Friday, November 28, 2008

Grateful Tree

A "Grate- ful Tree" was on the counter, where cousins could add little notes of thanks all weekend. I was thankful the twins made the place-cards with autumn leaf stamps for our table! The butternut squash from the centerpiece will go in soup next week, so I might have to post that recipe.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Our house was full of warmth and love for the Thanksgiving holiday. Uncle Carey and Aunt Barbara brought 7 cousins, Grandpa Gerald brought news of Coach Snyder returning to K-State, and Grandma Judy brought her famous Cranberry Fluff Salad. As per tradition, everyone went around the circle to tell what they were thankful for before the meal grace. The cleverest toast was: "For good cooks, good books, and good nooks!" by Grandma Judy. Some of the children really impressed me with what was on their hearts.... I was also thankful we had started the day with Mass and had good weather for outdoor play time.

My favorite side dish was "Rustic Onion Casserole" gleaned from the Catholic Charlotte Mason email list one year ago. Dorito loves onions as much as I do. Easy; and it goes well with leftovers.

Rustic Onion Casserole (posted by welearnathome)
Rough chop 6 medium onions
Put them in the bottom of a buttered casserole dish.
Spread with 1 can of cream of chicken soup
(may use cr. of celery or cr. of mushroom).
Top with small, torn bits of good stale bread or croutons.
Cover with shredded or sliced Swiss cheese.
Bake with holiday dishes until brown and bubbly.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks for Golf

Wish I had taken a picture of them wearing their smart-looking vests and wind jackets. The mild temperatures tempted my three sons into a Thanksgiving round of golf. The twins have played 37 times and Dorito has been out 29 times, so they benefited greatly from their '08 membership. Since we only had a half-day of school, they struck out with pal Trent to Fairview at noon. I heard Winger pooped out early (after the 6th hole) in disgust with his score, and Dorito had to poop after the 2nd hole so he ran all the way back and forth from the clubhouse. :-)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Truman" is well done and well said

We actually watched this movie during election week--Powerful! I was surprised how many things haven't changed: like media bias, unrest in the Middle East, fragile European alliances, and making tough military decisions based on the best-guess-of-the-facts-at-the-moment.

Gary Sinise does a Harry Truman that's so believable you would think you were in Independence, Mo! This biographical movie of Harry Truman was true to history and based upon the Pulitzer Prize winning biography by David McCullough. My kids had read about his childhood beforehand. We also visited the Truman Library and saw his grand piano, his two "Truman Chryslers," and his love letters to Beth.

Truman was a WWI soldier, a failed business man, a latecomer to the Senate, and a compromise candidate for vice-president. Then he unexpectedly became president when Roosevelt died only 3 months into his fourth term. Three years later, Truman boasts a come-from-behind victory (see "Dewey Defeats Truman" newspaper headline) in the 1948 election which showed that his integrity and All-American values resonated with the average American voter. His presidency was actually full of historical significance: the Marshall Plan, the atomic bomb, beginning of the Cold War, NATO, Israel becoming a state, anti-Communism in our foreign policy, the United Nations charter, Civil Rights, and the Korean War. Great movie for my students who are studying the US election, WWII, and Amer. Gov't respectively!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vive la France

Claire deLoynes came to lunch, and we played "Apples to Apples" after dessert. She has a great accent, patience with kids' questions, and gave us a good geography lesson, too. We are helping sponsor her as a FOCUS missionary to Univ. of Northern Colorado. She was a foreign exchange student at UMKC last year, and she's visiting friends for Thanksgiving in this area.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kansas City Catholic Youth Conference

The homeschool group attending KCYC was all girls this year! They loved Matt the emcee (who was a homeschool grad with a cool courtship story), and they felt encouraged by Mike Gormely's message about staying near Christ when we are suffering. There were separate s*x talks for the girls and guys, and our pro-life director had great hand-outs during her workshop on abortion and contraception myths.
The music was phenomenal; adoration was amazing; and the 750 teens all attended confession and mass with Bishop Finn.
Saturday night's painting of Christ's face was created in front of the audience (wow!) during a praise & worship song "I Can Only Imagine." The words felt alive:
"I can only imagine what my eyes will see, when Your Face is before me."
Next year, KC will host the National Catholic Youth Conference on Nov. 19-21. See you then!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Music is in the Fall Air

At the Homeschool Grand Finale - Meggar played clarinet in the Band, Choir, and accompanied the Ensemble.

Dorito is ready for Youth Orchestra Concert (Meggar plays piano here, too). Earlier this week they also played two Thanksgiving Dinner concerts for "Fiddlers Three" - at Nodaway Valley Bank and Brookdale Presbyterian Church. (Winger said lots of tip$ are what he is thankful for.)

Afterward, we celebrated at 54th Street Restaurant with Gringo Dip!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Twins Reading

While waiting for Meggar at piano lessons, the sunny porch found the twins reading (and not fighting).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Field Trip

Our study of WWI and WWII took us to the Truman Library and Museum this week. We had watched the movie "Truman" before the Nov. 4 election, so we already knew many of the details of his life in politics, war, and retirement. We started at the replica of the Oval Office and went passed his cars, piano, and love letters to Beth. The display of 1940s war photographs was an added bonus.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Trick!

"After 4 years, I can do the Pogo stick with no hands!" Dorito announced this afternoon. So then he proved it -- by squeezing his knees and staying in balance --he could do it several bounces in a row!

*See the twins making a pile of leaves in the background?*
Hooray for this fine, fall weather and playing outside!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Volleyball Try-outs

The thrills and disappointments of club volleyball try-outs consumed Meggar's weekend. Not to mention sore muscles. She was (happily) recruited for the 17s team with St. Joe Spike.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Family Skate Night

To celebrate the tournament win, hockey practice was open ice for all family members.

Even for those who don't know how to skate - like Blake!

Let's face it - Blake was the main attraction at this party!

Twins' Recital

Winger actually wanted to go first!

Suzuki Book 1 Graduation means playing six songs by memory!
Polar Bear is concentrating hard!
Mr. Brock is the proud teacher; Meggar was the accompanist; and Captain was in town and was able to attend!

How did the twins sound? Identical!!!!!
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Penny Log

Another lucky break! While I was walking in the college gym (the boys had PE class), I found a nickel under the bleachers. And later I found a dime in the parking lot! That's like saying "In God We Trust" 15 times today.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Two Trophies

The Squirt team brings home the 1st place trophy at their home tournament!

Polar Bear wins the MVP trophy,
but it evens out because
Winger won MVP at the last tourney.
Then they all stay to watch the "big boys" in the Pee Wee division.
Time-out for discussing the penalty-kill strategy in the final 2 minutes...

and it paid off, Coach!
Saints have another Championship trophy!
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Gospel of Life

Sunday's second reading impressed me, and I should like to commit this verse to memory:

"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy." - 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Taking Tea with the British

I dearly loved the British Faire, which I attended with Gr. Judy and Meggar. The vendors and booths set up by the Daughters of the British Empire give you a chance to hunt for goodies. We listened to the organ grinder music as we shopped around for treasures and bought:
1. Very yummy English Cotswold cheese with chives,
2. Box of PG Tips tea (my favorite),
3. Little box of tea with Big Ben picture for my own Ben,
4. A cottage looking teapot for a granddaughter,
5. Real silver spoon engraved with an "M",
6. real Hob-Nob cookies (which I can never find), which will be eaten within the week by my children,
7. Package of Caramel Hob-Nobs (new flavor!),
8. Nothing from the antique bookseller because we ran short on time,
9. Antique earrings that matched my shirt, and
10. 4 mince pies and 2 coconut macaroons for $2 total--leftovers from the tea party.

Then we took tea. We only paid $8 and got 8 items: scone with butter and jam, raspberry jam tart, sausage roll, egg salad sandwich, cheese sandwich, cucumber sandwich, shortbread, and a chocolate truffle. Plus a bottomless pot of tea served in a real teapot with real china cups and saucers of all different pretty designs. We asked the lady in front of us in line to join our table. She was from Wimbledon and was just finished working her shift as waitress. "What I need is a good cup of tea." It was great to listen to her accent and learn how she came to America to do blood chemistry research. We also were joined by a woman from South Africa and she had an even more pronounced British accent. She also had the British manner which made me smile: A frumpy sweater, demands for more hot tea, blundering into a new topic of conversation when the old one was not finished, etc. We requested the help of these two ladies with the British Faire quiz. It was a series of 25 quotes by famous Brits that you had to match up with their author/speaker. That's how we won a tea pot!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


We worked hard.
Here in St. Joseph, Sam Graves won re-election to Congress over Kay Barnes and her $2.6 million.
Happily, we can report that McCain-Palin won in Missouri--by only 5,686 votes. The Obama ticket won our county... and the country. But we still have good Senators for the legislative battles come January. And we saw more Christians and Catholic bishops speaking out for the truth of abortion than in any other election cycle. Exit polls showed that Catholics voted on the "Economy" more than "Abortion." That's sad but points to the lack of catechesis for many decades.
Marriage amendments won in California, Arizona, and Florida. That's a positive trend.

Monday, November 3, 2008


The beautiful weather and scenery were meant for plen-aire painting this morning. Winger is concentrating on the yellow elm and

Polar Bear the red maple.
Meggar went for the burning bushes and hawthorn berry trees in the back yard. Dorito is finishing up his painting of the Chambers' water fountain began at Garage Art class.

Refreshments of cranberry scones and tea were served to the "starving artists."
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sid Takes the Ice

Despite an injury yesterday, Sidney Crosby is taking the ice tonight as the Penguins play the Blues in St. Louis. Hooray! The Schmids have box seats are there watching intently. I'm sure they will try to memorize all his skating moves. That 21-year-old Captain is our hero for his shooting, anticipation, and speed - he already has an Assist in the 1st period. (I'm home with a touch of the flu, but listening on XM radio in order not to miss any of the excitement. Even Meggar didn't want to stay home with me!) Brooks went as the twins' guest, and I heard they laughed the whole afternoon driving over.