Sunday, April 28, 2013

More Prom Photos

Here is a link to more Prom photos.
I also will try to get a picture of the invitations I made for Prom.
 Each senior girl received a life preserver.

 Each senior boy could take home a blue anchor.

Winger made the Red Star Line flag, and Polar Bear helped me make the four smoke stacks!

Table decorations included silver candlabras, red flower petals, and mirrors. Very elegant!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

"Aboard the Titanic" Prom

Everyone looked fabulous!
The dinner was delicious at Benton Club.
The decorations were a hit.
Meggar was an outstanding disc jockey for the dance. The seniors guys had a good time dancing with Absolutely Everyone!
Captain let us borrow his airline uniform hat for a prop!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Victorian Silhouettes

Pam helped me cut them out. (Using very sharp scissors and photographs already the right size are the key to Pinterest-worthy success). The twins helped glue them on ivory-colored backgrounds. We now have 60 silhouettes made for "Aboard the Titanic" Prom this weekend! I think the students will enjoy trying to guess their friends and find their own picture during the social hour.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Senior Can Sing

The semester program for homeschool classes was tonight. For their "Grand Finale," the 12 seniors in Choir did a special ensemble performed with choreography. Dorito sounded fantastic! Finally there are enough male voices to support the four-part harmony songs. (Note: Some years our homeschool choir has been on the quieter side.) I am proud of my senior for never quitting "Choir" all these years, even when it wasn't the fashionable place to be on Tuesdays. He has set a good example every week with his good attitude. After the concert, all the teens were going out to eat and getting ice cream. I think the twins decorated Dorito's car when it was in the parking lot :-)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Winger's Arm Injury

The twins tried out for another hockey team by playing in a Chicago tournament over the weekend. Winger nearly took a somersault into the vistitor's bench, but the result was badly banging the back of his left arm into the railing. Big bruise on upper quadracep, very sore, not broken. The urgent care places nearby did not offer X-rays so it meant another trip to the E.R. Same arm as he hurt before. Poor kid.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mom's Weekend at AGD

We had fun: dinner with Spencer, Bunco and dessert night, and Saturday brunch.This photo was with Peyton (former suitemate and Panhellenic teammate for Recruitment).
Here's Lois (best crafting buddy), tall Emily (former roommate back from study abroad in Italy) and their moms!
Plus Meggar and I went antique shopping and attended a Piano Recital for a Master's candidate.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Meatless Recipe

My favorite recipe for Friday lunch is fast and made with fish (so it covers the meatless option).
Salmon Cakes
1 can pink-red salmon, drained
2 T. mayonnaise
2 T. chopped parsley flakes (or fresh)
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 t. pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. bread crumbs
In bowl, mash salmon to crush bones (remove skin, if desired). Add mayo, parsley, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and pepper. Shake salmon into found, flattened patties. Dip each in beaten egg and coat with bread crumbs. Fry in small amount of olive oil until browned, turning once. Can be refrigerated to hold shape before grilling.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

E*Trade Commercials

Meggar is addicted to them; Dorito has them memorized; and the twins mimic the one-liners. All because of the cute baby in the E*Trade commercials! For speech class tomorrow, Dorito is doing a content analysis of the "Lottery or E*Trade?" ad. He enjoyed doing the research, going back to its debut during Super Bowl 2008. E*Trade has launched a new commercial every Super Bowl since. They get a direct hit of anywhere from 50,000 - 100,000 new accounts afterward. Surely I am not wearing a "shocked face" at the success of the smart baby spokesman:
to me they are ironically spreading a pro-life message into the mainstream. With such a fun topic and lots of experience with Scouts, Dorito is actually looking forward to giving this speech.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Compare and Contrast

The twins are writing essays to show the correlating themes between Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 and The Odyssey. (This is my favorite part of ninth grade with Kolbe Academy.) At first the boys thought the poem too romantic, while Homer's tale is heroic and bloody. The word language is what gets me. Did Shakespeare know about Penelope's nightly un-weaving when he talks about "alteration"? Did Shakespeare pity the "tempests" sent by Poseidon to delay Odysseus for ten years at sea? Wasn't young Telemachos similar to "Time's fool" in his passionate threats and final revenge against the suitors? Our reward in homeschool for completing the book, exam, and essay is to watch the modern parody "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" I predict that everyone will like the fiddle music, too.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Waiting for the Spring

Another rainy day. I expect the chilly temps,
we needed the rain.
But I'm tired of this weather already.
If you are longing to see some sunshine,
the only cure is "Enchanted April" -- either the wonderful 1922 novel by Elizabeth van Arnim or the cinema version (which is currently available on NetFlix via "Watch Instantly").

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Do You Like Your Vacuum?

I rarely use the shampoo attachment on my Kirby vacuum. This weekend, however, I am earnestly preparing for Graduation parties. It is not difficult, and it didn't take too long. I suppose I saved a fair amount by doing it myself. The whole time I was thinking, "I should be listening to a book on tape." and "I never should have bought the Kirby vacuum even though it has a shampoo attachment." I fell for the sales pitch many years ago. Even though I already had a decent vacuum from the classifieds. I had four small children, and a college kid came and shampooed the dirty stairs as part of the demonstration. WOW! I felt sorry for him and was overly glad to talk his adult supervisor. Any adult, really. In the end, it has been too heavy for stairs and too complicated with all its attachments and too expensive (especially compared to elbow grease and rental shampooers).

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What Does it Mean to be American?

The Government is more afraid of
Unborn Babies
Religion of Homeschoolers
nuclear weapons,
extremist terrorists,
or rising deficits borrowed against the future.
Dangerous culture war.
Really biased.
and Sad.
I can hear Lesa saying:
"You Republican."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Big Hockey Honors

Captain received an important email from the USHL. The summer before a hockey player turns 16, he is eligible to be recuited to the "USHL Futures Combine" for five exhibition games. That means he may be one of the top USHL prospects at age 18. Knowing only 300 players are chosen nationwide (in combined birth years of 1998 and 1999), we panicked because the email didn't indicate which son was chosen!?! After some hours of worry, Captain received a call back from the scouting director saying BOTH our sons were picked. (*whew*) YES!! Polar Bear and Winger feel on top of the world. This is another confirmation that they are pretty terrific on the ice for their age. For me, the thing about having twins is that they are different, but they are both good and you hope the things that one does better than the other won't be the dividing line. Especially during those teenage years when you are unsure about where you fit in, the twins hoped their hockey skill and efforts would lead them to the next higher level. I say: "Congratulations!" to them, and to Captain: "You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

All Eyes on Augusta

It's hard to get Dorito to study for his College Algebra exam when he has live streaming with "The Masters App." Same for the twins! First thing they noticed was the LARGE crowds compared to last year. They should have gone last year when Tiger was "out," and the crowds were much small. We don't like Tiger anyway. Today, they are hoping for Mickelson, Rose, Lynn, Garcia, Westwood, and the 14-year-old Chinese amateur to make the first cut. I gave in at lunch time and they watched for awhile. We also looked up the story behind the naming of "Amen Corner." Counts for a little learning, but now we are back to our regularly scheduled homeschool programming.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thyroid Troubles

Meggar was back to the Student Health Clinic this week since her bronchitis was not better after a round of antibiotics. The doctor immediately noticed her thyroid was swollen. A blood test confirmed slightly low thyroid function, but they don't want to start her on Synthroid yet. She is worried, but we have had her tested twice in the past three years and everything was normal both those times. So I am hoping to talk to her regular physician, too. Meanwhile they are giving her a B-12 shot to help with energy levels. We are praying for her. It is hard to hear about limits when you are only 20 years old.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Margaret Thatcher's Story

If you travel to England, you will see the legacy of Margaret Thatcher everywhere. If you travel in England, I mean. The privatization of the British rail stations seems so natural to Americans, but I recall when Nancy, Blair, and I always had to pack a sandwich and book along because you could hardly buy gum or a newspaper at train stations. Today they have built up mini-malls in many stations with cafes, druggists, book stalls, and boutiques selling china or clothing. They are one-stop-shopping destinations now! Reaganomics certainly had its ally in the "Iron Lady."
Guess this will prompt me to read that biography which has been on the shelf these 25 years.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Taxing the Brain

I buckled down and got the taxes done all in one day. Captain is a big help with Quicken, and I sort the receipts. We do Schedule A and itemize, but there is never "enough" to take a decent medical deduction (though we spent a large amount out of pocket = more than $10,000). We also do Schedule C because we own an airplane as a side business. Then there's Meggar's forms with scholarships, books, and tuition. Plus I'm filing for Dorito who had a real job in 2012. UGH!
Update: It seems a shame that we have to pay taxes on our own money that we use for health care, especially since one-third of Americans get tax-free healthcare for free, using other taxpayer's money!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday for Divine Mercy

Our family likes to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, so today's feast day is most welcomed! Started by Pope John Paul II, Divine Mercy Sunday occurs on the octave of Easter to remind us that Jesus' salvation of souls is his greatest act of mercy. Father Benjamin gave a great homily about the Titanic. Exactly 101 years ago, on the Sunday after Easter, a converted Englishman who was a priest said mass on board the ship with his portable altar and sacred vessels. When the ship later collided with an iceberg, he went down to the 3rd class cabins and began giving blessings on the foreheads of the children. He remained on deck throughout the ordeal, praying the Rosary with Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and all men alike. The meaning of bravery is most clearly understood with our eyes fixed on mercy.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Prom Date Looks Dazzling

Dorito is headed to Hamilton High School for McKenzie's prom. Her champagne-colored dress is matched by his vest and tie! Very cute.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Going to the Blues Game

We were gifted with tickets to the St. Louis Blues home game, and picked up Meggar and Spencer on our way there! How great to spend some time with them *plus* have hockey for entertainment. The game wasn't nearly as exciting as Thursday night (overtime with the BlackHawks) but the twins and Dorito were glued to the action on the ice. 
Afterwards, we are headed over to Spencer's house to meet his parents for the first time. Meggar said she is not nervous: "They already like me!"

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Our wish was for Dorito and Captain to go to The Masters next week as a graduation trip. We have been monitoring ticket prices and flights for months. The two obstacles were college classes and work schedules. Just when it looked like Captain could get the time off, one of Dorito's PreCalc professors put an exam on next Thursday (altered because of snow days in MARCH from his original schedule). He will not allow it to be taken early either. Plus the ticket prices for Augusta were going to crazy heights as the time got closer. We will move on to Plan B. As soon as we figure out what that is....

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Taking a Look at Weekends

We had a fun weekend while Meggar was here: movie at the Cinemark on the Plaza and dinner at "The Melting Pot." She told us about her classes and professors. She played some of her piano pieces. She showed us one of the papers she's written lately: a fictional meeting between authors and their main characters. She chose Edith Wharton to meet Lily from "The House of Mirth" and Kate Chopin to meet Edna from "The Awakening" at a cafe for afternoon tea. She is working on a paper about modern piano performers next.
We also looked at her AGD photos from Date Party. The attendance at the party last semester was disappointing, so Meggar stepped in early by helping plan the venue, the Jungle theme, and generating more publicity among her sorority sisters. She and Spencer dressed as a koala bear and jungle tree! (I think the koala hat from eBay was the impetus toward cuteness.) She said attendance doubled, and the dance was really fun. "The more, the merrier!"

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


We did a little shopping at H&M over the Easter weekend. Dorito and Meggar have talked about that store since their summer trips to Europe, so the twins were curious. Meggar was the fashion consultant and spent the least amount of money! The boys like their new styles (and the shock value).

Monday, April 1, 2013

Prairie School Days

The twins and I are leading another group at 1860s Pony School today from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. We had 34 in our group on Thursday, and we are expecting 36 students today. I am dressing up for my role as the School Marm (and covering all six subjects). The twins are in charge of chores and recess. They will help the boys chop wood, saw logs, plus pump water for the basin and pitcher. They will lead potato sack races, hoop rolling, stick horse races, and drop the hankie game. Later, they also play their fiddles for the after-lunch entertainment.
Last class, we had one little boy who couldn't get his britches zipped up. And another little boy scared up a couple of baby bunnies from their burrow. This was the highlight of the afternoon, especially when Polar Bear had to keep everyone from chasing the bunny into the traffic on Mitchell Street. He rescued the bunny too.
Here's a photo of the butter churning session: The girls are jumping and running to shake their little jar of cream into butter (because it takes longer than you think!) and then we went outside to eat with with lunch from our pails.