Friday, October 29, 2010

Taking Aunt Sherry for a Ride

Aunt Sherry has been giving Dorito a ride to hockey every Tuesday while I finish up the girls' cooking class.  But this time, he gave her a ride--in the 182!  The wonderful weather and Captain's early out from work combined to create a window of opportunity for another flying lesson for our oldest son.  He was excited, she was excited, and nobody got scared.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ask and You Shall Compare

I get a weekly email from "The Old Homeschool" magazine, which I definitely enjoy because it only takes a few minutes to read it.  My favorite columnist is Todd Wilson, The Familyman, and here's his advice today:
"My advice on comparing is: Don't do it . . . ever! Don't compare yourself with your friends, the people you read about in homeschooling magazines and blogs, homeschool celebrities, or "real schools."
You see, what ends up happening is that you compare your weaknesses against others' strengths, and you can't win that game. So don't do it. You have plenty of gifts and strengths of your own, but you can't have every gift or strength.
Some like crafts; some don't. Some are organized; some aren't. Some did undergraduate work at MIT; some barely made it through high school. Instead of lamenting the fact that you're not what some are, thank God for your strengths and capitalize on them.
Now, as for comparing your homeschool to a "REAL" school: Why would you compare yourself with something that doesn't work? In fact, you know what? Public schools compare themselves to us. They know that one-on-one teaching is more effective and that real-life learning is more successful. They sit around in committees and try to make their school environment more like home. They have students plant gardens, hike through the woods, learn to cook, build stuff, and learn to relate to others. That's what you do every day . . . and it's working.
So stop comparing yourself to them or anyone else. Ask God what He wants your school-I mean home-to look like and then do it.
Now if only I can get my wife to stop comparing.
Be Real!
(Originally published in the February 27, 2008 issue of The Homeschool Minute.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

First Goal for High School JV

Dorito scored his first goal for the JV hockey team this weekend!  In their 5th game of the season, he banged one in from the corner slot.  He spent the weekend in Des Moines with Captain because, "It is Dad's turn to go with me!"

Cooking Class Makes Halloween Treats

I found these cute recipes for Halloween, and the cooking classes today enjoyed making: Pumpkin Pie Seeds, Caramel Corn in gloves, Monster Eye Meatballs, Ghastly Grinning Teeth (apples with fruit dip),

and these cookies:
Witch's Broomsticks
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
2 T. water
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
Pinch of salt
2" Pretzel sticks (short rod size)
1. Beat together butter, brown sugar, water, and vanilla with mixer on medium speed.
2. Add flour and salt and stir to mix well.
3. Shape balls of dough into small rectangles, and press into end of 2" pretzel stick (short rod size).
4. Flatten and lengthen dough slightly with fingers, then press with a fork to create broom bristles.
5. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 350’ F for 5-7 minutes; cool on wire rack.
*Tip: Removing from pan carefully, you don't want to separate broom from handle
Drizzle chocolate along top of broom cookie or decorate with frosting and sprinkles!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hockey Champs this Weekend

Between scorekeeping for the hockey tournament, Meggar and I made a dash to the Vera Bradley store for a wristlet. This is the only store in a 6-state area, and it's one of only 37 stores in the US. ~Score~ How fun to look around inside!  Meggar decided to wait on a laptop skin until Christmas or a coupon (whichever comes first).

The weekend ended with the twins winning their Championship, Meggar was paid in cash, hugs all around, and her driving off on I-35 into the sunset :-/   (Note: Winger and Polar Bear are lying on their elbow on each side of the goalie.)

Dress Up Parties at the Sorority

One of their parties was "ABC=Anything But Clothes" meaning you had to make something to wear with foil, duct tape, food, etc. Sam used a trash bag and tissue paper flowers; some dresses featured Pop Ice or Fruit Roll-ups; and Meggar used rubberized shelf liner for a trio of colorful, wrap-dresses!  She designed them using needle-and-thread, safety pins, and self-tie strap. Cool!  Everyone thought Meggar was the handy-homeschooler-who-knows-how-to-sew!  I don't think a gathered bodice is equivalent to sewing but our crafty home ec projects did give her some ideas.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More on Meggar's Fall Break

Several friends stopped by for Meggar's tea party on Friday afternoon.  My boys liked getting an "early out" from school.  We all feasted on chicken salad, curried butternut squash soup, and cookies with tea.  Becca and Timothy joined in the joking about professors who lose papers, and students who can't guess you were homeschooled.  Constance said she was happy to hear Meggar's regular defense of her political views in the cafeteria.
And we looked at college photos on Face book.  Meggar loves her new friends in Alpha Gamma Delta.  They do lots of activities: mixers, study sessions, lip sync for Homecoming, and recently a "sweet grams" philanthropy project.  Here she is posing with  her Bid Day Buddy-- Samantha--who likes to say she is 5'12."
This is her Pledge Mom--April--who is from St. Louis.  She was the Rush Counselor that everyone admired.  She is helping Meggar with her AGD pearls and scrapbook which are due next week before Initiation.

Meggar's Here for the Weekend

For her fall break: Meggar had her heart set on a trip to the apple orchard and a tea party.  We did both, plus a little shopping and hockey.  Here's the report:  Thursday was bright and sunny at Schweitzer's Orchard.  She took the 5 Riordan children whom she was babysitting, and I took my little ones--who are now 12!  It's a bit unbelievable that I have been doing this for longer than a dozen years. 

It must have made quite an impression on Meggar since she had this strong memory which she wanted to share with her favorite charges.  Also Polar Bear invited his young violin student, which was very considerate I thought.  We sampled the red and golden delicious apples and talked about Johnny Appleseed along the way.  Then we walked up the hill to the hay maze and pumpkin patch.  Playing hide-and-seek is more fun with tall hay and a 3-year-old who likes counting!

Next day, Meggar was my babysitter and took the boys to hockey.  Dorito helped her keep score for the twin's tournament.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

All Three in Stripes

The twins passed their Level 1 ref exam, and Dorito passed Level 2.  These are big accomplishments in the life of a hockey referee.  Plus, getting a new uniform is exciting to boys. (I guess it's like buying new clothes for a girl.)  First thing this morning, Winger and Polar Bear took the ice for a Mite v. Mite game at St. Joe's local rink. 
They were happy to see young neighbor Owen scoring goals for his team!  And Dorito was their mentor, proudly making sure they blew their new whistles loud enough.  Grandpa Gerald started this tradition, as it is a good team effort among siblings and it's a good money-maker for their sports expenses.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pope Names A New Cardinal

Our own Missouri bishop emeritus has been designated to wear the red hat!  Former Archbishop of St. Louis Raymond Burke will be among the 24 new cardinals elevated by Pope Benedict, as announced today by the Cardinal Newman Society.  Well wishes can be sent to him via

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Break Starts Today

We have excitedly counted down the days until Meggar came home.  Cleaning and baking.  Her fall break starts this afternoon, and she has requested Chicken Fried Steak for supper.  Plus Reid and I want to take her to the new documentary at the Hollywood Theatres:  "I Want Your Money" by a family in our homeschool community.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cooking Class Makes Breakfast

Everybody loved making eating breakfast at the cooking class:  French Toast Sticks, Egg-in-the-Hole, Pumpkin Pancakes and Monkey Bread Muffins, which taste like cinnamon rolls only quicker...
Monkey Bread Muffins
2 large or 4 small tubes of refrigerator biscuits
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 c. melted butter (1 stick)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1. Use kitchen scissors to snip biscuits into halves (smaller ones) or thirds (larger style) and roll each biscuit into balls.
2. Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl, and roll each biscuit until coated.
3. Place 4 balls into each greased muffin pan.
4. In separate bowl, stir together brown sugar and melted butter until all lumps are dissolved.
5. Spoon this mixture evenly over top of the biscuits.
6. Bake at 350’ F for 11-14 minutes.
7. Invert on plate for serving.
(Can use all of the biscuits to create one Bundt-pan monkey bread, but it needs longer to bake--25 minutes.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Truman Library Trivia Bowl

The St. Joseph Home school team went to the Truman Library tonight for the annual High School Trivia Bowl.  The theme was "War and Peace in the 18th and 19th Centuries."  Hefty amount of history, and some geography mixed in with politics.  And the 3rd question was to I.D. the two men in this photo, and I almost squealed with delight!  Of course, WE Catholics know the value of JPII in international affairs, but is it a well known fact among academicians?  Dorito, Andrea, and Stephen helped our team get this one correct.  Overall, they did well and it is always a fun competition.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

State Chess Tournament

Each grade competes on its own at the fall Missouri State Chess Tourna- ment.  So we spent the day in Columbia on the MU campus waiting for each of the five rounds to see who would win, lose, or draw.  Here is Edmund calling Meggar to tell her that he won the first few rounds in the Kindergarten division.  He placed 2nd overall.
The twins were their own worst enemies in the 7th grade division, especially with two other teammates from St. Joseph who were all winning at the end of three rounds!  Polar Bear ended up in 2nd place, behind Ben H. and David won 5th place, just above Cecilia.  As a team, they happily won the 1st place trophy!

Dorito did alright with the competition, and his 10th grade team finished in 2nd place which meant no trophy.  Still it was a fun day on our first (and probably last) visit to MU -- sorry J.L.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Last Soccer Game

The LaZer Home school soccer team finished up for the year tonight.  Dorito played Varsity and the twins played JV, then we all went out for pizza.  Good families and good endurance-building.  Of course, it helped that we had such pleasant weather through September and October. 
Afterwards, the Schmids had a little 2-on-2 game.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finishing Another Read-Aloud

Homeschoolers like to talk about the value of Read-Alouds, and I like when we finish another good one. Today we came to the end of "Just David," a reprinted classic by Whole Heart Press and Sally Clarkson.  I think she started writing books for homeschool moms when I started homeschooling... and I liked her academics-with-tea approach then--and now.  So, I probably bought this book 10 years ago, because of my own son with the same name.  But I read other stories that were suited to our studies and age range.  Until this year.  It's ironic that the main character also plays violin (just like my Winger).  And he is gentler than the modern world around him (just like my Winger).  His violin music is the main theme of the story and of his charm over the people of the small town where he is an orphan.  Of course, I cried at the end because it was so beautiful!  But we wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much at our younger ages. *spoiler* There is a Stradivarius discovery in the final chapter!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crosses on Display

Dorito helped put up the pro-life display of crosses at LeBlond High School for "Respect Life" month.  Each cross represents 1 million babies who were aborted since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.  All 50 crosses will be viewed by thousands at this well-traveled intersection during the next three weeks.  Nice service project for his Confirmation class.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cookies by the Dozen

My homeschool cooking classes made 5 different types of cookies today, and promptly sampled them all (except the ones that were burned).  The favorite seemed to be Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies.  Reminds me of Grandma Mary Leonard.  One of the pitfalls of having 18 students in the kitchen is my back is often turned so accidents happen before I can prevent them, such as:  broken timer on one of the ovens meant not knowing for sure when the baking was done, incorrect temperature control on the other meant it cooked too fast and the cookies didn't flatten out, mixing the nut topping into the dough meant starting all over with snickerdoodle pinwheels, dropping breaking the whole jar of molasses meant "Oh well" because luckily it was already added to the dough.  I guess that's how young cooks learn.  I'm sure they won't make these mistakes again when they bake them at home this week.
Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies
3/4 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. molasses
2 1/4 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 c. sugar
1. Beat shortening and brown sugar until creamy.
2. Add egg and molasses and beat well.
3. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
4. Add together and stir well.
5. Cover and chill dough for 15 minutes-2 hours.
6. Roll by 1-teaspoonful into balls, and roll in sugar.
7. Bake at 350’ F for 12-15 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sneaking In A Girly Luncheon or Two

I've been out to Friday lunch with Dee and Tracy lately.  The new B&B is serving lunch, and it was quite pleasant to sit on the veranda in the beautiful fall weather.  I recommend the Baked French Toast at Whiskey Mansion.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hugs from Meggar

Captain claims that Meggar wouldn't let go for the longest time during their "Hello" hug. *sweet* He met her at Truman for lunch on Friday and reported that she looks/sounds content.  That was the first time he and the twins have seen her since Labor Day!  She said she was ready to get off campus.  Like old times, she joined in the regular hockey-weekend routine in St. Louis:  cold rinks, hot drinks, and famous hockey players. 

Later, Mark and Ben (the seminarians studying at Kenrick) met up with the Schmid's family for dinner, too.  More cold rinks and hot drinks.  Meggar also spent time with Erin's family and got her hair cut.  Captain called me often with reports--such as the Notre Dame v. Holy Cross hockey game was made even better by the fact those players were spotted at the same hotel eating the breakfast buffet next morning.  My twins were in heaven! 
Happy reports all weekend with the all-you-can-eat food in the suite, a Penthouse hotel room thanks to Midcoast Aviation Co., laughs with their college sister, and another AA championship trophy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Starting High School Hockey

Dorito's first hockey games are today in Cedar Rapids, and he is proud to have made the U16 team (three boys from the squad are not on the roster).  Seemed to be quite a long drive, especially since I didn't bring my book-on-tape and my teenager fell asleep.  We enjoyed one win and one loss, and the Outlaws seem to be pulling together more and more.  Tonight's entertainment will be a RoughRiders Junior A game in the same rink.  Dorito is having fun, and he looks tall sharp in his new slacks. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Volunteering at PumpkinFest

I helped in the Children's Craft Tent all evening, while Dorito toured the grounds at PumpkinFest.  He was disappointed not to find the root beer shack this year, but plenty of other midway fried foods grabbed his attention. The weather was perfect (slightly too warm) which brought a larger-than-normal crowd to this fundraiser for the Pony Express Museum.  We are anxious to make pressed pennies on the new machine indoors!

Hockey Win = Higher Ranking

The twins are excited because they beat the Affton AA team (ranked #24) today in St. Louis!  This team has always given us strong competition through the years.  Polar Bear and Winger set up a power play goal in the final 2 minutes to win by a score of 1-0.  Now their own team is ranked #22 and they feel like celebrating.  Tonight they are going to the Blues rink to watch the Notre Dame v. Holy Cross college hockey game in the aircraft company's suite!

Taking Responsibility for Himself

One of the perks of high school hockey is the locker room with stalls for each player.  Dorito is thrilled to leave his gear there instead of hauling a heavy bag back and forth.  Plus they have a drying fan so their equipment is ready to wear again.  But this means the players needed to bring their bag to practice today in order to pack up for this weekend's games.  The team manager wrote an email later saying he would have to re-open the locker room today because so many of the guys forgot to pack up! Guess I should be proud that Dorito thinks ahead and that hockey is important to him.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Listening to the Orchestra

Field trips are fun. Especially when you go with another family.  Polar Bear took his new violin student (Thad) to the School Concert of the St. Joseph Symphony, where we listened to "Peter and the Wolf" as well as a Wind Quintet, Brass Trio, and Percussion Improv.  Can you believe they played "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on the snare drum and the timpani?  Every year, there is a nice selection of classical music, and my boys were proud to watch their own instructor on stage in the violin section.  Afterwards, we followed our tradition by stopping at Pony Espresso for a hot chocolate or coffee drink.  The whole atmosphere of the Missouri Theatre and being Downtown made it a special trip.

Learning on the Internet

We are avid members of the Homeschool Chess team, so of course, we had to complete the homework assignment: watching chess traps and openings on the Internet.  Mr. Bird suggested for the "Ruy Lopez Mortimer Trap" and for the "Guioco Piano Opening Attack."  It's beyond me to keep up with all these strategies, but it will hopefully pay off for them at the upcoming state chess tournament.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

All in a Day's Work

Everyone pitched in for the final steps to close the pool.  Captain dreads this task every year, but the boys and I lent him a hand so it would go more quickly.  Now the garage smells like anti-freeze from the 30 empty jugs--I will be off to the recycling center tomorrow!  Our reward tonight was apple pie a la mode. Yum!

Winger Scores His First Goal

Winger might be the youngest, but he was the first to score a goal this season--in Soccer!  He should be proud of his hustle and maneuvers.  I think the Schmid boys can "see" the offensive openings because the field is similar to the rink.  Even though the JV lost, the weather was excellent for soccer.  And we can tell that soccer is helping our boys with speed, endurance, and quickness--which also helps them during hockey (the "real" fall sport in their minds).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cooking up Muffins

This week, my two homeschool cooking classes made muffins.  Five different types, and all five batches were completely devoured by the end of co-op day!  Who can resist blueberry, banana with crumb topping, bran with nuts, carrot with coconut?  But the favorite was not-too-difficult, most flavorful, and featured freshly grated nutmeg in honor of Christopher Columbus (whose discovery is celebrated next Monday). We'll have to make another batch of these:
French Toast Muffins
2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
2 t. powdered cinnamon
1/2 t.  nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 c. butter, melted
Maple syrup for drizzling
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and pinch of salt in a large bowl and set aside.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and melted butter.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stir until just moistened!
4. Fill greased muffin pans 1/2 full. Bake at 400’ F for 10-15 minutes (check at 10 minutes). Muffins are done when a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Poke holes in the muffin tops and gently spoon over one or two tablespoons of maple syrup onto each muffin. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
(from Heather Baird at SprinkleCakes)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Miracles in our Family

When I talk to the junior high youth group, I like to throw in examples of answered prayers.  Last week, I was able to share with them the good news of Aunt Linda being in total remission from cancer.  It seems so unbelievable, given her Stage 4 prognosis back in February.  But here we are in late September with miraculous news!  All clear.  I told them my children's weekly rosary was a contributing factor.  I want it to give them hope and perseverance.  God is so good.

Hooray for the "A"

Meggar received an "A" for her speech quiz out!!  That means she has more 3 credit hours based on that one speech.  I guess she was persuasive enough.  We're very proud to get this good news on a Monday morning.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Life Chain Sunday

Although the newspaper said we had 68 people attend, I still thought it was a powerful witness.  The annual Life Chain was held from 2 - 3 p.m. in St. Joseph today, so Dorito and I went together and prayed the rosary for an end to abortion.  You never know who is going by--many people honk and give us the thumbs up.  It reminded me of the blog story I recently read on the 40 Days for Life website:
"Sometimes it’s hard to muster the courage and energy to confront the dark cloud of abortion that hangs over this nation. However, occasionally a ray of light shines through the darkness to remind us that God is still there and His love is triumphant.When I moved to Charlottesville this summer I met a couple men who had been standing outside of Planned Parenthood for years. In fact, one of them had been standing for so long that he was starting to question his service. He said to me, “It’s very rare that I get any positive feedback.” I told him that it was a small town, but I knew from my experience in Houston that lives were being changed simply by the presence of men and women outside of the abortion clinic praying and handing out literature.  No sooner had he crossed the street than a woman pulled up into the Planned Parenthood parking lot and started yelling at me. At first I thought she angry with me. But then she told me she wanted to tell me something. She pointed to the back seat of her car and said she had a grandson in a car seat that was alive because people were standing outside of the clinic — and she wanted to say thank you. I ran across the street to the parking lot where my friend was parked to tell him the good news. But God wasn’t done!  A week later a young woman pulled off the side of the road to tell me that she, too, had changed her mind because people were standing outside of the clinic. This woman later sent Steve a note: "I’m not sure why I was so inclined to stop and speak to you but remember feeling like I needed to tell someone my story, someone who changed my thought process when I was trying to decide whether or not I should carry my child to term. I cannot thank you and others like you enough for standing up for what you believe in, because had it not been for you all I may have made a horrible decision and terminated my pregnancy. My girl is my entire world, and everything I do now is so that I can create a better life for her.  Please, do not stop doing what you are doing. I know it may seem like your messages are falling on deaf eyes and blind eyes, but I can assure you that me and my daughter are proof of the power that you all have."
"So when your feet start to hurt and your back begins to ache,” said Steve, “just remember this baby is alive today because a group of people overcame their fears, anxieties, and personal plans to help others.”  Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.  Amen!

Hockey Champs in OKC

The twin's Pee Wee Major team won the championship today in Oklahoma City by remaining undefeated through five games.  It must have been Gr. Judy's chocolate chip cookies because Winger had 8 goals/7 assists, and Polar Bear scored 7 goals/13 assists!  Remarkable team work by everyone.  I didn't even blog about their Chicago tourney last weekend because they won 2 and lost 2, and looked rough around the edges.  This weekend's outcome was much more fun!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Mom's Weekend at Alpha Gam/Truman

It was family weekend at Truman State, and the streets were crowded with visitors bustling between the dorms and activities.  Meggar and I started at the Alpha Gam Pledge Cookout, hosted by a local alum, for lunch.  Great weather for grilling out and meeting the other freshmen pledges, including roommate Erin's parents from St. Louis.  Then I bumped into my own pledge sister from K-State-- Patty Neal who married Neil Brockschmidt and now is the mom of lovely Emma.  She and I talked for the longest time about Pi Phi sisters we could remember.  After that, I was happy to have Meggar mostly to myself.  We talked while strolling through the flea market and craft stalls in downtown Kirksville. We ended up buying a 60s groovy shirt and heels for her upcoming party plus an Alpha Gam sticker for her car.  Next was mass at the Newman Center, followed by supper with the McCanns.  Later, Meggar pleaded from some more snacks for her room (in addition to the brownies, apple bars, and poppy seed muffins I baked and brought?!) so we stocked up at HyVee before saying "good bye" again.  I hate driving away from Truman, but my heart appreciates the renewed closeness between mother and daughter. (Sorry, no photo.)

Handing Down Lessons

The hockey coach said something important today between tournament games to the Pee Wee Major team:  "Last year, the Schmids and Dane had to miss shifts and take less playing time, too.  Now they are the older players, and we needed them to help us win in order to advance to the finals."  It was just as good for my twins to hear as the younger boys who were listening!  There were MANY games last year that Winger and Polar Bear were frustrated sitting out while Van and Finne were on the ice.  It was even more maddening when Van didn't score--as that was the whole point.  But now the '98s are the leaders. And they stepped it up--winning in the final two minutes by a score of 6-5. Tomorrow they will be in the championship in Oklahoma City.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Scout Project Begins

Dorito went with Captain to remove the flag pole from his donor's home this afternoon.  Dorito was glad to take another step forward in his Eagle project.  The weather was just brilliant this afternoon--literally as the sun bronzed all the trees.  This flag pole will be set up at the new One-Room Schoolhouse for the Pony Express Museum sometime soon.  During its removal, I enjoyed a cup of tea with Constance in the house.  She and I love history, good literature, and crafty projects.  We also giggled about daughters in college.  Meanwhile, the boys talked some man-talk in the garage with Bill: tools, motorcycles, and such-like until we all had our fill.

Catholic Homeschooling in Little Ways

This is my 13th year of homeschooling in this city, and the number of Catholic homeschool families is roughly the same as it always has been. But it is rare that we do something collectively.  Today was one of those chances with a Mass at St. James celebrated on the Feast of St. Therese, the Little Flower.  I guess it's appropriate that her motto was doing little works for love of Jesus.  That's the way academics work at our homeschool, and the way it works with our group spread among three local parishes.  My grand ideas of Catholic co-ops and shared core subjects have not come to fruition (with occasional spurts and stops every odd year or so).  So I am content with the participation today.  My twins were acolytes with Max; I played the organ with Emma as my announcer;  and Dorito was lector (for the first time).  He said, "I'm never doing that again, Mom."  But I was proud of his efforts and bravery.  Afterwards we enjoyed a potluck breakfast, and the coffee always seems to taste better among friends.  I guess it's because I don't have coffee very often, nor do I linger over it with other homeschoolers very often. All day I shall try to relish the blessing of little things in life.