November 25, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving!

For the past 5 years or so we've deep fried a turkey.

Purdy Birdie... and tasty too.

In addition to the turkey, the meal included my SILs stuffing (my favorite), Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes, Rolls, my mom's cranberry salad, cranberry sauce, and broccoli with cheese (since the dog, Charlie, chose the day before Thanksgiving to eat our squash..)

For dessert I made Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pie. Aragorn's parents joined us and brought the yummy mini-cheesecakes.

The children spent the afternoon sledding

I took the pictures from *inside*... where it was warm!

Aragorn's family celebrated together on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I made some desserts for that.

The Turkey Cake was inspired by an internet friend of mine after she posted a Turkey Cake she had made. *I*, however an a notoriously terrible cake froster... but M&Ms make fine alternative and nicely cover up all the belmishes. I have the greatest desire to be a fine cake decorator but I can't get from brain to fingertips in that department! I'm hoping my SILS will rub off on me. I also made caramel chocolate bars that taste like a really good snickers bar, oatmeal cookies and Cacao Bean cookies (per Aragorn's request!)

Tis the Season to be Hunting

Sam and Frodo dragging back the 2nd deer for this season.

I do wonder at the thrills of men!

The first deer will be made into Gyro and this one is going to some friends of ours.

November 18, 2007

Feast of Christ the King

On the Traditional Calendar the Feast of Christ the King is celebrated on the last Sunday of October.

This year Frodo served as torch bearer for the first time. Unfortunately I had to miss it as I stayed home with sick children.

Sam and Frodo before Mass.

Pumpkin Carving

I'm back tracking a little here. Sam and Frodo carving pumpkins.

Cacao Beans

Do be careful what your husband listens to on public radio. Aragorn somewhat recently listened to a program about cacao beans so began the search to find some cacao beans. I was turned off when I watched the process on-line on how they process them. Seeing 1/2 clad workers walking through as they raked them didn't impress me (not to mention I'm a milk chocolate fan). I was informed it must be *whole* beans not nibs. Being the ever-loving wife that I am, I persevered in this endeavor. I finally found some Organic Raw Whole Bean Cacao beans on ebay. They arrived and one sniff told me I was not about to eat them. (I believe the bitter smell is from the barefeet I saw wandering through them?) However, said mentioned ever-loving wife that I am, I did condescend to finely chop some (into nibs!) and put them in chocolate chip, almond cookies. (Yummy)

Aragorn has been taking his stab at the fine eating of cacao beans. His favorite combination is cacao bean with 3 (Ghirardelli!) milk chocolate chips. But he also said it was pretty good wrapped in cheese. Meals are interesting these days!

To Be Three

I think it is the cutest thing when littles dress themselves! It's amazing how proud they can be. Hey, it's hunting season, the blaze orange hat is necessary!
This was the only picture I took this week. I've been busy with school and organizing Christmas gifts. I hope to be done this week *before* Advent begins in just a couple weeks!

November 11, 2007

Laundry Jungle Gym

Serious line-drying goes on at our place. I ordered these laundry drying racks having no idea they were nearly 6 feet tall with dowels that are about 1 inch in diameter.

While folding laundry one day I caught Pippin climbing up to "help" get the laundry off.

As you can see this is one heavy duty line-dryer.

Yes, Pippin is a rascal.

And this was the last time he "helped" in this manner! But it was fun for one time anyway!

Child Prodigy

We bought a new-to-us piano on Craigslist recently.

Here is our child prodigy!

Not exactly Mozart but close enough... for us!

When we announced we were getting another piano the girls' insisted the old piano go in their room.

Cow Kite

Thanks to my friend Karen in ME who sent us a new cow kite!

Same getting ready to fly a kite.

Frodo helping.

They stayed out for over 2 hours playing with the kite, it flew beautifully!

Merry's Crafts

Fridays we have piano lessons with Aragorn's sister and Grandma does some crafts with Merry and Pippin. Here are Merry's cute little animals.
Play Dough is the other thing we do on lesson days. I have one of those love-hate relationships with play dough so this keeps it novel to get to play with it once a week. I still love the smell of it but I hate it on the bottoms of my shoes!

Pippin doesn't say all that many words but he can say "cheese" as soon as he sees the digi-cam!

Popcorn Popper

This year's All Saints' Day gift was one of those neat stainless steel stove-top Popcorn Poppers. It has a handle you turn to keep it from burning. Growing up we never had one of those cool air poppers we made ours on the stove with the shake fast and furious to keep the popcorn from burning. This is much easier (and more fun) Sam whipped up us our first batch.

Of course we had to go for a double batch out. 6 quarts of popcorn isn't enough for a family of 10.

November 5, 2007

Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary

Today begins the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary for 33 days from November 5th to the Consecration on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. (or if you are running a bit late you can aim for November 9th and Ending on December 12th the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. For the readings and prayers try Fish Eaters.

November 4, 2007

When Kindred Bloggers Meet

When one prepares for live-in guests one generally wants their home to be at least somewhat neat and tidy and so was our goal as we prepared for a lovely family from NY to visit us. Of course life always has its kicks and the kicker this time was that we all caught colds so we didn't get all we wanted done at the time we wanted it done.
I did however enjoy making plans. I had some rather grand plans. My first was the meals. I enjoy cooking, especially for other people. I am not gourmet by any stretch of the imagination but I do enjoy trying to prepare tasty meals. But this time when I went to make out my grocery list I had lost my notebook with the big plans. (It still has not turned up!) "Big plans" are not easy to re-do so I vaguely put together a list of a few things and then hoped the grocery store would help me restore my memory. Other plans included a variety of crafts and field trips.
I was a little disheartened when I hear the children shout "They are HERE!!" and I see that one thing that people generally leave out when making big plans for a nice tea to welcome guests is how and when the dishes get washed! This of course is why we, the day after they arrived, declared a ban on any cups or dishes found in the cupboard that had to be washed. Who wants to do dishes over sitting and chatting? Priorities.
So in walk our guests, but they are the "kindred spirit" types and within about 10 seconds (which is how long it takes to give a nice hug and smile and say hello) I had quickly forgotten the flour and measuring cups still sitting on the counter.
I believe the children were in the house about another 12 seconds before they ran off together outside leaving our "tea" to whoever wanted to grab something and run! So begins our precious little time together with 12 children ages 15 and under (and only 1 who was in her teens) and 2 mothers (Aragorn was scarcely home claiming to be installing an x-ray machine but one does wonder if the 12 children and 2 mothers may have had something to do with the longer-than-usual work days!)
Monday we stayed home and just chatted and rearranged bedding and chatted and ate and chatted.... and chatted.
Tuesday we went on a field trip to a corn maze. I had never been to one and hoped it would be something interesting and fun. However, as we looked up the hours we discovered they were only open Friday - Sunday. So I called and they said we could come *phew* (my mind had been racing as to where we would take our guests since the only other place I could think of was the Worlds Largest Mustard Museum but I knew Heather didn't care much for mustard!)

This year's corn maze was an Enchanted Castle. We passed over the money and were handed 1/8th of a map. I will admit that *I* did very well following the 1st 1/8th of the map. We did find the first mail box that contained the 2nd 8th of the map which we adhered to our paper. However this first mailbox was between the letter "R" and the letter "M". Have you ever been caught between an "R" and an "M"? Let me tell you, it is very hard to get yourself oriented. This is when Hope, our trusty teen, took over. She deftly lead us around the maze while the boys generally ran ahead to scout out the mailboxes taking all credit for finding them!

Here is the full map. Neat or what? This is one field trip I hope we can add every year. The nice thing is that we were able to bring along strollers for the littlest ones.

Here is our group (minus the 2 mothers) at the first mailbox.
Wandering through the maze.

And just because I can't resist, it really was a-MAZE-ing.

Eowyn posing between the scare crows.... she's the one in the middle!

Pippin made a couple new friends.

After an hour in the maze (which would have taken me at least 3 or 5 hours if it hadn't been for Hope) we played around the farm. Here are the children peeping and playing around on old tractor tires. Do we know how to show guests a good time or what?! :D

There was barn with a play area in it.

More grand times and lots of smiles and laughs as the children slide down a large culvert slide!

Here is most of the culvert/slide and to the right is a pit of corn to pile and play in. Simple pleasures for certain.

Even the bigger children enjoyed the feel of corn on their feet.... though not in their pants!

Oddly, our dear guests did not flee after we tried burying one of their children! Galadriel and Eowyn burying Lily.

Here is our group.

This is the farm. Notice Hope chasing after Pippin. I need a nice young teenage lady around!

They had lovely Clydesdale horses too!
On to the craft.... note that is singular, we ended up doing exactly 1 craft leaving any others undone. The weather was so lovely we ended up outside much of the time.

Here are some of the children working on Alice's Saint Spoons.

Hope with her completed St. Patrick Saint Spoon.

Well done!

Rosie with a pink version of Our Lady.

Eowyn with St. Philomena... of course!

3 year old Merry with St. Michael.

Frodo with St. Gerard

Lily with Our Lady... twice!

Galadriel and Kateri Tekakwitha.

Eleanor with Our Lady and Baby Jesus.

Here is our parade of Saints.

Siblings or Friends?

Lenny and Sam running. Can you believe there are still leaves on the trees at the very end of October? Few are the pictures with Lenny and Sam as they were outside romping constantly and hardly to be seen!

We also had an All Saints' Day party. Here is our group with their costumes on.

Eowyn as St. Philomena... of course.

Sam as St. Dominic Savio... I love the "wellies" rubber boots with a cassock!

Lenny as St. George and Peter G. as St. Michael.

Aragorn wasn't able to get all the round bales loaded and brought over to the farm before our guests arrived. They do make a grand place to play though! Peter G on a hay bale.


Merry and Rosie

Most of the gang.
Our time spent together was such a joy. The best time for me was each evening after the children were in bed (hahaha) and Heather and I had the chance to just chat. Very therupeutic as a friend of mine would say! I was very spoiled those 3 evenings!

Our guests went to Mass early on All Saints' Day (we were going later when Aragorn returned from work, he was unable to take the day off) so this gave us time to prepare a farewell brunch.
It was very hard to say good-bye and I couldn't figure out why my children were like cold pricklies when it came time for the hugs and waves. After our guests had left we all sat around with a large gap and intense quiet in our house. Suddenly 1 by 1 the older ones came to me and said "There is NOTHING to do" with the air of *life will never be quite the same again now that the G's have left*. Several burst into tears.

Poor Sam. Life will go on of course, it always does but one does get easily spoiled when kindred bloggers meet!