Friday, December 28, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



Like Thanksgiving day, it was quiet around our house. We had an enjoyable Christmas day listening to Christmas music, opening presents, eating and making merry. Well, as merry as you can when you are so far away from all your dear family and friends up north. The children seemed to really enjoy their Christmas gifts and didn't seem to mind it too much that there was no snow.

This year was also touched with some concern and sadness for our nephew Chris. Please say a prayer for Chris and his family, as he was hit by a car and is in stable yet critical condition. For his privacy I will not say too much but he really needs your prayers for a full recovery. We are grateful that he is still with us, and pray that he will continue to strengthen and improve.


I am ending the year with a lovely full blown cold. UGH! It's the kind of cold that knocks you down and drags you out. So I had to take a nap today. Naps for me are like 20 minutes, lol!
But they are helpful and refreshing.


It's 70 degrees out today and cloudy. I really must say I like the winter weather here in the south. It is so nice and mild. We have a possibility of tornadoes from now until the spring. We had watches all day, but nothing came, thankfully. Anthony gets very excited about tornado watches and warnings. He keeps us posted everytime he hears something on the radio or t.v.




One of my favorite gifts was this lovely craft book. I have enjoyed getting back into sewing and making a few things. My first project from the book was this cute pin cusion made out of scrap material. It was "sew" easy. This book is great because it separates the projects by the estimated amount of time it will take, such 2-4 hour gifts, 4-8 hour, etc... If I start now, I should be able to make everyone a little something for Christmas 2008!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Snapshots

Now that's what I call a Jaw Breaker!
"I wanna play Wii!"
"A box makes the bestest toy!"
Getting back to sewing. Criss Cross coasters in Anna Maria's Chocolate Lollipop fabric.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Italian Potato Casserole and Cream Cheese Brownies

This was one of our regular side dishes years ago, and I haven't made it in over a year or longer. Does that ever happen to you, where you stop making something for a long time because you just didn't think to make it?
Well tonight's menu is roast chicken, sweet corn, and italian potato casserole.

Easy Italian Potato CasseroleSide Dish

4 to 6 potatoes

1 onion sliced thin
2-3 tomatoes sliced
mozarella cheese
parmesan cheese
dried oregano
dried basil
salt and pepper

Peel potatoes and slice thin, I use the Cuisenart to make this dish super fast! Slice onions. In a deep dish pan that has been sprayed or buttered, layer (one half of ingredients) potatoes, onions, oregano, basil, salt, pepper,parmesan cheese, tomatoes, and then mozarella, then repeat the layers. Cover with aluminum foil that has been sprayed. Bake at 400 degrees F. until tender. About 40-45 minutes. Uncover to brown.

I will also make some cream cheese brownies for dessert. They are super easy!

CREAM CHEESE BROWNIES

1 pkg. brownie mix

6 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. butter
1/3 c. sugar5 eggs
2 tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. water
Cream cheese mix: soften cream cheese, butter, sugar, 2 eggs, flour, vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Brownie mix: mix according to direction on package using 3 eggs.
Spoon half of mix in pan. Top with cream cheese, add other half and swirl through with spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snapshots





A Day at the Museum

We had a fun time at the museum. Yesterday we had the homeschool group over for lessons on Picasso and Margritte. We did some fun art projects reflecting "Cubism" and "Surrealism". The next morning we all woke up with art on the brain. So after lessons we went to the Montgomery Art Museum. We were able to see paintings and other art work that reflected cubism and surrealism.

Here is Luther with the view of the lake behind him. Those sculptures at the center actually turn and the birds like to sit on them. It was a gorgeous 75 degree day in Nov.


This is a tile wall that Peter is enjoying looking at.


The boys are actually in the art. There is a painting of this in the museum.










Here is Sara posing in front of the museum.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Long time no write...

Daddy and Peter preparing for thier Thanksgiving Feast.


Hello everybody! Sorry it's been so long since I updated. We have been busy as you can imagine. With doctor/dentist appointments, homeschool activities, home-schooling, baby care, pet and house care, laundry etc.... You know what I mean!


Our Thanksgiving was very nice and quiet. We enjoyed a lovely meal here at home together, just the seven of us and of course Kia catching all the droppings and leftovers that she could. We decided we wanted a quiet simple day of thanks giving. We went around the table and we each gave thanks for something.



Today is a very rainy day, which we need. So we will probably do a lot of extra reading, and laundry, and eat homemade turkey soup that I made with what was left of our turkey. I just boiled the bones in water with whatever meat was left on the bones. I added celery, onion, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. I simmered for an hour or so. Then I removed the bones, and picked the meat off the turkey. I added a bag of bow tie pasta with veggies from Schwan's and two diced potatoes. Simmered till tender and add the picked turkey. Yummy! Good with sour dough or crusty bread.

Peter is sitting all by himself now and is still teething so he gets fussy. But we have so many extra sets of arms that he doesn't have to fuss for very long before someone comes to his rescue. He is sleeping much better these nights. He was getting up almost every two hours, when the teething was painful, to nurse but is back to sleeping from about 9 p.m. till about 5 or almost 6 a.m. NICE!!

Speaking of teeth, Anthony just lost his third tooth. He all ready lost the bottom two and now has lost his top tooth. He was trying to whistle with the hole left, but it isn't working. Anthony also informed me this morning that elephants are afraid of mice. I wonder where he got that idea :) Kids say the funniest things.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Homeschool happenings

Well we are currently finishing up some science and history books we are reading. Our trimester is almost over. One of the favorite books is "Galen and the Gateway to Medicine".

This is an interesting book about how doctors started out learning their field, particularly Galen, who was a doctor that practiced over 2,000 years ago. I highly recommend this book for ages 8 and up. Luther will be reading The History of Medicine, which will get a little more in depth and takes a look at medical practices from the ancient past to the present, including biographical sketches of famous persons of medicine.

We will also be purchasing and boxing up Christmas gifts for the students at St.Joseph's Indian School in SD. This is a project through our homescool group. I am not sure but I think these boys are either orphans or displaced. I will have to learn more and let you know later.

We go roller skating once a month and have book club once a month. We meet with another local group for sports and art in the park every Friday if we can. I will be starting a monthly art and music class right here in my home as well.

We will be baking lots of mini quick breads for the troops and my brother who are overseas and will not be home for the holidays. I hope they make it!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bee Movie



Well we went to see Bee Movie on Saturday afternoon, with much hesitation on my part. I had read some critics reviews on a particular site that I thought I trusted, and they weren't extremely positive on the movie. That site gave it a C+. Compared to Ratatouille which got an A-.


If we were to grade those same movies, we would switch the grades around. Bee Movie was great! We really enjoyed it! And we didn't care that it wasn't accurate to the way real bees are. We didn't go there to be educated on bees, we went to be entertained and to have some laughs. If we wanted to learn about bees, we could have rented a National Geographic video on the life of bees.

I hope that those of you that go to see Bee Movie will enjoy it as much as we did. It was perfect for the whole family.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Good Ol' Days

The children and I have been going to a park on Fridays for sports day and art. Some bring baseballs and bats, others bring a kick ball or football, and we just play. It is neat to see the children playing at the park because their main goal is to have fun, and enjoy their friends.
There was a time when sports were played in the neighborhood just for the fun or love of the game. Picture this, the kids take two trash cans and set them up across from each other, those were the goal (nets), the kids would get some sticks or brooms and use a tennis ball or small ball to play-- Yes, you guessed it, street hockey! No expensive equipment needed!
Nowadays sports have become so competitive, expensive, and all about making it big. The goal seems to be to become famous and make millions, oh and yes, it's a bonus if you love the sport that you play.
I remember as a child playing hide and seek, kick the can, dodgeball, freeze tag, tag, jump rope, double-dutch, chineses jump rope, ride skateboard, bike, or tricycle. It was great to climb trees, run through the pineapple fields in PR, pick mangoes off the tree for a quick snack, build sand castles at the beach, or build a house with sheets on your bunk bed. On rainy days board games were a blast. Playing monopoly or parchesi for hours. Playing card games like war, matching, hearts, rummi, or gin-rummi. And I hate to admit, but hey I was a girl, I played with dolls or barbies. I wasn't as impacted in those days (way back in the 70's) with feminism as some women are now. We weren't afraid to become mothers, and our mothers weren't concerned about us getting an eating disorder because of playing with barbie dolls. We were just having fun without the distraction of television or video games. Obesity was rare, even being overweight was uncommon.
Wouldn't it be nice to go back to the simple days of working and playing together, spending true quality time together, not in front of the television, but with each other. Listening to each other and really hearing each other as we do the dishes or fold laundry together. Our children will surprise us with what they are able to do and learn and what they all ready know. We are so busy in our lives that we hardly have time to talk to our children.
Yes we have work to do, but can't we spare one night a week, order a pizza or make a simple meal, turn off the t.v. and video games, and really spend time together. Teach your children to play together even if they aren't in the same age group. Our older children will learn patience and the younger ones will learn to respect their older siblings and look up to them. We will learn more about each other and appreciate each others gifts and limitations.
Movie night is fun too, don't get me wrong! But it's more fun if you watch sparingly and watch together.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Bella

This movie was moving and Tom and I really enjoyed it. Stephen McEveety, who also produced movies as "Braveheart", and "The Passion of Jesus Christ", signed on after the movie was finished to help market and distribute the film.

I don't want to give too much away so I will just refer you to the website www.bellathemovie.com. I hope that you will go and see it if it comes to your town. It isn't going to be showing everywhere, unless it becomes a big hit. You know Hollywood. There's got to be big money in it for them. Oh well. Go and be moved and inspired to love more deeply and live more fully. I do have to say that I found the Puerto Rican/Mexican family delightful and real.

Farm City Festival

This is a Eurasian Owl.

On Monday night, I took the boys to a Farm City Festival. It took place on Bartlett Ranch here in Montgomery. The children had so much fun. There was face painting, free treat bags, Birds of Prey Show, pony and horse rides, hay stack jumping (a favorite for the boys), free hot dogs, chips, and drinks, hay ride, and a whole lot more.



Here is the picture that was put into the newspaper:


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Movie suggestion

Someone from my Catholic Homeschool list wrote and asked for support on a movie. Her name is Kerry Wall and the movie is called Noelle. It comes out in December. They are a Charlotte Mason Catholic Homeschooling Family and her husband wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the movie. Kerry starred opposite her husband and three of their 4 children also acted in it. Check it out and please try and support Catholics that are making films (if they are decent movies of course!!). I saw the preview and it actually looked like it might be good.

Thyroid issues and a Silly Face


In the last couple of months, I (Chris) have been under the supervision of my doctor for hypertension, which came back as soon as I gave birth to Peter. We got that under control with medication. I do think that a healthy diet and weight loss will contribute to my improvement, but that takes time to achieve, so it was important to get treatment as my bp was 190/109 and sometimes higher :( Now it is holding steady at 120/70 :)

So now onto the thyroid issue. My doctor also did some blood tests and found that I had hyperthyroid. That meant that my thyroid was overactive and producing too much hormone. That would explain the palpitations I was having soon after Peter's birth. I was also experiencing irregular cycles which I attributed to breast-feeding. My doctor ordered a more extensive test for thyroid levels, and based on those results ordered an ultrasound scan of my thyroid. All this was between August and September. Meanwhile I read some stuff online and I was guessing that I have post-partum thyroiditis. My reason for thinking that was that I didn't have any family history of thyroid disfunction, and the information online made sense to me. I didn't have that many, or severe symptoms.

I was then referred to an endocrinologist based on my enlarged thyroid and disfunction. The endocrinologist examined me and looked over my records. My symptoms of palpitations had abated, yet my cycles were still irregular which even the doctor said that it could be due to breastfeeding(bf).

She left the room and came back with a diagnosis of Grave's Disease. I was shocked. I had read extensively on Grave's and didn't think that was what I had because I didn't exhibit many of the symptoms associated with Grave's except for enlarged thyroid, some palpitions and irregular cycles. I truly was shocked. I asked her couldn't it be postpartum thyroiditis, but she said no based on my enlarged thyroid. So she prescribed some anti-thyroid drugs and said to come back for blood tests. She also had me do a blood test that very day to see if anything had changed since August and Sept.

I went immediately and got my blood drawn, got the prescription filled and took the meds. By the second dose (the next morning) I was feeling ill and so down. I wondered why this was happening and wished it wan't me. I asked God to protect my liver from the drug, as it can tax it, and to protect Peter from it getting into his body through the milk. The doctor had asured me that very little leaked into the milk and should not affect him, but that I should let his doctor know I was on the drug and bf.

The next day, after my appointment with my endocrinologist, we had a light school day and we got ready to go to play ball with other homeschoolers at a local park. It was a hard day for me as I had Grave's Disease on my mind alot and I was trying to figure out what I could do diet wise to improve my health. I was all ready drinking carrot-apple juice and green juices. Plus had added lots of fiber, fruit and veggies to my diet. I read online that too much iodine in the diet can worsen hyperthyroid. So I made a list of foods to avoid and posted them on the fridge.

The children got their sneakers on and we prepared to leave. The phone rang and I saw that it was my doctor. I knew immediately that she was calling about my bloodwork. Instinctively I prayed that it was better not worse. She told me that the thyroid levels were no longer hyper. That I should stop the medication immediately. In fact I currently am the opposite hypothyroid and not producing enough hormone. That sounded just like postpartum thyroiditis to me! She still thinks I have Grave's but that it is going into "remission". She will be re-checking my blood in mid-November as originally planned. Then we shall see how it is. Chances are that I will still be hyothyroid and may need to be given meds to up the levels. At least that is what happens in post partum thyroiditis. So we shall see.
I am relieved that my body is trying to repair itself and Lord willing it will get better. Please say a little prayer to St.Blaise to intercede for the healing of my thyroid as it is located in the throat.

Unexpected Trip


Towards the end of September we made a last minute trip to NY to visit Tom's parents and family. Tom's dad had surgery to remove cancerous tumors. He did very well with the surgery. Tom's brother's and mom were great at keeping us updated on dad's condition. There was bad news the next day and dad had to have another surgery. He did fine with the second surgery, but suffered a terrible blood infection. He was in critical condition and we really didn't know for sure whether he was going to survive. They called it sepsis.
We then decided that we should go and see dad. Thankfully he got better from the infection and unfortunately got another mysterious infection. By God's grace he recovered from the second infection and began to slowly recover.

It was an emotional "roller coaster" as Tom's mom would say. One minute he appeared to be doing better then a set-back. But thanks to God, our supplication through prayer, and dad's fighting spirit, he has pulled through and is now off his ventilator and eating and moving. Our God is always good, but He was especially good this time to all. He spared dad. Now dad is cancer free and should, Lord willing, recover fully and go home. We pray for him daily that he continue to improve and that there be no more set-backs to his recovery.

So the trip to NY was sudden and a bit stressful and sad, but was also full of joy in seeing dad recover, and reconnecting with family members we hadn't seen in over a year or since Christmas.
We will certainly miss everyone while we are away again!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Family Room

Before:


As I mentioned on older posts, we are gradually working on some minor remodeling jobs around the house.

We recently got the family room painted. As you can see in the pictures it was a brown paneling before. Now it is brighter and lighter. The paint went right onto the paneling.
The walls are indian white and the fireplace is a few shades darker on the same color palette. In other words, I don't remember the name of the color, LOL! We still need to hang some stuff up on the walls. Any suggestions?

Anyway, let me know what you think!



Friday, August 31, 2007

Montgomery

Montgomery City
(pop., 2000: 201,568), capital of Alabama, U.S. The site was inhabited by Indian mound builders in prehistoric times. About 1717 the French built Fort Toulouse on the river above the present site of Montgomery. The city was founded in 1819 and named for Gen. Richard Montgomery; it became the state capital in 1846. In 1861, during the
American Civil War, it served briefly as the capital of the Confederacy; it was captured by Union troops in 1865. It was a centre of the civil rights movement, notably the protests organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. Located southeast of Birmingham, it serves as the commercial centre of an agricultural region, trading in cotton and livestock and producing fertilizer. It is the seat of Alabama State University and several other institutions of higher education.


Me and my sister on the trolley when she came to visit.


This is the Capital.

This is Dexter Ave. Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached at.

This is a monument to the legendary Hank Williams.This is the Tucker Pecan Company where we purchased some yummy chocolate covered pecans and other goodies. The children loved the old fashioned Coke machine and paid $1 for small glass bottles of Coke. Go figure!This is the trolley that we rode through the city.
The trolley was air-conditioned and only costs a quarter to ride. There is a narrator that told us about the sites we were seeing.

Peter and Cloth Diapers


Peter is now four months old and is showing off his personality. He makes all kinds of noises, now that he figured out he has a voice. He ohhh's and ahhh's and occasionally growls. It is so adorable.
Nicolas and Anthony are really enjoying him too. They wake up in the mornings and check to see if Peter is awake yet so they can say hello.
I had to graduate Peter to larger cloth diapers now that he has pretty much outgrown all his smaller diapers.
I had also made Peter some cute homemade diapers and saved money. The ones I just bought are called Motherease and they are super easy to use and wash and dry. These diapers should fit until he is potty trained. In fact they can be used from about 8lbs. to 35 lbs. Check out http://www.motherease.com/ or http://www.babycottonbottoms.com/cloth_vs_disposable.htm for more information on them. You will spend about $10 a diaper on this kind, but in the end you will save alot of money in comparison to what you will spend for disposables in 2-3 yrs.
Let's figure that for 2 dozen diapers it would be about $240 and about 8 covers in different sizes another $60-$80. You wash a load every other day and they are fresh to reuse. Or you can purchase less expensive cloth diapers, like the ones your mother or grandmother used, that you pin on, for as little as $30 a dozen! Disposables will run you about $2,000-$4,000 depending on brand and how long the child takes to potty train. You add more garbage to the landfills, hence you are throwing your money away :) Baby is also exposed to dangerous, rash causing chemicals. Disposables were created for convenience, like paper plates and disposable cups, so I do use them when we are going on a trip or will be gone for the day. The cloth that is sold in department stores is not as absorbent as what you will buy from a company that specializes in diapering products. And you will be turned off to cloth with that kind. Another good brand that Walmart sells online is Kushies. These are very similar to disposables and are washable and re-usable. You can view them at http://www.kushies.com/.
I keep the diapers in a diaper pail until wash day. To wash all you do is throw the diapers in for a rinse then do a heavy duty wash with hot water and a mild detergent, I use All Free and Clear. Then do an extra rinse. Dry for an hour or hang in sun to dry. Then you are ready to reuse them!
All you new and experienced moms out there who want to try this, don't be afraid. It's super easy and your baby will love the soft feel of cotton against his skin!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Homeschooling

We are two weeks into another homeschooling year. It is going very well considering we have baby Peter now who needs mommy's attention and food frequently.

Tom is happily back to teaching at the Catholic High School and he is loving it. I am so glad he loves his job.

Everyone is very busy with reading, writing, math, grammar, latin, history, art, music and nature study, just to name a few! We will be having a group of children join us monthly for a special musical composer and artist class in our home. That should be fun! Luther is a boys scout working hard to reach his merit badge goals and hopes to reach Eagle by his Senior year. He is currently a high school freshman. Our graduate is enjoying her time off from school. But she has been very busy helping mom with the home and the baby. She also keeps herself busy with reading, painting, making movies out of digital pictures and helping with some of the school lessons. She truly is a blessing!

We will be attending weekly mass on Fridays. Luther will be in training to be an altar boy! I know he is older but he is new to the Catholic faith and embracing it. Sara was recieved last year. We are blessed that our older children joined us in our return to the Church. For those of you who were raised Catholic but left the faith or are protestant and curious about the Catholic Church, I highly recommend the books "Not By Scripture Alone", "Not By Faith Alone", and "Not by Bread Alone", all written by Robert Sungenis. Also the "Roots of the Reformation" by Karl Adam.

We love nature walks but it's been too hot to do any walking outdoors lately. We had a thunderstorm today and we are hopeful that this will be the beginning of cooler weather, perhaps in the mid 80's to 90's. It's too soon to expect or hope for anything cooler than that.

Here is our littlest blessing Peter at two and a half months old. He turned 4 months on the 21st of August. Yes those are cloth diapers!



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