Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Random Cuteness

I'm so blessed he sleeps in the car and will even stay asleep when removed from his seat!

New dress, new shoes, cutie pie

With glasses

A Recent Pie

Blackberry Pie

Spaghetti Squash Marinara

This week, I cooked my first spaghetti squash!   I have to be honest, though.   I wasn't feeling well, so I didn't actually eat my meal!   The kids would have liked it less spicy.

Spaghetti Squash Marinara (from Better Homes and Gardens)

1 medium spaghetti squash (2 1/2 to 3 lbs.) --This seems too small, but trust me, it will produce a lot of strands!
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (16 oz.) can whole tomatoes, cut up (On a cooking show, I once saw the chef say whole tomatoes were best because they go through the least number of steps in the processing/canning process; a food processor makes them more kid-friendly).   I only find 14.5 oz. cans in the store.
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper (maybe cut back to avoid making it too spicy)
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Halve squash lengthwise (nice heavy knife); scoop out seeds.   Place squash, cut side down, in a baking dish.   With a fork, prick the skin all over.   Bake in a 350 oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.  (Nice thing about this is the halves will keep their heat if you keep them face down, so this can be done ahead for the meal)
Meanwhile, cook onion and garlic in hot oil until onion is tender, but not brown.   Stir in undrained tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper.   Bring to boiling; reduce heat.   Simmer over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes or to desired consistency, stirring often.

Using a fork, shred and separate the squash into strands.   My children thought this quite magical!   spoon tomato mixture over squash.   If desired, sprinkle with grated cheese.   Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Tuesday Folder 10/18/2011

This was meant to be last week's Tuesday folder, but blogging has taken its place behind our family activities.   Time to catch up a little!

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes
We did some serious shoe shopping two weeks ago.   It's the first time we've had to buy multiple pairs of shoes for several children.   In the past, we've had shoes handed down or shoes bought on clearance the year before and put away until they fit.   They were all very happy with their shoes.   For each of the girls, I gave in on one pair of cute, non-sensible shoes.   E has not worn hers yet, so no pictures, but C wore her to RE (Religious Education) and mass.   I think she's still in shock that we bought them.

Her new dress that she calls her "Annie" dress--such a sweet, classic little-girl dress!

Since we don't have any living grandparents, I feel like I have to buy some of the frivolous things grandparents today often buy.   Mama would have bought these for her!

Fall Decorating
I think I enjoy fall decorating just as much as Christmas decorating.   Most of my fall decorations are ones that Mama bought for us or her pieces that I found among her things after her death.   It's nice to get two months out of the decorations!

This year, I made a new fall wreath.   JoAnn's Crafts had a wonderful sale on these beautiful picks and sprays.   This cost about a fourth of the cost of pre-made ones.   It has feathers; I have always wanted a fall wreath with feathers!

Our autumnal fireplace

Close-up of our mantel

Mantel centerpiece--one of Mama's pottery pieces featuring grapes and our favorite statue of Our Lady.   A reminder each time I look at it of the harvest ideas of: the fruit of her womb, Jesus and a reminder that we shall reap as we sow.   Most of the floral pieces were Mama's.

We are blessed in our community to have several Catholic Bunko groups.   Over the years, I have been on the sub. lists for several and I finally became a permanent member of a group.   October is my month to host and this was my first time as hostess.   The ladies are such a blessing and they make me want to be a better person.

My small bunko buffet before all my oven items were done.   I like putting together a buffet and I use my serving dishes and baskets as often as possible.   I don't like keeping those things stored away.  Most of my glass pieces belonged to Mama and many have garage-sale-find stories behind them.   The square basket was used at our wedding reception.  After almost 15 years of marriage, I've finally learned to organize and pace for entertaining.   It was so nice to have all the cleaning--the grunt work--done and just relax in the kitchen as I cooked and arranged.   Now to work on making the grunt work more peaceful!

Since it was the day before the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary, I chose our Lady and the reminders of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament as my centerpiece.   The vase and wheat stalks will make a nice centerpiece for our family's first communion celebrations in future.   My new "Keep Calm and Bake On" apron was a birthday gift from my friend, Lauren.  

As part of our Bunko evenings, we have a time of prayer and reflection.   Since humility has been on my heart so much, I chose to share, The Litany of Humility, a favorite prayer of mine.   I was happy to find a beautiful version of this prayer sung by Catholic artist, Danielle Rose.   Her work is beautiful and so inspiring.   Only 99 cents on iTunes and the kids are enjoying listening to it, along with her other songs.   She has written songs for each mystery of the rosary; they were released on an album titled, Mysteries.

I need this litany before me throughout the day as often as possible!

Our Lady of the Rosary

We celebrated Our Lady of the Rosary with a feast of bunko leftovers.   Look how attractive it all is.   Keep going...

As most of our celebrations do, this one ended with drinks spilled all over the tablecloth.   I spent many years with pristine tablecloths and I am thankful for my mess-makers who keep my perspective in-check!

Healthier, Part III
I've been motivated to get back to our old eating habits.   The week has gone well so far, although a virus in the house made us turn to canned chicken noodle soup and ice cream for sick kiddos.

I found some great deals on organic items at HEB this week.   I'm adjusting my menu planning to include more bean- and veggie-centered meals.   I have no interest in going vegan, since we have no allergy issues with animal and dairy products, though.   I'll post some of our newest recipes.

A wok for our veggie stir-fry; it will be so much better than using the skillet.

A healthier dessert--frozen berries heated 'til bubbly, topped with Greek yogurt and organic granola--reminds me of cobbler

I took time and prepared all my veggie toppings to make sandwiches and salads at home that are more like a certain sandwich chain.
Packed Away
Toys, clothes, shoes, etc.. were out of control in our house.   I hadn't been able to organize the toys and put child locks on closet doors since our move.   We spent one weekend doing just that.   I packed away most of the kids toys.   They were all the little bits that don't really see much play-time.   I left their major toys out and they have had so much more fun playing since the big clean-out.   I thought about all the episodes of Clean Sweep I watched on TLC years ago.   The organizers always stated the truth that Americans don't have an organization problem; we have a stuff problem.   It was too much to ask of my children to keep all those extra items organized and neat.  Some of their toys are in the closet and they will get circulated regularly, but those bagged items have not been missed and we will donate them.   

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