Friday, July 31, 2009

Washers Game Winners

We met Aunt Denise and Cousin Elijah for a picnic in Lawrence this afternoon.
We noticed that Elijah is ambidextrous when he plays our "Washers" game.
Polar Bear and Wife got the hang of it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wishing for a Clothes Line

Growing up, we lived in the country and our side yard featured a genuine clothes line. But none of our city homes have had this amenity. Hmm... out of style? Not to me. On the days I have to wash 10 pool towels, then I really have Amish envy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Putting in the House

Second-round golf scores are pretty good. Polar Bear and Winger are tied for 4th place after today. Dorito survived 18 holes at the Country Club and scored 116. They all came home and wanted to practice their putting in my living room! "Read it, roll it, hole it."

On the Trail to Eagle Scout

Dorito made a formal appeal at the Board Meeting of the Pony Express Museum. He hopes to help with their One-Room School House and complete a portion of it for his Eagle Scout project.

Last Call for NCYC

The National Catholic Youth Convention is coming to Kansas City in November! I am chaperoning our group of home school teens (with Meggar and Dorito) for three days of prayer, praise, and powerful presenters. We are very excited to engage the head, heart, and hands of these youth as they stand together as Catholic disciples of Jesus.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer Hockey Results

I forgot to mention the twins arrived home at 2 a.m. Monday from their third (and final) hockey tournament in Minnesota. They brought back Monster stickers, a golf ball marked "Lake Superior," and 3rd place medals. Polar Bear and Winger both racked up 13 goals apiece in 14 games, which tied them in the spot of leading scorer! I'm also proud of the 5 boys from Kansas City who scored 60 percent of this AAA team's goals--so I'd say we could "keep up" with the Northern competition.

Last Belt Notch Left

Captain told me he only has one belt notch left! He has lost 26 pounds since spring, and we are all proud of his efforts.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Starbucks for School Books

We decided that Starbucks was the best place to pick out school books--Pam and I talked over high school curriculums for homeschooling and a million other things! No wonder the English started the tradition of Afternoon Tea, it's the best time to get together.

First Round of City Tournament

Golf is on the minds of my men today:
Dorito had to walk 18 holes at Fairview: shot 51/48.
He was comfortable playing with Baxter again.
Polar Bear shot 39 and Winger shot 40 at the Golf Club.
Winger was happy to be paired with Sam.
Good weather and a good start!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Meggar is By the Seaside

Here's a photo from Krakow. She went to a Polish Catholic wedding last weekend with Domitille's family.

We talked to Meggar on Skype phone--and she is enjoying the south of France now. She is getting a "French Riviera tan," which means she is darker on the front side. She likes to spend her afternoons on the deck by the pool reading books, and then she forgets to turn over. Every evening, the whole family goes down to the beach. Meggar says it is about 5-minute's walk.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Meeting Lila Rose and Dr. Alveda King

Today is the anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the Pope's famous encyclical against artificial birth control. It's no coincidence that abortion rates have risen because of increased use of birth control. Lila Rose (left) was in Kansas City telling how many Planned Parenthood clinics have tried to help her get an abortion when she claimed to be 14 or 15 with a 30-something boyfriend. She is the UCLA student president of Live Action and their "Mona Lisa Project" is worth watching.
Dr. Alveda King was exciting to watch, especially when she was quoting her famous uncle and clicking her iPhone to display on the overhead projector. "We are all one race," she said. "The human race." I was encouraged by the conference sponsored by Family Research Council.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bravo for Dinner!

It's a new record: I haven't cooked for a week! Most of my family is out of town... and I was invited out for dinner with a girlfriend... We had a terrific meal at Bravo's! I always go for the Eggplant Parmesan at Italian restaurants, and I was not disappointed.

The Smell of Roses

It's that time of year--when my tuber roses start to bloom outside the back patio. Most evenings we turn on the attic fan and allow the fragrance to sweep in. Luckily for me, it comes right across my Dell computer desk while I am blogging.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Male Shopping Surprise

It's just me and Dorito for a few days, while everyone else is out of town. Most boys don't like to shop for longer than 15 minutes... but we were looking for Indian costume components for Scouts! Dorito and I had a lengthy and successful trip to Hobby Lobby. Then we played 9 holes at Fairview. My suggestion to stop at Starbucks was greeted enthusiastically with a *kiss* from my high school freshman! We both tried the blended version of our favorite coffee drink--Yummy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer Jam Finished

The Bandits took 1st place in their division, then came over to enjoy the pool and fire pit. We passed around an old T-Ball photo from 2003 when five of these boys were on the same team (it was so *cute*). Before we knew it, the clock showed 11 pm, and we had to bid another Summer Jam season good-bye.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Built to Last

Today is our 19th anniversary, and I was thinking back:
1. We had our three favorite priests participate in our wedding. I think our shared faith has been more imporant than we realized; it was the best gift we could have given each other!

2. I was a little disappointed we didn't register for china, but I had the greater joy of choosing some that I really liked, later in life, when we could afford the complete set.

3. I love the fact that several wedding gifts are still going strong:
**beautiful lamps from my parents, which still match our sitting room;
**big Coleman cooler from the guys at the airport, that still takes picnic lunches to hockey tournaments;
**VCR from a wealthy friend, back when they were the newest technology;
**fancy silverware, which my Grandmother traditionally gave to each grandchild as they married;
**white blender, which matches any kitchen decor and has gone from making margaritas in our younger days--to baby food in the intervening years--to health-food shakes in our mid-life battles with cholesterol and cancer.

Overall, I would tell young brides-to-be to focus on the ceremony and its sacrament rather than the gift registry.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Scouts Come Back from Colorado

What a welcome sight to have Dorito return home. He joined in the High Adventure with 5 other Scouts plus 3 leaders for 10 days in Colorado. They hiked a 14,000 foot peak! That's awesome considering we fly in Captain's little airplane at lower elevations than that!
They also went white-water rafting, fishing, and swimming. The trailer full of gear was STINKY. Dorito stayed up late giving us souvenirs and stories (except for the ones he left on the trail)! Naturally, he slept in this morning (own bed) and updated his technology (own iPhone). He looks tired and taller!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shepherd of Souls

Today's first reading and Gospel were strong words about how the Lord instructed his 12 apostles to shepherd his people. The passage from Jeremiah is not as familiar to Catholics. Yet, we dearly love our bishops--especially the one given to the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Bishop Robert Finn. Just recently, we learned that he has removed the program called "Talking About Touching" from his Catholic schools and replaced it with "Circle of Grace." Hooray!! Many homeschool mothers lobbied for this change, but none as loudly and consistently as Alison Sch. TT simply went too far in its efforts to protect children from possible danger by putting explicit ideas into their innocent thoughts. Child abusers know enough tricks to keep kids from telling their parents. The best prevention is good parenting and good communication at home. Involved parents should educate themselves and communicate honestly with their children.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hallmark Movie with Book Club

The book club gathered at Vee's house to watch "Brush with Fate," a Hallmark Hall of Fame version of the book we read this month. Glenn Close was SO believable as the German spinster protecting the Girl in Hyacinth Blue.
I baked a Dutch Almond Tart from an old Netherlands cookbook online. I enjoy trying new recipes, and this one suggesting making your own almond paste using rose water, which I had from an old Jane Austen recipe called "Almond Knots."
Dutch Almond Tart
Roll pastry dough to fit 9" tart pan with removable bottom.
Cream until softened and fluffy:
6 T. butter
3 T. shortening
1/2 c. almond paste (approx. 2 c. ground almonds with rosewater to thin)
Add: 3 eggs
6 T. sugar
4 T. flour
1/2 t. grated lemon peel
Pour filling over crust. Use extra pastry dough to create lattice or decorative top.
Bake at 350' F until golden brown (about 1 hour).
Transfer to rack. Cool completely.

Answered Prayers

The Lacina Family wrote this morning with MIRACULOUS news about buying their first home. Friend Raisers, Inc. (non-profit organization) made the down payment, Mr. Bird helped at the bank, and I’m just humming my praise to the Lord all day!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Half-Empty Nest

All my family members are gone this weekend, so I'm free to take advantage of the "girly things" that I rarely do:
Movie--I met up with Angela to see "My Sister's Keeper." We both liked the book WAY better, but it was good to get our minds off other things.
Coffee Break--Alison is meeting me in the morning for breakfast at Panera. I'm sure we will talk Church and politics and homeschooling humilities. She brightens my outlook.
Sunbathe--Good chance to read a few chapters pool-side. The neighbor plays jazz on her outdoor patio, so it feels like a resort. Where's the pool boy?!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Singing Robin's Praises

My college pal, Robin, agreed to meet me at Cafe Provence for a little Bastille Day dessert. The waitress wasn't as festive as we were, but we made up for that with strawberry crepes, flour-less gateau, and special coffees. The sidewalk was laced with faint shadows upon white tablecloths and the stillness of a mild summer's day. Perfect afternoon for talking about anything and everything. Robin knows all my secrets. She also has a JMC degree from K-State, and it was a treat to look over her recent projects and compliment their creativity.

Meggar's Birthday is Today!

Meggar--Flew to Poland for wedding of Domitille's cousin.
Dorito--Went white-water rafting with Scouts in Colorado.
Twins--Re-enacted "Bronco Charlie" and "Old Joe Clark".
Captain--Flew the Gibel boys over St. Joe in Cessna 182.
Wife--Signed up 20 boys for Cooking Class this fall.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Book Club Looks at Vermeer (Again)

We had a fun meeting last night, but everyone missed Jenny. This was our second book about the artist Vermeer: "The Girl in Hyacinth Blue" written by Susan Vreeland. The food was amazingly correlated to the Dutch-through-WWII storyline: Theresa brought hutspot (Dutch stew of sweet potatoes, white potatoes, onions and carrots), Connie brought German sausage and mashed potatoes, Cynthia brought Speculaas cookies, Theresa also made Stroopwafel cookies. I made Dutch cookies off a historic website that my friend Marlies in Amsterdam recommended. And Laura brought Eccles Cakes from the Brits store. Such treats!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Bastille Day to the French!

Bonne Fete du 14 Julliet!
It is Bastille Day, and Meggar was disappointed that the Louvre was closed! They went to the Musee d'Orsay Art Museum instead.
She certainly should like Monet better than Van Gogh... who knew?!
Last night, she attended the National Opera with her host family. I see she has managed to go shopping for a new dress, too! (Looks Nice!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Help from Grandpa Gerald

My dad stayed with us all last week, and I am really grateful for his help on projects around the house:
* changed out 70 lb. of sand in the pool filter
* drained the pool and fixed its pump
* replaced broken window (stray hockey puck!)
* fixed tile seats in 2 patio chairs
* fixed twins' stop-watch
* fixed the Scout head-lamp
* washed supper dishes, as often as needed
The "Honey Do" list is much, much shorter now!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

French Felicity

It would appear that our daughter is very happy during her first trip outside the USA!
...Palace at Versailles (yesterday) .....
... (Sunday) Notre Dame Cathedral...

.... and the Eiffel Tower across the Seine River!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Meggar arrived in Paris!

Meggar texted us at 1:00 am saying she arrived safely in Paris and found Domitille's parents! (This is what is most important to us!) Then she emailed this morning at 10:30 am with technology troubles. (That is what is most important to her!) Just kidding....
Captain and I already miss her immensely!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bon Voyage!

We managed a tear-free send off for Domitille and Meggar early this morning!
She loved the scrapbook of photos we made for her to take home, plus a little Starbucks at the airport (big, American coffee).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Going-Away Party

The Catholic teens in Kansas City threw a party tonight for Meggar (going overseas) and Hannah (returning from overseas) at the Downey's farm. Lots of cook-out food, music, and games. Meggar was happy as a June bug with all the cards, gifts, and jokes. Domitille has learned to love Andrew and his talkative reflections.

More festivities: Dorito decided to paint the windows of Meggar's car with Parisian phrases and an Eiffel Tower. (I told him he thinking like a teenager now.) Hannah Mason stopped by with a going-away basket of goodies, too.

Last Bits of American History

Final day in St. Joseph...

* Posing by the Pony Express Statue (famous American icon)

* Standing by the miniature Statue of Liberty (famous French icon)

We finished up the day with fried chicken for dinner and sitting around the pool. The last bit of packing didn't all fit! So we added a suitcase for the girls to share.

Feeding the Swans

Girls walked, while the boys rode bikes with Gr. Gerald to the nearby cemetery to feed the swans. The goldfish/koi were more interested in our stale bread than the birds were.
Our luck was getting to see the four gray babies out with their mother! Was it three girls and one boy?? or three boys and one girl gosling (called a cygnet)? We had the loveliest of weather for our outing!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Packing with Boy Scout

Dorito is doing the final packing for his High Adventure. Tomorrow the Scouts leave for the Rocky Mountains for 10 days of hiking and camping. He is so eager to pack efficiently and has been thoroughly reviewing his checklist from Mr. Schmitt. Also, he has been talking to Alexander about his Mic-o-Say costume and making initial plans for its construction. Dorito brought home 5 more merit badges he earned during Camp Geiger. When I asked how he could finish another Eagle-required badge, he nonchalantly said, "I wrote two essays while I was at Camp." I nearly fainted, then spent the rest of the day congratulating myself for our homeschool narration and writing exercises.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Adoration and Prayers

Domitille is learning prayers in English! She went with us again today for our Holy Hour, when we pray the family rosary. This week, the boys are serving morning mass, too. The intentions have been pre-arranged to honor deceased members of mine and Captain's family.
I have been thinking about justice, because of the Entrance Antiphon for the week (Psalm 48:10-11)
"Within your temple, we ponder your loving kindness, O God. As your name, so also your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with justice."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tea Party for French Exchange Student

Meggar and I are good at tea parties. Even though it is an English tradition, we made French Madeleine cookies and invited the neighborhood ladies to meet our exchange student. Domitille was charming and told about her family in Paris and their interests. She said she has never done anything like this--meaning with adults! But she liked it so well that she wants to ask her mother if they can do something similar in the future.
Honey Madeleine Cookies
From "Winnie the Pooh's Cookie Book"

3/4 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
1 2/3 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. ground almonds
6 egg whites
2 T. honey (a little smackerel)

1. Preheat oven to 375' F. Grease Madeleine tins (scallop-shaped) with butter and dust with flour.
2. Melt butter until it begins to brown. Set aside to cool.
3. Sift flour and powdered sugar together, then stir in ground almonds.
4. Beat egg whites until frothy.
5. Add egg whites to flour mixture, then whisk in butter and honey.
6. Spoon into prepared tins, filling almost to the top. Refrigerate 1 hour.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until cookies are lightly golden. Remove from tins immediately, using a knife if necessary.
8. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.
(optional: 1/2 c. finely grated bittersweet chocolate or dark cocoa powder can be melted into the butter in step 2.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Shakespeare in the Park

For years, we meant to attend Kansas City's Shakespeare in the Park. Meggar and Domitille joined several homeschoolers for "The Merry Wives of Windsor" tonight and loved it. ...Except for the French character, who played the part of the fool.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Rockets' Red Glare -- Fourth of July

As per our tradition, I made a flag cheesecake (topped with our just-picked blueberries and California strawberries)
and the kids shot fireworks all day (I don't dare ask Captain how much he spent).

Meggar and Domitille wore their flip-flops and matching T-shirts (so American), which say:
"Summer in the States: June 10-July 10." Wish I had a picture of 'em! Domitille enjoyed her first sparkler(!) and marvelled over families shooting their own fireworks at home.

We were joined by the Rich family (Alexander is on medical leave from Geiger) and Leonard grandparents for a "booming" Independence Day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Serving Up Crepes

More French cooking---this time for Meggar's birthday party (a couple of weeks early). Lots of girlfriends came over to watch movies and eat Domitille's crepes. She had two skillets cooking simultaneously so everyone in the group could have two crepes each. They seemed to prefer the Nutella filling over the strawberry jam. Of course, Winger and Polar Bear didn't miss their chance with the spray Whipped Cream! Later they watched "Mr. Bean's Holiday" because he travels to France. :-) And they watched "Hitch" before claiming cots and air mattresses for the rest of the slumber party.

Domitille's Crepes
1 c. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1 eggs
1 T. oil
Whisk ingredients together. Lightly grease small skillet or crepe pan which is med-high heat. Pour 2 T. batter into center and swirl into thin circle. Cook until starting to brown; flip. Cook 2-3 minutes more. Serve with jelly or fruit filling, and top with whipped cream.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Reliant K Concert

I'm not into the concert scene, so I cannot blog about how great the venue or musician were. But Meggar and Domitille said they had great seats and a great time! Timothy received tickets to the "Relient K" concert as his graduation present, and he invited Becca and Meg--who invited Domi. The twins and Dorito were quite jealous because they have this "The Bird and the Bee Side" album.

Recipe for Ratatouille

Watching Domitille, I am attempting to jot down her recipe for "Real French-style" version of this classical dish.
1 eggplant (aubergine), peeled
2 zucchini (courgettes), half-peeled
2 onions
3 medium tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
Chop all vegetables. Saute slowly in plenty of aromatic olive oil. Season generously with thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.

Baking Days

First, Domitille fixed us French Ratatouille, which we ate with fried eggs for lunch. It looked like a lot of work for her! Very warm and comforting for us!

Then, she helped me make a blackberry pie with a pretty crust--she liked experimenting with the lattice cutter. (Homemade pie seemed like an American dessert to bake with her.)
Lastly, Dorito made the Blueberry Pizza all by himself!

Pink Flamingo Artwork

The library is sponsoring an art contest to decorate a cardboard pink flamingo. Domitille helped the twins make a "Pink Panther Flamingo" this week. We have enjoyed the movie with her (several times). Winger can do the high-pitched French accent, and Polar Bear narrates the funniest parts. I don't think Domitille likes that it pokes fun at the stupid French detective. But she liked the creativity of the art project. She also taught us that pink flamingo feathers stay pink because of what the bird eats.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

English flavors

The girls were hoping to make a phone call....

We bought some "Narnia" Monopoly pieces and a box of Turkish Delight to share.

Into the Narnia Wardrobe

Going inside the "Narnia" exhibit at Union Station was such a WONDERFUL field trip today! Even Captain admitted that it was "cool" to see the ice throne and the frozen water falls! It was pricey, but all seven of us went through the wardrobe and looked at the props from both movies.

A Penny Found is a Penny....

Winger picked up a penny for me in the Union Station parking garage!

Remember: In God We Trust!