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Monday, December 30, 2013

Bring on 2014!!



Since we've been unschooling..   I mean... actively, intentionally, unschooling, I have found that even the sky is not a limit. :)

Today we went fruit picking.  Robyn was glad she wore long sleeves... there are big thorns to to contend with when picking grapefruit and oranges.. the smell was amazing.  We filled our bags.

Now is my job.. of zesting, (to freeze), then peeling, seeding, sectioning, and removing the pith so it is nothing just nice juicy sections of fruit.. and the juice.   Normally I add a can of pineapples and a jar of cherries.. and some sugar to sweeten.  But this time is just the fruit we picked today only..  and the girls still like the sugar.  Hubby and I prefer our fruit sections with a little salt... which grosses the kids out.  :)     I love making the fruit salad, even though it means sitting for hours doing this, back cramping, sticky, and squirting myself in the eye every couple of grapefruit.   I have always loved the 'busy' work of peeling, shelling, snapping...  my mind is roaming a million miles away, while my hands busily make for my family.  I love it.    And my girls are gulping down the fruit almost faster than I can peel it.

New Years Eve is tomorrow..  I've got goodies planned for us to eat and drink.  Dinner planned for New Years Day.   I got English "crackers" this year.  I know they're meant for Christmas, but we were not here for Christmas.  So we're 'pop' them at dinner on New Years.

Thinking ahead to the New Year... what will it bring?  Robyn starts back in Special Olympics in January.  My bocce princess is going to be doing her best, and hoping very much to get to go to State to compete again.   I wonder about her aquatics.  If she'll bowl again this year.  If she'll play anything else.

I wonder about Amy's schooling.. boyfriends..  her work, her friends... and she'll be 21 this summer.  Robyn will be 14.  How fast my girls have grown!

Hubby and I have things planned for 2014.   Personal goals, family goals, financial goals.  Me?  I even have homemaking goals.   Spiritual goals.  Goals as a wife and mother.    Will I meet those goals?  Will I be disappointed in myself if I don't meet those goals?

Tomorrow I'll be putting the black eyed peas on to soak.  I already have the ham and the collard greens in the fridge.  Bacon to fry in, steaming rice, and good Southern cornbread.   Champagne chilling in the fridge, wondering if we can stay awake for the arrival of the New Year.    I'm not dwelling on my failings for this past year... I did things I never thought I could do, and I'm not taking any of it back.  2013 was a really good year.  Robyn blossomed.  Special Olympics has been a Godsend for us... for her.   This year brought new friends, and reacquainted me with old friends.  And deepened existing friendships.  God has richly blessed us this year, truly.

So I light a candle for the New Year.  Remembering ones we've loved who've passed on, not with sadness but with joy.. all those good memories.   Looking forward to 2014...  seeing it as a large, beautiful package with lots of ribbon, just waiting to be unwrapped.  I wonder what treasures it holds. :)   

Time will tell...

Happy New Year, family and friends!!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Inching Our Way In to Unschooling

I've been trying to unschool, as opposed to homeschool, for the last year and a half.   I've had times we did nothing but play.  Times when we did workbooks.   And times I honestly didn't know WHAT we were doing.

I purchased (finally) Sandra Dodd's "Big Book of Unschooling".   (which is totally awesome, and I cannot recommend it enough.  It is worth every penny)   So, I'm reading it, and I've watched some of her videos on YouTube.. and I've even watched some of Dayna Martin, and read up on her.    I'm sad to say I've read some not-so-nice things about Dayna Martin... I don't know if they're true or not, but I did glean some inspiration from both these ladies, (more-so from Sandra Dodd), so there it is. :)

Strewing.  I started this out by telling my family, "Let's go buy toys!"   We went out to some thrift stores and we did buy things... a funky cute vintage blouse for my eldest, some baking sets, a scientific game, and books of course.   This was a good start.   I'm now trying to see through different eyes...  I had bought a bag of mixed nuts at the grocery store (Robyn was begging for these), and we ended up making a candy and nut display on the table, shelling and tasting some, and reading all about what everything is called, where it is from, and how they grow.  Freaking, Cool!   Mom is learning right along with her is the funny part. :)

Last night she pipes up out of the blue, asking me about the Boston Tea Party, which led to Minute Men, which leads to today we're going to watch a 3 and a half hour movie on the Revolution.   This morning she wanted to know about Congress.   I don't know what made her ask, but as she is asking me, I'm googling.

Two weeks ago she used a word I didn't know.  "Prefigurement".  I had to ask her what it meant, and she explained. :)   I don't know where this kid picks this stuff up.  Actually, that's not true.  Yes, I do know.  She gets it from everywhere.  She's like a little sponge, and she's soaking up info from everywhere like she's soaking up sunshine.  And she's having FUN.  

Last week she started cutting up cardboard and started construction on a stable in her bedroom for her toy horses.  I know constructing something from cardboard sounds like no big deal to anyone else, but since Robyn is autistic, she has NEVER done this before in her life.  I am tickled to death that she is creating, on her own.   Using her imagination, and growing and learning. :)

Saturday we went to the Midnight Sun.  (coolest store in the entire city)  Robyn checked out different rocks and crystals and pillows and blankets.... and drums!!   ...and I bought tea.   It amazed her to learn that tea is medicinal.  That it can come from leaves and petals and flowers and roots and bark.  Whereas NyQuil helps with the flu but not cramps, and how aspirin is good for headache but not for hay-fever, she is learning there too.  Honey for allergies, elderberries for colds, and the list goes on.  

Living and learning.  Did we finally catch on?   We've got all kinds of fun things planned.  A trip.  A ride on a carousel.  Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking and baking.  Gift making.  And a million other things that will be unplanned, every day things that just present themselves.. more opportunities to grow.   

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Choosing to Live

I blogged over two months ago that I was feeling "off".   I've blogged time and time again how I was going to change my eating, change my lifestyle, do things different... and still... I've not stuck to it.   Those stupid old patterns keep replaying.  I hate it.   I want to break free from those lousy, life-draining habits.

I feeling I'm drowning.  Screaming for help, but no one can help me, but me.

I've missed another 5K with my family, because Momma can barely walk to the mailbox and back I'm so fat and out of shape.   They went, and had a wonderful time.  I stayed home, alone, and cried.   Hating myself.  

My kid is going to miss out on a camping trip because of me.  I am literally taking away from my children with being so out of shape.  It's not just about me.  I'M HURTING MY OWN KIDS!  And it makes me feel like the most worthless piece of garbage on the planet.

So I've made the decision to LIVE.   Not to get skinny or this or that... but to LIVE.  I've flipflopped back and forth between unschooling and relaxed homeschooing.. and finally I've decided WHO decided I had to even have a label for what I do or don't do with my own kids?   If you've met my kids, you know they're friendly and funny and smart as whips and they're happy and well grounded and by golly I think I've managed not to mess them up too terribly in that regard.  But yeah.  Sorry, we're not doing that label anymore.  I don't care two hoots what anyone thinks.  I will educate my kids in the way I believe in my heart is best.  Period.

Back to my decision to LIVE... more plants.  Opening the windows more and breathing some fresh air.   I'm going to get back into buying my produce organic again.   I need to move more.  Buy for all of us with thought and care.     Buying/cooking less wheat.  Less meat.   I have GOT to kick this sugar habit.  It's KILLING ME. :(  

I'm sitting here feeling the breezes, and hearing my windchimes, listening to my daughter chatter ... and feeling like I have a game plan, no matter how unfancy or simple it may be..... I feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel.   I'm watching time, pass.. time passing right by... my kids growing up (one is already grown) right before my very eyes.   I've already missed too much!
Lord, help me to be the mother I need to be.  Help me in my struggle.   My "bubble" is green and gorgeous and filled with love and beauty... but Lord, please assist me in being able to tend it, explore it, and have the strength to be able to follow my babies through it.  Help me Lord.. as I choose to live.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Feeling "Off"

Somethings... off. I feel awful. Like, not 'in pain', just not feeling too hot, no energy, and I have SLEPT for the last 2 days. Like.. if I sit down I wakeup to find I've BEEN asleep for a WHILE. I sleep at night, and then fall asleep for HOURS during the day... and when I wake up I am still exhausted. I realize my weight and being anemic have a LOT to do with it, but you know, it's not like I just woke up like this.. it just seems worse than usual. I do NOT 
want to go to the doctor because I think it is stupid to pay someone to tell me to lose weight and take iron pills. (can we all say "duh").  

If you could just say a little prayer for me, I would appreciate it. We have not only Special Olympics bowling tomorrow, but a family wedding too. I wonder how the heck I'm going to get through.

Because my dearest hubby has far more sense than I do, he has reminded me I've not had a vitamin in days. And I've drank sweet iced tea non-stop for days as well. How dumb can I be? Down the old hatch goes a multi vitamin (with 156% iron) and two iron pills, and washed down with milk. I'm anemic.  

It's okay, really. I know it seems like over-kill on the iron.

My sweet friend just reminded me, and I got out my "elixir" I keep in a mason jar in the fridge.. a good 'shot' of elderberry syrup with local raw honey... I'll do that again tomorrow. I need that boost.

Taking some of my recently made, lovely bone broth, I'm making rice to add quickly to things (like hot broth for a quick soup) for the weekend. Yeah, it may be rice, but it will have that good nutrition of bone broth in it. AND I'm vowing to do a little walking tomorrow. Maybe not much, but some. I need to get some strength back. I feel like I'm always doing this... getting on a healthy eating regime, hitting the 'hippie food' harder, and after a while I cave and end up eating all the garbage that got me into this pickle to start with.  

cannot give up.

Blessed Mother, pray for me as I strive to stay healthy for my family.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Pot Full of Bones

I never thought I'd see the day I was going to blog about bone broth...

Okay.  There's a few good reasons I'm 'down' with the idea of doing this. 

I love soup.  My family loves soup.

I love cooking.

I have read that people who consume bone broth daily following surgery heal better and faster.

I am very anemic, and I want to 'fix' this with diet and also I do NOT want my kids to be anemic like their mother.

I love doing things the 'old fashioned' way, (as long as it includes modern conveniences and an air conditioned home in Florida heat!

I have a LOT of stomach problems, and my poor gut could use some healing, naturally. 

I've made broth plenty of times, but I can honestly say I've never roasted bones, (beef or otherwise), and simmered them for days.  Though I like the idea of it.  

So after much reading, I have decided I AM going to start making bone broth, on a regular basis.  I will store it in mason jars.  I will use in soups, sauces, gravies, cook my rice in it, and anything I'd normally use water in, to add flavor and nutrition.  

At the grocer I've been taking notice of the beef bones and chickens feet.  I've never bought, handled, touched, or had anything to do with a chicken foot in my entire life.  Well, we did have chickens when I was a kid, but I was more interested in petting them and gathering their eggs than I was their odd looking feet.  I've looked at them frozen in the reach-in freezer at the grocer, and I'll admit I think they look GROSS.  But, no one is actually going to EAT them, and from what I've read they make the broth taste better and add to the gelatin factor in the broth.  

(2 days later)
I started two days ago with ham and chicken bones, onion & garlic, a couple of carrots and a few tablespoons of vinegar.  Today I found out that keeping the pot on 'low' is not good enough.  You MUST keep it at least at a low simmer.  I have thusly drained out everything but the bones themselves, which are now clean, and added them back to the pot with the strained broth plus a little more water.  I've picked through and got out the meat, and fed the carrots to my doggies.  The meat will go into something (gravy?) over the weekend, (frozen until I decide), and I've now got those bones at a decent simmer.  The idea is to simmer them until they're crumbling and the marrow is out of the bones.  Yes... I'm close, but no cigar.  Back into the pot, strained, with now only the broth, the naked bones, and a little more water.  In the meantime, I've bought some beef bones for my next pot of bone broth.  I'm going to get this down to a science yet. :)

Following day:

After boiling the bones more last night, they DID finally get where they were crumbling and the marrow came out.  FINALLY!!  I strained out all the bone, and took that very dark broth and stored it in the fridge.  It did not make as much as I thought that it would.  It made about a quart and a half.  But it's highly concentrated.  After it was cold in the fridge, I was able to scrape the layer of fat off the top and discard.  The rest is the nice jellied stuff to flavor things with.  I will add it to rice or grains when I cook them, or to gravies, sauces, etc.  WAY better for us than bouillon.  It makes me happy to do something that I KNOW is going to benefit my family's health. :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Sunday of Tears

A Sunday of Tears

Where to begin?  My daughter had someone hurt her today..  apparently because she is autistic.   Seeing my sensitive, tender-hearted daughter crying because she has such a hard time making and keeping friends upsets me.  All kids have trouble, but I am here to tell you that it is harder for kids who are special needs.  And it's not always the other children.  Sometimes it is the parents.  Ignorance abounds, and it is so, so sad.

It took another mom, (God bless her!) to help me to realize I need to be my daughters playmate.. I knew this of course, but sometimes we just 'need' to 'hear' things, to 'ring that bell' in our brains.  Thank you dear lady!

I have heard that Padre Pio could 'read souls'.  I am wondering if our own Fr. Sal is the same?  After mass we chatted a few moments with friends, and seeing the priest approaching, we were going to just quietly slip out so they could talk.  He stopped us.  Not a word, but called us over.  Looks into my daughter's face, and asked her if she was okay.  She responded she was fine, but had had a "bad morning" but it was better now.  Father Sal told her that when she was sad, she should pray to Jesus and His Mother, and ask them to help her and they would.  Then he hugged her, kissed her face, and told her he loved her.  The floodgates opened.  My daughter wept her little heart out.  I was moved to tears watching the kindness of this dear man, and my little girl.    So afterwards, he made her "pinky promise" that she should call him any time.  Dear, dear sweet man.

So then he turns to me, looks into my eyes, and asks me if I'm taking care of myself.  "I'm trying to..."  He tells me, "You must.  It's important..." Gives me a couple of big hugs and kisses me  (sweet, Grandfatherly old Italian man who always kisses ♥ LOVE HIM!) and then he says it.. he looks into my eyes, like he's looking THROUGH me, and says, "Please open yourself to Jesus".  That's when I realized I'd been "holding my breath" with Jesus..  Father knew.  I don't know HOW he knew..  *I* didn't even know..  Robyn and I were mopping tears all the way out to the car.

Tonight I was reminded about the baby bottles we're supposed to be filling with change for Emergency Pregnancy Services.  This is dear to my heart, so of course I'm happy to save/collect change "for the babies".  So I'm home filling this baby bottle with change, and I look at the slip of paper inside, and it says you can donate the money "in memory" of someone.  


This November will be 8 years since my beautiful 36 year old friend died suddenly, in her sleep, with no warning.  I think of the three babies she lost, and I believe in my heart that now she is with her babies in Heaven..  

I don't know what made her pop into my head.  Her.  Her babies.  But it's been almost 8 years and I swear the pain is just as fresh today as it was the day she died.   I grieve her babies I would have loved like my own children, the way I love my nieces and nephew.  I grieve all the things I said or didn't get to say.  That I didn't get to say goodbye to her.  That she's still in an unmarked grave pains me in a way I can't even describe.. I've even called the cemetery and sobbed, begged, and pleaded if I could get some kind of marker for her..  anyway... I can't shake her tonight.. I miss you Steph.  

Tonight I weep for friends and babies taken away too young and too soon.  For special needs children who feel lonely and friendless... and for sweet loving clergy who comfort us and pray for us all.  Pray for the religious...  they have such a burden to bear..  
God bless them.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Do You Know The Muffin Mom?

Saturday mornings is Special Olympics bowling for my youngest daughter. Hubby and I LOVE going, watching, and cheering her on. Last week, we left without breakfast, and I swore that THIS week, we'd not repeat this. So I decided to make muffins.. with ingredients I had on hand. I decided to share my recipes. Hope you like them too. :)

Rise and Shine, Banana Sour Cream Muffins

1 cup self rising flour
a pinch of Blessed salt
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. Beat together banana, sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir in the sour cream. Stir banana mixture into flour until just combined. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Spread liberally with cream cheese.  YUM!!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Susan's Morning Muffins
1 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 and a half cups of self rising flour

a pinch of blessed salt
2 fresh eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup of sour cream
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
cold leftover coffee

Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs, sour cream, vanilla, a pinch of blessed salt, cocoa powder and then flour. Add cold leftover coffee a little at a time until you get a nice batter consistency. Spoon into muffin tin, (greased or with papers) and bake in a pre-heated 350 oven until done.  Yummy plain or with a little butter.  Enjoy. :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Staying In My Catholic Bubble

There's a reason I stay "in my Catholic Bubble".    Out there?  In the world?  It stinks.  

I am having 'one of those days'..    the devil is breathing his 'stanky' hot breath all over me right now, and I'm in a funk.   I've had a few incidents of rudeness from different people.. who have totally hurt my feelings, but I didn't say anything.   I am weary of people trash talking our new pope, whom I LOVE and think he is a Gift from God... and sorry if you have nothing nice to say I'd rather you just not even mention it to me.

So, here is my compilation of the things done/said, where I bit my tongue, and tried to let it go.  

I do NOT worship Mary.  Or statues.  The Catholic Church is NOT the whore of Babylon.   No, I don't eat meat on Friday, and no, I'm not doing that just to annoy you.  

Yes.  I veil at mass.  No, that does not make me holier, nor do I think I'm holier than you.   Honestly I wear it for Jesus, and I promise it actually has nothing to do with you.  Really.

Yes, these are my pets.  Yes, the puppy is part pit bull.  NO, this does not mean she eats/mauls babies.  Yes, I can see how she is threatening to you wanting belly rubs and happily licking your hand.   Clearly she is a blood thirsty killer.

Yes.  These are my kids.  Yes, my eldest has ADHD, and my youngest is legally blind and autistic.  Yes, they know.  No, they don't need you staring at them.  No, I don't need your parenting advice.  And yes, I do home school, and have done so for five years.   No, they do not need to be socialized.  Clearly you do though, to ask me something so inane.   

For Catholics.... Sorry, I pass on the salad bar.   You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe.  You're either faithful or your not.  No, I don't want to listen to your arguments and 'why's.  That's between you and God.  You're not going to change my mind, and no, actually, I'm NOT a 'blind sheep'.   But for Heaven's sake, if you're going to dress like a hooker, and live like the devil, PLEASE quit telling people you're Catholic.  They might actually believe you. :(

PLEASE PUT ON SOME CLOTHES when you attend mass, and PLEASE stop talking through the entire mass.  Some of us actually want to HEAR the priest, and do NOT want to see all your "body parts" hanging out.  Really.

Other moms:   DO NOT talk down to my child, or I will show you first hand how "Westside" I can be.   Please do not cuss and carry on and tell filthy jokes in front of my kids.  Sure, they've heard bad things plenty of times, but as an adult, we need to be setting an example.  While I'm on the subject...  my youngest is in Special Olympics.   I don't want to hear the "R" word.   It is OFFENSIVE.

Now I need to just go have a good cry and get it over with... and tighten up my bubble walls.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Learning Spanish With a Very Southern Tongue

When our family was in Miami a couple of years ago for a U2 concert, I found that my English, heavy with Southern accent, is not understood by most folks in Miami.. and that my Spanish skills.. well... have a lot to be desired.

My dear friend had to order for us, (no, I cannot even order beans and rice), and I was pathetically grateful for the idiot proof pictures on the bathroom doors so I could distinguish the ladies from the gents.  

(no they weren't these, but these ARE pretty funny!)

During our five day visit, I learned one phrase.  Papas fritas.  Oh joy.  I can now order french fries.  And thanks to Sesame Street, I can order more than one serving for my family of four. :)

Pending a highly probable future visit to Miami, I am attempting to learn a few more phrases to make life easier during our visit.  The same dear friend has taught me to say "No picante, por favor."  Which means NO Spicy Please!  (I am a wimp and do NOT want to get stuff with spicy food I cannot tolerate.. such as the delicious beans and rice I had last time.) :)

As I walk around, cheerfully chirping out my newest phrase, hubby is amused.  I know I'm probably annoying.. and totally running this phrase into the ground, but this is the only way I'm going to remember it.  I talked about papas fritas constantly when I first learned it, and now I'm throwing out 'picante' and 'por favor' every chance I get. 

Next on my list is how to ask where the restroom is.  I am pretty sure that will be helpful, especially since I still don't know what 'el bano' (men or women??) means. :)  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Being a Fish Eater

The first time I heard the term "fish eater", it amused me, and brought me the mental image of poor fishermen living in Europe eighty years ago, somberly eating fish stew... sitting at a scarred wooden table in a cottage with his wife, their nine children, by the light of oil lamps while the cold wind blew through the cracks of their rustic home.  THAT was a 'fish-eater'.    But now I know the 'real' meaning of this term.  "Fish eater" means, 'Catholic'.

The Urban Dictionary reads:  "a slang term for Catholics, so attributed because Catholics eat fish on Fridays during the season of Lent."

Do we?  Most Catholics I know don't "do" meatless Fridays any more.  I personally have only "done" meatless Fridays for about three years, because to be honest I didn't think the Church "did that" anymore.  Funny how a little reading can enlighten you.  :)    Meatless Fridays are NOT just for Lent.

Before Vatican II, the Code of Cannon Law said:

 "Can. 1251: Abstinence from eating meat or some other food according to the prescripts of the conference of bishops is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can. 1253: The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.

What the U.S. Bishops Have Said:

Here’s what the document, Pastoral Statement On Penance And Abstinence, says about abstaining from meat on Fridays:

22. Friday itself remains a special day of penitential observance throughout the year, a time when those who seek perfection will be mindful of their personal sins and the sins of mankind which they are called upon to help expiate in union with Christ Crucified.

23. Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday by freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ.  (What this reads 'to me', is that EVERY FRIDAY of the year, is a 'little' Good Friday.  

24. Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. (READ:   first place to abstinence from flesh meat.)  We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law. Our expectation is based on the following considerations:

We shall thus freely and out of love for Christ Crucified show our solidarity with the generations of believers to whom this practice frequently became, especially in times of persecution and of great poverty,no mean evidence of fidelity to Christ and His Church.

We shall thus also remind ourselves that as Christians, although immersed in the world and sharing its life, we must preserve a saving and necessary difference from the spirit of the world. Our deliberate, personal abstinence from meat, more especially because no longer required by law, will be an outward sign of inward spiritual values that we cherish.

A little FYI... the 'push' has started to bring back meatless Fridays 'officially' in the United States.  

In my home, we are fish-eaters.  I have fish eater friends, and one of my dearest friends is a brand new fish-eater. :)    Fifty years ago, it MEANT something to be Catholic.   We were set apart.  Now you can't tell us from anyone else.   We need to get that back.  We are 'in' the world, but not 'of' the world.    At one time, Catholics were pro life, pro traditional marriage.  Now we have Catholics who seem to think they can pick and choose what the Church teaches.  That's not being a Catholic... that's the "Church of YOU//Your FEELINGS//Your Opinion", ... which frankly, does not matter one whit.   

Jesus does not change.  The Church does not change.  It is the people.. who have changed the church, or what they have accepted or allowed.   We have GOT to remember WHO WE ARE!!    When someone looks at us, do they recognize we are a Catholic by our actions... our example... how we live our life/treat others?  Or can they tell only because you're wearing your Guadalupe tee shirt or your scapular is peeking out?   Or do they see kindness..  someone who serves others and puts others first?   Do they see someone who takes a stand for what is right, instead of what is popular/accepted/politically correct?  (Worth noting here that Jesus was NOT "politically correct".)   :)  

I challenge you all... BE 'that Catholic'.  BE set apart.  Make every Friday a 'little' Good Friday.. Remember HIS Passion..  and join the growing numbers of Catholics who are meatless on ALL Fridays of the year.   I truly believe it helps us feel connected to each other - and to be a witness to our faith.

Be a fish-eater. :) 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Anniversary Treasure Hunting

Do you like thrift stores?  My family and I do.  I love going from thrift store to thrift store, rummaging through bags and boxes to find treasures.  Sometimes we leave empty handed.  Sometimes we hit pay dirt.

This past weekend was a long one for us.  Sort of a mini, at-home vacation.  It was our 19th wedding anniversary.  Our girls decided to order pizza for themselves and have a "sister day", and hubby and I spent a lazy couple of days sleeping in, then him serving me breakfast in bed, (Yes, he's a great guy!  Yes, I think I'll keep him!), and then spending our days holding hands, having a nice drive and enjoying the sunny weather, and treasure hunting.

Out of the four stores we visited during our long weekend, I did manage to find some treasures.  Two books on Medjugorje, and some 'small' items... including some incense, decorative curtain rods, and a small cabinet that Mark will put up for me.  Here's my favorite find of all: 

Anchor Hocking "Savannah" casserole, in perfect condition.  I was thrilled.  They don't make these any more... not sure, but I believe they made these in the 80s.  Not that I'm an authority or anything.  Trust me, I'm not. :)

I also found a pink, natural salt rock tea light candle holder.  I've been wanting one. :)   The one I picked up is very similar to this one:

My last 'favorite item' is something to keep me busy.

You may not can tell, but this is actually a dozen skeins of yarn, plus a large roll of purple ribbon.  Be proud of me.. I refrained from openly doing a "happy dance" right there in the store.  Haha!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Survey Says!

I used to love watching Family Feud... and they'd say, "Survey says!", and the contestant would try and guess the most popular answers.  Loads of fun.  

Which leads me to this, since this, (in my mind) is similar  :)  ....  I was bored one day, and did one of those "bored" surveys.  I thought it was fun.  I challenge you all to take this survey too.  It's fun to see what everyone's answers are. :)


-watermelon flavored candy


-Spelling mistakes

-Grammatical errors

-greasy food

-spicy food (I'm a wimp)

-Tilapia (I call them "poop fish" for a REASON!)  

-dental visits

-Soggy cereal


-Plastic/Saran wrap

-Getting up early

-finger pointers/ judgmental people

-dog hair

-rude/mean/manipulative people

-bad manners


My Favorite Words:

deliquesce - to describe that the salad has started to liquefy and it's way past time to toss it out

Gephyrophobia - anxiety from a fear of bridges. Bad thing to have in this "river" city!! :)

Godiva - does that really need any explanation?

On Sale! Not a "word" exactly, but definitely something I enjoy

Places I'd Love to Visit:

-The Shire!

-London, England.. especially if The Doctor is there.. :)



-The Holy Land



Random Other Information:

- my favorite cartoon character is Garfield the cat

-the first cartoons I read is Famiy Circus, Marmaduke, Blondie, Garfield, and Pearls Before Swine

-my favorite game is Mah Jong

-I've had 4 hernias, 3 kidney stones, and two children.

-I could spend all day in a library or a bookstore

-I have seen the Rolling Stones one time in concert.

- I have seen U2 in concert three times. :)

Random (favorite) Activities:


-book sales/library/book stores



-farmers markets

My Favorite Things from When I Was Little:

Flintstones Push-Up Pops

Fun Dip

Space Dust

my hippety hop

turtles, frogs, and toads

Climbing Magnolia trees

Daddy grilling out

Camping in the mountains

helping Momma shell peas

feeding chickens and gathering eggs

sitting in my grandparents laps

Books on My Personal Reading List:

books about the Saints

Any book by Amy Tan

"What Do You Say To A Naked Elf?" by Cheryl Sterling  (don't judge me!) LOL

Anything in the "historical romance' section as long as it isn't smutty

I've read all the Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, and all the Sookie Stackhouse books

Love reading classics with my kids

 "A mother is the most important person on earth. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any Cathedral -- a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body." -- Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tea Deprivation, Fried Bologna, and Earth Mother Soup

Today was the official *Day One* of making changes to what me and my family are eating.  I have vowed that half of what we consume needs to be vegetables, and though we are not 'going vegetarian', we are definitely going more plant based and closer to the earth.  

So last night I, (in the spirit of starting things off right), had some stir fried cabbage for my dinner.  I wanted something "yummy" after the cabbage.. so I consulted one of my books and made my first "healthy" dip/spread.   I used a can of black eyed peas, drained and poured into my Ninja.   I peeled several cloves of garlic,  and added those, along with a drizzle of sesame oil and a bit of soy sauce and some dill.  Even the kids liked this.  The garlic is super strong, with a bite to it... but pretty tasty with sweet crunchy carrots. :)   We are safe from the Cullens.  Hahaa!

However, this morning my stomach let me know it was greatly displeased with me after the cabbage and bean dip from last night.  Undaunted, I was feeling rather happy and excited about this new journey, and after all, it was all delicious (all that good fresh stuff!) and I was "going to DO this!".  

Heading into the kitchen, I felt very aware of 'not' getting the tea from the pantry.  I have made a pitcher of tea every morning ever since we got married.  I make it fresh in the morning and we drink it during the day.  It felt weird to not make a big gallon pitcher of sweet tea.... but ... I don't want all that sugar.
Instead I dutifully ignored the tea and poured a big glass of water with lemon.   I missed my tea.   And I am not giving up caffeine.  Well.. I might later but it's not a priority right now.  I am wondering if I can get where I can drink a cup of tea with just a teaspoon of honey and lemon?    Instead of all sugared up and milky? 
What about my iced tea?  Can I learn to drink it unsweetened?    We should drink more herbal teas too.   And again, without all the sugar I am used to.  Gah.  It's going to take some getting used to.  

Breakfast... Instead of making myself a fried bologna sandwich like I REALLY wanted...  Nope... I toasted some Ezekiel bread with only a 'bit' of blueberry preserve.  (See my halo?  Haha..  I was also proud of myself for not touching the butter that was calling my name).
My stomach growling, (wanting that fried bologna I denied it, and is already saying, "Are you KIDDING ME?") I put on a simmering crock pot of "Earth Mother Soup", (for supper... soup is very comforting), steamed a dish of sprouted brown rice, (not a vat of it like my stomach wanted), and made a nice bowl of crunchy cabbage salad that we can eat today and tomorrow.  Looking in my fridge, I saw tomatoes that were getting "iffy", so I pan-fried slices of green tomatoes.   (waste is sinful, right?)  I ate two slices, and my stomach was VERY unimpressed.  

There's leftover pork in the fridge that can be eaten with the rice or crumbled into the soup.    There's also leftover bean dip I made last night that is quite good...  We need to get the mindset of having meat "with" dinner instead of "for" dinner.  More raw foods, such as the crunchy cabbage salad.  

My stomach is REALLY peeved at me.  I know a bad stomach ache is coming.  This happens every time I make the move to more natural foods.  It's a shock to the system.   My body will get used to this, right?

Earth Mother Soup can be made many, many ways... love is the main ingredient!   Today's Earth Mother Soup recipe is: 

In the crockpot, measure out 2 cups of Bob's Red Mill Whole Grains and Beans Soup Mix, and 8 cups of water.  Add 2 cut up carrots, 1 cup of shredded cabbage, 1 can of organic diced tomatoes, and about a cup of dried mushrooms, which I chopped up before adding.  Salt and pepper, minced garlic, (a big tablespoon) and a bay leaf.  It's a nice thick soup.  Very tasty.  You can add meat or whatever you want to it. 

Crunchy Cabbage Salad recipe~  a head of cabbage shredded, a carrot shredded if you would like, apple cider vinegar & sesame oil.  It should have sprouts and watercress in it, but I will have to do without.  I plan to get a sprouter asap.  I can add flax seed... better than nothing.. and some dill.  Toss it all together.. lovely.  I even added a few English peas for interest.