Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
After carefully examining my Fanny Farmer cookbook I learned what it meant to beat an egg until it was still and how to fold flour into the egg whites. I was still a little hesitant about how it would turn out when I put the cake in the oven.
As I periodically checked on the cake I would do a little dance around the kitchen because it looked like an angel food cake. When it was finished it looked like this:
Then my little helper came into the kitchen armed with her stool (which isn't used as a potty, although it is supposed to be one) and her beautiful apron from Maria's shop and began washing the dishes. The aprons were actually intended to be a present for Mae's birthday... but they were just so cute that I ended up giving them to the girls today! At least it was a feast day!
Then I set to work on the Devil's Food Cake. Midway through I realized that I don't actually own cake tins... I've always used Nani's. So we made a not-so-quick run to Walmart and returned to finish cake #2 and make the frosting:
Then I came up with a creative cake idea (with Paul's help). This is how it turned out:
Now it was time for fun. I showed the girls my Saint Michael necklace and Sadie's eyes were wide as we talked about Saint Michael defeating Satan (she followed my story with the question: "What do the other Archangels do?!?!").
Then it was time for a dinner of Deviled Eggs, Angel Hair Pasta, and Garlic Parmesan Wings (I was going to make stuffing to, but there ended up being so much food that the fact that I forgot to start the stuffing was a good thing!).
Sadie snuck into the dining room and stole a chicken wing. When I walked in she said "Mmmmmmm!" which I guess means that they were a success! I even made a traditional bouquet of carrots!
Then it was finally time for the finished cake! But first we prayed prayers for our Catholic Home book to Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael. Sadie thought she might die of cake-deprivation before they were finished.
The cake was decorated with blackberries, which are also associated with Michaelmas:
Not bad for my first attempt at Angel's Food Cake (and Devil's Food Cake). Sadie and Mae were pretty excited about this part of the meal:
How was your Michaelmas? Are you ready for the Feast of the Guardian Angels in a few days?
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
And like the other dress this one was made without a pattern!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Now we're gearing up for the next feast day we've decided to have a little family celebration for. Michaelmas, or the Feast of Saint Michael and the Archangels, is on Thursday and I've been scouring in the internet and my favorite celebrate-the-liturgical-year-at-home guide (Meredith Gould's "The Catholic Home") looking for ideas.
Sadie's already caught on that there's going to be another party and handed Paul a coloring page of Saint Raphael the Archangel while explaining to him that this was in fact an "archangel!"
So far I downloaded this coloring page from Waltzing Matilda, this one from Catholic Kingdom, the Archangel Coloring page that they have on Coloring Saints, and Sadie spent a while yesterday coloring away.
We also used a coupon to get a low price angel food cake cake tin (thank goodness for the coupon because those things are a little ridiculous for a tin, even with their little legs so that the cake can stand up as it cools!) to make angel food cake (I sense a disaster coming with this baking attempt) and I've been reading about various other food ideas. Catholic Cuisine has Saint Michael Waffles. Catholic Cuisine also has an idea for angel food cake. The site also has one of the best compilations of ideas for Michaelmas that I've seen here, with tons of ideas for food and crafts! And as always Catholic Icing has tons of wonderful ideas too (that's how I tracked down all the coloring pages!).
I asked Paul if he thought we could get a goose to try the recipe in my book, but he seemed to think I was kidding, and thought that goose was a bit out of our price range (I've never actually seen a goose for sale so I had no idea how much they cost).
I'm also brainstorming some ideas involving felt angels, if I have time before Thursday!
I'll take pictures as we go along!
Do you have any plans or ideas for Michaelmas this year?
Monday, September 26, 2011
When I asked her to tell Daddy who she was planning on marrying though, she was a bit embarrassed and wouldn't say a word.
And then there was the (thankfully) small whisper at Mass when the priest held the Eucharist up and I barely heard her on my lap say: "I want to eat it!"
She then knelt next to Paul and made the sign of the cross three times, folded her hands and announced (in a much louder voice): "I did it!" Thankfully we'd already retreated to the narthex at that point.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
It was so comfortable! I took my hair down and tried the snood again (which is Snood Test #2 when I'm sewing). It stayed in place. I decided to wear it to bed to see how it did and it actually stayed on my head, comfortably until early morning, which was great because I don't like sleeping with my hair up, but I also don't like it down where Mae can reach it and grab it when I get up to feed her.
Then I wore it to Mass today... and kept it on all day (it's still on!). I will definitely be making velvet snoods in the dozen or so other colors of velvet that I purchased last week! This color is already up on my site. I'll keep adding more as I make them!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I wasn't the greatest cook at the time, but the few recipes I knew involved generous amounts of red pepper and my own criteria for picking a dish when we went out often involved looking for the "spicy" or "hot" warnings that restaurants sometimes post at the side of the menu to warn people like my husband that a particular dish probably isn't his best choice.
Over the years his palate has definitely changed. It was a matter of survival in our house. He no longer thinks that ketchup is spicy and doesn't mind my constant overuse of cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, chili pepper and my personal favorite, the large red peppers that most pizza parlors have next to the parmesan cheese. And I'm increasingly thankful for these spices (along with, especially: garlic, basil, oregano and tarragon).
Before he left I simply bought flats of kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, white beans and chickpeas, along with flats of various veggies and broths. I packed boxes with the extra rice and flour, pounds of pasta, dry beans and peas, as Paul watched, likely wondering if I thought there weren't stores in Florida.
I was really just indulging a feeling that I had, a feeling that things would likely be very tight after we moved, even with the sale of our car and that we might have a hard time buying food right away. If we had the food, the money I'd saved for food, couldn't get whisked away to pay for some other emergency expense and so I packed everything up and sent it on ahead with him to Florida.
In the past month I've been very grateful for that feeling, as hospital bills (which we're still fighting) and car repair bills (at least it's fixed!) have piled up.
Another addition to my stockpile that's made everything a little tastier, was my discovery of the spices that are often in the "ethnic cooking" section of grocery stores. I'd much rather buy ten giant packets of cumin for $10 then one little glass cumin shaker in the spice section for $10. The same goes for paprika and quite a few other spices. I'll add half a bag of paprika and cumin, to some garlic and a mixture of different red peppers and there's an instant sauce to accompany the beans that's quite tasty.
My improvisation skills are definitely expanding and our freezer is usually pretty full of freezer dishes since I try to make three dinners at a time. I use one and freeze the other two so that we always have a week full of dinners in the freezer in case there's an emergency, or I just don't feel like cooking. So far it's working pretty well and challenging me to come up with different combos so that people don't get bored!
We've worked out way through about half of the stockpile, but I'm hoping that life has settled down and I can spent a bit more time couponing again to replenish the stockpile.
My next goal is to learn how to cook the lentils that I have stockpiled. Are there any recipes that you love for lentils? I'm not sure I've ever had them before, but that's my new goal for the week!
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I took this video at around 6:15 am this morning, and Sadie is still a little sleepy. Mae on the other hand, is in the background and is putting her hands over her face when Diego says to look for whatever it is they're looking for (which is what she always does when Diego asks them to do anything). I did manage to convince Sadie to change out of her princess dress before we go out for our playdate today... but it wasn't easy!
Now I just need to sew one for Mae Bae (and a saint costume for Mae Bae too! and a veil to go with Sadie's Holy Baby Dress for All Saint's Day!). We're looking at yellow for the Bae I think. Or maybe baby blue!
I do think I'm starting to get faster at sewing. This took about ten hours if you subtract the hand sewing time for something that I ended up going over with a machine (I was initially afraid to sew the pearls with the machine, and while I did go through three or four sewing machine needles while making this dress, the lace is much more secure than it was when I was sewing it on by hand!).
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
She did give the top back to me without fussing when I reminded her that it wasn't finished yet and that I still had more sewing to do. I think I should be able to finish it tonight! And hopefully I'll have pictures that do the dress justice tomorrow! It's kind of hard to see it unfastened on top of another "princess dress."
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I've been on the lookout since I arrived in Florida and have been busy instilling a healthy (I hope) fear of the various bodies of water around our new home in Sadie and Mae. This mostly involves saying "okay, I want you to watch for alligator eyes when we go by this pond" on our daily walks. Then Sadie yells "I see an alligator eye" every ten seconds of so. Things can really get out of hand when we walk by a pond next to a tennis court where the mud near the bank is dotted with soggy tennis balls.
A canal runs along the back side of many of the ponds and the canal actually makes me feel slightly more panicky than the ponds themselves in an "alligator highway from pond to pond" sort of way.
Now I know that not everyone has my obsessive fear of alligators, but it still seemed like a crazy thing to be doing on a beautiful Saturday, in a town dotted with other free cooling off opportunities (there was a free city water park just down the street).
And I wondered if I was just overreacting. Were there many Floridans that packed up the kids and went to the local pond for a swim?
A few days later, on one of my few trips out with the girls in the van (which is going into the shop today, thank goodness) I saw movement on the banks of the pond of the very same pond as I drove by. I slowed and saw a huge almost black shape, moving rapidly down the grassy bank, it's body snaking from side to side. It looked to me, as I barely made the turn and had to refocus my attention on the road, to be around five feet in length.
Because I figured that my fear of alligators might cause me to see alligators where there aren't any, I tried to find other solutions and didn't announce my first alligator sighting on my blog. Could it be an otter? I remembered seeing a special on giant river otters in the Amazon reaching six feet long. Were their giant river otters in Florida?
And would otters slither side to side? I'd seen otters in the ocean and rivers, and at the edge of the river in California, but I'd never seen them run any significant distance. I wasn't sure how they moved.
Another reason I was unsure if it were really an alligator was because the head was so enormously thick. In my quick sighting it didn't look like there was any significant tapering around the animals snout. The entire head look pretty thick.
Yesterday I came around a corner on my bike, towing the girls in the trailer behind me (we did 7 miles yesterday! And let me say that towing over 90lbs for 7 miles is quite the workout!) and came face to face with an otter, about eight feet away on the grass. It was little and cute and shiny brown. It did a sort of arching hop across the grass to the water. And it was probably around two feet long.
After that I had to restrain myself from running up to every person I saw and exclaiming: "It's an alligator! I saw an alligator in there!" because I really can't think of anything else that it might be.
So for all you who've lived near alligators what do you think? Can I officially count this as my first alligator sighting (I kind of am already because I can't think of what else it could be!)?
All the photos for this post from Wikipedia!
Monday, September 19, 2011
The first time I realized she was actually trying to say something as she repeated "Ho Ba" excitedly, we were in the parking lot at Walmart and she kept pointing to the store over and over again, repeating the "words." Later in the day the meaning of her words suddenly popped into my head, which must have been unconsciously working on deciphering the baby phrase: "So big!"
Usually when we go in Walmart she gets antsy, and I end up saying "How big is Mae Bae, so big, so big" while moving her hands and trying to maneuver a cart with my elbows.
This morning, after an (super) early morning trip over to Mommy and Daddy's room I caught Mae Bae attempting to jump on top of her sleeping sister, while yelling repeatedly "Ho ba!" like some sort of war cry... I pulled the giggling baby off her sister and let Sadie sleep for another hour.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
The Memorandum certainly got me thinking.
I wasn't comforted by what I read. Instead, it shed a little bit of light on how these laws were possibly formed and why there's a problem with the legal system when it comes to cases like this. Because I think few would argue that a woman could deliver her baby, strangle it with her underwear, throw it outside where it was exposed to the elements and then face no jail time for her crime (and yet be well enough not to be headed to an asylum of some sort).
Here were the points that stood out to me (with my comments in red):
Okay this jumped out first because of the phrase "nothing more than infanticide." When one says it is "nothing more than infanticide," one acts as if infanticide is hardly a crime. And the sentence seems to agree with this, being as the consequences, when compared with the crime really are little more than a slap on the wrist. Language influences our perception of the world around us and these four words are very telling.
The other part that stood out was the claim that "her mind was disturbed" at the time of the murder. The first thought that came to mind when I read this was that most people who kill other people could probably say that "their mind was disturbed" when they did committed murder (if they aren't complete sociopaths). That doesn't mean they get a "get out of jail free card."
So her story later on contradicted the story she told the police originally... but the expert, who had "little experience" with this sort of thing, decided to go with the later statements that she made after plotting the strategy of her insanity defense...
Seriously? You can worm your way out of murder because of "the effect of lactation."
In my opinion, this really gives us some broader insight into this entire law and the way much of society in the West views children. Here's the demonically influenced slant we've seen regurgitated in recent years: Children are a burden. Getting pregnant is the worst thing that can happen to a woman. It will ruin her life. Her life will be over. In light of this way of thinking, being driven crazy is a logical result of childbirth (I know postpartum psychosis is real, but I think it's also a very real possibility that this woman, who had a story and changed it, could have decided to kill her child).
I also have to wonder: if this woman is so sick and so severed from reality that she killed her own child and tossed it out like garbage, should she be out walking around? Shouldn't she be committed for her own safety and the safety of others? If her mind really is so "disturbed."
"The Wetaskiwin, Alta., woman convicted of infanticide for killing her newborn son, was given a three-year suspended sentence Friday by an Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench judge.
Katrina Effert was 19 on April 13, 2005, when she secretly gave birth in her parents' home, strangled the baby boy with her underwear and threw the body over a fence into a neighbour's yard.
She silently wept as Justice Joanne Veit outlined the reasons for the suspended sentence. Effert will have to abide by conditions for the next three years but she won't spend time behind bars for strangling her newborn son..
...The fact that Canada has no abortion laws reflects that "while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childrbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support," she writes.
The judge noted that infanticide laws and sentencing guidelines were not altered when the government made many changes to the Criminal Code in 2005, which she says shows that Canadians view the law as a "fair compromise of all the interests involved."
"Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant's death, especially at the hands of the infant's mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother."
Read the entire story here.Evil is alive and well in the world when you can strangle your newly born child, toss it over a fence and a judge will overrule a jury (or two) who finds you guilty of murder and let you go on your merry way.
Infanticide is the next logical step when abortion is legal. If you can kill your child in the womb just because you've decided it's not a child but a burden, then why can't you kill it when he or she is just a helpless little babe out in the world? After all, if it's stressful to be pregnant it's really stressful for many women to adjust to having a newborn... and since the logic that determines what is "right" is apparently how we feel and what we want, then a woman feeling like she doesn't want to be a mom has the right to do just about anything that she wants to make sure her little bundle of joy doesn't interfere with her perpetually adolescent lifestyle, right?
Once the sanctity of life has been obliterated by rationalizing, the door is open for every evil to slip in, normalized by a society that just doesn't want to "judge" anyone as having done anything wrong.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Once upon a time souls, which are immortal, were seen as more important than the physical momentary pleasures of this world. People still struggled with all the same sins we struggle with today, but maybe it was tiny bit easier for the average person to turn away from temptation, because people knew what their neighbors would think and how society would react if their actions were laid bare. The effects of giving in to concupiscence wasn't just some far off, abstract fate, because there could and likely would be consequences in this world as well as the next. The sinner was told that he or she needed to repent, rather than being told that "we're all okay" or that "the path of love says that I can't tell you that what you're doing is upsetting to God, because that would make you sad or uncomfortable and if I say something that makes you sad or uncomfortable in any way, that can't possibly be loving, right?"
Today you can find someone to say pretty much any sin is A-Okay and absolutely normal. The mainstream media does its best to normalize whatever they feel should be normalized, while vilifying any Christian figure with a backbone as a hate-filled bigot. There's no understanding of the concept of hating a sin, but loving the person struggling with the sin, because we all have to be okay with everything everyone does or we're "judging" them.
And that's the next quote you're likely to hear. "Jesus says not to judge! So you can't say this is wrong!" usually spoken with a triumphant air. They have no idea that applying this to any rebuke over any action is a complete twisting of Jesus' teaching. It's like taking a sound bite from the scripture, while ignoring it's context and relationship to other verses (like John 7 for example, where Jesus tells us not to judge by appearances but to judge with right judgement).
You see, our souls still are more important than the pleasures of the moment. It's not kindness to pretend that something is okay when we know it's a serious sin. We shouldn't hate anyone. But we also shouldn't pretend that we can all go around doing whatever we want and everything will be okay.
I won't be pointing out all the rampant examples of fornication that we see in our culture and telling my kids that those people are sinners. But I will explain to them over and over again that sex outside the sacrament of marriage, which it was created for, is a serious sin and is very wrong, no matter what society says.
Does the fact that I believe sex outside of marriage is wrong mean that I hate everyone who struggles with, or embraces, this particular sin? Of course not. I feel sorrow when I think of how normalized this sin become in the media and in our society in general... I'm deeply saddened by how something beautiful and life-giving is twisted and viewed as an animal impulse... to see it used in a way that degrades and damages rather than a beautiful part of the vocation that so many of us are called to.
So let us not apologize for believing what the Church teaches and for lovingly applying those teachings in our lives. Let us not be so afraid of what others think, that we kowtow to the whims and norms of a society that is becoming increasingly amoral. Let us love God with all our hearts, and let us live lives that show the world that fact, by loving everyone, but turning away from sin and embracing what is truly possible when we let God have the proper place at the center of our lives.