Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Feast of the Archangels

September 29th is the feast day for the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
From 'Saint of the Day':

Michael's name means "who is like God?" Three books of the Bible speak of St. Michael: Daniel, Revelation and the Letter of Jude. In the book of Revelation or the Apocalypse, chapter 12:7-9, we read of a great war that went on in heaven. Michael and his angels battled with Satan. Michael became the champion of loyalty to God. We can ask St. Michael to make us strong in our love for Jesus and in our practice of the Catholic religion.

Gabriel's name means "the power of God." He, too, is mentioned in the book of Daniel. He has become familiar to us because Gabriel is an important person in Luke's Gospel. This archangel announced to Mary that she was to be the mother of our Savior. Gabriel announced to Zechariah that he and St. Elizabeth would have a son and call him John. Gabriel is the announcer, the communicator of the Good News. We can ask him to help us be good communicators as he was.

Raphael's name means "God has healed." We read the touching story of Raphael's role in the Bible's book of Tobit. He brought protection and healing to the blind Tobit. At the very end of the journey, when all was completed, Raphael revealed his true identity. He called himself one of the seven who stands before God's throne. We can ask St. Raphael to protect us in our travels, even for short journeys, like going to school. We can also ask him to help when illness strikes us or someone we love.

We celebrated with coloring pages, biblical stories,
and of course,
Heavenly Angel-food CAKE!

Saint Michael, Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan
and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Garden Spheres

I simply adore garden spheres, especially the old concrete mossy ones! I set out to find a way to make my own inexpensively, and it all began at the thrift store.
When I went browsing last week I came across these two glass bowls. I thought they were the perfect shape and size to make the spheres, and at fifty cents each it wouldn't be a waste in case it didn't work right!

So I came home and mixed up a batch of I love that stuff! I filled the bowls to the top but sometime that afternoon little hands got into the still wet concrete.

The worst part is the waiting!!! I'm a girl of instant gratification!
Anyway, I let these sit for 24 hours and then slowly hammered the glass away over a trash can. Use safety precautions like eye wear and don't want anyone ending up in the ER!

I think they turned out wonderfully! I'm going to paint them with a 50/50 yogurt and water wash and set them in the garden. The yogurt cultures will attract natural yeasts and other organisms in the air and they will grow a lovely mossy "patina".

Now to find them a spot in the garden before the boys are tempted to use them as bowling balls!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Meatless Fridays

This might be a fun way to involve the family in making dinner tonight. I've made these with quart sized bags just fine. It's a great way to use up leftovers and you can usually do 2-3 at a time. We top ours with lots of fresh salsa!
This week's Meatless Friday meal is:

Omelets in a Bag

Seed Tape

I HATE thinning seedlings! There is something so wrong about pulling up that newly sprouted little plant and just throwing it away! But if you don't do it, your mature plants will not be productive and your harvest will suffer greatly. My afternoon chore today will be to thin out my turnip seedlings:

I went to an online gardener's forum and found a great way to avoid all that tedious thinning ~ SEED TAPE!
It's really simple, even the kids can do it. All you need is some one inch strips of news paper, some tweezers, and a glue made out of flour and water (just enough to form a thin paste).
Do not use Elmer's type glue products. They make a water proof barrier around the seed and won't allow for germination.

Lay out a paper strip and place dots of glue at the distance your seedlings should be. You can find that information on the back of the seed packet. Very gently pick up a seed and set in a dot. That's it! This "glue" dries very fast, so work quickly. It's also a great way to plant tiny seeds.

I have to admit that I fudged a little bit on the spacing. For instance, the carrots should be about three inches apart and I placed them about one inch apart. I figure that not every seed will germinate, and even if they do, I'll only have to thin every other one rather than dozens!

When the strips are dry you can take them right out to the garden and plant OR roll them up until you are ready to use.

I have a feeling that this method is going to save me a lot of time and spare me from a lot of back pain!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

40 Days for Life

Today, September 22,
begins the 40 Days for Life campaign.

It's a effort to stop the evils of abortion through prayer, constant vigil, fasting, and community outreach. It goes across all age, ethnic, and religious lines.
This is a peaceful event, please consider quietly praying at an abortion facility near you:
Locations of abortion facilities across America

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Woes of a country dog

Mama, how can you say that I stink?

I rolled in that cow poop (or was it a dead possum?)
just for you!

I think my dirty creek water smells much better than that stuff you spray out of a bottle!

And now you just wash it away after all the hard work I went through to get it to smell just right!

I'll try dead bird next time,
maybe you'll like that better?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sk8R Boyz

This weekend we attended a Boy Scout skating party in a nearby town. JP and Kyle are both in scouts and little Danny is counting the days down until he turns six so he can be a scout, too!
All the boys are really good skaters, except for Danny. His preferred mode of transportation is his bike rather than roller blades like his brothers! He was so excited about the party and skating with the big kids that he happily donned a pair of regular skates. Poor guy could barely stand up on the things but Doug took him by the hand and away they went!

After about an hour, Dan refused all help around the rink!
He was a real "skater boy" and he had a blast!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

The feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows was this past Wednesday. Due to a busy household we didn't celebrate until Thursday evening. A store bought cake with some home made embellishments helped our lesson along.

Doug read from a small prayer card about the Sorrowful Mother and we discussed the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Doug's mom had joined us for dinner that night so there were seven of us total and we each removed a "sword" from the Heart of Mary and promised to do a small penance to ease her suffering.

O, Mary, help me to stand beside the Cross with you,
whose soul the sword of sorrow has pierced.

Read more about this feast day HERE.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Meatless Fridays

This week's meal is very versatile. It can be used to make burritos, tacos, soup, nachos, or a meal by itself paired with some hot buttered cornbread! You can freeze half for a meal another night or assemble burritos and freeze for quick microwave snacks for the kids. Be sure to soak your beans a minimum of 8 hours with a tablespoon of vinegar to get rid of the phytic acid and gas causing enzymes!
This week's Meatless Friday meal is:

Crockpot Pinto Beans

1 onion, peeled and rough chopped
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed and soaked overnight with 1TBS vinegar
1 or 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 T. ground cumin
9 cups water

Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on high for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.
Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

Garden planting & garden markers

I finally got around to planting the garden boxes nearest the house this week. All of the more fragile vegetables went there to protect them from frosts.
Danny and I planted:

Lettuce ~ 3 varieties
Swiss Chard
Bok Choi
Garlic Chives
and Turnips

I had some extra concrete cast leaves that were either broken or not quite up to par, so I used them as garden markers!

I just wrote on them with Sharpie, but next time I think I'll hand paint them.

They'll get a pretty patina on them over the winter, and if you "paint" them with a water/yogurt mixture, they'll grow moss!

Now if I can just keep the boys from using these as frizbees or projectiles, I'll be in good shape!

(How do you think the casts got broken in the first place!?)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Dog Whisperer

From the day we got Abby (a little over a year ago), John Paul has been the one to teach her tricks. He's a pretty good little dog trainer and is so very patient with Abby. So far, he and Abby have quite the repertoire...

Spinning around:
Laying down:
Rolling over:
Shaking hands:
Sitting up:
And playing dead:
Abby is his little puppet as long as he keeps the treats coming,

and the love!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


We made "slime" on Monday as part of our school work!
It was a super simple lesson on chemical reactions with very fun results. I really like this version of slime because it is not as sticky, gooey, or messy as some of the recipes out there.

In a large bowl, mix 1/4 c white glue (like Elmers) and 1/4 c water. Add a squirt of food coloring for color. You can even add glow in the dark paint for a weird twist.

Mix 1/2 teasp. Borax in 1/2 c water. Stir well until dissolved.
***Borax (as in 20 Mule Team Borax, the laundry booster sold in the laundry section) is not the same thing as Boric Acid, which is used to kill roaches.***

Slowly pour the Borax mixture into the glue mixture. You’ll see it clump up immediately. Stir. Pour off the excess liquid, and you’re left with the slime!

Smush it. Squeeze it. It gets even better the more you play with it. It stretches and breaks. It slowly flattens. You can punch holes in it. You can cut it out with cookie cutters. And I found it less messy than play-dough.
It’s not for eating, so do exercise supervision.

It's also not for sticking up your nose for pretend boogers....
don't ask me how I know this!