Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blueberry Picking

Just as "The early bird gets the worm" so we wanted to be among the first pickers at Pine Tree Lane on Tuesday morning. Plump, purple berries were everywhere on these three long rows!
A bucket a piece and picking for an hour, we had six pounds to take home!
We also harvested the leaf lettuce that Polar Bear planted this spring!

Library Juggling Show

Even Domitille liked the juggler at the Children's Summer Reading Event today. The twins think they have outgrown these weekly library programs, but they were thrilled to cash in their Dunkin' Donuts gift certificates afterward.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Movie Night with Tears

Meggar finished the book and has been waiting with baited breath for the movie "My Sister's Keeper." She and Domitille cried shamelessly (and so did the rest of the audience, they said). But they didn't want to cry in front of me, nor have me pick apart the finer points of stem-cell research--so I'll have to see it another time.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hockey Medals and Quotes

I forgot to mention that the twins' team took 3rd place (easily) and brought home medals. They were thrilled! It got a little tense when playing against former KC teammates, so we were glad to be "busy" with relatives outside the rink. Some other parents were pointing fingers and calling names. Lisa Steiner and Jill Watt agreed: "Hockey does not define who you are as a person." April Wyatt said later: "How you behave at hockey does define who you are as a person." Wisdom!

In the long run, we steer the conversations with our boys away from individuals and coaches. It's more fun to dish on the referees (who were especially bad this weekend). Even Gr. Gerald was yelling at the refs, and he doesn't understand hockey that well!!

Take the Long Way Home

Let's not talk about the trip home from Minnesota :-/ Winger has the smallest bladder in the world, Dorito wants to stretch his long legs, and Polar Bear loses patience sharing the technological toys (ear phones, DVD players, DSi, iPod-downloaded TV shows, etc.). I think Domitille is trying to sleep, and Meggar is removed from the family with her constant texting. UGH! I guess it was nice to catch up my blog, and it will be nice to sleep in our own beds tonight after 7 hours total driving time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cathedral of St. Paul

Gr. Judy and Gr. Gerald came to watch hockey, too. Then we all went to Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Wonderful--both inside and out. Designed by a French architect who was profiled in the visitor's brochure.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hockey Tournament in Blaine, MN

Uncle Tony and Aunt Mary have seen a fair share of hockey games in their years in Minnesota, so it was nice to have them come watch the twins-and bring Ethan and Alyssa along, too. #16 and #11 were passing and shooting and digging on goalies, just like they are supposed to do. We took our blankets and bought $4 bags of homemade doughnuts for Domitille. The vendor seemed to know just when the games were ending so the warm sugary smell would greet us as we entered the lobby from the cold rink.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Like Father Like Son

An easy gift for my hubby and teen son this June: RBK hockey jackets! Father's Day and Dorito's Birthday accomplished with combined shipping. I love the USA Hockey website!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fondue is Our Tradition

I'm trying to avoid things that are obviously French while Domitille is visiting, but our summer vacations have traditionally included a fancy fondue dinner in recent years. Dorito was pleased when everyone agreed to dress up and go out, including Gr. Judy and Gr. Gerald who are in Minneapolis for Catholic diocesan meetings. What a fun three hours we spent together. The Quattro Fromage cheese fondue and the Coc a Vin left our bellies bulging. But the possibility of choosing three dessert fondue pots was the ultimate treat because it meant no arguments. The twins had the S'mores fondue, Dorito chose Cookies and Cream flavor, and the senior citizens picked Bananas Foster Flambe-at Mercedes' request. We sang to Dorito in French: "Joyeax Anniversaire!
Joyeax Anniversaire!
Joyeax Anniversaire, Francis!
Joyeax Anniversaire!"
Domitille doesn't like the way his name sounds with her accent so she calls him Francis (his middle name), and he calls her "Domi" for short.

Dorito's Birthday

Turning 14 in Minnesota meant a few treats for Dorito--like going to the "Water Park of America" next to the Mall of America. It is partly for Domitille's benefit, too. Polar Bear said, "This is the biggest water park in the world, Dad!" But Captain was skeptical until the sign confirmed it: Biggest Indoor Water Park in America. Everything here lived up to our expectations!! A lazy river, wave pool, water basketball, surfing, and 8 water slides. The Family Raft was 10 stories high--but well worth climbing the stairs for! Six people at a time get to slip and slide until they spill over.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fishing in Minnesota

The Minnesota cousins took us fishing today at Lake Miltona. We rented a pontoon boat and hooked enough walleye and rock bass to please the "fishermen" in our outfit. Dorito made the first catch of the day (like he always does!). Wife showed Ethan and the twins she can bait a hook with minnows or leeches. Domitille found a favorite "American" food today: powdered sugar doughnuts. Aunt Mary packed us a cooler with sandwiches, fruit, rice krispie treats, sodas, and the doughnuts. I found that by eating them with strawberries, it tastes like dessert. I am still dying to get her recipe for slaw dressing. It stays light until 10 pm (!) which makes for pleasant driving back to our hotel.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pied sur la Plage

Translation from Domitille: Feet on the Beach. The cousins took us to their neighborhood beach for the day. With record high temps today, we were in the right place at the right time: swimming in one of the 10,000 lakes with cool spring-fed waters. Sandwiches from Subway and cold lemonades keep us going strong. Later, Aunt Mary served up a feast to go with Uncle Tony's pulled pork. You should see his homemade smoker. It's made from two propane tanks welded together and mounted on a travel trailer. He's also rigged up an outoor sink with heated faucets and a foot warmer for when he's catering 400+ pounds in the winter. The best thing about visiting Minnesota is Tony & Mary's hospitality. We were here twice about ten years ago, and I remember she whipped up 16 chicken-fried steaks for the 8 adults and 4 kids at the dinner table. Too much mouth-watering food along with non-stop conversations!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Arrivals

Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis is wonderful. The whole family is back together following two days of hockey practice. The priest is reverent; the music is awesome; and the place is packed at 4:30 pm. We asked the cantor for a dinner suggestion, and she was right-on with "Joe's Garage." The appetizers we chose were quite gourmet--fries with two dipping sauces: basil aioli and roasted red pepper mayo. Scoops of garlic mashed potatoes are also their specialty--served with a variety of toppings. We chose rosemary gravy and another plate with Wisconsin cheddar and broccoli.

A couple of hours later we pulled into Avon, Minnesota, to see Captain's relatives. Cousin Pam had marinated venison sirloin tips in teriyaki with extra garlic, and Bob grilled it to "still moist." We didn't tell the kids until after they had finished eating and had smiles on their faces. Pam also made an angel food cake and served it with strawberries (Captain's favorite). Meggar likes how all the streets in Avon have Shakespeare names like Hamlet Drive and Romeo Way and Juliette Lane.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Departures

6:30 a.m.--Captain and the 3 boys flew up to Minnesota for hockey practice in our Cessna 182.

10:30 a.m. --Breakfast for the Totus Tuus girls from a new Mexican bakery in town. I will want to learn the names of all the pastries we sampled. Everyone raved about the one with cream cheese filling. They have been an easy group to host.

3:30 p.m.--Meggar, Domitille, and I pause our road trip and have a late lunch in Omaha at the Old Market. Fun shopping there, too. I found something in the nostalgic candy shoppe for my dad for Father's Day.

7:30 p.m.--Arrived in Des Moines and enjoyed a hotel movie before bedtime. "Forest Gump" is one that you don't mind watching again and again.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Royals Baseball Game

The boys invited the girls to a Royals game tonight. It was nearly sold out since the St. Louis Cardinals were in town. Meggar said the tail-gate was pretty impressive. Andrew and TJ cooked burgers, brats, and hotdogs. Everyone else brought the side dishes, and they played "Washers." Domitille said the fireworks were impressive. I was just impressed that Meggar could navigate the 435 traffic on her own and get home before curfew!

Another Movie with My Book Club

'Tea with Mussolini" is an even better movie than I remember (1999). At book club, we were laughing about some of the cross-cultural incidents that happened to Liz Gilbert in "Eat, Pray, Love." I immediately thought of getting together to watch "Tea with Mussolini" with its the references of Italy. The movie has an excellent cast--a veritable cast-of-dreams (A&E adaptations of Jane Austen novels not withstanding):
*Joan Plowright (heartfelt nurturing for the orphan)--
*Judi Dench (the artsy pea-brain with her terrier)--
*Maggie Smith (the stubborn widow of the late ambassador who is consumed with her importance and Mussolini's word) -- and
*Cher (the obnoxious American--what a good role!)
The women are living in Florence just before World War II and remain banded together until the war is over. The one liners and Shakespearean references are all over the board: from hysterically funny to melancholy tear-jerkers. The credits say it is semi-autobiographical. Afterward, we discussed the selective service, the draft, and all matters military. What a lovely evening. I wish Ana could have been here. She was my initial inspiration for book clubs. And you could always count on a couple bottles of wine and international dessert to go with the good literature. We followed our usual book club format by beginning with refreshments and concluding with conversations we were loathe to cut off. The Italian refreshments included Vee's anti-pasta, Wife's biscotti, atichoke dip, and a chilled Pinot Grigio wine.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Antiques after Lunch

A table for six at the AKMA Cafe. Meggar wanted Domitille to meet her local friends for a dressy lunch at the Art Museum today. Hannah, Rachel, Becca, and Melissa all came looking darling and chattering away like the nearby tables of senior ladies. I don't know if the quiche was particularly French, but Domitille said it was "delicio." Then they went antique shopping and visited "Mod Podge Boutique" owned by Meggar's friend Casey Wallersted (photo). Then at the "Rusty Chandelier," they were sporting a Parisian theme for their booths this month. Domitille chuckled to see so many Eiffel Towers sitting about.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Parish Potluck

Domitille got her first taste of an old-fashioned church potluck supper tonight. She wanted to try the cold broccoli sunshine salad because it had sunflower seeds in it (something she had not tried before). Even though she claims to not like broccoli, she liked the salad! Granted, raw broccoli is much different than cooked broccoli. I prepared a quadruple batch of my famous Sweet Green Beans, but they still disappeared (recipe below). We all waited up to eat ice cream sundaes when Katie and Anne returned from the high schooler session.

Sweet Green Beans
4 cans of whole green beans (or 1 lb. frozen)
2 t. garlic salt
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 T. melted butter
Put in covered casserole and bake on 325' F for 2-4 hours. Stir before serving.
Easy to make a double or triple batch for potluck suppers.

On the Plaza

Wednesday is the best day for Meggar to take Domitille to Kansas City because of her weekly piano lesson by KU Med Center. The girls wanted to see the sights and shops at the Country Club Plaza, and I heard a few updates from my cell phone throughout the afternoon. They stumbled into "Blanc" for lunch--impressed with the upscale burgers and sweet potato fries. The vintage clothing store on Broadway turned out to be their favorite stop along the way. I reminded Meggar there were more Wednesdays to show Domitille the rest of the city.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Discussing Current Events

The homeschool teens at Logic Class have been debating the shooting death of Dr. George Tiller for the past two weeks. Mr. Jeremy gave them several web stories to read ahead of tonight's weekly discussions. Meggar was eager for Domitille to see how intellectual the input would be from among her friends. Domitille is interested in politics, but I think some of it got lost in the translation. Meggar likes to focus on the obvious lack of late-term abortion providers and the higher power of God's will.

The Totus Tuus team has also provided good banter concerning current events. They were up-to-date on the George Tiller situation, happily receiving the news that his relatives in Wichita cannot find a doctor to keep the clinic open. Katie and Anne also knew about the Christopher West interview on ABC. He is a well-known speaker whose topic is JPII's "Theology of the Body." Of course, some of his Catholic theology was lost in the reporter's editing. The truth of the matter is that Christopher West wholeheartedly wants to reach an audience (young people) that receives a regular (bad) diet of modern media messages about sexuality. Men and women deserve the beauty of "Theology of the Body" in a language that is easily applicable to their lives from high school to university to dating to early marriage and beyond. West does that -- in a powerful way!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Jam Reunions

The Summer Jam courts are like a summer reunion for the 40-somethings in St. Joseph. This is a perfect chance for the moms get to sit still long enough to catch up on news/gossip and compare the heights of our growing boys. One dad said, "I think I'll just stare at Dorito for the next 30 minutes-he's sure to grow right before my eyes." The twins were happy to win big tonight in front of Domitille in the bleachers. She is probably thinking we are sports-aholics.

Take a Ride in the Sky

Captain used the pleasant afternoon weather to give Dorito, Meggar, and Domitille a flight in his 182 Cessna. They flew over the Missouri River, our church, our home, and the Boy Scout campgrounds. (Yes, Dorito loved it.)

Domitille sported her new American hat and sunglasses.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Peek from the Sun

It has rained every day since Domitille arrived, and we are afraid she will begin to think this is England instead of the Midwest U.S.A. Today, the sun finally peeked out for one whole, glorious afternoon. Plus Captain came home. And Dorito awoke from his Scout Camp recovery nap(s). So we all took a plunge in the pool! And we stayed up late to roast s'mores by the fire pit. Winger caught the first lightning bug, so it must be Summer!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Obviously French - With Subtitles

The Totus Tuus staff arrived for their one-week stay, and everyone wanted to stay home and watch a movie with the university girls, Katie and Anne. Domitille requested something with French subtitles so she wouldn't have to translate everything. That was easy: "The Pink Panther" movie with Steve Martin and Kevin Cline (I love those two) which we had just purchased last week for its scenes of Paris. The twins roared at the klutz moves, and Domitille giggled frequently--proving it is funny in English and in French!

Playing a Red-Neck Game

The twins taught Domitille how to play "Washers." This is a game for a "cou rouge" (French translation for Red Neck, but that's another inside joke). She and Winger were doing terrible at first, but then she went 3 for 3.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Meggar's friend Hannah has a BIG role in tonight's opening of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" at the Theater in the Park. Of course, a musical about pioneer days in Oklahoma is also well suited to Domitille's visit. So they took bug spray, a blanket, and other homeschool teens.

Boyfriend's Birthday

Today is Edmund's birthday--he is Meggar's longest-standing boyfriend. I'd say he has excellent taste, especially for a 5-year-old.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

As American as Baseball and Hotdogs

In an effort to do all things American while Domitille is visiting here, we went to the Mustangs baseball game -- and bought her first hotdog! The twins were happy to go along on this outing and see such good college-talent on the field. The girls met some of the talent afterwards!

Before the game, the Fiddlers Three played a show for the Senior Center. Meggar didn't want to appear to be a red-neck country girl to her new friend, but Domitille really liked the fiddling songs. When they played "Amazing Grace," she leaned over and whispered that she knows this song in French! Everyone was understanding that Dorito could not attend because of Mic-o-Say ceremonies at Scout camp.

Stopping at the Pony Express Stables

Our first stop is the most historic spot in Saint Joseph, MO: the Pony Express Stables. Meggar gave Domitille the "school tour" like she does for groups. They pumped the 1860 well...
stamped some mail...

and watched the twins try to lasso a pony.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Safe Landing at KCI

Bon jour! Domitille Frechet arrived safely from Paris this afternoon. Meggar brought flowers, and the twins wanted to take her to McDonald's first. We are pleased she can speak English so well. Beautiful girl!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Book Club is a Delicacy

I was leader of the book club tonight, so I put it all out on the table from the start by saying:
"I don't agree with her politics;
I don't agree with her morals;
and I don't agree with her religion --
but I really like her book!"
Our discussion is always good, and I was pleased to welcome two new members. To me the three sections became personal with my own memories of traveling in Italy, praying at Shantivanam, and falling in love with Captain (albeit not Brazilian).
The sharing of food is also very important component of our Tuesday Night Book Club. My endeavor for June was to make something from Indonesia because other ladies were bringing the Italian food. I must say that my first attempt at Satay with Peanut Sauce was very successful. (Almost as good as when Andy took us to his favourite restaurant in London.) The exotic blend of flavors was just mind-boggling!
Malaysian Satay
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
small bunch of chives or lemongrass
1/2 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and grated
1 T. coriander seeds, ground in coffee grinder
1-3 t. cumin
1/2 t. turmeric or curry powder
3-4 T. soy sauce or fish sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 T. lime juice, freshly squeezed
Marinade chicken or pork. Thread on skewers. Grill or broil. (Freezes well.) Serve with peanuts, chutney, cucumbers, and peanut sauce.
Easy Peanut Sauce
1/4 c. smooth peanut butter
2 t. soy sauce
1 T. brown sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 T. lemon or lime juice
1/4 c. coconut milk
1/4 c. water
red chili flakes, if desired

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dive In

Yes, he dove into our pool with his golf clothes on! Captain was really sweaty, and the pool was actually cold because of the rain last night! The twins couldn't resist and joined in by practicing their front flips. Polar Bear mastered it right off! Winger is close to a full front flip, but goes a bit tentative off the board.

Our golf foursome this afternoon was Winger, Polar Bear and their two parents. Nice!
Captain shot a 43,
Winger had 47,
Polar Bear shot 49 (competing too hard against dad), and
Wife ended up with 62 (just started slow).

We miss Dorito, who is already off to Camp Geiger for a week and Meggar, who is still working 3-4 jobs to save money for France!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dance with the Bride

Another babysitter gets married. Sara and Ben's wedding was very pretty, and the barn in Weston was a great location for the reception. We convinced our boys to take a turn at the Dollar Dance. Winger's face was beet red - Dorito was a good-looking dancer! I hope I can find actual photos... somewhere.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Homeschooling with Humor

Andrew Pudewa is a great speaker - and writer. He is a homeschool dad whose company teaches writing excellence (IEW). This is the 3rd year in a row I've heard him at a conference: Minnesota, Wichita, and now Kansas City. But he changes the talks and adds to them, so it's always delightful! "Life is a battle, but we know who wins in the end." and "Kill your TV." Meggar was laughing when he said homeschoolers need large families because they experiment so much with the first child. :-) She also knows about truth and beauty. Pudewa said: "The goal of faith is inform education, and the goal of education is to inform the culture. See how everything is a trinity? ...But if the public schools teach relativism they miss out on the true, the good, and the beautiful."

The "Fiddlers Three" provided some dinner entertainment for the KC Catholic Homeschool Conference tonight. Gr. Elizabeth came to listen. Meggar did free rosary repairs on 14 beautiful pieces - and played football in between. Wife volunteered to bring the continental breakfast tomorrow for approx. 200 moms. That's a lot of coffee!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Staying on Par

First time I made par in my life!! On hole #6 at Fairview. Plus I had my best score ever: 56! I had to call Captain and my golfing friend (Tracy) right away! For three weeks, I have been playing 9 holes with the F.L.A.G. (Fairview Ladies Afternoon Golf). I have never golfed more than three times in one calendar year before, so I felt it was time to actually practice. It's good exercise, I meet lots of new people, and I enjoy the fact I can "keep up" with my boys better. Yes, I walk the course. No, the bag is not too heavy. Yes, I'm skinny - but still need my heart and legs to stay strong.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Have a Heart for an Owl

Hurray! Our twins are not too old for Summer Reading at the Library. (Probably because I talked their "little brothers" Brooks and Owen into going, then they thought it would be fun. Dorito is babysitting today!) The white barn owl with his heart-shaped face was amazing! So fluffy white that it looked as cuddly as a newborn kitten. We learned that owl wings make absolutely no sound so they can swoop upon their prey.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Choose Life

My old Previa van has a new tag!
"Choose Life" Missouri is a fundraiser for crisis pregnancy centers, and I'm happy to be among its first 200 supporters with my "Candise and Crew" moniker. This is ideally what pro-lifers are about: witnessing to the beauty of life at all stages and raising money to support women in unplanned pregnancies. We are not about vigilante violence, and we never have been. The Notre Dame scandal is a recent case-in-point. Mary Ann Glendon declined to receive an award if they were also giving an honorary law degree to the most pro-abortion president in history. Peaceful protestors were arrested on Notre Dame campus. Now, the Obama Administration sends extra security to Planned Parenthood clinics because of his fears (?) following the murder of Wichita abortionist George Tiller at his church on Sunday. We expected that. I feel sorry for the Tiller family actually--because they now come face-to-face with what death feels like. For years, Tiller participated unapologetically in the deaths of thousands of babies. Some full term. Winger stated the obvious when we first heard the news: "He was an abortion doctor and he was at church?!"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer Jam

The twins had a great start to their summer basketball season -- leading by 14 points until the rain came.