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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Devine Mercy Sunday Reflection

Devine Mercy Divine Mercy Clouds

No doubt you have heard the phrase before “Devine Mercy'”. But what exactly does it mean? What is Devine Mercy?
Devine Mercy is the mercy that comes from God when we need it. Mercy being the Forgiveness. So why do we need forgiveness? We need forgiveness because we are human.
We need forgiveness for all of our faults
We need forgiveness for the words we have said
We need forgiveness for the words we have not said
We need forgiveness for our thoughts
We need forgiveness for what we have done
We need forgiveness for what we have not done.


Pretty Happy Funny Real


Today I am joining in with the ladies over at Like Mother Like Daughter.
A lot has gone on here this week. It hardly seems like Easter was just less than a week ago.  With the longer days we have not slowed down one bit. Literally, my Pi got up at 2:30 Friday morning to make coffee to watch the in her words “once in a life time fairy tale wedding event of the century”  In other words the royal wedding. Pi wide awake w/coffee - Peanut up but not awake


In the romantic spirit we went and got my wedding album. Yes that IS me!  So glad my hairdresser  had the forethought to do a classic hairstyle and nothing that screams a decade.
Lisa bride


The birthBirthday Boy day boy looked Happy despite the 5am wake up to see the wedding, and yes, believe it or not he was just as excited as his sisters to see it. He LOVES castles and cathedrals, and apparently kisses quote ‘I want to see the kiss. That is the most special thing”. Who knew I had a romantic for a son?  His future wife will be one very lucky lady indeed.


I just had to include this picture of Peanut. She is just bouncy happy.


IMG_3709Pumpkin was inspired by seeing the Cathedrals and Castles in London so he decided to build his own. He spend over 40 minutes meticulously building them. He even asked me to take a picture.

Then he knocked them down with tanks and airplanes,.IMG_3712


Dh, had tired some new yogurt lemon  the other night. Lets say it just has a bit of a puckery taste. Thanks to Peanut for capturing this photo.

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Obsession in the Garden

Irises IMG_3600IMG_3602
I seem to have an obsession with Irises, one that has been passed down to Peanut and  Pumpkin . One has declared the Iris her favorite flower the other has claimed it belongs to him because it is the emblem of the Boy Scouts.  I have started a collection of sorts, not by design but since I love them and they are not in the house they are not clutter, right. WELL – the problem is that Irises propagate not by seed but rather by rhizome and they need to be divided occasionally. Right now I have a wheel barrow and red wagon full of them. I suppose with almost 5 acres I could find place to put them. Looks like I have a lot of digging in my future. I wonder if I can bribe make that pay the kids to dig for me?
The Iris is a noble flower with a long illustrious history. It is called le fleur de lis
single Iris - deep purple family pictures 118
It has been used by Royalty, sports teams. But what does it have to do with Catholics?
In the middle ages the fleur de lis was used in depictions of  Mary. Some also think it  may also represent the trinity because of it’s three distinct “leaves”.  The lily symbolizes purity and and strength and this is perhaps why St. Jeanne D'arc (Joan of Arc) is depicted with the fleur de lis.
joan of arc
So why this obsession with Irises? Honestly I have no idea why. Perhaps it is their variety that draws me to them. Or maybe because they once were a weed growing on the bank of a river. They were once a humble flower elevated.

Adventures in Green Living and Parenting: Do your research...

Adventures in Green Living and Parenting: Do your research...: "I have been reading a wonderful book by Robyn O'Brian called The Unhealthy Truth that is bound to raise questions, and lots of them! While s..."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Family Friday - Birthday Boy Edition

Then April 2011
My little Pumpkin

Happy Birthday little man!  Hard to believe he is now seven.
Believe it or not I don’t think I have ever written his birth story down. The drawbacks of being number 3, his baby album is not done yet either. Which explains why I have a lack of pictures of him being a baby.
Your pregnancy was definitely than your sisters. With them I craved healthy things like beans, shrimp, cherries. With you it was sweets, like caramel. Maybe that is why you are sooo sweet to this day. When you were born you were not so small. They weighed and measured you. You came out 10lbs 1 oz. and 23 inches long. I sent your Dad home to go the 3 month clothing it was still too short! You went home in a 6 month outfit. 
I am not sure where the name pumpkin came from. You certainly don’t look like a pumpkin. But the name has stuck.
Always Smiling You have always smiled. I find it hard to think of a time when you did not smile. People everywhere would ask me “does he always smile?”  Yup, pretty much ALL the time.

Sharing Eggs
You are sweet and always think of how others feel. Just the other day your  teacher and I caught you sharing eggs with a classmate
You are a man’s boy.
No one made you happier as a baby than your Pop. As baby you  were happiest on his lap.IMG_3658 Then again he had a way with babies.

My men

You shadow your father, and want to do whatever he does. And you are manly enough to cry at happy endings in movies.
When I ask you what  want to be when you grow up , you tell me you don’t want to grow up. I don’t know what your future will bring but I am eager to see what sort of man you will grow into.

Thankful Thursday

Today over at The Peaceful Housewife, Jenny is talking about the things she is thankful for.  It got me thinking about all the things I am thankful for too. Really there is sooo much but in the interest of time I will keep it short.
  1. I am thankful for a safe house to live and sleep in – so many in this world live in substandard housing and not just in third world countries either. Have you ever visited some of the truly impoverished areas of this country?
  2. I am thankful that I am always able to put food on the table for my family. Too many people are going hungry and skipping meals so they can feed their children.
  3. I am thankful for a husband who works hard for his family.
  4. I am truly thankful for my wonderful children. When I see how many kids have problems, health, behavioral, or otherwise, it makes me realize just how fortunate I am to have happy, healthy, well adjusted children.
  5. I am thankful for the support of friends. I know I can just reach out and call them if I need to
  6. I am thankful for my mother. Seriously, she is the reason I am the person I am today.
  7. I am thankful I live in a country that allows me to choose. Whether that is healthcare or education
  8. I am thankful that God does not give me more than I can handle. But I seriously wish he did not trust me with so much.
  9. I am thankful for a body that can move, even if it does not move as well as it used to.
  10. I am thankful that I can write about what I want to and not be censored by anyone (but my kids)
What are you thankful for today?
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cooking with Quinoa

Real Food for Real People

Warm Quinoa and Kale Salad (great cold)

_quinoa seeds
Considered a super food by many, quinoa is also considered an ancient grain,. In reality the part we eat is the seeds. Unlike other grains, it is a complete protein. I recently started cooking with quinoa this past fall. It is relatively easy to cook. If you can cook rice you can cook quinoa. like rice. In fact if you are used to cooking brown rice it will take less time. The ration is the same as that for rice two cups of water to a boil  to  one cup of grain. I bring the water or a broth can be substituted to a boil then  cover and cook  at a low simmer and 14–18 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. You can use a rice steamer if you want, but usually cook up a big batch of grains every few days to use later in other recipes.
Recently I decided to see what would happen if I combined quinoa with another super food  KALE.  The kale is coming up in the garden and now is a good time to use it.

Three Stars (based on 5) --5 being the number in my family, 3 being how many liked/loved this dish. This was so good that my husband and Pumpkin went back for more. 

This is a super easy recipe and is great for those nights you need something quick. 

quinoa and kale


One box of Veg Broth
One clove of Garlic, I used some from farmers market- much better!
One can of organic black  beans
One bunch of Kale
A shake of turmeric
A shake or two of powdered Ginger
A shake of Lemon Grass
A shake of allspice
( I simply shake the powdered spices over the broth, while heating it)

  • Sauté garlic in olive oil
  • Add broth and spices –bring to a boil
  • Add 1 cup of quinoa cook until done -it will absorb all the broth when done.
  • Drain and rinse the canned beans. You could use dried ones if you choose.
  • Remove from heat and add one bunch of Kale  well chopped, mix in and recover pot. The heat will "cook " the kale

Enjoy as a main course or side dish. What is your favorite way to use Quinoa?

Easter Week in Review

Easter Week in Review
sharing eggs empty crossPeanut Pumpkin Pi
Peanut Pumpkin Pi at church before Mass on Easter

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Neck of the Woods

I am joining up with the The Real Housewives of Oklahoma to show you what is happening in my neck of the woods.
 Tonight our school held its academic awards for students who have made outstanding achievements. My oldest daughter – Pi was honored.  A little bit about her nickname. One day she asked me if she could have a food nickname like her brother (pumpkin) and sister (peanut).  I told her she could be Pi  as in 3.14.  She is a bit gifted in science and math, but she won’t tell you that, so I will.

My daughter was honored with a couple of awards. One was as an Academic All Star. Only 7 students out of the Junior and Senior High School won this award.

Academic Awards

  So what do you do after winning an award like this?

Average Teenage Girl

Why of course, you immediately, like any good 13 year old, you update your status on Facebook and text all your friends.
Party Like a Rock Star

Now what do you do if you are 6 and bored at your sister’s banquet?
 You pretend you are a ROCK STAR!

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The Problem with Plastics

This post is part of an ongoing series on Avoiding Toxins in our Lives.  To read more on how to avoid toxins click here.


Where to start with this one?
  1. All plastic is made from petroleum. Petroleum products NEVER degrade. All plastic ever made is still with us on this earth in some form. This would probably be the biggest reason to avoid plastic like the plague. Petroleum is a non-renewable resources
  2. Plastics often contain other chemical additives.  Bisphenol-A (BPA) is perhaps the most best known culprit. What is wrong with that you ask? BPA is a known hormone mimic. It acts like estrogen in the body. It has been found in baby bottles canned food and water bottles.BPA can be found in plastic marked with a 7 on the bottom. It is also found in the lining inside tin cans. Did you know that? I just found that out about 9 months ago. Since then I have been making changes to the canned goods I buy, Not all manufacturers use BPA lined cans. For more information on BPA go to  Consumer Reports
  3. Plastics marked with a 3 contain Phthalates are chemicals that are known hormone interrupters. Phthalates are found in number 3 plastics such as PVC.
  4. The Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific is made up primarily of plastic that never degrades it just keeps getting smaller and smaller. The patch is about twice the size of Texas. Not only is it ugly the plastic is making it’s way into our food chain. Read here for more information
Great pacific garbage patch canoer

So how can you reduce your family’s exposure to plastics?
  • Breastfeed your babies.
  • Purchase basic and raw organic foods rather than those that are processed and include multiple ingredients.
  • Avoid bottled water and remember that urban supplies are the best-tested sources of drinking water in the nation. Use a stainless steel water bottle for best results.
  • Limit the amount of carpet used in your home, because it harbors chemical residues.
  • Minimize use of air fresheners, fragrances and deodorizers. We use essential oils out our house to make things smell good.
  • Simple toys are best, wooden in design
  • Use real glasses, silverware and plates at home
  • Have a stainless or ceramic  travel mug or two, Use reusable shopping bags
  • Don’t handle your shopping receipts a lot
  • Use Mason Jars for storing leftovers – you can even freeze in these as long as you leave head space
  • use a cloth shower curtain, my mother made a great one from large bath sheets (really large terry cloth towels) when were young
  • use wooden cutting boards – plastic ones get scratches and will harbor bacteria and pathogens.

Beth Terry over at My Plastic Free Life has some more information on how to limit plastics in your life. Now it is your turn. What are YOUR favorite ways to reduce plastic in your household and family.
Additional Resources
Plastics: The Sixth Basic Food
No More Plastic Toys
Health Concerns about Plastic Toys

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Celebrations

I am linking up with the great people over at Catholic Cuisine.  What wonderful and inspiring Easter celebrations they had. I think I will have to incorporate some of these next year.
We visited another church on Saturday for an Easter Eggstravaganza. I was taken away by the display they had put in their entry way. I especially loved the way the light hit the empty cross on the top.
Sunday was one of the rainiest days we have had in a long time. About 5” of rain fell.  I had to be content with indoor pictures of the kids. We got to church early enough to take them while dh ran around making preparations for mass.

My Peanut, Pumpkin  and Pi
I asked Pumpkin why he was kneeling. He says he likes to pray. I was very happy that this year I was able to find lady like dresses for the girls. Last year I had a horrible time finding an appropriate dress for a twelve year old that was feminine. I am happy with these dresses because not only are they feminine they fit their personalities and we should be able to use them again, possibly for Ordination.
Peanut Pumpkin PI

Pi was not seen for long in her beautiful dress as she was asked to serve Easter Mass. How wonderful for what may very well be our last Easter in our little parish. She and her father served together for Easter.
The Easter Bunny drops off the goodies for our baskets and I fill them and hid them. He comes while the family is at mass. Because of the rain our normal Easter basket hunt was moved inside. Since my clues were written to take advantage of our 5 acres I did a blind hunt. I simply hid the baskets inside and let them loose. While I was handling the basket detail, dh started on our dinner. We had my family’s traditional Easter dinner, Roast lamb, with roast potatoes. I also roasted some pine nuts with asparagus.
Roast Leg of LambRoasted Asparagus with Toasted Pin Nuts
Peanut is my dessert maker. She just loves pies. I know you probably thought it was Pi that likes pie. In years past we have made lemon merengue. But this year we took a little different path. I bought prepared lemon curd. Wonderful stuff, it should be outlawed. I could just eat it straight out the jar, and YES I did, with a spoon of course. I had picked up some sponge cake tartlets. So we spooned the lemon curd in and topped it with mixed berries. We had to take a picture because they did not last. Lemon Berry Tarts
As if that was not enough dh came home from solemn vespers with 3 more Easter Baskets for the kids from a thoughtful friend.
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You Know you are a Granola Catholic when…

You do not know how to bottle feed a baby but you do know how to bottle feed a lamb.
The sound of men chanting sends chills down your spine
Tandem Nursing is something you have done.
Your kids not only take out the trash, but they take out the recycling and compost too.
You have been to adoration or vespers.
You own at least one sling and know how to use it
Your kids “nurse” their baby dolls
You not only have The Art of Natural Family Planning but you have read it and practice it
You drive a small “clown car” while saving up money to buy a hybrid
Your oldest wants to be a midwife when she grows up.
You use a clothesline
Your husband comes home smelling of incense
Your clean your home and self with vinegar  baking soda, and tea tree oil
You won’t buy things because you know you can make it better, cheaper, etc at home
Your children look forward to going to church not just for mass but to watch tv after mass in one of the classrooms
You have more than one bottle of holy water at home
Your dream house has solar and a heat pump
Your husband has his own incense at home
Your children think that going to the farmers market is more fun than going to the mall
You treat colds and other minor aliments with herbs and teas before turning to the pharmacy.
You have rosaries all around the house hanging in random spots
You grow some of your food yourself and if you did not you know the name of the person who did.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Dogwood Tree and the Cross

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An old and beautiful legend says that, at the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood was comparable in size to the oak tree and other monarchs of the forest. Because of its firmness and strength it was selected as the timber for the cross, but to be put to such a cruel use greatly distressed the tree. Sensing this, the crucified Jesus in his gentle pity for the sorrow and suffering of all said to it:
"Because of your sorrow and pity for My sufferings, never again will the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it will be slender, bent and twisted and its blossoms will be in the form of a cross ~ two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints ~ brown with rust and stained with red ~ and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see this will remember."


Happy Easter


Easter Blessings to All!
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

In my Garden

I could not resist sharing this.  My pumpkin likes to help me in the garden. Today we planted among other things some strawberry plants.
IMG_3514Tonka TS4000 Steel Dump Truck
Yes that is a Tonka Truck he is using to move the soil in this garden bed.
Hopefully if the weather holds – meaning no lightening, because I am not sweet enough to melt we will be going to Herb and Garden Festival. I plan on getting some heirloom tomatoes, various herbs to replace the ones that did not make it through the blizzards and some delicious soap. 
You know you are a Granola Catholic when your entire family wants to go  to the Herb Festival and has gone every year rain or shine.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Family Friday–Good Friday Edition


Good Friday, growing up I did not think the Friday before Easter was a good one. I mean really how could it be GOOD when Jesus died? As a child I had a limited view of death. Most of my relatives were still kicking well into my teens. So I did not see death as something to be obtained, rather something to be avoided.  My children unfortunately or fortunately do not have the same perspective as I do. The lost both of their grandfathers to cancers when they were young. While they will miss their grandfathers they also knew that they were in a better place and not in pain.
As an adult I know that Jesus chose to die for us. He chose to bear mortal and emotional pain for us.  He conquered death and rose from the dead for us. So that we may know that will can have everlasting life.
How do you share such a profound lesson with your little ones? I was discussing this same subject earlier with the Grande Dame of the family, the family matriarch so to speak. When we were young she would take us to Living Stations of The Cross or Outdoor Stations of the Cross. Our Living Stations of the Cross were pretty tame by today’s standards. Today some churches will perform living stations outside with live horses and many participants.  This picture is from a few years ago when dh took Pi ( our oldest) with him. This sort of stations may be too intense for the younger ones to go to. 
We are fortunate that our parish offers a Children’s Stations of the Cross. We plan on attending that as a family,  But what do you do if you want to share The Way  with your children but it is not feasible to go?  There are some great resources that you can use out there so instead of recreating the wheel I am just going to share them with you.
Lacy over at Catholic Icing  has some great ideas for the crafty
stations of the cross eggs 4
Stations of the Cross Eggs just for starters.
For Older kids this is a great at home stations

Even Mother Angelica has gotten on board with this multi-media presentation of the Stations of The Cross. 

Catholic Mom has some great Stations of The Cross  coloring sheets that you can have the kids color and then hang up around the house and do your own stations of the cross

This app gives you a real life look at the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem.. 

Sometimes a book does the job the best.   The Story of the Cross: The Stations of the Cross for Children
I just love the colorful illustrations in this one.

My kids have used this one to follow along for many years. Our copy is much more worn and tattered
The Stations of the Cross (10 pack)

Whatever you choose to do with you family, I am sure you will be teaching and making memories with your kids for years to come. I am living proof of that. My mother’s lessons are still here with me. 


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