Seven Quick Takes: May 23, Garden Edition

1. Now at the end of May, gardening can really begin. I have spent months planning in my head, several mornings at a plant nursery, attempted to grow things inside from seed, and successfully grew things outside from seed. And since the garden is a big part of my summer experience, you, my friends who read my blog, get to see and hear all about it.
2. This week M planted my annuals for me. I have never attempted flowers beyond bulb perennials, but this year I am giving it a go. We are at that awkward tulip stage where the flowers are gone, the stems look headless and silly, and the garden is just waiting for some annuals to flower all summer. 
My neighbor, who has been flower gardening for years and years, told me that I can tie up the tulips with twine or daffodil leaves until they are brown. This way our other flowers can start to grow and get some sun. I did that today while tailor sitting and leaning over my massive pregnant belly (Dr. Bradley of Husband Coached Childbirth insists on tailor sitting). The flowers we planted along the house are: marigolds, lobelia, alyssum, and browalia. My mom used to plant alyssum, and the smell of them reminds me of being a little girl at the local produce stand picking out flowers. 
3. Along the shady side of our driveway, we put in some hostas (which are perennials) and impatiens in from of my daffodils that are refusing to bloom. My neighbor promises me that they take a couple of years to establish themselves, and they do look heartier than last year, so hopefully we will get some flowers eventually. We also have a nice variety of green weeds and helicopter seeds from the maples next door.
4. The seeds I directly sowed back in early-April have really taken off. We had about four nights in April that we covered the seedlings to protect them from frost, but otherwise the weather has been warm enough for them to flourish.
The peas are much bigger than last year, with big leaves, and are shooting up like crazy. No flowers yet. The lettuce looks close to being ready for us to harvest some exterior leaves. The carrots came up. The cabbage and the chard are doing well. And we stuck a cucumber plant in the back corner of the garden that I got from the nursery. Again there are a lot of small weeds that I am too pregnant to bend over and pull up.

5. I had one vegetable impulse buy last week, and that was leeks.

The leeks look like grass. The plant in front is green cabbage.

They will go really well with the potatoes a friend gave us to plant.

I love leek and potato soup, especially in the Fall.

6. I purchased ten tomato plants this year and basil. They are a little small, so hard to see. We still plan to transfer the only from seed plants that have survived inside this Spring, our peppers, when they are a little bit bigger to the front row of this garden box.

Notice the massive oregano plant from last year. What can I make with lots of oregano?

I am excited for pesto and pasta salad this summer. Yum!

7. M aggressively trimmed back the lilac bush bordering our yard this morning, to ensure that our tomatoes get sun. But in the process he uncovered a nest of baby robins.

We are glad that Mama Robin has not given up on her babies even though the nest is a bit more exposed.

And finally, I am linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, May 1

1. I have really been off the blogging train these days, except for random updates about traveling. But I have some quick takes today, and I did have a devotion on Blessed is She last Friday (which I failed to share online because last Friday was packed with things to do). I also have been working on the next Vatican Film List article for ChurchPOP, so that should be coming soon. I hope no one has missed me too much, or maybe you have missed my blogging a lot. If I get my nesting done by 37 weeks pregnant and don’t have the baby until the due date, you might hear a lot from me on the blog…

2. Speaking of nesting, can you say freezer meals?

I got 15 in the freezer last week, and have four in the fridge ready to freeze. Last week was my chicken week, and this next week will be beef. They are all stacked in the front of the freezer to stay flat, but I have plenty of room to rearrange and move them to the back.

3. Other nesting feats include: purchasing camisoles to do this with, ordering new diaper paraphernalia and other baby items that need to be replaced, getting drawers at Ikea to free up the changing table baskets for baby clothes (a potty trained two year old does not really need a changing table anymore), final seasonal and size up sorting for the children’s clothes, washing winter coats and gloves, and realizing that this bump of mine would be so much nicer with the baby on the outside.

The crabapple is budding.

4. It really is Spring in Minnesota. I am banking on having had the last frost as my sugar snap pea plants are already two inches tall and would not tolerate a frost very well. We covered the outside seedlings a few nights last week, but this week has been low 40s with the highs near 70. I am really enjoying gardening again this year, though I wish that I could do weeding without bending over. In other garden news, I repotted my 3-4 inch tall tomato plants and I am not sure they all survived the transfer.

I have been accused of growing an indoor garden. And yes, we grew butterflies as well.

Some seem to be reviving their leaves, but they looked so much better before I repotted them.

5. I am always surprised when plants grow the way they are supposed to. I had no experience with gardening before we bought this house two years ago, so all of it is so new. I have plans for growing flowers this year, and my tulips that I planted last Autumn came up beautifully.

I did the weeding this week as well, and I plan to put in some annuals and mulch in the next couple of weeks when the tulips are finished blooming. Flowers make a yard so cheery.

6. In case you were wondering, low 50s and cloudy is the perfect weather in which to go barefoot. 

Also, to paint yourselves in mud, but I took no pictures of that. These girls are turning into real Minnesotans I think.

7. So, that is about it for me this week. I have been extremely practical, but in case you are worried that I am doing too much, be assured that I have been taking some time to stare blankly at what the internet has to offer and am reading another Dostoyevsky novel, The Idiot. I am finding it easier to read than Crime and Punishment or The Brothers Karamazov, but M promises me that it will get heavier.

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Seven Quick Takes: Saturday, April 11

 1. Happy Easter! We survived all three long liturgies of the Triduum! We were ready early, so it was the perfect time to take a family photo. Some children even fell asleep. I, however, spent the Easter vigil being kicked from the inside and squirmed on from the outside. Fortunately, after six years of little children, I have learned how to pray at Mass despite being bombarded with continuous motion. We had a nice time with our house guests, and a had a large group on Easter Sunday for dinner.

Our empty tomb awaiting the Easter egg hunt. We did inside, because Minnesota.

 2. Also, Happy Feast of St. Gemma Galgani!  She is my confirmation saint, so I made a chocolate cake (which I have been craving for a month) to celebrate. We decided the Easter egg sprinkles would be appropriate for the occasion. Her feast often falls during Lent, but not this year!

 We have an icon I purchased at the church where she is buried in Lucca, Italy during my semester abroad, and a cousin gave us this first class relic of St. Gemma which he acquired in Rome. It is weird and cool to have a tiny piece of St. Gemma’s body in our home.

3. After we drove my sister to the airport on Tuesday, I took the children to get some seeds for the garden. I have never started seeds inside, but we thought we would give it a try. I hope this container I found works.

We are trying to grow yellow pear tomatoes, sweet peppers of various colors (hopefully we planted a seed for the purple variety–that is what they wanted), transplanted some basil seedlings, petunia seeds (I am planning on flowers for the yard this year!), and some sunflower seeds that came in Easter baskets.

4. And now that is is April, I am going to be updating about the garden. M got the garden all ready for me this week, and today I planted seeds outside that are supposed to be safe to plant in Minnesota in April. As long as we don’t get a hard freeze again, all these should grow nicely. The lettuce and peas of these varieties we had great success with last year, but the chard, colorful carrots, and green cabbages are all new for us. I am always nervous starting things from seeds. It is pretty neat that the tiny little seeds can make big tasty plants. (I actually planted the peas earlier than recommended, but I really want to eat them! If they fail to grow, I will try again in May). I am hoping that this early Minnesota spring sticks around.

5. Tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday, and we managed to pray the whole novena as a family. Since my retreat, I have been renewing my devotion to Divine Mercy. The chaplet is such a simple and powerful prayer. The kids picked up all the prayers within one time of praying it. G and L both were leading decades by the end of the novena. 

6. In case you are wondering about how I am doing after my post about dreading a newborn earlier this week, I am feeling a lot better about it after processing my feelings. The best comment from a friend was, “You can do hard things!” And she is right; I do hard things everyday. I will adjust to having a newborn and the hard things will become easier. And this baby is not for me, but is for everyone, and is a unique human being created to be united with God. Anything I have to do for this baby will not be too much.

7. Lastly, M and I wrote our first article together, and it was published on ChurchPOP this week. We spent all of the Autumn and a lot of the Winter watching films from the Vatican’s Film list “values” category, and finally got to reviewing and ranking them. We will be writing two more articles about the list soon! Check it out, if you have not done so yet!

Once, again, I am linking up with Kelly @ This Ain’t the Lyceum and her Quick Take hosting.

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, March 13

1. I have been pregnant with and/or nursing my babies for just over 3 months shy of seven years.  Since my first was born six years ago, I have had a three month, four month, and am in the middle of a seven month gap of not nursing anyone. Well, mothers of young children will know that it is not really possible to get nights away from exclusively nursing babies, so when they are weaned and there is no other baby out of the womb, there is a window of opportunity. For what, you ask? For a SILENT RETREAT. I am departing this afternoon for 48 hours of prayer and reflection without my family. This is the first time since I have been married that I will be away from all the members of my family for even one night. Further, I have not been on a longer than three hour retreat since my last semester of college seven years ago. That being said, please pray for me this weekend, because I am not sure I can really handle uninterrupted, prayerful silence for more than about 20 minutes. Yeah…

2. Not only am I abandoning my family for a weekend, but I am doing it on their birthdays. M has to celebrate his birthday (and real Pi day 3.1415) without me. I am sure he will have a lovely time with the girls. And let us not forget about the Ides of March, and the change it brought in our lives… I will be back for dinner for G’s birthday. And being the awesome person that she is with amazing taste in food, she has chosen this pie for her cake:

Which means I can take on some good old fashioned third-trimester laziness, and just eat peanut butter, chocolate filled pie goodness. Also, pizza pie for dinner. Is it okay to honor Pi day on the Ides?

3. In other news, where did all the snow go? It has been so warm here, that we have been grilling. M had an early birthday/traditional feast of St. Thomas Aquinas dinner last Saturday. We splurged on shrimp (which I cannot even smell comfortably while pregnant), and M grilled it along with vegetables and threw it all on pasta Alfredo.

It is in the 30s, so why not grill? I was told that I will not have to cook dinner again until the Fall if I just keep a steady supply of charcoal and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale on hand…

4. And here is my almost six year old looking like a reader. She says that she was “just looking at the pictures,” but it gave me a glimpse of a girl who might, like her parents, spend hours every day, curled up with a book. She has been doing really well with her reading lately, and I do not think this possibility is too far into the future.

5. If your mom is not big on doing crafts, you make your own:

G (6ish) and L (4) have been cutting out and gluing together surprisingly recognizable paper dolls, and other creatures. It is pretty fun to see them create. F (2) has been sucking on capped glue sticks while wearing socks on her hands. That is called being 2.

6. My basil seeds have sprouted, but only one has made leaves. I might have to do a redo with the other seeds. But since we started the plants so early, I do not mind:

7. Hello, third trimester! My earliest baby was born at 38 weeks… that is ten weeks away… yikes!

I think I finally have leveled out in size compared to week of pregnancy…

Linking up once again with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

A Little Bit of Summer on a Winterish Sunday

There is this really great place in St. Paul, the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.  (And it is free, with a really low suggested donation!) We usually go there in the warmer weather for the zoo part, but in the cool months we like to go see the plants.

We have only gone there once each past winter, but decided to go at least once a month after our early Sunday Mass this winter, just to keep ourselves sane during the long, freezing, barren winter.

These flowers smelled wonderful.

It is so refreshing to sit on a bench and just smell plants, to be with plants, to feel the humidity of plant life.

These koi were in one of the gardens.

They have five or so separate green houses with a sunken flower garden, more rainforest type plants, a spice room, a fern room, and one other more Japanese themed. We also ventured over to the rain forest house in the zoo and saw the fish and animals there.

Then we braved the cold, wet day and went around to a few other zoo exhibits before some children could not handle the outing any longer. I think we should probably go back more than once a month just to be with green things.

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, October 31

1. I am going to rally my spirits and try not to get distracted or become lazy and give you all some quick takes. First trimester is rough, let me tell you. And I know I am not the only one having trouble blogging during it, because two ladies, Mary and Blythe, who write blogs that I follow have confessed to the same lack of writing motivation. Blythe has even gone to far to convince her husband to keep her blog up for her for the next 30 days.

2. While I am not quiet willing to give up the blog entirely while I am tired and nauseated all day, I did offer M an opportunity to guest post once a week. He refused in the same manner that he refuses to grow a beard. His colleague T and I have been encouraging him to try a beard again (he last had one in college), and he stands firm. In the same way, he resists blogging for me. No amount of pressure will work. In fact, the more pressure you put on him, the less likely it is that he will do it. So, there we go, M will not be blogging here and will not be growing a beard, much to all of our disappointment.

I am getting a new memory card in the mail next week, and then no more grainy iPad pictures…

3. I had been putting off buying a pumpkin all October, and yesterday I realized that we did not have one, and it has been a necessary tradition for M to carve a pumpkin with the girls. So, I ran out to nearby house that has a random urban farm in their side yard. It turns out that they also grow pumpkins up north. I found a nice pumpkin and brought it home. M did the carving with the girls and I took my Thursday shower. I would take a picture of the finished product, but that would require going outside in the cold, so I won’t. Imagine two triangle shaped eyes, a diamond shape nose, and a toothless, crooked happy smile. That is our Jack O’ Lantern. We don’t get super creative, but we keep the tradition.

4. I have been delighted this month by my friend Anna’s series on things she has learned from her parents. There are 31 of them over at her blog for the month of October. Today was the last one, and I am going to miss them. Is it weird that I have a sort of parent crush on them now?

5. Last week, I bought an extra blue hubbard at the farmers’ market. On Monday I decided to roast and puree both the farmed one and our home grown one. It turns out that ours was not fully ripe. I really have no idea what we did wrong or if we did anything wrong. I really did not look into how long it takes squash to ripen or anything. Oh, well. I still scraped out the green stuff, but we only had four 15oz. bags of puree this year. I think next year I will just use the garden space for something else and by a bigger farmers’ market squash.

6. This has been a daily requirement for my stomach. I am addicted to naturally flavored carbonated water.

7. This has been a fun last week of visitors. M was at another conference over the weekend and his mother came to town to help with the kids. My patience and endurance have decreased significantly since his last trip only two weeks before. Pregnancy hormones really mess you up emotionally, I tell you. (No more conferences until next Fall!!! HOORAY!) Then my brother came to visit. My baby, almost 25 year old, first day of work as an engineer today, brother came to visit by himself for the first time ever! He has come with my parents to St. Paul once as god father to F, and I think he came to Buffalo maybe 3 times total during our 4 year stint there. It was a real pleasure to have him here. I am pretty sure he came just for me to cook for him, because he brought a new cookbook of his made by the chefs on America’s Test Kitchen, which is one of his favorite shows. However, since I have no pictures of his visit, I can not prove to you that he was here. (I suppose I could photograph his unmade bed, but that would require getting up…)

Bonus: Did you here about the Advent journal being sold at Blessed is She? Order your copy today!!

And lastly, I am linking up with Jen, the wonderful hostess of Quick Takes!

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, October 3

1. This week has been a fun week for Feast days. We had the Feast of the Archangels on Monday, St. Thérèse of Liseiux Wednesday in the new calendar and today in the old, the Guardian Angels yesterday, and St. Francis of Assisi tomorrow. We have not really done much to celebrate the specifically besides talking about the saints to the kids. I am making some French Onion soup tomorrow in honor of St. Thérèse. Maybe on Saturday we should go begging for food? Or maybe we should just give some food to the poor, hmmmm…

2. St. Francis will always be extra special for us, because devotion to him was pretty much ingrained after four years at Franciscan University and a school sponsored trip to Assisi when we were studying abroad. I also grew up watching the 70s version of his life, Brother Sun, Sister Moon.  Though there are two other movies of his life that are reportedly the best and worst movies about St. Francis which we will be watching in a couple of months. Besides movies though, St. Francis is pretty cool.

Blanched apples +Victorio Strainer = Apple Sauce + Peels

3. I am sure everyone is just dying to know how our apples canning went. Well, we made 19 quarts of sauce, canning 18.5 of them, and 5 half pints of jelly. The sauce canning went well. However, the jelly ended up needing pectin to be added. I suppose blanched and food milled apple peals and cores do not retain much natural pectin? The jelly is pretty delicious, but I am not sure I want to use it for PB&J. We will have to find some sort of delicacy to use it on. 

If we get snowed in this winter, we will at least have fruit.

4. We were pretty much homebodies this week. After a whole day of the applesauce canning last Saturday, we were pretty tuckered out on Sunday (we thankfully did not witness any cars hitting bicycles on the way to church this time…) and it just kind of rolled into Monday. M had a bad case of laryngitis and had to whisper all day on Tuesday. Then it rained all day Wednesday and Thursday, but we managed a library run today. Restocking on the library books is always nice to do, especially because the kids have a new stack of books to peruse. In fact, because of these books naptime has been especially quiet!

5. G (5) called me into her quiet time to tell me how delighted she was with the collection of fairy tales I had picked out. “It has lots of princesses in it! It even has Rapunzel, but I don’t like this version because the evil witch cuts off all of her hair!” Now, I am pretty sure she did not read the story, but gathered this from pictures. Part of our early home schooling has been a complete immersion into fairy tales and nursery rhymes, so I usually find a different illustrators set of fairy tales to bring home from the library. One of the books I rejected today, however, had the story of Noah’s Ark as a folk tale…while I may not think we need to interpret the incident literally, I am not going to teach it to my kids outside of Scripture as a folk tale…

6. A friend brought up to me that she found my old post about roasting my first blue hubbard, so I thought I would go ahead and link it again for newer readers or people who just want to make their own pumpkin purée. And by the way, the kitchen featured in the photo is that of T and his wife F. We rented from them our first year in St. Paul.

Someone had been trying to wear all pink everyday…

7. And finally I leave you with pictures of our giant carrot. It was peaking out of the ground, just asking to be harvested. We have some other carrots growing still, but they all did not do this well, mostly because our cucumber plant took over that part of the garden. This next week I am going to make an attempt at sauerkraut with our cabbages and pickles with our cucumbers.


Once again, I am linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary!

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, September 12

1. I have heard from other moms about having a bad week or day this week, and I confess that it has been particularly rough for me here in the Spencer house, especially trying to figure out how to parent an almost four year old. I hope that part of it is just the end of the threes and transitioning into not needing a daily nap. I also know that part of it is my lax parenting with her, and that my parenting must be balanced with my personality. So, I have made some parenting plans, and I hope that by sticking with them, with all the kids, I will stop losing it entirely with them. You know you need to change something when you are confessing being impatient with your kids regularly…

2. Today has been the best day all week, and not just because it is Friday. I know that my success in not losing it will not be so easy every day, but I plan to persevere even on the hard days. We did our morning hourish of reading, catechism, math (sandpaper number tracing), and then for writing practice the girls made birthday cards for two different “C”‘s who have birthdays a week apart and are also 20 years apart in age. G (5) and L (3) worked on the cards for two hours, and F (22 months) and I worked on the weekly sheet and towel laundry along with the biannual-seasonal-clothing-dresser-swap.

3. The biannual-seasonal-clothing-dresser-swap is biannual, because it seems we only have two seasons in Minnesota: Winter and Summer. (We even have the furnace on today to keep the house from dipping to jacket weather.) For those of you not familiar with this, it means that I changed out all the summer clothes for winter clothes and checked the sizes of clothes to see what fits whom. Anyway, I used to think the whole changing sizes and seasons thing was a chore with just G, and now it takes a whole morning with three! I imagine that one day the older girls will be able to do more of it themselves. We also had a basketful of clothes handed down to us from a friend I had to sift through. As it is we have way to many pants and tops for the girls for the cold weather, and not nearly enough dresses and skirts. I did the skirt thing with leggings for them last winter, but they had holes in the knees by mid-February and that is not going to cut it. So, we are going the more practical pants route. Is it weird to put skirts over colored skinny jeans? Because I might just encourage that. They are so much cuter in skirts!

The hungry hawk is in possession of this squirrel’s sibling on the other side of the Ash.

4. Wednesday I noticed four baby squirrels coming out of a nest in our backyard Ash tree. They were squeaking and climbing up and down the tree, and were pretty cute to watch. M even stopped work for a minute to admire them.

The Circle of Life moves us all.

Then yesterday I glanced out the nursery window, and saw a young hawk with a baby squirrel pinned under its feet. I mentioned it to G and L and they started shrieking and sobbing, “No! No! Chase it away! Don’t let it kill the squirrel!” Knowing that M would want to see the event, I called him up from the study to calm down and explain to the girls about how hawks have to eat as well. All animals have a purpose, and hawks is to eat baby squirrels. The girls stopped screaming, but were not convinced of the goodness of the hawk. At least it was free-range “happy” squirrel veal, right?

5. I was nominated for the 10 book challenge, under the rule that I list 10 that have stayed with me. It is not meant to be a list of the *best* books I have ever read, but ones that have impacted me the most (off the top of my head):

  1. The Complete Works of Jane Austen (I cannot pick one.)
  2. Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales (Still the best spiritual book for lay people that I have ever read.
  3. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (duh…)
  4. The Rule of St. Benedict (When M and I read it in college, we knew that we wanted it to influence our family life.)
  5. Kirsten Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (I love they way she presents motherhood and womanhood. And her insight into humanity is incredible!)
  6. After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyre (Virtue Ethics are the best kind.)
  7. The Conservative Mind by Russel Kirk (An understanding of conservatism that I agree with.)
  8. The Complete Works of Laura Ingalls Wilder (They are even better as an adult.)
  9. The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber: A History of Vatican II by Fr. Ralph M. Wiltgen S.V.D. (This transformed my understanding of the modern Church, especially growing up post-V II.)
  10. Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (I will never forgive Hardy for being so cruel to his characters, and I am scarred for life…)
The pattern is called “Ozborne Slub.” I am so glad the seam looks straight in the photo…

6. I never shared my curtains that I sewed back in July (though they have photobombed a bit).  They cover all the kitchen windows including our long ones and the back door. I managed so easily because it was a stiff cotton broadcloth. I had been putting sewing them off for a year, and now that they are finally up, I am pretty happy with them, and they add a lot to the kitchen. 🙂

7. I leave you with our blue hubbard watch:

Has it grown since last week? I can’t tell…

Linking up again with Jen at Conversion Diary.

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, September 4

1. In the garden, Blue Hubbard Watch:

I also picked this albino cucumber:

I think it stayed this color due to being entirely sheltered from sunlight by the plants leaves and sitting on wet ground. Any gardener thoughts?

2. While discussing a Biblical text and how I interpret it, M said to me: “You realize that all of the tradition interprets it differently.”
Me: “Well, that has been my intuition about this my whole life.”
M: “That is because you are a modern traditionalist. I am going to start telling people that I am a modern traditionalist because my wife wears a brown veil.” We are pretty modern trads, aren’t we?

3.We finally got to going through our closeted basement stuff last Saturday and did the kind of giving away/throwing out that we have done with every move. We finally parted with a couple of things we have been holding onto for our entire marriage. I managed to hold onto a few especially memorable things, and few good laughs reading my “jrnlo” that my first grade teacher had us write in every day. My ode to “chiccin pocs” is my favorite:

I seem to have dedicated it to my brother. See how having chicken pox is bonding?

4. Last Sunday we canned the last of our jam. We took those strawberries that we froze back in June and mashed them up with blackberries and raspberries and made 2 gallons of triple berry jam. Yum, yum! I canned 14.5 pints and stuck the rest (from three batches) in a jar in the fridge.

A friend asked me a couple of weeks ago why we bother to make our own jam. I just think it tastes better, and I know all the ingredients in it. However, it is also because, G (5) has decided that she only likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with jam that M or I have made.  If I ever start making my own peanut butter, I wonder what she will decided then.

5. The first week of teaching kindergarten went well. I had to work the first day for a bit of discipline, and G said to me in a surprised tone, “You sound just like a teacher, Mommy!” Yes, my child, I am your teacher, so please listen to me and do what I ask. Okay? Thanks.

6. While we were going through stuff, M came across my senior thesis entitled, “St. Augustine and Free Will.” After reading the first paragraph allowed he announced to me, “This is not too bad!” It actually was better than I remembered it. My husband might have even given me a decent grade! I bring this up because I have been rediscovering my appreciation of St. Augustine through an album by Sam Rocha, Late to Love (click the link to listen). It is described as “original concept album that performs a reading of Augustine’s Confessions through soul music”. M is the one who discovered it back when it was a Kick Starter project. He is into soul music, and I am normally not, but this one is pretty catchy (Simcha Fischer even gave it a good review!).  I am pretty picky about the content of my music, but I can’t be too picky when it is St. Augustine. The kids really like it also, especially “In the Self’s Place” and what they call “The Alien Song.” Yesterday when M was working downstairs, L declared that he was “in the self’s place” because he was alone.

7. We had a great food week. Saturday we made grilled steak with Bearnaise sauce. The sauce was amazing, and I did not get super stressed making it, like I normally do with a Hollandaise. I neglected to take a picture of my plate of steak, sauce, fingerling potatoes, grilled vegetables, and red cabbage salad. It was all soooo good. We made our first attempt at grilled pizza yesterday and ended up having to just grill the crust and broil the toppings. It was yummy and grilled tasting, but I think we should have been able to do the whole thing on the grill. We have decided that we need to up grade from our camping grill to a normal sized charcoal.

That’s all, folks!

I am linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary!

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, August 28

1. I am trying not to lament the end of summer vacation for M. It has gone by too quickly with a 17 day trip to Georgia, Ohio, and Michigan, a 5 day visit from my sister and her family, and our 9 day trip to St. Louis, plus everything in between. It has been absolutely lovely here in Minnesota, which is more that I can say for our winter weather. Our garden is still producing well, and we are taking in the last week and getting ready for a more scheduled school year.

2. August flew by without a trip to any fairs, and while I know the kids will miss seeing the animals, it did not fit into our schedule or our budget. We did however make a visit at the end of July to the farm in Wisconsin to visit our cousins, aunt, and uncle and see their animals. Hopefully the girls won’t be too sad when they notice we missed out on the State Fair this year. While it is a big deal in Minnesota, we have only been Minnesotans for two years so maybe we can be okay missing it.

3. Two years in Minnesota! I can’t really believe it. Time has flown by since we got here. The kids are so much bigger than they were when we moved here. We own a house. We have survived two winters. M is thriving at and loving his work. And we have found an awesome community of Catholic families to be a part of. We are really starting to feel at home here.

4. This video was going around Facebook this week about how this winter is going to be worse this year, especially compared to last Winter. But this guy, Joe Bastardi, specifically said “it may not be as bad further North and West, as in Chicago, Minneapolis…” Maybe we are getting a break this year in Minnesota. However, I am not going to count on it, and am mentally preparing for at least 100 consecutive days of sub zero morning temperatures…

5. We are getting monster cucumbers out of our garden. These things are like miniature watermelons.  Here is one L picked today with a pen and with my lame phone.

 The girls keep on picking them and bringing them it. But seriously, they are bigger than G’s arms!

6. And speaking of lame phones. I am trying really hard to not feel embarrassed everytime I pull my phone out in public. Last week at the baseball game everyone was using their phones to check the weather and take selfies and I was like, it would be fun to get a picture… but my phone there it is… tiny. It does have a fun keyboard that slides out underneath. But really it is much better for my soul and for my children than I have not upgraded to a smart phone. I waste a lot of time online as it is…

7. I was thinking of writing a post about how I organize my life and schedule and then I saw my desktop.

Who left all those files on my children?
I need serious help here, guys. Or I  need to spend about five minutes getting everything into folders or the trash. My first tip is to clean before things get messy… then things will not look like this.

That’s seven!

I am linking up with Jen and her Conversion Diary. Head on over for more quick takes!