Saturday, November 30, 2013

Coconut Cream Pie for Thanksgiving


Coconut Cream Pie
When making pies I always use the pat in pan pie crust I shared here:  Tasty Tuesday Chocolate Chip Pie but bake the pie crust this time at 424 for 12-15 minutes, being sure to prick it with a fork first.

I was given this recipe by a very good friend, and I've been baking it for over a decade.  Tried and true, it is the best hands down!

3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 c. milk
2 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. coconut
3 egg yolks - slightly beaten (save 3 egg whites for meringue)

In sauce pan combine sugar, flour & salt; gradually stir in milk.  Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly.  Cook and stir 2 minutes longer.  Remove from heat. 
Stir a small amount of hot liquid into egg yolks, stir and immediately pour egg yolk mixture into hot mixture in the saucepan.  Stirring constantly, place back on medium heat and cook 2 more minutes.  
Remove from heat.  Stir in butter, vanilla, and coconut.  Pour into prepared pie crust.

Make Meringue:

3 egg whites 
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
6 Tbs. sugar

In bowl of electric mixer, add egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar.  Beat until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.
Gradually, add 1 Tbs of sugar at a time.  Continue beating until mixture forms stiff, glossy, peaks.
Spread meringue over hot pie filling being sure to seal to edge of pastry to prevent shrinking while baking.  Bake @350 for 12-15 minutes.  I like to sprinkle a little coconut on top too.

Enjoy~




Friday, November 29, 2013

What Works For Us - Technology & Teens

Today's world of technology is changing so rapidly it can be hard as parents to continue to stick to your standards when you are barraged constantly with Smartphone upgrades and 'add a line' for free adds that marketing execs use to entice you to 'the next best thing' in cellphone development.  I feel blessed by the fact that had we not been in an economic downturn when Smartphones made their debut we might have felt good about purchasing these for our teens.  Kevin Clark recently wrote an article for Seton Magazine titled, 'Are Kids Better Off Poor'.  I would answer yes, to some degree.  In our own lean times, we can look back and see how the tight times gave us great gifts.  One I want to focus on is how it shaped our decisions regarding technology, cellphones and our teenagers.  I feel we dodged a bullet, so to speak, in not being able to add smartphones (for our teens) to our plan, I had no idea the limitless capacity those phones have to bring harm in addition to the good.  The harm outweighs the good by our standards and therefore, our children are not given smartphones.  We do not feel it is our obligation to provide our children with this technology, it is our job to continue to guide the formation of their conscience and to do no harm to the best of our ability.  We fail, we fail miserably on so many levels but to knowingly place in their hands a device that can perpetuate harm is unacceptable.  

We have watched all the news and tips on how to add software that 'watchdogs' the activity and texts taking place on the phone.  I feel very strongly that if I have to 'watchdog' their activity then I shouldn't hand the device over to them, it is actually my being honest about what I have time for.  I also feel it sends a message to my teen that I do not trust them. I do not want them to 'hear' I do not trust them, but to 'know' I am doing my job in guarding their hearts and fulfilling my Baptismal promise as their parent. I have seen parents install this software and  a cat and mouse game ensues between the parent watchdogging and the teen getting more and more clever about getting around the snooping.  I don't like setting that standard within the relationship of my teenagers.  We also do not allow them to purchase their own Smartphone.  Once they have a job if they want to purchase a track phone, that is fine.  They can buy minutes and then they have to work hard to budget those minutes on necessary texts and phone calls.  We have 1 phone in the house that can be checked out on an as needed basis and it is a basic cellphone, we do not feel obligated to go beyond that.  If they want a phone, they buy it and it cannot be a smartphone.  Once you are 18, you may purchase one if you so choose.  

Our boys have purchased their own laptops once they had a job and saved up the money to buy them.  We have a room designated as the homeschool/media room.  Laptops are not allowed in bedrooms, in fact we follow the same principle as Leila on 'no technology in bedrooms'.  There is an accountability factor for everyone regarding the internet.  We feel strongly that this helps everyone stay safe and maintains a collective conscience within our home that does not allow damage, to the best of our ability.  I can't stress enough that we fail and some of our rules have stemmed from those failures, we are not perfect and we have no desire to put forth that image.

To further impress that technology is not allowed to permeate too many aspects of our family life - we have cut off rules.  No technology when there is school work or chores to be done.  Technology has to be turned off by 6 pm on weeknights and by 9 pm on weekends.  We enjoy our family dinners, prayers, Rosary, movies, games, cards, and just visiting.  The article by John Cuddeback 'Eating Salt Together' sums up our vision for our home and technology MUST take a back seat to that vision.

 Technology lends itself to a separateness from one another.  We  want togetherness in all its rugged and wonderful forms and occupations.  The fruit born of these rules is not easily defined however; our teens are not addicted to social media for social interaction, they place a higher value on 'real' society and time spent in the company of others.  There are very real evils coming through internet access that we as parents have to be diligent about protecting our children from.  Following these guidelines is 'What Works For Us' in keeping them safe.

*Updated* We currently have 1 downstairs bedroom where we've allowed a wifi connection (which still goes off at 10 pm).  The bedroom door has been removed and the computer screen faces the door.  This arrangement is working fine for the almost 18 year old who really needed better access to the internet for various projects, without sitting in the dining room with all the younger siblings.  He shares a room with his 16 year old brother and we just need to maintain our rules but also be understanding of shifting circumstances.  I just wanted to keep things honest in this space*

Monday, November 25, 2013

Eggnog French Toast


 Eggnog French Toast

This takes up an entire loaf of whole wheat bread for my family so adjust your proportions accordingly.


1 cup eggnog
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of nutmeg
6 eggs
1 loaf of whole wheat bread
butter
Maple Syrup

Mix first 4 ingredients in wide mouth bowl, dip bread slices one at a time into the egg mixture and place in buttered skillet.  Keep heat around medium and melt butter in between the times you cook the toast.  For instance:  
* melt 2 TBS butter
*dip 4 slices of bread, 1 at a time into egg mixture (or however many your skillet will hold)
*cook bread evenly on both sides
*remove from pan
Start process back over at the top until all bread is gone or all egg mixture used up.

~Enjoy

Thursday, November 21, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

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

{Pretty}

\
We may not get much in terms of Fall Foliage here in Texas, but the trees that do turn make a fabulous show of color.  I love seeing my Thanksgiving Flag hang with my neighbor's tree nearby.  I think they look very pretty together.

{Happy}

My friend and former boss, Wilma, invited us to her granddaughter's skate party.  The kids had so much fun, and have been begging to return.  In this changing world, I can say honestly that Skating Rinks have not changed all that much.  Kids have fun, it still has low lighting, music is loud, and everyone leaves a little deaf and very content.  I think they all fell asleep before 8 pm after this.  A very happy and fun time!

{Funny}
I sure wish I knew what conversation was taking place behind my boys.  I have other shots with these ladies chatting it up in the background, but this is the best one of my guys.  Those two ladies were enjoying whatever the topic was!
So, #8's expression is the look of confidence, "I've got this" He was so proud of himself for figuring out how to get around that rink without my help.  We both had busted on one of our trips, so he earned that look of pride.
#9's expression is the look of total terror mixed with independence - DO NOT HELP ME.  He did make it around once all on his own, but his skates were off (minor detail, he wasn't willing to get hung up on).  

{Real}

Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce.  I love gingerbread, and so do the kids.  My mother always serves it with lemon sauce and not being one to change a good thing, I do too.

Gingerbread
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening (I use butter flavor Crisco)
1 cup molasses
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup boiling water, measured in a 2-cup (or larger) measuring cup
3 cups flour
1 tsp. each ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan or stone.
2.  Blend the sugar and shortening, then mix in the molasses.
3.  Add baking soda to the boiling water and mix well.
4.  Combine the flour and spices together, sift.  Combine the sugar-molasses mixture with the flour mixture and the baking soda-water liquid.  Mix ingredients well and pour into prepared pan.
5.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Lemon Sauce
(I double this for my family)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. butter

In a small saucepan combine the water, sugar, cornstarch, lemon peel, and lemon juice.  Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 2 more minutes.  SRemove from heat; stir in butter til melted.  Serve warm over fresh baked gingerbread.

Please join Leila for today's {P,H,F,R}




Random Tidbits, I Do Not Want To Forget

*My {P,H,F,R} post will be up later today (probably much later)*

Every Wednesday there is a Children's Mass at our parish.  The school kids from St. Mary's attend this Mass.  I usually bring my homeschool kids because their brothers will be there with the school.    Father Jeremy has the BEST homilies and lessons geared right to the kids and we all enjoy this Mass very much! 

Yesterday, he wanted to help the school kids understand the Solemnity of Christ the King for this upcoming Sunday.  He did an exercise where he asked questions and called on the kids to answer.  He prefaced this by saying he would only ask the boys and on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary he would do this again and ask the girls.  He called on my #6 and asked him "If you were King of Kings, where would you eat, and who would cook for you".  Without skipping a beat my son answered "Well, I would eat in my home and my Mom would cook".  Melt my heart, he already feels like the King of Kings - and so I told him he was my favorite child yesterday.  I never want to forget this sweet moment, so I'm putting it here.

~
Every year we participate in the Run Run Rudolph Race hosted by St. Mary's School.  Each year my boys have helped by being placed on the path to help the runners along the way to mark the turns.  This year they very much wanted to participate.  A quick phone call to the coordinator, finding out she had enough people to help and we signed them up - as a team.  They are now coming up with all kinds of crazy ideas to go over the top as a team, remember one of our family mottos is GO BIG OR GO HOME.  We will NOT be able to pull any of these ideas off, there isn't enough time.  I DO want to record their great ideas though, because there is always next year and I think they are hilarious!

1.  Nacho Libre - Name the team The Luchadors and dress as a Monk, Nacho himself, and his friend, Esqueleto - find something bedazzled and embroidered (this team member must run with corn on a stick).  They want me to dress my two youngest as the dwarf wrestlers.  Depending on how many kids are home, other cast members could be added.  I do think this is funny, but did remind them it had NOTHING to do with Christmas.  The chided me about thinking outside the box and then continued planning this as a possibility.  I think it is an excuse for one of them to get to wear a red cape.

2.  Monty Python and The Holy Grail - Name the team The Knights of Ni. (yes, we watch this BUT I always skip the scene with Sir Lancelot).  My kids know Sir Robin's song by heart and sing it to one another if they think someone is acting like a coward, we are THAT family.  They want to carry coconuts to click together while running (how old that would get and quickly but again, I'm squelching their fun by bringing up details).  They insist on a Black Knight, Sir Robin, his Minstrel and of course someone wants to run as King Arthur.  As great an idea as this is, I don't think a 5k run is the right place for it.  However, they again chided me about thinking outside the box and details, hmph.  

3.  *edited to add one that I forgot*  Random Super Heroes - Name the team, Multiple Personality Disorder.  Dress up as different Super Heroes (so they all can wear capes?).  Bring props accordingly.

They also came up with a great list of what rules would be posted to the next 5k if they did pull either of these ideas off.  They relish the thought of influencing a DO NOT BRING list.  I promise they aren't delinquents, and the list is funny if you got to listen to them formulate team ideas.

Do Not Bring to Race:

*wooden swords
*coconuts
*medieval banjos
*corn cobs on a stick
*Foe Hammers (Thor)


So, I had to get these down before I forget them.  I do plan to place a better post later and link up with Leila.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cheesy Potato Soup & Cables

Cheesy, Potato Soup - It is the embodiment of comfort food.  
My boys have asked for this for birthday meals, Pete requests it in advance of coming home so that I'll have all the ingredients on hand, it has been delivered countless times to a new Mother, it is one of my 'go-to' meals when I want everything to turn out right with little chance of failure.  Anyone could make this and it be warm, satisfying and delicious - even if you think you can't cook.  You CAN make this, it has several steps but the results are never disappointing. Tonight I will serve this with a spinach, grapefruit and avocado salad in a Champagne dressing. Yes, it is absolutely MY way to spoil all the Little Men in my life (plus my Little Lady). *recipe at end of post*
I picked up my Debbie Bliss Cotton Knits for All Seasons and without too much thought I chose a pattern.  I chose the Zipped Jacket with Hood mostly because I had the right yarn, enough of that yarn, and the correct needles.  I somehow missed that first word 'ZIPPED' and failed to really read the pattern that had any mention of cables.  The photo in the book is so dark, I didn't see them.
So I began.  When I reached this abbreviation, C4F - I had to look it up because I had no idea what it meant.  I think my heart stopped a second when I realized I was fully immersed in a sweater with cables, CABLES.  I'm a novice knitter, cables scare me and I steer clear.  I mean WAY clear.
*Deep breath* 
I decided to try it, I had a cable needle anyway and I've frogged so many projects at this point, whats one more.
I tentatively worked my way through the first 4 rows, and then I repeated it and started to relax a bit.  "This isn't quite so bad".  I knitted the 4 rows again, and repeated it again, and again.  One evening I found myself still working rows into the wee hours(it should be noted, I am a very slow knitter) because I had started to 'SEE' the pattern develop in the project.
So wow, I finish my first sweater and then find myself knitting cables, quite by chance.  If I actually complete this little sweater, then my poor family.  They just thought I was insufferable after the first sweater.  I will be unfit to live with if I finish a sweater with cables.  I will never stop!  I do so love knitting!

Cheesy Potato Soup
8-10 good size baking potatoes (you decide if you want them peeled)
or
1 small bag red potatoes (I never peel if I use these)
or
1 small bag Yukon Gold Potatoes (this is the best choice but often unavailable)
2, 32 oz boxes chicken broth
1 large block Velveeta (I never promised this was actually healthy)
1/2 cup flour
1 small onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced up ( make sure to use some of the green)
1/2 lb bacon cooked crisp and then chopped
1 stick butter
2-3 stalk celery chopped
2 TBS parsley
Salt/Pepper to Taste
2 TBS lemon pepper
2 tsp (or more) ground mustard
4 cans evaporated milk

Peel if you want, I rarely do your potatoes and then dice them up.  Boil until tender, drain and set aside.
Cook and chop up bacon, set aside.
Saute in butter, celery and small onion (not green onions) until tender.  Add flour, to make a roux.
Add potatoes, broth, evaporated milk and bacon.
Stir
Add spices/seasonings.
Add Bacon
Add chopped up block of Velveeta
Add chopped green onions
Stir well and heat at medium while Velveeta melts.  Once the soup is good and warm, take a potato masher and start mashing up the potatoes within the soup.  You don't want them all mashed, but it helps thicken it and creates a delicious, thick, creamy soup.
I let mine heat up very hot and then take it off the burner.  It sits a few hours until dinner time and then I heat it back up - during this time of sitting, all the flavors marry.  You can also add everything to a crockpot and cook it on low - DO NOT SUBSTITUTE with milk, it will curdle if you do this.  Evaporated milk is what works best in this recipe.
When serving, you can top with grated cheddar, sour cream, chives, and more bacon if you like.  
Serve with a salad!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny Real} - Recycle Edition

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

{Pretty}
I'm apologizing now, some of these photos are not from this past week. In fact, this one is from last year.  My camera and I are not getting along right now.  The camera is playing a game of hide and seek with my recent photos, I'm not enjoying the game.
I made this blanket for my nephew.  I absolutely LOVE ripple blankets and will be making another.  This project comes from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies.  It was the first Kindle Knitting book I got.

{Happy}
Another dated photo, but something they do almost everyday.  These two have the best imaginations, and play, play, play in the back yard.  This was a tractor and they were plowing.  When they created this, the field behind our house was being mowed for hay AND we were reading Farmer Boy.  I try very hard not to interrupt the magic by taking photos, but I always manage to sneak a few.

{Funny}
Here is what we gave to Pete's (brothers who live locally) for Christmas last year.  We had SO MUCH fun making them, but I'm not sure if the googley eyes were really appreciated when cracking open their Brew.  I got the idea off of Pinterest of course .  I think it is funny, and thought you might enjoy it too.

{Real}
There was an accident at Camp Pendleton yesterday.  Four Marines were killed.  I have been assured by Jonah's (yes, I'm using his name - keep him in your prayers please) recruiter that he was not a part of this exercise.  My heart goes out to the families who did receive the sad news that their Marine's life was taken.  I will feel better when Jonah calls though.  He does not get permission until weekends, so no news is good news.  It is very real getting prepared to be a Marine Mom.  This isn't going to be easy.

I apologize again for the old photos, I hope my camera and I are on better speaking terms tomorrow.  
Please join in the fun over at LMLD for today's P,H,F,R


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Checking In

I know I've not been updating well, and I do plan to get back to regular blogging.  I'm regrouping with some homeschool plans and need to focus on figuring all that out.  I rediscovered Along the Alphabet Path and dove into making it work within our school day.  Yes it has added to an already full day, but it has enhanced it as well - which is worth it.  Time is still a resource I can't figure out though.  I know if you follow me on Instagram this is a photo dump - sorry about that.  I'm in one room with my good camera in another - there are some great photos on there though so I should be doing a better blog post soon.  Until then....

This weekend we enjoyed some Trivial Pursuit, and oh my the fun!  

We read some of Jessica's A Week over at Shower of Roses and decided to do our own version of A for Apple Pie.  Ours has Angels on top, because we didn't have a letter A cookie cutter.  You can't tell they are Angels, but #9 had a blast making it.

We also made our lanterns for Martinmas, and went to Mass on the Feast of St. Martin.  I can't even begin to explain how much I love homeschooling these guys.  Each day is not all rainbows and roses but I truly love every second of it.

I think I should be up and running by Thursday's Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real - I always love joining Leila who has a wonderful post up today, go check it out!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Rainbow Jello

I had posted this tutorial on my previous blog.  With the cold/flu season upon us I decided to share this again.  My kids love it when I make this for them, and usually it only gets made when someone is sick.  I leave off the whipped cream or fix a little ramekin just for the sick child sans whipped cream.  This is sooo easy, and  inexpensive to make (like most of my recipes).  It takes a few steps and some time but very worth it when a sick child perks up at the sight of it.
Here is a photo of the end result, I generally buy up Jello when it is on sale and then let the kids select the flavors.  This one had berry blue, cherry, lime, and strawberry.

I always have 2 liquid measuring cups.  One is for mixing and one is for measuring.

I allow the flavor to cool a long time (about 30 minutes) before I add it to the 9 x 13 inch dish holding the other flavors.  It goes like this:  Mix up first flavor, pour in dish, immediately mix up second flavor and let it cool on counter while the first flavor is setting in fridge.  I use 2 cups hot water for this and no more.  The jello is more the consistency of jigglers.

When I add each flavor I pour it over a spoon, the helps to keep a hole from forming and I move the spoon over the dish as I pour so that it is even.

Here is the little ramekin I usually make up several of these as I go - they set faster and the kids get to enjoy their treat sooner.  I save the big dish for a late afternoon treat or dessert if I topped it with whipped cream.

Having a ready list of ingredients for this time of year truly helps you be prepared.  I always stock my pantry and fridge with chicken broth, ginger-ale, saltines, jello and make sure I have children's tylenol and ibuprofen on hand (not to mention some Popsicle or Luigi's frozen ice treats).  Our first 6 kids were born in 8 years, and we lived far away from family.  Kids never get sick at a convenient time, so I learned to keep these items on hand.  Rainbow Jello was born out of necessity, it brightens up a sick child's day so easily.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

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

{Pretty}
I took the kids for a walk, and tried to capture the beautiful Fall Foliage, but this was actually my favorite picture, the tree draping down around them was just lovely - and they are not posing. It was right after this they found a Locust Shell, which really fascinated them (even though they've found countless ones before)  I think the were surprised to find it, which is what got them all excited.

{Happy} 
#5 was Confirmed Monday evening.  It was a beautiful service and Bishop Deshotel really had a great message for the Youth.  I am truly happy that 5 out of my 9 children have been Confirmed.  
 {Funny}
When #9 gets an idea in his head, there is no budging him from it.  My good friend, Wilma, likens it to a pointer hound on the trail, there is NO deterring him from what he has his mind fixed on.  Today, it was the LONG piece of bamboo.  I tried to get a photo of the little ones with him here above...

...and then here.

and again here.  
The bamboo was with every.single.shot.  He did leave it at the park, because while I didn't mind the bamboo hanging out with us, it was not coming home.  I could just see it taking root in my back yard and I do not want to battle bamboo growing everywhere.  

{Real} 
Salmon Patties or Croquets - so easy, very inexpensive and baked not fried!

I cook these up quite a bit, we eat them hot or cold, with ketchup or cocktail sauce and even sometimes with eggs for breakfast.  A great meal for Friday!

Baked Salmon Croquets
*I triple this recipe*
1 (16 oz) can salmon
1 egg
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup self-rising flour 
OR
1/2 cup flour + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, dash of salt
1 cup cornmeal.

Mix all ingredients but cornmeal.  Once blended form into patties and then roll in cornmeal.  Place on prepared baking sheet and cook at 375 for about 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Please see today's link up for {P,H,F,R} over at LMLD!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Best, Easy, Chili

We love chili, we love it in Frito Pie, we love it in flour tortilla wraps, we like to take leftovers and make it into Chili Mac - clearly, we love it and when I make a lot - we enjoy the leftovers in a variety of ways.
I first use 3 lbs ground beef - I do like the lean meat for this because I find draining the grease off very difficult because the pan gets so heavy.
I also use a generous amount of yellow onions chopped. Either 2 small or 1 very large one.
1 lb ground sausage - truly takes chili over the edge into greatness!

I brown this until all meat is cooked thoroughly and break it up with a spatula as it browns.  I add about 1/2 cup of chili powder to this - sometimes more, we like a kick!

I then add to the pot:

2 or 3 cans diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions -the can will say 'ready for chili'
3 cans tomato sauce
3-4 cans Ranch Style Beans - if you don't have that brand in your area, chili beans will do.
I sometimes also add a can of black beans
I gauge the thickness at this point because it cooks up different every time.  If it seems thin, I add tomato paste, if it is too thick I add another can of tomato sauce.
Allow it to simmer all day and then enjoy.

Ways to enjoy Chili:

Place Frito s in bowl, top with Chili, diced onions & cheese - Frito Pie

Spread tortilla chips across a baking pan, add spoonfuls of chili over it, 
cover with cheese and broil - Chili Cheese Nachos

Fill Baked Potatoes with Chili, Cheese, Sour Cream

Cook Macaroni & Cheese, add chili, plus some corn - Chili Mac (a favorite)

Heat up flour tortillas, add Frito s plus cheese - Frito Burritos

Mix up cornbread batter, pour half in 9 x 13 inch baking dish, add chili and cheese, then top with the other half of corn bread batter - bake at 400 for 30 minutes - Chili Cornbread

Chili is versatile and always worth making up large quantities because of this.  When I lived in my previous parish there was a ministry to new mom's of bringing meals on a schedule we each signed up for.  A favorite meal to bring was the supplies for Frito Pie + Root beer and vanilla ice cream for Root beer floats.  It may not have been the healthiest but kids always enjoyed it and it was fun to take.
~
Which reminds me, I used to cook for the Sisters at Saint Dominic's Monastery in Linden, VA -  My boys have been all over a cloistered monastery before the the nuns got there and then helping them to move in.   I cannot tell you what respect they had for the Sister's and what an impression they made on all of us.  It was such a beautiful opportunity we were blessed to be a part of.   When their kitchen was still being finished, many of us took turns providing meals for them.  Their vegetarian diet was lifted during this time to make it easy on those of us cooking for them.  We continued to cook after the gate came down, but left the meal in a turn-around cabinet and I learned new vegetarian meals during that time.  Anyway, during the non-vegetarian time my boys were convinced CONVINCED the Sisters would love Chili dogs, with Root beer floats and begged me to make this chili and take up the fixings for them.  I'll never forget the delight on all those little boy faces as they imagined the nuns enjoying chili dogs because if it was their favorite then surely the Nuns would feel the same way.  I loved listening to them imagine this, but the truth is I actually did not take the Nuns chili dogs.  I regret not following my kids exuberance and sharing that with the Nuns, but I was really trying to follow a simple diet for them with the move.  They (my now big boys) still chastise me about this, and I did learn a valuable lesson about how sometimes it is best to listen to the inspiration of your children, I've kept that lesson with me since.  I also smile when I think of how the Nuns may have enjoyed those chili dogs - opportunity lost, I admit.  


Monday, November 4, 2013

A November Daybook

FOR TODAY

Outside my Window... It is still dark, a new wake up time for me.  I enjoy reading so many wonderful sites, but I also need to focus on getting our mornings off on the right foot, so I'm trying a new wake up time and set my clock for when I need to shower/dress.  So far, so good.

I am thinking...#5 is being Confirmed tonight and I am hardly prepared - he is though, which is important.  I had hoped to host a reception for him but instead we will be attending the one provided by our Parish.  It is a late school night any way, and it would seem no one would have been able to make it anyway.  Luckily, we are blessed by Grandparents who are able to be there.  I actually have a lot of thoughts on this, my mind is full of ways and ideas I can do to prepare so that occasions as important as this do not slip up on me.  I'm going to give myself a little lee way in that Pete is not here due to work which makes having family there all the more special for #5.   As always, we celebrate the moments when Pete is here and do our best during his absence to make each occasion special for our child, but are praying very hard for the travel to come to an end.

I am thankful... for my children, truly!  I wake up every morning thanking God I get to be their Mom.  I realized I have another blood clot that developed in my arm over the last few weeks.  God has a way of slowing you down sometimes, simultaneously I have been very inspired by some conversations Pete and I have had about our family.  The clot (which is superficial, just painful) sorta made me realize my own health etc.. are not what they should be and that I do not want to take anything for granted with my children or my husband.  They are such gifts, I am VERY thankful for them.

From the kitchen... lots and lots of good, hearty Fall food.  Chili, then chili/mac, Homemade Pizza, then with leftovers Stromboli, pork chops & apple sauce, ham with homemade macaroni & cheese, amish apple pie, and lots more.  I do love cooking, but especially this time of year!

I am creating...A quilt, a major clean/purge project, a plan for traveling with Pete this Summer.

I am going...to St. William the Confessor and Mater Dei very soon - so excited!  Mostly, I am going to sit tight and enjoy a bit of a respite.  Soccer is over, Play is over, time to settle down for a bit.

I am wearing...Jeans, brown knit shirt, favorite Cross earrings I won at Bunco.

I am reading...I've been busy reading.... actually I've not been reading any books but I've been enjoying catching up on some of my favorite blogs.

I am hoping...a new schedule for the kids works out.  We've had to reign in media/technology over here.  We had the rule of no internet upstairs, but the dining room table was becoming less a place to eat and more a media cafe.  This is not okay.  We reworked some rooms and now have a homeschool/media center plus a schedule for the media use.  I am truly hoping it all works out, it took a LOT of work this weekend, and with my arm in pain the big boys really stepped up to the plate helping make the project successful.  They like it so far, but the next week will be the most telling.  I hope, hope, hope this is a good change!

I am hearing... The sound of teens waking up, I better wrap this up and get breakfast ready.

Around the house...Laundry, the teens cleaned their room which means they dumped a HUGE avalanche of laundry.  Thanks to this, I'm only returning a few things to them.  The rest will be washed then put into storage bins.  Clearly, if we cannot put our clothes away, we must have more than we can handle.  I'm happy to help them be better about that by removing the majority of the problem.

One of my favorite things... Hot coffee in the morning, then juicing...it really does set the tone for the whole day.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
  • Confirmation for #5 (two of his brothers will be Altar servers, I was so happy they were asked)
  • Speech for #9
  • Theater Guild 
  • Voices of Angels Children's Choir
  • Meeting a good friend for a picnic - weather permitting.
  • Games, I'm ready to play the boys in some Spades.  We have some games planned this week and I can't wait!
  • The start of basketball season for #5
  • A birthday for my nephew
  • Symphony Orchestra on Saturday
  • Thinking that maybe we have not slowed down all that much when I read this list, LOL.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing:

I received an unexpected gift card to Olive Garden and these 2 didn't have school on All Saints Day so we got to enjoy a really nice lunch with them before Pete left.  It was so much fun!
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