Sunday, January 31, 2010

Me and My House

This blog category is named for one of my favorite Scripture verses, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

A little news about everyone:

Rebecca is in the last lesson of her math primer book. I've ordered "Alpha", and she should be starting it by next week. Math-U-See is a great program!

Marianna has indeed started wearing hard shoes for Irish dance. We bought some used shoes from her instructor. I don't know which I appreciate more, the discount or not having to SHOP!

Joseph earned his RED BELT in tae kwon do yesterday. Len and I were on a mini retreat and missed watching Joe's test, but we did have a special dinner at Grammy and Grandpop's house.

Daniel spoke about the ConQuest boys' club at all the masses last weekend. I'm still hearing comments about how well he did. I agree--he spoke slowly, clearly, succinctly, and with confidence.

David decided that yesterday's cold, snowy weather was ideal for driving half an hour (each way!) to try out a new (for him) mountain bike trail. He had a good time--just one fall--and got some slippery road driving practice, too. Thursday he went to court (that's how we do it in VA) to obtain his plastic driver's license.

I spoke to Lauren yesterday. Richmond was expecting 8-12 inches of snow, and it was coming down steadily. She had bought some rain boots in the morning, more appropriate for the mud and puddles she's usually walking through. Her snow boots are still here at home--good news for me. (I like hers better than mine.)

Len (along with Marianna) has been enjoying identifying new birds at our feeder. I'm buying a better seed mix than last year, which may be contributing to our increased variety of guests. He and Joe repaired a hamper today--Len's great at teaching practical skills to the children.

A few years ago I started making a bigger deal out of Valentine's Day here at home. For me this means baking a treat and getting a special gift for each of my loved ones. They're nothing elaborate or expensive, just thoughtful and not too practical. This week I picked up some fun books (that's all I can say--the kids sometimes read my blog).

Tonight I started the baking. The linzer cookies (with the flavors of ground almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla) will be frozen, then eventually sandwiched with raspberry jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They're crisp and tasty now, but if I fill them a day in advance, the cookies soften (a good thing) and the sugar dissolves in the window, leaving the beautiful red jam showing through.
Everyone gets one giant heart cookie plus a gift. The little flowers are for my Bible study...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Small Successes--Back At Last


"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

I haven't participated in Faith and Family's "Small Successes" project for many weeks now. It's good to be back! Here are some little things that are going right:
  1. I did real school work with Rebecca several days this week. Since she's a young kindergartener, I sometimes let my time with her slip away in favor of big kid school or my own chores. Becca has finished the phonics book, so we're now using junior readers--lots more fun!
  2. Many neighbors came for Soup Night yesterday. We had a great time. Since I made too much soup (no RSVPs and my tendency to overdo make this almost inevitable), dinner tonight is already prepared. :-)
  3. I've set a new rule for myself: no "fun" online time unless I've spent time in "real" prayer. For me this means Bible or other spiritual reading along with meditation/listening/active prayer. This will either improve my prayer life or decrease my online browsing; either way I win.
How's your week been? Be inspired by other moms here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Say It Isn't So

My BABY has a loose tooth! Noooooooo!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm Not the Only One Who Noticed

I try to avoid media coverage of the March for Life (which is's ignored or downplayed as much as possible) because it makes me crazy! I've seen attendance estimates of 300,000 to 400,000 this year, but my local paper in print and online continues to write "tens of thousands."

And the pictures and interviews with counterprotesters (usually a few dozen at the Supreme Court) overemphasive their numbers and impact on the day. So.

In a column in today's Washington Post, Robert McCartney (a Roe supporter) acknowledges what I've noticed the past few years: the movement is young. Some quotes:

"I went to the March for Life rally Friday on the Mall expecting to write about its irrelevance. Isn't it quaint, I thought, that these abortion protesteers show up each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, even though the decision stilll stands after 37 years."

"How wrong I was."

"...I was especially struck by the large number of young people among the tens of thousands at the march. It suggests that the battle over abortion will endure for a long time to come. 'We are the pro-life generation,' said signs carried by the crowd, about half its members appearing to be younger than 30."

(He also numbers the abortion supporters as "fewer than 100.")

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Perfect Haircut... the one nobody notices.

Same bangs.

Same waves. Yep. I'm a proud member of the "If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It" Club.

Friday, January 22, 2010

7 Quick Takes

I haven't had (made?) the time to read or write blogs lately, so here are some snippets of news:


We marched for life today.

Daniel rose before dawn to attend the youth Mass and rally. David hung out with some Christendom College friends. Lauren met her boyfriend, who rode a bus all the way from Notre Dame. The homeschoolers and I went to a dance/acrobatics show at the Kennedy Center. Then we marched.

The route these past two years is shorter than in the past, making for a start-up traffic jam. But the most striking aspect of the March to me is its youth. It seems to me that the overwhelming majority of participants are teens and young adults--hope for the future. Lauren looked online and told me the crowd is estimated at 300,000, the most ever. Who knows? The prayers and lives and work of the participants is more important than how many made it to DC.

What can you do to help pregnant women or struggling mothers?


Many good habits fell by the wayside between Thanksgiving and the New Year. I have fallen off the weightlifting bandwagon, for one thing. Time to get back to work!


My current shift in Joe's orchestra carpool is over until March. Hurrah! Added bonus: with the help of college and high school breaks, I had babysitters available for three weeks. No need to drag the little girls along on that 4 hour excursion. Double hurrah!


We haven't gotten it together yet, but I'm still intending to follow Anne's example of choosing a virtue for each family member to work on over the course of the year.


Recently updated: the recipe for beef barley soup.


Becca's mini pizza slid face down onto the family room carpet on Wednesday. In my effort to clean up the huge tomato sauce blob, I pulled out the carpet steamer, which I had never used before. (Yes, I know, I have a fabulous husband...)

With some phone training I managed to soak the rug but not slurp enough water back up. A more complete training workshop was held that evening (oh yes, it was lots of fun). More steaming followed on Thursday. Such filthy water! The furniture will probably move back tomorrow, when we are sure the carpet is dry, dry, dry.


It was sleeting lightly when we left home for the March this morning. The forecast was for temps in the low 30's, with a 50% chance of rain changing to a wintry mix. How pleasant! As it turned out, the precipitation ended and we enjoyed a cool, pleasant January day. Enduring rough elements can add to the sacrificial nature of the day, but I'm glad we didn't have to.

Jennifer at Conversion Diary hosts 7 Quick Takes Friday. Check out her post for links to MANY more (74 at press time!).

Monday, January 18, 2010


I post infrequently on my kitchen blog, so you probably don't check it too often. In case you're interested, there are a few new recipes up now: sausage breakfast casserole, oven fried catfish, and its variation of chicken Parmesan. Enjoy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Crafting

Looking back over the school year thus far, the themes of our Friday craft time are clear. We are nearly always working with clay (making creatures for the ocean box) or food.

With Lauren going back to Richmond this afternoon (sniff), it was time to fulfill my promise of making the peanut butter balls she's been craving. We mixed, rolled, chilled, and dipped.

Fun and tasty!

Notes: We used this recipe with very little tweaking.
  • The cereal was mixed in by hand (literally--a gloved hand was gentler than a spoon).
  • The balls should be chilled for more than the required hour before dipping. Ours flattened a bit today as we tapped off the excess chocolate, I think because they weren't cold enough.
  • We used chocolate chips (milk and semi-sweet) rather than chopping bars. All semi-sweet would probably be fine. Twelve ounces is about 2 cups.
  • The printed recipe lists a yield of 36 treats. They must be huge! With a #60 scoop, we made 85.
  • There has been melted chocolate left over both times I've made these. When there is excess, I usually coat cashews or peanuts with it, but they've never been popular. Instead, today I stirred in as much crispy rice cereal as possible and spread it on wax paper before chilling. I just offered samples, and am confident the rest will be easy to dispose of. ;-)
  • The cookies last in the fridge for ages without spoiling, but the cereal will lose its crispiness over time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Kinder, Gentler Mom?

While I'm still frantic or cranky much of the time, some days I believe I'm mellowing as a parent. I reflect more readily on what treasures my children are. I'm gentler. I try harder to slow down for teaching or watching or playing.

My children may not have noticed this incremental progress. ;-) I admit the change is subtle...

Lately I've been asking myself what has brought this change about. So far I've come up with several theories:
  1. I'm growing up, becoming mature. (Wouldn't that be nice?)
  2. I no longer have babies or toddlers (Rebecca is 5!) exhausting my physical stamina, which increases my ability to parent well.
  3. With three teens (19, 17, almost 15) I truly understand (emotionally and spiritually, rather than just intellectually) how fleeting this time is with my children. This has increased my appreciation of them and caused me to make a greater effort at patience/gentleness.
  4. I'm getting old and am too tired to muster the energy to train and discipline with fervor, which I'm mistaking for gentleness. (Let's hope this isn't true!)
Right now I'm leaning towards #3 with an added hint of wistfullness about #2. Babies can be exhausting, sure, but each one multiplies the love in a family, too.

Have you mellowed or transformed your parenting style over the years? How? Why?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yes, It's a Beer Ad

But when Joe saw it this weekend, he proclaimed it "the greatest commercial I've ever seen!"

It really is fun to watch, and so very BOY...
Did I mention he got a Nerf assault rifle for Christmas?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Giddy with Delight

My little girl has a big camera!For some of next semester's courses, Lauren needs a digital SLR camera. Given that we would buy one, the question became more about how high a quality the equipment would be. Should she get a decent camera that would likely need to be replaced in several years, or an expensive, top-of-the-line model?

Her professors had no doubts--every one she asked named a specific, excellent camera. It costs more than her laptop did. Excuse me, the camera body is pricey. Lenses are extra!

After many discussions, we three (Len, Lauren, and I) all agreed that it is worth investing now in the equipment she will need in the long run.

On Saturday, Lauren invited Len to go with her to Store A to pick up the camera. Well, it turned into quite an expedition. The photo package was a good deal, but there were doubts about the suitability of the included lens. Time to check out Store B, where all the components were sold separately. Then home for processing...

Now we had to figure out which lens was best for Lauren right now. After more research (mostly online), at least three calls to the camera store guy, and plenty of discussion, Len and Lauren (it quickly got too technical for me) made a decision and picked up her new toy tool.I so enjoyed her pleasure. It made me happy to see her experimenting and sharing and showing off the camera: Check out the wide angle feature! Look at the quality of this low-light shot! The high def video is great! And in the midst of her excitement, Lauren let all the rest of us try it out (even Rebecca), which is not everyone's first instinct with a new, expensive piece of equipment.
Happy face!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Please Pray

Two and a half year old Eleanor, granddaughter of dear friends, underwent surgery yesterday. One cancerous kidney was removed. The tumor had spread to her lungs and cancer cells were detected in her blood. Chemotherapy will begin soon, possibly today.

We are praying for peace and healing, for God's will to be done. Please join us.At times of intense prayer, our family keeps a candle lit in a prominent location. The candle itself has no power, of course, but the flame prompts us to pray. Its multiple, flickering reminders bring me back to God throughout the day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Not What I Wanted to Hear

Mother: When is the last time you took a shower?

Child: I don't know.

We must be some major slackers; I hear this more often than I'd like to admit.

Monday, January 4, 2010

It's Hard to Homeschool When...

...your big kids don't have classes!

My college girl has two more weeks of Christmas break. The high schoolers have projects assigned for the week, but don't have to go to the school itself.

The neighbors are starting back today, so at least the phone and doorbell won't be ringing while we try to get back into the swing of things.

Thanks goodness I picked up the last disk of "Liberty's Kids" from the library this weekend. Talk about painless learning...