Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Storming the Castle...

 And Having Fun!

We threw the first annual Princess Bride party Sunday evening, and, let me tell you --  we had a blast with it!  I mean, how can you go wrong with this theme, right?  And, no kidding, we have a few hams in this family.  Unabashed. Uninhibited.  Crazy People.

The fun started out with the conceiving of the menu (not inconceivable!).  Since this is our first go at a Princess Bride party, we used the internet as a crutch this time around, finding several ideas on good ole' Pintrest.  And several of the signs that were required to go with the dishes the children made were printed off the computer for lack of time.  (This was a spur of the moment idea!)  Next time around I expect we'll a lot more time for creativity -- and then, look out!  

Needless to say, everyone had to wear costumes, so a raiding of the bins followed the stealing of ideas from the internet.   Somewhat surprisingly, everyone wanted to be Dread Pirate Roberts and no one wanted to be Princess Buttercup.  (Gone are the days of sweet little cherub girls in diamonds and trailing dresses here. ==sigh==)

Dread Pirate Cathy and Dread Pirate Anna
The perfect kiss?  Cookies and cream.

I'm not going to repeat what these are... ,

 Since the chief purpose of our party was to eat food and watch the movie...  we only arranged to play one game. We bought a little dollar-store, light-up tiara which we passed from person to person by means of sly word-trickery.  Cathy volunteered to be the first to wear the tiara.  Before the party, Dan wrote several individual words on little slips of paper and placed them in a little toy pirate's chest.  (Words like:  "Inconceivable,"  "Princess," "Westley," and "Sword..." to go with the movie, naturally...)  Upon donning the tiara, Cathy chose one of the words in the pirate chest, read it, and destroyed the evidence. Her goal then was to trick someone else into saying the word she chose.  When that happened, she got to relinquish her crown and give it to the speaker of the secret word.  At the end of the movie, the person stuck with the crown, got to be "Princess Buttercup" for the week.  Haha! A fate worse than death for most of the children -- the boys especially, but -- even the girls were hurrying to relinquish the title! (Forgive me if I still just can't get over this. Only a  couple years ago, our girls would have been thrilled to be Princess Buttercup!)

Anyway,  in the course of the movie, the tiara passed around and around....  ending up on William!   So, William is having to put up with us referring to him as "Buttercup" this week. (snort!)  He's taking it in good humor, I'm happy to report.

Theresa as "Buttercup"
Cathy "Buttercup"
William "Olive Fingers"

Not sure you can read the label; these are Miracle Max's Miracle Cure Chocolate Bites

 (a la Mom)*
Dread Pirate Anna again  (too cute to dread)

Miracle Max's Olde Time Sandwich Shoppe: Mutton, Lettuce, & Tomato fixin's - (a la Theresa)*

Dread Pirate William

Count Rugen's meat roll-up "fingers"... (a la Anna)*
We're not sure who Gabe is here -- maybe the Albino?
Westley's "I'm not one to be trifled with Trifle"  (a la Cathy)*

Dan took his turn as "Buttercup," too
Fireswamp Chili (a la Mom)*

One thing our children are especially good at: Pirate Sneering. This is how dread pirates have a good time! 
And, truly, a good time was had by all! 
It was a treat to have Dominic home for the party, but, as always, we missed all the other brothers and Michelle  being here to share in it with us!  Maybe next time, guys?  (We'll have to plan it for the next reunion or something.)

* Recipes

Fireswamp Chili --    * Ground Turkey Chili  

Miracle Max's Miracle Cure bits -- *Double chocolate paleo energy bites

     MLT Sandwiches -- pretty much what it looks like, except the "mutton" is turkey pastrami!
Westley's "I am no one to be trifled with" Trifle -- * Oreo Trifle

* Count Rugan Finger Roll Ups 

app 1/2 lbs. med-thick-sliced deli meat of any variety (we used turkey)
1 package softened cream cheese
1 half can black (or green) olives, diced small
1/2 tsp garlic salt
sprinkling of parsley flakes if desired
(Makes approximately one pair of hands)

Into softened cream cheese, mix garlic salt, parsley, and well-drained diced olives.  Spread 1-2 tablespoons of this mixture evenly over a slice of deli meat, then roll from the narrow end, to form a long, finger-shaped roll up.  Repeat.  Make five for Count Rugan's left hand, six for his right hand.  Form a simple "palm" out of circular pieces of deli meat, sandwiched with the cream cheese mixture.  Arrange appropriately.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's the Feast Day of Both St. Christopher and St. James the Greater

But, today I'm focusing on St. Christopher -- who has always been and always will be a bona fide saint in our book.

Not St. Christopher
 There are a handful of saints whose popularity has catapulted them from the pages of the Missal  and into the mainstream maelstrom.  Everyone knows who St.Christopher is, right?  And you don't have to be Catholic to know about St. Francis of Assisi, or St. Theresa the Little Flower, or St. Nicholas...  Poor St. Nicholas.  But, unlike holy, but hi-jacked St. Nicholas, the legend of St. Christopher suits the sanctity of a man whose exact life story may be clouded by the mists of time, but whose eternal story continues in his legendary quest -- of serving Christ, of saving souls.  St. Christopher is known as the patron saint of travelers -- and we've depended on him, ourselves, over many miles traveling cross country through the years -- but we can also call on him as a dutiful friend to carry us through troubled waters of the soul.  There is a real human heart on the other end of every prayer we send up to our beloved saints, and each of those real human hearts, having reached the perfect happiness of heaven, wants each of us to find our way to that happiness.  No kidding, it's a hard road; the saints know it better than anyone, and they know better than anyone how worthwhile a journey it is to tackle. They extend their hands to help...

And I'm grateful for all the help I can get. You can be sure I'll be begging for a little ride on St. Christopher's shoulders when the going gets tough...

by Edward Reginald Frampton  (1870–1923)
And even when it's not so tough, but we need a little temporal reassurance for ourselves and our loved ones.  On St. Christopher day this year, we're begging his intercession in all our travels through the end of the summer, and for the continued safe journeys of all our priests on their missions and our teaching Sisters who travel all over the country during the summer providing Catechism Camps for our children.

St. Christopher, pray for us!  We're counting on you!

Below:  A most popular subjects of artists through the centuries, the story of St. Christopher has been retold on canvas over and over again.  Below are some of our favorites works of art.    Do you have a favorite?  How do you imagine St. Christopher?

(The Durer engravings make awesome coloring pages!  I'm taking a bunch of copies for the kids to color on the way to Denver today. :0)

by TizianoVecellio, better known as Titan (1524)

by Jan Mostaert  (1475-1555)

by De Ribera, (1591-1652)

by Konrad Witz  (c. 1400-1446)

by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553)
Another by Lucas Cranach the Elder
by Hieronymous Bosch ( (c. 1450 – 9 August 1516)

by Orazio Gentileschi   (1563–1639)

by Lorenzo Lotto  (c. 1480 – 1556)

14th c. -- panel of of  triptych of St. Vincent Ferrar
Couldn't find the name of the artist
by Quentin Massys  (1466–1529) 
by Adam  Elsheimer   (18 March 1578 – 11 December 1610)

Woodcutting; unknown artist, dated 1423
Unknown Artist, dated 1939

Albrecht Durer

by Albrecht Durer

Albrecht Durer
And HAPPY, HAPPY NAMEDAY to our stupendous second son,
  Kevin Christopher!  
We love you, Kevvy!
Kevvy as a 4 year old.

Kevvy now...  with glasses about the same size as the 4 y.o. photo...
(Someday we might actually get a normal smiling picture of this guy
 so everyone can see how handsome he is!)

*repost from 2012

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Note to self...

I can do all things* in Him who strengtheneth me.
Phillipians 4:13

* But He isn't going to help me build a path that leads away from Himself.  If He's not answering a prayer the way I want Him to, that's probably why....

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Feast of St Mary Magdalene

When Mary Magdalen came to the tomb and did not find Our Lord's body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: "The disciples went back home," and it adds:
"but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb." We should reflect on Mary's attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tell us: "Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved."
~ From a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great

* A post listing the Biblical facts about St. Mary Magdalene 
and a number of customs for the day can be found here.

St. Mary Magadalene is the patron saint of:
Atrani, Italy
Casamicciola, Italy
contemplative life,
glove makers
hair dressers
La Magdeleine, Italy
penitent sinners
women ridiculed for their piety
reformed prostitutes
temptations agains purity
women, in general


Coloring Pages for the day:
Free image to copy and print

A medieval engraving, depicting Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene, free to copy and print.
* An online coloring page can be found here.

* A printable coloring page of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus can be downloaded here.

Prayer to St. Mary Magdalene
by St. Anselm 

St Mary Magdalene, you came with springing tears to the spring of mercy, Christ; from him your burning thirst was abundantly refreshed through him your sins were forgiven; by him your bitter sorrow was consoled.

 My dearest lady, well you know by your own life how a sinful soul can be reconciled with its creator, what counsel a soul in misery needs, what medicine will restore the sick to health.

 It is enough for us to understand, dear friend of God, to whom were many sins forgiven, because she loved much.

 Most blessed lady, I who am the most evil and sinful of men do not recall your sins as a reproach, but call upon the boundless mercy by which they were blotted out.

 This is my reassurance, so that I do not despair; this is my longing, so that I shall not perish.I say this of myself, miserably cast down into the depths of vice, bowed down with the weight of crimes, thrust down by my own hand into a dark prison of sins, wrapped round with the shadows of darkness.

 Therefore, since you are now with the chosen because you are beloved and are beloved because you are chosen of God, 1, in my misery, pray to you, in bliss; in my darkness, I ask for light; in my sins, redemption; impure, I ask for purity.

Recall in loving kindness what you used to be, how much you needed mercy, and seek for me that same forgiving love that you received when you were wanting it. Ask urgently that I may have the love that pierces the heart; tears that are humble; desire for the homeland of heaven; impatience with this earthly exile; searing repentance; and a dread of torments in eternity.

Turn to my good that ready access that you once had and still have to the spring of mercy.

Draw me to him where I may wash away my sins; bring me to him who can slake my thirst; pour over me those waters that will make my dry places fresh. You will not find it hard to gain all you desire from so loving and so kind a Lord, who is alive and reigns and is your friend.


Monday, July 21, 2014

God is in the Details; Mom is in the Laundry Room

Or, uh...  maybe she's not...

I love this sentiment.  And I know perfectly well that it's true, but I have such a long time before I find it out for myself, it's more like a dream bubble.  Sort of like how I have a crazy notion that I'm going to drink a quart of lemon water and exercise first thing in the morning instead of drinking coffee and playing on my computer. It'll happen some day.
She says, "You're kidding, aren't you?
As if you had it hard, crazy woman?"

 It could theoretically happen.  (Sure it could.)

But, right now I'm having a dickens of a time with laundry.   Piles and piles of it, made all the worse because we have a pool and all the bathing suits and beach towels that come with it, make a constant, never-ending circuit through the washing machine.  Ugh.  Nice problem to have, I guess --  if you're a kid dropping your wet swim trunks and towel in the middle of the bathroom floor and expect a clean set to appear by the next day.  (Haha!  Get over it, kids.)  

But if you're me, it gets pretty tedious.  Especially living in this particular house, which has the "convenience" of a laundry room upstairs with the bedrooms.  Seems like a good idea, right? And maybe it is for some people; but it's not working for me.  The problem is that I don't usually hang around upstairs during the day.  The "action" is downstairs, so I go down there and just plain old forget about the laundry. I put it in the washer in the morning with every good intention -- and then promptly forget about it until the next morning.  When it is, of course, smelly and sour and has to be washed again.

Just this morning I finally succeeded in folding and putting away a basket of towels that I'd had to re-wash three times! The towels finally smell nice and clean but they're three shades paler than they were when they started.  I'm sick of the sight of them, and forgetting them every day three days in a row has caused a veritable laundry log jam.  I'm not sure if anyone in the house has had clean underwear for a week now.
(Don't worry, though...  It's not as bad as it sounds; people around here wear swimsuits a lot.)

So, the solution? Either I hang out upstairs more (ignore the children and type blog posts, right?), or set the alarm on my phone to remind me to run upstairs and change over laundry.  (Which will work if I keep my phone on my person all day -- something I seldom do, especially if I'm swimming...)  Or I get the children to remind me...  Ahahaha!  Yeah. Riiight.  Maybe if I remind them to remind me...

But what else can I do?

=sigh=  Maybe all  I can do is take heed of the meme.  I thank God I don't have
worse problems than forgetting about the laundry -- when so many people in the world still wash their clothes with rocks on riverbanks.  When there are folks who'd be delighted to do their own laundry, but can't because they're too ill.  When moms reach that time when they have almost no laundry because their children are grown and gone, and the house seems very quiet without the washer and dryer running all the time behind the sounds of their voices.  And there is nothing but the one meager load of clothes to wash twice a week or so, which they don't forget about because there's not much else going on in the house.  And, did I say it's quiet --  and lonely? And rather dull. But the clothes are always clean...

It doesn't change the irritation of always forgetting the laundry, or going up and down the stairs to tend to it, but when I imagine all the dirty clothes as symbols of a happy house full of active dirt-absorbing children, I have to agree:  even smelly laundry is a blessing.

Especially if it's smelly because I was hanging out with the children when I forgot about it.

(Still... Here's to figuring out a way to avoid doing that! Maybe memory supplements are in order...)