Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'll take that snow day and raise you some confetti

I realize that statement makes no sense. I'm feeling the loss of my weekend and it has made me a little loopy.

This weekend was the start of the room makeover -- Faith's room makeover. Maybe you remember we bought her a large tree with owls decal for Christmas. It was part of her master plan: "I want my room to be purple -- two walls morning purple, and two walls night time purple, with purple owls and a big tree."

Lest you think I indulge my daughter's every whim, I don't. But six years ago we painted her room "Fairest of them All" pink, and she no longer wanted to be the princess pink girl, so I consented, as long as it was a gift (no freebie makeovers). So, for Christmas she received the decal tree and owls (large tree, life-size owls -- creepy if you ask me. Do you want owls watching you sleep?) and the promise of paint. She talked her dad into starting this weekend.

The dad man does paint prep. He paints trim. He cleans up. He does not paint walls. By default, I paint walls, which I didn't really mind in my youth. But, I'm getting a little old for climbing ladders and I'd really rather pay someone to do it, but that was not in the budget (it's never in the budget).

I started Saturday with the night time purple on the two walls which can not be seen from the hall -- good strategic plan because this purple, called "romantic moment" by Behr, is what I called "oh-my-gosh-this-sure-as-sh*t-is-purple." There is nothing in nature quite so purple as this purple. Here's an ipad pic:

I don't normally work on Sunday, but I knew I wouldn't be able to paint all week, so I planned to paint after Mass yesterday. Our pastor used to say the only work on Sunday should be something you can not do any other day, so I thought I was safe, but I may have made God mad (just kidding). The second color is called "confetti." It's a shade lighter than the above, but still most definitely purple. It's more like sunset purple, or I guess in Faith's eyes, sunrise purple. I had just started on the one long blank wall with "confetti" and had painted about 4 feet of wall, top to bottom. I was on the top of the ladder cutting in at the ceiling when I had a serious mechanical malfunction -- my paint pan came off the holder and hit the ground, paint -- "confetti" -- flying up everywhere. I had a drop cloth, but it was only about a foot out from the wall and not quite long enough to cover the square footage of the enormous splash. There was confetti everywhere! I definitely yelled a bad word (I would have loved to have been at the little neighbor girl's dinner table last night when she told the story of what happened because she and Faith were playing in the room next door). Doug and Faith both came running, and the dad man was not very happy (well, neither was I) and I think he swore her room would be purple until the day she leaves home, or longer.

If you ever need to get wet latex paint out of carpet, you need a wet vac, fortunately something we have, and a lot of hot water. I haven't seen the carpet in true daylight, nor sunlight, because it was snowing all day yesterday, but it looked pretty good in lamplight. Doug would have liked to rip the carpet up and replace it with hardwood floor, something he wants to do in the upstairs, but that's not in the budget right now.

I eventually finished the walls, just before dinner, and I can honestly say that I do not like purple paint. I do not like it on the wall, I do not like it when it falls. I do not like it here or there, I do not like it any where. 

But we're stuck with it for forever. Or until we can afford a painter.

The decal goes up in two weeks, the curtains (reusing the green gingham curtains from the pink and green room) hopefully back up today. She gets the bedding for her birthday in February, so I'll be sure to show you final pics when it's all done. I only wish I had taken before and after pictures of confetti all over the carpet. I think whoever named purple paint "confetti" put a curse on it!

For now I'm taking my snow day on the sofa. You'll find me there with a heating pad and a cup of tea. Don't wake me if I'm sleeping.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hump Day(book)

In the garden...
..mud. The weather doesn't know quite what it wants to be. Yesterday was sunny part of the day, and part of the day enormous snowflakes fell in showers. It's gray today, just slightly warmer (36 degrees) and the weather man says light rain showers expected. The dog comes in muddy each time she goes out. Grrr.

I'm thinking about...
...my mind is rather empty, and I suspect my brain is shutting down as a defense mechanism -- my to-do list is so very long. I was on such a good roll blogging regularly, but my brain shutdown just flattened me.

Today I am blogging as I sit here trying to move Faith along in her schoolwork because I have some errands to run outside the house today (although pushing always seems to result in schoolwork taking twice as long). 

I'm still trying to get that very first practice dress sewn, but I ran out of lace. I decided to try to use this beautiful edge of the lace for the hem, but that involved modifying the pattern and I used more fabric for the skirt than the pattern calls for, thus I ran out (one of the errands today). I'm not certain the modification is going to work as the dress is supposed to be rather fitted and though I cut for minimal gathering at the waistline, the modification requires some gathering in the lace layer (unless someone else has a better idea for getting this lace edge at the hemline).

The kids (the happy couple) did make some headway on Monday by choosing all of the hymns for the Mass. Mostly Taylor chose them because other than a few vetoes, Joshua wasn't disagreeable (or actively participating). It is rather unfair that most men just show up at their own weddings, and participate very little in the planning and execution.

They still have to choose all of the prayers and readings, which is going to be about a ten-hour session, and Taylor will probably have to order pizza, get Chinese carry-out, and bake cookies to keep Joshua interested. I have looked through the planning book they were given and post-it noted the prayers and readings I think will be their favorites, but there are still over a dozen decisions to be made regarding the Mass.

Even a simple Catholic wedding isn't simple (but it's all for Our Lord!).

I am wearing...
...a brown skirt, brown v-neck and a scarf. I'm stocking footed because I'm not sure which shoes will be necessary when I leave the house.

I am reading....
...The Storyteller on my Kindle. This is a long book and I haven't picked it up in a couple days.

I am creating...

...a sweater for Faith is on the needles. Yes, still. I have about 20 rows of sleeve left and then the attached i-cord collar. The end is nigh.

I am also working on a commissioned rosary and Stations of the Cross chaplet, and nine scapulars. See note above about brain shutdown.

In the kitchen...
...I just baked some of these yummy biscotti. I made a batch over the weekend and they were such a hit I made another this morning. I followed the ingredients and most of the directions but I didn't fuss with neatly smoothing the rolls -- just rolled them out on the parchment and then flattened them. I also bake them on their sides and flip them halfway because I like them to get a little color and be very toasty. I also added a large handful of sliced almonds. Delish!

Last week I made a pot of Wild Game Chili (for those of you with hunter husbands -- mine is not, but our wonderful neighbor shares). I used half vension and half beef (fresh out of boar!), and I added two cans of spicy chili beans. The gang loved it (just don't tell Noah it had venison in it!). Cornbread here.

For the rest of the week:
Wednesday: chicken tenders, french fries and milkshakes with "wooly" whipped cream for St. Agnes
Thursday: Baked Potato Soup, salad
Friday: Teriyaki Burgers and Hawaiian rice for St. Marianne Cope's feast day
Saturday: pizza

At the school table...
...at the moment, a math test which is going on an hour (better to blog, my dear). Cranking away on everything else. I think a field trip to the conservatory is in order as science lessons are on Carl Linnaeus and scientific names for plants.

Plans for the rest of the week...

...surviving -- no plans.

A few of my favorite things...

...almond biscotti and a cup of tea
...daily Mass, especially on Saturday, which I have neglected until recently
...Simple Solutions English -- this has been such a help and Faith actually enjoys it. It supplements our Voyages in English and Exercises in English, and works as a daily review of many topics

Prayers sent heavenward...
...for my husband and children, to do God's will every day
...for all priests and religious, especially our priests Fr. Sill and Fr. Schmit, and for Fr. Howe
...all babies whose mothers are contemplating abortion, for a change of heart

Photos for the day...

The Epiphany Blessing (scroll down)

My lumberjack husband. Some enormous trees (like 30 inches across) came down the creek in the last rain and threatened to dam up the creek behind our house. It was all fun until he stepped in a deep spot and the water went down his boots. Some good firewood was retreived, however, so it was worth it.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ordinary Monday

In the garden...
...ice and snow. Right now we have just a few flurries coming down, but earlier it was ice coming down. The temperature was right at freezing this morning and it hasn't changed much, but it's supposed to go down to about 10 degrees tonight, so the slushy stuff will freeze. The question du jour...will there be school?

I'm thinking about...
...a new start -- Ordinary Time. I know the Liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent, Christmas and Easter are exciting, and times for growth, but right now, settling into Ordinary Time sounds just right.

Last Sunday, on the Epiphany, our parish offered blessed chalk and the house blessing printed for us -- what a great gift. So, our house is blessed for the year, always an awesome thing. I took a photo of our door frame, but somehow deleted it. I'm learning how to blog on my new Chromebook, and while it's great that I can upload photos, I haven't found the right photo app to help make it work.

I am wearing...
...a charcoal gray skirt, gray tights, a scarlet shirt and a gray sweater -- guess who we're rooting for in the game tonight? We are definitely a Buckeye family, with 3.75 grads (Josh has one more semester).

I am reading....
...The Storyteller on my Kindle. I'm getting close to the end. No opinions quite yet -- Jodi Picoult tends to make or break it at the end.

I am creating...

...a sweater for Faith is on the needles, and I'm knitting the last sleeve. Of course, it wouldn't be my knitting project if I didn't run out of yarn. I ordered one more skein but it's not the same dye lot. sad face

On the sewing front, drumroll....my husband found the receipt! He came home and looked in his stash of paperwork that he keeps in his cabinet in the storage room and, voila, it was there. He had no recollection of how it got there, but it was there. And I bought the warranty from Sears, so I just have to take it to a UPS store and they will send it off to someone who will probably decide it's not worth repairing. Either way, I'll be getting a machine sometime, but in the meantime my sweet friend Michele is loaning me hers, so I can get started! Thanks, Michele!

In the kitchen...
...tonight is dance night and the National Championship game (and yes we do have a horse in that race!), so the boys are doing their thing and the girls are doing ours.

We have had a few good meals lately, however, and my menu us below if you need some ideas. 

Yesterday for dinner I fixed spatchcocked chicken and vegetables. That might sound like something weird, but it couldn't be easier. I cleaned and halved a dozen new potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces about a dozen carrots, and sliced a half an onion like an apple. I tossed them in olive oil and sprinkled them with thyme, and placed them in my beautiful Le Creuset casserole. Then I rinsed and dried a chicken and then cut it up the back and flipped the legs up. I drizzled it with a couple of tablespooons of butter and salted and peppered it, roasted at 475 degrees for 30 minutes and then at 400 degrees until done according to your meat thermometer-- about another 45 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.

We had a loaf of Soda bread (sans raisins) and Applesauce Cake to round it out -- really easy Sunday dinner. This cake is just as good with no icing, but there was some eggnog in the fridge ready to expire that was dying to become icing.

On Saturday night I prepared, or started to prepare, a new recipe for Baked Macaroni and Cheese when I realized (oops!) that it was supposed to be a crock pot recipe. Because it was only an hour and a half before dinner I dumped it all in a casserole and baked it at 375 degrees. It was awesome and I think next time I'll definitely try to get it in a crock pot for a less hectic dinner prep.

Tuesday: Lasagna, bread and roasted broccoli
Wednesday: California Breakfast Casserole, muffins or scones
Thursday: Chipotle Beef Stew and Acorn Squash, green beans
Friday: Mashed Potato Puffs, scrambled eggs and fruit
Saturday: Wild Game Chili, Cornbread

At the school table...
...back to the grindstone, not always a comfortable place to be.

Plans for the rest of the week...

...I'm feeding the dance gang on Thursday, just homemade soup and Panera bagels. And that's my only plan outside the house this week.

A few of my favorite things...

...clean surfaces after the Christmas decorations are put away (the cat was starting to mangle the Christmas ornaments, so I broke down and started putting everything away while Doug was gone).
...a roaring fire in the fireplace

Prayers sent heavenward...
...for my husband and children, to do God's will
...for all priests and religious, especially our priests Fr. Sill and Fr. Schmit, and for Fr. Howe
...all babies whose mothers are contemplating abortion, for a change of heart

Photo for the day...

...where Maggie sits for an hour before her dinner time. She's very patient. If only we could all be so patient.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Just love her

“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. 
You can never love her more than Jesus did.”   
--Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Kitchen Madonna
Thymes Wildwood candle in Bitter Orange and Cedar (smells so good!)

Friday, January 09, 2015

Just a slight crisis

I guess that's a bit of an oxymoron isn't it? There is no "slight" crisis, but I am in a jam, and it's rather urgent.

I mentioned to you that my sewing machine died right before Christmas. I heard from the repairman today and he said there is something "big" (my word not his) wrong with the computer board or circuit board (something along those lines, but he was pretty much speaking Greek to me).

I don't know who thought it would be a good idea to put computers in sewing machines, but he should be shot (it had to be a "he," right? No woman would do such a thing).

The repairman said the machine should be under warranty (it's about 15 months old), and could be shipped to Indiana for repair, but when I went to the dungeon to fetch the box, on which I had so diligently taped the receipt, I found the box had been re-purposed by my husband and the receipt was gone (breathe --big fat groan here, and maybe some bad words).

So, I think know I'm in the market for a machine, as I have 48 yards of fabric in my basement waiting to become eight bridesmaids dresses for a wedding in just over five months.

(Panic! Whose dumb idea was it to volunteer for this job? Another example of no good deed going unpunished!). 

I'd love to have a real war horse, but I can't afford a thousand dollar machine. Any suggestions for a good, reliable machine (nothing fancy necessary) that is affordable (under $400)?

Added: any readers have this Janome model?

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Just a little nippy

The thermostat says -1 degrees F. That's just the temp with no wind, and I can hear the chimes, so it's windy. The wind chill is -20 degrees. That's cold. Yesterday the creek was still running but this morning it's frozen. The schools called another inclement weather day, which I can understand because I wouldn't want my child standing at a bus stop this morning. I think this weather is around for a little while, at least according to weather. com. although it looks like it might get up to freezing by Sunday. As much as I'd love to start a fire this morning and sit by it all day, it's dance day and I have to go out in this cold. Brrrr.

Yesterday Doug left for Florida with his mom. He drove her down there where she'll stay for four months. He is meeting with some donors and coming home Sunday. I wouldn't want him to be gone all the time, but for some reason I get a lot more done when he's gone, even though he's gone all day during the week. Crazy! I caught up with all the laundry yesterday and started to put some Christmas decorations away, though I'm keeping the tree lit and the outside lights on until Sunday. The bright colored lights just seem to warm up that frigid landscape.

If you are dieting right now, you might want to click away now.

I made this Chicken and Biscuit Cobbler Tuesday for dinner and it was delicious, but nothing about it was low fat -- it will have to remain a rare treat. The recipe came from Southern Living (why do I subscribe to Southern Living when I live in Ohio? I'm a southerner at heart.) I followed the directions pretty close to the letter though I didn't have any dry white wine (one disadvantage to not drinking any more) and I refused to put the bacon in the biscuits -- that just seemed really over the top. I also used dried herbs instead of the fresh called for. The gravy was thick with carrots and mushrooms and it was very creamy -- Faith gobbled the leftovers for lunch yesterday.

My afternoon pick-me-up: half mug decaf coffee (strong), half mug hot milk, a tablespoon of Chocolate Malt Ovaltine and just a little (ha!) whipped cream. Gotta stay warm you know.

My view from the kitchen table -- if we got much closer, I'd be napping. That's the cat's bed on the chair next to the fireplace. She was in it all day, and she was napping.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Snow day

Today Columbus schools, and most of the suburbs, called a snow day. There are about 2 inches, maybe three, of snow on the ground (I know you Minnesotans are laughing!). I think this has happened several years in a row now where the kids just get back from Christmas break and it snows and the schools call a snow day. We live in Ohio. Do people not buy snow boots, hats and gloves for children anymore? And the Columbus city school system apparently has no mechanism for calling a delay because they never have as long as we've had a kid in high school (this is our 11th consecutive year at the all-boys Catholic high school -- and the Catholic schools close when the city schools close because of the busing). It's so frustrating for me because the starting and stopping is worse than a break. I don't have to let Faith have a day off, but, honestly I feel like the meanest mom in the world making her do school when her brother is home and all her friends are playing in the snow. Maybe I'll call it a field trip since she's running around the great outdoors as I write this. {wink}

We got our white, Jenny!

I couldn't go back to sleep this morning after we found out a snow day had been called, so I started the sleeve on Faith's sweater and watched a documentary about adoption, and how children form bonds with parents and how biological children react to adopted children. It is called The Dark Matter of Love. I found it fascinating.

I also found fascinating a new trick I learned the other day in working on the purple sweater (it has taken me so long to knit this sweater it will be a long time before I can knit with purple yarn again!). I learned an attached i-cord, which is sort of a rolled edge on a knitted garment, and let me tell you, it takes old dogs a long time to learn knew tricks. I tried this technique over and over again. I couldn't understand the written directions, so I Googled it. I watched video after video and tried and tried and just couldn't figure it out. It's really not that complicated but none of the directions said how many needles you should be using, so I was trying with two -- normal knitting, right? I finally remembered my old friend knittinghelp.com and got it immediately (and I needed two dpns plus the needle the yarn was being held on). Isn't it funny how you can see something or hear something over and over and not understand and then someone says it another way or shows you another way and it clicks? I've seen it so often in homeschooling, but rarely with my own brain. Anyway, it's really fun to knit an attached i-cord, so now I'll be adding one to all my sweaters. Ha!

Monday, January 05, 2015

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

...Twelve drummers drumming (chicken drumsticks).

I had planned to fry chicken drumsticks today, or at least bake some oven-fried drumsticks, but 
a) I forgot to buy drumsticks
b) it's the first day back at school, which is hard enough without trying to run to the store for chicken
c) it's dance night so making an after-school trip and then trying to get a meal ready is not even a choice

So, I vote for Popeye's chicken drumsticks for dinner, which I can run and get after I drop off at dance at 5 p.m. We always eat in split shifts on Monday, so Doug and Noah can enjoy it hot, and Faith and I can eat it after dance classes.

You might think this a lame choice for the twelfth and final day of Christmas, but, frankly, I am rather pleased with myself. Up until the past year, or less, I would have made this work by running to the store, and frantically getting the chicken fried with two sides and maybe dessert, too, wearing myself out in the process and probably getting cranky. I am more willing these days to admit I can't do it all, so I'll take a helping hand once in a while. We'll be sure to pray for the cook at Popeye's after Dinner Grace.

The Twelve Drummers Drumming represent the twelve points in the Apostle's Creed.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas...

...Eleven Pipers Piping.

This is a simple, yet delicious treat. Chocolate pudding recipe here, canned whipped cream, chocolate shavings and World Market Chocolate Orange rolled wafers. Or, if you're really busy, just pop open the rolled wafers and let the children pipe away.

The Eleven Pipers Piping represent the Eleven Apostles.

Also, because today is the Epiphany on the Church calendar, you can serve Epiphany Cake.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

On the Tenth Day of Christmas...

...Ten Lords a Leaping Ten Commandments

I am veering away from the song today, and using the faith teaching that the words in the song represent.

Frankly, I could think of only two "treats" to represent "Lords-a-Leaping": fried frog legs (not a treat in my book), and crown-shaped sugar cookies. Frankly, the adults in the house, and our family visiting for dinner are about all "desserted" out (but might enjoy just a sip of Benedictine after dinner), but I knew the kids would enjoy an ice cream sundae, and the creme wafer cookies I picked up at the Italian shop made fine tablets for the Ten Commandments (with a little frosting and gel icing). My effort was minimal (as evidenced by the photo), but the lesson is still there. If you are making Ten Commandment cookies, you might use Jessica's method, or bake and frost some sugar cookies. I think frosted sugar cookie crowns would be cute, too.

 Ten Lords-a-Leaping represent the Ten Commandments.