Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What We Found at the Library

While we were checking out at the library today I happened to spy a book sitting on the return pile behind the desk.  One that caught my attention so I asked to add it to our pile.
I will admit that I have come to avoid these cookbooks because the recipes often rely on a few too many processed ingredients for my liking but they were a great thing to start with when I was getting comfortable using the crock pot for more than just making pot roast (I have still never made a roast in the oven, I only toss them in the crock pot).  So I am thinking that this book might be a wonderful way to start letting the middle 3 kids cook on their own a bit more.  Bryan is already very proficient at cooking just about anything on his own and Sean is getting there.  I've noticed that the older boys often take one of the younger kids with them when they are making dinner to help them and teach them to take over eventually.  I plan to tweak the meal plans over the next few weeks to have the middle kids cook for us.  I hope it works out well.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Yet Another Reason to Love Your Crock Pot

Admittedly even before I knew how things would turn out today, I already had 2 crock pot meals on the menu.  But on a day like today, those meals end up being life savers.

Today started rather early when Alan woke up sick.  Very sick.  The bedroom was cold and I found myself snuggling up to the person with a raging fever next to me because it was warming me up.  Yup, I'm nice like that.  Then he wakes up and tells me that he dreamt that he got up to get an extra blanket last night.  To which I replied that he had actually woken up and brought an extra blanket to bed.  Turns out he was freezing last night.  You know Alan is sick when he does not argue with the suggestion to call in to work sick.  And then proceeds to spend most of the day asleep in bed.

As the day progressed, various other people started showing signs of being sick.  It is debatable right now if I will be well tomorrow.  Ellie is at the very least acting entirely too irritable to be feeling great, Abby says she has a headache, Kieran has a massive cold, a few other children are saying they are sick.

But meals were all in the crock pot before 9:30 this morning and everyone was able to eat a warm dinner even though both parents were feeling less than stellar.  Yes, our older children can manage to make dinner with no supervision and often do but today they aren't feeling 100% either.  So I am very thankful for 2 large crock pots to do the work for me and keep me from ordering pizza.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Meal Plan For the Week

Here's the hopeful schedule for the week.

Monday: pumpkin pie baked oatmeal (B), crock pot macaroni and cheese (L), taco soup, corn bread (D)
Tuesday: breakfast burritos (B), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (L), spaghetti, salad (D)
Wednesday: cereal (B), grilled cheese (L), potato soup, salad (D)
Thursday: yogurt, granola (B), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (L), pot roast (D)
Friday: eggs, toast (B), cheese pizza (L), fish sandwiches (D)
Saturday: French toast casserole (B), sandwiches/leftovers (L), hearty black bean quesadillas (D)
Sunday: cinnamon rolls (B), leftovers (L), cream cheese chicken (D)

I'm realizing that my lunch menus really seem to need some fresh ideas.  But it's a tad hard to be creative in the middle of the day with everything going on and it's super easy to grab the nearest child and say "Hey, will you go make (insert super easy lunch idea here)" so I have a feeling they will stay kind of simple and routine for a while.

The Geek Test

I'm not sure if I should say that my children passed or failed the geek test.  All I know is if you speak to them in Klingon, they respond appropriately.  Upon hearing this, I made a comment about how I feared for the make-up of our future family gatherings.  Said something about how if you need a Klingon translator, you probably don't date much.  My son's response: there are girl Trekkies, too.  This leaves me even more worried.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Google This

You've probably googled just about everything else.  Why not this?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Where's The Beef?

The beef was delivered this afternoon.  I have to say I really like the idea of getting huge quantities of organically raised local meat delivered to my door.  I also love the idea of being able to get a variety of cuts of meat for the same price as you would normally pay for ground beef when not on sale at the grocery store.  The side of beef will last most of the year but I have a feeling we'll go through the pork much quicker.  I suppose it may be time to consider buying a whole pig next year.  So far we've enjoyed the quality of the meat.  But I am staring to question my thinking just a little bit. After packing the freezer full and doing a basic inventory, the first thought I had was "Oh my gosh, we are almost out of chicken."  Considering it wasn't that long ago when we bought 40 lbs from Zaycon Foods, I will admit to being a bit shocked that we are almost out of it.  I think we have about 4 meals of chicken breast and only 2 whole chickens left.  I'd take a picture of the jam packed freezer but I have a feeling that when you start taking pictures of your freezer, you are officially going crazy.  Kind of as crazy as building an entire post on meat.  Ok, I admit it. I need help.

This year we have also joined a local CSA.  We tried one before and found that the quantities on most foods were just not enough for a family of our size but purchasing 2 shares was not exactly an economical choice.  The CSA we have joined this year has given us a discount on a larger share for our family size so I'm hoping it will work out better.

I am hoping that the purchase of the meat and the CSA will cut down our grocery budget for a few months at least.  Or maybe give us the extra money we need to buy some extra in season produce to can and freeze so we'll have it for the winter.  And hopefully we'll get a garden in this year.  We are taking a break from chickens for a year until we can figure out how to make the chicken area more predator proof since we are now down to only 1 bird.  I am really hoping our peach trees will produce enough this year to can.  Since we have lost 3 of the trees, it's kind of iffy.  Just hoping these larger purchases will keep the overall budget down and still have us eating as healthy as possible.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lenten Projects

I finally settled on a project for the family for Lent.  It's easy, low cost, minimal prep time from me, and something we haven't done before.  This year our family project will be using the Lenten Prayer Project from Thatresourcesite.  This project is super simple.  Every day during Lent you choose a specific person or need to remember when praying a decade of the rosary.  You use their simple cards to write or color what the prayer request is and hang the cards up in a location in your home that you will see regularly.  This reminds you of what you have prayed for and are praying for during Lent.  It also helps those of us who have long ago neglected the family rosary get back into the habit of praying together each night.  Tonight the kids decided to pray for Grandpa Herb.  Ok, Katie said we should pray for Grandpa Herb because he's old (he is 90), but I think we'll just stick with praying for Grandpa Herb because he's, well, Grandpa Herb.

I'm still searching for a project to help focus on the stations this year.  I have several ideas floating in my head, just need to narrow it down a bit.  In the past we have used the Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure and I imagine I'll use some of their resources with the younger kids this year as well.  They are previewing their new Glory Story audio CD on the life of John Paul II with the weekly emails and we love listening to Glory Stories.  I'm pretty sure we'll buy a copy of that CD when it finally becomes available for purchase. Seriously, they pretty much guarantee a quiet car ride.  Glory Stories, Adventures in Odyssey, the Altar Gang, and CatChat CD's are often in the car.  Last year we also listened to the King of the Golden City which is a wonderful story.

Maybe I'll set up a sacrifice jar after the kids go to bed tonight.  My only question is how do I keep the little boys from messing with it.  That is a constant question around here it seems.  During Holy Week I'll break out the resurrection eggs and I'm sure to add a few other things here and there.  Here's hoping you are able to have a meaningful Lent with your family.  Please feel free to share any new ideas you've found to use with your kids.  I'm always looking for something new.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

That Day Before Lent

It's that wonderful last day before lent when everyone begins to panic and say to themselves "Oh crud.  I have to give something up for Lent."  Or do we say that to ourselves on Ash Wednesday when we realize we forgot it was Ash Wednesday already?  Either way rather than worrying about those little details, we celebrated this day in our traditional way: pancakes, strawberries, whipped cream, bacon, and sausage.  Something small and simple that the kids can count on and look forward to each year.  Or maybe they just look forward to the chance to play with the spray can of whipped cream.  Hm, the jury may be out on that one. Either way, I hope your day was a great one.
the whole gang before the feast
simply yummy
I would never encourage such delinquency.  Nope, never.

School Movies

Sean is studying the civil war this quarter for history so I requested the movie Gettysburg from Netflix for him.  Of course, because Mom requested it and said it was a school assignment, the movie was instantly labeled as BORING.  But it has turned out to be rather interesting for the kids.  Several kids dug out their canteens from Genesee Country Village, Kieran requested that I pick up books on the civil war from the library, and we've had a few conversations about how most men in the war did not actually fight over slavery but rather to protect their own families, land, and to protest a federal government that they felt was getting too powerful.  Yup, lots of interesting conversations going on.  But the best was probably the one I overheard this afternoon. 

Just for full disclosure, I have a house full of rowdy war loving fighting boys.  We also recently attended a field trip at Old Fort Niagara where the kids were given in depth lessons on the relative merits of the musket and allowed to "fire" their own musket.  Such things the kids tend to remember.  So several of the boys are watching the movie and in the middle of a heavy battle scene they start to debate the relative merits of the dangers of being in canon range versus being in musket range as a soldier. I have to tell you that I love being the Mom of a bunch of boys. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

American Anthem for Life

I've been wandering around the Catholic Blog-o-sphere today searching for some new projects for Lent.  This year I don't have the funds to throw at ready made projects (like these stations of the cross grotto kits) but I want more than just coloring sheets or the same old thing we try to do every year.  With my little kids, certain activities just won't work.  The salt dough crown of thorns come to mind.  It just would not work as intended.  I'll try to find some books and hope I actually read them with the kids and hopefully I'll find a few projects.  Something for the older boys in particular. I don't want to just throw another book at them. Hands-on is great for them as well.  Hm, maybe in the next few days I'll come up with something.  But, back to the point here.

As I was wandering through blogland, I came upon this song and I wanted to share.  Hope you like it, too.

Meal Plan

I have a feeling this week will be a tad bit interesting.  The younger 3 kids are still sick.  Not only are they coughing and running fevers, they are also all miserable, clinging, and crying.  Which does on some level cut down on what I can accomplish around the house.  It's kind of hard to do too much with at least one child hanging on you all day.  Hopefully the older children will be in a helpful mood today.

Our beef should arrive on Thursday.  Our side is 255 lbs or so which will require some sorting and organizing so I know what we have in the house to use.  The smoked portion of the pork will hopefully arrive at the same time.  The timing is rather funny on the meat since we have decided to go meatless 3 days a week during Lent so the meat will sit for a while.  Obviously the kids aren't really required to stick with what their parents are trying to do but I'm hoping they will. This will also be the first Lent since 2001 when I am not pregnant and only nursing an older toddler so fasting will actually apply to me.  On a side note, Ellie is almost 15 months and still going strong with the nursing.  Go me.  Actually it's been an amazing blessing the past few days with her being so sick because I don't have to worry about getting enough liquid into her since she's wanted to nurse almost nonstop.

 So here's what we are eating for the week.

Monday: cereal (B), turkey sandwiches (L), lasagna and garlic bread for the kids, date night for Mom and Dad (D)
Tuesday: eggs, maple cinnamon toast (B), macaroni and cheese (L), pancakes, strawberries, whipped cream, sausage for our traditional Fat Tuesday dinner (D)
Wednesday: cereal (B), tuna melts (L), bean enchiladas (D)
Thursday: oatmeal (B), leftovers (L), either white chili or turkey and rice casserole since I'm not sure what I want to do with the rest of the leftover turkey yet (D)
Friday: eggs, hashbrowns (B), sandwiches (L), santa fe beans and rice (D)
Saturday: French toast (B), FFY(L), cheese pizza (D)
Sunday: cereal (B), FFY (L), roasted chicken (D)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Little Flowers

Today we had another Little Flowers meeting.  Even when I don't have my act totally together, I enjoy seeing what these girls put together.
Today we learned about Responsibility and St. Anne.  After putting together notebook pages and coloring sheets, the girls all made cards to give to someone with a job that take a lot of responsibility.
For some reason all the girls were full of way too much energy today but I'm hoping they still had fun and learned something.  I think we are all ready for the icky wet muddy weather to move along so we can spend more time outside burning off extra energy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy St. Valentine's Day

Another attempt at some intentional "fun" with the kids that was just slightly sabotaged by the children ahead of time.  (I feel like I am channeling my husband when he complains about the "mandatory fun" events the Air Force often makes them attend in an effort to make sure morale is as high as possible.) 

I planned to make heart shaped lollipops for the children using some candy melts leftover from Christmas. Alan picked up the candy mold last night on his way home from work. (Hey, I said I planned it, I didn't say how far in advance I planned it.)  This afternoon I went to the cupboard to pull out the candy melts that I knew were in there.  Um, at least they were supposed to be in there.  Some child decided to eat half of them.  Apparently if you take food out of an open package and just leave a few crumbs or one last cookie or one last chip or the 3 last candy melts, no one will be the wiser.  Apparently.  Never mind that the bag for the candy melts was tied closed and you untied it.  Never mind that I am not an idiot and can actually see that something is missing and know no one had permission to snatch it.  At least they have finally figured out not to open factory sealed packages themselves so the red candy melts were still there, but all of the white ones were gone.  Except 3.
the melted candy
Sigh.  So after I griped and grumbled about children taking things without permission and declared that when it was time to start handing out the lollipops, I would start with the shortest children first since you have to be taller than 3 feet to be able to reach into the plastic box on the second shelf of the cabinet over the microwave (yes, I did actually say all of this to the kids while they rolled their eyes and gave each other the Mom is off her rocker look), I started melting candy and filling the molds.
the filled molds
The hardest part of this treat was that I only had one set of molds so I had to make 3 batches.  Each batch must sit in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool enough to set so it took about an hour to make 10 lollipops.  If you get all the supplies from the bulk bins or on sale, you can make these for your kids $2 or so, not including the molds.  The molds are often just a couple bucks (this one was $1.59 but I have seen them frequently in the dollar bins at Target and similar stores).  The molds are obviously reusable so for just a few bucks a year, you can treat your kids to something new.
the finished product
 Here's hoping your attempts to find joy with your children today went a tad better than mine did.  Let's just say I went grocery shopping alone when Alan got home and treated myself to a drink (carbonated only as I don't "drink").

Monday, February 13, 2012

Snow Ice Cream

I am trying to get back to making time for intentional memory making moment with the kids.  Small, simple, special little extra things amid the chaos and noise and craziness of life in this scattered battered house.  And I'm trying to work on adjectives, can't you tell?
Start Here
A few years ago we made molasses snow candy from the Little House books.  The kids loved it and keep asking with each snow fall if we can make it again.  But my candy thermometer was dropped by someone and broke and we never got around to replacing it since it is not often used.  I'm not comfortable enough with the various stages of candy without using a thermometer so that one was out this year.  Instead we made snow ice cream.
Stir Very Well
It's super easy.  All you need is about a gallon of fresh snow. It will probably work best if you think ahead and put out a container to catch the snow as it falls. I did not plan far enough ahead so I sent a child out into the yard with a large bowl and a measuring cup and instructions to go looking for snow that had not yet been disturbed. 
And You Should End Up Here
Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over the snow, add about a teaspoon of vanilla, stir it all together until well blended and you have ice cream.  And happy kids with smiling faces. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Meal Plan For the Week

A few things are showing up on the list again this week because they were not eaten last week.  Sunday was definitely soup weather so we had baked potato soup instead of what was planned. I also found an awesome recipe for dinner rolls that turned out absolutely perfect and went together in under an hour.  We did not have rapid rise yeast so I just doubled the yeast instead and it worked out perfectly.  I also decided not to make the whole chicken last week and instead threw together chicken and dumpling soup with some leftover shredded chicken.  Bonus points for actually making homemade dumplings this time instead of using bisquick for them.  Next step, making actual homemade biscuits.

This week I am cleaning out the last two freezer meals as well as a turkey I picked up on sale around Thanksgiving.  We always try to grab 2 or 3 when the prices are low and use them later in the year. So here's what's on the menu for this week.

Monday: French toast casserole (B), bean burritos, oranges (L), cheesy chilada casserole for the kids, date night for Mom and Dad (D)
Tuesday: cereal (B), macaroni and cheese (L), pulled pork, coleslaw (D)
Wednesday: eggs, toast (B), sandwiches (L), tacos (D)
Thursday: cereal (B), Pizza Hut Book-it rewards (L), chicken teriyaki, rice (D)
Friday: muffins, eggs (B), sandwiches (L), chicken and gnocchi soup (D)
Saturday: pancakes (B),  leftovers (L), pizza/wings for movie night (D)
Sunday: cranberry bread/donut muffins (B), leftovers/sandwiches (L), turkey (D)

I currently have something called nutritious bars in the oven for a snack for tomorrow and the kids have requested that we make molasses candy while we have the snow.  I'm not sure if we have enough molasses so I just might try to convince them to make snow ice cream instead.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Skiing

video

The Ski Trip

Alan took four of the kids skiing yesterday.  Poor Liam got sick and had to stay home. And the house was strangely quiet with only 5 kids home.  Both Abby and Liam were sick so they took naps as well which meant for a short time yesterday everyone else in the house was asleep.  Reminded me of the years when all my kids were under 5 and everyone in the house napped.  Ah, silence in the middle of the day. 
Katie
Back to skiing.  This was Katie's first time downhill skiing.  She is apparently a bit of a natural on skis.  Since she tends to be naturally athletic (the only brother she can't run faster than is Sean and I noticed she is catching on to karate very quickly), this was not too much of a surprise. 
Kieran
The group rate discount that we managed to get with the ski resort included rentals and ski lessons so all the kids got a refresher course and Alan had a little over an hour to ski on his own.  He used it (after explaining to the remaining ski instructor that since he used to teach lessons himself, there really truly was no need for him to take lessons that day although he was welcome to follow him around on the slopes for a bit) to hit all the slopes the kids were not quite ready for themselves. 
Bryan and Sean
In looking at these pictures last night I just kept thinking that there is something wrong with skiing when you can see that much green grass.  And, of course, it snowed last night and the kids have been out shoveling the driveway.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Karate

The older five kids started karate classes a few weeks ago.  I'd been putting it off because of cost issues for quite a while.  Then we found a program that was totally free but on Saturday mornings.  Although I love the idea of free (it was part of a youth ministry program at a local church), I knew Saturday morning classes just would not really work with our family schedule.  Then a homeschool class finally came together with decent family rates. 
This gives me the chance to have a class for even my high school age kid and gives me a place to take all the kids at once.  I've found for my own sanity, we really have to stick with programs of this sort.  I know plenty of families who manage to run the kids in multiple directions for sports and such each weekend but I know my limits and that just won't work for me. 
I am normally in the back room hanging out with all of the younger siblings but I was able to watch for a few minutes today.  The kids seem to be doing a great job and enjoying what they are learning.  And the class obviously has room for a few more if you are local and looking for something for your kids.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Have But One Question. . .

Are you ready for the fight that is coming our way?  Are you ready to take on this battle?  Have you been explaining to your children why what the current administration is trying to push is wrong?  This is not a contraception issue. This is not a women's health issue.  This is not a health care issue at all. This is a religious liberty issue and if you aren't prepared for fight now, if you are going to sit on the sidelines and say "well, it's not my beliefs that are being threatened," are you going to be prepared to fight on your own when the government comes after your deeply held religious beliefs?  I do believe that Obama and his cronies have finally succeeded in waking up the last of the people who were fooled by his earlier promises and lies.  I am praying that the sleeping giant that has just been woken will not fall back to sleep until the battle has been won.  And I truly wonder if any of this would have ever happened if the previous two or three generations of Catholics in America were more steadfast in holding to their faith and keeping to the truth rather than selling out to whatever was popular, comfortable, and politically correct.  Following Jesus has never been easy.  Then again, He never promised that it would be.

Strengthening Your Family

I just finished reading the book Strengthening Your Family: A Catholic Approach to Holiness at Home by Marge Fenelon.   Although I truly enjoyed the book, I must admit to a few small things.  First, before I had the chance to pick the book up and actually read it, the poor book was left on the kitchen counter.  And suffered a fate many books suffer in this house if left on the kitchen counter.  Yup, a nameless child knocked a drink over, decided to walk away from the mess rather than clean it up, and my poor book suffered some major water damage. Second, most of this book was read while I was attempting to escape from my wonderful family by soaking in the tub because they were causing me much, much stress.  Sigh.  Then again, perhaps these are all reasons why I NEEDED to read this book because it seems obvious that some sort of something is missing in the way things run around here lately.
 Marge Fenelon's latest book is full of short, simple tricks and ideas for bringing holiness to your home.  It's not about raising perfect children or having the idealistic family.  It's about starting where you are and setting realistic goals for your family.  This book helps teach you how to guide your children and family to more accurately reflect a truly authentic Catholic life.

Each chapter in this book closes with a relevant prayer and a selection of questions to help you pinpoint the areas that your family might need to focus on changing.  By staying short and to the point, each chapter allows you to focus on small changes instead of asking you to consider larger changes which are less likely to take hold.  This book will provide you with a healthy dose of inspiration to help you on your goal to finding happiness in your home.  It left me feeling as if the chaotic mess of family life is not meant to drive us insane, but rather to help each of us become the person God intends us to be. 

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Strengthening Your Family. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

That Gift Budget

We have officially saved up enough gift cards to pay for Robert's birthday gift this year which means my out of pocket expense is still holding at $8 for the year so far.  My obstacle now is the May birthdays. Two teen boys.  I'm sure we could save up gift cards to get them some gadget but they both are hoping to go to Boy Scout camp this year.  They are both also living under an illusion where they can keep spending their money on assorted garbage and still have enough left to pay for camp (I think they inherited the let's stick our head in the sand and pretend it isn't so gene from their parents).  I would love to give them some cash for their birthdays to put towards Boy Scout camp but that will eat up a huge chunk of my available cash to give them anything worth while.  So now I must debate this one a bit with myself.  2 of the 3 June birthdays are already covered, the October birthday is covered, and the November birthday is covered. This leaves me with one June birthday, one July birthday, 2 December birthdays, and 2 May birthdays to cover as well as Christmas.  Right now all I can think to say is wish me luck.

Cleaning out the Pantry

In my continued quest to clean out the odd remnants hiding in the pantry, I made peppermint bark.  I just have to say that it was ridiculously easy.  Seriously, I have no idea why anyone would pay for it because it is so stinking easy.  If you can whack the heck out of candy canes with a rolling pin, melt chocolate, stir, pour, and break, you can make peppermint bark.  Granted, as I told a friend earlier today, it might not really count as cleaning out the pantry since the boys used the last bag of white chocolate chips to make cookies last week so I had to buy more but at least I used a coupon.  And the candy canes had been hanging around in the pantry for far too long to be respectful.  Next time I do believe I will use milk chocolate instead of white chocolate because I kind of prefer that but snack time today will be rather yummy. 

And now back to your regularly scheduled life now that I am done rambling for the day. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

What We Are Eating This Week

The meal plan for this week is a tad different than usual.  Pizza night on Saturday was cancelled because the children were little hellions during Mass.  Seriously, it was the kind of day where by the time Alan arrived at the end of Mass for the older boys' Boy Scout medal ceremony (it was Boy Scout Sunday this past weekend), I was fighting back tears and had the baby dangling over the back of the pew and just might have growled at him to just take her, NOW!  Alan has Thursday off this week just because and Friday off so he can take the older children on a ski trip with our homeschooling group.  We are almost out of staples grocery wise this morning so I'll be going shopping today but it was slim pickings for breakfast today and pizza/movie night is being moved to Thursday since Alan will be off work. So here's the basic schedule, we'll have too see what actually happens.

Monday: cereal (I had muffins on the schedule but there was a schedule change) (B), cheese quesadillas (translation: we have no bread) (L), BBQ short ribs (the last of the last side of beef we ordered), mashed potatoes, veggies (D)
Tuesday: eggs in toast (B), chicken salad sandwiches (L), broccoli cheese soup, rolls (D)
Wednesday: pancake sausage muffins (I had cereal on the menu but I am swapping with Monday) (B), peanut butter sandwiches (L), veal parmesan, salad, garlic bread (D)
Thursday: pancakes (B), grilled cheese unless we go to a museum with Dad (L), pizza (D)
Friday: oatmeal (B), peanut butter sandwiches (L), crockpot chicken (I still have 2 chickens in the freezer so I'm hoping to have one a week to make room for the beef) (D)
Saturday: biscuits and gravy, fruit (B), leftovers (L), chili (D)
Sunday: french toast (B), whatever you make yourself (L), cheese chilada casserole (a freezer meal I need to move from the freezer to make room for the beef) (D)

Most of our pork was delivered this week.  Just waiting on the smoked meats and they will hopefully arrive with the beef.  So soon we'll start using some of the pork as well.  Alan is quite happy to see pork chops in the freezer again.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Will You Join Me?

I'm rather frustrated, angry, and annoyed by the current mandate from our government. You know the one requiring Catholic organizations to provide for services that are against Catholic teaching.  I am very angry that the Church/State separation only seems to apply when it is thrown around by liberals or atheists or non-Christian religions.

But I am even more upset by the role Catholics have played in getting us here.  How many "Catholics" voted for our current president?  What did those who voted for him really think was going to happen? Granted, I realize a huge segment of those folks are not actually Catholic in practice, just in heritage. I also understand that a huge number of those folks have been lied to for years by Catholic educators, priests, and religious who were placed in authority over them.  You can't believe something if no one ever teaches it to you.

This weekend instead of hearing something, anything, regarding the healthcare issue in our parish, we were instead treated to our pastoral administrator dressing as a hobo and begging for more money for the diocese.  (And yes, I will happily admit that I am not willing to give any more money than we already do until our diocese actually starts acting like a Catholic organization.)  We heard nothing last week either.  Yes, this week our bishop put a pathetic weekly worded letter into our bulletins asking us to look into the issue and pray.  But it felt as if he was telling us to remember to put a coat on or tie our shoes.  I am very disappointed.

Our country needs prayers and so does our Church.  In our own diocese we do have many priests who would love to speak out regarding these issues but many are afraid of punitive measures if they do.  It has to be hard to choose between being able to follow your calling and help in some way and truly being able to follow your calling and share the truth.

I stumbled upon a calendar on the web the other day that lists all of the priests in the Rochester diocese as well as several other clergy member (military priests, retired priests, the pope, etc) and assigns one priest to each day of the year, asking you to focus your prayers in a special way for that particular priest.  I am planning on printing out a copy each month and praying for each priest on their designated day.  Will you join me?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Even More Babywearing

Ignore the mess and focus on the cute kid because I am too lazy to crop it out today.

This one speaks for itself.  A handsome young man taking care of his baby sister. What more do you need?

Saturday at Home Depot

I took the middle 3 to Home Depot this morning for their Kids' Workshop.  I have to say I love these workshops for many reasons. First, can we say Free? That is a big draw right there.  Second, Liam absolutely loves to build and is great at wood working.  He just shines at these workshops.  Third, it gives me a chance to go out and do something alone with the middle kids.  Four, it forces me to actually get dressed and do something on those weekends that Alan works.  Trust me when I say I would be more than happy to hang out in my jammies and watch movies instead but the kids get way more out of this.
This week the kids built keepsake boxes. It was a very simple project this time for which I was very thankful.  The project last month was kind of a pain in the rear. 
Our location has started setting out paints so the kids can paint their projects before taking them home.  Although the kids love it, I do think they need a bigger area for the painting because it gets kind of crowded and messy.  But everyone had a great time and the kids can't wait to show their work to their Dad tonight.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fulton Sheen and the Diocese of Rochester

As you may know, we've been having some "issues" with our parish.  We are hanging around for a few more weeks so the older boys can receive their religious medals for Boy Scouts and then we will be jumping ship to a parish where we will not be subjected to constant, um, crud.  Lay homilies, a pastoral administrator who rolls her eyes at the girls wearing head coverings (no, they aren't forced to do so and both choose to wear them on their own), priests who are way more concerned with being liked than with speaking the truth.  It is just in general not the place for us any longer.  Attending Mass should not be an occasion of sin and we find ourselves so angry and distract by the goings on that we aren't in the right state of mind.  Sadly we are finding that we must attend Mass in a parish in the neighboring diocese to find what is right for our children.
I've been doing some research on the sad state of affairs in the Diocese of Rochester and must admit I wonder what kind of a change we would have seen if Fulton Sheen had been the Bishop for longer than he was here.  I wonder what he would have thought of Bishop Clark.  I have a feeling this video adequately shows what his response would have been:


Bishop Fulton Sheen must have known what we would be facing from our priests and bishops today.  It is truly sad when so many of us are actively searching for guidance and truth, we are left wanting.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Father's Prayer

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak; and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee — and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain!”

written by General Douglas MacArthur