Monthly Picks

February Picks

Here are some of my favorite things for February:

Favorite New Parish:  St. James the Less in La Crosse, WI.  Seriously, we couldn’t have landed in a better place for kind families, beautiful Latin Masses, and heavenly scholas.  I’ll telling you, this place has got it going on.  They even have potlucks every Sunday after the 11am Mass.  It’s all such a blessing.

Favorite Outdoor Activity:  Hiking.  The weather seems so much more mild here that it makes it easy to be out-of-doors.

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Hiking around Grandad’s Bluff

I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t mention all the sledding going on.  The boys drag their sleds almost every day to the park and sled down the steep sides into the baseball field.

Favorite Cocktail:  The Copyright, which is a signature drink from the La Crosse Distilling Co. and consists of Barrel-aged Fieldnotes Potato Vodka, Orange Liqueur, Honey, Lemon, and Angostura Bitters.  Here a picture of it:

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High Rye Highball on the left and Copyright on the right.

This place was hopping last Saturday night.  We can’t wait to go back and try more local drinks.  Click HERE for their website and more pictures.

Family Game of the Month:  Last month was Catan, and indeed, the children are still at it, but lately Chess has captured more attention.  This is because the 4 older children played in a local Chess Tournament, wherein The Eldest actually took the championship. She claims it was all luck.  My husband said it was all his doing with his careful and attentive teaching at home.  Her brothers say that she owes it all to them for spending hours playing with her, and I say it was all due to her grandpa’s expertise and guidance.

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This tournament was a “Swiss” style tournament with 5 rounds.  (Whatever that means.  I’ve never played Chess in my life.)  It was held at Providence Academy.

Best Amazon Purchase:  My 3 Tier 12 Bottle Wine Rack for $14.99.  Too bad it didn’t come stocked with wine.

Most Enjoyable February Book:  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  I’m revisiting it again, probably for the 4th or 5th time.  If you’ve never read it, you’re missing out.  Mr. Rochester is my all-time favorite male character in a novel.  Yes, he even beats Mr. Darcy from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  HERE’S my favorite Audible version.

My Kids’ Favorite February Supper:  Hot dogs.  Yuck.  Just yuck.  But I was desperate the other day.  We were in Survival Mode.

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That’s sauerkraut on the back burner.

And here’s what I had for supper that night…

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That’s my new wine rack in the background.

Anybody have anything good to share for February?

Motherhood & Parenting

Got Sick Kids?

It never fails.  Every Christmas our family gets sick.  This year, thankfully, only one child barfed on Christmas Eve.  The rest just got nasty colds, which turned into an ear infection for the baby.  And then all four girls got croup.  (Remember that scene in Anne of Green Gables wherein Anne cares for Diana’s sister, who’s practically dying from coup?  Well, we didn’t have it that bad, but still…)

Some of you may be wondering how it might be possible to survive sickness in your household and teach school all day?  Yes?  Then read on.

Since I’m in the midst of caring for Sick Kids, I thought I’d update my old post from awhile back.  This is mostly to encourage myself and cheer on the rest of you, who may be suffering from this most taxing and exhausting dilemma.

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Crabby Baby.

8 Tips to Survive Barfing Children, Ear Infections & Other Nasty Stuff While Teaching School, Cooking for a Family, and Cleaning a House:

1.Don’t clean your house.  Or if you must, just make your bed and call it good.  Heck, your bed is probably still made from yesterday because you didn’t sleep in it anyway.  You were sitting in the rocking chair, holding a screaming baby all night.  I know it’s a big deal in this household to get a load of laundry done every day too, but I guess it won’t go anywhere, so that can be left alone.  The children can turn their clothes inside-out and wear them again, for the 3rd day in a row, unless of course there’s vomit on them…

2.  Put lipstick on.  This should go without saying.  Not only is lipstick fun, but it brightens everyone’s day.  Especially if you’re not in the habit of wearing it.  Your husband and children will wonder what came over you.  And when you look in the mirror, you will not notice the dark circles around your eyes, but will instead, be stunned by the awesomeness of Hot Pink Lips.  You might even laugh at yourself, which is good.

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Survival Gear.  Must Haves.

3.  Reduce school to a minimum.  This is a very good time to renew your subscription to Audible, purchase The Story of Civilization, and commence History Class.  When your children are finished with this, send the healthy ones outside for the remainder of the day for Nature Study.  If the healthy children do not want to do Nature Study, offer House-Cleaning 101, wherein all children scrub floors, walls, and toilets.

Too sick to move?  We enjoyed this series on YouTube last week.

4.  Take two minutes and change out of your sweatpants.  Why?  Because you’re sleep deprived and look like it.  There are statistics out there saying that if you look put-together, you will feel put-together.  Paul Harvey, the decades-long iconic radio broadcaster, used to wear a suit and tie every day for his program.  And his studio was in his house, where virtually no one saw him.  But he knew that his performance was always better if he dressed the part.  So, this morning, I put on my favorite skirt and my new shirt that my husband bought me for my birthday last week.  And yes, it made me feel better about not sleeping last night.

5.  Eat takeout or something frozen for supper. Eating Little Caesar’s Pizza every once in awhile won’t kill you.  In fact, it might save your sanity.  And I’ve found that those $4.98 rotisserie chickens from Sam’s Club are handy too.  The best part is, they’re hot and ready to eat, and I’ve done nothing to prepare them.  (Someone I know gave me that great bit of advice.  Thank you!)  And I like to top it off with those pre-made salads in a bag.

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This one has been our  favorite lately.  I just add a bunch of spinach, so it feeds everyone.

6.  Decide not to yell at your children.  You are going to have a demanding day.  Just face it.  If the baby was up all night crying, he’s going to be crabby and cry all day too.  So, your nerves are shot.  You will be seriously tempted to yell at your other children.  Just don’t do it.  This will take a tremendous amount of effort and a lot of prayer.  And in some cases, like mine, it will take a minor miracle.  See my post HERE on that one.

7.  Spend more time in prayer.  Why?  Because you’re sleep-deprived and well, crazy from holding a screaming baby all night.  All sleep-deprived, crazy people need a lot of prayer.  I know this from experience.  The tricky part is making time to do it.  I suggest leaving your house and spending an hour in silent Adoration.  Hire a babysitter, call grandma, ask your husband to take sick leave…anything.  This hour of Adoration may be the only time you will get to sleep, until the illnesses go away.  And yes, sleeping in Adoration still counts as prayer.

8.  Drink More Coffee.  It’s a given that this helps, right?

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O Brewer of Buzzes!  O Terror of Yawns!  How I love thee!

 

Bonus Tip

Get yourself a teenager.  I’m telling you, it’s awesome.  It only took me 13 years, but I finally have one, and I will be eternally grateful to God for her.

Bonus Tip #2

Did I mention that you should just not cook anything?  Here’s what we did for lunch today:

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Yes, these are the most unhealthy bagels one can buy – the cinnamon and sugar ones.  But everyone loves them.  And we topped them off with Caribou’s honey/almond spread.  Delicious.

 

Know of anyone else experiencing Sick Children?  If so, share these tips with them?

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Ham, Again?

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

  1. Someone once gave me a good piece of advice: Never, ever talk about or show pictures of bowel movements on your blog.  Now, this is sound advice, and I had every intention of following it.  Until this happened:
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Yes, that is poop running down her leg.  She apparently doesn’t mind and is having a good time.

2.  When my 4-month-old did this, I had two choices:  1.)  I could sit down and cry.  Oh, the agony of cleaning up this mess!  Or, 2.)  Go, get the other children, and show them just what their baby sister did and have a good laugh.

I did the latter.  This is real life, after all, and it’s messy.  (The older children thought it was hilarious, until I had them scrubbing onesies and seat holders.)

3.  Someone else also gave me another really good piece of advice:  Never, ever share stories or pictures of your children that could potentially embarrass them when they are older.  Mea culpa.

4.  Sometimes on this blog I show pictures of what I’ve cooked for dinner.  This week, I’m not going to show you because we had ham three nights this week.  Yep.  Baked ham the first night.  Bean and ham soup the second night.  And noodles and ham the third night.  We’re out of ham now.  Maybe we’ll have hot dogs tomorrow night.

5.  I’m rereading G. K. Chesterton’s Everlasting Man.  Here’s a sample:

“The very fact that a bird can get as far as building a nest, and cannot get any farther, proves that he has not* a mind as a man has a mind...But suppose our abstract onlooker saw one of the birds begin to build as men build.  Suppose in an incredibly short space of time there were seven styles of architecture for one style of nest.  Suppose the bird carefully selected forked twigs and pointed leaves to express the piercing style of Gothic…Suppose the bird made little clay statues of birds…”

His point is that we’re different than the animals – gloriously different, in that we create.

*My emphasis.

 

Kim's Kitchen

Recipes: Beef Linguine & Lemon Noodles

Dear Readers, you asked for it; you got it.  Drop me a line, and let me know how it goes.   (For those of you who missed the supper post, click HERE for it.)  Enjoy!

Beef Linguine

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Ingredients:
1 package (16 ounces) linguine
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium peppers, chopped  (I like yellow & red.)
6 tablespoons soy sauce
garlic powder

Directions:
Cook linguine according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef, onions, and peppers until meat is no longer pink.  Drain.  Combine with linguine and toss with soy sauce and garlic.

Lemon Noodles

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Ingredients:
1 package (16 ounces) of pasta
1 teaspoon parsley
6 teaspoons of grated lemon peel (about one lemon)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped or pressed
6 tablespoons of lemon juice (about one lemon)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
grated parmesan cheese
olive oil

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté parsley, lemon peel, and garlic in oil until garlic is tender.  Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Drain pasta and combine with lemon mixture.  Top with parmesan cheese.

Kim's Kitchen

What’s for Supper?

This question gets asked all. the. time.  Even though I have a menu posted on the refrigerator for all to see.

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Menu for the week.  You’ll notice I also keep my grocery list here too.  And any recipes I’ll want to use this week.

Tonight we’re having linguine noodles with beef, peppers, and onions.  I just toss it with soy sauce and garlic.  I like this meal because it’s A.) good and B.) easy.

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Beef Linguine with Peppers & Onion.  Green beans on the side.

Last week we had ham and lemon noodles.  I love lemon noodles.  To make this, I zest one lemon and sauté it with a bunch of garlic, salt, and parsley in olive oil.  Then I add the juice of that lemon.

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Here is the lemon and garlic sauce.  You can also see that I steamed some broccoli too.

And finally, a pop quiz for you all.  What’s wrong with the following photo?

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Answer:  It’s A.) lacking a glass of wine and B.) the fork and knife are on the wrong side of the plate.

Bon Appetit!