Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lent: We're Halfway There!

Unfortunately, this makes my kids think of the Bon Jovi song "Living on a Prayer," probably because it goes: "Whooaaaaoooooo, we're half way there, Whooaaaaoooooo, living on a prayer."

The kids are working on a Lenten parody, and they are, well, half way there.

To be clear, I'm not advocating Bon Jovi for Lent.  I grew up in New Jersey in the 1980s (Bon Jovi is from New Jersey), and, not being an ardent fan, I felt stuck in the middle of the Bon Jovi ocean.  By which I mean I was completely surrounded and could see no end to it.

My kids like Bon Jovi.  They also like lima beans though, so it's not an endorsement.

Wait, what was I talking about?  Right, Lent!



The scripture cross is filling out.




The vine and branches are filling in.




The sacrifice bean jar is filling up.

 The Walking with Jesus poster is going along fine.  I kind of ran out of room so it is hanging above the world map in the front hall.  I think I may move it so it's more readily available.

The Gospel Desserts have been great!



We are getting to Mass a little more often.


In fact, at Mass this morning for the Annunciation, Father told us that it was a feast day and we should eat all the sweets we want today.

We take his spiritual advice seriously!

I've been getting more spiritual reading done, and I've been listening to Archbishop Sheen podcasts, but other than that, it feels like most of the things I thought I'd do for Lent have happened only intermittently.

That used to bother me, but it doesn't anymore.  Many of the things I had wanted to do got overturned by things I could see God wanted me to do, and as to the rest, they are an excellent reminder of my own weakness.

I don't think I've ever had (or will have!) a "perfect Lent," and that's probably a good thing for me.  If I did, I'm sure I'd be enormously proud of what I'd done! Have you heard "The operation was a success, but the patient died."?

Now is a good time for me to reflect and try again at my poor and imperfect Lent with my poor and imperfect self!

So, how is your Lent going?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Awesome American History: Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, Western Missions

These were pages 27-37 in The American Story, covering 1752-1776.

Our active activity was "The Minutemen," a game we made up way back when we did our US History megaunit.

In this game, you wait until your kids are least expecting it and then you attempt to startle their socks off by screaming, "The British are coming!"

They then have 60 seconds to grab something that represents their gun, and something that represents their powder (usually something sack-like).  Or you can simplify it and just do the "musket." We had enough kids that I just had them grab a nerf weapon for a gun.

For our art activity, we made butter.  It ended up being more active than artistic (shaking a jar of cream), but I just realized that next week I have 2 art activities, so I guess it all evens out (you can tell how much I stress about these things)!

For our snack, my friend from Boston made Boston Brown Bread, and we ate it with yummy fresh butter~ and yummy it was!



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Happy Birthday Leena!

 Leena is 15!

 So, how many birthday cakes can Leena have?

As many as she wants, apparently!

Not that anyone's complaining!

She had a party with extended family the day before her birthday, a party with "just" the 8 of us on the day, and a party with friends later on...

And every party was loads of fun!
15 Great Things About Leena

1. She does great music videos.
2. She's The Gerbil Whisperer.
2. She's super creative.
3. She sings beautifully!
4. She makes great baked beans.
4. She has a thriving You Tube Channel.
5. She does all sorts of voice acting.
5. She's got really eclectic tastes in music.
6. She's a sweet and loving sister.
7. She's always willing to help out anyone.
7. She loves wearing lime green.
8. She draws the cutest gerbils!
9. She does the best Temmie voice from Under Tale.
9. She can swing dance.
10. She's got style!
11. She's got a great Sound Cloud Account.
11. She can have fun with people much older than she is.
12. She can have fun with people much younger than she is.
12. She's great at audio and video editing!
13. She's a sweet and loving daughter.
14. She composes music on the piano and in FL Studio.
15. She tells great jokes!
15. She laughs at my (not so great) jokes!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Gospel Dessert: Woman at the Well

 One of our favorite Gospels and one of our favorite Gospel desserts!

Blue jello in a sort of fountainy shape for the water.
And then we build the well around it with chocolate rice crispy treats!

In the unlikely event that you've never made these, you melt half a stick of butter and a handful of chocolate chips (in a large pot), then stir in a package of marshmallows (small are easiest, but normal size is fine).  When the whole mess is melted, add 8 cups of rice crispy cereal and stir it all together.

You spread it out on foil, and cut it into bricks when cool.

One word of caution, because the bricks touch the jello, you can't assemble this in advance (the jello will make the bricks soggy).

Enjoy! We are almost half way through Lent!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Poem of the Week: Good Friday

Good Friday


Am I a stone and not a sheep
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon—
I, only I.

Yet give not o'er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Happy day indeed!  We love St. Patrick, and our favorite way to celebrate is to cook a big corned beef and cabbage feast for friends and family and the folks at Safe Haven.  By big, we mean 6 cuts of beef, 10 pounds of potatoes, three large cabbages and a bunch of other vegetables.

I think I have finally nailed down the best way to cook that much corned beef!

I rinsed each cut of beef in the big stock pot (half full of water).  Then I put each cut into a roasting pan with a bottle of stout, sprinkled the spice mixture on the meat, sealed it up and put it in the oven at 250 degrees for most of the day (7-8 hours).

Meanwhile, I cut up carrots, onions, celery, garlic and loads of potatoes and cooked them in the broth from rinsing the meat (plus some spices, beef bouillon cubes and a bottle of stout).  This has been going at just under a simmer all day.

About 5 hours in (2 hours before dinner) I flipped the meat and discovered it was pretty well done.  I sliced up the cabbage, put it on top of the meat, sealed it all up again, and turned the heat down to 175.
UPDATE: The cabbage was a little under done, I think next time I'll put it in with the meat in the beginning.

And Klenda made St. Patrick's Day brownies!

Meanwhile, every year we like to watch this:



And this:



And let's not forget the Veggie Tales version!  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Awesome American History: Salem, Great Awakening, French Exploration

These were pages 27-37, in The American Story, covering 1692-1743.

Honestly, these were tricky chapters to build activities from.  The Salem Witch Trials I made optional (we have some quite young kids) and an activity of "Let's Make Unfounded Accusations so We Can Take Your Stuff" just didn't seem fun anyway.

So we went with more general activities from the time period.

Our active activity was candle making - super fun!

We used two tall cans, one in simmering water and the other with ice water.

We chopped up the paraffin and put it in the warm can, along with some boiling water.  Yes, the water and wax together!  The wax floats on the water, and means you don't need to fill the entire can with wax (or make very short candles).

We used cotton string for wicks, weighted down with washers/ screws/nuts, etc.

You dip the string (briefly) into the wax, then into the cold water.  The cold sets the wax quickly so that you can dip again immediately.

The key is to make sure no water clings to the candle before you dip again (they turn into water filled blisters), and to do the wax dip quickly - otherwise the wax starts to melt off of the candle!

We let the kids do as many or as few dips as they wanted.

 The candles really were lovely!

The art activity was writing with quills in invisible ink (lemon juice).

Everyone loved this!

After they dried, I heated them over the stove to produce the words and drawings.

Our snack was popcorn - easy and a big hit- I think I made three batches!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Gospel Dessert: Transfiguration

 The Gospel was the Transfiguration, as it always is the second Sunday of Lent, and I always find it tricky. 

I think a croquembouche would be perfect!

But... then I'd have to make it...

This time, I went for this "jewel" cake!




In glorious Transfiguration like colors!

With a "Glory Cloud" of whipped topping!


Ummm...  It's basically jello and cool whip.

It looked great!  It tasted like eating cool whip.

The younger you were, the more you liked it.

Oob and Choclo had seconds!