Monday, July 30, 2012

Goodbye to Fabian

 Luckily it is so much easier to help boys pack up than girls.
I was the only one home to take Fabian to the airport but everyone gave him hugs last night! We have had a great exchange and enjoyed him very much!
Auf Wiedersehen!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fabian at NYLT - Fun Day #12

Dorito is a senior staff member for the first NYLT, National Youth Leadership Training, at Camp Geiger and has been preparing for this course over many months. (He is pumped up about the hats, shirts, and shades, too.) Polar Bear and Winger are signed up as participants because they love anything offered for Scouts. Fabian went over to check out the evening session and stayed for their campfire. He thought the leadership workshops were interesting. Then he proudly helped Blake by adding wood to the bonfire during a few skits. He also joined in the songs and enjoyed sharing their late night snack of crackers and cheese. But he did not stay in the tents. I brought him home to get a good night's sleep before his early flight to return back home tomorrow.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Church Picnic with Fabian - Fun Day #11

There were 704 dinners served this evening at the 96th Annual Hurlingen Picnic, most of them while "The Fiddlers Three" were playing. Fabian and Ashton helped set up the sound system. Our students Ashton (on mandolin) and Aaron (on violin) played a couple of songs with us. Best of all, Aunt Kathy came up to play guitar with us for the final four numbers! The "Orange Blossom Special" drew plenty of applause!!

Later, Dorito and Fabian slipped out for a short time to watch the New Generation Singers "Welcome Home" concert before returning to cover their work shift. (I think Dorito was interested in seeing a certain soprano.)

Everyone in our family worked at a booth for this important fundraiser at Seven Dolors Church: Polar Bear did turtle races, Dorito and Winger helped on Jingle Board, I mixed potato salad all afternoon, and Captain was on trash patrol and sold multiple raffle tickets -- Uncle Terry even won $200! Luckily, a cool breeze blew throughout the afternoon and evening, which pleased all of us and our guests.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Boating with Fabian - Fun Day #10

Uncle Terry loves Smithville Lake.  Every summer, he takes one day off work and hauls my kids away for jet ski rides and tubing and fishing and laughing. We pay for the extra gas in the jet ski so the boys can all fight take turns. They had a BLAST today because Aunt Kathy got called into work and Meggar didn't feel well enough to go along.

Just BOYS on the water!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shooting Clays - Fun Day #9

The boys worked hard today to complete the online certification for the Missouri Boaters License. This will allow them to drive a jet ski ALONE tomorrow at the lake. Even Fabian watched all the videos and took all the quizzes. It was a lenghty process! (and they jammed my laminating machine but the license never expires so that's a consolation).
Plus Captain took them shotgun shooting at Pigeon Hill. This is a "No Girls Allowed" activity in our family. No problem for me to stay away, plus I was nursing Meggar and her sore mouth and swollen face.

Human Life and NFP Assets

On this anniversary of Humanae Vitae, I start by admitting I have read the encyclical written when I was three years old, and I have attempted NFP all through 22 years of marriage. I wish I had time to wax eloquent on the ways it has been an asset to Captain and I, plus our seven children. Is it a challenge? Certainly. Did it benefit and protect us in ways I couldn't realize when I was 14, 24, 34, and 44? Definitely. So I will simply recommend reading the NFP thoughts from Elizabeth Foss (a Catholic homeschooling mom) and her three newspaper articles throughout the years. And the edgy blog by Matthew Warner at National Catholic Register. Because both are trying to evangelize the culture new ways.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Setting up for Picnic

All the parishioners were requested to help set up 100s of tables and chairs for the 96th annual Hurlingen Picnic. In anticipation of this Saturday's event, we provided four teenage boys with muscles! Dorito took a break to play with the Carpenter's two littlest ones :-)

Cooking with Fabian - Fun Day #8

While Fabian is here, I have been trying to make old-fashioned foods from our Midwestern heritage: fried catfish, meatloaf, BBQ beef sandwiches, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, homemade pie. For dessert today, he shared with us a box of Mozart-Wurfel (translated as Mozart's Dice), which are dark chocolates with praline nougat centers. Very smooth!

And the boys played several rounds of the game "Mensch argere Dich nicht" which he brought for them. The German title translates: "Don't Get Angry!" and in American we have a version known as "Trouble!" or "Wahoo." I chuckled because the twins laughed every time they bumped out an opponent.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Worlds of Fun with Fabian - Fun Day #7

The boys took Fabian and two Scout friends to enjoy a full afternoon at Worlds of Fun! They reported frequent trips through the water-spraying rides by alternating them with roller-coasters. I talked them into buying Twilight tickets (4:00-10:00 pm) since it was much cheaper and the hot temperatures were somewhat avoided. Fabian went on all the rides, but Spencer's stomach was not as enthusiastic so he sat out a few times.

Rite of Passage with Wisdom Teeth

Meggar had her wisdom teeth taken out today. She is being a trooper so far!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Paintball with Fabian - Fun Day #6

The caves in Kansas City were a cool (56' F) place for a paintball outing. Six boys from St. Joe met up with three hockey friends from KC for serious fun times this afternoon. The Groupon made it affordable for Captain to buy an extra 2,000 paintballs above the packaged offer. I think everyone enjoyed the extended warfare! (Fabian has the record for most bruises and welts.)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shopping with Fabian - Fun Day #5

Dorito took Fabian to the mall. Not that the East Hills Mall is very large but for St. Joseph, it's alright. Funny how Fabian thinks the prices at "American Eagle" are cheaper here than what he would pay in Europe. And Dorito found that "H&M" (a European shop) was much cheaper there than we would pay in America. Everyone is happy with new shorts!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Our Anniversary

Captain and I enjoyed free pie for our wedding anniversary -- thanks to a coupon from Perkins via email. (I guess Chick-fil-A is not the only place that believes in celebrating marriage between one man and one woman.) Captain had Chocolate Silk and I had Coconut Cream :-)
We also had the Schieber and Stickler families over for a cookout and swim party. Nice weather, good food, and no injuries!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Flying with Fabian - Fun Day #4

Captain took Fabian for a short flight in his Cessna 182 early this morning. They took a trip down to a small airport near Kansas City which was offering a sale on Nav-Gas for planes. It was a clear and cooler morning than usual, so the sight-seeing was good. And the other boys were sleeping in after a late ceremony at Scout Camp so it gave Fabian something to fill in the time.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dark Knight with Fabian - Fun Day #3

Batman was not a household name for our family, but my boys love action movies. So when the invite came for attending "Dark Knight Trilogy," I gave permission for Dorito and Fabian to go to Kansas City with two carloads of guys. I figure that I can sometimes give in on some "pop culture" temptations because they are "less dangerous" so to speak. Little did we guess there would be a tragedy at the theatre in Colorado. 
It was worth the treat. For $25 person, they got lanyard IDs and souvenir posters and admission to all three Dark Knight movies: one at 6:00 pm, the next at 9:00 pm, and the new one at midnight. They were prepared for the long evening with Monster Drinks and candy from the gas station. Oh my!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Royals with Fabian - Fun Day #2

Baseball is definitely an American pasttime, so I think it's a requisite part of any foreign exchange student's visit. Captain got the Herzog front-row tickets and treated Dorito, Fabian, and Alexander. They laughed when Fabian got televised on the Jumbo-Tron for his rock-star hair-style during an advertisement for Cost Cutters. Then in the 4th inning, there was a foul ball hit straight at Alexander (he thought he broke his thumb) but it bounced off Meggar's leg (ouch) and rolled under Captain's chair. Fabian received the souvenir and another appearance on the Jumbo-Tron.
In the last inning, they Royals hit a home run and it went into the Sonic Section winning all ticket holders a free slushie (guess where they stopped on the way home?)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fun Times with Fabian

We went to Schweizer's Orchard this morning and picked a peck of peaches (just enough for 3 pies). Probably Fabian was here as a little boy, too.  It was too hot to stay very long--no matter how delicious they were. Everybody is spending a lot of time in the pool!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Learning About Other Countries

Fabian was the special speaker at Boy Scouts tonight--helping explain "Citizenship in the World" for a merit badge.

He talked about the election of German government officials, conscription, as well as the drinking age (16) and driving age (18). He knows many languages and he did an impressive job of telling about his school days -- in USA (Kindergarten), in Milan (Italian through 6th grade), in Paris (French for three more years), and in Austria (A-levels or high school). He also has studied Latin for six years.

After he answered questions from the crowd, everyone was invited to snack on Apfel Streuselkuchen. I made the Apple Streusel Cake (seen on table) from his Grandmother's recipe even though I had to convert grams to ounces. Fabian said that is his favorite. We also took brats with sauerkraut, onions, and apples. "Das schmeckt gut!"

And he received the official hat, T-shirt, and Scout neckerchief!

Now in Her 20s

Meggar is no longer a teenager. *sigh* (or sigh of relief) She was gifted by my cooking skills -- an international feast including blueberry scones and Earl Gray Tea for breakfast in bed, French chicken crepes for lunch, and German brats with sauerkraut for dinner. Plus Captain bought her an antique fan, and I gave her a crepe pan. Grandma already helped pay for her to attend the Glory Conference in Nashville in May. But nothing compares to getting flowers from your boyfriend (peonies and pink roses) and a special request on Facebook :-)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ending the Weekend? or Starting the Week?

Once we unloaded the car from St. Louis, the twins were throwing in all their gear for Camp Geiger. Yes, Boy Scouts can return for a second week of Camp for just half price (!) and the twins want to complete more merit badges. You understand.
We also joined our friends from Brookdale Church at their pool party at the St. Joseph Aquatic Park this afternoon. Fun water slides and a lazy river--maybe it was a first for Fabian? I enjoyed talking to all the moms.

Day 3 in St. Louis

Breakfast at the Truck Stop? Yep, nothing beats the Travel America 24-hour buffet near Floristell (just before Wentzville exit).
Made a stop in Fulton, Mo, to fulfill my long-time wish of visiting the Winston Churchill Museum at Westminster College. Churchill was invited here by Pres. Truman in 1946 and gave his "Iron Curtain" speech.

The church setting is also incredible because it was designed by Christopher Wren, then bombed and damaged in London, and finally restored and rebuilt on this campus. Completed another Boy Scout patch here but no pressed penny souvenirs.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 2 in St. Louis

Our family vacation is a combination of history of Missouri for Fabian's sake, face time with college friends for Meggar's sake, and fun for the boys' sakes. Meggar went to sand volleyball tournament today. Tonight she's attending a cookout and concert with Spencer.
We headed north of Downtown to find the Confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Since Fabian lives near the Danube River, I thought this would be a good outing. A new observation tower has been built in Alton, IL. We went out on decks at 50 feet, 100 feet, and 150 feet. We were not as close to the water's edge because of the power plant owning the docks. I was hoping it would look like this website of other famous confluences.  The Mississippi is known to be slower and greener, while the Muddy Mo should have appeared more distinct to us. Next time we will try looking at it from the airplane.

Next, we enjoyed the movie, keel boat, and the winter camp of Lewis & Clark called Camp Dubois. I was able to check out two teacher trunks full of animal skins, buffalo horn, Indian beadwork, and pioneer toys to add to the experience. We made another pressed penny souvenir, Polar Bear bought medallions for Scout walking sticks, and Winger bought a whistle made from a deer antler!

We went into town for lunch at the Ryder Bldg, which had served as a Courthouse where Lincoln practiced while on his circuit as a country lawyer. The cafe is famous for pies - hence the name "My Just Desserts." It had huge glass windows for looking over the Mississippi and shelves full of quilts and pioneer knick-knacks.

The afternoon adventure was a Double Key Treasure Hunt.

We followed the trail of clues from Gus' Pretzel Factory (they are called Bretzels in Germany and they are served with beer) to the Old Courthouse (where Dred Scott and his wife waited 11 years for the appeals process).

I didn't realize the local court granted them their freedom, but the Supreme Court ruled they were constitutionally protected property and was another spark that ignited the Civil War. We went to find clues at the New Cathedral (100 years old) and stayed for 5:00 mass.

Then we found another clue at Ted Drewe's Frozen Custard - Yum! And our final clue was in the lobby of Union Station (that worked out well, but I planned it that way). I can't reveal the solution, but it was a fun treasure hunt. The boys are now headed to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, and we parents are putting our feet up!

Friday, July 13, 2012

First Day in St. Louis

After a lunch-time cookout with Dorito's friends, we departed for St. Louis along Route 36. Fabian was glad to see that we were driving in the Suburban, which can actually hold all seven of us.

We have BIG plans for the weekend. Our hotel is inside Union Station with its beautiful Tiffany stained glass window. Megan is going out tonight for a special dinner for Bastille Day at a French restaurant with Spencer, and we invited them to join us for a drink in the lobby beforehand.

We ate at an Irish pub and watched the soccer game of Spain v. France.  Then headed to the Gateway Arch. We had a 9 pm appointment to go up 635 feet into the air (that is 192 meters for you European readers). The Museum underground tells about Missouri 100 and 200 years ago and includes buffalo and dung, covered wagon and cowboy guns, plus Native American statues that talk about Lewis & Clark.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dorito is Back Home! Willkommen!

We were so excited to meet Dorito and Fabian at the KC airport this afternoon! They looked happy, but said they were starving. They had a long line for customs in Detroit and had missed lunch with the Verbicks as a consequence. We went at once to Olive Garden, since it promises all-you-can-eat salad and breadsticks. Then we heard even more stories on the drive home, where our welcome sign greeted them. Though they have been awake 20 hours so far (!) they are going to drive out to Scout Camp and meeet some of Dorito's friends at the bonfire ceremony.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Food That He Likes

Gr. Don is still recovering from heart surgery, so we try to visit him on Wednesdays. He requested my "Catfish Nuggets" this week! I knew he liked fried catfish, so I had printed off this recipe from an Emeril Lagasse FoodTV episode (many years ago when we had cable) for one of his supper visits. It is a family favorite at our house, too. Tonight I made them with brown rice and fried zucchini slices. I hoped the healthy brown rice and farmer's market vegetable would make up for the fact I was frying everything else. Yum! The remoulade sauce is a bit spicy so I've toned it down a notch. Everyone's tummy was happy! Gr. Don even told me he loved me when we said our goodbyes.
Cajun Catfish 
1-2 lb. catfish fillets or nuggets
1 t. Creole seasoning
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
2 T. Creole or whole-grain mustard
1 c. buttermilk
4 c. oil
2 c. flour
Soak catfish pieces in mixture of buttermilk, Creole seasoning, salt, cayenne pepper, and mustard. Cover in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours or overnight. Heat 4 c. oil to 360' F in deep skillet. In separate bowl, combine flour with another teaspoon of salt and teaspoon of Creole seasoning. Dredge catfish in flour, shaking off any excess. Fry in batches about 4 minutes per side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with the chilled remoulade sauce.
Remoulade Sauce
1/4 c. green onions or scallions
1 t. chopped garlic
1/2 T. horseradish
1 T. Creole or whole-grain mustard
1 t. yellow mustard
2 T. ketchup
2 drops hot sauce
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. Fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
3/4 c. oil
Put first 12 ingredients in blender and process until smooth (30 seconds). With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil through the feed tube. The mixture will thicken. Transfer to covered container and chill for 1 hour.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Shoes of Summer

I am having fun with my summer sandals from B.O.C.  They are padded and cushiony on the bottom!  The blue flats have a flirty flower on top (cute) yet they go well with skirts, shorts, or capris.

My wedges are actually more yellow than gold, and I like to appear even taller in my white linen slacks. Meggar has been borrowing them every chance she gets.
I used to tease Robin about how many shoes she owned, but back then I was a stay-at-home mom with toddlers so I didn't take time to shop. Probably didn't have many places to go dressed up either. I like this stage of my life--being fashionable alongside my nearly 20-year-old daughter.