Weekly Planner April 15-21

Hey y’all! I’ve been bad about getting these up. We’re in the throes of curb shopping season and so our weekends are often packed with goneness. I decided that’s a word.

Holy Week is upon us, which means Easter season is almost here! I’m excited. What are your plans for this week? Here are mine!

Monday, April 15th

Our diocese prism mass is this day, and I would love, love to go, but it’s too far to drive to get there in time after we leave the library in the morning. Maybe we’ll figure it out for next year.

B: Scrambled eggs, toast, fruit (our chickens are giving us six eggs a day, so lots of eggs to eat)

L: Mac N Cheese Monday. We’ll probably hit up the DSM Lib in the afternoon for the mandatory weekly manga refill session.

S: Pulled chicken sandwiches, fries, salad

Tuesday, April 16th:

Happy birthday, Grandma Gail! I’ll be making Judas Rolls for Wednesday’s breakfast since it’s an early morning most Weds.

B: Pancakes with fruit

L: DIY/leftovers

S: Tacos. I’ll be headed to our parish liturgy meeting and helping to prep the church for Good Friday.

Wednesday, April 17th:

Spy Wednesday, marking Judas’ betrayal. It’s interesting to look at the swiftness of the judicial system at the time and how long things take now. We’ll be boiling and coloring eggs for this weekend. I also have chocolate silver coins to spread around the house and let the kids look for, symbolizing the 30 pieces of silver Judas received for his information.

B: Judas buns made the day before.

L: Sandwiches, raw veggies

S: Pizza. Prep extra toppings for lunch the next day.

Thursday, April 18th

Holy Thursday, sometimes known as Green Thursday. We will watch the Prince of Egypt on our way to piano in the car. Make hot cross buns for Friday.

B: Dutch Babies with fruit

L: Pasta Bar

S: Spanakopita (filled with green goodness), green salad

Friday, April 19th

Good Friday. I hope to make it to our Good Friday services, but it isn’t clear yet if that will happen. It’s a busy week apart from all the Holy Week happenings. Because I have to be gone for most of the day Saturday, I’ll be making salads and pies for Sunday a bit in the afternoon. It’s also a fast day, so I won’t be eating the baked potatoes, as that would a little large for lunch.

B: Hot Cross Buns, fruit

L: Baked Potatoes

S: Pretzels with cheese

Saturday, April 20th

Easter Vigil. Decorate for Easter in between Easter Vigil rehearsal at CTK, a birthday party in the afternoon, and then Easter Vigil.

B: Scrambled eggs with bacon and toast

L: at the party

S: Rosemary mustard pork chops in the slow cooker, mashed potatoes, green beans

Sunday, April 21st

Easter! Mass, egg hunt, then home for family time.

B: Bagels with cream cheese

L: Easter feast with ham and all the good stuff

S: leftovers from lunch


Manga, Manga, and more Manga (SQT)

  1. As noted from the title, this week, and the couple of weeks prior, have been filled with manga. I mentioned to the kids that I had checked the DMPL and they had a large manga collection that would better satisfy their needs than my puny pocketbook and we were off to the races. Since that moment, I have found stacks of manga all over the house, had requests for holds in order to get manga from distant DMPL branches, and make one to two trips to our nearest branch to retrieve said manga each week. I love that the kids are passionate and are reading so much here lately. I did mention maybe we should see if we can find a book on something else they’re interested in, like ramen or chopsticks. They looked at me with blank stares and went on their way.
  2. Tuesday I attended a community input meeting about the town of Pleasantville. The town has clearly been dying instead of growing the last several years and it seems the powers that be are ready to do something about it. They’ve hired McClure Engineering’s Placemakers to help set some strategy to turn things around. I think it’s a good idea. There’s a lot of potential with how the town is situated near so many bigger cities and attractions. It’s going to be a lot of work. One of my main concerns in going was to support and inform on behalf of the library, which is filling so many of those check-boxes brought up at the meeting as necessary to growth. We want to make sure our historic building is not replaced with some new, ugly, modern corner in a rec center, which has been tossed around and dreamed about by the half the city council and manager for some time. I think the rec center would be a great addition, but the city supporting the library which already exists and does so much for the community is more important. We’ll see what sort of plan unfolds. As a side note, on my wish list was a real grocery store/cafe like we used to have (but better-it was getting run down and I want a focus on local stuff) and a brewery/pub. I like local things. And they’re good for towns.
  3. We went from finally all getting over what was likely influenza to getting a new cold. The little girls are the most miserable but seem to be coming out of it now after several days. I am hoping it’s one we big people have already had so we might get lucky and skip it. Easter is almost here!
  4. It has been so windy here. It’s almost getting frustrating because there’s constant white noise that is never there. Loud, loud wind. We have deck boards off our back deck right now because we are doing some major overhauls and you can stand and watch it move back and forth. It makes it hard to be outside, despite reaching reasonable temperatures each afternoon. Here’s hoping it blows away soon.
  5. Andrew and I were doing some walking around the property last weekend, and discussed taking down the old play set the kids had, as the wood is no good in it. I mentioned we should keep the slide somehow, though, as it’s a little bigger than our others, which are all toddler slides, as IE loves it. He took it off and we kind of looked around and was stumped as to where we’d put it. I mentioned we could put it off the east side of the front porch, which he kind of chuckled at, looked and said no, it wouldn’t work as the drop is too far. Then I looked harder and said fine, take out some of the railing and put it off the front between bushes. And he did. And the kids love it. And we win parents of the weekend. We’ll also move the little metal swing set up to the front yard so I can watch the little girls from the front living room during high wasp hours.
  6. It’s picking season! So exciting. We’ve been twice so far and though we didn’t get a whole lot yet (both towns were pretty dismal), it’s fun to be out scavenging again. My main picking list is for the library. I still am looking for clothes for kids and a few smaller items I use and find regularly, but overall, it’s library stuff. When you’re on a budget, you soon see how useful curb shopping is, if you’re willing to dig through other people’s trash. It’s funny to look back and see how shy I was when we began. Now I feel like those throwing the stuff away rather than donating it somewhere are the ones who should feel some shame. So much is still so usable. You just need to think on where it can be sent. Case in point, we weeded a ton of audio books at the library, as we’d purchased more than we could keep on the shelves. We were standing there trying to figure out the best place to send them when I stumbled on the idea of seeing if our local nursing home would be interested for residents. Awesome-director-lady gave them a call and they were absolutely thrilled. We both loved seeing them go somewhere they’ll be loved and being able to help our local community. Though I love picking, I’d love it even more if people tried to send stuff where it can be used instead. We’re such a throwaway culture.
  7. It’s one of our birthday seasons now. Late March opens it with my uncle, sister, grandma, and husband. Then we hit April with my nephew, brother-in-law, mom, mom-in-law, as well as various cousins on both my and Andrew’s side. Last weekend we celebrated my adorable nephew’s birthday and this weekend I’m barbecuing chicken for mi madre. All that, and Holy Week is NEXT WEEK PEOPLE. My menu plan post will be up shortly and reflect all the things. I am excited. It’s another big Easter season for us with friends joining the church!
Yay for porch slides!

This post is part of This Ain’t the Lyceum’s Seven Quick Takes blog party. Go check out some of the other participant’s here.

Yums, Music, and Birthdays (SQT)

  1. Last Sunday, I walked away from mass kind of upset. Sad, really. I love the liturgical seasons of the Church-they were one of the big things that drew me to her. There’s so much opportunity to learn more about our faith in the fasting and feasting of the seasons laid out for us, that when I see blatant disregard for those seasons it makes me sad. Last weekend was especially so because the music that was chosen and the way it was played both completely disregarded the penitential flow of the season, and the person responsible for those choices was supposed to have been informed that she should wait until after Easter to use those choices. Instead, we walked out of mass to something that sounded like a raucous drum circle rather than the end of a beautiful mass. I am sure I am in the minority in our parish in these feelings, but it has weighed heavily on my heart all week.
  2. Andrew gained another year this week. We celebrated his birthday by taking his work car to the dealership to fix a recall that left him unable to accelerate like he needed to. Yay. It meant we had to eat out for supper as there was no time to make it, we had to stay in town to follow him in and give him a ride home. So, we tried a place that’s been on my list for awhile, Sassy Souk’s. The food was good-nothing blow your mind, but very yummy. The portions were enormous. We had so. much. food. leftover. That never upsets anyone, as they all love leftover Asian fare. And, DJ, and AD all got Thai noodle dishes which were all good. I got summer rolls, and a bowl of the Pho Special, which I shared with DJ because she couldn’t make up her mind. GJ also got Pho, but the steak, and IE shared noodles with DJ. The service was fantastic-the owners and cook all came out to check on us and personally served us some free dessert which was fun. I had never had taro root, and the dessert that evening was a tapioca and taro pudding. We spent more than usual on supper, but ordered way too much food, too. Gratuity was already in the mix, so that factored in, too. It’s just pricey to take us all out to eat. Definitely a good place to stop if you’re in the Grimes area.
  3. We spent last weekend cleaning up and fixing the chicken situation. Over the winter, some animals had managed to rip through a lot of the chicken wire, so they were no longer safe and regularly escaping. Rather than repair that, in part because we’ve gotten so many over the past few years due to chicks-are-cute weakness at the feed store, we detached the old run, and moved the coop into the dog run we used for ducks last. Filled in the duck pond, cleaned up the raised beds, laid down a ton of sawdust, cleaned all the poop out of the coop after a seriously long winter, and the next day they decided to start laying eggs again. The whole thing looks so nice now. Oh, and we redid the wire roof of the run (we have serious owl and hawk problems) and raised it up so we didn’t have to duck while we’re in there. DJ was very happy about that. We finished the weekend off with our first campfire of the year.
  • 4- And and I had our monthly date night at One Eleven Pub in Knoxville. It was so good. I hadn’t been there before. We shared some poutine, which we shouldn’t have because it was enough to be a meal. I had some of my sour beer I love (something A Too Who) and Andrew tried a jalapeno beer which if you like jalapenos was good but I don’t so much. Then he had a peanut butter porter that I kept stealing. It was like dessert. He ordered their house burger which was amazing and perfectly cooked with Tasso fries. I had the Chef’s choice flatbread, which that night was three cheese and wonderful. The ambiance was perfect for date night-pretty dark and there was no band, so just some classic rock playing (must have been a Clapton fan because there was a lot of that on) and we giggled over Nick Offerman drinking with us all night on the flat screen on the wall. We’ll definitely be back.
  • 5- Sunday we had our Universal Yums box for March, a trip to Ukraine. It was a very chocolatey box, which we all enjoyed. The mushroom corn puffs were amazing. They tasted just like crunchy oyster mushrooms. We also like the chocolate pizza with all the various flavors. I didn’t realize rosemary went with chocolate so well. I am definitely going to use that in the kitchen some time. There really wasn’t anything in the box this time that we didn’t like, which is a first, I think. Usually there’s at least one local flavor we all kind of turn our nose up at.
  • 6- I finally got some answers from my allergist this week about the upcoming outdoor seasons. I am on maintenance now with my shots, which mean I only need to go in once a week. I still won’t be completely in the clear (but forever on shots) until next year, but she felt that I was okay to be outside as long as I’m careful, as I should partial immunity at this point. I will always need the epi pen, and for now should keep another adult with me if possible. But, it means I won’t have to skip things like our local Pig Out, the Tulip fest, redbud and mushroom season and campfires. If there are obviously some bug issues, I’ll stay away, but otherwise, should be able to live a little closer to normal this year. I am extremely excited. I love my outdoors time and have been missing it dreadfully. This is the first time since I can remember as a child that I don’t have tan lines leftover from the previous year because I spent the last half of last year inside. Thank you Jesus, Blessed Mother, and Blessed Solanus Casey- your love and prayers I know are helping me out here!
  • 7- So, we actually celebrated Andrew’s birthday on his birthday. At home, which is what we usually do. I made Iowa Top Prime sirloins on the grill with mushrooms and onions, along with twice baked potatoes, his favorite Watergate salad, a tossed salad, some delicious garlic bread from a loaf we picked up at the European Market in Ankeny (fresh baked and so squishy!), horchatas to drink (he’s been asking for those forever), and a from-scratch pineapple upside-down cake. He enjoyed his supper, as did we all. So stuffed. I love our at home celebrations.

What did you do this week?

Weekly Planner March 25-31

Monday starts this week off beautifully with waffle day- the Feast of the Annunciation! We’ll have our oatmeal/DIY breakfast, then Monday Mac-n-cheese (likely with tuna thrown in because we all enjoy it that way), and for supper…. waffles! using the same recipe we’ve used for years. We adopted it from the Davises after a Make-Ahead Mamas gathering.

The last Tuesday of the month is usually potluck mass, but this week there’s a funeral, so there’s no potluck. That changes up our plans a little. Breakfast will be muffins, lunch will be sandwiches/leftovers, and it’s the feast day of my confirmation saint, and one I talk to regularly, St. Margaret Clitherow. She was literally pressed to death under heavy stones, so we’re having pressed pizza panini (Aldi ciabatta rolls, mozzarella cheese, sauce, pepperoni, salami, capacola, basil) and salad.

Wednesday we’ll start off with oatmeal/diy breakfast, then sandwiches/leftovers/snacky lunch, then piano lessons. For supper, we’re having Mexican street corn soup with tortilla chips and salsa.

Thursday is Grandma day (when Grandma Penny usually comes over to visit) and it’s also Andrew’s birthday. Breakfast will be pancakes, lunch will be leftovers, unless we’re out of those, in which case, I’ll make mushroom ravioli. I’ll make a cake for And, and supper we’re still hashing out. I think we may grill steak. We switched out the grills, taking the smaller one to the creek and the bigger one to the deck so we’re set to fit everyone’s on.

Friday is AD’s baptism anniversary, so he picked out some of the food. I do not have a baptism candle for him, so we’ll light the blessed candle for Candlemas to celebrate. Breakfast will be oatmeal/diy, lunch will be baked potatoes magically baked in the oven while I work (yay!), and for supper AD picked chickenless chicken noodles, made with a vegan chickenish base and homemade noodles. He hasn’t specified a dessert, but if he doesn’t we may just go with blondies or brownies.

Saturday morning we’ll start with biscuits with black pepper gravy, then subs for lunch. Saturday is the Feast of St. Irene of Rome, so we’re celebrating because it’s a name day for us 🙂 St. Irene nursed St. Sebastian back to health after he was riddled with arrows. We’ll have chicken satay with coconut rice and cucumber salad, the skewer in the satay symbolizing the arrows.

Sunday is Laetare Sunday! It’s also our “Family Day” when three of the girls were baptised and three of us had our first communion. Breakfast will be our usual Sunday fare before mass, bagels with cream cheese. It’s the fifth Sunday in our parish cycle, so we’ll have brunch after mass at the Knight’s Fifth Sunday brunch. And and I have a meeting, but then later we’ll have chicken lo mein for supper (we add noodles instead of rice to this and double the sauce), the choice of GJ and IE for the family day supper (since it’s their baptism day) and I have a special dessert on order from Over the Top. Normally, for Laetare Sunday we’d have Laetare “sundaes” with ice cream and pink toppings. We will probably also have some rose tea (the official name of the liturgical color for the day) I have from St. Valentine’s day, a St. Valentine tea from Russia.

Hair cuts, baked potatoes, and sunshine (SQT)

Another Catholic mom blog I read, This Ain’t the Lyceum, does a Seven Quick Takes feature regularly. It’s not all that dissimilar to what I was posting before my meal plans, so I figured I’d give it a go.

  1. AD’s hair was getting pretty shaggy. He’d had me trim here and there, but otherwise had been wearing it longer than usual, and styling it now and then. Apparently, it was starting to bother him. Yesterday, I was trying to get into my bathroom to grab a hair dryer to help GJ after her bath, and it was locked. I asked to get in and AD refused, asking me what I needed. I figured maybe he’d smuggled his phone in and was playing on it. Then I heard the zip, and knew he was in the barber tools. After a lot of coaxing, I got him out of the bathroom, but he was visibly embarrassed with his mishap in trying to trim his own hair. I reassured him I was in no way angry, and that I’d either fix it or we could go somewhere and have a professional do it. He finally agreed to let me fix it and is now sporting a very handsome Roman style cut.
  2. Somehow, I missed that the bottom oven on the stove I hate but am stuck with until it dies a natural death, has a delay timer. I gave it a go today and am unreasonably excited for what this means. I was able to prep our baked potatoes (scrub, grease up, salt-if you don’t do this, you’re missing out) and toss them in, then set the timer to start one hour before I get home from the library. I walked in to perfectly baked potatoes ready for lunch. It’s awesome.
  3. Following the mishap with AD’s hair yesterday, I had to clean up all the hair that was no longer on his head. Since I had to do that, I figured the shower was due for a cleaning, and WikiTree work was light for the day. I cleaned the shower. I hate cleaning that darn thing. It needs resealed, so nastiness gets behind the caulking. Then I cleaned the rest of the bathroom and did a bit more decluttering. It’s all shiny now. And my hands are yelling at me, because I use chemicals there I refuse to use anywhere else in the house due to the yuck factor.
  4. We celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph in a lovely way. We went to our local Italian American Heritage group’s luncheon and altar. It was beautiful. The lunch was delicious. I brought guantis (wandas) home for Andrew since he couldn’t go. AD stayed home since he was sick with a head cold. The girls and I then went to the downtown library, where a small miracle occurred (thanks, St. Lawrence!) and I only owed $1.25 in late fees and my card was renewed without arguing over residency requirements. It made my day. DJ is in love with the huge manga collection they have and I was thrilled we’d be spending less on feeding her and AD’s current love of the books. The littles enjoyed a scavenger hunt in the children’s section. We grabbed coffee in the Smokey Row drive-thru on the way home. Then that evening we had a white lasagna for supper. It was super yummy and used a cauliflower alfredo sauce which made it so much lighter. Heavy food is not my favorite.
  5. Growing up I loved reading works by Edgar Allan Poe. I had his complete works in my Kindle library, and decided to queue it up and start working through it when I was in between real books. The first story in it is the Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. My impression in finishing it was…. hm. Ha. There were sections that were interesting, classic Poe, and there were sections where I was wondering why I was still reading this. He dug a little too far into trying to explain maritime history and mechanics. It didn’t help the story. At all. It felt light in the other sections, too, where he was digging into the fantastical and horrible. I wish he’d done more there. Those boys were stuck on that first raft waaay longer than we heard about their voyage south. Not Poe’s best work, for sure. I am glad it’s done.
  6. The weather here has finally decided to be springy. So nice. The kids are outside each day. I am still not in the clear for venom allergy issues, but hope to get out a little each day and do some cleaning or updating. I have some plans, but am kind of waiting on some input from the allergist before I do more. In the meantime, the kids are using the hammocks and swings like crazy, and are enjoying walking up to the very swollen pond to see if the level has moved any. It’s higher than it’s ever been, since we bought the place almost 14 years ago.
  7. I keep putting bugs in ears about starting a small library at our parish. One of the biggest concerns I’ve seen since joining the Church is that so few members really understand their faith, and books, one way of learning, aren’t easy to borrow/are cost prohibitive to buy. Most public library’s collections are wanting. I have a nice collection myself and would gladly donate it if I knew it would be getting good use. I think we’re a little closer now, and talks of possibly updating the cry room to also serve as a library (again, as it turns out, it once was just that) and change up some furniture they already have to get things rolling. I am doing some research to see what the best plan will be, as compared to how we do things at our little town library. Any library makes me happy, and a new one filling an obvious need gets me all excited.
Part of the altar for St. Joseph’s feast at the Italian American Cultural Center

Those are my takes this week! Here’s the link up for the rest of the blog world’s.

Weekly Planner and Recap, March 11th-17th 2019

Our week was fairly normal. I spent the day today with dear friends at a rite for their entrance into the Church and then we chatted at a coffee shop after about life, faith, books, and coffee. It was a lovely day. The rite was at the cathedral my great great grandparents attended, which I had never been in and it was amazing to sit and look at the beautiful stained glass while thinking about how they used to do the same thing during mass each week.

While I was there, DJ went to AnimeCon with some friends at a local university. She had a blast and is already planning her next con visit, which will likely happen this summer. She enjoys her friends time. We need to find ways to make that happen more frequently.

This last week we started the Lenten season. Most of us attended Ash Wednesday services after fasting all day. This one was not followed with puking pyrotechnics like yesterday, so that was awesome. DJ and I gave up sweets for the season. AD surprised me and voluntarily decided he wanted to give up meat. He’s been very dedicated so far, but definitely looks forward to our Sunday feast day when he can indulge a little. I have been doing some reading about how Lent was traditionally observed and though I feel it’s a little late for this season because I’ve already done all my planning, I think next year I might try to observe it closer to those traditions. They don’t sound that out of reach and those fasting and abstinence days really do keep Christ on your mind. Every time you think about a snack or someone offers you something you know you’re avoiding, you think, ah, but for Christ…and move on because that dedication is worth it. It’s something I plan on doing more thinking on before next year. For this year, though, sweets are enough. I definitely let myself get too attached to them again and already have felt better in just the few days that we’ve been in the season. I did indulge in a praline today I had saved from Andrew’s dear Aunt Jean’s funeral last week (God bless her soul). They looked amazing and had walnuts and pecans and well, they were worth waiting for! Aunt Jean will be missed, but her family celebrated her life very nicely. It is always nice to see the cousins that we only seem to see when someone passes away or gets married. A few of us talked about trying to plan some informal park gathering once a year to try to see each other more often.

I have brownies in the oven right now, as I promised the house I would make dessert on Sundays. Everyone’s pretty excited. We got kind of stuck in eating dessert too often, and that makes it less special, so Lent was a good time to institute a better rhythm there.

No major house improvements this week-I needed a break. I think the next thing I’ll work on is more decluttering in the freezer room. I have a load of stuff ready to head to the thrift store already with plenty more than needs to leave. Curb shopping season will be upon us at the end of the month, so we need to take account of what we have and what we’ll be looking for before then. I found most of the dates we need, so we should be set.

I started some new roles/left a few roles at WikTree, which is a refreshing move. I admit I was burnt out in some things I was doing, so it was good timing. I am enjoying it so far, and hope it will inspire me to work on my research again soon. I’ve been lax on it while burnt out on other things I been working on on the site. I am glad to get a new wind! I still haven’t had a chance to play with Ancestry’s new DNA tools. I must do that. There’s such a buzz in the genea-community about them.

I’ve been reading “In This House of Brede” by Rumer Godden and I love it. It isn’t my usual genre but the inner workings of the monastery… I just keep writing down parts that inspire me and I can’t stop reading it. That surprises me knowing my history. It was mentioned in a podcast talking about Lent reading and it’s been in my personal library waiting to be read, so I went for it. I do not regret it. Here’s a sample:

“I can’t,” Dame Catherine had cried in the chapel and at once felt the need to be where all the nuns went for strength and comfort, reassurance and love; as if drawn, she had got up from her knees and gone into the choir itself, to kneel on the step behind the grille, the step facing the sanctuary where, long ago, she had knelt as a postulant in her first hour in the enclosure. Once again it was as if a quieting hand was laid on her panic; with her eyes on the small flame that had never gone out since the community came to Brede, she whispered, “I can’t,” but it was acceptance now. “I can’t,,” whispered Dame Catherine, “so You must.”

(from In This House of Brede, page 165, Rumer Godden)

On to this week’s to do:

Monday, March 11th

  • Breakfast: oatmeal
  • Lunch: Macaroni Monday
  • Supper: Cubans, with leftover pork roast from Saturday

Tuesday, March 12th

  • Breakfast: waffles
  • Lunch: leftovers/out
  • Supper: Shrimp tacos

Wednesday, March 13th

  • Breakfast: oatmeal
  • Lunch: Still up in the air; depends on leftovers. Maybe baked potatoes.
  • Supper: Pizza and salad

Thursday, March 14th Pi Day

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs and toast
  • Pasta; most likely ravioli or tortellini
  • Chicken pot pie

Friday, March 15th

  • Breakfast: oatmeal
  • Lunch: sushi/peanut butter sandwiches
  • Supper: most likely fish out with the fam; maybe catch a movie

Saturday, March 16th

  • Breakfast: biscuits and gravy
  • Lunch: Subs
  • Supper: Nachos/snack/movie night

Sunday, March 17th St. Patrick’s Day

  • Breakfast: bagels; make breakfast sandwiches for the week
  • Mass
  • Lunch: Korean beef and rice with broccoli
  • Supper: Corned beef with cabbage and potatoes
  • Watch The Quiet Man, my favorite tradition on St. Paddy’s and my favorite John Wayne movie.

Weekly Planner, March 4th – March 10th 2019

I am so tired of being cold. I am tired of walking outside and wanting to walk right back in. I usually only so that when I’m being chased by flying venom distributors. I check the forecast every night in hopes some number will be impressive for the right reasons and am disappointed. There’s hope, though. There’s always hope. Today the sun is shining and that’s plenty to be happy about.

Our week didn’t throw any curve balls, which was nice. Monday was pretty laid back, with just some library time. On Tuesday, we went to the once-a-month last Tuesday potluck mass, which I love going to when we can. It was a small crowd, smaller than usual, so I was doubly glad we went, both to help numbers and because we got a little more chat time with fewer voices to drown in.

We did have some issues with our trash pick up the last few weeks. There was just too much snow, so it wasn’t getting taken away because they were getting stuck trying to reach it. We have a dumpster that is emptied twice a month and the first pick up of the month was skipped due to snow. It wouldn’t have been a huge issue but they didn’t tell us what was happening or how we could help fix it so we just sat there and it piled up until it could hold no more. Andrew finally contacted them on Facebook and they explained, but it was frustrating. The list of their reasons was unnecessarily long and if there were issues, they simply needed to contact us. He spent Sunday making sure that everything could be picked up as soon as they could get out. They ended up out Monday and Tuesday, which wasn’t necessary, but that made their two trips for the month fulfilled. Hopefully, they’ll be better about communicating in the future.

Wednesday was mostly normal. Andrew left for his yearly work conference Wednesday night, so the kids I spent the last half of the week on our own. I also bit the bullet and went ahead and ordered Who Gives A Crap toilet paper for the first time. I’ve been trying to slowly change some of our household products to better versions-those that are friendlier to the environment and/or give something back. So far, we’ve got biodegradable trash bags, earth friendly dishwasher tablets, coffee from a monastery, healthier deodorant, and now the toilet paper. It arrived later in the week and thus far, it’s a winner. It’s a little pricier than we usually get, but not prohibitively so. We’ll see how Andrew fares with it. He’s the pickiest on the paper products we do use. If they go over well, we might get paper towels there, too. We don’t go through them all that fast, so I don’t mind spending a wee bit more those, as well.

Thursday is our day at home, and that’s what it was this week, too.

Friday we started at the library. We did’t have piano due to the Federation music contest going on in Des Moines, so we enjoyed some baked potatoes for lunch. It isn’t often we get that chance since usually we leave straight from the library for piano lessons in Ankeny. Speaking of which, AD was given the directive that I wanted him taking something new up-swim team, baseball, an instrument. After thinking it over, he was sure he wanted to do the swim team, but then later landed on piano lessons, so once we can figure out the lessons situation (it’s a lot of time in town), he’ll start those. I could tell he was interested with how he acts when the girls play and his response to a few of the things DJ has taught him over the years.

The kids were tired of being inside and home with all the cold, so the middles talked me into going somewhere since we didn’t have piano and only had to get groceries. We visited the State Historical Museum for a bit, then grabbed groceries at Aldi. We spent a lot more than usual, but there were some special items I grabbed, several feast days coming up, and some foods that will help with Lenten sacrifices that I got more of than usual. AD saw that the Wreck It Ralph movie was rentable on Amazon Prime, so we rented that and watched it. It was cute. I don’t think it was as good as the first, bu the kids enjoyed it while I worked on mending wool socks I knit a few years ago for the neighbors. It was the Feast of St. David, too.

Saturday we spent the morning at Grandview University for DJ’s Federation music contest. She did well for her first contest-she was super nervous and was starting to regret agreeing to do it. She got an Excellent rating, just a hair short of a Superior, which is the best you can get. I also got her to wear a dress, so there’s that, ha. Dressing nicely for contests must not be as important as it was when I was younger. Two of the participants were in sweatshirts and yoga pants. That makes me sad. People do not take pride in things like they used it. We celebrated with a trip to Over the Top ice cream in Pleasant Hill, which had opened for the season just the day before.

Once we were home, I decided to finally get some more of the little projects around the kitchen done. I repainted the light bank around the top of the kitchen red. It’s been several colors through the years, starting with white, then lime green, brown, and now red. I think red is my favorite. It adds just the right amount of color. I also scrubbed the light fixtures which were gross from all the flies we deal with in warmer weather. Then, I took some pieces of the curtains I’d had in our bedroom down and hemmed them and hung them in the kitchen on a rod I’d picked up from the curb. They aren’t wide enough to actually cover the window, but I wanted them more to accent than cover. The rod had no end pieces or maybe had one? Anyway, they were in a pile of nice looking rods that had no ends or maybe one missing here and there last spring, so I grabbed them all figuring I’d find places I needed them, and I was right. I had ordered a new set of curtains for our back bedroom window after I’d stolen one panel to make the curtains for the laundry room a couple weeks back. They aren’t an exact match, but pretty darn close. They’re a linen knock-off with leaf embroidery that I use all over the house. I’m kind of stuck on them and not happy with much else. So, I hung those new curtains in the bedroom, then, as well. And finally, as much as I hate doing so, I painted the kitchen ceiling. Using a propane cook stove just makes such a mess on the ceiling, and the flies do so, too. We haven’t painted ceilings since we moved in, so it’s due. Once coat did well enough for my taste, though in daylight I see now I missed a spot or two. I used paint that was supposed go on pink and dry white, but it was not pink. In the process of going up and down the step stool, I slipped and hurt my toes. The worst one looks super, super, like I can’t bear looking at it, bruised. It doesn’t hurt so much as look really bad and is swollen. I don’t think I broke it, but I definitely injured it, so I’m trying not to do too much on it now. But the kitchen looks great, ha!

Today, we got up and went to mass, after making breakfast and the breakfast sandwiches for the week. Our Aldi was out of English muffins on Friday, so I used mini bagels and croissants instead. Our parish participates in the CRS rice bowl program and served some of the foods featured in that program’s flyer this year after mass. We stayed and sampled them. Many were stews we’d had before either in our history food lunches or for saints’ feast days. Now we’re home, eating pretzels for St. Katherine Drexel and prepping for the week, while waiting for Andrew to get home. It’s so freaking cold today. We’ve gone through so much wood trying not to run the furnace too terribly much, but it’s necessary to use it as a back-up overnight because it just gets too cold once the stove dies down to a few coals and neither Andrew nor I want to get up to add more wood. Anyway, here’s to warmer weather and our next week. Lent starts this week so lots of feasting in the first half and the beginning of our forty days of sacrifice in the last half. My big plans are to get through making a couple fleece blankets for our bed I bought fabric for back on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and work on some of my genealogy DNA work. Ancestry just released some new tools I’d like to play with a bit.

Monday, March 4th, the Feast of St. Casimir

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Macaroni Monday
  • Snack: fruit/yogurt
  • Supper: Roast chicken, Aldi frozen pierogies (St. Casimir was Polish), cabbage. Make the paczi dough for breakfast the next morning.

Tuesday, March 5th, Fat Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Paczi, traditional Polish donuts for Fat Tuesday
  • Lunch: leftovers
  • Snack: dried fruit, carrots
  • Supper: Jambalaya and King cake ’cause IT’S FAT TUESDAY!

Wednesday, March 6th, Ash Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Toast
  • Lunch: Tuna/cabbage salad
  • Snack: nope
  • Supper: our parish is serving grilled cheese and tomato soup after mass, which I love, but after last year when the kids came down with a stomach bug which timed losing all that soup and sandwich after mass, they no longer will eat it. So, I’ll make myself some at home, and make quesadillas for them.

Thursday, March 7th, the Feast of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

  • Breakfast: Dutch Babies
  • Lunch: Noodle bar
  • Snack: Ladders made with pretzels and frosting, to symbolize the ladder used by the day’s saints
  • Supper: Roman egg drop soup (Sts. Perpetua and Felicity were Roman), garlic cheese toast, salad

Friday, March 8th, the Feast of St. John of the Cross

  • Breakfast: oatmeal
  • Lunch: sushi, snacky
  • Snack: various
  • Supper: normally I’d make Portuguese Kale Soup for St. John of the Cross, but since it’s Friday, we’ll probably go to a fish fry.

Saturday, March 9th, the Feast of St. Francis of Rome

  • Breakfast: biscuits and black pepper gravy
  • Lunch: subs
  • Snack: yogurt and fruit
  • Supper: traditional ways to mark St. Frances’ feast day are by wearing green, drinking wine, and eating corn. So we’ll have Rosemary Mustard slow-cooker pork chops, corn casserole, and mashed potatoes.

Sunday, March 10th, the Feast of the 40 Martyrs of Armenia (technically suppressed because it’s Sunday)

  • Breakfast: egg sandwiches
  • Lunch: General Tso’s chicken, vegetables, rice
  • Snack: whatever we can find; I’ll be at the Rite of Election for my dear friends
  • Supper: Kofta with pitas, roasted vegetables, hummus (Armenian meal); or possibly out. Our plans aren’t clear yet.
  • Extra: starting the corning process for my corned beef for St. Paddy’s)