Thursday, January 28, 2016

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Having ten days with no school has its upside; it can be a source of great inspiration.

Small Success Thursday

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

We Interrupt the Internet....

If there's one thing the Internet with all it's connections to everything we should eat, shouldn't miss, must have read, should never do, should always do, should teach our kids, and which might change our lives, does, it's make whatever you are doing, whatever you have done, and even what you hope to do, feel inadequate.

You remember the kid in high school in the Latin class who would argue with the teacher about the proper tense translation and cite three sources for his opinion over that of the teacher's?  Yeah. Remember that annoying person who wanted to show everyone else how stupid they were by comparison?  That's the Internet with it's ever quirky Pinterest pins lined up in your inbox to show you how whatever you're making for your kid's 4th birthday, is lame, no matter how well intentioned.

You eat your pizza wrong.  You diet wrong. You read the wrong books, watched the wrong movies, and failed to exercise the right muscles to insure you will stay healthy.  You don't save money the way the experts do.  You don't eat kale fifteen times a day.  You don't sleep properly.  You are talking to your cat wrong.  Disney gets its princesses wrong, and if you enjoyed the movie, you're cooperating with the creation of a whole new generation of oppressed people.   It's one giant scold based on what?   Of all things, math.   Who wants their tastes, preferences and opinions shaped by an equation with no answer save you're not right?

If you aren't being nagged into feeling inadequate, you're being cajoled for failing to type "Amen" to prove you love someone, to copy and paste to prove you're a friend, and told you're an ENJP instead of a ISPF or whatever because you picked the beach house instead of the tranquil field.   Buzzfeeds quizzes alone will tell you, whatever you thought you were, the algorithms say different.  

Maybe it's the result of being cooped up inside for 5 days straight with three feet of white stuff to shovel.  I've cooked food, gone outside, played cards and we've made tunnels.  But even as we go about this business of living, the radio gives us a reminder of top ten things we shouldn't do in the snow, (we did about seven of them).

So I went outside, where the internet cannot find me, I didn't bundle up properly and threw a snowball at the sky and shaped a dragon in the snow. We sledded.  They threw snowballs.  We didn't take any pictures of it on my phone. The only sound outside was the occasional snow blower, and the thawing of snow from our roof.  The outside real world is saying, be still, enjoy this quiet time with your kids.  And we did.  When we got too cold and wet to stay out, I brought them back in, brewed up some microwave popcorn and some curled up to watch a movie.  Others settled into books.  The youngest took a bath.  The world felt more real, between the baths and the books and the popcorn.  

There's probably some link that says why we should have air popped the stuff but I'm not going to look for it.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Some of the More Things of Heaven and Earth

We live in a world that professes to love beauty, to love when people triumph over adversity, to love courage and fortitude and persistence. We celebrate it in wounded warriors, in athletes, in students that come from disadvantaged situations. When someone who has defined parameters we can see, exceeds them, even for a moment, it is a stop and recognize "there are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." type of moment.  But the world seems to think, we need less of these moments, as it continues to champion the destruction of the disabled in the womb, and sanction the euthanasia of the elderly.  The world professes to love seeing people triumph over adversity, but advocates for eliminating all people who might suffer from adversity.  You can't have the victory without the struggle, but the world, out of fear, out of hopelessness, has declared, all struggling should be eliminated.

Today, my son came to me and said, "Catch" and threw me a ball. It is a simple thing. But for my son to speak is already more than I expect. For him to invite me to play with him, and to do it multiple times, showing me he knows what he wanted, and how to say it, and how to do it, well, I had my miracle for today. He even caught the ball twice. 

Some people think people like Paul should be destroyed before they're ever born, to save them from suffering through the trials of this life. Some people think giving birth to a disabled child if you know the child will be disabled, is the height of selfishness, because you could have spared them.  

The problem with this sort of thinking is it denies a reality. No matter what the tests show, every child will be dis-abled, in that there will be some things that any given child cannot do or do well. There has not yet been born a Super baby, and even those exceptionally gifted, struggle with something because all of us do. Should your child be born perfect, there will still be the flaws of the world, of teachers and bees, mean dogs and rainy days, boredom and chores he finds tedious. She might hate ballet even though she has the legs and grace and apparent talent. She might love singing, though her voice is that of a frog. Desire, talent, reason and capacity do not always line up, and no matter who one gives birth to, or how well they are raised, there will be at some point, some rawness, some keen disappointment which shakes them out of the idea that all in life must flow without effort, and without suffering. Someone will die, someone will fail, someone will not show up, someone will disappoint. It may even be themselves.

We cannot bubble wrap life and live it to the marrow at the same time. If we opt for safety in all things, we can create a fragile creature of a person, and ensure they never have a skinned knee, but that will rob them of the joy of discovering they can survive such things, and that such things in the scheme of things, are not worth worrying over. Eventually, science will allow us to eliminate all sorts of conditions, but only at the cost of all sorts of people, people like Michael J. Fox, like Beethoven, like Stevie Wonder, like anyone we've ever met who inspired us because they didn't let their disability define the whole of them, or rather, they didn't let us define them solely by their disability. They already knew they were more than their blindness or Parkinson's or deafness or whatever it was, they already knew they were whole people of infinite worth.

Paul doesn't have a magic talent like they showcase in Hollywood movies. He can't count cards like Rainman, and he isn't a musician of professional caliber. He's seven.   But none of his brothers or sisters weigh Paul's worth by what he can't do. They celebrate his presence daily, not because they're angels, but because they recognize his victories are just that, victories over what the world says about his capacity to add value to life. Paul adds salt to our family. We were a big family before him, but he has made us fuller. 

Tomorrow, he will show me another miracle. It may be when he (he's seven), wants to go outside, and brings me my gloves. It is a  gallant little gesture on his part, but the world will be saved by little acts, by little kindnesses, by little miracles. And people like Paul, specialize in those sorts of things that will save the world. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pick Your Battles

Man, that sounds like such obvious sane advice. So simple, so reasonable, so straight forward. But nothing in those parenting books explains how to deal with when your beautiful offspring have drawn a line in the sand, and you have to cross it.
Earning a Coat of Arms
Some of my children suffer severe allergies to winter garments. The very notion of long sleeves makes them break out in tears. They beg, please, let them wear the thinnest t-shirt I haven't squirreled away into winter storage and they'll be so good.
Fortunately, being children, they don't hunt and search terribly well. So I've hidden all the summer wear in the one place they'll never find it; the coat closet.
But they still roll up their sleeves and turn jeans into capri pants. At this point, I have to just pretend I don't know it's 48 degrees outside and windy and have occasionally sent in post-its to the teachers. "THEY INSISTED ON WEARING THIS." so as to have plausible deniability. I also have offered home made chocolate chip cookies on Friday to any kid who wears sweaters and long pants all week long.
The cookies work except for the fact that it's hard to keep the non sweater wearing from also grabbing the goodies which undermines the motivation for anymore than one child to comply each week.
Death Before Hand Me Downs
It's a reality in a big family, you have dresses, coats, shoes and shirts that kids outgrow long before they're worn out. But the kids view these "gifts" as having sibling cooties. The stuff will languish in their closets even as they come to me howling, "I don't have anything to wear." Picking my battles, I've learned to use tissues and package clothing I know the kids can wear but won't if they think it came from a brother or sister.  The younger ones buy it...or did until the older ones pointed out they're hand me downs.  I've not yet taken to adding price tags might be the next step.
You Can Have My...NEVER
When my oldest turned 8, all he loved was Pokemon. I got him an airbrushed t-shirt with Charizard on it. It was two sizes too big, but he wore it until he was two sizes too big for it.
After trying to donate it three times and having him fish it from the charity box, one time in the dead of night, I waited until he was at school. I planned to stuff it in a bag, I couldn't find it. Perhaps he'd grown up. Perhaps he'd donated it himself. That evening, eyes full of tears, he told me. He worried I'd clear out his stuff that didn't fit anymore, and he'd put it under his bed in his fold away drawer. My son was hiding his old clothes from me. Why was I so determined to get rid of something he loved? I surrendered with the promise, he wouldn't try to wear it anymore.
Pick your battles I told myself. The experience stayed with me. My five year old still tries to wear a size 6 months tutu she received as an infant. I'm not going to even think about putting it in a charity box.
How Serious is the Dress Code?
Crown and fairy wings at mass? We've done that. Robin, complete with mask and cape for bedtime? We've done that too. Tutus with red cowboy boots? No problem. I thought I knew how to "pick my battles." Until I had a 4 year old who believed slippers and sandals should be worn everyday everywhere. When the weather dipped below 25 degrees,I learned to keep a spare set of acceptable shoes in the car. But sometimes in the process of getting out of the car, I'd forget and then, the "Shame on you" looks would come from the woman at the deli when we grocery shopped. "You know, you pick your battles," I'd say and smile weakly.
"You lost." she'd say as she handed me my 1/2 pound of provolone cheese.
So after two decades of trying to pick your battles, I've discovered the true meaning of that phrase...accept that what you are picking, is not which ones to fight, but which ones you're willing to lose.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

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I know it's Saturday but I was at the March for Life yesterday and have been digging out from the Blizzard of 2016 ever since so...come join us over at Small Success Thursday (on Saturday).

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


My eleven year old son came home with a 93 on his science exam. "I didn't even study." he bragged. "Don't you have two exams tomorrow?" I asked.
"I do. But I don't need to study."
Okay. Now, I'm annoyed. Game on kid.
He's smart, not wise. I nudged Peter. Peter's his older brother. He runs track, and currently runs a 5.03 mile. He pulled up his stats on the computer, knocked his younger brother on the head and said, "Imagine how much slower I'd be if I didn't train." He scrolled through his schedule.  My other son remained unconvinced.
"So you're not happy with a 93?" he asked.
"No. The 93 is fine. I'm not happy you didn't study."
"Hey Mom! Can I have a dollar? I want to buy ice cream at lunch tomorrow." I handed him 93 cents.
He ran to grab his DS.
"Don't save your game. Just play until you die." I said.
"Because you don't need to practice, you can just slide by. You know, you'll probably get through all but 7 percent of the stuff."
"Yeah...but..." He rolled his eyes. "But I'm good enough. I'll get B's without trying."
"Yeah. You know what? I just want you to get that you can get through life without trying, without effort, but nothing worth doing gets done without effort. Want some ice cream?"
I took out the sugar, vanilla, whole milk and Hershey's syrup.
"Here you go. It's 93% of the way there, all the ingredients, no effort."
He made hot chocolate. My smarty Mom life lesson wasn't working like I planned.
I turned off the Wi-fi. "Give me the DS."
"But Mom!"
"I want you to study. I want you to give more than the least you can. 40 minutes for each subject exam."
"Because right now I'm giving you 93% of my capacity as Mom. You don't want to wake or bother the other 7%. That part's mean."
He opened his books. I set the timer. I think I just passed my midterm.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

You Must Be...

Having ten children does not qualify one as an expert in parenting, merely experienced.   Sometimes, it takes to the fifth or sixth child for me to realize, you know, that thing I've been doing as a Mom for the past five's not working.  Time to try something new.  

But people hear the number (or see it as we're climbing out of the car), and there's an automatic presumption of extreme competency projected on the form of..."You Must Be..."  For example:

"You must be very organized."  Usually, the fits of laughter from my offspring so prolonged as to make onlookers wonder if they need medical attention, dispels this illusion.  But if I'm alone when someone learns we have ten, I just smile and say, "I try."

"You must love kids."   It's a nice thought.  I'll say I love MY children.  I like other people's kids just fine, but then I like most people. I'm a people person.  My kids will tell you, I talk to strangers at Jiffy Lube while we're watching the boring rehash of the news.   But the statement, "you must love kids" implies I sought this and planned it out.   Not so.  It's never been, I love kids so let's have double digit progeny.  I mean, I like dogs.  I wouldn't own ten.  

"How do you manage? You must be rich."  Here's where I struggle not to start laughing hard.

Answering this "You must be" is tricky. It depends upon the context in which this is said, because I'm always of two minds when someone says this one:

Response #1) "No, not rich.  Weren't you listening? I have ten kids."  Used only if I feel I'm being patted on the head and dismissed.
Response #2)  "Yes I am."  and presume the person was speaking in a spiritual sense.  

"You must be Catholic."  
This one is meant because of the number of children.  The presumption (correct in our case) is about not using birth control.  But I know many couples who hold to the teachings of the church who don't have the numbers we have, and to me, their faith is just as evident, if not more.  

You hope if one day you're accused of being Catholic (as O'Connor wrote), there's enough evidence to convict.  I don't know that having a large family necessarily reveals anything more than fecundity.  I don't want to have my Catholic bonifieds only established by family size.  

"You must be tired."
I appreciated the honesty of this one.

The answer is, "Tired yes, but never bored."

So You Want to Be a Confirmation Sponsor...

This is the fifth time I've watched as a child of mine prepares to be confirmed.  Confirmation is my very favorite sacrament, and the descent of the Holy Spirit, my favorite mystery of all the mysteries. Agreeing to be a sponsor, like agreeing to be a Godparent, is a lifelong job of evangelizing the other person, steeping them in the faith.  It isn't a show up on this evening in the Spring dressed nice, sign a paper and we're good.  It's a promise to God and to that person and to the church, to pray for this person, walk with them in faith, and advise them when necessary. To be a sponsor is to be a conduit of the Holy Spirit both now, and from now on, in the life of this new adult in the church.

The big question one must ask, is how do you do this?   Here are some starting steps:

1) Pray. I mean pray for the candidate and with the candidate.  If you can't go to mass with the person preparing for Confirmation, go to mass for them, and call to talk about the readings.  Offer a rosary. Spend an hour in adoration a week.  But do something to grow your own prayer life and fold that person who selected you as a person to guide them, into those prayers.  If you already pray for 30 minutes per day, give the candidate an extra five all to themselves.   (And this is forever so it doesn't stop because they're confirmed, confirmation is the beginning of their adult life in the church).  

2) Sacraments.  Confession and The Eucharist are a must.  Being as free from sin as possible requires vigilance in any soul, and being responsible for an other's formation will require extra graces.   

3) Educate yourself.  For some, the last time they attended a confirmation, it was their own.  Brush up on the sacrament, on the seven gifts, spend some time discerning what specific gifts of the Holy Spirit you most gravitate toward and why.  

4) Think of examples in your own life of when you've known the Holy Spirit acted through you, and begin telling them to the candidate.  Confirmation sponsors are to give testimony to the candidates of the reality of our faith.  The Holy Spirit isn't hocus-pocus.  It's the third person of the Trinity and very real.  You need to be ready to tell your story of your encounters.

5) Ask your candidate why they want to become an adult in the church.  Ask why they chose the saint they chose, what they liked about the service project, why they chose you as a sponsor.  Ask them what they think an adult in the church is supposed to do.  Ask them what they believe and why they believe it.  Be ready to listen and answer questions.  (That's why boning up on your own knowledge of the sacrament and focusing on your own encounters with the Holy Spirit are necessary prep work on your part).  

6) Spend time with your candidate.  Not just in prayer, not just at the sacrament, but on going, at lunch, at holidays, after masses over coffee and donuts.  You'll deepen your own faith even as you forge a lifelong friendship over what matters most.   

7) Lastly, ask your candidate to pray for you on a permanent basis.  

Good luck, and thanks for taking on this vital role in cultivating the faith of others.   

Friday, January 15, 2016

What's For Dinner...what are you cooking?

I'm in trouble.  I've started working out at the gym again.  Thus, I've started watching the Food Network again. The children should know what that means...I will be experimenting with FOOD.
They will suffer.   Because I like experimenting with FOOD.

Friday:  We're doing blueberry waffles and bacon for dinner.   It's festive, warm, filling and perfect for a Friday night when we're planning on watching SHERLOCK: The Abominable Bride.  Yes, I've already seen it.  I will watch it again, so I can catch some of the very sly humor laced in this episode.  Enjoy.

Saturday: Marc loves to make baked ziti with sausage.  So we're having baked ziti with sausage.  

Sunday:  On Saturday, I defrosted two briskets which I trimmed of some of the fat, scored and then coated with brown sugar, salt, white pepper, black pepper and kosher salt.   (1 cup, 2 tablespoons 1 tablespoon, 2 tablespoons, 3 table spoons).   They sat overnight in a plate, sealed in a ziplock.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put meat in a foil tray, let cook for one hour.

Take brisket out.  Drop temperature to 300.

In the tray, make a bed for the brisket.  (Long carrots and celery laid on the bottom of a foil tray).   I placed the meat on top of the tray and then put 1 bottle of brown ale and two cups of chicken stock or one coca-cola and two cups of chicken stock or two cups of coffee and two cups of chicken stock in the bottom of the tray. (Bottom line, 4 cups of liquid on the bottom of the tray so the meat will get steamed in it, without soaking in it).  

Cover the tray with foil.

Let it cook for three hours. Take out, let sit for 15 minutes.  Cut against the grain.  
Save 2 cups of liquid, mix with your favorite bbq sauce in a sauce pan.  Serve and stand back.

Monday:  Pasta Night with Meatballs.

Tuesday:  Caesar Chicken Breasts  

Preheat oven to 350.

Foil tray.  Pat dry chicken. (Skin on).  Place chicken breasts on a tray.  Salt. Pepper.  Pulse in a mixer or food processor, one tin of Anchovies, the juice of a lemon, five garlic cloves, three tablespoons of mayo, salt, pepper, chopped parsley, and olive oil (1/4).   Paint chicken skin with a homemade Caesar.   Salt and pepper again.   Cover with foil.  Put in oven, forget about for an hour. Take foil off, let crisp at broil for 5 minutes.  

Grate Parmesan cheese over the chicken while it's still hot.  

Toss a salad of greens with a Caesar or oil and vinegar.  Place chicken on top.  Serve with fresh bread.

Wednesday:  Pork tenderloin tortilla wraps.  
Marinate pork tenderloins in oj/soy garlic olive oil marinade for 1 hour before cooking.  While waiting for it to get tender, make the yellow rice, black beans, cucumber salad and guacamole.
Sliver the tomatoes, peppers and onions.
Saute tomatoes, bell pepper and onions in oil until soft, carmelized yummy mess.

Broil the tenderloins 5 minutes, turn, 5 minutes, turn, 5 minutes turn, 5 minutes.
Let rest for ten minutes while you prep the meals.
Wrap tortillas in foil.  Place in tortillas in already warm oven, turn it to 350 to let them get prepped.
On each plate place rice, beans on top, and then guacamole on the side.  No chips on the plate, they'll eat them too fast.  Put the chips in baskets in the middle.   Shred the meat.  Serve on tortillas with the sauteed vegetable yumminess.   No leftovers. No one upset.  Very festive, very happy food time for all.

I do have some squash, I'm going to broil vegetables this week, and serve them.  I also plan to toss in some kale somewhere, so if the kids are reading afraid.  Be very afraid.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ten Tips for Parents of Teens and Future Teens

10) Video your children now.  You will need the nostalgia when they're upset with you.  As an added bonus, you can bring up the videos in front of their peers or just suggest you might as a credible threat.

9) Remember when potty training was a  pain?  Remember when you hoped for the day you'd be able to be free of diapers? (I can't say I remember because I'm still in it).   It's preparation for the day you start training drivers.   It will take longer than you hope, and you'll spend the next few years after they master it, worrying when they go out into the world.

8) Kiss them good night, tell them you love them as they walk out the door and sometimes, surprise them with a bedtime story.  They'll appreciate it more than you know.  It also ensures all your conversations aren't nags --study your algebra, did you do the dishes? Why did you shoot ping pongs at your sister?   Plus, you might even get the rarest of moments, a genuine smile.

7) Just as you had to recognize, you would not get sleep until they slept, (And this is true with them as toddlers and college students),  you must accept the reality, you will never have enough food in the house.

6) That being said, feed the teens.  It helps them stay more friendly.

5) They may have phones and computers, emails and unlimited text messaging; they still won't come when they're called.

4) Never try to be cool.  You never will be.  You're mom.  The only thing that will make you more uncool than you already are, is if you try to be cool.

3) Every once in a while, throw a brush back pitch.  Feel free to beat them in card games, chess, Mario Brawl or Magic, but do it with a smile so they love them, but you could have crushed their egos if you'd wanted...just a reminder to stop crowding the plate. (It is the closest you will come to being cool).

2) Cheering for your kids at their sports meets is a fun way to prove to the world you really support your children in their activities, and at the same time, embarrass them for life. Again, if you're not going to ever be cool, might as well work that uncoolness in your favor.

1)  They won't be teens forever.   You'll actually miss this time the same way you did the time when they were toddlers.  

Small Success Thursday

Monday, January 11, 2016

Stupid Addict Anonymous

I have discovered something about myself.

I have a stupid addiction.  

It's not I'm addicted to stupid, it's what I'm addicted to, is stupid.  

Most of the time, I have it under control.  I just don't go into stores that sell the stuff.  

But yesterday, neither printer would work and my daughter needed to print up her paper asap.  

So I found myself at the store formerly known as Kinkos.

That's right, office supplies and motivational books, these are a strange Achilles' heel to my liberal arts brain.  

I see audio books, "Organize your life..." and I'm thinking,  I could use that.   I see a large swath of pens, and I know I need that...and the motivate others book.  Maybe it could that help with getting the kids to do their chores?  I need a, and we need a stapler...before you know it, a simple printing job has turned into a crazed shopping spree.  

Within minutes of leaving the store, I suffer buyer's remorse, especially when the promising Motivate others CD sounds so 70's psy-pop in its language and thinking, I wonder if it was put out by K-tel records and just digitally remastered.   Half way through the Organize your life stuff, I'm bored to tears.   The planner, it's good, not great, but it will take time to become familiar.  The kids have already raided my purse and all the pens are gone.  

But I look at that cheesy motivational cd and it's time to face this stupid demon. 

I resolve, I will not, will not, will not, buy any more office materials or business literature.  Not a USB, not any liquid paper or a ream of printer paper or ink, nothing.    I write down my new promise to myself in the planner, feeling grown up, proud of myself,  free.

My son comes over, "Mommm.   The printer still won't work and I need this paper tomorrow." 

We must mind is already drifting down the aisles of the store, I look at my motivational how to get people do do things book.   "Give directions and simple commands."

"I'll take you to the store if you take care of the dishes first."  
To my surprise, he agrees.  
I still have to keep my promise. Maybe I'll just let him go into the store, and I'll stay in the car.  

While he's in there getting it printed, I'm reconsidering my resolution.  

He did the dishes.  The motivational book worked.   Maybe there's more in there that might help me to get them finish their homework or do the laundry.   My optimism returns and it occurs to me, it's not that the addiction is stupid, it's that the addiction itself, makes me stupid.  

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What Time is it?

For the past two weeks, we've lived without a schedule and for the most part, so have my children.   The resulting free-for-all timelessness of the holidays made returning to reality come Monday, very difficult.   For some, more than others.

My eleven year old son walked through the door.  "I'm Free!"  he shouted as he grabbed a root beer from the refrigerator.

"Do you have any homework to do?"
"Yes..." I saw him physically deflate.  "Then you're not free." 

"I'm not ready to do homework." he explained.  "I need to exercise." 
"That's great.  Put your coat on and take down the trash. It will take five trips so you'll have gone half a mile by the time you finish."

"I just remembered, I do have a lot of math." he volunteered.
"Fine. Get to work then."

Five minutes later, I found him at the TV watching The Animated Adventures of Superman.
"What are you doing?  I thought you said you had homework."

"I needed to put a DVD on for Paul."
"It's on.  Go do your homework."
"Awwww. Do I have to?" 
"Well, you could take down the trash first.  That way, you could get it down the hill while it's still daylight."  
"I'll go do math."

Five minutes later, I found him in a vigorous ping pong gun shooter battle with his older brother.  "Did you finish your homework?"
I knocked on the bathroom.  "If you don't start your homework, I'll make you do the trash now before you start." 

I pulled out the chair.  Unable to dodge me any longer, he sat and opened his backpack.  I began working on dinner.  Five minutes in, I hear "Mommmm?" 
"I forgot my math book."  

"I will take you back to school to pick up your book..."
"Thanks Mom! I..."
"After you take down the trash, not before."  

For the record, yes I drove him to get his book, yes he did take down the trash, and yes, he did get his homework done.   

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Have a Piece over at Aleteia today!

Goal of 2016?  Write and get a piece published every week if possible, every month if not.  And to finish my book and lose 20 pounds.  If I'm going to try, I'm going to try big.  

Here's to starting off strong:  The Good Shepherd One Pew Up.

Friday, January 1, 2016

What's For Supper?

We do Christmas.  We do food.  I've done the math and when all twelve are at home, there are 252 meals served on any given week.  There are days this is not hard...bagels, oj and dogs, french fries and carrots and cucumbers...and dinner...pasta, salad, meatballs, sauce.   And, there are days, it's not so easy.

Every New Year's, we toast the old and welcome the new with a steak and lobster tradition, token vegetables like broccoli and asparagus, and desserts, lots of desserts.   After fixing steak and lobster, I'm needing down time from the kitchen.  Today is feast of The Solemnity of Mary and we made it to the ten o'clock.   All twelve at the ten o'clock on time.  I'm thinking, not bad.  Pretty good way to start the new year.

Monsignor Brennan came over to me and asked, "How's your french?"  The answer?  Bad.  As in, it wasn't good when it was fresh and new either.  Never got beyond a B- after my first year and I think Sr. Emily took pity on me with that B.

I knew I was hearing the Our Father.

Upshot of all this?  My eight year old asked, "Can we have French Toast?"
Oui.   The thing about french toast in my house, I can use 12 eggs, a quart of milk and two loaves of bread.  It's never quite enough.

However, they loved it, and no leftovers.  No crumbs even.

As for the rest of the week, let's eat! MEMO: No special diets. If you want a special diet at our house, you can make your own if you clean up.  Ergo, No special diets.

Friday: Hamburgers and french fries, carrots, salad.
Saturday: Double Baked Chickens, potatoes, green beans
Sunday: Roasted Pork, salad, crescent rolls, roasted veggies.
Monday:  Pasta, red sauce, salad
Tuesday: Hot Dogs, beans, corn, cucumber salad
Wednesday: sausages, potatoes, green beans, sauteed onions, peppers.
Thursday: Pasta, meatballs, sauce, salad.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!