Friday, May 28, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

I am getting ready to visit my sister this weekend. I need a mini break to recharge for the last 4 weeks of school that the older girls have to finish. Anna has officially finished Kindergarten and is ready for 1st grade.
We have decided to send Olivia to a Catholic High School this fall. It is pricy and though we did receive some financial help, we still had to brainstorm where we could find the funds to make up the remainder. The solution: I will be teaching piano lessons again. I am excited!
Remember that cute tiny cucumber I photographed? Well, the birds are merciless and have eaten that cucumber, along with lots of blossoms. I don't know what to do! I feel like I need to launch an attack! Suggestions?
I have been reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. First of all, I am not even finished reading the introduction and I am overwhelmed and frustrated! I want to make all these changes, but the budget is tight already. Why does healthy equal expensive?
A new knitting project for a friend's baby is going to be cast on today. The pattern says it is easy, but as I started reading through, it looks a little complicated. We'll see.
The copy of Artisan Bread that I had requested from the library is finally in my hands! I made my first batch with whole wheat flour and I am pleased with the results. I still don't know if it is worth it to add this book to my collection or not.
Lastly, let us not forget all those who have paid the ultimate sacrafice for our freedom. Dan, if I wasn't with child, I would be drinking a Warsteiner in your honor today! You may be gone, but never forgotten.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I should have thought to include the recipe for those yummy rolls! The biscuit recipe I use comes from my Betty Crocker Cookbook that I received as a wedding gift from my mom.

Buttermilk Biscuits

1/4 c. shortening (I usually use butter)
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4c. buttermilk

Cinnamon Rolls

Mix the biscuit dough and roll out to a 10 x 12 inch rectangle. Spread a little butter on top (I used about 2 Tbs.) Sprinkle with about 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 c. raisins. Roll up, starting at the long end. Slice into 12 pieces. Place in lightly greased muffin tins and bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes or until browned and done in the center.


The Week in Pictures

Oh. My. Goodness! These are so easy and extremely tasty. The dough is my biscuit dough, rolled out and sprinkled with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Roll, slice, and place in muffin tins. Bake and drizzle. Enjoy!!!

This is the tree in our backyard. It provides much shade to make our afternoons outdoors pleasant. I am so grateful that this tree was not cut down when they built the subdivision. After all, it is called Michael's Woods.
I found this craft idea on the internet to keep the birds out of our garden. The kids had fun helping their dad hammer holes in the cans. Based on the bird droppings on the top of the cans, I would not say they are effective scaring devices, but they do look quaint.

Cucumber blossom

tiny cucumber

Have you met Violet? She is the same age as Anna and she is a great pet, who tolerates being the "baby" quite nicely, but does know to go hide under Sophie's bed when she is tired of the attention. We rescued her at the vet clinic on post in Georgia. She had been abandoned when her previous owners had moved.
I think she is beautiful.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Good Friends Indeed

When we lost Ben, I never had given one thought as to where I would bury my child. It is not something one spends time thinking about. As a military family, we knew our current location was not permanent, and neither Tony's family nor mine have a plot. So my father suggested we have him placed in the mausoleum, so that when we retire, if we want, we can move him close to us. Well, as you can see from the picture below, Ben earned himself a top spot, which is hard to reach, but we adapted as best we could.
Now that we no longer are nearby, we have relied on the local florist to deliver flowers for us. Friends will occasionally stop by the cemetary and let us know when to order new flowers. The florist has not been careful, however, and lately our flowers are blown away within a few days of their placement.

Yesterday, my two dear, dear friends, volunteered to pick up the arrangement and hand deliver them. They chose to use a ladder instead of our method, but I am ever so thankful that God placed these friends in my life. They have been a constant support for me. Thank you Sheila and Mellanie for all you do for our Ben. It touches me deeply that you regularly visit him when I cannot. I love you both dearly.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Seven Quick Takes- photo edition

In an attempt to be both crafty and eco-friendly, we tried to make crayons from the old broken pieces which just sit there and never get chosen. We sat in the floor, peeling paper and sorting according to hue, for quite some time. The little ones abandoned the project after a while, leaving Sophie and I to finish the job. While the colors looked beautiful, we discovered that the foil had holes in it. We had fun, but the project was a decided failure.


Sophie and our priest right after her Confirmation. The picture of her actually being confirmed was dark, blurry, and just downright disappointing. This one captures the mood much better.


My raised garden beds! These plants look so tiny and delicate, and yet they will soon fill those beds. I enjoy going out there each morning to tend to my little vegetable patch.

This loaf of Artisan Bread is one of my most beautiful so far. I wish you could hear it crackle as it cools. I thank God for allowing me to stop and enjoy the little moments of daily life that can easily be missed.

It was too beautiful to stay inside this week, so we took blankets and books outside to soak up some sunshine and fresh air.

An apple for the "teacher"!


I found these in the drum of the washer as I switched loads. Can I be accused of money laundering?
Happy Friday to you! Go to Jen's for more.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Did I hear that right?

Tonight I tried a new dish for dinner, Coconut Chicken Chili from Better Homes and Gardens. As I was cooking, Anna wandered into the kitchen to announce that she was smelling something strange. Thanks, kiddo. So imagine my surprise when I was handed the ultimate compliment from said child. As she shoveled another huge bite into her mouth, she proclaimed, "This is so good, it doesn't even need ranch dressing."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

Tony built for me two raised garden beds in which to plant my favorite veggies. The tomatoes are in, as are the tomatillos (which I have never grown before). This morning, I will add the peppers, okra, and zucchini. If he builds one more, we can add herbs! I always feel close to Our Lord when I am working in the garden.
Yesterday morning, Jack woke up and informed me that there was a red button on the pillow that, when pushed by him, would make me fall down. He pushed, I fell, he laughed that deep belly laugh. This pattern continued until I found a purple button that made me tickle him.
I keep meaning to write a post about Sophie's Confirmation day. It was hectic and beautiful. I still cannot fathom that my daughter will be leaving the nest in a few short months. How can 17 years go so quickly? I am so proud of her.
I have been reading "Good Discipline, Great Teens" by Dr. Ray Guarendi. The advice is not anything new, but a reminder that if we want extraordinary children, we must raise them in an extraordinary environment. The main point that I have taken from this book is that not only will we meet with opposition from our kids on what we feel is appropriate, but also from other parents who feel we cannot protect our kids forever. I'm sticking to my principles.
Last night, as I bathed two very dirty but happy children, I realized that it's that time of the year. The time when they play outside all day, exploring our little patch of suburbia, finding treasures such as tiny rocks, dandelions, and ladybugs. They come in only to refuel and then head back out on their expeditions. They are barely recognizable in the evening, covered in dirt and sweat. Daily bathing is mandatory. I love it.
I have entered the clumsy pregnant phase. This week, I keep running into things like the corners of counters and the railing on the steps. I knocked my coffee cup off the counter while sweeping the floor. A pile of ingredients collects at my feet as I cook each meal. Despite all this mess, I smile every time I pass a mirror and see my rounded belly and can't wait to hold this new little gift from God.
To all the moms out there, may you have a Blessed Mother's Day!
Visit Jen to read more.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Anna's new dress

I found this cute dress pattern on the Ravelry website. (If you knit or crochet, this is a great source for patterns.) It was quick and easy and the results were pleasing to both Anna and me. I made a few modifications to the pattern to make it more modest, but overall I followed the pattern.

This is not the best picture of Anna, but you can see the length of the dress.

I will probably make this dress again, and I will do a better job on the finishing touches. Hopefully!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jam Day

I had planned to get lots of book-schooling done today. Sometimes, plans change. A friend called and invited us to pick strawberries. I decided it was a field trip kind of day instead! Here are the troops, marching into the fields, bags in hand to collect a scrumptious treat.

He looks so enthused to be out there, doesn't he? Looks can be deceiving, though. He had fun and in typical Jack fashion, managed to make a mess I didn't think was possible with only strawberries.
Now here is someone who looks like she is enjoying herself! She flitted from plant to plant like a butterfly.

We headed back in with our bags heavy with fruit and smiles all around as the breeze kept us cool and the clouds kept the sun from beating down. It doesn't take long to collect lots of berries when there plenty of hands. I had a huge job ahead of me when we got home.

Here is my jam helper. We made 11 pints of freezer jam, and a strawberry crisp for dessert tonight, plus a huge container of ripe berries are still in the fridge to snack on.

What a wonderful day with my kids! Tomorrow we will open the books. Maybe.