Wednesday, March 31

Why Did I Take This Quiz?

How many hungry weasels could your body feed?

Created by Oatmeal




Wordless Wednesday: Surprise Pair



I was sick enough Sunday morning that I missed Mass. Palm. Sunday. Mass. Big Girl sought out an EMHC to bring Jesus to me (I cried when the family was leaving as I asked), but while I waited, in the just-after-the-rain I saw a beautiful cardinal in the tree.

No, not that kind of cardinal. The bird.

Anyway, I had gotten my camera out earlier when I was trying (unsuccessfully) to snap a shot of the red-breasted robins' red breasts, and so I took a few pictures. Partway through, I realized that I'd also gotten his mate, who was barely visible in the branches below him. This was the first shot I snapped that, when I looked, I saw her.

Here are a few more shots of the cardinals, in case you like that sort of thing. :)



I played around a bit with color on this one, and cropped it in close.


I actually did NOT touch this one up at all. Straight off the SD card. Honest Injun!


I did finally manage to get a robin, red breast and all, so I cropped in and boosted the color a tiny bit. (I'm only working with iPhoto here - no Aperture or Photoshop Elements or Photoshop - so I've only got some basic customizing I can work with. One day, I'll get some fancier stuff.) I love his beautiful red breast and the tiny, bright-yellow beak. Robins are some of my favorite birds because they are heralds of Spring.



Friday, March 26

Sick on Purpose

I think God was preventing me from getting myself any more upset than I already was this week. I joked with Travel Man that Obamacare made me sick because I had a fever Monday through Thursday at about noon.

Turns out, I missed Masses and the Mission all week, and according to my friends who went, it was a blessing. Content wasn't bad, but the Q&A sessions went in all kinds of directions, to the point that one exasperated woman stood up and asked, "Why are you even Catholic, then?"

I fantasize about Father Corapi being our Mission Leader for Lent. Or Father Groeschel. Some sort of priest who wears a habit or his clerics or something identifying him as a religious. Someone who still crosses himself when he passes a Catholic church and doesn't make snorting noises about the magisterium or say that Luke wrote St. John's Gospel or ad lib some of the prayers at Mass.

But in the meantime, I'll be in thanksgiving for our pastor, who told me today that he can't break Lenten fast on Sundays because he "feels like it's cheating." Who speaks out against cohabitation, contraception, fornication, masturbation, abortion, euthanasia, and who sings the Agnus Dei during his weekday Masses.

Remember, we need to pray for religious who are acting this way, not just be angry with them. Pray, children! Pray!


New App for the iPhone

I picked up an app for free yesterday. It does some neat stuff for
such an app; it creates a black and white picture from one of yours
and allows you to add splashes of color. This is one of the pictures I
played with.

Thursday, March 25

Feast of the Annunciation




Today is a wonderful day for us all! We celebrate today Mary's "yes" to God - the day the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us!



Our salvation began on this day, the Annunciation (or Incarnation).








Side note: One of the very few days that Tolkien specifically names in The Lord of the Rings is this day, for it is this day that Frodo and Samwise were finally able to destroy the One Ring. Middle Earth's salvation began on that day.













Wednesday, March 24

House Hunters

These stuck-up kids look at a kitchen that's nicer than mine, and the young woman says, "If you want me to learn how to cook, I sure can't do it on THIS kitchen!" As if the woman who lives there now can't make a food meal for her family. And, to the young man with her, I say this: that stove is not from the 1930's. Did you never see your kitchen growing up? That is CLEARLY 1970's to 1980's.

'course, these kid in Cherry Hill, NJ, are discussing over the houses in some sleek martini place.

Seriously, what's with this idea that you can only cook in a gourmet kitchen??? With granite and stainless steel appliances??

GET OVER YOURSELVES. I would LOVE your reject kitchen.

More Reasons to Homeschool: Because We Don't Have to Deal With Prom

...or any of the ridiculousness that might ensue.


(Warning: Moonbattery has a love affair with South Park screenshots.)


Blog Facelift


I just did a quick update on the blog's look. If you're on a feed aggregator, feel free to click through and see the new, updated header and the new color scheme.

Travel Man will be SO thrilled to post, I'm sure. Not that he does much, anyway.


Simple Crafts: Make a Balloon Barrette


I'm turning into a real artsy-fartsy, homemaker kind of gal lately. I've got a bread machine, I made homemade chicken stock, I'm cooking up a storm, and now, I've started to make clips for Little Girl's hair.

I can't take credit for the idea. It came from an old book on how to braid hair in different styles and how to make simple hair accessories (from scrunchies to bows).

This morning, while I drank my coffee let me coffee go stone cold, I made a balloon barrette for Little Girl (who, aside from me, is the only one with enough hair to wear it). I got the clip part from Wal Mart and the balloons from Dollar Tree. I figure the clip cost me about $1.50 to make, since the clip came in a four-pack and I didn't use all of the balloons from the package.

First, I decided on a pattern. I wanted to go with a rainbow effect. Roy G. Biv! Oh, no purple. And I have pink. So ... W. Proy G. B.! Hooray!



Then, I simply opened up the clip and started tying balloons on. I alternated which direction the opening was on so it was a little more balanced.





I also had to be careful to stretch the balloons so they'd be big enough to tie.





I decided that one W. Proy G. B. was not going to cut it, especially with that white piece. I cut the white balloon off, slid everything down a bit, and went with a PROY G. B. G. YORP pattern instead. (Say THAT five times fast!)





Little Girl helped me out with holding down the clip (alas, our hands were all busy at the time, so no pictures, but I'm sure you can imagine), and then we sat her down to pull her hair back in her new, colorful, goes-with-everything hair barrette!




Wordless Wednesday: Big Girl's Photo Edition

Big Girl has been taking my camera and taking pictures lately. Here's a sampling of some of her work.


Taken from sitting in a swing, looking up.









Thursday, March 18

I am a Fan of OK, GO Now

Remember this video? It went viral.




Well, take a gander at THIS! It is Made of Awesome!



Lenten Mission

I just discovered one of the priests giving our Lenten Mission wrote in support of that "Just Say, WAIT!" article on the new translation.

The nun on the mission team blogged recently about how it's bad to ask for religious to wear habits or be too monastic or even to ask that they still pray the Divine Office daily. (This in reaction to the Vatican's survey of women religious in the U.S.) She, too, complains about the new translation.

There's even a link on their page (Thomas More Center) to U.S. Catholic, which printed an article in support of Liberation Theology, and highlighted a professor at a Catholic university who teaches it to undergrads!! Among their recommended authors on theology is Richard McBrien.

My first clue that I wouldn't be particularly jazzed about going was when I saw the two priests and the nun were all in street clothes. Their website doesn't encourage me at all. I can't help but be underwhelmed by the whole thing, and not at all motivated to rearrange my schedule to go to any sessions.

yuck.


Paul VI was Right, Part II

Demographic Winter goes into more detail about these statistics and their consequences. I highly recommend getting a hold of a copy of it and watching it.





More videos like this can be found here.

Wednesday, March 17

Wordless Wednesday: This Bud's for You!




Robins are around again, the trees and lilac bushes are budding, and the weather is warming up. Spring is right around the corner! And that means Easter is almost here!



Monday, March 15

Say No to Obamacare!!

The American Catholic blog passes this information on from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:



"The Bishops have drawn a strong line against abortion funding in the Senate version of ObamaCare. Here is the text of their message:

As long-time advocates of health care reform, the U.S. Catholic bishops continue to make the moral case that genuine health care reform must protect the life, dignity, consciences and health of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. Health care reform should provide access to affordable and quality health care for all, and not advance a pro-abortion agenda in our country. Genuine health care reform is being blocked by those who insist on reversing widely supported policies against federal funding of abortion and plans which include abortion, not by those working simply to preserve these longstanding protections.

•On November 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed major health care reform that reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortions and includes positive measures on affordability and immigrants.

•On December 24, the U.S. Senate rejected this policy and passed health care reform that requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions. All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people’s abortions through a separate payment solely to pay for abortion. And the affordability credits for very low income families purchasing private plans in a Health Insurance Exchange are inadequate and would leave families financially vulnerable.

•Outside the abortion context, neither bill has adequate conscience protection for health care providers, plans or employers.

•Congressional leaders are now trying to figure out how the rules of the House and Senate could allow the final passage of a modified bill that would satisfy disagreements between House and Senate versions.

ACTION: Contact your Representative and Senators today by e-mail, phone or FAX.

•To send a pre-written, instant e-mail to Congress go to

www.usccb.org/action.

•Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices. Contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at www.house.gov &

www.senate.gov.

MESSAGE – HOUSE:

“I am pleased that the House health care bill maintains the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion. On the other hand, the provisions on abortion funding in the current un-amended Senate health care bill are seriously deficient and unacceptable. I urge you to work to uphold essential provisions against abortion funding, to include full conscience protection and to ensure that health care is accessible and affordable for all. I urge you to oppose any bill unless and until these criteria are met.”

MESSAGE – SENATE:

“I am deeply disappointed that the current un-amended Senate health care bill fails to maintain the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion and does not include adequate protection for conscience. I urge you to support essential provisions against abortion funding, similar to those in the House bill. Include full conscience protection and ensure that health care is accessible and affordable for all. I urge you to oppose any bill unless and until these criteria are met.”

WHEN: Votes in the House and Senate are expected at any time. Act today!


It is good to see the Bishops entering the fray on this issue so clearly and forcefully.

Bravo! Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air."





Home-Made Again


I've tried my hand more than once at baking bread from scratch. I honestly like it. Like the way the house smells as it bakes, like the way it tastes, like that I know what's in the bread. It's nice.

But it's easier with a bread machine.

When we got married, we got a bread machine that made one-pound loaves of bread as a wedding gift. At the time, those things ran in the $100+ range; it was an extremely generous gift! But when we moved to Virginia, I tried to make this cheddar cheese jalepeƱo bread. I *thought* I had a 1.5 pound bread machine until that day.

Do you know how awful it smells when cheese bread overflows the baking pan and gets on the heating element of your bread machine? It's not pretty. It's not even ugly. It's horrifying.

And I had to throw away my bread machine as a result.

Ever since then, I've been wanting another one. I'm home with the kids all day, unless we're heading out for dance or sports or YMCA Homeschool Art Classes or working out at the Y or homeschool co-op or church or ... Well, I don't have a job outside the home, so a bread machine to make bread would be nice. I can make bread, but it won't take up my whole day, which, as you can see, makes it hard to get bread made. Schedules being what they are and all.

I was wandering through Wally World and saw a breadmaker for $60. I thought, "Mmmm... I like it. I can make up to two pound loaves, I can look in the window and see my bread... I think I'll save my blow money for it!" I actually said as much to Travel Man this morning as he donned his Super Suit for his business trip. I had saved $15 of my blow money from two weeks ago and hadn't taken out my blow money last week, which put me up to $40 so far. If I just didn't get coffee at Starbucks or anything, I was golden! Only one more week (this Friday!) of blow money, and that baby would be mine!!

And today, I walked into Wally World for some things I actually needed and walked by the display. I pointed at it and said to the girls, "I'm saving my blow money to get th- ... HEY! IT'S MARKED DOWN!!!"

I JUMPED into action and called Travel Man. He didn't answer. I blurted out, "I'm going to get the breadmaker because it's on clearance and I've almost got all the money so I'm just going to get it now and pay the last tiny bit at the end of the week and I am really excited." (Actually, I said this between telling Little Girl to only pick up the conditioner and not the shampoo because I only need one. I'm sure he'll love me for that.) Then, just to be sure, I texted him and told him what I was doing.

See, once upon a time, I wanted a food processor at Wally World, and when they put it on clearance, I hemmed and hawed for four days and it was gone. GONE. And I'm still without a food processor. I'm so bummed out.

But today, I got that bread machine, and Travel Man even texted back "Ok," which might mean just, "Sure! That's great that you found it and I don't have time to text more than two letters!" or it could mean, "Ok, fine, stop bothering me while I'm trying to set up for my workshop, please."



Tomorrow, I think I'll be baking bread. Mmmmm...


Saturday, March 13

Grown-ups

Dear Adults Who Introduce Yourselves to My Children,

In case you haven't noticed, you are an adult. My child is not. I have taught my children that the proper way to show respect for adults is to first call them "Mr." or "Mrs." and a last name.

Please stop introducing yourselves to my obviously underage children by your first names.

Grow up and be adults, please.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Soccer Mom Christine

Friday, March 12

Testing

I've added a button to the bottom of my posts. Hope it turns out right. :)


Mac Daddy Salad

 
Mac Daddy Salad

Macaroni Salad

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound elbow macaroni
  2. 1 large onion
  3. 1/2 large green pepper
  4. 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  5. 1 tbsp. BBQ Sauce
  6. 1/2 tbsp. fat-free Catalina dressing
  7. 1/2 tsp. salt
  8. 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  9. 1 tsp. paprika
  10. 2/3 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  11. Lowery's Seasoning salt to taste

Directions

  1. Cook macaroni according to directions without adding salt or fat.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Chill before serving.
Search, share, and cook your recipes on Mac OS X with SousChef!

Seven Quick Takes: Fourth Friday of Lent

Sorry I didn't do a Quick Takes Friday last week. Jen hosts, as usual. Here we go!

1. We've been really cranking in school lately. We're back on track and have been doing really well as getting school finished for the most part. The girls have done multiple projects that they're proud of, too. Little Girl did a diorama of the Tranfiguration that she gave to Fr. K. as a gift last week. I took a couple dozen pictures of it, but I'll spare you most of them and give you just a couple of shots here.





2. Big Girl wrote a pamphlet about the Six Laws of the Church. Here are shots of the PDF version of her project. She wrote and illustrated it, and only got help from me on a few finer points and some page layout. (I asked her to clarify a couple of things in her writing.)



3. Travel Man is getting his Super Suit out of the mothballs next week. He's out of town two weeks running. Pray for him if you could; he's having a very busy and hectic month. We see a couple of three-day weekends coming up where all he does is sit at home with us and nap. I'm all for that.


4. I'm not sure if it's really sunk in that we're debt-free except for the house. It kind of hit me early last week when Travel Man told me about his bonus - bigger than expected! - and I burst into tears. It occurred to me that we had nothing to spend it on. Well, I mean, we have projects and stuff, and we used most of it to open a money market and jump-start our emergency fund (6 months of expenses socked away). But as for bills ... we were more than caught up. We bought the girls mattresses for their bunk beds (which they really needed!), got their bathing suits, joined Weight Watchers (both of us), and rejoined the YMCA. But we didn't need to pay anything else off. That's the first time since we've been married that his bonus money wasn't earmarked for debt.

I can't wait to call Dave Ramsey. I just have to wait for a Friday when Travel Man can be home while Dave's on the air.



5. Big Girl is getting ... well, big. But she's also not really a girl any more. And it's really obvious when you look at her. She even got a really cute haircut yesterday - it's got layers! - and she is getting to really be a young woman. I'm excited for her, but sad, too. Sad for me. I can't believe that this little baby girl:



Is now this young woman:



6. Speaking of growing up, Father K. gave a homily on priests needing to teach about hard things - hard teachings, as it's usually said. He said he gave a talk to the tenth graders at the local Catholic school, and then he mentioned the following things by name, calling them evil.

fornication, contraception, p0rnography, masturbation, general sexual immorality

THEN he said that it isn't just hard for teens to hear things. That adults have to deal with things that our culture promotes as not only okay, but good. And he mentioned by name:

cohabitation, contraception (again, "even inside of marriage"), adultery, divorce and remarriage

Hands up, Catholics. How many of you have heard ANY of those things from the pulpit during a homily, let alone ALL of them AT ONCE, and being called intrinsically evil?

Have I mentioned lately that I love our new pastor? I love that he's unafraid to teach the hard things.

Pray for our priests, that they all have such courage!


7. Recipe time! This time, I have two recipes for side dishes. I've posted both on Weight Watchers and Tasty Kitchen, and they're both really good for Summer (or for fasting). Yes, I said Summer. First up is Mac Daddy Salad*, my father's recipe for macaroni salad. Next is my own Homemade Pico, which I made in response to Travel Man always wanting to buy pico at the grocery store. I looked at it one day and said, "I think I can make that." One year later, I did.

*Just in case you can't get to that recipe (it might be members-only), here's the Mac Daddy Salad link that's on this blog.


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