Saturday, October 25, 2014

Now I CAN, too!

A visit with my sister is always interesting, enjoyable, productive, and quite frankly, exhausting. She stopped by my house for a few days before meeting her dear husband for a weekend of deep sea fishing. In the few days she was here we prepped for my first canning experience….
Roasted tomatoes and peppers for flatbreads and preserving….
Canned red beans, green beans, corn, chowder, and chili…..

Showed our mom how to bring "Healthy Homemade Wholesomeness" into the new millennium...

 While still keeping with my IBM, "Italian By Marriage," traditions: No bread machine here- all kneading done a' mano. Lots of love in that flatbread.
And in this Panini Dolce- My Favorite!

 Oh yes, Aunt Rene also taught the boys how to make soap (Christmas gifts in the works)
 And hypnotize chickens!

Never a dull moment with my little sis.  Mission accomplished. 

Little House on the Prairie Week 
with electricity………..and wine. 

 La Dolce Vita!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Science Rules! Or is it Rules for Science???

When you've educated your children at home for 25+ years (Oh my! Really- Has it been that long?), there comes a time to replace expensive textbooks with more modern, expensive textbooks. And I am happy to do so. Shopping for school supplies gives me a strange sort of rush. Probably what other women experience when they redecorate their homes. Can't explain it. I LOVE BOOKS! Today's excitement brought to you by: Apologia Young Explorers Science Curriculum. Immersion learning, Charlotte Mason style, is the focus; rather than the typical elementary science textbook which is more of a general science survey.  The note booking journals and textbooks are loaded with experiments which really help young minds remember the concepts learned. And then, there is the notebooking aspect. All of the printables are in the notebook. No searching on the Internet for resources to supplement a dull textbook. I. LOVE. IT.

Last week's lesson - making lava lamps out of old bottles, oil, vinegar, Alka Seltzer, and food dye. What kids wouldn't love that mess? 

I don't know about you, but smiling boys during school hours makes my day.  And yes, we did discuss rules for science. Do NOT eat or sniff or otherwise consume the science projects.  Not even if this week's pan of goo looks like marshmallow cream.

Non-Newtonian liquid or amorphous solid?

Or is it simply a huge mess that will clog the sink? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chicken Run

Remember  when we came home from the Halbert Hacienda after Memorial Weekend, with a Life Science Experiment in tow?

Well, it turned into a fun summer project.  Three little chicks survived the incubation and brooding period.  
The boys named them: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Luckily veto power goes to Mom.  I call one Benedicta (as in Eggs Benedict). Bene for short, because it's Italian. And because she is a she, which is very Good!  It also goes with the name of our pet dog, a Border Collie named Bandita.  Chicken #2 is called Scholastica, since that is Benedict's twin. Abbreviated Schola, in honor of our Classical Homeschool and focus on Latin hymns this year. 
I couldn't think of a name for the third hen, until bright and early one morning- it came to me. PETER. Nuff said.

Dear Husband helped me transform the playset into a chic condo for the "girls."
With three nesting boxes, a rear door for gathering eggs,
and a front gate for easy watering, feeding, and cleaning.
Only problem is, the girls aren't all so girly. Two roos and a pullet; or two pullets and a roo? We are still not certain. But Peter definitely started crowing on a regular basis; so we sent him to live in a more rural area (with my farmgirl friend who currently supplies us with eggs). Natalie is boarding him until we can decide what in the world to do. Should we go with the boys' original idea of "Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner?" Not quite sure we are ready to go there. When my Lil Sis shows up for our big canning experience, she is supposed to bring a laying hen to trade out for the roo(s). But I don't think she really wants to transport the crower back home.  We may bite the proverbial bullet and butcher the little guy. After all, organically fed chicken sells at a premium price in the groceries. And my little friend from the country has a few roosters of her own to "relocate." We could build one of these……..


………………... or not. You will just have to wait for a future post to find out. 
I know- the suspense, right?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Garden of Weedin

The weather is finally taking a turn from stifling humidity to bearable heat.  Time in the garden is back on the schedule. It has grown considerably over the years, although the produce is not as abundant as I had hoped. Still, it is a quiet refuge from the daily grind. The patio is now enclosed by a simple, light weight fence to keep out rampaging football players and stray soccer balls. Having that visual border has made a huge difference. I am back to morning coffee with a family of cardinals, a scurry of squirrels, and a few moments with God, as seen through the eyes of Fulton Sheen.   Very nice. The Blessed Mother watches over the roses and blueberry bushes. St. Joseph is guarding my olive tree. And St. Anthony is posted in front of the orange tree.  

The trees are in pots this year, so I can scoot them into a green house when the frost threatens. We lost 2 citrus trees to hard freeze last winter.  I still need to replant some sugar snap peas and broccoli. Both bolted in the heat when I planted too early.  Amazingly, I still have a watermelon and a cantaloupe to harvest pretty soon.  It isn't quite the Urban Homestead, or even a Suburban look alike, but it is my little corner of Eden. The plan is to learn, little by little, until the garden at least pays for itself as much in produce, as it has in satisfaction. 
The peppers are still hanging on, and there are even some grape tomatoes ripening on a bush. Cucumbers and squash are starting a second run. But everything is trickling in slowly. Not like my sister's garden. She has canned enough produce to last her and her dear husband quite a while. 
She is headed this direction in a couple of weeks to teach me how to fill my pantry with wholesome soups and pasta sauce for the winter. I'll be grinding flour to make bread and English muffins to go with it.  It will be a  Little House on the Prairie weekend, with wine. And lots of laughs. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fall Break and Birthday Celebrations

They are coming home for the weekend- los tres amigos. A rare occasion to have all three come in at once.
In honor of this young man's 13th birthday.
This has been the year for landmark birthdays. One hit double digits in July and another turned 13 today. 16 was in August, while 18 and 21 spent their summer birthdays at camp. Six of us had a little preview cake tonight- but the rest of the birthday party arrives tomorrow. Time for a family dinner out. Lookout Southside! We are coming for your steak special. Then in November, the pushing 30's & the 30-somethings will join us for an early Thanksgiving celebration.  Hopefully we can get Vince off the boat long enough to join us. Imagine the WHOLE family together, grandkids included (and there isn't even a wedding on the schedule). I plan to get a quick family photo before they all scatter back into the busyness of the world. One.Happy.Mamma.

New Projects Derail Blogging

ClassicallyCatholic@blogspot has been on the back burner for quite a while, as new projects have piqued my interest. A season for everything I suppose. Currently I am enjoying time spent in the garden while listening to the Edel Talks on Conversion Diary.  Extra-specially the third audio clip on mortification given by HALEY STEWART entitled "My Children Are Killing Me." Highly recommended, if you have half an hour or so and need an attitude adjustment.  She's a kick.  I've also been painting, reading, over-seeing a Classically Catholic Homeschool Co-op, baking, volunteering with the Good Samaritan Ministry in our parish, and of course, teaching the last 3 kids at home. But blogging-- not so much. Hope to get back to it, at least on occasion.

For now I will leave you with some recommended reading:  

New Page for New Issues

In an effort to maintain focus, a new page has been created with emphasis on promoting the Culture of Life and exposing the Culture of Death in our society. Share your take with us:
Classically Catholic Current Issues - Culture of Life and Death.