Thursday, October 30, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~


*poor picture quality, sorry*
I love the fall, well I love all the seasons but I think the light in fall is especially gorgeous.  We had such a fun time carving our Saint O Lanterns this year.  Inspired as always by Jessica and her sweet family at Shower of Roses, we set out this year to make sure our pumpkins reflected our faith.  We did not carve pumpkins for the past 2 years due to theater commitments.  We all made a promise last year that we would enjoy this time of year and all the fun things we missed before (not that we don't enjoy our theater times) Carving Saint O Lanterns was such a hit.  Even my son Jonah saw the whale pumpkin on facebook and let us know it made him feel like he was home with us.  Many years ago at an Eve of All Saints party he took a Jonah carved pumpkin and won the contest in his age group.  All our designs came from Shower of Roses Scribd account or from The Pumpkin Lady.

Joining friends at the park early this week was just the thing to make for happy kids.

We are wrapping up this quarter and all that entails - a break was much appreciated.
Back to pumpkin carving.  I decided to make it a party night just for us.  

I mean who doesn't love party food, perfect weather, and getting their hands slimy. 
Everybody is happy, happy, happy.

Way too much fun with carving.

He insisted he needed his own photo with his pumpkin.

I have more outtakes than the memory on my phone can handle.  They would not just look at me and smile.  We finally got a great photo because Pete was doing something funny behind me - I don't even want to know what.

We had our Chili Cook Off.  Seven chilis to sample and judge.

It was absolutely delicious and SO MUCH FUN.  
There was a pork/jalapeno sausage chili (the winner)
Deer Chili
Deer chili with tequila
Irish chili with Dubliner cheese
American Chili
and a few more.  I was so impressed with all the creative and delicious ways the chili was prepared.
Pete and I provided basics and family brought in fritos, cheese, sour cream and many other fixins.
Pete also shared his first batch of home brewed beer, it turned out great.  He had one other batch this Summer that we don't count because he was learning, this was his first to really go from start to finish and what better way to share than at a chili cook off.
We have scheduled the next cook off for January and the kids voted for a pizza theme.  We are going to let it be a contest for the kids this time, I can't wait.

I made Lemon Bars and Texas Sheet Cake for dessert.

Finally, the best part about carving pumpkins are the roasted pumpkin seeds.
To prepare these:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Wash seeds really well and try to remove all stringy pumpkin
Blot with paper towels to dry as best you can.
Melt butter (I used 1 stick of butter for the amount you see here, I just guess and there is no way to do this wrong)
Place Seeds in bowl and toss with butter.
Spread out onto prepared cookie sheets
Sprinkle a generous amount of kosher salt
Roast at 375 for about 10 mins, then stir and roast about 5 mins more
Watch closely, they can burn quickly but if you pull them out just before burned they are amazing.

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yarn Along

I have completed baby sweaters but whenever I attempt larger sweaters, I lose my focus or get into trouble because I don't understand the pattern directions.  I am determined to stay the course this time and despite any mistakes, keep knitting!  
This is the Guernsey sweater from Family Knits by Debbie Bliss.

*affiliate link*

I'm also about to rebegin Leila's book The Little Oratory  along with my St. Gregory's Pocket for Texoma to North Texas.  I've never led an online book discussion, so I think this will be fun and I hope it is less about my leading it and more about us all getting into a great discussion about the book.

For more Yarn Along's please join Ginny at Small Things, today's link is here:  Yarn Along

Thursday, October 23, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~

~Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter~

She watches me.
She is paying attention to how I dress, fix my hair, apply makeup and talk about health.  She is learning and forming her own idea of what is important.  I've never felt more aware of  how what I do, say, and act is vital - I want so much to get this right.  I want her to know that looks are not the total sum and that her gifts don't need to lie within what can be seen.  Do I teach her that though?  My Grandma Ruth used to drive me crazy quoting "Pretty is as pretty does"....I want to go deeper.  I want her to feel deep within that she is enough,  I have started to make a real examination of what my actions are teaching her.  Everyone knows children learn the most by what they see, their biggest education is watching what you do.  Why do we leave this off and just focus on saying the right things?  I need to be living the right things.  I'm a true Southern Mama though, I will pay attention to outward appearance with regards to respect for occasions by the way you dress, not have messy hair, and use your manners.  It is ingrained in me and I don't want to change it, I love that the women in my family have passed down a dignity mother to daughter.  It is an education I cherish.  There is voice within me that wants to depart from the societal expectations of beauty though.  Why am I so against letting my hair go grey?  Why do I feel so strong about not looking old.  I think I jumped tracks somewhere and I want to regain my direction.  My daughter's eyes on my every word and action have helped me find my footing again and not fear what nature brings about.  I'd rather grow older gracefully than embrace superficial - I want for that to be what she sees.
 I want to be genuine and for her to be as well.
Recent viral news about Hollywood actresses being completely unrecognizable in a quest for youth was a catalyst to help me realize what I truly want, which is to be genuine above all else with regards to beauty.  
Inside or Out
So in the end, Grandma Ruth was right "Pretty is as Pretty Does"


They love playing Clash of Clans.  
They have cousins playing it too and they get very 'into' this game. 
 I don't know why it makes them all so happy, but it does.

*sorry for the blurry photo*
We call this school.  Okay, not really but on days where I have to have a blood glucose test we do.  We had to figure out how to get as much carb rich sugar in me in a short amount of time and then I had to get my blood drawn to test the glucose levels.  They LOVED this experiment and were very funny about trying to convince me to do this type of testing more often.
I felt horribly sick for the rest of the day though - a sugar hangover, *blah*

Our Youth Director is such a great guy.  
He needed more help for his Wednesday night group and our only way to help was to bring out younger kids, sorta help out family style and he agreed.  I can already see the fruit of this ministry and our younger children look forward to Wednesday night so very much.  The Youth in attendance are awesome and have welcomed these younger kids with open arms.  I'm in awe of how well it works and wish we'd thought of it long ago.  It is honestly more of a ministry to us, I think.  
We are so very blessed!

For more {PHFR} please visit Rosie at LMLD.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~

~Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter~

{*ahem*, Handsome}
Ben very much wants to sing in the Voices of Angels Children's Choir.  I'm extra sensitive to his not behaving because I very much want him to be successful, but I know his limits. I felt we had reached them yesterday and I took him outside while his brother and sister sang and practiced for Mass later this month.  He found wishes (as he calls Dandelions) and began to pick them, close his eyes, make his wish and blow all the Dandelion seeds into the air.  It was a little magical. While I hope he will eventually be in the choir room with everyone else, for now we are making the most of the hour.  *His Aunt invited him to come back, she felt he was just fine and wants him there*  It does my heart good to hear that, he has been uninvited to classes and to Christmas Pageants because 
he can be a wild card. (and I flinch a little sharing this) 
If you knew him, you would understand.  He is precious and dear, but I 'get' why and we do our best to help him better understand what is expected and help him be successful.  He is having more successes these days, the difference has been in his feeling accepted or as a thorn, he is very perceptive and wants to please.  Our homeschool co-op has a few Mom's that genuinely enjoy Ben and he has had so much success there, I almost cry thinking about how much I appreciate those ladies, particularly Mrs. Angela.

*If I knew who did I would give credit*
I'm not going to say what is in this photo because I don't want a Google search leading to my page.  These are very protected.  I saw this on our Wildlife Refuge FB page the other day, took a screen shot to share with my husband and we went a few time to see them.  Our first trip we saw 1 flying and WOW.  Our 2nd trip we struck out and didn't see anything.  Our 3rd trip we saw immature ones.   We are over the moon happy about this and it has launched lots of independent learning among my children to know more about their habits, habitats etc...  I love this!!!! 


I refuse to use the phrase *OMG (which means goodness for me) anymore.  I'm bringing back
 "Great Balls of Fire"
So if you get a text from me and it has GBOF in it - this is why.

"Great Balls of Fire" 

-I don't know why that phrase ever went out of fashion.


Have you seen the Shark Tracker?  We are having a great time tracking a few sharks.
So far we are tracing Wyatt, off the coast of Texas and he is a hammerhead shark.  Katharine on the East Coast is a White Shark, and Betsy is a White Shark also off the East Coast.  Since Noah is in Florida we selected a shark near him named Sabrina, a bull shark.  
One of the things we've noticed is when Betsy swims into Wyatt's waters he goes near the beach and stays far away from her.  Katharine and Betsy keep to the same paths mostly except Betsy will go further South.  Every morning we start the day looking up our Sharks.  Regardless if you homeschool or not, this is a fun and educational way to learn more about sharks.

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Does A Southern Family Celebrate the Day The Sun Danced???

Well with Lemon Bars and Hoppin' John of course!

The Feast Day for Fatima is actually May 13th - 
today, October 13th is the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun.  

Lemon Bars:

For the crust:
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

For the Filling:
7 eggs *best at room temp*
3 cups sugar
Zest from 3 lemons
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour

Powder sugar for after they are done baking - dust the tops.

Preheat oven to 350

Cream the butter and sugar together in kitchen aide bowl fit with paddle.  Combine the flour, salt and add to butter/sugar mixture and mix until just blended.  Dump dough into prepared 9 x 13 baking dish and press out until crust is about 1/2 inch.  Bake at 350 for about 15 mins.  You only want it lightly brown.

With whisk attachment for kitchaide, mix eggs, sugar, and lemon zest.  Add lemon juice and flour - Blend until there are no flour lumps.  Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 mins.  Let cool to room temperature and then dust with powder sugar.


I used Pioneer Woman's Hoppin John this time and it is delicious!  
Recipe can be found here, Hoppin John

A Fun Gift for a 2 Year Old

My nephew turned 2 this past weekend.  
There are so many great gift ideas for this age range, but if you spend anytime with my nephew you know how much he loves story books.
I decided to make him a little book bag, for the library or any ole time he wants to bring along his stories, like to Grandma or MeMe's house.  

I used a pattern that included a pocket.  A boy needs a place to store little cars and other important items he collects, like rocks, acorns, or even crayons.

We also included 3 of our very loved books that my children have outgrown.  The copies were not worn completely out and we knew he would enjoy them.  We put in one with bible stories, one DK book on insects, and one with beautiful pictures and a great story.  Here are some examples of books for a two year old.  I like sticking with the categories I shared when giving a book gift.  
I also love to see this nephew enjoy having books read to him so much, he is a sweetheart!

*affiliate links*



Friday, October 10, 2014


My children have been so very blessed by an Aunt who is truly as lovely as Maria Von Trapp portrayed by Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music (and sings as well too)

Their Aunt directs the Voices of Angels Children's choir for our parish.  It is a very large choir, which is wonderful.  So that their Aunt can teach the class and lead the children, I help out by being a sterner version of one of Julie Andrew's characters, Mary Poppins.
 It would seem that one of the kids really see me less Mary Poppins and much more
 The Other Mother from Coraline.

Oh dear.

The one I'm referring to is a middle school student in the class who takes particular delight in being mischievous (and yet truly does have a very sweet heart). Since I have a few of my own Tom Sawyer/Mischief maker types, I find her precociousness endearing for the most part.  I try to help her tone it down in choir though, because it takes away from all of the children getting to hear their Director sing, and trust me - they want to hear her beautiful voice! 

This week our mischief maker was knocking/rocking the chairs in front of her (with kids in them) as well as whispering and distracting everyone around her while the choir director was talking.
I quietly let her know she needed to leave the chairs alone, and then that she needed to listen to the choir director.

Well, she got mad and said some unkind things about me to the two little girls sitting next to her.
The two girls were my niece and daughter.

They did not take very kindly to this.  Faith told her "That's my Mom" and the mischief maker replied by saying something very ugly about Faith, which made Faith so mad she was ready to cry and then...

 Call in the troops:

My niece was indignant and told her "That is MY cousin, AND my Godmother"
My God daughter is truly just about the sweetest person in this world (just like HER mother), she really was hurt that anyone would be mean to Faith or I.

Luckily, the Choir director called upon the kids to begin passing out books for a new song about The Blessed Virgin Mary and it distracted the girls from what I was afraid they were heading towards....
which might have led to:

*Norman Rockwell*

I'm happy to report that
by the time choir was over, everyone was friends

Or at least not fighting.
*Norman Rockwell*

I believe this speaks volumes to the power of Holy music and a good choir director!

I also had a long talk with Faith about how it does NOT hurt me when another child get's mad at me for reminding them to behave better.  The best part about this little incident at choir is watching my daughter and my God daughter (cousins) grow so close and feeling those family bonds tighten between them.

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