"When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. Thenceforward we lived only for them; they made all our happiness and we would never have found it save in them. In fact, nothing any longer cost us anything; the world was no longer a burden to us. As for me, my children were my great compensation, so that I wished to have many in order to bring them up for Heaven" -- Saint Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, canonized October 18, 2015 along with her husband St. Louis Martin.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cake before Candy

Gramz' famous Lemon Cake

 October is the month that Arwen and my husband have their birthdays two days apart.  Halloween comes just two weeks later.  This year, as I mentioned in a previous post, we were so lucky to have Gramz fly up to visit for Birthday Week.  Unfortunately, our gorgeous fall sunshine and glowing leaves were put on hold for the single week she was here...and it rained every day. Gramz was actually hailed on while watching Arwen's soccer game.  So much for showing her that the midwest had its beauty.  We pretty much confirmed her preference for the Southwest sun.  Alas, here are some pictures of the several cakes that were baked while she was here:
Convinced that the first cake was overcooked, Gramz made a second, which I was supposed to keep an eye on...and it came out exactly the same as the first one.  Both were delicious!
 To surprise Arwen with a Lord of the Rings themed birthday, I tried my hand at copying other on-line cakes.  I found it much easier to dye coconut green rather than pipe grass frosting all over the hobbit hole.  I'm all about easy!;)
Bilbo's hobbit hole had a green door.  I knew this, I just used chocolate frosting anyway.  The windows overlook the garden, and Aragorn insisted that we add a white picket fence, for accuracy sake. Sadly, I failed to make round windows, so accuracy wasn't my strong suit.  The kids were still happy to eat it.

 And, yes, we needed a "Ring of Power" cake to go with it.  Elvish is both fun to write in and super impressive, considering that no one can read Elvish.  Except that my kids can, and they inform me that this was actually not written on the ring.  There is a different Mordor tongue of Elvish that was actually on the ring.  I'll get a shot of Aragorn's pumpkin to show you the difference....just give me some time to upload the pics. So, forget impressive, here's the ring cake:

ok, here's Aragorn's pumpkin with the ring script on it...more long and scrawly:

Aragorn decided to carve a ring, the center of which fell out, making it a circle rather than a "ring", but I still thought he did an awesome job on the Mordor-tongue  Elvish script.  (I still need to upload pictures of the costumes!) 

And so we come to the candy part.

Rosie Cotton's stash, post-Trick-or-Treat
 Arwen went as Legolas for Trick-or-Treating (is that confusing to the readers?) She was very proud of her hairstyle.  I'll get more pictures up soon...

 And, because this got accidentally uploaded (and I'm having too much fun with these names), here's my Legolas with Arwen-the-black-cat, from this summer:

Still wishing I had a little kitty around the house...boo allergies!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Caught my eye

I knew my days were numbered, but out of sheer curiosity and not wanting to actually get out a calendar and count (yes, I'm that lazy), I glanced at that little lillypie pregnancy ticker on the sidebar of this blog.  Today it says the baby is "ready to launch".  Ready to launch?!!

A man so wrote that ticker.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Note to Self

If you are frantically scouring your home as your husband picks your Mother-in-Law up from the airport.  If time is running short and your heart races every time you look at the clock.  If you are shouting orders to the poor child who decided not to go along for the ride (a million thanks are owed to Gimli, my poor victim!).

Your home will look beautiful.  But you will look like a fright.

I think I stopped sweating 30 minutes after my Mother-in-Law arrived.
Not. Awesome. Planning.

Look what was in our tree yesterday!!

photo credit: Arwen

photo credit: Arwen

And while I'm on the subject of trees...

 I had Arwen snap a couple of the trees changing around our house.  I just love red leaves!

Now, off to work! My Mother-in-Law is visiting and will be here in a matter of hours! I have SO MUCH TO DO!!!! (But this was a fun little break!)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fluffy Bunnies

 About a year ago we got our first furry friend and named him Carrot.   I discovered a wonderful breeder who raises show quality mini-Holland lop bunnies, and while we do not show our pets, they have the best temperament ever!

Legolas is crazy about BunBun (the big black and white doe) and Bean (our newest addition, in tortoiseshell).  Would you believe that these puff balls do not bite or scratch as they are squeezed and laid on by an overly loving toddler?

I have heard people say that rabbits are a lot of work.  My sister adopted a rabbit from the humane society and I am sure she would agree, but this is the big qualifying difference: her rabbit was an indoor  pet, sort of like a "class pet" is kept in a cage.  My rabbits are exclusively outdoor rabbits (I move them into the garage with a heat lamp during the coldest winter months).

Outdoor rabbits simply need to have food and water and hay, which can be stocked up in their cages for more than one day, making it a chore only every other day or so.  Since they are not indoors, their cages do not need to be as meticulously cleaned, and for the most part, the "slide out" trays that come with most outdoor hutches just need to be dumped in the woods or garden once every so often.  A "deep clean" of the hutch area can be done more sporadically, when you feel up to it, making sure their bedding is nice and fresh and deep.

One of the most fun things for the kids is to be sent out with leftover veggies to feed the bunnies with.  Our neighborhood friends will show up with a carrot in tow to get in on the fun.  Anyway, for those who have kids who would like something soft to cuddle, but who don't want dander or fur in their home, I offer you an option: outdoor, cute and cuddly, fluffy bunnies!  
[disclaimer: not all bunnies have the same disposition. Make sure you find a good breed and a good breeder if possible. That said, my nieces sure tamed that humane society rabbit well! The more a rabbit is handled, the nicer it will be.]

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oops! (I forgot) The mountains

Just because I feel like I never capture the mountains from our back porch, I thought I'd add this picture. It's not a great shot. but it proves that you can really see the Rockies from our yard (this is just to the north of the previous photo in the post below). Pretty pretty pretty. Would you believe that I often gaze upon the mountains and yearn for lands in the North and imagine the distance between this place and my home land?
I do try to acknowledge and glory in the beauty of God's creation while I am there. But there is just something about "home".
Now you see what I see when I go.  You can judge for yourself.


This might be a silly sort of post, but I don't think it hurts me to go ahead and remind myself what I often try to forget: cold cereal is a big waste of money!  Why? Because it isn't particularly nutritious? Because they tend to be higher in sugar and lower in protein than we aim for in a well-balanced meal to start the day for our families?  Because unless you're buying jumbo boxes at Sam's you will go through several full boxes of cereal in one morning if you have 7 hungry children eating?! Well...yes, but I'm pretty lazy and I could get over those objections if only my children would eat a bowl of, say Cheerios, and not be hungry five minutes later!!!  
Enter Auntie Leila.  Please tell me you have met her on her blog Like Mother, Like Daughter. If you haven't already discovered that she pretty much knows everything there is to know about running a big family (without being superwoman), you can just pop over there and read all she has to say about meal planning, and breakfast in particular.  She's saving me the trouble of writing that post that tells you that your kids need to eat something substantial in the morning.  What I'm here to write is that it's worth it.  

Good Old Fashioned Cream of Wheat
 It's worth it for me to drag myself away from my morning coffee and my ever failing attempts at lingering over some morning prayer or planning or journaling time and just go into that kitchen and get something hot and nourishing brewing.  Eggs are probably the best breakfast food ever.  Pancakes can be made with extra eggs. My brother-in-law makes "protein pancakes" with ten eggs and scoops of protein powder in them! I've added extra eggs, but haven't done powders yet.
Lest you think I'm actually a "good mom", let me tell you that I do let my kids put brown sugar on their oatmeal and Cream of Wheat.  Do you see the line of bowls hidden in the background? There should be seven or eight there, depending on if I plan on having any!
 Why is it worth it? Because once fed, my children will quiet down for a few minutes.  That is how I finish my morning revelry of prayer, planning, e-mailing, and coffee.  Once fed, my children will obey orders to get ready for the day.  We can then try mightily to make daily Mass on time.  If they have cold cereal, they will be hungry by the time we come home.  We might have to stop for bagels on the way home.  We might have pbj's and apples (in other words, lunch) being eaten as I begin our home schooling day around 9am.  If we've had a nice hearty meal, I actually have a chance of getting straight to work with no added mess.  We might eat lunch at a normal hour.  And that  makes me a happy lady. So, cook in the morning, easier rest of the day. 'Nuff said.

This guy was with me making breakfast this morning.  He blinked, but still...too cute!

Back Blogging

So, after months of being home, I thought you deserved a little peek at our view from this summer.  The
little bit of fence you can see is our back porch (well, my Mother-in-Law owns the house where we stay, so it's not really "ours", but it's not the house where she lives either).  Anyway, it's beautiful as you can see.  Didn't I already say I was a brat for whining about going to this beautiful land?

yes, that's four cats and a dog!

I thought I'd prove what I said when I told you I brought home 5 kittens to cheer me up...and then bought a puppy.  Here they are sharing a water bowl. The dog's eating.  I thought it was wonderful socialization for both species.
Now I'm the terror of the farm mice.  Either that or a coyote's dinner.

Super cute...suprisingly scratchy (sigh) I would have kept one...or two.

This was the little one that captured my heart.
Unfortunately, I proved allergic to her as well.  She was the runt of the litter and the only girl.

These little things brought some love into my life as I longed for home.  Amazing that a woman with seven children could still feel the need for furry friends to cuddle.  A friend of mine said it was the pregnancy (mothering) hormones.  I'm pretty sure she was right!

Morning workout

I'm getting big...reeeal big.  Pushing 9 months here, and feeling it.  So this morning I hit the basement laundry room.  I switched the loads around and lugged up a basket of laundry.  I'm feeling the burn.
Then my dear husband informs me that the baby is sleeping in his carseat (we had arrived home 2 minutes ago, and I knew this...I just sort of ran to the laundry and hoped someone else might climb into our big van and lift the baby out and carry him to his crib.  Of course, Mama is the best at moving a sleeping baby from car to crib while not waking him, so I went back to the garage.  I pulled myself into the van, lifted my little bundle of love, and carried him up our incredibly large flight of stairs (ok, it's just a normal staircase, but lend me some creative license here).  I managed to place him in his crib without dropping him.  And I turned, to face the downward climb, huffing and puffing.

Oh yeah. Still feeling it. 
A) I am in awesome shape.  B) Ha!

Overheard this morning

Mom (encouraging and enthusiastic tone of voice): I have a challenge! If you work hard and get a song crossed off at piano lessons today, I'll buy one of those bags of mini-candy bars like you get on Halloween and let you pick one!

"Someone": Just one? Can't we pick two or three? How big are those things anyway?

Ok, another week with minimal progress.
Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled.