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Holding a Hummer!

I took my ladies group to the Hummer House (click and explore) yesterday afternoon. We first thought it might not even happen because the morning had a bite to it with a chilly wind and some much needed rain. In fact, I had gotten calls asking if we were still going. I was determined to make it happen!

We got there a little ahead of our scheduled time and the slide presentation started right off. Many things were learned: 1. It takes about 7 hummers to equal 1oz. 2. A female always has two eggs that make up 20% of her weight. 3. Her skin is so tight when pregnant that you can see the eggs through her skin when you blow on her feathers. 4. Despite how hyper they appear, they are quite calm once captured. More was learned, but you’ll have to go and see for yourself!

Hummer House is known as a mega feeding station for the hummers. They have no less than 25 feeders out and plenty of pecan trees around with swarms of gnats (the protein rich food hummers love most). They call in banders to band new hummers and check the numbers on banded ones to track their journey and other data.

During the presentation, we saw a rare fellow, most likely an Allen’s Hummingbird. As a result, the banders were called in so we got to witness the whole process.

20140406-124147.jpg Allen’s Hummingbird

20140406-124405.jpgbander capturing hummers

Then we got to feel the heartbeat of a hummer. My goodness! If you thought their wings hummed, their heart seems to do it too! Finally, the real treat, holding a hummer! We all got to hold one, very briefly. See how calm they are?

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It was an amazing experience! While there, they caught two older hummers, known by the number sequence on the bands. Right now, they are tracking down the 12 year old hummer. Yes, old for a hummer!

Most of the hummers this direction are black chinned humming birds. They have a black head and chin with a tiny bit of the most vibrant purple under their chins. These feathers are actually clear! Most of the vivid colors on hummingbirds are iridescent and clear.

If any of my dear readers get the chance to go to Christoval, TX, go to the Hummer House. They are open every Saturday from April-September. There are also cabins to rent so you can stay nestled up in a cabin in the pecan Forrest to watch the birds for a weekend. In a few weeks, I plan to take my boys there for a homeschool unit study.

God Bless!

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Alms giving

One of the pillars of Lent is alms giving. Today, our local paper featured an article about some friars in Rome using Kickstarter to fund the restoration of the cell of St Francis that he frequently visited. Their goal is to raise $125,000. Last I saw, they were close to $4k into their goal. If you see it in your heart to help their cause, please visit Kickstarter and donate to their cause. Any funds that go over will be used to restore the rest of the building. I think it is really cool that they are using technology to boost their signal.

God bless!!

*EDIT* They have $50k of the $125k needed. Only 9 days left!

Happy Pi Day!

Last night I knew I was going to bake a blueberry pie for Pi Day (3.1415…). I brought it up to GamerDad and he said he would prefer a cake. I’m doing both.

At first I wanted to do Pi 3D. Once I printed out the template, I thought it would be crazy flimsy to try and do a two-layer cake. Thanks to a friend, I modified the idea and stuck with a 9on round on the bottom. She suggested just the rounds and making Pi out of fruit. Well, I cut out Pi from the second cake while front carrying Lil Miss in our Ergo carrier. Not an easy task.

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The top photo is what I am dubbing “cake surgery.” The bottom is the successful transfer of Pi onto the round. I used two spatulas and a lot of slow determination.

The frosting is a simple cream cheese frosting: 1 brick of cream cheese, 1 stick of butter, a pour of vanilla, and about 3 cups of sifted powdered sugar. The first two ingredients I beat the heck out of. The sifting is the key to any frosting with powdered sugar unless you dig the lumpy look.

Next, I took Lil Miss’ favorite food (I know, I know BLW at 1 year, but she seriously screams for these), strawberries, and sliced them. Tada! Mosaic strawberry Pi!

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Here is from earlier in the day when we all had lunch and there was screaming for food:

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God Bless!!

*Edit* For those who have been waiting, Pi Pie! It is blueberry and smells delish!

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It exploded a bit, which is why I included the pre-baked photo.

Enjoy!

Our Lady of Grace Monastery

Today’s visit to the monastery almost did not happen. I did not want to tempt fate with all three kiddos at a mass specially arranged for my church group. GamerDad is on his way back home or he could have corralled the boys. Last night I got a call that one of the ladies was ill and the other twisted her ankle. Then another call saying she didn’t want to drive on her own so she was ducking out.
I said a few quiet prayers as I spoke to these women. The lady with the bum ankle came because she had food for the nuns and wanted to help me get there. Then I got a text from another lady who was going to go but did not want to try and manage her kiddos on her own either. Instead of us both being grounded at home with kids, she volunteered to watch my boys. What a blessings that was!
Then, my boys, who never sleep in, slept in. They are my alarm clocks! At 7am I flew out of bed and shoved the butternut squash lasagna in the oven. I promised the nuns lunch for after mass and it needed cooked before the hour and a half drive out there. Sleeping in was another welcomed blessing as we are in the throws of the 6 month growth spurt over here.
At 8:30, I gave the lady who didn’t want to drive on her own a call and told her I had room in my 8 seater. Once I got to the meeting place, I was pleased to see both ladies (M&T we shall call them). If it wasn’t for T, I would have gotten terribly lost!

Our Lady of Grace is tucked way, way, way back in ranch land. Dirt roads folks. I haven’t been on a dirt road like that since I lived in PA.

Cows were lined up beside the road, a llama was there too! Trees were all over the place! Loved it!

Then, when you think you cannot drive any more, you see the bell tower. This particular chapel was dedicated in 2001 but they have been there for 20 years as of last month.

Here is the main doorway into the chapel:

20140301-202948.jpg The bell tower is just above this door. I was in a hurry because mass was about to begin and we had chatted with two of the nuns for a good while beforehand. They got a kick out of Lil Miss and Mother Superior Mary Grace praised me for nursing and said Pope Francis would be so glad I was doing that!

Once inside, I totally fell in love with the small details, like this:

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And there are these lovely shots from inside as well:

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Fr Michael had a powerful message on prayer. That we often get distracted when we say the rosary or another long prayer. What is important is to stay focused and send out little prayers to get back on track.

Immediately, I thought of when I get frustrated homeschooling. I will sit there and scribble JMJ on the planner to allow The Holy Family to help me. It brings such peace. “The little prayers are like javelins we cast out into the evil.” Indeed!

After mass he spoke with us and grief came up. His words teared me up. M has lost too many children, my heart broke for her. He said it brings us closer to God, sometimes we need a firm shaking to get us on our knees. Then I brought up my miscarriages and how after that and our first successful pregnancy my husband returned to the faith and took me to my first mass. I shared that I converted after that and we have only gotten more active as a family with our faith. He was glad to see some of us younger folk returning because he has seen that my generation is slipping away. It’s that entitlement thing my generation has, “me, me, me, mine, mine, mine.” Nope, God should be the center.

It was a much needed trip and I look forward to visiting them again. I feel spiritually recharged!

In case you want to learn more of the sweet Carmelite sisters, here is their link

God bless!

Simple pleasures

It has been a day full of stress. Today started on a great high note (paid off my car), and progressively got worse (stuff I just really do not want to get into).

The itch to be arty struck big time. It has built up over the past few days, actually. I initially resorted to mindless doodles in the homeschool planner…with twist crayons. That didn’t cut it.

I’d been eyeing the Color Me Your Way books and settled on a relaxing seascape in Color Me Your Way 2. Just looking at it uncolored chilled me out.

The boys actually behaved and played on their own while Lil Miss napped, allowing me to get out the colored pencils and color the stress away. Man, it was very therapeutic and I will revisit it again because I can tell I am still frazzled.

Here is what I colored:

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Blah on it being sideways.

Here is where you can get the Color Me Your Way series: Color Me Your Way
Every page is filled with enchanting nature scenes. There are hidden images within the main scenes which adds to the fun in coloring it. Their Facebook page features finished color pages from different folks who all approached coloring the same scene in different ways. I love it!

God Bless!

ACA aka Obamacare has had a lot of criticism. I am one who is not fond of it and now I have a very personal reason to loathe it.

A family member had surgery almost a month ago and did not receive proper PT. One walk down the hall a day. Water started building up. Now 25 pounds of fluid is built up, some of it is in the lungs. Internal bleeding is going on too. No one is running tests to find out where or why. In fact, they say my family member is clear to go home. I don’t think so! Where is the care in this plan?! It is more like let them wither and die. Only the strongest survive. Take every last penny they have and let them fade away in a corner to die.

I am trying so hard to not be angry. I keep rattling off a Hail Mary. I want to be there and I don’t at the same time. I feel that I would let word vomit fly from my mouth. Please add your prayers with mine.

God bless!

Wrestling with emotions

Hello, it has been a while! The past week or so has been stressful. I have no idea why or even what triggered me to have fried nerves, but they were. They kinda still are.

Perhaps it is waiting for CA to -still- give me my temporary extension driver’s license. Or it could be anxiously awaiting our tax return so we can be 100% debt free. It could also be because my husband is getting ready to leave the home for a week due to work. The weather keeps teasing with 70s and then back pedaling to the 30s, two months of sickness, I am so done! And it could be that I have been feeling like a chubby slob even though I am not.

There, I aired it all out. I seriously wanted to word vomit it all out the other day but everything felt so raw. I wanted to chill and reflect on it some. Everything except the last one, I cannot control (feeling chubby I can control by watching what I stuff in my face). I wasted a week being frazzled. Seriously! I know better, the devil was really trying to get the better of me. Every time I felt down, I prayed. After Mass yesterday, I felt mostly better.

This morning started off alright and I found myself slipping again. I need to keep staring at my Holy Family images around the house. I need to wear one of my decades more often so I can sit and do a quickie prayer when I need to. I need to own up to my emotions and harness them.

The bright spot to the day was winning this:

20140210-130649.jpg. Our local station had a Russian word of the day and I only entered in one day. What was the word? Don’t ask me the Cyrillic phrase was, but it meant “opening ceremonies.” GamerDad entered every day. Oops.

Yes, a silly little pin got a smile on my face. Now to keep it there and keep hunting the good stuff instead of soaking in the mud.

Other good stuff:
1. Lil Miss is trying to crawl.
2. Oldest kiddo got all As again!
3. GamerDad helped and improved on revamping a cloth diaper (post to come once it is perfected).
4. Middle kiddo is starting to learn that we will not put up with demands and will easily be tricked if we change the subject. (Today was a giant fit of wanting to go into the news station. After a half hour, we bet him he wouldn’t be able to choose a lunch option. Guess what he did? ;) ).
5. We have company coming into town this week and said company is giving me a Paella lesson!! That might be a future post too.
6. I am taming it down for GamerDad’s upcoming birthday. No Tardis failure this year, but we will have chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes.

What are your good things you have hunted out this week? How do you get out of an emotional funk?

God bless!

***UPDATE*** I called the DMV and my temp was mailed last week, so I should have it soon. My regular DL will be here in 2-3 weeks. Praise God!

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