Sunday, March 30, 2014

Smorgasbord Sunday

A perfectly healthy fall & winter   +   family coming to visit     =    Murphy's Law

Saturday morning was spent with four kids at the pediatrician's office then being sent home with 5 Rx's and a nebulizer.

Just in time for our guests...

He was the sickest with acute bronchitis!

Thank goodness we had 72 hours to let the antibiotics kick in before our family arrives.

Around my house...

David started planting our square foot garden.

I had him hang our Texas Star outside.

(It use to hang in the hallway above a bench in the foyer area until we moved the piano there.)

Remember the ice storm pictures from the feast of St. Nicholas?  And my tree that had half of it shared off?

Here it is leafing out in spring.

(Poor, little Charlie Brown tree!)

Miss Clementine's swing stays empty these days.  She doesn't like to be in it that much anymore.  She's growing up :(

Enjoying some quiet time outside with a glass of beer.  I was too lazy to make a margarita. (For shame!)

Spring cleaning...downstairs.

Spring Break Week #2!!!

My favorite part about home schooling is being in control of our own school calendar.  

I was going to take off for Holy Week, but when family said they were coming to visit, we switched things around.  

David's sister & niece, Sara & Alison, fly in on Tuesday and will stay with us till Saturday.  We are SO excited to have family visiting.  (That's a RARE treat for us.)  It has been over two years since family has come to visit us.

I plan on signing off of blogosphere for the week....hope you all have a great week, beautiful weather, and happy thoughts of spring!!

~  Patty  ~

Friday, March 28, 2014

Getting Old....

....isn't for sissies!

That's what my former neighbor up in Illinois use to say.  (Hi Eleanor!)

She reads my blog ;)

BTW, Eleanor just turned 86 years young this past Wednesday.


My teeth and eyes are, excuse my language, crapping out!

I cannot read with my contacts in any longer.  With them in, I can see at a distance just fine.

 My "special prescription" (as the optical sales lady  at Sam's Club called it)  makes  my needed (bifocals with astigmatism)  contact Rx  less  affordable.

So I wear my glasses more and more and my contacts less and less.  But I need shades down here in the south!

Therefore, I  purchased my first pair of Rx sunglasses.  (When I was little, I thought they were for "old" people.)

Check 'em out!

(My hubs thought I was weird taking a photo... of myself ...  in the bathroom ... in my pj's .. at 10 pm. )

Weird?  Yes.   But old?  It's all about perspective.

Here's to sunny days ahead!  (They're polarized, too.)

Have a great weekend and a blessed Sunday!

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Afternoon Baths

Because when a big sister demonstrates how the new bath tub markers work,  and then says, "Let's put them away now till bath time tonight" .....  Yeah.  That's not gonna fly.

~  Patty ~

Monday, March 24, 2014

Daybook Post - SPRING! - Monday, March 24, 20014

Outside My Window ...

First there was one ~

Then there were two ~

Beautiful, aren't they?  We had our first REAL big rainfall in months and months and months on March 15.

Our area has been in a drought for a number of years now.  So even though the rain was greatly welcomed, it wasn't nearly enough.  Unfortunately.

I Am Thankful For ...

~ A good first scoliosis brace check!

~ My mom's great post-back surgery check up.  She is a rock star I tell ya!!  (She even has permission to now ride a 3-wheeled bike and doesn't need her back brace anymore. )

~ Hard working kids!

~ My husband who came to my rescue when I was sick last week.

I am Thinking About ...

~ Tooth problems.  Lawdy! Do they haunt me.  Have to have work done this Wednesday on a problem tooth.

~ Family is coming to visit next week!  (We will take our second week of spring break then.)

From The School Room ...

~ Sally is currently reading, The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare, for her freshman English class. (Kindle version)

~ Ester's required saint book report will be on The Little Flower.

~ Mabel's choice for her required saint book report is St. Rose of Lima.

~ St. Joseph's feast day.

Needing a new & easy way to celebrate this feast day for our Living Liturgy at home, I read that it is also a big feast day for Italians who celebrate it by noshing on cream puffs and cannoli.

So, we had store bought  cream puffs for dessert!

(Photo credit - google )

What I Am Reading ...

~ Nothing last week.  On top of a busy start and a tooth ache, I had the stomach bug.  Y.U.C.K.  Hoping to get back with my Lent & Easter with Fulton Sheen.

From The Kitchen ...

A few new recipes that I finally had time to post ~

Peanut Butter, Banana Oatmeal.  Recipe found here.

Red Potatoes and Thyme.   Recipe found here.

Fruity Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies.  Recipe found here.

Quinoa & Black Beans.  Recipe found here.

What I Am Praying For ...

~ In thanksgiving for our 4th great-niece!  Sweet Eva Grace was baptized into God's family on Sunday.  (I wish she did not live 760 miles away!)

~  For all those who have asked me to pray for them.  So much sadness, anxiety, and worry out there. (If you have asked me to pray for you, please know that I do.)

~ For my Father-in-Law.  (He cannot speak anymore nor does he walk.  When he does, it is a mumble.  He sometimes shows signs of recognition for his wife and the caregivers.)

~ My husband.  Home Show season is wearing him out.

What I Am Listening To ...

Frozen.  It arrived the day I had the stomach bug.  (Perfect timing, Amazon!!)  It is such a good movie filled with great music :)

Around My House ...

~ Nothing like a good case of stomach bug that makes you want to clean everything, huh?!  So, we started spring cleaning.

 This past Saturday, I had the kids turn the upstairs inside out, and it now sparkles!

Next weekend, we hit the downstairs.

~ Stan the man!!  He was SO excited to shadow as an alter server for the first time this past Sunday.  It was precious!

A Picture To Share ...

My mom had sent this statue of Our Lady to me for my birthday ~

(She is beautiful  and on the mantel.)

Have a GREAT week!!

~  Patty  ~

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Peanut Butter, Banana Oatmeal

Ester prepared this for breakfast the other day and it was really delicious!

Peanut Butter, Banana Oatmeal

Ingredients ::

4 1/2 cups of water
2 cups rolled oats (*We only had quick oats in our pantry & used those instead)
Pinch of salt
2 bananas, sliced
2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped almonds (*We had and used chopped pecans)
2 tbsp agave syrup (*We substituted honey)

Directions ::

1.  In a medium sauce pan, bring the water to a boil.  Turn the heat down to low and add the oats and salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the oats are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid.

2.  Add the sliced bananas and peanut butter.

3.  Add the almonds (or in our case, pecans.)

4.  Add the agave syrup (or honey).

5.  Stir to incorporate evenly.  If the oatmeal is too thick, add a splash of milk.

Servings : 4

**I told her to cut the recipe in half since we are not all oatmeal eaters.  She did and it yielded 3 servings!

We found the recipe in Eat This, Not That book.  It is a much healthier way to eat oatmeal than the pre-packaged packets I had been buying (which had way too much sugar in them).

If you have hot oatmeal lovers in your house, they'll love this one!


~  Patty  ~

Red Potatoes and Thyme

I tried a new potato recipe over the weekend.  They thought it was good, and as David said, something different for a change.

Red Potatoes and Thyme

Ingredients ::

1 quart water
2 lb small red potatoes, quartered

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp of butter
salt & pepper
2 tbsp thyme (*I may cut back to 1 tbsp next time since it was a strong taste.)

Directions ::

1.  In deep, medium skillet, bring water to boil.  Add quartered potatoes and simmer 12 minutes, or until fork tender.

2.  Drain in colander.

 3.  In same pan, heat olive oil and butter.

4.  When butter is melted, add potatoes.  Season with salt & pepper and thyme.  Coat and brown potatoes, stirring occasionally, stirring 7 or 8 minutes.

I found the potato recipe here.

Prep:  10 minutes
Cook:  25 minutes

Serves:  6

I served this dish with a maple-glazed pork roast.  (Maple-glazed Pork Roast recipe found here.)

I'm thinking I may serve it with my Easter ham this year...


~  Patty  ~

Fruity Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

This is one of Sarah's recipes that she shared recently.  The girls and I whipped them up and LOVED 'em!

They are now going on our  snack menu rotation since they have all that protein and fiber.

Fruity Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients ::

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups instant oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup dried fruit (*I used craisins.)

Directions ::

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until creamy.  Beat in your eggs one at a time, scraping the side of the bowl after each.  Stir in the vanilla, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and beat at low speed until combined.  Add the oats and flour and beat at low speed until you have a crumbly dough.

3.  Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoonful and roll into balls.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets and flatten each cookie with the palm of your hand.

4.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.  Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to cooling rack to completely cool.  (Although, these taste awesome when warm!)

As Sarah mentioned in her post, these taste great with a side of yogurt, too!


~  Patty  ~

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Snack Attack

So. I have had this post in my draft for about two weeks now and keep forgetting to publish it.

Turning 45 is making me change my tune a little about eating healthier.

Read: Not dieting, just a change in the diet beginning with snack time.

I am so guilty of providing the easier, boxed, go-to carbs for my kids snacks instead of a "healthier approach".

A couple of bloggers posted some things that helped me make the move to better snack intake.

There was Laurie, who has posted a couple of times about a book  she was using called Eat This, Not That.

This book has taught me tons about nutritional facts and explained it in lay-men's terms!

It is actually one in a series by the authors.  (Check them out here.)  I went with this one first because it encompassed all meals.

And then there was Sarah's post on some healthy snacks (including the recipes and pictures) that she made ahead of time for her home schooling kiddos.

**Speaking from experience, the pantry or fridge of a homeschooling family really must be carefully stocked at all times during the week since the kids - and usually a bunch of 'em - are at home all.  day.  long. And the older they get, the more they eat!**

You can see Sarah's yummy post here.


Last week, for the first time ever, I actually sat down and wrote out a "snack menu" for the grocery list.

(*Denotes time-saving items that are totally worth the splurge.)

1. Apple slices & peanut butter (*I bought two packages of the pre-cut apple slices.)

2.  Carrots & Natural Cheese Squares (*Variety packs can be found in the dairy section.)

Note:  I made sure that I would clean and thinly cut the carrots sticks, putting them into a ziplock bag, making sure they were readily available.  Being readily available is the key.

3.  Black bean chips & guacamole or salsa.  (*Black bean chips are $, but they are pretty much the only healthy chip out there.)

4. Pretzels & peanut butter or tuna.

5.  Pita bread & thinly sliced deli ham & cottage cheese.

6.  Triscuits (or whole wheat cracker) & Hummus.  (I made my own hummus in the vitamix!  It can be frozen up to six months.)

7.  Smoothies.

It worked!

Next to the menu on the side of the fridge, the kids could see the "snack-of-the-day".  As long as they ate what was on the day's menu (or left over snacks from the previous days), they did not have to ask; they could just dig in.

I love to cook and bake!  But everything in moderation, right?  So, desserts are now saved for Sundays and special days.

In summary, we survived the absence of the empty carbs, we are eating less sodium but more protein, my food bill did NOT increase, and there was always snacks in the house.

P.S. Working on a second week's worth of healthy snacks to keep the rotation interesting.

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Quinoa and Black Beans

This is a healthier alternative to the Beans and Rice recipe that my family loves.  I found the recipe here.  

What is Quinoa?

"Very flavorful alternative to black beans and rice. Quinoa is a nutty grain from South America." Giada, All Recipes.

We served ours on whole wheat tortillas, but it can be served as a side dish as well.  My family really liked it!

Ingredients ::

1 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (* I substitute with a squeezable garlic).
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions ::

1.  Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the onion and garlic, and sauté until lightly browned.

2.  Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth.  Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

3.  Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through.  Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Servings:  11


~  Patty  ~

Monday, March 17, 2014

Scoliosis - First Brace Check With X-ray

Where we go ::

We go to Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas.

U.S. News & World Report awarded it the the #1 ranking for pediatric orthopedic program for 2013-2014.

Yes! We now fully understand how blessed we are to be living near such amazing health care.

We are so grateful to our pediatrician who pointed us in that direction saying that she, "would not trust anyone else."

Being Part of Research ::

When our daughter received her Providence back brace in February, she was told that hers was taking  part in new & important research.

Quick recap -

* Providence back brace has to be worn at least 8 hours each night.

* In the past, based on what the doctors and prothestists were told by the kids that, "they indeed wore the brace 8 hours each night", the Providence back brace had an 82% success rate of stopping the curvatures in the back.

That was based on what kids where telling them, an "honesty system".  The doctors felt the success rate had to be higher if not 100%.

Enter the really cool part - our daughter's brace.

There was a heat sensor chip placed in her brace.  It was simply taped in like this ::

 We were told it would collect data (down to the minute) on how many hours our daughter really wore it.

Based with this new data, (and data that will be collected from other patients), the success rate should be near 100%

Her brace was the first to have one.  Isn't that cool?!

First Brace Check ::

This afternoon, our daughter had her first brace check with X-ray, clinic, and brace adjustment.

The good news?  The brace is working!!

Praise God!

We were so concerned because of the degree of her curvatures.

Results ::

With her brace on, her spine straightened right up.  I never saw a prettier X-ray!

But, (don't you hate "but's")....we were gently reminded  ::

* The brace is only a brace.  The straight spine is only temporary.

* The brace is used until the spine stops growing (18-24 months after the start of a first menstrual cycle for girls.)

* The brace is doing an impressive job.

* After she is finished with the brace, her spine will go back to its curves, but the curves should not worsen.

The Data Gathered ::

So detailed! Truly amazing!

* It showed the night she didn't feel good and took it off.

* It showed the night she woke up completely drenched in sweat (it's made of plastic) and took it off.

* It showed the night she went to bed really late.

They wanted 8 hours every night.  She gave them  9.

We are SO proud of her!  It's been tough to adapt too.  Really tough.

 Try sleeping in a hard, plastic cylinder that squeezes you so tight, it makes it hard to even b.r.e.a.t.h.e.

Finally ::

We are so GRATEFUL for all the prayers you have said for her.  If you don't mind, would you be so kind as to continue them?

Her brace did need a "tune up" to take care of some gaps and movement issues.  So, she basically needs to start the adjustment period over, and we know she can do it because she is one tough young lady!

P.S. - Her next growth / brace check X-ray is in five months.

~  Patty  ~

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Irish Celebration

"There are two kinds of people in this world; those who are Irish and those who wish they were!" ~ My dad.

In honor of our Irish heritage and the feast of St. Patrick (my personal feast day), we will be partaking in these...

Shamrock Shake recipe found, here.

Irish blessings to all of you!

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Horse Camp 2014

Due to the miserable summer heat, the girls switched to spring break horse camp this year.

Monday - Friday, they left the house at 7:20am and arrived back home, (dirty, dusty & tired), at 5:30pm.

On Friday afternoon, the groups put on a horse show for the parents :)

This was Miss Ester's fourth year of horse camp ::

And Miss Mabel's second year of horse camp ::

Future rider ::

(With their instructor, Miss Stephanie. )

~  Patty  ~


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