Monday, February 27, 2006

February's Reading List

I know I have another day left in the month, but I have a busy day tomorrow so I won't finish anything before March. I must have been busier this month, as I don't seem to have read much. My reading lists don't include periodicals or children's books - both of which I read a ton. This month, all of the books were worth reading, except The Corrections. I should have been tipped off when the cover touted it as an "Oprah Book Club Pick". I really enjoyed Minaret and Rasputin's Daughter.

(***) The Broker by John Grisham

(****) Miracle of St. Cecilia's by Katherine Valentine

(*****) Minaret by Leila Aboulela

(***) Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Tough by Neta Jackson

(negative *) The Corrections by Johnathon Franzen

(*****) Rasputin's Daughter by Robert Alexander

Sunday, February 26, 2006

mother blessing a success!

I hosted T's mother blessing today and I think it went really well.

We were going to have it at my house, but her sister came in from CA with her 4 boys, so it was better having it at T's house. It was probably a little more hectic for T that way, but also easier.

I started with a prayer and then I lit 4 taper candles to represent T, her husband, her daughter and her son on the way. The tapers were arranged in a circle. Then, I gave each person a small tealight in a holder along with a small poem how they should light the candle when the baby is born and say a prayer in his name. I also gave each person there a small jade plant. I originally had planned to have us all plant seeds/plants as a symbolic gesture of the new life about to be born - but decided since we were having it at her home, I would avoid the mess that would cause her.

Then, I pulled out the bead necklace. I had written to a good friend of ours, as well as her sister and asked them to be part of the day by sending beads to represent them and their children. (Her sister didn't know she'd be able to come into town at the time) They wrote very sweet explanations of the beads they chose, and I had already strung them, with pretty blue glass beads separating each individual bead. Then, those that were there explained why they chose the beads they did while I strung them. We all cried while explaining why we chose the beads ;) Some were chosen for why they reminded us of T, others were chosen to represent the person who chose the bead. It was a really neat ceremony!

We shared some gifts for her then - pampering items for her, and some sweet things for the new babe.

Finally, I handed T a ball of ribbon and asked her to loop it around her wrist and pass it on. We each wrapped the ribbon around our wrist and passed it on - ending up again with T. We were an unbroken circle, representing the cycle of life, and the bond we all shared of motherhood. We went around the circle then and gave T a blessing for her upcoming labor and delivery. After we were all through, we cut the ribbon and tied it around our wrists. We'll leave it on until she gives birth.

It was a very emotional afternoon, but also wonderful. I had brought fresh fruit, veggies, cheese & crackers and cheesecake to share with the other moms. It was a little hectic with all the kids in the house, but they also made it that much more "real" because it was ALL about motherhood.

T was very pleased with the entire event. She was so touched by the bead necklace and I was so glad to surround her with that love from all of us.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Lent starts next week. C is looking forward to receiving the ashes and has informed me that he doesn't remember getting ashes last year. I know that if we had gone, he would remember! I don't remember why we missed mass last year, but I do remember that Lent was a tough go for me personally last year. I expect this year to be much better!

One thing I plan to do this Lenten season is write thank you letters to all those in my life who deserve one! To the priest at our parish, who always makes the effort to be sure the boys are given a blessing -- even when they try to squirm away! To the restaurant we visit where we always feel welcomed. To whoever crosses our paths this season and deserves a thank you - I plan to stop just thinking I "should" write a letter, but actually do it.

I plan to give up chocolate. Considering I tend to have something chocolate . . . oh, every day!! . . . that will be a noticeable sacrifice in my life. I toyed with giving up soda (which is what C has chosen - which I find funny, because the boys really don't drink much anyway - but B gave up Coca-Cola last year, and I think that's what is behind his choice) but it wouldn't be that hard for me to stop drinking soda for 6 weeks. B hasn't decided what he will give up this year.

Oh, and another thing to add is to attend daily mass during the week (in addition to Sunday). I know I made this a goal at the beginning of the liturgical year, too, but I failed miserably. B has Mondays off, so I have no excuse not to attend on Mondays. I wish the mass was later than 8AM! I think if it was at 10, or noon, we'd be attending quite a bit during the week. But, considering that we have 8 masses on the weekend, I'm sure the priests aren't interested in adding any more masses.

10 Things About Me

from Alexa

1- Describe your wallet.
Red. I’ve almost always had a red wallet. There’s a pocket on one side for my cell phone. small zipper pocket inside for cash. Six slots for cards, then an open pocket. In the six slots, I keep my driver’s license, my debit card, membership cards to the zoo and 3 different museums. In the open pocket, I keep my “mommmy” business cards so I can easily exchange info. The only problem with this wallet is that there is no place for change, so it’s always weighing my purse down until I empty it for the boys’ banks.

2- How do you like your coffee? Or do you even LIKE coffee?
I don’t like coffee. I don’t even like the smell of coffee. I drink tea - lots and lots of tea . . . lots and lots of different flavors. My father still claims I won't be an adult until I start drinking coffee (I’m 38)

3- Do you consider yourself religious?
Yes. And spiritual

4- At the moment, which song would you most likely find yourself singing aloud or at least humming?
Have a Nice Day by Bon Jovi

5- Was yesterday a good or a bad day for you?
Good Day. Went to Trader Joes’ with my sister and the boys and B came home from a 2 day trip

6- What or who do you miss the most at this very moment?
I miss my grandparents. Especially my maternal grandmother. She passed away 4 years ago in March. We could always chat on the phone forever, and she was ALWAYS on my side.

7- Do you wash your hair every day?
Yep, every day.

8- Do you send out thank-you notes (snail mail) to everyone who ever sends you a gift?
I am the queen of thank you notes. I ALWAYS send a note, even if I’ve thanked someone over the phone or in person. I send them to my parents, too. My boys know that when we receive a gift, they send a thank you note. I let them color blank cards, and then they dictate to me what they want to say. C is starting to write his own.

9- If you could have one more room added onto your house/apartment, what would you use it for?
A library. Oh, to have a room full of books, and a comfy chair. Every room in my house already has at least 2 bookshelves, but I love the idea of having a room with every wall covered with books.

10- Name only ONE of your favorite brands of junk food.
the milk chocolate bars from Trader Joes that come in the light green wrappers and are sold 3 for $1. I love those chocolate bars!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

kitchen meme

found at Like Merchant Ships

1. How many meals does most of your family eat at home each week? How many are in your family?
I'm going to say 19? We tend to go out to dinner one night a week, and usually out for lunch once a week or so. There are 4 in our family. I feed the kids regularly, because of B's work schedule, he is fed much more sporadically.

2. How many cookbooks do you own? How often do you refer to a cookbook each week? I own a LOT of cookbooks. 2 full bookshelves, plus more that don't fit on the shelves. I go through periods where I do a lot of reading/searching in them; and then I don't touch them for a month.

4. Do you collect recipes from other sources? I subscribe to Cooking Light magazine, and also look at recipes in magazines like Woman's Day or Family Circle. I search the internet for recipes - places like allrecipes and recipezaar.

5. How do you store those recipes? Save the web-based ones on my computer, tear out and save the magazine ones in a folder.

6. When you cook, do you follow the recipe pretty closely, or do you use recipes primarily to give you ideas? I use recipes as a starting point usually. I will follow a recipe carefully (usually) the first time I make it, then modify from there. Of course, if it has something I just don't like (mushrooms - bleck) then I change it right away. I'm not afraid of fiddling with ingredients, or even measurements and usually have good results.

7. Is there a particular ethnic style or flavor that predominates in your cooking? If so, what is it? No, not really. I cook different things.

8. What's your favorite kitchen task related to meal planning and preparation? When someone else cooks AND cleans up!

9. What's your least favorite part? Close tie between figuring out what exactly to prepare . . . and cleaning up the mess.

10. Do you plan menus before you shop? I go through phases. Sometimes I'm very careful, other times not. With B not being home for dinner most nights, usually I'm preparing stuff the kids like, so it's much simpler.

11. What are your three favorite kitchen tools or appliances? Kitchenaid mixer, Henckel knives, wooden rolling pin

12. If you could buy one new thing for your kitchen, money was no object, and space not an issue, what would you most like to have? double oven or a covered, outside kitchen -- we have the fancy grill, but I'd like a sink out there, a covered area to shield from the sun, a nice cutting/prep area.

13. Since money and space probably are objects, what are you most likely to buy next? can't think of one. I have a lot of kitchen gadgets already.

14. Do you have a separate freezer for storage? Yes, and I LOVE having a 2nd freezer!

15. Grocery shop alone or with others? Usually with my 2 boys - probably 95% of the time. 4.5% on my own, .5 with B and both boys. Shopping with the 3 of them will take twice as long, so I try to avoid that.

16. How many meatless main dish meals do you fix in a week? Probably about 1/2 of our meals are meatless. Less when B is around for dinner regularly.

17. If you have a decorating theme in your kitchen, what is it? No theme at all. That may change this year, but not sure which direction we're going to go in.

18. What's the first thing you ever learned to cook, and how old were you? I've been cooking since I was 9 or so. I was a latchkey kid and often made dinner before my parents came home. I think scrambled eggs were one of the first things I made on my own regularly. I used to make this horrific spam casserole with a mustard sauce for dinner . . .I really can't imagine it now, but as a family we used to eat it regularly.

19. How did you learn to cook? Trial and error. Cookbooks. Watching my mom.

20. Tag two other people to play. Alexa . . . I think you're the only regular reader here :) and anyone else that wants to play!

Friday, February 17, 2006


I'm almost afraid to post this . . . but I'm finally back into a groove with laundry. Woooo Hooooo!!!

When I had 2 in cloth diapers, laundry was NO problem. Every day, I would do a load of diapers, and a load of laundry. On Sundays, I did no laundry. I had a schedule of what was washed each day, and often hung the loads outside to dry. I was the laundry queen!!

I think I started losing control of it when Nate stopped using diapers. Probably not right away, but suddenly I didn't NEED to throw in a load every day. Before I knew it, I was doing 4 or 5 loads in a day; or just washing the bare minimums. It would frustrate me, but for whatever reason, I just never got back in control.

Until the last few weeks. I have started regaining control of various areas of the house - maintaining instead of frantic, frenzied cleaning every once in a while. And, today, when I went to the laundry baskets and realized I only had sheets to wash (and Friday has always been bedding day) I realized I was back in the groove.

It feels almost ridiculous to feel so good about it . . . but it feels great all the same!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

To my Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day to my sweetie!! Our first Valentine's Day was spent at a fancy restaurant (was it in the Pfister in Milwaukee? I think it may have been!). We were dressed up . . . I was wearing a short, strappy, black velvet dress and I don't quite remember what you were wearing.

This is our 10th Valentine's Day together and while we won't be going out tonight to a fancy restaurant, dinner will be with 2 of the most amazing products of our love.

I'm lucky to have you to laugh with, to joke with, to prod me into being less serious, to spend my life with. I feel so very lucky to share all that we have with you. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

pet peeve number 658

I'm realizing that I am feeling very cranky today!

But, WHY can't B ever CLOSE food items that he gets into? He can't manage to seal any package he opens . . . just leaves it open to get stale! URGH!


B has had a cough for over a week now. No other real symptoms, just a dry, hacking cough. He doesn't like medicine, and is horrible about taking it regularly (ie. every 4 hours). I've been doing what I can to keep benadryl in his system, and then dosing him on old prescription cough medicine at night so we can both get some sleep.

I feel terrible when I say that it's driving me crazy. I'm sure it's much more annoying to him, and I wish I could be more loving, sympathetic, etc. -- but I just feel annoyed by the whole thing and worry when someone else in the family is going to fall ill.

And, I think it's me. I have a rotten headache, sore throat . . . bleck. I have been pouring Sambucol down the boys' throats, loading them up on Vitamin C. So far, it's working. C had a runny, runny nose the past 2 days, but he's fine again today.

Well, if I can manage to keep the boys healthy, I'll be happier.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

T's mother blessing

T's mother blessing is coming along nicely. I got the last address from her today, put together the invitations (that look awesome, thank you very much), got them in the mail, found her sster's address in CA so she can participate long distance, talked to a prenatal masseuse that will come and give everyone hand massages (hopefully), and have the menu 1/2 planned.

This weekend, I picked up enough tealights and holders to give one to everyone at her blessing, as well as D's shower in May. We can light them as a prayer to the new baby. I also want to get some small plants to give to the women who attend. I won't do the same for D - but I do think that the game prizes will be small plants at her shower. She's expecting 25, which is why I'm only doing the candles for everyone.

When I saw her yesterday, I thought she might be in labor. She has 4 weeks to "go", but she just had this look about her, and kept rubbing her belly in just "that way". Of course, she may go all the way past her "due" date, but somehow she just really seemed ready. Even if she has the baby before the 26th, it'll still be a nice afternoon.

I'm asking everyone to bring a bead to represent them, and also a bead for each of their children. We'll string them and give them to her as a "support" necklace to represent how much she is loved and supported. That's why I wanted to get her sister's information. A good friend of ours who moved back to Ohio a year+ ago is sending me beads and gifts for her. I also asked for gifts that would pamper/soothe T, rather than traditional baby gifts. She really has plenty for this little one - it's her that needs the most right now.

She's emotionally frayed, and I'm not sure what more I can do for her. She's not very good at asking for help, and I guess I'm not that good at reaching her to find out what she needs. She did ask for meals after the baby was born - something I was already planning on doing - but I was glad that she was able to ask.

Monday, February 06, 2006

this week

Busy Mom by Chidi Okoye
We've got an ultra-busy week ahead of us. Today was my hubby's day off, (although he did go in the office to turn in paperwork), so we spent the afternoon at IKEA. I wanted to get some tealights and holders to give away as favors for the baby shower I'm hosting in May. The boys had a wonderful time playing in the play area after we enjoyed lunch.

Tomorrow, we have preschool class at the Botanical Gardens. C was very disappointed last week when we didn't stay and wander the gardens after class, so we'll do that tomorrow.

Wednesday, we're supposed to attend a local API meeting. A friend is the leader, and has been asking me to attend for quite a while. Since that would be the only "free" day I have this week, I'm still debating whether to attend. She recently changed the day of the week to be more accommodating, but I just don't know.

Thursday, one of my pregnant friends is coming over. I'm going to load her up with lots of things from the boys' younger days and then we're headed to Target to look at baby stuff. She's expecting her first in June and is very cute about the whole thing. She is usually very decisive, but pregnancy has made her second and third guess every decision. I haven't seen her in a few weeks, and I'm excited to see her.

Friday, my mom's group at our parish is meeting. Since I'm the leader, I can't skip out on this one. I'm looking forward to the topic - "What are you reading?" Everyone will share good books for adults & kids. I'm half-hoping that my hubby will end up with late calls that day so I can attend sans kids.

I just realized that I will be seeing 3 pregnant mommas this week! Tuesday, we'll see T & her 36 week pregnant belly at preschool class; Wednesday, we'll spend the day with D and her 24 week belly; and then Friday, we'll hopefully see B and her 10 week belly at mom's group. T is expecting her 2nd, D her 1st, and B her 5th! Maybe some of it will rub off on me!

And, then it's Saturday! I also need to do laundry, feed everyone, clean house, pick up C's fl*vent, gather up all the things for my pregnant friend, pick up my contacts, make a library run, plan a mother blessing for T that I'm hosting at the end of the month, finish organizing the playroom, clean out the clutter from our bedroom, get to the gym, take the boys swimming, pay bills, and send out valentines.

Hmmm. Maybe I should go to bed.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

St. Brigid's Feast Day

Today is St. Brigid's Feast Day. The boys & I will be making St. Brigid crosses later and I'll make some brain brack (spiced yeast bread) this afternoon to celebrate her day.

She was said to have been baptized by St. Patrick and devoted to the Lord at a young age. She became a nun at a early age, founded the nunnery at Kildare, and is considered to have been one of the great contributors to the spread of Christianity in Ireland.

How can you not love a saint who could write a prayer like this?

Saint Brigid's Prayer

I'd like to give a lake of beer to God.
I'd love the Heavenly
Host to be tippling there
For all eternity.

I'd love the men of Heaven to live with me,
To dance and sing.
If they wanted, I'd put at their disposal
Vats of suffering.

White cups of love I''d give them,
With a heart and a half;
Sweet pitchers of mercy I'd offer
To every man.

I'd make Heaven a cheerful spot,
Because the happy heart is true.
I'd make the men contented for their own sake
I'd like Jesus to love me too.

I'd like the people of heaven to gather
From all the parishes around,
I'd give a special welcome to the women,
The three Marys of great renown.

I'd sit with the men, the women of God
There by the lake of beer
We'd be drinking good health forever
And every drop would be a prayer.

What I read in January

This is a list of what I read in January - not including children's books or magazines. I rated them from negative star to 6 stars.

Those with negative or single stars I likely skimmed after the first few chapters to see if they got better further on. Usually they didn't. The Money Dragon I almost gave up on, but I'm glad I didn't as it grew on me the more I read it.

(****) And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers

(*****) Bait & Switch - the futile pursuit of the American dream by Barbara Ehnreich

(negative *) Nine Wives by Dan Elish

(*) The English Teacher by Lily King

(******)Material World by Peter Menzel

(negative *) Mommy knows worst by James Lilek

(*******) Women in the Material World by Faith D'Alusio

(***) Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson

(****) Money Dragon by Pam Chun

(***) Off the Record by Jennifer O'Connell

(*) Save a fish from drowning by Amy Tan

(*) Madonna of Las Vegas by Gregory Blake

(****) Saturday Morning by Lauraine Snelling

(****) Novena for Murder by Carol Ann O'Marie
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Design by Linda of Berries and Cream Blog Design