Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Table Turkeys

My daughter is always coming up with new ways to decorate for the season and/or holiday. Here's her latest creation.

Her Tutorial
To make these you will need:
*brown or blue or black clay
*yellow, orange and brown paper
*foam and buttons for the Pilgrim tray
*black marker

For the turkey-Roll brown clay into a ball. Trace your finger on the colored paper then cut out the tracings. Those will be your feathers. Cut our a circle of the brown or red paper for the head and cut out a triangle for the beak. Add real feathers for the wings.

For the pilgrim-You will need a lot of blue or black clay. For his stomach roll a ball of clay and then flatten it slightly. Roll the arms and cut hands out of yellow paper. Stick the paper into the clay. Roll the legs out and add yellow paper shoes. Cut a yellow head out and draw face on with a marker. Roll a hat shape out clay and make a belt with paper. Draw a buckle on the belt and stick on the hat. If you want to make a tray, cut a piece of foam and put buttons or beads on a piece of clay and stick onto the tray.

I Call This One

Not quite ready for cereal...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mother Teresa's Secret Fire

When Mother Teresa died in 1997, I, like many others, cried. Why was it so painful to lose such a person of grace? I can speak for only myself- I was concerned about who would fill those shoes and be a role model of Christianity in it's finest. Mother Teresa was known world wide. Her signature white and blue sari is imprinted in our memory. Her good deeds and those of the Sisters of Charity go beyond my imagination.

When Mother Teresa's Secret Fire arrived at my house, I couldn't wait to dive in. Even the cover enticed me - The Encounter that Changed Her Life, and How it Can Transform Your Own.

What encounter, I wondered? What have I missed? What did the author, Father Joseph Langford, know that I didn't?

Well I won't give that away, you'll have to read it for yourself. Father Langford met Mother Teresa first on the cover of a book. In 1972, her picture spoke to him and touched his heart. Years later Mother Teresa would ask him to be in charge of a new community-Missionaries of Charity Fathers. That is when Fr. Langford set out to learn all that he could about Mother's grace. He longed to find out about her "inspiration" and when he finally approached her with his question in 1984, Mother Teresa looked up and said, "Yes, it is true. And one day you must tell the others..." Wow, this along with the copies of the hand written notes were inspiring indeed.

The book touches on what I remember hearing from the media as Mother's "dark night". They claimed that she even questioned God from time to time. Father Langford knew her much better and writes about that darkness along with the light it continues to bring forth.
Emphatically, Mother Teresa's dark night was not a "crisis of faith," nor did it represent a wavering on her part. Far from being a loss of faith, her letters reveal instead her hard-fought victory of faith, the triumph of faith's light that shines even in the darkness, for "the darkness has not overcome it" (Jn 1:5).

Something else in this chapter stuck with me as well.
But even if none of the gloom gathering on our horizon comes to pass, we will still need grace and courage to face the fact that our present tenor of life cannot continue indefinitely. In years to come, we all will know unforeseen suffering; we all will taste deprivation, in health if not in finance. Whatever our present circumstances, a share of personal tragedy will one day touch us all. The normal course of life will bring, along with blessings, disease to our children, accidents to loved ones, responsibility for bed-ridden relatives or a cancer-ridden spouse, loss of employment or loss of relationship, sudden reversals of fortune, or the untimely death of those we cherish. We will all need to find other sources of happiness, purpose, and fulfillment, beyond possessions and ease and protecting the status quo. In the end, the very process of our aging will itself frame the geography of our personal Calcutta.
It almost needs to be put on my bathroom mirror to serve as a daily dose of wisdom, don't you think?

I loved reading the personal examples of how Mother Teresa affected all kinds of people- from Christians to Muslims to atheists. The power of this woman never ceases to amaze me. From the Hindu and Muslim businessmen on the plane asking Mother Teresa to bless their children's photos to the Mafia drug dealer hearing Mother's voice on the radio and having a major conversion- there are many beautiful stories just like these in this book.

I cried when Mother Teresa died but I don't cry anymore. I'm not afraid of the empty shoes that were left because with this book I am reminded that she has touched so many people and her legacy of hope and charity continues. After reading this book I am again making my own life and it's surroundings a "Calcutta". I am revisiting what it means to contemplate on the thirst of Christ and what we care called to do. Good work Father Langford, your book is a light to us all.

This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Mother Teresa's Secret Fire.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Thank you, Easter, I'm flattered.

Do you know Easter? She has a wonderful blog full of gorgeous pictures of paradise on earth AND she has a new book coming out. Be sure to look for it!

Powdered Noses and Lucy

Fearless as ducks, we headed into the city yesterday- barely able to see through the rain on the freeway. Raincoats on, umbrellas in hand as we hopped over puddles while mommy shouted, "You don't want wet feet all day!"

We ended up at King 5 TV for a tour with a fabulous guide who knew everything about anything and was very familiar with her crew...six year old tiger scouts. She knew all their antics-touching the green screen, reaching for buttons in the control room, wandering off with their curiosities. These boys were actually very good and stayed super quiet while walking past the news on air. (If only the small squirt in my arms behaved the same way...did you hear him?)

The best part at the end of the tour was the boys seeing themselves on the monitors with the city behind them and trying to figure out why the city wasn't truly behind them. They learned that even the men wear make up because after all...a shiny nose is a shiny nose no matter what gender you are. And most importantly, they learned that you have to get up really early in the morning to be a broadcast journalist.

Next we headed over to the Pacific Science Center to become official members. And lucky us because they're giving free passes to see the world famous Lucy exhibit. Do you know about Lucy? She was found not long after I was born in Ethiopia and is over 3 million years old. Knowing these passes usually cost buco bucks, I wanted to get the most of it however, that particular squirt had other ideas. So, I didn't get to read and hear everything I wanted to but I got to see this old gal and that was pretty cool.

As the day wore on and my fatigue set in, we headed outdoors for a cup of coffee and hot chocolates for small people. And wouldn't you know that the skies had cleared and the sun was in full effect. It was nice enough for us to go on our own fossil expedition.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Sunny Start

A little boy burst into my bathroom this morning and excitedly said,
"Mom! From the kitchen is the prettiest view in the world".

I had to check it out- he was right. Darn good way to start the day. (Given the 90% chance of rain today).

I hope yours is just as beautiful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Heave Ho, We're Layin' Low

We're fighting a lingering stomach bug over here. Fine one day, down the next- over and over. I suppose you call it a relapse?? Yesterday was a quiet day with one in bed moaning and sleeping, one helping mommy take care of all needs and the other just using his imagination. The weather also led us to feel somewhat like a nap- dark and drizzly the entire day. Until about 3:30 when the sun finally won it's place through the dreariness. From the kitchen window, we saw this patch of light hitting the hillside-what a reminder that the sun is still up there, ready to shine.

And being stuck in the house is also not conducive to sickness when the pantry is scarce. Somehow a bare bones chicken noodle soup was concocted with honey-oat bread to follow. While the soup simmered my daughter and I sipped tea and bonded over magazine crafts and recipes, trying to plan out the Thanksgiving meal. Although I don't even remotely like the sickness, I revel in these days that are out of the ordinary and bring forth closeness.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Viva, I'm Home

I'm sitting here with steaming coffee, surrounded by a dark although luminous fog. Sooo different than waking up yesterday to the bright sunshine and warm temps. I got home last night from my fast weekend away in Vegas.

Now if you don't know me very well, you might tend to think what automatically comes to mind with sin city. Nah, not this weekend. The past three days have been spent catching up with good friends and family, celebrating two 40th birthdays and sucking up the sun in my old stomping grounds.

And how blessed am I to be given a voucher to fly? Very! I appreciate it more than they know. Thank you to the Matthews and Happy, Happy Birthday Dionne and Jim.

Sitting on the patio Saturday morning. It felt as good as it looks.

Sunday morning with the moon visable over the mountains.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rascally Raccoons

They're absolutely adorable but so much trouble. Do you think I'm touching that raw chickeny-juiced bag they left? I think not! Good thing my husband loves me, I leave all the fun stuff for him.

What Do I Love About Homeschooling?

...What the day inspires. I love that my little guy wanted to "do math" so big brother gave him some problems to work out. And so what if they're lying in the middle of the living room while I'm trying to vacuum? They're learning and sometimes on their own- such a beautiful thing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Pain in the Neck

That's what he'll have today. Falling asleep sitting up against a pillow-doesn't look to comfy to me. Perhaps he'll need a little massage this morning!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Send the Animals-Two by Two

The beginning stages of the flood.

Hoowee, it's been a wet one. I should have known what was in store for us when I left in the dark this morning to go to the gym and helicopters were hovering near our house. That river...again, I concluded.

Rains came in hard yesterday and continued through the night. Eerily, this morning the river was rising to the side of the road. We decided to go ahead with our plans to see the matinee of Robin Hood even though we (I) knew it was risky.

Funny that a few school buses didn't show for the play. Let's see...could it be...the weather?! Half way through the show we got wind that things were getting bad fast so against my daughter's wishes, we split. Fast. Anxious.

Now you have to understand that there is only one road to my house. One long and lonely road. Did I mention long? Oh right- so as we neared the parallel to the river, BOOM! Flooding. No way we should try to cross. So we backed up and parked at someone's house. We were about a mile from home so we couldn't carry much- just the essentials (my purse, the popcorn and some webkinz).

We thought maybe we could Lewis and Clark our way around the water-covered road but no such luck. It was too wide and too deep. Just then this very kind man appeared in a massive truck and drove us across. Thank you Mr. Oil Truck Man!

We continued to walk home and watch the flooding from the house. Whole trees flew down the river. I think I might have even seen a few houses and condos and okay- that's exaggerating a bit.

About 4pm we wandered out again because I could no longer see the road. Sure enough, the road as far as we could see was covered in water. (The same road we walked home on). And there were more curious on-lookers. Our small little block all out with umbrellas marveling over mother nature- what a sight.

It's dark now and I have no idea what's happening. Have we crested yet? Will my husband be able to get back to his car in the morning? Will my anesthesiologist neighbor make it to her 6am surgery? Will this cause hardship for many? And just how did the play end? I have no answers, I just have to sit patiently inside and wait for the sun to come again. We're stuck after all-better make the best of it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Venerating Veterans

Recently a friend confided with me that upon visiting her ailing father at a veteran's hospital, she found there to be many lonely vets. Along the way they've been somewhat forgotten. Not one soul should have to feel alone or abandoned, especially at the end of their life.

So, when said friend suggested that the homeschooling group write letters to these patients, we jumped on it. In our case we can deliver them to the priest that oversees our local Veteran's Medical Center. They don't have to be personally addressed- make them simple, showing our respect, gratitude and prayers. To look up a facility near you, click here.

And to all those who have served, men and women, young and old- thank you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Get Expelled

I have been wanting to see Expelled for a long time now but being that we NEVER get to the theater, I had to wait for video. Even better- I got Netflix. Now, this isn't necessarily an endorsement for Flix but I have to say- I am really enjoying it. No more late fees, no more standing in the movie store trying to deter little eyes from seeing things they shouldn't have to see...you get my drift.

Okay, back to Expelled. It was so well done and what a powerful message to the audience. From the Holocaust to Planned Parenthood- that Ben Stein is one intuitive guy. I enjoy science (even though I'm one of those religious morons as the movie tells me) but I have to say I never knew there was so much pressure to conform in the science realm.

Even if you aren't the mailbox plan like me, go to your local store and get it this week, I highly recommend it!

Blessed Sacrament Sunday

Yesterday we trekked into the city for an investiture ceremony for both my little Tiger Cub Scout and my American Heritage Girl. What's an investiture ceremony you ask? I didn't know either but when I looked it up, google pointed me to many scout ceremonies welcoming new people.

Ours was a little different. We met for Mass, then processed carrying the pack flags, listened to impassioned speeches as to why we mold our children to do good for God, recited our pack promises and received a blessing from Father. Afterward there was a good party across the street and all had a fun.

There are days that I say to myself- next year we are not getting involved in so much. We drive like mad to get from one activity to the next. However, yesterday confirmed that a portion of our craziness is good, really good.

Friday, November 7, 2008

There's a New Fairy in Town

My little one is overjoyed with his sandbox our landlord built for him. The big kids don't think it's too shabby either. Lately they have been collecting sticks and re-enacting Little House as settlers building their new lives.

One afternoon as the big kids got too chilly and came to seek "real" shelter, the little one protested wildly, "But I want to play Little Fairy in the House!"

"No, silly" my daughter laughed, and told him the right way to say it.

Even louder came his next protest- "BUT, BUT, BUT, I'm not done playing Little House on the Fairy!!"

Who could keep a straight face?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's OOOOOver

And so it is. I will do what he asked- I will support him. And I will hope, wish and pray that he changes his moral view of life.

And might I add that I was never more impressed with a concession speech as what I heard last night. McCain was most gracious, humble and honorable- the man will always get my vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008

You're Needed

To say a prayer for baby Sarah and her family.

A Beary Good Halloween

Halloween was an amazingly busy day but an awesome one at that. Here is the photo recap.
St. Patrick gets ready to leave for his Saints party. What's he reading, you ask? Why,it's the bird field guide, of course.

St. Francis cannot stand still for a picture- he wants to get to the party!

Blessed Kateri loves her costume, so does her mom.

The weather was awful all day- pouring buckets to be exact. Late that afternoon, on our way home from the party, the sky opened, the sun began to break through and patches of fog crept in. It was perfect for Halloween night.

We hit a few houses in our neighborhood but being that we're the only kids around, we headed downtown where all the action happens. The kids were all fired up, singing and laughing when low and behold, in the midst of our low beams were two black bears running down the road. "Is that?!" we all yelled. Yes, it was. Either two really good and authentic costumes or .... We pulled over to take pictures, but all I got was my husband's face as he leaned out listening to the bears traipsing through the black berry bushes. Who woulda ever thought we would see them out trick or treating.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New Bumper Sticker

So I keep seeing the sticker Got Hope all over town.

All I can think of when I see it is one that should read Got Conscience?

Am I too late for the printers?

I Do It Every Year

The time change- I mess it up. This year I stayed up waaaay too late watching tv, got up too early to move a boy into my bed, and then couldn't fall back asleep. Seeing that the clock said almost 7, I got up and made some coffee. Might as well review the notes of what I need to teach at Sunday school, right?

But then, with coffee in hand, warm apple candle glowing and space heater humming, my eyes glance down to the lower right hand of my computer. What?! 6am! You mean I did it again? And I could still be sleeping with that snuggly little boy in my bed? Agh.

Perhaps I should fasting from sleep for my All Souls sacrifice? Or does it not count if you accidentally do it? Either way, have a wonderful finish to this weekend full of feasts from one very baggy-eyed mom!