Archive - February 2007

Lenten Meme
Recipe for Mac and Cheese
The Faith of a Child
The National Gallery of Art
Sisters and Brothers
Security Issues
Valentine’s Day
Loveliness of Romance

Lenten Meme

I was tagged for this meme by Angie:

Lenten Meme

What is your favorite Sorrowful Mystery?

Oh dear.  Favorite Sorrowful Mystery.  Well, they are Sorrowful, it’s hard to have a favorite, per se.  However, I think the one that is the most meaningful to me is the Agony in the Garden.  Jesus,  praying to  be spared the anguish and torture that was about to come.  How many times a day do we ask God for "this cup to pass."  But in the end He is able to say, "But thy will be done."  Are we able to ask that as well? 

What is your favorite Station of the Cross?

I think it would be Jesus meeting his mother.  I have witnessed my own children suffer tragically and have been helpless.  I could comfort them, hold them, cry with them, but I could not carry the cross for them.

Do you fast during Lent?

Only on designated fasting days.  I have been nursing and/or pregnant for the last 8 years, and I don’t think that fasting is best for myself or the baby I’m nourishing.

What is your Lenten Resolution(s)?

As a family, we gave up soda, which was a nightly treat for us all.  We are also starting to pray the Rosary every week, plus attend the Stations of the Cross.

Do you use Holy Water during Lent?

Not outside of church.

How many times do you go to Mass during Lent?

Surprisingly, not more than usual.  We go to Mass every Saturday night, Ash Wednesday of course, and probably more during Holy Week.


It’s snowing again.


I had to drive in it to take the children to Sunday School this morning. Driving in the snow is not normally a big deal, except that I grew up here:


Beautiful, sunny Santa Barbara, where snow is something you drive to, enjoy for a day or a week, then drive home.

I’m not complaining, though. I love snow! The more snow the better!


However, today I also had to shovel snow. About 4 inches of it to dig our cars out. Poor Philip hurt his back about 10 years ago and he hasn’t been the same since. He’s been walking around in pain ever since he shoveled ice out of our driveway last week. I insisted that my arms (and back) were strong and that I would be happy to shovel us out. Plus it makes good blog fodder.

And one last picture for you. This is looking out our front door. A lamppost in the snow. I half expected to see Mr. Tumnus coming home from shopping at the commissary.


Recipe for Mac and Cheese

I’m in a blogging desert right now. You know, writer’s block. I almost wrote a post about laundry, fer cryin’ out loud! That was during my headachy-hungry fasting Ash Wednesday. I’m no good without my daily dose of vanilla chai tea. It seemed a little decadent for a fasting day, even if it was consumed as part of one of my small meals. Was it Sister Mary Martha that said, “If it doesn’t sting, it doesn’t count”? Anyway, going without my chai made me a little punchy and prone to posts about laundry. My husband and I just had to go bed early on Wednesday to still the hunger pains. We even considered setting the alarm for midnight so we could get up for a snack.

Moving on…

With a name like “The Mac and Cheese Chronicles,” it stands to reason that I should have at least one mac and cheese recipe on my blog. It is probably the most common Google search that leads people here. That and people looking for the Fly Lady (it’s my “Do NOT Call Me Fly Lady” post that Google picks up). Other interesting searches have been “does mac and cheese go bad” and “how can you tell if mac and cheese goes bad”.

Let me just answer those questions right now.


By the mold.

Ok…moving on again.

So it occurred to me that with all the Google searches for mac and cheese leading to my little ol’ blog having absolutely nothing at all to do with cooking or mac and cheese, except that we eat it almost daily, I should probably share my mac and cheese recipe. It’s so simple, you don’t even need to write it down. Are you ready?


So now you know.

But because it’s Lent and all us good Catholics are going meatless on Fridays, I will provide you with my friend Jen’s Mac and Cheese recipe (hi Jen!). She says it always gets rave reviews. It’s cooked in the slow cooker, so you can just plug it in and forget about it, but it doesn’t take long to cook. That’s good for people who suddenly remember at 3 pm that ohmygosh, I was supposed to put dinner in the crockpot! Not that that ever happens to me.

Jen’s Mac and Cheese
8 oz dry macaroni, cooked
2 tbsp. oil
13 oz can evaporated milk
1 1/2 c milk
1 tsp salt
3 c (about 1/2 lb) of cheese (velveeta, shredded cheddar, american or combination)
2-4 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp onion chopped fine (though she notes that she never adds this)
In slow cooker, toss macaroni in oil. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low, 2-3 hours.

(I actually double this recipe for my family)

The Faith of a Child

The other day Boo asked, “What happens when a baby dies who doesn’t know God?”

Before I could even open my mouth, Pumpkin Girl replied, “He brings them to Heaven and introduces Himself.”

Having once been part of a very painful internet discussion about whether babies go to heaven, I think my 6 year old has summed it up better than anyone. You can keep your theological rhetoric, our family knows the truth.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

The National Gallery of Art

Living in Washington, DC has given us such wonderful opportunities for family adventures. We have tried to take advantage of Federal holidays by visiting some of the sites. Our original plan for President’s Day this year was to go to the National Gallery of Art to look at the Renoir paintings. We’ve been studying Renoir, especially his works that are at the National Gallery. However, we heard that Mount Vernon was having free admission today, so we headed there instead.

Our plan was to arrive at about the time they opened at 9 am. We were just a little behind schedule and arrived about 9:20. Already the parking lots were full and we were being directed to overflow parking half a mile down the road where we could board a shuttle. We could see that there was a long line to get in. We do not like crowds and the thought of standing in line all day just didn’t fit with our idea of fun. Plus, it was about 20 degrees and a good portion of Mount Vernon is outside. So we kept driving by the overflow lots and back to DC.

We decided to return to our original plan of visiting the National Gallery. We decided to take a risk and not stop at our house for our GPS or directions. We had a general idea of where we wanted to be so drove on. We found great parking right across the street from the Gallery. Even with that short walk we were practically frozen and very, very glad to have chosen an indoor activity for the day.

The National Gallery is a true gem and is very beautiful inside. Lots of fountains and gardens and places to sit and enjoy life. We were really happy to find these Renoirs, copies of which are hanging in our dining room.





I was also excited to get a preview of the Monets and Mary Cassatts and even a Raphael that we’ll be studying in upcoming months. I deliberately chose these artists and their works knowing we could see them in person at the National Gallery.

We had lunch at the Cascade Cafe, right there in the museum, with a view of their indoor waterfall. We’ve eaten there before, at Pumpkin Girl’s request. After lunch I had wanted to see an exhibit on Paris, but the museum had been overheated and stuffy and I was developing a migraine. I really wanted fresh air, so we left and went to look for the outdoor skating rink.

A part of the outdoor sculpture garden at the National Gallery is turned into skating rink during the winter. None of us skate, but the children enjoyed watching everyone skating.

We also enjoyed the sculptures.

This one, called “Typewriter Eraser” needed a bit of explanation that started with, “Back in Grandpa’s day…”

We arrived home to the dripping of the snow and ice melting. Bip had fallen asleep and my headache was terrible. He and I slept for 2 hours, then I slept another hour and by 5:30 my headache had subsided. I think it’s time that I go see a doctor for these headaches. I’m pretty sure they are migraines.

But we had a great day overall. We have rain in the forecast which will hopefully get rid of this dangerous ice.

Sisters and Brothers

“The wonderful thing about brothers and sisters are
Sisters and brothers are wonderful things.
The thing we love about brothers and sisters is…
Just about everything!”*

The other day I heard Pumpkin Girl say, “Boo-oo-wa.” To get a full appreciation of what this sounds like, you have to remember that she is 6 years old and angry with her older brother. It’s sort of a half-whining sound and has three distinct syllables. (Ok, as she’s reading this over my shoulder, she wants to say it’s more of a quiet “wa.”)

So “Boo-oo-wa!,” she says. “Stop giving me the Big Eye. ”

I looked up from what I was doing. “Honey, what in the world is the ‘Big Eye’?”

“It’s when he looks at me like this,” and she proceeds to scrunch up her pretty face into something both comical and menacing at the same time. “It annoys me,” she added.

My children make me laugh, each one of them on their own. But they really, really get me going when they are being siblings. You see, I’m an only child so all this sibling stuff is new to me. The bickering I could do without, of course. It’s the other stuff that’s golden. The things they come up with together – The Big Eye, The Pit of Never Return, “The Adventures of Bear, Sock Monkey, Super Cat and Lola” – having a sibling as your best friend really adds a certain dimension to their play.

It goes beyond that, too. Like the commercials say, some things really are priceless. Like an older brother and sister who invite you into their room “because we aren’t playing with any choking hazards.” Or a sister who makes your breakfast, or a brother who saves a spot for you in his bed in case you have a nightmare. Now that’s love!

And here I was thinking that I didn’t have anything interesting to blog anymore! So I present to you my children at their finest – giving you the Big Eye.



*from “Franklin and the Green Knight


My previously planned post for today has been postponed to bring you this:


WinnerchildrenMy “Lessons from Coconut Syrup” post won in the Children and Family category. How cool is that? And I was totally kidding about writing a long-winded acceptance speech. I really am quite speechless. I do want to thank everyone who nominated me and voted for me. I hope I’ve made some new blogging friends and that you’ll stick around for awhile. I know I enjoyed reading all the nominated posts and added many new blogs to my Bloglines feeds.

Security Issues

In the interest of National Personal Security, I will no longer refer to my children by their given names. Boo will remain Boo, because of course, that’s not his real name. Our oldest daughter will now be known as Pumpkin Girl or Pumpkin. I’ll be calling the baby Bip. I will probably keep calling Rebecca by her name, because she is safe at home with the Lord where evil will never touch her.

Valentine’s Day

We finally got enough snow to be worth writing about. A light dusting, followed by a layer of sleet, then more snow overnight and freezing rain in the wee morning hours. The District was shut down, with pretty much only Federal employees showing up on a two hour delay. The roads were slick and hazardous this morning and fortunately, Phil’s classes were cancelled for the day.

We attempted to have school in the morning. Boo’s best friend came by early to ask if he could play. Then an hour later, a friend of mine showed up, having trudged 2 blocks in unshoveled snow, with snow pants for my children. We bought them snow pants way back in September, of course. They were hanging in the closet, right where we would be able to find them at the first sign of flurries. I have no idea what happened to them. All the boxes marked “closet” or “clothes” have been unpacked. I will probably find them in some random box, acting a cushioning to some knick-knack, in a box marked “crafts,” along with half a dozen other things I’ve been missing. I’ve moved 9 times, I know how these things go.

Anyway, with borrowed snowpants and the gleaming snow calling, I let the children out to play. We even let Bip out. He did not enjoy trying to walk in the snow/sleet mix at all. We grabbed the baby sled and strapped him in. I pulled him around the cul-de-sac for awhile to get him used to it.



Then we went off in search of a sledding hill.


Pumpkin Girl, who always wears a dress, has her snowpants underneath her skirt.

Boo enjoyed helping Bip sled. He got a running start…


then let him go!

Bip loved it!

Later they helped our neighbors make an igloo in our front yard.

Along with the snow, Valentine’s Day also brought some gifts:


“Pirates of the Carribbean 2” for Philip, a Hello Kitty shower radio for me and little boxes full of candies for the children.

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