Monday, March 29, 2010

Eating Well on the Trail

Count- down to the 150th Anniversary of the Pony Express! Only three more days until the Sesquicentennial Celebration begins in St. Joseph, Missouri. And the twins are cooking on this local news program all three days to encourage people to come out to see the cowboy re-enactments, blacksmith demos, live oxen, pony rides, and pioneer food booths. Today, Polar Bear and Winger made Sweet Potato Biscuits at 6:00 a.m. and again at 5:00 p.m. LONG DAY, but a double batch simply means we will have plenty of good food for the trail.
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. allspice
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. mashed sweet potatoes (cooked)
1/4 c. pecans, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 c. heavy cream or half-and-half
1. Mix dry ingredients together in large mixing bowl.
2. Cut in the shortening until mixture is crumbly, using hands or pastry blender.
3. Make a well in the center and add sweet potatoes, cream, and pecans. Stir.
4. Roll dough on lightly floured surface to 1-inch thickness. Cut rounds with biscuit cutter.
5. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 400' F for 5 minutes, then lower the oven to 350' F for 10-12 more minutes.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Making it at Try-Outs

Hockey tryouts went well for my '98 twins. Polar Bear and Winger both earned spots on the Minnesota Mavericks for summer, but they drove home feeling sad because one of their good friends didn't make it. "You're two fine hockey players," said the coach during our exit interview.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Red Violin in Concert

Elizabeth Pitcairn owns and PLAYS the "Red Violin." She was impressive, and the violin was magnificent! She is nothing like the movie, and in fact, she comes into the picture before the movie was conceived. The famous violin was crafted in 1720 by Stradivari and most of its life is secret until 1930 when it was purchased by the Mendelssohn family in Berlin. Their daughter Lilli played it for nine years until she was tragically killed in an auto accident. More years of secrecy. Elizabeth's grandfather bought the Hendelssohn Red Violin for her in 1990 for her 16th birthday. A $1.7 million gift for a teenager!?! With its own body guard. Really! There was a man who followed her violin around, making sure no one bumped it or stepped on the case. Or walks off with it accidentally. He was very protective when she stepped over the case and posed for this photo, too. Elizabeth was as friendly as she looks. While signing autographs, she asked Dorito about his current concerto and Meggar about her piano career. Check out more of her history at her website. Seems like she kept the violin a secret during high school and college (I don't blame her). It took about ten more years until she became a professional performer. Dorito had won tickets to this performance from his violin teacher, and he said afterward, "I am glad we went!"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Number 100

Today, Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary announcing she is to become the Mother of God (it falls exactly 9 months before Christmas Day). Her "Fiat" is a perfect theme for Lent. We all are trying to say "Yes" to God's will in our lives. Here is the coloring page shown. It was also my 100th time to play the organ as the temporary organist at St. James.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More About Truman State

Truman State has 5,600 students in Kirksville, Mo.
It is a Liberal Arts college with an excellent reputation
(middle 50% scored 25-30 on ACT).
The university is 3.5 hours drive from our house.
The school color is Purple.
There are sororities, but not Pi Beta Phi.
School-sponsored internships at Truman Library.
No. 1 Public Univer. in Midwest (US News & World Report).
No. 2 Best Value/Public Sector (Princeton Review).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

She Chooses Truman State!

Meggar made her college decision today--after additional prayer time at Mir House and fortification from Starbucks! She is going to accept the Truman Piano Fellowship, a full ride scholarship which she won at their competition last month. This will allow her four years to major in music education and a minor in Literature with plenty of room for French courses, too. She is very excited!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Saint Joseph's Table

Mass was followed by a blessing of the Saint Joseph's Table today. And we went home with Italian baked goods to help us celebrate the patron saint of our city St. Joseph: Meggar chose canoli and biscotti, Winger chose a coconut cake, Polar Bear picked fudge, and Dorito bought chocolate kolaches. The bishop has issued a special dispensation from the regular Friday abstinence from meat. So we had a late breakfast feast with sausages along with our egg omelettes. My boys can eat all day!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

I always make Reuben Sandwiches for St. Patrick's Day. And I mean always! They are my favorite--and Captain likes anything to do with sauerkraut. We did not have green lemonade (like with the American Girl cooking show) nor green pancakes (?) like the Schiebers. It was so nice to sit down for lunch before Captain left town. My centerpiece was a pot of clover, which Maribeth has shared with me for years. This year I kept it alive for St. Patrick's feast day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Time Change and TV Time

We really struggled to leave by 6 a.m. since it felt like 5. Yesterday, Polar Bear and Winger had another cooking segment on KQ2's morning show. See how they kept their eyes open long enough to explain the recipe:
Cowboy Bacon and Beans
½ lb. bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb. hamburger
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can butter beans, drained
1 can pork-and-beans
½ c. ketchup
½ c. brown sugar
2 t. dry mustard
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. barbecue sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce, optional

1. Fry bacon pieces with onion and hamburger in a skillet over medium heat.
2. Add all 3 cans of beans. Stir in seasonings.
3. Bake in a crock pot for 4-5 hours on low, or in a casserole dish at 350' F for 1-2 hours.
(Can be baked in a Dutch oven with campfire coals until heated through).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Birthday Presents

The boys ordered snowboards online, and they were delivered last week on their real birthday. Very exciting to rip open the box! We paid half the amount as their birthday presents. Plus, they received one last chance to go to Snow Creek on Sunday--but the snow is melting fast. Jarrett came, too. Lots of fun! They videotaped each other's jumps on the terrain park.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

String Fling

Mr. Rico McNeela is the new conductor for the St. Joseph Symphony, and yesterday he held a strings workshop for all Suzuki high schoolers. Dorito said it was challenging to work on the Brandenburg concerto for 2 hours! Great concert, plus there were games for the younger students. My crew won a couple of door prizes, including tickets to the "Red Violin Concert" coming up later this month at the Missouri Theater.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Dorito moved up to the highest rank he has tried so far in Scouts: Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. He takes these responsibilities quite seriously, and told me the plans he and Andrew made for the campout this weekend. Camp Marvin Hillyard is a very nice spot, and high up on a hill, so I don't have to worry about the Missouri River flooding. We drove past the Platte River, well over its banks already. Dorito says the best part of his new job is getting to eat with any and all of the patrols in his entire Troop! That boy can eat...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Violin Graduation Concert

Dorito has officially finished Book 3 and had a pitch-perfect Graduation Concert last night. He has worked so hard polishing his 5 songs (12 minutes of playing length). And Meggar's accompaniment was equally lovely! Dorito told me he's more than ready to get back to the middle of Book 4 and finish it--in a hurry. The twins said they want to finish Book 2 soon so they can have a Graduation, too. I'm glad to see them staying motivated. Even though they hated to turn down tickets to tonight's K-State basketball semi-final game.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Meeting at the Ice Cream Shoppe

I took the twins to Baskin Robbins for a birthday treat, and it never fails that we bump into friends there. Today it was neighbors from our old street. It was fun to hear stories and compare the heights of our growing boys.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Three Birthday Boys

My twins have the same birthday as Trent, except he is one year older (13). So I made a cake with 2 hockey players and one golfer on top! Little brother Tage is helping blow out the candles. How can my babies be 12 already?!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book Club Report

Although I didn't get to attend this month's discussion, it is worth reporting on my Book Club and our selection of "House of Mirth" by Edith Wharton. The title comes from Ecclesiastes 7:4 "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth." Actually, it was a good book to read during Lent. Poor Lily is the fool, whose calculations with other people is quite unsuccessful. She refuses to open up her true self to anybody--even Sheldon who has the "power" to make her artifices fade somewhat. A telling bit from the first chapter: "She always paid for her rare indiscretions by a violent reaction of prudence." Ha! Sounds similar to the characters in "The Great Gatsby."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Reflecting on Orchestra

All four Schmids are playing in Orchestra this semester. Mr Brock will make sure it's a productive hour for the next eight weeks. He has chosen

Dr. Edwards' piano concerto for the spring program, as this will be Megan's last concert with the group!! Dr. Edwards is the new/famous head of the keyboard department at MWSU. Dorito is shown here in the back row of first violins. Polar Bear and Winger are side-by-side in the seconds. It really touches my heart to watch the rehearsals! See you on May 7th.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Friends Who Are Fifty

I enjoyed going to a Brunch today in honor of Mrs. Mason's big birthday. Such a lovely chance to gather with veteran homeschool moms (i.e. who have one or more graduates). The years go by quickly, but they are filled with our best efforts and God's rich treasures.
It is not #50, however, for Mr. Lierz until next year. (oops!)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Search Retreat

Meggar left for the "Search" retreat today in Kansas City. I presume some of it has changed in the 25 years since Captain and I attended, but she is looking forward to having time for prayer and reflection.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lenten Resolutions

I don't know if we are doing enough for Lent, but here are our resolutions, based on Jodi's ideas for her family:
No Fone Fridays,
No TV screens on Thursdays,
Only Water on Wednesdays,
No TV screens on Tuesdays, and
Visit thy Neighbor Mondays.
We have been reaching out to housebound neighbors (and others in need) with our best hospitality--tea and dessert. I must say that it doesn't feel like a penance to be friendly and clean up a few tea cups. The conversations feel like a front porch in the old days. Good for all of us.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Twins Cook on TV

My twins got up early for the local news to be the "Chefs for the Day" on KQ2-TV. They demonstrated Scarecrow Chili in honor of next month's 150th Anniversary of the Pony Express. Polar Bear and Winger took alternating turns adding the ingredients, and they were surprised how fast 3.5 minutes went! I almost got teary-eyed with the dear memories of doing this with my eldest daughter. It was exactly 10 years ago that Meggar first appeared on KQ2 and started her "American Girl Cooks" segment. The boys remember her show, and were guest stars twice, so they knew mostly what to expect. They worked well together--once the camera was rolling. Before that, however, everything that ever went wrong in Meggar's four years happened all at once... Polar Bear cut his finger opening the can of beans before they went on air--and the janitor at 6 a.m. couldn't find any Band-aids! Luckily the tea towel applied with pressure stopped the bleeding before the show started. But our tea towel was too stained to use! Then Mom realized she forgot one ingredient. Luckily Captain was home and drove over with another onion. When this happened to Meggar, Captain was not home and I nearly got a speeding ticket running home before the live performance. Then the boys ran out of air time before all the ingredients were in the pot. They improvised it well, and smiled as the news team ate a sample. What we didn't expect was all the news staff to appear and want to eat when the show was finished. Chili for breakfast?! The whole pot disappeared. We took the second batch home to make it for our lunch, but the pot slipped and spilled face down on the garage floor when the van door opened!! You can watch the video clip at this archive link: My celebrities will be on two more morning shows and three evening news shows before the April 3th Sesquicentennial.
Scarecrow Chili
2 T. butter
1 med. onion, chopped
1 c. diced potatoes (frozen or fresh)
1 c. diced chicken, cooked (or canned)
1 can (15 oz.) white corn
1 can (15 oz.) Navy beans or Great Northern
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 can (3 oz.) diced green chilies
1-2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. chili pepper
1/2 t. salt
Dash of white pepper
shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, optional
1. Melt butter in large pot over medium heat.
2. Saute onions and potatoes for 3 minutes, until softened.
3. Add chicken, corn, beans, chilies, broth, and spices.
4. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Serve with shredded cheese, if desired.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hats off to the Scholar Bowl Team

Meggar went with the Kansas City Catholic Homeschool Scholar Team to Maple Woods Community College today looking very scholarly. (Her beret was a Christmas gift from Becka.) Wallace felt a bit left out, and he borrowed Dorito's hoodie for while. But it was too dark and warm for indoors--not the same as having a hat.
The 15 rounds of 10 questions each--ranging from ancients to bizarre and zany. We were disappointed that more questions were trivial rather than trivia this year! We must have a different definition of Scholar Bowl than the organizers.