Sunday, March 18, 2018

Poem of the Week: St. Patrick's Breastplate

St. Patrick's Breastplate
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

HT (and the longer version): Prayer Foundation

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sorry, I've been off Ye Olde Blog for a bit.  I've been busy both having fun and putting out fires.
Which reminds me, I have a ton of things to blog about!

I'll get to everything eventually.  Probably.

Right now, it's St. Patrick's Day!!!!   I'm cooking 20 lbs of corned beef, 3 large cabbages and 10-15 lbs of potatoes. Klenda just finished making a double batch of Irish cream flavored Oreo truffles for dessert. Here's a post on why this day is special to us.

We are feeding the 16 gentleman our parish is currently housing for Safe Haven, as well as another 10 or so here at home.  Yes, I realize that's a lot of meat for 26 people, but I'd love for everyone to have as much delicious corned beef as they want to eat!

This year I'm trying the enormous pressure cooker my mom gave me.  If it works, it'll be by far the easiest way we've ever done this.  It's just the "If" that worries me!

In the meantime,  let's enjoy a discussion of the Trinity with St. Patrick's Bad Analogies!

And, of course, the Lorica, St. Patrick's Breastplate:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Kid's Astronomy: Planets 2

Creating Saturn's rings and shepherd moons
This was this week's class, the outer solar system.  The original of this class was blogged here, I'm just adding current pictures and noting anything I did differently.

Building the comet

Comet after sublimation
The big thing I did differently was to get extra dry ice (note to self, 5 pounds was plenty).

We put it colored water and chemistry glassware to look like mad scientists.

And we put it into juice for the kids to drink!

I also showed them why proper ventilation is needed.  I lowered a candle into the CO2 filled ice chest, then poured it from one of their bubbling flasks.

A marvelous time was had by all!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Last Week's Kids' Astronomy, Planets 1

Thanks to Shelli for taking pictures!

The original class is posted here.

I added a demonstration of how true planets clear their orbits (as opposed to dwarf planets).

I tried picking up scattered paper clips by dragging a refrigerator magnet across them (too small and weak to pick up all the clips in it's path), then using a large magnet (cleared it's entire path).

Also, I couldn't find my scanning thermometer for the heated tiles (one is covered with a thick wool blanket to mimic Venus's insulating cloud cover) , and I was using chemistry thermometers, but, at 150 F for the insulated (warmer) tile, the kids were able to briefly touch the tiles, and this made more of an impression.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Two Busies and Two Funnies

Well, we've had a crazy few days.  Last weekend we got hit with the edge of that giant storm.  We didn't get snow, but we got an alarming amount of wind- about 24 hours of howling 50 mph, with gusts up to 80 mph!

Leena and Oob were watching out our window when they saw our dear neighbor's tree come down!


On the plus side, it fell where it probably did the least damage (not on any houses, and missing her main car), on the down side, it took power lines down across the road, and it did hit her convertible.

After the winds had died down, we went over to help clean up.
Many hands, as my neighbor observed, make light work, and many hands are our specialty!

They came to fix the power lines the same day, but many others, including my parents, were not so lucky.  They live 200 miles north and were out of power for 5 days!  It's a bigger problem when no power means no water in the tap (well with an electric pump) and lots of water in the basement (no sump pump), and when you are also getting snow.  Fortunately they have coal, so they didn't freeze.

They are getting over a foot of fresh snow today...  Prayers are appreciated!

On another note, Leena and I have finalized our plans for the Easter flowers and decorations!

I thought we were really early this year, but then I realized that tomorrow is day 20, so we're already half way through Lent!

So, not early, but at least not late!

We found these great crosses at Hobby Lobby, but you'll have to wait for Easter to see what we are doing with them.

We also found this sign!

Also this week, I was waking up the Zoomlians when I stepped on saw this cute little duck puppet which I had completely forgotten about.

How sweet!  I decided I'd wake them up with it.

Who are you calling cute!

I hadn't realize it wasn't a cute cuddly duck puppet.

It was an angry bad tempered duck puppet.

The kids will probably recover.


Maybe I should have them set their own alarms.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Poem of the Week: The Well and The Gift

Theoretically, we are year B and the Gospel is Jesus Cleansing the Temple, but our Archdiocese is using the year A reading (always an option), the Woman at the Well. That first poet you might know by his other name: St. John Paul the Great!

The Well
by Karol Wojtyla

It joined us together, the well;
the well led me into you
No one between us but light
deep in the well, the pupil of the eye
set in an orbit of stones.
Within your eyes, I,
drawn by the well,
am enclosed.

The Gift
by R.S. Thomas

Some ask the world
and are diminished
in the receiving
of it. You gave me
only this small pool
that the more I drink
from, the more overflows
me with sourceless light.

HT: Moved to Greater Love

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Awesome American History: 1925-1927

Awesome History is back with semester three out of three for American History!  This week we did the Iditerod, the Scopes Trial, and Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight: pages 235-245 in The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong.

We had a great active activity planned: we were going to do a dog sled activity using Shelli's very large, very affable dog and a wagon.  Unfortunately, it rained! 

The art activity, although more time intensive than we had planned, was a huge hit!

They made husky faces from a template and a mosaic of torn paper.  This was one of those projects that hits the sweet spot of things kids like to do that look fabulous, even with little kids.

 I don't think I've mentioned it it, but quite often, when we have an intensive project like this, we do half the kids at a time.  Most often, the boys have run off to talk Legos and Nerf weapons, and we start with the girls.  Then the girls go play while the boys work on it.

Leena decided to cut out her template in fine detail, and then spray painted it in layers.

The result was very cool, and the process was mesmerizing to the younger girls.

 Everything worked out perfectly:  the art project was long enough that no one really missed having an active activity.

The snack was hot pretzel "doggie bones."

I think if I do it again, and don't have a dog available, I would do paper airplanes as the active activity.  But as it happened, it was a great start to the semester!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Gospel Desserts!

 Our Gospel Dessert for the first Sunday of Lent was an angel food cake with clouds of whipped cream and rainbows as a nod to the first and second readings with the covenant of Noah.

The Gospel was Mark's super short description of Jesus in the desert: he went, he was hungry, he was tempted, the angels ministered to him.

 The second Sunday Gospel was the Transfiguration.  This is one that comes up every year, and I've never been completely satisfied with our dessert interpretation.

I think that, deep in my heart, I've always thought the perfect dessert for this would be a croquembouche.  I know this because I saw one 25 years ago, the one time the Emperor and I watched The Martha Stewart Show.

It was the most glorious, difficult, and time consuming dessert I'd ever seen.

Seriously, people, friends don't let friends watch Martha Stewart!

It's a mountain of cream puffs surrounded by a golden glory cloud of caramelized spun sugar.

I've made cream puffs before, but I was a bit intimidated by the spun sugar!  It turned out to be so fun that we all were spinning it, and we didn't want to stop...

Kinda made a horrible mess of rock hard yet sticky bits of sugar over much of the kitchen, but that's not the point!!

So we ended up with an enormous "glory cloud."

Also, my mountain isn't as tall as is traditional, because I decided not to glue it together with more caramel.  Maybe after another 25 years.

Still, I do feel like we did THE definitive Transfiguration dessert.  This is a transformation of sugar, flour, eggs, butter, cream, and water (with a bit of cocoa in the cream puff filling).

It wasn't as funny (to me) as the definitive Temptation in the Desert dessert, but it was a lot of fun to make!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Poem of the Week: To Keep a True Lent

To Keep a True Lent
Is this a Fast, to keep
The Larder lean?
And clean
From fat of veals and sheep?
Is it to quit the dish
Of flesh,
yet still to fill
The platter high with fish?
Is it to fast an hour,
Or ragg’d go,
Or show
A downcast look and sour?
No: ’tis a Fast to dole
Thy sheaf of wheat
And meat
Unto the hungry soul.
It is to fast from strife
And old debate,
And hate;
To circumcise thy life.
To show a heart grief-rent;
To starve thy sin,
Not bin;
And that’s to keep thy Lent.