Batman franchise. Our expectations for Inception were high and were raised to an even higher level after reading the plot synopsis. The concept for this film is absolutely fascinating.

Dom Cobb deals in dreams. He and his team steal or extract valuable information from their targets by entering a shared dream state. Currently on the run for a crime that is revealed later in the movie, Cobb is offered an opportunity to clear his name and return home to his family if he is able to succeed in not extracting information from his new target, but implanting an idea in the target's subconscious.

It sounds much more complicated than it really is. Nolan is able to weave a complex story with unbelievable simplicity. This movie has some of the most stunning visuals and special effects I've seen in a movie since the Matrix. To say we enjoyed this movie would be an understatement. This has to be one of the best films I have ever seen in a theater. Acting wise DiCaprio, although one of the weakest actors in the film does a tolerable job. Although her character was an integral piece used for revealing the movies deepest mysteries, Ellen Page was the weakest link. We racked our brains for a better actress for her part and came up blank, too bad, as she was a bit of a distraction. The rest of the cast, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, and Cillian Murphy were top notch.

Due to frequent violence, although non-graphic, and several instances of profanity, I would recommend this film for older teens and adults only.

If you see one movie with your family this summer, see Despicable Me, if you see one movie with your best friend this year, see Inception.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

His Hotel Obsession

While on our vacation, we stayed in several different hotels. Being a family of 8 we needed to pay for two rooms and each room had two rock hard double beds. Sleeping arrangements were a bit interesting. We put our older three in a room together, and then Wingnut, the two younger girls, Lil' Wingnut and I squeezed into the second room.

At home Wingnut and I have a nice large homey kingsized bed. Poor Lil' Wingnut was relegated to sleeping the entire night with his sisters, whereas at home he begins the night with his siblings and then when Wingnut and I are ready to go to sleep we transfer him to our bed--I know, we're crazy, but it works for us. Every morning Lil' Wingnut would sadly ask why he was still in his sisters' bed and not with us. On the final night we changed things up and Lil' Wingnut got to sleep with his Mama while his dad ended up sleeping on the floor. Wingnut has a soft spot for his little guy. This arrangement suited the lil' guy perfectly. What a mama's boy.

Lil' Wingnut was the only one who enjoyed staying in hotels. He was completely enthralled with the idea and talked non-stop about it. Once we were home, he continually asked when we'd be going to a hotel for the night. It really began to drive us nuts. Having had enough of his obsessing, I asked him why he liked hotels so much. He gave several reasons that really needed some translation.

Lil' Wingnut's #1 reason: Hotels give you breakfast.
Translation: He got to eat fruit loops every morning.

Lil' Wingnut's #2 reason: Hotels have tv's.
Translation: He got to watch A LOT of Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. Lil' Wingnut and small spaces do not work well together. The tv went on as soon as he began jumping from one bed to another.

Lil' Wingnut's #3 reason: Hotels have two beds.
Translation: Hotels have two very small beds which in the end meant he got Mama all to himself and Daddy had to sleep on the floor.

When looked at through the eyes of a four year old mama's boy, hotels do look pretty fantastic.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

What's the Government's BMI? - Obesity Rating for Every American Must Be Included in Stimulus-Mandated Electronic Health Records, Says HHS

The chubby hands of big government are reaching too far, in my opinion. According to the above CNS article, one piece of information the government will be recording on our new electronic health records is our BMI. This story went largely uncovered, which is troublesome. Have we become too used to government intervention into our lives we don't even bat an eyelash when it pokes it's nose further into our business? HHS readily admits the information will be "used" to determine patients' risk for weight related health problems. This is a twisted road we are on. What may be used to provide appropriate healthcare at one turn, may be used to ration or deny healthcare at a later turn.

Meet my eldest son, he is 15 and has a BMI of 22. A year ago his BMI was 24, which for his age, height, and weight, was considered to be in the overweight category. He is not what one would call a rail by any means, but the boy doesn't have an ounce of fat on him. He is muscular and athletic in build, but because some illogical number is applied to him, he was lectured about his eating habits and proper nutrition by the base pediatrician at his last physical. So what was the difference between one year's BMI and the next? It wasn't a drastic change in his eating. The boy grew 8 inches.

BMI is a ridiculously arbitrary number. Unlike our eye color, blood type, and birthdate, BMI is medical information that can and will fluctuate, sometimes quite wildly. It has no business being on our permanent electronic medical records and the government has no business telling me or my son what his BMI is or should be.
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What's Cookin', Mama? (Recipe Swap): Chicken Caesar Salad (repost)

the Mom is hosting a weekly recipe swap at her blog. This week's theme: Last Minute Meals!

Chicken Caesar Salad is my go-to-last-minute-fix and so, although I've posted it before, it really is worth a repost :)

Defrost your chicken breasts in the microwave, or you can follow the Mom's great tip to partially defrost in a 150 degree oven (I'm going to try that trick as I hate using the microwave to defrost; it always partially cooks the stupid chicken).

Chicken Caesar Salad for a crowd (family of 8)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into thin strips along the bias
Salt and pepper to taste
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP flour
1 TBSP cornstarch
6 tsp vegetable oil, butter, coconut oil, or whatever you have on hand
1 head of romaine lettuce (or whatever lettuce you have on hand) torn or chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup freshly shredded parmesan (we actually use Peccorino Romano, as it is made from sheep's milk)
2 cups croutons ( you can buy these or make your own)
Caesar dressing or you can make your own dressing very quickly using equal parts mayo and sour cream, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper to taste, one minced garlic clove, a couple tablespoons buttermilk or goat's milk or whatever milk you have in the fridge, and a mix of minced herbs, either fresh or dried.

After slicing chicken salt and pepper to taste and toss to distribute evenly. In large bowl stir together oil, flour, and cornstarch. Add sliced chicken and toss to coat. This is a technique for keeping chicken breast moist and tender called "velveting". I've found velveting the chicken is absolutely crucial to the flavor of this salad. In a large non-stick skillet heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add 1/3 of the chicken and spread out in pan so that one side is in complete contact with the pan and the pieces of chicken are not touching each other (this ensures a good sear and crust on the chicken and keeps the chicken from just steaming in the pan). Cook without stirring for one and a half to two minutes. Check one piece of chicken for a golden brown crust on cooked side. If this is accomplished, flip all the chicken pieces to the other side and cook on second side for another one and a half to two minutes, checking this side for doneness before transferring to a clean large bowl. Repeat process with a second third of the chicken and again with the remaining chicken adding more oil to the pan as needed between batches.

Layer lettuce, chicken, croutons, parmesan and dressing on each plate to serve.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lovely Rosary Bracelet Giveaway

Cam is celebrating the birth of her second beautiful baby girl with a rosary bracelet giveaway from her etsy shop. Head on over and check out her great blog, A Woman's Place . . . depends on her vocation, and enter to win the bracelet while you're there. Have a blessed Saturday! Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, July 16, 2010

Just what the Father Ordered

It doesn't matter if it is Advent, Lent, a First Saturday, or any other Saturday during the year, come 3 pm there will always be a line for reconcilation in our parish. When our family of 8, 7 of whom go to confession, gets in line, it becomes a very long line for confession. Sometimes I feel bad that we make that line so long, but going all together is so much more convenient and ensures we all get to confession on a regular basis.

This last Saturday that line was incredibly long. At about a quarter after three, an elderly man entered the church and when he saw the line, he actually uttered a profanity loud enough for us all to hear. Yikes! He ambled to the end and stood for a moment until stating, "I can't do this,"and made his way back to the entrance grumbling and complaining the entire way. I actually felt sorry for the old man, obviously he really needed to go to confession, but not badly enough to wait in line.

As I've reflected on this incident a couple thoughts have come to mind. First, there may have been 15 people waiting that day, but at least half were children. It takes children more time to pray the act of contrition than to state their sins in confession. Children, even my teenagers, do not take more than 30 seconds in the confessional.

Secondly, as I stood waiting in that line, I spent more time examining my conscience and I recalled something I really needed to confess. Our priest is such an incredibly holy man and a wonderful confessor. He very often picks up on patterns of sin we are most in need of correcting and will counsel on those particular sins in a very gentle, and encouraging way, without making the penitent feel like he is off the hook. On this particular day, our priest knew the line was a long one, and while he sent a parishioner to fetch another priest, he did not skimp or rush in the confessional, in fact he spent a very long time counseling and encouraging me, especially on the sin I recalled while waiting in line. It was one of the best confessions I've ever had.

Pray that confession does not become a chore or labor of frustration. Rejoice in long lines at the confessional. It demonstrates the willingness of people to recognize we are all sinners and are in need of reconciliation, and gives you the opportunity to reflect and better prepare for your encounter with Christ in the confessional.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Small Successes: Figgy Tart!

Whew, it was a rough week. I wasn't getting anything done as I was sidelined by nausea and exhaustion, until Wednesday rolled around. Wednesday I full of energy and purpose and because of that, I actually have successes to post today. Hooray!

Small Successes for July 15, 2010:

1) Slow and steady wins the race and gets the laundry done :) Laundry and dinner were the two tasks, that despite how crummy I was feeling, I managed to get done each day.

2) If you fly with the FlyLady, we are in the bathroom this week. The master bath is squeaky clean. I managed to tackle that task in total on Wednesday.

3) Oleander and I made quick refrigerator pickles from her bushels of Japanese cucumbers. They must be pretty good, as I discovered Lil' Wingnut sitting behind his train table eating pickles right alongside his popsicle last night. Ew! I also made my very first tart using fresh figs. I've always wanted to try baking something with fresh figs and when I found some at the local organic market I had to splurge and buy them. The tart was a fresh fig and honey lemon custard variety. It was delicious, but a little to weird for 5 of the 8 of us. I promised to make a more conventional variety the next time. Tarts are fairly simple and with summer's bounty of fruit, I'm sure we can find a recipe that everyone will enjoy.

What Small Successes are yours this week? Share your link at Faith and Family Live.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Movie Reviews: Knight and Day & Despicable Me

Movie reviews for the young and old!

Knight and Day

I really did not want to see this movie. I am not a big fan of either Tom Cruise or Cameron Diaz, but the ads really did seem promising. The movie's premise is fairly simple; Tom's character, Roy, is a spy that apparently has gone rogue. His current escapade unwittingly involves June and as she is now in danger, Roy selflessly steps in to protect her, while trying to clear his name.

Cruise and Diaz have undeniable on-screen chemistry, both comedic and romantic, and surprisingly Tom Cruise is very funny. We really enjoyed this movie, although light and a bit farfetched, it was a true popcorn flick. Due to language and other adult content, I would recommend this film for adults only.

Despicable Me

Knowing the star voice of this film is Steve Carrell, I did not believe this was a movie we would be seeing, but after reading both Commonsense Media and Plugged In Online's reviews of the movie, I was hopeful it might be a flick we could see as a family. I was not disappointed. We all loved this movie. It was sweet and engaging and had a lovely message to convey of unconditional love and redemption, even for the most evil and hardened of villains.

Gru is a super villain with an evil plan to shrink and steal the moon. It will be the crime of the century. To assist him in his despicable plan he has a lab full of evil minions, who really are not quite evil, but bumbling and comical and cute. As his plan moves forward he adopts three adorable little orphan girls who unknowingly help him. Little did Gru expect for these helpless little girls to wheedle into his heart.

If you see only one movie this summer, this is the one to see. Every one of our children enjoyed it, there was little if anything problematic in the film (fleeting instances of potty type humor), and the message was sweetly and effectively conveyed. I recommend this film for all ages.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Was it the Disciples?

On our recent vacation we ended up in Savannah on Sunday and recalled the Cathedral there celebrates a lovely Mass. Our memory served us well, and while it wasn't our home parish, we were not scandalized. Trust me, that can be a real issue while a traveling Catholic!

Later in the day I asked Lil' Wingnut what he thought of the beautiful Cathedral in Savannah. He said he really liked it and then he said, "They got rid of the mad Jesus."

Apparently he confused the Cathedral of John the Baptist in Savannah with the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC. If you've never visited the National Shrine in DC, it has an enormous mosaic of Christ in Majesty. We have heard the mosaic has earned the nickname "the angry Christ" from grad students of the John Paul II Institute (they mean it with all affection, of course). His expression does appear to be fairly stern, but the artist had a purpose. I found a wonderful blog article from the Archdiocese of Washington explaining the symbology behind the mosaic.

Lil' Wingnut continued his observation, "Why is Jesus so mad? Did the disciples do something?"

How we howled with laughter. For a four year old, he is so observant and a fairly apt student in human nature.

As we were in the center of beautiful Savannah, I had to get a photo of Lil' Wingnut on one of the benches made famous in the movie Forest Gump. My favorite shot is in the top of my sidebar. A lovely older couple offered to take a photo of my little guy and I together on the bench. They were so sweet to offer and the photo isn't too shabby. Savannah really is such a lush and lovely city, filled with warmth and friendliness.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

We Interrupt our Regularly Scheduled Programming. . .

. . . to wish my dear brother, Walter a most happy and blessed birthday. Today he turns 41 years old and I've enlisted the help of my progeny in brainstorming the 41 things we love most about him. Not everything we came up with made the list, but I think we did a pretty good job nailing down what makes my brother so awesome.

We love:

1) His beautiful bald head. This one was on everyone's list.

2) His super cool goatee. Once again on everyone's list.

3) His big, evil smile. This one made most everyone's list in some form or other.

4) His ability to come up with great nicknames (Special K, Karate Kid, Skoshi A, and Oleander all mentioned this one)

5) He's cool (Special K)

6) He's not selfish (Special K)

7) He likes chocolate (Special K)

8) He likes the Seahawks (Special K)

9) He knows what kids like (Skoshi A)

10) His sense of humor (Oleander)

11) How he pretends to have a really big ego (Oleander)

12) His involvement in his family (Statnut)

13) His old man smell (Statnut)

14) The way he walks? (Statnut)

15) How he can embarrass our mom with stories of their childhood. (Karate Kid)

16) His Faith in Christ. (Karate Kid and Oleander)

17) He may be 41, but he acts like he's 15. (Karate Kid)

18) How genuinely excited he is when he is told he is getting a new niece or nephew. (Karate Kid)

19) Whenever he's around, he brings out the coolness in our mom. (Karate Kid)

20) His beautiful bald head. (This one deserves to be mentioned again, as he makes my long flowing locks look that much better)

21) How the spit flies when he talks excitedly. Dude, you still need a bib!

22) The fact that he's gotten my hubby hooked on P90X. I'm officially a workout widow. Thanks bro! (That was sarcasm)

23) His lovely wife, who despite her quiet reserve, fits so nicely into our family.

24) The three awesome nieces and nephew he's given me.

25) He's completely content with the knowledge that I am MUCH smarter than he is--really, it's exponential!

26) He has always had a fondness for the viands I have put in front of his orifice. He unwittingly encouraged my culinary endeavors with his gastronomic support.

27) How he'll need to look up half the words in that last sentence.

28) He shares my interest in good food, and even better wine.

29) I know he's got my back--spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

30) He loves with his whole heart, unconditionally.

31) He has kept my blog in business. People come back just to read his comments.

32) My kids love that he has his own fan base on MY blog.

33) He doesn't sweat the small stuff.

34) He doesn't really sweat the big stuff either. I'm certain he does sweat. I've smelled it.

35) It is always a party when we get together.

36) He's always been content to let me be in charge.

37) The lovely scar he left on my leg with the fingernail clippers.

38) He's not just our brother, he's one of our very best friends.

39) His bald head. One more time. I love it because I can always claim he has more gray hair than I do and he can do nothing to prove other wise.

40) He makes dork look cool.

41) He is a wonderful father, a doting husband, a fun uncle, an attentive son, and the best brother anyone could ask for.

Happy Birthday, Walter Wart! Print Friendly and PDF

Buffalo Inspired Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I'm joining the Mom's recipe exchange. The inspiration for today's swap is LUNCH. I must admit, lunch is the toughest meal of the day for me. Our kids are very picky when it comes to sandwiches and general lunch fare. That, coupled with our food issues, means they usually are on their own when lunch rolls around. I encourage them to eat some kind of protein and a fruit or vegetable, but really I have no idea what most of them eat for lunch. Today's recipe is one I use for dinner on sandwich night, but there is usually some left over and it really does make a great lunch.

Buffalo Inspired Chicken Salad

3 or 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper and baked in a 350 degree oven until done (about 20 minutes); cooled and then either diced or pulled into shreds
1 carrot; diced
1 celery stalk; diced
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1/2 cup or more creamy salad dressing; either ranch or blue cheese--because of food issues, I make my own (you can find my dressing recipe here, I add crumbled blue cheese to the buttermilk herb version)
2 tablespoons or more of your favorite hot wing sauce

Toss all ingredients together and serve on sandwich bread, buns, or in a wrap. For extra ease, you can use already cooked chicken that can be found with the lunch meat in your local grocery store, or I bet store prepared rotisserie chicken would be great too. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, July 9, 2010

Meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries: The Crowning with Thorns

The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns

The crowning with thorns was intended to be more devastating than the scourging, because the crowning attempted to make a mockery of all of Christ's dignity. The scourging inflicted pain on the body of Christ, the crowning imposes humiliation on His soul. Christ chose to illustrate that since body and soul participate in sin, body and soul must share in satisfaction. As was the sin of Lucifer, every sin of every man is primarily an act of proud rebellion of the human will against the authority of God. The rebellion is senseless, and it must end in humiliation. Human beings are not divine and independent; they are creatures, and because they are intelligent creatures their whole happiness must consist in knowing, loving, and serving God. Their greatest misery will always come from attempting to be independent of God without Whom they can neither be nor be happy.

Sin and humiliation are inseparable. We must expect humiliations in our lives because we have arrogantly summoned them by our sins. When humiliations do arrive, we should be intelligent and honest enough not to blame someone else for what we have ordered for ourselves.
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Small Successes: Vacation Recovery

Small Successes for July 8, 2010:

1) I've spent the week recovering from our week long vacation to Florida. We are unpacked, the fridge is restocked, and I am nearly caught up with the laundry.

2) It was over 100 degrees yesterday, so I took the youngest four to the pool to stay cool. We had a wonderful time together. I loved Lil' Wingnut's new game--Orca. He's such a hoot!

3) I've entered the 11th week in this pregnancy and everything seems to be going well. I think I've discovered the secret to staving off the nausea--Vitamin B6. I've found if I take my pre-natal vitamins at night, just before bed, it really helps and I do not experience nearly as much nausea the next day. I've also found I'm not nearly as tired and can get away without an afternoon nap, if I consistently take my vitamins. I have new healthcare insurance cards in hand, so I'll be calling our new provider up today and scheduling my first appointment.

What are your Small Successes this week? Share your link at Faith and Family Live.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SeaWorld Miracle

Ok, the trip wasn't ALL about taekwando. We did manage a side-trip to SeaWorld on our way. Thanks to the patriotic folks at Anhueser Busch, four of us were given free admission to the park as part of their Here's to The Heroes campaign. We only had to pay for two adult admissions and then through another promotion we were given two $5 children's tickets. Not too shabby, but this is not the miracle to which the title of this post refers.

Once inside the park, we set the oldest 4 free with a phone to do their own exploring. They spent the vast majority of their day standing in lines to ride the coasters. The rest of us enjoyed the animal exhibits and awesome shows. Right about lunch time I received a text from Karate Kid, "Stat Boy's backpack was stolen from a locker at the Manta". Argh! Wingnut and I had tried to coax the boy into leaving his backpack in the van, but he insisted on bringing it into the park. He had his iPod and all the lunch money for himself and two of his sisters in the stolen bag. I sent Wingnut and the youngest two off to see Shamu while I headed over to find the older kids and help them sort out what had happened. Sure enough the back pack was gone. Apparently, the boy had turned the lock before closing the door to the locker and that left the door ajar. Argh! Being the merciful mother I am, I took the four to lunch and then decided I couldn't just stand by and let my kids be robbed. I needed to do something about it, even if it meant I would just leave a complaint at guest services.

I marched in the 90 degree sun to the front entrance. Mercifully, guest services was air conditioned. I told my story to the clerk and asked if they could just check the lost and found. I really did not believe for a second his back pack would be there, but I had to ask. The clerk returned with the pack in hand. My jaw hit the floor and the entire room gasped. Someone had actually turned it in?! Not only did they turn in the missing bag, but all of it's contents as well, nearly $80 in cash! I was so incredibly amazed. I still can't believe it.

Here is where the miracle takes place. I had written off the back pack and it's contents. I was convinced someone at SeaWorld was an evil crook that had ruined our day. I mean, what else was I to believe about people in our broken world today? Instead, I was shown there are good and honest people all around us everyday. We walk among everyday saints and may not even recognize them.
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What I Learned on Vacation 2010

I find I learn something new every time we take a family vacation. Here are the wonderful tidbits I discovered on this trip:

1) Fifteen year olds cannot be trusted to do their own packing. Oh, how he scoffed when I tried to give him a checklist to pack by. The boy forgot his taekwando uniform. This trip was all about taekwando. Big problem. Thankfully, he was able to purchase a new uniform from a vendor at the convention center in Fort Lauderdale. Who's scoffing now?

2) There is a limit to the number of times the motherly ear can listen to, "Hey, mama," in a given day.

3) While on the road you will see signs for Starbucks and Cracker Barrel at every exit along I95, unless you really need a Starbucks or Cracker Barrel.

4) The moment you jump into the hotel pool, giant storm clouds will gather. The moment you hop out, said clouds will mysteriously disappear. The same rule applies to the beach.

5) On a return trip it is much better to get it over with quickly rather than breaking the drive up over several days. It's much like pulling duct tape off your arm. You can take it slow and draw out the agony, or you can just rip it right off. Yes, it's painful, but it is over.

6) The Opera Carmen is sung in French, not Italian or Spanish.

7) Praying a family Rosary is a very peaceful way to spend 20 minutes in the van.

8) Our children are incredibly resilient, are a lot of fun, and have great senses of humor.

9) As a family, we are capable of getting along for 7 days even in very tight quarters.

10) It goes without saying, but I'm saying it. There is no place like home!
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Monday, July 5, 2010

Anyone Out There?

Testing. . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 3. I'm back! I bet you didn't even know I was gone, unless, of course you are one of my Facebook friends ;)

We just took our family vacation and spent a long and lovely week in beautiful Florida. It was a vacation with a purpose, as Karate Kid and Stat Boy had been invited to compete in AAU Taekwando Nationals in forms and point sparring. We managed to spend a day at SeaWorld, a little time at the pool, and most of us hit the beach at some point along the way.

Obviously I wasn't blogging on the road, but I had a few posts pre-written and set to auto-post while we were gone. Sometimes I can't believe how tech savvy I am--LOL! I can hear the groans from the peanut gallery as I type.

I am dreading the laundry catch-up and grocery shopping and the general catch-up work I need to do today, but I am sure glad to be home. I'll have posts, pictures, and funny stories to share from our trip over the next few days. Stay tuned!
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries: The Scourging

Mediations on the Sorrowful Mysteries from an heirloom bible published in 1953. See the First Sorrowful Mystery here.

The Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging

Because Jesus Christ is divine every one of His actions is of infinite value; consequently, He could have redeemed all of mankind by offering to divine justice a single heartbeat within His mother's womb. In that event, most men might have thought, as many do right now, that sin is a trifling matter. Because of the callousness and carelessness of men Jesus Christ determined to undertake the agonizing Passion in order to impress upon mankind the dreadful seriousness and the horrible consequences of sin. The Sorrowful Mysteries principally demonstrate just one portion of the penalty of anybody's serious sin: they show how the senses of one Man were punished because of sin. They do not reveal and they cannot reveal that withering realization of separation from God which drew Christ the one cry of anguish during the entire Passion, "My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?"

The sting of the lash along Christ's flesh has long since subsided. We cannot stay the scourge that has already fallen, but we can learn from Christ's atonement that serious sin inevitably leads to terrible expiation.
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