Friday, October 29, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
It's become a tradition of sorts to dress the kids in matching tee shirts when they come to visit at the hospital. They've ranged from the traditional "big brother," "big sister" shirts done with puff paint to clever cartoon stick characters as our family grew. One year (when Frank and Rose brought our numbers to 9 little tikes...enough to field our own baseball team) we had our own team insignia designed on baseball tees. It gets difficult to come up with something clever, and maybe once or twice I've failed to do any, but this year we had fun with the seasonal Halloween/Trick-or-treat theme to welcome our "Newest Little Pumpkin." The kids had fun helping to choose their cartoon character/costume. The clan will be wearing them tomorrow, with plans to visit mom and baby at the hospital in the evening. Oh, I can't wait to introduce them all!!
...and of course the little pumpkin needed something to wear too.
Laundry's caught up (for today), floors mopped, bathrooms cleaned, family room vaccumed and dusted again, kitchen is tidied, lists for grandma jotted, groceries stocked, trick-or-treat costumes assembled (from previous years pickin's, thank goodness), bag nearly packed...and polls have officially opened. The kids tallied their votes for whether new sibling is a boy or girl, and how big baby will be. (Frank was cute when asked how big the baby would be...rather than a number, he first raised both hands in the air and spread them about "yeah-far" apart. Funny.)
I've had babies of all sizes here...first and smallest twins were 4 weeks early and weighed in the 5# range, singles ranged 8# 9oz to 10# 2oz. And my largest twins were a combined 15# of baby. Wow. Thank goodness they were 3 weeks early!!
The name game continues and the most recently suggested include Luke Skywalker or Aniken Skywalker, Clyde, Robin Hood, Angus Radiohead, Jack, Phineus, and Frank's constant favorite "Mr. Goldenbutt." As with each child that's come our way, we checked the church calendar for Saint's feast days for the week, and can't say I'm feeling super inspired by anything there. We'll just have to wait a fuzz longer to see this new little person, and pin the perfect little name on him or her.
I'll try to post one last time in the morning...that traditional sleepy-eyed, caffeine-deprived, chubby belly picture taken before leaving the house...all for posterity sake. I'll try.
Oh, and most definitely thank you for all the prayers and well-wishes. I can't wait to share the news with all of you!!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Even our cleaning schedule this morning was lighter than usual...toys had been picked up already in the basement, so just some vacuuming and dusting...and some bathrooms to wipe down. I may have given up on the whole "nesting" thing, but I have managed to keep up with the day-to-day stuff, making today even more enjoyable...and lazy.
Now the kids are busying themselves with a few new packs of play-doh, while others lounge in front of a movie and wander back and forth. It's not supposed to rain today, but the sky is just gray enough to keep them in and together. It's nice. John will be home for lunch and we can plan something (or nothing) for the rest of the day. A perfect weekend to have nothing going on.
I can't express enough how truly excited I am (we all are) for the arrival of this new little miracle. I know I've forgotten how exhausting the first months will be (it's a special grace that we should "forget," I'm certain) and yet I'm so looking forward to it. The snuggling, cuddling, nursing, the attention that only momma can give to a newborn...forcing life to just "happen" around us as our attention is focused on this new little life depending on us. It certainly changes us, changes our perspective of what really matters...what we really "need" in this life. It's a good thing...a gift.
I'm so grateful for this laid back, simple Saturday as we wait.
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,"
Friday, October 22, 2010
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. ~Genesis 1:11
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
And now, as we count down the days till we can hold our newest little one...our 11th here with us...I grump and whine about the discomfort of it all. How ungrateful, Jamie. Truth is, I do find myself taking moments for granted. Forgetting at times how truly magnificent a gift we've been given yet again. I am humbled by God's goodness, despite my inadequacies. I feel privelaged to participate once more in the miracle of creation, and am thankful for the Holy Spirit's hand in reminding me again. Just 6 more days to go (or less.)
I announced at dinner this evening, there will be no more nonsense nesting, no more urges to do more or accomplish more than necessary. Rather mom and baby are going to be "resting up," focusing on the miracle, centering in the here and now, and just appreciating these moments before the arrival. Life is about to change again for all of us here, and I'll be glad to enjoy the simple times of more one on one play with the little ones at home...reading books, playing playdoh, snuggling with them for a movie. Lucy's only my "baby" a few more days, I want to soak that in as well. Scrubbing floors and stripping beds...I'm over that...at least until Monday...the day before "D" day when I do a major laundry marathon to get everyone caught up for a few days while I'm gone. That's only reasonable.
Peace to you and yours this week...
Monday, October 18, 2010
I can only pray, not only for a safe delivery, but for a soon delivery. This nesting is wearing me out. Can't wait to just relax with the little bird-to-be, and watch the dust settle around me again.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I thought today would be a perfect time to begin a novena for the safe delivery of this new little one. As I searched for one online, I was reminded of St. Gerard and found several prayers for his intercession. (We prayed to him often as we stormed heaven with prayers in those early years...struggling with infertility and desiring to start a family.)
Thought I'd share this prayer, for those of you who may also be expecting (or know someone who is) or if you'd like to join me in prayer as we count down the days.
A Prayer to St. Gerard for Safe Delivery
O great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior, and devoted child of Mother of God, enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love.
O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine Master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, you have been raised up by God as the patron and protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which I now carry, that it may see the light of day and receive the purifying and life-giving waters of baptism through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
...and a little history of the saint, who's feast day just happened to be yesterday.
Expectant Mothers, Falsely Accused, Mothers, Unborn
Son of a tailor who died when the boy was 12, leaving the family in poverty. Gerard tried to join the Capuchins, but his health prevented it He was accepted as a Redemptorist lay brother serving his congregation as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. Wonder worker.
When falsely accused by a pregnant woman of being the father of her child, he retreated to silence; she later recanted and cleared him, and thus began his association as patron of all aspects of pregnancy. Reputed to bilocate and read consciences. His last will consisted of the following small note on the door of his cell: "Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills."
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
As for the laundry soap (a dry powder), I love it. I thought for certain I'd be missing that "spring fresh" scent that I usually get from my store-bought Tide or Era. And, I was also a little hesitant about switching from liquid to a powder...especially with the HE machine we have. But it's working out great...with one minor glitch I'm still working on...and that's dull-looking whites. The soap recipe I use (and I'm going to say it's the Fels Naptha bar soap) leaves a simple "clean" scent that I'm in love with. There's not been any residue in my washer, nor any musty smell to the laundry since switching (some of you with HE machines might know where I'm coming from when I mention that.) But still, not completely satisfied with the whites. Does anyone else out there use homemade detergent? or have any advice on an adjustment to my recipe, or add-in for washing whites to make them brighter? I always add bleach when washing whites (and eliminate the Vinegar rinse cycle on those loads now)...that part hasn't changed. Would love some tips here...
I discovered this recipe from Em over at Modern Cottage where there are plenty of comments/Q&A's to get your mind racing...
Homemade Laundry Detergent Powder
1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated (with a cheese grater...kids love this job!)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
¼ cup OxyClean (optional)
Mix all (may appear clumpy). Use 1 Tbsp for light load, 2 Tbsp heavily soiled or large load
For those in this area, all of the ingredients are available here at our local IGA, and quite inexpensive. I also found everything but the Fels Naptha at our nearby Walmart. It seems that local "hometown" grocers are more like to carry them, or if you ask...order the ingredients for you.
In liew of fabric softener:
I use simply 1/4 cup white vinegar. (though not in the white load when I'm using bleach.)
No, it doesn't leave a vinegar smell, but if you're worried, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a different scent. I haven't felt the need to bother. The vinegar softens, helps to rinse residual soap, and even sets in colors to prevent fading. It's a good thing. I haven't missed my Downy one bit!
In the dishwasher, I used some of these same ingredients already purchased to mix up this recipe:
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
½ cup Borax
½ cup Washing Soda
¼ cup Kosher Salt
¼ cup Citric Acid, food grade
Mix/shake well. Use 1 level Tbsp per wash cycle.
plain White vinegar in the rinse cycle (instead of jet dry)
The course kosher salt helps to knock off the stuck on foods, and the citric acid is apparently to help prevent the residue left behind on glasses. Warning...once you mix this stuff...the citric acid causes major clumping. I made a double batch right away that turned into one solid chunk in the jar...had to chisel it out, breaking the jar, and causing much-o frustration. But once I chiseled it apart, it hasn't reclumped since. Weird. Now I keep it in plasticware. Again, I'm loving the results. We don't have fine glass or china...so I can't speak for how that turns out, but we do get baked on foods, and some nasty gunk on our plastic dishes which cleans up beautifully!!
(I found the citric acid in the canning section of our local IGA...make sure it's food grade, this was for canning tomatoes.)
My initial reasons for trying this was financial...I thought I could save a few cents for all the laundry/dishes we seem to do around here. And, I'm sure I'm saving a few cents. In hindsight though, I love that I'm doing something "cleaner" (and by that I mean...less harsh chemicals) for my family. It's easy to mix up with ingredients I plan to keep on hand, and I'm amazed at how much I like it. There are a million other uses for the Washing Soda, and Borax and Fels Naptha too...of which I'm sure I'll be tinkering around with since it's here and available. I'll let you know what I come up with.
I've recouped from a wonderfully exausting, full weekend of Friday night football, Saturday shopping with friends, and a family gathering to celebrate my Godson's sixth birthday on Sunday. By Monday, I could barely move from the couch. But man, was it worth it!
One of our oldest (and least likely to ever choose to become a cheerleader), Emma was chosen in a raffle at school to cheer for a few minutes at Friday night's football game. Needless to say, there were some rather jealous cheerleader-wannabe/girly-girls in this house...but they were supportive, none-the-less. For me, it meant finally feeling guilt-free about getting a babysitter and attending the football game with my good lookin' husband. It was beautiful weather, and I was thrilled to sit next to him in the stands, and while I'm not much for paying attention to what's going on the field...I cheered when he did, chatted with him and other friends sitting nearby, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. And I never once complained (or even dwelled on the fact) that it was really uncomfortable sitting in the bleachers for that long...fortunately my butt was numb by the 3rd quarter...and there was leg room in front of me, to try to give my belly-full-of-baby more room to stretch out.
On Saturday afternoon, I joined a few friends for a day out of shopping, dining, and laugh till our bellies hurt fun. My goal was to get a jump start on Christmas shopping, since it's quite possible I won't be up for the traditional day after Thanksgiving shopping marathon. I didn't get much of a start...but boy did I have fun trying.
I have to note a few highly annoying habits that seemed so much funnier in the company of other "been there-done that" moms...
- punch bugs. (it makes me nuts when the kids are constantly calling these out and slugging from the back seat.) For some reason it was okay with friends though...and only a couple of us came home with bruised arms.
- Tweeters and PT Cruisers. More van-shenanigans. Do you know how many yellow vehicles are on the road these days?? or PT cruisers for that matter? My kids can spot them from a mile away, and feel the need to "call" everyone! Will the insanity ever stop?! We had fun with it Saturday though.
- The last squirt of ketchup. My kids think the fart-noise it makes is hilarious. I usually don't see the humor...but out to dinner with other moms, we nearly laughed till we peed in our pants.
- Waiters that ask the same question repeatedly. For some reason it wasn't as annoying in the company of friends who were due for a good laugh as much as I was.
The gang even suprised me by paying for my dinner, and presented me with a gift card to shop for some fun new baby things. How sweet was that?! I am so blessed.
Sunday had us going to mass together as a family again. For the most part, that's getting a little smoother each week...although someone is usually "traveling" in the pew. John and I sit at opposite ends, and the younger one's like to go back and forth. I had to laugh when Frank walked out of church and cracked a giant smile as he realized and shared with me..."Mom, I did good today! I didn't even hate anything!" I chuckled outloud at that one. I mentioned in the past that he had a phase of "hating" everyone and everything, and while he's left that phase for the most part, it still sneaks in during his grumpier moments...and mass is often one of those times.
After church, we had a quick brunch, and then headed off to New Albany to celebrate my Godson's sixth birthday. It was a beautiful day for playing outdoors. My sister-in-law had lots of fun games lined up for the kids, tons of good food, and as always...they were great company. We got home late for a school night. By Monday, I was pretty much useless...except for a few spurts of energy that had me catching up on laundry again, and grocery shopping. Oh, and I did manage to bake up a few place-and-bake cookies since the oven was on for lunch anyways. Lots of rest in between though...which was a good thing.
Today. I must be nesting. After dropping Charlie off at preschool, it was shopping for a few household essentials, cleaning the kitchen, scrubbing the bathroom and shower (which did bring on a few nice contractions, but nothing to write home about yet) and vacuuming the living room (including inside the couches...eww.)
The kids are due home from school anytime now, so I best get moving.
A blessed week to you all!!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
That's my story, and I'm stickin to it!
I found several pumpkin recipes online yesterday that I'm anxious to try...I'm so glad I went with this one first. I found it over at Cookie Madness. It was a wonderful dessert for supper last evening, and even better this morning with a cup o' Joe!
Iced Pumpkin Muffins
2 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour ( 9 oz)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice**
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 heaping cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar (approximately)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons of milk or as needed
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 12 muffin tins with flour-added cooking spray or line with paper liners.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, oil, brown sugar, pumpkin, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and chips. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined.
Divide batter among the 12 muffin cups. Bake until a wooden pick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes, then remove from muffin tins and let cool completely.
Mix the melted butter and powdered sugar together, coating the sugar with butter as best you can – mixture will be thick and lumpy. Stir in the vanilla. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and stir well. Continue adding milk 1 teaspoon at a time until you get an icing that’s thin enough to drizzle but not so thin it will spread out when drizzled. Drizzle the icing over the cooled muffins. I sprinkled extra chips on top.
Notes: I made a couple substitutions right off the bat to suit what I had on hand...I used light brown sugar instead of dark. I made my own buttermilk (1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar and enough milk to make one cup) cause it's something I don't keep on hand. I used salted butter, and regular size choco chips. I doubled the recipe right away, which made 2 dozen regular size muffins. They actually baked closer to 30 minutes.
These were moist, rose beautifully, and mmmm. mmmm delicious!! Enjoy. I think these would make a beautiful loaf of bread as well...perfect for a gift.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Truth is I haven't bought canned pumpkin in a couple years, since I found a simple way to cook fresh pumpkin (and I usually have half a dozen pumpkins sitting on my front step this time of year anyways...no one will miss a pumpkin or two.) Small baking pumpkins fit nicer on the pan, but I've used large jack-o-lantern pumpkins too...whatever ya got!
(for fresh pumpkin in lieu of canned)
1. Remove the stem from a small/med. sized pumpkin (by cutting around the base of the stem with a sharp knife.) 2. Then starting from the hole you just made, carve down and around the pumpkin, cutting it completely in half. 3. Scoop out the seeds (so much less messy, now that the pumpkin is split in two.)
4. Lay both halves open sides down (so the outside/skin is face up) on a jelly roll pan with a thin layer of water in the bottom. 5. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 min-1 1/2 hours. You'll see the skins getting darker, and caving in a little when they're done, and fork-tender. 6. Allow to cool a bit, and flip over scooping out the pumpkin flesh with a spoon. It is delicious to eat just like this with a little butter and brown sugar...like a sweet potato. Or fork it up a bit, and use this plain in lieu of canned pumpkin filling.
Last week I baked 2 small (6-8 inches in diameter) pumpkins (that's 4 halves) on one jelly roll pan, and got about 6+ cups of pumpkin. In the past, I have kept it for up to two weeks (sealed in airtight container) in the fridge without any problems. Not sure what the "safe" rule is though.
You're going to need pumpkin for the recipe I plan to share later. Yep...I baked again today...and this recipe is a keeper!!!
The tents were raised, and probably down by now. The chicken was danced. Every imaginable food was deep-fried and delicious. There were mettwurst, and bratwurst, sauerkraut balls, and cabbage rolls, dark beer on tap served rightly in 1/2 gallon plastic jugs, soft pretzles, hot german potato salad, and games and gambling of every sort, all blended together beautifully with the sounds of polka playing oompah bands.
One could attend a German Heritage Mass, shop for clever crafts and wares, run/walk the 10k or "fun" run, watch a parade, vote on cute babies, witness a queen coronated, even relay a beer tray through an obtacle course for team bragging rights. No doubt, something for everyone.
And when you live just blocks away, with the echo of music constantly in the distance...it beckons you to participate in it all...despite the rain, and miserably cold weather.
The barrel was indeed rolled out this weekend, and I feel as if it ran me over. Can you say exhausted?!
Today, we're not accomplishing a lot...playing with Legos, watching more cartoons than usual, and of course, catching up on laundry. I desperately need to get up into the attic this afternoon to start the seasonal closet changeover...something I should have done before the weekend blustery cold weather, but with lots of layering, we managed okay. Oh, and after the weekend calorie overload, I'd love to do some baking (no reason for blood sugar levels to drop unnecessarily low too quickly!). I've spotted a few good recipes...I'm going to give them a try, and will let you know how they turn out. Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake layered brownies, pumpkin anything (afterall, it's a vegetable, right?)
Here's to the start of another wonderful week... God Bless!
Friday, October 1, 2010
Of course it's the feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, "the Little Flower." She's such an inspiration of how each of us are called to do great things in little ways...each and every day. St. Therese pray for us!
The 4 yougest kids and I started our day, by hurrying through our breakfast with the school kids, and heading off to morning mass to celebrate not only her feast day, but also to honor/remember the feast of our own family saint. John's mom, Alice passed away 13 years ago today. I am so grateful for the impact she had on my life in the few short years I knew her...she taught me practical things...a love of gardening and canning, even helped me at times with small sewing projects. But it was her kindness, and love, and gentle ways (much like we read of St. Therese) that left a lasting impression. She passed away before we started having children, and I could never have imagined that one day I'd be raising nearly a dozen as she had. How many times along the way, I've prayed for her intercession, her guidance...and wished she were still here for advice. What a wonderful woman, that I feel blessed to have known.
October 1st also leads us into the month of the Holy Rosary. I look forward to trying to incorporate it into our family prayer routine, and to help these little ones develop a love for this special prayer/devotion. Holy Mother, draw us closer to you and your Son. Amen.
I can't help but sprinkle a little bit of fall everywhere. Even the back garden bench is sprinkled with Wooden Shoes and pumpkins and mums...
Mmmmm. Fall means yummy smells of spiced pumpkin. My favorite!!! John's birthday earlier this week had me baking up pumpkin for a wonderfully delicious pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing....yep. It was very good!!
More beautiful colors, and sprinkles of fall...on the front door.
Doesn't it make you want to drop what you're doing and dance a little polka...or at the very least, a chicken dance?!!! We put in our Freudemacher CD this morning after mass, and polka'd our way around the kitchen till we were dizzy and giddy with laughter.
Oh yes...and cooler weather means we can bake all we want to!!! Today it was snickerdoodles...mmmmm....cinnamon and sugary goodness!
Oh, and of course...how could I forget?! October 1st means we're entering into the last month of this pregnancy. Sometime, very soon, we are going to get to meet this new little baby. Oh we're getting so excited!! Today, Lucy helped me take the tags off of the few "neutral" baby clothes we've collected, and gather baby bedding and blankets from storage to wash up. Oh my. It's so fun to look at these tiny little white onesies and ducky-footed jammies. Just can't wait to kiss the little nose and toes and belly that will soon be snuggled in them...