Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Weekend

Raise your hand, Girl,  if you are a mother that has ever  dreamed  of having just one night to yourself....in your own home....free as a bird to do whatever... or nothing! 

On Friday, David took all The Littles camping overnight.  All of them. 

I ran as fast as I could...(actually drove)...to the next county over and purchased some libations.

*While I do not promote alcoholism, I do admit, unapologetically, that I like to partake in a libation every now and then.... and since we live in a dry county...it is more then than now!

   

So I made these whole fruit margaritas...




...sat on my back porch with my twinkling lights...


...and in five minutes... I!  was!  bored!  

I had an overwhelming urge to clean...to wipe the table..to do a few dishes...to vacuum.  Oh my goodness!  It is hard unwind and just be, isn't it?


At 9pm, I had received a phone call from David::

David:  Stan just jumped into the lake and soaked his clothes and sneakers.  I have him running in his wet skivvies and shoes while I dry his wet clothes over the fire.

Patty:  Hang in there, Buddy!

So glad it was him and not me! 

On a side note, David was camping with another dad who brought some of his own children. I was thankful that David had another set of hands and eyes to help him out!

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I met up with the family early Saturday morning for a day at the beach.  We had some friends join us.  Actually, quite a few friends (41 in all).

 
One of the moms referred to the group as the herd.  I could not have summed it up any better.


  

Oh my goodness did we have fun!  The lake water was so refreshing for this herd since it was such a HOT day.



A large number of kids + 30,000 acre lake = 1 large water fight!


I just love sunkissed bodies that smell of suntan lotion...sleepy, bobbing heads on the way home...the smell of freshly, laundered beach towels...and Littles that sleep sound all night as they curl into their cool sheets with summer jammies on. 




We love this lake.  We leave it each time with a full tank of happy gas in our hearts.  Good memories.  Good times.

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Music. 

My favorite music over this special weekend has to be the patriotic music sung at Mass.  Oh my!  I have goose bumps thinking about it.  Unfortunately, they sang only one song after Mass this year, America the Beautiful.

Don't forget to check your local listings for the memorial celebration at Washington D.C. tonight! 

Wishing you all a very happy Memorial Day!  Thanking God for all the men and women who have given so much to protect my freedom!



God bless America!

~  Patty  ~

Friday, May 27, 2011

Healthy Margaritas

Who would have thunk it?!

And delish at the same time!



Found this recipe in my Vitamix recipe book::

Whole Fruit Margarita

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (60 ml) water
6 ounces (180 ml) tequila
2 ounces (60 ml) Grand Marnier **I passed on this due to cost and it still tasted delicious**
1 medium orange, peeled, halved
1 lime, peeled, halved
1 lemon, peeled, halved, seeded
1/4 cup (50 g) + 2 tablespoon (25g) sugar
6 cups (1.4 l) ice cubes

1.  Place all ingredients into your Vitamix container and secure lid.
2.  Select variable 1.
3.  Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to variable 10, then to High.
4.  Blend for 45 seconds, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.
5.  Pour into salt-rimmed margarita glasses. 

Prep Time: 7 min's
Processing Time:  45 seconds
Yields: 8 cups (4 Margarita glasses).

Now I know that not everyone has a Vitamix (or equivalent), but with the fruit being soft, you should be able to make this in your own blender.

With any leftovers, just place in a freezer container and pull it out the next time you'd like a bit of libations!


Cheers!

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lookin' For Good

Amongst the bad and the ugly.

The Bad? 

This mama does NOT do black coffee.  Things get hairy when Mama doesn't have coffee in the morning.  You could say, down right ugly.  A quick trip for some foo foo (as David calls it) made it all better!



The Ugly?

Big, bad tornado warnings...in the wake of Joplin's horrific tornado.

To the northeast...


 

...and  creeping in from the southwest...


 When the sirens go off, the hair on my arms stand up a good inch, I tell you, and a lump forms in my throat. 

Pure fear.  I've said it before and I'll say it again....the closet under the stairwell?  Doesn't cut it.

We did find some good.

David looked out the window to find this little fella swimming for his life up our front lawn. 



He measured about 10" round.  The kids were thrilled to think that they finally had a house pet...only to find him MIA from the backyard in the morning.

Not sure where he came from ...not sure where he went.

The good?

Root beer floats and ice cream sundaes!


A lovely Korean neighbor who sends over real suishi.  Even though David and Stan are the only ones to eat it, I still think it is pretty.



Things that fly...






Mermaids that save helpless lady bugs from drowning in the pool.


And speaking of mermaids...


Compliments of Mabel.  Don't 'ya love it?!

$3 (clearanced) costumes after Halloween....priceless and fun...


...endless fun...(and peace and quiet for Mama.)



And The Stars and Stripes...which stands for so much good!


David is taking the Littles camping Friday night for Memorial weekend.   Their first time with Dad - alone.  How I wish I could be a fly on the wall of the tent  :)

I'll be meeting them out at the lake on Saturday morning for a day at the beach.  We love going to the lake.  I'll be sure to share the photos from this year's adventure!


P.S. Each year, there is a fabulous PBS program on Sunday night of Memorial Weekend. It is a memorial program from Washington D.C. in honor of the brave men and women who have given so much to protect this great country (6pm Central Standard Time). Real stories that need parental guidance. Very patriotic, very emotional. You won't be disappointed!



~  Patty ~

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Bucket List




I didn't want to be stuck in the dream-only mode the rest of my life.

So when I turned 40,  I decided to put my wish list down on paper. My lists...they change...depending on my season of life...or the season of the year.

My new summer list?  It is definitely taking shape.  And I'm sooo excited about that! 

One of the first items on my list is to meet some bloggy friends.  I really, really want to meet so many of you amazing women.  I want to put a voice to your face...to hug, smile (one of those face- aching smiles) and laugh....in person.  I want it to be tangible!

I knew I was going to be meeting two amazing bloggers for sure. 

And guess what?  I met one in person today!  And it was so great...because she is so real, so normal, so tangible!   

So... what could be  better than taking giddy, little girls to an American Girl store?  Give up?

Meeting up with Charlotte (a.k.a. Waltzing Matilda) and her littles at American Girl! 

(And I am smiling one of those face-aching smiles right now as I type this :)

Charlotte is an amazing woman in the blog world...and just as sweet and kind in the real world, too. 

Her littles are just as kind as she!   From now on when I read her blogs...as she once commented, "I can hear the voice with the words that are written."

P.S.  Ladies, she makes a beautiful pregnant mama!

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And my second bloggy friend I'll be meeting?  I can hardly wait to meet her as well.... (squeal) ...


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Go ahead.  Take the time to write out your own summer bucket list.    Enjoy this moment, this season, this season of life that you are in!

~  Patty ~


Monday, May 23, 2011

Get Over It

One quick cure for a self-pity party...turn on the Weather Channel. 

Goodness gracious!  There has been so much loss and destruction this spring.  So very, very sad and tragic.

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Uploading photos last night, I came across pure, unadulterated joy. 

From The Littles no less. 



  Seeing this makes me want to  "get over it" and smile as well.




Total joy! 



Thanking God for my family and shelter these past couple of days...praying for all those that have lost so much.

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Special Visitor

I mentioned earlier on that we had a special visitor last weekend.

David's older brother was so sweet to make arrangements to stay with us (36 hours) on his way to Mexico for business. 


(I only remembered to take a photo of the two of them when we dropped Daniel off at DFW.)

The kids just love having visitors because it is so far and few in between when we get them!  Uncle Daniel's visit was really fun for Mabel....he is her godfather.




In the eyes of Stan the Man, Uncle Daniel was elevated to a higher level after he engaged Stan in a serious light saber battle.  (Uncle Daniel, you rock!)


The older two girls had fun talking his ear off.   He showed a lot of patience in listening :)  A definite A for effort!


The visit was short but sweet.  Saying good bye to loved ones always makes the distance seem even wider than what is is.

****************************************************************

While the guys were out on their "alone" time...the ice cream truck came up the street.  I never  buy that stuff for my littles.  I can't afford it! 

As it was winding down the road, inching closer and closer to our house, they begged and pleaded with me to purchase them something.   I kinda caved.   

I blurted, "Fine!  But...you have to use your own money!"

And they did :)



A couple of neighbor kids joined them.  It was so cute...a big treat for them. 



Yup.  I was a dork and grabbed my camera to take pictures of the moment.  My poor kids!  Half the time they just roll their eyes when they see me coming.


 But it doesn't stop me. 


Life is passing too quickly.  Stopping to take photos makes me stop and enjoy life more.  Especially moments like this...



Oh to be young and carefree again!

As they were sitting in the shade, savoring every morsel, the only decisions they needed to make were...do I eat the gumball eye first......I wonder what that color tastes like.....I need to get it into my mouth before it drips on my leg.  

No other worries.

They were totally oblivious to me and the camera.

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And with family so far away....blogging just shrinks the miles.  Hi Grammy!  We know you'll see this :) 

Our old friend Eleanor puts it this way in her emails..."It is as though we are living next door."  Wish we still were, Eleanor!


Have an amazing weekend and I hope you have the opportunity to visit a loved one yourself!

~  Patty  ~

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wrapping Up Our Week 5/20/11



~ On My Mind ~

As I type this, we are in the midst of a thunderstorm.  I love a thunderstorm during the middle of the day!

General Studies:

*Ester and Mabel finished their CAT achievement tests this week.  At this age, I proxy them myself.  Mabel thought they were "actually kind of fun"  :)

*Sally will take her CAT 5 achievement test next week in a group setting.

Kindergarten:

Stan....not sure what to do.   I may start with some of Seton (Religion, Math) and toss in Along the Alphabet Path program.  I'll work on his curriculum during the summer.

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Remember what I said about thunderstorms?  This was a big onePower went out.  Let's try this again...

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Reading:

With the end of another quarter, the littles each received a new book.

Stan enjoys the Sam the Bear series.  This is his newest...



Mabel picked out this cute one...



Ester has received the third book in the Fairchild Family Series.  (The set has 4 books.)


(Sorry about the glare.)


Sally chose the final book in the series in The Texas Panhandle Series set...


She is such a sponge...she had it read within 36 hours and gives the series two thumbs up. 

*Hint* These book sets make great gifts for young girls!

Religion:

Mabel's First Communion...all set for June 4!  With Father leaving, we want to get it in.

The bad news?  Grammy will not be able to attend that soon.  (That is why we originally were waiting till the end of summer.)  That bothers us, but it is out of our hands. 

Check List:
*Religious preparation complete.
*Dress - the girls have all worn the same one.
*Veil - they each get to pick out their own.  A nice tradition.

I like ordering from The Catholic Children's Company.  They always have a nice selection of veils and get them to you on time.  (They request the FC date and follow all orders closely.)

But we did sweat for a bit... 

...the traditional First Communion season is over and their stock was pretty wiped out.  We went with our 4th pick.  Very pretty...but slim pickins'

What about our local store?  Wiped out as well. 

*Need shoes - will look over the weekend for some pretty white flats and tights.

*Dinner reception - plan on keeping it simple, delicious, and surrounded by good company.

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Stop in at Jen's Forever, For Always, No Matter What for more home school ideas.

Happy Friday!

~  Patty  ~

This Moment



This Moment....One Photo....No Words.

For more beautiful moments, visit soulemama.


~  Patty  ~

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More Chit Chat

Mabel:  Mom.  I learned something about sleep today.

Me:  What's that?

Mable:  Your body really needs it in order to get its energy back.

Me:  And you just heard about this today?  (Trying not to sound too sarcastic.)

Mable:  Yup.  I heard it on a movie.

Me:  Not from me?  Like.... 500 times?

Mable:  You never told me that before!  Mom, you have no rememory.

Me:  (Thinking to myself...did she just say rememory?) 




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I wrestled  convinced David into realizing that even though we love our family, visiting them two years in a row is not a family vacation for us.

I'm thinking about a drive out to southwest Texas....Big Bend region. 



Picture: Sand dunes......Odessa Crater...swimming in the San Solomon Springs oasis...history...McDonald Observatory...desert...mountains...horse back riding...mother nature...hiking...breath taking views.


David thinks I may be having another Clark Griswald moment.

I say, let him think!

Do you have any big plans for the summer?


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They came! 

The kids earn their Six Flags tickets each year by reading. 

The Texas Giant is now open.  Sally is our  daredevil and can hardly wait to go on it.  (I don't do big roller coasters.) 


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Rummaging through Stan's draw looking for a nice, clean pair of jeans to wear to daily Mass...

Me:  All I see are "holy" jeans, Stan.  You have to have some that aren't. 

Stan:  My "holy" jeans really make me pray hard, Mom!


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Prickly pear.  My neighbor just gave these to me to plant.   Somehow they make me feel more Texan (*wink*)

Those fingers across the top are were filled with gorgeous yellow flowers last week.  In the fall, they will bloom a luscious red color.

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Hope your plans for summer are coming along nicely!


~ Patty ~

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer Dessert

Do not let this recipe scare you. After watching me make the first batch, my little Ester made the second batch by herself! 

Chocolate Pots De Creme with Cherry Whip




Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time:  2 hours
Cook Time:  40 min
Level:  Intermediate
Servings:  4 servings


Ingredients:
4 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped.
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cherry jam or preserves

Directions:

Custard
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Bring a kettle of water to boil over medium heat (will be used in the baking process)

3.  Put the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.  Heat 1 1/2 cups of the cream and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Whisk just until the sugar is dissolved.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. 

4.  Put the yolks in a small bowl; while whisking, add a small amount of the warm chocolate mixture to temper the yolks.  Next, whisk the yolk mixture into the chocolate until well combined.

5.  Transfer the mixture to a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring.

6.  Put 4 (6 ounce) ramekins into a high sided 13x9 baking dish.  Evenly fill the ramekins with the chocolate mixture.

7.  Carefully fill the pan with the hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins and transfer the pan into the oven.  Bake until custards are set but still jiggle slightly in the center, about 30 minutes.

8.  Remove the pan from the oven and carefully transfer the custards to a rack and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate the custards at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.

Topping
When ready to serve, whisk the cherry jam in a small bowl until loosened and thin.  In a mixing bowl, whip the remaining 1/2 cup of cream and 1 teaspoon sugar until firm peaks form; gently fold the whipped cream into the cherry jam until just combined and streaky.

Serve the pots de creme chilled, topped with a dollop of cherry whipped cream.

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We saw this on the Food Network and the video can be seen here.

A rich, yummy, summer dessert to make for friends!  David said that this is his new favorite chocolate dessert.

~  Patty  ~

Monday, May 16, 2011

Green Goddess Rice

Now isn't that a delicious sounding name for a recipe!



We had a very special visitor staying with us over the weekend.  So we experimented with some fun, summery recipes.

Sally made Green Goddess Rice.

Prep Time:  10 min
Cook Time:  25 min
Level:  Easy
Servings:  4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups basmati rice (We found it in the real rice section at the supermarket.)
salt and pepper
1 small avocado, peeled, and pitted
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 lemon, juiced (strain the seeds) *I have also substituted 1 tbsp of lemon juice*
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water

Directions:
Bring the rice, 3 cups water, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, stir, cover, and cook until water is completely absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the avocado, basil, lemon juice, oil, and 1/4 cup water in the jar of a blender and puree until the mixture is the consistency of sour cream.  Salt and pepper generously.  (I used my vitamix and it took about 20 seconds.)

Fluff the rice with a fork and gently fold the green dressing into the warm rice.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve immediately.

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This was very fresh and yummy! 

Bon appetit!

~ Patty ~

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May Crowning

We have a beautiful tradition in the Catholic Church of honoring Mary, not to be confused with worshipping her. 

The Holy Trinity, (God the Father, Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit), alone do we adore and worship. 

We honor Mary like we would honor our loved ones who are no longer with us.  Just as we bring flowers to our loved ones' final resting place or have memorials for them, we honor Mary with flowers. 



Typically, children who have received (or will be receiving) their First Holy Communion are part of an adorable procession filled with loving songs and flowers. 

I organized the May Crowning this year.  We were there early and Mabel was waiting patiently for the other children to arrive.

She has not yet received her sacrament but looks forward to it with great anticipation. 

(Faces blurred since I forgot to ask permission to post them.)

At least seven children in  our home school group are First Communicants this year.  Four of them were able to be part of the processional that we had. 





Just as we surround ourselves with pictures of loved ones that all of us have in our homes, we surround ourselves with pictures or statues of loved ones that wait for us in Heaven.  We do not pray to the statues.  They are just gentle reminders for us.

They are God's friends so they are our friends.



Friday, May 13, is the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.  Our May Crowning just happened to fall on that date. 

It was a God moment though.

I talked to the children about how 94 years ago on that date, three children were saying their prayers while tending their flock of sheep when Our Lady first appeared to them.  Now those children are in Heaven with Our Lady.

I told the children how happy Lucia, Jacinta, and Fracisco must be that we were loving Our Lady as they had!

With that, a man came into church.  New to the area, he was looking for a bulletin to find Mass times.  And guess what?

He and his wife home school their 10 children and they were looking for a home school group!

God happened to direct that father right into our path at that exact moment.  And Yes!  I do believe that Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco were dancing with joy in Heaven last Friday morning.

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On a sad note~

Last evening at Mass, our dear beloved shepherd, Fr. Bradley, annouced that he will be transferred to a new parish around July 8.  

I cried.  I wanted to be selfish, but I know I cannot.  St. Elizabeth Ann Seton of Plano will receive such a blessing when Fr. Bradley becomes their new pastor, their new shepherd.

Fr. Bradley, what can I say...

I had 16 years of Catholic education from Franciscans, Benedictan Monks, and Jesuits.  Fr. Bradley stands out among them all as the priest who was passionate about reconciling people back to God through the beautiful  sacrament of reconciliation. 

His piety and utmost reverence for the Mass only inspired one to grow closer to Our Lord.

His homolies would explain to his flock the meaning of the readings and how we could apply them to our everyday lives.

He continues to help us work our way through the grief of losing our baby this past winter.

His loving support, encouragement and guidance to parents who choose to home school will also be mourned by those of us who attend St. Michael's. 

I pray for him and for our parish as we await the annoucement for our new pastor.  If the new pastor is half the priest that Fr. Bradley is, we will be blessed again.

P.S.  After Mass, Father said, "We will talk tomorrow night."  (We will be at the same graduation ceremony tonight.) I look forward to having the moment to express our gratitude in the blessing that he has been to for our parish.

~  Patty  ~

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