Thursday, September 24, 2015

First of Fall Rambles

::Weekly Rambles::

What’s really on my mind and heart?
I'm excited that the Holy Father is here! Our country needs a good dose of his holy influence; we are so far from being the great country that we used to be. People are lost and unhappy and don't even know it.

What am I thankful for?
I'm thankful for a lovely visit to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Alabama last weekend. A group from our AHG troop made an overnight visit; mothers and daughters were able to spend time together as we toured the incredibly beautiful and peaceful grounds. The last time I was there, the main church was complete, but they've added several new buildings including a replica of the Lourdes grotto, the St. John Paul II Eucharistic center, a gift shop, and the Barn--- a home for the men who belong to the Knights of the Eucharist. This Shrine is an incredible gift to the Church and the surrounding community. Located an hour north of Birmingham, the quiet countryside is a perfect backdrop for this peaceful community of servants of the Lord.

One of the first things we saw on our tour of the Shrine was the door that young postulants knock on to be admitted to the community. Meg was fascinated by that door! She mentioned wanting to go through it so many times that I suggested, maybe, Jesus was calling her to serve Him in that way.

What’s going on in school?
Spirit Week! Meg and Pip are both excited not to wear uniforms every day and stressed by the options they are given.

What’s on the needles?
I'm so close to finishing my afghan! I'm on the last skein of yarn, so the end is in sight, but I haven't felt the urge to work on it, because I want to finish my Stripe Study Shawl. I'm on the border, finally, but I stopped the stripes one stripe short-----My contrasting color was almost gone and I did not feel like playing that game of yarn chicken! If I lost, I would have been unraveling a lot of wrap-and-turns, which would have been a nuisance. I'm thinking of---no, I actually started----putting a few thin stripes of the blue in the variegated border to use it up. It will be pretty, and I can't wait to see it blocked, but I have a hard time believing that it is going to expand to be the size of the picture in the pattern!

What’s special about this week?
My two oldest, Katie and Brendan, had birthdays last weekend. I can't wait to go visit them in a couple of days to celebrate! Two birthday celebrations back to back used to be so stressful, and's not. All you young moms, stop being frazzled by it all and enjoy the chaos while it lasts!

Spirit Week and Homecoming at school. I guess this is the first year we can actually have a "Homecoming" dance since there were 4 graduates last May!

What am I reading?
I am still reading, very slowly, The Boys in the Boat. Since knitting is my daytime recreational activity, reading is just 5 minutes per night at bedtime. Unfortunately, i have approximately 20 books on the desk in my room waiting to be read, and I promised not to add to it....but I somehow acquired two more books at the Shrine last weekend! Oops! :-)

What am I praying about?
  • Pope Francis's visit to the US
  • Our country
  • An end to Planned Parenthood. We pray for an end to abortion all the time, but it has always existed, and always will in some form or another, but our government can (and should) stop paying for the wholesale slaughter of babies and the sale of their body parts.
What projects are happening at home?
I'm not finished painting all the upstairs trim, but I bought paint for the basement bedrooms and I'm going to start that as soon as I finish this post. We are still struggling with the final decision about the basement floors because of cost, but I hope we get it figured out quickly. I'm ready to have this done!


***Linking up with Ginny and Leila today!***

Thursday, September 17, 2015

PHFR on the Cusp of Fall

round button chicken

Linking up with the ladies at Like Mother Like Daughter


The weather here has been spec.tac.ular! Perfect temps and no humidity! Because it is all about the humidity. 

My friend and I usually walk around the park near our school, but the other day we chose to scout out the surrounding area, since we had less time. The lovely, new City Hall has this picturesque walkway behind it where did a lap. Unfortunately, we couldn't walk all the way around as they are still doing construction, but it was a wonderful little surprise!


I sat here yesterday marveling at the amount of property our parish has----that's the church spire you can in see in the distance of the 3rd photo. I started out in my car, waiting for Pip to get out of a meeting, but I had to escape the dude in the car next to me blasting his self-help audio for God and everyone to hear! He had his windows up, but I could hear it, literally, halfway across the huge parking lot! Going as far away as I could, I found myself in the middle of the Stations of the Cross. When my boys were scouts a few years ago, we helped install the pavers, but I haven't spent any time here since then. I didn't realize how lovely it is with the grass, benches, and open spaces. Full disclosure: I usually pray the Stations outdoors at another parish, not this one. It's a long story. ;-)


"Waiting for Tom"

Cleaning Tom's bedroom after his departure for his sophomore year of college left me in a bit of a funk. To make myself laugh, I set his giant, stuffed Sully in the window to wait for him. (He got that yearrrrrs ago!) It was pretty funny/creepy to pull into the driveway and see him glaring down at us! It made me laugh, but maybe I'm the only one, because Tom moved him when he came home for the weekend. Drat!


Pip started archery lessons this year. He had some experience from Boy Scout camp, and we had gotten him a junior-size bow a couple of years ago (before his growth spurt!), but he needed another, adult-sized one for the classes. Since we began this endeavor, we're becoming good buddies with the archery expert at the sporting goods store! We've got the new bow adjusted to fit our growing young man, and yesterday we acquired a couple of little necessities like arrows and a target. I'm proud to say that since Pip started a job early in the year, he paid for his bow himself. I believe that since he invested a large chunk of his own money, that's why his bow is safely stored in his room instead of in the garage! Our man in the archery department is going to fix us up with a fantastic deal on a case soon. 

After we got home with the target and the arrows, Pip offered me the opportunity to do a little shooting with him. The bow pulls at 51 lb. and I couldn't do it! :'-(  I'm going to have to work on my upper body strength because I really like archery  shooting stuff. :-) That's my normally latent adventurous side surfacing. Do you have one of those???

Monday, September 14, 2015

That's a CROCK! (Not!)

You guys! I'm in the early stages of excitement about this new discovery: the Crock'd Slow Cooker Freezer Meals cookbook from New Leaf Wellness. After reading Major Knitter's blog post about it, I was forced to purchase my own e-copy of the cookbook and give it a try. I was inspired to copy her because she was cooking for her college student.

I have one of those, too, who is the FIRST of mine to go off the university meal-plan while not being employed there to get free meals. (OK, maybe my oldest daughter did, but she's a girl and seemed to be capable of feeding herself pretty well. Plus, I was busier with lots of little folks still at home and didn't have the time or energy to take meals to her. Sorry, Katie. xo)

Anyway....Tom's diet seems to be pretty basic and lackluster so far, and when I heard about this I jumped on it. I'm sure the fact that I am kinda tired of coming up with and cooking meals every night played into it. Just a little. ;-)

I am full of digressions this morning....

I picked a week from the 28 meals....You can prep all 28 in one day or you can just prep a week's worth....and took the convenient shopping list with me to Costco and Publix to buy enough to double the recipes. It just happened that I did my Costco shopping on Wednesday, and then I had time to do the Publix shopping later that evening while waiting for a child's activity to end, so alllll those meat and veggies were in my fridge taking up valuable space. I couldn't wait until Saturday to do the prep, so I decided to do it on Thursday when the kids were at school.

My plan was to prep 7 meals x 2 (one set for my household and one set for Tom), and it took me 4 hours, including cleanup, to chop veggies and add spices and meats to 14 meals. I think that's a savings of 10 hours. All those meals were bagged and frozen, and, yesterday, 7 of them were delivered to Tom's apartment freezer with his new crockpot (which we got a Kohl's with a 30% off coupon AND an extra $10 off gift. Deal!).

I didn't see anywhere in the cookbook how many people each meal serves, but it looks like 4-6. It will be perfect for the 4 of us here, but Tom will have more to eat than he can handle, I'm sure. Each meal will probably feed him for a couple of days, and he has the option of sharing with his apartment-mates or refreezing what he can't finish in a timely manner. I think those 7 meals may last most of the semester!

Major Knitter seemed to have completed her task faster than I did, but then, she was in the military. :-) A few thoughts I have about the process:

  • A helper on prep-day would be nice. One person on veggies, one on spices. Especially if you were prepping all 28 meals.
  • I'm really happy with MOST of the ingredients. I was shocked and a little disgusted by the ingredients in pre-made meatballs, so I will probably make my own next time.
  • Ideally, I would also cook my own dried beans instead of using canned.
  • A week's worth of meals provides a nice variety.
  • I'm thrilled that the recipes use whole foods, stay away from canned soups, and are generally free of flour and grains. Whether you use a bun for your sloppy joe, or a tortilla for your taco, is entirely up to you!
  • It makes it really, really easy to send a freezer meal to someone who is sick or has a new baby!
We ate our first meal last night because it was a busy day of driving hither and yon. Unfortunately, it got a little overcooked because we weren't at home the whole day, but I had the impression that it would have been really yummy otherwise.  Do you think this is something you would like to try for yourself or your college student?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Weekend Update

A few weekends ago, I was working hard on this shawl and made a fair amount of progress---several inches, which is really good for me. At the end of the day I was starting to get concerned that I have been knitting for so long without making mistakes that I might have reached the end of my good luck streak. So, instead of quitting, what did I do ??  I kept knitting. And then I found a mistake in the lace. Not having any more knitting mojo or time to put into it, I gave it up. The next day I needed a simple project that would not require so much brainpower.

I started the stripe study shawl which is pure garter stitch! That should make it easy enough not to screw it up when I am tired! Conveniently, it also uses two skeins of yarn that I did not know what to do with.
The boys in the boat promises to be an interesting read, but I have not had much time to devote to it at bedtime....because I'm spending so much time working on my simple, stripe study shawl that I am too tired to read when I go to bed.

See how much progress I have made on my stripe study shawl since I started this blog post two weeks ago?

Linking up very belatedly with Ginny and friends!


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