Sunday, March 29, 2015

Holy Week - Daybook Post

Outside my window ~

Palm Sunday -  Miss Mabel's garden grows!

What I am thankful for ~

* when the boys go camping with the Troops of St. George  ;)

* their safe return

*genuinely good people

What we are reading ~

From the school room ~

A little bit of catching up over the weekend ::

*Miss Sally worked on chemistry labs.
*Miss Ester had to finish her memorization of her Baltimore Catechism lesson.
*Miss Mabel had to catch up on some Math.

We are not taking off of school for Holy Week.

We have just 7 weeks of school left.  (Yes!  We're counting down.)

Around our house ~

From the kitchen ~

I sat down today and planned our Easter meal.  After talking to David, we are both in agreement that grilling out will be just fine.

Easter breakfast:

Cream Cheese Stuffed Blueberry French Toast  (recipe here)


Grilled bratts and burgers

Greek Salad (recipe here)

Baked Asparagus in Balsamic Butter (recipe here)

Cheesy Potato Casserole (recipe here)

Dessert ::

Just a classic White Cake with strawberry filling and buttercream frosting  (recipe here)

So, who's hungry now??

I am praying for ~

* a quiet, meaningful Holy Week (I may only be able to attend Holy Thursday Mass beside Easter Sunday, and I am okay with that.)

* Holy Week to be the best part of my Lenten journey

* my very ill Aunt Frances, my mom's last surviving family member

* my mom, who has had to bury so many family members

I am listening to ~


Coming down the pike this week ~

Sunday - Palm Sunday
Monday - carpool for art students
Tuesday - horse lessons
Wednesday - No Confirmation class!
Wednesday - Have the vet vaccinate Penny
Thursday - Mass of The Lord's Supper - attend Mass
Friday - Good Friday
Saturday - Holy Saturday
Sunday - Easter Sunday (attend 8am Mass)

A final photo to share ~

May you have a very blessed and fruitful Holy Week!

See you after Easter!

~ Patty  ~

Friday, March 27, 2015

In Other News (If you are bored and have the time)


David helped Miss Mabel fill up her garden bed that they built a couple of weeks ago.  She is doing square foot gardening:  peppers, peas, beans, and cucumbers.  

Giddy up...

Miss Mabel and Miss Ester recently competed in their first play day...a friendly competition filled with barrel races, pole weaving races, etc.

They each placed in three events.

Disney on Ice...Frozen

Way back in early February we purchased (home school priced) tickets to see Frozen...Disney on Ice.  It was such a great deal...$16 tickets.  I know!  Right?

I took Miss Clementine, Stan, and Miss Mabel yesterday.  It was a first time for each of them!

We had the chance to meet up with friends.

The pre-entertainment was fun with so many Disney characters out on the ice....but Miss Clementine could have cared less.  She just wanted to see Elsa and Ana. :)

What's for Sunday dinner?

It's Friday afternoon and I have no plan as of yet.  David and Stan the man are on a camp out with Troops of St. George.  When it is just the girls and I, I don't plan much.

Although....dessert has been decided upon ;)

Something fun to bake and make.  I think Miss Clementine will reeeeaaally like decorating these with me ;)

Wishing you a great weekend and a blessed Palm Sunday!

~  Patty  ~

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Winds of Change

Teenagers are a lot like infants when it comes to schedules and needs.  They change all the time, and once you think you have them figured out, they'll throw you a curve ball.  (At least mine do.)

Our spring break has brought a change.

A girl and her swim team

Miss Sally has been been on a year round swim club for three years now.  She moved up again to another level, and where this is good, it also brought some big schedule changes.

She now swims every weeknight typically from 5:10pm-7:45pm, which doesn't include travel time.  (There goes my precious family dinner time.)

The positive from this, David and I have decided to take advantage of  this and join the fitness club at the same facility.  So for the first time in YEARS, I'm working my gluteus maximus.  (My butt)

Another benefit is that Miss Sally has even more time to dedicate to her school work.

A girl and her saddle (cough...and horse)

So Miss Ester has been saving every red cent she earns for a saddle.  New saddles are $$$.  So when the opportunity to buy a used saddle came up, we told her to give it a test drive.

She did at a recent horse cutting competition.  She was able to saddle up and spend an afternoon in it. Her instructor looked at it and thought she was getting a good deal  ($75).

Her new-to-her horse saddle ::

We jostled and teased her...."Miss E, you have all the gear but no horse!"

The next day was just an ordinary Sunday....8am and donuts in the hall afterward....and then  a generous man gives our daughter a horse.

For reals.

Meet Penny...

Penny is an old, gentle quarter horse, previously used for cutting ::
  1. (A cutting horse is an athletic and willing animal possessing an innate "cow sense" and ability to respond quickly and turn sharply that is trained to keep a cow from returning to the herd. The horses involved are typically American Quarter Horses, although many other stock horse breeds are also used.)

Since she's about 20-22 years old and has been a pasture horse for the past five years (her friends are the cattle on the other side of the fence), we plan to keep her there (with permission from the gentleman) and pay for the upkeep of her care.

Penny is located about 15 miles east of where we live so we will be making weekend visits now.

A girl and her job

While working at the spring break horse camps earlier in the month, Miss Ester established herself enough that she will be working the summer camps as well.

The money she makes will help pay for her horse's upkeep.  It will be a lot of driving for me, but seeing a good work ethic instilled in her at this age is a definite win win.

A girl and boy in archery 

Stan and Miss Mabel had the opportunity to sign up for a 10 class archery class (every other Tuesday).

(This photo was taken on St. Patrick's day.)

*I forgot to take a photo of Stan the man.

So we have another addition to our spring schedule.  I know.  I know.  But! this one is not so bad since we are carpooling with one other family and only have to drive once a month.

Goodness gracious.

With all of these recent changes and adjustments, I've barely found the time to read my Lenten material let alone blogs.  I hope I haven't missed many important announcements, news events, or prayer requests.  With Holy Week almost here, I'm not sure how much I'll be hanging out in the blogosphere once again.

In the mean time, I pray your remaining days of lent are fruitful!

~  Patty ~

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Crock Pot Potato Soup

I tried this new simple and delicious recipe on the feast of St. Patrick.  The bonus is, if you take out the bacon and use the substitutes mentioned, this would be another easy meatless Friday meal to add to your list!

Crock Pot Potato Soup


1 (32 oz) bag frozen hash browns (cubed kind)
1 (32 oz) chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup (or cream of celery)
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese (not fat free)
3 (oz) real bacon bits (or you can prepare bacon on the side if you have more time)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste


1.  Put hash browns in the crock pot.

2.  Add chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, and half of the bacon bits.

3.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

5.  An hour before serving, cut the cream cheese into very small cubes.  Place the cubes int he crock pot.

6.  Mix a few times throughout the hour before serving.  You will want to get it completely mixed in before serving.  Once it is completely mixed in, it is ready to serve.

7.  Top with cheddar cheese and some additional bacon bits.

(BTW, if you have never used a crock pot liner, I highly recommend them.  They make clean up super easy!)

Servings: 4-6 people
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 7-8 hours


~  Patty ~

Monday, March 16, 2015

St. Patrick's Day - Daybook Post

Outside my window ~

80 degrees.  (Now that's what I'm talking about!)

Those are my new Sperry flip flops that I purchased with some birthday money.  I have never owned a pair of Sperry anything, but I really love the comfort these provide.

What I am thankful for ~

* my husband

* the novena for serenity that he found for both of us to pray

* sunshine

* fresh spring air

From the school room ~

* We had a quiet spring break.  This week we started back.  Hard to believe there are only 9 weeks left in the school year for us.

* Miss Ester was asked to work at the stables for spring break (week 2...Texas takes 2 weeks).  She has the chance to earn money, so she will juggle her school and teach the little kids in group 1 at camp.

* Archery lessons were postponed till tomorrow, St. Patrick's day, due to the rainy week we had over spring break.

BTW, archery lessons are being provided by a home school mom who invested in the gear, took the classes herself, and has the land to set up a shooting range.  We pay her for a 10 class period, (she earns her investment back.)  We are paying $55 for first child, $45 for sibling.  If the student has their own proper bow and arrows, they are only charged $25.  If they do well enough and enjoy it, she hopes to put together a competitive squad.

Brilliant idea!

What we are reading (and watching and listening to) ~

From the kitchen ~

For the feast of St. Patrick, we baked these fun rainbow cupcakes tonight ::

(Directions here.)

I am also cooking up a Crock Pot Potato Soup for the feast of St. Patrick tomorrow.  It is a new recipe.  I'll let you know how it turns out ;)

Around the house ~

Miss Mabel and her daddy worked on building an additional garden box for her.  She loves gardening, so he is giving her her very own.

They scrapped and reused a bunch of pallets from the product David sells.  Her garden will be  5' x 3.5'.  She is excited to do some Square Foot Gardening this spring and summer!

I am praying for ~

* Hope and her family

* the continued recovery of my mom's knee surgery

* our priests

* the unborn

* world peace

* all who have asked me to pray for

I am listening to ~

The wind chimes sound so lovely right now.  I have the windows open and there is such a lovely breeze this evening.

Coming down the pike this week ~

Monday - Miss Ester works at spring break horse camp
Tuesday - Miss Ester works at spring break here camp
              - Pick up my van from body shop
              -  Archery for Stan and Mabel
              - Feast of St. Patrick
Wednesday - Confirmation class resumes after a nice break
Thursday - Feast of St. Joseph
Saturday - Play date (horse competition day) at the stables for Miss Ester and Miss Mabel

A final photo to share ~

St. Patrick, pray for us!

~  Patty  ~

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mandarin Orange Cake

This was another one I found over at South Your Mouth.

Mandarin Orange Cake

I love fruit, and a whipped cream frosting always seems to make a dessert lighter on the stomach compared to a butter cream frosting.  (But I'd still take a butter cream frosting over a whipped cream any day!)

The kids LOVED this one!

David?  Not so much because he claimed he doesn't like fruit in cake.  (Well why did you eat it then?)

Myself?  I only liked it.   Why? Because it kind of gave me a throw back to the 70's potluck days at church when you could be sure to find jello molds upon jello molds.

Because the kids LOVED it, I'm putting it on the blog.  I actually really liked the cake itself, but the frosting, not so much.

Ingredients for cake:

1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (11oz) can mandarin oranges, with juice

Ingredients for frosting:

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix (5.1oz)
1 (16 oz) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed


1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained

Directions for cake:

1.  Grease and flour three round cake pans (*I used two) and set aside.  Combine wet ingredients (including oranges and juice) and beat on medium speed with electric mixer until thoroughly combined.  Add cake mix and beat on low speed for two minutes.  Pour evenly into pans and bake per cake mix manufacturer's instruction.  Cool cakes completely.

Directions for frosting:

1.  With rubber spatula or with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer set on low, gently fold together all frosting ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Frost cake.  Garnish with mandarin oranges.  (I did not use up all the frosting that was suggested.)

Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Store in refrigerator.

As I type this post, I think the next time I make the cake, I may end up tweaking the frosting a bit.


This cake is actually REALLY GOOD on day 2!!  When I make this again, it will definitely be made the day before it is needed so it has a chance to firm and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator for a good day.


~  Patty  ~

Squash Casserole

Over our recent spring break, I started looking for some new recipes to add to our Easter menu when I came across this recipe on South Your Mouth.

The blog owner thought the recipe was the "...BEST squash casserole EVER," and being that the only squash I've ever had was in a minestrone soup that I prepare in my Vitamix, I thought it sounded pretty good.  Definitely worth a try.

And it was!

My family really liked it.


3 lbs yellow squash, washed and sliced (I cubed mine)
salt & pepper to taste
1 medium onion, grated (I put it in the Vitamix)
1 large carrot, grated (I put it in the Vitamix)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of butter, melted
3 cups of Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing


1. Boil squash with salt & pepper till tender, then drain well and add to large bowl.

2.  Add onion, carrot, can of cream of chicken soup, sour cream, butter, and blend well.

3.  Fold in two cups of (unprepared) stuffing.

4.  Add mixture to a greased baking dish (2 quart casserole) then top with remaining stuffing.

5.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

I served ours with ham and my praline sweet potato casserole recipe.


~  Patty  ~

Friday, March 13, 2015

What's for Sunday dinner?

How was everyone's week?  Aren't you glad it's Friday?

It's been raining here, every day except Wednesday.  Wednesday's sunshine was glorious, and then the rain came back.

My van is still in the shop.  The new painted fender did not correctly match so they wanted to repaint it.

Did I mention we are renting a small vehicle?  And that we did not have car rental insurance?  And it is spring break in Texas so of course the prices to rent are at their peek?  And it is Friday?  And the body shop is closed until Monday?

We picked the BEST body shop (according to the host of the Saturday am car talk radio show that David listens to faithfully).  Seriously.  Not only do they want to do a perfect job matching the paint colors, but they are going to pay for the remaining bill of the car rental over the weekend!    

The best I tell you!  Thank God!

Moving on...

Sunday dinner.  I saw a new-to-me southern food website, South Your Mouth.  (Isn't that title a hoot?!)  I plan to experiment with a couple of dishes.  One of them is on Sunday.

I plan on serving a ham for Sunday dinner with a side of Squash Casserole (that recipe sounds so delicious!) and with my own Praline Sweet Potato recipe (found here.)

For dessert, I thought I'd experiment by preparing the Mandarin Orange Cake from South Your Mouth.

This dinner and dessert screams spring to me, and we are in need of it!

I'll let y'all know how it turns out...

Have a great weekend and a blessed Saturday!

~  Patty  ~

Monday, March 9, 2015

She's 14! A Painter's Theme Daybook Post

Outside my window ~


Which is a heck of a lot better than the ice.

And we do need the rain.

What I am thankful for ~

* This girl (14 years went by too quickly!)

* This priest (who does not mind wearing a play apron and playing wii)

Father is the chaplain at SMU (Southern Methodist University) Catholic Campus Ministry.

From the school room ~

* Spring break!!!!

* Miss Mabel and Stan the Man will begin an archery course this week.

* We are lying low this spring break.  My van is scheduled to be fixed later in the week.  Miss Ester is working at the spring break horse camp.  Maybe we will get some Easter clothes/shoe shopping in.

What I am reading ~

* The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living

From the kitchen ~

Well shoot!  With my birthday last week and Miss Ester's yesterday, we actually ate out TWICE!

Around the house ~

* Miss Ester had a lovely birthday!!

Our horse lover is also an incredible artist.  She and I perused pinterest and found the cake idea there.

I found the gift wrap, cute painter decorations, paper plates and napkins at Hobby Lobby.  You can also find them on Amazon.

I am praying for ~

* my mom's continued recovery from knee surgery  (Thanks for the prayers!)

* all those who have asked me to pray for them

* our priests

* the safety of Christians all over the world, but especially in the Middle East

What I am listening to ~

* Beauty and the Beast (Miss Clementine is hooked on it ;)

Coming down the pike this week ~

* Sunday - Miss Ester's 14th birthday
* Monday - Friday - Miss Ester will be working at the spring break horse camp
* Monday - Confirmation teacher meeting
* Tuesday - Archery class begins for Miss Mabel & Stan the Man
* Wednesday - Take the van in for repairs

Wishing y'all a GREAT week ahead!

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, March 5, 2015


We were iced in.  Again.  But we made the best of our cheap entertainment.

What can I say.  We don't get out often ;)

The sleet storm was loud and now last evening!  Geesh!  Then came the snow in the middle of the night...about 4"!

Shut the front door!

But there were BLUE skies this morning!  Gorgeous Texas blue skies, and that amazing sun was already heating things up...

(Steam coming off of the fences.)

The area is shut down, again.  But, it is already melting, and hopefully, we can get back into those normal Texas temps...just in time for spring break next week.

~  Patty   ~


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