Friday, October 31

What We Did Last Night

The girls helped me prepare the pumpkins for carving, then helped with straining the seeds so we could roast them for our trip next week.

I'm kind of proud of how the jack-o-lanterns turned out.  Not bad for someone who had not carved a pumpkin until about three years ago, eh?

More pictures here.

My Girls' Costumes

Big girl:
Little Girl:
I'm contemplating posting their pictures ... I'll have to think about it, though.  In the meantime, enjoy these artists' renderings of their costumes.  ;)

Thursday, October 30

Matthew 25 in Action

This is a really nice story.

(*Skip the comments - they just detract from the beauty of what that woman did for a stranger.)

Monday, October 27

Are We Setting the Bar Too Low?

I've been thinking about Big Girl's sleepover a bit.  Some people were under the impression that I'd have my hands full - that the girls would kind of take over and be out of control.  There was a pillow fight, but when I firmly said to stay in the back bedroom to have it, they did (without complaint).  And manners were a common thread between the girls.  

Here is a bit of demographics about the seven girls who were there (five guests plus my two girls):

  • Six are homeschooled
  • All seven are Christians - five, Catholic
  • Four play soccer together
  • Big Girl and one other girl are in CCD together
  • Ages were from seven (Little Girl) to eleven
Yes, Little Girl was at the party.  Did I mention that?  Big Girl's friends asked if she would also be letting her sister play with them and be a part of the party.  Naturally, Big Girl said yes.  She is great friends with her sister.  

All of this behavior makes me wonder if society is convincing a great many parents to set the bar too low for their children.  Instead of expecting that they will get along with siblings as they get older, we are told that fifth graders don't/won't play with second graders.  Instead of expecting that their manners will improve as they get closer to young adulthood, parents are told that we are to expect our teen-aged children to be surly and uncooperative.  Instead of expecting our children to increase in faith as they grow in age, we are told that it's only natural for children to discard the faith they are brought up in.  

I think that these attitudes, which have prevailed my entire life, are self-fulfilling.  We cringingly set forth rules of the house, "knowing" that they'll only obey for a time.  We wince as we present the Faith, thinking that once they get to their teen years (not young adult, but teen - think a bit about the difference in connotation there) they will be ready to rebel and discard it.  

Why cringe!?  Why shrink in fear!?

Be not afraid!  If you expect your children to be insolent and uncooperative, they'll live up to it.  But expect that they will remain best of friends, that they will have the best of manners, that they will love and live and grow in the Faith you hand down to them ... well, then they will!  Do not accept society's attitudes that your child will wish to be separate from you, away from you.  

Expect what is right!  Raise the bar!

Then watch your children soar right over it.  

Sunday, October 26


Hey, don't forget that EWTN is showing Into the Great Silence tonight at 9:00 EDT.  I've got my DVR set to record.  

Here are some clips and the trailer for the US release:

The Big Sleep-Over

Last night, Big Girl had her first sleep-over party.  This was to celebrate her tenth birthday, and I allowed her to invite 6 girls about her age (she just turned ten, in case you missed that) to stay Saturday to Sunday.  We had five who came last night, one of whom wasn't able to stay overnight.  (This girl's father had been away in the Philippines on business for three months; he kind of missed her and wanted her home.)

Girls came around six-ish last night, and we ordered pizza, watched movies (The Music Man and Singin' in the Rain), and baked lollipop sugar cookes.  At 11:00 I asked them all to brush teeth and lay down for a little sleep.  I relented a bit and said they could have lights on until 11:30, and then they had to lay down with lights off and lay down if they wanted to talk after that.  I hear they were up until at least 1:00 am, which explained the bleary-eyed children at my table this morning.  

I made French toast and sausage for breakfast, saw one child out the door by 8:30 (singing at Mass at her own parish, she was), and then Travel Man and I loaded the remaining children into our cars to get to CCD and Mass at our parish.  (One child attends our parish, another is Catholic from another parish, and the last non-Travel Family child attends a Baptist church in town.)  

All in all?  Well, despite what some people were telling me ("What?  Six girls overnight?  You're awfully brave..." and "Boy, I feel sorry for you," were among the comments I got), the girls were all a delight: sweet, well-mannered, kind, and obedient.  Not a single girl complained about me telling them to turn off the TV at 11:00.  Not a single peep about lights out at 11:30.  It was all pleases and thank yous and yes ma'ams and no sirs all night long.  I had one girl who started putting away ingredients for cookies as we finished using them so we didn't have as much to clean up!  When choosing movies, they voted and made sure that they didn't pick anything that someone wasn't allowed to watch.  All of the girls were delightful!

It was a complete pleasure, and I even had fun in spite of being incredibly nervous about it.  

Honestly, I can't wait to do it again.  I might not even wait for a birthday.

Wednesday, October 22

Tuesday, October 21

Brainless People

Soccer Dad and I were watching this "Get It Sold!" (or something like it) on HGTV.  It's taken an interesting turn with the foreclosures and such happening.

On the show we watched, they featured a family where the wife/mother had taken out the home loan in her name alone.  Her husband was working at the time, but wound up being "between jobs" not long after.  She had enough money in the bank to pay for one year of the mortgage, but she put NOTHING down and was not working at the time.  She was a full-time student.  And she got a loan for the home at 8.25% for the first year, then 13% after.  For ... drumroll, please ... 


Are you FREAKIN' kidding me???!!!???

And she was shocked that she couldn't pay.  And then the bank did not want to work with her any more, and she had to go to a company that specializes in helping you get accepted to short sell so she and her family could move out of this house and into an apartment, where they'll rent.  I didn't catch if she was actually working now, but her husband was not according to the show.

I have a quick question here.

Was I supposed to feel SORRY for her?  What kind of idiot does that kind of thing?  Seriously - $350,000 with no money down and no income?

And what kind of bank MAKES that kind of loan??!!??

Holy cow.  And we wonder what happened.

Monday, October 20

Guess Who is Studying for First Confession?

Upon seeing an "Obama/Biden" sign in their new friends' yard:

Little Girl: They have a sign for Barack Obama!  (pause)  That's okay...they have Free Will.

Friday, October 17


There are rumors flying that Wal Mart might carry the iPhone.  (No, I have no idea if it's true.  I only know official information.)  This post discusses the possibility, but what Travel Man pointed out to me was the comments section. 

The amount of snobbery some of the commenters have towards Wal Mart and people who shop there is ridiculous.  Let me tell you something.  I've trimmed my grocery budget considerably by shopping there instead of at the local Kroger's.  I can buy clothes for my girls at a really EXCELLENT price, and I can pick up a pair of boots for winter (I usually get boy's work boots) for under $12 a pair.  Wal Mart provides jobs and inexpensive products for lots and lots of people.  

There is nothing wrong with shopping there, you know.  Nothing.  

Please browse my eBay items. Thank you.


This year, when I looked at Seton's spelling, I found it seemed challenging enough for Big Girl, so I got the book.  On Thursdays, the book says she's supposed to record her words into a tape recorder in order to give herself her own spelling test on Friday (time saver!!), but we don't actually OWN a tape recorder.

What's a mom to do?

Enter the new iMac with Garage Band!  I set Big Girl up with a mic and a podcast recorder, and now she's saying her words (with sentences that she got to type up on the Mac earlier in the week) so she can take a spelling test later today.

I might use it myself so I can set up Little Girl's spelling tests, too.  

Please browse my eBay items. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 15


I saw this at Julie's blog, and it's one of the coolest things I've seen in a while!

6th Picture, Again

Sarah used her sixth event in iPhoto, and I hadn't even thought of that.  Hmmm...I'll do that AND my 6th from 6th on MobileMe.



Happy Birthday, Big Girl

Hard to believe it's been ten years.

Monday, October 13

Perspective with a side of Cheval Blanc, 1947

Mustafa: [taking Ego's order] Do you know what you'd like this evening, sir? 
Anton Ego: Yes, I think I do. After reading a lot of overheated puffery about your new cook, you know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that? 
Mustafa: With what, sir? 
Anton Ego: Perspective. Fresh out, I take it? 
Mustafa: I am, uh... 
Anton Ego: Very well. Since you're all out of perspective and no one else seems to have it in this BLOODY TOWN, I'll make you a deal. You provide the food, I'll provide the perspective, which would go nicely with a bottle of Cheval Blanc 1947. 


I could complain about Mass this weekend.  I felt like there is a lot to complain about.

That is, if you're blessed enough to be a Catholic in America.

When I watched a bit of the news today, I realized that I have NOTHING to complain about.  

What I think we need here is a bit of perspective.

I'd be willing to bet that any one of the persecuted Catholics in the world would have been happy to sit through the very Mass I sulked through on Sunday.

God, forgive me.

Friday, October 10

Request for Prayers

Please pray for the Martins.  (And stop by Christina's blog and look for that button if you can spare it.)

Big Girl's Sense of Humor

Yesterday, while discussing the absence of decorations for her upcoming slumber party (for her tenth birthday):

Big Girl: Well, I was kind of planning this whole birthday extravaganza where you give me a boat and a car.


Today, while celebrating that the Mac has arrived:

Big Girl: FRAH-JEE-LAY.  It's French.

World Beard and Moustache Championships

This is such a neat event!  Check out some pictures of the American Team (all pictures found at the official site).

There's even bios of the men on the team!

Thursday, October 9

"I Don't Want to Pester God"

I have this thing about praying for things persistently.  Sometimes I feel like I should not bother God with my petty requests: help with my shift taking calls, help with finding a lost object, etc.  I know He's got more to worry about than whether or not I have a good close ratio or if I can find my iPod (or even my lost kitty toy - ask about that sometime).  But, feeling a bit guilty, I still send those prayers up.  I feel like such a goofball asking for such small things.

Today's Gospel deals a bit with that, as does the reflection offered by Daily Gospel Online (a free e-mail service):

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 11,5-13.

And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.' I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?" 

Commentary of the day : 

Rabanus Maurus (c.784-856), Benedictine abbot and Bishop 
Three books to Bonosus, Bk.3,4; PL 112, 1306 

"He will give him whatever he needs"

You should never lack confidence in God nor despair of his pity... Sing to the Lord these words of the prophet: «As the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters, as the eyes of a maid are on the hands of her mistress, so are our eyes on the Lord our God till he have pity on us. Have pity on us, O Lord, have pity on us, for we are more than sated with contempt» (Ps 123[122],2-3)... If we are sated with contempt because of our numberless sins yet our eyes should remain turned to the Lord our God until he has pity on us, nor should we cease to beseech him until he grants us forgiveness for our faults. Indeed, it belongs to the steadfast and persistent soul never to desist from persevering in prayer through despair of being answered but to persist unwearyingly in that prayer until God shows it mercy.

So that you do not begin to think you are offending the Lord by persisting in your prayers when you are not worthy of being heard, remember the parable in the Gospel. There you will find that those who pray to God with importunate perseverance are not displeasing to him, for it is said: «If he does not give it to him because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.» Understand, then, that it is the devil who tempts us to despair of being answered so that hope in God's goodness, anchor of our salvation, foundation of our life, guide for the path heavenwards, may be taken away from us. Paul, the apostle, says: «In hope we were saved» (Rm 8,24).

Maybe it's not so bad that I ask.  I mean, children ask their parents for all kinds of things, and aren't we children of the Most High?  Doesn't Saint Therese tell us to become like little children and be small?  

Wednesday, October 8

6th Picture, 6th Folder

This looked like fun!  Leave a link if you want to play, too.

Look at the sixth picture in the sixth folder and post it on your blog.  Here's mine:

hmmmm... Looks like Big Girl had a hold of the camera, huh?  

Hat tip: Amy (Knit Together)

Gold Crown No More

Christmas ornaments that are about anything but Jesus.

Here's MY e-mail to Hallmark, submitted on their site:

Over recent years, I've been very disappointed in Hallmark. First, Christmas decorations became less and less about Christmas. It's nearly impossible to find any ornaments that have anything to do with Jesus at your stores or in the catalogs! I can get Darth Vader, Kobe Bryant, or a 57 Chevy, but no Christ Child or Holy Family? Cards have become more and more racy, so that I have to forbid my children from looking at cards without strict supervision. Sexually suggestive cards are often placed right at eye level for my girls to pick up and read! But the final straw for me is your decision to carry cards celebrating homosexual "marriage." This kind of decision has made your stores a place where I cannot safely bring my young children without worrying about whether or not they are exposed to such things. Therefore, I will no longer be shopping at Hallmark for anything. I've been a Gold Crown member for years, but a pittance of savings on future purchases is not worth exposing my chidren to all of the influences that are creeping into Hallmark. I grew up with Hallmark ornaments at Christmas, cards on special occasions, etc. Ever since I could save up my own money, I've shopped at Hallmark stores for little gifts for teachers, my parents and sister, etc. But no more. I cannot support a retail store that advocates these things. I'm very sorry, and I hope that Hallmark returns to its traditional roots and values someday, and that I'll feel that I can shop with you again.

Now, Hallmark's site has this to say about their decision to carry this stuff:

Hallmark is adding to its more than 20,000 different choices of greeting cards, four cards that use language and images appropriate for same-sex wedding, civil union and commitment ceremonies.  Hallmark makes cards for all kinds of relationships and situations, including many that might be defined as "non-traditional" -- for example, heterosexual couples who are not married, those in mixed-race or interfaith relationships and blended families -- so people in each of these situations can find cards that meet their needs. It is our goal to be inclusive rather than exclusive so that our products appeal to the widest range of people who wish to communicate and connect with one another. Not every card Hallmark offers will be right for every relationship, but we want every consumer to find one that is right.

Notice that they try to equate mixed-race marriages with gay "marriage!"  Of course, it's not really thrilling that they've got happy, you-go-guys cards for heterosexuals who shack up, either.  But I don't consider my sister's marriage to an Iranian to be the same as Josh who thinks he's married to Charlie.

I know this isn't NEW information about Hallmark, but I did finally get around to it.  You know, I typically spent about $60 for Christmas cards there, plus ornaments, every single year?  Of course, it's really, really hard to find Jesus ornaments for each person in the family any more, so I've actually gone with American Greetings in recent years.  (Check out their page for Christmas.)

Tuesday, October 7


da kittehs r on mi mac!  u cn downlode dem onto ur kmputr, 2!!!11!

Prayer Request

Ten years ago this morning, soon-to-be Soccer Dad and I were sleeping late.  I was due the next day, and he'd arranged to take a week off around my due date.  (Silly us!  Planning like that!)

That morning, we got a phone call from my mother in law to tell us that Soccer Dad's father had passed away from cancer.  

Please, if you are the kind who does so, say a prayer on his behalf.  If you'd rather, you can also say a prayer for Soccer Dad, his brother, and his mother.  

It's really hard to believe it's been ten years.  

Life Chain

Found this at Jean's place.  

Pray for the election of those who will stand up for the right to life.  Pray for the unborn.  Pray for the conversion of those who see no value inherent to human life.

Being a Great Husband: He's Doing It Right!

This post made me think of my sweetheart.  Travel Man does everything he can to make life good for his girls (and that includes me).  I have a lot to be thankful for.

I'll give you a recurring example.  Since I started working from home, life is totally crazy for me.  I'm homeschooling, working 20 or so hours a week, trying to run the house, and also still trying to be chair for Respect Life at my parish (which I have been lousy with lately).  A little more than a week ago, my dishwasher broke down.  We're not certain what's wrong with it, since all signs pointed to the door latch and it wasn't that.  Since I'm not keen on hiring someone to look at it, we've been washing dishes by hand.  (The girls have now picked up a new chore: washing dishes.  Soccer Dad/Travel Man quipped, "See how much I love you?  When your dishwasher broke, I got you TWO new dishwashers!")  Since this adds just one more fun thing for me to do, he has taken to asking me a question whenever I seem extremely busy or stressed out in the least:

"What can I do right now to make your life easier?"

What an amazing question, and just as amazing is that whatever I ask, he does!  (Not that he isn't in the habit of helping or doing what I ask, but it's just this thing he's started lately.)  I'm not sure where he got it from or why he decided to phrase things this way, but it's really a sweet thing.  I like it.

Of course, Big Girl has a great answer when I say, "Um...I'm not sure..."

"Daddy, give her a million dollars!  Then she can quit and get a new kitchen and we can go out to eat!"  (Did I mention the question usually comes while I'm cooking something?)

There are certainly improvements Soccer Dad/Travel Man could make, but let's face facts here.  *I* have an awful lot of improvements to make, too.  I try really hard not to complain because I married him for who he was, not who I hoped he'd be.  And some things are not worth complaining about.  Important things, well, I try to be diplomatic about it.  

Anyway, Sweetheart's Day is coming up.  Don't buy a card, silly.  Write a little love note, even if you use bath crayons in the shower.  Or just ask a simple question that is sure to touch your sweetie's heart:

What can I do right now to make your life easier?


We rented Bella as soon as it was out on DVD.  Watched it with bated breath.  

We were unimpressed.  Nice message, but just not well done.  The movie felt kind of thrown together, to be honest.  And there was no line of reasoning that was easily followed.

I think we must not jump on any authentically Christian movie and laud it just because it is authentically Christian.  We are in danger of making others believe that a movie doesn't have to be well-done for us, as long as it's got A Message.  Demand GOOD movies with a Christian message.  

If you liked Bella, fine.  I'm glad!  But we were just disappointed in it, especially after all the hype surrounding it.  

That being said, I'm glad it was on Lifetime last night.  Goodness knows that isn't a channel known for high standards in movies.  ;)

But maybe it touched someone, helped them choose life, helped them heal.  I hope so.

But I also hope we'll have better Pro Life movies in the future.

Monday, October 6

Contest for Harry Potter Readers

I almost hate to do it, since I'm already up against more than 600 others, but did you know that you can enter to win a full set of Harry Potter books at 5 Minutes for Mom?  Hard-cover.  With a tenth-anniversary copy of Sorcerer's Stone.  

I think today is also the last day to enter.  So hurry!

Saturday, October 4

Guess What's on Its Way?

We're going to see if the information on our recently-suicidal Dell can be retrieved.  And we'll put it on this beauty.  (Not Windows, though.  I might put that, if I can get it off the drive, on my Mac mini, which has VMWare Fusion ready and waiting for something to do.)

Yeah, and I got a free printer, too.  Hot dog!

Thursday, October 2

I need a tissue...

I need to bookmark this site and donate to them when I can.  

I know several friends who have suffered miscarriages, and this organization sounds so wonderful.  What a beautiful mission they have.  If you can handle it, go to the gallery and look at the pictures posted there with families' stories (and permission).

hat tip: First Things

Jimmy Buffet and Spelling

Is it bad that one of Big Girl's spelling sentences was this?

"Margaritas have a pecuilur flavor." 

(Flavor was her word.  Notice that "peculiar" was spelled wrong, but "margarita" was not.)

Four Things Meme

Mom sent this to me in e-mail, but I'm turning it into a meme.  

Just 4 things...each
A) 4 places I go to over and over: 
  church, Wal-Mart, sports practice, dance 

(okay, so I don't GO to sports and dance, but I'm driving those who do) 
 B) 4 people who e-mail me most regularly:
   Mom, Denise (my sister), Dad, Soccer Dad/Travel Man
C) 4 of my favorite places to eat: 
   home (really!), Mama Maria's (local place), KFC, Outback (or any steakhouse) 
D) 4 places I would rather be right now: 
  with Soccer Dad/Travel Man, on vacation in Rome, visiting far-away family, 
E) 4 people I think will respond:
F) 4 TV shows I watch over & over:
   The Office, House, Sarah Conner Chronicles, Heroes

Consider yourself tagged if I mentioned you in (E)!  Remember to leave a link in the combox to your post.


I think the Dell heard me talking about replacing it, and it seems to have committed suicide.

Update (1:00 PM EDT):  Optical drive doesn't even spin when I put an OS disc into it.  I think it might really be dead.  All it does when I turn it on is give me information on the processor and then stare stupidly at me as if it's never done anything else before.

Now to see if anyone can get my taxes off the hard drive.  

(And to think I was about to treat it to more memory and a wireless card this weekend.  Thank God I didn't buy that before it offed itself!)

Wednesday, October 1

Who are your heros?


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