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Thursday, September 21, 2017

All About Pie

Every day when the kids come home from school, I try to have a snack waiting for them. They are ravenous after a big day of math, reading, and recess! The most popular snack is my homemade pie, so I've started a new domestic mission: to master the art of the home-baked pie. Yesterday, I made a cherry, a blueberry, and a caramel apple. We sent the cherry pie home with friends after they came over for dinner last night; and the kids licked the apple pie plate clean. All that is left is the blueberry (pictured above). My crust needs some work---mostly I need to go big or go home when fluting the sides. I tend to make small creases which, when baked, disappear into weak suggestions of a flute. Here, I cut the pie into many small pieces to accommodate the kids' little tummies, but whatever way it's served up, pie is really the most wonderful dessert...


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cub Scouts




The boys begged me to let them join Boy Scouts, and they *love* it. So far, they have done archery, slingshots, and Derby cars---and that's just the first week! The cutest is seeing them reading their Cub Scout manuals in bed with their reading lamps long after the girls have fallen fast asleep. James is trying to follow his manual as carefully as he can remember: we went to the grocery store after a Cub Scout event, and he made such a dramatic display of taking off his cap once inside. Cub Scout Manual. (He reminds me of my obsession with etiquette books!)

Today the boys are out selling Boy Scout popcorn. James operates like a shark sales guy, and Thomas is so sweet and earnest. They make a nice sales team: good cop, bad cop. They helped their pack sell popcorn after Mass on Sunday. In the car ride home, I heard the boys talking about how many people "forgot their purse," "didn't have any cash," or just ignored them. They seemed fairly defeated, but their pack leaders were so encouraging. And the boys were so surprised to hear that their efforts led to $1500 of popcorn sales after weekend Masses. Isn't it human nature to remember the rejections and to forget or overlook the successes? We are telling the boys to accept rejection with a positive spirit and to move on to the next customer with a happy face and hopeful disposition. That's a good philosophy for life too...

Here's a couple of links to their popcorn sales pages! If they sell over $1000 of popcorn, they can get a drone! or a pocket knife! or tickets to the new Star Wars movie! The Boy Scouts really know how to motivate little boys (smile!)....







Sunday, September 10, 2017

Monday, September 4, 2017

Stuffed Peppers


These green peppers and tomatoes are from our garden... Here's my recipe for stuffed peppers which I've slightly modified from the Better Homes and Gardens 1996 edition:

4 large green sweet peppers
salt/pepper
1 pound ground sausage
1 small chopped onion
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes; or 4 diced garden tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup long grain rice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


1. Set the oven for 375 degrees. Boil water; add salt.
2. Halve sweet peppers lengthwise; remove stem ends, seeds, and membranes. Immerse in boiling water for approximately 3 minutes. Dry inverted on paper towels.
3. In a large skillet (preferably one with a lid) cook meat and onion until brown and tender, respectively. Drain off fat. Stir in undrained tomatoes, water, uncooked rice, Worcestershire sauce, basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 to 18 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese.
4. Fill peppers with the meat mixture. Place in a baking dish and bake in oven about 15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Let stand about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
5. Serve with garlic bread and red wine for adults!


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Joan Miró



Joan Miró's "The Nightingale's Song at Midnight and the Morning Rain"

Do you see it too? All of Anna's artwork bares a strong resemblance to Miró's surrealist paintings. She has a repeated impulse toward the circle and the occasional large brush stroke not unlike Miró. Or, it could be the other way around: all of the surrealists' paintings strongly resemble toddler artwork? Haha!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Into Great Silence


Today's Scripture Reading  1 KINGS 19:9A, 11-13A

At the mountain of God, Horeb,
Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter. 
Then the LORD said to him,
"Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
the LORD will be passing by." 
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind. 
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire. 
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. 
When he heard this,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak
and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017

Pato's Garden

Our friend Pato is an agronomy professor at the University of Nebraska and travels the world for his research. While away to Indonesia and Italy this summer, he and our friend Caterina gave us permission to raid their amazing backyard garden. Pato's garden is an unassuming patch of land quietly nestled in a small cul de sac in the heart of Lincoln. We did not reap the bounty as often as I had hoped we could, but every time we were there, we were so impressed by the enormous tomatoes hanging heavy on the vine; the yellow zucchini flowers tucked under prickly green branches; the summer squash camouflaged under the shady plant; the squishable grape tomatoes that fell easily into our baskets and tasted so good right off the vine; the leafy spinach and lettuces that kept getting bigger and greener as the summer progressed... This garden really put my novice attempt at gardening to shame, but it provided so much inspiration and techniques for my future attempts at backyard farming. Whenever we eat anything from Pato and Caterina's garden, the kids ask if this is from the "master garden"? I am so thankful for the abundance of our earth and for farmers/agronomists like Pato who devote their lives to cultivating the earth and feeding the world...