Archive for April, 2007

Prayers for Dena

April 30, 2007

Once upon a time I was a model example of Marilu Henner’s Total Health Makeover (THM).  (I hope to be again soon, but that is besides the point.)

In the beginning of 2001 we had a THM gathering in Rockville, Maryland.  Three of us there had gathered once before.  While sitting at the table talking, in walked this beautiful woman with long dark hair and striking blue eyes.  We were expecting “DLove” (her nick-name on the THM message boards) but we didn’t know what she looked like.  This woman sat by herself at a table.  A little while later she came over and timidly asked if we were discussing food, which we were, and the rest is history.  That started a beautiful friendship.

Three and a half years ago she was diagnosed with lung cancer and given 6 months to live.  Well, she is a fighter, but it seems that her time on Earth is coming to an end.  Thank God we have our wonderful memories.  Please pray for her, her son Jared, and all her family and loved ones.  As my sister in law told me before she passed away, “Don’t be sad, have a party.  I’m going to a better place.”  If only it wasn’t so hard for those left behind.

Here’s some pictures of our wonderful memories…

This was the first time we met.  Pictured are me, my sons Kevin and James, LoriT, Daralyn, and Dena.

Our next gathering was on my 29th birthday.  I can’t remember the year.  In the first picture is Dar and LoriT on the top, me, MomCat (Carol), and Dena on the bottom.   The second photo is MomCat, Dena, Teresa, LoriT, me, SuO, Su’s daughter Alison, GramFlam (Eleanor), and Dar.

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This other gathering was when MaryEllen was just a tyke, about 4 years ago.  Dena was talking to my son John quite a bit and let him call his dad on her cell phone.  I love that picture because you can see the joy that children bring to Dena.  The next photo is Dena and LoriT.  Finally Dena holding MaryEllen.

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A Few More Days

April 27, 2007

On Wednesday when we snuck in to see the kittens they were pretty wide awake.  It was the first time they ever saw humans.  They hissed, especially the really light one. They moved around a bit and I noticed that the light gray one seemed to have something wrong with its’ eye. Did one of the cats accidentaly scratch it and that was popping out or dried blood? John got the kitten for me, after all who (besides a child) wants to go under old barn stairs with all kinds of cobwebs and who knows what else? It turned out to be 6 or 7 good sized ticks right near its little eye. I got those buggers off and it was bloody, so into the house we went to get some triple-anti-biotic stuff on it. In the mean time Mama, Fancy went back. She was not there when we put the kitten back, but she knew we had it. The next day there was a mad search through the barn. We could not find those kittens. John got the idea that we all thought was nuts. There are stairs going to the 2nd floor where the cats hang out and then there is a wooden ladder straight up that goes to a third floor that is like a landing. Sure enough that is where those kittens are. Joe and I do not have a clue how the Mama got them up there.


For the first time I hung out clothes on the line. As soon as all the towels were hung, this is what the sky looked like…


Thursday: Caught!

The girls were mighty quiet on Thursday afternoon. Upon entering the kitchen they were caught doing the dishes.

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Today the children were playing in a fort that their father helped dig out for them. Also, Charlotte had an attitude all day long. Here are some pitiful pictures of her…

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The Past Several Days…

April 24, 2007

Lots of pictures have been taken the past several days, but not one has been put on my blog. So, here is a little picture essay from the past few days.

One morning I came out to find a blanket fort in the den (our living room/dining room area). While pictures were being taken, Charlotte put a pair of my socks on.

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Later that same day…(April 20 if you’re wondering)…

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On Sunday we went to 8:00 am Mass (a small feat in itself for a Sunday) and it happened to be First Communion in Lawrenceburg. After that we headed to Cullman, Alabama to the Saint Bernard Abbey and Ave Maria Grotto. (One little note for those of you without a southern draw. In our Northern Language, we always pronounced Bernard as “ber NARD.” Down here it is “BARN erd”). There really was not too many photo opps here, but it was a nice day. As we were walking through the parking lot, I was telling Joe that there might be an entrance fee, but I couldn’t remember. The minute after I said that, a nice lady walked up to us and asked if we had tickets yet. We said no. She then handed us a pass for 4 that she won from a radio station. We thanked her and Joe immediately asked if I had prayed for that. (He must think my prayers are pretty good!) But, I hadn’t, so we went on. There were lots of vendors, a few kids jumpy things to go on and a little “train” ride that was a tractor pulling some carts. I think that may have been the best part. One picture that I did get was the back of John’s head as he was looking at the memorial piece that was placed in honor of the monk who did all the sculpting. We have been to the grotto twice before so we didn’t go in this time.


Now, that evening we returned before dark so there was plenty of time to play. Kevin found a nice ring snake. Sorry for the blur, but a good snake is hard to keep still.

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Now, the next day, Monday, April 23, 2007…

We went to see the kittens. The boys were waiting for me on the storm shelter roof.

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Then at some point the girls were having a fit. Who can resist these two little sad faces? (Their Mom, that’s who!)


Now, while on a roll, onto today…

Yesterday in the mail came the new chapel veils for the girls. MaryEllen just could not wait to wear hers to Mass, even wearing her pink dress to go with it. (We got white and pink.) Whatever MaryEllen does, Charlotte must do as well. By the way, we got these gems from Modesty Veils.


When I went out for a walk, I saw Fancy, the Mama cat, coming up the hill. So, I just had to take a peek. They were moving around a bit today. Here they are…

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On my way up to the house this is what I saw…

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After all that, we have even been getting our school done! Praise God!

Yesterday I buzzed the boys’ hair as well. I’ll have to get a picture of them next. They all look so handsome.

Snakes and Other Exciting Creatures

April 21, 2007

(Ann and other not-so-outdoorsy people might not want to read this!)

As usual, I am awed by God’s great creation and much of it being on this beautiful land of ours. I don’t get out as much as I would like, but occasionally a walk will be so interesting. The other evening I took a walk to the upper pasture. When I arrived at the damn in the back creek and looked to the left, there were three white-tailed deer. Compared to Virginia, the deer here are much smaller, but these were pretty good size for Tennessee. To get to the upper pasture one has to climb a very steep hill. (One sister suggested that a bench was needed up there after climbing it. After all, even the cat was panting!) About half-way up, I stopped to take a break and heard rustling to my right. To the right is another very steep hill a little ways away, and running up there (in the opposite direction, thank God!) was (I am pretty sure) a coyote. When the top of the hill was reached, there were no less than 8 wild turkey that were still eating as if they had not heard me. I was sorry that the camera was home. My husband was sorry that the gun was home!

Today I took a walk to get the mail. We have a bridge going over the big creek near the road. Well, I looked down to see if the usual water snakes were hanging out and I was surprised by a snake right next to me on the side of the bridge. He was trying hard to get under the bridge away from me. Since it was not “Blacky under the Brdge” as we like to refer to the black snake, I was a bit apprehensive. However, I do believe it was a common water snake, but never did see his face. As I was asking myself (out loud) what kind of snake that was, I heard a slither in the bushes. So, although that was not seen, I am pretty sure it was another snake. Then I looked down at the bridge and there sat our Blacky, not moving. I wondered if he was OK, so I found a stick and very lightly touched him. His muscles moved, and upon further observation I saw his face and his eyes were glazed over. “Oh, he is ready to shed his skin, that is why he’s not moving.”

The one class in high school that helped me the most was our Environmental Science class. Mr. Brown was our teacher, and Mr. Young was the other teacher who taught the same class, so they did a lot together. Mr. Young had permits to catch and keep some of the endangered snakes over the winter, which he housed in our classroom. We got to see the snakes eat (which was only about once a month) and we got to handle the snakes. That was the best experience I could have had to live in the woods, where, eventually I ended up with my husband. I enjoyed holding the king snakes the best. They were black and white. I didn’t like holding the Hog nose snakes because they were easily agitated and when they were agitated they “musked,” which meant had a real stinky goo come out of them. I remember going out during our class periods to look for snakes. The school owned the land across the street (they still do, but there is a middle school siting on it now) and we would go over there snake hunting. There were also bogs, wet lands of sorts in the back of the school where we would go. Many water snakes were caught there. One that I remember was very aggressive. We wondered why (gee, we just took him out of his home, could that be it?) However, when we got him to the classroom and into a temporary holding tank, he regurgitated a frog that he had just eaten. Poor thing. We always let those snakes go before class was over.

Well, I just posted a whole lot more than I expected. Someday I’ll have to post on some of the other neat things we did in that class. Unfortunately now, the budget has been cut so much that there are no more field trips like we took. What a shame. It was where most of my learning took place. Oops, I just stumbled upon yet another reason for homeschooling!

Abraham Costumes

April 19, 2007

Finally! We finally picked up our Ancient history again. One our our favorite books, which may be out of print now is the Ancient World of the Bible by Malcolm Day

That book has lovely illustrations  and notes that show and tell the reader what things were like and how they were done back in those days.

So, today we made costumes out of Old Testament Days by Nancy I. Sanders. What fun!  The costume materials are sheets and pillowcases.  I threw out most of our old sheets, but saved the pillowcases.  The girls are in them.  The sheets (under the boys bathrobes) I purchased very inexpensively at the Goodwill store.  Now we just have to make our meal and other assorted fun things while in the costume. Who knows how long that will take us!


On a sadder note, I checked on the kittens today and one of the orange kittens died. Such is life.

Our Houseplants

April 19, 2007

My last post inspired this one.  This houseplant thing is all new to me.  We didn’t have any houseplants in Virginia because we really had no place to put them where little hand couldn’t get.  Now here in Tennessee we have a lovely kitchen window with a sill!  I didn’t get a sill in VA until just before we moved because I needed one for a science project.   Anyway, my neighbor came over one day last year and declared that that sill would be a wonderful spot for a violet.  It just so happened that a church nearby was having a plant sale very soon after she said that.  This plant sale was no professional undertaking, so the prices were very reasonable.  I didn’t see may impressive looking plants, but I did see a nice looking violet (that had no flowers, but it was a good size) and an aloe plant.  For what seemed to be a very long time I wondered if that violet was ever going to bloom!  It just had no buds on it.   The plant finally did flower and hasn’t stopped since.  This winter it got a little sparce, but still, there were flowers.  Lately the thing is blooming all over the place.  I fear some of it needs to be transplanted, but I don’t know what to do!  I took pictures of both sides of the plant this morning.

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As for the aloe, just yesterday Joe walked by and asked, “Just how many aloe plants does one need?”  I told him to ask the aloe plant that keeps on shooting up!   As was said before, I only bought one aloe plant.   Now we have plenty.  Here is the original plant (which I have transplanted 3 times now!)


Now we have 3 others in the kitchen and one out in Joe’s office.  Also notice the shoots in the soil already.  There is also a baby soot that I noticed hiding close to the mama plant on the other side.  When will it end?

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Now, what to do with all the aloe?

Laura Thornton’s Gift

April 18, 2007

Besides Laura’s wonderful bread (that my mother still talks about to this day), Laura brought us this beautiful little plant when Charlotte was born in May, 2005, that I used to keep on my windowsill shelf in the kitchen in Virginia.  I have been meaning to tell her about this “little” plant and keep forgetting, so here’s a blog about it.  It now takes up most of a counter.   It has not bloomed since we first got it, but I am seeing a few buds now.  We’re all hoping for some flowers.  This plant, according the the label is called a Calandiva.

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Charlotte was Whining

April 18, 2007

This should be in the never-know-what-you-will-see-around-here file. Charlotte came in whining to me yesterday. I looked and this is what I saw:


I don’t know why she was whining because after this picture was taken she took the basketball net off and smiled at me.

Annual Homeschool Retreat

April 18, 2007

Friday was our annual homeschool retreat to The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL. Since I am so far behind in blogging, I will give you the link to Jennifer’s blog

That post is all about our trip and there is even a picture or two of my children on there.

One of the awesome things about homeschoolers in general is that the older children get along so well with the younger children and vice-versa.  At lunch John, Kevin, and a 15 year old boy were having a wonderful discussion about cats, kittens, and then books.  It was great that they could share these interests with eachother.

Here is John and Kevin with their friend Matthew.  We were coming out of the Healing Service that was held in the lower church.


During the prayer service the priest was talking about St. Faustina (the saint who was given the Divine Mercy image).  He said that in her diary she told of how she saw the blue and red rays (blue representing the waters of Baptism and red representing the blood which is the life of souls) coming from the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the Monstrance at adoration.  At this healing service we had the privilege of being very close to the monstrance.  As we knelt at the alter rail, Fr. brought the monstrance to each individual and the Blessed Sacrame stayed in front of us for several seconds.  Then Fr. made the sign of the cross with the Monstrance.  As held it near little Charlotte, I couldn’t help but wonder if the little ones could see these rays like St. Faustina did.

Anyway… here are the children and Joe.  Kevin is missing because he is telling Mrs. Green about the kittens.  Fancy’s mother is one of the Green’s cats.


Here is a picture with Kevin…


One final shot, as we were getting ready to leave, the clouds were so awe inspiring.  Here is the picture that we took of the clouds on this beautiful day…


Sugar Snap Pea-Fettucine dish pictures

April 18, 2007

Last night we had the most picturesque meal. When I originally posted the recipe a while back I wanted to use pictures, but they refused to upload. So, before dinner I announced that I was going to get the camera and when I came back, all the mobile children had moved so they could be in the picture.

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