Saturday, March 31, 2012

On Food

I know, you are probably tired of my food posts. But I am excited to share the stories from my kitchen this week.

First of all, I didn't plan it, but if I had, it couldn't have worked out better. On the menu for Monday night was spinach and sausage calzones. I bought a package of sweet italian sausage and a 16 oz. package of frozen spinach. I added some onions to that for the filling. Well, I had A LOT left over. As I sat there pondering, I realized I could use that as pizza topping on Thursday. Thursdays have become boring. The kids always want the same pizzas for dinner: BBQ pizza with pineapples and veggie pizza with olives, onions, sun-dried tomato, and whatever leftover veggies I happen to have.

So on pizza night, I really changed things up around here. I oven roasted an eggplant and some mushrooms and made one pizza topped with that. The second pizza I kept to the standard BBQ only for the kids sake. The third pizza I used some of the leftover calzone mixture. I could not fit it all on the pizza though, so I still had some left over. Then just because I was in the mood to change things up, I fired up the grill and cooked our pizzas outside. Yum!

Now here it Saturday and I had on the menu for us to have breakfast for supper. Guess what went into the scrambled eggs? Yep! The rest of the spinach and sausage! Then I made some hash browned potatoes and some bacon and set out the rest of the grapes. It was delicious and I did not waste any of the food I bought.

On the dairy-free experiments, I made this pudding, this granola (I did not use chocolate chips, I put in raisins and pecans instead), and this homemade ketchup. The ketchup was the perfect condiment for those hash browned potatoes this evening! I purchased some nutritional yeast this week and some kelp flakes (these were at the suggestion of my hair stylist to help with my continued hair loss even through pregnancy).

Over dinner this evening, Tony told me some interesting news. We gave up going out to eat for Lent. He looked over the budgets for the past months and informed me that we had been averaging over $200 a month on restaurants! I had no idea. He suggested using that savings to purchase some healthier food options that we thought out of our budget. I am in full agreement that restaurants are out and better ingredients are in!

Planning this week's menu is going to be such an enjoyable task. Oh, the decisions I have to make!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Young Writers Club: in which Anna interviews her Grandmother

Favorite color: green

What street you grew up on: Woodlawn Ave.

What was your favorite game when you were a kid? Monopoly.

What was your favorite card game? Old Maid.

Who was your favorite friend? Jennifer Ways

How many brothers and sisters do you have? None.

What was your Confirmation name? St. Felicity

Favorite animal? bunny rabbit

Favorite book? The Bible

Favorite show? Dancing with the Stars.

Here is the link to view all the entries in the Young Writers Club.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Clean Soul

Yesterday morning, Anna came downstairs for breakfast and the first thing she said was, "Mom, I am really nervous about my First Penance tonight." We talked, again, about what would happen. I assured her that once it was all done, she would feel so much better. We practiced the Act of Contrition over and over. She thought of the things she wanted to confess.

 We headed to the Church after dinner, but as I looked at her sitting in the pew, I could tell that she was still very nervous. Can't you? Those eyes are so telling.
 But look at those eyes now! Can't you see the radiance of a clean soul shining through? She came right back to our pew and knelt so tenderly and whispered her prayer that was her penance.
 My heart was so full. Full of love for my sweet child that received her second Sacrament. Full of joy that all our preparing led to this moment. Full of thankfulness that we have this wonderful Sacrament available to us.
And very soon, she will receive our Lord in Holy Communion for the first time.

This morning, she has told me at least three times how good she feels after having gone to Confession. And that has filled my heart the most.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yarn Along- mother/daughter time

Oh boy! I am so nervous about this newest knitting project. I am going to have to seam it together! I am not quite sure what I was thinking when I decided to try and make this bolero. Not to mention picking up hundreds of stitches to make the ribbed edge. Good grief! Then, as I started knitting, the gauge is so confusing. It says the swatch should be knit in the pattern, but it doesn't say whether the measurements are supposed to taken as it is or as blocked. That makes a huge difference.

Sometimes it is good to step out of one's little bubble of security and try new things. How else can one learn? This second picture captures the color a bit better, I think.

The purchase of this yarn led to one of those embarrassing little moments in life. The owners of the yarn shop are Jewish and as I was paying for the yarn, the kids noticed a little aquarium with a turtle in it. Running over to peek at the turtle, they broke in song, "Turtle, turtle, turtle, I made it out of clay!" Imagine turtle being pronounced "toydle" and the dreidl tune being sung. The shopkeeper looked up in amazement and asked, "Are you Jewish?" to which I sheepishly replied, "No. We are Catholic." Kids. Oy!

I am so glad I ordered Hallie's book. I have been savoring each chapter just like my morning coffee. Little snippets and little sips.

Anna has almost finished her second project. A cowl. I will teach her how to weave in the ends today and also how to sew on a button. Hopefully it will be good incentive to finish up her schoolwork promptly. I love sitting on the couch, just the two of us, knitting and chatting.

Thank you Ginny, for hosting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

before and after


flat, builder's grade paint
scuffs and handprints

The access for the heating/cooling system is on her ceiling.
Workmen with dirty hands don't really care about cleanliness.

This little bookcase I bought years ago does not match the bed.


We moved her chandelier into her room from Jack's room.
It is neutral, but clean and fresh!

The ceiling, doors, and trim got a fresh coat of white paint.

Her room is small, but everything fits.
This room is also our guest room when family visits.

The repainted bookcase

It only took me two Saturdays to get this accomplished!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

On Going Dairy Free

As most of you know, my last two children have dairy and soy protein intolerance. Little did I know that once you have a child with such an intolerance, subsequent children have a very high likelihood of also being intolerant. I really, really want to breastfeed this new baby. So, I have made the decision to go dairy-free before the baby is born. I am 18 weeks right now and my goal is to be completely dairy-free by 20 weeks. I want to be good at not eating dairy long before those sleepless nights arrive and I am in a fog.

So I have been tweaking recipes, searching for new recipes and searching for dairy substitutes that are not yucky. This morning, I made Dutch Apple Bread. The recipe is filled with dairy. So I started making changes as I added ingredients to the bowl. It turned out delicious! Everyone agreed.

Here is the dairy-free version:

Dutch Apple Bread

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream together these ingredients, then add:

2 cups flour (I used 1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat) I also added a couple of Tbsp. of flax meal.
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup rice milk with a couple of drops of lemon juice to make it slightly like buttermilk

Mix all of this into the oil mixture.

1 cup chopped apple (I think next time I would add a little more)
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Stir these into the batter and pour into bread pan.

Crumb topping:

1/3 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. coconut oil

Mix and sprinkle on top of bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Enjoy!

He makes me laugh

Recent funny quotes from my Jack...

...during Mass last week, "Mom, next year I think I'll give up Mass for Lent." dinner, when the chicken was brought to the table, " Mom, you know I gave up meat for Lent." "But Jack," I said, " You have been eating hot dogs for lunch all through Lent." With a look of surprise, Jack said, "That's meat?"

...during an especially competitive game of Candyland yesterday, after the card let him move only one space, "Well, now, that wasn't really very helpful".

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Science or fun?

As we finish up our study of the earth's layers, we once again have a fun experiment that helped us end with a bang fizzle. We took this one outside since someone had just scrubbed the kitchen floor and really didn't want to do that job twice in one day.

The Catholic Heritage Curricula 2nd grade science book is wonderful! Did I mention that before? It is because I like it so darn much.

First we built the volcano out of clay. It is surrounding one of Therese's baby bottles. Then we made an ocean.

Jack is my ham. He is wondering if this thing is really going to work.

The less of a ham science student who can't wait to add the lava.

The lava.

Our first eruption from the volcano was not impressive enough for the kids.
I let them go ahead and add ALL the vinegar lava.

Much better.

And that my friends is just about the only schooling that got accomplished yesterday. But what fun we had. Today is going to be 82 degrees outside and sunny. I think a blanket on the grass is the best bet for school today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yarn Along- the what now edition

A few weeks ago, I found some yarn in my stash that Sophie had used to start a project that she never finished. (She is a little  lot like her mama.) The purples and blues were so soothing that I decided to try and make this shawl with it. I was pretty sure that this was going to be for me since the sweet lady who wrote the pattern gifted a copy to me after reading Ben's story. I was a little over halfway through knitting the shawl when I learned that a dear friend and her family were in the midst of a great trial. God whispered gently in my ear, "It is for her". Not being one to argue with God, I began to pray for this family as I knit the rest of the shawl. I did not get any pictures other than while it was being blocked. I hope that when she wears it, she will feel wrapped in love and prayer.

The first picture is a more accurate representation of the colors.

With nothing on my needles now and hands anxious to be knitting, I have been haunting Ravelry for something new to knit. Perhaps a shawl to go with a dress that will cover my growing belly for much of the summer. Maybe a new shrug for Therese on Sundays when the church is chilly. It seems silly to work on fingerless mittens now that spring is here. Seeing a pattern I earmarked long ago for a baby bib, I started working on that as a little something to knit yesterday. I finished it last night. I am back right where I started. Nothing on the needles.

Did I mention that I use vast quantities of stain remover on her clothes? Do I think this will help? Probably not, as she pulled it off a mere millisecond after this picture was snapped.

Most of my reading is to Therese. She likes to sit on the potty and listen to stories. These are her current favorites. We also have a lovely board book by Tomie de Paola that has nursery rhymes in it, but she has taken it further than I care to search this morning. Anna will also read to her and it melts my heart to see them sitting together, looking at books. They are actually reading the nursery rhyme book in the picture below.

Click on over to Ginny's, the host of the yarn along.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Take me out to the front yard

My husband loves baseball. It is why, when we moved here, we got cable TV for the first time in 15 years. He wanted to watch his favorite team, the Detroit Tigers, play baseball. I have to admit, though not a sports fan in any sense of the phrase, going to the ballpark with my family is fun. Tony and I watch the games on the computer these days. I have made a sincere attempt to learn the Tigers player's names to give us some common ground. ( I am pretty sure he has no intention of learning to knit any time soon.) Recently, my husband has been scouring our library for books on teaching baseball to your kids. He has spent many hours at his workbench repurposing orange juice containers and hula hoops into practice equipment for the kids. He also cancelled our cable subscription. This evening, while I was preparing the dinner, he took the kids out front and started baseball drills. The kids ate up this time with their dad and I enjoyed a few minutes of quiet in the kitchen. But I couldn't stay away. I grabbed the camera and headed outside to join them as soon as all the food was prepared.

By the way, every night this week the kids have needed some serious bathing thanks to all the outdoor fun and the lovely weather. I think I have successfully weathered another winter. Hooray for springtime!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Young Writers Club {week 5}

Anna is joining in the Young Writers Club again this week.

Every year we go the the beach with Grandma and Pa and aunts and uncles and cousins. And every evening we go crab hunting in the dark with Aunt Holly. And sometimes we walk to the pier. And we jump waves. And we make sandcastles and dribble castles and we boogie-board the waves. The end.

I wanted to add her original work because it fills an entire page. She worked on this for several days. We talked about all the things that make the beach trip special and made a list on the dry-erase board. Then she set to work, every so often calling out to me "How do you spell....?" and I would ask her to just sound it out and to not worry about that, but work on remembering all the details.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Outside my window...
Finally! The sun! I was beginning to think I would never see your glorious rays shining on my face ever again. It has been so, so dreary, gloomy, damp, and all around depressing. Therese and I have been singing, "Rain, rain, go away" for days.

I am thinking...

all those around me that are in dire need of prayer and comfort. So many, it seems, are in the midst of some very hard trials. My heart has been as gray as the skies lately. I walk around offering up all the little things for those who have such big burdens, that their yoke may be lightened.

I am thankful for.... who say funny things that make me smile. family

...a warm cup of coffee with coconut milk creamer to start my day.

From the lesson plans...

I counted how many weeks we have yet to complete. our current pace, we will not finish up until the end of June. In an attempt to move that date up a bit, we are trying to do more each day. Amazingly, no one is complaining. Yet.

From the kitchen...

Tony suggested no restaurants during Lent, so I am cooking every day until Easter. I don't mind really. I always feel guilty when we spend all that money on food that I know is loaded with bad things. I know it is Lent, but I did make a yummy dessert for Benny's birthday. If you think you have the willpower to look at the picture and not make this dessert, go click over here. Also, here are links for the lenten soups we have tried so far. Both of them were "keepers".
We will be trying this Bean and Barley soup this week.

I am wearing...

Jeans, a cozy pink sweater, and zebra print slippers!

I am creating...

My first prayer shawl. I am using this pattern.

I am planning...
to keep on truckin' in the classroom.

I am reading...
a biography of Edith Stein.

I am hoping...
to feel more little kicks every day. Over the past few days, I have noticed little flutters letting me know this baby is growing and getting stronger! Magical, I tell you.

I am hearing...

...Patsy Cline on iTunes.
...the kids playing with an empty box.
...the dryer finishing up the diaper load.

Around the house...

picking paint colors for the bedrooms.


I am going...

to the classroom in a very few minutes to start our day.

I am praying for...

...all those I mentioned above whose crosses are heavy right now.
...all those on my list of special intentions.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Young Writers Club {week 4}


What is my secret wish? To see the rest of the movie "Prince Caspian". My Mom and Dad won't let me watch it because they think I am too young. I saw the first movie and I want to know what happens next.

Here is the link to the Young Writers Club.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In the blink of an eye

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Toddlers and mudpuddles must be magnetically attracted to one another. I lifted her out of the swing and in less than a second, she was in the mud. I cleaned off her face, but really, until they want to come in, there is no reason to clean the rest of her.