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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tenebrae–Entering the Shadows of Holy Week


With Holy Week upon us Catholic have many mass and services to attend. For some Palm Sunday is a favorite. I mean not only do you get something when you come to church, blessed palms but you get to recreate the triumphant entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. For many Easter is their favorite as we celebrate Jesus’s triumphant over death with his resurrection. For me one of my favorite services of Holy Week is Tenebrea. Tenebrae is the name given to the celebration, with special ceremonies, of Matins and Lauds, the first two hours of the Divine Office, of the last three days of Holy Week. We observe Tenebrea in our disease after Vespers of Palm Sunday. This allows for more people to come and participate.
Tenebrea starts as any other Reading of the Divine Office.  What sets Tenebrae apart is the gradual extinguishing of candles upon a stand in the sanctuary, gradually reducing the lighting throughout the service.. The last candle is taken out of the church representing the light of Christ in death. Tenebrea ends in complete darkness. But the part that my kids love is the “Great Noise”.My kids, and everyone else in the church get to make noise and a LOT of  it. The ‘great noise” at the end of Tenebrea is made by banging hymnals or prayer books on the pews.
There is much symbolism in the Service of Tenebrea. In fact it’s name is a symbol in an of itself. Tenebrea means shadow and represents the shadows and darkness that the death of Jesus plunge us into. The great noise  of Tenebrea is symbolic of the Earth Quake that shook the sanctuary when Christ died. It is is symbolic of the chaos that we plunge into when Christ has left us.
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This post is linked up to Saints and Scriptures at Kennedy Adventures,  and Equipping Catholic Families

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ten Things I Want to Tell My Daughters


A friend recently shared this post Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls. This prompted me to think of a few things I want to tell my daughters (Peanut is 11 and Pi is 14).
  1. It is better to be loved than to be popular. To be loved be a friend, be a true friend.
  2. It may be hard to do what is right but doing what is right will get you where you need to go.
  3. Study hard, and work hard, but make time for friends and family.
  4. When you are talking to someone, speak kindly, you never know who that person is or what sort of day they are going through, do not judge people by the first meeting, they may be having a bad day. In the same vein, do not let people take advantage of you because they are having a bad day.
  5. Stick up for yourself, others and what is right. Just as you would not speak unkindly to others do not let them speak unkindly to you .
  6. Friends will come and go, you will only be friends with about 4% of those people you went to high school. Your family will be here forever for you. Remember that when your sister and brother drive you crazy. They will still be here for you if you are there for them.
  7. Treat your friends like family and your Family like your friends. Don’t save your good manners for the company, use them with your family. Conversely treat your friends like family  and make them feel welcome in your house.
  8. Money does not buy happiness, learning to manage your money will however help you get there. Spend less than you make and save 10% of everything you make, no matter how little you make.
  9. Dress nicely appropriately for the occasion. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a nice simple outfit that does not embarrass yourself or your family. Before you leave the house look in the mirror and think what does this outfit say about who I am and who my family is? Does it say “we don’t believe in doing laundry?” As unfortunate as it sounds, people will judge on how you dress.
  10. Wait to find your love, pray to find your love. You may not recognize your true love when you find it, but if you give God a chance your true love will find you. Your true love may be your future husband a job or a vocation.

What would YOU add to this list?
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Must Have Tools in the Kitchen

I used to be a gadget person in the kitchen, sometimes they work well sometimes they don’t. Some gadgets you use often and really get your money out of them, others sit in the back of the cupboard taking up space. Truth be told if I had to pack up and move to temporary housing there are only a few I would take with me.
Cast Iron Pans – I could say soo much about cast iron pans, they are the one essential I can’t live with out. If I had to go to a desert island this is one of the things I would take. I used to think I wanted some fancy enamel coated cast iron pans, the ones with the French name. Now that I have well seasoned cast iron pans I can see how useful they are.  We even cook eggs in our pans. The key is a well seasoned pan. Now you may think that cast iron pans cost a lot., I think the most I have ever spent on a cast iron pan is for my grill/griddle pan. It is a two burner pan. I think I paid $14 for it.(tip- I bought this at a sporting goods store in the camping , department).  While cast iron pans can be found at ALL price points, you can  save money getting cast iron pans  look beyond the department stores, and kitchen stores, try camping and sporting good stores, try thrift stores and yard sales. 
Wooden Cutting Boards
Last year I looked into what would be the best type of cutting board to have, like you I am not only concerned with being Green but being safe. At this time last year I had both plastic and wooden cutting boards, I would use the plastic for meat and the wooden for produce. What I found out when I did the research is that wooden cutting boards are healthier for you. It seems that plastic boards develop micro fissures, whereas wooden boards are self healing. Believe it or not they are also easy to care for.
Electric Tea Kettle
A few years ago I wanted to get a new teapot, one that would hopefully be my last tea pot. Upon researching tea pots I found out that the ones with the best reviews were Electric Tea Pots. We were able to find one at a reasonable price in a near by store.  Deacon G opted to get me it for my birthday and got the 1.5 liter one. We use our tea pot for so much more making tea or coffee. The eclectic tea kettle is so efficient it can boil 1.5 liters of water in about 3 minutes. This saves us so much energy and time when we are cooking. We pre-boil our water for cooking things like rice or pasta.
Crock Pot
I use my crockpot at least once, probably more like twice a week. In busy family it is definitely an essential. We use it to prepare not only meals but to make Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and Overnight Crock Pot Broth.

What are YOUR Kitchen Must Haves?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday Spring has Sprung

We have been doing a LOT of work in the Garden this past few days, but even though we have been working we have been taking time to enjoy the beauty of it too.
My husband says I don’t garden so much as “Play in the Dirt” so when I found this sign I thought it was so me.
play in the dirt
We do a little bit of everything gardening pretty flowers, herbs and food to eat. I plant it all in the front yard. Everyone helps out, all the kids and even the dogs.
dogs helping in garden
wisteriaspring daffidills

Do you garden? How is your garden doing this year?

linked up to I Thought I Knew Mama

Monday, March 26, 2012

Natural Pet Care–How to treat for Ticks and Fleas


Because of a mild winter in most of the country predictions are that it will be a banner year for fleas and ticks. I know that where we are (Oklahoma) we did not get cold enough-long enough to kill fleas and ticks outside. As if I needed to have a reminder of how bad a flea and tick season it will be, while I was writing today I saw a tick crawling on my laptop. This year I am taking  the offensive on this problem. You see we have three wonderful dogs and a really cute kitty.
Given that I would not use toxic chemicals in our house, or yard why would I use them on our pets?  The same pets that climb into bed with my kids. Most commercial flea and tick remedies use pesticides, yes you read that right. The same pesticides that have labels warning of their hazards to humans, have instructions telling  you to soak a flea-infected dog or cat thoroughly..These chemicals, especially in liquid form, can be absorbed through the animal's skin and taken up by the blood.What makes us think that this is good for our households and pet? It is especially important to remember when you use a powder that it may spread where ever the animals lies, again – the kids’ beds. Even in the midst of a flea invasion, it's important not to let the urgency of your need to get rid of the pests override concern for the safety of your pets and household.
So what are our Natural Options?
  • Essential Oils –There are several options here, euclyptus is great at repelling bugs of all sorts, but you can add pennyroyal, lavender, citronella, rosemary and wormwood (Artemisia). Essential oils can be used on carpets, bedding and the pet itself. Instead of using one of those expensive toxic flea and tick treatments use one of these essential oils and place a few drops on the neck and base of the tail (two areas where fleas like to congregate). Alternatively, you can use a spray bottle with some oil in it and some water and spray your pets.
  • Good Nutrition – if a pet has a good diet, and eats well then there will be no parasites. Most pet foods are grain based with fillers, not optimal nutrition for carnivorous animals. You can improve your pet’s odds by adding some  brewers yeast and or garlic to it. Just like you your pet will secrete the garlic through the skin and many pests find this smell offensive.
  • Clean the bedding and the carpets, Frequent thorough vacuuming is necessary to remove flea eggs and larvae. The vacuum cleaner bag can be a reservoir of flea eggs and larvae. You will need to empty the canister or bag into a sealed plastic bag and dispose of them outside of the house.
  • D- Limonene Some recommend the use of d-Limonene it is a byproduct of the citrus industry and has a mild grapefruit smell. But you can make your own lemon spray if you choose.
  •  Give Diatomaceous Earth a try. Diatamaceous Earth is the only pesticide that is specific for insects and completely safe, in fact you can ingest it. Though I would not because it doesn’t really taste like much. Diatomaceous Earth works because it is a microscopically fine dust that attaches itself to and penetrates the exoskeleton of fleas and ticks, as well as other annoying pests. The insects then dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous Earth is great to use outside in the yard as well, but just know that it will affect beneficial bugs as well.
  • Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum Flea eggs hatch every 3 days, so by sprinkling your floors for at least 9 days, vacuuming each 3rd day for 9 days, takes you through the complete lifecycle of flea life. Be sure and empty your vacuum after each cleaning or the pests will just crawl back out and re-infest your home! You can mix up some salt and essential oils to further benefit from the vacuuming. See essential oils above
  • Salt – yes salt, regular table salt can be effective against large infestations of fleas. Combine salt with vacuuming and you will be pleased with the results. You can also salt porches, doghouses and kennels to kill eggs & maintain flea control.
  • Borax works as an alternative to salt but has a few cautions. In high humidity areas you may need to use a dehumidifier with the salt treatment for its use to be effective
  •  Make a Flea Collar – use a bandanna or other appropriate sized piece of cloth, and dab on some essential oil 9see list above0 sense a project coming on with this one.
To really battle fleas and ticks you have to stay on top of the problem before it becomes a BIG problem. Check your dogs regularly, this is usually Deacon G’s job, he checks them over whenever they climb in his lap and if he finds a flea or tick takes care of it right then and there.  Thanks to his diligence we  have never had a really bad year with fleas and ticks on our animals, but I am ready for it. Remember whatever method of control you decide to use be sure to put the animals outside for a couple hours after treating so that the fleas and ticks that jump off don’t re-infest your house
Do you have any Natural Flea and Tick remedies you have tried? How have they worked for you? Share with us and let us know.

this post is linked up with Green and Natural Mamas

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quick and Easy Composting


Not long ago I wrote 36 Things You Can Compost. Today I would like to share with you how easy composting can be. So many of us hear the words composting and we think, “I don’t have room for that”, or “yuck, smelly, and messy” Well I am going to try to debunk those myths.
Composting can be small and easy if you want it to be. It can be as easy as
  1. Collecting your kitchen scraps in a bowl or even plastic container with a lid (I did not just say plastic did  I? Yes I did, better to reuse it for a non-food purpose than throw it away.)
  2. Empty the kitchen container into a larger container or a compost pile. I use both to tell the truth.
  3. Turn the compost pile occasionally(gardening can count for exercise).
  4. Let it cook
  5. Enjoy spreading it in your garden or compost in place.
You don’t need a lot of space to compost, you don’t even need a house with a yard. Stephanie at Good Girl Gone Green is composting in an apartment. People in Germany regularly set out the compost along with their recycling and trash. Guess which container is the smallest? Yup the trash.
I started off with a small garden in a town house when we were first married, I would compost the food in a 5 gallon bucket outside. Now I have  a counter top composting crock. When that is full we empty, usually once a day, we empty it into our outside compost bin. Our outside bin is an old trash can that is cracked and full of holes on the bottom. This allows the water to permeate down and out. Water is a key component to composting. When our outside barrel is full we dump it onto our compost pile. Since I like to practice composting in place, our compost pile moves to where ever I am planning a new garden bed. This saves me time in moving the compost to the new bed once it is done.
How about you, do you compost? Do you plan on composting this year? Any good tips for composting? Share below.

see more great posts at Your Green Resource

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Friday, March 23, 2012

10 Things I used To Be Good At

cross basket

You all know the story, before I had kids I was a different person. I had my kids a little later, I was 31 when I had my first. I had lots of time to develop who I was.  Before I had kids I had a whole slew of talents. Since then some have disappeared and others have emerged.
  1. I was very organized, I was so organized in fact that I would organize my husband’s socks by color. Yes I was that type of organized.  Now our socks are all in a basket together
  2. I was great at event planning. The same year I got married, I was in charge or a weekend long 4th of July Festival that had 18,000 people attend. Now I plan no frills birthday parties for my kids at the park.
  3. I knew how to ski and ice skate. Today I think I would fall down if I ventured out on skates or skis.
  4. I regularly logged 20 plus miles a week, walking or hiking, now I am lucky to get in 10 miles a week.
  5. I was able to read a book a day and not Dr. Seuss but a non fiction book
  6. I was able to keep a house nicely decorated, orderly and clean, now I strive to not step on Legos in the Living room in the dark.
  7. I knew exactly what kind of parent I was going to be, now I am still working that out at each new stage.
  8. I could prepare a 5 course gourmet dinner – now it is more like a crockpot meal. (who has time now?)
  9. I used to be able to stay out to 11pm, now I prefer to stay be home in my jammies by 9 pm.
  10. I used to be able to appreciate sleeping in on the weekend, now I am lucky if I sleep in to 8am on the weekend, even when I want to and can sleep in. 

How about you? What were you once good at that you no longer do?

7 Quick Takes–Spring Break Edition


One word – RAIN!. We are on Spring Break, yup, and it has rained every day so far this week. Don’t get me wrong we need the rain desperately, remember last summer? Well we had record breaking heat over 100 degrees for more than a month. But a whole month’s worth in one week? Like the saying goes when it rains it pours, and pour it did more than 4” of rain in 48 hours.


We have been doing some Spring Cleaning around here. I have been making the kids help torturing them , but it is not all work for them, they have had some outings and even an ice cream sundae party for doing good work. Yes I bribed them to finish their rooms. Sometimes it works. Two car loads taken away .and next to go is the clothing to consignment. I find decluttering  to be cathartic. I love to see empty shelves and clean and neat drawers and cupboards. If only they would stay that way. Anyone else like to declutter?


We took the kids ice skating for the first time ever this Spring Break. I would have to say they enjoyed it. You be the judge

jj skategirls skate


I had two brushes with fame this week that is fame with a little “f” not the big FAME. This past Sunday  the organist,  at the Cathedral  tells me she needs to introduce me to someone. So before mass she takes me over to meet this mom. . Upon introducing myself, and adding that I am Deacon G’s wife she mentions “Oh, I have read your blog”. I played it all cool and asked her how did she end up there? Meanwhile inside my head I am doing the happy dance and Sally Fields acceptance speech, you know the one, the one where she says “you like me, you really do like me.”


In a second instance I am reading my personal Facebook newsfeed and see that a friend from church has like someone’s pin on pinterest and it is from my blog! (not pinned by me)  I feel like I have reached the next level of some fame, and immediately check to see if I have pinned my own post, which I had not yet done. You can see the post in question here. Oh, and if you are on Pinterest you can follow me too. If you are not on pinterest but want an invite just send me an email at granolacatholic (at) gmail (dot) com.


When I mentioned to the girls that the Opera will be doing a preview at the Philbrook this coming up Sunday  they were excited. Can you believe it? I took Pi to her first performance last year, we were able to go to a technical performance for FREE. (yay). Last month we took the kids to a preview performance of Dead Man Walking (yes the one based on Sister Helen Prejean’s book). Who knew the kids would  love opera. In fact they have me looking into the summer camp for them, and auditions for them for the youth opera. Take your kid to one little opera and look what happens.


Did I mention we had a LOT of rain this week? Enough rain that it took us from drought conditions here in Oklahoma. We had so much rain that the lab caught a fish. When my kids discovered the little croppie (sunfish for my New England friends)  in the front yard they decided to rescue it. They picked it up and placed it in a puddle to revive it and since we had 4 inches of rain fall the puddle was big enough for it to swim in. My kids wanted to keep it in the house, in a Tupperware container. I convinced them to release Tom the Fish into our pond where it could grow up.

tom the fish

And that has been our Spring Break – How about you have you had a Spring Break yet? Anything exciting happen?
for more Great 7 Quick Takes hop on over to Conversion Diary. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How to Have a Greener Yard this Year

lawn pi
(Pi, enjoying the soft green at the Philbrook)
For those of us who have yards we want things to look nice. For most of us that means the pretty lawn with the pretty flowers. But what I am talking about here is the kinder green green yard. So often our friends and neighbors turn to chemicals to make their lawn pretty. The type of chemicals that come with warnings that say keep pets and children off of grass after use. Umm I ‘m sorry do you really want to use toxic chemicals on your yard? If so this article is not for you. If you want to have safer green yard this year then read on.
  • Reconsider the Lawn all togetherIs it necessary to have a lawn? I personally prefer the front yard. A place for kids to play and pets to romp. The notion of a front lawn is a relatively new one in the United States. The whole idea of the front lawn took hold after WWII.
  • Plant Native Plants – When you use native grasses, shrubs and plants you need less water for your yard.
  • Mow often but not too short – when you mow to show it affect the health of the grass. Slightly longer grass if actually a little healthier
  • Sharpen Mower Blades Once a Year  - Spring is a great time for this.
  • Spot Treat Weeds with Vinegar Mix 5 parts white vinegar, 2 parts water, 1 part dish soap, and apply with a hand pump sprayer.(Vinegar can burn grass and garden plants, so be sure to spot treat weeds only.)
  • Water Infrequently – water less often, but water deeply, this encourages the grass and other plants to grow deeper roots.
  • Have less lawn and more garden – grass uses more of our water resources and for many more chemicals than any other part of our lives. When you plant more native plants they are naturally more hardy and need less care.
  • Use Compostit is never too late to start composting, and you really don’t need a big area to do it. When done right it does not smell, except really good.
  • Try a rock garden – Seriously not all soil is good for growing, in fact if you have a new house in a new development chances are you don’t have any top soil at all. So why  not try a rock garden? Go for that simple Zen look of a rocks with a nice shrub or two.
 What is your favorite tip to having a kinder, gentler green yard?

this post is linked up to Your Green Resource

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why do we Get New Clothes for Easter?

(my mother, as a young girl in center with her mother and neighbors circa  Easter 1954)

I recently posed a question to my Facebook and twitter followers. “Do you get new clothes for everyone at Easter?” It seems that at one time or another everyone either got new clothes or gets their kids new clothes for Easter. I have been pondering this question myself. I always got the kids something new to wear, and sometimes for myself and Deacon G. I don’t have to worry about his clothes for church anymore though. This year I was struggling with my urges to downsize and minimize while deciding on whether to get everyone new outfits for Easter.
But I was curious, why do we have this urge to get new clothes for Easter? Growing up my mother always got us a new “dressy” outfit for Easter. Sometimes even a hat for me. Even when my mother was growing up, and she was what some would consider poor at times, there was always at least new shoes for Easter.
It appears that wearing new clothes at Easter is an old one. The  newly baptized would wear white clothing throughout the entire Easter Week as a symbol that the waters of their baptism had cleansed them from all sin.  Other Christians would dress in new clothing to show that they, too, had risen to a new life in Christ.  This became an outward sign of one's faith and participation in the dying and rising of Our Lord. 
Now that I have had some time to think things over and we have accessed the wardrobe situations of everyone, and looked at other events coming up, First Communion and the Madonna House Fashion Show and Tea Party, I have decided that some new clothes are in order. We went and did a little of that shopping today. A new shirt and a sweater for Pi to go with a skirt we had acquired she looks very ladylike; a new shirt and tie for Pumpkin to go with his suit and we are still looking for a nice sweater for Peanut. I even found a dress and matching jacket for me. All this for much less than you would think for about $40, which gives me a little more money for shoes for the girls. Ah, shoe shopping, believe it or not,
How About You? Do you get or plan on getting new outfits for Easter? Do you still do Easter Hats?

Saint's and Scriptures Sundays

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Monday, March 19, 2012

10 Ways to a Greener Spring Cleaning

16th century laundry

Something about Spring Break makes me want to clean. I know it is a little weird but since we usually don’t go away for Spring Break I take advantage of some deep cleaning. But around here I don’t break out the bleach or other harsh cleaners. We like to keep it green.

  1. Make your own cleaners for pennies on the dollar. My favorite is a simple formula.All you need is a simple empty spray bottle. a little water, distilled vinegar and some teat tree oil.

  2. Use Cloth Rags – You don’t have to go out and break the bank buying new rags.  For cleaning any old rag will do, orphan socks, old t-shirts, clothes that don’t’ fit kids anymore.

  3. Hang up your clothes outside. Use a clothesline if you can. Clotheslines have the multiple benefits, one being using less energy the other being that the sun helps to bleach and sanitize your clothes. Personally my favorite reason to use it is the smell of the clothes.

  4. Take your shoes off at the door, If you feel you must wear shoes inside have house shoes.. We track in everything we walk through, When you make it a habit to keep your shoes at the door you do not track toxins through the house.

  5. Hydrogen Peroxide makes a great sanitizer and stain remover. Dilute it in a spray bottle, one half water to one half hydrogen peroxide. Since it is light sensitive make sure it is kept in a dark (opaque) spray bottle. I like to keep one bottle in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. Come to think of it one in the laundry room would be a good idea.

  6. Find a new home for all those plastic cups you have. We all have a cupboard full of plastic cups, they are cheap, sometimes free. Plastic contains BPA. Not only that, if you use it to heat food up in the microwave, the scratched plastic can leak chemicals into your food.

  7. Dispose of  toxic cleaners in a safe way. Don’t’ be tempted to just throw away the chemicals cleaners you were using. . You must be careful when disposing of these chemicals. Not only are they toxic and dangerous but mixing them makes them a toxic soup.  Check your local area for a collection day.  Many states, cities and counties have local collection days for hazardous household waste. If you are lucky there is a spring collection day.

  8. Open the windows, and skip the air fresheners. Nothing cleans out a stale house and freshens it up like fresh air. If you feel you must use some scent place some essential oils in a spray bottle and spritz that around the house.

  9. Skip the antibacterial soap. Not only will regular soap and water do the trick did you know that the main ingredient in anti-bacterial soap, tricolsan is in reality an insecticide? You wouldn’t use a pesticide on yourself or kids would you? Then why use one in your house?

  10. Take my husband’s advice and if the weather is good, just get outside and take a break from cleaning. The fresh air will do YOU some good.
linked up to Live Renewed Spring CleaningGreen and Natural Mother's Blog HopSimple Lives Thursday

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

(image credit)
How will you be celebrating the day? For us it will be a day to remember my Irish Roots and enjoy some time spent visiting with family friends.. There will be Corn Beef and Cabbage to eat and Wearing of the Green. How ever you spend it please take a moment to remember the reason we celebrate this day with green beer. St. Patrick was a Saint first and a bishop who brought Christianity to Ireland. (Not green beer)  He is also attributed with driving the snakes out of Ireland. 

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7 Quick Takes

I had planned on writing more this week, but those were my plans, life got in the way and decided that I, like Job would be afflicted with boils, (well not really but a staph infection), and need a tooth pulled and then get a bone fragment left in the gum. Not to complain but I have spent 5 of the last 7 days at either the Urgent Care or a Dentist’s office. It has been an educational if not fun week for me. How is that? I have found out that for every trip I got a different antibiotic. Yup, two of which gave me less than desirable side effects. I won’t complain about the appetite suppressing side effects, but I do not recommend it as a weight loss strategy, that is unless you like rashes and itchy skin and photosensitivity.
My children are quite resourceful and talented in the kitchen, on Wednesday when I told them it was a “clean out the fridge” night for dinner they started cooking up creations as soon as we walked in the door. They then spent the nest 3 hours eating. I think they are all having growth spurts at the same time.  My 7 year old scrambled up 5 eggs all by himself.  He then proceeded to eat them all.
TIMG_8113hat boy Pumpkin – better not grow! I am planning on him wearing this suit that he wore for Grammy Sugar’s wedding for his Easter and First Communion.  I think I will put books on his head so he can’t grow its not like he needs to grow, he is off the growth charts on the tall end anyway, and wears the same size shoe as his 11 year old sister. Yes a 7 year old boy wears the same size shoe as his 11 year old sister

I had a whole nice blog post planned about St. Patrick’s Day. but never got to finish it. So I was going to put a wordle on St. Patrick’s Day instead, but it separated words like “St Patrick’s Day” Not good. So instead I will share a picture of my great grandmother who was “off the boat” Irish as we used to say. The little girl in her lap was my grandmother.

We start Spring Break here at 4pm Central Time Friday the 16th. This is our forecast for the week. Now I know for some of you this does not look so bad but after a week of 70-80 degree breezy days this is a let down.

Speaking of Spring Break we will be doing our usual, Staycation. while we do have some fun things planned we will also be doing our big Spring Clean, meaning I will venture into the children’s rooms and make them go through their stuff and purge. I tell them it is so I will know what they need clothing wise really it is because it is the only way I can get them to get rid of that t-shirt they have had since they were 3. (about a decade ago)
My oldest just turned 14 last week. Hard to believe that she is 1/.2 an adult now. (21 being my arbitrary adulthood age). But what really struck it home for me was not the high school enrollment, but all the scholarship foot work that starts in 8th and 9th grade now. She is already working on scholarship essays due the end of this March not only that but colleges are already sending her information. Some hinting at financial aid. She is smart. I mean she did not get this trophy just for being sweet. But seriously Vanderbilt University is sending my 14 year old daughter information. She is seriously considering it too. (for undergraduate), that is if she does not go the American University in Rome(Rome, Italy, folks)  for undergraduate. Yup I said undergraduate studies twice. This girl plans on getting a doctorate.
this post is linked up to Conversion Diary check them out for more great Catholic Bloggers

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Home Remedies from the Kitchen

For those of you following me on twitter and Facebook you may have noticed we more doctor and dentist appointments than the last year combined. We were at the Urgent Care so often that they said “what now?” Suffice it to say we are all mostly doing well now, not great but okay.
While I am taking prescription medications to fight some serious infections I am also using home and natural remedies, All of these remedies were easily found in my kitchen.  Normally I would start with herbal and natural treatments and work my way up to prescription, but right now I have a less than optimal immune system.
Cabbage – Cabbage is such a wonder food, when I was suffering from swelling of my face, due to dental work and a staph infection on the face a La Leche League Leader friend of mine reminded me of the cabbage leaf trick. I simply placed the cabbage leaf on my cheek and took a cat nap. When I woke up the swelling was much diminished.Why did it work you may wonder?  Cabbage leaves h. Cabbage has natural sulfa in it. Sulfa was an early antibiotic. Not only is cabbage antibacterial in its properties it is anti-inflammatory. Back in my La Leche Leader Days cabbage leaves were often recommended as treatment for mastitis until you could get to a doctor’s office. Mastitis is caused by the same bacteria that causes staph.
Pineapple  Pineapple is full of bromelin. Bromelin is a great anti inflammatory. Bromelin is found in all parts of the pineapple. As luck would have it  they are on sale right now so I had one in the house. Because my face was swollen up like a rabid chipmunk, I chose to juice my pineapple. I am lucky to have a juicer (albeit an old one)  By  juicing it was able to use the skin which is normally thrown in the compost pile.  I knew that the anti-inflammatory properties of the bromelin would help but in doing research for this post I was happy to find that  research done in Germany bromelin helps with the absorption of antibiotics by the body.
Turmeric  I already knew that turmeric was an anti-inflammatory but when I was looking for remedies specific to staph I found that turmeric was recommended. It turns out that turmeric has a long history of use in India for skin conditions. Turmeric has been shown to fight inflammation as well. It is for this reason that I add it to my Overnight Crockpot Broth recipe. Be careful using it directly on your skin because it will stain, for this reason I opted to take it capsule form. Did you know you can buy empty capsules at most health food stores?
Cloves (and Clove Oil)  Cloves and clove oil are a specific cure for tooth ailments. for this reason I now keep some in the house. Clove oil has been used for dental emergencies for centuries. If you don’t have the oil you can chew on a couple of cloves to help with the pain. When I had a bone fragment in my jaw after a tooth extraction the clove oil did help to alleviate some of the pain. Clove oil happens to also be antiseptic, which is the reason why  the dentist who removed the bone fragment  packed my tooth socket with clove oil.

It never ceases to amaze me that the things we have in our own houses can be used to heal our bodies. What are some of your favorite homemade remedies?

this post is linked up to Green and Natural Moms BloghopYour Green ResourceSimple Lives ThursdayFrugal Ways Sustainable DaysWild Crafting Wednesday

Monday, March 12, 2012

What to do When Mama Gets Sick

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If you are a mother, you know that you don’t have time to get sick. There are no sick days for mothers. So what do you do when you are the mother? This past week I had a series of minor problems that snowballed, thankfully nothing that required hospitalization, just multiple trips to doctors.

  • Eat lightly if you can. Stick to foods like broth, lentils, rice, Remember the BRAT diet? Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast (tea). In our house I like to keep some rice milk for those times people are sick. Add a little cinnamon it tastes like horchata and the cinnamon helps
  • Stay Hydrated – if you feel so bad you can only do one thing this is the one.  Stick to clear liquids, like herbal teas and broth. If you have any Overnight Crockpot Broth now is the time to break it out.  If you fail to stay hydrated you may find yourself in the Emergency Room with an IV stuck in your arm. Believe me it is not a fun thing.
  • Get Rest – Let that laundry wait, don’t worry about vacuuming. You can catch up on all that later. Now is the time to be selfish. Go to bed early, or if you are home during the day, go ahead and let those kids watch a movie while you take a one eyed nap on the couch.
  • Take a Shower or Bath – It is amazing what a good shower or if you have time a bath does for you when you are under the weather. I love using essential oils in my shower or bath.
  • Allow Others to Help  I struggle with this one personally. Remember that laundry I told you can wait. Let someone else do it. It will be okay if they don’t do it quite the way you do.  Maybe your husband can cook dinner, not quite the way you do, but hey at least the kids will have something to eat. Maybe a neighbor can go to the store for you.
  • Slow Down – Prioritize and step back from all non essential duties. That means volunteer work, as well as any projects you may be working on.
  • Delegate – This one works whether you have an acute condition or a chronic one. Delegate things that need to be done at home, and work.
  • Prioritize – The first priority when you are sick is to take care of yourself. Because if you do not take of yourself how can you take care of your family?
  • Say NO – Don’t feel bad about saying NO. Feel free to step back from social obligations, when you are sick whether acute of chronic it is time to do less for others and more for yourself.
How to you take care of yourself when you are under the weather.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wishing Pi a Happy Birthday

Pi’s first Real Birthday Party with Friends (at age 3)

Around our house we are going to be celebrating PI day a few days early. For most of us Pi day is March 14th or 3.14, for us Pi day is March 10th. Fourteen years ago on the coldest day of the year that year I gave birth to my first child. as is my luck things did not go the way I had planned them to go. (another story for another day), but in the end I took home a healthy baby girl, who nursed all the time and never slept. She was always in a hurry to reach those milestones, crawling and signing at 6 months, walking and talking at 9 months. I can’t believe that she is 14 now. She is talented, not just my opinion – she has been asked to sign with the Cathedral Adult Choir. She is smart, garnering academic awards each year. This week we started receiving materials from colleges, not just any college either but Vanderbilt. Lord help us now she is thinking of going there for her undergraduate studies.And probably most important of all she is sweet kind and humble. Would you all do me a favor? If you are on twitter could you go over there and wish her a Happy Birthday? It would take her completely by surprise. And if you are not on twitter say a prayer for her and us, and for us to win the lottery, because she has high aspirations ( Vanderbilt, Oxford, Harvard)

Still Rocking the Hats at age 14 !

7 Quick Takes–Poison Ivy and Track

It is Friday so that means the weekly round up of some more interesting stuff happening around here.



My Poor Peanut got poison ivy again. On the face again. She seems to always get it on her face. So we have started our poison ivy treatments. Since writing this it seems the poison ivy has gotten bad enough to warrant a doctor's trip. She is miserable enough to need steroids. So Deacon G will be taking her to  doctor while I go to dentist for a cracked tooth(never a dull moment here.)


Peanut also got her first track cleats. They are really nifty. the tie and zip. We ordered online, free shipping and big discount, along with lots of humor. I made sure she tried them on when she got them. It must have taken her 15 minutes to get them on, because they fit soo well. I wish I had video taped it all so I could share it but you will have to imagine her getting the shoe horn stuck in her shoe with the foot. Really I did not mean to laugh at my baby girl.


Which brings me to the next point. It is generally not a good idea to scratch your poison ivy with your track cleats.


Did I tell you that Pi is singing song called “The Poison Ivy Blues  for the school musical. Yup true story, however Pi never gets poison ivy blues.


Funny story, Peanut who is doing track for the first time, hence the track cleats just said “I want to qualify for state” followed by “what’s state?” Have I mentioned I love my kids?


Pi who has opted not to do track has been asked by several coaches why she is not doing track? With her long Amazon legs she is fairly fast. Her response was to the coach “I am really more of a cross country sort of girl, I don’t see a point in running around in a circle.”


Since I am a nascent track parent I am clueless about all things track. Well not quite, but lets just say I am. Deacon G on the other hand is quite conversant on the subject. (He having been on the track team in high school and later in college a track trainer and manager, and worked on the field at the Atlanta Olympics),  I will let you guess who goes to practices and meets with the coach. Yup me, cause I don’t know anything about track. (expect that is generally not good to come in last place)

for more 7 Quick Takes check out Jen's blog at Conversion Diary

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Praying for Rain

As I sit here and write this we have been living under a plume of smoke for the last two days. Forest and grass fires are blanketing the area. Many are large enough to see on satellite, smoke plumes show up on radar. Our small community here is especially affected. Volunteer fire fighters as well as companies from several of the surrounding towns have been fighting a fire since Sunday, that is two days. The fire has been up to 2 miles wide and is hard to get to.
Sitting in my house tonight I can smell the smoke. When I went to Tulsa I could still smell the smoke. I am sure the 40mph winds are NOT helping the matter.
Since our local fire department is a volunteer one, they rely on the help of the high school students who have been trained. These boys are missing school, to help keep neighbor’s houses safe. 
We have one more day of high winds and then we should be getting rain. Even without the fires, rain is sorely needed as this area has been in a drought now for many months.

Monday, March 5, 2012

36 Things you can Compost

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Pumpkin Composting

Compost is like liquid gold to gardener, it amends the soil and is its own form of recycling. We are big fans of composting here. You don’t need a lot of room to compost either. Even we lived in a little townhouse and only had a patio I practiced a form of composting, (much to my husband’s chagrin).
What can you Compost? the following is a list of things that I may have composted at one time or another. Note the bucket in the picture this is our "outside" compost bucket.  But I will save that story for another time.

  1. eggshells
  2. leftover coffee
  3. coffee grounds
  4. vegetable peelings
  5. fruit cores, and seeds
  6. fruit peels
  7. leftovers – meatless ones
  8. paper towels (if you are using them you can reuse them)
  9. Leftover water from your water bottle
  10. junk mail (be sure to opt out of this)
  11. the newspaper, tear it into strips first
  12. the contents of your vacuum cleaner
  13. ashes from your fireplace – make sure they have cooled and there are no live embers in them
  14. cardboard boxes – tear this up too
  15. mistakes from baking –this hardly ever happens anymore at my house
  16. Plate scrapings – scrape the kids plates off into the compost bucket
  17. lint from the dryer
  18. Pet hair – you know the stuff they shed all over the floor you just vacuumed
  19. Tea bags and loose tea
  20. Dead houseplants
  21. Kleenex
  22. Moldy Cheese
  23. Fruit pits, olives, peach, apricot, etc.
  24. Mystery items in fridge (as long as meatless)
  25. toilet paper tubes
  26. Natural fiber(cotton) rags that have outlived themselves
  27. Cardboard egg cartons
  28. pencil shavings
  29. used matches
  30. Leaves raked up in the yard
  31. Manure from horses, and other grazing animals like goats and sheep (but not from dogs and cats)
  32. Hay and bedding material from gerbils, rabbits, and guinea pigs, as well as barn animals
  33. Grass clippings
  34. Weeds – make sure they have not gone to seed
  35. Trimmings  from your plants in the garden
  36. Dead plants from the vegetable garden at the end of the season
Do you compost? What is your favorite thing to compost?

This post is linked up to frugal Days Sustainable WaysYour Green ResouceLiving Well Blog HopWildcrafted Wednesday
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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Green and Thrifty Easter Basket Ideas

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(my son’s idea is that they make good Easter Hats)
It is not too soon to think about Easter Baskets. I know Lent just barely started but I like to have a plan so here we go. Just like Christmas I want to keep Easter meaningful. After all there probably is no more important holiday in the Catholic Liturgical Year. As my great grandmother(a midwife by the way) used to say, “Millions of babies are born but only ONE rose from the dead.” How can we keep our Easter Baskets meaningful while keeping them green and not have it cost us a ton of money?
  • This first one is an easy one. We reuse Easter Baskets. Now how does that work you may be wondering? Well The Easter Bunny delivers the goods while we are at mass and mom puts it in the basket and hides them with a trail of clues.
  • If you don’t find the idea of reusing your baskets your cup of tea, you can find and use  unusual containers or Easter Baskets at thrift stores or Yard Sales
  • Be selective in the candy. I like to include one medium size piece of chocolate, picking one that is bound to be a favorite of my children. For Peanut that will be a white chocolate, and for Pi something more sophisticated like chocolate with salted caramel.
  • Remember less is more. Be selective in your items. In keeping the candy to a minimum you not only don’t have hyper kids but you make that candy all the more special and more meaningful.
  • I like to include an outside toy such as chalk or jump ropes or a kite, you can often get these at discount stores or dollar stores
  • Include some useful things all of us are in need of new water bottles. thanks to a certain lab who will remain nameless, that chews the lids when she finds them.
  • Do away with the plastic grass, if you must use “grass” try some excelsior, or grow some wheat grass
  • If baskets are available before Church you might want to include something  to wear for Easter, like gloves or a pocketbook for girls, or Easter socks for a boy.
  • Since Easter is a religious Holy Day first and foremost and not just a secular holiday it is always good to include something of a religious vein.  you can find some great ideas at Catholic Icing, and Shower of Roses. I especially love the idea of giving your kids something from their Patron Saint, or for an older child St. Christopher Medals in their sport.
Perhaps the best thing you can do to make Easter more green, more meaningful and not break the bank is give less for Easter. A smaller basket with 3 meaningful things in it says more than a big one full of cheap plastic toys and bad tasting/bad for you candy.
Tell us how do you plan on keeping the meaning in Easter Baskets this year?
family pictures 055

this post is linked up to Works for me WednesdayGreen and Natural MamasSeasonal Celebration Sunday

Thursday, March 1, 2012

An almost average Day in My Life

yup, me not happy to be in front of the camera, giving someone THE LOOK
Sometimes we all need a laugh, especially me. So I figured I would would remind myself just how funny life can really be. So here is a typical day in my life, without pictures, since I did not think to do it photographically and plan ahead. While this day is not exactly and average day it is a pretty typical Tuesday.
6am – Wake up call from Principal – “Can I teach history today?” “Sure”, I say
6:30 am – Kiss dh goodbye as he heads off to Monastery to say goodbye to Father Kirby and the monks on their way to the airport to move to Ireland
6:31 am - Start waking up kids
6:32 am Throw a load of laundry in, put clean dry clothes in basket (they are still there on Thursday)
635 am – put on cute dress and leggings ensemble because it is supposed to be 70 degrees in February.
6:40 am  Put electric tea kettle on, do make up and attempt to do hair, go for curly look because it is supposed to storm and that means humidity is high.
6:45 am Check to see who is up and who is not awake, get dogs to jump on beds to wake up kids and get them moving.
6:50 am Pack a lunch of a salad with walnuts, a breakfast of grapefruit, lament that I do not have any lentils and rice pre-cooked
6:51 am  Throw together a quick soup in the crock pot. Taco Truck Soup – made up of mostly leftovers from night before. Think "I need to write down the recipe for a blog post."
7:00 am Make sure ALL children are up and moving towards getting dressed, Realize that one is STILL in bed
7:10 am Realize that I did NOT charge anything last night, quickly plug in phone and kindle because my car phone charger is AWOL.
7:15 am Fill water bottles for everyone – Long Day ahead, Make sure everyone else has their lunch, backpacks, Dance bags. Enough luggage for a 2 week trip
7:20 am Make sure all animals are where they are supposed to be. Chase cat back in the house. Let big dog out, make sure little dog is not trapped in my room, under the covers where she likes to be
7:30 am Quickly grab work out gear and remind tell all kids to grab rain gear. Storms coming in evening. We now look like we are headed on an African adventure and need porters to carry everything
7:31 am Start loading up the car with all of our crap, necessities for the day. Remember to get kindle and phone.
7:35 am Head to school, dodge construction traffic obstacle course just past our driveway
7:37 am Drive 2 extra miles to get to school, because of said construction obstacle course
7:40 am Drop two children off at their buildings. Lord we are a small school, but kids are in three different buildings. Head to the high school, where 34 kids ask me “Who are you today” note I am always myself. What they mean is what class will I be attempting to teach
7:45 am Get lesson plans, talk with other teachers about how big babies were/are they delivered or someone’s grandma/college roommate  delivered.
8:00 am Teach first class on US History – Roaring Twenties – Love that era.
9:00 am Teach 2nd class on World History – Medieval France, Swoon. Did you know I was a French Major?
10:00 am – Teach Geography Class – i.e. – have high school students color maps.
11:00 am Teach another class – forgot already
11:45 am  LUNCH – still not happy I don’t have any lentils and rice or Homemade Cliff Bars
12:30 Current Events class, wherein I can not get the computer to work properly, and log on to show news clips and attempt to lead a discussion on politics. Who knew that high school students could get so heated over politics. There is hope for us yet.
1pm – 3pm Repeat morning classes with different students
3pm – Track team meeting – I am NOT coaching I just eavesdropped because Peanut wants to bump up to the JR. High Track team, as a 6th grader.
4pm – Get kids from their perspective buildings and meet with Track Coach
4:15pm Get All Kids, head to Library since we have dance at 5pm and don’t have enough time to go home because we have to run through a construction obstacle course and drive 4 miles out the way to get home.
4:50 pm Leave Library and head across the street early because girls have to change for dance.
4:51 pm Think about putting on my socks for the track and getting a fleece out of the trunk, since it is NOT 72 degrees, but cloudy and about 62. But opt instead to turn on the heat in the car and be stylishly cold.
5:10 pm Head to Sam’s to get fruit and Lara Bars, I still need to have dh make some more Homemade Cliff Bars.
5:20 pm Have door lady at Sam’s chat with me forever about the weather to read a receipt with three items on it. Seriously, even the little guy was complaining
5:25 pm Head to the Monastery to meet dh and Mother Miriam. Help her pick out what she needs for her priory.
6:00 pm Realize that I won’t be getting in a 1 mile walk, never mind the 2 mile one I had planned.
6:16pm  Listen to Mother Miriam sing a song from The Sound of Music. She has a wonderful voice by the way.
6:20 pm Help Mother Miriam pack some items in her car, while packing some in my car. The one that is full of stuff for our African Adventure , normal busy day stuff. Notice that her trunk is pristinely empty.
6:30 pm Watch my sweet Pumpkin give Mother Miriam a bouquet of daffodils
6:36 pm Have my dear Pumpkin give me some daffodils, putting one behind my ear
6:38 pm Try to get dh’s attention to let him know that I will have to leave soon as the girls will be finishing dance and can not walk home 10 miles
6:39 pm Get text from oldest. “I am hungry bring food’
6:40 pm Get text from oldest. “Can I walk to McD’s and use my coupons to get food?” McD’s is about a 1/2 mile from dance studio. Cringe because she wants to go to McD’s and use coupons well meaning grandma gave her.
6:46 pm Leave monastery head back to Dance studio to pick up girls at 7pm The drive is more than 20 minutes.
7:04 pm Pick up oldest daughter on her way back from McD’s to the dance studio.
7:06 pm Arrive at dance studio, get confused middle child who has no idea where anyone is as she left her phone in the car with me, while her sister left her things at the dance studio to go to McD’s.
7:10 pm  Stop to get gas, Notice that  at this point I have driven almost 200 miles since Friday
7:25 pm Drive 1 mile out of my way to get home because of road construction obstacle course
7:30 pm  Get home, start unloading my car with three bags of food, our African Adventure  stuff, and things from the monastery that is moving to Ireland that we will store, find new homes for, or eat.
7:36 pm  Change out of the cute shoes that are now hurting my feet, and put on my pj’s
7:40 pm  Feed family Taco Truck Soup, while I eat strawberries, because I am hungry but not THAT hungry.
7:45 pm Put feet up, wish I had opened a bottle of wine, but since feet are hurting from cute shoes deal with it.
7:50 pm Start getting kids ready for bed, lunches ready and daughter ready for first day of track.
8:00 pm Start to wonder what is taking kids sooo long, Why are they still eating, and not in their pj’s. I am in my pj’s.
8:30 pm Tell kids to GO TO BED or at least STOP TALKING. By this time everyone sounds like the teacher on Charlie Brown to me. Even my dear husband is annoying as he is trying to have conversations with the kids who need to get ready for bed.
8:35pm  Put headphones on and pretend I am listening to video on laptop.
8:45 pm  WHY ARE THESE KIDS STILL UP? Take some vitamin B-12, think this is probably not a good idea.
9:00 pm kids are in bed, NOW I decide I am ready to eat some Taco Truck Soup
9:30 Decide that now is a good time to start cooking the lentils and rice I have presoaked, and was wishing I had had for lunch.
10:30 Take something for my headache, everyone talking a mile a minute has given me a headache.
10:35pm  Tell husband to be quiet and leave me alone. I am an introvert and needs some alone time to recharge. Pick up closest book to read.
11:00 pm Nod off and wake sleep up, to put up glasses and book.
6:15 am Start all over again. Same song different verse.

this post is included in Catholic Bloggers Network

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