Saturday, December 31, 2011

Grand Ole Opry for New Year's

No trip to Nashville would be complete without tickets to the "Grand Ole Opry," and we thought it was a great way to spend New Year's Eve. We were not disappointed with the dozen or so acts: fiddlers (oh yeah), mandolin, accordian player, square dancers, gospel quartet, Jimmy Wayne, a Patsy Kline impersonator, hill-billy comedian, and more! My personal favorite was "Dailey & Vincent" doing 4-part harmony a capella. The only thing open afterwards was Krispie Kreme, which the boys thought was great!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Road Trip for Hockey

We drove all the way to Nashville yesterday. Dorito helped by driving the first five hours, and he was rewarded at our lunch stop. The Dakota Double Bacon Burger, at Travel America outside St Louis, is HUGE!

Meggar is staying in St Louis for New Years with her college roommate and we will pick her up on the way back. Meanwhile, the twins are intensely focused on HOCKEY. This is Part 2 of a Super Series for AAA teams only. We are ranked 26 in the nation for '98 players. Won our first game 4-1 and eager for another victory this evening.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Favorite Things...

I spend a great deal of time in the kitchen cooking for three teenage boys, even though I try to be as efficient as possible with cleanup. I have always loved cooking and baking, and several things in my kitchen bring extra joy to the whole process (from left to right) ginger grater, pink salt from Australia, alderwood pepper, pink peppercorns, regular salt and pepper, olive oil bottle with easy-pour spout, and black pepper grinder. OK, the regular salt and pepper shakers are not very exciting. They were a wedding gift, but I love they are white (easy to clean) and large (refills needed less often).  But I am very excited about the pink salt. One pinch gives a finished flavor to my best dishes, and sometimes I splurge and sprinkle it on steamed veggies, too. The pink peppercorns give a pretty finish to any dish. The olive oil is healthy, and I tend to use it more since my Mom gave me the pretty bottle that I can set out on the island by the cook top.

Also, i love the porcelain graterfor fresh ginger (shaped like a blue fish, which was a gift from my brother Clint in his bachelor days when he was more interested in cooking). It's so easy to keep ginger root in the freezer and then grate it for my "Grilled Sesame Chicken" recipe. My family or company is always pleased when I serve it. The intense flavors are delicious, and the garlic makes this dish so addictive.
Grilled Sesame Chicken
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 c. soy sauce
1-2 T. freshly grated ginger root
1 T. dry mustard pwd.
1 t. fresh ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 c. chopped green onions (or chives)
3 T. sesame seeds
Combine all ingredients in large bowl or baggie for marinade. Seal with as many chicken breasts as you need for family and friends. Refrigerate for 2-8 hours. Remove chicken, reserving marinade. Grill over low to medium heat for 15-20 minutes, turning every 3 minutes and basting with marinade after each turn. Discard remaining marinade. Serve with wild rice.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Leftovers in the Waffle Iron

Yesterday, I wanted to use leftover turkey to make sandwiches. Meggar said she only wanted grilled cheese... and she proceeded to make it in the waffle iron?! because it was still setting out on the kitchen counter. It turned out like a panini, so then I followed suit and made a turkey-and-brie sandwich for me. Yum!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Health Matters

I had three suspicious lumps show up on my mammogram, so diagnostic sonograms were ordered.  After a long and fretful morning, I am relieved to report that all three are benign fibroids/cysts.
Megan had a cyst removed today from the left side of her neck. Went quickly - only 3 stitches. The pathology report will be done soon and we expect it will be good news, too. Busy day. Thanks be to the Lord, who is with us in all things.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day -- which in England and Canada means boxing up food items and Christmas cheer for the poor or those in service (servants). It America, it means cleaning up the boxes and gift-litter so we can see the poor floor again.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Morning!

After midnight mass, there's no easy way to get up the next morning. But Eggnog Waffles certainly help! Off to Wichita to visit relatives.
Eggnog Waffles
2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. eggnog
1/4 c. oil
Combine dry ingredients first. Stir in wet ingredients just until lumpy. Cook on waffle iron or make as pancakes. Delicious and fluffy!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Cards

Love to write them with a theme...
The best Christmas letter looks at the cup half-full instead of focusing on what may be lacking in our lives and in our society.  This year my tea leaves point toward something besides hockey!  Boy Scouts truly emphasizes a virtuous life with its 12-point Scout Law and doing your duty to God and neighbor daily.  The advancement rituals mark out a boy's trail toward maturity and manhood in a meaningful way.  So with a nod to Baden-Powell's 100 years of success, I am borrowing the Scout framework here:
Tenderfoot rankThe twins became teenagers this spring and wanted more adventure (and separate cell phones). I suggested a paper route and violin students to help their cash flow, but they took Reid's advice and finally joined Scouts, too. They are quite serious and have progressed to Star rank already, which usually takes 2-3 years!  We have acquired more cots, sleeping pads, mosquito nets, backpacks, hiking boots, camel-back water pouches, and knives (don't get me started).  They eagerly endured a 2nd week of sweltering heat at Camp Geiger to earn more merit badges. Ben is currently the patrol leader, and he wants to plan *additional* campouts?!  I am warming up to the idea after a successful family venture to Wallace State Park. “Silent Night.”
Second Class rankDavid quipped that his parents are now over the hill: "Most people live to be 90, so 45 is half-way--and you are 46 which is already going downhill!" Hmm. “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”
First Class rankReid was sidelined after a concussion last November (lots of physical therapy might change his future career path) so we thought a referee job would be good exercise and safer situations—until his finger was broken by a flying puck.  David and Ben were proud to also pass the ref-qualifying test.  Unfortunately, now David uses his position at center to argue with the refs when they are lining up at the wrong face-off dot. “We Three Kings.”
Star rank—Megan "stars" in her own weekly radio show on campus and was elected VP of Member Development for her sorority after a year of being Song Leader:  scheduling serenades, composing Homecoming songs, and teaching AGD music at meetings.  She wanted to sing more than one song each week and discovered it put everyone in a better mood!  College life is an in-your-face battle against the Culture of Death, appropriately named by Pope John Paul II (who was beatified this year).  So we try to fortify her with Spiritual quotes, Skype chats, and Starbucks packets. “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”
Life rankMarried life after 21 years is a balancing act. I like when we do things together as a whole family, and Dale likes when we do nothing all together as a whole family.  Hmm.  Communication is a priority amidst the changes and our children's busy lives.  “What Child Is This?”
Eagle Scout rankReid had an awesome 5th summer at Camp Geiger advancing to Fire Builder in the Tribe of Mic-o-Say and doing the Eagle Dance for Mr. Sisco's retirement.  Later, he and "Shotgun" backpacked with 9 others for 10 days at Philmont Scout Ranch (137,000 acres in New Mexico) and bought the famous belt buckle!  In August, he raised $1,460 and organized 30 volunteers to build 180 feet of split-rail fencing in front of the new One-room Schoolhouse, plus a flag pole that will fly a 33-star flag from 1860.  By October, he had written his Life Purpose paper and submitted all the correct forms along with earning 52 merit badges.  We proudly hosted his Eagle ceremony and dinner at the Pony Express Museum to celebrate his becoming the 95th Eagle Scout in the history of his Troop.  Since he was born in 1995 and had 95 guests at the party, this seems to be his lucky number.  I had the most fun creating photo displays, and it prompted our quiet son to tell some tales for the first time—such as how he forgot a sleeping bag in Canada and slept in the bathroom to keep warm.  Others may never see behind the scenes like a parent does, but when a 16-year-old writes his own speech and then improvises from his heart in front of relatives, mentors, and a US Congressman, then it reveals his true character. “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.”
My closing prayer as you are following yonder star 
is to discover an authentic peace in 2012.
"Guide us to Thy perfect Light"

The O Antiphons - final

The antiphons have been a wonderful prayer for the closing days of Advent. If you take the first letter of the Latin titles for Christ and place them backwards, they spell "Ero Cras" which means "Tomorrow I will come" mirroring the theme of waiting for Christ's birth tonight. Happy Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The O Antiphons - Day 7

Today's antiphon reads "O Come, O Come Emmanuel (God-with-Us)"

O Emmanuel,
Rex et legifer noster,
expectatio gentium,
et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos,
Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel,
our King and lawgiver,
the one awaited by the Gentiles,
and their Savior:
come and save us,
Lord our God.

(Icon by Dee Cooper Swift.) Here's a related tale:

The land of Persia was once ruled by a wise and beloved Shah who cared greatly for his people and desired only what was best for them. One day he disguised himself as a poor man and went to visit the public baths. The water for the baths was heated by a furnace in the cellar, so the Shah made his way to the dark place to sit with the man who tended the fire. The two men shared the coarse food, and the Shah befriended him in his loneliness. Day after day the ruler went to visit the man. The worker became attached to this stranger because he "came where he was." One day the Shah revealed his true identity, and he expected the man to ask him for a gift. Instead, he looked long into his leader's face and with love and wonder in his voice said, "You left your palace and your glory to sit with me in this dark place, to eat my coarse food, and to care about what happens to me. On others you may bestow rich gifts, but to me you have given yourself!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The O Antiphons - Day 6

Today's antiphon is "O Come, O King of Nations"

O Rex Gentium,
et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis,
qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem quem de limo formasti.

O King of the Nations,
and the one they desired,
who makes both peoples one:
come, and save mankind whom you formed from the dust of the earth.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The O Antiphons - Day 5

Today's antiphon is "O Come, O Rising Dawn"

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae,
et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina
sedentes in tenebris,
et umbra mortis.


O Dayspring,

splendor of eternal light,
and sun of justice:
come, and illuminate
those seated in darkness,
and in the shadow of death.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The O Antiphons - Day 4

Today is "O Come of Key of David"

O Clavis David,
et sceptrum domus Israel,
qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperuit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David, 
O royal Power of Israel,
controlling at your will the gate of heaven:
Come, break down the prison walls of death
for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death;
and lead your captive people into freedom.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The O Antiphons - Day 3

Today is "O Come, O Root of Jesse's Stem"

O Radix Jesse,
qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.
O Root of Jesse, 
that stands for an ensign of the people, 
before whom the kings keep silence 
unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: 
come to deliver us, and tarry not.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The O Antiphons - Day 2

Today is "O Come, O Giver of the Law"

O Adonai,
et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni and redimendum nos in rachio extento.

O Adonai,
and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and give him the law on Sinai:
come and redeem us with outstretched arm.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The O Antiphons - Day 1

The Catholic Church since the 8th or 9th century has prayed the "O Antiphons"-- a different refrain each day of the final week before Christmas for the familiar hymn "O Come O Come Emmanuel" or in Latin "Veni, Emmanuel."  I love how the titles are listed in order, based on the various titles for the Christ from Scripture. The translation and beautiful artwork are accompanied by a sermon from one of the saints at the website:

Today is
"O Come, 
O Wisdom 
from On High"

O Sapientia,
quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter,
suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom,
who proceeds from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching out mightily from end to end,
and sweetly arranging all things:
come to teach us the way of prudence.

Does anyone else see how appropriate this message is for our modern culture and for families facing the emotions of Christmas-time?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rocky Mountain High

A brief version of last two weeks: Drove to Lincoln. Stayed in our home-away-from-home for one night-- The Cornhusker Marriott with its fabulous room service and double suite. Drove to Denver in SNOW. Stopped at Harrow Factory Warehouse to get hockey sticks (we've broken 3 in 3 weeks). Yea, so they gave us free t-shirts.  Played in the Super Series AAA hockey -- won three and lost three. How can they call off three goals in one weekend? Spent time with Gr. Elizabeth. Stuffed ourselves on the fried chicken dinners at White Fence Farms.
Drove to Breckenridge. Had the place to ourselves.
Boys went snowboarding from dawn til dusk. Watched Mountain "Dew Tour "warm-ups and jumps! Cooked supper in our room. Movie Night + Pie Social. Wii room. Captain and I enjoyed the book shop and French pastries. Watched TV. Read "Unbearable Lightness of Scones." Wrote Christmas letter on iPad. Toured the Denver Mint (without our pocket knives). Drove home through Salina and looked at our "old house" once more.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chocolate Advent Calendars

I bought them early! Now, I cannot find them! It's so frustrating because they are hard to purchase in our little city--and I have looked around at all the usual hiding places in my home. I had bought one for each son, plus my godsons, plus Aunt Lois in the nursing home. Sometimes I am too organized for my own good.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lost by One Point

Hockey games were at the "home rink" in Independence this weekend, and several friends came to watch the twins and their Russell Stover '98 AAA team. We had lunch with the Verbicks between games, we spent time at Bass Pro Shop with Ben and Jamison, sat by the Richs family, and got caught up with Mrs. Kim, Winger's godmother. Unfortunately, we lost all three games by one point.

Homilist was a Boy Scout, Too

The priest today centered his homily around the positive attributes of Boy Scouts and their motto of "Be Prepared." I thought it was very fititng for Advent, while we are renewing our focus on the big-picture of eternal life. It's also fitting because our family has been thinking deeply about the Boy Scout's way of life. It is a fine program of leadership development--mixed with fun. Scouts also measures off a young boy's advancement to manhood with its seven ranks. In our modern culture, this is a rare focus--the fine qualities which ensure strong families and a strong nation for our posterity. How fortunate that our sons are working through these rites of passage into responsible adult life.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dorito's K-State Tweet

Dorito was excited and sent this message out on Twitter:  "That's my Wildcats 30-23 win over Iowa State 10-2 BABY! #KSU"

Friday, December 2, 2011

Eye Doctor Sees Us Right Away

Winger went for his annual eye check-up at the Plaza. Dr. Cibis is an old, German physician--very smart, organized, and efficient with all the lenses and measuring machines.  He was in a better mood than most visits. Note to self: make a December appointment again next year when everyone else is out shopping and we can get right in.  Report--Winger is the same as two years ago: a little exotropia with his left eye, but 20/20 vision and no color-blindness. He can be a pilot if he wants to!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Downtown Noon Concert

Dr. Jerry Anderson played "Sounds of the Season" on organ and piano this noon. How pleasanat that my boys are old enough to pack their own lunch so we can take field trips like this more easily?!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Scout's Own Speech

I also want to post Dorito's speech--at least the text he prepared--for the Eagle ceremony last week. He was very thoughtful over it, and it was longer than I anticipated. For a quiet boy, he had a great deal to express:

Eagle Scout Speech
      I would like to thank everyone for coming today. Scouting is a wonderful experience. You get lifetime friendships. You get opportunities to do things that some people will never get to do. So why not take that opportunity?  Young people these days may think that Scouting is stupid; well, I have done amazing things that they would never have thought of doing. So I am very glad that Jacob Brooke invited me to Webelos and got me into Scouting.  I will tell you now my brothers only wanted to do the outdoors stuff but not the merit badge work or go to meetings. They thought it would not be fun. But the first meeting they went to, they signed up!  I was one of those kids who wanted to try Scouting, and it is just an all-around great program.
    All of you Scouts out there who have not earned your Eagle --don’t stop striving towards it, because I am telling you from experience it is a great honor and feeling to be an Eagle Scout. The trail is very hard, but you have to keep going even when it is tough. 
    I think all of those who have been to Philmont would agree with me that the Philmont trek and the Scouting trail are very similar. Your first few days on the trail at Philmont are 2-mile short days; they do it so you can get used to the altitude. Then each day after that gets a little harder. Then the last day for us at least was hiking the Tooth of Time to 14,000 feet, which is like earning your Eagle rank. When you are on top of the Tooth looking over the prairie, you can see for miles and miles away. When you earn your Eagle, you look back and see all of the great times you had in Scouting. Then when you get off the trail, you are so happy to see a flushed toilet, real food, and soda. It’s just great!   In Scouting you make some great friends, same at Philmont – and you learn things about your crew members that you would have never thought of. Just like a shotgun of humming birds. In Scouting, I have had a great time camping and seeing friends, it’s just incredible. I have seen every corner of Scouting, by going on four high adventures, and winter camping, plus Camp Geiger, the COPE course, and Mic-o-Say.  I wish all Scouts had the same opportunities that I had.  I’ve learned that you should not burn the trash until you are sure you didn’t throw away the dessert packet, and how cold it is in Minnesota when I forgot my sleeping bag, and how to launch water balloons 50 feet into the next campsite, and how to build a fire all night long for Mic-o-Say.
     Probably the best thing that has happened to me was being a troop guide -- because you have to know all of the scouting skills all the time. I pretty much have the Scout book memorized -- back to front. So I can teach those Scouts the skills every week with the first years. 
     If I could give one piece of advice to the younger scouts here today, it would be:   Step out of your comfort zone and try to achieve more, be that over achiever. Because if it’s not you – then who will step up and be a leader?  So do your best to volunteer, take the lead, and help people. Because the people you help will help you when you need it most.  
    Now the moment you have been all waiting for -- the Mentor Pin. Some Eagle Scouts will give a Mentor pin. But the decision was a very hard one, I must say, because there were a lot of people who helped me along the way. Because of that, I decided not to give a Mentor pin, and instead say “Thanks” to all the adult leaders in Troop 216 who volunteer and come every week to help us.
    This has been a day that I have been waiting for. Thank you for all of those people who have helped me along the way. Thank you all for being here today, it means a lot to me for your support.
    I would like to leave you with a quote from Baden-Powell that talks about being prepared:  
    “A scout is never taken by surprise; he knows exactly what to do when anything unexpected happens.”            
    Thanks again. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In Praise of Bookstores

Our city lost its Borders even before the whole chain went under. That was a sad day. We used to go there for coffee-table-sized art books and Science Fair prizes and birthday presents (mostly hockey-related) and for the coffee (of course). I just love books, newspapers, and printed WORDS more than the average person, which is partly why I homeschool. So we have kept up our long-standing relationship with the librarians and enjoy hunting down bookshops when we are out of town. I have much the same thoughts as the owner of Eighth Day Books expressed in this Catholic Exchange article“I nurture the hope that our nature as human beings cries out for the physicality of the printed book, and the almost endless and surprising variety a bookstore uniquely offers. Without wishing to offend anyone, I believe digital books are a Gnosticizing technology, by contrast with real books sterile and ephemeral, offering only convenience and novelty in exchange for the more subtle and enduring genius and delightful corporeality of the codex…I have no Plan B. I’ll keep doing this, as much as it depends on me, until by last breath.”

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Mass Parts

I managed to figure out the missal and the new music for responses at Mass yesterday. The new English translation, proposed since 2000 Jubilee Year, makes sense to me (mostly). Maybe because I subscribe to and read the National Catholic Register. Captain and the boys were not as comfortble with it--probably because they went to a different service. I need to spend some more time educating them on the particulars.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Like a Sister

Meggar spent extra time with Dorito while she was home all week. And Hannah spent extra time with us, too. She is like a sister! The boys tease and hug her like a sister. Winger even talked back to me in front of Hannah! She gives them advice about life and jokes about their hair and "girlfriends." She went to mass with us this morning and stayed for Sunday dinner. Then we all helped pack up Meggar for going back to college. I'm always a little sentimental over departures. But every time Meggar comes home, I am grateful to learn more bits and pieces of her experiences, attitudes, and opinions. We are proud of that girl, who grows more mature every month. Why does that surprise me? Some days I think mothering will never end. Some days I appreciate that God invented time--so everything doesn't happen at once. Meggar and I don't agree on everything--she likes to tell me that I argue too much with Dad, spoil the boys, and don't give her enough spending money. But there is love, shopping, baking, and time to talk out everything eventually. It was a good Thanksgiving break.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

It was only tough on Meggar. She worked midnight to 4 a.m. with the long line at Old Navy. Then she slept in our basement guest room--quieter and darker. Meanwhile, the boys helped with Andrew's Eagle Scout service project at the cemetery. And, Captain wanted to spend more time with his dad. So I stayed home and baked cinnamon rolls, apple pie, and kept trying to feed everyone in different shifts. Here's a photo Meggar shared from the Thanksgiving Dinner with the AGDs before she left campus--she made the Indian headbands for everyone with the craft supplied her mother sent at the beginning of the term :-)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Brunch

Sleeping in has its merits. Our busy family decided not to travel today for the Thanksgiving holiday, and that's a BIG change from our usual schedule. I also wanted an easy meal plan, so we made late brunch with bacon, omelettes, poached eggs, scones, monkey bread, Darjeeling tea, and Tim Horton's coffee. (There's always a hockey connection somewhere!) The boys listened to Meggar's stories but were eager to test-drive their new video game, and Meggar has two shifts at Old Navy. But to focus on the positive, we counted the slower pace as a real blessing since there are some runny noses and ear aches to deal with in our crew.
Afterwards, we went to Aunt Kathy's for supper and fireworks with some of Captain's relatives. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Broken Down the Center

Monday we spent most of the day at doctors' offices. First the pediatrician, who took the X-ray of the fracture.

Then the orthopedic doctor, who told us stories of his hockey-playing son's injuries. Luckily, the bone is still straight, so we need to keep Reid's right hand steady while his index finger heals. A pair of Velcro splints will be our constant companions these next few weeks. Good thing Dorito is left-handed. And he hasn't complained though he comments the colors of bruising. He is mostly independent, even buttoning his own shirts and pants.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In the Newspaper

Dorito's Eagle Scout ceremony was featured in the Monday morning paper!  How great of a surprise!

Eagle Scout honored for achievements

St. Joseph’s newest Eagle Scout can rightly lay claim to the number 95 as unique in his achievements.
Reid Schmidling was born in 1995 and, on Sunday, he became the 95th Eagle Scout in Troop 216 history.
An Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held for Reid at the Pony Express Museum community room. He received numerous congratulations and presentations for the rank, the highest available in Boy Scouts.
Reid has earned 52 Merit Badges on the way to Eagle, said Scoutmaster Vernon Honeycutt. He also attained the rank of Firebuilder in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, as well as senior patrol leader and assistant senior troop guide.
His Eagle Scout project consisted of organizing and installing an 1860s-era flagpole and fence around the Pony School at the museum. Several museum officials attended the ceremony. “It was an awesome project,” Mr. Honeycutt said.
Congressman Sam Graves — a Republican from Tarkio who himself is an Eagle Scout and part of the Mic-O-Say tribe — also participated in the program. He presented a Congressional Record to Reid, signifying acknowledgement of the Eagle Scout achievement before colleagues in Washington, D.C.
“It’s something I hope you realize is just the beginning,” Mr. Graves said to Reid. “Your service will go on and on.
“They’re the fabric of their communities,” he added of all Eagle Scouts.
Mr. Graves also bestowed him with a U.S. flag that was flown over the Capitol. State Sen. Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph was present to offer a resolution on behalf of the Missouri Senate.
In his remarks, Reid urged fellow Scouts to strive for the Eagle Scout rank.
“I take that into my life every day,” he said. “It really changes your life, I swear.”
An Eagle Scout makes great friends that last for a lifetime, he added.
He had special advice for younger Scouts, who he counseled to help people whenever they can.
“Step out of your comfort zone and try to achieve more,” Reid said.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eagle Scout's Party

The after-party hosted 95 people, which proves that really is his lucky number.
The buffet had roast beef, barbecue brisket, rolls, cheesy potatoes, broccoli-rice casserole, sweet green beans, veggie tray, and fruit with dip. At least it was colorful, homemade, and warm!! Thanks to Constance and Lesa, who saved the day as kitchen servers. Plus there was a special cake...
The display boards mapped out his traveled routes between waterfalls, forests, lakes, and 10,000 foot peaks. Double rainbow, huge camp fire, wild animals...
and showed the best memories from time spent outdoors with friends.
His friend loaned us a mannequin for the hand-made costume.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Salute to Our Scout

The ceremony for Eagle Scout is always impressive--and Dorito was over-the-top happy!!
At the entrance doors, we hung balloons and had a sign-in sheet for well wishers. Along the side walls, we set display boards of his four High Adventure trips along side his Mic-o-say costume on a mannequin. And the wooden centerpiece was an eagle candle-holder for the 12 points of the Scout Law. 

The twins were excited to give the welcome and presentation of the colors, Adam and Alexander were Eagle escorts, Jake and Josh spoke the obligations, Mr. Honeycutt explained the ranks, and Mr. Sisco conferred the award pins and neckerchief. Such a meaningful ceremony.
Best of all was a special commendation from Congressman Sam Graves, also an Eagle Scout. He presented our son with a flag flown over the Capitol, too. 
Dorito's acceptance speech was directly from the heart, and he even spoke impromtu through the middle of it. Captain surprised Dorito with the gift of a class ring, which had been ordered with the Eagle emblem on one side. It barely slid over the fourth knuckle of his injured hand.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Broken Finger - Mercy Me!

Dorito was reffing the JV game at Bode, and it got pretty rough. He broke up a fight by bear-hugging one player and pulling him out of the scrum. Shortly after that, another player on the same team took a slap shot that seemed aimed at the opposing coach! Unfortunately, it hit Dorito's bare hand along the boards and probably broke his finger. He finished the game though. And he had free tickets to the "Mercy Me" concert so he packed it in ice and left with Meggar, Hannah, Lucas, and Jake for a fun event at the Sprint Center.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shakespeare with Meggar

Meggar is home for Thanksgiving break!! After yummy food, we went to the Schieber's for Shakespeare Out Loud. We finished up our reading of "Comedy of Errors" about the mix-up of twins. Very good fun!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meteor Shower?!

Polar Bear and I laid on the ground for 25 minutes, wrapped in two quilts, to watch the Leonids meteor shower after (late) hockey practice. There were clear skies but we only saw two falling stars, and were quite chilled from the wind. It was disappointing, but we might try again tomorrow night.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grand Finale with Homeschool Choir

The weekly co-op of classes for homeschoolers finished up their fall semester with a Grand Finale. The choir had 2 tenors and 1 bass from the Schmidling family!

Book Club with Japanese Food

For monthly book club tonight, I am making my favorite recipe from LABO camp: Yakisoban. I had travelled to Japan in the summer of 1983 to visit Akemi, who had been our family's 4-H exchange student. We are still pen pals to this day! Food is an important part of every culture and I love exploring new flavors and recipes. The women at book club will get a peek at my photos and souvenir umbrella, too. Our discussion is about "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet," and I like World War II stories of all types.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Recycling Game at Scouts

Polar Bear led the Scout troop in a recycling lesson tonight.  Earlier, he went to the recycling center for brochures and instruction on what they accept. He typed his speech and loaded up boxes of "trash" from our garage for them to sort.
And he wrapped it up with a relay race to see which team could properly sort the recyclables into bins.
Cleaning, sorting, and loading recyclables is often the "good turn daily" for the Scouts at our house - I was glad to get this out of the garage!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shopping Spree

Constance and I saved big bucks with our 30% off coupon for Kohl's. They usually mail out 15%--so this was doubly good. My new gloves and Meggar's suit coat are stylish!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Go Wildcats!

Went to MHK for the K-State football game today--great weather and a chance to:
-Tailgate with Gr. Gerald and Gr. Judy...
-Play touch football games with Chad's boys...
-Tour the campus with Dorito...
-Watch Collin Klein, the homeschooled quarterback, move closer to the TD record...
-Celebrate victory after four over-time periods!

Go 'Cats!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Co Co Key Water Resort

There was a discount today for homeschoolers at the Holiday Inn by the Sports Complex. How fun to meet up with Josh and Jarrett at Co-Co Key for only $5 each!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How Many More Days?

Winger said the sweetest thing at the breakfast table today. We were talking about Meggar being home all next week for Thanksgiving break, and he said, "I'm starting to get used to her being at college, but she will be done in only two more years and then she will come back home!" (smile)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hillyard Technical School

Dorito was our tour guide yesterday--and he spoke quite expertly about his experience in the Electronics/Robotics class. Plus he knew his way around the whole building as he showed us the other 14 departments. He looked great in his "Hillyard Ambassador" shirt. There were seven homeschool 8th graders and their parents on our tour--it was the first time Captain, Polar Bear, and Winger had been there! Very impressive! Captain enjoyed his long talk with the Reid's instructor as well as the machining teacher. His own father was a machinist for over 30 years at TWA and it was interesting to see that type of job up close. (Captain also fondly remembers his welding and lathe work in high school shop class.)

Here are the photos of what Dorito has made first semester: digital multimeter. He made the entire circuit board by wiring all 79 components including: resistors, diodes, capacitors, IC sockets, mylar caps, switch, and alarm buzzer.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chess Merit Badge

Mr. Bird says Dorito is the FIRST ONE in our Robidoux Scout District and among the first in the nation to earn the Chess merit badge. It was only launched in September, and actually all three of my boys passed the requirements today. Last weekend's chess tournament was kind a bust with very low attendance, so this makes up for it.  And it is exciting to sew ONE more badge on Dorito's sash before his Eagle ceremony.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Referee Exams

Dorito finished his Level 3 exam and PASSED! (needed 90%)
Polar Bear finished his Level 1 recertification and passed!
Still waiting on Winger... these annual exams are a pain in the neck/takes too long. I'm so glad when we can put away the 12 pages of questions (x3) and the rule books which have littered the hearth room for weeks.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekend Updates

1. Polar Bear did NOT score the first goal of the first game this weekend in Chicago. But they enjoyed playing two really tough teams from Canada. Shows them how fast and smart 13-year-old's hockey can be.
2. Meggar interviewed and got the job at Old Navy (for the holidays). Also got a black suit jacket for AGD initiation and other gifts needed for her little sister.
3. Dorito poured over samples to get ideas for his Eagle Scout ceremony.
4. Winger started writing out his Christmas list! all camping items for Scouts?!
4. Captain is glad that our basement is staying dry during the steady rains.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Women of Faith Conference-Part 2

A little laughter. Some sarcasm. Hugs and Bible verses. Coffee (definitely). Awesome outfits (of course). Twitter. Break from college drama = Meggar and Hannah

Friday, November 4, 2011

Women of Faith Conference

Boys are gone to Chicago for hockey so I skipped school, too!  I used Meggar's ticket for the first session of the "Women of Faith Conference" today at Sprint Center. Patsy Clairmont is always hilarious and truthful about Christian women in the modern world. And she was joined by Andy Andrews (high-energy motivator) on the stage. He talks about principles and intentional living. ("It has been scientifically proven that people who read are smarter, wealthier, happier..." ) I sat by Mrs. Mason, who is over-qualified for a handicapped parking sticker; and Mrs. Shindorf, who is the queen of blogging and coupons. FUN!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Funny Rattling Noise

The little country parish wanted a fill-in organist, so I agreed to help out a bit.  But when I turned on the organ, it made a terrible rattling sound. We checked for loose boards or keys--nothing. The pastor admitted he had recently moved the organ and we were suspicious that might have damaged it some way.  But the FUNNY thing was when the men took off the back, they found inside two kernels of corn and 10 soybeans. They had fallen into the left speaker and were making the funny rattling noise.  Hmm?! Better than a dead mouse or $800 repair for parts.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Getting Ready for Snow

I am organizing ski passes to Snow Creek (near Weston, Mo) for the coming season.  It's only $99 for the lift ticket and $115 for a ticket plus rental equipment to ski once a week ALL season long at the man-made mountain. Excludes Fridays and weekends.  Such a good price for homeschoolers and after-school outings!  Go to to order: User name =  WestSkiClub, Password = HomeSki4fun

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Not Perfect By Any Stretch

This network allows me to post mostly positive messages, but lest you think I'm leading the charmed life, here's a word from our sponsor:  It has been one of those "full moon" weeks already -- me running out of gas, teenage son having a fender-bender in the school parking lot, arguments with spouse, disrespectful teens, unfinished homework, failed science exam, missing debit card, expired coupons I meant to use, dead batteries in all portable phones, nearby conversations that are obviously "exclusive," unreplied emails, and a partridge in a pear tree ungraded paper about St. Augustine's pear tree theft.

Monday, October 31, 2011

All Saints in Costume

The Catholic homeschoolers got together last night for our annual potluck supper and Saint-Guessing Game.
Polar Bear went as one of the four original doctors of the church--dressed like a doctor, with a Bible (St. Jerome).

Winger went as the twin brother saints who cured patients for free--dressed in Roman toga (St. Cosmas and Damian).

And I wore my Hawaiian shirt and lei to portray the priestly saint who served the leper colony in Hawaii (St. Damian Molokai).