Monday, February 28, 2011

Mom, I think it's time for you to stop talking now.

As Sarah and I were heading to the Mother/Daughter tea at church yesterday afternoon, Sarah began to ask me questions about her offering envelope.

I just picked up a box of envelopes for each of the kids so they could put their own money into the plate each Sunday instead of just putting in money that Dan and I gave them.  I am hoping that they will start to understand that everything we have is a gift from God and that He expects us to give a portion of it back to Him.

Yesterday was the first time the kids got to use their own envelopes.  Right before church I told them to get a little bit of their money for their offering.  I was interested to see what they would give.

Sarah gave 4 cents and Peter gave $1.  I was amused because I figured the amounts would be reversed since Peter has a lot less money than Sarah.

We were in a hurry to get to church this morning and I didn't take the time to explain my whole philosophy on giving so I was excited when Sarah asked me as we were on our way to the Mother/Daughter Tea what would happen with her money.

"What do you mean honey?" I questioned.

"Pretty soon I will have given God all my money and I won't have any left to buy an iPad Touch."

I chuckled and told her that she can always earn more money by doing work around the house and then I tried to explain that God expects us to give some of our money back to Him and that we should do it cheerfully and that we should expect Him to always take care of us.

And then I started talking about the Gospel reading from church that morning and then I started rambling on and on about trusting God and if she did I bet she would find that she had more money than she needed.

And blah, blah, blah.  As the words came tumbling out of my mouth, I kept telling myself to shut up.  She's only 6 I'm using too many words.  And blah, blah, blah. I just couldn't seem to stop myself. 

Finally Sarah said, "Mom, I think it's time for you to stop talking now."

I burst out laughing and agreed with her. She was right.  I was using too many words and ended up rambling all the way to nowhere. 

But I guess I just really wanted her to know that everything we have comes from God and we should cheerfully give back a portion of it to Him (even more than we think we can give), and he will always make sure that we have everything we need.

Oh, and one more thing. An iPad Touch isn't necessarily something that we need. But I guess that's another lecture for another day.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Chickpeas and Popcorn (The good, the bad and the soggy.)

A couple of weeks ago, I tried a new recipe that turned out to be pretty tasty and this new recipe inspired me to try something else new that unfortunately turned out to be pretty nasty and was probably a fire hazard as well!

This is the tasty recipe:

Italian Chicken with Chick Peas


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed 


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with the rosemary on both sides; cook the chicken in the hot oil until browned evenly, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  2. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into the skillet. Cook and stir the garlic in the hot oil until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, sugar, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes to the skillet; stir. Return the chicken to the skillet; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Stir the garbanzo beans into the skillet; continue cooking until the beans are heated, 2 to 3 minutes more.
Like most of the new recipes I try, this one came from

The sauce was yummy and the chickpeas were delicious.  I like hummus but I can't really recall ever eating chickpeas in their natural chick pea form before.  

I was so excited by my new love of chick peas that I decided to try this recipe:

Roasted Spiced Chick Peas

  • 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a colander, drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a small bowl, combine the oil and spices, then add the chick peas and toss to coat. Spread chickpeas in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, shaking the baking sheet several times to rotate the chic kpeas. Let cool completely. These will store for 2 weeks in an airtight containe.

I got this recipe from MoneyWiseMoms and was so excited to try it.  I was hoping the chick peas would turn out crunchy and I could eat them as a healthy, crunchy, tasty snack in the afternoons.

Imagine my surprise when I was sitting at the computer and could hear popping noises about 15 minutes into the baking process.  I ran into the kitchen to investigate and discovered the peas were a poppin' - like popcorn!

I got nervous, turned the oven off and took the peas out of the oven.  So my healthy, crunchy, tasty afternoon snack was anything but. Because I didn't leave them in the oven long enough (I was afraid I was going to burn the house down!), they were soggy.  Some of them were crunchy but they didn't have much flavor.   

I alerted Facebook to my troubles and was told by one friend (hi, Pam!) that they probably started popping when the steam built up in them.  And that I should have drained and dried them better.  (In my defense, the recipe said nothing about drying them!)

I have done some research on the internet and found many recipes for roasted chickpeas and I currently have two cans of them in the pantry.  If I find a good one, I'll let you know.  And if any of you have a good one, please share and I'll be sure to try it!

Monday, February 21, 2011


This morning at Aldi, I was trying to get to the milk.  I was waiting patiently for an older gentleman to grab his.  I needed a gallon of 2% and a gallon of whole and he was parked in front of both doors.

He seemed confused, as if he wasn't sure which to get.

Poor thing, I thought.

He finally grabbed a gallon of whole milk and moved forward a little bit so that I could make my selection.  I could tell he was watching me.

After I grabbed the 2%, he put his whole milk back and said, "I think I'll get what you're getting."

I looked at him and smiled a weak smile trying to figure out if I was dealing with dementia or perversion. Turns out it was neither.

"My wife recently passed away.  She did all the shopping and I have no idea what to buy," he said with a shaky voice.

His eyes were filling up with tears and I didn't know what to say.  I gave him a sympathetic smile and told him that either one would be good.

"Well, at least I know I won't go hungry," he said as he glanced around at all the food in the store.

"That's right!" was my weak response.  Why don't I ever know what to say.  Ever.  I'm always floundering for the right words. "Well," I said with a pause, "good luck."

"Thank you," he said with a smile.

As we went our separate directions, I prayed a silent prayer for that sweet man and hoped that I had done enough. 

I noticed him talking to someone else in the store.  I bet he was lonely.  Should I have talked to him longer?

When I got to the bananas, I wished that I had offered to walk through the store with him.  Everything in Aldi's produce department is good except their bananas.  

But I didn't talk to him longer that I did because I always feel self-conscious and never know what to say.  And I didn't walk through the store with him because I'm selfish, I had things that I needed to accomplish.

I'm sure the smile, the quick words and the prayer were all nice enough. 

But were they enough?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sarah Said...Peter Said... (The teenage years - only now.)

As we were waiting for the bus yesterday, I was stretching and doing jumping jacks because  I was going for a run as soon as the kids were on their way to school.

"Mom!  Stop doing that!  You are embarrassing me," Sarah said.


As he headed up to his room for bed the other evening Peter said, "I need my own iPod so I can listen to my music in my room by myself."

When did they turn 13?  I miss my 6-year-old and my 8-year-old!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

1 sculpture, 2 points, 3rd place.

Aunt Cathy came this weekend to watch Sarah play basketball.  For the last several weeks, Sarah has been working on a "sculpture" as she likes to call it.

AC loves to sail so Sarah wanted to create a boat.  She spent a lot of time and toil working on her masterpiece.  She started and threw away several versions until she created one that she liked and then she spent a lot of time adding details such as a beach with glitter sand and real seashells, a little girl fishing from the boat, a crab, and heart shaped sails. 

To Sarah's excitement, Aunt Cathy loved the boat as much as she hoped and has even put it in her office at work right beside a sailing trophy she won!

And I think Aunt Cathy brought Sarah luck during her basketball game.  One of the boys on the team passed Sarah the ball and I know she only did this because AC was there, actually took a shot...AND IT WENT IN!  She acted like it was no big deal but we were hoarse from cheering!

Now, if I can get her to do the same thing next weekend when Aunt Cathy isn't in the stands!  Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the shot or the basket, I do have a few other action shots from the game.

Passing the ball to her friend Cheyanne

Not sure what she's doing here but doesn't she look intimidating?

This kid is not getting past my girl!

After Sarah's game it was time for the Cub Scout's Pinewood Derby.  Dan and Peter spent a lot of time sawing and sanding and painting.  Peter got to do a lot more of the actual work on the car this year than last year but it still wasn't enough for him.  But 8-year-olds and power tools don't always mix well so he will just have to wait a little longer before he makes the entire car himself.

He finished 3rd in his Den and was thrilled.  But then the top 3 finishers from all of the dens competed and he didn't do as well.  He was very disappointed.  He didn't cry but he doesn't hide his emotions very well and did a lot of pouting.  But I guess Boy Scouts builds character so better luck and better attitude next time!

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Valentine's let me count the ways...

Here is a short list of all the reasons why Dan is the perfect man for me:

1. He watches American Idol and Glee with me even though he doesn't like either one of those shows.

2. He doesn't make me watch the History Channel and the Discovery Science Channel with him.  He DVR's all the shows he wants to see and watches them on Friday and Saturday nighst when I'm asleep.

3. He eats my cooking without complaining.  And there have been plenty of nights when he really should have complained!

4. He likes leftovers.  So even if the meal was less than wonderful, he doesn't mind eating it again the second night.  He says that's what Texas Pete is for.

5. On warm summer evenings he enjoys sitting on my parent's front porch and talking about the weather, baseball and whatever else happens to be on their minds.

6. He never ever leaves a mess.  No toothpaste blobs in the sink, no dirty socks on the floor.  Nothing.

7. He can plunge a toilet like nobody's business.  For some reason I can never get the plunger to work but thankfully he can.

8. He makes the bed almost every morning. And he can make hospital corners on the sheets.

9. He says women should have a little meat on their bones.  

10.  And the best part of all...he loves me...just the way I am!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm still not sure but it was probably his knee and not His hand.

I am a morning person. I don't mind getting up early, in fact, I actually enjoy it.  The house is dark and quiet and peaceful.  And because everyone else is still asleep there's no pressure to run the vacuum.

I used to use this time to read blogs, write blog posts, check email or see what was happening on Facebook.  And if I had some time to spare before time to get everyone up for the day, I would read the Bible and/or pray.

But gradually, over time, I felt as if God was calling me to spend less time on the other things in those early morning hours and more time reading the Bible and praying.  So now I start the day with God and not with Facebook.

Lately, before I crawl out of bed, I have been asking God to speak to me through the scripture I am about to read and to help me get a better understand of what I am reading.

I turned the alarm clock off on Wednesday morning and lay there with my eyes closed asking God to help me understand what I would be reading that morning.  While I was laying there I began to drift off to sleep.  Just five more minutes, I thought to myself, and then I'll get up.

I was almost completely asleep when I felt my body shake!  I immediately sat up in bed.  Was God physically shaking me awake so I would get up and continue reading through the book of Numbers?  My heart was racing!

I looked over at Dan and he was sound asleep.  He didn't shake me and I didn't dream it.  I actually moved!  It must have been God!

I hopped up, ran downstairs with my heart racing and opened up the Bible to Numbers chapters 21 and 22.  As I was reading, I was eagerly anticipating God speaking something wonderful to me.  Perhaps he was going to finally answer my prayer of what I should be doing with my life.  Whatever he was going to tell me had to be big for him to reach down and shake me awake!

As I read about the bronze snake and Balaam and his donkey, I thought, these are good stories but where is my message?

I finished reading and started praying and before I knew it, my quiet time was over and the day was about to start.  Oh well, I thought, perhaps I didn't study the chapters enough to determine the special message.

I forgot all about it until Friday morning.  I turned my alarm off and laid there for an extra minute trying to gather the energy I needed to get up.  Right about that time, Dan shoved his knee into my rear end as if to say "get up". 

O.k. so it probably wasn't the hand of God but the knee of Dan that woke me up on Wednesday!

Maybe I should re-read Numbers 21-22 just to be safe.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tidbits. Nabisco may not make them anymore but I do.

I suppose I should update you on my post from earlier in the week, which means this post will also be a list of tidbits:

1.  The zit on my chin is still hanging around.  He just doesn't want to give up his position on my chin.  Watch out giant zit - the Proactive will work eventually!

2.  The vinegar de-scaling seems to have worked!  However, apparently I didn't run enough plain water through before I made my first cup of coffee because the cream curdled.  The best part of waking up is NOT with vinegar in your cup!  And as I was pouring out my coffee and making another cup, I remembered this handy little tip - if a recipe calls for a little buttermilk and you don't have any or don't want to buy a whole pint - mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 cup of milk and let it stand for 15 minutes.  Stir and voila - you have buttermilk.

3.  Peter's afternoon updates from his teacher are much better!  She said he is doing a better job staying on task and he is doing a great job ignoring those who are trying to talk to him!  He gained back his computer privileges yesterday and much to my surprise after playing less than 30 minutes decided to play with his Legos and then headed outside to play with the neighbors. 

4.  I am looking forward to next Wednesday when I get my cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts.  Some of you may be wondering why I don't just go there right now and have a cup.  I'm not sure what it is...I think it is because I would feel guilty doing that in the middle of the day whenI should be at home cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, etc.   But I have an excuse on Wednesdays - the kids are in their Religious Ed class and it would be a waste of time and gas to go home and then back to church.    Does this make sense?

5.  We did get snow but not much so we just had a 2 hour delay.  I am numb to delays and cancellations this year we have had so many of them.  I believe they are calling for 60 degree days next week...dare I dig out the flip-flops?

6.  Aunt Cathy (or AC as Sarah affectionately refers to her) will be here bright and early Saturday  morning.  I will make sure to post pictures of the boat that Sarah spent hours working on.  Sailing is one of AC's favorite things to do so Sarah wanted to make a boat for her. Keep in my she's 6 so if you are expecting something that is whittled, stained and shellacked, you would be wrong.  Let's think construction paper, paint and glitter...I think the hours we spent was  the time I cleaned up the mess each time she decided to add another detail.  And there are quite a few.  Sarah calls this boat a sculpture.  AC you might need a bigger mantle.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Zits and vinegar and coffee. Not exactly what brilliant blog posts are made of.

1.  I had my teeth cleaned this morning and was very excited that my talented dental  hygienist was able to work around the giant zit on my chin.   As wrinkles are beginning to lay claim to my face, you would think that the zits would retreat.  But no, they still appear monthly just as large and angry as they did in my youth.  Perhaps they will be defeated by menopause.  I guess only time will tell.

2.  My beloved Keurig coffee maker is on the fritz. It isn't brewing a full cup like it should.  After consulting the owner's manual, it sounds as if a de-scaling might be in order.  However, I don't have 48 ounces of distilled vinegar on hand so I will be heading out momentarily to pick some up.  I don't like anything to get in the way of my morning coffee so I guess I will be in full de-scale mode this afternoon!

3.  Peter's teacher emailed me on Monday afternoon to alert me to a problem.  It seems as if he was very talkative the previous week and was still having problems on Monday.  Peter's punishment was 3 days without the computer and I took him in on Tuesday morning to apologize to his teacher for being a disruption to the class.  I'm not sure which part of the punishment was harder for him - no computer or apologizing.  He did better yesterday but his teacher is going to email me updates every afternoon for the rest of the week.  The length of his punishment will be extended if the talking doesn't stop.

Peter has never been a talker. In fact, normally people that are talking in class and aren't following the rules upset him and make him angry.  It makes me wonder what is really going on with him.  Is there a deeper issue or is it simply talking in class?  Hmmmmmm....

4.  For some reason, the kids don't have Religious Ed class this afternoon.  I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed because I normally spend that time at Dunkin Donuts reading some sort of uplifting devotional book and drinking a large coffee with cream and Splenda.  (Being in DD always reminds me of Massachusetts.  There's a DD on every corner there and when you go in, you always hear someone say, "I'll take a lahge caw-fee with cream and shugah."  (Please read that with your best Boston accent.) 

5.  They are calling for snow again tonight.   I hope the kids don't miss any more school.  And it's not just in my typical whiny "But I had things I needed to get done today!" way.  I think the kids have already used all of their snow days and I'm not sure what the county would decide to do at that point.  School on a Saturday?  Ick.  That wouldn't be good for the kids or for me.  Unless of course it's the Saturday that's coming up in the middle of the 14 days straight that my husband is going to be out of town...that might not be bad...)

6.  Sarah is very excited.  Aunt Cathy is coming to visit this weekend so she can see her play basketball.  And lucky Aunt Cathy - Peter's Pinewood Derby race is this weekend as well so she gets to watch that too, just like last year.  It's nice when you can make a niece AND a nephew happy in one weekend!  Now, it would be perfect if Sarah scored a basket and Peter's derby car placed (and it doesn't even have to be first, honorable mention would be o.k. Unfortunately, though, Dan thinks they made the car too light in the front which means it will probably flip off the track.  Aunt Cathy - bring could get teary and snotty in Pack 703!).

Time to get the vinegar!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Perhaps we need a little more PBS and a little less Disney Channel in this house.

"Mom, I'm going to be a famous rock start when I grow up!" Sarah said.

"That's great honey," I replied.

"I'm also going to be a scientist like Aunt Cathy but I'm going to wear a wig because I don't want any of my fans screaming for me when I'm doing my important scientist work."

I think someone's been watching a little too much Hannah Montana!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

They say it's good for your soul!

You know what they say, "Confession is good for the soul."  And if you are Catholic, it's more than good for the soul, it's required before you can receive your first communion.

Peter is in second grade which means he will receive his first communion this spring after he completes all of his required prep classes and after he receives the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka - his first confession).

I was raised as a Protestant and when I first considered joining the Catholic church, one of the things I balked at was the idea of confessing my sins to a priest.

I don't need a priest!  I can go straight to God!  Why do I need to confess my sins to a priest?  

These were the arguments I made in protest but as I started to read and reflect and pray about the matter, I  realized that confession is Biblical.

The text below which is taken from Catholics Come Home  answers the question of Why do Catholics confess their sins to  a priest instead of going directly to God? quite nicely and succinctly:

The quick answer is because that's the way God wants us to do it. In James 5:16, God, through Sacred Scripture, commands us to "confess our sins to one another." Notice, Scripture does not say confess your sins straight to God and only to says confess your sins to one another.

In Matthew, chapter 9, verse 6, Jesus tells us that He was given authority on earth to forgive sins. And then Scripture proceeds to tell us, in verse 8, that this authority was given to "men"...plural.

In John 20, verses 21-23, what is the 1st thing Jesus says to the gathered disciples on the night of His resurrection? "Jesus said to them, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.'" How did the Father send Jesus? Well, we just saw in Mt 9 that the Father sent Jesus with the authority on earth to forgive sins. Now, Jesus sends out His disciples as the Father has sent, what authority must Jesus be sending His disciples out with? The authority on earth to forgive sins. And, just in case they didn't get it, verses 22-23 say this, "And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.'"

Why would Jesus give the Apostles the power to forgive or to retain sins if He wasn't expecting folks to confess their sins to them? And how could they forgive or retain sins if no one was confessing their sins to them?

The Bible tells us to confess our sins to one another. It also tells us that God gave men the authority on Earth to forgive sins. Jesus sends out His disciples with the authority on earth to forgive sins. When Catholics confess our sins to a priest, we are simply following the plan laid down by Jesus Christ. He forgives sins through the is God's power, but He exercises that power through the ministry of the priest.

I was 37 years old when I gave my first confession.  It was hard.  I was sweating bullets.  Think of all the sins you had committed by the time you were 37.  Now think about telling them to someone. Out loud.  Even someone as loving and nonjudgmental as a priest.  That's hard stuff.  

But when I left the confessional, I felt as light as air.  Even though I had prayed many times to God asking him for forgiveness for the discretions on my list, (and yes, I took a list into the confessional) I never truly felt forgiven until I told them to the priest and he absolved me of them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  

Peter gives his first confession on Saturday morning and I have a little advice for him. Don't be nervous.  Be honest.  Speak slowly and clearly. And remember what they say, little man, "Confession really is good for your soul!"