Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

First Snow

Oh, snow covered tree on a winter morn
You're a gorgeous reminder of a wicked storm

You stand so tall with proud beauty
A sight for all to stop and see

You gently dance with winter's wind
You never break, but slightly bend

You give me a smile of pure delight
As your ice crystals sparkle in the light

Oh, snow covered tree on crisp winter morn
A reminder that winter is not to be mourned

Poetry source: Booksie

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Life trumps blog Daybook

In the garden...
...rain at the moment. Some days it's cold, some days it's in the 60s. I definitely have to check the weather before I dress each day. Most of the leaves are gone in our yard, but there are some yellows left and one of the red maples is hanging on. I keep telling Faith I want to coat leaves in beeswax to make a garland (as I have a bunch of beeswax pellets which will go bad before I use it all) but I have a feeling the leaves will be gone before we get to it.

photo credit to Noah

I'm thinking about...

...so much my head is spinning. My health issues continue, but other than waiting for the doctor to schedule an MRI and getting into a new endocrinologist, I can't do much. Yeah, my primary care physician was astounded that a doctor told me my problems are in my head. She did some blood work and my cortisol levels are  low, which paired with low DHEA levels means something is up with my adrenal glands. Praying I get in before February.

...thinking about Thanksgiving (wondering how I'm going to get through it without complete exhaustion, but confident God will give me the grace and the strength to make good memories for my family). Most of my menu is set because my family insists on the same dishes every year, but I am trying to incorporate some more vegetables because I want a healthier menu. I usually make green beans with red peppers and shallots, but I wonder if you have any suggestion for good vegetable sides, even a cold dish, though not a green leaf salad. Maybe a brussel sprout salad, or an asparagus salad? any suggestions?

...thinking about Advent and St. Nicholas Day. I'm trying not to break the bank, but it gets really hard to fill the stockings of big kids. They are no longer thrilled with chocolate coins. I have nail polish and bobbles for the girls, but boys are hard. A couple of years ago they got small Swiss pocket knives, and last year they got little Streamlight keychains, but I'm stuck this year. Any suggestions appreciated.

...I am also thinking about hiring someone to come twice a month and help me keep my house clean. Just keeping up with laundry, ironing, cooking and homeschooling, not to mention sewing and Faith's dance schedule is wiping me out. I am barely keeping my house clean. Don't look too closely if you visit. Any thoughts? Do any of my readers use cleaners?

photo credit to Noah

I am wearing...
...my flannel nightgown. I watched the twin girls next door from 5 until 7:30, and when I got home I went straight for my nightgown.

photo credit to Noah

I am reading....
...I have several books going at once. The Honey Thief in real paper book from the library, The Book of Tomorrow on audiobook, and Still Life with Bread Crumbs on Kindle. Nothing deep that's for sure. I just finished Every Last One and it was a really good read. It was the first time in a long time that I just sat and read during the day. It felt quite decadent, but possibly something I need to do more of.

photo credit to Noah

I am creating...
...I'm still working on the gray shawl. I was practicing on some baby items for a project I have in my mind for the future, but I just don't have much time for endless knitting right now. I have bridesmaids dresses to sew. The practice dress was a hit so I ordered 44 yards of fabric (yikes!) to make seven dresses. That doesn't count the flower girl dress which will be white. Or the veil fabric for the bride.

photo credit to Noah

At the school table...

...same old, same old there. Chugging along. I'm enjoying the history, and Faith couldn't be more bored. I get excited about English and she dramatically weeps. Sigh.

Plans for the rest of the week...
...an orthodontist appointment, dance class and a mammogram. Oh, and catering lunch for the dance studio  teachers. Just chili -- nothing fancy.

A few of my favorite things....

...Real Salt, which I recently discovered -- it tastes really good
...red, orange and yellow leaves falling
...pan roasted sweet potatoes and Brussel sprouts with an egg cooked in the middle for breakfast. I never thought I could eat veggies for breakfast, but I'm liking it.
...long evenings with lamplight

Prayers sent heavenward...

...for my husband and children to do God's will
...for my health, mental and physical (you can join me here and I would be most appreciative)
...for all the priests and religious
...for all the babies whose mothers are contemplating abortion this week, for a change of heart

Quote of the day...

I've been thinking about this quote all week, since St. Charles' Feast Day last week.

“If a tiny spark of God’s love already burns within you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out… Stay quiet with God. Do not spend your time in useless chatter… Do not give yourself to others so completely that you have nothing left for yourself." ~~ St. Charles Borromeo

photo credit to Noah

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The winner

I might be two days late, but I'm not a winner short. There's a story behind my tardiness, but that will have to wait. There's a kid standing behind me waiting to get on the computer for homework. For now, the winner of the rosary:

Gail, send me your address please, and I'll get it in the mail.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Daybook (and a giveaway)

In the garden...
...well, the garden is pretty much dead, except for a few roses. It's chilly out today, and I have a feeling we're finished with warm, sunny days for a while. I could be wrong, but the chill feels real and long-lasting. I don't mind. You know I love weather that keeps me indoors, but I admit I have recently felt the need just to sit outdoors and breathe fresh air. I can always have Doug build me a fire and bundle up well, right?

I'm thinking about...

...my health and not getting answers from doctors. I've decided doctors really don't know the answers to a lot of questions, which is why they "practice" medicine, right? I think I'm going to look for a 70-year-old doctor who has a lot more answers than the young ones. I'm on the second dose of the third antibiotic for this UTI I have had for months (the doses are ten days apart -- it's an antibiotic you mix in water and take once) and I'm tired of being sick. Done. 

I am wearing...
...gray tights, a gray skirt, a plum long-sleeve shirt and my new shawl, which is navy, gray and plum. Black shoes, bronze and plum earrings, an amethyst bracelet and my copper chains. Got the whole picture now? {wink}

I am reading....

...two books, depending on my mood. I have A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute for when I am not feeling anxious, because the characters in the book are having a really difficult time (and I thought my situation was difficult? ha!). And I have Every Last One by Anna Quindlen, in which so far nothing really bad has happened so I can read it any time.

I am creating...
...the gray shawl, as it has become known as in my mind. It's very gray, but then gray is nice and neutral and can be worn with colors. It's the same pattern as the last shawl. I like the rows and rows of nice neat stitches. Nothing complicated at all. I think knitting rows of nice neat stitches is more productive and maybe more efficient than therapy, but then I've never gone through therapy...yet. Never say never.

After a visit to an endocrinologist yesterday, I might be headed there (not really, at least not yet). He told me that low DHEA levels (a hormone made by your adrenal glands and through hormone testing I found out I am in short supply of) don't mean anything and my problems are in my head (he did not say I was crazy, but just that I can tell myself nothing is wrong. He's lucky he didn't get bit.) He went so far as to say DHEA does nothing in our bodies (which I know not to be true). 

At the school table...

...Faith was sick on Monday, so technically (in my head -- it's all in my head) we are a day behind, but we're chugging along, learning math, new things in history and science and we finished Pictures of Hollis Woods, which I highly recommend (I just saw there is a movie -- I had no idea -- gotta get that one). Speaking of movies, have you seen The Trail? Really good movie, and good for the kids to watch (there is a death in the movie -- not graphic, but nevertheless, so kids of a certain age). It faith-filled, and riveting, at least it was for Faith and I.

Plans for the rest of the week...
...I think...nothing. Yay! We will celebrate the feast days on the weekend, and nothing else. 

A few of my favorite things....

...a new cinnamon tea, which I can get at the grocer
...red, orange and yellow leaves falling
...trick-or-treat night, which is tonight and is fun because almost all of our trick-or-treaters are under age 6
...chili on trick-or-treat night -- always

Prayers sent heavenward...

...for my husband and children to do God's will
...for my health, mental and physical (you can join me here and I would be most appreciative)
...for all the priests and religious
...for all the babies whose mothers are contemplating abortion this week, for a change of heart

And last, but not least...
...a giveaway of this knotted rosary with the Our Lady of Sorrows medal at the center. Leave your name and contact information in the comment box (or email me using the address in the sidebar) and I'll draw a name at noon on Monday, November 3.

These knotted rosaries are the best sleeping rosaries. I take mine to bed every night and wake periodically with it wrapped around my hand -- then just pick up where I left off.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Menu Monday

I lieu of actual writing, today I am posting my Menu on Monday with Mary Ellen Barrett. Well, I guess I'll link to Mary Ellen when she gets hers up.

I'm trying a few new recipes this week and trying something different tonight for Doug and Noah while Faith is at dance, and I am waiting on her. She and I will probably eat soup or something simple when we get home.

Monday: homemade Big Don Subs for the menfolk

Tuesday: Chilaquiles, black beans, fruit salad

Wednesday: Shredded beef, Sweet Potato pancakes, green beans with bacon

Thursday: Tomato soup and Grilled Cheese

Friday: Baked Bean and Steamed Brown Bread

Saturday: pizza

Sunday: Birthday party for my 25 year old! (boy does that make me old!) He hasn't chosen his menu yet.

PS Anyone who thought that Lidia's chicken from last week's menu sounded good (hint, hint, Barb) was right. It was very good! And there's a story there also, but I'll have to tell it tomorrow.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Catching up, week 2

It seems I am just not very good at time management as I can't seem to get to the computer between Monday and Friday.

Or maybe I just choose other activities in my spare time (knitting...reading). I guess those other activities are better for my frayed nerves than blogging. sorry.

I thought I'd give a quick update, health-wise, even though it's all rather boring, even to me.

Remember the spinal injection I was going to have? Postponed twice, finally done the third time scheduled...weirdest feeling ever, and I mean weird (that is after the pain of the injection). You know that feeling you get in your lip when you've been to the dentist and had Novocain -- where you can't make it move? My whole leg, from toe to hip felt that way. I tried to stand up after the procedure and almost fell right over. Luckily there was a wall to grab onto. I could bear absolutely no weight...very, very weird. And, unfortunately the injection did not work. Very disappointing. Can't wait to get the bill.

The spine doctor referred me to a neurosurgeon (I've already seen two other neurosurgeons) who he thinks can cut the nerve. He really had to talk me into the referral -- "just see what he has to say." But, I'm inclined to make this the end of the road and just live with the pain. How do you decide when you are just supposed to suffer? You know, suffer for spiritual reasons? There are risks that the nerve damage could get worse with surgery and that other nerves could be damaged, so even though this doctor says he is the only surgeon he would let operate on him, I think I'm just going to listen and then decline.

In the meantime, my anxiety is a little calmer (although my daughter might not agree). Maybe the progesterone is working, maybe not. I went to my gyn to get a second opinion on the whole hormone/menopause thing and she did more blood work. From those results it appears I am in menopause, and should be having fewer symptoms. Unfortunately, the results also showed my adrenal hormones are low. The nurse would only go so far in revealing what the results mean and I have an appointment with the gyn next week. I have thought for a while (years) that I have some form of adrenal exhaustion, but when I went to a doctor about it he poo-poo'd me. I have a lot of the symptoms, so I am adjusting my diet (no sugar and very little white flour, lots of veggies and protein, and adding some vitamins and minerals) to help (hopefully). I'm on my fourth UTI in about three months, and recurring infections is a classic symptom. Thyroid issues are also a symptom, as is anxiety, hypoglycemia, and low blood pressure. I'm praying I don't have adrenal insufficiency or fatigue, but at least it would be an answer.


Ok, onto happier topics -- knitting. I finished the first garter stitch shawl I was working on and I love it. With my gray hair I have to be careful how I wear a shawl so I don't look like a little old lady.

The other day I wore it tied in the front like if I had thrown a sweater over my shoulders. It looked ok. I can't deal with heavy, bunchy stuff around my neck, so I am limited in my fashion statements. I cast on another this week in solid gray, to wear with more colorful clothes. It's nice to just throw on to run to dance or even in the house if it's chilly.


Another happy topic -- food. I baked this on Sunday before I had blood test results, so I enjoyed a piece. This week (after test results and subsequent research), I made a pan of Snickerdoodle bars for the kids and my mom brought over my very favorite iced butter cookies. I resisted. And I have been eating protein and vegetables for breakfast (aren't you proud of me, Sara?) which is really hard for me. I really want cream of wheat with sugar and milk, but I'm trying.

Apple Galette

Recipe found here, but I used the classic Crisco crust instead of Zoe's. The filling was delish, however, and easy. Way easier than pie.

By the way, the pie at that pie crust link is a winner too. Can't go wrong. And it's sweet potatoes -- healthy, right?

Well, I'm off to put on a nightgown, get a movie set up and knit all evening long. Until my eyes just close. That's the plan anyway. 

PS Thanks for all the kind words and prayers about Noah's accident. The car is totaled (I think I told you) and Nationwide is being really slow in settling, but I think we all learned a lesson that needs learned every once in a while -- life is short and it can change drastically at any moment. 

PPS Keep your eyes open for a rosary giveaway. I have some new twine colors and I think there might be a few of you who need a new knotted bedtime rosary (my Mary security blanket).

And I'm leaving you with a photo of our pretty Maggie pup. Her summer cut is growing out and she looks cute. Unfortunately she has been diagnosed with thyroid issues and has to be on medication, so I guess it's true what they say about dogs and their owners.

photo by Noah

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Menu Monday

Well, I started a post yesterday, to put my menu up and link to Mary Ellen's post, but then when I had time to get back to it, it was 8:30 when the dinner dishes were done (dance goes until 7:30 on Monday evenings -- our only weekly scheduled evening) and I was in no shape to think or type. It makes me feel rather old and frail to find myself so wiped out from some of my days -- Monday especially. By the time I walk in the door after dance, and Faith and I still have to eat a supper kept warm in the oven (but prepared earlier for Doug and the boys) I am completely worn out and feeling fragile. Like I could just have someone put me to bed and call it a day. But, no. There are dinner dishes to do and laundry to finish and a child to prompt (still -- at age 12!) to brush her teeth, clean up her mess, get in bed (again, and again, and again!).

Not that any of that is any different from your day, except I think I am older, and thus feeling the frazzledness (not a word, I'm certain) more. A lot more.

(As a side note, I don't know why I insist on cooking on dance night, but I do. As if I should feel guilty for getting take out or ordering pizza, like half the country does on any night. Call me stubborn, and rather stupid.)

Now that my rant, or whatever that was, is over, my menu (a day late):

Dinner menu:

Monday: Bacon Cheeseburger Pie with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and pickles; mixed vegetables

Tuesday: Roast Chicken with vegetables, pretzels rolls

Wednesday and feast of St. Teresa of Avila: Lidia's Meatloaf, polenta, green beans, Flan for St. Teresa

Thursday: Yankee pot Roast, mashed potatoes

Friday: pancakes and eggs

Saturday: Noah's Homecoming Dance -- probably get carry out

Sunday: Lidia's Breast of Chicken in Light Lemon Herb sauce, mashed potatoes, asparagus

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Catching up

All week I tried to get back here. It was a week not to be forgotten any time soon.

The week-not-soon-to-be-forgotten started on Saturday night when Noah, driving Doug's car, was broadsided out in the country on a state route in the pitch black night. Airbags deployed, but he and his girlfriend were both wearing seat belts and no one was injured, thank you God, and their Guardian Angels. If the young girl driving the other car had run the stop sign 5 seconds sooner, I fear there could have been very serious injuries. Noah was not cited, it was entirely her fault, and she failed the field sobriety test. Doug got to the scene before the highway patrolman and so he was able to view the test. She couldn't put one foot in front of the other. The carful of people she was driving were coming from her mother's wedding reception and she admitted to drinking. But once she had handcuffs on and was in the backseat of the cruiser, her mother said she wanted EMS called because her daughter could have low blood sugar. Of course by the time the officer arrived at the scene, 50 minutes had passed, and by the time EMS arrived it had been 90 minutes. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital and by the time she got there she passed the blood alcohol test and had blood sugar low enough for her defense. In other words, she got off. Whether she was drunk or not is between her and God, but she was impaired enough, in one way or another, to run a stop sign and roll out into a state route with cars speeding by at 55 mph. We are furious that she walked away with just a ticket. Low blood sugar is apparently a common drunken driving defense (first I ever heard of it) so we feel justice was not done. But we need to get over it and forgive. Unfortunately, the car is totaled and the process is taking a long time.

I'm trying not to stress about it, but Monday was a wash, with phone calls to insurance agents (another thing -- she had no proof of insurance -- a law in Ohio, and she was from out-of-state and not driving her own car), rental car agencies, tow truck drivers, body shops, etc. Hopefully the accident taught Noah a lesson about the danger of driving, not to mention drinking and driving. He was quite shaken up since the car was spun around and ended up off the road headed the wrong direction.

After Monday, we tried to forget about it and just deal with the calls and decisions as they came.

This photo is from Saturday before dinner. It is a Poor Man's Cake, a recipe from my grandma†,
but we enjoy it on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi as St. Francis' Tonsure Cake.

I also made Leila's Ginger cookies, and they were a huge hit.

I took photos on Wednesday for Yarn Along, but just didn't get it together for a post. I am glad I had this shawl to work on this week. Nice even rows of knitting therapy were necessary. The yarn is Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in purple rain. I love this yarn. It's so soft and nice to work with, and the fact that it was hand dyed by a woman in Uruguay makes it that much more dear.

Pictured is the the center of the shawl. The pattern is very simple, with only a yarn over at each end and two in the center, there is not much to remember. I have, however, messed up the rows which have the garter stitch on the right side. It's supposed to be rows 8, 12, 14, and 16. I started that way and then three patterns in I switched to 6, 12, 14, and 16. I did it that way for six patterns and then switched back to the 8th row because I forgot it on the 6th. Oh, well. I think the yarn is busy enough to forgive the mistakes. And I'm the only one who will know. 

I bought some yarn to make another in solid gray, and I'll have to pay closer attention to my rows.

My afternoon tea, without which I'm not sure I could make it through dinner. It's decaf, but so tasty and unique. It tastes like cinnamon fire balls without the heat. Yum.

I planted a variety of mums this year and they are all just now starting to bloom. It's rather chilly out and the leaves are turning and falling. We are most definitely having autumn in central Ohio.

I didn't mention my current read in my Yarn Along pics. It's actually Faith's school read, Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff, but one I am thoroughly enjoying and actually only allowing myself a chapter a day. It is the kind of book I would have gobbled up at Faith's age. Not being a reader, she reads the assigned pages. Sigh. 

Though it is a worldly book in some aspects, it is not risqué. Faith did not know what a foster home was, so that was an education of sorts, as foster homes can be good or bad. The book doesn't get into much detail, just that Hollis' life has not been easy. 

I guess this was not a brief catch-up post, but then I have never been accused of being brief. I am praying that the week ahead is very dull, and not news-worthy at all.

Praying you have a week full of gorgeous blue October skies, brief chilly breezes, and stunningly colorful leaves to crunch below your feet...and possibly some Ginger Cookies.

Thursday, October 02, 2014


Happy feast of the Guardian Angels! Thank you Guardian Angels, for keeping us safe and helping us remain on the path of righteousness.

"For he commands his angels with regard to you,
to guard you wherever you go.
With their hands they shall support you,
lest you strike your foot against a stone." Psalms 91:11-12 


So what's happening with you today? Anything special?

Right now there's a whole lot of nothing special going on, but I actually prefer things that way. I catered lunch for the teachers at the dance studio today and that was enough of something special to last until next week. Now I'd like to sit down and knit a while, but it's really time to make supper. So, I'm blogging. What the heck.


Well, I'm back. I had to make dinner. We had potato cheddar soup, which, because it's soup is not a family favorite, but I love soup and it's cheap and easy. This recipe was good, if your family will eat celery and onions. I admit  I made a roux with 3 tablespoons of butter and used nothing low-fat. I also added a couple dashes of Tabasco. Yum.

I think I mentioned the other day that I bought a tortilla press, and we had some leftover from Tuesday's dinner. They were delicious -- much better than store bought. The flour tortillas (I used that recipe), however, don't get quite thin enough in the press. They initially get thin, but then the dough shrinks back and they thicken, so I had to roll them a little after I pressed them.

It's been a busy week in the kitchen, but I planned it that way on purpose. Last night I made homemade pasta, and baked cupcakes for St. Therese. Today I catered the dance teacher lunch (I really just made ham and egg salad and bought a meat and cheese tray, bread, chips, and fruit). 

I have been "testing" the nerve pain in my leg because I had the spinal injection two weeks ago and the doctor said in two weeks I would know if it worked. Unfortunately, the nerve pain is the same, so after all that nothing has changed. It was my last choice of treatment, so I guess from now on the poor souls in purgatory will get my sacrifice.

St. Therese cupcakes -- the little yellow roses are butter mints from a local candy shop. They may or may not have been the only thing Faith and I picked up from there.


I mentioned last week that we painted the family room in anticipation of a new sofa. The sofa did arrive on Saturday -- yay! And I love it because it's nice and firm, and the kids don't like it because it's nice and firm, which means it might last a little longer. 

The walls are now a pretty blue (not the blue I really wanted but a blue they are staying) and Doug put up crown molding. The end tables are new and the sofa is new. It's really the same color as the former sofa, and I realized today that our homes say a lot about us. One might think I like things plain, but I actually like things calm. Too much pattern makes too much stimulation for me.

The lovely print in this photo is by Kim Fry. It's the side door of Notre Dame. The handsome stein belonged to my husband's grandfather.

A lot of the decisions I made about the room have to do with the quilt on the back of the sofa. This quilt was made for my father-in-law when he was being treated for and succumbing to cancer. You probably can't see the photo above the sofa but it's the last family photo taken. We all wore different colors for the photo and they just happen to be the same colors in the quilt. And my mother-in-law just happened to know I would treasure that quilt.

My red and blue pillows look nice with it, and the Sacred Heart painting over the fireplace looks so nice with the blue and red. It's so nice to have a fresh new room.


I had a mad knitting project going a few weeks ago. I was a test knitter for this darling sweater, called Sister Wren, and it's available now for purchase (the pattern). It was a really quick knit and I like it heaps. My yarn notes, etc. are here. I think I'll knit it again in the next size up.

I finished that big project and have yet to block it, but I'm glad I finished it as quickly as I did. Now I'm onto a shawl for myself. Another easy knit -- with nice neat rows of knitting. It's too dark to get a photo now but I have lots more rows left to knit.


This project has been finished for a while, but I didn't want to reveal it until the recipient had received it. This quilt is for baby Felicity, who you may remember is waiting in China for her new mama and daddy to come and get her. I chose the colors hoping that they would be cheerful and happy and the quilt would be a help for Felicity to bond with her new family. She will be wrapped in the love of our Church's extended family.

Well, I know I had lots more to say, but it's past 9 p.m. and my thoughts are all gone. If I think of them, I'll try to remember them for another day.