Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pretty Happy Funny Real All Hallows Eve

Pretty & Happy- The big girls were a Parisian lady with poodle and the Autumn fairy. Baby Girl was a shoeless princess for a while until she realized that, yes, it is chilly!
Funny & Real- Boy was very specific about what he wanted to be for trick or treating. He wanted to be "a French boy who got his clothes torn by the bullies and he has patches on his clothes and he got lost and his mother found him." They say that all the season's spookiness is about processing the things that frighten us most. I guess this is what frightens him. The funny? He simplified the concept by calling himself "Cinderella's brother."
We celebrated All Saints' Day with a party last Sunday afternoon and usually join our homeschool group for a saint party on All Hallow's Eve. Sadly, it is a Wednesday and I had to teach two classes. Dad took the kids out for an hour of candy-getting, but it was destined to be a very low-key holiday today. I hope your day was happy!
find more contentment at Like Mother Like Daughter

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Woman Catholic Priests & Married Men Being Ordained Deacon & Priest

I'm tired of these two phenomena being equated. Whether if you want both, one or the other or neither, they are not the same thing. And when official Roman-rite dioceses' websites and documents cease to equate them, then I will stop beating this very, very dead horse.

“Presently the Church does not allow for the ordination of women or married men. This matter cannot be resolved at the local level. For the spiritual well being of our faithful people we cannot allow this to prevent us from aggressively seeking new priesthood candidates for our diocese.” from the generally beneficial Albany "Called by Name" program- this post was inspired by Fr Z's post about laity being forced to give priest a blessing during the Mass.
a celibate (of course) monk, a married priest and two of his children
sometimes he gets a half-day off
A married priest has an impossible task juggling all his responsibilities- it helps when the family is on board and willing to help his ministry and also tolerate time sometimes in snippets. Grace is needed as well.
In the old days, Byzantine Catholic seminarians got married in their clerical collars. I've never seen it done today. The man gets one day to wear a tuxedo, then it is on to collars- no ties- for the rest of his life.

Do these photos upset you? Or are they just strange, something you have never seen?

I know that photos of women members of the Roman Catholic Woman Priests organization upset me. It saddens me when women feel that they need to impersonate Christ because they cannot be in persona Christi. I wonder why they feel they must be ordained to be an important member of the Church. Others have defended this very unpopular (for the majority of the Christian world) theology of a male priesthood in the Catholic Church better than I. For more information on why the Catholic priesthood is reserved to men, read here at, a basic article is here at, and  an interesting and educational article from Catholic Answers is here.

Women cannot be priests in the Catholic Church, but married men can even if that is not a current tradition in the Roman-rite and the Eastern rites that have it as a tradition are shying away from it for practical reasons. So please, let's agree to at least separate the issues.

Last Days of babyhood- '31 days'- day 30

Baby Girl (3 and a few months) has decided to toilet train herself (I've never rushed things). Upon learning this, Boy (5) started crying and talking about her future of marriage and children. We feel change deeply around here. We are at the last days of her babyhood.
after a week in a closed incubator, she was here for four weeks
She's five weeks old and six and a half pounds here. This is her first day home and the first time any of the kids (even the big girls) got to hold her. The hospital's something-flu (what was en vogue 3 years ago?) made it impossible for the children to visit the NICU. Boy and Girl have been friends from the beginning

Monday, October 29, 2012

This is not a Mommyblog- '31 days'- day 29

My '31 days' experiment hasn't been going all that well. First of all, I decided to do it on the first day of October, so I really wasn't all that prepared to come up with great content for 31 days in a row. And I had forgotten that my blog audience has never really responded to when I do something 'mommyblog-ish' like post a recipe- perhaps because my recipes are always non-recipes. But you know it is really bad when the blog writer herself does not want to look back at old blog posts. My camera is so bad, so my photos are so, so bad. Luckily, the month is almost finished and I can go back to my mish-mash of whatever this blog is turning out to be. 

(By the way- the pickled turnips were great except next time I will use normal white vinegar, the wine vinegar changed the taste a little)
Are you interested in my daily crock pot and rice cooker recipes needed to survive our crazy-busy life? No? I didn't think so!

In any case, ORA ET LABORA!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins...just don't ask me for the recipe- '31 days'- day 25

Breakfast on the run should be a healthy smoothie or a healthy muffin, no? Breakfast is always rushed here, but I usually find myself cooking eggs or oatmeal which is not very portable if one needs to get into the van to make it to work or kindergarten on time. I decided to make some muffins.
I looked around for a recipe, but I didn't find anything with my exact ingredients that I was trying to use up, so I made up my own. This is basically it, but don't take my exact word for it:

one large can of pumpkin puree
six eggs
one cup of honey
half cup of buttermilk
two tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice
one package of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free pizza crust mix (basically rice flour)
two cups of oat bran
two teaspoons baking powder with dash of salt
No added fat is needed; the eggs contribute enough- I baked each batch (first with chocolate chips, the next two with dried cranberries) for 22 minutes at 350. Next time, I will bake it at 375 for a shorter period for, hopefully, a better rise. They were pretty good!
Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million, count half dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. ~ Henry D. Thoreau

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

From Simple Turnip to Glorious Lebanese Delicacy- '31 days'- day 24

Turnips are coming into high rotation with our CSA vegetable and fruit box. I've thrown them into soups and stews and mashed them into a 1/4 turnip, 3/4 potato mixture. But there is nothing more delicious turnip-wise than Lebanese turnip pickles. I made them, and then I looked up a recipe. I think I am close; we'll know in two days. They will live in the refrigerator while we eat them, so I didn't attempt to can them. 
enjoy their beautiful purple color- it won't last long!...start with a few turnips, peeled and cleaned
cut peeled, cleaned turnips into french fry-sized pieces and place into a well-washed jar
add a tablespoon of kosher salt, one cup of vinegar (I had red wine vinegar), and beet juice/water to cover the turnips. Place in refrigerator and wait for two days. The beet juice is for color and a bit of flavor. You can also tell if the turnips are completely pickled if the color has reached the center. If you go to a Lebanese restaurant, these will arrive at your table before you order like chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant. I can't wait to try and see if my version is as tasty as the store-bought ones!

“Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion.”  --The Talmud

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” --Leonardo da Vinci

“Live simply that others might simply live.” --Elizabeth Seaton

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:12)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

She said it better than I- '31 days'- day 23

Shadows of depression can ride up like a highway man in the night and and steal away all the silver linings.

I wake on a Sunday to his cantering away. I lay in the bed a long time.

The legs, the spirit, too heavy to move. The sun’s high already, the sheets warm. I make a point of not looking at my watch or the bedside clock’s hands ticking, vainly trying to nudge me out.

Maybe I can bury myself deep under covers, a bunker, escape today and no one will notice?

I don’t bother moving today because I already know I’ll lose.

I know I can’t get the laundry caught up this week and I know I can’t make deadlines. I know the bedrooms I tidied through last night will be dumped out by nightfall, the sink I left empty last night will be piled high by noon, the floors I washed yesterday will be tracked dirty by supper.
I will definitely lose today, tomorrow, all week. I roll over, smother my face in the pillow.

How did my daily challenge to get up and “Work!” dissolve into this apathetic

I think…. when I began to believe in the head that there’s no way through for the heart, when my inner world fell for the lie that nothing can change in my outer world.

When the problems before you seem to loom larger than the Power behind you, the purpose in living falls right out from underneath of you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our Icon Corner- '31 days'- day 21

Someday I'll improve upon this photo- many of our icons haven't been hung up again because we recently re-painted the living room walls. In the meantime...the main icon is a reversed painted glass icon, typical in Romania.

A Day with Daddy- 31 days- day 20

He took a day off work to accompany Boy on his kidergarten pumpkin patch field trip. What a dad!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Save a Step Cooking Quick Takes

or: Priest's Wife needs an intervention so she will start using actual recipes!
Rosie of Like Mother, Like Daughter made fresh pasta and posted about it. I thought why not? I did a little searching and discovered that pasta is basically 3 cups flour to 4 eggs, so I went with that and tried my luck.
The little ones helped with cracking the eggs and dumping flour into the Kitchenaid.
Then, I realized that my rolling pin was packed away in a box. What to do? We used a water bottle and then used a meat smasher to get the pasta as thin as possible.
This is what we made with half of the pasta dough. I used leftover chicken broth and Italian sauage, added carrots, spinach and the pasta. It was good, but the pasta was more like dumplings. I suppose you really need a pasta press to get it thin enough to be called pasta.
Daughter #2 really hates cheese. Yes, I know...Sometimes I accommodate her preferences, so I made cheese-free lasagna for her- pasta sheets with jarred marinara.
Next time, I promise I will look and see if I have the ingredients for a real recipe. Our lasagna was made with a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella (the brick was pre-mixed) and cottage cheese (no ricotta in the house). We were eating chicken and broccoli, so I made a meatless lasagna with green onions, green pepper and a bit of arugula. It was pretty tasty, but I am glad we didn't have guests. It is a family joke that I try new fake recipes out on unsuspecting guests. I like to live on the edge.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. 
--J. R. R. Tolkien 
A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. 
--Benjamin Franklin 
"’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children" 
--St. Clement of Alexandria

Pretty Happy Funny Real Homeschooling Thoughts

"How can it be a large career to teach other people's children about the Rule of Three and a small one to teach one's own children about the universe?" -- GK Chesterton

Pretty- really, the word should be beautiful. I am waiting for this in the mail. It is really our family Christmas present, but I think we will put it in the main icon corner right away. The icon corner should be the main focus of the homeschooling day. I also ordered 3 beautiful Byzantine crosses- but they are different than anything you have seen. When I get them, I'll post a photo.
Happy- The big girls are happy that their Shakespeare play this year is Taming of the Shrew. They performed the play five years ago, the first time they were in this drama program. Now, they are hoping for important roles like Katerina. Their director should be calling me Thursday night so they will know their roles for their Friday morning class. I'll write their parts down in the comment box when I know them...I am full of anticipation and trepidation. They perform the play in March, so that is a long time to live with a part you aren't thrilled with.

Funny- after lunch watermelon silliness
Real- I just got a letter in the mail stating that my kindergartener son is in trouble because he has been tardy seven times since he started school on August 18th. 'Tardy' means that he got there at 8:05 instead of 8:00. The drop-off time is the same for the entire school (luckily, pick-up is much easier because only the kindergarten is half-day); this means that 500 cars are battling for 50 parking spaces. I have already had damage to my van because I dared to park in the parking lot. Usually, we park on the street (still a difficult feat) and walk a ways to get to school. And my boy is under pressure to sell wrapping paper and cookie dough so that he can get prizes. I can't wait to homeschool him next year...
go to Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pretty, happy, funny, real

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Party Time- '31 days'- day 17

We had a tea party for lunch today. The occasion was our first purchase of the season of Trader Joe's spiced cider. We had salami, smoked gouda and green pepper on toasted sourdough before the watermelon from our CSA. The cookies were the appetizer.  
The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist. -- Pope St. Gregory the Great

All the wealth in the world cannot be compared with the happiness of living together happily united. -- Blessed Margaret d'Youville

If you would rise, shun luxury, for luxury lowers and degrades. -- St John Chrysostom

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

He Said It Better Than I- '31 days'- day 16

Fr Dwight Longenecker writes, "One of the famous choices between Catholics and Protestants is the relationship between faith and works. Many Protestants hear Catholics talk about “earning years off purgatory” or hear them talking about doing certain actions in order to earn a “plenary indulgence” and they assume that Catholics believe in salvation by works. It’s an easy conclusion to jump to, but in fact, the Catholic Church has never taught salvation by works. That’s a heresy called Pelagianism, and it was the Catholic Church that first recognized the heresy and stomped on it."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Prayer with Faith is the Work- '31 days'- day 15

Do you remember the man who was born blind? People wondered if it was God's wrath that had caused this disability. Jesus answered: "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:3).

Just watch The Butterfly Circus, and you will see that Jesus is so right. When a person is born with (or develops) a disability and still contributes positive things to the world, that shows God's glory. There is a mother in a wheelchair who picks up her two children from school, using a converted van with a ramp. I don't know her, and she might hate this, but I see God's glory in her. How dare I complain about the bad parking when it really is difficult for her to get up in the morning. 
But sometimes a child's problems are linked to the sins of the father.

I have a friend who just started fostering children between 1 and 6 years old. She has two children over ten years old of her own, and she thought that children under six would be less likely to act out sexually or violently with her children. Now, she has to discern if she can take two infants born addicted to meth without completely upending her children's schooling. She doesn't know if she can handle the constant crying of drug-addicted babies. These babies did nothing wrong, as Jesus said, but their parents completely failed them. And maybe their grandparents failed them. Society failed these babies even as my friend, part of society, is trying to give them something stable in their lives.

I have a distant family member who is being hospitalized for anorexia. Her father has been abusive and her mother feels helpless. Both, in different ways, have failed their child. Does a twelve-year old have the mental fortitude to actually choose to be ill as a way to have some control over her life or did some familial sin push her over the edge? If only her father would get on his knees and make a complete Saul/Paul-level change. 

I've been praying Psalm 51, not only because I am a sinner in need of grace but for those people who have refused to hear Christ. This psalm is very important to all Christians, and it is a common prayer for Byzantine religious as well. Do cloistered nuns 'need' to pray this psalm? Perhaps they do not need to pray it for themselves. The grace is poured out on those who need it and who will accept it.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguilt, O God, O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem;

then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar. (Psalm 51)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Variations on a Pillowcase- '31 days'- day 14

The last time I was at my parents' home (900 miles away), my mother was fretting over an old, flannel nightgown that she didn't want to part with. But she was also trying to declutter- what to do? It was the last thing that her mother, who died in her 50's of ALS, had sewn for her. I took the nightgown and promised mom that I would make something out of it. I made a lined laundry room/craft room bag (for lost socks? for crafty stuff?) and a fabric bucket to keep craft stuff in. I hope my mother appreciates them in all their imperfections; old thin fabric is very difficult to work with. And in continuing the 'faith and works' theme, I prayed for Grandma Carol while I sewed with the little ones and the dog literally underfoot (directly next to the sewing machine pedal....).
a prayer for Grandma Carol and others 
God of the spirits and of all flesh, who have trampled death and annihilated the devil
and given life to your world, may you yourself,
O Lord, grant to the soul of your deceased servant N. rest in a place of light, a verdant place, a place of freshness, from where suffering, pain and cries are far removed.
Do You, O good and compassionate God
forgive every fault committed by him in word, work or thought because there is no man
who lives and does not sin. You alone are without sin and your justice
is justice throughout the ages and your word is truth.
Since you, O Christ our God, are the resurrection, the life and the repose of your deceased servant N.,
we give you glory together with your un-begotten Father
and your most holy, good and life-creating Spirit,
now and always and forever and ever.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ballet Bags for Sale!- '31 days'- day 13

Ballet is not an inexpensive activity. Even with our public charter school for homeschoolers paying a third of the cost over the year, it is very cost prohibitive. And they will need new pointe shoes in four months as well. So, we are making pointe shoe/soft shoe bags to sell at the studio. The ribbon closure is sewed to the back so it won't fall off. $3 for a plain bag, $4 with a pocket and $5 with a pocket and button or zipper. The girls are in charge, but I can be seen hovering, cajoling and fixing the machine when the foot falls off yet again.

“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”

“Life exists for the love of music or beautiful things.” --G. K. Chesterton 

Friday, October 12, 2012

A 'Quick Takes' Dress for Baby- '31 days'- day 12

There was this cute 'Let's play dress up' fabric in my stash covered with little dresses. I've made ruffled skirts before, but I decided to attach a bodice to the skirt. You can't make just a skirt out of fabric printed with little dresses, but I didn't have a real pattern. So, I made a pattern up. Please check out the post at Kuky Ideas that inspired this dress because I realize that this tutorial might be very confusing. Baby Girl is enjoying the dress and I worked at praying unceasingly while I was sewing, so I consider this is success.
The fabric was 42" wide. I went with that for the deepest part (12") of the skirt portion of the dress. I wanted to make a roomy dress with a 24" waist, so the gathering would be pretty loose on that first ruffle that would attach to the bodice. The long, thin piece is 6" deep and 84" long (the photo doesn't show the entire strip). I cut two 42" pieces and sewed them together. This will be gathered to fit onto the bottom of the 12" deep ruffle.
Always iron your seams flat. I try to pink them when I can. All the seams and ruffles were eventually pinked on this dress- I don't have a serger.
To make a ruffle, sew two unsealed lines at the top of the fabric. Take the two threads that came from the bobbin (it will be on the bottom of the stitching- ignore the two threads coming from the top of the stitching) and pull gently, gathering the fabric into a ruffle that can be adjusted for length and evenness.
I use a magnetic pin holder. It's not as cute as a cushion, but I don't have to even look at it while I am sewing and putting pins on it.
Make patch pockets if you like. I sewed two squares together for each pocket with right sides together, turned them inside out and ironed flat. Then, I pinned and stitched to the wider middle ruffle. Don't forget to secure the pocket opening with a few back and forth stitches.
It helps to have a helpful big daughter to iron your rolled hems. And there is nothing wrong with a bit of Yo Gabba Gabba (on dvd- no commercials!) for the little ones, either. 
The Bodice- I cut two 14'' by 14'' pieces of  fabric. I sewed a narrow rolled hem on the sides, leaving the bottom edge raw. Then I made a casing for the top large enough to put a inch-thick ribbon through for a ruched neckline. After the casing is made, sew the pieces together, going half way up the sides, starting at the bottom. Make sure to sew good sides together and leave at least four inches from the top for the arm holes.
Line up your ruffles to be even with the raw edge of the upper layer - line up narrow, long ruffle to match the bottom of the middle wider ruffle with right sides together- sew the ruffle to the straight edge- then turn inside out and sew the side seam- then put right sides together and sew the two ruffles to the bodice. Go to this tutorial for much clearer instructions I also topstitched everything when the dress was all together.
Even though it is only fourteen inches long, use a large safety pin to help you get the ribbon through the casing. The front and the back portions of the bodice will have the threaded ribbon. Then, try the dress on your girl and scrunch the ribbon and tie securely.
Here is a close up, though fuzzy photo of the neckline. It worked! I never tried it before. I got the idea for the ribbon-through-casing neckline from Family Fun magazine where they used an old t-shirt to make a sundress for a little one.
"Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."
Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta