Friday, March 21, 2014

Bringing Me Out of Hiding

Thanks to Julie for bringing me out of hibernation mode!  I apologize for not writing in this space for quite some time.  It's been very difficult with winter hanging on for so long with the extreme cold temperatures and just being older for this pregnancy.

It's also been difficult with two of the girls doing online school all day.  In the mornings, I'm usually getting myself ready for the day and the little kids ready for school.  After 9 o'clock, the computers are basically taken over by the 2 homeschoolers for papers, online classes, or lessons.  It's been quite different this school year.  However, I'm not complaining....I love it!  Everyone seems to be happy, but I hate to get on a computer when it can be used for school work during the day.

So what about blogging the rest of the day?  Well, honestly, I've been running around picking up kids from school, getting them to lessons or basketball practices, cooking, and resting.  This is a much different pregnancy.....I'm older, I have more children (some older & some younger).  The bottom line is everyone needs something sometime during the with school work, to be shuttled or picked up, scheduling needs to happen, laundry, cooking, straightening.  It's a tall order.

The pregnancy is going well.  I'm in my 28th week and my due date was moved up to June 10 which means I'll probably deliver at the end of May.  The baby is measuring larger and at 29 weeks.  I've had 2 ultrasounds since I'm at higher risk for potential problems, but so far so good.  The doctor said the baby looks great and is a big baby!  We have a name picked out for our little girl but will leave that a surprise for the birth.  And, yes, she will have 3 names like the last 4 kids do.

Well, that's all I have time for.  Jane just came downstairs and has been sick all week with relatively high fevers.  She contracted a cold sore that overwhelmed her body and has a severe case of HSV that has affected every spot of her lips, her gums, molars, throat, and inner cheeks.  We finally have her on an antibiotic and lysine for the lip sores.  The trouble has been keeping her happy, hydrated, and watching her since she can't eat or drink anything more than pudding, popsicles, milk, and water.  So I have to go now.  It looks like her lips are sealed shut and need to be moistened so she can open her mouth.

That's what it's like with 8's a lot!  Thanks for being patient.:)

Happy Spring!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hope for the Winter

As I finished my morning snack I was transported to warmer summer days.  I chose to eat a piece of grilled chicken for my protein, and the taste was incredible!  It's hard to think those days will come again when the temp is well below zero, but grilled meat will do that to you.

Paul braved the frigid weather on Saturday evening to grill for us.  I was surprised he wanted to, but when your grill master has the urge to get out there, you have to accommodate him.  

Paul grilled for us when we visited my mom last July.
I forgot to chill a beer for him, but I thawed out plenty of meat:  a package of ribs, 4 rib steaks, and 2 packages of chicken.  I barely seasoned any of it because just the taste of the charcoal was all we really wanted.

He dressed for the weather, shoveled a little path through the snow, cleaned off his grill, and found the lump charcoal.  He stood there fanning the coals into flame using the snow shovel!  He's such a die-hard. I wish I had taken a picture of him.  He looked like an eskimo without the fur-lined hood!   

It's a sad little grill, but it does the job!
Well, the taste of that chicken gave me hope that summer will come again.  Warm sunny days, time on the hot deck, playing in the pool, and walks around the park will all return.  They always do.  For today, I have to enjoy the sunshine from inside as I wear my wool socks, layers of clothing, and drink tea.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Just a Quick Check In....

We had a great Christmas, a fun New Year, have become new football fans, have frozen our tails off with the bitterly cold weather....and here's a pic of our little.....


Sunday, December 22, 2013

4th Sunday of Advent

Plus we've had a visitor in our backyard.  He's been driving the dog crazy.  Tup hates this raccoon!  Meanwhile, Paul is looking up the effectiveness of birdshot in either killing or injuring small animals.  He's bound and determined to take care of the raccoon.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Holidays

I have no problem saying "Happy Holidays" to people during this time of the year.  I think it's because I live the liturgical seasons of the year.  Honestly, we are in the season of Advent, we celebrated the feasts of St. Nicholas, St. Ambrose, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and St. Lucy.  We also celebrated Gaudete Sunday.  So, yes, there are a lot of "holy days" in this month and the next.  And we are not stopping there.  We are now celebrating the O Antiphons, there will be 12 days of Christmas, the feast of the Holy Innocents, Mary the Mother of God, and St. Stephen.  Is that enough holy days for you?  So do I get upset when someone doesn't wish me Merry Christmas?  They better not wish me Merry Christmas….YET!!!  I'm not there yet!  I'm taking each holy feast day one day at a time.  So, yes, I began our yearly newsletter with "Happy Holidays" because I'm not just stopping my festal celebrations at Christmas.

In case you were wondering, Paul provoked me!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Catching Up

I've been doing a lot of this lately....

This has to be the yummiest chair for napping I've ever had.  It's perfect for two people to snuggle up on a cold winter day.  I don't even have to coax Nick to nap with me.  This is our afternoon routine right after lunch.  I enjoy it so much that I don't want Winter to end!

Our beastly Beagle has been enjoying the snow.  Today he saw a raccoon in the backyard and went nuts chasing it up a tree and marking his territory all over the backyard.

We had a nice celebration meal for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I cooked all day making Enchiladas Suizas, Chicken Mole, Menudo, tacos, rice, beans, and bought Mexican sweet bread for dessert.  I invited our associate pastor to dinner.  We enjoyed having him over and he led us in a decade of the Rosary prayed in Spanish.  

cilantro ready to be chopped
I also did a lot of baking last week for our parish bake sale.  I have a go to recipe for holiday bread that I've been making since I was either 12 or 13.  I forget.  It is a Finnish Coffee Braid made with ground Cardamom, braided, baked, and drizzled and decorated with white icing, candied cherries, and silver dragees.

All packaged and ready to be delivered.  I made 12 loaves for the parish and 8 baby loaves
for giving to friends and family.
MNVA sponsored a holiday field trip at the Depot in Minneapolis.  This is a fun venue for ice skating.  The girls were excited to skate at an indoor rink!

The girls also decorated and entered a gingerbread house in a contest held that day.  They didn't win.  First place went to a giant hobbit hole made of gingerbread and frosted green.  It was quite impressive!

Over the weekend, I took a trip to Atlanta for my sister, Nora's, graduation from her Master's program.  It was a relaxing weekend watching tv, sleeping in, and catching up with her.  I needed the break so she was quite accommodating.  This week finds us busy before the holiday break with concerts, projects, and buttoning up school work.  Gabe asked for a Christmas party with his friends so I spent this morning putting together a Christmas table for the food that will be served.  He and his friends will be sledding, decorating cookies, and possibly watching a movie.  He's so excited to be a host for a change.  He couldn't believe I agreed to have the party.  As a result, he's been super cuddly and kind, finishing his homework in a timely manner, and doing his chores.  

We've also been enjoying our Magnificat Advent Companion, the last few ornaments of our Jesse Tree, and starting the O Antiphons.  I get so excited for these last days of Advent, but I have to slow my thoughts and anticipations down to really absorb the richness of the season.  Besides there are 12 days of Christmas to enjoy, relish, bake, and celebrate.  There's no need to rush.....all will be well and as it should be!

Finnish Coffee Braids

2 c. milk
1/4 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 c. lukewarm water
2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1 t. ground cardamom
2 eggs
7-8 c. flour

2 c. powdered sugar
3 T. milk
1 t. vanilla

Scald the milk and pour over butter, sugar, and salt which has been placed in mixing bowl.  Stir to dissolve and cool to lukewarm.  Meanwhile, pour yeast over 1/2 c. lukewarm water and stir to dissolve.  When milk mixture is cooled, mix in yeast, eggs, cardamom, and 2 cups of the flour.  Stir with electric mixer for 2 minutes scraping sides of bowl.  Gradually add in remaining flour and knead with electric mixer for 8-10 minutes until dough is formed and leaves the sides of the bowl.  Turn dough out and place in greased bowl turning once to grease both sides.  Let dough rise for 1 hour until doubled in size.  Punch down dough and divide into 4 parts.  Divide each part into 3 additional parts.  Roll each part into a long rope about 10-12 inches long.  Braid 3 strips together to shape bread.  Tuck ends and allow to rise an additional hour until doubled in size.  Bake loaves at 315 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Drizzle glaze over warm bread.  Decorate with candied cherries and silver dragees.  Makes 4 loaves.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Holiday Bokeh

I am so intrigued by cool photography effects.  I am certainly not good at getting any cool effects in my pictures, but this evening I forced myself to watch a tutorial on how to achieve the bokeh effect.  Here are a couple of the results.....

I think Nick's is good....natural, nice close up, and very distinctive large circles of light off to the side.  You can't really tell it's the tree lights.  (BTW....we set up our Advent tree and decorations today at the children's request.)  So what do you think?  Needs work, right?  Finding willing subjects is the greatest challenge here.  That and getting all the equipment and lighting set up....sheesh!  Is it worth it?  Don't know....maybe.  The jury is still out!
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