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Sunday, December 20, 2015

John 14:1-4

The mother of one of Peter's good friends from school passed away on Friday morning.  She had been battling cancer for six months. We were planning to head to Massachusetts Friday evening but we delayed the trip so we could attend the Vigil and Rosary they are having tonight.

Please pray for the O'Connor family as they face this Christmas season without their beautiful wife and mother.  And please pray the Our Lady of Mercy School family.  Chris loved our little school and worked tirelessly for the athletic program.  She will be greatly missed.

John 14:1-4  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

No more Santa. No more Elf.

My kids have come to me several times in the past asking if Santa was real.  I've felt for a couple of years now that he did not believe in Santa.  (Just read those two posts.)  But I've never actually told him.

Early last week, he approached me with a troubled look on his face and wanted to know if Santa was real.  I gave him my usual, "Well, what do you think?"  And this time, he replied, "I want to believe he's real but I just don't think there's any way it could be true."

He's 13 so I told him the truth.  He was extremely disappointed and a little sad.  But then he said, "The only reason I was really still thinking that he might be real was our gifts.  How do you get them to Massachusetts?

"Amazon Prime!"

"Ohhhhh!  Well, that makes sense!  What about the elf?"

I showed him our poor little Elf on the Shelf hidden in the back of Dan's dresser, wrapped up in the red towel we use to transport him from here to Massachusetts.

The elf is the reason that I am certain Sarah no longer believes either.  She hasn't come right out and asked but neither one of them mentioned our elf after we put up our Christmas tree.  It was a couple of days later and I asked Dan if I should get it out.

He looked at me with great disbelief and violently shook his head.  "Why would you get that thing out if they aren't asking for it?  It's nothing but one big hassle."

And I agree.  Ever since we've had that thing it's been just one more thing to do.  One more thing to remember.  And our poor elf never did any exciting things like the other elves seem to do.(Well, usually once a season he would do something really mischievous but for the most part, he just moved around from shelf to perch to shelf.

So I left Sparkle wrapped in his towel.  And have been a little glum about it all month.

The kids are growing up.  I guess it's what they are supposed to do, but sometimes it leaves me a little wistful. 

Back in December, 2008 when both my babies still believed...

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Panini

Every Sunday my mom makes a big lunch and we head next door after Mass to enjoy it.  Cooking food for others is my mom's love language and eating food prepared by others is mine.  So it works out great!

The only problem is that I'm usually so full from lunch that I don't ever want to fix anything for dinner.  Which is fine with me, but not my little family.  So I'm always trying to figure out what to cook that is tasty, easy, and light.  (And by light, I mean, not much food, not light in calories.)

A couple of months ago I purchased a sandwich press thinking that we could just make paninis for Sunday supper.

I've made cubans (which Dan and I love) and lots of grilled cheese with bacon which has also been a big hit.

But I've been wanting to branch out.  So when I stumbled on a recipe for Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese, I knew I would have to give it a try!  

And that's exactly what I did this past Sunday.  I didn't have the apricot preserves so I subbed peach jam and I always use Ciabatta rolls that I get from Aldi's.  And oh my!  These were delicious.

After Dan finished his, I asked if he would eat this again and he shook his head yes as he was licking his lips.  (That was almost as good as two thumbs up from him.)

So, this is what we'll be having again this Sunday.  The kids will be sticking to their grilled cheese and bacon but that's okay with me.  More jalapenos and goat cheese for me!

Please check out the original recipe because she actually roasted her own peppers (and her picture is way prettier than mine).  There's no way I'm ever going to roast peppers  so here's my lazy Sunday evening version:

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Panini

2 slices ciabatta bread
2 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 slices bacon, cooked
1 - 2 tablespoons jalapenos, pickles and chopped
1 tablespoon peach preserves (or apricot or any mildly sweet preserves)
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Spread one slice of bread with goat cheese.  Top with jalapenos and then bacon.
Spread the other piece of bread with preserves and place on top of the other piece.
Spread tops of bread with melted butter.
Place into sandwich press and cook.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A little story....

Today I went into my bedroom to sew a button back on Sarah's school skirt.

Peter was in my bathroom with the door closed.  (The kids always prefer to use the bathroom in our bedroom instead of theirs.  And I don't blame them because it's bigger and it gets lots of sunlight but still.  It's annoying because there's always someone in there.  But I digress.)

Sarah came into the room while I was threading the needle and sat on the bed. And then she began telling me about so and so and what she did and blah, blah, blah. Basic after school girl talk.

And as she was telling me a story about this person, a muffled voice called out from the bathroom, "Who?"

No response from Sarah.

"Who?" questioned the faint voice once again.



Chuckling,I said to Sarah, " I think there's an owl in the bathroom!" 

"Pffft." And an eye roll.

An. Eye. Roll.

"Did you just roll your eyes at me???"

"Well, yeah.  That really wasn't a very good joke, Mom."

"Are you kidding me?  That was a great joke.  It sounded like there was an owl in the bathroom because Peter kept saying, "who who who".

"I get it Mom.  It's just not that funny."

I guess I'm getting old because I'm still chuckling.

Peter was also not amused and I'm sure had the bathroom door been opened, his eyes would have been rolling too.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Gingerbread Cookies!

We made gingerbread cookies this weekend!

Well, technically, Dan and Sarah made ginger bread cookies.  It's always been their thing.  Dan loves gingerbread, has the patience and skill to roll out the dough and I don't. So he has always been the one to make them.

But I like to watch them and Peter likes to come in and out of the kitchen to check on the cookies and taste them when they are done.

I hope when Sarah is older, she will want to continue this tradition with her kids and maybe Peter will even decide it's something he wants to do with his kids.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A negative and a positive.

On Tuesday morning, Sarah came down for breakfast and said her throat was sore.  I didn't think much of it because she's a mouth breather at night and often wakes up with a scratchy throat (which I attribute to all the nighttime mouth breathing.) 

She made a cup of tea for breakfast and said her throat felt better.  I checked her temp and it was normal so off to school she went.

When she got in the car at the end of the day, she said her throat was still sore.  When we got home, I checked her temp and it was  99, so I gave her some pain reliever for her throat and she finished her homework. 

When she got up the next morning her fever was 100 and she said her throat was very sore so she got to stay home.  I had an afternoon full of PTO meetings so she spent the day watching shows on the laptop, doing some homework (she can check her assignments online) and generally just hanging out.

When I got home from my meetings at 5:30, she said her throat hurt "really bad".  Lovely.  It must be strep throat. 

Luckily our doctor's office has walk-in clinic hours from 5:30 -8:30 Monday - Friday so we hopped in the car and headed there. At the entrance to the office, they had their "if you have a fever please put one of these masks on" sign perched right beside a basket full of those lovely face masks that are all the rage in China. Sarah was not happy about having to wear one of those.

In the exam room, I told the receptionist and the nurse that I thought it was strep because I had looked into her throat and thought I could see some of those dreaded white spots. So the nurse cultured her throat and we waited.  As the nurse was leaving she said, "And if the strep test comes back negative, we'll do the flu test."

"The flu?", I mentally scoffed.  It's not the flu.  If it was the flu, she would be laid out on the couch unable to move.

The nurse came back in and declared, "It's not strep!" and did the culture for the flu. 

And a few minutes later, the PA came  in wearing gloves and a face mask and said, "It's the flu!  And the test isn't just sort of positive, it is definitely the flu!"

"But, but, but..." I stammered.  When she had the flu in 1st grade (the year I wasn't able to get a flu shot for the kids because I missed the window at our doctor's office and drug stores won't give them to kids under 18) she was miserable.  She missed an entire week of school and literally laid on the couch or in bed for 5 days unable to move. 

"She's been up, watching tv, doing homework, eating. How can it be the flu?"

The PA informed me that most likely the flu shot she got this year has helped keep her symptoms to a minimum. 

As we checked out, the receptionist said, "Was it strep?" 

"Nope, it was the flu!"

She got a panicked look on her face and immediately applied a large blob of hand sanitizer to her hands and forearms.  I'm certain that after we left she sprayed down everything because as we were leaving, I saw our nurse wiping down the door handles to the waiting room door.

We headed to Walgreens where the pharmacy tech informed me that they ran out of Tamiflu the day before but that they had just gotten one more package in earlier that afternoon.

So we scarfed that up along with a giant bottle of antibacterial spray and headed home. 

The doctor told her she couldn't go back to school until Monday and she was mad because other than being a little tired (and a lot contagious) she felt fine.

Yesterday, she was up all day, did her homework and watched more tv.  At lunch time she declared she wanted Chick-Fil-A so we went through the drive through.  She hasn't had a fever since Wednesday night but her throat was still a little sore yesterday.

She's still asleep right now so I don't know how she's doing today but I know she's going to be bored. We might drive around somewhere just to get out of the house - there's only so many episodes of "Jessie" she can watch.

Luckily no one else has gotten it.  Peter and I have also had our flu shots but Dan hasn't gotten his yet.  I'm putting a trip to Walgreen's on his to-do list this weekend.

And thanks to having my dear little one home, now I'm really behind on my online Christmas shopping.  There's so much to do and so little time!  I better get cracking while she's still asleep!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thanksgiving Break.

We had a very relaxing Thanksgiving.  The kids had the whole week off but  Dan only had Wednesday through Sunday off.  Sarah started the week off with a sleepover.  Peter was supposed to have one too but that didn't work out.  (But don't worry - he'll pester me until he gets one!)

Wednesday was spent preparing for Thanksgiving.  I made a couple of dishes to take to my mom's house.  She and my dad were taking care of the meats and most of the other sides. 

Thursday was spent resting and eating and relaxing with my family and my best friend's family.  And even though I took my camera, I did not take one single picture. 

We headed to the mountains on Friday to pick out our tree:

Please pretend that Peter's eyes are open!
Then we came home and decorated the outside of the house:

And on Saturday, Sarah's Girl Scout troop was in the Midway Christmas Parade:

After the parade, we finished decorating the Christmas tree:

On Saturday evening, Dan decided he wanted to make Laura Bush's Hot Chocolate so he and Sarah did just that.  Here he is with Peter and Sarah enjoying some really rich and tasty hot chocolate:

On Sunday we headed to Mass then met my brother for lunch at P.F. Chang's (yum!) and then came home to finish homework and watch football. 

And, yes, I stayed up until Midnight to watch the Patriots lose to the Denver Broncos. 

And that my friends was how we spent our Thanksgiving break!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

What I Wore Sunday

How about another round of What I Wore Sunday??

Details on this outfit:

Shirt: Lands' End
Scarf: Kohl's
Vest: Kohl's
Pants: Kohl's
Boots: Target

I have decided that a vest is the perfect layering piece when you are trying to hide a little extra that you may have around the middle!  This could be the year of the vest for me!!  :)

Happy Advent everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Saint Rebecca Irene, pray for us!

Remember this summer, when I posted this story about my sweet little saint who loves to pray?

This weekend, I received the following email from a reader named Kim:

Hello Beth,

I follow your blog and wanted to share this short story with you. Today my 7-year old daughter, Sarah, lost a bracelet she recently received for her birthday. She was very upset. Normally we pray to St. Anthony for intercession when we lose things, but I told Sarah to pray to St. Rebecca Irene. Less than a half hour later, she found her bracelet resting on top of a yellow flower in our yard. :)

God Bless!
I was so happy to hear this!  I love that someone thought about my sweet Rebecca and asked her to pray for them.  (And I love that Kim's daughter's name is Sarah - with an h no less!)
I ask Rebecca to pray for me and my intentions all the time (and you would not believe how fast I get answers to some of these prayers!) and I love that someone else thought about her and asked her for help as well.  
So next time you are praying to God about something big or small, you might want to ask St. Rebecca Irene to pray for you as well.  She's a powerful little intercessor.

Saint Rebecca Irene, pray for us!

My beautiful Rebecca.

Monday, November 23, 2015

What We Wore Sunday

Don't worry - this is not becoming a fashion blog BUT, I have decided to try to start posting more of What I Wore Sunday.  I'm trying to get over the fact that I STILL weigh 20 pounds more than I did a couple of years ago but I'm not going to let that stop me from trying to at least look cute - even if I don't feel cute.

So, here's the latest WIWS.  I wore the same scarf as last week.  Shhhhh....I hope no one at church noticed.  The look is cute and casual and I was very happy with how it turned out.

Chambray Shirt: Target
Black Pants: Kohl's
Camel Booties: Target
Bracelets: Target

And here I am with my little fashionista.  She looks cute no matter what she's wearing. It was chilly so I threw on a black vest which also came from Target.

Sarah's outfit details:
Sweater: Kohl's
Tee: Target
Jeans: Target
Boots: Target can tell where we do all of our shopping!

Happy Monday, y'all!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

What We Wore Sunday

Sarah and I both sported leopard print to Mass on Sunday.  And since we both thought that was cool, we took pictures.  So, here's an unofficial What We Wore Sunday:

 Sarah's entire outfit came from Target - even her super cute boots!

Sweater: Target
Tee: Target
Booties: Target

Sarah loves it when we are "matchers".  I've got a feeling that's not going to last long so I'm going to enjoy it wile I can!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The weekend. A recap.

Peter had a great birthday weekend in case you were wondering.

Friday was a half day of school.  And we also held our fundraiser, the Turkey Trot.  So Peter was in hog heaven - short day of school and when he was at school, he wasn't doing any work...except for a science lab where they tested marshmallow catapults they had teamed up to build:

Preparing to launch a marshmallow!

And here are a few pictures from the Turkey Trot:

Me and the other members of the PTO Board!

After the half day of school, he went to a friend's house who was celebrating his birthday.  His friend Daniel, just turned 13 the weekend before but because of the basketball tournament we were playing in, he didn't get to celebrate.  All the boys in their class went home with Daniel for an afternoon of playing in the woods.

Peter loves to play in the woods.  He came home a very tired but happy boy!

On Saturday, Peter skipped his basketball game to go to a Boy Scout event.  He went to Raven Knob and learned how to shoot a .22 rifle.  He advanced through both required rounds and earned his shooting badge!  He was so excited.  And Dan said Peter is actually a good shot!  Peter loves guns and has been begging for one.  I'm still not letting him get one but at least he was able to spend the morning shooting one safely.

On Saturday evening, we went to my parent's house for dinner.  They had some friends who recently went to Ireland so we got to hear about their travels and pick their brains for our upcoming trip in March.  No pictures but we ate ribs my dad had smoked in his smoker and I have to say - once you've had my dad's ribs, you will not want to eat any others!

On Sunday, we went to church and then back to my parent's for Peter's birthday lunch.  Here are some pictures of my little baby blowing out his candles.  And do you notice the fuzz on his upper lip?  It cracks me up every time I see it!

We measure the kids every year on their birthday .  Peter grew five inches last year!  FIVE INCHES!!!  He is currently 5 feet, 7 1/4 inches.  No wonder I had to replace his entire wardrobe this fall!

And the Carolina Panthers remain undefeated and the New England Patriots remain undefeated and that pretty much sums up our entire weekend!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thirteen is..

Thirteen is...

hungry (always hungry)

Thirteen loves to...

watch YouTube videos
play video games
shoot hoops
 hang out with his friends
go camping
pick on his sister
learn about history and geography
Google anything he wants to know about
eat cereal, BBQ, wings, and pizza
eat Sunday lunch at Grandma and Grandpa's house
visit museums

Thirteen has my heart. 
Happy Birthday, Peter!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Souper Soup Recipe!

I love a good homemade soup.  And Dan loves meat, potatoes and bread.  So when I found this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it.

It was good. Very good.  Dan raved about it.  He had leftovers the next day and continued to rave about it.   

Dan never raves about anything I make.  

I am taking dinner to a friend in a few weeks and I think this is the recipe I'm going with.  However, I'm going to make it one more time just to make sure I don't screw it up.  And also, the biscuits were only so so.  I might use another biscuit recipe.  This one had good flavor but they were a little dry.  Perhaps I over worked the dough or over baked them.  Not sure so I guess I need to try them again before I completely rule them out.

Anyway, here's a really yummy soup recipe!  Enjoy! (Both recipes found on CookingClassy)

Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Parmesan Drop Biscuits
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: About 4 - 6 servings

  • 20 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded in to bite size pieces
  • 5 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 small onion)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 1 cup peeled and diced carrots (about 2 carrots)
  • 1 (15 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups (heaping) peeled and 1/2-inch diced russet potatoes (2 medium potatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 recipe Parmesan drop biscuits, recipe follows
  • In an enameled cast iron pot, melt 1 1/2 Tbsp butter over medium-high heat. Add in onion, carrot and celery and saute 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, potatoes, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, (press veggies down into broth) cover with lid, and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 15 - 25 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in chicken and peas.
  • In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt remaining 4 Tbsp butter. Stir in flour and cook mixture, stirring constantly for 1 1/2 minutes. While whisking slowly pour in milk and whisk vigorously to smooth lumps. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat while stirring constantly, then remove from heat and stir in cream. Pour and stir milk mixture into mixture in pot. Stir in lemon juice.
  • Remove bay leaf and serve warm with Parmesan Drop Biscuits. 
Parmesan Drop Biscuits
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: About 10 biscuits

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 6 Tbsp butter (I used salted)
  • 2 oz finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper for 30 seconds. Stir in parmesan cheese. Add butter, and using your fingertips, rub butter into mixture until evenly distributed it comes together like the size of peas. Pour in milk and heavy cream and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined (batter should be lumpy and sticky). Drop about a scant 1/4 cup of batter at a time onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Monday, November 9, 2015

I'm hoping there's not too much of a resemblance!

When we were in D.C. Sarah and I checked out the display of all the First Lady's dresses at the Smithsonian.  It's a favorite exhibit of Sarah's and she asks to see it every time we are at the Museum of American History.

As we were admiring the dresses, she noticed a picture of Eleanor Roosevelt and said, "Wow, Mom!  She looks just like you!"

Did my daughter just tell me I looked like Eleanor Roosevelt?  She did!

When I told my husband about it later, his eyes got wide and he said, "That is not a good thing!"

This is the picture Sarah saw that they had  beside her dress:

But typically, when I think of Eleanor Roosevelt, I think of this:

So maybe in another 20 years or so I'll look like this??? 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Theme Thursday: Catchlights

It's Thursday so let's keep up the trend of the past couple of weeks and participate in Michaela's Theme Thursday!

This weeks theme is catchlights.   I have no idea what they are but she explained them an also linked to this helpful article.

Basically a catchlight is whenever you get the light source is reflected off your subject's eyes.

The kids are in school so here is the catchlight in GrayGray's eyes from a shot I snapped a couple of weeks ago:

Catchlights add depth and dimension to the eye, and gives the eyes life in a portrait or snapshot.  Next time I take a picture of the kids, I am going to try to make sure the lighting is right so I can get a good catchlight...don't want my subjects looking like Zombies!

Head over to Michaela's to see everyone's take on catchlights!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Washington, DC - Day 2

Day 2 of our Washington DC birthday trip began with a run to the Alexandria Farmer's Market.  It is a quick couple of blocks walk from Cathy's house and it is just the best little market. It's held every Saturday morning in the town square.  There are fresh flowers, produce, baked goods, fresh eggs, crafts...a little bit of everything!

We all chose our pastries and headed back to Cathy's to enjoy them.  I got a homemade cranberry and apple pop tart and it was wonderful.  I wish I had one right now!

Walking home with a big bag of goodies!
After breakfast, we hopped into the car and headed 9 miles up the road to Mt. Vernon, home of George Washington.  Unlike the activities from the day before, we had to pay to get in.  It wasn't outrageous and it was totally worth the price but you do get spoiled with all the free things to do in DC!

 We were at Mt. Vernon for almost 4 hours.  There's a lot to see and we honestly could have stayed longer.  It doesn't take long to go through the house - in fact, they whisk you through pretty quickly.  But the grounds are extensive and there's a bit of walking to see the fields, the dock area, and the outbuildings.  They have demonstrations along the way which are interesting - weaving, metal working, cooking, etc.  And the museum at the visitor's center was quite large.  It took quite a bit to work our way through there and we were rushing it because we were all getting hungry.

Around 2:45 we headed back to Alexandria for a late lunch at District Taco.  It was very good.  Apparently they started as a food truck and had quite the following in DC and have since opened quite a few brick and mortar locations.

Later that evening we went to Mass at St. Mary's and afterward hurried home so the Halloween festivities could begin.

On the street and ready for treats!

Do you see all these people?  It was like that for the whole length of this street.  They block off Lee Street and there were thousands of people out. It had the vibe of a street festival.  This picture does not do the massive crowd justice.

Sarah had fun handing out candy with Aunt Cathy before and after she went trick-or-treating. In Alexandria, there are so many people coming through that people that are giving out candy just sit outside.

 After trick-or-treating, we headed inside for dinner and then birthday cake for Peter!

On Sunday, Cathy made yummy homemade waffles and then we packed our bags and headed home.  As always, it was a great trip!  Thanks, AC for having us again!