Saturday, February 27, 2010

Patience is Definitely Not My Virtue

After barely even a month from planting seeds, my garden finally sprouted!!  When I put the seeds in the ground, I was expecting cute, little, green sprouts within a few days, or a week at the latest.  Then 2 weeks go by...nothing.  I was ready to scrap the whole thing, re-till the garden and start over.  Luckily, I didn't have time to do that!  Three weeks went by, and one block (I plant in square blocks instead of rows) managed to make it above ground.  I was excited, but still disappointed that I had success with only one vegetable instead of all of them.  I mean, I planted lettuce, spinach, carrots, peas, turnips, radishes, and beets.  Surely more than one had to grow!!!  And, of course, it was my least favorite vegetable that grew - the radishes.  I don't even know what to do with those things besides slice them and put them in a salad??  At least, I think it was the radishes that sprouted....I can't find the paper where I wrote down what I planted where.  Gardening is supposed to be simple (not easy, but simple), and satisfying.  I was starting to get really frustrated that it was taking so long, and then, today it happened!  I went out to check on what I figured would be just a black patch of soil covered with hay, and there they were!  Beautiful green sprouts spotted all over my garden bed.  I am sooo excited!  I think the only vegetables that haven't sprouted yet are the carrots.  And, that's ok...maybe they still will.  I guess I should just be more patient...  I wish I had a picture to post of them, but alas!  I do not. 

Weekend Musings

The kids and I are on our own this weekend. My husband is on a silent retreat (which is more of a Lenten fast than I bargained for...I would be willing to bet that him having to be silent for 3 days is way harder on me than's killing me to not be able to even call and say goodnight!), so I was kind of looking forward to getting stuff done around the house, taking some pictures, blogging, and just relaxing with the kids. I've definitely got the relaxing part down, but as for the rest of the list...not so much. It seems that every time my husband goes on retreat, one or all of the kids get sick. Natalie came down with a fever the afternoon Phil left, and Andrew was not far behind her. All three of the kids have this nasty cough that sounds suspiciously croup-ish. Needless to say, all they really want to do is sit on the couch and read, cuddle, or watch movies. Which is why I am getting the relaxing part in (well, physically anyway...there's still the worry that always accompanies having sick children). All I've been hearing this weekend is "Mommy, will you sit with me??" So, I sit...and sit...and sit; which has actually been really nice. Most days I find myself too busy to just sit and do nothing with my little ones; and, most days they are too active to want to sit that still. But, I seem to remember a certain sister who just sat at the feet of Our Lord, and who was said to have 'chosen the better part'. And, isn't "will you sit with me?" a question Christ asks us daily? And, while I don't like to see my kids sick, I am going to just sit and enjoy this time with them instead of telling them to "wait until I finish the laundry." Because I know how precious this time is, and it will be gone before I know it. I can always clean house while they sleep. And, I'm sure Monday will roll around and they will be back to full energy again, and I'll be busy with our daily routine of chores, school, and playing outside.

As for taking pictures, that is another Lenten fast that I did not bargain for! I left my camera at my sister's house, and I still haven't gotten a chance to get it back yet. Not that my camera is even functioning right now, anyway. I really need a new one. Mine won't hold a charge, even if you put brand new batteries in it! I try to take a picture, and the little low battery light starts blinking, and then the camera shuts down O_o. How am I supposed to blog properly with no camera?? Perhaps the Easter Bunny will put one in my basket this year seeing as I am being forced to give up taking pictures for Lent. I guess since I hate that I am unable to take pictures, it is truly a perfect sacrifice for me.

Also, I did get this new post up, so 2 out of 4 on my list of 'to-dos' for this weekend ain't bad, right??

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Favorite Candle

My mom came a couple weeks ago to see our new home and help me work on sewing some curtains.  We were standing in the kitchen and I said "Mom!  You gotta smell this candle.  This is the best smelling candle I have ever had!  You don't even have to light just walk by it and you get a whiff of it."  I continue to rant and rave about this candle and Mom smells it and agrees how nice it smells.  Then I go on to say "I think I won it at a Christmas party...what a great gift, huh?!"  Mom kind of smiles and says "no, I gave it to you for Christmas this year....I gave one to all the kids."  Ouch!  I can't believe I did that!  She wasn't mad or anything (she is really one of the most patient women I have ever met - I wish she would have passed some of that down to me, but oh well).  But, still, it was really embarrassing that I forgot she gave me that as a gift!  And, she let me go on and on about how great this candle is and how I won it without saying anything!  I think she got a kick out of that.  Anyway, let me just say that you simply must have one of these candles!  And, I mean you need to go out and get one, like, now.  It smells sooo good.  And you really don't have to light it.  I can't bring myself to light mine for fear of no longer having this candle.  Every time I walk by it I get a sweet smell of Christmas trees, but without all the needles on the floor.  It's so nice =)  I believe you can get them at Bath & Body Works.  I hope you find one in your Easter basket this year!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Good Friday Recipes having Good Friday recipes is probably an oxymoron given that it is THE fasting day of the year, but goes.  After Mass this past Sunday, a fellow parishioner invited us on a Good Friday Walk.  I had never heard of such a thing!  It is a really cool idea, too.  Basically, you meet in downtown New Orleans (or other large city rich with Catholic culture, cuisine, and large beautiful Cathedrals) with other families.  We will then walk around the city to 9 different Catholic Churches and stop to say one or two Stations of the Cross at each one - all to be done before the 3:00 p.m. services.  It should be a really amazing experience.  A beautiful way to commemorate the Passion of our Lord, I think.  Kids are expected to come (we are Pro-Life here, after all ;), and the only rule is you bring your own wagons, slings, water, snacks, and other paraphernalia needed to tote lots of kids around for several hours.  I can't wait for our family to experience this.  I'm hoping this will quickly become a LeBlanc family tradition.  Now for the recipe part of this post.  While most of us are expected to fast on Good Friday, obviously a 5 year old, 3 year old, 1 year old and her accompanying nursing mom are more limited in that regard.  So, I plan on bringing some light snacks to get us through the day.  I got both of these recipes from my mother-in-law, and I think they will pack up nicely for this occasion. 
 Sweet & Spicy Nuts

½ tsp salt
¼ tsp each cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, chipotle powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups nuts (I used fresh pecans)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
dash hot sauce

In small bowl, combine salt and spices; set aside.
In a large heavy skillet, melt butter. Add nuts.
Cook over medium heat until nuts are toasted, about 4 minutes.
Sprinkle with spice mixture.  Add brown sugar, water and sauces.
Cook and stir for few minutes until sugar is melted.  Spread on foil to cool. 
Store in airtight container.
*these are actually not that can leave out the hot sauce and chipotle powder if you like, though*

Peanut Butter Balls

1 c. peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. instant dry milk
1/2 c. raisins 1/4 c. sesame seeds (optional - I don't use this)
MIx peanut butter and honey together.  Thoroughly mix in instant dry milk.  Stir in raisins.  Scoop out 1 T. of mixture and roll into balls with hands and place on a plate.  Optional:  Roll balls in sesame seeds to geta nice even coating.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before eating (they are better this way).

My husband says he remembers coming home from school all the time and his mom would have a plate of these waiting for him =)  She is one of those moms we all aspire to be.  I actually made these as a surprise for him tonight...I hope he likes them!  And, really, depending on the choice of peanut butter, these are probably a nice alternative to other unhealthy snacks for kids.  I know my kids really enjoyed making them, so that's a plus too!

I wish I had pictures to post of these (I tried the nut recipe last night), but my sister is holding my camera hostage 2 hours away!  Not really...I left it there from my Mardi Gras visit.  Ah well...such is life.  Enjoy the recipes!

Oh!  For good measure, here is an actual simple, meatless recipe that is probably more Lent-ish.  It is Pioneer Woman's Simple Sesame Noodles.  They are very good and easy to make.  She also has a baked lemon pasta that looks awesome, but I haven't tried yet...I would like to one Friday soon!   

Happy Feast Day of the Chair of St. Peter!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Little Thoughts

Andrew (all day long):  "There she was just a-walking down the street.  Singing do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do"

Natalie: Did you know that cheese is the opposite of ham?
Me:  Uhhh...not so much...
Natalie (at the breakfast table this morning):  Mom, you look tired.
Me:  Great...thanks O_o 


Rachel (all day long):  Aaaaaahhhhh-poo....aaaaahhhh-poo....aaaaaahhhhh-poo
 *I taught my 13 month old to fake sneeze =)*

Friday, February 19, 2010

Farm Update

I blogged about our baby calf in an earlier post, and we didn't know at the time if it was a male or female.  It's a girl!  Natalie named her Felicity, and she is still the cutest thing I've ever seen!  She's healthy and survived the recent patch of cold weather, so we are pretty happy about that.  She nurses well and I've even seen her try to eat some hay and grass a handful of times.  I'm new to all of this, so I don't know when they start eating food other than their mom's milk???  Anyway, I really wanted to make her a milk cow, but I don't know if that will be able to happen.  We are not really set up out here yet to do that, and if you don't get them used to being handled from a young age, it makes it more difficult.  But I'm still hopeful!  We may be able to work with her once we get our cow pen set up properly.

As far as my garden goes....I don't even want to talk about it!  I wasn't counting on all this cold weather, so I think I planted too early.  A couple weeks ago, the kids and I planted lettuce, spinach, carrots, peas, turnips, radishes, and beets - I've decided I'm just going to jump in head first at this garden thing!  But, with that last round of snow and freezing weather, I think I may have to try again.  Absolutely nothing sprouted!!  Oh least my garden bed is prepped and ready for when the weather warms up.  I'm definitely not giving up!!  It is Lent, after all ;)

Lord, Who Throughout these Forty Days...

Earlier this week, I packed up the kids and headed on down to Lafayette to celebrate Mardi Gras with my family.  It was great fun!  We went to the parades, rode the rides at the fair, and ate lots and lots of junk.  

Me, my sister, and Natalie at the parade: 

Andrew and I catching some beads: 

Getting down to business: 

Natalie and her cousin: 

Me and Nat:

Rachel hanging out in the stroller:

Andrew and I riding the race car:

Natalie riding the carousel:

And after all the parading, walking, gumbo, king cake, sodas, chips, desserts, and Mardi Gras fun, it is time to rest!  Lent is finally upon us and I guess I'm ready.  The kids and I have our Lenten journey mapped out, our Lent box packed up, the rice bowl calendar hanging in the kitchen, everyone has decided what they are going to give up, and today we are going to make Stations of the Cross booklets for when we pray them on Fridays.  

I have one of those bittersweet relationships with Lent.  On the one hand, the Church is so wise in laying out liturgical seasons to guide us so that we don't get caught up in our passions too much.  Sometimes we can get caught up in the fun and joyfulness of life, but other times we can get caught up in the sorrows and fall into discouragement as well.  But, there are times when we are supposed rejoice and celebrate, times of preparation, and then there are times when we mourn for our sins and make reparation for the wrongs we have committed.  I think it's more about accepting the joys and sorrows as gifts from Christ rather than focusing too much on one aspect over the other. And if we fail, then we acknowledge our failure, get up, and ask Christ to help us do better.  And the Church gives us so many ways to lead us and help us to live our lives in this way.  On the other hand, it's hard to deny myself!  I don't want to give up things and do without.  But that is what it takes if we are to love as Christ loves.  So, I do it.

I was reading a Gospel passage this morning about fasting and the Pharisees, and how Christ tells us that we cannot put an unshrunken cloth on old cloak, or it will tear.  Or how we cannot put new wine into old wine skins or they will burst.  I never really knew what this meant.  But, this morning, I realized something.  This is what Lent is about!  Christ is the Old and the New - The Alpha and the Omega.  So in Lent, it is our job to become the shrunken piece of cloth so that we can attach ourselves to the cloak of Christ.  And to become new wine so that we can be poured into the new wine skin that is the Heart of Christ.  To through out that old wine skin of our past that is filled with so much hardness of heart and pride.  So, my goal this Lent is to really live it.  Not to just go through the motions, but to really live Lent in such a way that I come out the other side a different person.  After all, He is worth it!   

"To hang between two thieves in the darkness
Love must believe you are worth it"
~Nichole Nordeman~"Hold On" 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Every Season

We live in South Louisiana (not the deep south, but still the south).  I don't think you could pay me enough money to move away from Louisiana!  I LOVE it here.  One of the things I love the most about it here is the mild winters.  You can pretty much garden year round, which is totally awesome!  Heck, half the time we are wearing shorts at Christmas.  But, not this winter!  It has been COLD.  I mean really cold.  We have gotten snow twice!  And last year, we got 8 inches of snow!  That is a crazy amount of snow for down here.  I think it's a record or something.  I've never seen that much snow in Louisiana in my whole life...and I'm, well, it doesn't matter how old I am, but suffice it to say that I'm more than a quarter of a century old (I'm almost 30, and it's starting to creep me out!).  I think it's global warming, but I could be wrong about that...Our pipes busted in the barn and our well froze over.  This is not something I know how to deal with people!  What do northerners do with all this cold weather and it's side effects???  I don't even have a coat warm enough to go out in snow.  I have to layer all my clothes and it doesn't fit right, and I look like some kind of weird, puffy, mom thing.   It's not attractive.  The kids like the snow from inside the house.  I tried taking them out in it last week, and after about half an hour, we all had enough.  Our fingers and toes were frozen and our noses were red.  So, we stayed out long enough to get pictures for proof of the event, and then we came back inside and sought shelter in the warmth of our centrally heated home and had hot chocolate and brownies.  That's another thing about winter!  I don't feel like doing anything but eat...there's no motivation for exercise because my bones are just too cold.  But, it seems that spring is starting to come around. The last few days have been gorgeous and sunny - still too cold for me, but that's ok.  On the other hand, there really is something just breathtakingly beautiful about seeing a blanket of snow covering the ground and trees outside!  I don't know what it is, but it is just so still and calm and peaceful.  It reminds me of a Nichole Nordeman song.  She is a Christian singer who has beautiful songs and an even more beautiful voice.  I really enjoy her music.  It stirs my soul and makes me long for Heaven and friendship with Christ.  One of my favorites is a song about finding God as the earth and seasons change throughout the year.  It's just so lovely...sometimes it just brings a tear to my eye to think that we have a God who created all of this for us to enjoy and know Him more!  

"Every Season"
song and lyrics by:  Nichole Nordeman
Every evening sky, an invitation
To trace the patterned stars
And early in July, a celebration
For freedom that is ours
And I notice You
In children’s games
In those who watch them from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer

And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and was to come
You are autumn

And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
Shivers underneath
And still I notice You
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, You open doors for life to enter
You are winter

And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring

Here are some pics from our 'big snow' this year.  Enjoy!

Right when it started snowing: 


A few hours later: 

Even the yard angel was looking for cover =) 

The husband's truck: 

Kids with their Granny: 

Our Home: 

Trying to warm up: 

This is last year when we got 8" of snow: 

Last year at our old house (I still can't believe it): 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Little Thoughts

My mom is spending a few days out here to help me with a sewing project (curtains for the house!), and to help with the kids while I sew.  I was at my sewing machine when I heard Andrew talking to her:

Andrew:  Hey Grandy (she goes by Granny =), dolphins eat crabs.
Granny:  oh yeah?
Andrew: you eat crabs?
Granny:  oh yes!  crabs are my favorite...I love them.
Andrew:  I don't like crabs...I like hotdogs.

Then yesterday, Mom was talking to Rachel and said, in reference to me, "do you want Mom to..." (I can't remember exactly what she said, but she called me 'mom').  Natalie heard her and said:

Natalie:  Granny, why do you call my mom 'mom'?
Granny:  I was just talking to Rachel about her mom
Natalie:  But, my mom can't be your mom, your way older than she're 30!

I'm almost 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

And then Life Happened....

Yesterday, my second child turned 3.  How did this happen so quickly!?!?  I remember like it was yesterday driving to the hospital while in very serious labor, yelling at my husband that I would definitely NOT be having more children (yeah, right ;), and that if he didn't hurry up and get me to the hospital, I may do something awful to him.  Lately I have been thinking about moms with young children and the challenges we face.  Having 3 kids, 5 yrs. old and under, is not the easiest job I have ever done.  Sometimes I find myself wishing that my kids were past the stage where they need/want me to do everything for them.  But then I come across older parents whose children are grown and no longer around.  And they say things like "what a lovely family you have!", "enjoy them while you can", "your children are so precious, you are so lucky", and "wow, you have your hands full!"  Ok, that last one doesn't really count as sentimental and encouraging towards young families, but I hear it EVERY SINGLE TIME I GO OUT!  And, quite frankly, I'm tired of hearing it.  My 5 year old has begun saying I need to hear that from her!  Anyway, my point is, I've decided that my New Year's resolution (kind of late, I know, but still worth doing) is to just sit back and enjoy the boat I'm in - and to remember to ask Christ to calm the seas when it gets overwhelming!  Live for the present with joy!  That's my New Year's motto.  Sometimes I struggle with the joyful part when things get hard.  Because, yes, it's hard.  Yes, It's exhausting.  Yes, It's mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically draining, but the more I look at my life, the more I realize that I don't think I have ever been happier.  Never again do I want to be 17...please, Lord, do NOT make me do that again!  College was fun, but this phase of my life has got to be the most joyful and vibrant and exciting time that I have ever been in - both as a married woman and a mother.  And while the work load and struggles are immense, it's worth every single ounce that goes into it.  I hope my husband realizes how happy and thankful I am that he brought me back to my Catholic Faith and helped me find the life that God intended for me to live.  Alot of people give stay-at-home moms a lot of slack for "giving up on their dream's", or "wasting their time and career", or look at it as something repressive, but for me that's just crazy!  Christ tells us that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for a friend.  I could care less how 'successful' I am in the eyes of society (although it does hurt sometimes to be though less of because of my choice to forego a mainstream career).  But, I do care if I fail at providing a loving environment for my husband and my kids.  So, Happy Birthday Andrew!  I'm so glad that God gave you to us!

Andrew's first days of life:

First Birthday:

Second Birthday: 

Andrew made 3 yesterday!:

Natalie made a birthday sign by herself:

Enjoying his birthday gifts (he got a tool belt w/hammer, wrench, flashlight, and work gloves like Daddy's =)  And the cool pirate shirt from Phil's Aunt:

"Mom, say 'cheese' for my hammer":

She put the beads on all by herself!:



Monday, February 8, 2010

My Conscience has Spoken

After all the excitement of last night's game - Oh yes!  The Saints did when the Superbowl!! - the kids and I had a pretty lazy morning.  So, when we finally got up, they were starving.  Atleast they thought they, I headed straight to the kitchen, by passing my Morning Offering.  After breakfast, I headed to the massively over-flowing laundry basket for a knock-down, drag-out fight.  Then, my conscience steps in.  Her name is Natalie.  And this is the conversation that followed:
Natalie:  Mom, you didn't say your prayers yet
Me:  I know...I'm just going to put this laundry to wash and then I'll do my morning prayers
Natalie:  But Mom, you have to pray every have to!
(humility strikes me down yet again)
Needless to say, the laundry is still piled up and the breakfast dishes are wreaking havoc in my kitchen, but my Morning Offering is in Heaven working it's magic and my soul is more peaceful than it was an hour ago, and the kids are actually playing together nicely. 

Now about that laundry....

Saturday, February 6, 2010

It's a.....

It finally happened!  Ellie had her calf.  And it is the cutest thing I have ever seen!  We think she had the calf sometime early this morning or during the night last night.  She was still pregnant when Phil got home from work last night, but not pregnant when he checked on her early this morning.  So, I'm going to give it an official birthday of February 6th.  Natalie and I had our February Little Flowers meeting, and on the way there she was talking about Ellie and when she would have the calf.  And if you haven't heard about the Little Flowers Girls Club program, please do yourself a favor and click on the link to check it out.  It is an AMAZING program for developing the Faith of young girls.  And Natalie absolutely LOVES going.  Basically, moms and their daughters get together once a month and learn about a saint and a virtue.  During that month, you follow the handbook with different ideas of how to learn more about the saint and practice the virtue for the month.  During the meetings, there are crafts, snacks, games, and dynamic speakers.  It is so awesome!  I can't say enough about it.  This morning when I was getting ready, Natalie came in the bathroom right about the time I finished blow drying my hair and said "Mom! your hair is messy!"  Then, upon seeing me in my pajama pants said "you're not wearing those pants are you?!?!"  Seriously?? O_o  Little Flowers is that important!  But wait!  This post is about cows and calves.  Sorry!  I got happens to me a lot.  Now where was I??  Oh yeah!  Natalie talking about Ellie and her calf:  She said, "Mom, if Dad calls while we are at Little Flowers and tells you Ellie had her calf, you have to tell me if it's a boy or a girl!"  Of course,'ll be the first to know.  So then we had a discussion about names.  She said that she wanted to name it Felicity if it's a girl and Dominic if it's a boy because last month we studied St. Felicity in Little Flowers and this month we are learning about St. Dominic.  Man I love being Catholic!  It's fun to watch my kids grow and love their faith =)  Back to the calf!  (see distracted!  Functioning properly is not one of my strong points).  Anyway, as soon as we got home from our meeting and had lunch, I went out to the pasture to see the little thing (we still don't know if it's a male or female) and took some pictures.  It seems to be pretty friendly, too.  It came right up to the fence where we were and let us pet it =)  Ellie was a little nervous about that, but she'll just have to get over it.  Without further ado, here they are:

 Mom and baby:

Isn't it sooo cute?:

Mama love:

I love this one:

  I threw this one in for good measure
It's Natalie wearing her black and gold and 
the princess crown she got from Little Flowers:

I'll update as soon as we discover the gender...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Little Thoughts

Andrew:  Mom, I like our new house
Me:  Me too Andrew
Andrew:  Does Rachel like our new house too? 
Me:  I'm sure she does
Andrew:  Oh
~     ~     ~ 
Natalie:  Mom, can you please cut my apple?
Me:  Sure Nat
Natalie:  and peel it too
Me:  ok
Natalie:  thanks Mom.  You're so kind and gentle

My heart is warm today.
~     ~     ~

Who Dat and Watcha Eatin'?

Ok...I have a confession to make.  I am not really a Saints fan.  No, not the Catholic Saints...the New Orleans Saints.  There!  I said it.  Now, before all you NOLA residents come hunt me down, let me explain.  It's not that I don't enjoy watching football.  In fact, my husband and I spend many Sundays when we were first married watching Saints football together.  At least before the whole switch from analog to digital signal happened (but that's another post entirely).  My point is, I enjoy watching football because it's fun to sit around with good friends eating fun food, enjoying each other's company and a little bit of friendly competition.  But, as far as having die-hard loyalty to a specific team?  Not so much.  And I'm certainly not going to jump on the bandwagon now just because they are having a good season.  That's worse than never being a fan.  If you weren't a fan before this season, then you should keep it that way.  Let the die-hards have their glory...I, however, deserve none.  I also haven't been living under a rock these last few months, so I know that the Saints going to the Superbowl is very exciting news and I will be joining in that excitement!  I'll tell you what I am a fan of, though....I am a fan of New Orleans, Cajun accents, southern hospitality, Catholic culture, Cajun cuisine, and the beautiful St. Patrick's Cathedral in downtown NOLA.  So, I think it's only right and fair that I get to say WHO DAT?!  THE SAINTS ARE GOING TO THEIR FIRST SUPERBOWL BABY!  There has been such energy and excitement here in Louisiana!  And it's about time too!  The last time something this big and exciting happened in the Big Easy it was almost wiped out by a category 5 hurricane!  Needless to say, my family and I will be enjoying the Superbowl this weekend with another family.  And we will be far outnumbered by kids!  The ratio will be around 2:1, which always makes for fun time =)  There will be some really good party food there as well, so I thought I'd share the recipes that I am making to bring for the big day.  My good friend Michelle is making club sandwiches and a crockpot of meatballs, and I'm bringing chips with homemade salsa and guacamole, and chicken wings!  YUMMY!  Here are the recipes I'm using for this weekend:

Homemade Salsa (this is a Chile's knockoff I found online):
I can Rotel tomatoes
14 1/2 ounces can whole peeled tomatoes plus the juice
1 tablespoon jalapenos (I use 4-6 of those sliced japapenos from the jar)
1/4 of a medium onion
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon sugar, to taste

Place onion and jalapenos in a food processor.  Pulse a few times.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until it is the consistency you like.  That's it!  Feel free to add fresh garlic or cilantro if that is your preference.  This is our family's favorite!  You won't be disappointed.  Serve with a warm bowl of On the Border brand tortilla chips (it HAS to be On the Border brand - those are simply the best)

Philip's awesome guacamole:
2 ripe avocados
4-6 sliced jalapenos from the jar
1-2 T homemade salsa (see above recipe)
1 T mayonnaise
a little sprinkle of Tony Chachere's
a splash of lemon or lime juice (whichever you have)

Cut the avocados in half and spoon them into a bowl.  Dice the jalapenos and add them to the avocados.  Add the other ingredients and mix well with a fork or whisk.  You can leave it chunky, or blend it smooth...whichever you prefer.  Serve with On the Border brand tortilla chips

Chicken Wings:
I've never actually made these, but I figured if the Saints can go to the Superbowl for the first time, then I can do this for the first time =)  I found this recipe from the Foodnetwork.  It's from Paula Deen, and she has never let me down, so I'm going to try it.  You can find the link here.  I'll probably also adjust the heat with less hot sauce since there are kids involved.  I'm also going to try a batch of teriyaki wings like these from Tyler Florence.  
Now, if I were The Pioneer Woman, I'd have lots of witty quips and gorgeous photos of me and the kids and all the 'cast of characters' while making all this food, but I'm not and my camera needs to be put on life support because she is on her last breath.  Besides, I haven't even made the food yet!  So, come back and check next week and I'll have some photos of the kids and I making these delish party foods and I'll review the recipes that I have yet to try. 

Enjoy your Superbowl party this weekend if you are going, and 
Happy Feast Day of St. Agatha!!

"Saint Agatha, you suffered sexual assault and indignity because of your faith. Help heal all those who are survivors of sexual assault and protect those women who are in danger."  Amen

Oh, and check out what other Faith and Family mom's are cooking up for the Superbowl here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Small Successes

"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."

1) I managed to survive a week of stomach flu that ran rampant through the family.  We are still recuperating and dealing with some of the after effects, but all in all we made it out alive!

2) The baby did not suffer through the stomach flu this week...very excited about that =)

3) I finished 2 blocks of my knitting project that I'm working on (you can find the project at the Bernat website.  It's on the knit-along blog)

Okay!  I think that is all for this week.  What are your small successes???  You can see how other moms are doing at the Faith and Family site here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

St. Blaise, Pray for us.....PLEASE!!

Well, the last few days have been quite hectic over here.  Early last Monday morning, the stomach flu decided to visit our home.  It started at 2:30 a.m. with Natalie and quickly progressed through the rest of us.  Thankfully, my prayers were answered and Rachel managed to make it through without even a hint of a tummy ache.  Although dealing with an active and hungry nursing baby amidst the throws of nausea and what accompanies it was....well, there is no adequate word to say what that was like! The kids and I are past the worst part, but poor Phil is still in bed with nausea.  I do not envy the man!  I despise that feeling...I wish I could take it from him.  However, we are now stuck in that in between sick and healthy phase, and with little ones this is a tough phase to be stuck in!  They are getting their energy back, but not enough to really go play outside or do much more than read books and watch movies.  Food is iffy at best, so we've been sticking to soups, crackers, and gatorade.  The kids are past the point of being tired of stuck inside, so it's a struggle to keep the whining and frustrations at bay.  Needless to say the Feast of St. Blaise came at the perfect time!  I am counting on him to send graces in very large amounts today to help me keep my patience and compassion at an all time high today.  Throwing up counts as a throat problem too, right??  

On the plus side, Natalie has had lots of time to practice her knitting.  She really is doing a great job.  She really wanted to learn when I started, and I was hesitant because I didn't think she could do it, but she can!  And it has come in extremely handy right now because it gives her something to do besides focus on the fact that she is bored, but doesn't feel well enough to play yet.

I've also been able to get a lot done on my knitting project as well.  I'm participating in a knit along project over at the bernat website (I know...I'm a huge nerd - sorry).  I've gotten two of my squares done from the first set of instructions (I'm way behind....they have 8 instructions up already!)  But, I am determined to finish it even though it is almost over.  In my defense, I didn't find out about it until after they were almost done posting all the instructions.  Knitting is should really try it sometime!  Natalie and I have been enjoying knitting together these last couple of days.

Here are my first two blocks:
Believe it or not, these will make a blanket when I'm done

Andrew and Rachel have been hanging in there.  Andrew is pretty restless from being inside for so long, but hopefully tomorrow he can get out again.  He and Rachel have been playing together a good bit lately.  

Well, I think that about covers it!  Now I'm planning on getting the house cleaned (it's a complete disaster), doing TONS of laundry, and getting things back to normal.  Hopefully next week I can get back to gardening too!!! 
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