Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Manners

TheDad just left for work, after whipping Little Brother into an anticipatory frenzy about the evening's activities and the likelihood of collecting a lot of chocolate.

(Little Brother's teacher will not be pleased, as I'm sure the other 27 kindergarteners are similarly excited.)

So Little Brother bounced over to me and said, "I'm going to say 'Trick or treat! Trick or treat!' That's like 'please' in Halloween! And then you say 'thank you'!"

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pencil Point

TheDad is helping Middle Sister prepare for a math quiz. She was absent from school for a few days, and her teacher recommended that Middle Sister review a few lessons. Middle Sister resisted the review, but TheDad said that they were going to keep at it until she mastered the concepts.

Finally, she seemed to get the hang of it. "Very good, Middle Sister! I'm so proud of you," TheDad said.

"If you were proud enough, we'd be done," she responded.

Why Teenage Boys Don't Get to Plan These Things

Big Brother is telling me all about the Haunted Hayride he went on with some friends last night.

"And then you got to go in the corn maze, only it wasn't really a maze. It was only a path." (this in a disappointed tone)

I reminded him that if it were a real maze, someone might get lost in there, in the dark.

"Right! That would be awesome!"

Priesthood Sunday

Sponsored by Serra USA (a group dedicated to fostering priestly vocations), Priesthood Sunday is a day to honor our parish priests for the work they do for the Kingdom of God.

No big event at your parish? Start planning one for next year. In the meantime, thank Father on your way out of Mass today. Offer a rosary for his intention, and one for priestly vocations as well.

I'm sure that at my parish, Father H. would not want a big event calling attention to himself. He is an example of humility, prayer and reflection. He wants his parishioners to know that the Gospel is not only for people 2000 years ago--it is for us, today; it calls us to change our lives.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

An artist starving for recognition

Are artists, like prophets, not accepted in their own country?

Middle Sister is very busy making a ghost out of a white trash bag. She's using a Sharpie marker for the features.

I asked her what she was planning to use to stuff it, and where she'd hang it.

Turns out she doesn't think she will need stuffing, and she'll hang it somewhere outside.

"But we just cut the tree down," I reminded her.

"People never appreciate my work," she sighed.

Prayer Request

Today my friend and fellow Franciscan SFO Girl (you know her from the combox) is presenting a workshop for the Secular Franciscans of our region.

She's a confident speaker and I know she's well prepared. But prayers never hurt. So today I call upon the intercession of two very powerful preachers--St. Francis and St. Anthony--on her behalf. And may the Holy Spirit inspire her words.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Why is it that children are at their most creative while their parents are busy preparing dinner?

We just had to break up an indoor baseball game between Little Brother and Adventure Boy, using a Fisher-Price cannonball and a blue light-sabre.


I'm preparing for our Secular Franciscan fraternity meeting tonight.

A part of every regular fraternity meeting is Ongoing Formation. Right now, we are combining that with the formation of a new member who is preparing for Profession. Because there is only one candidate, the entire fraternity is participating in the formation process.

We have a formation textbook that is copyrighted 2004, but the author admits that the title and some concepts have been in use since the 1960s. And that explains some of the "Church of the Felt Banner" paragraphs in our assigned chapter for tonight. (This chapter is on the Eucharist, and prayer.)

I can hardly wait until we get the chapter on Nature. Yes, I peeked ahead.

But anyway, I'm quite sure that some of what is said in this chapter about Eucharist is actually incorrect. Like the one line, "The Eucharistic table is a place where all are welcome."

Next time I will have to prepare farther ahead for this meeting. Then I can counteract this garbage with some good solid stuff. Like Chesterton.

We can't complain about poor formation among our members if we're using texts that are full of errors and liberal interpretations, and sacrifice Francis' deep message on the altars of ecology and anti-war protests.

Spelling Errors

I've always had this thing against places that add an "e" to the end of a word where it doesn't belong. I think it's pretentious, and it drives me crazy. My whole family knows that I will never live in a neighborhood called "Oake Pointe" (which I insist on pronouncing "Oaky Pointy.")

Little Brother is proud that he knows how to spell my name: "M-o-m-m-y." He was writing it on his Magna-Doodle yesterday.

Then he thought about it. He's learning about letters, and the sounds they make, at school. So he told me, "This is the wrong way to write your name. It should have an 'e' at the end, to make the 'e' sound."

So, at least until the kindergarten works its way to the letter "y," just sign me: SFO Momme

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Getting Political, Again

Certainly we deserve better. And I'm willing to do MY part to make sure she doesn't wind up in the White House.

Lindsey is running a sale on "Anyone but Hillary '08" bumper stickers. Get yours now!

TheDad had to have his car repainted after the last presidential election. He's quite sure that someone annoyed at his "Bush '04" stickers keyed the entire side of the car--several times. I'll bet he's willing to risk his paint job again for a sticker like this!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Calvinball, anyone?

Little Brother is sitting here with a magnetic checkerboard that has really tiny checkers. They are about the size of M&Ms. He was very busy playing a game of checkers against himself, and giving us the play-by-play: "Black just got a king. But White got a king too...."

After that game was over, he decided to take the game to the Next Level: Vertical checkers. His goal was to stack all the white pieces and all the black pieces in two tall columns. "WAR!" he declared, and provided a vocal version of tympani as the columns advanced toward each other. Finally, one column was placed atop the other, and the whole thing collapsed under its own weight.

THEN he made "kings" out of all the checkers, and he is figuring out how to place them on the board so he can start a new game.

There's definitely a good reason that my mom refers to him as "Calvin."

Recipe for a Happy Day

Take 28 wiggly kindergarteners. Squeeze them into a school bus with their parents and take them on a bumpy ride to a pumpkin farm.

Release them to a playground, then herd them to the learning area to see all the different kinds of pumpkins and gourds that the farmers grow.

Pile them into wagons and use tractors to pull them through the farm to the pumpkin patch.

Let each kindergartener pick a pumpkin to take home.

Take them back to the play area and feed them hot dogs. Let them play some more before squeezing them back onto the bus.

Yield: 28 happy, tired, wiggly kindergarteners. 28 pumpkins to take home. 28 happy, tired, caffeine-deprived parents (they don't sell coffee at the farm). 1 happy day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Poverty and Christianity

By special request of Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle.

One of Donna-Marie's commenters posed this question:
Why is it many Christians praise poverty? Why is it many Christians praise poverty while not living in poverty?

This question particularly hits home with me because as a Secular Franciscan, I take as my model Saint Francis of Assisi, who identified so much with the materially poor that he had absolutely no possessions of his own.

People who are interested in becoming Secular Franciscans often worry that they will have to give up their homes or cars in order to follow a Franciscan life.

And while I much admire Franciscans like the Friars of the Renewal, who truly do not own a thing in this world (but surely are building up many treasures in Heaven), not all of us are called to that kind of life.

In Matthew 5: 3, Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." He does not say, "Blessed are the materially poor." Certainly to be materially poor is a difficult life, and most people would not consider it a blessing to be challenged to live that life. But the poor in spirit are the ones who realize that it is not material possessions that matter. They are the ones who are willing to be generous with the resources with which they have been blessed--so they can bless others. They do not hoard up their treasures for their own future selfish use (like the man in today's Gospel) but instead are ready to share their treasures.

In Luke 12:34 we read, "Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be." I believe that one who is poor in spirit is one who knows from where these treasures have come, and looks for opportunities to use these treasures to make life better for even one other person.

In that respect, my husband is a far better Franciscan than I am. He is generous to a degree that I am not courageous enough to imitate. He has brought a homeless woman and baby into our home (when Big Brother was an infant) so that we could give this woman some formula, diapers, baby clothes, and a chance to bathe her little boy. He has bought dinners for soldiers in uniform when he sees them in restaurants. He is far more gentle and generous than I am with Adventure Boy. It seems like he is energized by these actions--I find them stressful and exhausting.

Yes, I believe that he is a wonderful example of what it is to be poor in spirit.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Halloween Personality

What's scary here is that in 5 questions, they managed to figure all this out. It's all true, too.

What Your Halloween Habits Say About You

You're a friendly person, but not the life of the party. You like making someone else's day - and you'll dress up if you think of a really fun costume.

You're weird. You're downright deviant. And you use dressing up in a costume as an excuse to act out.

Your inner child is full of wonder and very sweet.

You truly fear the dark side of humanity. You are a true misanthrope.

You're logical, rational, and not easily effected. Not a lot scares you... especially when it comes to the paranormal.

You are picky and high maintenance. If you wear a Halloween costume, it's only when you really feel like it. And it has to be perfect.

The Mass in Latin

A few weeks ago, my diocesan newspaper carried a Catholic News Service column by Father Peter Daly of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, MD, on the subject of the moto proprio. In this article Father Daly appears scornful of those who wish to attend the Mass in Latin, claiming that they want a speedy Mass during which they are not responsible to participate. He also declares that these Masses are a burden on the priests who celebrate them.

Today, the Curt Jester reports that Father Daly has revisited the subject. I was really glad to see this new article, which he said was to correct the failures in the first one:
First, it did not convey my own affection for the old liturgy. Second, it did not recognize the good motivations of the people who want a return to the Latin liturgy.

He mentions that the reasons people wish to attend Mass in Latin include a search for three things that we feel a lack of today:

Born in 1965, I grew up and was catechized in the Age of Felt Banners and the Era of Simon and Garfunkel Hymnals. Church became a place of entertainment rather than worship. It became commonplace for choirs to have birthday parties in the sanctuary, for high-school students to perform songs from the movie "Fame" (with accompanying liturgical dance), and for church architecture to allow stadium seating wherein the assembly looks at people in the facing pews rather than at the altar and pulpit. And Father Daly hit the nail right on the head when he said that Catholics are searching for reverence, mystery and tradition. Those have virtually disappeared in the past forty years.

I've never attended a Mass in Latin. That's not to say that I never would. But I can honestly say that I probably wouldn't feel too much need of doing so if I found more reverence, mystery and tradition in the Church today.

I appreciate that Father Daly has clarified his first column, and I hope that in days to come, we will experience more reverence, mystery and tradition in our churches. It is sorely missed.

Friday, October 19, 2007

In Which Aisle Do I Find That?

Little Brother came over to me, all sad, after he finished his after-school snack.

"I'm sorry, Mommy. I ate the rest of the Pizza Goldfish."

I knew there hadn't been that many in the bag, and I told him not to worry about it.

"But I wanted some for my lunchbox on Monday."

"Well, I'm going food shopping this weekend. Just ask Middle Sister to write it down on the shopping list on the white board. Say please."

He did, and she wrote.

But when I went into the kitchen, I discovered that "Pizza Goldfish" was not on the list, under the flour, sugar, and parmesan cheese. Instead, Middle Sister had written down "please."

Great Read for Today

Denise's post "I am not the Enemy" reminds us that we parents are the ones responsible for our children--not their teachers, not their coaches, not their catechists, not their doctors, not the local in-school birth-control clinic.

It is time for parents to understand that being in the driver’s seat as a parent means more than just sitting behind the wheel of the minivan. It is time for institutions to abandon their adversarial stance towards parents. They are to cooperate with my agenda for my child, not fight it. No one loves my child more than I do. I am not the enemy. I am the parent.

Read the whole thing. And don't be afraid to take back your kids. They're your kids.

A Kitchen Meme!

How could I resist? I love memes, and I love kitchens. So Milehimama tagged just the right person for this one: 8 Random Things About My Kitchen. However, I don't think I'll be able to top the picture she used to illustrate her post.

I'll have to make do with this one:
1. My collection of over 100 cookbooks (there are more in the dining room that didn't fit on this shelf). You can never have too many cookbooks, despite what TheDad thinks.

2. We don't eat in our kitchen. Once Little Brother outgrew the high chair (liberating the corner for my fabulous cookbook shelf) we couldn't all fit at the small kitchen table. So now we eat all our meals in the dining room and have nearly completed our mission to ruin the carpet in there.

3. My kitchen table belonged to my Granma Josie. My parents had given it to her, and I know she spent many hours there each day. Her kitchen was her headquarters. It's where she cooked, baked, did crossword puzzles, prayed and visited with her grandchildren. After she passed away, my dad asked me if I wanted the table. I like to bake here too.

4. That cool recipe box/cookbook holder was made by one of my mom's students when she taught at a technical high school.

5. I like to reorganize my kitchen cabinets and counters. I promised TheDad that I wouldn't relocate any of the stuff he needs to know how to find: skillets, his coffee, dishes and silverware. As for the rest of it, he never notices.

6. My toaster oven is a nice big one, to replace the small one that Big Brother burned to a crisp in a quest to scorch his toast (helpful hint: do not double-toast your toast when it's on the darkest setting. It WILL catch on fire.) This toaster oven has been on fire too, but since it's bigger, there was no damage to the oven. Bread flambe is pretty dramatic, though. And the birds around here are too proud to eat it, so it will languish in the garden for weeks.

7. Two things you could never convince me to live without in a kitchen: a gas stove, and an extra-deep sink.

8. And because I am completely incapable of cooking without making a mess all over the kitchen AND myself, it's important to keep some of these around too:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Who wants to play? Consider yourself TAGGED!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More Wishful Thinking

The Mom-imposed rule in our house is "no video games on school days until After Dinner." This presumes that homework is done Before Dinner.

Little Brother is honing his creativity by trying to find ways around this rule. Here's today's gem:

"Mommy, since we have a new principal at school, I can play video games Before Dinner."

Mean Mommy didn't fall for it.

What Kind of Reader Are You?

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Book Snob
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

I love the last question about the bookshelves: my floor probably IS sagging from the weight.

Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist

Father Altier's homily on Saint Luke really hits home with me. As a parent, this is what I want to teach my children to do. This is the kind of example I hope I am setting for them, even in little ways.

Our part, then, is to learn from the disciples of the Lord because we are His disciples today, and we have to learn what He did with them and we have to learn to do what they did. The Lord sent them out as sheep among wolves. That is certainly the case today for anyone who wants to bring the Gospel into this world. Even with that, we need to continue to bring the Gospel message to as many people as we can and to have the courage to stand alone because we know that what we are preaching is truth.

Via ukok.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What's for Dinner?

I made soup without a recipe tonight and it was fabulous!

I wrote down the recipe so I won't forget what I did. Here it is: Scarborough Fair Chicken Soup. Had to name it after the seasonings I added! (And I will freely admit adding sage, which I wouldn't have done, just so all the seasonings in the song were named. Yes, I'm weird like that.)

Soup with some simple dinner rolls made a delicious, easy dinner.

Wishful Thinking

Little Brother was eating a bowl of cereal and grooving to a Veggie Tales CD while I packed his lunch this morning. I don't usually encourage dancing while chewing, but it was entertaining, so I let it go.

When I asked him if he wanted some "Goldfish" crackers for a snack, he didn't even stop dancing. He just pointed into his cereal bowl.

(For the record, the crackers went into the lunchbox.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How Cool Is This?

What a wonderful prolife effort at my alma mater:

At-risk moms find 'BFFs' at Notre Dame

In my Very Part-Time Work as a homebound tutor, I have had the opportunity to work with at least five girls who gave birth as high school students and kept their babies. They had varying degrees of family support. I know that there was more going on during some of those tutoring sessions than discussions of Shakespeare, geometry, and history. One young mom in particular would ask me all kinds of questions about baby care, breastfeeding, and her own recovery-from-childbirth process. Every once in a while I run into her. The little baby who spat up all over me while her mom took a test on Othello is now about 9 years old. Her mom and dad eventually married and she has a little brother. I hope that in the weeks I spent tutoring her mom, I helped to make an impact that was more than academic.

If they had one of those 'BFF' programs around here, I'd join. Young women who choose to keep their babies rather than abort them need support that goes beyond those first few weeks.

Check It Out!

Lindsey announces the new edition of Escape Adulthood magazine, themed "Finding Balance." You can download a free PDF here. Among the articles are a very good one called "Balancing Act" and Lindsey's take on the "to-do list."
The download is free and the articles are definitely worth a read. Enjoy!
One excellent line in the "Balancing Act" article: "say no to the good in order to say yes to the great." Chew on THAT for a while and see where it leads you!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Holiness, Little Brother Style

Little Brother has yet to learn the virtue of moderation when it comes to holy water. Apparently he believes that in this case, more is always better.
Yesterday on our way out of church, I watched him dunk his whole hand into the holy-water font and then run it over his hair on the way to his forehead before continuing with the sign of the cross. His head was really wet, and so was his shirt. (Big Brother thought this was really funny.)
Being a little boy with a conveniently-located head, he finds himself in the position to have his head rubbed a lot. It’s much nicer after a fresh haircut, but TheDad and I like to rub his head anytime. He likes it too. After dinner tonight, he was hanging around my chair and I rubbed his head for a second until I noticed something a little damp in his hair.
“Do I want to know what’s in his hair?” I asked.
Big Brother answered, “It’s probably holy water.”

Too Much Fun In Her Weekend

All play and no sleep makes Middle Sister miserable on Monday.

She had a busy weekend! Friday evening she and her BFF went to a dance for middle-schoolers that is held at Big Brother's high school. Then they had an "awake-over" at BFF's house.

I picked her up late Saturday afternoon and when we got home, TheDad told Middle Sister that another friend had called. She was being invited to attend a Halloween festival in a nearby town, and to sleep over afterward.

I discourage Saturday-night sleepovers and as a rule don't permit back-to-back overnights either. We've discovered that these things come back to bite Middle Sister in the immune system, and that usually on Tuesday morning she is not feeling well, has a mild sore throat, sometimes even a low fever, and winds up absent from school.

But it was a "special occasion" so I was convinced to let her go. Sunday we picked her up at 9:15 for Mass, then changed our clothes and headed for the 125-mile-each-way trip to visit my parents.

She spent most of the day snoozing on my parents' living-room couch. She slept all the way there and all the way home. And this morning she did not feel well. The only surprise there is that today is Monday, not Tuesday.

I made sure she ate breakfast, gave her ibuprofen, and sent her to school. She knew I'd be in the building this morning for my weekly library time. I was actually surprised that I wasn't called to come and get her during that time. And then I headed home, only to hear the cell phone ring as I waited for a red light to change. Pulling into a nearby parking lot, I told the school nurse that I'd turn right around to come and get my daughter.

Now she and a drink and a blanket are parked on the couch. There's going to be a Really Early Bedtime tonight. I'm sure that in the morning she'll be good as new.

But when your kid's this miserable, you don't even enjoy being able to gloat.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What Kind of Candy Are You?

Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Very popular, one of you is not enough.

Wonder if I could tweak my results to make it turn out that I am a Milky Way (my favorite candy EVER).

Via Jean at Catholic Fire.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Spelling Success!

Little Brother has finally learned to spell our last name.

It's not an easy name. It kind of looks like what happens when you are touch-typing and your fingers stray off the "home keys" so everything is a little, well, off.

Last week he could only spell half of it, so I was very impressed when he rattled the whole thing off.

"Wow," I said. "Have you been practicing that in school?"

His answer: "No. I learned it off my lunchbox. Thanks, Mom, for writing it on my lunchbox!" He was so proud of himself, and as he usually does when he's happy about something, he gave me Extra Hugs and Kisses.

I guess all that time he spends sitting on the school bus every day has paid off. I wonder if they make dry-erase lunchboxes? I could write Middle Sister's spelling words on there every week. Hmmmmmm.....

Friday, October 12, 2007

Just Because It's Legal Doesn't Make it Right

And it doesn't make it safe, either.

Don't believe everything you read in the newspaper. Today's story on abortion is clearly and completely slanted in favor of the procedure.

I wish I had a scanner so I could show the graphic that appears in my newspaper, but not online. A picture is worth 1,000 words, but the words will have to do here.

Subheading: Of all abortions performed worldwide in 2003, nearly 48 percent were considered unsafe--with 97 percent performed in developing nations.
Key: Safe=no law restrictions
Unsafe=law restrictions or illegal; performed without proper medical skill and/or proper medical standards.

Since when is the word "safe" defined as "free from legal restriction or repercussion?" I can't find that definition in any of the several dictionaries we have around here. But if that definition is valid, then I've been wrong to tell Big Brother that he shouldn't climb around on the roof, and I should have let Little Brother vault over the back of the living room couch onto the stairway below.

Read the linked article carefully. Who's quoted? People from the Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood), the World Health Organization and the International Women's Health Coalition. All of these organizations have a vested interest in keeping abortion legal.

However, they don't have a good track record for keeping it safe--not even here in the USA! Christine at RealChoice, Jean at Catholic Fire and Jill Stanek, to name just a few, have more horror stories than I can stomach on the lack of true "safety" in legal abortions. Right here in New Jersey, there have been plenty of recent stories on the subject: Atlantic City and Englewood.

That's safety for the mother that is being discussed here. Of course, abortion is always 100% unsafe for the child.

It might be legal, but it's certainly not right. And it's not safe, either.

UPDATE: has more information that proves the inaccuracy of this article.

UPDATE #2: Aggie Catholics asked a statistician to take a close look at the charts and figures.

Image source: Feminists for Life of America

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Beautiful Prayer for Our Friends

One of my forum buddies posted this beautiful prayer today. I couldn't resist sharing it with you here.

May God be with those who need comfort and hold you in His arms; may His wisdom prevail for those who have tough decisions or just don't know what to do; may He guide those travelling and surround them with safety. For each of us may we see with His eyes and love with His heart and show compassion and grace to all ~ we never know when we will walk in their shoes.
May each one of us finish today closer to God and His word than we started and may we be aware daily of the blessings He pours out on us, and the grace He extends to us daily.

A Must-Read for Parents of Girls

Donna Marie Cooper-O'Boyle has an excellent post about our culture's pressures on young girls.

There are so many more things I worry about with my daughter than I do with my sons, so many more fears I have, and so many ways in which I feel inadequate to the task. I know that other parents feel the pressure too; my sister and I were just talking on the phone this morning about one of her daughters' experiences with the Not-Nice Girls at her school.

I know I can't shield my daughter from everything--but at 11, she's just about to have to face so many challenges. I hope I'll be able to help her weather the storms ahead.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Middle Sister thinks so, anyway.

TheDad is checking her math homework. (Division of homework in our house: I help with English, Spanish, history and religion. TheDad helps with math, history and science.)

TheDad is really good at math. He graduated college with a degree in meteorology, which required a lot of calculus. Now he programs computers for a living, so he uses math every day.

So Middle Sister didn't have a leg to stand on when she tried to defend herself by saying, "Dad, are you sure you know the Order of Operations?"

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Germ factory? Or just a hard day in kindergarten?

Too early to tell. But Little Brother is definitely "off" today. It's like I have a little Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde on my hands. One minute he is smiling and dancing and wanting a snack. The next minute he is a puddle of tears over something that ordinarily would just be cause for a minute of whining.
He doesn't have a fever and his appetite is fine. But his eyes don't look quite right to me.
I guess it's time to play "wait and see." Certainly he's had ample exposure to germs. Hopefully he's just tired, and a good night's sleep will do him plenty of good.

UPDATE: Thanks, he seems to be fine. So I guess it was more "overtired" and less "unhealthy." I'm glad about that! And I wonder if he ever falls asleep during Rest Time at school! He's a busy guy, and including the bus ride, he's putting in an 8-hour day.

What's Cooking?

Danielle is collecting recipes in her comment box today. She's looking for the easy kind. The kind where you don't really even have to MEASURE. The kind that have simple, easy-to-keep-on-hand ingredients. So far, there are some good ideas over there. I'm going back tomorrow to copy the best ones!

And in case you've missed it, my family favorite recipes are posted here. Because I believe a good recipe is meant to be used and shared.

I used to help out in the kitchen when my kids' school (2 schools ago) had Bingo. I met a lot of wonderful senior citizens from the parish who were on my Bingo team. There was one lady who made The Most Amazing Chocolate Cake Ever. Now, I am not a big cake eater, but this cake was phenomenal. She would make one for Bingo each week, and two during the parish carnival to be donated to the "spin the wheel and win a cake" game. People would stalk her to the cake booth and try to win her cake. When she would show up at Bingo with the cake, we'd have an immediate rush to the kitchen. Everyone begged for the recipe and she would never give it out. She said she didn't even share it with her own children. She probably took that fabulous recipe to the grave with her. What a shame.

Don't keep your recipes close to the vest! If someone likes what you make and wants to make it at their home, that's a big compliment to you.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I don't like to get all superstitious about sports. But it seems that all sports fans get that way after a while. And I'm fully aware of how foolish it sounds to think that something that I did, or did not do, has any impact on a game played all the way across the country. Yet I can't help dwelling on that...

Notre Dame won last night!

All season long, I have made a careful effort to watch the game, wear my game-day shirt, and all of that.

Yesterday, since the game was on so late, I intended to change into the shirt later. Never happened.

When it was time for the game, I was on the phone with my mom. She is also an Irish fan (I learned from the best!) and she turned on her TV, only to discover that ABC was not televising Notre Dame, but Ohio State. We quickly got off the phone to scroll through the sports stations on our satellites, trying to find the game. I don't know if she found it, but I never did.

First game all season I didn't get to watch. I didn't dress for the occasion. And NOW they win.

So, next game--do I stay away?

On Respect Life Sunday

I want to bring you an announcement straight from last week's parish bulletin.
A FULL-PAGE announcement, placed right next to the Mass intentions for the week, so no one will miss it.
All caps, underlining, etc. are as printed in the bulletin.


In light of Church teaching on the sanctity of human life, the Catholic Bishops have expressed opposition to any funding for human embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. Embryonic stem cell research always involves the destruction of the human embryo, which is innocent human life.

Catholics have an obligation to protect human life and promote responsible scientific research.
Therefore, Catholics can never support embryonic stem cell research.

Words of Life

"The Church says life is beautiful, it is not something to doubt, but it is a gift even when it is lived in difficult circumstances. It is always a gift."
Pope Benedict XVI, May 9, 2007

A big THANK YOU to our pastor for his courage to speak the truth on this subject.

And here's another pastor who's not afraid to speak up: Father Martin Fox has today's homily on the subject of contraception.

Jane has a helpful post highlighting the USCCB's statement on Respect Life Sunday and a link to the full statement. (And the beautiful stained-glass image Jane has illustrating this post is not to be overlooked either!)

Friday, October 05, 2007


We just got back from our church's Fall Festival where I had my fill of my favorite Polish dish, "Kluski." Basically, it's "pierogi hash." Some pierogi always break in the pot, so they chop them up, add more farmer cheese, more onion, more butter and maybe some cabbage, fry it all up and serve it in a bowl.

I can hear my arteries slamming shut as I type this. But it was SO worth it.