Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Books We Love

We met the illustrator (R.W. Alley) of this book at the Children's Literature Festival in Warrensburg, MO! We wish we had met Claudia Mills, because she is such a great storyteller. Her book is full of facts and humor - the best combination for a homeschooler! Thanks to Jodee, we are going to hold our own Biography Tea Party - just like they do in the story. I hope we have similar success. (see May 2 post)

Grandma Judy's Trip

Grandma Judy will be here tomorrow to tell us about her trip to San Francisco last week. She helped conduct NFP training for these Missionaries of Charity at the novitiate house for the Americas. A total of 38 Sisters from 18 countries (she is in the back row=third from left). I have always loved their Leader!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Captain's Drink of Choice

Captain prefers to drink Arnold Palmers whether he's golfing or just relaxing -- and now they can be bought in cans or golf-shaped bottles. Thanks to Arizona Tee for making this tribute, even if the name is tough to say three times fast. (Right, Winger?) We will try not to drink the entire 12-pack while Dad is gone these next four days :-)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Games with Grandma

Winger desperately wanted to play this game while Grandma Elizabeth was visiting us. So we played nearly 20 rounds last night, and laughed our heads off. The best winner was when Dorito drew out "Jolly," and Papa Bear submitted "Frosty the Snowman." Although your submissions are supposed to be anonymous, Papa Bear started humming the Frosty song and soon everyone was singing at the top of their voices: "Frosty the Snowman, was a JOLLY happy soul!"

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Smarts

Today's homily included a reference to Plato's "Cave Allegory," and Meggar was pleased to already know this from Kolbe 9th grade Literature. (She's so smart!) The man chained in the cave sees shadows and thinks those are reality. Once he is released, he sees more clearly what the shadows only hinted at -- in the same way, we have a glimpse now but heaven will be a Glorious Reality.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Captain Comes Home

Today our Dad comes home from jet school - which lasted 19 days! He passed the oral exam and the check ride! We made it, too! (Our Lady of Loretto, pray for us.) We will take the afternoon off "school" to spend with the Captain.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

St. George and the Dragon

Happy Feast Day to the great knight, and my brother who bears the same name. Althought the legends are likely exaggerated, the lessons of courage and fidelity still hold true. Today, our boys will play with swords (and possibly a dragon pinata), color a picture of St. George, and watch the “Dragon” movie from the Discovery Channel. May they grow up to be Knights all three.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Review of "Enchanted April"

"The Enchanted April" book from 1922 was made into a wonderful film back in 1992. Some libraries and rental stores should still have it. Best watched during your own rainy season – such as this last week of April! You cannot help but feel warmed by the Italian sun. The story revolves around four British women who leave damp and rainy London to go on a holiday at a secluded coastal villa in Italy (Portofino). Two housewives, each in her own way suffering through an empty marriage, are joined by a beautiful young socialite and an elderly dowager. Two are selfish and two are unselfish, but all four find hope again through the beauty of their surroundings and a good bit of reflection and humor along the way. The book "The Enchanted April" by Elizabeth von Arnim is available to read online at: and would be a perfect supplement to any British Literature unit (grades 7 and up).
I watched it tonight during the storm with my own "April" -- and "Caroline" and chocolates.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pi Phi Gathering

Ring Ching! The local alums of Pi Beta Phi gathered last night for a yummy Salad Supper in honor of our 4th Golden Arrow. (All members shall remain nameless because they still look so young!) The new inductee was greeted with forsythia and quince blossoms (thanks, Jen) and a couple of Pi Phi songs (thanks, Karen). Our fraternity is 141 years old this week.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Piano Contest Winners

These piano students received a #1 rating in the Spring Auditions at Missouri Western State University. Meggar took first in Level 7 playing "L'Orage" (The Storm) by Burgmuller and "Sonata in D Minor" by Cimarosa. The first was loud and stormy; the latter was sweet and romantic. How appropriate for our lovely teenage daughter.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Chess Tournament

Check! Dorito placed 4th in the Junior High division by winning 3, losing 2. His homeschool team took 1st place. Winger placed 8th in the 4th-6th grade division by winning 3, losing 2. His homeschool team took 1st place, also. Polar Bear placed 10th by winning 2, tied 1, draw 1. Tough competition since every match was with someone in the older division!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Andre Rieu Concert

Our first trip to the new Sprint Center was AMAZING! Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra entertained for 2+ hours - with 6 encores! "Music can make you happy your whole life," he said. The young violinists (Jonathan and Jackson joined us!) noticed that Andre had all his songs memorized and didn't use a shoulder rest! Meggar noticed the jewelry and beaded ball gowns. Mrs. Stickler noticed the late hour - we returned home at midnight! Tired but happy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Papal Mass in D.C.

"Does the Pope know how to speak English?" Dorito wondered aloud. A moment later he heard the Holy Father begin: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" in a beautiful German voice. What a bright sunny day D.C. had for this mass -- compared to our rainy spring weather at home. The live feed on the EWTN Internet meant we non-cable households could still watch in awe.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dinner Date

Uncle Carey was in town and treated us to the Japanese Steak House! This is Dorito's favorite restaurant, so we let him choose. The meal was great, and so was the chance to "catch up" with my brother while the boys had nearby hockey practice.

Presidential Hopeful

More important than the upcoming election is our current president's graciousness toward Pope Benedict XVI. "In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need your message that all human life is sacred and that each of us is willed, each of us is loved, and each of us is necessary." (Pres. George W. Bush)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI

Welcome to America! We prayed for your mission at morning mass. We asked St. Benedict and St. Scholastica (the twin saints) to bless your journey with love and wisdom! We loved the worksheet activities on

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pope's Favorite Music

I used my Border's teacher discount to buy the Pope's favorite music: Clarinet Quintet (K 581) by Mozart. The National Catholic Register explains that it is written in A Major and "the mellow clarinet can be a touch melancholy ... or give itself to light-hearted jumps characteristic of Mozart's style." We think it sounds soothing. Next we will hunt for the clarinet sheet music for Meggar to play with Mom!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


The boys are disappointed that Notre Dame lost the "Frozen Four" to Boston College today. But second place is nothing to be sad about, right Coach? We are happy the twins' Pee Wee-A team beat one AA team in Wisconsin. (We lost to the 4 AAA teams, of course.) Reid is skating fast in spring Bantam league. Go Saints!
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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Field Trip

Today, we met Teddy Roosevelt and 3 of his children! "The Treasure of Ursa Major" was a Kennedy Center production at the Johnson County Community College. My boys loved the treasure hunt, Meggar loved the big sister jokes, and I loved the catchy songs: "Glory, Glory, this is Chaos!" could be sung in our home occasionally. (Later, we took a Roosevelt-style hunting and fishing expedition with the Minter boys.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tea Party

Tonight we attend the monthly tea party and discussion with the local Jane Austen Book Club. Meggar has tried a new recipe! It's the perfect "Smackerel of Something" from Winnie the Pooh's Cookie Book. Perfect with Lady Earl Gray or PG Tips tea.

Chocolate Honey Madeleines
3/4 c. plus 1 T. butter
1/2 c. grated bittersweet chocolate
1/2 c. plus 1 T. flour
1 2/3 c. pwd. sugar
1/2 c. almonds, ground or finely chopped
6 egg whites
1 T. honey

Melt 1 T. butter and brush two madeleine tins. Dust lightly with 1 T. flour. Heat remaining butter until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Melt chocolate in a double boiler, then set aside to cool. Sift flour and sugar together, then stir in ground almonds. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until frothy, then stir into flour mixture. Whisk in melted butter and honey, then add melted chocolate. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Spoon into madeleine tins, filling almost to the top. Refrigerate 1 hour. Bake at 375' F for 12-15 minutes. Cookies should be springy to the touch. Remove from tins immediately, using a knife if necessary. Cool on racks. Makes 24-30.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Meggar and Saint Catherine of Alexandria are prepared for the big sacrament this afternoon. Some 25-30 friends are expected to join us throughout the day.
Bishop Robert Finn, authentic Catholic leader;
Mrs. Schieber, wise Catholic sponsor;
Miss Schmidling, beautiful Catholic initiate!

(She later touched the *holy chrism oil* onto her Holy Spirit necklace from her godparents and her Latin bracelet from her sponsor.)
The joining of Meggar and St. Catherine was marked on her soul and on the celebratory pink cake!
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Friday, April 4, 2008


The three boys have joined Fairview Golf Course this year. We agreed they could play twice a week or 40 times total. Today was their 6th outing, and all three broke 50 from the red tees! (They began on March 6th after spending Christmas money on push carts and birthday money on golf shoes.)