Friday, April 29, 2011

Show Me Some Talent

The "Fiddlers Three" did wonderfully well fiddling through the "Orange Blossom Special" tonight for the KQ-2 "St. Joe's Got Talent" contest.  It was a personal best, even though the boys were not selected as the winner.  And all monies went to a good cause: the Allied Arts Fund.  Afterwards, I got lost on the way back to the Scout campout.  Long day.

Being with Ben Franklin

Today's field trip also included a play at the Coterie Theatre.  We are big fans of their one-hour productions and in the past have seen Laura Ingalls and Mark Twain.  "Ben Franklin's Apprentice" did not disappoint, especially with its realistic cracks of lightning and a shocking climax. 

Water Lilies Viewed in KC

The highlight of our field trip was viewing Monet's Water Lilies at the Nelson Art Gallery in KC.  The triptych will be on display all summer, and today there was more than a steady stream of interested viewers.  The Nelson is one of only a few art museums which could display three of these large paintings together anyway, and they are making great use of their elongated Bloch Wing space.  My boys liked the computer pads available for an electronic painting of your own water lily to email to yourself.  Here is Polar Bear's creation: quite nice.
After the special exhibition, we had a tour of the Impressionist wing of the Museum to see other Monet masterpieces, as well as Manet, Cassatt, and all the rest.  Makes me revel in last summer's stop with Meggar in Giverny to see Monet's home, flower beds, and Water Gardens in person.  The Museum and painting shed there are STUFFED with great works and black-and-white photographs of the artist in his day.  It's a smaller museum space but a closer connection can be felt with the paintings.  Meggar's photo of the Japanese bridge now hangs in Grandma Judy's house.

A Tip of the Hat to the Royal Wedding

As a true Anglophile, I should have awoke at 4 am to watch live coverage of the Royal Wedding.  But I slept in and scrolled through a few web photos after breakfast instead.  My Friday will be almost as busy as Princess Catherine's, as I'm leading a homeschool field trip to Kansas City with five other families.  I was glad to see all the pretty hats and traditional wedding customs reigning the day.  The couple appears truly in love and very happy in spite of the limelight.  Was she carrying lilies of the valley?  I read they are considered Royal flowers for such an occasion, so I learned something new and it reminded me to get my planters out of winter storage.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Talk Like Shakespeare

Dorito is ready to start "Antony & Cleopatra" for Sophomore Literature.  I know he will want to read it aloud in parts/characters, like we did for "Julius Caesar" this month.  He was Caesar and Brutus, while I was Cassius and Antony.  (Does Candise sound like Cassius? I hope not!)   The Bard's birthday was April 26 (this week!) and I just had to post a bit.  I adolize him for a couple of extra reasons:  he had twins (named Judith and Hamnet, in case you are wondering) and there is a great likelihood that he was Catholic during the time when that was a dirty word in Britain.  Joseph Pearce wrote a book investigating the possibility of Shakespeare's Catholicity, and Pearce is speaking at the KC Homeschool Conference in June!  Can't wait!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rescue Hero

Dorito was truly our Rescue Hero yesterday.  There were gallons of water pouring into the basement because the sump pump hose became unattached!  I was still at the PX Board meeting and Captain was at the office.  Dorito muscled the furniture away from the walls and pulled up the carpet and pad to start shop-vac-ing.  Obviously, he knows the drill from our previous "disasters" and I was proud of him for tackling the responsibility.  Three blowers today did the trick and we will soon be back to normal.  Now if St. Joe Waterproofing would come and BEGIN the repairs before we have a heavy rain!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Technology Deficient

Last week, all three computers in our house froze up.  Dorito couldn't finish his essay on "Julius Caesar."  The twins couldn't watch their math DVD.  I couldn't check my email or blog. UGH!  We are still waiting for one computer to come back from the repair shop this week, so we are forced to limp along with a moderately old laptop with none of my saved files on it. I am realizing how much I rely upon my life being completely efficient.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Blessings and Enchantments

Having Meggar back in our family circle brought such joy to everyone!  Saturday, she helped Grandma and Ashlan with shopping. She also studied quite a bit for her upcoming Biology final.  Yesterday, she and the boys watched 8 episodes of "White Collar" from NetFlix while indulging in candy, junk food, and Dr. Pepper (which they had given it up for Lent).  They also sat in the hot tub telling secrets until well past their bedtimes.

Today, she was so happy to see her friends come for our tea-party luncheon.  We served the requisite chicken salad on china plates along with potato-leek soup, muffins, 3-bean salad, jell-o salad, strawberries with cream, and carrot cake.  I let myself indulge in three strong cups of tea (PG Tips) since it was a dreary day.  Our discussions ran from books to movies back to books and Jane Austen and gardening and college and LIFE.  Meggar even managed a stiff upper lip when telling how her date ditched her just 5 days before the AGD formal.  See what I mean?  It's all just a normal LIFE.  Good to have a talkative, lady-like, and intellectual daughter.
Then we girls settled in for the movie "Enchanted April."  Traditionally, we watch it every year on a rainy day in April and dream of the smells of wisteria in Italy.

Second Anniversary

I certainly enjoy my blog, and happily note that today marks its Second Anniversary!  No give-aways or special prizes, but I will change my profile picture to the newest Easter photo, like I did the past two years.  And I will say thanks again to Ana, who encouraged me to start this venture.  It's filled a gap for me (while I'm still resisting Facebook).  And despite Picasa bailing out on me earlier this year, I still savor the challenge of finding something short and sweet to write about the Schmidling's schedule each and every day.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Glorious Easter Dinner

The word to describe my heavily laden Easter table is Glorious.  Gold chargers were setting off the china with its green and tan scrollwork...  Egg cups (from London) made striking individual place cards (very HGTV)...
Everything warm and out of the oven at the same time:  ham with pomegranate glaze, scalloped potatoes, boiled sweet potatoes (Winger's favorite), steamed asparagus (Meggar's request), peas with basil (smells fresh as a spring garden),  honey Bunny rolls (snip two ears in bread dough balls and brush with honey-butter before baking), three-bean salad (Grandma's favorite), baked hearts of palm appetizer bites, relishes and pickles, colorful veggie tray, a good white wine, and
my coup de grace was petite gelatin molds on china dishes (Captain's favorite combo: orange Jell-o with grated carrots and crushed pineapple).  We were pleasantly stuffed. 

Don't forget my dessert: carrot cake (Ina Garten's recipe) in the requisite holy day shape!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Vigil Mass

Our family assisted with the Easter Vigil mass tonight:  Dorito played beautifully on the violin for all the extra songs and responses plus the twins did an excellent job on the altar.  It is such a dramatic liturgy:  going from total darkness for three Old Testament readings then the peeling of bells during the "Gloria" as the lights come on one at a time brightening the whole church with the glory of the resurrection.  He is Risen indeed. Alleluia.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Healing Over the Years

I know my life is soft -- I didn't even tear up at tonight's Good Friday's service, although it is the anniversary of the end of my cancer treatments in 2004.  Apparently, seven years is a mark of true progress in my healing.  But who can be sad when Meggar has just driven home for the weekend and is sitting in our pew holding my hand?  God is near and continuing to bless me!

We Made the Cut

I'm pleased to announce that "The Fiddlers Three" made the cut for the KQ-TV contest "St. Joe's Got Talent."  Thanks to all our friends who helped us earn a chance to perform at next Friday's finals at Central High School.  Tickets are $5 for the 7:00 pm show with live voting by the audience as well as the judging panel.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

St. Joe's Got Talent

KQ2-TV is hosting a "St. Joe's Got Talent" contest this week.  Our kids' video is on their special Facebook fan page.  If you want to vote for the The Fiddlers Three, you can "Like" us on Facebook or send an email message to and that helps us out.  Vote before Good Friday at 4:00 pm!!  THANKS!

The Cupboard was Bare

Once a week, I go to the snack pantry to see what I need to buy before grocery shopping day.  First I put the chip clips back on, then I take out the empty boxes: usually two or three of them!  Who leaves an empty box in the pantry?!  I can already tell because: Winger likes blueberry granola bars, Polar Bear likes strawberry (or vice versa), Dorito likes fruit and nut bars, plus there is occasionally an empty box of hot chocolate mix, cheese crackers, instant oatmeal, toaster pops, or granola thins.  Today I found five empty boxes--a new record for my home of three hungry, teenaged boys!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Club Delights in Gardening

Our book club selection was "Down the Garden Path" by Beverley Nichols, who wrote from England about gardening with a dignified yet amusing British sense of humor.  He even mentions "Cranford," which earns him bonus points with our group!

We enjoyed his character sketches, which had me laughing out loud, although he admits his book was written "about nothing" (makes me recall the Seinfeld TV show). The specialty of Nichols (1898-1985) was winter flowers,the kind that he could coax into blooming December through March.  Pity that we don't have the same climate here in the Midwest. We ladies shared stories of our own gardening failures and dreams.  If it was May, we probably would have shared cuttings.  Alison gifted each of us with a "Jane Austen tuberose candle" and it smells completely of June outside my patio window!  I am eager for the return of my tuberoses (a gift from Betty at my church). But meanwhile, the occasional sunny spots of April weather have drawn me outside o the flower beds more than other years, thanks to Nichol befriending me on the Garden Path.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Job on the Radio

Meggar called to tell us about getting a job at the campus radio station for next year.  She applied to host her own weekly 1-hour slot of music and was accepted today!  She is really looking forward to this creative endeavor.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tax Man Cometh

I finished our taxes and made the copies and mailed them off.  But I'm still mad.  We crossed leaped over some imaginary line this year.  Our tax liability went up 33%!!  I looked and figured it again.  But it's right.  We are not complaining about our standard of living, but I wonder about the sudden difference since nothing really changed financially in our lives this year.  Nor even last year. Captain has received a cost-of-living 3% raise every summer for the past several years.  It doesn't seem right that we are paying for so many people not to work, not to farm, not to pay for their own lunch/library/bus/insurance/anything for their kids, and that is on top of our planned giving/tithing.  Oh, I know the problems are more complex than any simple across-the-board cuts could solve.  But I wonder how we can re-teach entire generations to take more personal responsibility?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

ShootOut Goals for the Twins

  The twins went to Minnesota this weekend to play hockey.  (Yes, that means they only had a 40-day break from their favorite sport.)  This was an Invite-Only '98 Tournament for AAA-level players.  Captain was thrilled to call and tell me how Polar Bear engineered the tying goal in the last 10 seconds of the first game.  They were playing the Midwest Crush in the same rink where "Mighty Ducks" was filmed. And later he called to reveal that Polar Bear and Winger were the ONLY two who could score during an 8-man shootout in the final game! Enough said. Except that Uncle Charlie and Aunt Kara (who live near the rink) came to watch with baby Sophia.  Cutie pie!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

5 Minute Fridays

I like to  read the blogs of other Catholic/homeschooling moms.  It makes me feel connected to "friends" even if they are electronic-acquaintances only.  Today, I found one who offers a writing challenge on Fridays to write on the topic she proposes for just five minutes and then post it.  Since I didn't have five minutes yesterday (nor most days) I am linking here to one that reads very similar to my own life with Captain.  I'd say "the Devil is in the Distance" even though it sounds so cliche.  We love each other as much as ever, and we communicate better and better -- maybe because we get more and more practice.  Fortunately, after 21 years of experience/practice, I revel in the free texting and free weekend minutes on cell phones.  It's a far cry from the old days when I had to wait until he reached his hotel and called me with his calling card.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Homeschool Prom 2011

"Unsolved Mysteries" was the theme, and my invitations were designed with a plastic magnifying glass on the front (thanks, Robin).  Everyone was fingerprinted at the door and given a jury ballot to vote on Whodunnit?

Our event was held at the St. Joseph Country Club and began with sparkling punch.

During the Murder Mystery, Miss Carolannah Montana was one of the prime suspects.  She was interrogated by Detective Stephen Stottlemeyer for the death of a waiter named Handsome Jack Sparrow.  The props were half of the fun--as well as the unscripted parts in the courtroom.

Dorito and his date McKenzie enjoyed the dinner and dancing:

Stuffed Pork Chop with Guilty Gravy,
Twice-Interrogated Potatoes,
Sing-to-the-Cops Vegetable Medley,
Cemetery Field Greens with Blood Oranges,
In-hot-water Dinner Rolls, and
Death by Chocolate Dessert.

These senior girls were "crossing the line!"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Foundation is Finished

Dorito and I made another haul of limestone/flagstones to the Pony Express Museum so the brick mason could finish the faux foundation on the One Room Schoolhouse.  Last week, the twins and Brooke boys (shown here) helped us get the third load.  This is one small part of Dorito's Eagle Scout project.
The extra stones will add a rustic look to the landscaping, too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Slowing Down

Two more family members fell to the flu bug today.  The twins are going to stay in bed and drink plenty of fluids so they can recuperate faster than Captain has.  These slower days are a blessing to me, if I can keep the right perspective.  Usually I am a super-organized homeschooling mom and thrive on the accomplishments of each subject, every day, week in and week out.  Instead, we focused on finishing up our read aloud and writing a few thank you notes, which left me plenty of time to expand the Murder Mystery for our upcoming Prom.  I'm taking the librarian's copy with its five characters and elaborating on it.  My new scheme features 31 roles (12 are jurors) and the death of a Country Club waiter named Handsome Jack Sparrow, investigated by Judge Perry Mason (a play on word for Senior Matthew Mason who gets the judge's gown and gavel).  My writing skills from journalism school are becoming useful in ways I never imagined!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Grand Finale of Cooking Class

After three years of offering a cooking class for homeschool boys and/or girls, my twins suggested that I wrap it up.  They enjoy eating whatever we make, but they have almost memorized the cookbook.  Our last time together in the kitchen was fun -- we made supreme and dessert pizzas then played "Kitchen Bingo" until all my candy prizes were claimed.  The Grand Finale program that evening included a wonderful performance by the Choirs!  Followed by ice cream at Culvers for the teenagers.
Dessert Pizza Turnovers
1 dozen frozen bread rolls
1 c. apple pie filling
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
Thaw frozen dinner rolls on counter. Roll each one into 4-inch circle on lightly floured surface. Snip apple pie filling with scissors to make smaller chunks of fruit.  Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Spoon filling into center of each turnover. Brush edges of circle with water; fold dough in half over the filling; pinch and seal edges with fork tines. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 350’ F for 15-20 minutes.  Drizzle with frosting if desired.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Practice Hike

The High Adventure crews took a practice run this weekend by hiking at Indian Caves in Nebraska.  Dorito (far right) did well, as we expected, with Ben, Jacob, Andrew, and Proctor.  He walks fast with those long legs!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another Masterpiece

Captain has become hooked on Masterpiece Theater with me.  Would you believe that I saw “Captain Wentworth” last week?  He played Hannay in “The 39 Steps.”  The spy-themed movie-ette is currently showing for a limited time and you can watch instantly here.  Because it is only 1 hour and 23 minutes long, it’s a perfect evening break from your routine.  My husband and I thought it was much better than “Any Human Heart,” which was last month’s free installment.  Of course, we are eager to see “Upstairs Downstairs,” which starts today.  I didn’t realize the Masterpiece schedule was changing so regularly, and I wanted to make sure my blog friends were also having the benefit of watching these free classics!  Plus Kristen pointed out the sweepstakes at PBS to win a trip to the UK, which I have entered again and again...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dale at Dad's Weekend

Captain called on his way back from Truman State and the AGD Dad's Weekend.  He had a wonderful time!  Too bad they didn't take any pictures.  Of course, he spoiled Meggar with hugs and eating out and a movie.  They had very warm weather for an afternoon cookout with about 45 other dads and daughters. (I used the warm day for gardening and splitting hostas with my friend Dee.)  Captain told me all the good conversations he and Meggar shared, and how delightful it is to have a mature young woman in our family.  I agree!
Addendum:  Meggar proudly said they were the best dressed pair at the BBQ! Captain met Shawna's and Emma's dads so he had someone sober normal to talk to.  Happily, Meggar has only six debits from her savings account this semester.  He gave her a refresher course in campus safety.  She played piano for him at OP Hall, and he noticed the Steinway's humidifier needed refilled just like the one at our house! :-)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Loving the Librarian

I have two reasons to love librarians:
FIRST--this week one of them gave me a free copy of a Murder Mystery Dinner script (which run $25-$65 online) for our upcoming Prom.
SECOND--we started a new read-aloud at home which a librarian gave to me in 4th grade: "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Franweiler."  Everyone here is thrilled with this story of a sister and brother who run away to the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York City and try to solve the mystery of the Michaelangelo statue.  This book won a Newbery Medal in 1968, and my librarian in grade school encouraged me to read all the Newbery books on her shelves.  Which I did.  I was always an obedient girl, you see!  Except when I was caught reading after bedtime with my nigh-light on.  But those books have stuck with me all these years, and I've tried to squeeze most of them into my children's lives.  Just now, I did a quick check of the Newbery list (since 1922) and it revealed that I have read 25 medal winners and 25 honor books, plus I own 24 more that we haven't gotten to yet.  Great literature and libraries are a treasure. Thank goodness Ben Franklin invented libraries!
Addendum:  The prologue mentions that Mrs. Elaine L. Konigsburg received her Newbery Medal at the Muehlebach Hotel right here in Kansas City!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thank You Notes

We talked a lot about Confirmation while washing up the china and silver this week.  Dorito has already begun to write thank you notes for his nice gifts--what an outpouring of love and blessings for this boy! John the Baptist statue...
 Hand-carved cross from the Holy Land with 4 inserts: dirt and rose petals from the Garden of Gethsemane, plus incense and stones from the tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem.

Guests at the special luncheon:  Jungbluth boys, and cousin Hannah.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Down the Scouting Path

"It's a Christmas Miracle!" (That's the Schmidling way of expressing complete joyful surprise.)  We are all in shock that the twins have chosen to join Boy Scouts this week.  They both listened to my suggestion at the Court of Honor (finally?) and took off with a BANG!  They've asked Dorito millions of questions, which is a sweet recollection of his own behavior at this stage.  Then, Captain took them to the Scouting Office to buy their official uniform shirts. Now I have several patches to sew on.  Winger was the first twin to equip his back-pack with a Scout manual, merit badge paperwork, pen, pencil, etc.  He enjoys making lists and being ultra-organized.  PolarBear has one now, too!  They raced each other to memorize the Scout oath and law.  Done in one day flat.  They have mapped out on a calendar how to get the required service hours and campouts completed in the quickest time, so they can advance to Tenderfoot and Second Class Scout before summer camp.  I'm so glad to see them focused and willing to complete such a worthwhile endeavor.  Now it's a family affair!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

If You Give a Moose a Muffin...

My cooking classes today made all sorts of muffins--and gave them away to family and friends until there wasn't a crumb left to put jelly on.  The warm smells and leftovers are part of the satisfaction I get from these weekly classes.  I discovered that raspberries work for this new recipe just as well (in case you make them in the off-season for cranberries).
Cranberry Cornmeal Muffins
1 egg
1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick), melted
2/3 c. buttermilk
1 t. grated lemon peel
1 T. lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1/3 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. frozen cranberries, partially thawed
1/4 c. slivered almonds
Whisk together egg, butter, buttermilk, lemon rind, and juice in large bowl.  Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add to wet ingredients and stir slightly, just until combined. Fold in cranberries gently. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups about 2/3 full.  Sprinkle almonds on top with a pinch of sugar. Bake at 350’ F for 15 minutes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Modern Viewpoint

Captain's family went to the hangar for an after-hour's viewing of the new Gulfstream.  Immediately, we noticed the tail number:  N11OMG -- and we couldn't help but think aloud how its name suits the whole situation! November-Eleven-O-M-G.  I don't actually allow my kids to text or say "OMG" but the refurb of this aircraft gave Captain fits during the past several weeks, including a 6-day stay in Lincoln to help troubleshoot the electrical systems.  He wanted to pull his hair out and say other curse words, I'm sure.  The new tail number will be more in step with the Herzog dynasty:  N2HZ.  (BTW, we had a good laugh. LOL.)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Confirmation for Dorito with Bishop Finn

This is the day he will take the name St. John the Baptist!  Dorito has been looking forward to the big sacrament because he shares the same birthday as the saintly man who lived in the desert and wore camel hair.  Just as important was our family luncheon prior to mass.  Bishop Robert Finn was our guest of honor and lent his warmth and kindness to our table. We learned that he was a Boy Scout, a fallen-away saxophone player, and a high school principal whose better students often landed at Truman State. Dorito wanted a fancy menu and he suggested I make Julia Child's "Fricassee de Poulet" which I served alongside steamed rice and asparagus spears with Hollandaise sauce.  We started with a spinach salad with strawberries, in honor of St. John's Eve, and concluded with a lovely cake made by Carol Hime (from Easton).  The violin concerto by Dorito and Meggar made me a little teary-eyed. 
The mass was very holy, and Dorito's smile was evident as Uncle Carey stood up with him.  We are all eager to read the book/gift from his sponsor about a little boy's near-death recollections of heaven and Jesus.  It's such a joy to reach these important milestones with our children. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Golf Outing in the Off Season

The twins have been planning for this day all winter.  They went to Topeka to golf with their goalie, Dawson.  They are so excited to find someone else who is as serious about golfing as they are!  It gives me time to clean and polish up the house for our important family gathering tomorrow.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Coconut Shrimp Cakes

No fooling--these were delicious!  I have been saving this recipe for a Friday in Lent, since I've already indulged in tasty fish tacos on a previous Friday.  Captain was home to try this new dish with me.  Not really a penance for our tastebuds!