Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Parties

My boys are too old for trick-or-treating, but they still like to get candy. My plan was to make if fun for them and their friends. Last night I served a Halloween Supper to the twins' hockey team: chili dogs, chicken chili, apple slices, carrot stick-o-lantern,

cupcakes, and chocolate milk. Plus Halloween Candy (Twizzlers and Recese's seemed to be the most popular choices).

Tonight, more of the same food is being sent to the Senior Class Bonfire. Plus S'mores and glow sticks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm Nuts About My AGD

Using Meggar's Pinterest account for inspiration, I made her 48 chocolate acorns for Halloween. Mailed them this morning, after Dorito ate one. (The twins ate the rest of the Nutter Butter Bites.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Adding Up the Costs

I used to think it was expensive when I had three boys in diapers. Dorito was two when the twins were born, and I would save up the shopping and only go once or twice a month. My cart was full of diapers mainly. But that is nothing. In the past week, Winger broke his hockey stick (digging on the Detroit goalie ~$180). Then his skate blade broke at Des Moines practice (not his fault~$150). And he left his American Eagle jeans at the hotel (~$50). Luckily he is my favorite child.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Catholics, Politics, Memories, and Dinner

It was Priest Appreciation Sunday, so we took the chance to tell Father Matt Benjamin of our admiration and support. Over a good dinner. Lasagna, red wine, homemade French bread, lavender butter, my famous sweet green beans, and a salad made from butter lettuce and English cucumbers. My blogging fingers can barely keep up with all the paths this story entails.
First, Megan and I love the lavender butter at Cafe des Amis, but always forget to make it at home. I even have lavender saved for the occasion! Hooray! So I softened some butter and stirred in a small amount of buds, which look like dead ants but taste lightly floral and thus heavenly on crusty bread fresh from the oven. So proud that I remembered. But then all the men at my dinner table chose the plain butter with lots of jam instead. Isn't that typical? I'll save the rest for when another female is in the house.
The salad was also a treat because I decided to join the modern world Costco this week. It is better than my grocery store for fresh produce. I won't say anything else bad about HyVee. Plus Costco is right next to the rink in Independence where I spend three hours every Wednesday. Plus Costco has organic items that I can no longer get from the monthly co-op truck. I am still solidly adhering to the organics, especially in light of the genetically modified foods on the shelves in modern grocery stores. Don't you wonder at the increase in gluten allergy? Needless to say, the cost is only slightly higher to buy real food that tastes delicious.
Thirdly, the lasagna is from a Pi Phi friend when I was first engaged. So rich. Makes enough for an army. So I made a large pan for our family and guest. Then I made a small pan to take to a new mom. And I sent a big piece home with Father, and froze a portion for our college daughter to have as leftovers. The new mom is one of our former babysitters. Stefanie had her first baby--and it was a girl! Captain and I spent time holding the baby and reminiscing about the escapdes of our 2-year-old-twins when they were under Stefanie's charge.
Lastly, the discussion of politics and the Catholic Church was carried over from the homily. Father does an excellent job of preaching with the right mix of morality and practicality. The election has him concerned. His former career as a Marine has him very upset about the Fox News inside reports about Benghazi. I try not to blog all the political turmoil in my own head and circle of influence. But Captain keeps me updated daily on the world news, and I pray daily for the right outcomes.
Junior-League-Style Lasagna
Meat portion: simmer together
1 lb. hamburger
1 lb. Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T. basil
1-1/2 t. salt
1# can tomatoes
26 oz. tomato paste
Filling portion: beat together
3 c. cottage cheese
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
2 T. parsley
2 eggs
2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly-cracked black pepper
Noodles: one pound preboiled
Mozzarella Cheeseone pound sliced or shredded
In 9 x 13 pan, make three layers of Noodles, Filling, Meat, Mozzarella. Bake at 375' F for 30 minutees until bubbly. Let set 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Life of a Senior

Dorito wore sweat pants to feel comfortable whle taking ACT test. He said his concussion headache did not show up like the last time. Afterward, he went to lunch with some friends who also took "the test" today.
Next he is off to attend a 2-day workshop for the "Make Talk Now" staff from Boy Scouts/Mic-o-Say. They will be staying near Legends Mall and enjoying the food and entertainment offerings, I'm sure. Makes a nice reward for him after the extra studying and prep work. He even shaved this morning!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Angry Over Stupid People

I try not to get angry. I really do!*&#$@! And I never call anyone "stupid".... but today I ran out of patience, huffed and puffed, and used that moniker to describe two people (not to their faces, of course). One person was at Meggar's university--where they just now reveal that they won't offer teacher certification for a bachelor's degree unless you stay for a 5th year master's degree.
The second person was at Kolbe Academy--where they have been sitting on Dorito's transcript for five whole days (after they began processing it two weeks ago). Finally they told me I have to order it through a completely different website--which they weren't going to tell me about (?) until I called again to follow up again on my several emails.
*Sigh* Thank goodness Captain is a good listener.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Conception Abbey and Clyde Convent

I'm a real stickler about homeschooling my youngest two like I did the oldest two. No slacking on the classical curriculum and well-rounded calendar of enrichment. So I have been looking forward to the field trip today for many months! (I believe I took Meggar and Dorito both before and sometime after the twins were born...) Today I took Winger and Polar Bear to Conception Abbey and Clyde Convent with the Catholic homeschool group's field trip.
We had a chatty monk lead our tour group at the Abbey, and he was wonderful. He knew all the history and significance and talked so fast that it was very interesting. He helped my students try to translate the Latin on the icons. We stayed for 11:45 mass, which was attended by 30 of the monks. The murals are so beautiful, the chant echoed peacefully through the high-arches of the ceiling. (I won't even mention the remodeling in 1999 which took out the high altars, side altars, communion rail, and statues. sigh*)

Then we stayed for their hospitality and a lunch buffet before driving to the nearby convent in Clyde.
The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have an INCREDIBLE chapel with mosaic murals and carvings and statues everywhere. (They no longer practice perpetual adoration, however.) But they are famous for their collection of relics (amassed between World War I and II) from hundreds of friends and benefactors. We looked for our patron saints and noted which reliquary held the most bone fragments. Then I explained the origin of the phrase "red tape" and we browsed the gift shop. This field trip certainly was the best way to reinforce our recent theology lesson of "oral Tradition" with a capital T.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Apple A Day

How wonderful that the Apple press release/press conference was held over the noon hour. All three of my boys were tuned in and excited by the new iPod Mini! We are Apple geeks here--thanks to Kenny Wilk! In fact, I even bought an iMac again as the family desktop last year and have been very pleased. Only trouble is the lack of interface with Yahoo for email. So I'm switching to GMail. Note the prefix is the same:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Robotics Update

Dorito and his team from Hillyard did not do well at the B.E.S.T. Robotics competition this weekend. He was disappointed they couldn't compete in the preliminary trials, as their robot wasn't functioning properly at the last minute. Life with computers is not always under our control. But many good lessons can be learned through bad experiences. And I know Dorito will be glad to free up his Monday afternoons again! His next hurdle is the ACT test and college application deadlines--plus a referee exam that's due.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mass with the Bishop

Captain drove us home in 11 hours from Detroit, and we were just in time for evening mass at the Newman Center. Dorito had helped with clean up and set up earlier this week. Bishop Finn was the visiting celebrant, and he always makes a good impression on my sons. His homily about the "Year of Faith" was meaningful in theological terms and down-to-earth in practical terms that even a teenager could appreciate.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Culture in Detroit

The traffic moved fast in Detroit. The Italian grocery store offered an authentic array of meats and cheeses (and a delicious lunch counter). But at the Polish grocery store, I needed a translator! The boys loved having a Tim Horton's next to the hotel and went there for breakfast every morning (with coupons). We also enjoyed a delicious supper at the Verbick's house and caught up on news as best we could between games and naps and laundry.
Best of all, Detroit is a hockey town. Our Russell Stover's team played well and skated fast--won one; lost two; tied once. The boys saw some areas where improvement was needed. Can't do anything, however, about their growth rates. (God is in control of that!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

First Time in Detroit

We drove all day yesterday to get to Detroit. I mean 12-hours-type-of-all-day. I brought two read-alouds and they boys bought a new PS3 game to help pass the time. Plus I packed good food and snacks.
First thing this morning, we met up with the Verbick familiy at the Henry Ford Museum. Mr. Verbick took a new job with Ford earlier this year, and we had Austin from the hockey team all weekend.

We only had a couple of hours, but you need a couple of days to go through it all properly (or a couple of weeks).
This is an amazing museum at every level: clean, interactive, educational.
Captain enjoyed the show-room floor of Presidential Cadillacs, racing cars, and all the old stuff in between.
Thomas Edison was a great innovator and friend of Henry Ford. He was here at the groundbreaking to put his signature in the cement.
I fell in love with the Greenfield Village (a multi-acre town with a one-room schoolhouse and actual homes of William McGuffey, Robert Frost, Thomas Edison, Wright Brothers, and others). The twins and Austin got a kick out of riding around in the Model Ts.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Who is Radical?

Alison sent me this "National Review" article, which is likely in the issue on my coffee table.... and Dorito wrote his Sociology paper on "labeling homeschoolers" so this has been on my mind lately. Largely, I tend to ignore labels as I'm too busy Occupying my Schoolroom with three high schoolers :-) I'm having fun being intellectual and moral, and my kids don't realize how far from the mainstream we are (sometimes). Good stuff
There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional. more...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's About Principles, Mr. President

President Obama pledged to continue to fund Planned Parenthood in last night's debate. Was anyone else sickened by his emotive tone of voice as if PP was a benevolent charity that actually cares for women? They receive $487 million in government grants and reimbursements. That impacts the deficit, certainly. But there is a bigger picture. For me, a politician cannot lead if he isn't to willing stand upon virtues and moral principles. It is a blatant falsehood that PP offers mammograms and screenings for cervical cancer or STDs. They sell abortions and are willing to cover up incest and rape to boot. And that is not OK with my tax dollars. Clearly, ObamaCare doesn't respect my Catholic conscience nor any other Christian's.

Catching up with Friends

Last weekend, we were excited to have the Henebry family here. They were on their way to Benedictine College with Number Five for a visit. We both started homeschooling back 17 years ago... Tessie helped me put out Halloween decorations and craft another Queen's Jubilee bookmark for her mom.
Meanwhile, Dorito is laboring overtime with his Robotics Club and completed three papers today! One was for a Mic-o-Say scholarship application. He's figuring out the balance of deadline stress and part-time job and extra curricular activites, which will certainly serve him well in college. Good Luck Northern Spirit!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Book Club finishes Anna Karenina

I made pirozhki for the book club since "Anna Karenina" is a Russian classic. I decided to make homemade yeast dough, since that was faster than driving to the grocery store and waiting for the frozen dough to thaw. The filling was ground beef, onions, purple cabbage, and hard-boiled eggs. Comfort food. And there are enough for lunch tomorrow for our family!
Pirozhki Meat Dumplings
1/4 c. warm water
1 T. sugar
1 T. yeast
1 c. milk
5 T. butter
1 t. salt
1 egg
4 c. flour
1 lb. hamburger
1 onion, sauteed in oil
1/2 head cabbage
2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
1 t. salt and pepper to taste

Monday, October 15, 2012

3rd Place at Truman Library

The St. Joseph Homeschool team won 3rd place at the annual Truman Trivia Contest! The theme of this year's competition at the Truman Library was "Presidents, Primaries, Conventions, and Campaigns" and included 50 questions. The team originally tied for 2nd place, but then lost in a tie-breaker round of 5 additional questions.  As 3rd place winners, they received individual $10 iTunes gift cards! I was so proud of them

Congratulations to team members: Rebekah Mohn (senior); Jacob Brooke (junior), Ben Brooke (sophomore), and my three sons: Polar Bear (freshman), Winger (freshman), and Dorito (senior).
This was my 4th year being sponsor for the team and leading their weekly study sessions. How exciting that my boys are growing their love of politics!  (Note: Last time our team won, Meggar was on the team, and they also took 3rd place.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Take the Test

Captain and I took the Color Code Test (free if done on a trial basis only) for fun. We could have almost predicted the outcome, but it is fun to have a new way to "define" our personalities and complimentarity.
I am a Red:

Reds (Motive: Power) Reds are motivated by Power. They seek productivity and need to look good to others. Simply stated, Reds want their own way. They like to be in the driver's seat and willingly pay the price to be in a leadership role. Reds value whatever gets them ahead in life, whether it be in their careers, school endeavors, or personal life. What Reds value, they get done. They are often workaholics. They will, however, resist doing anything that doesn't interest them.

Captain is a White:
WHITE (Motive: PEACE)  These are the peacekeepers. Peace: the ability to stay calm and balanced even in the midst of conflict, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of clarity and tolerance and are generally kind, adaptable, and good-listeners.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Going to the Chapel

Two weddings today: first one was a hired job (I accompanied the boys' violin teacher at his cousin's wedding in St. Joseph), and the next one was a homeschool girl from Meggar's class.
Faith is the second classmate of Meggar's to walk down the aisle. She was hoping for an outdoor wedding in the Amelia Earhart Forest of Friendship, but the stormy weather all day drove them inside at God's Mountain gym. Luckily her father found several young trees on their property in full autumn color that he cut down and wired to the walls for decoration. We enjoyed the ceremony, groom's song, buffet, cake, and the time afterward with our friends Hannah and Pam!

Friday, October 12, 2012

College Hockey at the Sprint Center

My boys landed some tickets to the Sprint Center for the "Ice Breaker" tournament--a pre-season hockey bout between Notre Dame, Army, UNL-Omaha, and Univ. of Maine. They were thrilled to see some good teams on the ice, and had a chance to wear their Notre Dame jerseys! Too bad that Captain was out of town and couldn't join us and we could have the whole family together again. We were joined by the Rich's family, however, which was very nice. Prior to the game, the moms and Meggar went to the Noyes Home Fundraiser and Chair-ity Auction. Every year, designers and friends create unique chairs, and it looks like an HGTV reality show. We meandered through the stylish and whimsical offerings, enjoyed some 2 Carols Catering, and then met up with the boys before the end of the third period. Yes, we were among the merely 2,000 fans who are desperately depressed by the NHL lock-out...

Fall Break for College Girl

Meggar is home for a couple extra days of fall break. I am excited to catch up on news and craft projects. Why is sleeping in always the first thing on the agenda? In the first two days, Meggar went to a friend's garage sale, had tea with Vee and Constance, voted at the Courthouse, enjoyed a massage, got a root canal done, and interviewed Mic-o-Say tribesmen for her Folklore project. Then we did a little shopping in Kansas City and met her high school piano teacher for a special meal at the "Cafe De Amis" French Restaurant. Gotta take the good with the bad, I always say, and enjoy the tea cup even when it is half full.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Moving Up

The hockey team moved up to #11 in the rankings last week--but nobody told me. Then today, Captain called with the exciting news that the twin's team is now in the Top 10! They are ranked #9 in the country among Under 14-AAA teams.
Very exciting! Go Stover!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2012 Nobel Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize has been politically motivated at times, but the Nobel Prizes in other categories are more than respectable! Hence the good news from "National Catholic Register" that the 2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine honors a scientist who conducts stem-cell research ethically. His work on stem-cell generation proves that human embryos do not have to be used for studying diseases and the advancement of successful treatments. Yamanaka found that by inserting a combination of four genes into mouse cells that they could be reprogrammed, and they would actually become pluripotent and redevelop as stem cells. (Note: this Japanese scientist has two daughters!)

Monday, October 8, 2012

You Know You Are a Redneck...

when all four "boys" in my house are excited about the free episodes of "Duck Dynasty" available on iTunes.
This week, A&E has put Season 1 up for free download--some 14 hilarious episodes--and we can't seem to get enough of that Robertson family and its conservative-minded entrepreneurs-in-beards.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Grand Opening Breakfast

Today we celebrated the completion of the playground! 

The whole parish and a few extra friends enjoyed the Grand Opening/Fundraising Breakfast for the Eagle Scouts this morning. 
Earlier, the boys and Captain mixed up 20 packets of gravy and stirred in the pre-cooked sausage we had brought from home. Using two giant Crock-pots, it stayed warm until after mass! Mary brought plenty of biscuits from Sam's Club, and other ladies in the parish brought casseroles, cinnamon rolls, and coffee cakes. I added a giant fruit plate to the buffet. So delicious!

Yesterday, Charlotte and Ashton helped me set up 95 places and decorate each table. We used 30 pumpkins and gourds on the front steps and window ledges, and then offered to give them away to anyone who made a donation to the Eagle Scout projects. (festive!) Charlotte also made autumn centerpieces from bittersweet, oak leaves, mums and apples. It was a lovely room! And it was a successful fundraiser, too! Cash donations of nearly $400 were in the basket.

All the adults talked while all of the kids played outside (of course).

Saturday, October 6, 2012

P.S. Mom Helped

Oh yeah, I was also there:  making cocoa and coffee, serving up my famous chili with hot dogs for lunch, and setting up the fundraising breakfast for Sunday by letting Aaron and Mackenzie help me instead of "helping" the Boy Scouts and ROTC volunteers.

Eagle Scout Projects' Day

Today was the official day for the twin's Eagle Scout Service Projects. Chilly and 43' F!

park bench...

 600 newspapers...

 wood chips...

feels good...
looks good!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Prep Work for the Playground

The hard work is done.
The twins and their dad have been assembling the playfort (requiring several hours) over the past two days. This will help things go more smoothly tomorrow.

also took a load of wood chips out to the site just north of the cemetery behind the parish hall...

Gifts Going Overseas

I sent a birthday present to my Anglophile friend, Kristen, who is living overseas in Hong Kong. She sent me pictures of her birthday party.

Make Talk Now

Dorito is on the staff for an iMagazine for Mic-o-Say called "Make Talk Now." His first assignment for this year was to interview the Scout Executive about Popcorn Sales (the annual Boy Scout fundraiser). You can see the interview here