Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer School

It's Saturday again and we're back out for our second week of summer school, aka the Farmer's Market! We signed up with our local Farmer's Market to sell a couple of things and boy has it been a great learning experience so far...and it's only been one week!

Here is the gang with their table of Mystic Monk Coffee (my husband's venture) and the kids with their trail mix and lemonade. The coffee is a success, just as we had thought. There are so many die-hard coffee drinkers out there that even the sun and heat don't stop them from sipping their favorite brew!

As the morning wore on and the sun got hotter (and they put up a sign so that people KNEW they were selling lemonade) the kids' side of the table picked up nicely. The lemonade attracted the crowd and it gave the kids a chance to tell them all about their Gourmet Trail Mixes that they had made. Can I just say that I am amazed at the number of people out there with peanut allergies! What's that all about??? Fortunately they had a mix without any peanuts!

Here I am with my soap display. The breeze was blowing just right, so the many fragrances of the soaps were attracting people my way. I had to laugh because I had one man come up to the table, stand proudly before me and declare, "I just LOVE soap!" At which point his wife walked up, noticed where he was standing and said, "Oh my, you've found soap...He just LOVES soap!" I hope to see him often :)

Well, this week we are tackling this without our four oldest daughters. Hopefully it will all go well. We need to make a few marketing changes to attract more attention to the Trail Mix so I'll try to take more pictures of our ideas and let you know how they turn out!

What fun this is to do this together: to brainstorm, try new things, learn how to make change :), see what works and what doesn't and meet and talk to so many wonderful people.

This week, check out a Farmer's Market near you. You might be amazed what you will find. I can't wait till the farmers actually get here!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's Cherry Time!

We were happy to discover that there are a variety of fruit trees and bushes on our property. The first of them from which we have benefited are some cherry trees. See if you can tell by this picture what type of cherry trees they are:
(I know, it was mean of me to totally set him up for this picture. The poor kid had no idea what he was in for!)

I happened to be commenting to my father that we were able to pick a nice bag full of the small, tart cherries off the two small trees, but that I was at a loss as to how to pit them. I figured it would require some hunting around to find a cherry pitter and then hope it worked without destroying the small cherries.

Fortunately my uncle was within earshot when we were having this conversation so he told me about my grandmother's secret way to get pits out of cherries - a hair pin. Not a bobby pin, mind you, but a good, old-fashioned hair pin. Finally having all these girls and their long hair had paid off - we had a ton of hair pins lying around (literally :)

After washing them thoroughly (the hairpins and the cherries), all you need to do is to stick the rounded end into the indentation where the stem was, get it around the seed and pop it out.

I couldn't believe how easy it was. No mess, no frustration! We had that bag of cherries pitted in no time and were on our way to making our first of three cherry desserts.

The first dessert we decided on was a cherry bar similar to a lemon bar - very good. Next, we made a cherry pie - a bit tart, but tasty none-the-less. The last dessert on the list, which we haven't made yet, is called Cherry Pudding.

No matter what you make, when you get to use things that you've grown and/or harvested yourself, they always taste so much better! I just discovered today that we have black raspberries that are ready to be picked...I bet they'll make a great pie or crumble, too!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Small Lesson in Faith and Trust

The other night I went to our adoration hour with a heavy heart. I had a lot on my mind and I was a bit anxious, both about certain events as well as the weather. I have noticed that, as I age, I get more and more anxious about being out in bad weather. I glanced at the lightning in the distance and noticed the still, humid air and wondered if it would hold off until I got home again.

I entered the monastery and began to pray the rosary. Of course, one of my first prayer requests was that it wouldn't rain until I got home :) I finished my rosary and moved on to my other night prayers and was feeling relatively at ease. At some point I convinced myself that I could be in no better place during a tornado than in front of the Eucharist!

After finishing my prayers, I set my book down, ready to move on to the next item on my "agenda" when I felt this sudden urge to leave. I wasn't even 3/4 of the way into my hour, but I don't think I could have stayed if I wanted to. I jumped up, let the nuns know I was leaving early, got in the car and raced home with one eye on the road and the other on the lightning.

After greeting my somewhat surprised husband, I heard the first drops of rain hit the window. Within five minutes of entering the house, we had a big tree limb down in the front yard and hail was pounding on the windows so hard we were afraid they were going to break.

As I sat in the basement with my family, I pondered the events of the past 1/2 hour to see what God was trying to tell me. Here is what I thought...

~ If God kicks you out of a pew, don't argue. Really, that is what it felt like. One minute I was sitting in peace, the next I was standing up moving for the door. On the way home I kept telling myself what a wimp I am for being so frightened of driving in storms, but once I got home and realized what I could have been out in, I was incredibly thankful that God used the force He had!

~ I went to adoration with many worries on my heart - some big, some small. I realized that if He took the time to make sure I got home before it rained, thus saving me from a lot of anxiety and who knows what else, then why should I be worried about the big stuff? I know this; there have been plenty of lessons in our life on just this topic, but every once in awhile I guess I need to be reminded of it in a concrete way.

~ Trust in the Lord! Keep close to Him through prayer and the Sacraments. Always try to do His Will, because (as I heard Mark Mallet say today) the safest place to be is in the Will of the Lord.

Thanks, God, for protecting me!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Father's Day...a great day to go out and do something with your dad that HE likes to do!

Thank you, Lord, for filling my life with great men...First my father and my grandfathers - all men that I admire and love - and then my husband - my perfect soul mate and best friend, a wonderful man and a great father to our children.

Hope you have a blessed Father's Day with some great men in your life, too!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our New Summer Adventure

Summer is here (well, almost) and the livin' is easy...ha! Yes, summer is here but there is still some school work to be done and, because for some reason we don't believe in taking it easy, we've taken on a big project for the summer - our town's Farmer's Market.

No, we are not farmers and we will not be selling produce but we thought it might be fun to get involved and sell some other stuff. Of course, just one thing wouldn't be much fun, so we've decided to sell four, totally unrelated things.

It started out with the goat's milk soap that I sell. We thought a farmer's market would be a great place to pick up more customers.

Next, my husband, who absolutely lives coffee, thought it might be fun to sell... coffee. Personally I cannot identify with drinking a hot liquid on a hot day, but then again, I don't love coffee, so I guess it is just something I cannot understand.

Then, since finding a part-time job is so difficult around here and my girls need to make some money so they can afford to pay for some of the things they are involved in (like college...) we thought it might be fun for them to sell something, too. We all decided on lemonade (for those people who think like I do...COLD drinks on hot days :) and gourmet trail mix. We've concocted three different varieties and have come up with names, cute bags and cool labels.

This coming Saturday is the first day of the market so we are praying for good weather and large crowds. There are a total of 38 vendors so there is a lot to choose from. Then, once a month, a mom's group is hosting something called "Junk in the Trunk" where the first 26 people to get there will be able to sell their "junk" out of their trunk. It's like a garage sale on wheels.

Hopefully I'll have a few minutes to buzz around with my camera and take some pictures to share. Please pray that we get everything done that we need to and that the weather cooperates. It should be tons of fun and a great learning experience for all of us!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Graduation 2010

It is the day after graduation. It was a beautiful Mass; we were blessed to have it celebrated by our new Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Siegel. Everything went very well and I will say that I didn't cry once :)
To Ms. 14 yo: Congratulations on finishing 8 years of education. It really is an accomplishment to get this far and do so well! But now it means that you are moving on to bigger, better, and more challenging things. You have four more years ahead of you to study hard, learn a lot and grow in grace and virtue. Make the most of these next four years because they will speed by all too quickly.

To Ms. 18 yo: What can I say? People kept asking me last night if I was sad. No, actually I'm quite excited...not that you are leaving but that you have a whole new world ahead of you. I am at peace with where you are headed and I hope that means that we are following God's Will for you at this time. I have to say, however, that the time truly has flown. I can remember you being 5 years old and people asking me what I was going to do about high school. Well, here it is, come and gone. I think we both did a pretty good job! I know you will do well in your quest for higher education and I am glad that you won't be leaving the nest completely yet! Like the Bishop said last night, keep Jesus at the center of your life and you will do well. You might be persecuted for your faith, but Jesus will not abandon you in your struggle to follow Him.

Congratulations to all the graduates of 2010. May God Bless you all and may you go forward to make this world a better place!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ninety and Counting

This past weekend we had the wonderful privilege of helping my great aunt celebrate her 90th birthday. She looked wonderful for 90 and, although a bit tired, was very happy.

It was really great timing because on Thursday and Friday I had spent some time at the local Christian homeschooling conference and heard some good speakers. A couple times throughout the two days I heard speakers make reference to the wealth of knowledge and valuable experience that the elderly people in our society have. One of the speakers likened the death of an elderly person to the closing of a library. I think that is a rather profound statement when you consider all the things that a 90 year old woman has seen change in her lifetime. I love listening to my great aunt tell us stories from when she was growing up. Her world was so different from ours.

What a treasure we have in our elderly friends and relatives and how many times do we say that we are just too busy to spend time with them? It's a shame, too because just loves to be surrounded by all of the little kids!

It's a good thing that she is the tough little Polish lady that she is...she lives in a changing neighborhood and has been robbed three times in the last year - twice while she was actually at home!!! Boy did she give those men a what-for when she figured out what they were up to!

The events of the past weekend brought it to my attention again...we really need to make time for those around us who are elderly and lonely. We both benefit from spending time together. So what if she can't see us clearly or even hear exactly what we are saying...the smile on her face (see above) when she is surrounded by young people is worth the time and effort!

Friday, June 4, 2010

1 Done...6 To Go

Yesterday was a monumental day in our lives...Ms 18 yo finished her school work! This means that she is finished with high school! This means that we have made it through 12 + years of home schooling! This means that I have one less person to worry about (ha ha) and only six more left to teach! WOW.

The official graduation ceremony is next week, so I hope to post something more formal, but in the mean time I just wanted to say,