Saturday, July 31, 2010

94th Annual Hurlingen Picnic

The Fiddlers Three performed a final concert with Meggar at the Seven Dolors Church in Hurlingen.  Despite the hot sun in their faces, they sounded very good together.  For payment, we received picnic passes for the buffet which included fried chicken and homemade pies.  The fundraiser attracts nearly 1,000 diners--and families of all ages stay to play Bingo, cake walk, turtle race, and duck pond.  We also noticed it draws in the political candidates who are eager to meet the locals.  Happily, our whole family was together despite Captain leaving at the end to take Dorito back to Scout Camp.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cousin Photos

Here are some views of our visitors this past week.  The very hot weather kept everyone by the pool.  Aunt Denise and Elijah played water volleyball with us...

and soccer...

Luckily there were enough squirters for a water-gun fight.  Julia kept saying she "needed more ammo" so I would refill it for her.

Hannah and Rebecca are ready to head back home.  We thought they would talk all the way to Kansas City to meet their parents, but they fell asleep right away because of so much swimming.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pro-Life Letter to the Editor

Schaaf Is Not Pro-Life Enough
Dear Editor,
I was surprised to receive the “Pro-Life Champion” card in the mail from Dr. Rob Schaaf. In election fairness, voters should remember that Schaaf was supportive of Amendment 2 on the 2008 ballot. That measure legally protects both adult and embryonic stem cell research in Missouri and prohibits any legislation to stop its funding with our tax dollars! Killing a baby for its embryonic stem cells is nothing but abortion. That is why Schaaf is not being endorsed by Missouri Right to Life. He has said “There are a lot of potential benefits of SCNT. I see this as a religious issue, not a logic or scientific issue.” (Mar. 28, 2007, Jeff City Tribune)
As a homeschooler who introduced Schaaf to my Catholic friends during his first campaign, I feel it is important to set the record straight. My support will be for John DeStefano, who is clear about the value of human life. We need a state senator whose integrity we can count on.
Amendment 2 supporters might think I'm splitting hairs with Dr. Schaaf on life sciences. And I am. I know Who has already counted the hairs on our heads, and we should not fund or allow abortion for any research in Missouri.
Candise Schmidling

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More Cousins are Here

Aunt Denise and cousin Elijah came to spend two days with us.  We enjoyed bowling, the pool, and my special recipes for beer brats and BBQ ribs.  Unfortunately, both our husbands had to work and didn't get to join in the visiting.  I'm so glad that our two families have made the effort to stay connected.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Pill at 50

No, I am not starting to take the Pill at age 50.  But I wanted to mention this is the 50-year anniversary of the invention of the artificial birth control pill.  Many good articles have been written to reflect on this milestone and it's disordered effects on marriage, sexual identity, and personal health.  The most troubling to me is the painful emotional scars which the sexual revolution has left on women and children.  But there are some who label that as "freedom" and seem willing to pay any price.  Especially for young women where the pressure is greatest to avoid a pregnancy, the unintended consequences can be significant.  The pill is not 100% effective, and it often causes a mini abortion.  I'm told it is useless against STDs and other horrors that are growing exponentially among the "hook-up" generation.  Worst of all is the evidence that the pill causes a 50% increased risk for breast cancer and other cancers.  The World Health Organization has rated contraceptive chemicals as the worst carcinogens known to humans. You would think this factor alone would convince doctors and women to change their thinking.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Keeping the Cousins

We were delighted to have Hannah and Rebecca stay with us over the weekend.  It was perfect weather for swimming, and they are so talkative and giggly that it changed our pace around here!  It also allowed Carey and Barbara a chance to spend time with Lauren in Kansas City.  We caught a glimpse of Lauren last night, too!  Her group was attending "Cinderella" at Theatre in the Park.  Even though we couldn't sit together or visit, it was nice to say "hello" and see how good she looked in the eyes.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Humanae Vitae and the Holy Grandparents of Jesus

There are two special occasions today:  it is the anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical letter about the transmission of Human Life, and it is the feast day of Sts. Joachim and Anne (the parents of the Virgin Mary).  I love both and wished I had time to write a longer blog about each of them.  First, while our marriage has always included Natural Family Planning, I don't mean that having an openness to life isn't frustrating at times.  Yet, we can look back and see how that has deepened our love and respect for each other.  Being fruitful also protected us from many pitfalls of the modern world.  And when I think about it, our philosophy has been the basis for our closest friendships with other families who see babies as a blessing.  The courage of His Holiness back in 1968 is nothing short of inspirational even today--especially in light of society's disappointing changes, which he predicted.  So today I am praying with heartfelt thanksgiving for the guidance of Truth in married love.  And the best example I can point to is St. Joachim and St. Anne.  Many homeschool mothers have a special devotion to St. Anne for her teaching and raising of the future Mother of God.  I like to see them as a model for married couples because they were united in their times of fertility as well as their infertility.  May their holy example continue to brighten the way for the Church.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Free Time

I actually have some free time this weekend because the boys are off with Captain at a hockey tournament. 
First, I worked on rosary repairs.  I volunteer this service by leaving a little basket at the Adoration Chapel and at our parish.  About 6-8 old treasures are deposited each month, and I mend their broken pieces and sections.  It's a wonder to see all the types, styles, and colors.  Prayer beads are so important, especially as they add a tactile memory to our encounters with God.
Secondly, I invited friends to a scrapbooking tea.  But we made beaded bracelets instead.  A little jewelry is a good heart healer, and one of my friends is going through a separation.
Thirdly, I rearranged the sidebar of my blog and wrote another movie review for a family blog.  I have a soft spot for movies with violin music.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Recycling Runneth Over

It's not that I'm so "green" as a tree hugger, but I like recycling.  I'd say the nuns were the original recyclers, and I don't like to see anything go to waste either.  Because there is no curb-side service in our city, I have to drive it to the downtown collection center.  I go every second week, which is amazing to me.  How can there be so much trash from one family?  We don't subscribe to the daily newspaper or many magazines, and we mostly bake/eat from scratch.  But there are bottles of wine, oil, and mineral water plus tubs of sour cream, whipped cream, and cottage cheese--Every Week!  There's lots of junk mail and kids' papers which we have already used on both sides.  Yes, I recycle all papers first to my printer tray for printing on the back!  Sr. Mary Agatha would be proud of me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happily Ever After

Marriage seems to be...
a funny opportunity to see all the bad sides of the person you love the most.
Glad that he loves me anyway :-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Wedding With the Rain

Although the official date is tomorrow on July 21, we had dinner tonight with Fr. Ed and Tom Turkle to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. It rained today, just like 20 years ago but that didn't dampen our enjoyment. And Fr. Ed gave us a cross again, along with a special blessing. The original cross hangs in our bedroom, reminding us how Christ asks us to take up our cross daily. And this new cross features a family tree, so I intend to hang it near my bathroom mirror. Fr. Ed has such a profound way with rituals. It was terrific to renew our vows with the children as our witnesses this time. And we tied the knot with a golden ribbon in hopes of reaching our 50th anniversary. Then sealed it with a kiss. We spent time looking at the album of wedding photos from Topeka in 1990, and told a few old stories from Shantivanam, where Tom worked as the assistant and editor for this prolific priest. At 79-years-old, Fr. Ed is still being creative with words and watercolors. Tom has a bit more freedom to help publish local authors and wants to keep taking flying lessons. They haven't aged a bit, and I think it's because they are so interested in young people. Meggar likes being asked about her travels and college plans, and Winger told about his favorite sports. Polar Bear was impressed they could tell him apart from his twin--right off the bat. Lastly, we enjoyed a family concert with a finale of Dorito performing his favorite Concerto with so much emotion that his eyes are often closed. Beautiful! a great wedding present.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Stories from the Water

Dorito told us a few of his High Adventure memories: driving away without one Scout from the rest stop, having no dessert because the brownie batter got spilled, and burning the trash bag but it still had the pudding mix inside so no dessert a second night. Plus he took lots of photos of eagles, loons, mountains, and waterfalls. Said he had a great time out in the Great Silence under the stars. Thanks to Mr. Schmitt for making it such a success!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A French Dinner

Dorito just got home! So we treated our older two to a French dinner on the patio at Cafe des Amis this evening, while the twins were still at hockey practice (don't tell them). Meggar was here last fall for her senior photo shoot, and we dined here at the end of volleyball season. The proprietor is generous about offering his suggestions to all guests, which made us feel more pampered. Of course, his food was over-the-top. We sighed over our French wine, Bouillabaisse, lamb chops, elk steak, cheese plate, and chocolate mousse. Good food makes Dorito more talkative (!) and we were eager to hear his stories from the Scout trip to Canada. Meggar likes any chance she can dress up and she said several times how content she felt this weekend. Grown up?! More and more this summer.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Gathering of Friends in KC

Meggar wasn't completely surprised, but her birthday party at Fitness Plus was still a good chance to gather with her Kansas City homeschool friends. Everyone ate pizza, listened to Luc's play list, and then played volleyball. Some people were more competitive than others. Some were mostly messing around. At least I talked Andrew out of throwing her in the pool.

Friday, July 16, 2010

You Have to Be 18 To Vote

Meggar's Birthday was today! We celebrated at lunchtime by having cupcakes with the children she babysits (Delish Bakery has a lovely combo flavor of coconut and key lime). Everyone wanted to help blow out the candle. Never mind the baby smearing frosting from ear to ear. These young ones are a valuable tool for keeping a proper perspective. How did my first baby grow up so fast? In the afternoon, she opened her gifts from the family and ate off the birthday plate. At supper time, Meggar had a cookout and swim party here for her friends. The s'mores got a bit dangerous the second time around when Cole tried to light the fire with a tiki torch! Otherwise, it was all good. It's a good sign when the Guitar Heroes goes on and on.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chick-fil-A on the First Day

We have been counting down since the November announcement of a new restaurant in our city. Chick-fil-A not only has the best tasting chicken and yummy CFA dipping sauce, but they are a Christian company that remains closed on Sundays! We like to support a good cause. First, the boys and Dale flew over the restaurant about 9:00 a.m. to see the first 100 people in line trying to win Chick-fil-A for a year. They mainly saw the big inflatable cow ("Eat Mor Chikin"). Later, I took the twins and their hockey buddies for lunch. There were 4 drive-through maids taking orders to speed up the line which stretched out the back of the parking lot. So it actually went quickly. Approximately nine people were working the drink/payment window! Wow, they were VERY friendly. It's a wonderful day at Chick-fil-A. (always)

Blog Award

I received an award for "Blog with a Substance" from my homeschooling friend Ana, whom I met volunteering at Birthright when I was newly-wed. She was the one who suggesting that I start a blog in the first place, and I'm so pleased that she thought of me for an award. My blogging philosophy is best described in these five words: Transparent, Catholic, Hockey, Literature, and Music. And I'm pleased to showcase these other blogs as I pass along the award to:
1. Mostly-Megan which has my daughter's favorite quotes from books, music, and movies. Definitely full of substance (compared to most teens) and flamboyant about her love of British literature and French food.
2. Faith & Finery by a local teen with a flair for fashion and a heart for the Lord.
3. Our Spare Oom is authored by sisters who have been homeschooling friends since Meggar was born. Admittedly, we also love the lamppost!
4. The Common Task, which is their mother's blog spot for intentional mothering.
5. Love 2 Learn at the Movies because families want recommendations for good films!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Bastille Day

and I'm free to be French! The celebration of France's Independence is not as widely known in the Missouri territory, as one would imagine. ... But since our land was first "owned" by the French, I feel justified in having a fete of some sort. This year, I again made Madeline cookies and with my new tins, the process went faster than before. They are like British shortbread or English pound cake--really the ingredients of ice cream plus a timid amount of flour--baked into shell-shaped delicacies. They sit nicely in my new silver stand, whose antique qualities captured my attention at the Brookside sidewalk sale last wekeend. And Jennie is coming over to enjoy my cookies and promises to bring French champagne. She is the closest thing to an exPat, having studied a year in Paris. She wants to see Meggar's pictures and talk about our trip.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another Classic Book Club

We learned about a classic in women's literature this month when our book club tackled "The Country of the Pointed Firs" by Sarah Orne Jewett. Featuring chapter sketches of mostly female characters, this novel paints a richly textured portrait of coastal Maine in 1890s. The women are educated, strong of purpose, and pleasant (how great is that?) to one another. The book club discussions always broaden my horizons. Such as when Bonnie brought in all her herbs to parallel the main character, Mrs. Almiry Todd, who was an old-fashioned herbalist! Of course, there were plenty of other wonderful snacks such as zucchini appetizer squares, warm artichoke dip, fresh fruit, gingerbread cake, cranberry cookies, lemon cake, deviled eggs, etc. I wish that book club meetings (and refreshments) could last forever. But I told Meggar, it's better to leave when you are still hoping for more--than to ruin the atmosphere by staying too long.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Freedom to Speak

“Without Freedom of Thought,
there can be no such Thing as Wisdom;
and no such Thing as publick Liberty,
without Freedom of Speech;
which is the Right of every Man,
as far as by it, he does not hurt or control the Right of another:
And this is the only Check it ought to suffer,
and the only Bounds it ought to know..."
(from "Mrs. Silence Dogood" by Benjamin Franklin)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

She's Not My Mother

In a rare swap, Meggar took the twins to Wichita for the Laura Stamm Skating Clinic, and I stayed home alone. A luxury of peace and quiet for me! Meanwhile, Grandma Judy and Grandpa Gerald were spoiling everyone: lunch at the art museum, golfing, and a new release at the theatres. Plus an excellent college hockey player was practically giving private instruction to my boys on the ice. After they returned home, Winger claimed that Meggar was not being a good big sister: "She told us to settle down, and go to bed on time. She was acting like she was my mother!" Hey, I think that's a good thing. She reported that the twins took separate bedrooms (wow) but that Winger went sleep-walking the second night and came in Meggar's room asking, "Where's Ben? I can't find him." (sweet)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bridesmaid Revisited

I met Robin, as I do most every year around this time, to celebrate her birthday in Kansas City at a fancy spot for coffee. She and I pick up talking right where we left off, or as if we never left off. She is creative (a freelancer with her journalism degree from K-State) and stylish (where does she find those shoes and vintage handbags?) and thoughtful (loads up my book shelf with good literature). Such a delightful time spent reminiscing about our own college days on the cusp of sending my firstborn off to university. Robin and I have been friends since the moment we met, and loyal through thick and thin. Today, she and I landed at the Roasterie Cafe in Brookside. Gotta love any place which wallpapers a jetliner behind the counter! I admire the story of their coffee company, and Captain was hoping to get more of their special blend made for Cafe Provence. Couldn't find it there nor at Costentino's Market either. But I took a relaxing stroll passed all the sidewalk sales to get to the Market.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Walking My Legs Off

I cannot say I'm in good shape, but I didn't expect the after shock of walking two hours through the hills of my neighborhood. And I'm planning to do it again tomorrow and Sunday. Anyway, it was definitely worthwhile to be out in the fine weather doing something political again. Today, my agenda was volunteer work for John DeStefano, candidate for State Senate. Door-to-door campaigning is always interesting: I met people already knew but didn't realize they lived one block over, and I talked to a lady who has lived in this neighborhood longer than I've been on the Earth. Nobody was rude, thankfully. No dogs to beware of either. The eye-opener came from the very first woman at home who said, "You are so brave to do anything political THIS year!" (What does she mean by that?! I'm reminded of Uncle Terry saying I should be more careful because of my pro-life license plate...) I'm sure some people would disagree with my exercise in democracy. Hey, there's a pun in that sentence that I quite like. I'll be hitting the road again and again because it is SO important.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bon Voyage

Dorito and 15 other Scouts left early this morning for Canada--to make a High Adventure trip and canoe the boundary waters for a week. He is very efficiently packed and excited to be with his buddies. He knows the weather is going to be ideal, and he's equipped with a waterproof camera and fishing pole. We will miss him these next 10 days. Meggar even left a farewell note in his room last night (how sweet).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Another Chopin Celebration

The KC Public Library sponsored a Chopin tribute for this 200th Birthday year--Meggar and I are on a roll with these events. We attended with our entire family and especially enjoyed the piano solos woven into the segments of the talk. John Tibbetts, an associate professor of film, shared his multi-media presentation that focuses on four film biographies of the Polish composer. By contrasting the movie elements which stretched the truth with his own historical research, Tibbetts taught all of us more about the life Chopin lived. In addition, we heard three of the many compositions he is famous for played by Dr. Matt Edwards. Following the question-and-answer time, we spoke to Dr. Edwards as well as Margie Cameron-Jarrett. It's beautiful to see all these connections falling into place for Meggar with the piano world.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

She's Registered to Vote

Today was the deadline, and Meggar made it to the courthouse to get registered for the August primaries!! Hooray for another step into adult life.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Zero for Zero

We don't drink pop at our house, but when we travel to family picnics and such like there is the inevitable discussion with our kids. They think anything with "Zero" in the name sounds cool. I hate that Nutra-Sweet is so cleverly marketed and well disguised in the fine print nowadays. I can remember when it was first invented, and I'm not that old. But it's terrible stuff. Zero nutritional benefits and actually a whole lot of negative side effects to Nutra-Sweet. Parents shouldn't be blind to it. The rotten stuff is also in the new Kool-Aid drinks and lemonade-to-go pouches. So convenient looking. But I say "No" time and time again. Of course, I say "No" to pop all the time. It's bad for your teeth and bad for your bones, and it's creating obesity problems for two or three generations of Americans and spreading in popularity among other countries. Plus it's expensive... Think before you drink.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Firecrackers at Grant's House

The boy cousins had a grand time at Grant's house shooting firecrackers, until it started raining. There were plenty of uncles joining in the fun. The younger ones watched from inside, near the buffet of all-American fare (red-white-and-blue fruit salad, red-white-and-blue cupcakes, burgers, chips, etc.). I'm glad that everyone could join together. Even Captain came after his trip was cancelled and brought my Tiramisu dessert, which was left forgotten in the refrigerator at home.

Bridal Tea Party

After mass, we gathered with Kathryn for a Bridal Tea Party. My famous American Girl scones and other brunch foods were served on Gr. Judy's fine china. And we had PG Tips tea (only the finest!) for our pots and cups! I had hats and gloves for everyone, which made it extra special for the cousins. Every girl needs a hat, and Kathryn actually says she has a plentiful collection at home to add to our next tea party. There were family history books and a family tree to pour over afterwards. It's nice to know where you come from and into which family you are marrying. Gr. Judy made a black-and-white memory album with all the wedding photos of our ancestors and relatives. We added a few poems, prayers, bits of advice, and recipes. I'd say the essentials are all covered.
Proper Scottish Scones (from Meggar's American Girl Cooks book)
2 c. flour, sifted
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/4 t. soda
1/2 c. raisins, currants, or coconut
1/4 c. oil
1/2 c. sour cream
1 egg
3 T. milk
Combine dry ingredients first. Stir in raisins. Add remaining ingredients and stir until dough just clings together. Knead slightly on floured board, and pat to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out rounds with biscuit cutter or pretty shape. Place on greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with pinch of sugar or sprinkles. Bake at 400' F for 12-15 minutes. Serve with butter, jam, and whipped cream.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

My parents hosted an Engagement Party last night for Kathryn & Clint. I was in charge of the desserts and brought a Blackberry Cobbler as the "something blue" for the bride. We had been blueberry picking recently with other homeschoolers so I tossed in a few blueberries to make my double-size pan absolutely full to the brim. I used three batches of pastry dough to get a really thick and authentic crust for all that bubbly fruit. And my stand-by for the crumb topping comes from a copy-cat recipe for Godfather's Dessert Streusel Pizza. It works lovely on pies (this photo is from last week) and muffins, and since the topping is shelf-stable, I can keep it on hand and that makes everything easier and faster in the kitchen!
Streusel Topping
1 2/3 c. flour (sifted)
2/3 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. butter flavored shortening stick
1/4 c. buttery flavored oil
Beat well together. Store in air-tight container. Makes 3 batches.
Blueberry picking is a family tradition for us Schmids, and I meant to blog about it last week. We usually go on July 4th whenever Captain was away for a NASCAR race and our other friends were busy with their families. It was something all my kids could do, berries are within easy reach for any age, and no thorns makes them pleasant for picking. The abundant rain this year made for a bountiful crop. It was unbelievable how the branches sagged under the weight of berries. More berries than I've ever seen at picking time. I like to use this opportunity to teach about the meaning of "bounty," especially because it is in our daily meal grace. The visual at hand clearly illustrates the term. Someone planted one tiny seed or seedling bush, and now we are harvesting enough for several families from what God provided for "free." 15 pounds in one hour. From thy bounty.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Once in a While Things Break

The sugar bowl lid has been missing for two days. I drink tea occasionally so I've noticed it. Then it dawned on me... so I inquired with a promise that honesty would protect everyone from punishment. One of the twins admitted he had accidentally broken it and hidden the evidence in the trash. The bad news is my beautiful granite countertops will definitely break dishes that are dropped on it. The good news is I had saved a lid from a previously broken sugar bowl (which occurred about 10 years ago). It's a good thing, because I like my white everyday dishes. Now they still match 20 years after our wedding.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canadian Jam

This is our family favorite!! Captain discovered these jams made in Canada years ago and brings them home whenever he flies there. The boys brought us back strawberry and blueberry jam from their fishing trip. I'm so spoiled!