Archive for April 2010

7 Quick Takes (v. 22)

April 30, 2010

1.  I was thinking the other day about how you pretty much couldn’t pay me to move back to Kentucky.  It would just be too hard without the library and the parks district systems up here no matter how much cheaper the cost of living is down there…especially the library system.

2.  I’m at 33 weeks; I’ve got seven weeks to go until my due date.  I’m starting to get that end-of-pregnancy achiness from the weird distribution of extra weight on my body.  And I have officially reached the point where I can’t see where I’m wiping when I use the bathroom.  I know, TMI.

3.  I finally gave in and pulled out my nursing bras.  Even though my regular bras have been cutting into me for weeks, I was resisting the switch.  It hasn’t been that long since I weaned Katie, and I was so glad to pack them away.  The thought of putting them back on so soon depressed me.  But I have to say that the nursing bras feel soooooo much more comfortable.  Again, maybe TMI.

4.  We had to get up super early last Saturday for the opening day parade for our teeball league.  So, I used the early rise time to restructure our sleep times again.  I am starting the two-hour process an hour earlier at night and waking Bailey up 30 minutes earlier in the morning.  It’s been really good for Piper who often got over-tired and super crazy when we started later; now she’s often asleep before ten o’clock which means that I can go to sleep as well.  And most mornings Piper still sleeps until the same time as before showing that she needed the extra rest.

5.  People are still shocked when we tell them that we got rid of our cable television last fall.  I think that freaks them out more than the homeschooling.  There are times when it still occurs to me that it was the best thing we ever did.  PBS kids is so much better in educational and moral content than Disney and Nickelodeon, and the kids spend so much more time playing and creating than vegging out.

6.  That being said, I don’t think I could have given up the cable so easily if my favorite shows weren’t available on the internet for free.  But even then, I’ve let some shows slide off my radar quite a bit.  Television can be such an addiction; it feels great to have it under control rather than have it controlling me and mine.

7.  This week I made a double batch of one of my favorite recipes.  I held off on adding the chicken until the very end so that I could separate out some without meat for Piper.  Then I split up the batches with and without chicken, putting some of each in the refrigerator to nibble on this week and putting some in the freezer for a quick meal after the baby comes.

That will probably be the extent of my freezing ahead, though.  I find I have a much harder time preparing meals when the baby is 3 to 6 months old than I do when she’s newborn, and most frozen meals don’t hold up longer than three months anyway.

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Cheesy Tomato Macaroni

April 27, 2010

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this before.  This is one of my favorite recipes.  I received it from a woman named Clementine in my former homeschooling group.  The most important thing is that it actually tastes better reheated than it does freshly cooked, which makes it ideal for freezing for later.

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked macaroni

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 to 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken

1 15-oz can tomato sauce -or- 2 8-oz cans

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 to 1 cup grated or shredded mild cheddar cheese

  1. Boil macaroni until al dente; strain and set aside.
  2. In a pot large enough to hold the macaroni, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until softened.
  3. Stir in the cooked chicken, Parmesan cheese, and tomato sauce.
  4. Add cooked pasta and cheddar cheese.
  5. Stir to mix all ingredients.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.

Variations:

  1. If you don’t like chunks of onion (like me and mine), you can substitute a 1/2 Tbsp of onion powder and add it during step 3.
  2. You can substitute sauteed ground beef, turkey, pork or Italian sausage for the chicken.
  3. You can even exclude meat all together (which I do for my semi-vegetarian daughter).
  4. You can also use mozzarella cheese instead of cheddar or do a combination of the two.

* I usually start cooking the “sauce” during the last few minutes that the macaroni is boiling, so really the recipe only takes as long as it takes to boil the pasta.

She’s really does get it…

April 25, 2010

In just a few weeks it will be the one year anniversary of the baptism of my girls (except the one in utero of course).  From time to time I’ve written about the struggles I’ve had with my oldest daughter, Bailey, who was six at the time of her baptism.  She has not always been very receptive as we’ve embraced the Catholic faith more as a family.

Every once in awhile, though, I get confirmation that she really does get it.  For instance, during our history lesson the other day we discussed how the Mayas sacrificed humans and made blood offerings to their gods, and she noted, “But we don’t give our blood to God; He gives his blood to us.”  I thought this was an awesome connection that she made all on her own.

Since her reading ability has taken off, I showed Bailey where the Bible readings for the Mass are in the missalette, so she can follow along.  She’s also been looking through the songs in the hymnal.  As a result, she’s actually starting to participate more.  And she’s looking forward to her First Holy Eucharist in June when she’ll really be able to participate in the Mass.

Today there was a baptism.  Bailey was really excited because she loves babies.  And while she may not have understood all that was happening in the ceremony (even though she went through it last year), when the priest poured the water over the baby boy’s head she whispered with a smile, “We have a new member of the Catholic church.”

I can tell that she understands more and more of what the Church teaches on an intellectual level.  Yes, she still complains about going to Church most Sundays, and sometimes she still does express certain doubts about God in general.  Every so often, though, I can also see that she really is starting to get it inside her heart, too.

10 Reasons I’m Glad It’s a Fourth Girl!!

April 18, 2010

1.  I will never have to teach anyone how to pee standing up.

2.  I have lots of hand-me-down clothes for a girl already.

3.  I won’t feel the need to set up special playtime with same gender playmates.

4.  I can eventually put two girls in each bedroom.

5.  I will not ever have to provide enough food to feed a teenage boy.

6. I don’t have to worry about anyone being embarrassed by the pink and white toy box.

7.  We will get even more use out of the kids’ bikes.

8.  I don’t have to make any decisions about circumcision.

9.  I no longer need to have fruitless discussions with my husband about boys’ names.

10.  We will now have all four members of our all-girl Beatles tribute band, The Sheatles.

7 Quick Takes (v. 21)

April 16, 2010

1.  I’m starting to feel little hard spots on my belly from time to time that I know indicate either a hand, foot, elbow, or knee.  I’m just waiting to start feeling the big hard spots that indicate a head or a butt.

2.  My midwives want to start seeing me every two weeks now, like my schedule isn’t crazy enough.

3.  I don’t know what is crazier:  that my belly is so big that it is starting to stick out the bottom of some of my maternity shirts or that it is not sticking out of some of the regular t-shirts that I’ve bought over the years when I wasn’t pregnant.  What was I thinking when I bought everything in Large-size when I am a walking bean-pole?

4.  Katie is rapidly approaching her second birthday.  Her vocabulary and her personality are both really blooming.  We are starting to see some signs of entering the Transitional Twos, though.  The biggest sign is the “Gollum Effect” when she is tired:  “I want banana.”–I give her a banana–“Don’t want banana!!”–banana is thrown on floor–“I want banana!!”.  She hasn’t become picky about what clothes she wears yet, but that’s because she would rather not wear any clothes at all.

5.  I’ve put together a summer homeschooling schedule.  I do try to include some school work year round just to keep a rhythm to our daily routine, but I usually make it lighter over the summer and Christmas Break.  So, she’ll just be doing some math and her Explode the Code Online until she either finishes it or it expires.  Then we’ll switch to doing a few pages of her choosing in the Brain Quest Grade 2 Workbook in addition to math.  Hopefully, we can keep it around 30 minutes of work or less.

6.  I do have the Summer schedule divided into three categories:  Before Baby, 2-week Recovery Period, and Until the Fall Semester.  During the Recovery Period, I’m trying to limit the work to things Bailey can do autonomously or can bring to me on the couch with minimal instruction time if any.  But I totally reserve the right to say “Screw school work!” until I feel like dealing with it again.

7.  I am at 31 weeks today, and I am finally going for my ultrasound this afternoon.  I’m excited; I always love naming all the bones I see on the screen.  Yes, I am a total nerd that way.

7 Quick Takes (v. 20)

April 9, 2010

1.  I haven’t done 7 Quick Takes in over a month.  I had a terrible computer virus that shut me down for over a week and then we went on vacation and then we had internet problems and everyone got sick.  Oh, well, stuff happens.

2.  Just before we left on vacation my midwife (well one of the three) called with the results of my recent bloodwork.  No gestational diabetes–I’m not surprised.  My platelets had dropped a bit more and they were debating sending me to a hematologist, but that would really be a waste of time since my thromobocytopenia is pregnancy-induced.  Apparently, though, I am extremely anemic, so now I get to take two doses of Slow-Fe every day and eat lots of steaks–doctors orders.

3.  Teeball season has started with a vengeance.  Bailey will have practice or a game at least three times a week for the next four months.  We are seriously thinking about moving her on into softball next year.  She just seems more interested in socializing than being competitive, which is fine, but she might be better off socializing with a whole team of girls rather than constantly bickering with the boys.

4.  I’ve been working on the outline and resource list for next year’s history.  According to the schedule in The Well-Trained Mind that I decided to follow, next year is Medieval history (400-1600 AD).  I am actually starting a little bit ahead of that with early Christian history in relation to the Roman Empire.  Of course, we will also be hitting Christian history as we cover other significant topics like the Reformation.  So, I am seriously thinking that we won’t do any other formal religious education study next year.

5.  I’m trying to keep it slightly more simple in terms of history resources so that I’m not having to make constant trips to the library with a newborn.  I think our new library is supposed to be finished by the end of the summer, though, so it will be nice to have a drive-thru pick up window available again.

6.  This week I gave the house a really good cleaning.  I still have a few things that need to be done like vacuuming the stairs and scrubbing the kitchen floor, but overall the house looks a lot better.  I even washed the curtains in our bedroom that had ten layers of dust on them (maybe because I was secretly hoping they would shred and I’d have an excuse to buy new ones right now).

7.  I can’t decide if all this cleaning is due to nesting instinct or an attempt to make some order after the recent chaos.  It didn’t feel quite like when I obsessively cleaned the stackable washer and dryer with Q-tips during my second pregnancy, but it is the most in-depth that I’ve cleaned everything in ages.  It would be great, though, if I could keep the house maintained through the last ten weeks of my pregnancy.

March 2010 Reading List

April 1, 2010

1.  The Tower and the Hive by Anne McCaffrey:  This is the fifth and final book in the series.  The Alliance military and scientists try to find ways to contain the Hivers to their planets and stop their genocidal expansion with the aid of  Thian and Rojer Lyon and  their Talented spouses, cousins, and friends.  Meanwhile, Zara Lyon tries to find a way to slow down procreation for their Mrdini allies who are overpopulating their own planets.  Then you have Laria Lyon coming into an unusual arrangement with her openly gay tower assistant.  So basically the book is about procreation and contraception and the third generation of the Gwyn-Raven-Lyon clan starting their own families.  I thought this book was way better than the previous two in the series, but as a practicing Catholic again I’m struggling with some of the themes in light of my concerns about abortion and contraception.

2.  Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever by Molly Harper:  Another fun, fun book, although I could do without the sex scenes.

3.  New Moon by Stephenie Meyer:  As I read the second book in the Twilight series, I couldn’t help thinking about how they may have changed things in the screenplay for the movie since Edward is largely absent from the novel except for the beginning and the end.

4.  With God in Russia by Walter J. Ciszek:  This is the memoir of an American priest who was wrongly convicted of being a Vatican spy in Communist Russia.  It is an interesting look at the inner-workings of the prison system of Communist Russia and one man’s faith in God in the face of extreme physical, mental, and emotional hardship.

5.  Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer:  This was as entertaining as the previous two books in the Twilight series.  The most interesting aspect to me is Bella’s perspective as a child of divorce who has been indoctrinated by her mother against early marriage.

6.  All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey:  I wanted something light, mentally and physically, to possibly read on the plane, so I grabbed this out of my personal collection.  This is the second-to-last book chronologically in McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series, and it still makes me cry whenever I get to the last few pages even thought I’ve read the thing a million times.

7.  Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer:  I already knew a bit about Renesmee thanks to various posts about the names of Twilight on The Baby Name Wizard blog.  I do admire that the main characters waited until marriage before having sex.  But I thought the ending of the story was kind of anti-climatic.  I can totally see another connected series down the road that explores the relationship between Renesmee and Jacob; I am sure there is already tons of fan fiction to that effect.