Thursday, September 29, 2011

Daily Science Lesson

After dinner last night, Natalie decided to sit the family down for a "lesson" on the Solar System.  Did you know, for instance, that the earth is the closest planet to the sun?  Or, that Pluto doesn't exist anymore?  Me neither!  During her little mini-course I sat in my recliner, and just took in the scene that was taking place.  Natalie was rattling on about shooting starts, the different types of moons (full moon, half moon, etc...), and how when it's summer in one area of the world, it's winter in another.  Then, Rachel started chasing Andrew in circles around Natalie's dry erase easel/classroom with a bulb syringe fresh from Luke's nose.  Natalie responded in her best whiny teacher voice, "Hey!  You guys need to stop that and listen!"  (I have no idea where she gets that from ;).  And I just had to laugh, because these are the moments that I love the most about being a parent.  You just can't make this stuff up.  These kids are just so cute and funny, and they have no qualms about being themselves.  There's no worry about human respect and "what people will think about me."  This is why I love being a close-knit family, spending time together, and just enjoying each others company.  This pure, unadulterated, raw, honest-to-goodness family life.  It's the best!....we could probably use a unit study on planets, though

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

Because no one's morning is complete without Army Men in their oatmeal....


And of course, monkey-see, monkey-do...


No worries, though, those men held their own, and started to fight back...
And, for the record, I in no way encouraged or instigated this behavior.  Note to self:  never walk away from the breakfast table when young children are involved....

 

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Feel Like a Science Experiment!

I walked into my laundry room a while back, and the first thing that met my eyes was this:



That's right....strange things growing in jars of water.  Some of them even looked like this:


...with long, tentacle-like growths on  the bottom.  They were supposed to be sweet potato plants, but Phil chopped them up when we were getting ready to plant our fall garden.  Oh well....maybe next year I'll grow sweet potatoes.  

For Real, Y'all!

Hi!  Remember me?  Anyway...lately I've been giving a lot of thought to the whole 'real food' movement that seems to be sweeping the nation.  Or I guess it's sweeping the nation...it seems to be all over the place from where I'm sitting.  People blog about it, they put articles on Facebook about it, it's in the media.  Either way, it is being brought to my attention from various sources quite a bit lately.  My two favorite sources for real food information are from The Catholic Foodie and 100 Days of Real Food.  My first foray into learning about real foods, and why they are important came from The Catholic Foodie.  I first started reading Jeff's blog and listening to his podcast for 3 main reasons:  I like to eat, I'm Catholic, and his wife is a fellow homeschooling Mom in my community.  So, when I listened to one of his podcasts about real food (I think it was the one he did on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution show that was going to be aired at the time), it really kind of opened my eyes to the dangers of highly processed foods.  But, only a little bit...like a tiny slit in one of my eyes...probably the right one, since it is weaker.  I agreed with what he was saying, but not ready to take the plunge.  "You mean I have to give up cream of mushroom soup!!! and, Velveeta?!?!  What planet are you from?  Don't you know I was taught that the secret to half of my Mom's favorite recipes I ate growing up contain at least one, if not both, of those ingredients?!", I thought to myself.  

Now, fast forward 6 months or so and enter the 100 Days of Real Food blog.  She pretty much confirmed my fears...no, absolutely no Velveeta products, or cream of anything!  The funny thing is, despite my initial hesitancy to give up those kinds of things, every time I go to the store now, I just can't make myself buy some of that stuff anymore (although, I do still use it on rare occasions, but not regularly like I used to).  I mean, I still use processed foods, but less than I used to.  And, I have a feeling that the conversion is slowly and continually still taking place - I'm no St. Paul, you know ;).  At the 100 Days of Real Food site, she pretty much went cold turkey with her family for 100 days...that was their mission, and after the 100 days they never went back.  I really like her site, because she doesn't have all kinds of weird recipes with things you can't even pronounce, let alone find in your grocery store.  She actually has recipes for homemade mac'n'cheese, goldfish, and ice cream for crying out loud!  And other recipes, too ;)  Her recipes are regular recipes that I am familiar with, but are made with fresh ingredients, and without all the extra junk that comes from processed foods.  

I think the problem with getting on the real food bandwagon for me is fear...fear of losing what I consider to be normal, safe, and comfortable....and, of course, easy!  Real food preparation takes a little more work.  But, in my effort to ease onto the wagon gently (don't want to go toppling over now, do we?!), I've discovered that it's more fun to cook real food!  I have always loved to cook, and there's a real sense of accomplishment when I serve a meal that was prepared with good, healthy ingredients from scratch...and it tastes WAY better!  Plus, it kind of feels like cheating when I use the already prepared meals (although it has been a LONG time since I've used one of those, even though I only recently discovered the term 'real food').  It's kind of like the difference between using a paint by number, and creating your very own work of art.  The paint by number is okay, but to create a real masterpiece is infinitely more beautiful.  It also takes practice.  I've burnt and ruined many a meal in my quest as a married woman to create tasteful, wholesome meals for my family.  

What I love about The Catholic Foodie site is that Jeff is local to New Orleans, so his recipes are all about Cajun/Creole goodness, which totally speaks my language!  He has other stuff, too, but those are the one I like the most.  I LOVE good Cajun cooking, and I'm learning that it can be done in a nourishing way, which is great, because I'm all about learning how to switch over to real foods where I can, but I am definitely NOT willing to give up my Cajun foods!  Take away my gumbo, and I won't be a happy woman.  

I should clarify...don't be fooled into thinking I have completely switched over, because I haven't.  While I agree with the concept, and would like to start implementing more real foods into my daily routine, there are just some things that I struggle with.  First of all is the whole 'organic vs. non-organic' debate.  As a general rule, organic is better, but I pick my battles there.  I know many people would LOVE to have a completely organic diet from locally grown sources (meat,eggs, butter, vegetables, fruit, milk, any and all of those), but for some it's not that readily available, or it's not affordable, or both.  I tend buy a mix of both, depending on the price of the item in question.  I should probably start going to the Farmer's Market, too, but with 4 young kids, it is really difficult (and exhausting!) to have to go to several different stores to purchase the foods we need to eat in a 2-week period....any suggestions there would be welcomed =).  Then there's the white vs. wheat issue.  If I'm buying breads, I buy 100% whole wheat with no high-fructose corn syrup.  If I'm making bread, I use white flour.  Although, lately I have been wanting to try incorporating some stone ground whole wheat into my white bread recipes, even if it is just a little at a time, so that eventually we can have more wheat than white in our diet.  Dinner rolls, french breads, hamburger buns, pistolettes, cinnamon rolls, etc...those are breads I make on a regular basis...I buy sandwich bread.
 
I also still allow some junk (it's hard to say no to Zapp's and oreo cookies!), but slowly we are getting there.  Living in the country helps.  We raise our own beef (but still buy store bought from time to time), and will hopefully get a milk cow in the not too distant future.  We are planning on adding chickens in the spring (hopefully both for eggs and meat!).  We raise our own pork, but they aren't pastured...hopefully that will come with time, as we are able to fence in a good area of our land to keep them in.  Our garden is growing, too.  Last summer, Phil built me four raised garden beds....


...which produced quite a nice harvest this year!:

And this summer he expanded my garden to include a much larger, more traditional garden with rows:


although, the kids prefer to use it as a playground....
Rachel just preferred to watch:
We actually just planted our fall garden last weekend.  We planted broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, lettuce, turnips, beets, carrots, spinach, snow peas, and various kinds of squash.  Hopefully it makes something!


I think she was mumbling about child labor laws or something....




 here is the real muscle behind all our garden work...

 working hard, or hardly working??


So, there you have it...my thoughts on the whole 'real food' thing.  Where do you fall on the spectrum?  Do you eat only real foods, could you care less, or are you somewhere in between, like we are?  I guess to sum it up in one sentence is that I strive for balance and moderation, but opt for real when I can....except when I am craving a Coke and a Big Mac ;)
 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm a Little More Country Than That

If you weren't born and raised as a Country Girl, then you had better earn the title.  And, while I'm not 100% there, as of this past weekend, I am definitely one step closer.

Phil and the kids put up a very lovely, bona fide, 3-wire clothesline for me!  I guess the fact that I am giddy like a kid in a candy store over it makes me even closer to earning the title of Country Girl ;)

Here are my hard workers, fixing to put a second coat of paint on the clothesline posts.  I actually inherited this clothesline from my Mother-in-Law, and if I were a betting woman I would put money on the fact that my Father-in-Law built these posts, but I don't know that for sure.  Either way, I have a REALLY nicely constructed clothesline, and it has sentimental value, too =).  I'm sure Phil's Mom will love seeing her Grand-kids running around 'her' clothesline while I hang clothes, or helping me put the clothes out on the line, too.  

Of course, Natalie thought she was way more knowledgeable about how to do the painting, so here she is telling the others, "you have to dip the paintbrush just like this!..."  She's definitely the oldest child, and I love her initiative.....sometimes ;)

Rachel was really excited to be included...usually she is "too little", so she felt like a big girl this day!  I love watching the girls together.  It makes me happy to think they might one day have the kind of friendship I have with my sisters.
 
Here is the span of the clothesline.  Don't ask me how wide it actually is...I have no idea (you can knock a point from my Country Girl status for that one ;).  All I know is that I can fit about 3 loads of laundry on that thing!

Rachel quickly lost interest in painting the post, and decided to just decorate the newspaper, instead :)

Luke really wanted to crawl over and get in on the action.....

....but, the task of keeping his little knees off the concrete kept him too busy to get to where he wanted to go.

Here it is, all finished!  Isn't it great?!?! 

 I don't know what it is, but there is such simple beauty in clothes on a clothesline, blowing in a summer breeze.  I especially love seeing my cloth diapers hanging out there.  Ahhhh!  It's the simple things in life that mean the most....  

While I must keep working on earning the Country Girl name, my kids have no need...they were simply born with it.  Well, Andrew & Luke fall more under the 'Country Boy' category, but you know what I mean ;)




Saturday, July 9, 2011

Is It Logical?

I am not sure how many of you have been following the Father Corapi scandal, but I really haven't.  I mean, I know enough about it to carry on a discussion if someone asks me about it, but I really don't know all the sordid details and such.  I also know that it saddens me to see this type of scandal, yet again, smear the beauty of our Catholic Faith.  However, what saddens me more is some people's response to the situation.  A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook about the latest news concerning Father Corapi's situation, and, of course, it generated all kinds of different comments and opinions on her Facebook page.  Most of them were from Catholics, saying we should pray for him and the Church, which, in my opinion, is a good response.  There was one woman, however, who said, "Another reason that I am no longer Catholic."  Now, most of the time, I don't get into debates and such on facebook, because I do not think it is the right platform for that.  It's just too easy for your words to be misconstrued and misinterpreted.  But, there are a few instances, like the time I got into a debate with a woman about allowing her little girls to wear bikinis, that I feel like something really does need to be said or defended...don't worry, I was not on the pro-bikini side...pro-life, yes; pro-bikini, no.  Good, glad we got that out of the way.  Moving right along.  I felt like this was one of those instances that I needed to say something, because where is the logic in her statement?!?  Here was my response to her comment:

"...what some Catholics/priests/religiou​s do to violate the Truths of the Catholic Faith should have nothing to do with who you are as a Catholic. The Church was still founded by Christ, irregardless of how poorly we live it out. I mean, using that logic, I should quit being wife and mother because of all the other women out there who abuse their children and cheat on their husbands. Besides, the cases of good, solid Catholics and priests are probably much higher than the negative ones...the media just ops out of showing those cases all the time, because, unfortunately, scandal sells...whether in secular or religious news"

Please excuse my horrific grammar...when I get passionate about something, I don't proofread very well.  I also followed with a comment saying that I was not, in anyway, trying to be condescending or anything like that, and that it was just some points to ponder.  She never responded back, but I hope that she saw my point.  If anything, maybe a seed was planted.   So, in the meantime, let us pray for our priests, that they may be good shepherds to the flock.  And, also, for the conversion of souls. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Just Another Reason....

....that I am not interested in having a pet live indoors in addition to children:


Eventually, those will be finished projects that I can share here =)  In the meantime, that little Luke sure does keep us on our toes!  He's quite a change from Rachel, who is the next oldest.  She was always (and still is) so quiet and cautious.  She didn't start walking until 18 months old!  This little guy is 6 1/2 months old, and is cruising everywhere.  And, boy, does he get into stuff (obviously ;)


While he can sit all by himself, he much prefers to crawl....


Yesterday, I caught him doing this (the photo is a bit wobbly, but so was he, so it was either get a decent picture, or get him from falling!):


What you can't see in the picture is that he was cracking up laughing at his big brother =)  Those two are SO cute together!  It's obvious Luke adores Andrew.  But, then he also adores the screensaver on our computer....you know, that thing that bounces around the screen, while changing shapes and colors...


What's even funnier is watching Rachel, the 2 year old, sit and watch this, saying, "circle....square....balloon...star...."  hahahaha.  I love my kids!

Needless to say, we'll take this crawling, drooling, little boy over a dog any day =)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away.....


Ok, I have a confession to make.  The nerd in me has been looking forward to the Star Wars phase of our kids' lives probably since our first son was born!  Well, at the library last week, Andrew happened to pick up one of those 'easy reader' books, and it was a Star Wars one.  He.was.hooked!  And, I promise, there was no encouragement or prompting from me!  It has a been a week full of Jedi Knights, Jabba the Hut, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and, of course, Light Sabers!  And, oh boy, is it fun!  I used to love, love, love watching the original Star Wars Trilogy as a kid, and it's really a joy to see them enjoy something from my childhood.  Andrew constructed a Light Saber out of a medicine syringe and a plastic straw...I totally slacked on the photo op there =(  And, oh my gosh, have you seen all the really cool Star Wars things you can knit and sew for your boy on the blogs these days?!?!?  I doubt I'll make any of it, but still fun to look at =)  I'm not sure who is enjoying it more, me or them.  Andrew told me the other day, "a Jedi is always on his guard...you have to watch out for Jabba the Hut!"   Then, yesterday, Natalie was hiding in the "jungle" behind the couch, and she was telling Andrew about all the things you could find in there:  "you know, Andrew, raccoons, foxes, snakes, Jabba the Hut...things like that."  Tonight, we get to enjoy the first Star Wars episode for our family movie...can't wait!  I'll leave you with one more quote....

Andrew:  "Hey Mom, how do you spell R2D2?"....love that kid!

 Oh, and may the force be with you!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sneak Peak

There's been a project in my sewing queue that I've been really wanting to work on, and I finally got the chance to start on it yesterday!  Here's a little preview:


I can't wait to see the finished result!  Oh, and for the record, that costume material is a beast to work with!  I mean, just sewing two pieces together is fine, but finishing the edges is darn near impossible without a serger.  So, I have been getting some good practice with the zig-zag stitch on my machine.  Hope everyone is having a nice Father's Day weekend!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Little Thoughts

Been awhile since I've done one of these (or, any blog post, for that matter ;)

 While bathing the kids:
Rachel:  "Can I have one?"  (referring to some liquid shampoo)
Andrew:  "Can I have some, too?"
Me:  "Sure."
I give a little bit to each of them, and Rachel proceeds to wash her hair, but Andrew says "Now what??"
Me:  "Wash your belly."
Andrew:  "Do I put my hands in the water first?"
Me:  "Yeah, you can."
So, he puts his hands in the water and rubs them together...
Me:  "Can you wash your hair?"
Andrew:  "Nah...I don't think so."
....of course not.  Now it's Natalie's turn to bathe, and she has this big, red splotch on her tummy:

Natalie:  "You have to be gentle when you bathe me, because Andrew speared me."
Me:  "What do you mean 'he speared' you?"
Natalie:  "He took his sword and put his broken screwdriver on the end of it, and made a spear, then speared me with it."
Me:  "Oh, I'm so sorry..."

Soooo, let me get this straight:  the boy can't wash his own hair, but he can fashion a spear using a Nerf sword and a plastic screwdriver???  Sounds par for the course =)  That boy is too silly!  Later, we were watching Peter Pan, and we got to the part where Peter goes to bring Tiger Lily back to her Father. Wendy is in the background saying, "Peter, oh Peter, wait for me!" Andrew says: "Ugh! She is SO slow, right?!"....awww, it was his first real experience at being completely baffled by women! That boy has a long road ahead of him ;)  

Oh, the difference between boys and girls never cease to amuse amaze me.  I do love those children, and how much silliness and fun they bring to my life!

Although, sometimes a little peace and quiet is good, too....;)



~~~~~

Rachel: "I don't want my hamich (aka sandwich); I want to hit Wuke's back."
Me: Uhhhh, I'm gonna say 'no' to that one.
~~~~~
The other day, Natalie decided to put labels on everyone.....incorrectly O_o:
they boy's name is Luke!


~~~~~
A cousin of ours: "What did y'all do with all the crawfish you peeled?" Me: "put it in the freezer." Natalie: "yeah, to make crawfish staytoufee..."


 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another Day in the Life

A continuation of the silly antics that go on in my house hold =)

She's either going to be a very popular trend-setter, or have no friends at all, except for me:
she was cold....the main outfit was really cute, but once she stared adding the warming elements, things started to go downhill, and she turned us into "that weird homeschooling family"!
Rachel was tiptoeing around the house, so I asked her what she was doing, and she said "I'm scared."  Me:  "scared of what?"  Rachel:  "I'm scared!!"  Ok...fine.

Oh, yesterday, Luke ate his first solid food!  Natalie was really excited, because I let her have the honor of administering the first feeding =).  He had sweet potatoes, of the organic variety, and he seemed to like it.  He was definitely interested, so I think we are going to have a good eater on our hands!  I probably took enough pictures of this event that if you printed them, and then flipped through them quickly enough it would be like watching the whole thing on video, but I won't subject you to that...here are just a few ;)

excited to try the first bite!!
hmmm...not so sure about this
and he likes it!
 
Rachel is sitting on a blanket with Luke, playing with some toys.  She put one in front of him, and right when he started to grab for it, she took it away and said "noooooo, you can't hab it"...Then, she did it again, and again...so, I walk up and watch for a second, and when she notices me standing there, she says "Lukey can't hab it....he's too wittle."  Right...as if that justifies her teasing him with a toy!  They learn the art of aggravating younger siblings pretty quickly ;)

I think the dishes and laundry are multiplying when I am not looking....so, I better go wrap up the rest of my chores before the husband gets home and it's time for dinner.  That, and I need to go do something effective to discipline my children.  I *specifically* told them not to play in the garden, to which Natalie replied "I'm not!" (sassy responses are like nails on a chalkboard to me!), but I just went out there to FIND THEM IN THE GARDEN..."digging for buried treasure", according to Andrew.  Good grief!  Do you ever feel like you take one step forward and two steps back when it comes to ensuring your children act decent?!?!  Lately, we are on the backtrack....

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Day in the Life

When I first started this blog a little over a year ago, I did it with the intention of it being a kind of online scrapbook.  A way to remember the fun little memories that happen in our daily lives.  Sure, sometimes I go a little deeper and write about my lofty ponderings (hah!), but really, I just want to come back one day, years down the road, and read these posts and smile about the silly things the kids said and did, enjoy old family photos, and just be able to remember what life was like as a young wife and mother, raising her children - the good, the bad, and the ugly =)  So, I thought I would try something new today.  Quite honestly, I'm not really a "writer"...I'm a math nerd.  Want to know a secret?  I LOVE calculus (and geometry, algebra, and trig, too)!  So, if you're looking for good, solid literature, or deep, theological discussions then move along folks, because you won't find that here =)  What you will find (in this post in particular) are little snippets of what goes on in my day...so, let's get right to it...here is what a typical day in the life of me is like....I'm journaling freestyle today, y'all!

 8:00 a.m  looking forward to the day when the only person's pancake I have to cut is my own!

after-breakfast:  I literally just locked the kids outside, because their only form of communication seems to be shouting or shrieking this morning O_o...
11:00 a.m. Natalie locked herself in her room while punished (she was quite made at me, thus the locking of the door), and is now asleep...with me locked out! Remind me again that the child is not *acutally* 15!!!!  On the plus side, she really did need a nap, as she is getting over an ear-infection.  And, even better, I now have the opportunity to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while the younger ones play on the floor with their legos =)

Now, Rachel is pulling the lego wagon around the house, with a little toy alligator in it...she brings it to me, all excited, and says "look, Mom!  an alligator!"  Me:  "Wow!  Rachel:  "He's dead...he died"  Me:  "uhhhh, ok...how did he die?"  Rachel:  "he died!"  Me:  "Ohhhh kay"  
1:15:  Natalie is up from her nap, and still holding a grudge against being punished.....it's going to be a long afternoon.

At naptime for the two middle kids:  I go to lay down in bed with them for a few minutes, and Andrew asks me: "Mom, can you sleep with us?"  Me:  "Oh, maybe for a minute or two."  Andrew: "How about four?!"  Me: "Sounds good...four it is =)"  Rachel:  "pour it is!"  

Now, it is time for the Great Nap Debate!  Do I make efficient use of kid free time while they are asleep, and tackle the pile of dishes and laundry???  Or, do I actually lay down and ease the exhaustion??....Except Luke just put in his two cents; he's crying, so I guess both will have to wait until later.

1:45 p.m.: Natalie is back to her smiley, chatty self again =)  The barriers have broken down!  That, and I think she wants something from me...like food ;)
Andrew: "knock, knock..." Me: "who's there?" Andrew: "banana" Me: "banana who?" Andrew: "a banana who thinks you're pretty!" =)  ~a joke from yesterday~
 ***excerpt from yesterday:  Rachel: "Hey! Not pair!!! wee me awone, Mom!"....luckily for her, she finally gave in to the nap I was "unpairly" coercing her to take, so the second part of her request is now being fulfilled =)***
My kids like to play with all those plastic medicine droppers, cups, and other devices cleverly designed for getting small children to consume their yucky flavored medicines.  They like to play doctor, and give shots to each other (which I always wonder about, because they know how much they hate getting shots, so why would they want to subject their siblings to it, even if it is just for pretend?!?!)...they like to pretend to have a stethoscope, and listen to each others heart beat.  So, today, Andrew collected all his "doctor gear" in a little container.  "I'm going to be a doctor, Mom."  Me:  "Ok, have at it."  He starts to walk away, then doubles back and says "wait, I need a spoon."  Me: " A spoon?  What for?"  Andrew: "In case there's chocolate..."  Oh!  Well, of course!  Because, you never know when a yummy bowl of chocolate will just materialize while you are administering pretend shots to your little sister!

 2:45 p.m.:  There is now a craft explosion on my kitchen table.  Normally, I try to have all the kids napping/resting at the same time each day.  Andrew, Rachel, and Luke all still take naps, but Natalie is getting past that.  However, she is still expected to have quiet time while the other ones are sleeping, and for as long as the other ones are sleeping.  She knows that if she doesn't want to go nap (which she still does maybe twice a week), then she can stay up, as long as she doesn't bother me...I laid out the rule that while the little ones are napping, it is also Mommy's quiet time to get chores done, relax, read, play on the computer, or whatever.  So, today, she is crafting!  I have developed a love/hate relationship with crafts.  I'm glad that she is creative, and not vegging out in front of TV or video games all the time.  I like that she is enjoying herself and having fun on her own.  And, I even enjoy seeing the creations she makes...they can be pretty impressive at times!  What I hate is the mess!!!  All those bits and pieces of paper drive.me.crazy!  It's one of the things I have just had to let go, but it still takes effort to let it go.  But that's ok; all those little scraps of paper everywhere aren't so bad, when I look over there and see my sweet Natalie working so diligently on a project she loves =)  She's in her element!

4:45 p.m.:  Naps are over, kids are outside waiting for Dad to get home, and I didn't get near as much work done as I'd hoped, but that's ok!  It'll be waiting for me tomorrow...on to dinner prep, now!  Tonight, I am making spinach quiche with homemade pie crust!  I'm using the pie crust recipe from here, and the filling recipe from here.  I'm adjusting the filling to things I have on hand (like fresh spinach and mushrooms as opposed to frozen and canned, and Monterrey cheese).  Hope it comes out good!!!

Ok, this post turned out a lot longer than I'd thought it would, so I'm ending it here!  It was also supposed to be posted yesterday...oops!  Oh, and the quiche was really good!



Friday, April 8, 2011

Mother Knows Best...

I remember the moment I realized that my mother is way smarter than I had ever given her credit for.  The memory is so clear in my mind, it's like it happened yesterday.  I was in third grade.  We were learning how to correctly address an envelope.  I remember being excited about this, because I was the only student who had a sister who was married, and didn't live at home...I even had a baby niece!  I decided to address my envelope to my sister.  Our assignment was to complete the envelope at home.  So, I did my envelope as best I could remember, then went and showed Mom.  She very patiently corrected my mistakes and told me what to do to fix it.  I was having none of it...embarrassingly enough, I told her how wrong she was, and that I was right!  I knew, because that is how our teacher told us to do it.  Finally, Mom said calmly, "fine...turn it in like that if that's how your teacher wants it."  So, I did....and I got it back with a big, fat "F" on it!  And, to add insult to injury, she had no idea who the envelope was for, since I didn't put my name on the return address, so she had to ask the class who the envelope was for...which meant everyone saw all the red marks all over it when she was showed the class to see who it was for.  And, of course they all knew it was mine when I had to walk the walk of shame to the front of the class to get my envelope back.  Needless to say, it was mortifying, and after that I listened to my Mom's wisdom more often...well, sometimes ;)  

I just wonder how much longer it will take Natalie to come to this realization that sometimes mothers really do know best, as she sits and gets her spelling words wrong, because she refuses to look at the words on the board, because she already looked at them once, which should be enough according to her.  "Fine", I tell her, "turn it in like that, if you think that's correct"....hopefully she'll get the message when  I make her go back and write them again five more times, correctly, of course.  The problem is, there is no class to be mortified in front of, so it may take her a little longer to get the message.  *SIGH*

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Little Thoughts

~~~~~
Andrew:  "There was a farmer who had a dog, and Andrew was his name-O.  E-I-N-G-O, E-I-N-G-O, E-I-N-G-O, and Andrew was his name-O!"

=)
~~~~~
  Me:  "Hey Rach, are you ready for a nap?"
Rachel:  "No, ma'am....Natalie needs a nap!"
~~~~~
The other night Natalie was finishing up her schoolwork while I was fixing dinner.  She decided, while she was on a roll, she would do her math page for the next day.....fast forward to the next morning.  I reminded her that she didn't have any math that day, because she had done her work the night before.  She got all excited and said,

"awesome!  from now on, I'm going to do my math page the night before, so that I never have to do math in school again!!!"

The funny thing is that she *actually* thinks she beat the system on this one...I'm not even going to bother explaining that the joke is actually on her ;)
~~~~~

Monday, March 28, 2011

Getting Braver...

I've been really wanting to try my hand at making a fifty's style soda fountain dress for awhile now.  So, while spending time in Lafayette a week or so ago, I did some therapeutic shopping at Joann's.  I found this fabric to go with the Simplicity 6587 pattern (all on sale, plus a coupon, of course!):
My sister says this fabric will look really good for this pattern...we'll see!  She does have good taste, though
I think I am going to try dress A (which is the green one), and add the sash from dress B (the blue one).  I hope it comes out ok!!!  I'm pretty nervous about all those button holes...ELEVEN all together O_o:

My Favorite Time of Day

It's funny how God works.  A few years ago if you had asked me what my favorite time of day was, I would most definitely would NOT have said "oh, right after dinner when I am cleaning the kitchen."  Tonight, however, I found myself at the kitchen sink, elbow deep in warm, sudsy water.  I finished up the dishes, and had just moved on to wiping down the table, counters, and stove top when I stopped and looked around at my family.  And then it hit me...this is my favorite time of the day!  As much as I grumble and complain about all the dirty dishes, when I looked around tonight, I felt nothing but gratitude for my life.  And while I've yet to figure out why, God is SO generous to me.  I sat there and looked at my family....Rachel was sitting quietly by the fridge, playing with her alphabet magnets; Andrew was building some kind of creation on the couch out of Tupperware; Natalie was sweetly helping her Daddy put together some new swivel chairs for the island in the kitchen; and Luke was peacefully sleeping in his baby chair.  I really wish I had pictures to post for all these lovely memories, but right about the time my sentiments welled up so much that I was starting to tear up, and I decided to run and get my camera, Rachel started pelting the alphabet magnets across the kitchen; Andrew saw me break out the camera and started jumping in circles around me asking "can I see?  can I see?  can I see?...."; Phil started fussing at Natalie for getting in the way; and then all three of the older kids started fighting over who got to sit in the bar stool.  Ah, well, back to life!  At least little Luke was still sleeping, and I found time to get this blog post in ;)  I did, however, manage to get this one picture of our evening:

Rach in our new bar stools =)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Holy Chicken Stock, Batman!

Seriously, though, I have been on a stock making kick lately!  It's the best =)  I loosely follow the method I found here at the Fabulous Foods Blog.  She suggests saving vegetable scraps and meat bones in the freezer until you are ready to make a batch of stock, which I just LOVE, because I don't really have time to make stock at the drop of a hat.  So, I can keep my ingredients in the freezer until I can set aside some time to do it.  And really, it's not that time consuming.  I mean, you just put everything in a pot, cover with water, and simmer for a few hours. Basically, I put whatever vegetable scraps I've been saving into a pot (about a gallon sized freezer bag worth), then I put the meat bones (or leave them out if I'm making veggie stock), then I season with a little salt, pepper, a couple of bay leaves, and some fresh parsley.  Simmer that for a few hours, then strain, cool, and put into containers for the freezer.  The worst part is putting the stock in containers.  I recommend using storage containers that have measuring tick marks on the side, which I got from my oh so generous neighbor this year for Christmas.  And, my mother-in-law recently gave me a carton of Blessed Salt (is that supposed to be capitalized???), and I use that, so the stock is good for the body and the soul ;).  Speaking of my mother-in-law, she also saves the juice/stock when she cooks a ham for things like red beans and such.  So far, I've tried vegetable, shrimp, and chicken stock, but I am going to start saving both beef and pork bones, so hopefully I can try that soon....I think you are supposed to roast those first.  And let me tell you...that shrimp stock makes for a fantastic gumbo!!  I have a batch of chicken stock brewing as I type, so get thee to the kitchen and make some yourself! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's in Your Tea Kettle?

...and I mean besides the toy pirate ship cannons and plastic screwdriver, of course ;)


The sad part is that after I found them in there, I just put the lid back on and walked away =).  It is Sunday, after all...it's supposed to be a day of rest!!! ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sometimes God Allows It....

We were in the car the other day, and I was explaining to the kids what our alms giving project for the poor was going to be.  I was telling them the items we would put in the bags, how they could help pick them out, and that they could help assemble the bags.  Then I went on to explain how we would distribute them, and that we should pray for all those people that we give one to during Lent.  I told them that these people were homeless, and Natalie asked what that meant, so I told her it means they don't have a home; they have no where to live.  She said, "where do they sleep at night?"  I told her I wasn't sure, but probably under the bridge we pass by on our way to and from Mass.  Then Andrew asked why they had no home.  Natalie said, "sometimes God allows people to suffer."  At this point, my ears really perked up, because I was curious how she would explain this.  She just kept saying that God allows them to suffer over and over, and I could tell she was really wrestling with why God would allow such a thing.  So, I jumped in the conversation, and said gently, "sometimes God allows people to suffer, and we don't understand why...He just allows it, and it's part of His plan, and it's not something we understand, but we should trust Him, and pray for those people."  Natalie said, "yeah!  sometimes God allows people to suffer because it helps them get to Heaven faster.  And, sometimes He allows people to suffer because they have been making bad choices.  But, people can change their minds and stop making bad choices.   But, it's hard to change your mind and start making good choices if you've been making bad choices for a long time.  And, when we die, if we've been making bad choices for a long time, it will be hard to change your mind and tell God you are sorry, because Satan will be there tempting you to say 'no' to God, and it will be harder to say 'yes' to God if you have been making lots of bad choices, so we should always try to make good choices."  At the end of this long monologue, I said, "that's pretty much it, Natalie."  Wow!  I guess that is why we are called to have the simple faith of a child.  I just hope this stays with her through her teenage years!  Needless to say, we are sticking with our current religion program ;)

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Wonderful World of Legos!

In the last couple of months, Andrew has really been enjoying his Lego toys.  I am very excited by this, because it is really fun to watch him play with them, and I would MUCH rather him spend hours building all kinds of Lego creations (complete with sound effects!), than playing video games or sitting in front of the TV.  Legos are great for the imagination, and I'm sure they help with all kinds of other developmental things in children, as well.  He builds cars, trains, airplanes, tractors, insects, pirate ships, dump trucks, jails, and even.....

mobile homes:

I love that kid =)

(oh, and just as a side-note, those Fisher-Price Trio Bricks, Sticks, and Panels are really great, too)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Preparing for Lent

Last Sunday was Septuagesima Sunday, which means Lent will be here in about 2 weeks or so, and that we should start preparing for Lent.  I'm actually glad that this past Sunday reminded me that I should be getting my spiritual life ready for whatever Lenten devotions I decide upon, because things like Lent and Advent always seem to creep up on me, and I usually find myself scrounging around the day after the season begins to find proper devotions and special acts of love for Christ!  So, this year, I am going to try and *GASP*....get ready ahead of time!!!  Amazing, I know, since I tend to be the queen of procrastination.  Now, the Church asks us to prepare for the Resurrection of our Lord through extraordinary acts of prayer, fasting, and alms giving.  Normally, I do ok with the acts of prayer and fasting, because we have such great Lenten practices given to us, such as fasting and abstinence on Fridays, and the Stations of the Cross....and, of course, I usually try and do some extra self-denial in the way of sweets/soda/coffee, or any other luxury that I am blessed with.  The alms giving part is where I always fall short.  Not that I am perfect at the prayer and fasting aspects, it's just that I don't think I have ever made much of an effort at doing extra acts of alms giving.  I don't really know why I never have, but as embarrassing as that is, I just haven't.  Anyway, I have often found myself praying to Christ and asking him to help me find ways to be more generous with my abundance, and to show me ways I can aide the poor in a real, concrete way.  I mean, we tithe and all that, and I teach the kids that we should always help those in need, but it's pretty rare that they get to see that kind of thing in action.  Let's face it...putting an envelope in a basket every week at Mass doesn't exactly scream "corporal work of mercy" from a practical, hands-on example kind of way.  I just feel like it's too abstract for them to really get that there are people out there who are really suffering from poverty, and those people need our help, support, and prayer.  Our children will only learn generosity through giving.  They have no idea what real hunger is, despite the fact that they come to me a hundred times a day and saying "Mooommmmm, I'm huuuungrrrrry!"  Well, yesterday, I think I finally got an answer to my prayers.  A friend of mine told me that instead of giving money to homeless people when they encounter them, she has a box of pre-packaged bags with essential items in it that she keeps in her car, and she gives them that.  I've always struggled with how to handle the beggar on the street corner, because I don't feel comfortable giving them money, but I want to do something, and when my friend told me about what she does, I thought, "that is so perfect!"  So, this year, that is what our family alms giving will be.  The great part about it is that it can be a project that the whole family can participate and benefit from, and the kids will be able to see first hand how to serve those who are not as blessed as we are.  Especially since I'm not really at that stage where the kids and I can serve at soup kitchens, or attend rallies, or spend time with lots of hands-on giving.  One day, when they are older, I hope I engage them in that form of charity, but for now, I am kind of limited as to what I can do with 4 very young children.  But, this they can do!  They can come with me to the store to pick out the items, help us put the items in the bag, and when we come across a beggar on the street corner, which is often when we go to Mass in New Orleans, they can actually see us giving things to help those in need.  We can teach them along the way about why we are doing it, and how it will help the poor.  I think some of the things I want to put in our bags are:  travel size toothbrush and toothpaste, a bottle of water, non-perishable food items (canned items that have a pop top would probably be best), hand sanitizing wipes, etc...  Also, serving the poor should go deeper than just the material aspect, so to tie that in with prayer and fasting, for each person we give a bag to, we can offer up sacrifices for them, offer up our family Rosary and Stations of the Cross that we say during Lent, and I would also like to put either a prayer card or Rosary in the bag with their other items.  Our homily at Mass this past Sunday dealt with serving the poor, and Father told us that we can give as much as we want to help the less fortunate, but unless we show them Christ as well, then it's useless.  The whole point of this life is allowing Christ into our hearts, so that we can all get to Heaven.  And who knows...that one little Rosary could change a person's life forever.
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