Saturday, January 30, 2010


Peter and Joseph took first place (People's Choice) in the local 9th annual Knights of Columbus Chili Cook-Off today.  All week long this contest dominated their conversations... specifically, the chance to win first place.  (Last year they came home with second place.)

They plotted it all out and executed their plan with precision.  Joseph and Peter picked out 3 pounds of ground buffalo in the meat department (I would have gone for the cheaper ground beef, but no, it HAD to be buffalo!), the assorted canned beans, the chili powder (and other top secret ingredients).  They enlisted their friend, Ezra's, help with dicing and sauteing 2 onions (his vision was temporarily blurry from the tears).  Invited their friend, Jonah, to a sneak-preview taste test. 

Decided to wear wild Hawaiian shirts to the big event... 
Right down to the sides of chips & cheese, these boys had their game plan in action.
Their plans and efforts paid off, with first place in the people's choice vote.

They showed good sportsmanship to their fellow cooks, and came home very happy with their framed award.

I don't know how they got to be so competitive!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Flippin' Time

Peter so wanted to learn how to flip without a spatula... he planned a family meal around it.

His desire to flip began with a new interest in fried eggs (vs. the standard scrambled eggs). 
Peter loves to cook his own eggs, and wanted to master the one-handed skillet flip without wasting eggs.
So he devised a plan:  cook pancakes for breakfast, and save one (hard) pancake just for the purpose of flipping practice.  Ingenious and thrifty, don't you think?

I suggested he put it on the calendar so he wouldn't forget, and today was the big day.
Rather than lazing in bed reading (like most mornings), Peter was up and in the kitchen cooking first thing.
He made a family batch of pancakes, and served them hot.

As soon as breakfast was over, Peter was off to his morning chores, primarily taking care of his pets. 

I found him on the front porch flippin' his practice pancake.
Needless to say, his day is off to a great start!

Closing note:  Peter announced his plans for an event next summer ~  He will charge a small admission fee for kids to come and participate in pancake flippin' games and challenges... 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lots of dog action at our place these days.
Not Finnegan, he lives in Silverdale... but isn't he sweet?

Peter is taking Rocky to weekly obedience training, which is already showing results after only one class!

Friday, January 22, 2010

or not

Recently we ran into one of those difficult parenting moments. OK, truly these happen every day, but here's one worth sharing... It all came about as our children had an opportunity to go to the movie theatre with friends, all of whom we love dearly.
Tim and I take great care in choosing what is appropriate viewing (and listening) material for our children. This often puts us at odds in certain group situations where others' ideas are different. (Not bad, just different.) It is not by chance that our kids don't watch television (save the occasional sporting event or special programming) or have access to the Internet without close supervision. This cautious approach reflects a cornerstone of our parenting plan: monitor what goes in.
In the same way that we carefully purchase and prepare healthy meals, and avoid fast/processed food, we also carefully choose and monitor programming. You could say we hope to "program" our kids while they're young, so that they can grow in purity and build up strong resistance to inappropriate content. High hopes, we know!

Tim and I decided that a particular P3-13 movie would be fine for Zachary (who happened to want to see it), but that it would not OK for Peter and Joseph (who really didn't care about it anyway).

A few responses to our decision to keep Joseph and Peter out of the theater:
"They would love it!"
"It's FINE!"
"Anyone who has seen Star Wars can see this movie."
"It's an amazing movie!"

Still No. We stuck to our decision.

Having read the movie review by the USCCB (which gave this PG-13 movie a rating of A-III -- adults) we knew there was really no good reason to go against our better judgement.

I said, "We just don't think this movie is a good choice for Peter and Joseph, especially since we haven't seen it."
Reply: "Well I think you're wrong."
Me: "That's not the first time..."
Reply: "No, and it probably won't be the last."

Enough said.
We basically just agreed to disagree, which in many cases of conflict like this, is the best possible outcome.


Zachary greatly enjoyed the movie, and shared the basic story line with us on the ride home.
I asked him if he thought it would have been an OK movie for Joseph and Peter to watch...
He simply replied, "No. I don't think so."

Enough said.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Anything That Breeds {Peter's Birthday Wish List}

 Grandpa Cliff assembles nest boxes for pigeons in the chicken coop.

 A birthday bird for Peter, thanks to Grandpa Cliff and Grandma Billie

Peter's wish list for his 10th birthday basically recycled most of the items on his Christmas wish list (almost all of which breathe and eat, ranging from llamas to goats to pigs and sheep).  Essentially, the list could be summed up as follows: "Anything that breeds!"  And the reason?  "To drive Zac crazy!"  At the top of his list was rabbits, because he'd learned how quickly they reproduce. 

Grandma Billie and Grandpa Cliff granted Peter's "breeding" wish with 2 pairs of pigeons.  Cliff raised pigeons in his youth, and has all the know-how and skills to make their new home here perfect.  When Zachary learned of Peter's new pets, he let out a groan of displeasure... which must have been the icing on the cake for the birthday boy.

Peter's chicken coop is now (temporarily) a chicken and pigeon coop, and although a few of the chickens think they should be allowed into the pigeon quarters, Cliff has a plan to keep the pigeons safe from the mean chicken beaks.  Someday soon, Peter will have pigeons born here, which can be set free to fly and return to their home.  Those brought in for his birthday, however, if set free, would fly to the place of their birth... so they'll be permanent residents of the coop.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Great Read
I have to thank Zac (who reads more than any human I know) for checking this book out from the library and offering me a chance to read it after he finished it.
I read The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis in about a day, which for me is amazing!  (Truth be told, it's only 146 pages.)

I had a tough time figuring it out at the start, and mentioned to Zac that it was hard-going.
He immediately asked, "Did you read the back cover?"  (Duh!)
So I did:
The timeless novel about a bus ride from hell to heaven...
Suddenly the book wasn't so hard after all.  Oh the many ways my children teach me daily...

One of my favorite quotes:
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done."  All that are in Hell, choose it.  Without that self choice there could be no Hell.  No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.  Those who seek find.  To those who knock it is opened."
What a great reminder to desire joy through God, to seek Him always and everywhere.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

10 & Counting...
Peter's 10th birthday was a great cause for celebration.
At his request we began the day by attending daily Mass at which he received a special blessing and prayers... not to mention many well wishes.
Afterward we held a day-long feed & play at our house for a super group of boys.  On the menu: chili, rice, muffins & ice cream pie (lunch); ribs, more rice, broccoli and Caesar salad (dinner) ... followed by more ice cream pie.
He's already making plans for his "golden birthday" (when you turn the age of the day of your birth... who makes this stuff up?).  Next year he will turn 11 on the 11th, so apparently that's a reason for an even bigger celebration.  

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Guess Who's Almost 10?

We always celebrate Peter's birthday with my dad (also known as Grandpa Pete) on whose birthday Peter was born.  This year's co-celebration will include Mass, a family lunch and a trip to the movies... 

We will also visit Grandma and stay with a dear friend...  What a great adventure!  Don't you LOVE birthdays??  We do!

Friday, January 8, 2010

First Time Hunter

Recently, Tim took Joseph along on a 2-day hunting trip on the Olympic Peninsula with Uncle Craig.
They were hunting deer, but the deer won this round.
They used muzzle loaders, and did get a shot or 2 off.

I recently received this photo from Uncle Craig & Aunt Bethany (thanks!) and wanted to share it.

Today Peter was ready to hunt on of his chickens in the coop out back.
I found him getting his BB gun ready... and reminded him about our rules with using the gun (adult permission, supervision, etc.)
He has a problem chicken who keeps making chaos (cannibalism) in the coop.
AND she's not laying any eggs... so perhaps she's about to become a fine dinner??
More soon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Go Zac!
A quick report about yesterday's swim meet... Zac got 2 new district qualifying times and had a chance to swim for one of the A relay teams (which won). 

Our friend, Ezra, earned "swimmer/diver of the meet."  This is awarded in the post-competition meeting in the hot tub by Coach Don after each meet.  Ezra improved so dramatically in his diving routine.  Way to go, Ezra!

I enjoyed shooting with my new zoom lens, and need some practice... lucky for me there's another swim meet today!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

42 Today!

Yes, today is my 42nd birthday, and it's off to a great start!
We had a low-key family celebration at breakfast this morning, and after I had opened Zac's gift, a wonderful book entitled Praying With Saint Paul, Tim sent Peter to go get my camera to take a picture.
Boy was I surprised when Peter came out and took my picture (this one) with a new 300mm lens mounted on my Nikon!
Back in Zoom... one of my favorite toys (tools) EVER. 
I had a 200mm zoom lens with my trusty old film camera.  But since switching to digital, I haven't had the luxury of zoom... until now!
And as an added bonus, Zachary has a swim meet today, and a zoom lens will help bring in the action shots.
Can't wait to see the shots!  And I'm excited to see Zac swim, too.   He has 3 meets this week, so I'll be zooming away!

Another birthday blessing was the art (a crucifix) on the front of the card Joseph made for me.
And the loving energy and enthusiasm of Peter who decorated the house with Happy Birthday streamers...

I am so blessed!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Epiphany blessings
Today we celebrate Epiphany, and our Gospel (Mt 2: 1-12) recounts the visit of the magi to the infant Jesus.

They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.  They prostrated themselves and did him homage.  Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Father asked us, "What sort of gifts do we give Christ at Christmas?"  The magi gave the best of best, and fell face down on the ground in homage to the newborn Christ.  How do we give homage?
Great questions to ponder in this final week of the Christmas season.

Today we celebrate a special blessing (photo).  This is a traditional blessing of the home on Epiphany.
The inscription is made with blessed chalk over the doorway, reading: 20+C+M+B+10.
The numbers show the year, and the letters have two meanings:  They are the traditional names of the three magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar).  They also abbreviate the Latin words "Christus mansionem benedicat" which mean "May Christ bless this house." 
As such, the letters recall the day on which the inscription is made (visit by the magi), as well as the purpose for the blessing.