Saturday, October 30, 2010

All Saints Costume Ideas 2010

Like many Catholic families, we often have to come up with two separate costumes this time of year; one for Halloween and one for All Saints. Thankfully, we have a fully stocked dress-up box, and Oleander, one of our teens, is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to the vast numbers of Saints to choose from. She can either turn a current Halloween costume into a Saint costume, or pull together a Saint costume from the dress-up box.

This year, only three of our six were free to join the Servants of the Lord for their annual All Saint's Party. More photos of the festivities will follow next week.
Oleander has an affinity for the Saints of Asia. This year she was Our Lady of Lavang from Vietnam. She had all the components for her costume with the exception of the hat which I discovered in a party store.

Special K went as Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. This was a costume from our supply that works perfectly for this Saint.

Lil' Wingnut's current obsession is with Davy Crockett. We took his costume for Halloween and matched it to Saint Jean LaLande, a lay companion of Saint Isaac Jogues.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Small Successes: I'm Back

I have been pretty inconsistent in posting lately. It's been a combination of things including but not limited to; pregnancy completely wearing me out, having to fight for computer time with our dual enrolled high school/college student, and we have just been incredibly busy. I am back, at least for today :)

Small Successes for October 28, 2010

1) The glass storm door was in need of some fingerprint removal. While I was at it, I removed nose prints from the entryway windows too.

2) After several weeks of being incredibly behind in the laundry, we are finally caught up. I was nearly devoured by the laundry monster, but for today, he is vanquished.

3) The younger children and I tackled the pit of despair, otherwise known as the basement. In general, I avoid entering the basement at all costs. It is just too overwhelming and depressing to see the absolute chaos that it is very often left in. Unfortunately, the basement is where I store all our homeschooling materials not currently in use and I needed a couple books from the drama/art box. If Mom needs a book from the basement, she's going to see what a mess it is down there. Chances are, if she sees the mess, she's going to want to clean it. Once everything is off the floor and put away, she'll ask for the vacuum. She vacuums like a mad woman . . .

Have Small Successes to share? Leave your link at Faith and Family Live.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Barista

Skoshi A has become a master espresso/cortadito/frappachino/latte maker. Truly this is an accomplishment, as we have one of those fairly complicated professional machines made by Pasquini. She has become the preferred barista around here, and quite frankly I'm about to smack her for all the taunting she directs at me with her perfect little cups of beautiful thick crema.

Wait a moment. . . what am I complaining about? If Skoshi does all the barista duties around here, that is one less thing I have to do. Brew away little girl! Brew away!
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

In the Style of Beatrix Potter

Special K found our sweet miniature copies of some of the Beatrix Potter books and brought a couple along with her on our vacation to Florida this summer. She raved about the tales and pined that we didn't own more of them. On a trip to the bookstore I came across an anthology edition of Miss Potter's stories, and it was on sale. Of course I picked it up for our little Special K and she was beyond thrilled. The compilation is still her favorite bedtime read.

This past week she spent several hours writing her own bunny tales after the style of Beatrix Potter. They were so cute I had to post at least one of the stories here. Special K is a creative speller, so I will place spelling translations in parenthesis for ease of understanding. I've also added more punctuation--she is only in the third grade afterall ;)

Once upon a time there were three bunnys. Their names were Peter, Mary and Flopsy. They lived with there (their) mother and there (their) father in a hole. They were going to pick carrots but when they got there they so (saw) Mr. Marymen picking carrot and onions. They dug a hole under the gate and whent (went) to the carrots and took a bag and fild (filled) it whith (with) carrots and whent (went) to the onions but when they got there one ov (of) them, Mary, got cot (caught) by Mr. Marymen. All the bunnys ran to there (their) mother and told her whot (what) hapened (happened) to Mary and whent (went) to get her back. When they got to the gate thay (they) so (saw) a sack. Somthing (something) whos (was) ciking (kicking) it. And the tow (two) bunnys and there (their) mother climd (climbed) the gate and on tide (untied) the sace and popt (popped) owt (out) Mary. "Mary!" Thay (they) crid (cried). "Thank you for saveing (saving) me. I whos (was) going to be cookd (cooked) into a pie." "Come on!" they crid (cried) and climd (climbed) down the gate and ran home into the hole and they cookd (cooked) a carrot soop (soup) and carrot cake. The End.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

His Latest Obsession

Yes, that is our 15 year old son in a gorilla suit in a tree. In this case, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gastronomic Adventures

I may have mentioned this before, I am a Foodnetwork junkie. I especially love the shows about great regional foods and where one might find the best of American cuisine. Iron Chef Michael Simon has a new show entitled Food Feuds in which he travels around the country and settles disputes over which establishments serve the best of certain local dishes. In its premier, Michael traveled to Philly to settle a meatball and gravy feud in Little Italy, and then settled the ultimate Philly Cheesesteak feud between local legends Pat's and Geno's.

We've been to Philly a few times and have had cheesesteaks at one of the two places . Our family has been in a dispute over whether those cheesesteaks came from Pat's or Geno's, as the two offer their cheesesteaks right across the street from one another. I was convinced we'd eaten at Pat's, Wingnut was equally sure it was Geno's. We even perused the internet for photos, menus, and maps of the area trying to settle our feud. But truly there was only one way to settle once and for all, we had to make a food road trip. Saturday morning we loaded up the 12 passenger and drove the 2.5 hours to the City of Brotherly Love, to not only settle our feud, but to try out the winner of the meatballs and gravy battle, Villa di Roma.

The Italian Market in Philadelphia is wonderfully remarkable. The streets are incredibly crowded with vendors, markets, and shoppers. Villa di Roma is right at the heart of Little Italy on 9th street in South Philly. We were there for one thing, amazing meatballs, and boy did they deliver! The atmosphere was very family friendly, although the facility is a bit dilapidated. Our server, Dominic, treated us like we were family. He was friendly, attentive, and truly great with all the kids. The meatballs and gravy were the best I have ever had; light, moist, and incredibly homey. The gravy or red sauce, was amazing; slow cooked with deep layers of wonderful flavor. Following lunch we meandered through the Italian Market, sampling chocolate, gelato, and italian espresso.

Before hitting Geno's for dinner, we headed to historic downtown Philadelphia and wandered the sites, stumbling upon a fantastic portrait gallery in the Second National Bank. The vast majority of the paintings were accomplished by Charles Wilson Peale and included portraits of all the major players in our nation's beginnings: Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Monroe, Paine, Lewis and Clark, etc. Following the gallery, we made our way to the Liberty Bell, which we'd seen years ago, but our little ones wanted their chance to see one of our famed national symbols.

Back into the van we piled and headed back to 9th street for our cheesesteaks. Sure enough, once we were there, we all recalled that indeed it had been Geno's we'd eaten at before. We grabbed cheesesteaks and fries with Whiz and made our way home with full and contented bellies.

As my father-in-law said, making a food trip to Philly for meatballs and cheesesteaks was just too weird of a story to be only imagined, it had to be done. That's the way we roll.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Book Review: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

A couple of years ago I saw this novel depicted as a mini-series made for the BBC. I had never heard of Anne Bronte's little known story, but as I've enjoyed her sisters' works over the years, and I had enjoyed the mini-series, I desired to read the novel as well.

The implied tenant of Wildfell Hall is a mysterious young woman newly moved into the old manor with her young son and faithful maid servant. Despite her best efforts the young woman, Helen Graham, is unable to avoid the curiosity of her neighbors and forced into their acquaintance. Among the throng vying for her attentions is Gilbert Markham, with whom she finally forms a close and affectionate friendship that appears to be developing into a romance, but a romance that Helen mysteriously rebuffs at every turn. When the village gossips eventually make Helen's existence at Wildfell Hall so completely unbearable, she desperately turns to Gilbert and entrusts him with her diary in which she confesses her deepest kept secrets of her former life. Without giving away the contents of this wonderfully written work, that alone is the synopsis I will leave you. To know and understand more, you must read for yourself.

Of all the Bronte sisters' works, this is by far my favorite. Anne's work is very similar in its dark themes, melancholy, and apparent unrequited love to Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, but has not had the same fortunate popularity. Alongside the literary study of Charlotte and Emily Bronte's most brilliant works, I would highly recommend adding Anne's lesser known novel. Due to mature thematic elements, this book is appropriate for upper high school students to adults.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Ringer

Once a year, our teens' youth group hosts a family night. This year families competed in a scarecrow building contest. We brought gear from home, including the blue Tarheel fanatic wig. Unfortunately, the contest required that our scarecrow resemble our faithful monsignor, who does not happen to sport a beautiful head of blue hair. Undaunted, we pressed on and stuffed our mascot, made him a rosary and a pectoral cross to wear, little hoping we would win the contest.

Each family was then given the opportunity to describe their finished project. As the judges approached our handiwork, Lil' Wingnut gave details in the construction of our scarecrow, finishing with giving him a huge hug, thus ending the competition with cuteness. Who could deny us the win now? And so our blue haired, rosary praying, monsignor took the prize and Lil' Wingnut was sent home with a bagful of delicious carmel apples. Nothing beats an adorable four year old.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where I've Been

I guess one who blogs as consistently as I have cannot disappear for any length of time without faithful friends worrying.

We have been in the midst of a family crisis that has required our complete attention. It required my canceling the much anticipated trip to my hometown for my grandmother's 100th birthday. In the meantime, we have been engaged in constant prayer, damage control, and attempting to maintain a sense of normalcy for the children.

This struggle is of an extremely sensitive and private nature, but I will reassure you that 1) We are all healthy. 2) The baby is doing very well and is hopefully unaffected by the stressful nature of the current crisis. 3) Our marriage is as strong as ever and Wingnut and I are a united front in confronting this issue. 4) We have had an army of prayer warriors praying for us. 5) We believe we are on the backside of this crisis and all will be for the ultimate Glory of God.

We are so very thankful for the gift of faith without which we could not possibly endure. I'm hoping to get back to regular blogging very soon.


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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Homeschool Co-op Fall 2010

We have belonged to a homeschooling co-op for nearly 10 years now. I've found many of my own class ideas online, and so I like to reciprocate and share the ideas our group has with anyone interested ;)

Our co-op is divided into 5 age groups and each group, with the exception of the nursery, receives instruction in three subjects that change from semester to semester. We generally meet between 8 and 10 times a semester and each class lasts approximately 40 minutes. Our scheduled classes for this semester are:

Nursery: no formal classes, but nursery moms will often try a little craft, singing, or other activity to keep life down to a dull roar.

K-2nd: Singing using Our Musical Year; Art; and Insect Science

3-5th: Chant and Hymns; Zoom Science using projects from the PBS Zoom website; Fun with Drama

6-8th: Chant and Hymns; Drama using a play from Plays Magazine; Fun with Science

9-12th: Apologetics using Beginning Apologetics by Father Frank Chacon, Jim Burnham, and Steve Wood; Cryptology culminating in a trip to the National Cryptology Museum; Chant and Hymnody
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Monday, October 4, 2010

It is the Mercy of God that Sustains You

This is not a new video of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen, and it has been recently circulating the web once more. Her story cannot be retold enough times. She IS the voice of the unborn. If you have 15 minutes to spare today, watch her powerful presentation. It will be well worth your time.

Gianna Jessen, abortion survivor | Gianna Jessen, supravieĊ£uitoare a avortului from provita on Vimeo.

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