Thursday, June 30, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} 6/30/2011

round button chicken


Summer lilies


Don't let his serious facial expression fool you. He's just concentrating . . .
. . . real hard . . .

. . . almost there . . .

Made it! Lil' Lamb rolled from front to back yesterday. Three hours later, he rolled from back to front. He's not even 5 months old! Hooray for Lil' Lamb!


This is how Lil' Wingnut dresses for tennis. He calls this his "gangsta" look. Gotta love having teens in the house!


There are times I really think we are becoming Ma and Pa Clampett. We have the beginnings of a junkyard in our backyard. It's embarrassing, as our neighbors have a beautiful yard and always pick up after themselves. I think this is the result of having lived in one place for longer than the usual 3 years. We are accumulating too much stuff and not purging anything at all.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stop this Crazy Ride! I Want to Get Off!

Oh the lazy, hazy days of summer. Yeah, right! We haven't stopped to breathe, let alone laze around sipping Pina Coladas. Who signed me up for this? Oh, yeah, I did. Let's see if I can remember our schedule for the week:

Mondays: 9-11 am tennis for JayP
11-12 am tennis for Lil' Wingnut
1:45-7:30 work for JayP and Karate Kid (this one I'm off the hook for, but it does mean two pairs of hands fewer around the house)
2:45-3:30 flute lessons for Oleander

Tuesdays: 9-11 am tennis for Skoshi A and Oleander
11-12 am tennis for Lil' Wingnut
4-5 pm piano for Skoshi A and Special K
5:30 pm Ballet for Special K (we haven't made it to ballet yet this summer)

Wednesdays: 9-11 am tennis for JayP
9:30-10 am swim lessons for Lil' Wingnut and Special K
11-12 am tennis for Lil' Wingnut
1:45-5:30 work for JayP
1:45-7:30 work for Karate Kid

Thursdays: 9-11 am tennis for Skoshi A and Oleander
11-12 tennis for Lil' Wingnut
6:30 ballet for Skoshi A (hoping to make it to class this week)
7:30 ballet for Oleander
Fridays: 9-11 am tennis for JayP
11-1 tennis for Skoshi A and Oleander
1:45-7:30 work for JayP and Karate Kid

Then throw in doctor's appointments, orthodontist appointments, flute camp for Oleander, retreats and camps for the oldest three, orientation for the oldest, birthdays, Mass on Sundays, picnics, play dates and sleep overs. This merry-go-round never stops! It's all part of being a fairly good sized, Catholic, home schooling family. I can't wait for school to start. Then I can finally relax ;)
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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Gift

Today is Lil' Wingnut's 5th birthday. I can't believe how fast time has flown! He, like all of our children, has been a precious gift to us. Nothing could make that more apparent than the way in which he celebrated his birthday.

For several months I've been telling the lil guy he could have a big boy party and invite his playmates and have a big tadoo for his special day. He consistently resisted the idea and would adamantly declare he wanted only us and his godparents and their children at his party. I really couldn't believe how ardently he stuck to this plan. Yesterday, that is exactly the kind of party we threw for him, a small subdued family affair, just us, his godparents, and their children. He was thrilled, his godparents were touched.

Before Mass on Sunday, I drew my lil' guy up onto my lap. He's getting so big! I whispered in his ear that soon he'd be too big to sit on my lap. He slowly and sadly nodded his head. I then asked if he'd still snuggle on my lap when he becomes a teenager like JayP. He grinned from ear to ear and nodded his head again. Now that should be a sight. A few moments later, he wiped tears from his cheek and looking up at me he said, "My eyes are all watery and I don't know why." It's the love, little one and you've got that in abundance.

Just think if we had stopped having children at two or three? I can't imagine our lives without any of our children. Each and every one has indeed been a precious gift.
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Friday, June 24, 2011

On this Day . . .

On June 24th

1314 - Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce won over Edward II of England at the Battle of Bannockburn in Scotland.

1509 - Henry VIII was crowned King of England.

1844 - Charles Goodyear was granted U.S. patent #3,633 for vulcanized rubber.

1922 - The American Professional Football Association took the name of The National Football League.

1953 - John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier announced their engagement.

1968 - I was born ;)
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} 6/23/2011

round button chicken


Hydrangeas are my favorite!


I whipped up a batch of the Pioneer Woman's Iced Coffee. It has made me happy all week. Delicious and refreshing!


Lil' Lamb finds this game with Wingnut hysterical. His facial expressions crack us up.


Nestled among my beautifully blooming hydrangeas are last years dead heads. Not so pretty :(
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The neighborhood kids love to hang out at our house and play with our children. I prefer that they come here, as I can keep an eye on what's happening in the 'hood.

Last evening one little boy wistfully declared to Lil' Wingnut, "You are soooo lucky to have a baby brother! I'd kill to have a baby brother."

I gave him a bit of a wide-eyed, raised eyebrow look and he quickly corrected himself, "Well, I wouldn't kill for a baby brother, but I would really, really like to have one."

Our children hear this kind of wishful thinking constantly. They are the envy of the neighborhood. It's unfortunate too many parents don't listen to their children's heartfelt desire for more brothers and sisters. Yep, thanks be to God, our kids are luckyyyyyy!
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Love Legacy: Part 2

During my mother's pregnancy, she struck up a friendship with a young man. The young man felt great tenderness for the abandoned young pregnant woman and stayed by her side through the remainder of her pregnancy. When I was finally born, he was there at the hospital waiting to meet me.

As my mother tells it, the young man fell instantly in love and in his elation and compassion at my arrival, he decided to claim me as his own. Every child deserves a mother and a father, and that is why my birth certificate bears his name as father. Later he married my mother and together they happily raised our family.

My mother gave me life under the most difficult of circumstances, and that is a gift I truly cherish, but my dad gave me an identity and a family that loved me unconditionally. Thank you, Dad! Not in a million lifetimes could I have asked for a better father, a more enchanted childhood, nor a more loving family. Happy Father's Day to the most giving, loving, and joy filled man I know. I love you!
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Love Legacy: Part 1

Late in 1967 a young woman reached out to her estranged mother for help and was turned away.

"You've made your bed, now lie in it," she was told.

In her sorrow and abandonment, the young woman poured out her burden to her friend, Sandra. Where was she to go? What was she to do? Too sick to work. Too broke to stay where she was. Wanting to help, Sandra went to her mother, Jane. Jane, in turn, went to her sister, Marsinah and the two wasted no time in putting a plan into action. Jane and Marsinah went to the troubled young woman.

"We are planning a wedding and we could really use some help around Marsinah's house. Could you come? You could stay at Marsinah's house and be of great use to us during this incredibly busy time."

The young woman, who had been cast aside all her life, could not believe the love being poured out upon her. She gladly accepted the offer "to help". Several months later, a baby girl was born to the young woman. This baby girl was greatly cherished and grew up surrounded by love. Over the years and even today, her mother reminds her, "God has something great planned for you, just because you are here."

22 years later, Marsinah was present at the precious baby girl's own wedding, my wedding. Their charity to my mother is the legacy of love I carry. They are the reason I say to my own children, "God has something great planned for you, just because you are here."

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} 6/16/2011

round button chicken


Oleander and I have been craving coconut cream pie. We've discussed for weeks now the different options in creating such a pie without using conventional dairy due to all the dairy allergics we have in our house. Tuesday we went into our favorite specialty bakery for some croissants and saw these pretty little coconut cream tarts. Believe me, these were as scrumptious as they were pretty.


Saturday we made the trek to the convent and future IVE Aspirancy school in Avondale. While Wingnut, Oleander and I were interviewed, Sister Sacre Monte took these three out onto the convent grounds and played with them. Sister is new to the convent, having just arrived from Argentina, and speaks very little English. Apparently the language barrier wasn't a barrier at all and the four of them had an absolute blast.


This dopey look gets me every time. I swear this baby is the funniest and most photogenic baby we've had to date.


Yeah, the garden is just not happening this year. :(
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Creamy Tomato Bacon Salad Dressing

Ken's Steakhouse makes a delicious version of a creamy tomato and bacon salad dressing. I thought I'd give creating a similar homemade version a try. It has very few ingredients, is super simple to mix up, and was absolutely delicious. Served over a Smoked Turkey BLT Salad, it was a cool and creamy summer hit for dinner last night.

Creamy Tomato Bacon Salad Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 medium sized ripe red tomato, cut into chunks
1 TBSP bacon drippings
2 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Movie Review: X-Men First Class

This film is a prequel to the original three X-Men movies. Set in the 1962 and using the Bay of Pigs as a backdrop, viewers are immersed in the stories of Charles Xavier, Erik Lensherr and the emergence of specialized genetic mutations within the human race.

Xavier is very well and believably played by James McAvoy and Lensherr by Michael Fassbender. The creditable acting ends there. Most of the other cast were difficult to watch. While January Jones' lack of emotive ability is no surprise, it was the "mailed-in" performance by Kevin Bacon as evil Nazi Sebastian Shaw that was unexpectedly wooden and bad.

One last quibble with the concept of a prequel is the lengths the story goes to explain the origin of every last aspect of the previous movies. Do we really need to know the origin of the telepathic blocking helmet later used by Magneto or the X-plane? The entire concept of the X-Men requires suspension of belief to a great degree, therefore many things do not necessarily need to be accounted for, in my opinion.

Although I had some issues with the acting and the story, it was still a fairly enjoyable and mindless popcorn flick. I thought it was better than Wolverine, but not quite as fun as the three original films. Due to language and some more adult situations, I would recommend this film for older teens and adults only. The USCCB has yet to review X-Men: First Class.
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Monday, June 13, 2011


The Pope and Obama were on the same stage in Yankee Stadium in front of a huge crowd.
The Pope leaned toward Mr. Obama and said, "Do you know that with one little
wave of my hand I can make every person in this crowd go wild with joy? This
joy will not be a momentary display, but will go deep into their hearts and
they'll forever speak of this day and rejoice!

Obama replied, "I seriously doubt that ~ with one little wave of your hand?
Show me!"

So the Pope backhanded him and knocked him off the stage!


Have a Blessed Monday :)
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Locks 2011

Oleander has been growing out her hair for two years. Having finished ballet, she was ready to donate her flowing tresses to Locks of Love.



It's a truly adorable cut.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} 6/9/2011

round button chicken

Oleander had her yearly flute recital this week. She was asked to dress in semi-formal wear. We found this simple, yet elegant black dress at JC Penney. She wore a pair of my dress heels and then I let her borrow my beautiful Okinawan cultured pearls. She designed her up-do. I thought she had an Audrey Hepburn quality.

Here's the full body catalog pose. She really was elegant and so pretty too.

Today Wingnut and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. So much about this makes me happy--he makes me happy, our life together makes me happy, French food this evening to celebrate makes me happy. . .

That double chin makes me laugh.

Oleander was so cooperative letting me photograph her, but we had a bit of technical difficulty getting a "natural" expression. I have several of these types of photos in which she tried, unsuccessfully, not to giggle.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Greek Salad with Lamb Sausage

I've made this salad a couple of times now and I just love it. Unfortunately, lamb tends to be fairly expensive, so this is not a meal we have often.

Greek Salad with Lamb
Lamb Sausage:
2 lbs ground lamb
1 pita; torn into pieces
2 eggs; beaten
1 TBSP fresh minced rosemary
1 TBSP fresh minced thyme
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a food processor, pulse pita, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper into fine bread crumbs. In a large bowl place lamb and two eggs. Add bread crumb mixture and mix all ingredients together by hand until homogenous. Form sausages from ping-pong sized balls of meat mixture and flatten into patties about 1/2 inch thick. In a large nonstick skillet rubbed with 1 tsp oil, cook sausage over medium high heat about four minutes per side. Check for doneness by cutting into a patty. Sausage should be just barely pink in the center. Remove using a slotted spatula to a paper towel lined platter.

Cool Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 clove garlic minced
2 TBSP fresh minced dill
1 tsp grated lemon zest
Juice from 1 whole lemon

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside to drizzle over the salad and lamb sausage.

Greek Salad
1 head Romaine lettuce; shredded
1 cup pitted Calmata olives
1 cup Feta or goat cheese; crumbled

Thinly sliced red onion
Cherry tomatoes
Sliced pepperocini

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Mr. Tubby, I Mean Lil' Lamb at 4 Months

17 pounds of glorious baby. He's gained 7 pounds in just two months.

Look at that sweet little face. Daddy had just caught his attention as I snapped away.

We could get used to sweet little smiles like this. This one was gifted to a big sister that was entertaining him for the photo shoot.

Nothing beats his "surprised" look. This is the expression on his face about 90% of the time.

I can't believe I caught this sneeze. Hysterical!
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Friday, June 3, 2011

Appearances are not Everything

Lil' Wingnut and his best buddy were playing a little b-ball last night. They were totally cracking me up with all their rules about who last touched the ball, who fouled, and who slam dunked on whom. Funny, for all their rules, there wasn't a single rule that involved dribbling the ball.

Here the two were having a conversation about their favorite NBA heroes. Lil' Wingnut claimed, "I'm Lebron James!"

"You can't be Lebron James. You're white! Lebron James is brown, like me."

"I still want to be Lebron James."

"Ok, you can be the white Lebron James, " his friend conceded.

Is there anything cuter?

There was a bit of fouling going on throughout the game.

I had to snap this obligatory shot of my little guy's sweet little face.
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