Friday, July 30, 2010

This, That, the Other, and a few Little Thoughts

I haven't really been hanging around the blogosphere lately.  I think I have writer's block, which is ironic, because I'm not a writer...hah!  This blog is just for fun =).  Anyway, I just don't have much to post about these days.  We've been enjoying the extremely lazy days of summer, because it's just too darn hot to do anything else!  Even the cows just lay around in the shade and do nothing (although, they pretty much do that year round, so that's not saying much).  We spent the better part of today lounging around the house reading books.  I heard a fellow southerner say once that summer in the deep south is like winter in the far north, because you are almost quarantined inside because of the heat.  The temperature right now is 96 degrees, with a heat index of 107 degrees!  Way too hot to take kids outside to play.  I was out there for about 45 minutes cleaning out my van (oh yes, Phil, I actually got around to doing that ;), and I felt like I dropped 10 pounds just from the sweat...and, I was in the shade!  We did get to go swimming yesterday evening for a couple of hours at our neighbor's house, which was so very nice, but after a while, it actually felt like bath water...the temp in the water was 91 degrees O_o.

Next week, I go in for my second ultra-sound, and it's the one where we get the option to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl.  For the first 3, we didn't find out the gender, but Philip wants to for this one.  As for me, I don't know if I want to or not.  I usually am really tempted to find out, but since Phil has always wanted to be surprised, I never did, because I can't keep a secret.  Part of me feels like it's cheating, but in the end, it doesn't really matter...I mean, the baby is what it is, and I'll love him or her no matter what.  Likely, I'll break down and find out, because I'm just weak like that =)  At lunch today, the kids and I had this discussion:

Natalie:   So, Mom, I've been thinking...
Me:  oh yeah?  About what?
Natalie:  About the new baby.
Me:  What about the new baby?
Natalie:  Oh, just about having it and stuff.
Me:  It's going to be really exciting!  You'll get to hold it, and help me take care of it...(I left out the part about how I have anxiety attacks and fret think about having it and stuff, too).
Natalie:  I bet the baby gets hungry alot.
Me:  No, not really...babies get everything they need when they are in their mommy's tummy; they don't have to wait around for someone to feed them.
**I then tiptoe on egg shells trying to answer all her questions about how a pregnant woman's body works to take care of a growing baby...she's only 5, not a doctor!!  how many details does the child really need???  I settled on "that's just how God made it work", and changed the subject.  I told her that we get to go and see pictures of the baby at the doctor's office next week.

Me:  Do you want to find out if it's a boy or a girl now, or do you want to wait until it's born?
Natalie:  I want to know now!  (no shocker...she is my daughter)
Me:  Ok, maybe they'll be able to tell us.
Natalie:  Do you want to know?
Me:  I don't know yet...probably...Daddy wants to know.
**Andrew decides to join the conversation now, which is weird, because he seems to have been ignoring our entire conversation, because he's been very intent on eating his lunch for the duration of our little chat...every now and then he would pipe in with "hey, I got two noodles on my fork this time!!  cool!!"  Such a boy!

Andrew:  I want to wait.
Me:  You want to wait for the baby to be born before you know if it's a boy or a girl??
Andrew:  Yes, I want to wait.  The boys have to wait, but the girls can find out.
**Sorry Phil...I guess you have to wait with Andrew this time =P 

Now that everyone is just dying to know whether we find out or not, and, if we do find out, what the gender actually is...I shall not be posting it on the blog.  I remember my mother-in-law telling me once that if we ever find out, she doesn't want to know.  Since she actually reads my blog, I don't want to ruin the surprise for her.  So, everyone else will just have to wait for the ending =)  The hard part will be keeping Natalie away from her Grandma for the rest of the pregnancy, because there's no way she'll keep that a secret!  No, seriously, I'll make sure to drill Natalie about NOT telling Grandma, so no worries!  

Other than that, we haven't really been doing much of anything over here.  My garden is between the summer harvest and the fall planting, so I haven't been doing much with it.  I still have a couple of cherry tomato plants that are going strong, a handful of new cucumber plants that are a few weeks along, and my okra is like the gift that keeps on giving.  Phil did help me clean it out and do some weeding around the beds, so it looks much neater and is ready for the next round of planting.  Hopefully I can get to that in the next week or two.  

We'll be starting school right about the second week of August.  I've actually decided to switch to a new curriculum this year.  Natalie will be in first grade, and she's my only one in school just yet, so I figure now is the time to tweak out these things before we get so far along that it's harder to switch curricula around.  Since we attend the Traditional Latin Mass, Phil and I really wanted a curriculum that supports that.  So, I did a bit of research earlier in the summer and found Our Lady of the Rosary School.  I hope we like it.  From what I've looked at on the website, I like the books, the curriculum looks solid, I like the classes they offer for older kids, and I called and spoke with someone from their office, and she was very helpful and nice.  So, I'll be ordering the first grade supplies sometime next week, and getting some of Natalie's other school supplies tomorrow, when I get to go shopping all by myself!!!!  Well, Rachel will be with me, but she can't ask me to buy everything in the store yet, so I don't mind taking her =)  

Well, the kids just woke up and wandered in from their nap, so that means it's time for me to feed them again. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Anyone Else Awake??

How come no one ever warns you about the 'real joys' of pregnancy?  Like, pregnancy insomnia, for example.  It hits right around the second trimester, and lasts pretty much throughout the entire second trimester.  I guess it comes from sleeping so much the first trimester, because of the unbearable exhaustion!  Wow, does that always hit me like a ton of bricks.  I literally can.not.stay.awake during the first 3 months.  And, all this lack of sleep in the second trimester will lead me to be a hibernating bear in the third trimester (where the kids and husband know better than to dare awaken said bear ;).  

So, anyway, it's almost midnight, and everyone in the house is asleep...except me.  Even the baby is sleeping; or at least being very still for the moment.  I'm sure once I lay down, it will be more than happy to start bouncing around again =)  On the plus side, all this extra energy has done wonders for my housekeeping/home organization skills!  I actually made a binder full of schedules, planners, meal plans, chore lists, and the list goes on and on, for the upcoming school year.  If you actually know me very well, you would probably cry from laughing so hard at this.  But, the laundry has not piled up, the floors are clean, and Phil has come home to clean dishes for more than 1 day in a row for almost a week now!  It's great!  I hope he enjoys it while it lasts, because it will be gone just as quickly as it came.  I think my nesting phase kicks in around this time, because come the last 2 months or so of being pregnant, I just want to pass out from thinking about putting a cup in the dishwasher.  

I am actually extremely blessed to have easy pregnancies ('easy' is a relative term, here), with no problems or complications.  And, I am definitely thankful for that fact, and the fact that God has given me the gift of motherhood at all, for that matter.  But, the reality is, the things that mean the most in life, and bring us the most peace and joy...it is those things that also require the most sacrifice.  And, it's a sacrifice I am more than willing to make, but sometimes those sacrifices are so not fun....

Good Night!  (maybe...)


"I think being a good father is keeping the mother happy, so she doesn't drive the kids crazy." 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Little Thoughts

At lunch today, Andrew was upset because he got the bumble bee cup instead of the dragon fly cup (don't even ask...it's an ongoing battle over here about who gets the dragon fly cup/plate/fork/spoon!).  Anyway, Natalie got the dragon fly cup, to which Andrew responded with a huge pout and said "that's not fair!"   So, I said:
Me:  Andrew, that's not polite...you can offer it up, instead.
Natalie:  Yeah!  You can offer it up for someone who doesn't get anything to drink or eat today.
Me:  That's right...some people don't get to have any lunch, like you do.
Natalie:  Some people don't get to have a bed to sleep in, either.
Andrew:  Yeah, and some people are mean!
 
I think he totally missed the point of that conversation.  Oh well, at least he stopped the whining and complaining about that goofy cup.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On the way to my doctor's appointment this morning (where everything went great...the kids got to hear the baby's heartbeat, which was really cute), we were listening to the radio, and the lady on there said something about a friend who just had a new baby boy.

Natalie:  *big gasp*  Mom!  Did you hear that?  That lady said she just had a new baby boy.
Me:  Wow, that's really cool, huh?
Natalie:  Yeah!  Why don't we say a Rosary for that baby right now?
Me:  *heart melting*
Andrew:  NO!  I don't want to pray a Rosary!
Me:  Ok, Natalie and I will pray for you
Andrew:  Humph!
Me:  Ok, Natalie do you want to pray for anyone else besides that little baby?
Natalie:  No
Me:  Andrew, who do you want to pray for?
Andrew:  I'm not praying!
Me:  Ok, fine....(I prayed for Andrew =)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So She Won't Be Disappointed




For today's Tasty Tuesday, I'm posting my recipe for homemade English Muffins.  This one is for the City Wife, Country Life gal, because she was craving English Muffins yesterday, and when I saw that she was disappointed that she didn't get to post about them today, I just had to share my recipe!  They are so very good, but not like anything you buy at the store.  They aren't the sour dough kind, either...I tried sour dough starter once, and there was a comment by someone in the house about it "smelling like death", so I tossed it out.  I would like to give it a go, again, though.  Anyway, my recipe is from the Baking Bites blog.  She has some amazing recipes there...like, homemade Samoa Girl Scout cookies.  WOW, those are good!  And since the Girls Scouts are openly pro-choice, this is a much better and tastier option, IMHO.  

English Muffins
1/3 cup water, warm (110F)
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup nonfat milk, slightly warm (100-110F) **I'm shameless, so I use whole milk instead**
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
 
In a large bowl, whisk together water, sugar and yeast and let mixture stand for 10 minutes, until slightly foamy.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 40 minutes.
Heat a griddle/nonstick frying pan over medium/medium-high heat (water dropped on the griddle evaporates very quickly). Lightly grease with cooking spray.
Drop dough by scant 1/4 cupfuls onto greased surface and cook until medium brown on the bottom. 

Normally, I use my plug-in griddle, and I can cook all of them at once, but I didn't feel like cleaning it after, so I went with the cast iron skillet this time:

The top with look set and the sides will appear somewhat dry. The exact time depends on the temperature of your griddle and the size of your muffins, but expect this to take several minutes. Flip over and cook 2nd side until brown.  Cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes or until completely cool.

The recipe says it makes about 10-12 muffins, but I usually only get 8, because we like them on the large side...apparently, I ate one straight off the skillet I only got 7 this time:

When ready to serve, split muffins with a fork and toast.
Serve with butter, jam, peanut butter, etc.  SO GOOD!  For St. Patrick's Day this year, we used these to make Shamrock Toasties a la Catholic Cuisine:





 Enjoy!  
 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Beef...It's What's for Dinner

In case you were ever curious about how much beef you can get from raising a Dexter beef cow/steer...(I'm sure most people are losing tons of sleep wondering about this exact thing!)  If not, feel free to skip this post all together, and come back and visit again soon.

We actually brought our first ever, farm-raised, grass-fed (and partially grain-fed at the end), home-grown beef cow to the butcher about 2 weeks ago.  The kids and I got lost trying to find drove out to the place on Wednesday to pick up the meat, which came in lots of very nicely wrapped & labeled packages that you just can't find at your local Wal-Mart.  So, here is what we ended up with after raising good, ole T-bone for the last couple of years (we purchased him in May, 2008, when he was just a wee, little calf - it was actually Mother's Day weekend, if I remember correctly):

134 lbs. ground beef (78 pkgs, about 1 3/4 lb. per package)
24 lbs. Ribeye Steaks (24 steaks)
20 lbs. T-bone Steaks (24 steaks)
16 lbs. Sirloin Steaks (12 steaks)
34 lbs. Roast (2 sirloin roasts and 6 rump roasts)
2 lbs. Flank Steak (2 steaks)
8 lbs. Brisket (2 briskets)

So, off of that one steer, we got 238 lbs. of beef!  Not too shabby.  We actually split the meat with another family, with whom we originally purchased the cow.  Is my grammar even correct on that sentence??  I dread the thought that I will be homeschooling my children, and therefore teaching them the English language!  I do hope they turn out alright...can you tell I've been reading Jane Austin?  On a complete tangent, I have a little confession to make.  I have never, ever read any Jane Austin books in my entire life.  Can you believe that?  Oh, the shame!  So, I'm reading Pride & Prejudice right now.  It's really good, but I am very slow, because I'm not used to that writing style.  Ok, tangent over.  The most amazing thing to me about this whole experience was that there was a complete even number of packages for each type of meat!  I was kind of expecting for the men to have some kind of knock-down, drag-out fight over who got an extra pack of ribeyes or brisket, but it worked out perfectly.  Amazing!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Craft Basket Wednesday

Well, I've still been working on Rachel's baby sweater, but seeing as that is a longer, more-extensive project, I don't really have any updates.  But, I have been making some wool diaper covers for the new baby!  In the midst of such a long project like a sweater, I wanted something that I could work up quickly, like in a day, so I could feel at least a little gratification at completing something.  So, I found this chunky diaper cover pattern at Ravelry, and I've actually made three of them already.  They fit the bill perfectly, as they finished in a day, plus, they are so cute!  All they are missing is the button.  The pattern is for a newborn baby, but I actually shortened the length from the designated 14.5" to more like 11.25" before finishing off.  The first one I made looked too long for a newborn, so I may have to go back and fix it.  I normally use Fuzzibunz cloth diapers, but the size small is too small for my new babies.  They outgrow the newborn size so quickly, and I didn't want to spend a ton of money on smaller cloth diapers.  So, I'm going to try these out to use with my inserts.  I've never used wool covers before, but they are supposedly ideal for diapering, for a variety of reasons (I won't get into that here, but I'm sure a quick Google search can help you if you're curious).  You only need a few covers if you are using wool, which is another perk, and I was able to get three, so far, from one hank of wool...I have a small ball left, so I'll see if I can get one more cover out of it.

The front (minus the button):

The Back:
**sorry these first two pictures are so dark...

One of the button holes on the side flap:
OH!  This is a new discovery I've made in the knitting world.  I'm very excited about this!  (does that make me too weird??).  Anyway, I've started keeping my current knitting project in a gallon sized zip lock bag.  The beauty of this is that your work all stays together, I don't have to worry about the kids dropping food on my extra ball of yarn - so, it stays clean while I'm knitting - , it travels well, AND I can keep all my notions in there with the project - a copy of the pattern, tapestry needle, crochet hook for fixing mistakes, tape measure, scissors...  It's so awesome!  I'm glad I discovered this.
Here is the other hank of wool that I plan on using for a few more covers (but, if the baby isn't a girl, I'll have to save them or gift them).  You can see how the yarn comes in a big, messy bundle...It was kind of difficult to work with like that, so I just rolled it up into a ball, like the one behind it, before starting :

And, just in case you were wondering, that chunky yarn is really fun to work with!  The knitting just comes together SO quickly, so it's really gratifying.  Anyway, that's all I have for now!  Stay tuned for more progress on Rachel's Triangle Top Sweater!  It's coming along, slowly, but surely =)

Now, you can go see what other fun crafts people have in their craft baskets at Knit Together (except she doesn't have it up there yet...I'll come back and link later).

Stocking up for the Winter

Philip spent the better part (or, I guess that would be the worst part, as the better part of Sunday was Mass...or something like that...he spent the majority of the day, Sunday...how's that??) loading up our barn with hay for the cows, so they will have food this winter.  The kids were very excited, because they LOVE playing in the hay.  Although, much to their dismay, they were banned from any jumping, climbing, sliding, or contact of any kind with the hay, because it kind of destroys the bales.  Natalie was expressing her concern over this, so I asked her if she would like it if the cows jumped around in her food...I think she understood ;)  Anyway, here are some photos of our fully stocked barn:

Can you see Natalie up there??

I think we ended up with 22 all together...

Side-view: 

Phil's current work-in-progress...a chute for the cows.  I kind of want to engrave something really cool on that board up there...any suggestions??

The last few lingering bales before being moved to the barn:

All that hay makes our barn look so much more, well, barn-like!  It's fun =)  Thanks, Phil, for taking care of that!  I could tell by how disgusting your laundry was that day that it was no easy task...glad it wasn't me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Got Prayer?


I'm not real sure what it is about summer time and prayer that just don't mix with me!  Maybe it's the heat down here in the south, or the fact that my schedule is out the window, or because I allow myself to be so lazy in the summer because the kids are done with school....ok, it's probably a combination of all three.  Whatever the case, I have such a difficult time keeping up with my regular prayer schedule in the summer!  I mean, I still pray, and think about God and where He fits in my life, but it's very patchy and it's not consistent.  It's only when I feel like it.  Maybe that's the issue, as well...I let my feelings get involved.  I also had a realization the other night.  I realized that prayer is like Prozac.  Stay with me, here!  This will go somewhere, I promise.  I grew up with a father who was (well, still is) manic-depressive, so I know what it is like to be around the disease of depression, even though I've never actually experienced it personally.  It broke my family, and it makes for a few rocky child-hood memories.  I also know that God allows situations and circumstances, both good and bad, to fall upon us for a reason.  I truly believe that part of that reason is for us to use those circumstances to learn things.  And then, it is up to us to take what we've learned and use it to fine-tune our lives so that we are constantly re-orienting ourselves towards our Creator.  What I've learned through watching my father suffer from depression is this.  Basically, he would go through a series of ups and downs...in an extreme way.  The only way to balance it was with medication, but the problem was that he would be on the meds for awhile, he would feel fine, and was actually doing fine, so he decided he no longer needed to take his meds.  So, he would stop, and the spiral downward would begin, and then he would hit rock-bottom, which would make him realize that his only option was medication, which he would then get back on, and then he would achieve normalcy again, and then stop the meds, and it just went round and round.  And this is not just my father...it's very common for people with depression to follow this pattern.  I've realized that I am the same way with prayer that a person with depression is with anti-depressants.  I hit rock-bottom, spiritually, and realize that I can't live properly without prayer, so I'll get back on my prayer life again.  Things will go great for awhile, and I think "hey, I don't need to pray...I'm doing so great...I'm patient with the kids, I'm loving and understanding with my husband, my house is clean...surely God won't mind if I skip my Rosary...just for today..."  Then the spiral downward begins.  It's slow, but slippery.  A little quick to anger here, skipping my husband's laundry day there.  It's also dangerous!  I recently heard about a woman who was dealing with depression, and she said that she hates the fact that she has to rely on a pill to keep her normal...that even her holiness depends upon medication.  She said it was frustrating.  I can only imagine!  The difference with me is that my disease is pride - a very nice side-effect of Original Sin, thank you very much Mr. Adam and Mrs. Eve!  I don't like having to rely on something or someone else other than myself for balance in my life, either.  I like to do things my way, and I take pride when I accomplish things without the help of others.  I like human respect, but God calls me to humility.  And, I know that prayer is the answer.  St. Ephram says that "prayer is the counter poison of pride; the antidote to the passion of hatred..."  I can see the effects in my life when I pray regularly and sincerely.  I like the effects of prayer in my life.  So, why do I fight it so much?  Why does it have to be so hard?  Much like people with depression, despite the fact that I know prayer is the medicine I need to achieve holiness, I just don't want to take it sometimes!  I want to try life by myself, on my own two feet.  Luckily for me, God is patient, and He does not get tired of reminding me that prayer is good for me.  He gave it to me not because He needs it, but because I need it to survive.  So, here I go again, attempting to fine-tune my life and re-orient it towards God.  

And, if rock-bottom doesn't motivate me to prayer, then perhaps this will help:
"He who prays is certain to be saved; while he who prays not is certain to be damned. All the saints were saved, and came to be saints by praying; all the accursed souls in hell were lost through neglect of prayer; if they had prayed, it is certain that they would not have been lost. And this will be one of the greatest occasions of their anguish in hell, the thought that they might have saved themselves so easily; that they had only to beg God to help them, but that now the time is past when this could avail them" 
~St. Alphonsus De Liguori

Friday, July 9, 2010

Never let your praying knees get lazy...

And love like crazy!



My prayer today is that the Lord grant me the heart of a faithful woman.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tasty Tuesday!


A cousin of mine recommended this recipe on Facebook, and, due to pregnancy cravings, I just had to try it immediately!  She also thought it was funny that only a pregnant woman could crave something that she'd never even eaten before...I'm sure some of you can relate =)  Anyway, it's very simple, but it was sooo good!  So good, I actually want one right now...

Taco Bell Mexican Pizzas a la Homemade!


The recipe is from Lynn's Kitchen Adventure's.  Her pictures are prettier than mine...

Homemade Taco Bell Mexican Pizzas:

INGREDIENTS:
1 package tostada shells (or, you can deep fry flour tortillas...way too much work, but probably really tasty)
1 can refried beans
1/2 lb. taco meat (I used the recipe here)
shredded cheese (cheddar, colby jack, or a mexican blend)
1 jar taco sauce (I used Old El Paso brand, and I'm now addicted!)
1 chopped tomato (optional)
1 can sliced black olives (optional)
a few sprigs chopped green onion (optional...I actually didn't use these, but they would have been good!)

sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Layer tostada shell with beans, meat, taco sauce and cheese.  Place another tostada shell on top.  Cover that with taco sauce, olives, tomatoes, onions, and more cheese.  Bake in 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  

What's so great about these little guys is that the recipe is totally flexible!  I made a batch of these on a Friday without the meat, and they were very good.  They make for a very quick and easy lunch for the kids, and depending on the ingredients you choose, can also be pretty healthy.  You can also just do a single shell with all the toppings, which is even easier...that's what I did with the meatless ones.  I'd like to try and find a good homemade re-fried beans recipe that uses black beans, as we prefer that to the traditional canned kind, but the canned ones worked just fine.  

Oh, and that link for the taco meat recipe has a fantastic cheese enchilada recipe with a sour cream sauce that is just awesome!  

Enjoy!  And, hop on over to the City Wife, Country Life blog to see what other people are making for Tasty Tuesday =)

 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Because We All Need a Little Cajun Fun in Our Lives, Cher!



And, because we're cool like that, we actually passed by Booth's Grocery last summer when we went crabbing in Rockefeller:

"B-O-O-T-H comma to da top S" 


And, here are a few of us actually catching some crabs (or at least trying), Louisiana style =)
 
Natalie and her cousin


Me and Andrew


My Handsome Husband


One of my most treasured photos! - My Mom, Me, and my girls, Natalie & Rachel

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