Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween at Chipotle

Looks like the girls took a Greek togo to the Chipotle Halloween contest which requires dressing up in foil.

Another Saint and Pumpkin Story

My Aunt Jean in Connecticut liked the blog with Saint-o-Lanterns and wrote me this story:
"It reminded me of something that my grandson's Faith Formation class did yesterday. He's in 2nd grade and preparing to make his First Confession. His teacher gave each child a pumpkin and had them scoop out all the "bad stuff" inside--just like getting rid of your sins. Then they carved a cross in the side of the pumpkin. When they got home, they were to put a small light inside--to symbolize how telling one's sins to the priest will result in a glow from within and a clean feeling. When Jack got home, he wanted to write a letter to God telling how he felt sorry for his sins. It was a wonderful letter, thanking God for making his Mom, Dad, and at the very end of the letter he added one more sentence, thanking God for also making Alyssa, his sister. It's wonderful how young children can be so sincere and innocent at times. Thought you might like to hear this."

Friday, October 30, 2009


We saw this clever Catholic mom's idea for turning pumpkins into Saint-o-Lanterns on a Beautiful Blog! I thought the "Sacred Heart" image would be easier than some of her other designs, but we ran out of time. Next year... I promise.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hockey Team Still Winning

Ain't no stopping 'em now! The twins' team took first at their own tournament, and now they are ranked 10th in the nation in their division. I asked Captain how to look it up online... some other teams want to un-invite them from games.

Cute photo, but all I can think is that those boys need haircuts and we haven't had time!

Meggar was hired to keep score and run the clock for all 15 games of the tournament--she made no goofs! The secret was caffeine and Chick-fil-A.

Note: On this weekend two years ago, Winger scored the winning goal in a shoot-out against the Stars team! Luckily and loudly, Gus and Meggar captured it on video.

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Laminator Gets Fall Use

In the "old days" we made fall placemats using clear shelf liner and 100s of leaves from our nature walks. This year, however, I was gifted with a laminator from a friend for my birthday!! The boys are in heaven. We made cell phone lists for BOTH hockey teams and laminated them. Then we remembered our fall placemat tradition, and Winger ran to get the new laminator. The twins were the only ones interested in leaf collecting this year, and they were very scrutinizing. They only returned with one of each variety and color--a sure sign they are growing up!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Boys Can Cook Healthy Foods

This week, our homeschool cooking class focused on "Healthy Snacks" because we made so much tailgate junk food last Tuesday. Conrad, Caden and Max want to try the "Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Snack Cake."
Mrs. Faith helps with one of the chef groups. She and Zachary are ready to start "Banana Muffins" with wheat germ.
Jill helps with the littlest boys, and they made "Fruit Smoothies" using honey and yogurt.

Oatmeal Snack Cake
1 3/4 c. boiling water
1 c. old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 c. butter (replace with applesauce, if desired)
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar (replace with honey, if desired)
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 T. cocoa powder
1 t. soda
1/2 t. salt
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pour boiling water over oatmeal and let stand 5 minutes.
Stir in butter until melted, then sugars.
Add dry ingredients--using only half the chocolate chips. Mix well.
Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.
Bake at 350’ F for 40 minutes. (If using glass pan, bake at 325’ F.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Scholar Team Wins 3rd Place

It was the first year for a Home- school Team to enter, and we won 3rd Place in the Truman Trivia Bowl at the Truman Library last night. They accepted up to 10 teams for this annual contest, and Meggar noted there was only one other girl in the room. There were five rounds of questions pertaining to the executive branch, legislative branch, judicial branch, media in politics, and a final round with cartoons, photo ID of political figures, and a voice recognition challenge.
1st place = Rock Bridge High School, Columbia, Mo
2nd place = Rockhurst High School, Kansas City
3rd place = Homeschool Team, St. Joseph, Mo
Left to right: Alexander Moore, Joseph Bridgman, Megan Schmidling, Jonathan Hund, Stephen Lacina, and Zachary Parrish. Our team members each received $10 iTunes gift card for their third place award.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Own Retablos

Polar Bear chose St. Michael the Archangel for his Retablos painting. This was a follow-up to our Museum Visit. I love the pieces of spare wood they found in the garage. They spent just two sitting on these paintings, but managed them totally free-hand. I just LOVE how they turned out!
Winger chose St. Joseph because of his middle name.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Early Mornings for Hockey

This is what Pee Wees look like at 5:30 a.m. waiting to get in the rink for practice. Unbeliev-able that we left St. Joseph at 4:20 a.m.!! PolarBear, Finne and Winger look awake now, but they were crashed after lunch and Meggar's piano recital. She scored 4, which is the highest ranking, at Fall Festival with "French Suite 6," the Courante, by Bach. I like that it is so named because of her recent trip to France and its lyrical quality.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Senior Night at Knights Volleyball

The Knights Volleyball team celebrated its seniors at their final home game. Each girl was introduced with her parents (Captain arrived too late). Meggar had a good start in volleyball back in 6th grade with Coach Huss at St. James. Now, #4 gets all her serves over and covers all the rotations. We are proud of her long-term dedication to this sport. Meggar's speech was the Best!
Then, they each received yellow roses from Coach Joyce. Wife brought the balloons and signs to decorate the gym. After our final victory, the Schmidlings skipped the chili supper because we had dinner reservations at the fancy French Restaurant in nearby Parkville. Cafe des Amis is owned by a French chef from Champagne, and it was a delicieux chance to honor our eldest in style.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Educational Movie

When one of the twins is sick, it can mess up our school work. Polar Bear didn't feel well, so I let the twins watch an eduational movie. Right in the middle of it, the delivery truck brought a box with new hockey helmets. Can you believe they wore them to watch the movie?!

They watched "The Star of Bethlehem" documentary DVD which we borrowed from our parish priest. Polar Bear said, "It was remarkable how he figured out all those things!" A non-astronomer lawyer proposes the events in the night sky over Bethlehem from 1-3 B.C. using Hubble telescope images and computer calculations to go back in time. More about it at .

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

St. Therese Relics in London

On Oct. 1, all Catholics celebrated the Feast of St. Therese the Little Flower from France. On Wednesday, queues of Catholics and others saw her relics on display in London. It's part of a month-long tour through England and Wales. The Guardian newspaper is generally nothing but skeptical, and yet here is their reporter's take on the holy event. Similar to the woman he met in the line, I took the name Therese for Confirmation in 1979 because I was inspired by her little way and by the life of Mother Teresa living in the midst of America's materialistic phase.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Boys Cooking Class

Today, we made Tailgate food with the boys in cooking class. And everyone learned how to wash and dry dishes at the end. Funny how fast the "junk" food can disappear!
Chili Dog Nachos
1 lb. hamburger
1 small onion, chopped
1 T. oil
2 hog dogs or polish franks, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 can (8-oz.) tomato sauce
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. chili powder
2 t. ground cumin
1 bag corn tortilla chips
10 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
½ c. sour cream
½ c. salsa
1. Brown hamburger and onion in oil; add salt & pepper.
2. Add chopped hot dogs, tomato sauce, and three spices. Simmer 5 more minutes.
4. Arrange bag of chips in casserole dish.
5. Spread with chili dog topping and sprinkle with cheese.
6. Broil for 2 minutes until cheese is melted.
7. Garnish with sour cream and salsa.
From “Everyday with Rachel Ray”

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Nick Names

Captain says he has a new part-time job driving the twins to their hockey practices and tournaments. "Just call me an over-the-road truck driver!" he said after driving home from Chicago. He also owns his own skate sharpener business, and to date has sharpened 159 pairs of skates for our three hockey players. The rinks would charge $6-$10 or more per time, so it has paid off. Here is back home after a trip to Panama as an International Jet Pilot.
But then Wife drove to Oklahoma City for hockey and to Minneapolis for a cousin's wedding. We put 1,000 miles on the Suburban this weekend! Now who's the "truck driver" I ask? Driving is not so bad when I have a book on tape. I started "The Eyre Affair." Plus, I like the Garmin because my sense of direction is not as sharp as the pilot's. When I anounced that I was finally typing in "Home" yesterday, Dorito quipped back: "I hope it's not going to take us to the Pepsi Ice Rink!" He's hilarious sometimes!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What's the Difference?

Early mornings and long drives require caffeine. Pumpkin spice latte is my seasonal favorite. So on Friday, I bought one at QuikTrip--and on Sunday, I bought one at Starbucks. On Saturday, I made Earl Gray tea at the hotel, of course. The only difference in the lattes was about 400 miles and/or $2.39. Meggar insists the coffee tastes better at Starbucks, but she simply loves their ambiance and their free song-of-the-week cards for iTunes!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wedding Bells

Charles married Kara today in River Falls, Minnesota. We were the only ones from Elizabeth Kisker's side of the family who could attend. Here's a picture from Dorito's phone. I forgot my camera at home! Lovely Wedding.

Side Note: Dorito loves his iPhone and has entertained himself by finding six pages of free application downloads! He is quite proud of the Hocket Rink GPS, Starbucks finder, compass, and a German language translator. Go figure--he is a teenage boy with a knack for gadgets.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Playing for PumpkinFest

"The Fiddlers Three" used a sports huddle to prepare for their Friday night show. Wonder how they got that idea?!
Instead of their usual matching-red-shirts, they wore red bandanas and PumpkinFest T-shirts to support the event which raises funds for the Pony Express Museum.
Twins learned another new song for the set list: Minor Swing. They only got the music on Wednesday afternoon from their teacher and really wanted to learn it in time to perform!
Big 15 wore his new jeans (32x32) for the cooler temperature, and he handled the new fiddling parts with ease. Maybe cool jeans are a good bribe?! Joe and Jane came to watch and commented how well Dorito played all of "Mr. Brock's parts."

Saint Francis and The True Prize of Peace

The patron saint of Captain and Dorito was celebrated on October 4, which was also the 21st birthday of cousin Lindsay this year! We gifted Dorito and Cousin Grant with a saint statue in a triptyche. I was thinking today how St. Francis is an apt model for peace in our 21st Century, too. Maybe the Nobel Committee has never read the "Peace Prayer of St. Francis." The prayer was not written by the Italian friar, but it beautifully capitalizes on his virtuous lifestyle:

Lord, make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Last Sunday's Red Mass

I first learned about the "Red Mass" when I was helping on Kenny Wilk's campaign for the Kansas House of Representatives back in 1991. Traditionally, the event takes place before the Supreme Court starts is new term--on the first Monday of October. Last Sunday, six Supreme Court justices as well as Vice President Joe Biden and two other members of pro-abortion President Obama's administration were in church with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston, Texas. DiNardo called on attorneys to be a voice for all clients: "They are poor and wealthy, confused and lucid, polite and impolite," he said. "In some cases, the clients are voiceless, for they lack influence; in others they are literally voiceless, not yet with tongues and even without names, and require our most careful attention and radical support." Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts attended the Catholic mass along with the newest Catholic member, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is unfortunately expected to support abortion. Incidentally, cardinals wear red to symbolize their willingness to shed blood in the defense of their faith.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pretty Poses

Meggar is posing for her Senior Pictures this afternoon! Excellent weather and lovely autumn leaves for the background. She and I chose 5 or 6 outfits, and a schedule that includes stopping at the French Restaurant in Parkville, the Plaza, and the Nelson-Adkins Museum of Art. The photographer lives in a loft apartment downtown, so she plans to use the KC skyline for a possible background. There are also props to include: a black grand piano, a coffee cup from France, and a copy of "Pride and Prejudice" -- but not all in the same frame, of course! How fun!

Autumn Outing

My trip was mainly for going to the dentist, but Angela and I decided to take advantage of the fine weather. The trees along Hwy 59 to Atchison are truly beautiful this fall. We had lunch outdoors at my favorite spot: Marigold's Bakery. And did a little shopping at Nell Hills and Parker House Lintique Shoppe.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Boys Can Cook

This week, I taught the homeschol boys in my class how to make Breakfast: scrambled eggs, sweet bacon, French toast sticks, overnight coffee cake, and pumpkin pancakes. Perfect weather for this recipe:
Pumpkin Pancakes
2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
½ t. salt
2 T. sugar
1 t. pumpkin pie spice = 1/2 t. cinnamon, ¼ t. cloves, ¼ t. ginger
2 eggs
1 ¾ c. milk
3 T. melted butter
½ c. pumpkin (puree or canned)

Movie Review

Meggar and I finally watched "Come What May" and heartily recommend it! Focused on the college debate team at Patrick Henry College, one boy must decide whether he'll argue for or against Roe v. Wade. All the while, his mother is facing the same situation in a real courtroom. Compelling messages about pro-life science, courtship, and fidelity in marriage. Plus it was written by the same man who gave us "The Rookie" and "Miracle," two sports movies that my family loves! You know they are a brainiac family when they argue by writing Latin phrases on the chalkboard! Note: We have Latin phrases on Meggar's chalkboard - but they are for encouragement, not argument!

I believe this is the first film from the Advent Film Group, which was formed by film professionals who wanted to create another Christian witness in the industry. It is a high-quality DVD and thought-provoking script. They received support and a staring role from Dr. Michael Ferris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association (1983) and Patrick Henry College (2000). I look for more good movies to come after this.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Winning with AA Hockey Team

Two weekends in a row, the twins have been playing fast-and-furious hockey with the Stars AA Pee Wee team. I love the happy looks on the sweaty faces because it shows they LOVE to work hard.
Chicago = 2nd place on Sept 26.
Oklahoma City = 1st place on Oct. 4
Above Far Left: Polar Bear (middle row) and Winger (back row) are equal in playing time and nearly equal in number of goals scored. I also love it that they want to dress for the games in a proper shirt and tie. I am beside myself in admiration. I guess they are feeling more grown up now.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ranked in the Nation

The twins' hockey team is ranked 2nd in the nation among Pee Wee AA teams based on their performance in Chicago and tough schedule ahead. Wow--Everyone on this team contributes to the success!