Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quote of the Day

Do you want to know how I got brain damage?

DISCLOSURE : Ds#4 does NOT have brain damage (no matter how much Dave and I may joke about it) the remainder of the discussion entailed a large description of running fast and smacking his head on a wall.

...You might have brain damage, but you can still use your head...

to run into walls with?? I just kept laughing at the absurdity of this discussion, I didn't catch it all...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Recipe - My Mom's Lasagna

My Mom's Lasagna - I've tried easier recipes and cheaper recipes and more complicated recipes. This is still the best in my book!

24 oz Ricotta Cheese
32 oz Spaghetti Sauce, 4 C
3 ea Eggs
2 lb Hamburger, cooked
1/3 c Parmesean
6 oz Lasagna noodles, uncooked
6 oz Motzerella Cheese + 6 oz (Reserved for Top)
3/4 c Water
1 Pkg Frozen spinach, thawed & liquid squeezed out

When preparing lasagna for the freezer there's no need to precook the noodles. If you layer the cassserole with dry noodles ensuring your noodles are completely covered with sauce, the noodles will cook during the freezing and baking process absorbing the sauce.
Assembly Directions: In a large bowl mix cheese, eggs, & spinach if desired. In a seperate bowl mix hamburger & spaghetti sauce (sometimes I put cooked hamburger through the food processor for a finer consistency -- but I don't usually go to that work if it's just for us). In a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, spread 3/4 cup meat sauce. Layer 3 noodles across and top with meat sauce. Spread 1/2 of cheese mixture (~2c) and 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce. Layer 3 more noodles on top of meat sauce. Spread remaining cheese mixture(~2c). Top with remaining 3 uncooked noodes and remaining meat sauce, then reserved motz. cheese. Pour water around edges.
Freezing Directions: Wrap pans completely with foil; twice. label and freeze.
Serving Directions: To thaw, take meal from freezer at least 24 hours before serving. Place in refrigerator. Bake tightly covered at 350 for about 45 minutes, or until edges are bubbly and center is hot. Take cover off during final 10 munites of cooking time. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. To bake from frozen stage, add 30 minutes to total baking time.

I usually make 6 of these at a time and freeze in aluminum pans wrapped in foil. I served 30 people at a Christmas Party one year with these -- we had other food, too, but this was the main dish. I made 2 and we only ate 1 and every said how filling it was.

A sobering thought: what if, at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential? - Jane Wagner

Thursday, December 18, 2008


The baby is taking a few steps together and everyone here is pretty excited!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Memory Awakens Hope

"Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church ’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope .…

It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope."

Memory Awakens Hope by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger , Seek That Which Is Above, 1986

Monday, December 15, 2008

What is a Jesse Tree

A friend sent me this question, so here's the answer :

Here is a post from my blog about it...

The idea comes from all the prophesies about Jesus in the Old Testament. Advent is waiting for Jesus, just as all of the Old Testament was waiting for Jesus.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,and a branch shall grow
out of his roots. Isaiah 11:1

There are many variations on which prophesies & symbols to choose.

  • The ones for my older kids are more symbolic (The prophesy of the suffering servant Isaiah 53:4-7, 9, 12b: the cross, the prophesy of a new creation Isaiah 11:6-10: the lion and the lamb, etc.)
  • The ones we chose this year are for the littler kids and less abstract. Just the people who were waiting for the Messiah. http://myhomeschool101.blogspot.com/2008/11/jesse-tree-ornaments.html

It's not that big of a deal if we miss a day. We just skip that one and go on. I just want them to get the idea that all of the Old Testament was waiting for Jesus.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

FOCA letters to Indiana Senators

A friend sent this to me so as many people as possible could write to their senators to vote against FOCA.
I'm sure many of you have signed the e-petition against FOCA. I'm not sure how much pull e-petitions have with our elected officials. My Husband recently wrote these letters. I'm thinking if you want to copy them but change the personal information and sign them go ahead...we're sending ours out....feel free to forward them to pro life Indiana friends sharing the same views. These are our Indiana Senators. I thought having the letters ready to go might help some of you. I know it helps me.

Copy and paste this letter into a Word Document, changing the specifics for yourself. Then print off a second letter changing the Senator's address to :
Senator Evan Bayh
131 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Your name
Your address
Fort Wayne, IN 46804

December 10, 2008

Senator Richard G. Lugar
306 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1401

Dear Senator Lugar,

This letter is to urge you to vote against the Freedom of Choice Act. I strongly feel that this act, which President-elect Obama has pledged to sign into law, would be gravely detrimental to the well being of our country. It would overturn the reasonable restrictions on abortion enacted into law in many of our states and in Congress. Specifically, it would overturn the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, the Child Custody Protection Act, and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, all of which you supported. It would also jeopardize the ability of hospitals and health care professionals to decline to perform abortions for conscientious reasons.

Senator, I am sure we all want to reduce the number of abortions. We cannot reduce the number of abortions, however, by removing all state and federal restrictions on abortion, restrictions which enjoy the support of a consensus of Americans. Again, I urge you to vote against the Freedom of Choice Act and even to support a Senate filibuster to keep the bill from being voted on.


Your name and signature

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Advent Tea

We've been trying to have a high tea each afternoon when we listen to & discuss the bible story of the day, put the corresponding ornament on the Jesse Tree and pray. It's been a fair amount of work, but really lovely. I'm amazed how well the children act when I hold them to a high standard of behavior for a short time (about 30 minutes). The boys have been especially quiet and still during tea and they both ask me if we'll have tea each day. I've given them tiny snacks (like 2 small cookies each), but made an effort to make it as pretty as possible. The biggest thing I've done is use our best china, which the kids have never used before. The flow-blue above is the kids great-great-great-grandmother's china. I'm so happy to share this moment in time with the heirs of all the people who have faithfully prayed and eaten off these dishes. It's added a very still, reverent and quiet dimension to our advent.

More Advent Tea

This is our wedding china. Advent Tea is not the most efficiently run part of our day, but it is very sweet and special (except for all the reminders of how to behave).

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Quote of the Day

You know what blind means, don't you?
You don't have the use of your eyes.
What is deaf?
You don't have use of your ears.
What is dumb?
You don't have a brain.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Advent Reflection

This article was exceptional in explaining the importance of Advent. Dave and I have been discussing (disagreeing) on the importance of Advent within our Christmas preparations/celebrations ...or on the importance of Advent in place of our Christmas preparations/celebrations. We'll get it figured out. Since the line of balance changes from year to year (number of kids, age of kids, etc.) we need to renegotiate the balance occasionally. Also, since we're homeschooling, I have wonderful opportunities to put practices into place during the day, if I desire. I'm enjoying the quiet of Advent more and more with each passing year.

Monday, December 01, 2008


THIS ROCKS!! You can sign up for a daily free e-mail that contains a full LOAD of activities for Advent each day M-Sat. FREEEEEE!!!!!
They have coloring pages you can print each day FOR FREE! Jesse Tree ornaments to print color & hang with a pieces of yarn PLUS the bible story to go with it! They have daily videos of kids praying and daily audio recordings of special feasts or saints for the day...crossword puzzles, word searches, .....and more!!!
WOW! I wouldn't have had to plan ANYTHING for Advent and this would have been an awesome Advent with this free product!!
Click the picture above to go to HolyHeroes.com and sign up for your FREE daily Advent Activities!!
EASY, complete and FREE! What a GREAT Advent present to moms!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dd#2!

She had a friend spend the night and we went to Chinese. They made up a pretty plate of fruit with a candle in the orange and the waitresses sang to her. Then we printed off a Chuck E. Cheese coupon and Dave mercifully spent 1 1/2 hours with 5 kids going through 100 tokens while I sat home with the baby. *Thank you, Dave!*
She baked the cake herself...sang to herself...

and then relit and we sang again, at least 3 more times -- the baby was enthralled!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Meme of My Guy

Fun little meme I picked up from Amy. This is all about Dave - he hardly ever gets attention.

1. He’s sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen? CSI or Law & Order
2. You’re out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? Bue-cheese, just like me.
3. What’s one food he doesn’t like? COOKED CARROTS!
4. You go out to the bar. What does he order? Guiness or some clear alchol that might begin with an 'S'? I think it's Russian.
5. Where did he go to high school? Snider
6. What size shoe does he wear? I have no idea. He and I have very different tastes and one year I bought him 3 sweaters for Christmas and he didn't really like any of them. I swore off buying him any clothing item after that.
7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be? Tools? Gardening Books? Computer Programs? He's more of a purger than a collector.
8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? Reuben
9. What would he eat every day if he could? Spicy Raemen Noodles - and he does eat them almost every day.
10. What is his favorite cereal? He's not a breakfast guy
11. What would he never wear? Tie-Dye. He's breaking out of his straight-laced exterior. There was a time he wouldn't wear open-toed sandles or pastel...he's getting more wild in his old age.
12. What is his favorite sports team? Notre Dame
13. Who did he vote for? Everyone who is pro-life.
14. Who is his best friend? Me. Definately. (Poor Guy.)
15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn’t do? He'd prefer I spent less time socializing and more time cleaning.
16. How many states has he lived in? Details, details...this is the type of thing that Dave keeps in mind and I have no clue about...Three: Illinois, Kansas, and Indiana (I think?)
17. What is his heritage? Scottish
18. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what would it be? Dark chocolate. But he'd prefer a blueberry pie.
19. Did he play sports in high school? Nope - he played trumpet in the band.
20. What could he spend hours doing? Playing on the computer, and he does (except that he calls is WORKING.)
21. What’s something cool about him? Just one?

  • He's the music and the laughter in our house.
  • Without him, we wouldn't have nearly as much fun or joy.
  • He'll do anything (even incurring my wrath) to make the kids laugh.
  • He's also a FABULOUS father. God chose a GREAT GUY for us.

'Simplifying Your Life' is no simple process...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

MNO at my house

Since he was 6, I would catch Ds#3 with a piece of furniture upside down and his dad's tools spread around him trying to find the right tool to tighten legs on a table or straigten them or tighten a bolt that was loose. Since he naturally does it, when his dad isn't around, he's who I turn to "fix" something. He LOVES being my 'fix-it guy'. I had a MNO (Mom's Night Out) last night for our Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange (and we tacked a cookie swap on it, too) and before the party he tightened the legs on the dining room table we used.
Here is the table laden with ornaments. I should have chosen a plain cloth for the table. Even in person the design on the tablecloth was dizziing trying to see the ornaments.

Jesse Tree Ornaments

These are the Jesse Tree figures each family made for our Jesse Tree Ornament Swap last night! I'll add pictures of CREATION, ADAM AND EVE, and NOAH later. It AMAZED me the varied (and seriously kewl) materials and creativity each family used for their ornaments!! We were already talking about doing this next year with an 'O Antiphons' theme!

4. ABRAHAM & SARAH Genesis 12:1-7 and Hebrews 11:8

5. ISAAC & REBECCA Genesis 22:1-7

6. JACOB & RACHEL Genesis 28:10-22

7. JOSEPH Genesis 37:1-4

8. MOSES Exodus 20:1-17

9. AARON Exodus 5:22, 11:5

10. JOSHUA Joshua 6:20

11. SAMSON Judges 16:21-30

12. RUTH Ruth 1:15-18

13. JESSE Isaiah 11:1-2

14. DAVID Samuel 5:1-5

15. SOLOMON 1 kings 3:3-14

16. ELIJAH 2 Kings 2:11-18

17. ISAIAH Isaiah 2:4;7:14:9:6-7

18. DANIEL Daniel 6:10-23

19.JONAH Jonah 1-4


21. JOHN THE BAPTIST Matthew 3 :1-11

22. ANNE & JOACHIM (Mary's parents)

23. MARY Luke 1: 26 - 38

alternate Mary

24. JOSEPH OF NAZARETH Matthew 1:18 - 25
25. STAR OF BETHLEHEM Matthew 2:1-12
26. SHEPHERDS Luke 2:8-20
27. ANGEL Luke 2:8-14

28. JESUS Luke 2:1-20

Monday, November 24, 2008

What are you doing for Advent?

I don't know if you've seen this woman's project "Artfully Advent".
  • It is what we plan to use this year.
In addition :
  • the Jesse Tree
  • decking things in purple cloth (our mantle, a few end tables).
  • We do the straw in baby Jesus' manger with each act of love
  • the kids are leaving their regular Latin behind to memorize the verses of Veni, Veni Emmanuel & Adestes Fidelis using Lingua Angelica
  • and use our Celtic Advent Wreath (see picture)
  • We also have purple plates & bowls for the season.
  • PLEASE NOTE : We have devloped these traditions over the last 7 years and did NOT try to start them all the same year. You'll frustrate yourself if you try and do too much. We all know that while your children and family are having an introspective Advent, you're ALSO preparing Christmas presents, shopping and going to parties of people who aren't celebrating Advent, but instead are celebrating Christmas. It's a delicate balance that can turn your life into a nightmare if you try and incorporate too many ideas. Choose one idea per year to incorporate into your traditions.

For this week, she has an EASY Thanksgiving project http://yesyoucanpublications.com/blog/?p=37 but check out her "Artfully Advent" booklet, too!

I end up doing as much as I can to celebrate Advent because it helps me resist the urge to decorate for Christmas and just go along with the our culture's insistance on starting Christmas in October so that by the time the Holy Day comes, we're all sick of it. I'm so happy with the wisdom of the Church to celebrate Advent as a quiet preparation (like the last months of expecting a baby when you physically can't do as much but are introspective) rather than a frenzied party.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Christmas Card


When doing your Christmas cards this year, take one card and send it to this address. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these wonderful special people who have sacrificed so much would get.

When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, please include the following:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue
NW Washington, DC 20307-5001

Friday, November 21, 2008

Meal Planning

After talking with Heather today at gym classs and checking out Amy's blog about menu planning, I thought I'd share what I've been up to in this area.

I made a menu plan for a month including breakfast, lunch and snacks. I'm having a contest with myself to see how low I can get our grocery bill without sacrificing nutrition and still making meals my family will eat (they're not big on soup or beans).
It has general categories that has flexibility. I don't have to go by which day, but I try and spread these categories out over a week so we don't eat up all our favorites first.

M - mexican (I bought mexican ingredients, but depending on what we have left on-hand and what we feel like it could be Tacos, Burritos, Nachos, Taco Salad, Chicken soft tacos, etc.)
T - SOS (i.e. creamed dried beef on toast or variations on that theme)
W - hamburger casserole (shepherd's pie, home-made hamburger helper...)
R - chicken dish (chicken & noodles crock pot, chicken & rice)
F - tuna meal (tuna & noodles, tuna & broccoli mac & cheese, tuna sandwiches)
S - meatball meal (meatloaf & mashed potatoes, meatball sandwiches...)
S - snacky dinner (baked potatoes w/ all the toppings, left-overs, lunch food, etc.)

THEN, and this is the exciting part, I took my receipt from Aldi's and averaged how much it was going to cost me to make each meal. I didn't get weird about it (figuring in 1/4 tsp salt), but eyeballed it. My average cost for dinners was $3.85 for 6 people. This doesn't include side dishes (they averaged .95 per meal) or beverages (they averaged .65 per meal) This is how it looked :

Baked Pot. $2.25
6 potatoes .20
Broccoli $1.00
Cheese .30
Sour Cream .50
Butter .25

Chkn Casserole $4.80
1# Chkn $2
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup .80
Pasta $1.00 OR Rice .45
Frozen Vegetables $1.00

Shep. Pie $4.30
1# Hamburger $2
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup .80
6 potatoes .20
2 cans Vegetables $1.00
Cheese .30

SOS $3.45
12 eggs 1.30
1/2 loaf of bread .25
2 ½ C Milk .85
5 pc sliced Ham .80
Butter .28

Meatloaf $5.30
2# Ham $4
2 eggs .30
1 Tom. Paste .40
Bread .10
Onion .25
Seasoning .25

Tuna & Noodles $2.95
2 cans Tuna @ .57ea
Pasta $1
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup .80

Here are some pretty templates for your meal planning session.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Recipes - SOS

I double this recipe for my family of 6 -

S.O.S. (Cream Dried Beef on Toast) 15 minutes
5 T Butter
5 T Flour
2 C Milk

5 or more Hard Boiled Eggs
1 pkg Dried Beef (or ham slices or cooked ground sausage or...)
6-8 pieces of bread (or torn up bagels or biscuits or...)
Salt & Pepper

Melt butter, add flour to saucepan. Cook on low heat 30-60 seconds. Add 1 1/2 - 2 cups of milk a little at a time whisking so there's no lumps (once they're in, they're pretty hard to get out). NO LUMPS. Stir constantly cooling on medium high until thick (anywhere between 7 and 15 minutes), you don't want it gloppety thick.. Cut up dried beef and eggs & mix in. Salt & Pepper to taste. Serve on toast. ~~ Use more butter & flour to make it rich.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Shepherd’s Pie 45 minutes @ 350

1 lb. Hamburger, cooked
1-2 can Green Beans
1-2 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
6 C Mashed Potatoes
2 C Shredded Cheddar, or Mozzarella Cheese

Layer, in order, in a casserole dish. Bake 30 minutes at 350 until bubbly. Sprinkle cheese to cover. Bake additional 15 minutes until cheese is melted.
This is one of my all-time favorite dishes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Earth Science

Earth Science has been a huge struggle for us for the 1st - 5th grade crowd. I just couldn't find curriculum that was complete enough, or interesting enough, or not too challenging, or explained things well enough....those things all seemed to compete in every book I opened. As a last ditch effort, I borrowed Geology Rocks!: 50 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Earth by Cindy Blobaum from the library.
This was a FANTASTIC find!! It had everything I needed. I will definately buy this book for the next time through Earth Science. It covers minerals, gems, rocks, crystalization, Mohs' scale, streak test, meteorites, Earth's make up, plate tectonics, volcanos, earthquates, water table, weatherization, glaciers, fossils, caves...there's a lot you could pull out of this book -- plus a few historical scientists tossed in for good measure.

In addition, I borrowed Rainbow Resource's Classroom Collection of Rocks and Minerals (Item #: 002263 Retail: $41.25 Rainbow Price: $33.75) from a friend *Thanks, Tina!* This turned out to be just what we needed. The elementary kids REALLY enjoyed their work and they learned ALOT in a REALLY short time!

In addition to the above work, I also had some weather books that I'd picked up used (weather books were super easy to come by and we found some great websites, too!)

For my middle school girl, we used Prentice Hall's Dynamic Earth, Exploring Earth's Weather, & Exploring Planet Earth. I had a lot of reservations about it and it was a compromise -- it came as close as I could find to what I wanted, but I didn't really find ANYTHING that I thought would be great for that age. It wasn't as bad as I had feared, but not as interesting as I'd hoped. She can handle material that's not as interesting, so it worked out...but I can't exactly recommend it. Just wanted to let you know about our experiences!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fight FOCA - go sign the petition and keep the Freedom of Choice Act from passing in congress. That is the piece of legislation that would throw away all the protections against abortion people have worked for in the last 35 years. It's the one Obama said he'd sign his first days in office. It's the one I blogged about here.

I don't know if signing a petition would make a difference, but every little bit helps and it took me 30 seconds.

Monday, November 10, 2008


He took one step the day of his birthday party, but noone saw it but me.

We went to his Godparent's house and they threw a Birthday Brunch for our beautiful boy!

He can say more, please, cookie & kiss in sign language (well, his version of it). With words, he can say nurse, more, bye, bath, Daddy, Sissy, Mama, Jesus and kiss and he says one of his sister's names.

He can blow a kiss and he said "Mama kiss Jesus" (because we have him kiss Jesus each time we walk by the crucifix).

When anyone sings or he hears music he dances by bouncing up and down and swaying his head back and forth.
Basically, he's the most adorable baby anyone could ever have -- and we're so in love with our wonderful gift from God!