Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

well, today began the weekend my kids have been looking forward to for a month. when else can you spend two days dressing up, playing make believe...and getting tons of candy? the last day of october (all hallows eve) and the first day of november (all saints day), of course. so, we began our meager preparations on wednesday evening by carving our pumpkins. it had been so cold outside that there was frost inside of the pumpkins.
of course, it took some debating, but in the end we ended up with batman and princess dora...
and a sock monkey and a, um, er, window scene...i'm not even going to talk about that one. that's what our oldest calls "picking out something really easy so she can carve it herself and then expecting me to do it but getting mad that she can't do it because she didn't pick something simple like a face which i asked her to." but i digress.
then, last night we put the finishing touches on costumes like making a sheath for a sword and a whip out of a toilet paper tube, yarn and electric tape. i was rather proud of the whip. i felt like macgyver. and tonight, we put a grand spread of candy out on our porch and our little monkey, indiana jones and not so little ninja headed out to get some candy of their own.and did they ever get the fact, they brought home enough candy to build a "fort."we all had a wonderful night. i found myself enjoying it as much as the kids. this is something that we have dreamed of for our kids for years now. you see, while we lived in the city there was nowhere to trick or treat around our house that was safe. so, we would always load the kids up in the car and head off to somebody else's development. so this year it was such a blessing to be able to walk right out of our door and go. we saw that halloween in our development is such a family thing. the sidewalks and streets were teaming with costumed kids...with their brothers and sisters...and their parents. people were out in their driveways with their neighbors handing out candy and having a wonderful time. and the weather was beautiful too. tonight just added to the blessings we have received since moving here.
tomorrow night we will be having an all saints day party at our parish. so stay tuned for pictures of saint agnes, saint george and saint elizabeth/helen/gianna/blessed kateri/our lady of guadalupe...depending on the final decision our littlest little person.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just As I've Expected

i knew that the values in this country were off kilter and that liberals are against any sort of mocking or ridiculing of long as they aren't conservative, pro-life or for real family values. in that case, it's open season. but this double standard just takes all of the cake that i can bake.

Simply Monday - October 27th

for today...

outside my window - it is still dark but not too chilly this time around. the weather this weekend was rather nice for the end of october but the weather man says it's going to get chilly this afternoon.

i am thinking - that i don't have time to search again for holy cards for the all saints party on saturday. you would think since i ordered them in the middle of last week that the company would have told me before today that they were backordered and they estimate they will be here in thirty days.

from the learning rooms - it's a slow go. last week was a hard one with alot of tears and such between my daughter and i. she is finding this year to be her first experience where she really has to try at schoolwork and has pretty much been operating under the guise that something is wrong and she shouldn't have to try. there are things we have been working on for two weeks now and she is not on iota closer to having them under her belt. i would not expect her to have them down pat in this period of time, but let me restate this...she's not one inch closer. we had a big talk and she promised through tears that she would try as hard as she could while i assured her through tears (i guess we are cut from the same sensitive cloth) that we wanted her here at the house to learn...but that doesn't change the fact that she needs to learn. it was a rough week. i've been feeling like a failure in the schooling arena especially lately. i hope this week starts looking up.

i am thankful for - finally getting the situation with the bug company and the whole theft thing sort of ironed out. they finally agreed to cancel our contract without any penalty. i personally think we should get it in writing. they never acknowledged the theft or apologized or repaid us for the items stolen but since they rarely would take or return our phone calls we decided that we needed to get to the most important part of the deal while we had them talking with us.

from the kitchen - i finally made (some) of the applesauce the other day. unfortunately, it is all still in my refrigerator in containers. i need to take it out this evening, warm it up and can it. then i have some cauliflower that i need to turn into soup and some more apples calling my name. at least dinner will be easy, meatball subs from the crock pot with the homemade meatballs. this also means really yummy sauce that is leftover for the week to be used in the middle of grilled cheese sandwiches and on homemade pizza.

i am wearing - a monkey suit, a ninja outfit and some miscellaneous pieces of indiana jones other words, trying to keep all of my children's halloween costumes within eye shot until they get dressed on friday evening. otherwise, something is bound to walk off to the land of no return and them i'm going to be left to "fix" it.

i am reading - "100 people who are screwing up america" by bernard goldberg. while i don't agree with everything he says and exactly how he thinks the united states should end up, this has been a great read so far. it's shocking to me that he could say the things he does about liberals and such and still have this be a nyt best seller.

i am hoping - that nothing happens this week that isn't already on the schedule. last week was permeated by surprise doctor's appointments that needed to be made and other things that cut into school time and also nap time (which i am the most saddened to report).

i am creating - a small unit study to use this week on the election for the kids. it would be promising if i actually get it finished before next tuesday.

i am hearing - my husband waking up the children and them saying/whining "noooooo, we can't get up while it's still dark. something has to be wrong." hmm, never mind the fact that they get up before dark oh, let's see, every day.

around the house - laundry needs to be done like always. i was going to start a load last night to get a jump on it but our entire development did not have water. i don't know what happened but it went out about seven in the evening. thank the good Lord it is back this morning. at our old house we were out for two days last year and that was not a fun two days for me and the kids at the house all day.

one of my favorite things - is when my husband comes home from work at normal time. he usually works overtime which equates to about a ten or eleven hour day. it's getting old and i'm getting tired. i know i should be thankful he still has a job...i am, trust me. we just need to slow down our weekends so that i can recoup before starting into another marathon week.

a few plans for the rest of the week - little flowers today, spanish and piano tomorrow and hopefully getting some new mums for the front porch (mine went to the great land beyond) at the auction, wednesday is naps, thursday has gymanstics and irish dance, friday...hey, naps prep for trick or treating in the evening and saturday is the all saints party, organized by yours truly.

here is a picture thought i am sharing with you -
ah, the torture of being made to eat one bite of everything that is on the table...when you swear that you don't like a single one of them.

have a good week, pray for the election and check out the other day book entries over at peggy's.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Simply Monday - October 20th

for today...

outside my window - it is still dark and rather chilly. fall has definitely taken hold and winter is on its way. as far as the darkness goes, it always makes me laugh when we get the kids up and they say, "why are you getting us up now, it's still it can't possibly be time to wake up."

i am thinking - that at least three out of five days today include time for "nap time." jack pot!

from the learning rooms - it's week seven and things are still trucking along, which i am very grateful for. slacking in a few areas...ahem, science and latin. but it's just not here and there slacking, it's as totally missing slacking. so that's better right? then it can be done in its own intensive unit way...right? :) the little man is also doing much better than i anticipated and really enjoying himself. he finished his first phonics book last friday, which was supposed to take him until christmas to complete so that is good news. i guess i underestimated him. he really has a good grasp on it all too and is overjoyed to be reading his first few basic words but not upset that he isn't able to read more. and that is a very good combo for me as teacher. 'cause then i can stick with the phonics that i truly love and believe work like no other method of teaching reading and not have to interject those little books "to boost your child's confidence, entertain them and make them think they are learning to read but their actually only memorizing what tons of different words look like and when asked to sound something out they are up a creek." (says she who just started her sentence with "'cause"...literary me, i know). oh sure, i'm all for sight words and know that there are some that only work that way...but not every word in the english language is a sight word.

i am thankful for - a very blessed weekend. saturday was very busy with a spiritual retreat for liturgical ministers at my parish in the morning and then a trip to baltimore with "the band" to play for a youth mass and holy hour there. and we actually made some money, so we can actually buy some recording time. all in all on saturday, i was blessed to attend mass twice (one for saturday and one for my sunday obligation) and spend time with Jesus exposed in the Eucharist on the altar three times. yippee! :) then last night we attended a dinner sponsored by our parish to support our parish school. the tickets are rather expensive but we were asked to attend by someone else and therefore had a wonderful night out for free. we were also able to sit at a table with some friends and some others whom we got to know. the conversation at the table turned political and to life issues and i would please ask you to keep everyone at the table in your prayers. those who are trying to uphold the sanctity of life and those who believe in that sanctity but do not believe they should push that belief on others. all in all it was a very good discussion and i believe there will be some wonderful fruits that come of it.

from the kitchen - well, today better include banana bread or else those bananas are going to adhere themselves to my counter.

i am wearing - the classiest cream business suit w/ a skirt you ever did see. black calf high boots with a stellar heel. my hair is in a great up-do and i have on some trendy gorgeous spectacles...oh, no. wait. that was governor palin when she was here in lancaster on saturday. and i had to miss her...again.

i am reading - well, i was trying to read "happy times in noisy village to my kids" but it is due today and when i tried to renew it, the system wouldn't let me because somebody has a hold on it. i hate how they don't tell you that beforehand so you can plan ahead for that. anybody have a copy they want to lend me?

i am hoping - to get some things done around the house this week since we have a bit of a laid back schedule this week.

i am creating - a few history unit studies and hopefully something else...i would allude to the secret project, but why bother. it's old hat, procrastination and poor time management now.

i am hearing - the clicking of the keyboard and other than that...silence. that is definitely my favorite benefit of getting up early. i certainly don't have that for the rest of the day.

around the house - there is laundry to be done, just like every monday. and the basement needs major straightening if i am to get any sewing done or know where the heck all of our school manipulatives and games are.

one of my favorite things - is spending time with my family just being. i just love when we are able to spend time here at the house all together without running here and there.

a few plans for the rest of the week - schoolwork of course, possibly some time at the library and "the band" traveling to a parish south of here to play for a holy hour (and get paid a little bit more to put to the recording money).

here is a picture thought i am sharing with you - there's nothing like having one of your favorite uncles visit and push you in your swing...
...and your car. :)

don't forget to take a hop, skip and a jump over to peggy's to check out all of the other daybook entries.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Just As I've Suspected

take a look at this story that mary ellen posted today. it affirms what we've been saying here at the ole' homestead for quite some time. many people...getting the wool pulled over their a talking...cult of personality...that they have no idea what he stands for. ugh. and double ugh.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


well, i'm sitting here watching ann what's her face talking to six poor souls and doing every thing she can to spin the facts and what they say to show how up a creek mccain is and what kind of a gift from above obama is. and you know what? i'm angry. i'm angry at the media who thinks they are so darned important that they should be able to latch on to a candidate from day one and then tell us what to think. and, i'm angry that so many of us allow the media to tell us what to think. we just lie down and take it and follow where they lead like sheep. it doesn't matter that this man lied through his teeth when he answered the question dealing with roe v. wade. when he is able to sit there, while supposedly fleshing out everything that he stands for, and completely backtrack against what he has already said about how he will pick supreme court justices and how he wants to insure that a woman can kill her child without asking anyone (insert his popular quote about the difficult decision between a woman and her spouse, minister, etc), without getting anyone's permission and at any time she wants to up until that child's body fully makes its entrance into the world on it's own. i'm frightened that the american people are allowing the wool to be pulled over their eyes by a slick talking man that seems to have all the answers all the time...even if the answer isn't the same twice.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Simple Monday - October 13th

outside my window - it is dark and still a bit brisk, but it will only stay that way for a short time. today it is supposed to be in the upper seventies. it is october, right?

i am thinking - that i am truly afraid of what is going to happen in our country if obama becomes president. there have been many times that i have not liked a presidential candidate and hated to think what would happen if and when they were elected but his extremism and total disregard for life are just appalling and frightening.

from the learning rooms - we are entering week six of school. we have made it without any big issues and we are still on schedule as we should be...except for science. that always seems to fall by the wayside. arrgh. (look at that. i started out this heading feeling good and now i'm thinking how much of a science slacker i am. :) )

i am thankful for - my husband using a personal day (hopefully, if it's approved) this coming friday. the busyness of our weekends and the earliness of our days has me totally wiped out.

from the kitchen - i will make the applesauce this week, i will make the applesauce this week...say it with me now...

i am wearing - a floor length blue chiffon gown with a high neck and diamonds...lots of diamonds. my hair is in a terrific up-do which greatly accents my elegant blue feather boa and diamond tiara...i just really wanted to say something other than the same work out clothes...oh, and while we're at it, my children are perfectly groomed and well mannered.

i am reading - so much about this election it makes me want to vomit. it's so hard to wade through everything they want you to see and think and be able to find some truth with which you can do your own thinking. i guess that's what they want to avoid...thinking.

i am hoping - that the person from the company, which we had a problem with, will finally call my husband back today and we can get a suitable solution to the problem. it involves a service person and theft from our home so the better business bureau won't touch it and i'm not one to even think about the lawyer route...we just need to be let out of our contract without penalty at the least.

i am creating - a plan to use the american girl cookbooks and craft books for a fun day or two with my oldest to reinforce what we are studying in history right now. and i got derailed, but i'm heading back to the secret project again.

i am hearing - the cat purring, crickets and my husband doing a few things around the house before the kids get up.

around the house - there is a load or two of laundry to be done but like a week's worth to fold. i have no problem getting it washed and dried. it's just the folding and putting away that alludes me. isn't that somebody else's job?

one of my favorite things - is a day when we can all take a nap. those days are much too infrequent.

a few plans for the rest of the week - some activities, some school work and much general tidying of the house for my brother in law's visit at the end of the week.

here is a picture thought i am sharing with you -most people would call it camel and that's that. i say, "turn it on it's side and you've got a penguin diving into icy water." and yes, this is what i do with my spare time.

don't forget to step in over at peggy's to take a gander at the other super gee golly terrific day book entries.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We Were Off To See The Wizard

for the past two weeks we have been reading "the wizard of oz" at bedtime. we had promised the kids that we would watch the movie when we finished. and, since we finished the book last night, tonight was the night. since the kids had been waiting for this i wanted to make it something more special than popping in a video. so what else is there to do but have a theme dinner. i just love them. so, while the kids were watching the first half of the movie in the living room, my husband and i put together a feast just right for our munchkins. we whipped up "lion's courage elixir." otherwise known as black cherry kool aid (which we thought was going to be treat because they never get stuff like this, but they thought it was gross)"lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" animal crackers"tinman's axes," which were candied fruit slices with pretzel sticks for handles"scarecrow's stuffing," shoestring french friesand "follow the yellow brick road" pizza cut into bricks (my husband is a stickler for details some times)this was all laid out for them on blue gingham placemats to match dorothy's dress.and what trip down the yellow brick road is complete without a visit to the emerald cityconstructed out of lime knox blocks and reddiwip?

after dinner we finished up the movie and sent them off to bed. we had a wonderful night and it was so fun to do it with them.

Feasts, Farm Shows And Utter-ly Amazing Views

well, despite my lack of posting, we have been busy little beavers around here. on tuesday we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. i read to the children during the afternoon about this special day and then while they napped/had quiet time i baked up a little surprise. that evening (while i was out at music's for "the band" man...ha,ha) my delightful husband helped them frost the surprise i had baked. yes, it must travel with the last name to have feast days revolve around cake. ;) a big ol' hat tip, thank you and "i love you" to my husband for this one. because we all know, when you add together an eight year old, a five year old, a two year old and some never know what will happen. but there you have it. a very messy and sticky rosary (or at least a finger rosary, for the life of me i couldn't figure out what i would do with over fifty cupcakes for a full one, or where i would find all of that space to display it, crazy, yes, but i did ponder it).

on thursday we met friends of ours (who are also our neighbors) at the manheim farm show. it was family night and we were told that it was all free and there were quite a few bizarre competitions that the kids could participate in. and we were not disappointed. we missed the obstacle race, in which i'm told that one of the obstacles was jumping over the chocolate pudding "cow pie." but, we were lucky enough to witness the egg toss, the greased banana toss, the pumpkin toss (there's nothin' like grown men tossing ten pound pumpkins to each other across a baseball field) and the chicken catching contest.this is what my kids looked forward to all night long. just think twenty kids chasing after one chicken and just when you think one of them has caught it...nope, there comes the chicken between their legs and off they go again.
and just for the record. my children came nowhere near catching any of the chickens, but two of them did end up in tears. ah, childhood. they also had fun with friends...had a feeding frenzy on french fries...and one of them even ate quite alot of ketchup off of their friend's finger...other people may have stopped them. we just laughed and took pictures.

finally, today i sang at a wedding and then we ran some errands. on the way home we pulled up behind this on the interstate.we thought the view was "utterly amooosing!"

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Breakfast Sandwiches...Finally!

i am happy to report that the other day i finally tackled the task of the breakfast sandwiches. here is living color is the play by play action.

first, separate and toast your english muffins. and after they have toasted, lightly butter each half. you can do however many sandwiches you would like. if you do too few, it's not really worth the trouble. if you do too many, well, you could be here all day. i made twelve this time. it was completely bearable to make but i am rather bothered i took all that time and only have twelve in my freezer to show for it. anywho. oh, and i find that the best time to make these is when the ingredients coincide with a sale at the grocery store. for some reason our store usually has english muffins and bacon buy one get one the same week. i don't know why, but i'm not complaining.

while your various muffins are toasting, go ahead and cook your bacon. i coook mine in the microwave because i'm just not into all the grease flying around off the stove. we don't fry anything around here. i don't want to mess. if you want to cook your bacon in the microwave, line a microwave safe plate with a few paper towels and then lay out the bacon in a single file line (hee, hee). Then cover it with a few more paper towels and cook in microwave on high for about four to five minutes depending on your microwave and desired crispiness. when it's done, leave the bacon sit in the microwave...the plate, and the bacon are usually very hot. oh, and when cooking your bacon you need to have one slice for each muffin.

when you have the muffins and bacon squared away you can turn your attention to the eggs. of course, eggs are better when they come straight from the chicken...such as these. but ones from the store, of course, will work just fine. once again just like the bacon, you need one egg per muffin. cook each egg individually however you wish. i whip each of mine in a small bowl and then drop it on a hot griddle so it doesn't spread too much. when it's pretty much cooked i flip it over to get the other side. and if towards the end when the griddle is really find that your smoke detector goes off. well, pull yourself up a chair and fan it with an ad from the sunday i did. and then be thankful that your smoke detectors are hard wired through your house so if one goes off, they all go off. and then accept the fact that those same lovely smoke detectors have woke up your two year old who was napping upstairs. well, at least we know they do their job.

after all of the prep work is done it is time to assemble. on a square of paper towel, open up your muffin and place your egg, bacon and a slice of cheese on it. i find that i prefer the cheese in the middle because when you heat them back up it kind of holds the sandwich together. i have tried all kinds of cheese and they work equally well. after you have the sandwich assembled, wrap it up in the paper towel and place it in a freezer baggie. i put four of mine in a gallon sized bag but you can package however you like. then, put them in the freezer.

when you want to eat them again just pull one from the bag and put it in the microwave on high for thirty seconds, flip it over, and then do another thirty seconds. voila. a hot, ready to eat breakfast sandwich.

the original idea for this recipe was found in the frozen assets cookbook. i have tweaked it a bit here and there to fit our family. i highly recommend this book if you are into putting fully prepared food in the freezer for later use. this book is where i got my recipe for the meatballs that i prepare and freeze. i don't use the entire meal plan like it is outlined in the book, just various recipes.

Monday, October 06, 2008

In Case Anyone Is Wondering...

...the itchys were deemed poison ivy by the doctor. since the poor little boy's body is completely covered, he will be taking an oral medication which will hopefully get rid of them quickly. he makes me itchy just looking at him. now to look around the yard and figure out where he got it from. he was two places (not at our house) where there was definitely poison ivy in the past two weeks but the doctor says that there was too much time between any possible exposure there and the time he broke out. who know. i'll probably never figure it out. and on a good note, i found out my daughter doesn't have a meeting this afternoon. i didn't check my paper calendar in conjunction with my mental calendar...and you know which one of those is flawed more often than not. :) so, that means we are home for the rest of the day (except to pick up the little man's prescription). yippee!

Simply Monday - October 6th

outside my window - it is still dark and chilly.

i am thinking - that today is going to be a long day. my son broke out with some strange rash on saturday. so, today we are going to try and get as much schoolwork done before we need to leave for his doctor's appt at ten thirty and then decide whether we are going to come home or not before my daughter needs to be somewhere on the other side of town. i love living where we do now away from the city, but travels have to be planned with care.

from the learning rooms - there is alot of dawdling from my oldest. if staring off into nowhere and accomplishing nothing were an olympic sport...she would be champion of the world.

i am thankful for - not bringing all of my stuff back from the consignment sale. but, it was sheer craziness. that's a complete post in and of itself.

from the kitchen - today i am hoping to throw a loaf of bread in the machine for a meal i am taking to someone and then hopefully on to the applesauce.

i am wearing - ...yup, the workout clothes.

i am reading - multiple cooking magazines trying to jazz up our menu. i'm getting tired of cooking the same thing week after week. and who knows. they may be tired of eating it too.

i am hoping - to get my mind and my house straightened around this week and feel like i have some hold on order. things have been a jumble lately.

i am creating - some ideas on how to celebrate the liturgical calendar with my kids.

i am hearing - mostly quiet except the quiet chatter of my son in the bathroom down the hall as his daddy dries him off from his bath and covers him in hydrocortisone to stop his itchys.

around the house - there is laundry to wash and to fold (as per usual...or as per always), clutter that needs to be tamed and i really need to take all the summer stuff out of the kids drawers. i got out the pants and long sleeves but they keep showing up with shorts from somewhere.

one of my favorite things - is how my little boy's hair smells right after a bath. he always comes in and says "hey mommy, smell me. i smell good." and i have to take advantage of this right away because well, this is the little boy whose room has smelled like a locker room since he was eighteen months old.

a few plans for the rest of the week - the doctor's, little flowers, band rehearsal, spanish, piano, gymnastics, dance, nature study...oops, that's more than a few huh?

here's a picture thought i am sharing with you -
my animals put on a dancing show

have a great day and don't neglect all the other great daybooks that can be found over at peggy's.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

...and i finally pull something off.

happy feast of st. therese of the little flower! well, i would be lying if i told you that i was one of those catholic homeschooling moms that is always on top of things and every liturgical celebration here goes off without a hitch...or goes off at all for that matter. i always have the best plans. i swear i do. but usually, i frankly, just forget about them until it's too late. and i don't want all of my kids memories to be "yeah, do you remember when we finally celebrated st. patrick's day in june?" or "man, that was a cool craft we made for the may." yeah, you get the picture. so i was rather proud of myself when this morning (let's not plan too far ahead here, right?) i remembered that today was st. therese's feast day. i scoured some books i had and browsed the internet and came up with a few ideas that i thought were reasonable to accomplish in one day with three pretty small children. well of course, on the day i plan to do something fun after lunch, who should decide to take twelve years to complete her school work? yes, my third grader. so, at two thirty in the afternoon we were (finally) finishing up her school work (we had been at it since eight thirty, with only a half hour break for lunch) and i sent them all out to play (run off some of their energy that was driving me crazy) in the back yard. at three i decided that if i tried the special activities right then they wouldn't be so "special" after all, unless you think of world war three as special. we all went upstairs for quiet time/nap time and i thought that maybe we would get to the activities later. well, i am happy to report that we did. first, we made sacrifice beads with a lovely printable booklet from here. i knew that if i stopped for just a moment, i could make them without the instructions. but really, with a two, five and eight year old...who has time to stop and figure anything out. this little booklet is wonderful.

next, the kids colored pictures of st. therese acquired from waltzing matilda (check out all of her great coloring pages for tons of feast days, they are free and beautiful) while i tried to make these paper flowers. i think the people over at shower of roses had much better luck with theirs than i did with mine. next time i think i should print off the directions in higher resolution in order to actually figure out what is going on. so much for saving ink.

then we finished up our celebration with some "mini eclairs" from catholic cuisine. ours were particularly easy because they came pre-stuffed from the dairy section. i didn't have any frosting whipped up so we just melted some chocolate and spread it on the top. and whenever you can choose between butter cream frosting and pure dark chocolate from wilbur...well, the choice is quite obvious.

they even gave some of us "french" mustaches.

what a tasty end to our feast! i'm hoping to pull off another minor miracle tomorrow...say a prayer for me. :)