Friday, November 30, 2012

Some Surprises

*We have determined that two of my garden flags and posts were stolen from our front yard! I thought the boys had moved them to mow/mulch the leaves... sad.
*Warm temperatures meant Dorito got called in for extra hours at work! The golf course reported that 30 carts were in use this afternoon which needed cleaning and driven back to storage... good.
*Captain planted three lilac bushes and three weeping willow trees for me in our side yard! Winger wondered aloud at the soundness of our thinking, since he remembers when we had to cut down the same number of weeping willow trees when we moved in. Return of privacy to our yard... good.
*Meggar drug invited Spencer to the Madrigal Dinner, a Shakespearean-style feast complete with wandering musicians, King & Queen, short play, and a concert performed by the Chamber Choir. She thinks he actually enjoyed dressing up and laughing at the courtly comedy, but he threatened her not to tell any fraternity brothers... good.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

More Dancers

Indian Dancing

A group from Haskel Indian College came to perform last night. I thought more tribesmen from Mic-O-Say would be there, but the publicity was not widespread. My sons were all eyes and ears watching these world famous fancy dancers. We will share their website soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Reading

Since there is no book club selection for December, I am trying to focus on some of the other reading that stacks up on my bedside table. I'm midway through a biography of the youngest daughter of Winston Churchill: Mary Soames. I have a signed copy and am enjoying the photos and tales immensely.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Model Airplanes

Polar Bear and Winger celebrated their afternoon "off" by building a model Fokker D-VII German aircraft. The finished model is only 2.5" long of thin metal and had 12 snap-together parts including propeller, tires, and steering wheel. Shown here beside our souvenir car with a "Ford" pressed penny in the driver seat.

Some needle-nose pliers proved to be VERY useful in the assemby of this miniature plane. Winger is still working on his... It turned out to be a great little project from the Henry Ford Museum (gift from the Verbick family)!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Folklore and Aspects of Mic-O-Say

Meggar is doing a class presentation tomorrow for her English Folklore class. Her research paper was about the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, and she conducted several interviews last month during her fall break. She interviewed Tom-Tom Beater Northern Spirit (Dorito's tribal name) as well as Colton Zirkle, Bob Brown, her twin brothers, and other Scout leaders.
The main idea of modern folklore is to show ways in which stories and traditions are passed along to the next generation in person rather than written down or recorded. The Tribe is a perfect subject as they have many secret ceremonies and songs which follow a ritualized schedule. The initiation process (naming) and advancements (costume additions) keep my young men energized and interested in participation. Dorito is even on the "Make Talk Now" staff which runs a website for all Tribesmen to keep up to date on the events. Recently, the twins even skipped hockey practice to attend their third dance practice and third public dance -- which earned them a Yellow Coup to wear on their bear claw necklace. Oh my! The importance of it all.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

More and More Paperwork

The biggest part of finishing your Eagle Scout rank is the paperwork! The twins needed a budget, a fundraising letter, itemized expense sheet (per screw and bolt), list of safety tips, explanation of the benefits, and a long paper written about their leadership, talents, goals, and life purpose statement.
Tomorrow is Scout meeting and the chance for a Scoutmaster Conference to sign and approve all of it. So the emotions are high. It didn't help when the computer lost 6-8 pages of Polar Bear's report. Last week, Winger lost a similar amount, but on a different computer. Those fillable PDFs are a bear to work with! We are checking and double checking (and getting letters of recommendation).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Catching Up at Week's End

My daughter was playing the piano (a Mozart-something) over Thanksgiving--seated between Aunt Kathy's famous album cover and Grandma's  St. Cecelia plaque.
Lori made homemade yogurt for me.  I made Pumpkin Latte Creamer (one for Meggar and one for me) off Pinterest.

I went on the Holiday Homes tour with Caroline and Brenda and 800 other people. We bumped into her Uncle Joe at lunch, and then scoured the estate sale at the Museum Hill Bed & Breakfast. Bought some china, some chairs, some books (the usual for me).

Friday, November 23, 2012


Dorito enjoyed a Senior Class Birthday Party at the paintball complex in Kansas City for Chris. Now the twins are begging to go there!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Glad to have Aunt Lois join us today.
Glad the weather was warm for playing outside.
Glad Carey's kids came back.
Glad I made an extra pumpkin pie.
Glad my sons dressed up.
Glad Amy and Barbara and Lori are stay-at-home moms.
Glad Captain has taught the twins about hunting.
Glad Dorito is making progress toward college.
Glad Meggar is growing in wisdom.
Glad for hard work on the home front.

Acts 2:46
Day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

That's All There Is

We crammed in last minute shopping and local errands before Meggar had to leave. She met Hannah for breakfast earlier, and I even made copy-cat Pumpkin Latte creamer for us to try! Lastly, we took a family photo and had Spencer sign the visitor's book (requisite in any proper British home). The college couple headed out for St. Louis to visit Spencer's family the remainder of their vacation week. The rest of us drove to Wichita to meet up with all the Leonard cousins.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Club Looks at Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin was a New Orleans writer who also loved Chopin music. (I don't think she was related to the pianist/composer.) Yet, how clever for Constance to bring her iPad speakers and play her favorite Nocturnes while we all enjoyed hors de ouvres and tea at the start of book club. It's been a long while since Meggar was able to join us at the library, and I was pleased this short novel enabled her to finish the reading during her week-long college break and participate in our discussions. "The Awakening" is well written with a prominent bird motif, but I must say that I liked the music and food best of all. There was crawfish, file gumbo, and shrimp jambalaya. We always have a lively discussion, and it's delightful to compare and contrast with authors we have previously featured. Constance was well versed as the discussion leader and had some great handouts. She even brought calling cards for us to decorate.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Desserts and Dates

We hosted a little gathering of couples around our dining room table: Spencer and Meggar were the guests of honor. I dished up apple pie a la mode, plus chocolate truffles, shortbread, and brownie bites as the main temptations. Conversations bubbled along easily and pleasantly. I don't have photos of the guests nor a fancy quote from a famous pilgrim to post. But I will say that Thanksgiving vacation is a wonderful chance to relax and be grateful for friendships. And here is a snapshot of my kitchen table and window where I have a little message chalkboard that changes with the seasons, holidays, and feast days.

Captain and Gr. Don

Yesterday we spent a lot of time eating and forgot to take family or group photos. But I did capture Gr. Don with his youngest = my Captain. They were relaxing after dinner and before dessert; talking about hunting in the good old days. Gr. Don is going to be 82 in another month, and he was in good spirits (especially during the sing-along). Admittedly, Gr. Don looks paler and thinner since his bypass surgery last summer. Both of them are strong and steady men. "A chip off the old block," as I like to say :-)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

An Early Thanksgiving Feast

The Schmidling family gathered in Smithville for Thanksgiving this afternoon. Aunt Kathy made the turkey and ham and potatoes, Aunt Denise made the pies and a German dessert (for their exchange student), Aunt Sherry made the sweet potatoes and corn casserole, Dorothy made cranberry fluff salad (my personal favorite), Lindsey brought the little cousins, and I made a few side dishes: oyster stuffing (Captain's favorite), sage stuffing (everyone else's favorite), rustic scalloped onions, broiled asparagus, and sweet green beans. How nice that Melanie came without her wheelchair and only needed a cane.
Rustic Scalloped Onion Casserole
2 T. butter
2-3 onions or leeks (any combination)
1 can cream of (anything) soup
2 T. milk
1/4 t. pepper
1-2 c. Swiss cheese
Cubed bread (French, Pumpernickel, Rye, etc.)
Rough chop onions and saute in butter until softened.
Place in casserole dish and stir in one can of condensed soup with milk and pepper. I like to use half a can of cream of celery and half a can of cream of chicken, but cream of mushroom soup is also nice.
Top with dry hunks of bread or croutons.
Sprinkle with Swiss cheese.
Bake at 350' F for 15 minutes, until bubbly.
This recipe could be doubled for bigger families.
Great side dish for Thanksgiving meals!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Family Time

Meggar and Spencer are spending a few days with us! Hooray for family meals and movie time. Plus a side dish of competition. We played a game of Apples to Apples, taught the twins how to play Hearts, and made a run through Quik-Trip (they have the best soda and coffee fountain) after scorekeeping two games at Line Creek (extra holiday cash for poor college students).

Friday, November 16, 2012

KCYC Brings Joy to Hearts

The theme for KCYC was Joyful Faith from 1 Peter 1:8 --"Without having seen Him you love Him; though you do not now see Him you believe in Him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy."

KCYC is held every other year to bring together the Catholic teens in Kansas City for a special youth conference. Hundreds of teens in one ballroom is exciting in and of itself. But add to that the humorous workshops by Mark Hart and the music of The Glory Collective -- WOW!
Everyone in my homeschool group was happy about the 2-day retreat complete with a painting meditation (creating the joyful face of Jesus you see here), mass with Bishop Finn, and door-to-foor evangelization! We had a fun time getting to know each other through rock-paper-scissors and Bible verse races too.
The band made a little extra time for a jam session with my boys (behind the scenes). Shawn is an awesome fiddle player who just signed as the background strings for Martina McBride's Christmas tour. It was fun to have dinner with him and Jimmy--we had met them last year in the Wichita Diocese at Grandma Judy's house.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Crayolas and 2nd Grade and Am. Girls

I remember songs like these. And double jump roping at American Girl Club meetings. We Schmidlings don't listen to such jazz-and-beat-box CDs anymore.  Ah, the car-schooling of earlier years brings a smile to my face today. Maybe yours too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Compliments a la Dorito

Dorito has been invited to lead the next NYLT! Last year, he was the Asst. Senior Course Leader for the inaugural offering of National Youth Leadership Training at our Scout Camp. This year's adult director must be "practically perfect in every way" since my son was his first choice for Course Leader :-) This was excellent news that came in the midst of a frustrating week for my senior boy. He needs one more point on the ACT but there's another chance in December. Isn't that how life goes? Just when you think you can't take any more disappointments, God sends a rainbow to show that you are still special. And we press on/work harder/dream again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Suited Up

How fortunate that Kohl's sells church clothes. Since I always have a Kohl's coupon, that makes the price a little easier to swallow than the growth spurts of my three boys. Luckily only one son needed black slacks for tonight's concert. All three still had white shirts and white undershirts and black belts and black socks and black shoes that fit. (Their black socks are actually "church socks" and calf length since one of my pet peeves is seeing short/black/athletic socks peek out under black slacks.)
Quickly--Off to the concert. Winger had coaxed his brothers into wearing their purple ties as a show of support for K-State. They admittedly looked quite handsome. And the Choir sounded impressive with four-part harmony on three songs! Our homeschool choir has a higher level of participation than some recent years, and I enjoyed their Christmas music!

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's Been Six Months

Since the photos are already tagged on Facebook, I suppose I can share them on my blog too.

Meggar and Spencer have been dating for six months--so he drove her to Columbia for a nice dinner date and a special new release movie!
They also masqueraded in purple at the Winter Formal.

Meg and Lois make a cute couple!

Getting Up Early

The twins got up VERY, VERY early to go deer hunting with Fr. Benjamin and his dad (visiting from Louisiana).
This was my boys' second outing, and they had such high hopes. But it is not as easy as it looks. Only Father was successful, and the twins will try again next weekend.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wearing the Stripes

Dorito worked as the head official for the first time in a JV hockey game, and he did great!! He skated fast, stayed focused, and didn't get rattled by coaches asking questions or Dads pounding on the glass and cussing at him. It's only house hockey, so it isn't the fast pace of watching the twins play AAA games for crying out loud! (Even I saw the hand pass.) Yes, I tagged along so he would have some moral support, but he didn't need any. His 6' 2" frame keeps him head and shoulders above everyone in the game anyway. His calm demeanor allows him to focus on the plays and make the right calls when he sees them--not what he thinks might be fair. The pay is pretty good, too: $40 for Level 3 head official, and $30 for Level 3 linesman. Dorito reffed four games yesterday. Nice job, Stripes!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

College Update on Meggar

We love to get calls from Meggar!  Today her update came after a 3-hour Choir rehearsal and before going to Saturday evening Mass with Spencer. Then later, they are going to the Winter Formal Dinner and Dance. I hope to get a picture as I'm sure she came up with pretty dress and hairdo. Tomorrow, she is looking forward to the Choir concert, and she will play piano accompaniment for one or two of those songs. Also, she is in charge of the AGD Thanksgiving Dinner Sunday evening. She bought three turkeys and coached the volunteer cooks on preparation. Here is the invitation she designed:
She asks everyone to bring side dishes, and she has a few volunteers who are cutting out leaves for use as napkin rings. Then after the meal, she has a motivational speaker on Gratitude = Grateful Attitude. Plus each girl can write what they are thankful for and add their leaf to the tree decorating the front wall. Meggar plans to transfer the colorful Grateful Tree to the Chapter Room for the remainder of the week before Thanksgiving break.
Perhaps this year of serving as AGD Vice President can count as a minor in event planning?!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gotta Find Something to Laugh About

Here at the end of the week, I am exhausted. There was that 5 a.m. work day at the polls, and college exam prep when I was quizzing Dorito for two late nights in a row. There were also two scheduling nightmares with KCYC and AGD to endure resolve. Plus Captain's sister is nearing the end of her battle with cancer, and he is helping arrange flights for Kathy and Rachel to get to Alaska on time. But I also want to list the good things in my week such as Captain substituting my Adoration Hour. And a victory over "Goliath" in the Suzuki Parent Fund battle. The boys have each memorized a concerto through consistent violin practice at home. And I found three pennies on the ground in the past two weeks reminding me that "In God We Trust."
This afternoon, I played cards with the "old ladies" at Vintage Gardens, and we had lots of laughs. Imagine these kind ladies playing cut-throat at "Hearts" over tea and cakes?! TGIF!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

K-State Alumni Scholarship

Dorito won an Alumni Scholarship to K-State at the Catbacker Dinner tonight. They offer $150/year renewable--plus he liked the free T-shirt and fried chicken supper! The evening was made more fun by a speech by the Band Director, who told stories from the football sidelines of this 9-0 season!! Hilarious how he chirps at the opposing team with his band microphone. And how nearly all 350 band members come to the fieldhouse at 2 a.m. to meet the team when it comes home after "away" football games. Pretty neat testimony!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crosses on Display

Every October, our family erects a pro-life display of crosses at our church. This is the 2nd set of crosses, which we made and painted as a homeschool group several years ago. The first set was on display at the Catholic high school this month. Each crosses represents 1 million aborted babies since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. There are more than a few crosses. It is a staggering reality to view 46 crosses and think that more babies are killed EVERY DAY in the US than the total who died in the Twin Towers bombing and TWO DAYS equals the total killed in the Iraq War in the past nine years....
This year, my twins did the work of hauling all the crosses down from the attic, repairing a few, and hammering away during the installation as part of their Confirmation service hours. Who will drive by and rethink their philosophy of life and death? Maybe 3315 per day?

Monday, November 5, 2012

October Baby

Captain and I enjoyed being in the same town today, and we even watched a movie together. "October Baby" was very powerful.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

K-State Remains Undefeated

Captain and Dorito stopped at Oklahoma Joe's before traveling to Manhattan last night for the K-State football game. Another victory that Collin Klein (injured late in the game) can be proud of. Although my guys had a late night drive, the time change helped a little. Shown here: Dorito was happy to be in the screaming crowd with 55,000 others and on the field afterwards!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Three Days in Chicago

Regretably, there is never much time for sight-seeing on a hockey weekend, so we focused instead on the food offerings while in Chicago for the Bauer World Invite. We ate the famous hotdogs at Portillo's with our teammates and sang "Happy Birthday to Austin," we sampled Chicago Deep Dish Pizza at Suparossa's, and we returned to the Mexican grocery store near the Bollingbrook rink to buy these authentic pastries and Mexican bottled sodas. Our family discovered this on-site bakery years ago, and we like to try something new every time. The bilingual cashier even gave us a flavored candy to sample the unique flavor of Tamarind (sweet chili pepper?!) plus we ordered a piece of chocololate Oreo torte for a  safe bet/dessert splurge.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Spooked Again!

One family has consistently spooked us for the Halloween! This is my boys' favorite prank of the year. We buy orange soda and orange candy (Reese's) and stickers or Dollar Store stuff. Then we sneak up after dark and ding-dong-ditch. It used to be that we spooked 5-6 friends annually. But none of them reciprocated or acknowledged the treats (?) So we didn't trick all of them this year. The older I get I have decided that life is a two-way street.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints Day and Deadlines

For Catholics, November 1 is a holy day of obligation. It is wonderful time to celebrate the Communion of Saints: St. Francis of Assisi, St. John the Baptist, Sts. Benedict & Scholastica, St. Catherine of Alexandria, Pope St. Leo the Great, and Bl. Mother Teresa are among our favorites. For European Catholics, it is a bank holiday and Fabian says he has a week off from school! But for American high school seniors, November 1 is the early deadline for college applications, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and college essays. Although Dorito is applying to fewer colleges than Meggar did, it still was a daunting task in a very busy week.
(Wife is driving to Chicago this afternoon for a very early hockey game tomorrow.)