Friday, February 27, 2009


This must Satan's main form of offense, just to distract weak people. Like me. If he can succeed in changing the subject fast enough, then he'll win and I will have forgotten ALL about Jesus, God, Lent.

So I spent a few extra hours working with the digital images and completely forgot what I was supposed to be about today. I mean other than laundry, school and Holly :-) My sacrifice for Lent is to pray the Rosary daily. 20 mins each day spent in prayer. As of today, the 3rd day in Lent, I have prayed 1 and 1/2 rosaries. Distrac-TING!

Plenty of time left today to finish that 1/2, and 37 more days to get it right the first time. Why bother with such a rote, repetitious prayer anyway? There are lots of good explanations, but I like this analogy best: I could watch Holly laugh all day. And not be bored. Or any of my children when they are really happy. Or I could drive the whole 6 hours of the Blue Ridge Parkway and not tire of the rolling Appalachian Mountains. Or walk along the coast and be mesmerized by the depth and beauty of the ocean.

I want to be pleasing to God all day long too. After all there are examples to follow straight from the Bible:

Psalm 136 “God's love endures forever” is repeated 26 times

and this in Revelations 4:8 Day and night they do not stop exclaiming "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come."

Is the angelic choir that sings the same refrain day and night like the pagans repeating prayer mindlessly? Neither should I be. Repetitious prayer is only to be avoided if you are not aware of what you are saying.

Satan may be the master of distractions, but I'm pretty good at refocusing! So off to finish that Rosary!

I'm Hooked

Oh no. I may have to stop homeschooling, cleaning, baking.... I found this website with downloadable free digital papers

I did need to download Winrar to unzip the files. And recreate the page when I accidentally closed it without saving :-)

To create the page, I used Microsoft Digital Image Editor. Opened all the files I would need: 6 pictures and 3 files from ShabbyPrincess. Then created a New File, with the size that I wanted: 13 x11. Finally, copied and pasted the items into the new file.

Because these files tend to get large quickly, at this point, I saved the new file. Then closed all the other files. Added my text and this time saved the file in the .jpg format.

Someone remind me to do laundry one day soon!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hooray! Holly's Book is Here

Years ago, I scrapbooked. Alot. I loved working with Creative Memories products, meeting once a month with other moms to create something wonderful for my children out of rolls and rolls of film.

I just knew there was NO way I would be able to do that for Holly,what with updating this blog and reading all the other blogs I follow. :-) But I found the coolest free software: Blurb

You can publish any kind of book. Of course, I choose Photobook. What I love about it: is not having to upload my pictures to Kodak (or Shutterfly or wherever) and then being limited to the pages they offer. After all, I was used to making my pages from scratch. Blank page, a few stickers and some colored paper.

Blurb offers significantly more layout possibilities than I found at and a fair amount of background choices. Out 66 pages in Holly's book, I made 4 pages in Microsoft Digital Image Editor. So even layout choices for 62 pages, that worked for me!

The price is about what I would have spent making her book by hand. You can see the prices at the Blurb site.

Although I would have loved to create something totally unique for Holly, just like I did for the others. I am estatic to have created a baby book at all!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Show Me the Money

After the election, more than one pro-life leader mentioned that as a country we had chosen money over life. Maybe, at that time, I thought this was a little extreme. Surely, our country couldn't be so hard-hearted as to put money above the value of life.

But nope, I was wrong:

CNN 02/21: BEIJING, China (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broached the issue of human rights with Chinese leaders on Saturday, but emphasized that the global financial slump and other international crises were more pressing and immediate priorities.

The United States will continue to press China on issues such as Tibet, Taiwan and human rights, she told reporters accompanying her.

"Successive administrations and Chinese governments have been poised back and forth on these issues, and we have to continue to press them. But our pressing on those issues can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis," she told reporters in Seoul, South Korea.

"Although differences exist, China is willing to conduct the dialogues with the U.S. to push forward the human rights situation on the premise of mutual respect and noninterference in each other's internal affairs,"Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Yang was quoted by China's state-run Xinhua news agency as saying.

On the economic front, both leaders emphasized the importance of working in cooperation since their economies are intertwined.

China, the world's top holder of U.S. debt, wants to ensure liquidity and security in its dealings with U.S. treasury bonds.

The whole article is here. But not sure how long the link will stay active. I guess loan sharks are the same no matter how big. What type of influence can we have over people we owe billions of dollars too? It is like the gambler telling the loan shark to play nice.

"For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Soy Joy

It's been one week since we switched Holly to an all soy formula. It's Enfamil's Next Step Prosobee, made for toddlers.

At last, I think we are making progress. Her diet is now totally completely milk free. She is still taking Prevacid and Zyrtec, too. Mostly she can eat any and all types of "chicken soup". Chicken and Rice, Chicken and Stars, baby chicken food, homemade chicken soup, Gerber, Baby's Best. All are good for her.

And she likes it. In addition to avoiding milk and tomatoes, for the moment we are steering clear of fruit, after an "unfortunate incident" last week with a fruit mix containing apricots.

The improvements are: A clear nose for the first time in her life. Much of the coughing has cleared up. She may be working her way up to 6 ounces of formula finally. And eating more solids. And of course, sleep. Holly is sleeping better. Not all night uninterrupted. But I can count on two naps a day for the first time! And that is huge.

One more thing: there has been this weird thing going on with Holly's tongue. I would say it was thrush, but it was not as bad as thrush. Maybe a rash or like bare spots on her tongue. It would come and go, day in and day out. I think that is gone. Her little tongue looks good. Pink, and well. Normal. I sure hope that it is all better. (No, no doctor could explain it. Just thought it might be from the stitches rubbing on her tongue or the new shape of her palate.)

So, here's the plan. Continue with the soy, avoid all the irritating foods, giving her tummy a chance to heal completely from the reflux. After another week of Prevacid, begin trying to wean her off. And then if her sleeping habits continue to improve, begin to make that switch to the cup.

Always Hopeful!

Sweet Nothings

What would you do with extra Pink Lemonade Cream Cheese Icing?

Anna and I made these. The cake recipe is from Bisquick. Some people call it "Sad Cake", but the Bisquick company calls it "Velvet Crumb". Just leave of the broiled topping and bake into cupcakes instead! Best part is that this recipe only makes 10 cupcakes.

The flowers are made from fondant using a drop flower tip. My experiment for the day! The other cupcakes have rolled fondant, embossed with various stamps and
icing tools. I wish I could tell you I made fondant from scratch, but the recipe from Dixie Sugar is pretty darn good. You can even roll it and lay it on a cake. And although I have tried it, with this Spongebob Cake, not something I've longed to try again.

On the other hand, cupcakes with fondant icing are kind of cool looking!

We're Okay!

Ummm, should I be worried when I hear that over the baby monitor?

I mean how much trouble could Bill and Little One Feather get into?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What will you do?

I remembered enough about Ash Wednesday to post about it. But not enough to think about what sacrifice I can make for the Lenten season. Until tonight, someone mentioned their goals for Lent.

What will you do? I need some inspiration. Just don't suggest going caffeine free.

4 years ago...

I made this great cake! I had to get the picture from the negative, then scan the print. The quality isn't too hot, but the cake was terrific. This was sooo much fun to make. I printed a copy of Shaggy and Scooby Doo, made so many different colors of Wilton's Easy Flow Icing and traced the picture onto wax paper. Outlining in black first, letting it dry completely. The resulting circle decoration was like a giant piece of sugar candy. The purple and green flowers were made the same way.

The spray cans of food color were new that year, so I tried that too for the smaller yellow flowers. Didn't like the effect enough to ever try it again. But the color flow icing...I liked that enough to make Bob the Builder for Bill's birthday that same year.

One other thing I have learned since then: if you run your icing spatula under water, shake it and then finish final layer of icing, you get a very smooth result. Clearly, I hadn't mastered the smooth icing here. The bottom right corner shows my weakness, icing that won't stick on the edges. With a damp spatula though, no problem.

It's true, you know

Ash Wednesday is almost here and the whole family will troop to church together to get ashes. Even Holly, loud, rambling, fussy, Holly. I'll tough it out at Mass for the ashes. For me, for the kids, to remember. Why bother? It is not easy taking a baby to Mass, especially one that is expected to be a packed house. And some of those other people don't always welcome the noisy little ones.

Most Sundays we run what I like to call the "split shift". Lee takes some children to one Mass, I take others to another, but Holly stays home. Not always, but most Sundays it is too exhausting to take her. We have a child care room and that lady is very nice. Still, I prefer for Holly to stay with one of us, if she can.

But back to Ash Wednesday. This is one of those holy days, that we usually attend altogether. It is worth the effort because it's true.

My dad once had a friend who just couldn't believe. Maybe he didn't believe in Jesus, or was it God? But here's Dad's great answer:

  • Think of someone you know who has recently died. Someone you knew well.
  • Now, go find 12 of your best closest friends or family members. And convince them that your friend who died is now alive. Walking, talking and eating dinner with you.
  • Once you have convinced your 12 friends, go and convince 500 other people. That someone you knew who died and was buried is now alive.
I am pretty sure I couldn't do it. Because it wouldn't be true. And because it would be easy to prove that I was lying.

Peter did though. And Paul. And Andrew, Matthew, John, James, Thomas, Jude, Philip, James, Bartholomew, Simon, and Matthias.

It's true, you know.


Every February, our local parks department hosts a Father-Daughter Dance. This has to be one of my very favorite traditions, since we moved to my small home town. Only a limited number of tickets are available, and we don't always get there soon enough to get tickets. Like last year. But we got the tickets this time. Anna and Dad got to celebrate a special night out! Hooray!

Some years they have enjoyed going to a fancy restaurant, some years just the dance. This go round they settled on the "Sweetheart Deal" at Chik-Fil-A :-)

My Sweeties

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rubbly Tummy

Shoot, cameras in the car. I'll have to upload a current picture of Holly-belle soon.

We met with the GI doc yesterday. As I suspected he would like to have seen Holly make more progress towards getting off Prevacid by now. I asked for a little more time, in the hopes that:
  1. the stomach virus is over
  2. I know, seriously, "no tomatoes"
  3. we are switching to toddler soy formula (thank you Muriel for recommending the half of one formula, half of another approach, it is working!)
Maybe in two weeks, once she is totally off of anything milk related, Holly will be in even better shape. She is pretty cute and so, very much better than this time last year!

We Believe

Many years ago, a customer of my dad's asked him what do Catholics believe anyway. There is certainly a lot of misinformation about the subject available. Dad's answer was so clear, I have tried to remember it myself, should I ever be asked the question!

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of Heaven and Earth,

and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,

Who was Conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead,

On the Third Day he rose again,
He ascended into Heaven,

and is seated at the Right Hand of the Father,

from whence He shall come to Judge the Living and the Dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the Communion of Saints,
the Forgiveness of sins,
the Resurrection of the Body,
and Life Everlasting,

I think if you ask yourself, "Do I believe this too?" you will find that we agree on more than we don't. If there were one site I would recommend to find answers about the Catholic Church, maybe EWTN.

Dad is a smart man, isn't he? I'll post more Dad Answers another time :-)

More Cake Pics

I raided my sisters hard drive this past weekend, looking for photos of Holly for her baby book. And, happily, found these too:

Cupcakes from Will's First Holy Communion

The cake for Will too! Anna and I made the sugar coated pansies from our flowers near the door. Not too bad for a first attempt. Although, not sure I'd make them again either!

Cake for Peter's Confirmation celebration.
The dove is made from chocolate. I printed a picture, placed wax paper over it. Then outlined with the dark chocolate, let that dry and finished with the white chocolate. Fun and easier then you'd think!

South Australia Wildfires

Please pray for the safety and healing of all those effected by the fires in Victoria, Australia. One of the most enouraging families we have met through the Wide Smiles and Cleft Advocate sites is from Australia. Barrie and Muriel have not hesitated to provide encouragement and valuable information throughout this whole past year. I always look forward to seeing their names in the "from" line.

Barrie and Muriel, we love you and are praying for you and your whole family!
God Bless.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I almost wish I didn't know

Please join my prayers, and the hundreds of thousands of others who are praying for an end to abortion. Pray that all expectant mothers will really have "freedom of choice", instead of feeling as if there is "no choice but abortion." Be free to choose LIFE. Even complicated, unplanned, expensive, difficult life.

I wish I didn't know.

I wish today's post was some happy recipe or picture. My mother mentioned this news item last night, and today it was listed on my igoogle news page. It is the ugly face of abortion. This is not for the faint of heart. It is the truth.

This teenage mother will always remember what happen to her baby, and grieve like every parent who loses a child. The worst part is that State Department declared the babies death due to "extreme premature birth." Doesn't exactly represent what happened.

Where is the assistant who let the baby die? How could he/she not see a human being breathing? I almost wish I didn't know. Somehow God will have to use this knowledge to wake our nation to the truth. Our actions have consequences and abortion is not the "easy answer" to a difficult situation.

Where is the hope for this mother? this doctor? the staff at this clinic?
Pray for hope, where I see none. Pray for healing for everyone involved. Pray for an end for abortion.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Exclusive Gated Community

Holly is walking, yes indeed. Nothing can stop her now. Except a well placed gate.

I never thought I would want to live in a gated community. Having always loved wide open spaces, myself. Even in our home, there are few doors between rooms.

Thus the gates. What makes our community exclusive? You have to be tall enough to step over the gates. Not everyone can.

Three, that would be plenty to corral my little wanderer. Nope, not enough. 5 gates. Our house has become quite the obstacle course. But just for a little while. I mean, the others don't need gates any more, right?

Recipe Blog

There are such great blogs out there, like "How to Eat a Cupcake". I would love to make this a food blog, with recipes and photos and such...I mean, I so enjoy reading everyone else's blogs, especially recipes, but need to keep the focus here on Simple. Faith. Family.

With that in mind, I'll offer a few recipes that are Simple and my Family enjoys.

Fleischmann's Once Dish Cinnamon Swirl is terrific! Almost as good as Dewey's Moravian Sugar Cake. Almost. Just make sure you use "rapid rise yeast" and start with a COLD oven. Yum.

And recently I caved and made the Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes. Yep. They really are that good. If anyone else makes this, let me know if the batter is like soup. The cupcakes turned out great, but I have never made a cake that had such a thin batter. Except maybe pancakes.

Finally, these are so good, I can't believe I waited so long to make them! White Russian Cupcakes. Kaluha and Cream? This recipe is from the Cupcake Doctor's cupcake book.

Too bad it snowed today, I had planned to bring cupcakes for the mom's! Well, there's always next week.