Saturday, January 24, 2015

January Daybook

Outside my window...
The boys were playing hockey in the driveway yesterday afternoon and called the rest of us out to the front porch to watch the sunset. It was gorgeous!

I am thinking...
I didn't participate in any of the online discussions about the Pope's recent comments, but I did have a little conversation about them with my husband and our oldest son must have been listening... I couldn't help laughing as I was reading the final draft of his Five Paragraph Interview Essay yesterday and noticed the simile he chose to include as required by his Student Writing Intensive checklist!

I am thankful... 
I am so thankful that our Dentist's office lets us schedule so many back-to-back appointments! Our schedule was crammed full the past two Tuesdays, but now all the Dental Exams and Cleanings are done for the next 6 months! Only Snuggles needs a follow-up appointment to have one of his baby teeth removed sometime within the next month.

From Instagram on Tuesday, January 20th:
My mom just called and said she had a little time this afternoon and asked if I needed any help... "Why YES!!!! I do! If you could meet me at the math tutor's at 1:30, I could then go home with all the little ones and you could take (three of the older children) to their afternoon appointments. The schedule isn't quite as bad as it was last week, but I'll make you a list of who needs to be where and when." ‪#‎thankyoumom‬ ‪#‎youarethebest‬ ‪#‎mydayjustgotsomucheasier‬

Learning all the time... 
We are nearing the end of our Biology course for this year and will begin Physics next month. Lately we have enjoyed observing our five new little friends who have been growing so incredibly fast! We will transfer them to the Butterfly Garden once they become chrysalides. Next up in our Laboratory WorkbooksGrow-a-Frog!

Celebrating the liturgical year...
The Feast of the Purification, which is also called Candlemas due to the traditional blessing of candles at Mass, is coming up on February 2nd. It is customary to bring candles (at least 51% beeswax) from home to be blessed for devotional purposes. Last year, in addition to the candles we had blessed, I ordered a pair of the Raw Beeswax Candles from Bluecorn Naturals which I LOVE! They burn so nicely and are such a beautiful addition to our dinner table. This year I decided to order some extra beeswax candles in various colors. I think the Eggplant Tapers will be perfect for during Lent, the Red Tapers for Pentecost, and the Moss Tapers for ordinary time!  I also need to purchase a couple more pillar candles for creating our 2015 Paschal Candle for Easter and Christ Candle for Christmas.

From the kitchen... 
I've used my crock pot nearly every day this past week. It has been such a huge help! After posting a picture on Instagram last Thursday I had a couple requests for my mom's "Chili for a Crowd" recipe. I made some modifications and rather than trying to type it all up in the comments over at Instagram I'm just going to share it here along with my notes.

Chili for a Crowd
(Serves 8-12) 

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I use 2 lbs)
2 onions, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped (I used 1 bag of Trader Joe's Melange a Trois - Red, Yellow, & Green Bell Pepper Strips found in the frozen section) 
1/2 cup celery, chopped (I omitted the celery) 
1 tsp. chopped garlic (I used 2 cubes of the Dorot brand Crushed Garlic from Trader Joe's) 
3 - 16 oz. cans diced tomatoes (I used 2 cans of diced and 1 can of tomato sauce)
3 - 16 oz. cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
1 TBS chili powder
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I omitted)

Sauté ground beef, onions, pepper, celery, and garlic. Drain fat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook over medium until it comes to a boil - 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Note: After sautéing I transferred it to my crock pot and stirred in the remaining ingredients. I did this the night before, since I wasn't going to have time in the morning. The next morning I set it on low for 8 hours and it was ready to eat when we arrived home from piano. The crock pot kept the chili warm for the boys' second dinner later that night after hockey! :)

From Instagram on Thursday, January 22nd:
It's so nice to have a little extra help in the kitchen on these busy days... I just walked back in the door and dinner will be ready in 1 minute! Tonight we are having my mom's "Chili for a Crowd" which happens to be "just enough" for our little family... especially on Hockey nights when the boys all end up eating dinner twice!

I am working on... 
I just finished adding a few posts from 2014 to Links for February :: Month Dedicated to the Holy Family. I can't believe February is only a week away!

I am creating...
Yesterday, Friday, January 23rd, was the final day of our second quarter. Our school year is officially half over!!! This weekend I'll be finalizing our plans for the second half of the school year and printing out the children's checklists for our third quarter.

I am going...
I have some Pirouette Cookies hidden away in the pantry, but I am going to need to pick up some Fudge Stripes Cookies and Mini Marshmallows so the kids can make our Candlemas Cookies with Drip Plates again this year.

I am hoping...
and praying, praying, praying, that we will be able to find a permanent replacement for Father K or better yet that God will work a small miracle and bring the FSSP (the order of priests to which my husband's three brothers belong) within driving distance. For the past two years Father has been traveling from a neighboring diocese to offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at our local parish. In 2013 we were blessed to have the Latin Mass once per quarter and in 2014 the frequency increased to every other month for a total of 10 Masses over the past two years. Unfortunately Father was unable to commit to any Masses in 2015 and we are searching for a replacement. At this time we have a priest who has agreed to make the trip to offer a 7pm Mass on March 1st. It's a start!

I am praying...
a prayer my sister texted me last month. Thank you little sis!

Eternal, Holy God, I come to you burdened with worries, fears, doubts, and troubles. Calm and quiet me with peace of mind. Empty me of the anxiety that disturbs me, of the concerns that weary my spirit, and weigh heavy on my heart. Loosen my grip on the disappointments and grievances I hold on to so tightly. Release me from the pain of past hurts, of present anger and tension, of future fears. Sometimes it's too much for me Lord, too many demands and problems, too much sadness, suffering, and stress. Renew me spiritually and emotionally. Give me new strength, hope, and confidence. Prepare me to meet the constant struggles of daily life with a deeper faith and trust in You. Let your love set me free, for peace, for joy, for grace, for life, for others, forever. Amen.

I am reading…
Today I read a short story to my little ones about St. Francis de Sales from our January Book Basket. We have also been reading our review copy of Treasure and Tradition from St. Augustine Academy Press. Review coming soon!

Pondering these words…
from St. Francis de Sales that were quoted at the beginning of Chapter 7 in Momnipotent: The Not-So-Perfect Guide to Catholic Motherhood:

"Accept the duties which come upon you quietly, and try to fulfill them methodically, one after another. If you attempt to do everything at once, or with confusion, you will only cumber yourself with your own exertions, and by dint of perplexing your mind you will probably be overwhelmed and accomplish nothing." 

I am listening…
to the girls practicing on the piano. They are loving their piano lessons this year. I am so thankful that we have finally found such an excellent piano teacher within driving distance. She teaches upstairs at a Presbyterian church and the girls will participate in their very first recital next month!

From Instagram on Thursday, January 22nd:
The girls are having fun enjoying some of the other instruments while waiting for their piano teacher!

Around the house...
There are always LEGO creations of some sort around our house. This little "King's Castle" is the boys' latest!

One of my favorite things...  
I love ice skating, though I don't get to skate nearly as much as I would like. The children were invited to participate in a local field trip to the rink on Friday the 16th, which happened to be my birthday. The five oldest could skate for free and any other family members only cost $5 each so we all decided to go!

From Instagram on Friday, January 16th:
Oh boy! Her first time ever and my first time in 7-8 (?) years! This should be fun!!!

Sean was able to take the day off work and we brought along a stroller for Bud. It was my first time skating since 2008 and Rose's first time ever. We had such a great time!

This week's plans
Same as usual… Mass on Sunday. Hockey practice on Monday and Thursday nights. Tutors on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Piano lessons on Thursday afternoon. Hockey games on Saturday morning.

A little peek at my day...
My little cowboy enjoying a boatload of oatmeal!

Isn't his TUG BOWL Dinner Set adorable?! He loves it! Here is one more picture taken just after he unwrapped it last month on his birthday!