Monday, January 17, 2011

Simple Monday, January 17th

Outside my window... it's a hazy day, chilly but not cold.  Everything is taupe and grey.

What I'm hearing...  More than usual for a Monday mid-morning because today is school day off.  The background music at the moment: Cathy tickling William; William laughing.  Anna trying to read Theresa's book aloud -- which is interesting because Anna is a second grader and Theresa is reading Pride and Prejudice.

Around the house... The tree and all the ornaments are finally down, packed, and back out in the barn. We were depressed about the house looking bare, though, especially after our very room-consuming tree was added to the wood pile, so we came up with some fun, winter-cheering clutter to fill some space in our great room:

We left up our snowmen as we figure they're more "winter" than
 Christmas, specifically.  And they're bright and cheerful. We
also left our woodland "throws" on the backs of the sofas (below).

We added a new piece of furniture, an extremely functional one.
One of our favorite Christmas gifts, Gabe's new little school desk
works perfectly for a side table.  I'd like to find a matching one
for the other side of the couch -- but that may be a needle in the

We rearranged our furniture a  bit to add a little reading nook by the wood stove.  This is Theresa's new favorite spot.

And here's Cathy's new favorite spot: a crafting center we originally placed by the woodstove.  We ended up moving it to the other side of the room, but, here you can see Cathy working on a special homeschool project: a little gnome village, inspired by the knitted gnome we found recently  at an antique store -- and by the fact that we couldn't  bear to pack  away the" skinny trees" that were around our Nativity.

And here are the "skinny trees" making up the forest
for Cathy's gnomes.  She's been making new characters
for her little world and composing stories about them
for Creative Writing projects.  Lots of fun!  I'll
post some more pictures of the little gnomes when
I can.  And some of her stories if she doesn't mind.

What I'm wearing...  blue jean skirt; earthtone and blue butterfly- printed tee with sparkles; brown cardigan with blue trim, red fuzzy slippers (because one shouldn't match too perfectly on a vacation day).

What I'm reading...  Trying to actually get through the whole New Testament without breaks of months and years in between. Also re-reading an Amelia Peabody mystery just for fun: The Curse of the Pharoahs

Dominic, pictured here
serving at Gavin's

We're praying for... all seminarians this start of the new year, but especially our good friends, Brother Anthony, Brother Michael, Carlos, and our son, Dominic who started his first classes at the seminary the first of this month.
From the kitchen...  Fifteen Bean Soup, a winter staple.  The prepared bags of beans are inexpensive and easy to cook up with my own spices and a hambone or leftover ham and rice.  For a quickie, no-recipe, taste-as-you go idea of how we make it: 
For a whole bag of 15-(or16) bean soup mix (already picked, boiled, and prepared as directed on the bag), I add a scant cup of brown rice to the pot (which should be about two-thirds beans, one-third water, give or take), two cans diced tomatoes, one can tomato sauce, a couple tablespoons of beef buillon, a  liberal scoop  of prepared cajun spice, a good sprinkling of basil (because I just like basil), one diced onion and four diced cloves of garlic sauteed in butter, sea salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil, cover, and set to simmer for however long it takes to get the kids rounded up and the table cleaned off and set, plus maybe a rosary if you're gang is fast.  (Roughly about an hour).  But the soup can be set to simmer longer, if it's on very low heat and watched so the water doesn't cook down too low.  If you make a great big pot like I did Saturday, there'll be plenty for left-over lunches all week long.  Yum!

But pass out the "Bean-o" because, um, well, ya know....  those beans can be an issue...
  My Mom says that a pinch of baking soda cooked in can help with the after-effects.  But the jury's out here on whether that actually works.  Maybe it's a coincidence, but certain ones of us have this problem with or without the baking soda... Of course, maybe it has nothing to do with the beans at all. Maybe some people are just full of hot air...  Or something.  Anyway...  'Scuse the digression verging into eight-year-old humor.  But it is one of those complex problems of daily home life, right Moms?   How to use those wonderful, healthful, inexpensive beans without the malodorous effects...  

Anyone know of any other natural preventatives?
One of my favorite things...  The way a teeny baby nestles into the curve of your neck and scrunches up its wee legs so that its cute little diapered butt pooches out.  Sorta like Gavin over there on the right, snuggled up to his Momma, sucking on his fingers.  (Mommom's sweet little guy...) And I love that baby smell.  I think it's the closest sense we have of a heavenly joy on earth.

 Some other picture thoughts I'd like to share...

Uncle William
Uncle Gabe


Alexandra said...

What a coincidence, I just pulled out a bag of a 14 bean mix to soak overnight. We love beans, but we still have issues with them causing gas. I've read that cumin and turmeric help. I use these spices, maybe it helps a little. Extra long slow cooking is suppose to break down the gas causing elements, as well as throwing out the soaking water. I think vinegar might be a help.

Your grandbaby is so beautiful!

GrandmaK said...

Indeed praying for all seminarians as well as Dominic. Already added to my prayers. Cathy

Bia said...

15 bean soup and yak attire ... i could survive.

btw, how exciting for dominic ... you for you. he's in my prayers.

Laura said...

Look at the joy in Uncle William's eyes!!!
Sidenote: Do you still have a no paper towel rule?
Think of you (SERIOUSLY) almost everyday when I use paper towels in shame. Trying to use the sponge more at least.

Anonymous said...

Hey btw its Frater Anthony ;)

-Mr knowitall

MightyMom said...

nuttin wrong with squashing a duck now and again....

I spent an hour today holding my friend's SLEEPING newborn!!

ahhhhhh heaven.