Saturday, June 30, 2012

Food for the Heart

It has been four months since our last getaway, and I had an appetite for the Plaza in Kansas City. Captain and I went there for a little shopping, a lot of talking, and dinner at The Raphael. Everything was suited to please, from the jazz pianist to the gourmet meal: blackberries on the salad, wine from Argentina, steak from KC, blue cheese in the mashed potatoes, and coconut cake with pineapple ice cream for dessert. When your sweet tooth is satisfied, it's easy to be happy! Plus I had a good book to read in the car: "A Long Fatal Love Chase" by Louisa May Alcott.

Friday, June 29, 2012

For the Love of Laundry

You can only count on death, taxes, and laundry. I've been thinking about all three this week!!! Since it is summer vacation, and there is not 2-3 days of driving for hockey every week, I have no excuse. I'm going to make my own laundry soap. Maureen will be so proud. It's easy and thrifty, especially when you consider how much laundry there is here with athletes, pool towels, guest bedding, napkins, and cleaning rags. Again, I am reminded that a homeschooling family eats all their meals and lives full-time in their home (especially the bathroom), thereby increasing the wear-and-tear/expense/time needed by the manager of that home.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sad Supreme Court Decision

This morning the Supreme Court handed down its 5-4 ruling upholding the constitutionality of ObamaCare. It is a blow. But I was expecting a miracle?! The reality is that Obama appointed two pro-abortion justices to the Supreme Court soon after he was elected President. Luckily, America still has a majority of citizens who are pro-life and will work for that end politically, socially, and morally in this country.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

That Woman in the Bible

More and more, I have in recent years identified myself with the woman with the hemorrhage from  Luke 8:5 -- "And there was a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone." I wouldn't say I've spent all my money on physicians, nor have I bled constantly these 14 years since the twins were born. But the months when I have heavy bleeding take their toll. It is embarrassing for me to be out of control (she must have also had "accidents" among her friends and townsfolk), exhausting to deal with (I am grateful that my anemia can be solved with diligence and iron supplements), and at times it is mentally painful (like all human illness, which gives me immense sympathy for those who are more sick than I am). All I can do is offer up my sufferings today for the Fortnight for Freedom.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Painting New Breechcloths

After three trips to the leather store which is not open to the public, we were finally able to buy black leather for Mic-o-say breechcloths. There was some angst when I didn't cut them exactly the same size for each twin! Happiness returned when the two boys figured out their designs and began to decorate their breechcloths. Winger is painting "Swift Spirit" on the back of his. Polar Bear is beading and painting the front of his.

Monday, June 25, 2012

There's A Mess in My Hearth Room

Just what I expected. The twins are busily building their Mic-o-say costumes, and now we have feathers and beads and leather all over the floor of the hearth room. Several scissors have disappeared into the piles as plans are drawn, scrapped, redrawn, and attempted. Polar Bear has chosen the colors blue, chartreuse, black, and white. Winger is using blue, orange, black, and white for his color scheme. I love that there is only a slight difference between the two boys. And I secretly like helping them with these "craft projects" as long as the shopping doesn't become too frustrating. Luckily I remember a few tips from working with Dorito three years ago. Completed in first two days: knee bells, dance sticks, chokers, and rattles. Coming soon: apache leggings (from white rabbit pelts) and black leather breech cloths (painted to match their tribal name). Plus we are gathering supplies and expertise advice for the construction of back bustles. That will take the longest amount of time as I remember from before. Just another reason that Scouts is such a great experience for young men. It gives their brains and hands something to do all summer between weekly camp ceremonies!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Royals v. Cardinals

Meggar and Spencer took the twins to the Royals v. Cardinals game in KC after mass. A little bit warm in the sun, but a fun way to end the weekend.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Downtown Vienna

We called Dorito today, and he sounded happy. He sent us this photo from downtown Vienna.

Update:  Dorito also said he has visited Mozart's house in Vienna -- plus the Cathedral!  He has had friends over to the house to hang out with. Tonight he went to an end-of-the-school-year banquet for Fabian's rugby team.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Captain's father went home from the hospital yesterday! Good news. He will have in-home caregivers for the first few weeks until he is stronger. Still needs oxygen now and then.
The twins will be home this afternoon, since they pleaded to be picked up earlier rather than later.
Lastly, Meggar is bringing a special guy home to meet all of us this weekend.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Father's Day Lights Up His Eyes

I admit, my kids have a great father. He has gotten better and better with 20 years of parenting practice, and I think I have, too. I didn't blog yet about Father's Day and I'm not going to get mushy. But I don't want anyone to think we overlooked the head of the household. We squeezed in a Father's Day surprise last Saturday before bedtime prayers. Captain and I have long liked "The Roasterie" and it's air-roasted coffee since it first began in 1993. Maybe because we lived in Kansas City and saw the first billboards. Maybe the airplane on the logo had something to do with it? Or our purchase of a French press as newly-weds?
Last fall, we noticed a lighted sign with the Roasterie logo in the violin shop where we take lessons. We asked, but it didn't belong to the violin teacher, but to the shop owner. We put in an offer, and snuck our treasure home. The twins kept it hidden under their bed. Captain was VERY pleasantly surprised!

Time to Fight for Freedom

Today is the Feast of St. Thomas More, whom I chose as the patron saint of my homeschool after I lived in his house-converted-to-dormitory in London during college. His fortitude in the face of King Henry XIII's scandal earned him the respect of his countrymen and Catholics throughout the ages. So it appropriate that he is chosen as the starting point for a US Catholic Church campaign called "Fortnight for Freedom."
The bishops are uniting us to make a direct response to our government's infringement on religious rights--particularly the recent HHS mandate by Kathleen Sebelius and Pres. Obama. It is no surprise to me that we are at this crossroads, having watched pro-life politics for all my life. But now is the time to speak up and educate others. Anyone can see this will erode everyone's rights by taking away our voice. Our weapons must be prayer, education, and action (which includes letter writing, rallies, and special mass times). I liked this woman's comments for their eloquence and authenticity.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hockey Camp Update

The twins are in Ames, Iowa, this week for a selection-based hockey camp. (I miss them!) They were placed on separate scrimmage teams and are living in the college dorms with separate roommates. (Hmm!) Here's a photo of their Wednesday evening in the dorms because of tornado warnings.
Winger is having a good time with Clayton K from the St. Louis Jr. Blues. They were the final two in the shootout competition on the first day! Polar Bear is scoring on every goalie he plays against--guess all the shooting practice in the garage comes in handy! Two games a day plus drills and dry land and a college hockey player as a team counselor. Captain stayed one overnight to watch all the action. Lucky for the boys as Polar Bear knocked over his fan in the night and broke it. Captain bought him another fan plus each twin another case of water bottles, since they went through so many in the first day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Club Looks at Willa Cather

We read "My Antonia" by Willa Cather and savored her descriptions of childhood, prairie, and immigrants tonight. The lives of Jim Burden and Antonia Shimerda are contrasted against the stories of snakes, wolves, and lovable hired hands. I particularly liked the final two sections, which included Jim's beginnings at college:  falling in love with theatre, Greek history, and the world of new ideas (as well as Lena). Unfortunately, the world takes him in another direction and away from the Nebraska frontier. His bittersweet conclusion: "Optima dies, prima fugit" meaning "The best days are the first to flee."
My usual approach is to bake something related to the theme for book club. I debated about apple turnovers or cinnamon rolls. Someone else volunteered to bring blackberry cobbler and chicken-and-noodles, so...  I instead chose an Italian-style ice cream dessert that showed up in my daily emails of cooking websites. Very yummy for a hot day!
Coconot Tortoni
2 pt. vanilla ice cream
2 T. nut liqueuer (Amaretto or Fra Anglico)
6-12 maraschino cherries, chopped
1-1/2 c. whipped topping, thawed
1/4 c. sweetened cocoa or chocolate syrup
1/4 c. toasted coconut
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1/4 c. cookie crumbles (shortbread)
1. Combine ice cream, liqueuer, and cherries. Spoon into muffin tin lined with paper or foil cups. Freeze until firm.
2. Meanwhile, combine whipped topping with cocoa powder or syrup. Spoon over ice cream mixture.
3. Make topping with coconut, almonds, and cookie crumbles. Sprinkle over ice cream cups. Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours, or until firm, before serving the cups.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Meggar's Music this Summer

This weekend, Meggar and Hannah went to the Outdoor Jazz Concert at Corporate Woods in KC. Wish we could have been there to hear "The Elders."
Last weekend, she went to the Symphony in the Flint Hills

Sold out!

Activities all day.....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bon Voyage! Auf Wiedersehen!

Last night, we had a surprise party for Dorito. He left this morning for a one-month foreign exchange to Vienna, Austria, and will not be home for his birthday on June 24.  It was fun to see a dozen friends stop by for eating, swimming, and talking until well past dark.

The younger boys spent most of their time in the pool--though I cannot imagine how they had so much energy after barely sleeping the final two nights at Camp!?!

At the airport early. Going to Detroit first, then Amsterdam, then Vienna (where it will already be tomorrow).
Safe travels, son!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Breakfast Buffet

All this week, while the boys were at Camp, I used my time to bake for the Catholic Homeschool Conference. For the third year in a row, my little committee of 2-3 served nearly 200 attendees with our breakfast buffet. I made five dozen cinnamon rolls, 5 dozen poppyseed muffins, 6 dozen banana muffins, and two loaves of zucchini bread. Two other moms helped me cook this year, plus Panera donated 100 bagels and cream cheese! HyVee donated fruit, and Herzog donated enough coffee to make 200 cups, which was the most important part.
I really enjoyed the chance to meet Maureen Wittmann, author of "For the Love of Literature" and founder of Homeschool Connections (Catholic online classes).

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Tapping Fire & Ceremony

 The tapping fire was boarded up on all sides for tonight's special ceremonies.

Dorito was chosen to be the firebuilder who climbed the ladder to light it!  I've lightened this photo from 9 pm.

Later all the possible foxmen stood at attention around the fire. Polar Bear blazing fire. Polar Bear is second from the end and gets tapped VERY FIRST! Exciting!

 Winger is waiting and waiting. He wasn't tapped until the 5th round, and we wondered what he was thinking the whole time.

Dorito is "selecting" Winger for the next tapping. They will undergo many "tests" in the next four and twenty hours to see if they are worthy to become Braves. The worst will be the fact they must remain completely silent. No writing or texting either!

Awake and Recovering

Captain's father made it through the very long heart surgery (impeded by lots of scar tissue) for a 5-way bypass and was kept intubated through the night to allow him to rest. By noon, he was waking up and each family got to see him for about 5 minutes. He needed one pint of blood, but he is already off the ventilator and later the heart pump. Now the real recovery begins. He keeps this bronze cross at his bedside or in his palm. It was designed by Father Ed and stayed with him for both surgeries: in 2003 and 2012. We are grateful for the prayers of so many people and the chance to reunite with the family.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Watching, Waiting, Praying...

Captain's father is undergoing open-heart surgery today, at age 81, for the second time. We are all worried for the outcome and praying constantly. I was so proud of my husband for remaining a steady soul at the bedside with so many females: sisters, nieces, friends. He invited them to the Chapel to pray the rosary with him this morning (bringing seven rosaries from our Holy Table). And he made sure Gr. Don had received Last Rites the day ahead of surgery. This is a true reflection of Captain's strength--that he leans on the Lord in times of trouble. St. Leo and St. Francis, pray for us.
While we are waiting, Dorito has texted me great news. He has been voted from among the Firebuilder to be the one who carries the torch and lights the fire at the beginning of tonight's ceremonies. Very significant, especially if Polar Bear and Winger are tapped. I will take my camera and try the night-time settings!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Family Night

Families are allowed to bring supper mid-week and visit their Boy Scouts at camp. Of course I brought their favorites: fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, and cinnamon rolls for dessert. Dorito never complained about the food in early years, but the twins were VERY eager to get homemade goodies. We heard about Winger's excitement that they got to do the C.O.P.E. course, Polar Bear's complaints about leaky tents during Sunday night's rain storm, Dorito has twisted his ankle, and the twins got sunburned after 2 hours at the swimming merit badge. Meggar told them about how the dog at her nanny job ate and then threw up a mouse he had caught, and while she panicked about the clean-up, he ate it again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thinking Like Sherlock

We all need a little levity--and smart humor is the best kind, don't you think? Captain tried to imitate "Sherlock Holmes" and be extra observant during our walk this evening around the neighborhood: boxes in the trash show a recent purchase, extra cars parked in the driveway mean visitors, tree trimming this late proves someone just moved in... etc. We have enjoyed watching the BBC episodes of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes (not for children) because of its similarity to the themes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, plus the British accents, and mind-stretching twists in the mysteries. Some are on NetFlix too.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Firebuilders at Boy Scout Camp

Dorito is taking his job as Firebuilder very seriously! The 3rd year tribesmen created this 15-story tower of logs yesterday and today at Camp Geiger. This impressive tapping fire will be lit on Thursday night for the special ceremonies of Mic-o-Say. (Polar Bear and Winger hope to be tapped!)

Prayer Request

Captain's father had a heart attack on Saturday, and we visited him yesterday in ICU. Today they performed a heart catheterization in hopes that only one stint was needed to repair the blockage. Unfortunately, they found three blocked vessels meaning open heart surgery will be needed in the next day or two. He had open heart surgery in 2003. The other problem is his very limited kidney function. Please offer prayers for Grandpa Don.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cleaning the Silver

I've always wanted to try this method to clean silverware: dipping silverware in baking soda and hot water while it's touching foil. It works pretty well with repeated dips or prolonged soaking. Still needs a stiff rubbing to remove all the tarnish. Based on an Internet search, I think it would work even better if:
*a little salt in the water
*use a disposable aluminum pan (deeper) and already has the aluminum content.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

How to Feel Rich

The twins were taken to the bank yesterday to open checking accounts and get debit cards. This is the final step of tradition for our family at your 8th grade graduation, and they were so excited! The process starts with a photo ID at the Missouri Dept. of Transportation, plus memorization of your Social Security number, and lastly the deposit of graduation money into a new account. While we wait for their debit cards to arrive in the mail, they have been looking at check designs online and are leaning toward the American flag or Boy Scout styles. They are feeling very adult-like (which means ready for high school in my mind but something even more exalted in their teenager minds). Fun!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Big and Small Connections

I planned a field trip for myself today: the opening of a new exhibit at our local art gallery. AKMA always hosts a nice kick-off for the artist to meet the community, plus a cash bar and free hors d'oeuvres. Angela went with me, and we fondly recalled the Flapper Party at this museum when we first began our friendship. Tonight's exhibition is a jointly-created book and CD: photographs by Megan Wyeth (who I knew was local) and world-renowned guitarist Anthony Glise (who I just discovered was Wyeth's local classmate). His antique guitars were captured by her lens -- then creatively formatted alongside his poetry  with original songs, too. We loved his performance of two songs and poems on the stage, and afterwards we wandered around to see several of her photographs hanging on display here for the next several weeks. 
We bumped into my artsy friends, and Angela was surprised to bump into her dad's musical friends! After complimenting Angela's late father, Anthony gave me suggestions for places for Dorito to visit while in Vienna.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Field Trips in the Summer

Even though it is summer, I try to plan educational outings. Traditionally we pick blueberries on July 4, but the early spring has them ripening now! Yea! Meggar brought the boys she is babysitting to meet us at Pine Tree Lane, where we picked 1 gallon of blueberries and 2 pints of strawberries. Yummy in our blueberry pancakes for lunch!
The twins and I also attended a guided tour of the 1851 Mt. Mora Cemetery in the old part of Saint Joseph. These 20 acres hold many of the city's founders and famous natives, including two Missouri governors. Excellently cared for and preserved!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jubilee Tin of Biscuits

Imagine my surprise during today's shopping trip to discover this commemorative tin for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee -- at TJ Maxx (the store of surprising deals)!  And I snagged the last one! Won't the Jane Austen Book Club ladies be surprised. Although I haven't opened the container of gingerbread star cookies covered with dark chocolate yet, I know they will go well with a British pot of tea whenever friends are visiting during this Jubilee month.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Walking Away with a Victory

Tonight, Captain is in Wisconsin for the recall election. Obviously top officials at his company were happy to see Gov. Scott Walker claim a large victory. All week the political commentators predicted a close outcome. Even the exit polls were calling it a close margin, but early in the evening I got a call from Captain stating a surprise at the actual results.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee

I found plenty of pictures and reports on the internet to recap the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Her 60-year reign is matched only by Queen Victoria and was saluted with many activities: outdoor concert on the Mall (I stopped watching after Elton John), the lighting of 2,012 beacons, months of Commonwealth visits, carriage procession with military salute and RAF fly-by in red, white, and blue; plus
 a river pageant,
 and fireworks off the Tower Bridge.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Another Wine Tasting

We made a return trip to Jowler Creek Winery with my parents and Meggar. This time we brought salami, 2 cheeses, and crackers to enjoy after the tasting. And we got signed up for the tour! Jason and Colleen both left their corporate jobs to be full-time winegrowers and makers. Their 6-acre family vineyard has many "green" features: solar panels on the tasting and bottling barn, sheep for mowing the grass, chickens for eating the bugs, children for delight while working...
The port was very good, and we got to keep the glasses to enjoy with our bottle of Vignoles at the picnic tables next to the vineyard.

Concerts and Graduation

Grandma Judy and Grandpa Gerald came to help celebrate the twins' 8th grade graduation this weekend. Their living-room recital combined a bit of classical and a bit of fiddle music. Very well done. Zachary's family also came by for the music and stayed for dessert. 
This weekend also marked the beginning of "Sing Outs" for the New Generation Singers. The costumes are actually K-State colors: silver gray and deep purple. Sharp-looking boys!
Their first two concerts were in King City (we attended the first one). Later they will sing at Turning Point Church. They have made good friends in this large group of teens excited for their faith.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Music on the Patio

We went to support the Chambers family, who were playing fiddle and bluegrass music at the "Trezo Mare" Restaurant this evening. Our adults-night-out included our daughter, who is home for the summer! Nice conversations with other homeschool families, plus a few glasses of wine and stone-oven pizza.