Saturday, February 28, 2009

Two Lincoln Movies

In this month of Lincoln, I must make an endorsement of the movie "Young Mr. Lincoln" for all ages. The 1939 fictionalized tale is black-and-white, which only adds to its historical feel. My youngest doesn't even realize this isn't actual footage. Henry Fonda plays the young lawyer as he progresses from shop owner to practising lawyer. All the good legends are included: his love of books, being honest, log cabin poverty, going the extra mile, and young love. Best of all is the tough case he takes on behalf of a woman whose son was unjustly accused of murder. A griping tale of wits. How can Mr. Lincoln prove him innocent?!

Secondly, we watched "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln" but cannot recommend it as easily. This 1976 production is actually filmed on stage, but is slow-paced and focused heavily on Mary Todd-Lincoln's mental illness. That was difficult to explain to the children. Here's the online description:
Julie Harris, recreates her 1972 award-winning Broadway portrayal in this powerful and touching look at the final 17 years in the life of Mary Todd Lincoln, widow to the martyred President. Based on real events, this production casts a sad and sympathetic light onto this frighteningly complicated woman. Mary Lincoln scavenges desperately for money, loses a cherished son to consumption, is branded a lunatic and committed to a mental institution; culminating with her spending her final days fleeing from the preying eyes of the public and a scandal-hungry press.

Visiting University of Dallas

Meggar attended "Odyssey Days" expecting to like the Univ. of Dallas and came away loving it. She has done Kolbe Academy and claims Literature is her favorite course, so I think she would be suited to their academics. The two-year Core Curriculum at U.D. appeals to her as she enjoys a good discussion/debate whether theology, politics, literature, or history are in question. We arrived Thursday night to 80’ F temps and stayed at a nearby hotel, with free shuttle service to campus.
On Friday morning we sat in on three classes: Constitutional History of Medieval England (which corresponds to her Kolbe history), Philosophy of Man (with a young and enthusiastic professor), and Literary Traditions II (where they were discussing Dante’s Divine Comedy, similar to her Kolbe literature). Several students freely asked questions in each class and the lecturers also seemed happily involved in the material. Group presentations by the Admission Reps prove that U.D. is friendly to homeschoolers.
The Odyssey Days scholarship contest and essay essentially waive your application fee and application essay. So that was good news. Everyone who took the exam is guaranteed a scholarship. Of course, we enjoyed a slide show of their Rome campus and learned about the great amenities built into the sophomore year’s semester abroad. All credits count and tuition remains the same. New dorms, outdoor pizza oven, pool, and right down the hill from Castel Gondolfo--Very impressive!
We mixed with several of the faculty, which is the best way to glean tidbits of information. I was interested to meet the volleyball coach, who said academics come before athletics. The education professors explained that they place their student teachers at public schools instead of Catholic schools. (Hmm...?) The art department had three seniors giving presentations on their thesis/graduation projects, which were beautiful and well-documented. One student did her internship at the Ft. Worth Art Museum. There was a Sculpture professor, transferred from Notre Dame, who discussed his teaching environment compared to other programs. Also, a senior in political science told us about his internship with the Senate Finance Committee last summer. It showed him how fortunate U.D. was to have conservative professors because he did not have the same environment for discussions that summer in Washington, D.C. We also sat in on choir rehearsal (a capella) and viewed the piano practice rooms. Lastly, we had a tour by our dorm host, who was a transfer student from Belmont Abbey. She made some good contrasts between the two campuses. She obviously was pleased with her decision and excited about the clubs and extra-curricular activities at U.D. The dorms were clean, even the rooms we saw which were not on the official tour (thanks, Emily Respeliers). They just had a "Pride and Prejudice" movie night for Valentine’s Day at the girl’s dorm (that’s a plus for us Jane Austen fans). The Catholic atmosphere seems very authentic. There was a sign up sheet for Adoration at the girl’s dorm. When we popped into the Chapel (not on the official tour), there were 6 people there praying -- on Friday evening at 6:30 pm!?!! That says a great deal about these college-age students. I met several homeschooling moms at the wine and cheese reception. We had a chance to talk to the college president, who has started building new dorms (completion date is Jan. 2011) so all students can remain on campus (re: safer environment). We enjoyed plenty of good food at the Haggar Union (including dinner with Kathy from Plano Texas) and a cappuccino at the Cap Bar. I thought the campus was lovely with its landscaping and several outdoor terraces. I did not see any tattoos or piercings. Only saw one student smoking. Although there’s no dress code, I did not see sweats but rather collared shirts on men and skirts on women. These all figured into the good impression we received over the 2-days on campus for Odyssey Days.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

My friend Ana had a good suggestion for today's observance, cleaning out your oven, as explained on her blog. She has been my homeschooling friend since the very beginning, and I enjoy her art, Brazilian recipes, and Catholic unit study ideas.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras Party

It's Fat Tuesday--so we called some Catholic friends and threw a potluck Mardi Gras party. Captain made a pork loin that easily fed the gathering of 45 people, the kids set out piles of beads in every room, and Jodi brought the "King Cake." Max was the lucky one who found the hidden baby, and we suspect the Schiebers won't mind hosting next year's party. Everyone ate and laughed (could be result of 5 bottles of wine and three 6-packs of beer). Fr. Totton even came back after evening mass for more of the festivities. P.S. Dorito is the best babysitter, according to Owen and Davis.

Kendall's Birthday

Today, would have been the 15th birthday of our son Kendall Francis Schmidling. He and two other "lost twin" siblings are watching over us, and we pray for their intercession each school day during our morning prayers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What We Learned at the Science Fair

I always learn a lot when we do the Science Fair.... :-)
1. Some years my children have to learn how to lose.
2. We also must learn to be gracious winners.
3. My shy child will have to talk louder in a big room so the judge can hear.
4. My talkative child will need to be more brief and concise.
5. Trading prizes is a cheap resolution for disappointment.
6. Time management is crucial; there is a deadline.
7. Sometimes we can't understand everything about science, but God does.
8. Projects might not turn out the way they look in the science book.
9. If you forgot something, then next year you will do better.
10. Talking to another adult, besides your mom, is great experience.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2009 Homeschool Science Fair

Dorito won the Junior High division!! He worked so hard on his "Airfoils" project by making six different weights and sizes. Then he timed their take-offs with a house fan to compare. He also had pictures of the wings and propellers at Dad's airport to illustrate how lift is created with real airplanes. It was fun to see him consult with Captain, and he plans to be an aeronautical engineer when he grows up.
Meggar had a pretty project--she used the smoke from burning sulfur to bleach a red rose and it turned completely white. The Chemistry book said that hydrogen peroxide would bring it back to red, but that part didn't work out for her. She won 3rd place in the high school division.
Polar Bear illustrated the Bernoulli Principle using a blow dryer to suspend a ping pong ball and a beach ball.
Winger made an Electric Game--if you could match the NHL player with his team then the light bulb would come on! He had fun doing the wiring and decorating the board with hockey cards and photos of his favorite players.

This was my 10th year for organizing the Homeschool Science Fair! We have between 40-50 students every year, and I gather enough prizes so they all win something!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Making Plans on Hockey Weekend

After the Monster Concert, we drove up to Omaha to attend the Notre Dame v. UNO hockey game. We took our jerseys to wear! Dorito and Captain drove over from the Midwest League tournament in Des Moines to meet us. TRAGEDY struck, however, because we arrived to discover they had moved to a smaller location and were SOLD OUT. There were a few scalpers around, but none had enough tickets for our whole family!

So we put our heads together and decided to find the "Dave and Buster's" restaurant and play some video games to drown out the disappointment. The boys quickly recovered and won enough game tickets to get 4 golf scopes as prizes. They were thrilled! They have been wanting to buy golf scopes, and this model even clips onto your belt. My story has a Happy Ending, at least!

Young Monster Concert

The spring "Monster Concert" means eight pianos are playing duets at once! The twins were together, of course. They played "Chopsticks," "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean," and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen." Cute tunes!
Meggar and Becca were duet partners, too! They played "YMCA," and "Stompin." (The boys thought it was fun to hum along). They also played two classical songs: "Canon in D" and "Theme from Symphony No. 40" by Mozart. A grand ending for an afternoon recital.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Broken Dreams

I found two diamonds missing from my wedding ring. The jeweler says it had a crack underneath. Captain is getting it fixed for me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hero on the Hudson

This week's news was full of the "Miracle on the Hudson" when a US Airways plane was safely set down on the Hudson River by Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger III. Sully and his co-pilot had a crisis on their hands because a flock of birds knocked out both engines, which he said felt like “a flock of bowling balls.” Quick thinking and calm waves helped him land safely, and all 155 passengers were rescued. Jets almost never ditch in water without breaking apart. Pilots seldom make perfect crash landings, and my Captain says that Captain deserves 155 Christmas cards for the rest of his life. Here are the emails from my husband as we discussed the big news.
D: "My emotions are full this week as I read this story and watched the video. I only pray to God that he will be by my side in the event that I am challenged with an emergency of this magnitude. Each time someone asks me about the Hudson landing and what my thoughts are about the pilot I say, "Every good pilot has the grace of God to calmly and safely work through an emergency."

C: "I saw the interview Katie Couric did with the Hudson Captain. I also liked the comments that readers sent in at the bottom of the CBS web page. You are a good pilot like that. Calm and resourceful. But like Sully said, it came at a great price so that he and his family are not quick to recommend pilot jobs to future generations."
D: "This is why I go to training every be safe and live a long life." Then he sent me the picture of the Airbus being hauled through the streets.

Pelosi and the Pope

What was the Catholic Speaker of the House thinking? First, Nancy Pelosi recommended $87 billion of the bailout/stimulus package to go toward contraception (and family planning services through Medicaid). Huh?? Then, she stops by the Vatican yesterday to meet with the Pope and have him bless some rosaries for her soon-to-be-confirmed grandchildren (very nice). Except... she continues to describe herself as an "ardent" Catholic, and she continues to support abortion at any stage through legislation and tax funding! Although their 15 minute meeting was closed to reporters, the Vatican released this comment afterwards: "His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural and moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death." (Hooray!) Did she listen? No, her exit interview gave the impression she was at a different meeting!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

5th Grade Vocation Day

It was the twins' turn to attend the 5th Grade Vocation Day sponsored by our diocese today. I was especially looking forward to it, since their big brother went three years ago (and I knew what a special day it would be for them.) They heard from Bishop Finn about his grade school years serving mass, and later various priests spoke for the other sessions. There was singing, quiz games, nuns, and lunch. I joined them for Mass, in which the Bishop talked on their level about listening to God's voice. Beautiful!


I used to keep stats for my father's high school basketball team--and I was so detailed that I became his main statistician by age 12. Here are my stats for the Schmid twins in their 2008-2009 hockey season. Together they scored 116 points, and their teammates scored 115 points during their 34 wins and 8 losses.
Polar Bear tops the chart with 71 goals (which is 1.5 per game!) and 45 assists. He had 8 hat tricks and 3 playmakers, too!
Winger had the most assists (47 total, which is 1 per game!), and he scored 45 goals. He also had 3 hat trick games and 3 playmakers, too!
I can't help but notice their stats were more identical last year, but everything with twins cannot be equal all the time. These are incredible numbers! and it shows how much fun they had on the ice.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hungry Howie's for Pizza

One discovery on this hockey trip was the DELICIOUS pizza from Hungry Howie's in Indianapolis. They claim to be the Original Flavored Crust Pizza and have 8 great ones to choose from. We were hungry, but not that hungry. So we tried "Garlic Herb" crust on the mom's pizza and "Butter Cheese" on the kids' pizza. You might not think the crust has much to do with a pizza, but in this case you will want to eat the crust! Yummy - but then I'm a huge garlic lover. There's also Cajun, Sesame, Ranch (How American!), Onion, and Original. I wonder where else I can find a Hungry Howie's???

Volleyball Update

Meggar's team finally won a match last weekend--sorry I wasn't there to see it. Captain made it to some of the Saturday and Sunday games of the Silver Heart Challenge in Kansas City. I'm glad she is keeping a good attitude.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Second Place

Posted by Picasa

Schmids Last Game of Hockey Season

The twins suited up for the Championship game in Indianapolis this morning. They finished in Second Place, but gave up fewer goals to the Jr. Thrashers team than they did yesterday. Neither of the "Schmids" lost a single face-off against #98--the star player on the opposing team. Too bad he didn't have good sportsmanship to go with his good stick handling. Good season with the KC Fighting Saints in Squirt AA. (Stats to follow)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lizard Lips in Paradise

The goalie mom and I slipped out for a drink to "Cheeseburger in Paradise" near the hotel. A couple of hockey dads are watching the boys swim - so they won't drown. I chose the "Electric Lizard" because I love Midori Melon Liquer any time of year. Mix it with coconut rum, and this drink is singing my song! The beachy atmosphere of the place helps get you in the mood. But the garnish, of course, is the best part! (see photo) I saved the sunglasses (which is a pin) for Meggar when I get back home. Robin ordered a trio of margarita so she could have all the new flavors. Very fun. (It was the first restaurant that we didn't have a coupon for, either! Can you believe that?!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hearts and Hugs and Kisses

I know the kids and Captain won't believe it, but I filled the breakfast table with conversation hearts, Valentine M&Ms, and Hershey kisses! Happy Valentine's--one day early--to the ones I love!

Winger stuffed all his loot into a baggie to take on the road for hockey this weekend. Here is a picture of the "Stanley Cup" box he created!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Where is Your Valentine?

It's nearly Valentine's Day and you know what that means... the Daytona 500! (Just kidding) For several years, I dreaded Valentine's because it meant my husband was going to be at the NASCAR race track(s) most of the next 33 weekends. But that was 4 years ago, and who wants to dwell on the past? The trouble this year is a hockey tournament that's out-of-town, so we won't be together and that was causing me to remember.... so the twins and I are driving to Indianapolis all day tomorrow with the goalie and his mom!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Days Off

Our Captain got an extra day at home this week, due to his boss' falling ill. Bad for him; good for us. He changed both furnace filters, refilled the water softener with salt, replaced a turn signal bulb in my van, and started the reports for our income taxes. He also listens to Meggar's heart aches, reads to the twins (a book about world-famous bridges), and consults with Dorito on his latest Scout merit badge. See what Daddy's are good for?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Was it Wine or Tea?

They called it the bordeaux of tea? And they were right! At book club tonight, Jenny brought Keemun Congou tea, so I did some investigating on the Internet:

This is a particularly fine example of the winey Keemun --very often referred to as the “Bordeaux or Burgundy of Tea”. The tea has a thick rich liquor that has an orchid like fragrance, a fragrance that some say can be enhanced with milk (I certainly found that to be true). This grade has tightly rolled leaves that promote a deep rich concentrated flavor. In fact when properly stored, they take on a deeper winey and mellow character. This is the third highest grade of Keemun that is available, and it is only made during March and April growing months.

Apparently, the Keemun Congou is often a main ingredient in English Breakfast blends. So of course, I enjoyed 3-4 cups whilst we discussed "Girl with a Pearl Earring." This novel is a fictional account of the Vermeer painting from about 1665. Full of life and some Catholic references, the book was rated highly by all our members.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Chemistry Club

Dorito is still trying to finish the Chemistry Merit Badge. Luckily, his troop spent all day last Saturday at the Chemistry Department working on most of the requirements! Dr. Lorimor organized this day of experiments with some assistance from his chemistry majors on campus. Dorito even tried to recreate one of the experiments at home to show us! This is another benefit of Scouts -- it helps our "quiet son" have a reason to speak up more often.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Street Gang 2009

It was heaven-on-earth for the twins this afternoon!! The weather was warm enough to play hockey outside -- plus the Jungbluth's invited them over to their new outdoor rink. Plus the Gibel's had a free schedule -- so it was 2 Schmidling twins, 2 Gibel twins, 2 Gibel big brothers, and 2 Jungbluths which made even teams for street hockey. Polar Bear said he was surprised how WELL everyone could play, since he is the oldest. Winger was EAGER to try his newly-purchased street stick, a red Synergy with a Sakic curve. He negotiated the purchase after the All-Star games last weekend, since it was on sale at Pepsi's hockey shop. (Who says shopping is a girl's addiction?) So, it looks like we have found a neighborhood gang (again) that will play endless hours of hockey with us.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Feast of St. Thomas More

The patron saint of our homeschool deserves recognition today. It is the 530th birthday of St. Thomas More -- patron saint of lawyers and politicians. When I was in graduate school, I lived in a former residence (turned women's dorm) owned by this saintly man in Chelsea. In the great hall hung a tapestry copy of the famous Holbein painting of the More family that I often contemplated over breakfast and supper. A short walk along the Thames took me passed his statue each day on the way to classes. I have started to read many of the books written about him (ones for children *and* adults) and even a fictional book or two. My Internet searches have failed to locate a "good" statue for purchase -- but I like the challenge of waiting for the right one to come along.

The Maldonado Miracle

From our NetFlix queue came "The Maldonado Miracle" for our family movie night this week. We liked it much more than we expected! GREAT movie about a Catholic church whose crucifix starts dripping blood. The little immigrant boy is adorable, and you will start praying for him to get his dog back. Peter Fonda is the parish priest whose hope is dying in the nearly-ghost town. Mare Winningham is the perky cafe owner who befriends little Jose and his dog. Several miracles woven together effortlessly into one, short and meaningful movie.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Gothic House

What a treat to have lunch today at the new tea room in town: The Gothic House. Tracy and I thought the spinach and bacon quiche was very rich! The tortellini and sausage soup was deeply savory. And the surprise was cranberry scones with lemon curd are served to every guest! We were stuffed!! The seating areas are done in over-the-top Victorian style which makes it cozy and antique-feeling. The tea list is long and impressive, too. We needed a new diversion since The Wren House has been closed these last few years.

Recipe from: The Gothic Tea and Eatery
Classic Cream Scones
2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ C sugar
1 large egg
1 ½ tsp vanilla
½ C heavy Cream
1/3 C cold butter
Dried cranberries
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a small bowl, whisk egg vanilla and ½ cup of heavy cream. Set aside. With pastry blender, cut 1/3 cup cold better into dry ingredients until coarse and mealy. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add cream mixture. Mix with fork just until blended. Add dried cranberries to taste. Do not overwork. On lightly floured surface, pat dough out to ½ inch thickness and cut with biscuit cutter. Brush tops with heavy cream and bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. Serve with Devonshire cream and jam or lemon curd.
Lemon Curd
3 eggs
1 C sugar
½ C fresh lemon juice
¼ C butter
1 ½ Tsp lemon zest
In a heavy saucepan, beat eggs and sugar for one minute on high with hand mixer. Stir in lemon juice and butter. Cook and stir over medium low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees. Add zest and cool, Cover and store in refrigerator for up to one week. Best when served at room temperature.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Meeting" Addy in 1864

The twins and I have poured through the first 4 books in the "Addy" series this week. Once again, historical fiction is the quickest way to learn. They seem to enjoy this history unit about Civil War times, even if the story is about an American girl. I remember reading them with Meggar not that long ago... We found a cowrie shell in our collection, marked her journey on the map, and ate cornbread.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Brownies for the SuperBowl

Leave it to a hockey mom to make the best snacks! Angie Klaasen brought these brownies to the Super Bowl party, and we devoured most of them. The rest will be shared at piano lessons this afternoon.

Super S'mores Brownies
Bake a big batch of your favorite brownies in 13 x 9 pan.
As soon as it comes out of the oven, spread with
1 jar of marshmallow cream.
(You can return the pan to the turned-off oven
for a couple of minutes to make it easier to spread.)
Melt together:
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
Stir in:
1 C. Rice Krispies
Pour over the marshmallow topping.
Let cool and cut into bars.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl

Too bad the NBC network refused the commercial with the sonogram baby being morphed into President Obama. It already has hundreds of thousands of hits on You Tube. See my Jan. 21 entry.