Saturday, November 15, 2008

the tale of a honey bear
this honey bear has been waiting patiently to be used as a water bottle by a very busy and always thirsty little boy............

i am happy because we are "re-purposing", the big kids are happy because they don't have to give him water all of the time and he is happy to have such a cool water bottle.........i do wish he was bigger though (the honey bear, not the little boy!)


man fighting a dragon

a spider eating candy, a plain spider, a balloon and a guy throwing a spear

ps. i guess this is what i get for asking a boy to sew with me!

Friday, November 14, 2008

sometimes change is good.........

This is what I came up with in a jiffy. It will have to do for now. And once again I apologize.

It's all in the name...........

So I just found out today that I unintentionally stole another woman's blog name. I feel so terrible and I need to come up with a new one. She is another Catholic homeschooling mama like me and she deserves to have this name, so my dilemma is, what will I call myself? Does anyone have any suggestions? I guess I am going to have to research this a little more so that this doesn't happen again. I chose the name from an email that someone sent me last summer and it seemed so perfect! Oh Well! I wish there was a blog name book or something! I am so sorry.
From my kitchen to yours....
Arroz con Leche

My kids love arroz con leche and I have experimented with different recipes for years. Sometimes it comes out better than others, but I think I've finally got it! This is an egg-less recipe as it seems to me that adding the eggs is just not necessary in order for it to taste good.
Cook Rice according to package instructions. You don't need to add anything to it, unless you want to add cinnamon sticks, which will give it a nice flavor and it smells good while it is cooking. Remember, cooking times will vary depending on the kind of rice you use. Just be careful not to make it too sticky! When the rice is done cooking, let it sit for a while so it's not too hot when you add the milk. This last time, I used organic brown rice and so the cooking time was a little longer. I cooked about 4 cups of rice and used the other half for another meal.
Into a separate pan (if you also do the above) spoon desired amount of cooked rice. Add: enough milk to cover, approximately 1 cup to 1 and a 1/2 cups of sugar (Raw or Cane), you may need to add more or less, depending on the amount of rice. Add 1tsp. cinnamon. 2 tbsp. vanilla. Garnish with crushed, roasted almonds or raisins if you'd like and serve!

Yummy Tortilla Soup

Boil 4 or 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts on high and just covered in water for about 20 min. Add 1 med. carton of chicken stock to the pot, a pinch (or more) of crushed red pepper, oregano to taste, garlic powder, a dash of salt and some Mrs. Dash lemon pepper seasoning. Cover and cook until the chicken is so tender that it falls apart (if chicken is frozen, this could take a while). Once it is tender, turn chicken down to low/med. heat. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes with the juice (I use Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes, 28 oz. can, but you may not have 4 hungry kids!) Or an alternative to this-for kids or adults-who don't like tomatoes-you can dice the tomatoes and serve only to individuals who like them-my middle son in this case-at the very end on top of the dish). At this point the recipe becomes yours and I will just suggest a few things. I usually add a bag of frozen corn and cook for another 15 min. or so. I also add frozen-previously cooked brown rice packets-one is usually enough, depending on how much soup you want to make. On the side, you can cut up a bit of fresh cilantro to add to the the top or diced green cabbage. Avocado slices or packaged guacamole is also really yummy as a garnish. Before I serve the soup, I put a handful of corn tortilla chips at the bottom of the bowl, serve the soup on top and then add the garnishments. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.


Roasted Anaheim Chile Salsa
This recipe was born from my obsession with these chiles. When I was diagnosed with high-blood pressure I was constantly looking for ways to make my food taste better without using so much salt. Hence this recipe came to be. I also want to add that as an alternative to fried chile rellenos, when you toast these chiles according to the directions below, you can stuff them with cheese and eat them just like that with or without taking the skin off. My mom and I like to add them to our burgers. Anyhow, I want to add that salsa is tricky and it has a lot to do with numbers (this I learned from my dear mother-in-law who is a great salsa chef). So with that little note you will understand that the ratios have to be just right.If you use, say, approx. 4 to 6 Anaheim Chiles, then the recipe would be as follows:
Roast washed, dried Anaheim chiles on a comal-if you don't know what that word means, then I don't know what to tell you, because at this moment I cannot think of the English equivalent, somebody help me, please. Oh, wait, it came to me, a griddle, like the one you make pancakes on. Anyway, roast them on med./high heat, turning, until they look like this: Please note, this may take a while and so I don't recommend making this during the hot summer months. When the chiles are in a sad looking state, burnt, limp, etc. you will take them and wrap them in a dish towel so that the trapped in moisture will make the skin start to fall off. Wait about ten minutes or so. While you wait you can get the other chiles ready. Boil the same amount of green tomatillos, serrano chiles and dried red chiles de arbol. Depending on how hot you want to go, you will add chiles accordingly. Warning: don't let the serranos fool you. They look small and innocent enough, but when they are COOKED they have the potential to knock your socks off! They are even hot for my husband who is a bit sadistic when it comes to eating hot chiles. For the novice chile eaters I'd even suggest adding 3 or 4 more tomatillos and less chiles. So, you will boil say 6 or 7 tomatillos, 3 serranos and 3 red chiles de arbol for a mild salsa. 10 tomatillos, 8 serranos and 8 chiles de arbol is higher on the hot scale. And 12 tomatillos, 12 serranos and 12 chiles de arbol would be a good, hot chile! You will boil this chile/tomatillo combination together, covered in water, until the tomatillos are looking soft and ready to fall apart. (I did mention that you are supposed to take the shell/skin off the tomatillos, didn't I?)
Ok, so when these lovely chiles are done cooking, you will take them off of the stove, do not empty the water. Use a pot holder-possibly one you have crocheted yourself upon a little inspiration from me-and set them aside. Get out your blender, assemble and add the chile/tomatillo mixture with a slotted spoon, add about 4 cups of the water you cooked the chile in and blend. Be careful when you take the lid off because of steam, heat or getting chile in your eyes issues, these can hurt, burn, cause you to go blind, etc.(I think I am only kidding about that last one!) Take off blender and set aside. Get your Anaheim chiles out of their little blanket wrap, peel the skin of and on a cutting board, dice the skinned Anaheim chiles. Get out one of your favorite bowls, pour the mixture from the blender into the bowl, add the diced chiles, a dash of salt and some garlic powder (you can also throw in a garlic clove or two to the chiles that you boil if you like), stir the chile (you may or may not want to add more water from that same water that you cooked the chiles in to your finished product-depending on how water-y you like your salsa) and voila! You have yourself some salsa that is so good that you'll want to make it all of the time, put it on all of your food and have people thinking that you are an accomplished chef in the art of fine Mexican cuisine!
This salsa is great on eggs, quesadillas, etc.
A slow cooked pork roast, with some of this salsa added, makes THE best chile con carne ever!!!! Just brown, a pork roast, in a little bit of olive oil and spices (my three friends: garlic powder, oregano and salt), then slow cook roast, with salt, oregano and garlic powder or diced fresh garlic and add this at the very end, about 45 min. before serving. Add some beans, rice, tortillas and cut up a few fresh tomatoes and lettuce on the side and you have yourself a nice meal. Well, I must go, all this talk of food is making me hungry!
PS. These recipes are by no means PROFESSIONAL recipes, they are simply recipes from one friend to another, from my kitchen to yours........................

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Winter Wrap

she says the flowers bring a touch of spring to
her fall................

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This woman.............
I have been blessed enough to know her for many years now.
I don't want to say too much about her because I respect her so much that I will give her her privacy. However, after spending the whole day with her and her beautiful children, I cannot help but share a few picture thoughts.
I think that what I captured on film today speaks for itself.

And at the end of the day, I look up at the mountain that overlooks her home and I see that
SOMEONE definitely blessed us today with HIS choicest blessings.
We love you.

If Heather Bailey knew me, which she doesn't because she is famous,
she would be proud to know that not only did I take the time
to make these cute couch flowers for my ONLY daughter's hair,
but I also took a moment to photograph them!

The Quilted Advent Calender

Anne at asked to see how the quilted Advent Calender is going. So here is a peek at what is turning out to be one of the most difficult little projects of the season.

I started with some sew in printer fabric. It is the kind that you :copy images from your computer, print them onto the fabric and then insert into your project. The picture of baby Jesus is from a really old book that was a gift a few years ago from my parents. I sewed strips of fabric together, cut them up, turned them around and then sewed them together again onto the sides and top and bottom of the panel. It just so happened that there are twelve rectangles on each side of the image, which, if you know anything about sewing, is something I should've made sure of before I even started this endeavor. The strips of white fabric for the pockets are cut from an old linen tablecloth and will each be embroidered with numbers 1~24 and the 25th pocket will be sewn on the middle panel just below the picture. The picture panel is backed with a square of cotton batting for embroidering and I will use cream colored cotton flannel for the back of the quilt. The sequins are to embellish the night sky and will be hand sewn into place and finally the blue rick-rack is for loops that will be sewn on the top for hanging.

When (or rather if) I (ever) finish the pockets, I intend to print out scripture verses onto card stock and insert them in each little pocket for our daily Advent readings. Hopefully you get the gist of what my plans are from the pictures above and I am not babbling too much!

One way to make this project a little easier would be to sew 12 pockets for the Twelve Days of Christmas, perhaps even just for the O Antiphons.............It's not always good to be too ambitious! I tend to think "big" and then wonder what have I gotten myself in to! If you don't hear from me for a while you'll know it is because my fingers fell off from embroidering all of those numbers onto the little pockets!

What my kids do when I am not looking
They grab my new camera & take pictures of themselves

They grafitti all over the bathtub
When I say "they", I usually mean "him".
But when he says things like, "Mama, I love you the heck too much......."
I can't possibly let the little things bother me!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Celebration of a Life

There is no record of your birth
The hospital does not think it is worth
"Wasting" a precious piece of paper
On a "fetus" of only twenty weeks.
Not even in the earth
Where you were laid
Is there any homage paid
To you, my baby, of only twenty weeks...
Even though for all of that time
You were still mine
Living, growing and developing,
My love for you was so enveloping
For I'd already imagined your rosy cheeks,
Two laughing eyes and dancing smile
Like your brother and sister before you
Not knowing that it would be more than just a while
Before I'd get to see your true face.....
But I wanted you to know
That as the years come and go
Your beautiful memory will never erase
From that special place
Reserved just for you.
And at night when I sleep
I feel a small piece
Is missing from me
And I think it is where
There was a slight tear
When you silently slipped from my womb
You entered the room
It happened so soon
And only God knows how long
You'd already been gone
Living happily in your heavenly home
Right next to the throne
Of the King Who is dear to my heart
The place where all love starts.....
So tonight in my bed
When to you I said
Dear Baby Seth, please pray for me
I realized that He,
My Father God wanted from me
An acknowledgement, a pledge,
To never forget
The times that I wept
For the little life that never came to be
And just because I cannot see
The part that you play
So that together someday
We can all be
In eternity
Happily living
In our heavenly home.

~Love Always, Mama

This poem is dedicated to my little son, Seth Alexander, who I loved and lost
on February 21, 2003. He is buried with my grandfather and he will rest between both of my
grandparents once my grandmother is gone.
I said before that I would be posting some things with regards to death this month
as it is the month of the Holy Souls
and there are so many whom I have loved and lost.
The purpose of these posts is to heal.
I can feel the Lord using my love for writing as way of leading me
out of the darkness and into the LIGHT.
Mother Angelica writes:
" Sometimes faith is scary. A lot of people think that faith is all joy,
but there are many moments in life
where you are uncertain about which way to go.
That kind of faith is hard. There is a type of darkness in faith,
not the darkness that comes from sin, but the darkness that necessitates TRUST."
So that is where I am at. My faith has been hard. There have been many dark moments in the past few years,
but thankfully I do trust and there is a certain peace which I cannot describe as I sit here
and ponder not only the celebrating of this little life that I was a part of, however briefly,
but also the intercessory power of the saints in heaven.

Mama Journals and the Bread of Life

Do any of you ladies keep mama journals? If you don't, I really recommend it. I have volumes of notebooks, usually cheap ones from the Dollar Tree, but some are nicer, that I have kept through the years since the birth of my daughter. I can remember talking with my grandmother one day on the phone and she began reminiscing about her child-rearing days. She especially talked a lot about my aunt Ellen who passed away from cancer when I was 14. One of the things she told me was that she wished she had written down more of the memories she had of her children when they were growing, things they'd said, things they'd done. She compelled me to begin keeping the mama journals for the moments that often take my breath away, the moments that are here one minute and then out the door and gone the next.

Each new day ushers in opportunities for me to write things down and while I do not journal every day, I always treasure the times that I do because I often go back and read what I have written and those memories become so vivid and real for me, creating little glimpses back into the days and nights that are the story of us.

Today, with the feast of St. Martin of Tours and Thanksgiving just around the corner, Ithought I would share with you one such journal entry that I found last night. With it I am reminded that even though there are times when it seems like we don't have enough or we don't have the things we'd like to, there is so much to be thankful for. The blessings are there ladies and with a little LIGHT we can see.............

"Today was one of those days where I felt "good" about homeschooling, we watched the Mass on EWTN, we said 3 decades of the Rosary, we were spiritually "fed" and ready to start the day! However, the reality that there is no "food" set in. Cries of not only, "I'm hungry", but, "I'm really hungry", were ringing in my ears and I hadn't even had my cup of coffee yet! So I made my cup of delicious morning blend, sat on "my corner" of the couch and what I saw out the french doors was a sight for sore eyes: I beheld my oldest son, 14 now, sitting in the swing eating dry Rice Krispies, while my youngest son, in his pajamas, holding a bag of BBQ chips, mostly crumbs, pushed him on the swing. The sun was shining and there is food to eat!
You see, the SON was shining and I felt it, for HE can nourish us with even BBQ chips and dry cereal."

Looking back at that day, I can see them in the backyard and even though I don't remember why there was no food, it probably had something to do with our outrageous mortgage payments and not enough work, but the blessings were still there and I was privileged enough to realize them. I was and am privileged because when we go to Mass and receive Holy Communion, "as the Host is dissolved within us, the will of God dissolves our own will." He transforms us as He feeds us. In Holy Communion we receive Him: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.This nourishment and feeling of being full lasts far beyond any meal and we carry it with us on a day to day basis.
I don't ever wonder, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat."
Because I know who He is and what I am because of Him, when He says, "THIS IS MY BODY, TAKE IT AND EAT", I know that He will never send me away hungry.
Ll is for LEARNING
The past two weeks, the middle kids' learning lessons have tied in with my pre-schooling plans and that has been so nice for many different reasons. First of all, I don't have to try and find something for littlest son to do while I work with the others, they can all work together and we are finished up with school a bit earlier, which is great for them because with the time change the evenings are here before we know it!
Anyway, this is a peek at what we've doing, seeing, hearing and enjoying:

Leif the Lucky



just to give credit where credit is due,
my daughter designed this little muerto
and did all of the embroidery herself!
Learning a little Spanish

to a live Mariachi band


Ll Books and

Leaf Soap

That smells LOVELY!



and LEGS