Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Taste Test Tuesday - A Cautionary Tale

Well, I have to admit this week was a bust.  We were going to have a big Mac & Cheese bake off this weekend but I had to cancel due to more post operative complications.  I will be so glad when I am released from this, ugh!!

So, I can share this.  We had decided in place of the bake off we would compare store bought mac & cheese with another store bought.  I had the brand pictured above and I decided to fix it one day for lunch as a trial run before the sampling.  We never even made it to the purchasing of another brand because my kiddos didn't eat all of the one pictured above.  A complete waste, and I do NOT have picky eaters.  I won't link to that brand because I hate saying something so negative about a company...but, seriously do NOT buy and do not serve to your children.  This is a cautionary tale, ready my post on eating REAL food here.  The 2nd photo, that is the real deal and we need never depart, not even for Taste Test Tuesday.  
Really, *blek* the first item picture was terrible!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Taste Test Tuesday - Mint Chocolate Chip

When we moved to Virginia back in 1998 I didn't realize just how much we would miss our beloved Blue Bell Ice Cream.  *fun fact, the week we moved back to Texas I literally filled a grocery cart with Blue Bell Ice Cream I found on sale. and I don't think the freezer has been absent at least one Blue Bell product since we moved home*   We did find the brand Turkey Hill though, and it was an okay substitute while we lived without our favorite.  When we decided to bring back Taste Test Tuesday, we knew we could not compare anything to Blue Bell because there would be no contest.  We did think it would be a good idea to taste test Braum's and Turkey Hill. We love Braum's, I mean we really REALLY love Braums.  They are committed to natural, fresh dairy products free of hormones.  So for our first Taste Test Tuesday here at 9Peas, we are comparing Braum's Mint Chocolate Chip to Turkey Hill Mint Chocolate Chip.

Each of the kids did a blind taste test because you could 'see' a difference in the ice creams and we wanted to keep this fair and unbiased.

The little ones don't really remember having Taste Test Tuesday, so they thought this was VERY exciting.

Some felt that my sample sizes were way too small.

In the end, every single child voted exactly the same....

Turkey Hill won!

If you have any ideas for our Taste Test Tuesday be sure to share in the comments.  We have so much fun with this, and love new ideas of things to try out!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in every day life~

~Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter~

My Morning Glory.  It may need more water than seems reasonable, but it is entirely worth it to see these blooms every day.


Yes, having them all home made me very happy.

My kids love a funny photo and so do I - but I sure wish Jonah had not been half his way back to his Marine Base when I noticed the awkward placement of my 'Welcome" planter so I could redo this entire photo shoot.  I notice the kids, the crazy, but the planter - oh no, I completely overlook the obvious poor choice of placement.  Jonah will be back in December and we will try again.  

The winner of the giveaway on last week's {P,H,F,R} is Julia Mooney.  I do not have an email to contact Julia so if you know her please send her my way.  Julia, if you see this please contact me @ krschb11@gmail.com with your mailing information.
Thank you to everyone for entering!

A few more Blog notes on the subject of real:

*My kids remember our regular Taste Test Tuesday we used to do from my very old blog Little Men (no longer around).  They have asked for us to do this again, because it was fun.  So that should be returning next Tuesday.  

*I also plan to begin sharing more recipes soon, we've been cooking up a storm.

For instance, we made this delicious Fried Rice for the Feast of  St. Augustine Zhao Rong and companions yesterday.  We enjoyed learning about him and Ann Wang while we read about them from the app Liturgical Calendar for Android.  We also use Catholic Culture's Liturgical Calendar to keep informed of our Liturgical year.  

Please visit Rosie for today's {P,H,F,R} over at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Innovate.  Children by definition are innovative, no?  I mean, think about it.

A cardboard box becomes a car, a ticket counter, a puppet theater, a house.  the list goes on and on.  Do you not just love watching their imaginations take over.  The new ideas they come up with, the fun they create. 
 Innovate + children = enchanting.

A tree is no longer a tree - it is Swiss Family Robinson and the grass can move from being an ocean to the plains of Africa.  A few pieces of lumber leftover from a fence project, become the beginnings of not just any tree house, but the vehicle to many hours of fun imaginative play.

One afternoon, this was a tractor, and they are working with Almanzo and Royal - Farmer Boy style.

I also thought of how do I innovate.  Knitting springs to mind.  Maybe not as imaginative, but take some beautiful yarn and create something of beauty.

Cooking requires the ability to innovate.  Take a few ingredients like flour, water, yeast and before you know it...you have an entirely new food - bread.  

I am truly enjoying the writers prompts from Write Alm

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for The Little Oratory.  Just follow the link and leave a comment, drawing is tomorrow! 

Finally, Jessica has a great giveaway going as well over at Shower of Roses.  Mama's Notebooks has wonderful planners, go enter for a chance to win two.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Ambition is today's prompt.  Ambition.  My thoughts regarding ambition led to my adult children.  Trying to strike the balance between encouraging them to follow their dreams and be ambitious in that endeavor yet also helping them be grounded in the reality of taking the necessary steps to achieve their own lives, paths, endeavors.....we are in new territory here.
Graduating, getting a degree, joining the military.  These are all vital goals, great ambitions.  Also is the reality of how those break down into actual success at supporting ones self.  The world isn't as easy to break into anymore and racking up debt in order to sustain a living is something we encourage them to stay away from.  We are still figuring it all out as parents and learning as we go.
Ambition is a noble pursuit so long as it is grounded in reality and not the blind ambition of one at the expense of another.  Comparing young adults in their paths is not how we chose to encourage or direct.  They are each individuals, with individual goals and ideals.
Ambition can appear different depending on the lens you are looking through.  What may appear as lacking ambition to one, is actually just a longer path for another.  Helping adult children see the difference within each other and not being critical is a slippery slope.  We do well to not enter into discussions of comparing because that does nothing to encourage either party.
Parenting adult children is new ground.  Ambition in these adults is going to look different with each one of them.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


We had such a great visit with Jonah and a wonderful 4th of July.  My heart is full, it is just what I needed - having all my children under one roof, together...all of us.

It made today's #writealm prompt for -procrastinate - easy.  We have surely been procrastinating on the tree house.  Some are still procrastinating, with frequent water breaks, rest breaks, play breaks, frequent trips for more tools from the shed (regardless if Daddy asked for them or not).

He isn't procrastinating anymore.  The tree house is looking good.

The are making an art form of procrastinate.

Madeline is very into the whole idea of procrastinate!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} and a Giveaway!

Congratulations to Julia Mooney won the giveaway - please contact me @ krschb11@gmail.com with your mailing information.  

~Capturing the context of contentment in every day life~

~Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter~

All my flowers are just gorgeous this year.  My family gave me this planter for either Mother's Day or my birthday (I forget) and they continue to make me smile every time I see them.  I guess that qualifies them as {happy} too, but I have something better!

The 6 pack is back!!!!  All 9 of my children under one roof - makes me VERY happy. Cousins coming over to welcome home Jonah is awesome too!  The youngest didn't know Jonah was home yet, when they woke up this morning and saw him sitting at the table, oh my goodness the happiness is practically dripping down the walls!

Look a pig in a blanket!  She came up with this idea all on her own.  Asked me for the supplies and made it herself.  Clever, creative girl (with a great sense of humor) - I am so proud of her.


I'm giving away this copy of The Little Oratory. This book is absolutely fantastic, full of beautiful illustrations and written in a easy to follow style.  The Little Oratory has all those explanations in an easy to find format, it invites each Catholic to want to live more fully our faith and liturgical year.  When I first found out Leila was writing this with David Clayton, I pre-ordered.  Sometimes I've rushed to pre-order a book and when the final product arrived it was sort of a let down.  The opposite happened with The Little Oratory, it exceeded my expectations.  You have an opportunity to win this copy, I love it so much I want to share it!
I'm going to run this giveaway old school style.  Leave a comment and next Thursday during {P,H,F,R} I'll put all the names in a drawing and we will select one randomly.  Even though I like those snappy internet drawings which get you to leave a comment and then tweet the giveaway etc..etc.. they cost to get all those features and I'd like to keep this simple so if you don't mind just leaving a comment (on this post) telling me whatever you'd like then I'll enter you.

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

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Confer - July 2 2014

Tepeyac Family Center awarded this to me in 2005.  I didn't feel worthy of it.  I agreed because I wanted others to know reversal surgeries are a possibility.  Does anyone ever feel worthy of such recognition?  I doubt it.  
Living out the Gospel of Life, life that has been conferred upon us.  It seems too easy, but there are crosses we can allow to detract or enhance our journey.  We must pick up our cross.  I have found at the end, each cross was a gift.  I was more like Peter or doubting Thomas because initially when faced with a crisis, I let fear get in the way of sound thought and reason.  Tepeyac granted me the opportunity to correct this and then new life came x3.  I often think about how God offers us those opportunities, we may not always get to change the circumstances but we do get to shift our perspectives.
Confer, accept, fear not.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Prayer - July 1 2014

Prayer is the prompt for today.  I am going to join Katherine and Write Alm and see if this will get my thoughts rolling towards writing again. 

I string together my thoughts during the day with prayer.
*for my children as I fold their clothes, prepare their meals,  get them ready for bed
I pray out loud at appointed times a day.
*grace before meals, prayers before bed, Rosary, some days - the Chaplet.
We join others in prayer at Mass, in their homes, at celebrations, at funerals

I cannot imagine my day beginning or ending with out prayer.  It is the cornerstone of my existence.
Prayer is the spiritual food that sustains me between Mass and the Eucharist.

Prayer is also what knits Pete and I together as we love/raise our children.  God guides us as we pray and answers us as we pray and links us to his mysteries - all as we pray.


Deciding what is appropriate to share and what I want to remain private is hard.  If you met me, I'm an open person. Over the years that openness has bitten me more than once, so I tend to be a bit more guarded now.  On the other hand that openness has also provided the deepest of friendships and a circle of beautiful people in my life.  I have been very blessed by others.  So in that spirit, I will step out cautiously and share a little.

I had surgery on June 10th.  Surgery for a problem that has been my constant companion since Benjamin was born and I had a uteran rupture.  I've tried several different methods of resolving the problem but with each passing year, it became more challenging and began to affect my overall health.  I really felt betrayed by my body.  I got healthy, exercised regularly, ate right, etc..etc..  Still, my uterus and I remained on unfriendly terms.  I also have Factor V Leiden and Antiphsopholipid Antibody Syndrome or Hughes Syndrome which means I have sticky blood and that bear of extremely high blood pressure.  Yes, for any of you who know about the 2nd - it is a miracle I have 9 children since a common issue with that disorder is miscarriage.  I dealt with the other end of the disorder, I had toxemia/preeclampsia at the end of pregnancy and postpartum.  So...those genetic gifts complicated 'dealing' with an organ that just seemed to be broken.  

I am lucky, I've had wonderful pro-life Dr.'s who sincerely understood my beliefs as well, well in the OB/GYN dept.  My hematologists have not been quite so understanding but we've managed to find a way to get along anyway.  

Also, I knew my uterus was thin.  When my 6th was born the Dr. told me I could either leave the hospital without a uterus or with a tubal ligation, it was too dangerous for me to have another baby.

I had these 3 after the tubal ligation - 3 years after the tubal,  I had it reversed.  I KNEW I would be okay and I was.  I take the medical community very seriously but my heart knew we were not done. When Ben was born, I knew the womb had closed although, I wondered if God had other plans and wanted him to be in charge of that.  God is good, I know that with the deepest part of my soul.

So now, I'm not recovering in the way I was supposed to and I'm getting very discouraged and a little bit whiny about the whole thing.  I'm afraid I'm in danger of entering that horrible territory of "why me" - crazy.  My heart is a bit conflicted about it all and I've been silent more and more on the blog as my internal thoughts have been sorting through what surgery means/meant to me as it loomed closer and closer.  Also, I deeply believe the truth of our Catholic Church teachings regarding my body.  I had tremendous guilt over the tubal ligation and for a while blamed the Dr. for forcing it on me - but he didn't.  I let fear get in there and I let myself believe I didn't have a choice.  This is one of the reasons I feel so strongly about not letting fear guide decisions.  We didn't have much time to make our decision because it was all going down hill fast during the delivery of my 6th.  I just labored over the decision to have this surgery because I wanted a clear conscience regarding my body and my beliefs. 
In May, I was not given much more choice about whether or not I would have the surgery.  I began to hemorrhage and it forced a decision - right in the middle of all our graduations and Midsummer performances, ugh.  
Fast forward a few weeks and all in all, the kids are great and our Summer is at a slower pace (which I'm happy about) and time will heal all wounds.  I just am impatient for normal again and keep reminding myself that 'normal' is a fluid thing, ever changing and always adjusting.  
So, if I'm quiet around here and more present on Instagram - it is because it is so easy so capture a moment and add a few words rather than compose entire posts.  I do understand why I've been less present around 9peas since February, that is when all the problems leading up to surgery sort of went to that next level.  Instead of being a problem I knew I'd have to deal with at some point, it became a 'deal with me now' demanding kind of nag.  I don't know about you, but having my body not cooperate with my mind and heart is a very hard thing to wrap my emotions around.  My inner voice has been pre-occupied as my mind has worked through my heart.  
If you've made it this far, thank you for letting me share.

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