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!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How are you doing after the election?

I am disappointed...and sad. I've decided, however, to be joyful. It's a choice. These are snippets of thoughts I've read, heard or been given that allow me to sing a new song.

I will celebrate my Risen Lord in the face of evil and sin.

We are not made for the sin and death of this world, but for eternal life in the next -- it's right that we're at odds with the evil of this world.

We understand more fully how the oppressed people of Israel felt as they cried out to God for Messiah in the face of a pagan culture so abrasive to their own -- we must be patient and hopeful as we pour ourselves out to God in the face of this culture of death.

WHILE HE WAS BEING STONED, St. Stephen cried out to God in hope and joy and asked for forgiveness for the people murdering him. We are to forgive and fight with all our might with spiritual weapons, while serving God with our whole body, mind and soul.

We participate fully in Christ's crucifixion and death and the darkness of the tomb, however..."We are an Easter people, and alleluia is our song." - St. Augustine of Hippo

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sick at heart

I have been sick to my stomach for weeks, now. The idea that Obama could win makes me ill. The idea that people I know (several people I know have specifically told me) will be voting for him on Tuesday. To willingly choose to usher in someone who has promised to wipe away all the parental notification laws (a teen needs parental permission for the school to give asprin, but doesn't need to notify about an invasive proceedure to kill their grandchild), all the waiting periods (waiting periods on guns which is potentially life threatening, where abortion is completely life ending) and everything else pro-life Democrats and Republicans and Independants have voted for in their individual states -- all would be wiped away in his signing the Freedom of Choice Act - a bill he's promised to sign as his first act as president.

My friends and family have given various reasons for voting for Obama : socialized medicine, being against the war, he's soft-spoken so he must virtuous.... none of it stands up to over 1 million babies' lives per year.

The next president will name 2-3 Supreme Court Justices! That means their choices will have huge influence over our nation for 25-35 years! And not just our nation, but all over the world MY TAX DOLLARS would support abortions! By paying my taxes, doesn't that make me complicit in evil?

I am in fear of him - and the knowledge that people I dearly love would help him...makes me feel so sick...all I can do is pray and continue to pray. I am praying. I received an email requesting "pray the Divine Mercy chaplet three times and to insert 'our country' in the chaplet prayer said on each of the small beads: 'For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on our country, and on the whole world".