Monday, March 31

Hooray! A Prize!

OH! There is an AWARD!

Voting begins tomorrow. Cast well and wisely. In other words, vote for me. ;)

Then maybe I will get another badge. Or I'll be able to display the awesome and cool award on my sidebar!

As they say in Chicago, vote early and often!

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Friday, March 28

False Positive

Thomas at American Papist has information on a BeliefNet poll that is in anticipation of the Holy Father's visit.

Remember, when you see the poll showing that x% of people support women being deaconsesses, it's just that you didn't have a "none of the above" for this question:

5. What role should women play in the Church? (Select all that apply)
  • Priests
  • Deaconesses

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Thursday, March 27


I've got a badge! (Not that I actually need one, mind you. I just have one. Cuz it's cool, you know?)

Thanks, Crescat!

Happy Birthday to Soccer Dad!

Today, my darling husband has his birthday! And he's hard at work in Ohio - he won't be home until after ten this day, which means he'll arrive while I'm on Centra doing my Apple class.

But I wanted to wish him a very happy birthday, and share some reasons why he's so special.

First of all, he is persistent. When he saw me, he says that he knew he wanted to marry me right off the bat. I had such a "cool" boyfriend (read: jerk), and barely gave him the time of day. But he persisted, and when it turned out that we were in a physics class together at the local community college, he told his friends he would do everything he could to "become firmly entrenched" in my life before the end of the semester. By the end of the semester, I knew I was going to marry him, and had dumped the "cool" boyfriend.

Secondly, he is, as he once told me, the "nicest guy [I'll] ever meet." I laughed when he said it, but it's true. This man would do anything for me. It's totally crazy, and I constantly have to watch myself and what I ask of him, because he'll do it! He has gone without so that the girls and I can have. He would walk through fire for us. And the nice thing is, we all know it. He's sweet to me, and if I ever start feeling upset with him - that I'm being neglected - all I have to do is remember that if I just say the word, that situation is fixed. Can't hold a grudge with someone who constantly gives up things so you can have or do what you want. (Fortunately for him, I don't like to take advantage of that.)

He's also really hard-working. You know he paid his way through college himself? Worked his way through, taking out only one loan for under $6000, and that was just after we married, so we could manage our expenses a bit in that first year. (We got married in 1993 and graduated in April and December of 1994.) And even now, he works hard to provide for our family. And when he does something, it's done right. No corner-cutting, no cheaply done stuff. That ginormous deck he built is super-sturdy. Same goes for the slide tower for the girls. And they are beautiful, to boot.

He also has some of the highest integrity I've ever seen, coupled with a wonderful humility that is truly rare. Even in his unbelieving days, when he'd lost his faith in God, he still had integrity. Stealing, cheating, lying ... these are not and never have been a part of his makeup. And yet he's very humble. I love that he's that way.

And that humility spills over into his faith, as well. We were talking one night about how the girls and I wear Scapulars, and how it reminds me of whose I am. He said that one thing that's happened to him is the recurring thought, "I'm a Catholic gentleman. How should a Catholic gentleman act in this situation?" I find that fantastic! Though I'm a cradle Catholic, I find that his faith journey very often is one that I just draft on to. I follow his lead very often, and wonder how in the world he can be that way. I so admire his faith, and the way he lives it. It's not on his sleeve, but still waters do run deep.

Way back when we were dating, I watched him get down on the floor to play with his nephew. How many 21 year old men will lay on the floor and make faces at a baby just to make him laugh? Watching him that day, I knew he'd make a terrific father someday. And I was right. He is a phenominal Daddy to our girls. They both love him dearly, and when they hear him walk in the door after a long trip (or even just a day at the office), "DADDY!" is heard loud and clear. The girls adore their father, and he just soaks it up. Many are the weekend mornings that he lounges in bed with his "three favorite girls." Our girls are blessed to have him, and he provides them both with a good example of what to look for in a husband.

One of my favorite things about my husband, though, is that he's fun to be with. He was my best friend before we started dating, and we just love to hang out together. And when he gets me laughing ... watch out! We just feed off of each other! It is just such a joy to be with him, to do things together - even grocery shopping together is good! - and I know that God has truly blessed me with someone wonderful.

I don't think a day goes by when I don't thank God for my husband!

Happy birthday, sweetheart. I love you!

(As a special present, why not go over and leave him a birthday comment at his blog?)

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Wednesday, March 26

You Know Your Printer is Old When...

It costs less to buy a new printer than to buy the cartriges for the one you have.

Guess what I've got today, among all the other stuff I needed to buy this week for my class??

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Stump Speech

I am way too little and boring to win any real Catholic Blogger Awards, so I am going to make my stand right now. I would like to be nominated for the 2008 Cannonball Catholic Blog Awards.

Categories are:

  • Best "More Catholic then the Pope" Blog
  • Best Blog by a Charismatic Catholic
  • Best Blog by a Heretic
  • Best Armchair Theologian Blog
  • Best Blog by a Catholic Crank
  • Sorriest Excuse for a Catholic Blog
  • Best Underappreciated Catholic Blog
  • Best "Visual Treat" Blog
  • Best "Spiritual Treat" Blog
  • Best Hifreakinlarious Blog
  • Best Bat Shit Crazy Blog
  • Best Church Militant Blog
  • Best Blog by a Liberal Neo-Trad
  • Snarkiest Catholic Blog
  • Best Potpourri of Popery

You've only got until the 28th (Friday) to nominate me for something. Or anyone else, for that matter. ;) But I would like to campaign specifically for the "Sorriest Excuse for a Catholic Blog" Blog Award. If you'd like to nominate me for something else, by all means, go ahead.

There's no voting. Just nominations. (Details are here.) Head on over and nominate some underappreciated blogger (you know, someone who isn't world-famous or anything).

Have fun! And don't forget to nominate me. Because I have no hope of winning a real award.

My name is Christine the Soccer Mom and I approve this message.

Hat tip: Father Z

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More Humor from the Onion

China Celebrates Its Status As Worldâ??s Number One Air Polluter

On a more serious note, this reminds me of the people running around China testing air quality because now they are starting to think about that in relation to the Olympics. Because, you know, when they were choosing the city, thinking about the health of the athletes because of poor air quality isn't that important. It's more important to pick neat places. Oh, and never mind those political prisoners over there. Nothing to see here. Move along.

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Maybe It's an Alternate Universe, Too

For more than 20 years, it's been called "The Dessert of the Future." Now we have proof.

Time Traveler: Everyone In The Future Eats Dippin Dots

The Onion

Time Traveler: Everyone In The Future Eats Dippin' Dots

NEW YORK—"What is this melting dessert of churned animal's milk?" said the man, who came from a future world where Dippin' Dots is the sole ice cream for sale.

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Class for Mommy

I didn't leave myself enough time to finish my coursework this morning (yesterday? Tuesday, at any rate), and got in a little trouble at the beginning of class. I hate getting in trouble with the teacher. I wanted to cry for the first hour of class, I was so upset with myself. (Especially since I can get kicked out for not doing my coursework in a timely manner - and I can't afford to just throw away the $400 I spent to enroll!!)

And then, I found out that I was closer to finished than I thought! *sigh*

Well, the next module is longer, but deals with iPods, and at least I have more recent experience on those than on Macs! I've already started, but there is SOOO much to learn and do! School will be light for the girls while I finish up and start getting the feel of the Apple brand. Math is going to have to consist of review and flashcards, we'll work on religion (of course!) and I'll give them some writing assignments to catch up on.

Then maybe they can learn the internal workings of a computer, too. (Bus, boards, ports, ethernet ... eek!)

Sleep will be at a premium, I can tell. Hopefully, I can settle into a routine in the next week and get more done. In the meantime, I hope no one minds the laundry piling up a bit.

I've GOT to sleep now.

Saint Clare, please pray for me!

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Tuesday, March 25

Catholic Carnival in Podcast Form

Ooooooh! Something different is at this week's Catholic Carnival. It's a podcast as well as the usual text form.

Check it out at Catholic Canadian!

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Don't Forget!

Learn more about National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day at the link above (embedded in the button).

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Blogroll Highlight: Where in the World is Travel Man?

Travel Man is on the road again (a little like Willie Nelson, but more wholesome-like), and he's been blogging! I gave him the camera last week while he was away, and he's even got pictures!

Go check him out, and see where he's been.

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Sunday, March 23

A New Definition of "Busy"

Tomorrow night, I begin my descent into insanity Apple CPU training class. The class ends on April 18. During that time, I'll have one week where Little Girl has no dance on Mondays, and then go straight into two-per-week lessons/practices. Big Girl's soccer team begins practice on Tuesday, and her games will likely start up a week from Friday and then go every Friday after that (same day as Little Girl's second dance classes each week). Story time at the library will start anew either this Wednesday or next, and I'm still chair for Respect Life (though I am still a bit depressed about how that has gone lately). In addition to my classes from nine to midnight, I'll have study time outside of class and phone practices. Soccer Dad is in Travel Man mode this week, the following week, and at least one other week (if not two) in April.

Oh, and we homeschool, which we will try to keep up for the next four weeks, even if it's not every single subject every single day.

Did I mention the last time I used a Mac was ten years ago when I worked in a public school, and it was an old Mac that had probably been a bit abused? (In fact, it was still called a Macintosh. Here's a picture of it, which I got from this site where you can read about it.) It froze up all the time, which meant I had to hard-boot the thing, which probably contributed to its decline and eventual slow death. I've got a lot to learn in a short time. I'm pretty sure I am up to the task (I'm not a complete idiot), but I'm still a little nervous about the amount of work I'll be doing in a four-week period.

If I'm light on blogging - or if I show up and seem to be a bit more looney than usual - this is probably why.

And if I do show up and look like this ...

... you'll know why.

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More Fun from the Favorites Folders

Last thing before we're off to watch Arsenic and Old Lace.

The Bunnies have more movies up, including Die Hard (yay!) and March of the Penguins. Of course, my favorite movie is still on the site. :)

(WARNING! Language alert for Die Hard, as well as some of the other movies on the site!!)

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Fun Stuff in the Favorites Folder

The kids are watching Shark Boy and Lava Girl while I surf a bit of internet stuff and Soccer Dad ... I mean, TRAVEL MAN is off on another adventure. As I was looking at old bookmarks, deleting old stuff I don't need or care about any more, I came across Peter's Evil Overlord List. It's a copyrighted work, and contains brilliant ideas that evil overlords never seem to do.

Allow me to give you a small sample:

This Evil Overlord List is Copyright 1996-1997 by Peter Anspach. If you enjoy it, feel free to pass it along or post it anywhere, provided that (1) it is not altered in any way, and (2) this copyright notice is attached.

Being an Evil Overlord seems to be a good career choice. It pays well, there are all sorts of perks and you can set your own hours. However every Evil Overlord I've read about in books or seen in movies invariably gets overthrown and destroyed in the end. I've noticed that no matter whether they are barbarian lords, deranged wizards, mad scientists or alien invaders, they always seem to make the same basic mistakes every single time. With that in mind, allow me to present...

The Top 100 Things I'd DoIf I Ever Became An Evil Overlord

  1. My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.
  2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.
  3. My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.
  4. Shooting is not too good for my enemies.
  5. The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.
  6. I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.
  7. When I've captured my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."
  8. After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks' time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.
  9. I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled "Danger: Do Not Push". The big red button marked "Do Not Push" will instead trigger a spray of bullets on anyone stupid enough to disregard it. Similarly, the ON/OFF switch will not clearly be labelled as such.
  10. I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum -- a small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well.
  11. I will be secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by leaving clues in the form of riddles or leaving my weaker enemies alive to show they pose no threat.
  12. One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.
  13. All slain enemies will be cremated, or at least have several rounds of ammunition emptied into them, not left for dead at the bottom of the cliff. The announcement of their deaths, as well as any accompanying celebration, will be deferred until after the aforementioned disposal.
  14. The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request.
  15. I will never employ any device with a digital countdown. If I find that such a device is absolutely unavoidable, I will set it to activate when the counter reaches 117 and the hero is just putting his plan into operation.
  16. I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."
  17. When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.
  18. I will not have a son. Although his laughably under-planned attempt to usurp power would easily fail, it would provide a fatal distraction at a crucial point in time.
  19. I will not have a daughter. She would be as beautiful as she was evil, but one look at the hero's rugged countenance and she'd betray her own father.
  20. Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.
  21. I will hire a talented fashion designer to create original uniforms for my Legions of Terror, as opposed to some cheap knock-offs that make them look like Nazi stormtroopers, Roman footsoldiers, or savage Mongol hordes. All were eventually defeated and I want my troops to have a more positive mind-set. ...

Be sure to read the entire list here. And you can read more in Cellblock A and Cellblock B.

[image credit]

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Beautiful Quote

"Two criminals were crucified with Christ. One was saved; do not despair. One was not; do not presume."

-Saint Augustine

Courtesy of Women of Grace daily meditations.

[image credits: Crucifixion, Saint Augustine]

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I ♥ the Easter Vigil

The Easter Vigil is my FAVORITE Mass of the year! And it is the central Mass of the year, as well. I've been told that the early Church believed that Christ would return in Glory at the Easter Vigil Mass, so they would spend the entire night (sunset to sunrise) in prayer, reading Scripture (our Salvation history) and celebrating the Risen Lord.

The Charcoal Fire has a top-ten list for the Easter Vigil, including the following (which are two of my favorite things, as well):

4. 17 (yes 17) Sacred Scripture Readings - with 7 Old Testament readings, 8 responsorial Psalms, and 2 New Testament readings, we are soaked in Scripture, remembering God's saving deeds for his people.


2. New Catholics, Their First Sacraments, and Our Renewal of Baptismal Vows! - God's work of sending the graces of conversion through the Holy Spirit is manifested throughout the whole world on this night in the newly baptized. For so many converts, this is the commemoration of their entrance into the Body of Christ through the baptismal font, the womb of the Church, and a remembrance of all, as we renew with our hearts our own vows of our baptism, that we are members of Christ. This is an amazing moment in the lives of all these people. They receive three sacraments before our eyes! The universal dimension of the Church is so tangible here. We have new brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. I rejoice with all our newly baptized and our newly confirmed all over the world.

If you've never been to an Easter Vigil, especially if you're not Catholic, I would highly recommend attending next year. Naturally, if you're not Catholic, you won't receive Holy Communion at the time, but if you want to see how the Church celebrates the highest of Holy Days, show up for the Easter Vigil. From bonfires outside to candlelit readings to bells and alleluias, it is the most beautiful Mass of the year.

And no one who attends one can ever claim that Catholics have no love of Scripture. ;)

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Family Movie: Triduum Edition

We watched King of Kings over Good Friday and Holy Saturday, and I really thought I knew the actor who played Jesus from somewhere. His name is Jeffrey Hunter, but I couldn't quite place it. I went to IMdB and found this:

"Star Trek" .... Captain Christopher Pike (1 episode, 1966)... aka Star Trek: TOS (USA: promotional abbreviation) ... aka Star Trek: The Original Series (USA: informal title) - The Cage (1966) TV episode .... Captain Christopher Pike

That would explain it.

By the way, after watching The Passion of the Christ just before Good Friday services (while the girls napped), watching the rest of King of Kings seemed rather tame. It made me appreciate the acting as opposed to dramatic acting that was present in Gibson's movie. In King of Kings, everyone seemed pensive rather than devestated that Jesus was being tortured and killed. Sad faces, but no real tears.

But it was just fine for the girls. ;)

This Sunday's family movie: Arsnic and Old Lace, starring Carey Grant!

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Happy Easter!

He is risen!

He is risen, indeed!

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Saturday, March 22

Locks of Love Haircut

I got my hair cut for Locks of Love yesterday, and here is a chronicle of our day. (Thanks to Soccer Dad/Travel Man for being the official photographer!




Cleaned up some:

And now I start all over again.

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Wednesday, March 19

Coffee: Stephen Colbert on Starbucks' Training Night

This will be me on Easter Sunday.  ;)

Today on the Liturgical Calendar

Did you know today is called Spy Wednesday?

I'd forgotten.

Other posts on the day:

I'll update if I find more.

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In all my rushing to get into that Apple class, I totally forgot to put up a recipe last week!

Okay, I'll get two up today, and post-date them for Friday. Us? We ate fish sticks last week, and this week we'll be sticking with grilled cheese and tomatoe soup.

However, upon request of the other two diners for Easter dinner (the girls), we'll be having tuna casserole for dinner on Easter. It's good. I have nearly everything I need already, and it's an inexpensive dinner to make. Plus I know they'll eat well. ;)

So, I'll peruse my Friday dinner lists and get two recipes up for you. I think one will be my super-fast ziti. That's for Easter Friday around here.

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Sunday Family Movie: James and the Giant Peach

Big Girl has read this book four or five times, and approved of the movie, which had minor differences from the book. Little Girl also enjoyed it, and I've made her next book report assignment to read the book and compare and contrast the two.

I enjoyed it, as well. It's been a while since I read it, but it seemed pretty well done. As a family movie, it's not bad, and there was only one moment where I wondered "Why is that in there?" (a part where all the characters are in the peach, but it's dark and there are various things being said - one comment was slightly inappropriate). Not that I'm giving up on finding movies where I don't wonder that at all, but I was happy that in this PG-rated movie there was very little of it.

I also watched Finding Neverland, and the girls watched some of it with me. It's was pretty harmless, though a bit boring for the girls. The only disturbing thing was Barrie's relationship with the young woman with the four boys who inspired Peter Pan. Again and again, he goes and spends time with this widow and her family, ignoring his wife. No matter how strained their relationship, he had no right to do that. Even though it was not a sexual relationship, it was definitely adulterous, especially so if you recall Christ's words in Matthew 5:28. It was fascinating to see how Barrie came up with the play, but quite sad to see him throw away his marriage. At one point, he discovers his wife entertaining someone in their home when he arrives home late (visiting his widow friend again), and he becomes upset over the thought of his wife cheating on him. The hypocrisy was stunning!

Stick to James and the Giant Peach for the kids. ;) It really was a cute movie, and the little boy who played James was excellent. The idea to use claymation for the scenes inside the peace (I think CGI bugs would have been too frightening, for some reason) was brilliant. My girls loved the look of the bugs, as well, since Lane Smith worked up the concepts. ("Centipede has the same nose as the Giant in The Stinky Cheeseman and Other Fairly Stupid Tales!" cried Big Girl.)

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Persephone Returns

Persephone is on her way back ... the daffodils are blooming like tiny sunbursts all around my yard!

(Don't forget to leave a comment if you leave your link above!)

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Tuesday, March 18

End of an Era Coming Soon

For Better or for Worse will finish up all the current plotlines in September.

The full story can be found here.

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Holy Week Catholic Carnival

"Mary's Aggies" are hosting this week's Catholic Carnival, which is filled with all kinds of nice stuff to read (as usual).

I wonder if they know the part of my family who lives, works, or attends A&M. :)

Go on over and check it out!

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Active Triduum Poll

I'v got a poll up on the blog, so if you're reading this on an aggrigator, stop by and vote! The poll closes on Friday morning, so come by soon!

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Can I Clone Myself?


Beginning March 24, I will be taking a class Monday through Friday from 9 p.m. to midnight in order to certify to be a call center operator for Apple. That goes until April 18. (Which means I won't be going to Washington, DC. Rats.) I cannot miss even one class.

Beginning March 25, Big Girl has soccer practice on, I'm assuming, Tuesday afternoons. That goes until the end of May. Her games begin, I believe, on April 4. That's every Friday until the end of May.

Beginning March 31, Little Girl will have two-a-week dance classes in preparation for her recital on May 31.

So, April's schedule looks like this:

  • Sundays: Mass, CCD, REST!
  • Mondays: school, dance, Apple class
  • Tuesdays: school, soccer, Apple class
  • Wednesdays: school, story time, Apple class
  • Thursdays: school, Apple class
  • Fridays: school, soccer game, dance class, Apple class
  • Saturdays: do everything else that didn't get done during the week, i.e. laundry

Mix that with Soccer Dad's heavy travel schedule (which, thank God in Heaven above, lightens up at the end of April), and you get one frazzled Mommy.

Now, I signed up for that Apple class because it is an excellent opportunity for my new business, but it's going to be intense. The last time I used Macson any consistant basis was more than ten years ago, when I worked in public schools. Those were, I'm sure, rather abused and kind of crummy. I've always been a PC gal (Dad was a programmer for ages, and his oldest brother worked for IBM and would sell us his old PCs, beginning when I was in middle school). So I'm starting to watch some of the Apple stuff online. (They've got GREAT tutorials, you know!) And I watched some of the information on how to switch your files from your PC to the Mac, or how to find things once you've done it. Holy cow! Their user interface is really nice and friendly!

I also watched the March 6 update on the iPhone (though I admit to skipping a bunch of the technical stuff about building applications for it), and I'm really impressed.

Of course, I've got an iPod (though it's the same Nano that the pope has, which is to say, outdated), and I love it. Super cool, and it's better - way better - now, with the new updates.

But, anyway, back to the schedule. I knew the class would be intense, but when I signed up for it, I didn't know I'd be trying to get Little Girl to dance about the same time Big Girl has soccer games every week in April!

I've got such a huge problem now. If Soccer Dad is not home on time for games on Fridays (which he won't be for some of April), I will have to see who can help me with getting Little Girl to dance, or Big Girl to games.


As Larry the Cucumber once said:


It would be so much easier if I could just clone myself.

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Sunday, March 16

The Gifts of Mercy and Forgiveness

Have you ever noticed that the longer you stay away from Confession, the harder it is to go? Even though I received the Anointing of the Sick in December, it had been a month before that since my last actual Confession. (When I received the Anointing, I wasn't in any shape to talk much, what with the NG tube down my throat.) And so I was rusty, couldn't properly remember my sins (and there are plenty, let me tell you!), and I'd been feeling great dread in going.

I have certain sins that are my "favorites". Things that are difficult to resist. And the longer I stay away from the Sacrament of Grace that Confession is, the harder they are to resist. Without the sanctifying grace that is given so freely in the Confessional, I fall more easily and more often. Performing the duties of my vocation (wife, mother, homeschooler) becomes more difficult. Even seeing the sin is more difficult. When I was attending Mass more often (when gas was cheaper and I could afford to drive the 20-30 mile round-trip to a Mass nearly every weekday), I would go to weekly Confession. Sin became easier to resist. Not only that, but I could also see the small ways in which I offend the Lord on such a regular basis. Oddly enough, my Confessions were longer and more detailed whenI went more often.

Now I am, admittedly, lazy about getting myself across town. I am not attending Mass as often as I ought to, and even though it's expensive to go every day, it's not so expensive that I couldn't manage it weekly. Really. And if I made the effort to go on Fridays, let's say, I could also go to Confession weekly, as well. (I do live only three miles from my parish, but we don't have Mass during the week except on Wednesday evenings - if Father is in town - and I prefer to confess to a different priest than Father for reasons all my own.)

This all looks rather gloomy, doesn't it?

But yesterday, I wanted to go to Confession. Sort of. I knew I needed to go, and that was why I wanted to go. So, we prepared to head across town for Confession.

We got there a little bit before Father was to start, so I asked the girls to go with me to pray before the Tabernacle. I knelt in the front row, opened my prayer book, and prayed this prayer:

My Lord and God, I have sinned. I am guilty before You.

Grant me the strength to say to Your minister what I say to You in the secret of my heart.

Increase my repentance. Make it more genuine. May it be really a sorrow for having offended You and my neighbor rather than a wounded love of self.

Help me to atone for my sin. May the sufferings of my life and my little mortifications be joined with the sufferings of Jesus, Your Son, and cooperate in rooting sin from the world.


I begged the Holy Spirit to help me to make a good Confession, to help me to be honest. Even though I know I am speaking to Christ Himself when I speak to the priest (I speak to Christ through the priest, and Christ absolves me through the priest, as well), I am still nervous when I confess. I am often embarassed at the sins I confess again and again. I'm ashamed that I cannot seem to do better for my Lord than I do. And, as Red Neck Woman said, when we prepare for Confession, we actually seek out the sins we've committed. We don't just acknowledge our sins, but we examine our consciences in order to humble ourselves and admit our sins. (And, for those who might not realize it, know that our confessors - the priests we go to for this Sacrament - must also make a regular Confession, as well. Even the priests must participate in this exercise of humility.)

When we moved from the main church to the chapel that is attached to where the confessional is, there were people waiting ahead of us, and the girls and I sat quietly and prayed. Big Girl went to a kneeler near a stained glass window of Saint Maron and prayed there until her turn. Little Girl, still six months or so away from her first Confession, sat and read a book on the lives of popular saints. (Many of you Catholic parents have bought this same picture book for your children. I had one when I was a girl, and my girls have their own copy, as well.)

Finally, it was my turn to enter the Confessional. My heart pounded as I walked to the door, entered, closed it behind me, and knelt behind the screen.

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned..."

Without excuse, I made the best Confession I could. I awaited my penance. After receiving it, I said my Act of Contrition, and then listened to the priest as he said some of the most wonderful words anyone can hear spoken to them:

God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I could almost feel the weight, the chains, fall from my soul! I managed to hold back my tears as I said, "Thank you, Father. God bless you!"

As I knelt and said my penance, I cried tears of joy, and then I said a prayer of thanksgiving for after Confession:

My dearest Jesus, I have told all my sins as well as I could. I have tried hard to make a good confession. I feel sure that You have forgiven me. I thank You. It is only because of all Your sufferings that I can go to Confession and free myself from my sings. Your Heart is full of love and mercy for poor sinners. I love You because You are so good to me.

My loving Savior, I shall try to keep from sin and to love You more each day.

My dear Mother Mary, pray for me to keep my promises. Protect me and do not let me fall back into sin.


If you haven't been to Confession since Lent began, I urge you to avail yourself of the graces of this beautiful Sacrament. Even if it's been years, do not stay away from God's grace and mercy! Do not be afraid to come back to God and His Church and His Sacraments!

It is not as scary as you might think, and you'll feel so much better when you're finished. Plus, you'll be shiny, clean, and like-new for Easter!

May God bless you and may you have a blessed Holy Week!

*I am always amazed at the light penances I receive. I always feel like I ought to do more than I'm given, but I know that part of the gift of Reconciliation is that we aren't punished as we ought to be for our sins - not when we are sorry for them. Christ took that punishment for us.

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Saturday, March 15

In ONE HOUR?!?!?

I teach second grade Sunday school at my parish (CCD, religious education, Christian formation, PREP ... whatever you want to call it ... can we please come up with a consistant name for this activity?).

This Sunday, in my single hour of time allotted (if not shorter due to the longer Mass tomorrow), I am supposed to cover both Holy Week and Easter.


In. One. Hour.

Folks, I could spend an entire hour just on the Easter Vigil. Mind you, I'm a bit partial to this, the Mother of All Masses, but still ... does anyone think I'll be able to do everything from Palm Sunday to Easter justice in the time I've got?

If you're a Catholic parent who thinks that Sunday school has it all covered, you are deluding yourself. I've got about half a dozen handouts for my class because I cannot possibly cover it. And I know I'll get excited about one thing or another (Oooh! Institution of the Eucharist! Oh! Stations of the Cross! Oh, my! Veneration of the Cross! Eegad! The Easter Vigil!), so I won't finish it all.

Parents, remember that YOU are the primary educator of your children. Please don't leave it up to the teachers on Sundays (or Wednesdays, or whenever you drop them off). We cannot do it all! We can't do it justice!

I feel pressured to get so deep into things because I am certain that there are some children who don't get any religious education at home. I've got one pair of darling girls whose parents are divorced and, if I understood them correctly, their mother (primary custodian, I think) is a Unitarian. They were shocked to hear that they are supposed to be going to Mass every week. Every Sunday. I know they've heard it before, but I don't think it sunk in. (I know they heard it because I had them two years ago for CCD, too. I always tell my kids that they should go every week.)

If there is one thing I regret, it's that my CCD wasn't deep enough. How many people who received Communion with me and were Confirmed with me four years later have fallen away from the Church because of a lack of information?

Please, parents! Help your children attain Heaven! Teach them at home, too! Don't think of the Faith as a "Sunday thing." Live the Faith! Love the Faith! Teach the Faith to your children!

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Friday, March 14

A Birthday Present for Me!

April 29th - just about the BEST day in April there is - is the National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day! Wear a shirt with pride, folks! Let the powers that be know that we are NOT a minority, and that we will NOT be silent while our brothers and sisters are slaughtered in abortion mills across the country.

Check out this video on the topic:

Learn more about National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day at the link above (embedded in the button).

I'll be wearing MY shirt; how about YOU?

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This Made Me Teary-Eyed!

Found at Real Life Rosary, thanks to Sarah.

Wow. Just ... wow.

Have you been away? Come home again. We really have been praying for you.

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Thursday, March 13

A Word From Our Sponsors

I thought I'd do a bit of shameless promotion. Since I'm not nominated in the Catholic Blog Awards, I'll promote something else.

I've got two CafePress shops! One shop has Pro Life merchandise, the other has things with some pictures I've taken (like notecards, calendars, etc.). If you click on the button below, you'll be taken to the artsy-fartsy shop with the notecards and such.

Support This Site

Poke around a bit, if you please. Proceeds go towards Little Girl's dance lessons and/or Big Girl's sports activities.

(The Pro Life Store can be found here, and has bumper stickers, buttons, and T-shirts. Buttons for both are always found on the sidebars of my two blogs.)

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Have I Mentioned How Much I LOVE Spring?

In case you can't see it well, this is what I put in the background for my blog. I liked the other picture, but it was too dark. I love these crocus flowers, though! And the yellow ones haven't bloomed yet, and the whites are just a few at the moment!

Coming soon: grape hyacinths! (Muscari, I think, is the official name.)

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Look What Else is Coming Up!


They're just starting to bloom, but I loved how this one came out against the tree and the bright blue sky.

I'm looking to change the background on the blog, too, so it's a picture of my crocus flowers. (Crocuses? Croci? What IS the plural?)

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Hooray for Me!

In other news about the house, I finished my certification course (the preliminary one), and am now free to sign up for classes to service a particular client. Hey, I'm talking about a call center, people. I don't make no $4500 an hour!

(Shame on you!) ;)

Isn't it sad how our language gets degraded? Really.

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Saved-Up Links

I save up links in Bloglines for a while, then finally get around to posting them all at once. It's been a while since I've done this, so how about another round?

That's it for now, but I'm sure I'll get more up later. (Was there much doubt that there WAS more?)

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Sound Sleepers?

Soccer Dad forwarded this to me (it's making the rounds at his office), and I nearly went up to test it out on the sleeping children when I got it. Scary stuff, if it's true. (Some commenters at the YouTube site think it's because the kids are exhausted from too many activities, but without knowing the children, you can't make that pronouncement. For all we know, their moms are homemakers, they are involved in one activity per week, and they all get the recommended daily amount of sleep.)

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Wednesday, March 12

About Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope

Saint Louis Catholic has an interview with Rosalind Moss about the order she is starting. Have I mentioned lately just how much I love Rosalind? How I wish I could meet her to tell her how much I love her and appreciate all the work she's done explaining the Faith - especially to cradle Catholics like me!

May God abundantly bless this new order!

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Father Corapi is Ill

Mark Shea has a little more, though not much. Please keep him in your prayers.

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A New Place to Play!

(As if I actually need that!)

Found via Maureen Wittmann:

Book Quotes!

Some gems:

What fun!

And I do wish more people would give the girls books for Christmas and birthdays. They have too many toys as it is, but there are never too many books - just too few bookshelves.

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Humor Break: Angry Nuns Take On a Vampire

From Good, Clean Funnies:

Two nuns are out driving when a vampire drops onto the bonnet of their car. "Quick, sister," screams one nun, "show him your cross!"

So the other nun leans out of the window and shouts, "Hey! You! Buzz off!"

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Children and the Corporal Works of Mercy

I was a bit annoyed with Big Girl today (and Little Girl, but since the latter developed a fever late in the day, Big Girl was the one who bore the brunt of that feeling). Their bedroom was SUCH a disaster that I couldn't walk across the floor without stepping on something. Seriously, I was being careful, trying to help Little Girl into PJ's, and I stepped on about three toys and two different pieces of clothing.

Needless to say, I was not pleased, and I started my clean-up, and threatened Big Girl with, "I will throw away all this," as I gestured to a particular corner of the room, "if you don't get it off the floor and put away. And don't shove it in the closet, either."

It got remarkably clean in short order, but I did grab a bag and start pitching particular things that (a) were junky Happy Meal sorts of toys or (b) were trash.

I know they're young, but it annoys me so much. And the excuse just really rubs me wrong. "But we have too much stuff to take care of it that well!"

Well, guess what? That means you have too much stuff, period. Soccer Dad and I need to do something about that, but together. I won't be the "bad guy" here by myself. It has to be a team thing.

Anyway, I came downstairs to finish up my certification course for the home business I'm starting, and I finally finished up around 1 a.m. (I have GOT to make it through a day without a nap so I can go to bed at a normal hour!) I had promised Little Girl, who had been running a fever just over 101, that I'd check on her before I went to bed. She had insisted on sleeping in the guest room, and when I arrived there, I saw that she had her lovey, Brown Cinderella Bear. I smooched her face (much cooler), took her temperature (98.3), and stroked her hair. She looked up at me with sleepy eyes, squinting in the light coming in from the hallway. "Do you feel okay? Are you cold?" I asked.

"No. I'm okay."

"Did Big Girl bring you Brown Cinderella Bear?"


"That was so sweet. What a nice sister you have." I noticed that she also had a wet washcloth hanging on the bed rail. (It's a metal daybed, so it wasn't so bad.) "Did Big Girl bring in that washcloth so cool off your face?"


I have to say something here. I get really annoyed with them sometimes, because they don't care for the things that they've been given (including puzzles or toys that Soccer Dad and I have saved from our own childhood). I want them to care for their things, but at the same time, I've emphasized that things are just stuff, and, therefore, not important in the grand scheme of things. (This is especially being emphasized in our quest to follow Dave Ramsey's plan, which includes selling our beautiful minivan.)

And I think that, despite them not caring well for their things, they've gotten that message down. Big Girl wanted to sleep on the floor near Little Girl tonight, but I insisted that she sleep in her own bed. But she sneaked out for a bit to try to comfort her sister. Corporal Works of Mercy, indeed! I'm so proud of her for that. She's such a sweet girl, and is always trying her best to take care of everyone.

I must remember to tell her that in the morning.

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Tuesday, March 11

If It's Tuesday, It Must be the Carnival

Get thee over to the Catholic Carnival, being hosted by EBeth at A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars.

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Etiquette Question for Holy Thursday

I have a question about what is appropriate to do at Holy Thursday Mass. When everyone gets up and washes each other's feet, with an invitation to every single parishioner to have their feet washed as well as do the washing for others, what should our family do? Do we participate at all? Do we leave it up to each of our personal consciences as to whether or not to participate? Do we sit out, thereby being the only family to do so?

I have not participated at all since moving here (this will be our fifth Easter here), but I'm wondering if I'm being purposefully obstinate about it, or if I should sit it out. And what about my girls, who want to participate?

I am at a loss as to what to do here, and I'm certain that sitting out as a family and refusing to participate has been the wrong thing to do.

So, have at it in the comboxes. Do we go with the flow? "When in Rome" and all that? What should we do?

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Sticker Shock!

I went out to drive Little Girl to dance class last night, and as I passed the gas station, I noticed that the price had gone from $3.05 (on Saturday) to $3.15!!! For the CHEAP stuff!

As Phil Rizzuto would say:

Holy cow!

I really, really want to sell our van. Anyone want a really nice minivan? Please?

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If the School Board Rep Shows Up at Chuck Norris' House ...

... he just gives them a round-house kick.

(I have linked to articles on both sides of this ruling at the Soccer Mom blog.)

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"SCAP" and the Great, Big Priest Shortage

I won't say anything more about this subject to anyone at my parish, but it's being talked about that we might wind up (probably will wind up, that is) clustering with another parish or two. And in discussing that process, it's been said that having a "SCAP" would fulfill our Sunday obligation. I mentioned in a small group that I didn't think that was so (having heard just days before on the Catholic Answers radio program that it was not), and then being answered, "They just said it fulfilled it," told me that it would be pointless to press the issue. We were then told (as a larger group) that the bishop didn't like the idea of them using "SCAP," but that they were just going to work on him about that because they just couldn't see how else it could be done. Mind you, there are six other parishes within about 30 minutes of my house. But I heard most of the people in our small discussion group complaining that we might not have a Triduum all here ("with our people and our music in our church"), that we might have to "share" our deacons as well as our priest, that we might be inconvenienced. It's a good thing, many people said, that we can have these SCAP things so we don't have to go to another parish for Mass.

Whatever. I just want to fulfill my Sunday obligation, people. I want the Mass. I don't care if I have to drive across town once in a while. I used to consistently drive to a parish that was 20 to 25 minutes away from my house when I lived in Florida. At least I was assured that I'd know ahead of time if there would be a SCAP at our parish.

Anyway, I just looked at the diocesan website and found this, which explains "SCAP" and why the bishop doesn't want us to use it in our area. (Our metro area is specifically mentioned in the section where His Excellence says it would not suffice for Sunday obligations.)

Q: Is it acceptable in our Diocese to hold a “Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest” (SCAP) in order to accommodate keeping a community of the faithful together, when it is not possible to assign a priest to cover every week-end liturgy at a site?

A: When there is no Mass (on Saturday evening or Sunday) available in a particular parish the first option should always be for the members of that community to join with their brothers and sisters at neighboring parishes for the celebration of Mass. Not only does this provide for participation in the fullest celebration of the Eucharist but also serves as a reminder that our true identity is not as a member of a particular parish but as members of the one Church, the one Body of Christ. For the most part, in the urban areas of our diocese (e.g. Richmond, Roanoke, Hampton Roads and Tidewater), Masses in neighboring parishes are readily accessible and the schedules should be made available to parishioners.

Only when it is not reasonably possible for the members of a community to travel to a neighboring parish for Mass is Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest to be used. A rule of thumb for determining what constitutes a reasonable travel distance is to examine how far the people in a particular community travel for other daily activities such as work, shopping, movies, etc. In addition, factors such as inclement weather, or short notice regarding the absence of the priest for Mass might render travel to another parish unreasonable or even dangerous.

Where no substitute priest or nearby celebration is available, the bishop gives permission for the implementation of the ritual Sunday Celebrations in the absence of a Priest.” Inconvenience is not enough of a reason to invoke the use of SCAP.

However, I have learned my lesson. I won't complain to anyone about it. I'll let them all sort it out, and if I show up and there is no priest, I'll go to another parish for Mass. But complaining or trying to correct anyone would be just another mistake and would only further harm the causes RLC is working towards.

How wimpy am I that I'm ready to let someone else head up the committee? You can't fight city hall, you know.

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How Not to be a Success

I can't help but feel that I messed up big time by writing to the bishop. I find out that he doesn't like it when people write to complain about parish ongoings, and since I'd already done that, I am probably not on his "good parishioner" list now. Then in the fallout, I get resistance when I request help in promoting the brunch. The brunch is officially a failure, and I feel like it's my fault because we wrote.

Maybe I should just accept it as a cross and try to minimize things by being consistent with our religious ed at home instead of complaining and trying to change anything. I suppose it's ridiculous to think that much would get done about whatever situations. Probably best to just leave it alone, pray, and accept the cross. Apparently making waves only hurts RLC, which, in turn, hurts whatever mission we wish to accomplish.

So being quiet is the answer. I feel like such an idiot. I am seriously upset with myself for making it harder for RLC to do what we set out to do. Now we'll just have to hope and pray that our Mother-Daughter Tea won't get equally screwed up.

Monday, March 10

To Whom Shall We Go?

Tonight I learned that my bishop said once (a friend heard this with her own ears) that he hates little more than when people write to him to complain about their priests. He wants people to deal with it within the parish.

To whom do we write, then, when something serious happens and we cannot deal with it on our own (after trying, mind you - always after attempting it yourself within the parish)?

What do we do? To whom do we go?

A group of us has decided to just go to Our Lady, then, with a specific intention on Thursdays.

In the meantime, I need work on learning the Spiritual Works of Mercy.

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Our Respect Life Committee (RLC) was going to have a fahter-son brunch on Saint Joseph's Day (moved to the 15th this year) in order to raise funds for a new ministry project we decided to begin last year. What we wanted to do was be ready to assist women in crisis pregnancy. Now, in this area there is Catholic Charities and a Women's Center that does that, but I know that the Women's Center, as good as they are, also asks women to come in for appointments and such. A woman contacted our parish to ask for help because she couldn't afford the gas to drive her 16 year old daughter back and forth to the CPC multiple times. Could we help in some way?

This family is not Catholic, either. Now, again, that CPC does good work, but if someone can't get there multiple times per week for "credits" (I honestly don't know what it means), and that person is afraid to ask them to waive that requirement, what is to be done?

Our RLC wanted to be ready with a store of baby clothes and diapers on hand to assist women who needed a quick hand, along with being ready with resources to help them along the way with other items. And we wanted to be able to give them a crib to use. The only catch would be to return the items when possible and to use them gently in the meantime. No sitting and discussing the Gospel with them. No asking them if they want to accept Christ or become Catholic. Just helping. We don't help them so they become Catholic, we help them because we are Catholic.

However, there were some errors in getting ready for the brunch. First, the full-page insert we requested (and were approved for) did not get in the first week of March. We'd run an announcement the week before, but it was small. The full-page insert would draw more attention to the brunch and let people know that starting that week and ending yesterday, we'd be selling tickets. Since it did not run, no one saw it. In addition, I'd requested an announcement after Masses that same week, and that didn't happen. Both of these were just oversights - not intentional - and both were done this past weekend instead. But then it was too late. We sold only five tickets, and that included a RLC member and his two grandsons.

Fortunately, we wrote down the names of the people who bought their tickets, and we'll be able to refund the money.

There are other things, too, that contribute to my sadness over this, but I should probably just bear it well. (Spritual work of mercy, right?)

We'll meet tonight, very briefly, to discuss whether we should try to reschedule this or if we should just put it off until next year.

In the meantime, please pray for me, because the anger I felt over this yesterday was really not a good thing. I need to just accept it, accept the situation, and deal with the situation the RLC has to exist in with grace. But, God, I really need some grace.

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Sunday, March 9

My Children Love This Song

I could hear them playing it again and again on my iPod the other day, singing along as loud as they could. All because of this video.

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Friday, March 7

More Prayers, Please!

I asked a while ago for prayers because I was writing to my bishop. I have received a response and am now waiting for the fallout from it. The bishop received our letter and forwarded everything back to the person in question, who has been asked to respond and copy His Excellency. Things might not go well, but I feel like I've done what is right.

Anyway, please say a prayer for this intention, as vague as it might be. Thank you.

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Lenten Friday: Cajun Shrimp & Pasta, Tomato-Bisque Soup

I forgot to post a recipe for last week! Oops!

I'll post two for this week, and a bit early, too, because I have an online class I'm trying to take in the evenings when the girls are in bed. I need to finish by the 13th or my $99 goes to waste!

I give you:

Cajun Shrimp and Pasta

  • Prep: 4 minutes
  • Cook: 11 minutes


  • 4 ounces uncooked vermicelli
  • 2 tablespoons light butter
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, mitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. While pasta cooks, heat butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until butter melts. Add onion and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Add shrimp and Cajun seasoning; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  3. Divide pasta evenly among 4 shallow bowls; spoon shrimp mixture over pasta. Add water to pan drippings and cook over high heat 30 seconds; pour evenly over each serving.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup shrimp mixture and 1/2 cup vermicelli).

Nutritional information:

  • Points: 5
  • Diabetic Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 3 V-L Meat
  • Calories: 232 (17% from fat)
  • Fat: 4.5 g (sat. 2.3 g)
  • Protein: 22 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25.4 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 171 mg
  • Iron: 3.7 mg
  • Sodium: 429 mg
  • Calcium: 44 mg

(That was from an older WW 15 minute cookbook.)

We'll be having grilled cheese and tomato soup on Good Friday, and I wanted to post this delicious recipe for Tomato-Basil Bisque, also from the 15 mintue cookbook.

Tomato-Basil Bisque

  • Prep: 5 minutes
  • Cook: 6 minutes


  • 2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basic, garlic, and oregano
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • shredded fresh basic (optional)


  1. Cook first 5 ingredients in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired; serve immediately, or chill.

Yield: 6 1-cup servings.

  • Points: 3
  • Diabetic Exchange: 1 starch, 2 veg
  • Calories: 135 (13% from fat)
  • Fat: 2 g (sat. 0.9 g)
  • Protiens: 5.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25 g
  • Fiber: 1.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 3 mg
  • Iron: 1.4 mg
  • Sodium: 814 mg
  • Calcium: 140 mg

It was a really nice change from the straight-out-of-the-can soups, and this was amazingly easy to make. I'll admit that the girls weren't that crazy about it, though.

As far as last week's recipe went, it was delicious but VERY tangy. (I made Flounder with Lemon, Parsley, and Bread Crumbs. Quick and easy!! I'll post the recipe and back-date it.) Very tart, which is unusual for my cooking. But it was good, anyway. We ate it with green beans on the side to make it a light meal. I'll be eating the leftovers tomorrow, I think.

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