Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Buck just stopped here.

Frank just wandered out of bed and into the living room to mention that he's changing his name.

He'll be "Buck" from now on.

I can't imagine what he was dreaming of, but I'll see how he responds when I call "Buck" to the breakfast table in the morning.

Too cute.

Rice, Rice Baby...

It was another milestone for little Annie, as she had her first taste of rice cereal. It's still a far cry from "big people food," but certainly a step in that direction.

(It truly is a amazing when I stop to realize that for the last 5 months, her only nourishment has come from me. Truly miraculous how God worked out those details when you really stop to think about it.)'s the setup...
The older kids were off to school, and little Anne woke up smiling and happy...her usual routine. Only today, I changed her and plopped her right into the bouncy seat on the kitchen cupboard for her first taste of Rice cereal. Her sleepy little eyes were a little confused about the change in schedule. I think as I look back at the photos, her eyes were definitely fixed on my chest area. "Hmmm. This isn't how it usually works."

She didn't mind one bit when I spooned in the mushy stuff. As a matter of fact, after the first spoonful, she grabbed my hand and/or spoon each time to try to pull it to her mouth faster. She LOVED it!

Of course, big sister Lucy was right there...not wanting to miss one moment of it!

And mother-hen Rosie was there too. Folding the washcloth, and cleaning up/assisting anyway she could. Oh, she's such a big helper!
Of course she had lots to talk about when the bowl was empty. Not the least of which was "Now bring on the milk!"

Oh Anne. Where does the time go?! Won't be long you'll be sitting at the big table with the rest of your own chair...with your own plate...entertaining us all with stories of your least what you can manage to squeeze in between all the other laughter and conversations. Oh my.

recipe box--soup

Last week I mentioned the younger kids and I attended a Soup and Bread Luncheon. I tasted two soups (of the DOZENS provided). There was a Chicken Tortilla which did not disappoint...and I have the recipe here at home. I've made several recipes similar...can't go wrong with any of them.
The other soup I tried was something I'd never seen before, so of course I was immediately drawn to it's thick creamy base, swimming with fluffy cheese pasta. YUM! It was WONDERFUL!

Fortunately a friend of my mom's saw that I had posted a request for the recipe, and found the lovely chef who agreed to pass it on. I'm looking forward to making this for a family gathering this weekend...but here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Asiago Tortellini Soup


· 1 49.5 oz. can chicken broth
· 1 or 2 chicken breasts cut into 1/2" chunks
· 1 clove garlic (minced)
· 1 small onion (about a half cup chopped)
· 1 carrot (1/4 cup chopped finely)
· 1 stalk celery (about 1/4+ cup chopped finely)
· 2 tbsp parsley
· heavy pinch of dried basil (1/8 tsp)
· 1 20 oz. package of Buitoni Three Cheese Tortellini
· 1 pint heavy whipping cream
* with 2-3 tsp flour for thickening
· 5 oz asiago cheese, grated


· Add garlic, onion, celery, carrot, parsley, and basil to the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
· Add chicken chunks and continue boiling gently for 30 minutes to an hour.
· Add tortellinis and bring to a boil again.
· Add flour-cream mixture and bring to a boil.
· Stir while simmering for 10-15 minutes while adding grated asiago cheese.
*** Tip: Add asiago cheese gradually and keep stirring. Otherwise it may sink to the bottom and clump/burn.

Monday, March 21, 2011

making memories.

Little Annie turned over today!! She's pushed herself over from belly to back for a couple weeks now, and today she managed to do the same in reverse. No more hanging out on the kitchen table...the center of our wonderfully hectic world. Time to stay safely at ground level, where she can roll till her hearts content!

It started right here...centered on the table where siblings were doing homework or helping mom bake, others doing chores, all the while remembering a tickle or "ga ga" talk for Annie. She loves being at the heart of the action.

Before we knew it, she'd heaved one of her fluffy little thighs over...
...and in a second she was up. Believe it girl! You did it!!! Wooohooooo!!!!

Of course all this rolling was to answer one simple question, "Mom, do these stripes make my butt look chubby?"

Of course they do sweet pea. But we love you anyway!!

God Bless baby Anne, who's growing so quickly!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Feast of St. Patrick

Of course we're all a little Irish on St. Patty's Day!

And we do love us any good reason to celebrate...

So we all donned something green this morning...nobody to be pinchin' us.

We told a few cheesey jokes.

Found us some leprechaun treasure.

added a few drops of green food coloring to our milk, and spruced up our lunch table with dollar store green paper plates and cups. It was festive indeed!

and of course little John's craft opened up a nice conversation about St. Patrick himself, and how we can use the shamrock as a reminder of the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

Oh, it really was a beautiful day. I didn't fold the first bit of laundry. Instead the kids and I did crafts and enjoyed the gorgeous weather by taking walks, going to a couple of the nearby parks, playing hopscotch in the driveway. Just thoroughly enjoyed the simple moments. All that fresh air and nap-skippin' helped to heavy the eyelids come bedtime tonight too. Life is good. I feel very blessed!

Top o' the day to ya!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

at the foot of the cross

This past Sunday, John was asked in to work for a few hours, so the kids and I took a drive over to the Maria Stein Spiritual Center for a "nature walk." We LOVE it there. It's been almost a year since we were last there to walk the rosary path through the woods. It's good to see the constant improvements/additions. They have new benches and grottos along the paved path now, and have added a new pavilion near the pond/cross with tables for picnics. We'll definitely be planning that into our next trip. And of course our walk always ends at the foot of the cross. It's just AWESOME and inspiring. I love how the various statues and symbols, even the new plaques along the path for the rosary mysteries lead to such wonderful conversation and questions from the kids. This trip's hottest conversation had to do with the St. Michael the Archangel statue along the circle drive that leads to the parking lot. There's something very fascinating about a sword and shield toting angel conquering the serpent...little boys LOVE it!

soups on.

Today I tried something new. Something outside my comfort zone. I packed up the 5 little kiddos and attended our parish Soup & Bread luncheon. It's something the lovely ladies of the Mission Commission host each lent, and something I've wanted to attend in years past, but just figured it wouldn't be a great fit with little ones in tow.
Wow. Am I glad I went.
The guest speaker was Linda Thieman (from Mercer County ways...St. Henry to be exact) and she was speaking on her many (50+?) mission trips to Haiti. Awesome to hear her stories...I could have listened much longer.
There were several great points she mentioned, but a couple jumped right out at me...

1. "If someone asks for one, they probably need two." (this was a lesson her mother/father taught her as a young girl. Often local nuns would come to their family farm seeking a bag of grain...her parents always had two ready for them.)
What a powerful statement on giving more than is asked, or giving more than is expected. I should work harder to inspire my own children with great lessons such as this.

2. In commenting on her many trips to Haiti, she mentioned that she learned early on that her calling was not to build schools, or provide medical care, or other large projects. Rather, her calling was to "open hearts/eyes" of folks here...the many numbers of students and adults that travel with her. She brings the unfathomable reality of extreme poverty to life...and puts names to faces...that others might find a way to lend a hand as well. So often I feel like my very minimal donation to Food for the Poor or some other charity certainly can't be doing much, and yet she recognized her part in this body of Christ...and encourages others. Truly inspiring!

What a wonderful opportunity to hear her, to chat with others over a great that provided food for nourishing both body and soul this Lenten season.

As a side note...I laughed with John this evening, that aside from my kids I was probably the youngest person in attendence...then I remembered my sister-in-law and her kids were there. But in general it was largely attended by the retired members of our parish. What a shame that so many more young'ns weren't there. I know there are plenty of other stay-at-home moms and maybe even dads who would have thoroughly enjoyed this, shoot even college age kids lookin for a hot meal and some fellowship...perhaps one of St. Augie's best kept secrets. I'm doing my part to spread the good word for next must come.

Oh, and if anyone knows who made that Creamy Chicken Tortellini soup, I'd LOVE the recipe.

lenten schmuck

Okay, so I'm humbled by the effort that my kids are putting forth this lenten season. It makes me feel like a real schmuck though. I didn't officially give anything up. I figure my noncommitance to anything makes it impossible to "cheat." It's win-win for me, right? Meanwhile my older kids have refrained from sweets and unhealthy snacks, Rosie's trying desperately to give up sucking her thumb (or at least not while I'm looking.) She came up with that sacrifice all on her own, and it makes me want to cry at how huge that is. Charlie hasn't stolen any beer (that I'm aware of) and some of the kids are even keeping television at a Meanwhile...schmuck mama nibbles between meals, eats chocolate...caving to cravings left and right.
I am trying to be more aware though...appreciate more, pray more, say "thank you" more, argue less (the kids may not agree?) I keep thinking that despite the fact that time moves at warp speed, there's lots of time left...plenty of moments, anyway...for practice/improvement. Afterall, I don't want this transformation to last just 6 weeks. I hope to find the tools to change, to draw closer to Christ for the long haul---beyond Lent, through ordinary time and beyond.
I pray you all are chugging along nicely.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

someone reassure me this is nothing to worry about...

Last evening over our dinner, the kids chatted about things they were giving up for Lent. There was a lot of mention about the sweets, limited tv time, etc. Out of nowhere (and in all seriousness) 5 year old Charlie mentions casually that he'll "quit stealing beer from Mom and Dad" this year.

I nearly snorted my soup out my nose in laughter/disbelief, but a glance over at his Dad assured me I'd heard correctly. He was holding back tears of laughter as well.

Where does he come up with this stuff?!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lenten Prayer

I posted this one a few years back. Think it's worthy of reflecting on again.

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ in them.
Fast from wanting
more; feast on being thankful.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on enjoyment.
Fast from negatives; feast on postitives.
Fast from stress; feast on
Fast from anger; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from fear; feast on truth
Fast from
discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from gossip; feast on silence.
from fighting; feast on peace.
~Adapted from a Lenten prayer by
William Arthur Ward in Take Out, Family Faith on the Go.

To begin this Holy Season of Lent...

We rise again from ashes,
from the good we've failed to do.
We rise again from ashes,
to create ourselves anew.

We offer You our failures,
we offer You attempts;
The gifts not fully given,
the dreams not fully dreamt.

~lyrics to a popular lenten hymm

I used to have the feeling that Lent was a time to "hole up," that is "go inside ourselves," drop off the map of all things "good" for a few weeks. Eat nothing, sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. Mostly a negative thing when I'd stop to think about it. And while sacrifice and self mastery are a good part of what's required, this song reminds me that it's more about self-transformation. It's about rising up, shaking off the dust of what's holding us back from a loving relationship with Him. It's recognizing our failings, and attempting to break free of them. This is a time to humble ourselves, to become more Christ-like in all we do. It's a time to wake up, shake off, sacrifice, serve, and give more of ourselves to others for the sake of our Lord who loves us so much he paid for our freedom with His life.

My prayer today is for a Holy, transformative journey called Lent.

Lord let me keep my focus on you and the love that you have for me. Help me to listen, and hear what you desire from me in this life, that I may serve you well.

Peaceful, holy Lent to you all!