Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Holy Angels and Sts. Francis and Faustina and a feis.

On the feast of the Holy Angels the kids listen to Wopsy the Angel audio book and/or we read the extended stories from volumes 21 up and in the Catholic Children's Treasure box series.  Zoe likes to say Wopsy is her guardian darn cute! Usually by then I can't really make more desserts, although angel food cake would be fun! But then we move on to St. Francis! This was a fun morning, Genna and I were leaving for Cincinnati, Ohio, for CRN regionals. And because of the way the driving works out, we left late in the morning. We had time to make the wolf paw cookies and birds nests and chocolate covered strawberries for the family and cousins.

The kids each decorated a bag for treats for a cousin. Genna and I delivered them on our way down the highway for our trip. It was fun!

My mom was around thankfully to watch the kids and help my husband out with the mental and logistical support while Genna and I were gone. The boys took our supplies over for a Divine Mercy cake and celebrated St. Faustina's feast day on Friday there at Grandma's house.  She was so busy she forgot the picture!
 Thank goodness for cell phones (one time I will say it) I was able to keep in contact with the boys and Zoe to continue our Marian Consecration we are doing through Holy Heroes. 

Genna had a wonderful time in Cincinnati. She was so easy to travel with, and we really missed our family, that was a mental sacrifice giving the reigns over to someone else. Her purpose was to qualify for CRN nationals, and she did it! Only her second time in a feis- her first one was the local one here in town.

Our wonderful "hair dresser!" Seriously awesome woman!

Way to go Genna! We are so proud of you!

St. Therese of Lisieux's Feast day.

Our littlest one has a second name of Therese, and gives us even more of an excuse to celebrate yet one more day in early October! We had a feast day party for Zoe Therese (who is also named after St. Catherine Laboure). She thought it was like a the biggest thing and like a birthday party. She pulled her special chair around to the end of the table and pushed daddy's chair to her spot because that's where you would sit if you was a birthday right? So she had this all figured out on her own.

Genna did a great job prepping our food (again)! It's so nice not to have to do everything alone now. Yes- we still had cupcakes left over. You just graze all week on sweets pretty much...the kids can put away a lot of food really, they are always starving!

Rose shaped apples pastries are my favorite!

St. Therese of Lisieux pray for us!

St. Jerome's feast day

The few last days of September and first part of October make for some easy feasting ideas. There are always more cupcakes and cake mix than needed for St. Michael's feast day alone, so you turn the extras into a lion cake for the following day for St. Jerome's legend with the lion.
 Genna and Knox worked out the lion between themselves. We actually had a 4h geology field trip that day and our feast day cupcakes and cake were already done from the evening before.

lol! Not bad for a 8 and 10 year old! Lots of tooth pick marks from keeping the plastic wrap up. They did it all.

St. Jerome Ora Pro Nobis!

St. Michael the archangel...defend us in battle...

Anyway, St. Michael blasted all morning while we cooked up some very day old fresh eggs in our apple puff pancake and breakfast casserole. In between all 3 soccer games, I had time to get the cupcakes and cake whipped up, and crock pot ready for dinner. By favor of the angels, we made it to mass thanks to an unusual start time for Knox's soccer game. The day went well, and I even got my bees mite treatment rolling again..mites and colony collapse disorder go hand in hand in the winter and spring. I am hoping I dont find a colony of dead bees this spring. 

I digressed for a moment..

Digressing more...My wrapping technique needs some but thats doesnt change the flavor!

For my Vietnamese food cravings...I taught myself to make spring rolls and the sauces..omg I will never have to go down Broadway again to our local favorite diner. My husband and I always ate Vietnamese when we dated (part of his army career he served 4 years in South Korea, so he has a taste for all Asian foods) the cilantro, basil and mint are ingredients that are in my garden currently. Hello! Friday abstinence just got more interesting!

And now back to our feasting..why we feast, our patron saint of our homeschool and of Knox.

Cottage cheese, swiss, hashbrown and bacon..did I mention none of this is low fat yet?

That lovely melon we just picked in our garden.

St. Michael defende nos in proelio!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Knox and his champion chickens

We are very thankful to have such wonderul and gentle pet chickens, but even more grateful that they did so well at the Kansas State Fair.
 Knox had one bird win the Reserve Grand Champion of the whole junior show (2nd place in whole state), that bird got grand champion (first) in the large fowl class. 

 He happened to also take the reserve champion (second place) in the same large fowl class on another bird. It was so exciting! Genna's birds did place higher at the county fair than Knox's but she was too young this year to go to the state fair. We hope next year she and her brother both have some birds to take to the fair.
   Ironically, we didn't take the birds with us initially, we were already set against taking them to the fair, due to a few misunderstandings. Once we dropped his other 6 projects off though and strolled over to the poultry barn, we found out he had about 4 hours still to get his 6 birds in by the deadline that evening. So we went home and scrubbed them clean in the rain and took them back with a half hour to spare. It truly was God's providence! 
We have a lot of saint feast days this coming week that we celebrate, and can't wait for all the fun! St. Michael is our school's patron saint and is tomorrow. Zoe's 2nd patron saint, St. Therese, is one, and St. Francis's feast day is around the corner. His statue guards the north end of our home. Have a great and blessed weekend! 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Tagging Monarchs and a few other cool cats

It's Monarch butterfly season here in North America. One of our favorite things to do is help tag and release the butterflies we rear and catch wild. Anyone can do this... you can watch the roost map and see how soon they will be in your area. Have you tags ordered ahead of time and in hand, because you never know when a roost will show up nearby. You can tell if the monarchs are just recently hatched by the condition of their wings. If they look like they are battered, chances are they came down from the north, up in Canada. If they are pretty and in good shape, probably hatched locally. Prioritize tagging the battered ones first as they are definitely heading to Mexico. The others may just end up hanging around here.

This is our prep night, getting about 55 cats into our glass aquarium.

This is a Queen cat (below)

It's also a milkweed caterpillar, looks very similar to a monarch, but varies slightly in coloration and the extra horn. We had around 55 Monarch cats, about 95% of them died from fly maggots. The ones that didn't die we tagged and released. Hopefully someone finds one someday!

Lots of monarchs are hatched with defects, this was a very unusual one, this poor monarch only had one set of wings. Most the time we see that they are short a few legs or deformed wings and can't fly.

Finally Brad found a Polyphemus moth caterpillar two days ago crawling on our grass towards the shed. He always finds the polycats, I don't know how.

Within an hour of bringing the caterpillar in, I released it on an oak branch into the aquarium where all our Monarchs had been (they all hatched as of 2 days ago too) And it immediately went and formed a cocoon and pupated inside a milkweed leaf. I couldn't believe how lucky we were to catch one in it's last instar. You see these hatch 2x a year, but the huge green cats are hard to miss, they are about 3 inches long, they are harmless too and can be handled carefully to not injure them.
  So since that one will be overwintering it will be next April or June when it finally hatches and we find out if it was a male or female, so oh boy, we get to keep the pupae safe for the next 8 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Euerka waterfall and secret Lake Sinclair waterfall

Our 4h geology leaders take us to some amazing places to collect. A lot of trips are made onto private land. This past summer we were fortunate enough to visit a cow pasture north of Eureka, KS, with a small and beautiful waterfall. It was June, and very very and dry and hot, no wind..typical Kansas.
  The leaders told us there would be a waterfall with trilobites possibly in the shale..we didn't find any unfortunately, however, instead we got cooled off from the .75 mile walk into the pasture. In true Kansas fashion (land locked) we made the best of the heat by cooling off. Yup there were cows around somewhere and I am sure that water had plenty of microbes. It came down from Sinclair lake and had a huge and wide gully with small canyon walls of shale. There were fossils everywhere. 

Yup just walk right now, so darn hot.

Annnnd...since we were in Eureka, KS. We stopped at one our favorite waterfalls at Eureka City Lake (we happened to be on our last stop of the day and it was on the road back to Eureka- qe passed it going to the other stop too). Last time we visited it maybe Knox was 4, so its been a few years. But it is never seems to be dry.

Lots of cotton!

See the upper falls? Someday when the kids are bigger we will get around to exploring up there. SADLY, a few weeks after this trip Eureka got wiped by a tornado, they have been hit very hard this summer. Hope the town recovers soon!

Happy waterfalling!