Monday, December 31, 2012

Rescue Mission

Today's project was to rescue jeans with holes in the knees.  Having seven kids can get expensive when it comes to clothing them, so my kids do wear jeans with patches.  They don't mind. For the fraction of the cost of a new pair of jeans they can have a super cool looking old pair decorated with patches.  I picked up a pack of assorted patches at Michael's for about $5 and they had a grand time choosing appliqués to accessorize their damaged pants.



Two pairs for Special K.  Cute, no?






And two pairs for Wingnut Jr.



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Friday, December 28, 2012

The Hobbit: Movie Review

My family has been so excited for this movie to come out.  Our children went to see it and loved it, so it was with great anticipation Wingnut and I went on Monday evening.  Unfortunately we were both sorely disappointed.  Wingnut, so much so, he likely will not see the next two installments.  He's definitely more of a purist than I am, and I would like to believe the films can be redeemed in the end.  We shall see.

Let's begin with what I loved about the film, as it wasn't all bad.  The film is very well cast, especially the roles of Bilbo and Thorin Oakenshield.  Martin Freeman as Bilbo and Richard Armitage as Thorin, both did formidably well bringing their characters to life and I'm looking forward to seeing them develop in the future films.  I love that Peter Jackson is once again on board.  His vision of Middle Earth is glorious and it was a joy to have that consistency between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  Howard Shore is also back scoring the music which means the familiar themes we came to love in the trilogy as well as new themes, especially for the dwarves.  I'm enjoying the build up to the final introduction of Smaug the Dragon.  His full appearance is scheduled for the second film, I believe--thus the sub-title The Desolation of Smaug.  I was also impressed with the use of many of the back story elements one might find in the appendices--including scenes regarding the Necromancer, Radagast, and the White Council.

Unfortunately there were some very glaring missteps that we felt ruined the movie.  The CGI did not work at all, especially for the goblins.  In the original trilogy many of the orcs and goblins were played by actors and were not completely enhanced by CGI which made them more real and much more frightening.  The overuse of CGI characters in The Hobbit left too much of the characterization flat and comical.  I completely hated the added back story of Azog the Defiler and his company of orcs and wargs who are on the hunt for Thorin through much of the film.   I don't mind a little tweaking of plot now and again, but this was so over the top and so unneeded.  The Hobbit is a lovely tale without all the extraneous, overly-violent battles that weren't part of the story to begin with. Along the same line, why are the wargs more like service animals to the orcs rather than the independently acting wargs of the books who have an evil alliance with the goblins and who accidentally stumble upon Thorin's company? My final beef with this movie was the prolonged battle and escape from the goblins of the Misty Mountains.  It felt like a video game and I am NOT a video game fan.


I still wait in expectant anticipation for the rest of this trilogy.  I so want a successful rendering of this beloved book.  Have you seen the film?  What were your impressions? Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lefse


It was always a tradition in my family to make lefse in the days leading up to Christmas.  Lefse is a Scandinavian flatbread made from riced potatoes.  When rolled out it is very similar to a tortilla in appearance and we use it very much like a tortilla to hold roast pork, butter, cinnamon and sugar, and honey.  My favorite combination of filling is the roast pork and honey with plenty of real butter.  Since beginning our family, Wingnut and I have carried on the tradition and our children very much look forward to lefse day.











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Friday, December 21, 2012

Cutting Our Losses

My girls are home, hooray!  Oleander flew in last night.  We are all under one roof for the first time since the beginning of August.

With Lil' Lamb having the flu, and Wingnut chomping at the bit to get the kids out on the slopes, we have suspended school a couple days early.  It's quite alright.  We were ahead in most subjects anyway so rather than sweat it, we cut our loses and threw in the towel for a little more than two weeks.  I could feel the tension and stress drain away the moment I made the decision.

I'm not sure how much blogging I'll be doing the next couple weeks.  I may just take a blogging break and enjoy my family.  I may pop in from time to time to post photos.  In the meantime, I hope everyone has a very blessed, holy, and happy Christmas! Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just Trying to Get By

Lil' Lamb is still struggling with a stomach bug.  Diaper changes have finally decreased in frequency and he's eating some real food again (not that he ever eats that much "real" food to begin with).  His poor little bum is raw and sore.  This child that usually fights tooth and nail every. single. ding. dang. diaper. change. has begun begging for a diaper change before the explosive episode.  It is breaking my heart.  He is even begging for Tea Tree Oil, which is what I use to treat his raw bum.  It must really sooth the pain, because he cries until the ointment hits the spot.

So far, no one else seems to have caught the bug.  I'm praying no one does.  It's tough having illness in the house.  In order to get by there has been way too much video consumption.  I keep telling myself it's only temporary. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, December 17, 2012

Because There is Sickness in the House Today. . .

Lil' Lamb began projectile vomiting yesterday just after Wingnut dropped our older children off at the theater to see The Hobbit.  Unfortunately, Wingnut was on his way to fly so 3 hours later a towel swaddled sick toddler was strapped into the van to pick up his older siblings once the movie let out.  There wasn't much else I could do except to pray and hope the little guy made it there and back without throwing up in the van.  He didn't make it, but thankfully the strategically placed towels caught it.

We haven't done much school today.  Lil' Lamb is still struggling with nausea and other stomach related stuff and he is not a peacefully sick type kiddo.  I'm not feeling too well myself.  Hopefully this bug travels through the family quickly--if it must travel through at all.

In the meantime, check out this beautifully written post by Rebecca Frech, especially if you are a homeschool mom and ever feel overwhelmed.  It really hit home today.  If nothing else, at least we prayed with our kids today! Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Virtual Open House



aka the Mom is hosting a virtual open house so that we can take a gander at festive decor from around the web.  Normally, we don't do much decorating until Gaudete Sunday, but as I mentioned in a previous post we brought home our Christmas tree quite early in December and I went ahead and let the kids have at it.  Funny, when I began photographing, I realized we really don't do much in the way of Christmas decor to begin with.  It's quite alright.  The decorations we have I love and it would not feel all that Christmasy without them.



I discovered this wreath idea on Pinterest.  I bought the cookie cutters and ribbon for half price at Michael's.  The pair cost just under $20.


Wingnut bought our pewter nativity in Korea.  As you can see, baby Jesus is missing.  We'll find him on Christmas morn and lay him in his manger.  It's one of the children's favorite traditions.




Our big beautiful tree.  It smells luscious and is every bit as bushy as it appears.  Unfortunately we haven't been able to find a topper branch for our star, so we are starless this year.




My cornhusk angels join Special K's lovely Lennox nativity lumiere.




The girls adopted this lovely little fir as their own and made bird treats to hang upon it.  I love this idea and think we'll add it as part of our traditional decor.



We have a few more little knick-knacks that I haven't photographed and the two Christmas quilts my mom has made haven't found homes in the decor just yet.  As we continue to settle in our Utah home, I'm sure the decorating will expand until I feel it is just right.

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Perspective

Please remember my friend Joyce in your prayers.  She has been battling a recurrent battle with cancer .  She left for Lourdes yesterday morning with the help of a friend who managed airline tickets for them both to and from Paris.  Joyce is the devoted mother of nine lovely children, one of whom is studying for the priesthood in Rome.  Her youngest is 5 years old and only remembers his mommy as being ill.  She and her family are lovely witnesses to the faith and are filled with hope.  It certainly makes our problems look insignificant in comparison.

We are asking for complete healing, of course, a nd what a wonderful witness that would be to her oncologist who is a lapsed Catholic.  Joyce is also seeking spiritual healing and all the graces that might come with it.  God's Will be done! Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ugh

What is it they say about bad things coming in threes?  I'm really hoping that idiom is false!  Last week our tenants gave notice, but it wasn't a big deal as it appeared they had found replacements for us.  Unfortunately, the prospective tenants fell through.  His employment is not very stable and they are playing it safe and staying put until his position becomes officially permanent.  I certainly can't blame them!

You've got to love when financial burdens fall at Christmas time!  Oh well, we are hopeful everything will stabilize.  We are praying a novena to Saint Joseph.  We are hoping to sell the house this time around, but we'll take good tenants if that is God's Will. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lil' Lamb 22 Months


The quality of this photo is not the best, but I just had to capture Lil' Lamb's favorite spot in the house.  He loves to hide under the table, especially when we are trying to get him dressed.  At times he will sit and play under the table, singing to himself or calling out to us.  His personality is really emerging.  Most of the time he is quite cute, and he knows it. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, December 10, 2012

Photo Featured



Just tooting my own horn again today.  My photo was featured on the MCP Actions blog on Saturday for their weekly photo challenge.  The theme was favorite Christmas decor.  These are my corn husk angels.  They were given to me by a lovely neighbor lady when I was a little girl.  To me, my halls are not decked until my angels have found their spot.  My children have come to love these little angels too, making them our family's favorite decorations. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, December 7, 2012

Will We Survive our Teenagers?

I mentioned yesterday was a rough one.  We received one of those phone calls.  You know the calls that are too early to be anything but a wrong number or bad news.  It was the JayP.  He lost control of the car and skidded off the road into a hillside in the canyon on the way to school.  The car was nearly, if not completely, totaled.  Thank God the boy was completely unscathed.  I credit his guardian angel and the intercession of Saint Joseph.

Many of our dear friends with larger families do not give their children cars to drive, nor provide their insurance or gas.  We've just not been able to do that. Having spare drivers in the family has been a great convenience and living as we do in the country, the JayP did not get a job this last summer as I didn't want to be stuck driving him 40 miles or more roundtrip to and from work.  We did that all last winter for him to go to school.  So, out of convenience, we have provided our teens with a family car, insurance and fuel once they have their license.

This great privilege does not come without strict guidelines.  They have to act responsibly and wisely when driving. We have told our teens that if they receive a speeding ticket, they are grounded from driving anywhere other than school or work.  We have also told them a single accident will result in complete revocation of driving privileges.  We cannot afford an increase in our insurance premiums and we cannot afford to pay a $1000 deductible every time one of our vehicles is wrecked.

What this means then is the JayP now owes us $1000.  He is banned from driving until he can buy his own car and pay his own insurance.  He will have to get a job, and unfortunately that means we will be providing transportation to and from said job.  The poor guy is really in the hole right now.

This also means we are shackled to his schedule and will be driving him to and from school for the rest of the year.  Once I had recovered from the worry of the accident itself I found myself completely ticked off at the boy.  Is he trying to kill me?  He's certainly driving us to the poor house.  Ugh.  Good for him he was in school all day yesterday giving us time to cool off and let go of the anger.  Good thing for him too, it seems he actually gets most of the gravity of his and our situation.  He mentioned he needs to find a job fairly close to home.  Hopefully one can be found.

Thank God for protecting our son.  It really could have been so much worse. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Catholic Funnies

Phew, had a rough day today.  I'll write about it tomorrow.  For now I need to laugh.  Have you seen Catholicmemes.com?  Go there now and tell me if you don't find something that makes you guffaw out loud.  The following meme made me choke, especially since it relates to my last post.


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Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent Fail

Not even a full two days into Advent and I've already failed miserably.  This year we do not have an Advent wreath.  I forgot to order candles and apparently Mormons do not celebrate Advent as there isn't a purple nor rose colored candle in any local Michael's, Target, or Walmart to be found.  No matter, we found our pewter Advent wreath in pieces while unpacking our traditional decorations.  I guess there is always next year.

Wingnut talked me into getting our tree from our parish's Knights of Columbus.  The trees were delivered on Saturday.  I let the kids decorate the tree yesterday.  We haven't decorated a tree before Gaudete Sunday since our conversion years ago.  Lil' Lamb and the cat are tearing the thing apart with abandon.

The girls want to be bakers.  I've allowed them to bake Christmas cookies; a different recipe each night for the last three nights.  We usually reserve Christmas baking for the week before Christmas.  We'll see  if they can keep it up for 25 days.

I'm breaking many of our Advent traditions, and I'm completely ok with that.  I'm sure there isn't any harm in observing Advent with joyful anticipation, imbibing in some of the fun usually reserved for Christmas.

May you have a lovely, prayerful Advent. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Card 2012

Her she is, the preview of Christmas Card 2012.  We took these photos in June when I was sure all the kids would be home.  You may notice the JayP has his back turned to the camera.  He flat out refused to cooperate.  He thought I was being dumb for taking photos for the Christmas card so soon.  He was sure we'd all be together again before Christmas.  He was wrong.  So there he is in all his stubborn glory.  LOL!



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Thursday, November 29, 2012

{P,H,F,R} The Zoo

round button chicken



The weather has been unseasonably warm here in Utah.  We took advantage of the weather and took Lil' Lamb on his first trip to the zoo.


{Pretty}


This is one of three brother tigers at the Hogle Zoo.  Isn't he pretty?






{Happy}



Lil' Lamb was absolutely fascinated with the animals.




Here he is pointing to the baby elephant(out of shot).



Three happy zoo kids.





{Funny}

It doesn't matter what they are up to, Meer Cats are just funny.



I believe this is a Palais Cat.  We were cracking up over his taking a snooze in a comfy little bed decked with a fleecy blankie.






 {Real}

Even in the wild, moms can't help being moms.  This was a sweet shot of mother and son.  Too bad I didn't read up on zoo photography before we headed out.  I need to work on eliminating the fencing from my shots.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Movie Review: The Artist


Wingnut and I watched The Artist on Netflix over the weekend.  It's the first Oscar winning film I've watched since The Return of the King.  Hollywood and I don't agree on much.  That being said, I had heard this was a truly good movie and I'd been looking forward to seeing it.  I wasn't sure if a black and white silent film could impress this thoroughly modern mommy, but it really did.  It is a wonderfully enjoyable, watchable, and lovely movie.

The real question was whether a modern actor could take on the challenge of acting in a silent film.  French actor Jean Dujardin was perfect as the soon to be obsolete silent film star, George Valentin.  The Artist recalls the fate of many silent film stars who's careers were ended with the advent of talking pictures.  Silent stars slipped from the screen as new exciting stars emerged with the arrival of movie sound: this is the story of George Valentin and Peppy Miller, played by Berenice Bejo.  As Peppy's star rises, George's fame and fortune fades.  Will he be able to resurrect his career?

It is suggested George is a bit of a philanderer. This along with a profane hand gesture, and I'm sure at least one profanity can be deciphered in the pantomime, leads me to recommend this film for older teens and adults. The MPAA gives The Artist a PG-13 rating and the USCCB gave the film an A-III (adults only).





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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dairy-free Chocolate Cream Pie

This recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated Magazine

Chocolate Cream Pie with Coconut Milk

16 cream filled sandwich cookies broken into pieces
2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter


2 cups canned coconut milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
6 large egg yolks at room temperature
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into 1 inch pieces
7 ounces Ghiradelli 60% cocoa dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla


For the crust: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs. Pulse melted butter into crumbs several times until combined. Pour into a pie plate and press into plate evenly along the bottom and up the sides to form the pie shell. Refrigerate 20 minutes to firm. Bake 10 minutes and then cool on rack.

For the filling: bring coconut milk and about half the sugar to a simmer in a sauce pan, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Stir together the remaining sugar and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk the egg whites thoroughly in a medium bowl until slightly thickened. Sprinkle cornstarch/sugar mixture over yolks and whisk until mixture is glossy and the sugar has dissolved. Drizzle 1/2 cup of simmered coconut milk over the yolks, whisking constantly to temper, then whisk yolk mixture into remaining coconut milk in sauce pan. Return to a simmer, whisking constantly until mixture is thickened and glossy. (Mixture should appear custard like). Off heat whisk in butter chunks until incorporated; add chocolate and whisk until melted. Whisk in vanilla. Pour into cooled crust. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of. The filling and refrigerate about 3 hours.

For those without dairy issues, top pie with freshly whipped and sweetened heavy cream.

*you may need to pour pie filling through a fine mesh strainer before pouring into the crust if you see any lumps or curdled egg in the custard. I've never had that issue with this recipe but it's nice to know, just in case.




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Friday, November 23, 2012

Post Thanksgiving Post: What Did and What Didn't Work

This post serves as a reminder to myself: Stick with the tried and true! While everything was good, pretty much every new recipe I tried was not nearly as good as the recipes I usually use.

Let's begin with the turkey. I tried the woven bacon breastplate discovered on Pinterest. While the finished product looked beautiful, we all agreed the turkey really did not benefit from the bacon and we all missed the crisped up turkey skin. The turkey was moist and flavorful, but only because it was brined for two days. Ladies, always, always brine that turkey! You will never regret it. Our bird cooked well beyond the 165 degree mark and it did not dry out in the least.

I stuck to tried and true for the dressing, although I did use homemade peasant loaf for the first time. Win!

Skoshi A made the sweet potato casserole using our traditional recipe. Cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy were made from previously used and favorite recipes.

I used a new recipe for the pumpkin pie because I wanted to make it completely from scratch, including the pumpkin puree. I did substitute goat's milk in the recipe and it did set up just fine, even if it did need just about 10 extra minutes in the oven to do so. While it tasted pretty good, this particular recipe called for too much ginger, in my opinion, two teaspoons was overwhelming. I may use the same recipe again in the future, but will adjust the spices.

The pecan pie recipe was also new. It claimed to have won the Blue Ribbon at the Texas State Fair. It was a lot more work than my usual recipe and it was WAY TOO SWEET! The best recipe for pecan pie is the one on the back of the Karo bottle. Do not stray, I say!


For the chocolate pie, I used the Cook's Illustrated recipe. I subbed all natural creme filled cookies for the Oreo crust, used Ghiradelli bitter sweet chocolate chips, and subbed canned coconut milk for the dairy. It was spectacular! It had just a hint of a coconut flavor, which was a nice unexpected touch.

How was your feast?

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 2 of the Cooking Marathon

We got more done yesterday than expected. Both cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole were completed. Today is devoted to the thee pies, the dressing, and the initial prep for giblet gravy. Happy cooking! Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 1 of the Cooking Marathon




Why, oh why, do we beat ourselves up cooking up a storm for a feast that lasts all of 20 minutes in our house?

Because, it's Tradition!


Today I did the grocery shopping, baked a sugar pumpkin, sweet potatoes, a loaf of peasant bread and will brine the turkey.  For dinner tonight we are having hot dogs.  I won't be doing any extra cooking if I don't have to.


Thanksgiving Menu 2012

Bacon wrapped roast turkey
Apple, bacon, sage dressing
Mashed potatoes and turkey giblet gravy
Sweet potato casserole
Cranberries with ginger and orange
Scratch made pumpkin pie (made with goat's milk)
Blue ribbon Texas Pecan pie
Chocolate pie (made with coconut milk and Ghiradelli dark chocolate) Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, November 19, 2012

Motivation

After another back injury and month long running set back, I'm back in the saddle, pounding the pavement once again. Am I just getting too old for this form of exercise? Another injury and I just might hang up my running shoes for good. It's too bad, I really do love running, especially here in Utah. The scenery is gorgeous and the air is so crisp and clean.

Having taken a month to heal, I thought it wise not to dive right back into the 10K training program I was several weeks into. Funny though, without the training program telling me how long to run I am having a difficult time keeping motivated while I run. Telling myself, "Ok, Maurisa, today you are running to point A and back," isn't enough to keep me chugging the entire way.

I found it's the same with the calorie tracking program I use. If I don't faithfully put in every bite I've eaten, I lose the motivation to stick to it. I guess I'm thankful for the great motivating apps in use on my phone. Without them I don't think I'd make it very far in my endeavor to get and stay healthy. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, November 16, 2012

Why I Could Never be a Hollywood Actor

. . . Aside from no acting talent. It must be near impossible to be an actor of faith these days. There are but a handful of outwardly/outspoken Christians in Hollywood and many who are find themselves struggling to find quality work.



Wingnut and I have been big fans of the CBS drama, Person of Interest, staring Jim Caviezel. Mr. Caviezel has been an outspoken Catholic since before his days as Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. He's spoken out against ESCR-- going so far as to lend himself to a commercial during the 2006 elections in support of Senator Jim Talent and his opposition of ESCR. Caviezel has also been strongly and publicly pro-life. As an outward sign of this, he and his wife have adopted two special needs children.  He's been the refreshing face of Catholicism in the mainstream entertainment industry.

Unfortunately, at some point in Hollywood values are eventually compromised if you want to continue finding work as an actor. It was so disappointing watching last night's episode of POI in which a married lesbian couple was featured. Apparently this was a storyline Mr. Caviezel could not oppose. Certainly I'm not expecting perfection from Jim Caviezel, but gay marriage is such a big issue right now and as we are being pushed against our will to not only recognize it, but to accept it. It's entertainment such as this that may become the lynch pin that brings the downfall of traditional marriage and the end of true religious freedom. It's just too bad. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Homemaking does not a Blogger Make



It's not that I haven't had much to say, but lately this blog has really been taking a back seat.  You see, I've been a bit busy with my regular life and on a homemaking/organization kick.  I've switched to almost all all-natural homemade cleaners.  I love the homemade laundry soap we've been using and the vinegar and essential oil fabric softener does the trick.  I use tons of vinegar in all the cleaning we do. Guess what? Not only is vinegar extremely effective, it's super cheap.  After nearly three months, we have definitely seen a difference in our grocery bill.  Click here for the link to the book I've been using--it has recipes for every cleaning supply you can imagine.

The only homemade cleaners that were complete bombs were the dish washing liquid and the dish washer detergent.  Castille soap, used in dish washing liquid, is very expensive and was not worth the effort or the cost in making homemade soap.  The dish washer detergent did not work at all.  We suffered with horribly film covered, even dirty dishes for a month and I tried every natural suggestion I could find before Wingnut went out and bought the real stuff--the real expensive stuff.  We now have sparkling clean dishes again.  Sometimes the costly chemical stuff is the only way to go, unfortunately.


Another successful homemaking effort has been cooking more of all our food.  We eat in restaurants very rarely now.  It of course takes a bit of forethought and organization to make it work, but really there is so little restaurant fare that is better tasting than homemade any way.  Pinterest has been a huge help in this regard.  I'm easily bored with making and eating the same things, so Pinterest has provided a wonderful creative outlet for my cooking enthusiasm.  We've add many new and tasty recipes to our repertoire.


I've returned to using FlyLady in helping me stay focused on weekly cleaning zones.  Along with her zones and missions, I make a list of things I'd like to have cleaned in that zone for the week.  This week I tackled light fixtures in our bathroom.  They are sparkly shiny clean and it makes me smile just to look at them.

There, now, I've managed to eke out a blog post on why I'm too busy to blog.  Not too shabby.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Skyfall Movie Review

I wasn't a big Bond fan until Daniel Craig took on the role in 2006.  I've loved the darker, damaged persona that has been brought to the last three films.  Wingnut and I took in the latest installment last week, and I was not disappointed.  Skyfall is the best one yet.

MI6 is under attack and deep undercover agents are at risk after a list of names and cover is stolen.  Bond is tasked with tracking down the attacker, who seems to know a bit too much about MI6 and it's operations.

Along with Craig playing Bond for the third time, Dame Judi Dench reprises her role as M. The rest of the roles are new in this film, including both Bond girls;  Eve, played by Naomie Harris and Severine, played by Berenice Marlohe. Ralph Fiennes enters the series as Gareth Mallory, a government official involved in British national security.  A quirky Q is played by a young actor, Ben Whishaw. Finally, Javier Bardem stars as ex-MI6 agent, Silva, one of the creepiest Bond villains in the series.

Skyfall is packed with great action sequences as all Bond films, but also continues the recent trend of exposing Bond's back story bit by bit.  As a tribute to the 50 year anniversary of the 007 movies, homage is paid throughout the film that bridge old Bond with the new.  Some connectors are more clever than others, some are a bit campy. If you are a 007 fan at all, you will truly enjoy this film.  How many classic connections will you discover?  Wingnut and I are still discovering them several days later--adding to the fun.

Adult themes, language, and an incredibly creepy scene between Bardem's character and Bond make this film suitable only for adults. The USCCB gave the film an A-III (adults). Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, November 9, 2012

Honey Lemon Cure-All



We've had some kind of cold going around the family and my kids have been going through this stuff like crazy.  It's very simply lemons and raw honey.  This particular large mason jar holds three sliced lemons and 16 ounces of honey.  We keep it in the refrigerator and use it like a tea.  Just place a couple slices of the honey marinated lemon in a mug along with 1 or 2 tablespoons of the liquid.  Pour hot water in the mug and stir to mix.  It tastes like hot lemonade and works great for coughs, congestion, and sore throats.  The kids have been drinking it in the morning with breakfast and it really does the trick.  Here's a little factoid for you; both lemon and honey have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, which is why this stuff works so well.  I love that this elixir is 100% all natural. (As this uses raw honey, do not give this to children younger than 2 as recommended by pediatricians)

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Back to Life

Lil' Lamb turned 21 months on Sunday.  I can't believe how much he's changed.  It doesn't matter how many children we have, I'm always amazed at how quickly they grow and learn.  He's talking a whole lot more this month and his vocabulary increases every single day.  He's even got his own special name for me that I absolutely love: "mom-mom".  It makes his life a bit easier now that he's able to communicate better, even if I'm the only one that can interpret all his words.  He's also decided he wants nothing to do with my camera.  I had the hardest time trying to get a picture of him for this post.  He refused to look up at me.  If I tried to get down closer to him with the camera, he'd run off.  It was a very tricky photo shoot.



Here he is refusing to look up.  I was trying all my tricks to no avail.




"I'll be having none of that, mom-mom!"


I sent him chasing after a ball and he brought it back to me, allowing for this shot with the sun flare.


Finally I just laid down on the ground with the camera, which really peaked his curiosity and I was finally able to get a pic of his adorable little face.  He even smiled, the little imp.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Slavery Over Freedom

I am extremely saddened by the election outcome. However, in the end it may be better for our nation to implode with the nuclear blast it is heading toward under Obama than to slowly burn under moderate Republican power. Just a few random thoughts to write out and then I will let it go and get back to life and my family.


--Americans do not like change and voted for the status quo.

--It is truly unfortunate that more than half our nation chose the slavery of government provision and intervention over freedom. I guess free healthcare, welfare, and continued bailouts won the day.

--The real loser in this election was religious freedom. There is no turning back now. After four years of Obamacare and the HHS mandate they will be nearly impossible to repeal. It's also looking more and more like gay marriage is a done deal. It's been said this election's primary issue was the economy. I believe it is easier to repeal bad fiscal policy than it is to regain moral ground. I'm afraid the Christian Right lost a huge battle last night.

--Finally, it should not be lost on anyone of the Judeo-Christian tradition
that the inauguration falls conspicuously and significantly close to the 40 year anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, November 5, 2012

On Why I'm not Voting for Either Candidate



Yes, you read that correctly.  I'm "throwing away" my vote on a third party candidate tomorrow.  I'm doing this #1 because I can, as I am quite sure Mitt Romney will win here in Utah and #2 I want to cast my vote for a candidate I can trust and believe in; a candidate that most lines up with my views as a voter.

I do realize there are only two possible outcomes to the election tomorrow.  Believe me, I am praying the Romney/Ryan ticket is victorious but they do not need my vote.  I'm sure I do not need to enumerate the reasons President Obama will not win my vote.  Realistically, I don't believe things will change much if Romney does win.  He's a big government man, quite adept at protecting his political hide.

His economic plan, while better than Obama's, only serves to push the inevitable fiscal collapse of our country down the road a few years more.  He's promised to repeal Obamacare, but I don't think he will be able to and even if he could repeal it, he would likely "need" to replace it with some other big government healthcare plan.  He's promised to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court, but I don't trust he understands what that truly means.  He has proven to be the kind of politician willing to shift with the prevailing winds (immigration, gun control, tax cuts, big money in politics, and even abortion).

I do have hope he will uphold religious freedom and that he will repeal the HHS mandate.  I do believe he will serve our country well and will reestablish our reputation as a powerful nation that does not bow to tyranny.

Instead of voting for either mainstream party, I will be voting Constitution Party down the line.  The Constitution Party is pro-life, without exception.  The Constitution Party is 100% behind our national defense and supportive of the military.  The Constitution Party will protect the 2nd Amendment and supports educational freedom. The Constitution Party stands by the Constitution line by line.

I love this quote from their national headquarters:

"A person's vote is truly wasted when he does not use it to express his genuine beliefs.  A lesser of two evils vote only leads to politicians to act as though they have a mandate to move forward with an agenda that all to often hastens the destruction of our country."

Don't get me wrong, if Romney were in any danger of losing here, he would get my vote.  It would be a horrific evil to have Obama remain in the White House.  However, because I can, I'm taking Dr. Alan Keyes lead and casting my vote according to the "Platform Republican Approach".

I am voting to honor God. God's Will be done! Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Photos

Avengers seemed to be the big theme this year.  Wingnut Jr. could not resist dressing as the 1st Avenger.

Special K went as a masquerade belle.

The girls spend hours upon hours listening to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack.  They were fascinated with the idea of the masquerade ball.  Skoshi A also dressed in masquerade, but I failed to get a photo :(

I didn't even bother buying or making a costume for Lil' Lamb.  I was sure he'd be cowering in the house all evening.  He wants absolutely nothing to do with masks, hoods, costumes, etc.  We joked around that he was going as the emperor in his new clothes.

The kids did a fantastic job carving their jack-o-lanterns.

Much to my surprise, Lil' Lamb did decide he liked the costume idea once he saw Wingnut Jr. in his Captain America costume.  Thankfully it was easy to dig up our Davy Crocket costume from a couple years back.  The Lil' guy even survived trick-or-treating.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Fail

Leave it to Americans to take something so completely indicative of our culture, like trick-or-treating and ruining it. Yeah, I'm talking 'bout you, trunk-or-treat.

Apparently our entire neighborhood met down at the local ward and passed out all their candy from the trunks of their cars. We didn't get that memo. Here we were with a tub of candy and our kids all dressed up waiting for their friends, who ditched them for the easy pay off.

Whatever happened to the true spirit of Halloween? When we were kids, we had to work for our tricks-or-treats. We walked from door to door in the bitter cold. We lived in the country too, where houses were more than a stones throw apart. If we were lucky our mom or dad would drive alongside and we could hitch a ride if the next house was more than an acre away. There wasn't any of this one stop shopping kind of Halloween. What is happening to America?

Wingnut ended up escorting our youngest three through the neighborhood. They scored some candy, but for the most part, the trunk-or-treat crowd had to raid their pantries for juice boxes and Doritos to hand out to stragglers that missed out on the parking lot gig.

I have pictures to post later today. Even if the neighborhood was a bit of a Halloween fail, the kids still enjoyed themselves and they were awfully cute. If I could just stay away from the left over tub of sugar. . . Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All is Well

Obviously, as we live in Utah, we did not feel the effects of Sandy. We do still own a home in Maryland, and two of our daughters are in school in that general area.

Out tenants are from Idaho, and they were really worried about the storm. They made some smart preparations, for which we are grateful. They tightened up the screen door and secured a loose gutter on the house. Thankfully, they never lost power and it seems the house and the family weathered the storm well.

I received an "all's well" email from one of the sisters at the Aspirancy in Pennsylvania. While monitoring the weather, it looked to me they had some pretty powerful winds in and around Philly. They also survived the storm with no loss of power or damage to the house.

I messaged our oldest daughter throughout the day yesterday. They were without power off and on during the storm, but the school has generators powering hallway and bathroom lights. She was just thankful to have classes cancelled for a couple days. She's been battling tonsillitis and needed a few extra days of rest. Thank you Sandy for that one small blessing,

We do have many friends on the East Coast, and while it seems most faired well, our thoughts and prayers are with those who have severely damaged or lost property. It looks like it could be many months or years before those hardest hit areas recover fully. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cream of Tomato Soup Elevated

Sometimes I post recipes immediately after I've tested them the first time.  I do this so that I don't forget how I made a particular recipe.  This can be a bit of a mistake, especially if I already know I'm going to make improvements upon my original recipe.

Last week I posted my recipe for Cream of Tomato Soup.  I made it with the ingredients I had on hand, and while it was pretty darn yummy, I was already forming improvements in my mind.  I also hated the photo I took, so I really wanted to improve upon that as well.

Please bear with me as I once again post a recipe for Cream of Tomato Soup.


Cream of Tomato Soup Elevated

2 14 oz cans fire roasted tomatoes pureed in a blender or food processor
1 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz plain yogurt (we use goat yogurt due to milk allergies)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 or 5 basil leaves; chiffonade (rolled and cut into ribbons)
2 TBSP sautéed pancetta crumbles
2 TBSP goat cheese crumbles

In a sauce pan bring olive oil and garlic to a sizzle.  Carefully add tomatos, yogurt, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium heat stirring constantly.  Spoon into bowls and top with basil, pancetta, and goat cheese.



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Thursday, October 25, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} October 24

round button chicken




We have been so busy lately, I haven't had a chance to participate in {P,H,F,R} in quite awhile.  There's nothing like a trip to glorious Yellowstone National Park to motivate the photographer in me to get snapping.


{Pretty}

There is no end to the beauties of Yellowstone.  This was my first trip and I was blown away.  We really only saw about 1/4 of what you can see just off the main loop around Yellowstone.
These are the Kepler Cascades.


This is part of the Lower Geyser Basin.  This is a hot spring or pool.







This is part of the Fountain Paint Pots.  Each pool was a different color.


These little dried mud pots truly do look like little caked paint pots.



On a first trip to Yellowstone, Old Faithful is a must stop.



Old Faithful with a rainbow.



{Happy}



The kids were so excited to visit this national treasure.


Most of the fam standing in front of one of the geysers. The kids found the mud pots, hot springs, and geysers fascinating.


{Funny}



Bison roaming free in the park.  They were just wandering alongside the road, grazing and paying absolutely no attention to the gawkers.


{Real}


Yes, this is our neighborhood this morning.  Yes, it is only October 24th.

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