Thursday, October 31, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~

~Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter~

{Pretty}
There will be no living with me after this!!  I'm going to gush and go on and on about finally completing this little sweater until I finish ANOTHER sweater.  I'm just really so proud of accomplishing something beyond a blanket or scarf.  I cannot wait to give it to my nephew, and yes one sleeve still needs to be attached.  I have a sick little guy today, and my husband is still home so he has taken the other two homeschoolers out and about with him for the day. So, I get to go sit with #9 and stitch while watching Curious George, which makes me as happy as can be.  

 {Happy}
I caught this the other day and am so glad I did.  That is absolute true love right here, it makes me so happy!

[Funny}
I know not every family gets this much greatness brought into one photo, we just got lucky!
This is truly my all time favorite photo.  The photographer was laughing so hard she had to leave the session.  They could not believe we bought it, but we still have it framed in our home for all to see - we love it!

{Real}
Tonight is her last performance, we are sad for the whole run to be over but it has been such a good one.  Lots of great memories, new friendships, and wonderful people!
Theater is a very REAL blessing for our family.

Please join the fun over at Like Mother, Like Daughter for today's {P,H,F,R}

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yarn Along ~


I truly enjoy reading and knitting.  I love that Ginny over at Small Things provides a link up each week, it works like a virtual book club + knitting group.  I get to see all the lovely knits and get new ideas, because I LOVE quality yarn and seeing the loveliness of it being made into beautiful gifts, sweaters, etc..  I also enjoy getting new ideas of books to read.  Please join in today's Yarn Along,  over at Small Things.

If I was not so excited about this little sweater I would hold off on sharing it until I could get better photo quality.  It is raining and very gray/dark outside, so taking photos in natural light is impossible.  Let's not focus on terrible picture/photo quality - instead let's focus on the fact that I have finally FINALLY completed all the pieces for a sweater AND aside from 1 sleeve, it is almost complete + the fact that it didn't turn out wonky.  I am over the moon excited about this!

All details for the sweater (and better photos so you can see the color, yarn etc..) can be found here.  I should call it my Frankenstein sweater because from start to finish, it has been worked on during rehearsals and back stage during performances.  The blue light back stage is adequate to knit with.  I made several mistakes, but none that are truly noticeable unless your me.  The one mistake turned out to be an embellishment anyway.  You see that row of purling up at the neckline?  It isn't suppose to be that way.  I messed up on the front of the sweater, I liked it though.  I marked which row I purled instead of knit and continued with the same process for each piece of the sweater.  One of the cast members even let me know she liked it better with the purl row when I pointed it out as an error.  So, I'm happy, happy, happy!  Now, to finish the other sleeve so the little guy can wear it before it is too small!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekending

Re-inventing Mother
~Capturing the weekend in pictures Friday through Monday
On Friday we enjoyed beautiful weather and my sons continue to 'make' bow and arrows out of any wood/branch they can find in the yard.  My yard also looks like a junk yard through out the weekend as the patio furniture keeps getting reworked into fabulous forts and elaborate constructions for whatever imagination driven quest they are on - I truly love this too, and let that over ride my 'house beautiful' desire for a back yard.  My Catholic School boys had the day off, so we enjoyed another hike and having them around for the day.  We truly love their school, too bad it only goes through 8th grade!  We also had another performance of Frankenstein and #4 had to work until midnight at Braums.

Saturday brought about two soccer games, the ACT test for #2, as well as Rosary, Confession, Mass.  Saturday evening 2 of my boys babysat for the Youth Group Parent's Night Out Fundraiser, we had a performance of Frankenstein and we enjoyed a late night movie after the show.  #4 & #5 also worked up until Mass time at Braums - this always creates shrewd planning to get everybody where they need to be.  Pete has been home this weekend, so the struggle to jump through those hoops was minimized!

Making friends with Sugar, a sweet Mini-Australian Shepherd at #8's soccer game. *Instagram*

Sunday after the final showing of Frankenstein (although there is an encore performance on Halloween complete with costume contest).  We also went to CCD and I taught my class with Ms. Brenda (who I just love).   Pete made us the most delicious fajitas for when we came home from the show and we decided last minute to go watch a movie for the evening.  We had planned to have a game night, but on the spur of the moment we changed plans.  What a fun evening it was too, and the theater was pretty much all ours!


 Finally, I wanted to share something that a good friend shared with me.
Crock pot, Steel Cut Oats
This is SOOOO very easy, nutritious and nice to wake up to, especially on a cold morning.
I just measure out about (for my family) 10 cups water, and 3 1/2 cups Steel Cut Oats.
I do this right before I go to bed at night.
I set the crock pot on low.
We wake up to perfect Oatmeal (Or as #9 calls is 'oartmeal').
I set up a small buffet of butter, maple syrup, a bowl of berries, and cinnamon
The kids make up their bowls the way they like it.
Add buttered toast and you have a VERY easy breakfast you can feel good about fueling your children up with to start their day!
Thanks Laura D. for the tip!

*The ratio of 3 cups water to 1 cup oats is about right, so use what would be best for your family*
*Updated to add from my friend Karen:  "I put the oats and water or milk in a bowl that fits inside the crockpot, then I add water to the crockpot and set the bowl of oats and liquid into the water in the crockpot. This creates a 'water bath' so that the oatmeal does not get crusty on the side of the crockpot. I put enough water in the crockpot to come about an inch or two from the top of the oatmeal bowl. Put the lid on the crockpot and cook overnight. Hope this makes sense."   
It does Karen - thank you!
Please join Wanda at Re-Inventing Mother for more Weekending Posts

Saturday, October 26, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~
Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter

{Pretty}
We went on a hike yesterday around this little lake, I have always loved this trail and enjoyed hiking it with the youngest 5 kiddos.  The weather has just been gorgeous, and while we may not have the fall foliage we grew to love in Virginia, we seek out nature and enjoy the beauty around us here locally. 

{Happy}
We have been eating lunch outside most days lately.  We also read a book or fairy tale after lunch so they set up camp just like from our recent book "Where The Red Fern Grows"


{Funny}
Me trying to get a good photo of them, them trying to make sure each one is funny.
I gave in, because their antics really do get me laughing and then it is all down hill from there.

{Real}
The reality is I started this post on Thursday.  I kept having to save it and come back.  I can't believe it is Saturday morning I still have not hit 'publish'.  
This meal is not one that I'm proud of the ingredients, but the end result is that it is VERY easy and my kids love it.  I think it is great to have a few of these in your recipe collection for nights of no time to 'really' cook but every one needs a hot meal.  There is a more 'from scratch' version I have, but I'm sharing the fast version for Mom's who are also finding days without enough hours to get it all done.

Meatballs & Gravy over Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes:

I boil a pot's worth (and I never measure, sorry but each person knows about how many to prepare for your family and then adjust seasoning accordingly) of chopped potatoes.  I like using red because I'm lazy and don't want to peel them.
Once potatoes are boiled, I drain them and transfer to my kitchen aide.
Add 1 stick of butter
salt & pepper to taste
3 or 4 oz cream cheese (and if you don't have enough sour cream)
1/2 cup buttermilk (trust me, makes them light and delicious)
Whip up in the mixer until light and fluffy

Easy Meatballs with Gravy:
1 bag prepacked meatballs.  
2 cans golden mushroom soup
1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix (I did not say this was healthy)
3 cups beef broth
Mix all but meatballs together in a bowl.  Pour meatballs into prepared casserole dish, pour mixed ingredients over them.  Bake uncovered in oven at 350 for about 30 mins.  Serve over mashed potatoes.
Watch your boys inhale them.


Please join LMLD for Thursday's version of {P,H,F,R}

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yarn Along


Can you believe it???  I actually am ALMOST finished on a sweater project!  It is a late birthday gift for an adorable nephew.
I should call this the Frankenstein sweater because it has been all the hours passed backstage that have allowed me a window to work on this.  I have the front and back complete and am now working on the arms.
The pattern is from Debbie Bliss Baby Style and the yarn is Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Sky

Here is my dilemma, and the thing that trips me up every time.  I do not have any knitters near me (that I know of) so the sleeves have me a bit worried.  I'm currently 15 cm in to the 19 cm required and then the whole cast on edge, ending with a wrong side row ????  I am eager for advice...any help.  Yes, I know that to experienced knitters this is like trying to understand how to breathe but for me it is just confusing.  I'm plugging on though and really am proud of what has come of this project so far.  I would LOVE any tips that you want to offer!  Thank you so much!
As to reading, I read the first and last of Jennifer Worth's Call The Midwife.  I have a hold placed on the 2nd book at the library, eager to read it as well.  My 18 year old son is insisting I read Enders Game, even checking the book out on his own library card so that I would, before the movie premiers in November.  The kids' very dear Piano teacher loaned me Eli's Reach, the sequel to Waiting for Eli.  I have not read the 2nd one yet but the first one, I could hardly put down, so I hope to begin Eli's reach as soon as Frankenstein is over.  Lot's of great books have come my way lately, which makes me very happy!

Please visit Ginny for more Yarn Along posts.  This weeks found here:  Yarn Along

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Caramel Popcorn - Tasty Tuesday



I love making Caramel Popcorn this time of year.  Here is the recipe I use most often:

Caramel Popcorn
*I double or triple this*

6 quarts unseasoned popped corn
2 cups assorted nuts (we like pecan and cashews best)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 200 F.  Divide the popcorn & nuts between 2 large bowls  Oil 2 lipped cookie sheets very well and set aside.
In a deep saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and cream of tartar.  Insert a candy thermometer.  Bring to a boil, cook the mixture over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer is at 260 F.  (Hard ball stage).  Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda.  The mixture will foam up.
Pour the syrup mixture over the popcorn, half to each bowl.  Work quickly to coat all the popcorn with the caramel.  Spread the popcorn evenly on the cookie sheets and bake for 1 hour, stirring 3 or more times.  Remove from oven and spread popcorn on wax paper to cool, breaking up the larger pieces.  It will crisp up as it cools

Monday, October 21, 2013

What Works For Us - Dating/Girlfriends/Boyfriends

*This post is about What Works For Us.  We DO NOT judge anyone who sees dating among teens differently - truly, we just felt led to go a different direction with our children.*
Pete and I will be the first to admit we are uncomfortable giving advice about raising kids - opinions, yes.  what works for us, yes,  advice -no.  We know we make mistakes, learn from others, and really just pray, pray, pray about what to do.  We bounce things off one another and constantly reassess.  We are still in the process of fleshing out our views and guidelines for dating.  I feel hesitant to write this because with each stage of life we've learned that we have to tweak, adjust, and try again.  I write this to share where we are now, and that in loving our children we do what we feel is best. When we mess up (and we do) God helps us untangle the knots and go forward wiser from the experience.
It should also be noted that we do not take ourselves too seriously - we take raising our children very seriously but on the whole, we raise our kids with a sense of humor (another what works for us post).  When we approach the topic of dating and girlfriends, we keep it light for a long time.  This allows for important discussions to stand out as just that - valuable.  I truly believe they listen because we are not constantly hammering rules about this, that, and the other thing.  We do not like raising them with a list of  'not allowed' but rather a perspective of 'what is best'.   

Our approach to dating begins deliberately when they are very young by not asking them about girlfriends, who likes who, etc..  I believe this places an expectation onto them that they are expected to have a girlfriend,  to 'like' someone, to date as soon as they possibly can because of the curiosity we are showing.   We try hard not tease them about liking someone and discourage siblings from teasing too.  When we see that an interest is there, we do ask and if Pete or I see that we need to have a deeper conversation with our child about girlfriends/dating - we discuss together what we feel is important (and I'm always amazed at how he can help me see something I may have missed, parenting together benefits the child immensely) and then we give them this discussion:

"When you are working towards your future adult life, you are ready for dating"  

This is not to mean that we keep them home and away from the opposite sex.  Our boys have enjoyed learning English Country Dancing, Swing Dancing, going to weddings, youth group, theater, and all sorts of fun times involving girls.  We encourage them to wait for all the romance until they are ready.  Once you open Pandora's Box on romance and affection it can be a slippery slope and a true distraction from your schooling, faith, and focusing on future plans, not to mention it can lead to regret and hurt.  The rapid changes that take place during this time are better off without muddying the water even more with a love life.  (Sometimes they do fall hard for someone,we know from experience on this, guard their hearts and be diligent about NOT grooming them for a teenage love life. Untangling the hurt of too much too soon is painful, and adds insult to injury in what can already be a confusing time)

When I was a young Mom, I went to a talk by Connie Marshner about teens, dating, and serial divorce.  She really ignited a thought process with Pete and I.  Thankfully, the boys were so young that we were able to make sure we never began grooming them to be in relationships as teens.  We focus on something else, home life.  Dr. John Cuddeback gave a talk at an intimate gathering of friends about life within the walls of your home.  He shared about life within the walls of a Monastery during Middle Ages.  Life within the walls was so vibrant, so full of living that of course men wanted to be a part of that. Dr. Cuddeback who had spent many years teaching young adults at Christendom College had some great points about the kids who are rock solid in their morals and faith.  These young men and women more often than not come from families who, like the Monks of old, created a home life that kids felt anchored to and a part of - a vibrancy.  

The culture within your home is of the greatest value.  Play games, read books, invent contests, celebrate EVERYTHING, find activities you can participate in together.  Create a vibrancy within your home that engages the hearts and minds of your children.  Be present to them, take the time to enjoy one another and grow in Faith together. The most important in our family is to Live out our faith, fully - celebrate the Liturgical Year.

The discussion that was ignited by that talk has still been going between Pete and I all these years.  We love what was started with that simple, intimate gathering of friends.  Between these two points, we stepped away from the idea of dating until our children are much older.  It helps that our boys are not permitted to get a Driver's License until they are 18.

So our thoughts for dating:

*As parents we do not groom them for a love life too young.  We don't constantly ask 'who do you like' or inquire about relationships among their peers.  We DO pay attention when any of our children want to visit with us about this subject. (meaning we don't ignore the subject, ever)

*No dating until you are 18, can pay for the date yourself, and can drive yourself there.  (took us a while to realize the importance of this one, but this is where we are now and we see the wisdom of waiting)

*Focus on family, faith, and fun within the home.

*Perspective is important, we do not follow a list of rules so much as we focus on preparing them for life.  First things first:  Faith, Education, Work, 

*Guard their hearts, love them fully, celebrate the child God entrusted to you and let them know you do.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter

{Pretty}
I know - I added my daughter to the {Pretty} category again, and I'm biased but I love that she is pretty inside as well as outside.  My Grandma Ruth most often quoted phrase was "Pretty is as Pretty Does"
She said it so much, I cross stitched it and framed it as a gift for her when I was a teenager.  I even find myself saying it sometimes - but more often to my teenage boys.  Why? (I could do a whole post on this, that goes much deeper, but stated simply) I want them to realize  beauty that catches their attention is not enough, when they are old enough to begin dating  I want them to look through the lens of 'pretty is as pretty does' - otherwise they may end up with a high maintenance wife and the outward beauty will fade.  I hope my own daughter heeds that advice as well.
I made these bows from one of my Pinterest pins.  I can't remember which one though.  It is somewhere on the board I have Bow Head. (an 80's teen identifier phrase)

{Happy}

It makes me very happy to see how much #9 loves music.  One day I know we will have a piano (we used to but had to let it go when we moved cross country).  Right now, this little key board is great though.  He looks forward to his lessons every week and practices, practices, practices.  Music has become a good way to reach him when he is struggling.  Due to a birth injury he has some delays and a unique way of thinking.  Piano seems to bridge some of that, it makes him happy and that makes me happy.
Another thing that makes me happy is that Frankenstein got a great review this week.  Only 10 more performances to go, and it just keeps getting better.

{Funny}
Fuzzy photo I know, but this is #3 up in the light room for the show.  It is a complicated mix for him to keep up with throughout Frankenstein, and his first time to run the light board.  I'm really proud of him, he is doing a fantastic job.  I think it is so funny to see him up there though - such a great kid!

Have you seen the meme about freaking out your neighbors and naming your WiFi, FBI surveillance?  I got a kick out of that and when we finally accepted the fact that our dinosaur modem was no longer cutting it we had to name our new signal because we actually had one.  This led us through some very funny ideas like - Frat House (because it is) or some clever ones from the boys that I can't think of now but along the lines of Drug Task Force even though we have a fairly decent neighborhood, but you never know.  It led us to a discussion about our call as Catholics to be Missionaries.   Which eventually led to naming our WiFi the way we did - an opportunity although subtle, to evangelize.

{Real}
Years ago we used to visit Vermont quite frequently.  My husband would help with vacation relief for one of the Plant Managers at an IBM facility.  We homeschooled so we all went and had the BEST times.  A highlight was getting to visit the Trapp Family Lodge in beautiful Stowe, Vermont.  I bought a copy of the Trapp Family Cookbook on one of those trips.  I ended up tweaking the Apfelstrudel to a point that it really no longer the original, so I will share the recipe.  This cookbook is one of my treasures.  I love that I have it, as well as many other books about the Trapp Family.  Fall just makes me want to bake and Crisp Apfelstrudel is always a feature this time of year!

Crisp Apfelstrudel

1 package puff pastry
3/4 cup melted butter (divided)
10 Pecan Shortbread Cookies, crushed and divided 
2 cups tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp or less ginger
1 egg, beaten
Confectioners Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet.
2. Unroll puff pastry onto cookie sheet - careful, if it reaches room temp. it is very sticky and hard to work with.
3.  In a bowl mix the apples with spices and 1/2 the crushed up cookies.
4.  Take half the melted butter and blend with apples, spices, and cookies.
5.  Spread the other half of the cookies over puff pastry
6.  Spread apple mixture over top
7.  Bring up the sides of the pastry and seal at top
8.  Mix egg and butter and beat together.
9.  Brush top of pastry with beaten egg/butter mixture
10.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with Confectioners Sugar before serving.

We like ours warm with vanilla ice cream!

Please visit over at LMLD for today's {P,H,F,R}




St. Teresa of Avila - Chicken Stew With Lighter than Air Dumplings

Here I go again, being a Feast Day Recipe Hack.  
St. Teresa of Avila's Feast Day was October 15th
I know she was brilliant, a Doctor of the Church, but I strongly suspect she had as sense of humor.  When I read some of her quotes and stories I am inspired, and usually a few of them spark some imaginative ideas among our children about her humility allowing her to laugh at herself (sometimes, I know she also begged for no more public favors).  I might be wrong, but I love the thought that she did have a sense of humor so and with that in mind I decided to hack my Chicken Stew with Dumplings into a recipe just for her.  The dumplings are very light and the stew is hearty, so why not - think about it.

I begin by making stock.  Take a whole chicken, add chopped up veggies (celery, onions, carrots, garlic etc..) and boil on the stove with herbs (parsley, kosher salt, pepper, sage, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, celery salt)  I usually simmer this for several hours, then I place a colander on top of another pot and pour the stock through to catch all the veggies, the chicken and allowing the broth to be caught in the pan I intend to make the stew in.  I take out 2 cups of broth and set that aside.  I allow 1 cup to cool to add to the dumplings and I mix about 1/2 cup corn starch into the other cooled broth and mix until corn starch is completely dissolved and set aside to add a bit later.

Dumplings are pretty much biscuits with a few tweaks.  I take 2 cups flour, 4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 cup shortening.  Mix dry ingredients first then cut in the shortening.  Once shortening is blended well make a well in the center and add 1 cup broth.  If you need more liquid, add milk but you don't want to dumplings too wet so mix well before adding anything.  Roll out dough and then take a pizza cutter and cut into squares. 
Now go back to the broth, turn the heat up to high medium and add chopped up carrots and frozen peas (sometimes I add corn too)  I always discard the veggies from stock and add fresh at this stage.  I also season the broth if it needs more.  This can be by your preference, but I generally add more salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.  Add the corn starch blend you mixed up and stir it in good.
Once the broth is at a good rolling boil start dropping in the dumplings - DO NOT STIR!  I'm serious, don't stir it because it will break down your dumplings.  I use a wooden spoon to push them aside a bit to allow more to be added, but I never stir until the dumplings start to look like they are done.  They will first puff up and then start settling down.  I keep the lid on the pot at this stage and cook about 20 more minutes to allow the stew to thicken up.  When you do begin stirring, do so very gently.

Voila and yum!  This is my husbands most favorite meal!  It may be a lot of steps, but it is actually easy to make and all those steps are worth it because you end up with a very hearty stew full of flavor.

While we ate the meal we passed around text with St. Teresa of Avila quotes in it.  It is such a wonderful change to go from always instructing and teaching while your children are young to see those minds formed and adding to the discussion about a Saint.  Hearing how they understand a quote and what it means to them is a lesson for the parents as well.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Apple Butter

I was gifted a peck of apples last week.  It was like Christmas morning for me to be given those apples.  When we lived in Virginia, surrounded by Orchards and Vineyards we always enjoyed going Apple Picking.  I would put up Apple Sauce, Apple Pie Filing and our favorite Apple Butter.  We have Peach Orchards close enough to us that I need to make it a priority to go, I just haven't yet.  I think a lot of it has to do with the extreme heat when Peaches are ripe vs the cooler temps when it is time to pick apples - or just that I'm not making it a priority. There is always next year.

I've given away almost all my jars over the years.  When I went to pull them out to sterilize, I realized I was out so I improvised knowing we would eat this up quickly.  I knew if nothing sealed I could refrigerate it and tell those I gave some to refrigerate it as well.  I was right, my children inhaled 3 jars in 3 mornings.  As to the recipe, I have always used the one I found in a VERY old Thrift store find called Blue Ribbon Recipes/County Fair Winners.  It even recommends setting the pot on an asbestos mat, which I not being a true follower of recipes, but using them only as a guide, chose to ignore.  When the younger ones read the recipe and ask what asbestos is, it opens the door on some lively discussions and I love it when 'life' presents the opportunity for learning.

Apple Butter

1 peck apples, unpeeled (about 40)
4 cups water
10 cups sugar (I don't think I've ever used more than 6)
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice

Wash, quarter, and cook apples with water (I always remove the core, I don't like pressing the seeds into the sieve).  Cover; let simmer slowly until tender.  Rub through coarse sieve.  Should be about 5 quarts pulp.  Add half as much sugar as pulp; add spices.  Simmer about 2 hours, stirring frequently as it will scorch easily.  When thickened, pour into hot sterilized jars; seal immediately.  The Apple Butter becomes stiff when cool.
I always water bath mine for about 20 minutes to ensure the jars seals and everything is sterile.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekending

Re-inventing Mother

Friday was opening night for Frankenstein.  I've never seen #7 nervous before, and up until she went on stage I didn't realize she was nervous.  Her scene requires her to walk out in the audience to approach the stage - it threw her to 'see' everyone.  On stage with the lights you can't really 'see' the audience very well.  She handled it just fine though, I am so proud of her.  She does not have a scene in the first act so we spend that time in the dressing room and decided to work on learning to knit.  She is doing better than I did when I first learned.  Friday also brought Pete home very late, but better late than never.

Saturday was also a performance of Frankenstein, and we enjoyed going to St. Anne's  Rosary, Confession and Mass.  The best part of the day was having Pete home.  We truly miss him and only having him for 3 days is hard.  We are soaking up as much time together as possible.
On Sunday we went to CCD, and I worked out a better arrangement for the class I'm teaching.  I am really regretting not taking Spanish at some point before now.  My class is 99% Spanish as a first language and they are receiving First Communion this year so my fear was that with a language barrier, how would I help get them prepared to receive their Sacrament.  The Director of Religious Education worked out for me to co-teach with a wonderful lady who I hope to call my friend soon (I just love her).  Miss Brenda does everything in Spanish and I do everything in English, she talks to the parents who do not speak English and between us I think these kids are going to have a great class.  I did not plan to teach this year but Pope Francis gave a talk about how evangelizing begins in your own parish (I can't find a link to it) and I had read about how he encourages each of us to take part.  I read this just a day before the DRE asked me, so I felt pretty strong that The Holy Spirit had set this up, so I agreed and now I am absolutely enjoying the class.  God is Good!
We also had another performance of Frankenstein
and
A one year old birthday for my nephew.
His Dad (my brother--law) is known for making the BEST pinatas.  This year's did not disappoint, my kids have bags FULL of candy.  They had such a fun time at the party, we all did.  My sister-n-law outdid herself with fun food and props (like mustaches) for the kids.  Her Little Musicians (that my other Sister-n-law teaches) class came and there were so many sweet babies, I was in Heaven.

The cake pops were a favorite with #9.

The birthday boy was pretty wiped out after all his fun.  

Sunday evening we had a snack dinner and watched "How To Frame A Figg"  Even though it wasn't technically from The Wonderful World of Disney, we love Don Knotts so we let it slide as acceptable. 

*a disclaimer about the movie though, it wasn't quite as innocent as classics usually are.  There were some lines and a few scenes that Pete and I would look at each other and go "Did you hear what I just heard" and while over all it is a cute movie, there are a few themes that surprised us so you might want to watch it before showing to the whole family*

We had a very full and fun weekend.

 Re-Inventing Mother does not have the links up yet, but she will tomorrow so please be sure to visit for more Weekending Posts.

Friday, October 11, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the Context of Contentment in every day life~

Pretty & Happy
Tonight is opening night for Frankenstein.  During one of the rehearsals I snapped this photo.  I am so very proud of it.  I did some slight editing to bring out the light and I clarified it a bit, but not much because I wanted to keep with the beauty of what I 'saw' on stage - I wanted to capture it.

I was so touched when one of the cast members said it was similar to a Caravaggio.  It has made me so overwhelmingly happy to see that it was printed out and I was asked to sign it because I love theater, photography and of course my daughter.  This photo brought so many of those elements together.  It makes me deeply happy to have others appreciate what was captured here.

 Happy (again)
The kitty we adopted last week seemed lonely - but no more.  She has a friend and they are darling.  We have so loved watching them play, sleep, eat, and just be adorable.  Names are Madeline and Genevieve.  Welcome to the family, they are making us very happy.

 Funny
There is nothing that brings more happiness and humor than watching a pack of children play on a merry go round.  I loved hearing the squeals of delight and laughter as they went round and round.  This was taken with other families who have come together to work on Classically Catholic Memory, a truly great program!

Real
Roasted Lemon Chicken with White Wine
So very good, easy, and wholesome.  Who doesn't love roast chicken?

Roasted Lemon Chicken with White Wine
2 whole chickens
3 lemons
4 cloves garlic
olive oil
Tuscan Season Blend (I purchased mine at Sam's)
Kosher Salt
White Wine

Brush chickens with olive oil.   Cut Lemons in half.  Stuff cavity of chickens with 2 halves of lemon.  Use remaining two to squeeze lemon juice over chickens.  Slice up what is left and toss in bottom of the roasting pan.  I use the side of my butcher knife and crush the garlic, I set a few in the cavity of chickens with the lemons and throw the rest in the bottom of the pan with the extra lemon slices.  Pour about 1/2 a cup of white wine into the bottom of the pan.  Cook in 375 degree oven for about an hour to an hour and a half depending on chicken size.

One more Real
At Karen's Adventures in Mommyland she is hosting another Jesse Tree Swap.  When she sent the email sharing that I had missed the ornament I selected from the first swap, I wasn't sad long because in her email she offered to host a second swap to anyone who was interested.  I am going to make #17 Elisha (River or Dove) from 2 Kings 5.  It looks like there are just a few more openings so if you'd like to participate let her know!

Please visit over at LMLD for all the links for {P,H,F,R}
(even though I'm a day late)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

St. Faustina's Polish Soup

You should know, I'm a notorious 'feast day' recipe hack.  Which means, I take a recipe and 'make'  it work for the feast day, not the other way around.  I learned pretty quickly that I do not cook well when trying other country's recipes.  I do really well when I try to make something have a 'feel' of that country.
The goal is for my kids to learn, and for us to enjoy a meal together.

Saturday, the Feast for St. Faustina Kowalska was actually cold and rainy.  The perfect day for a soup, that I dubbed Polish because it had sausage in it - and that might be stretching it because it wasn't technically Polish Sausage 'ahem' but, for my children's sake it was a soup we already love and therefore I christened it St. Faustina's soup for the sake of the Feast Day and the soup didn't have a name anyway, so it was meant to be.  *recipe at bottom of post*

I did not make these.  I looked up Polish Desserts online and found this website.  I knew our local Sam's carried these and being pressed for time - I picked up a box.  The kids loved them and I appreciated getting to provide a Polish treat without any more kitchen time.  Don't get me wrong, I love to cook & bake but Saturday was filled to the brim, we didn't make it to the Symphony Concert, because our day was so jam packed.

What would I do without these Turkey's I just do not know.  They keep me in laughing, and I love watching their sense of humor develop!  I also love watching their Faith grow, I enjoy Feast Days so that we can learn about the Saint but also about the country they are from.  

St. Faustina's Soup
2 lbs sausage (you could be on your game and actually buy polish sausage for this, I know it would be delicious)
1 small yellow onion chopped
2 cloves garlic
(I usually soak Great Northern Dry Beans and cook those for this, but Saturday was busy, so I used cans)
2 can butter beans
2 cans Capelini Beans
2 can Northern Beans
(Basically just use any white beans you like, but remember the salt content will be greater so taste before over salting)
2 bunch kale washed and torn into shreds
Chicken Broth (I use 2 boxes)
Salt/Pepper to taste

Cook Sausage with onions and garlic, add to crock pot.  Add remaining ingredients.  Simmer on low all day, serve with hearty bread or croutons.  Sooooo yummy!



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