Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Bath

While we are certainly all for modesty around here, the (warm, wet) washcloth is not about that.  Just something I've gotten in the habit of doing.  It seems to keep the baby a little warmer, and gives a sense of security when they're otherwise prone to startles and flailing arms, as they get used to the sensation of being in the water.  Big brother looks on, probably wishing he could hop in himself.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Life Science

One of the nice things about belonging to a homeschool group, is that there are times when someone else provides a day of learning for my children.  Yesterday was one such day.  One of the moms in our group is a self-proclaimed Science Geek, and she offered to do a Science Day for the kids.  She set up our usual First Friday meeting room as a lab, complete with equipment and experiments.  She somehow managed to provide four experiments each, for four separate age groups of kids (31 kids total!), which kept them busy and learning for the better part of two hours.  They mixed and built, tasted, smelled and logged, magnetized, melted and exploded.  It was awesome.

I was wearing Genevieve on me in the carrier the whole time, three full hours by the time we got home.  She had slept all that time, so she was starving when we walked in the door.  I had the boys make their own sandwiches and eat while I nursed her, which left me famished.  The older boys had served morning Mass, it had been a long day already, and I didn't have it in me to make my lunch while still holding Genevieve.  I held her out to Blake, "Here honey, could you please take her, just for a few minutes?  I have got to eat something."  He took her, and as I walked out of the room, I heard my thirteen-year-old boy say:  "I haven't held you all day!  I don't think I've even seen you."  I looked up at the clock - it was 1:00.  If he went to school outside our home, he'd never see her before 4:00, and it certainly wouldn't be noteworthy that he hadn't held her during the day.  He cradled her and talked to her while I ate in peace, and I couldn't help but think that he's experiencing something that most teenaged boys never will.

Homeschooling isn't perfect, and it isn't for everybody.  Some days are so hard they leave me in tears, others have me questioning my very sanity.  But there is good in this life we're living.  There are relationships and time and love, and I pray these things outshine the struggles, when we all come out the other end and look back.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Feast Day Baking Fun

I only have a minute, but wanted to share some baking we did this week.  
We made Angel Wings on Tuesday, for the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.

Aren't they pretty?  I rolled out the dough, used a pizza cutter to cut it into strips, and then pinched the center of each strip to get the wing effect.  The bottom of this one is just the ragged edge that naturally forms along the outside of the dough when rolled out.  It was a total accident to actually use that edge, but I think it makes for a great looking set of wings!
Angel Wings
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
3 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt

1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
In mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Make a well and add egg yolks, eggs and vanilla. Mix well and knead. Roll out dough very thin on a lightly floured surface. Cut into strips and pinch dough to shape like wings. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

We also made a "tonsure cake" yesterday, for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

I've seen this idea many times, but somehow I knew what my boys would say about it.  When I asked them earlier in the week if they'd like to make one, and gave them the description of a chocolate cake baked in a tube pan to form a circle of "hair", or a tonsure, the older boys looked at me skeptically.  "Shouldn't there be a head in the middle of the hair?"  Ahem.  Yes, but surely you get the idea of it by just representing the tonsure, right?  They weren't convinced.  So... we had to find a way to make the whole top of St. Francis' head, not just his hair.

We inverted a little glass bowl in the middle of our cake.  I made some butter cream frosting and frosted the center, right over the bowl.  Then I added cocoa powder to the rest of the frosting to make it brown, and frosted the rest of the cake.  We tried for a hair-like effect by dragging the tines of a fork across the frosting in different directions.

Mr. Smith came home and saw it but didn't say much about it (did he think I was crazy?!).  I asked if he knew what it was... nope, not a clue.  I asked if he knew whose feast was today, yes, he did... still nothing.  I wasn't offended, I didn't expect him to figure it out.  It's kind of an odd representation, right?  Anyway, a few minutes went by, we were getting dinner on the table, and he blurted out, "Is it his HAIR?!"  So I guess it was identifiable after all. :)

Monday, October 1, 2012


Since having Genevieve, I've been a little frustrated with my camera.  We bought a Nikon D5100 back in February, with hopes that I'd have the hang of using it by the time the new baby came in August.  I worked at it at first, then fell away from it a little, and then I let Blake take over picture duties for a while.  The kid reads manuals for fun, and practically memorizes them, so I didn't think it would hurt to have him get to know the camera anyway.  He was the first to figure out how to take video on it, and he learned some great tricks with all the settings it has.  Still, I really wanted to get back to taking pictures, because I enjoy it.  Lately though, I've noticed that all my pictures were coming out with a blue hue to them.  Only when shooting in Manual of course, when in Auto the pictures were fine.  I'm sure in the back of my mind I knew that the answer was only a google search away, I just didn't have the energy to address it in my postpartum-ness.  I finally took a minute last week, and sure enough, a simple issue with the white balance.  I'm pretty sure Blake had changed it at some point, realizing it or not.  I changed the setting and voila, beautiful pictures once again.  Of course, it helps to have beautiful subjects:


I still have so much to learn about photography.  I know nothing at all about editing.  And I really need to figure out a good system for storing and printing.  But I'm back on my feet with it now, and I really love this camera.