Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Plan Ahead to Save That Daylight!

Apparently Middle Sister has the same kind of trouble I have in understanding the whole "gain an hour" concept. She just announced, "We're going to be getting out of school an hour earlier."

I figured she was talking about some kind of schedule change for the next school year, but she continued, "When it's Daylight Savings Time, we'll be getting out at 2:00 instead of 3:00."

I still haven't gotten my mind around the idea that at one point in the year you have the same hour twice in a row, and at another point in the year you skip it completely...and I will admit to obsessively checking the TV Guide to try to figure out where they take out the looks like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Multiply those prayers!

A few prayer requests by and for fellow bloggers:

For Darren's family member, BR: please join in the novena to St. Jude.

For Sarah (the Snoring Scholar) and her family as they celebrate her pregnancy!

For all who are encountering spiritual attack, in particular the Kitchen Madonna.

Please pray hard!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Now HERE's a Saint My Boys Would Admire!

Today at Darwin Catholic I read about a saint I'd never heard of before: St. Gabriel Possenti.

Gabriel was the eleventh of thirteen children, born in Assisi in 1838. During his youth, one of his formative influences was a Irishman who was a training instructor for the papal army. Major O'Reilly taught the young Gabriel how to shoot, and he became quite a marksman.
In 1860, as the wars that would eventually lead to a national Italian state were raging up and down Italy, a band of deserters from Garabaldi's army were ravaging the town of Isola where Gabriel was in seminary with the Passionists. Gabriel went out, unarmed, to confront them, and after wresting a pair of revolvers from two of the soldiers, ordered the band to leave town. St. Possenti demonstrated his marksmanship by shooting a lizard that was scurrying across the road. The soldiers hurriedly left town.

I'm quite sure Big Brother would be impressed.

Darwin has links to more information about this fascinating saint. He's the patron of handgunners, and as the mom of one Boy Scout and one Future Boy Scout, I'm glad to know of a saint I can plead for intercession for my boys' safety as they learn marksmanship skills.

The Catholic Carnival is Up!

Visit this week's Lent-themed Catholic Carnival! Denise has a great selection of posts there. I believe there are at least two dozen, which should keep you busy for quite a while.
(My personal favorites are the ones by Sister Mary Martha--DEFINITELY check those out.)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dread vs. Hope

Why is Lent something we seem to dread?

It's only been three days so far, and I've lost count of the people who have expressed to me how much they "hate Lent."

This morning a fellow church musician mentioned that she finds Lenten music to be full of Gloom and Doom.

Granted, this is not a cheerful time, in the sense that Christmas and Easter are cheerful. But it is certainly a hopeful time. It is a time to look forward to the holiest Three Days that we celebrate as a Church. As we remind ourselves each week as we recite the Memorial Acclamation, "Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the world."

At Mass today our choir will sing this song by Dan Schutte:

Let us ever glory in the cross of Christ,
Our salvation and our hope.
Let us bow in homage to the Lord of life,
Who was broken to make us whole.
There is no greater love, as blessed as this,
To lay down one's life for a friend.
Let us ever glory in the cross of Christ
And the triumph of God's great love.

Let us tell the story of the cross of Christ
As we share this heavenly feast.
We become one body in the blood of Christ
From the great to the very least.
When we eat of this bread and drink of this cup
We honor the death of the Lord.
Let us ever glory in the cross of Christ
And the triumph of God's great love.

(copyright 2000, OCP)

During this season of Lent, may we remember that it's not All About Us. It's not about whether we can abide giving up chocolate, or soda, or colored sprinkles. These sacrifices are small potatoes indeed when we meditate on what Christ was willing to do for our sakes.
May we walk through this Lent with a joyful spirit.

Saint Bernardine of Siena wrote that Saint Francis once said:
May the fiery and honey-sweet power of your love, O Lord, wean me from all things under heaven, so that I may die for love of your love, who deigned to die for love of my love.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Middle Sister had two friends sleep over last night. (Amazingly, they kept their noise away from where OTHER people were sleeping--thanks, girls!)

Their parents had asked them to call when they woke up, to arrange for their return home today. So one friend just asked me if she could use the phone.

Then I heard them in the kitchen:

"Where's the phone?"

"On the wall."

"Oh...there's no button here. How does this work?"

We have apparently progressed to the point where kids are no longer acquainted with Phones With Cords. (And I thought it was bad enough that I had to show them how to work the ice-cube trays earlier this morning!)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Fast--Not Fast Enough!

It kind of grosses me out that my kids enjoy the occasional can of Chef Boy-ar-dee ravioli. I make my own spaghetti sauce which they happily eat. So I'm not sure what it is with their craving for the canned stuff.

But when it's on sale, I pick up a couple of cans and keep them in the pantry for days when they're extra hungry after school.

Days like--today.

I wasn't paying much attention when Middle Sister used the microwave. There weren't any screams or anything, and Big Brother was in the middle of a long story about something that happened in his history class today. But Big Brother saw what she was cooking.

"Ooo, Chef Boy-ar-dee! If there's any left over, it's mine."

That got my attention. "Who's having Chef Boy-ar-dee?"

Middle Sister said, "Me!"

"You're not supposed to eat that today! It's got meat in it!"

Big Brother thought about that for a second. "I doubt if there's any real meat in there, Mom."

All these years of Catholic school, plus what we do at home, and the idea of Meatless Friday appears to be a new concept. I think it's time to get the kids more involved in the menu planning!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Quite the Sacrifice...

...when you're almost 5.

Little Brother has decided that for Lent he will give up his favorite ice-cream embellishment: colored sprinkles.

Chocolate sprinkles will still be expected, however.

A Blessed Beginning to Lent

I would like to echo Jean's prayers today:

For a holy Lent for each of us:

That this season of Lent will be a time of greater prayer, fasting, and almsgiving for each of us and for all the Church.

That these days of Lent will be a time marked by greater efforts at peacemaking throughout the world.

That this Lent through our sacrifices hearts and souls will return to the Lord, especially those who are ensnared in the culture of death.

That God will repair all the broken relationships in our lives and transform our hearts into merciful, gentle, and forgiving hearts.

That through our Lenten prayer and fasting, there will be an end to abortion, same sex marriages, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning.

That during this Lenten season, God will rescue those who live at a distance from Him because of self-absorption or sin.

That each of us will be generous in our almsgving this Lent and especially attentive to the needs of the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, and women who are involved in crisis pregnancies.

Prayer of Saint Francis before the Cross:

Most high, all-glorious, all-good God,
Bring light to the darkness of my heart.
Give me right faith,
Firm hope,
And perfect charity,
With wisdom and insight, O Lord,
That I might always discern
Your holy and true will.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I just read in Whispers that XM and Sirius satellite radio companies plan to merge.

My van came with XM radio and the only thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't have any Catholic programming. That means I've missed all the Catholic shows that some of my favorite bloggers have appeared on during the last few weeks!

I'll be paying close attention to see when and how I can listen to the great stuff on the 2 Catholic channels Sirius has to offer.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Practical Costuming

Little Brother is marching around here sporting his church clothes, a partial suit of toy armor, Burger King crown, cape from one of Big Brother's old Halloween costumes, and his favorite sword.

I'm cooking spaghetti for dinner--always a messy proposition, especially for little boys who resist utensils.

"Mommy, I have a great idea. I'll wear my armor for dinner, and then my church sweater will stay clean when I eat!"

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lenten Penitential Meals

As the penitential season of Lent approaches, and I make my menu plans, I start thinking about what constitutes a "penitential" meal for my family.

My dad expressed it well when we were kids: "If pizza or fish is a treat, how can it be a penance?"

Maybe it's a penance only for the one who has to budget around the extra expense of eating fish instead of less-expensive meats, or ordering a pizza?

I wouldn't want to serve my family foods they don't like, and call it a penance. All I'd achieve would be rebellion and wastefulness.

No one has really noticed that I've been serving them meatless dinners every Friday for months now. It's pretty much become routine. Growing up, I was taught that only Fridays in Lent were supposed to be meatless (and Ash Wednesday, of course!) but I have learned lately that all Fridays are penitential days. I haven't mentioned it--it's just been happening here. But I bet the issue will be on the table, so to speak, the first Friday after Easter.

It's been more of a stretch for me than for them. They eat what I put on the table. (Sometimes someone moans and groans about it, but my family generally consists of good eaters--even adventurous ones. Middle Sister likes sushi, for example.) I am the one who thinks about what to serve on which day, and I can shuffle the meal plan as events warrant, but Friday's dinner is Friday's dinner because that is Meatless Night.

But anyway, the issue at hand really is: if they really LIKE shrimp marinara over linguine, or Spanish Garlic Shrimp, or sauteed tilapia, or even pizza, where's the sacrifice?

Maybe it's time to lay this on the table with my family and see what ideas everyone comes up with.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Confessions of an UNfrugal Mom

I try not to waste money around here, since TheDad works hard to earn it--but sometimes there are just some things you can't bring yourself to salvage in the name of frugality.

This morning Middle Sister ate breakfast, told me she felt nauseous, and went upstairs to get dressed for school. When she called to me two minutes later, I found her with her head hanging over the edge of the bed, vomiting into her sneakers.

The vile things went out with the trash this morning. It's BOGO time at Payless--obviously not a moment too soon. When she's feeling better, we girls will go shoe shopping.

UPDATE: She just asked me if we have any pepperoni. I steered her toward the pretzels sticks and saltines instead. A glutton for punishment I am NOT!

Where do YOU learn science?

Suzanne was observing what happens when children with a very sound background in natural science try to learn phonics.

Her post reminded me of something Little Brother did yesterday. We were looking at one of his MANY books on undersea life. The pictures are terrific but there's too much text on the page to keep his interest, so mostly I just read him the captions.

As we turned a page, he noticed a very strange-looking fish at the bottom corner. "Hey! That looks like an ocean sunfish!" he exclaimed. He was right. I was amazed. I had no clue what kind of fish that was.

"How do you know what an ocean sunfish is?"

"Animal Crossing!"

Who says video games are a complete waste of time?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Blanket on the Couch

Several years ago, before Little Brother was born, we received a beautiful handmade afghan as a gift. It was a joint effort by Gert and her daughter Patsy, who is herself the mother of one of our good friends. The afghan is exactly the same shade of blue as the pattern running through the living room couch, so we keep it there.

Many times daily, I pick up that afghan from where it lies in a heap someplace in the living room, carefully fold it, and put it back on the arm of the couch. It doesn't stay there very long.

Early in the morning when I get up to start the coffee and my morning prayers, I curl up under that blanket with my prayer book.

Middle Sister is usually the next to get up, and by that time I've moved on to the kitchen to pack the lunches and watch the morning news on TV. Before she'll think about breakfast, she snuggles under the blanket for a few minutes of warm and comfy waking up.

After Big Brother is dragged unwillingly from his bed, he too heads straight to the couch, where the blanket has been abandoned by Middle Sister in her rush to get dressed.

And his timing varies, but Little Brother often puts in some couch time with the blanket as well, when he's still sleepy and I'm not sitting down to provide him with a lap.

It wasn't too long after we received this afghan, that Gert passed away. Her granddaughter gave me Gert's copy of the Secular Franciscan Rule at my Profession. Gert was an SFO also, and it meant a lot to me that her family wanted me to have Gert's treasured book. No surprise there, though, since Gert and her family have always been generous with their love.

I think we feel a little bit of that every time we sit under our favorite blanket.

Public Service Announcement: Check Your Pantries!

H/T to Milehimama, where I read this first:

The FDA is asking consumers to destroy Peter Pan brand and Great Value brand peanut butter, because it is contaminated with Salmonella. Destroy any jars that begin with product code 2111.

Here's the official news release from Con Agra, the manufacturers of Peter Pan peanut butter.

I found one of these jars in my pantry, and am just feeling lucky that we hadn't opened it yet.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Table Manners, in a Manner of Speaking

Little Brother needed to be reminded tonight that meat and corn are not finger foods.

Fortunately he had helped set the table, and given spoons to each of us, despite the fact that we weren't eating anything requiring the use of a spoon. Since I'm not running a four-star restaurant, I don't place extra utensils on the table (more work for me later, you know).

"Little Brother, try using your spoon to eat your corn," I reminded him. "It's easier with a spoon than a fork."

He took the spoon in his left hand and the fork in his right, and coming at the plate from the two different directions, he scooped up some corn, speared meat on the fork, and shoved both utensils into his mouth at once.

Big Brother was impressed. "Is he ambidextrous? I would be seriously jealous if my little brother is ambidextrous!"

I was too astounded to scold him, because after all, he WAS using his my sister always says, "It's what separates us from the animals."

Working Her Way Up the Chain

It's a Snow Day today (more accurately, a Sleet Day) so all the neighborhood kids are in and out of each others' houses and yards. Whatever mom lets them in throws everyone's wet jackets and mittens in the dryer for a 15-minute spin before letting them back out.

Back-Door Neighbor Girl just knocked at the door. "I just wanted to know if I can borrow your sled."

Since Middle Sister was outside already, I told her to ask Middle Sister for one.

"Well, she's using it, so that's why I came here."

All You Need is Love

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Today, as you take time to show your loved ones how much you care, pray for the little ones who will never know that love.

Thanks to Dan at faithmouse for this beautiful reminder.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

St. Valentine's Day Meme

Jean has tagged me for the St. Valentine's Day Meme!

Favorite Romantic Movies:
I'm not much for movies anyway, and when I watch them, I tend toward things like The Blues Brothers or comedies with John Candy and/or Chevy Chase. But here are the movies with, in my opinion, the best "someone looks someone else in the eyes and they realize how in love they are" scenes:
1. "It's a Wonderful Life" (not just for Christmas anymore)
2. "The Sound of Music" (that Gazebo scene....)

Favorite Romantic Books:
This is even harder to answer than the movies!!

When Crickets Cry
When Crickets Cry

This was a wonderful story that had a sweet and romantic component. And the sacrifices for's well-written and inspiring.

Another good one is
Big Stone Gap
Big Stone Gap

The others in the series are nowhere near as romantic as this one. They're good books but this is my hands-down favorite of the four.

If money were no object, where (on earth) would you like to spend your Valentine's Day and how would you spend it? In other words, what is your idea of a perfect Valentine's Day date?

Well, since it's snowy today, I'm inclined to say somewhere warm....I have no specific place in mind but TheDad and I would visit someplace "warmer than here" on a lovely sunny day. We'd stroll around the little town and admire the Victorian architecture. There would be lots of stores, cafes, and bistros. After a great dinner in one of those tiny restaurants that seats about 20, we'd wander around and find an ice-cream shop before returning to the B&B (which, of course, has a gigantic wraparound porch).
If anyone knows where this place is, feel free to let me know.

Sounds that warm a mother's heart

I was in the basement taking laundry out of the dryer when I heard this series of sounds:

The shower turned on.

The toilet in the other bathroom flushed.

Big Brother yelled, "Oh, no!"

Feet thudded up the stairs.

Big Brother yelled "Sorry!" before his sister even had a chance to shout, "WHO FLUSHED ME?"

And I smiled, because with all the bickering those two do, it was nice to have a reminder that underneath it all, there's love there.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I've been nominated!

I am honored to be nominated in this year's Catholic Blog Awards for "Funniest Catholic Blog!"

There's stiff competition in this category and I'm really flattered that a reader thinks enough of this blog to consider it nomination-worthy.

You can only vote once, so make your vote count--vote before Sunday!

And now, back to your regularly-scheduled reading about toilets, bunkers, calendars, health insurance, and prayer amid radio-controlled vehicles.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

"I will run the race..."

One of my favorite songs to sing in church is "Only This I Want." It's based on one of the Epistles. Part of the song goes like this:
I will run the race, I will fight the good fight
So to win the prize of the Kingdom of the Lord.
Only this I want, but to know the Lord
And to bear His cross, so to wear the crown He wore.

This song kept coming to my mind today as I sat in a seventy-year-old National Guard Armory and watched Big Brother run the mile.

I'd never been to an indoor track meet before today. It's a crazy environment. There's lots of noise, starter pistols going off, bells ringing, and constant announcements being made. There are coaches yelling times as runners zip by. Parents are clapping and calling out to the runners. In the middle of all the running, there are other athletes jumping over high things and throwing very heavy things. People are moving in all directions all the time. Several athletic contests are happening simultaneously. I counted five other schools that had the same school colors as Big Brother's, so it's hard to tell sometimes which ones are your teammates.

And there's a lot of sitting around, waiting for your turn. The runners are restless; they use their nervous energy pacing, jiggling, cracking knuckles. And suddenly in the middle of the garbled announcements they hear something that makes them get up and move with purpose to the table in the corner of the room to get ready for their race. Suddenly they know where to go and what to do, and they hope they can do it fast enough.

On cue, the runners line up at the starting line and wait for the pistol. They're running a mile, so they conserve as they run. They don't start nearly as fast as those running in the 200-meter; those kids are just a blur going by. You can watch the milers, see who is in the lead, watch them pass each other and keep track of the runner from your team. Coaches follow the runners for a bit and shout encouragement along the way.

Big Brother ran a good race. His stride was confident. He saved his energy for the end, but he had passed several runners in the middle few laps. The official clock stops showing times after the top six come in, but his coach kept track and showed him that he had not only achieved a new personal best, but beaten his goal for the day. He does not go to the meet with the goal of winning, but of doing better than he did last time. Today, he did not win--but he came in under 6:00 for the first time ever. That was his goal. He beat it by 3 seconds, coming in at 5:57.

How different are all of us from these runners? We too are in a noisy, chaotic environment. We have to listen carefully for the Voice that calls us to do what we are here to do. We must pay attention to the advice of those more experienced, with the goal in mind of achieving our own Personal Best. And only then can we win the prize.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mundane is Good

It's only Thursday, and this week we've already been treated to several stories of celebrity family life gone bad....
Anna Nicole Smith
Andy Reid's Kids

Fame does strange things to people. The (linked above) story about the astronaut has interesting insights of the pressures that astronauts and their families face. I imagine that the same is true for media celebrities' families, and sports figures as well.

So today, I thank God for my run-of-the-mill suburban life, for my husband who is sweet and smart and has a good job, for my children who (so far) haven't done anything tabloid-worthy.

I heard a new song on the radio yesterday that really sums up how I feel:
"Isn't That Everything" by Danielle Peck

I might not have a million dollars in the bank
But I’ve got food on my table and gas in my tank
I might not have designer sheets on a king size bed
But I lay down at night with a roof over my head

Yeah, I’ve got friends that love me
A big blue sky above me
And your two arms around me baby every night

Isn’t that everything
I don’t need anything
It’s only the simple things I believe
That matter most in life
I’m more than satisfied
All that I have is all I need
Isn’t that everything

Now I’m not saying I don’t dream from time to time
Every girl I know likes the way a diamond shines
But when the party’s over and the glitter starts to fade
It’s all about your piece of mind at the end every day

I know Jesus loves me
Up in that sky above me
I see that morning sun again and feel alive

Isn’t that everything
I don’t need anything
It’s only the simple things I believe
That matter most in life
I’m more than satisfied
All that I have is all I need
Isn’t that everything

Yeah, I’ve got friends that love me
A big blue sky above me
And your two arms around me baby every night
I know Jesus loves me
Up in that sky above me
I see that morning sun again and feel alive

Isn’t that everything
I don’t need anything
It’s only the simple things I believe
That matter most in life
I’m more than satisfied
All that I have is all I need
Isn’t that everything

Isn’t that everything
Isn’t that everything

Sigh....Big Brother is standing here listening to the song and commented, "I think it's funny that these people sing about only needing the simple things in life and they're making a ton of money from it." (That, my son, is a good example of IRONY.)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Ipod Meme

Christine has an open tag, so I'm playing!! I don't have an Actual Ipod but I do have a very nice MP3 player thanks to TheDad's generosity on my last birthday. There are 350+ songs on it so far. I skipped anything without lyrics, but other than that I did not "cheat."

Here are the rules of the game:
Go to your music player of choice and put it on shuffle. Say the following questions aloud, and press play. Use the song title as the answer to the question. NO CHEATING.

How does the world see you? “O Salutaris Hostia” by Beth Neilsen Chapman (If this means that the world sees me as a committed Catholic, I’ll take it!)

Will I have a happy life? “The Boxer” by Simon & Garfunkel (Guess NOT!)

What do my friends really think of me? “Christmas Time is Here” by Vince Guaraldi Trio

Do people secretly lust after me? “America” by Simon & Garfunkel

How can I make myself happy? “Danny’s Song” by Loggins & Messina (Look for joy in the simple things in life. This is one of the most Franciscan-spirited popular songs I know.)

What should I do with my life? “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” by Glad (God, are you trying to tell me something?)

Will I ever have children? “Take It Easy” by the Eagles (If I’d wanted to take it easy I wouldn’t have had any….)

What is some good advice for me? “Through Your Eyes” by Suzy Bogguss (written from the point of view of the Blessed Mother holding baby Jesus)

How will I be remembered? “I’m Not Afraid to Die” by Gillian Welch (!!!!)

What is my signature dancing song? “8th of November” by Big & Rich (I give it an 8, but you can’t dance to this one)

What do I think is my current theme song? “That’s the Kind of Mood I’m In” by Patty Loveless

What does everyone think my current theme song is? “I Am A Rock” by Simon & Garfunkel (YIKES…that one really describes me too!)

What song will play at my funeral? "Screen Door” by Rich Mullins (“Faith without works is like a song you can’t sing—it’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine”) I like that!

What type of men / women do you like? “Hail Holy Queen” from the Sister Act soundtrack (?? I guess this means I like holy people??)

What is my day going to be like? “On the Willows” from the Godspell soundtrack (The Crucifixion song. Good Lord…)

OPEN TAG for the rest of you! Let me know if you play.

Living Room Bunker

Here's what the males in my house do when the females aren't feeling up to par, and don't feel like stopping them:

Big Brother and Little Brother built this to ambush TheDad as he came in from work today.

The toy box is on its way out to the garage, because Middle Sister thinks she's too big for it. We'll be giving it away--but it was just too cold to haul it out there! So the boys are taking advantage of its strategic possibilities.


Here's a comment I received the other day in my post about Saint Blaise:

I have been reading so much up on the Catholic feast days, traditions, and such and it really is a rich history you have there. I think it is wonderful. I'm of the evangelical background, and it seems we threw out the baby with the baptismal waters so to speak. There are NO traditions in my church. Great people, great sermons, and such, but NO tradition.

It's precisely the tradition that makes me love being part of this Church. The Feast of Saint Blaise is not the "gimmick of the week" but rather something that has been celebrated for hundreds of years.

Traditions help to connect us. On Ash Wednesday, we know that Catholics all over the world are doing what we are doing: fasting, abstaining from meat, and remembering our own sinfulness and need for the salvation that can only come from God by wearing a mark of ashes on our foreheads.

Just as in families, church traditions bring us together. They connect us with those who have gone before us, as well as to those who are with us now. Traditions are a way that we take part in the life of our faith--a way that we witness to the world, what we believe in. People of any age can participate. And it's amazing how meaningful traditions can become. My SFO fraternity sponsors a Greccio celebration each year, with a live Nativity scene, music, and refreshments. Each year, more people come out to join this celebration and let us know how much they and their children love it. It can be a hassle to iron out the details, but on Greccio day, when we look at the smiling faces of children dressed like shepherds and angels, it's all worth it.

If you're interested in reading about some Catholic traditions, and how to bring them to your own home, I recommend:
The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living: A Loving Look at the Lighter Side of the Catholic Faith, with Recipes for Feasts and Fun
This book is a lot of fun. It does not make fun of the Faith, but it shows how you can bring some interesting traditions into your family life.

A heavier book is Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day
I know there are a few factual errors in that one, but it is still a good resource.

Finally, a treasure right on the Internet is Catholic Culture.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pardon My Mess

I'm working on changing to the new template format, since we're having a "couch day" around here.
Right now, the links aren't linkable, and the pictures aren't clickable.

I apologize for the inconvenience. I hope to figure out all of this ASAP so the place can get back to normal as much as possible.

UPDATE: Okey-DOKEY! I think I'm pretty happy with it now. At least, for the next 5 minutes.

Sick Day

Middle Sister is sick today. We thought she was coming down with something on Sunday, and yesterday morning she had a fever, so no school for her. Her other symptoms sent us to the doctor who said the strep test was negative. (I've been burned before. Bet we go back on Thursday and find out she really has it, but was checked too early).

One of the blessings of (a) being a homemaker and (b) having a husband who is understanding about the sorry state of our house on days when routine goes out the window, is that I can work things around a sick kid's needs. I was all set, last night, not to go back out after all the errand-running that happened yesterday (Big Brother missed the school bus, Little Brother had playschool, Middle Sister saw the doctor, then we had to pick up her homework and pick up Big Brother after his honors placement exams, then pick up medicine for Middle Sister) since it was so cold. Then it occurred to me that she probably wouldn't be feeling much better tomorrow, so after dinner I took my shopping list and went off into the frozen tundra to hit the supermarket for the weekly shopping, including her favorite juice.

Today, I don't have to go anywhere if I keep Little Brother home from school--until it's time to pick up her homework and get Big Brother. I can stay here and keep my daughter in the nice warm house, with a cold drink of juice by her side, and a warm blanket over her feet. I can make her hot soup for lunch and let her monopolize the remote-control for the TV. My neighbor has already offered to run an errand for me today if I need her to!

Routine is good, and I like my routine. But I am thankful that my situation allows me to dump it when my children need me to. Pretty soon, she'll be feeling better, and go back to school, and it will be back to the regular routine for me and Little Brother.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Saint Blaise

This morning at church we all had our throats blessed in honor of the feast of Saint Blaise (celebrated yesterday, but it's practical to reach everyone on Sunday for maximum blessings).

We heard the familiar words: "Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil."

Little Brother couldn't figure out why we were forming another line so soon after Communion, and I told him that Father would bless him with the two candles. He was pretty alarmed: "With FIRE on them?"

"No, buddy, not those candles. The ones Father has in his hand. See, no fire."

After dinner I found the Whispers in the Loggia post about Saint Blaise. Besides the terrific title, there's lots of good information in there, including this bit:

Another account says that, in the end, his body was eaten by wild dogs. It's unknown whether they choked.

I was reading the post to Big Brother, who interrupted me at that point to comment: "They wouldn't have choked. That would have been revenge, and we're against that."

A Matter of Great Importance

Since when did they reformulate Honeycomb?

It's just not the same. Both the flavor AND the texture are different. It's probably related to the fact that it's labeled "Sensible Solutions."

If I'm eating Honeycomb, I don't want sensible. I want sugar! And plenty of it!

The only good thing about this is that I will not longer be tempted to eat my way through half of a 14.5 oz box at my computer in one sitting.

I hope the Shop-Rite version of Honeycomb still tastes like real honeycomb. And apparently Malt-o-Meal makes "Honey Buzzers."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Homemaking Meme

ukok has tagged me for the Housekeeping Meme that's going around.

I did this one already on my recipe blog (you can get to it by clicking the "Mom's Diner--What's for Dinner) logo on the right) but that blog is a fairly well-kept secret, until now.

So I'll do the famous "cut and paste" and put it all over here. Maybe I'll even add a bit here and there, to make it legitimately a new post.

Aprons – Yes or No? If Yes, what does your favorite look like?
Yes! I have three white butcher aprons. And I got my oven mitts on something that looks a little nicer in time for National Wear an Apron Day! I have a new gingham terrycloth half-apron with 2 pockets. Blue, of course--my signature color.

Baking – Favorite thing to bake
Breads, brownies, scones....I love to bake.

Clothesline – Yes or No?
YES! I have a really big one in the backyard that can hold 3 tubs of laundry at once. For winter, I have a few short lines in the basement for those things that I absolutely will not put in the dryer.

Donuts - have you ever made them?

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day
I always make our bed.

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?

Garbage Disposal – Yes or No?

Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
The Internet. Specifically, Family Corner.

Ironing – Love it or hate it? Or hate it but love the results?
It's not too bad, especially if I can watch TV while I do it. I like to iron in batches instead of one item at a time.

Junk drawer – Yes or No? Where is it?
My whole desk is one big junk drawer.
I also have several in the dining room.

Kitchen – Color and decorating scheme
Blue and white. No "decorating scheme" unless you consider Small and Crowded to be a scheme.

Love – What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Feeding my family.

Mop – Yes or No?
Only because I have to for sanitary reasons.

Nylons – Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
In the washer, when I MUST wear them, but I dry them on the line.

Oven – Do you use the window or open the oven to check?
I usually open it up.

Pizza – What do you put on yours?
I like very thin sliced peppers and onions.

Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
I either read or check my favorite blogs.

Recipe card box – Yes or No? What does it look like?
I have a binder (5X8) that sits on top of a 2-drawer card box, on this cool easel setup. It was handmade by high school students in a vo-tech high school where my mom used to teach.

Style of house – What style is your house?
1960s split level (ewwww! But it's home.)

Tablecloths and napkins – Yes or No?
Paper napkins, plastic placemats. I'm all about practicality here.

Under the kitchen sink – Organized or toxic wasteland?
Organized! The only things under there are a bag of paper recycling and an old dishpan for bottles and cans.

Vacuum – How many times per week?
When the debris shows, I vacuum.

Wash – How many loads of laundry do you do per week?
At least 2 a day. Except on Sundays, when laundry is done on a crisis-only basis.

X’s – Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
Sometimes. And I'll admit to writing things on the list, just so I can cross them off.

Yard – Yes or No? Who does what?
I don't do the yard.

Zzz’s – What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Start the dishwasher.

Basically, I'm all about the food. The cleaning gets done because I have to keep the place reasonably sanitary. Fortunately, Little Brother likes to clean toilets. If there was someone to clean up the messes I make cooking, I might never leave the kitchen except to grocery-shop.

Want to play? Let me know in the combox.

Martial Calendars

Middle Sister is having a little trouble with the concept of timelines, especially ones that include both "B.C." and "A.D." years.

We were trying to explain this idea to her, and she said, "I get the part about "Before Christ," and the other years are "Ammo Dominant."

Old Beyond My Years

Yesterday I took Middle Sister to have her eyes examined. On the way, we passed an optical store/optometrist that we do not use. "Why don't we just go there, Mom? It's closer!"

"That one doesn't accept our insurance."

"What kind of insurance do you have? A.A.R.P.?"

Friday, February 02, 2007

With Real Foaming Action!

Little Brother has been feeling pretty independent this week. He's been demanding independence, actually--but at the same time requiring companionship in the bathroom and a family member within sight. I guess it's all part of that almost-fiveness he's got going on.

He's been begging me to make myself scrambled eggs for lunch every day, so he can crack the eggs. If he had his way, I'd eat about a dozen a day. He's just getting started on that egg-cracking fun when I stop him at two. (I get to eat one and a half, and wipe the rest off the table, his hands, and the floor. He'll do better with more practice).

And he's developed quite an interest in helping to clean the toilet. This is an interest I do NOT want to squash, since I know full well that when Little Kids become Big Kids they no longer think it's fun to do such chores. So I let him shake the "powder" (Comet) into the bowl and swish it around with the brush.

Today while he was hard at work, voluntarily cleaning the toilet, I was rummaging around for something in the linen closet. He called me: "Mom, come see how good I did! The toilet is really clean!" By the time I got there, the toilet was full almost to the seat with thick white foam. It looked like the Scrubbing Bubbles had had a party in there.

"How much powder did you USE?"

"I only shaked a little bit in there and then I scrubbed it a lot!"

No kidding. I think I must have the cleanest toilet in my whole area code. It was really impressive.

How Well Do You Know the Bible?

I had to guess at at least 5 of these, especially ones like "Which book follows (name of book in Bible)?" So I don't really think I earned 100% here....but nonetheless, I'll claim my bragging rights!

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
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Via And Also With You.