Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who Was the Painter?!

Secretary of State Visits Virgin of Guadalupe
During her Mar. 27 visit to Mexico City, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The rector, Msgr. Diego Monroy, took Mrs. Clinton to the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been lowered from its usual altar for this occasion. After observing it for a while, Mrs. Clinton asked, “Who painted it?” to which Msgr. Monroy responded, “God!”

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted on the tilma, or cloak, of Saint Juan Diego in 1531. The image has numerous unexplainable phenomena such as: the realistic appearance of Our Lady's eyes, reflecting those actually present in the room when the tilma was opened; the chemical analysis which shows the tint on the fabric was not from a known mineral, vegetable, or animal source; and the image’s preservation and lack of decay over five centuries thus far. Many describe the Virgin's image to parallel the woman of the Apocalypse from Revelation 12:1.
Clinton then explained she had previously visited the old Basilica in 1979, when the new one was still under construction. After placing a bouquet of white flowers by the image, Mrs. Clinton went to the quemador–the open air section of the Basilica where the faithful light candles–and lit a green candle. Leaving the Basilica half an hour later, Mrs. Clinton told the Mexicans gathered outside to greet her, “You have a marvelous Virgin!”

Ironically, Friday evening Mrs. Clinton received the highest award given by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America–the Margaret Sanger Award, named for the organization's founder, a noted eugenicist. It is not lost on me that the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe resulted in the baptism of 6 million Mexican natives, and She asked for the chapel to be built on Tepeyac Hill, former site of the Aztec's child sacrifices in that country.
Another homeschool mom wrote these impressions:
"I don't really expect the non-Catholic Hillary Clinton to know the story of OLG. What I do expect is that she would take the time to learn about where she is going. I can only imagine that if she were attending a state banquet in some country that she would figure out who would be there and what their interests and accomplishments are. I guess she decided she could skip that part here. I bet she is far more informed about Margaret Sanger. As an American, I am embarrassed by her gaffe. As a Catholic, I am angry and sad, although not surprised." -- Jenice G.
And didn't we expect a chuckle or two from the new Administration? I love how Mary appeared to Juan Diego not as a European Madonna but as a beautiful indigenous princess and spoke to him in his own Nahuatl language. We also must appreciate the cultures and perspectives of those to whom we want to bring to the Gospel.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Newest American Girl is Coming Soon

Her name is Rebecca--just like Becca Weeks (undisputedly my best friend as much as Meggar's). And she has long, brown hair which is naturally curly, too! Hmmm... Identical to our Becca! Except for the Jewish part. Rebecca Rubin is a Russian-Jewish immigrant growing up in New York City in 1914. (I still have a bit of an inside track with American Girl because I order their books for the Pony Express Museum to sell.) The new Rebecca will be available starting May 31, but even more exciting was a "sneak peek" mailer today. It was a mini-book featuring the first chapter of book 1, and Sarah was pleased to have it as her treasure.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Scouts Hear the Fiddle Music

The "Fiddlers Three" played tonight for the Cub Scout Blue-and-Gold Banquet at St. James. It was the first time many people from our church had heard them, and they were a great audience. Especially Edmund, who came up to the front to gaze adoringly at Meggar. He was smitten! It distracted Winger and Polar Bear so much they messed up the ending to "Old Joe Clark." But I don't think anyone noticed.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March is Still Like a Lion...

March winds yesterday and today remind me of western Kansas. Then the snow came (2 inches in St. Joe!). The streets in Kansas City were icy with deep slush. Good thing I had Captain's vehicle with four-wheel drive. Volleyball cancelled because only 5 girls could attend . Meggar instead took another practice ACT in preparation for next weekend. The twins bought handsome sweater vests for Easter. But after the pain of shopping, they requested a visit to the "Card Shop." I gave them half an hour to look/buy NHL cards and sleeves with Josh. They were in heaven and could have stayed all day!

Coaches' Treat

Dorito's team had a potluck-and-billiards party today, but his coach gave up chocolate for Lent. He was disappointed not to enjoy my Hot Fudge Pie. Here is the recipe so he can make it for their Easter Sunday celebration!

Hot Fudge Pie
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter (I use melted)
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 t. vanilla
Pinch of salt
9" Frozen pie crust (shallow)
For deep dish pie crust, I use one and a half times the recipe.
First, mix eggs, sugar, and butter together well. Then add dry ingredients and combine. Lastly, add vanilla. Prick the pie crust with a fork at 1" intervals --do not pre-bake crust. Pour fudge mixture into pie crust. Bake at 350' F until center is firm - about 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped pecans or hazelnuts prior to baking, if desired. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. I also recommend it with port chocolate sauce.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Benedictine Junior Raven Days

Meggar attended Junior Raven Days at Benedictine College. This was for high school juniors and included an overview, class visit, mass, and lunch. It was great to meet Evan (from Little Rock) and Kelsey (from Lincoln) because their parents are on the homeschool email loop with me! Although our family is very familiar with Atchison and have attended a few events in the Union, the complete tour and sales pitch offered us a better picture. BC is very Catholic and focused intently upon their undergraduate programs. I was impressed by the faculty credentials, and several campus group's advertisements caught my eye. BC has just as many new buildings as old ones, such as the new dormitories! But, I love the architecture of the old abbey, too! The food was pretty good for a Friday in Lent--fish tacos, vegetable pizza, and meatless spaghetti. And the students were all friendly, despite the frigid temps and bitter wind. Fr. James Albers had a wonderful Lenten mass in the chapel of the women's dorm--and it was packed! Meggar and I talked on the way home how much easier it is to compare colleges once you visit them. It is not as clear from simply reading the websites and mass mailings.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grammar Rules

Dorito is diagramming adjective phrases for English 8. Including infinitive phrases! "to be graded"... I loved diagramming with Mrs. Waller in my 8th grade year. She was one tough teacher and gave frequent quizzes on present active participles and future perfect participles. (Isn't it great that verbs can be perfect in the future?) Grammar has rules, and I hate to admit that is why I love it so much. Probably why I enjoyed being a journalism major so much. I don't which Dorito enjoys more: finding the grammatically correct answer or feeling like an architecture using a ruler and mechanical pencil to do his English homework.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary...

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."

The Feast of the Annunciation is traditionally the time for a blessing of seeds and new plantings. I am turning over new soil -- along the avenues of friendship and kindness -- and praying they will bear much fruit. (Painting by Leonardo)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Celtic Spring

There's nothing like authentic Irish fiddle music and step dancing to help you celebrate St. Patrick's Day. We saw the Catholic homeschool family called "Celtic Spring" perform at Benedictine College last week. All six siblings (age 23 to 9) play the fiddle as well as dance together! The concert was mesmerizing for all of us, and it was fun to meet them afterwards! Young Aidon is just smaller than my twins, Sean was the most talkative, and Mary gave stories and advice from a mother's perspective. We've been listening to their CD ever since. (I sent their website to Uncle Clint in hopes he might see their Phoenix concert this weekend.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tea with a New Friend

Angela has become my Monday afternoon friend. Her husband works for Herzog, and she lives a few miles from the piano teacher's house. She likes artwork, books, and had many of my favorite teas--we drank vanilla rooibos.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Golf is in the Air

It might be the first day of spring, but it is not the first time my boys have been to the golf course this season! Today was their 6th round actually. (Their first outing was Feb. 6 on an unseasonably warm day. Mr. Mike greeted them with all smiles.) Winger says he wants to play golf five days a week and be on the Central High School golf team when he grows up! Polar Bear changed to the black and yellow bag -- for better luck?! Both twins bought new golf hats with their Birthday gift cards. (One blue and one yellow, of course.) Reid says today was his best round of golf ever. Everybody needs to be out enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good Company

FOCUS missionary Claire de Loynes made a return visit to St. Joseph on her spring break. That meant we could enjoy a brunch gathering with her at the Schieber's house. You can predict a good discussion whenever Keith is around, and we went the full circuit of current events, politics, and Church matters before turning to recently-read books. We tossed around bits from "My Grandfather's Son," the memoir of Clarence Thomas. I read the book last month, and I discovered he had attended Conception Seminary (right here in northwest Missouri!). He also worked for Missouri Senator Danforth, who later helped him during the confirmation hearings. He certainly bore the brunt of an orchestrated political nightmare, and he implicitly blames Joe Biden for lying to him! (Alison proudly noted, "We picketed Biden when he came to St. Joe!") For Clarence Thomas, the political games reached a happy ending. I wish the book would have gone beyond his confirmation. But it is clear that Thomas reveres his grandfather and values the Catholic upbringing he received when his single mother could no longer care for her two young boys. This book gave me a peek at the civil rights movement from an honest perspective, and a good lesson in trusting Providence.

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Chocolate is Good for You

It was a belated chance to celebrate Perrin's birthday. So we went to dinner at the Country Club and came home for my famous Chocolate Ganache Cake. Unfortunately, the frosting did not have enough time to cool and set up, so it kept running off the cake. This time, I added Fra Angelico (hazelnut liqueur) to the batter and chopped hazelnuts to the top (usually available at Christmas time at our grocery store). Wonderful! It is better when it rests overnight and has more chocolate ganache on the top and sides--but no one wanted to wait. Recipe to follow.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

St. Joseph's Table

On this Feast of Saint Joseph, our parish offered a traditional St. Joseph's table full of baked goods. The boys proudly took their braided breads (see below) for this grand display, and they just as eagerly bought goodies to bring home. All proceeds went to the St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry and the leftovers were given to the Open Door Food Kitchen (to also assist the poor).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

United Nations "Progress"??

When I did my master's thesis on the United Nations and its programs for helping poor women in developing nations, I did not imagine this news 20 years later: Today, the Obama administration sent a $50 million check to the United Nations Population Fund, the pro-abortion group that has been accused of supporting Chinese family planning officials. The evidence has clearly shown that the Chinese rely on forced abortions, involuntary sterilizations, and other human rights abuses to enforce its one-child rule. For years, the Bush administration withheld the funds because of the UNFPA-China population control ties, but Obama signed a bill reversing those limits and pro-life efforts to override him failed in the Senate. Now, pro-abortion Rep. Louise Slaughter is asking for even more money. Slaughter and three other members of the House asked for an increase of $530 million for family planning efforts and a boost to $65 million for the UNFPA. Full story shows our lack of progress in terms of actually helping the poor.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day from "The Fiddlers Three." We have shows Thursday and Friday this week.

May your blessings outnumber
the shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
wherever you go.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial 1809-2009

The St. Joseph Museum is hosting a traveling exhibit about Abraham Lincoln, and the Catholic homeschoolers all enjoyed a field trip/program today. "What's so great about him living in a log cabin?" one student asked. "He was the first President who didn't come from wealthy connections, but was a self-made man," came the explanation. He is said to have owned only four books growing up: Aesop's Fables, Pilgrim's Progress, Shakespeare, and the Bible. A classical education!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Matching Hockey Cakes

The Schmid twins turn 11 today! (How can our youngest be 11?) They went out for an early morning breakfast before Captain had to leave for work! After school, they took a couple friends to Baskin Robbins for ice cream! Throughout the day, several gifts came in the mail, including new hockey roller blades and money from Grandma.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dave Ramsey's Shoes

Dorito had a "Dave Ramsey" moment at the shoe store. He has been contemplating Design-Your-Own-Nike shoes because of a gift card he received at Christmastime. But today, he and his Dad stopped into Shoe Carnival to check his size -- he wears 9.5 now! Then, a pair of Addidas caught his eye. Or maybe it was the price tag that caught his eye. Half-price is a BIG difference. He told Captain how Dave Ramsey talks about the opportunity cost of money. Spending half as much means he can "put the other half in his pocket." Alright!! (Dorito and Meggar are currently taking the "Financial Peace" DVD course with other teen homeschoolers and it is "paying off.")

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Select Hockey Tournament

Dorito's Select Team finished in 3rd place in the Midwest League games this weekend. His stats for these 3 weekends were: 3 goals and 3 assists. He contributed more points than half of his teammates because his third line listens to the coach. Good job, Saints!
The play was called "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" and is based on the book by the same title. Avila University students created a haunting portrayal of children in the Terezin labor camp and their beloved teacher. Over 15,000 Jewish children passed through, but only about 100 were still alive when Terezin was liberated at the end of World War II. This play is offered all through March in conjunction with the exhibit called "Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

End of the Season Party

The twins celebrated with the Squirt hockey team tonight. We took hockey puck cookies labeled so each boy could find his own. Can you see #16 and #19?


Meggar and her team take the court in the Maryville tournament. It was nice to talk to Tony and Ashley there, too.
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Friday, March 6, 2009

The Fiddlers Three

"The Fiddlers Three" have several shows this month. I guess people like to hear Irish fiddle tunes for St. Patrick's Day. Tonight we went to dinner with the Eagles Lodge during their visit from the State President.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

When Sickness Comes to Call

Here is the call bell in our family. Whenever someone is sick in bed, they can use it to summon me from all corners of the house. The twins both started having a fever last night--they are so identical some days that it's scary. Guess they finally got run down after hockey season and snowboarding. Today, they are fighting the flu with Honey Bear Tea and "Little House on the Prairie" movies. I am glad they remembered the bell. It was a Pi Phi gift from my pledge mom in college (hence the angel on top) and it sounds pretty no matter how many times they ring.

Gov. Sebelius is Nominated

More bad news on the political front. Obama has appointed Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius to be his Health and Human Services Secretary. She has a notorious record for expanding abortion in my home state, and she has had several run-ins with her Bishop since she continues to receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church. A woman's health is never "saved" by an abortion. Nor is the child's.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

John Paul II and the Jewish People

He was a blessing to everyone--including the Jews. Pope John Paul II's life is on display at Union Station this month, making particular note of his friendship with a Jewish boy named Jerzy (both before and after the War). This beautiful exhibit is free to the public, thanks to Avila University and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Meggar visited today with some homeschool teens, and the boys will take the tour next week. Great history lesson and a lesson in courage. I urge everyone to make plans to see it for themselves!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Tired but happy boys--after a day of snowboarding at Snow Creek near Weston. We have a 3-visit pass with other homeschoolers. A "late" cold snap brought Missouri a lot of snow (we had 5-6 inches) so we had to take advantage of it!

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Cancer Anniversary

Today is the 5-year anniversary of my thyroid cancer surgery. Thanks, Mom, for the early detection! "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His mercy endures forever."

This would be a good time to do a Neck Check on yourself. Early signs of thyroid imbalance are low body temperature, depression, swelling in the neck, lack of mental focus, and low energy. (These are also regular symptoms of having young children in the home!)

More Hockey Stats

Undefeated! The Saints 1 Bantam team finished their regular hockey season yesterday with a record of 17-0-3. Dorito is a first-year Bantam, but kept up with the fast pace of his teammates all year. They defeated Saints 2 today in the end-of-season tournament by a close score of 3-2. Dorito's stats: 12 goals (including one hat trick) and 7 assists (including one playmaker). That is twice as many goals as he scored last season - what an improvement!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

State Chess Tournament

Polar Bear did great at chess! He medaled in the 5th grade division at the Missouri State Chess Competition yesterday. He was 15th overall out of 71 individual players. He won 4 matches and lost 2. He led his team of 5th graders (which included his twin Winger who won 3 and lost 3) and they earned the 4th place trophy out of 26 teams! VERY GOOD results.

Dorito also played all day in the 8th grade division amongst 107 players. He also won 3 matches and lost 3 --saying the competition was pretty stiff. Our St. Joseph Homeschool Chess Club brought home two team trophies and had 7 medalists!

Aunt Kathy and Uncle Terry were chaperones for the Schmidling boys since Captain had a trip out of town. I heard that Terry dished it out, but the boys gave it right back to him!

Feast of St. David

Like King David in the Old Testament, our Winger likes words: writing, reading, and talking. Happy Feast of St. David!