Friday, October 31, 2008


Dorito is proud of his ghost and KSU pumpkins. The referee is ready to take them out for "trick or treat."
Polar Bear's pumpkin is glowing with excitement. So are his glow-in-the-dark shoes and hands for tonight.
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Meeting Barefoot Contessa

I called it my "parent-teacher conference" since I took the morning off from school and stood in line for an autograph from Ina Garten. It was fun sharing recipes and cooking tips with Dee along the way to the Plaza. The "Barefoot Contessa" was just as humble and joyful as she appears on Food Network! I want to try her Pomegranate Cosmopolitan and her Company Pot Roast (just like mine except she adds 2 T. cognac or brandy - so I'll try it with some port). She also include a recipe for Roasted Pears (with blue cheese and port) that looks warm for a fall evening.
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Pie Seeds

Here's a way to turn your Jack-o-Lantern seeds into a caramel crunch treat!

Pumpkin Pie Seeds
1 c. pumpkin seeds, rinsed
1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t. salt
6 t. sugar
1 T. oil
1 T. butter

Roast seeds in single layer on cookie sheet at 250' F for 30-40 minutes. In large skillet, melt butter and oil. Add seeds, sugar, and spice. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar starts to melt and turn runny. Remove from heat and spread on paper towel or paper plate. Allow seed to cool slightly before eating. Store in airtight container.

Carving Jack-o-Lanterns

Polar Bear
Winger and his ghost
This face will be a happy one

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Remembering when...

I remember when gas was $1.99 -- oh yeah, that was earlier today.
I remember when our per child tax exemption was $250 -- oh yeah, that was ten years ago when I was "better off" than my $3,400 exemption per child today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gas Guage

It's down to $2.05 per gallon today when I filled up. Lowest price in 21 months!

Secret Spook

We are probably the last family to buy pumpkins, but we stopped at a road side stand where they were $1 each. Carving and roasting the seeds can wait until tomorrow. It's getting dark so we are going out to "secret spook" a few of the boys' friends. They are so excited; they are even wearing ski masks. I'm glad we are not too old for Halloween - yet.

Monday, October 27, 2008

40 Hours

Similar to Jesus' 40 hours in the tomb, our parish is hosting 40 hours of Adoration to beg for wisdom in the upcoming elections. The opening mass was quite beautiful, with incense and 8 acolytes and a visiting homilist. Our family will take an hour's turn tomorrow morning just before lunch. "Whenever two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst." It is easy to feel His presence at St. James.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hockey Tourneys

Dorito scored two goals in the Saints' win against Outlaws; then he took a break and refereed a Mite game. Last week, he had a hat trick(!) so he is definitely staying on his toes with the offensive part of his game.

The twin's Squirt team made it to the Championship of the Pepsi "AA" tourney, even though they are only an "A" team! We were so impressed - especially when they beat the Pepsi Stars team (which has more 98s). It was a hard-won battle, and everyone's legs were done by the 3rd period. We were also impressed with Mrs. Panella's pancake breakfast following our 5:00 a.m. wake-up call and 7:00 a.m. face-off at the south KC rink.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Homeschool Hay Ride

Everyone worked up an apetite at the Thiltges' farm last weekend, where the Catholic homeschoolers gathered for a mid-term break. Great friends and great food.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Candy From the Teacher

Meggar received candy from her piano teacher today! No matter how old you are, kids still like a treat for doing a good job.

Dorito's video teacher gave candy to the class team which won the spelling/vocabulary contest, and she told the homeschoolers watching to get a piece of candy from their moms! He loved that!

Gas Prices?!

Meggar just called me to say she is filling up in KC for $2.29! How can it be that low already? She said, "I almost feel guilty paying so little!" If the gas price increase was Bush's fault, then what is the media going to say now that it is back down? If his family is "benefitting" so much, why would "he" lower the price of gas when he could milk the system for 3 more months until his term is over? Hmm....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

iKnow the iPod

Dorito taught me how to re-program the iPods for the twins. I feel pretty smart! I can add songs, delete music videos, even add TV shows and movies to playlists--without crashing the computer or taking half the morning! Still can't run an iPod without the twins helping me, but the technology is closer to my reach.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Brownbackers at Heart

We talked to Sam Brownback after the McCain rally--I told him that he deserves much of the credit for paving the way for credible Republicans to state they are "proudly pro-life" in big campaigns. I believe his bid for the Republican presidential nomination forced the other candidates to speak plainly about life issues. He was the first one brave enough to say “I’m pro-life” in his literature and commercials and interviews. Now McCain does it regularly. So does our local Congressman. What progress!

McCain in KC

McCain visited south Kansas City today - and Meggar took Hannah and Becca to be part of the cheering section on the football field. She was maybe 4 people from shaking his hand- we saw 3 protesters and 1 friend from youth group: Brooke!
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Picketing Obama

Meggar and I joined the Squirrel to protest fraudulent ACORN voter registrations before the Obama event in KC (see Liberty Memorial in the background).
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Reid the Referee

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Good News on Monday Morning

Meggar's piano teacher just called to announce that she received "Special Merit" at the competition over the weekend. Only two students (out of 750) received this designation. The judges felt her execution of the pieces was outstanding, and they noted her interpretation went beyond what was written yet was so well done it became her personal signature on the performance. Nice compliments-esp. on a Monday morning. Congratulations, Meggar!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Married Saints

The parents of St. Thérèse became the second married couple ever beatified in the history of the Catholic Church. Louis & Marie Martin were beatified today in Lisieux, France. The Pope noted the beatification fell on the same date as World Mission Sunday, which is fitting because St. Thérèse is the "patroness of the missions." The Pontiff said the couple "proclaimed the Gospel of Christ through their exemplary married life. They lived their faith ardently and transmitted it to their family and all around them." What a beautiful example to married couples in today's culture. "I would like to recall another intention that is close to my heart: the family, whose role is fundamental in nurturing in their children a universal spirit, open and responsive to the world and its problems, and in forming vocations to missionary life," Pope Benedict said.

New Referee

Dorito was a hockey referee for the first time today! No big goofs and nobody yelled at him either. He was tired afterward and Mr. Steve said, "Don't skate around so much next time!"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pretty at the Piano

Meggar competed in the Fall Festival with two pieces by Debussy: "Album Leaf" and "La Petite Negre." We treated ourselves to a double chocolate muffin at Dolce Bakery afterwards. Classical piano music goes well with homemade carbs and coffee.

Penny Log

Found another penny - right before the piano competition. Good Luck, Meggar!

Feast Day for Uncle Clint

Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist

He is also the patron saint of physicians and artists - so we pray for Uncle Clint who is an Ob-Gyn and lover of art. St. Luke was a simple man made great by his mission. Likewise, the greatness we achieve in our own lives must have the same source: faithful commitment to Christ and love for our fellow man.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Boys can Paint

Dorito has been taking a co-op art class every other Friday for homeschool highschool BOYS only. Today, they set up easels outdoors to paint with acrylics like Monet. Left-handed Dorito found success with the Impressionist style because it's edges are not necessarily perfect. We bought another easel and more brushes and paint so he could teach this technique to the twins at home!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gas Prices and Sam Graves

I happily noted the price of gas was $2.49 today on my way to the Graves-Barnes debate for the 6th Congressional District. None of media is mentioning that gas is more than $1.00 lower than the last time I saw Sam Graves--at the south Phillips 66 station on Aug. 22.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Testing, Testing

Meggar took the PSAT today with the whole junior class at St. Joe Christian. She said the first math and English parts were simple, but the third and fourth parts were much harder. Good challenge! The other homeschooler at the test commented that private school girls can simply put a cute headband and Mary-Janes with their uniform and be cute so easily. "We have to try hard every day!"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Columbus and the Boat

We celebrated Columbus Day in true, home school fashion - by going on a field trip! The Steam boat Arabia Museum reads like the "National Treasure" movie. One family's dream (father and 2 sons) of finding a sunken cargo boat in a Kansas cornfield actually proved to be successful. The barrels of boots, hats, and Wedgwood china are all displayed alongside pickles, pie fruit, and ketchup (who knew they had ketchup in pre-Civil War days?)

We also studied a bit about Columbus and colored a picture of his 3 ships. "I trust in that high God in whose hands are all victories, we very soon shall sight land," he wrote on Sept. 17, 1492. The admiral was a Third Order Franciscan who encouraged his crew regularly with chants of the Salve Regina.

Five Hundred Magazine, Volume 1/No. 2; Oct/Nov 1989 states: "Columbus was particularly devoted to the Virgin Mary and to Saint Francis. He knew by heart all of the New Testament and long passages from the Old."

Penny Log

Winger found a penny for me (alongside a dime)! He was excited to show me something for my blog that he found in the parking lot of the Steamboat Arabia Museum.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Suzuki Concert

Dorito fiddles with the older group...

Polar Bear and Winger came in on "Old Joe Clark"...
Meggar and Edmund clapped along!
What a great way to spend our Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ride 'Em Cowboys

Krystofer and Kobe played dress up in the Pony Express Museum during PumpkinFest.

The Fiddlers Three

Saturday's weather was perfect for our show at Pumpkin Fest. Our cousins Krys and Kobe came with Aunt Kathy--and played in the little kids' band.

The Fiddlers Three added "Peek-a-Boo" waltz to their list of tunes and saw many friends in the audience (like Trey, Lucas, and Chris).

Big Crowd

You know it's a Children's Festival when the grandson of the sound man bumps off the power switch during your show! Still, we had a fun concert last night as "The Fiddlers Three" -- playing to our largest audience ever for PumpkinFest on the outdoor stage. Dorito's friend Lucas was there; Megan's friends Edmund and Hannah came, too. The twins learned a new fiddling waltz and thought it was their best set list ever.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Face Off

I guess when you play thousands of hours of hockey in the garage with your twin, there comes a day when you have to change the rules. Winger invented a new game--sticks upside down!
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When I Grow Up

Maybe I would run for office some day--for this perk:
Tonight "the hockey mom" drops the puck for the home opener of the Philadelphia Flyers NHL team.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hockey Moms

Polar Bear didn't like me wearing Winger's jersey #19, but twin moms have to choose between them...
Robin and Candise were the only moms on the ice (yikes, she is good!)
Twisted my knee when taking a shot, so I went to the bench at the end of the first 20 minutes. My face was beet red; I couldn't catch my breath; the gear is heavy and the cage is obtrusive. What a workout! And to think that my twins go 3 hours each Monday and Thursday in back-to-back practices (Squirt team and Pee Wee team). Whew!

Parents vs. Squirts

Warming up - the serious players like Smith and Swenson and Unger, who know what they are doing

Robin v. her Goalie Son Drake
We won in sudden death overtime: 8-7 (All I could think about was sudden death!)
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Protesting Biden

(photo to come)
We went to campus early this morning to protest the visit of Sen. Joe Biden. He is Catholic, but that doesn't mean he agrees or practices what the Church holds as eternal truths. Good thing he didn't come early enough to attend daily mass - he would have been denied Communion at our parish.
There were 30+ of us, quietly standing in the roped off area being "patrolled" by multiple security guards. They kept telling us to remain respectful, which we already were. Several Democrats, however, were not respectful to us. They said, "Your shirt is stupid." and "Your sign is stupid." and "Ha, Ha, Ha!" Very intelligent. Democracy is supposed to be about educating yourself on issues and debating or discussing them with others until the vote is taken. It's not a popularity contest or a junior high playground for picking stupid/emotional fights.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

RU Better Off?

Let's see... Eight years ago, Meggar was 8yo and had just received her first American Girl doll. She was not yet a TV cooking star or volleyball nut. Dorito was 5yo and hadn't discovered Scouting adventures. The twins were 2yo and still learning to walk/talk - much less skate like hockey pros. We just finished paying off our college loans and all credit card debt. In the past 8 years, we have purchased health insurance premiums, new vehicles, and vacations. We added to our children's college funds and to their education. But back then we didn't have Target, HyVee, or symphony tickets. We tithed and did community service, but we didn't have cable TV or iPods or email. Yes, we are blessed and better off now. Some of that is due to a healthy economy and personal responsibility. Some of it is the grace of God. But nobody wants to go back to the way it was before 2000 - in this town or this state. We are better off now, and we should admit it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Feast of the Holy Rosary

Captain and I skipped the televised debate tonight to attend the Latin Mass Dinner with Schiebers. Fr. Euteneuer from Human Life International was an excellent speaker -with a long line of renowned talks given at this annual event. It was my 7th year and Captain's 1st time. He agreed the food and wine were more than worth it. Our prayers for the abortion battle will succeed, as this feast day reminds us. Our nation sacrifices the blood of 3,000 aborted babies per day. The same number of soldier deaths in all the years of the US-Iraq War.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pickled Beets

Discovered that I could make pickled beets from a jar of regular sliced beets. They don't taste as good as the other years when I've canned them from scratch.

Gr. Judy's Recipe:
2 c. sugar
1 T. whole allspice
1 1/2 t. salt
2 sticks cinnamon
3 1/2 c. vinegar
1 1/2 c. water
3 qt. small beets, cooked and peeled
Simmer all ingredients for 15 minutes. Then pack in hot canning jars and cover with boiling liquid leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Remove cinnamon sticks. Water bath for 30 minutes. Makes 6 pints.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hockey Winners

The twins' team won the Squirt hockey championship in Oklahoma City. Winger (right) was voted MVP for the weekend and shared his gift card with Polar Bear (left). No surprise that they purchased air-soft guns with their winnings! Fast skating and quick passing made it fun to watch. Winger even had a hat trick in the final game, too! But Polar Bear scored more goals in all five games combined. He said he was not too tired - and wished he could have skated a couple more Pee Wee games!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Oklahoma City Weekend

The fence with personal memorials
and the chairs giving lasting honor to those 168 (including 19 children) who died in the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. Just a few months before Dorito was born...
A lot can change in 2 minutes' time. I'm glad we got to visit.

We also had a pancake stop with Uncle Carey. Carbs are good for athletes!