Wednesday, April 27, 2016

listening, eating, reading, making-vol. 1

I am joining in Anna's linkup, because she is awesome.

Bach's unaccompanied Cello suites have been my favorite music for de-stressing these days. And if I want to help the kids be calm, we listen to Audrey Assad's new album Inheritance.


I think I have finally found a good dinner planning rhythm in which I get to make nice new recipes, but also have easy ones throughout the week as well. I plan longer, harder recipes for less busy days, and especially weekend dinners that I know the professor will be able to help. And do simple, but good most other nights. Like today we are having oven baked cheese "quesadillas: cheese and tortillas baked at 375 for 8 minutes on cookie sheets and served with salsa, sour cream, salad, and a frozen veggie.
This past Sunday I made steak tips with mushroom and onion gravy from our Cook's Illustrated Cookbook. The fun thing about having 1/4 beef in the deep freeze is that I get to work with cuts of beef that I don't normally use.


The Master of Hestvikin by Sigrid Undset. I am in volume two. What is it about Undset that makes her make all of her main characters make so many bad decisions? Her novels really are a study of sin, how it builds upon itself, how it affects marriages. I have to read this one in small doses because there is so much packed in there. She totally understood human failure and weakness, but also redemption and grace.


I made (washed and changed the sheets) all the beds on Monday. I should be making lunch. The kids have been making messes. Not much creatively, except for writing these days.

(The book links are through my Amazon affiliate. I will receive a small percentage of what is purchased through the links.)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Seven Quick Takes: Tulips, Broccoli, and Scissors

1. Happy Friday! Home schooling has made me love Fridays more than ever. It makes my weekdays fuller, and makes the weekends more of a break. It reminds me of how life was when I was in school, except, no homework! Perhaps that is how all working adults feel as well.

2. I am also sooooo ready for summer break, but don't tell that to my daughter; we have at least 6 more weeks of math to do. I am half contemplating hiring a mother's helper to watch the kids for a few mornings a week so that I can do a little bit more writing guilt free. That would be nice. Patio writing with a cold-pressed coffee. That would be the life.

3. Speaking of warmer weather, I planted some seeds last week. Everytime I plant seeds I think of the Frog and Toad story where frog plants seeds and then panics that they will not grow. He goes out and reads to his seeds, sings, brings light at night. Well these seeds got watered by me twice, and then the Spring began to do the rainy thing, which is so much better than the snowy thing now that it is almost the end of April. I planted some carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and broccoli raab, lettuces, and snow peas. Once it is more consistently warmer I will do more.
4. Broccoli seedlings. Yay!

5. I love tulips; they are so happy.

6. My daffodils really are having the best year yet! I am glad I gave them another chance. I will have to find a good annual to throw in here once the daffodils are finished.

7. My three year old F informed me this morning that she is "going to cut off all [her] hair, and find some red hair, and sew it to [her] head, and make two braids" and be Anne of Green Gables. And to her sister L she is "going to cut off all her hair and find some black curly hair and sew it on her head and she will be Diana." I think I better hide the scissors.

That's all folks!

I am linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum.

At the NCRegister Blog: Why We Should All Prayerfully Read 'Amoris Laetitia'

My husband and I spent our free time the weekend after the release of Amoris Laetitia reading the document, and we would both say that it was really good for our marriage. We liked what we read in the document about marriage and family life as it was full of theological truths and many times practical ways to live out marriage. We have also had many conversations with friends about the document, read many commentaries of it, discussed what really is going on with Chapter 8 (which I am not going to add to the buzz there). One of the concerns a friend had (besides all the issues surrounding Chapter 8) was that the pope really did not state anything new about marriage. What was the whole point of the document if he was just going to reiterate the same teachings on marriage that the Church has always held?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

At the NCRegister Blog: How I Learned to Stop Nitpicking at Mass

The summer we moved to St. Paul we were very eager to attend Holy Mass at St. Agnes. In addition to Sunday Masses, we went almost every day to the daily Mass in the lower chapel. At those daily Masses, for the first time since I had fallen in love with the Church’s liturgical traditions did the OF seem like it followed from those traditions. We had been daily Mass attendees at many other OF Masses, but this one was different.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Divine Mercy, the Annunciation, and a Possible Miracle

We made it to the 7:30 am TLM/EF Low Mass at St. Agnes for the first time since the fourth Sunday of Lent. We wimped out and opted for the 8:30am the day of the time change. I was out of town on Palm Sunday and went with my mom. And Easter Sunday we did the 8:30am again since the EF was the 10am orchestral Mass (which is beautiful, but way too long with four small children). So, on Divine Mercy Sunday we were back at our normal Mass time (and so were all of our favorite after Mass donut eating friends)!

The lectionary for the OF and the EF are different from each other on most Sundays, and as I heard both between the Blessed is She devotion and going to the EF Mass, I just had to share the first reading from the EF. It was so Divine Mercy appropriate, and so appropriate coming the day before the transferred Feast of the Annunciation:
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has borne witness to his Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne to his Son.
-1 John 4-10
The water and blood imagery bring to mind the Divine Mercy image, and then when you add the Spirit as a witness, it brings to mind the Annunciation.

We are getting some flurries here, and I hear it is snowing east of Minnesota, in places like Michigan and Buffalo, NY. (places where we have lived--my five week stay between NY and MN in MI count right?) 

Here is some snowy (or rainy) Annunciation Scripture for you:

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and return not thither but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my [W]ord be that goes forth from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and prosper in the thing for which I sent it."

-Isaiah 55:10-11
So, take hope in that the snow is coming this cold spring day in order to bring forth seed and bread, and that Christ came and has and will accomplish His purpose.

The Divine Mercy weekend is especially meaningful for me in several ways. 11 years ago, just hours before Pope St. John Paul II passed away, on April 2, my grandmother passed away after a her second battle with cancer. And two years ago on Divine Mercy Sunday, I began to miscarry the baby that we named after Pope St. John Paul II.

But today I have some happy news to share. My father, whom I asked you to pray for, met with his doctor about his artery which was supposed to have been enlarged. Here is the background. A CT scan of this specific artery from after Dad's surgery measured it to be a safe size. He had an ultrasound of it in March which measured it to be bigger than it should be, thus risking rupture. However, he had another CT scan last week (Easter Monday after we had all been praying for him) which showed the artery to not have enlarged at, all meaning that there is no concern about his artery. The doctor's explanation was that the ultrasound was inaccurate, but we think that it is possible that there was a miracle. 

Either way we are thankful and praise God for Dad's health. Thank you for your prayers for Dad.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Blessed is She: Declare the Works of the Lord

I am over at Blessed is She today writing on today's readings...
It is incredible how the Holy Spirit can change everything. Saints Peter and John went from hiding in the upper room with the Eleven, to seeing the resurrected Christ, to receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to proclaiming in the face of threats from the Jewish leaders, “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
The same thing happened to the man that they healed. He could not stop proclaiming what had been done for him.

Read the rest at Blessed is She.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Seven Quick Takes: Easter Week

1. Happy Easter! We had a lovely Triduum, not pushing our limits with four kids. M and G went to Holy Thursday. I made it out to the altar of repose at our territorial parish once they came home from St. Agnes. On Good Friday we all went to the afternoon Mass of the Presanctified (that is the traditional name for it, the Eucharist is already consecrated, hence "presanctified"). I had a wrestling match stood in back with T for most of it. Saturday we stayed home. It was a good idea all around. M and I like to do the 12 readings from the old, old Easter vigil on the Holy Saturdays that we don't get to go. So we did that, and it was nice. We went to Sunday morning mass and then spent the day at the farm in Wisconsin with M's aunt, uncle, and cousins. We had a lovely time there as usual.

2. Secondly, thank you all for your prayers for my dad and I a couple of weeks ago. Dad had another scan, and will be seeing his doctor next week to hear about his options. As for my concussion, I am going to be going to physical therapy for about a month to help me become more tolerant of visual stimulation (too much of which has been causing me to be lightheaded, dizzy, and nauseated).
3. Today did not turn out at all like I expected. We were planning on going to our home school co-op only to have the baby wake up sick. The poor little guy had to have two baths this morning from various effects of his illness and has been running a fever all day. Instead we stayed home, and did things like plant some seeds. I think everyone enjoyed it. We had four little starter sets from Easter baskets, but they came with so many seeds that we planted 7 more basil plants, and two strawberry plants from another starter kit. I am hoping the light from the AeroGarden will give our plants the help they need to get a head start on summer.

4. I got around to some things I have been wanting to do for awhile, like put the Easter grass away and organize this school supply cabinet. I have been meaning to organize it since September, but never got around to buying the paper organizing racks. So, these stacks of paper have been laying in a messy stack with other things scattered about. I do not have before pictures for you. At any rate, my dad had some extra office organizing supplies and brought them when he came to visit it. A sick day for baby and canceled outing was the perfect time to get started!

5. I meant to write in the afternoon, but the girls asked me to help them build their Lego pizzaria. This set was mine as a little girl. So, instead of writing I spent 45 minutes digging through Legos and building with my kids. I think it was worth it. And I have discovered that most Lego sets have directions online.

6. Spring is springing even though we were in the 30s today. I am thinking about buying seeds this weekend and planting cold crops outside soon. Our tulip bulbs are well on their way to flowering. And these daffodils are on their third spring and finally look established. In the past we have gotten a few straggler in May. It looks like we will have an abundance this year! I love daffodils!
7. We have been a little delayed in our indoor plant traditions this year, so instead of an Easter lily, we have an Easter Amaryllis...
We were also late in that we planted the Resurrection garden grass thing on Good Friday, so our grass is just starting to come in. I suppose it is a good thing Easter lasts 7 weeks--maybe this little lawn in symbolic in that the joy of Easter does not happen all at once, but we grow closer to God slowly over the Eastertide so that we are more spiritually ready to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

I am linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum. Head on over for more quick takes!
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