Blogs I Know · Simple Woman's Daybook

The Simple Woman’s Daybook – February 2, 2009

The Simple Woman’s Daybook
is hosted by
Peggy at the Simple Woman.
Thank you Peggy.

FOR TODAY : February 2, 2008
Today is sunny and bright.   I am completely exhausted and it isn’t even noon.  Kyle left this morning.  We had to be at the airport at 4:30.  Coffee is my BFF today.

Outside my Window – Happy groundhog’s day.  Any hapless marmot who wanders out is bound to be stunned by the big burning thing in the sky.

I am thinking – How very unhappy I am with the GoDaddy super bowl ad and their advertising in general.  

From the learning rooms – My mind is turning to Lent,  Ash Wednesday is February 25th.

I am thankful for- A husband who loves me.

From the kitchen – I made a couple of loaves of bread last.

I am wearing – Brown pants and a black sweater.

I am reading – On Basilisk Station — still.

I am hoping – That Kyle has a good trip.

I am creating – Hannah’s first communion dress.  I am using my wedding dress and you can see the progress so far.  I am also putting together my 2009 planner… we aren’t talking about what happened to January.

I am hearing – The music on the radio.  Hannah and Josh are doing their phonics and Josh is driving me mad.

Around the house – Nothing exciting today.  Just the usual Monday crockpot dinner, ballet and CCD.

One of my favorite things – Coffee – I have a couple of coupons from Dutch Brothers thanks to my homeschool group.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week – More sewing, a little knitting and some work.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you –

Daddy has his hands full
Daddy has his hands full
Blogs I Know

Dump the Cereal

Clavin loves his Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs and my kids are fond of similar such breakfast treats, but the health and expense of  children’s breakfast cereals is questionable and has bothered me for a while. 


 I will admit my lazy side was unwilling to fight the inevitable battle that would rage and quite frankly it was just too easy to pull the bag off the shelf, dump the cereal in a bowl and be done with breakfast.

Well, thanks to an extended snow storm back in December we made the huge jump to breakfasts without boxed(or bagged) cereal.  We have had oatmeal, french toast, coffee cake, muffins all sorts of eggs and breakfast goodness.  It was a little bit a hurdle the first week or so.  But I found that getting breakfast cooked and on the table wasn’t as onerous a task as I thought it might be. 

The kids like the new breakfast plan better than I imagined they would.  Of course I have had a couple requests for cereal, but overall they seem to be happier.  Now I am not deluding myself into thinking that pancakes have much more nutritional value than cold cereal – but since we are out of the cereal habit we are having more eggs, toast and juice and fewer chocolate frosted sugar bomb days — which feels like a great victory.

You can (as always) see more of the Works for me Wednesday ideas at Rocks in my Dryer.

Blogs I Know · My world

Rich beyond measure

The Begas Family - Karl Joseph Begas
The Begas Family - Karl Joseph Begas

I came across this a while back by way of Danette .   An article from the Washington Post entitled “Three Kids? You Showoffs”.  As the title indicates it was indeed expressing the thought that having more than the typical two children is seen in some quarters as a status symbol, an aberrant indication of  conspicuous consumption.   I know if you are also the mother of a larger than normal family you probably are rolling your eyes thinking over the times where someone has looked at you in the grocery store as though you just crawled out of the closest ditch or even been bold enough to question your reason, morals or understanding of modern birth control. 

Reading the article is more or less an eye-popping excursion a new world as I find myself constantly wondering  “what planet do these people live on?”  The article speaks in a weird language I am only passingly familiar with, “Birkin bags”, “pieds-à-terre” and what the heck is “eco-decorating”?   Having been a nanny once upon a time I understand the lifestyle that accompanies certain social and career echelons.  I have my share of well-healed friends and my oldest goes to school with more than one designer-child.  But at the same time I find this a staggering example of the differences in our “classless” society.

After reading through the long explanationabout the money the wealthy shell out to hire their nannies, pay for private schools and hedge their bets with Harvard on esoteric sports and oboe lessons I had to take a moment to figure out if I wanted to laugh at their self importance or the futility of those things they felt so necessary.  I know several people who went to Harvard and only a few of them hailed from the “proper nursery school”  through elite prep school background.  So I question the motives that are under the “all the very best” for my little sugar-dumpling  mindset.  Having a third child in order to “show-off”, to add one more designer baby to the SUV is very foreign to me.  Even though I have six children I count my children as my wealth not as a way to display my wealth.

I really am trying to avoid any sort of value judgment here.  I don’t think that anyone has a baby just so that they can “show off”.  Which is part of what bothers me about the article.   As the author is preparing to have a third child it almost seems to be an explanation of why she is doing it.  “Please don’t think I am less “upper class” because I am having another baby, it is all the rage to have lots of children just look and Angelina Jolie.”   What is wrong about having a third (or eighth) baby because you just love having children, because a large family appeals to you, because there is more to life than expensive handbags and trips to the latest fashionable vacation spots? 

Nothing in my mind.  There certainly is no reason to justify having children by claiming that they are some odd status symbol.  Though I might use the “I just have a lot of children to show off how wealthy I am” line the next time someone quips “are they all yours?”

Blogs I Know · Simple Woman's Daybook

The Simple Woman’s Daybook – January 19, 2009

The Simple Woman’s Daybook
is hosted by
Peggy at the Simple Woman.
Thank you Peggy.

FOR TODAY : January 17, 2008
The sky is blue, the weather is crisp and windy.     This past weekend I made a couple of decisions that I hope will increase my sanity level. 

Outside my Window –   The wind is really going.  Overhead the sky is bright and clear.  Between the wind and the cold weather it is absolutely frigid.  The birds and squirls are hiding. 

I am thinking –   One change I am committed to is cutting back on my web development work.  Every few months I pull my head up long enough to think “I am doing too much”.  While I genuinely enjoy web development I am also extremely busy doing other things, not the least of which is homeschooling and homemaking.  I originally left the corporate world and took up freelancing to be better at the important tasks of mothering and keeping my home.  Now, three children later my business has grown, my children are homeschooling and I find that I just can’t manage it gracefully or sanely.  Something has to give.  As much as I hate given up the recognition and money I can’t really justify it at the moment. 

From the learning rooms – I am setting up field trip for the spring.  Much fun to be had.

I am thankful for-  Children who play together very nicely.

From the kitchen – Menu plans are in the works.

I am wearing – Black slacks and a cream blouse.

I am reading – On Basilisk Station

I am hoping –  That I get to pulling up the horrible, evil, once-upon-a-time was white, carpet up this week.  Didn’t get to it last week, but there is hope for this week.

I am creating –  Plans for the herb garden and Hannah’s first communion dress.

I am hearing –  The children playing — apparently they are taking a great adventure through a hot, dry desert, escorting a small group of children (baby dolls and stuffed animals)

Around the house –Why does it seem like all the light bulbs go out at once.  We changed four yesterday and I see another one.

One of my favorite things –  Seed catalogs.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week –  This is a week of plans.  I will continue work on the first communion dress (this is a huge adventure).

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you – 

The first cut
The first cut


Blogs I Know · My world

Seven thoughts

Jen at Conversion Diary has been doing this and every week I have been tempted and then got side tracked or something.  There is a first time for everything.


I think I would very much enjoy Valkyrie, but why oh why does Tom Cruise have to be in it?


Children go to sleep really easily when you wake them up a little earlier and run them hard and happy all day.


Yes, I was very cranky about my ex-sister-in-law and the picture thing a couple weeks ago.  After my ex forwarded her email to me I went ahead and sent her the picture.  I am sort of weird that way I guess.


I love getting emails from people I haven’t heard from in a long while.  Today I got one that made me laugh, so many half forgotten things shared silliness about tea-cozies and my strange way of being a little to starch-collared for my own good.


Blizzard adding the achievement system in World of Warcraft has been a really bad time sink for me.

I enjoy having friends hang out at my house with me, but the thought of company visiting send me into near panic attacks. 


I find it really interesting that I see things in pictures that I don’t see in real life.  If I am looking at a picture of my house I will see everything that is out of place, but if I am just walking through I don’t see it.  Same goes with the children.  If I take a picture I will see the messed hair, holes in clothing, smudgy faces, but in real life I just don’t catch all that.

Blogs I Know · rants

Speaking the same language


Valentine of Milan Mourning her Husband, the Duke of Orléans --Fleury-François Richard
Valentine of Milan Mourning her Husband, the Duke of Orléans --Fleury-François Richard

Years ago, back in my college days,  I was very involved with my campus pro-life group.  We were a very small group on a very liberal campus and most of our members were also Campus Crusade for Christ members.  We would have strategies meetings where we spoke about how to approach our fellow students or how to respond when they approached us.  One girl had diligently prepared a list of Bible verses that she felt would be useful.   I found myself in the odd man out position of having to explain that to most of the people on the campus the “Bible says” argument didn’t make and difference.  In fact it hurt more than helped.  It was throwing pearls before swine and all that.

Yesterday I was reading about the British televised “Right to Die”  documentary depicting a the death of a man, Craig Ewert,  suffering from motor neurone disease who traveled to Switzerland to end his life there.   Switzerland of all places, the place where even plants might have rights, gives the green light to assisting the destruction of human life.  There seems to be some irony there.   Every dandelion is worthy of protection, but our fellow human being can be killed and that is ok.  I watched the short video clip over at HotAir and read the comment associated with the article.  Many of the comments that support assisted suicide ran to the typical “keep your archaic religious beliefs out of my life.”  This was put out pretty much before anyone even started quoting those useful Bible verses.  The anticipation was that there is no argument outside of the Bible that would deny the individual the right to have their doctors or loved ones help them kill themselves.   Much in the same way that the pro-elective-abortion bumper sticker demands: “keep your rosaries off my ovaries”.  Kind of nonsensical when you think about it, but the intention is clear.

When talking about moral issues there is a large group that will immediately turn off when someone starts in with the “God says” lines.   I am certainly not saying that religion or religious thought and expression shouldn’t be included in the public debate, but the reality is that arguments presented from a religious point of view are arguments what will not persuade  people who are not already convinced in God’s sovereignty. In a humanistic and media driven world we have to have arguments that are honest and powerful to counter propaganda like this video. But we need arguements that don’t lean on the Bible for their sense and substance.

Watching the “Right to Die” video I was touch by two things.  The first is that Mr Ewert’s choices were limited by fear:   “If I go through with it, I have death,”  Mr. Ewert said. “If I don’t go through with it, my choice is essentially to suffer and to inflict suffering on my family, and then die.   Possibly in a way that is considerably more stressful and painful than this way.”  The other thing that got to me was that Mr Ewert’s statement seemed to hold a great deal of personal guilt in it.  He was concerned not just about his own death, but on the suffering he would cause his family.  While these are completely understandable fears and concerns as a society we should all look at them as more horrific than the disease Mr. Ewert suffered from. 

 Mr Ewert and his wife look like nice loving people.  The kind that you would be happy to see move in next door.  Mrs Ewert is certainly not a monster trying to rid herself of a burdensome invalid.  Mr Ewert expresses the same concerns most of us have when looking at ageing or disease only with a more immediate prospect of the most unpleasant case.  You have to feel for them as they say goodbye in the little, comfortable flat with the sunny windows and beautiful music as the scene slowly fades to black and you hear the Dignitas operative whispered “He’s gone” and his wife’s  “He’s gone” in response. 

In contrast the terminal care doctor is shown reviewing the very moving video in a dark suit and a dark room complete with red back lighting.  A very ominous view with the Dr being almost dismissive in his assertion that Mr Ewert needent have gone through with taking his own life.  This brief nod to the anti-euthanasia sentiment is quickly followed by scenes (presumably) from Mr Ewert’s memorial while the voice over speaks about the legal tangles that could follow British citizens home if they accompany loved ones to that peaceful little death apartment in Switzerland.

There is something very broken about our society.  I really worry that “nice” videos of people peacefully drifting off to sleep while listening to their favorite music masks a very real horror.  Social acceptance of assisted suicide opens up a Pandora’s box of “what ifs”.  The way countries like Switzerland have been addressing these issues is less than comforting but when the public is exposed to these “soft core snuff films” the acceptance will rise.  But when faced with the real horrors of disease and relatively pleasant pictures the propagandists of the media present about euthanasia it is going to be an up hill battle with the wells of faith and moral ethics already having been poisoned. 

There are good arguments that what changed in our society is the way we view life.  We need to throw off the utilitarian view and love life more fully.   We need to build a culture of life.  That oft stated Catholic phrase has real meaning especially in the “hard cases”.  When life is loved fully death need no be feared, and being a “burden” or incapacitated shouldn’t even come into play.  The fear that drove Mr Ewert to death should be viewed as nothing less than a tragedy.  We need to embrace a new ethic, one which truly honors the inalienable right to life.

Blogs I Know · My world

Portland is a little weird.

I know that goes without saying but to think that this billboard would be controversial considering the season….

God is with us
God is with us

H/T to both Happy Catholic and The Curt Jester

Now, this happens to also be a time where a new abortion mill is going up a handful of blocks from my parish (where the sign originally was) and just to our north Washington State voted last month on assisted suicide.  So I can see where there can be some “politics” viewed there.  But this is first and foremost a religious statement.  The fact that the incarnation can be viewed politically at all is simply evidence of how entrenched and hostile the culture of death is.  When a pregnant Mary, full of life, is seen as a statement against the political status quo the political status quo is pretty dismal.  I suspect an ultrasound image of a baby in utero would have been viewed similarly.
You can read the Oregon Live story here.  I agree with Julie at Happy Catholic.  This quote is sort of weird:
“Images of an obviously pregnant Mary are rare, said Jane Kristof, professor emeritus of art history at Portland State University.

“Generally, it was considered undignified,” she said. “The same is true of Mary nursing.” Artists instead rendered Mary gesturing toward her stomach to suggest that she was pregnant, Kristof said. “

The Virgin round with child is a standard in medieval and renaissance art.  Pregnancy in the plague years especially was viewed as highly beautiful.  Do  quick search on the Madonna of the good milk or the Virgin Mother and you will have more images of breast feeding and pregnant Marys than you can shake a stick at.  Now maybe Ms Kristof is talking about modern art… or maybe she is stuck in some weird alternate universe that hates pregnant woman… but I am not seeing the undignified thing she is thinking she sees.   But then again this IS Portland we are talking about and as the oft seen bumper stickers reminds us — we keep it weird.

Blogs I Know · Christmas · Fun

Really cool and fun

You might remember this post from last year.   Straight No Chaser’s very cool rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas  give it another listen it is well worth it.

Apparently after their video went “viral” last year they got notice by Atlantic records, were reunited and cut an album.  Check out the story.

I saw it first over at the Anchoress and I know others like Fr Kyle have linked into it.  I feels good to be doing a little, very tiny part to help these great musicians get noticed – because when a lot of us share what we love very occasionally it makes a difference.   Viva la Power of the Internet.