Sunday, June 26, 2011

Checking off our list...

...one thing at a time. 

The summer bucket list...how is yours coming along?  Any changes or new additions you want to share?

We have checked off some more from our list.


* Try one new recipe each week during summer - check.  (BTW, this can be really hard!)

Any pineapple lovers out there?  You may have tried this next one already. 
Pineapple Scallop


(So good that I forgot to snap a photo of it before we dug in!)

Ingredients:

6 slices of stale cubed bread
1 c butter, melted
3/4 c milk
2 c white sugar
20 oz pineapple tidbits, drained
2 beaten eggs

Directions:

Mix bread and melted butter in bowl.  Mix the remaining ingredients and add to bread mixture.  Pour into an 8" x 8" well-buttered glass dish.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.  This is yummy served warm and can even be served as a side dish for a ham dinner.

All of my kids loved it.  (Even my non-pineapple lovers.) 

 He had two bowls in a row.





* Sit outside and watch a night sky light up with with the promise of a thunderstorm   ( so so beautiful ) - check.

* Grow sunflowers  (Ester's are just starting to awaken from their slumber) - check.



* Visit with neighbors outside until dark, while kids play, sweat, and go home happy and tired - check.


Hope you are finding the time to enjoy as many special moments that God places in your life every day.  Sometimes we don't even have to search very far, do we?

Happy Summer!

~  Patty  ~


Friday, June 24, 2011

You Know You Are From A Big Family When...




My family, the herd, migrates north tomorrow for their annual trip to northern Wisconsin.

Can you imagine 50 family members in close proximity... for a one week?  

It's been 8 years since David and I have gone.

But we do enjoy hearing all about it...the good, the bad, and the ugly and the down right hilarious! Every family has their moments.

As a child, I could recall this night before vacation as being  the night-of-all -nights...in a dead heat with only Christmas Eve.  There wasn't much that could top the night before vacation while I was growing up.

Need a good laugh?  Never heard of the herd's migration north?  I wrote about our big family adventures here....last year.

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I was recently sharing this next story with my mom...(she calls me the family historian)....and she encouraged me to write it on the blog.

So here it goes...

You know you are from a big family when your first teaching job is at the Catholic school you attended....and you have to teach your youngest brother...and you both live at home.

Can you imagine?

 He also happened to be my first class clown.

Usually, I could tame his inner beast by threatening to pull out something from my arsenal:  a picture of Mike in his underwear, or  a "Do you want to know who Mike has a crush on?"...which always created total pandemonium and screams of excitement from the class, especially the girls.

One day, Mike was off to a great, sarcastic start...and I was on a short fuse.  

There was Mike, in the back row,  balancing on the back two legs of his chair, with hands and arms gesturing a stretch behind his head....

Mike:  Yo, Patty....I mean, uh, Miss Story (with smart ass grin spreading across his face).

That's when I threw the hammer down.

Me:  Mike, you have earned my first conduct slip!

Class:  Total gasp....I heard someone say, "Miss Story gave her brother a conduct slip"...more gasp and shocked faces.


Step one in a conduct slip.  It was customary to have the conduct slip signed by a parent and turned back in the next day.  Since we both were living at home, I thought I'd play it out like any other student.  I never mentioned it to my folks.  I let him do it.

Or so I thought he did.

Next day...

Me:  Catching Mike as he is walking into my class....Mike, do you have the conduct slip signed by Mom and Dad?

 (Can't believe I was saying that.)

Mike:  You were serious?

Class:  Shocked gasps and some oohs and uh-ohs coming from the class.



Step 2 in a conduct slip procedure...if it isn't signed by a parent, teacher must phone the parent.



Me:  Mike, let's go call Mom.

Do you know how embarrassing it was to knock on Sr. Mary Paul's office door (my boss) and ask her if we could use her phone to call "our mom" about the conduct slip?!

Me:  Dialing the phone....Hi Mom, it's Patty.  Mike is standing here and needs to tell you something.


~ or ~

Can you imagine walking in the house to find your brother and some of his cronies looking very suspicious and up to no good....in a proximity that was too close to your brief case which happened to hold the grade book at that moment?

I gave them a lecture reminding them that I've known them since they were toddlers and even saw their booties in diapers when I use to babysit them....that their parents would be ashamed of them.

I don't think they really had the guts to go through with it...they looked like a bunch of nervous ninnies on a hot tin roof when I caught them "planning".

Priceless (*wink*)

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Wishing my family a safe and happy vacation!  Love you guys!

~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer craziness

Is it hectic for you?

It has been for us!  We've actually been busier than when we were in school.  I have definitely NOT felt the wind down I had been looking forward to all spring, and our summer break seems to be moving full steam ahead.  Too fast.   Not a good feeling.

So when last week came around and I realized it was our first, real, free week since school let out in mid-May, we just decided to be l.a.z.y.  All week.  And that was okay.

Trying to knock a couple of things off the to do list, I finally  managed to take Mabel's First Communion portrait.





I was pleased with it.

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Painting.  Not my favorite to do item.


 Have you ever noticed that once a wall is painted a color other than cream/white/off white, all nicks show up loud and now?  I have been wanting to spackle all marks in the bedroom and living room walls upstairs and to touch up the paint.

Yesterday I managed to get to Lowe's to buy the spackling.  

Then I napped LOL.  

But I did get that spackling done after I napped!

Today I sanded and did the touch up painting for  3 of the 4 rooms. 

 I noticed that Stan's room had more wall holes, marks, etc than all the other rooms put together.  I think he tries to bank shot his toys into his toy bins.  Ugh!

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This week swim lessons started for Mabel and Stan.

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Dance lessons continue for David and I.  How's it going you ask?

Well...some dances can cause a little bit of tension  (*grin*) while other ones have been darn right fun!  Tonight definitely showed a marked improvement.

The best part?  David is teaching the girls the dance steps!  They move the furniture around after dinner and start cuttin' up the rug.  They wait in line to take a turn to spin around the dance floor with their daddy...and it is just too darn sweet!

Definitely need a blog post on that :)



~  Patty  ~

Monday, June 20, 2011

Crock Pot Italian Beef



A hot, delicious, (easy) crock pot dinner!

Ingredients:

3 to 4 lb beef (or venison) rump roast
1/2 c water
1/4 c vinegar
1 pkg Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing, dry
1 pkg Lipton onion soup mix

Directions:

Place meat into crock of slow cooker.  Mix all remaining ingredients and pour over meat.  Cover and cook on high for 6 hours.  Shred (or slice) and cook on low for 2 hours.  Serve with or without buns.

*This can really leave a strong smell in your house after cooking all day long :)  I put my crock pot on the patio/grill for the day.  You can also put it in your garage during the winter months.

~  Patty  ~

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Remembering

I can still smell his pharmacy jacket...see his crooked smile...watch him as he would sit and read the paper with his glasses dangling from his mouth.

I can hear him quietly talk...to anyone about anything...probably the most friendliest person I have ever known. 

He was a compassionate pharmacist.  Back in the day, when private  pharmacies were as much a part of the town as family run grocery stores and dime stores, he was the pharmacist who would be there to help out any sick person when called upon at any time of the day or night.

I remember how he would take the time after closing hours to drive medications to the elderly and sick or even have us kids do it for him.  I remember how he would drive medications out to the monks at the Abbey. He always went beyond.

He  took us on a  yearly vacation to northern Wisconsin.  He'd sit in the shadows not only because he was so very pale and would burn easily but to soak in the excitement that radiated from his children.  He would patiently untangle the fishing lines that were cast into the fir trees by his children "practicing their casting."

I can still see his round bucket hat and the life jacket he wore every single year.  Dad quietly encouraged us, without being pushy, to learn to water ski or swim to the raft, even though he didn't do that himself.

Going out to eat.  Very rare and only for very special occasions.  Our favorite place was Monari's 101 Supper Club...down by the old railroad station in LaSalle.   Once in a blue moon, he would bring some McDonald's home for dinner.  Everyone got a cheeseburger and we had to pair up and split a small bag of fries.  We thought we had the best dad when we were treated to a McDonald dinner!

And for you history buffs...

On his afternoon off, Dad would drop us off at the I & M canal with our bikes.  We would bike 6 miles along the tow paths to the next town over.  Dad , in the meantime, would drive the car to the other side and meet us there at an Irish pub.   We'd bike up hot and thirsty, and he would buy us a soda.  I can still picture sitting on a sleek, wooden barstool next to my Dad, watching the Cubs on WGN and drinking a soda.

Those were the days when walking into a clean, friendly pub with your kids for a soda was common.

Dad didn't push us into sports.  He would support us in what we dabbled in, mostly baseball and softball.  He came to our ballgames whenever he could squeeze in the time, even if it meant sitting only for 2 or 3 innings when, alas, he'd bike away and head to work.  He would phone home to find out how it ended.

As a teenager, I recall walking in after work and he'd be up waiting for me.  He said he was watching the news, but I know he stayed up to talk.  He tried to keep in touch with his teenage children and grasped any free time.

He was strict with our employment.  We had to work when we turned the legal age.  No questions asked.  And long before that, we corn detassled...I was 11 when I started that awful, hot, miserable work.  He instilled a good work ethic in us.  No laziness allowed.

He lived his faith quietly...not talking about it very much at all but living it.  He kept a rosary close to him always.  I know that next to God and his family, his next greatest love was the priesthood.  If he hadn't met my mother, I know he would have been a priest.  A happy, quiet monk.

He was the duck that allowed most everything to roll off of his back.  He had a gift of keeping his tongue and not spouting back.  There were many times that I had wished he stand up for himself more, but in the end, his daily actions had culminated into a grace-filled, holy death.  (Not to be confused with a pain-free death.)




He was blessed with the happy death that we all pray for, and I was blessed to have had such a man for a father.

Even though some of our fathers may not be with us physically today, they are indeed present in spirit, and if we truly appreciate them, they live through our actions as we grow deeper into parenthood ourselves.

Wishing my father and husband, brothers and in-laws, and friends a very happy and blessed Father's Day!

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ringbearer

Had to share...


After 48 hours of nervously tracking down our lost luggage with the tux inside, I dressed him in it before we returned it.

~  Patty  ~

Monday, June 13, 2011

Would You Like Some Tea?

Our Little Flowers and  Little Women  held their annual tea party on Saturday.  And it was just lovely!

The Little Women organized it under the guidance of Miss Stephanie (one of the moms) and Miss Elizabeth (another mom) who hosted the party at her house.

Back in April, when I taught the Little Flowers Loyalty, Miss Stephanie taught the Little Women Sewing and Modesty. 

They sewed their own aprons as a project...




On our way to the tea party. 


The girls tea table...just too cute!









Back in April, we had to cancel our 2nd meeting.  I had originally planned this for our craft.  I saved it and the Little Flowers worked on it at the Tea Party.




While they painted, the Little Women set out the food. 



Each of the Little Women brought finger sandwiches and a dessert.  There was a delicious variety and it all tasted so good!

Sally and Ester made egg salad sandwiches, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and black bottom cupcakes.

There was also punch.  Pink of course!



16 very hungry young ladies saying "cheese" for a mother's camera.




And you cannot forget the games.  The Little Women picked out the 3 games that were played and Miss Stephanie supplied the prizes. 

Way back in September, Miss Elizabeth, (who is an amazing cook), taught the  Cooking  lesson to the Little Women.  They were to cook and bake all through the year and then turn in their recipe cards in May. 

She gave very thoughtful prizes to the top three contributors.

Sally won first prize (a book to hold recipes), by cooking the most recipes (14).  She was very happy :)




We are finished for the summer now.  Next September, the Little Flowers will start Wreath III and the Little Women will start the brand new   Little Women's manual II.

A big thank you to Miss Stephanie and Miss Elizabeth for your time, thoughtfulness, and for guiding the girls through their tea party plans.

~  Patty  ~ 

Black Bottom Cupcakes

This is a scrumptious cupcake with a surprise filling made of cream cheese and chocolate chips.  Yum! Yum!



(Unfrosted to show you the finished baked product.)

Filling - combine in small mixing bowl.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 (12 ounce) bag chocolate chips

Mix cream cheese, egg, sugar, and salt together.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Set filling aside.

Batter - sift together

1 1/2 c flour
1 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Add: 
1 c water
1/3 c oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat together until well mixed.  Fill paper cups 1/2 to 2/3 full.  Top each with 1 heaping teaspoon of cream cheese filling mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 30 minutes.  Cool completely before frosting.

NOTE:  The batter only makes about 15 cupcakes so you can either double batter or halve filling.  I may use a boxed cake mix next time and just add the filling.

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Horse Crazy!

OH! What a wonderful week she had!!!   I cannot believe how much they learned! 


Day One
* Safety First - Always have a horse helmet on
* How to clean and pick horse hooves
* Setting the bridle and saddle
* General grooming
* Trotting and Cantoring a horse (depending on experience for some)
* Proper posting on a horse while it trots

There was swimming on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon...art class one day...and a pizza party and horse show for friends and family on the last day.


The kids were encouraged to get to know each horse and work with the different personalities throughout the week.   Ester's favorite was DeShar...who is also three weeks pregnant!

From the show  ~

Ester rode DeShar.  She was soooo excited to introduce her to us!



During camp week, the kids  received cute, orange camp shirts to wear during the show.

At the beginning, they were parading their horses and poising for cameras.  They were all so very proud of their accomplishments! 




I was amazed at all the kids.  So brave!  (I'm not as comfy on top of a horse myself.)



The kids showed us how to trot in proper post form.  They find this particular rhythm in the trot:  sit, stand, sit, stand...so to avoid a rocky ride.



The kids next presented their ability to maneuver their horses in a figure 8 while skirting around cones.




Cantoring.  Faster than a trot.  (This was fun to watch.)  Each child received a round of applause as they came by the bleacher area. 



(Can you see the smile on my girl's face?)

There were plenty of instructors on hand for the "just in case".



When the show ended, guests were welcome to go out into the arena to meet and greet the horses and riders.



On art and craft day, the kids painted horse shoes and then on show day, their instructor attached a photo of them.

Isn't that a cute idea?


Ready to be hung on the wall :)

Mabel thought she got lucky and found a bunch of little horseshoes...


...only to be told that they were toe nail clippings from a horse!

Stan thought that he had a new pet (or 2)...


(Note his souvenir bald spot above his left eye?!)



One happy camper!  (A little sore, too :)

~  Patty  ~


Friday, June 10, 2011

And It Only Grew Worse!

Guess who slept in his own bed last night?






7:45pm First Call - plane delayed

8:00pm  Second Call - plane delayed again

8:05pm Third Call - plane is broken down  and there is no crew for it

By the third call, I could hear Stan crying in the background, "I want to go home..."

One last ditch effort was made to switch flights to Friday and EVERYTHING, they said, was booked it would be another stand by day.  No thank you!!!

David made the choice of pulling the plug on the entire weekend, and I supported him completely.  Needless to say, and for many reasons (wedding, family, airline tickets, tux rental, Stan's excitement, etc.) we are disappointed.  Very.

P.S.  The luggage made it to Milwaukee...now to get that tux back!

P.S.S.  Oh!  And we did get back $87 per ticket - Woo Hoo!!

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Airport Nightmares

I bet everyone who travels has one.  Now Stan the Man has one as well. 

Let's rewind the day, shall we?

Stan and David were up by 5:45am ready to hit the road to catch their 8:30 am flight.

It is 6:10 pm as I type this and they are STILL at DFW airport.  Yup!  Still there.

It all began when the long term parking bus dropped them off at the wrong terminal.  FYI:: DFW is like a little city in itself.  There are four gigantic terminals. You cannot walk from one to the other, so they had to wait and catch a tram to the correct terminal.

They were dropped off at the security gate instead of the luggage check which added time when they had to back pedal.

AA has a 40 minute pre-flight luggage check-in cut off.  David made it 38 min's prior.  Little Miss AA lady would not accommodate this 2 minute deficit nor their suitcase. 

No.  It wouldn't work as carry on either.  Too large.  It had Stan's tux as well as his booster seat.

So, they were not allowed to check in for their flight at all.  :)

Isn't stand-by just lovely?!?!  The next flight was scheduled for 2:30 pm. 

In the meantime, David tried to keep Stan busy.  The snacks I packed?  Gone by 10 am. 



Poor Stan had no clue what exactly was going on....and he spotted quite a few planes that he thought were just fine for "Dad and me to ride on..."  I hear ya kid.

He tried to keep himself busy by playing around the terminal chairs in the sitting areas.


Heck.  He even came out with a big glob of gum stuck to his hair.  Yup!  Stan now sports a dime-sized bald spot front and center of his hairline. 

Can you say Cheese for the wedding pics?! (Totally laughed out loud when David told me.)

SO......

In the meantime, I checked AA website and it said that there were seats available for the late (8:15 pm)flight.  My thought:::  switch tickets to that one, bring Stan home to rest, and then head back out to start over.

Makes sense, right?  Not according to AA.

This time Mr. AA behind the desk said that there were no seats open on the 8:15 pm flight.  When David tried to make the case, he received this reply: "Well, things can change quickly in 5 min's."    He told David to take the 2:30 stand by.

He did.

After waiting almost 6 hours, they weren't called.....but.....they were given two tickets for the 8:15 pm flight....the same damn one he had requested this morning.  (That is when my poor hubby blew!) 

David took the tickets and  Stan out of the airport over to Cabela's and some restaurant to escape the atmosphere and the drama.  My poor men!!

And as I am typing this, he texted me::  "Back in hell with Satan."  Guess that means they're back at the airport.

Praying it all goes well this second time around!!  If they take off when "expected," they'll be landing in at the next airport by 10:45pm tonight.  And that, my friends, is a long day for anyone let alone a little 5 year old boy.

P.S.  Still not sure where the luggage is since they checked it in with the 2:30 stand-by flight that never happened. 

~  Patty  ~

Reporting for duty, M'am!


One ring bearer on his way!

Stan is going to be the ring bearer in his cousin Grace's wedding on Saturday.



Heading out for the airport with Dad.   A  boys only  trip and Oh boy! Little Man is so excited!!!

~ Patty ~

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bucket List Update



Holy Cow!  It is June 6...already.  Hard to believe isn't it?

How is your summer bucket list shaping up?  I enjoyed reading what some of you had plans for.  I've been able to check a few more things off of mine.



1.  Do you have a little cowgirl- wanna- be in your house?  We do.  Ester is taking a one week horse camp this week and she is over the moon excited. 

Ester has begged asked to attend this camp for almost 4 years and this is her year!  It is from 8am-5pm each day with a horse show for friends and family on Friday.  (Those are her horse sheets :)

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 Who wants to dance the 2 step?



2.  I guess I'm a little cowgirl- wanna- be myself.  David suggested that we sign up for country western dance class!  Yee Haa! 

We've been wanting to learn for awhile and are finally getting a chance to take classes during the month of June.  (One of us will end up with a pulled groin muscle, I'm sure!) 


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3.  I received some California Sunshine.  Do you recognize her?



(Photo from Tiffany's blog page)

Yup!  Tiffany is in town, briefly, and I was blessed to meet her, hug her and laugh with her on Sunday.  It was a strange- kind- of -wonderful to be sitting there face- to- face.  Surreal.  She has been so inspiring and amazing as a bloggy friend!  To meet her in person, wow!  That was so special. 


I also met her oldest son!  He is just as much a kind, level-headed, young man that you read about in her blogs.   Double blessings :)

God is great!  All the time!  I thank Him often for the friends I have made through the world of bloggers. 

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Prayer Request Update

Do you recall the very urgent prayer request I sent out a couple of weeks back regarding Mr. & Mrs. C and their adoption?

Well, you may enjoy this!

Personally, I think Mr. and Mrs. C have one, fabulous, summer bucket list!

(Still asking to keep those prayers coming for them.)

~  Patty  ~

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Our First Communicant

The older I get, the more I grow in my faith and the more emotional I get when I see a little one receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord for the first time.

And she was so ready.

In the morning, she opened up a few gifts from family.




David and I gave her a miraculous medal.  She's been eyeing her sisters' medals.




Her brother and sisters gave her a new (big girl) crucifix to hang over her bed.


It's a beautiful tradition.  As they make their next sacrament, they receive a crucifix in honor of it.  We pack away the "baby" ones in a special sacrament keepsake box that they each have.

Making sure that her soul was absolutely shiny before receiving her First Communion, David took her to confession yesterday afternoon.  Since Stan cannot sit still for the entire family to go, we have to break it up.  I do look forward to the day when we all go as a family!

As we were heading out the door to Mass....


Heirlooms.  My Grandma Achin (Grammy's mom) hand made a beautiful baptismal gown for my mother and it became a family heirloom with all of my siblings wearing it and almost all of the great-grandchildren wearing it.

It inspired me to start another custom of passing down a First Communion dress.  Each of my daughters have now worn it while they are allowed to pick out their own veils.  (The veils end up in their keepsake box as well.)



She was so excited!

(Nope.  We did not all plan on wearing blue.)

After the Mass with Father Bradley.


And Mabel wasn't alone last evening.  Another boy in our homeschool group received his First Communion with her.  (We will refer to him as Little Man :)



Since we planned this special evening on short notice, I kept things rather simple.

We had a joint dinner reception for Mabel and Little Man so we kept the colors scheme a simple pink and blue.

I spread out little blue bud vases with pink roses around the dining room table, kitchen table, and kitchen counter.


I bought Mabel her cake, and Little Man's mother, Marianne, made a delicious strawberry with cream cake.  (I forgot to take a picture of the strawberry dessert but plan to get her recipe.)





The menu was a traditional southern meal::

Pulled Pork BBQ (on buns), lima beans (steamed in chicken broth and butter),  cheesy potato casserole.  Marianne served a delicious quiche and green salad.

Good company.  We were blessed to be joined by some close friends of Mabel's, dear family friends of David and I, as well as Fr. Bradley. 

Most of all, we missed the grandparents not being here with us.    But we know that they were here in spirit, thoughts and prayers.




Like a sunflower that follows every movement of the sun, 
So I turn towards You, to follow You, my God.


God bless you, Little Man and Mabel!

~  Patty  ~
 

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