Sunday, December 30, 2007

Prayer Request-- We need more holy priests!!

Please pray for a young man who, responding to the call of the Lord, has decided to pursue the path to the priesthood. He will have his first interview with our diocesan office on January third at 10:00. Please pray for the success of the interview and for peace and grace for this special man as he follows the Lord's lead. Blessed be God!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

In our house, Christmas is not over!!

Are there people who really regard Christmas as over on the 26th? My neighbors have their Christmas tree on the curb! We only put ours up about a week ago. I told my husband if they put theirs out any earlier and we put ours up any later theirs may actually be down before ours is even up!! (Just kidding.)

My mother always refused to take down any Christmas decorations before the 6th, when the wise men arrived. We moved the little wise men figures all around the living room until they finally arrived at the stable on the 6th.

Sooo...we usually do not take our tree down until the weekend AFTER the sixth. I don't know what the neighbors must think. But we like it that way.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I returned or exchanged 9 Christmas gifts today, including some that were catalog purchases and so had to be mailed. I love it. It needed to be done soon before the receipts disappeared or I forgot what didn't fit or wasn't liked by whom. I think there is only one more to do.

We're waiting for snow. Just rain fell today. There is the new toboggan and a snow tube that need to be tried. We probably won't have to wait long.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Images of Mary's Birthday

As usual, the day concludes with swimming at the hotel pool where out of town cousins are staying.

Here are the boots I wouldn't buy several weeks ago because her old boots still fit...

New hat-- nice and warm, chosen by brother Mike...
I now have only one child who is not a teenager or OLDER!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mary is Thirteen!!!!!

I have another teenager!!!! Sweet Mary is thirteen years old today!!!! She was the quietest, easiest baby of all. Now she's several inches taller than I (although that is not saying much :-) May the Lord bless her all the days of her life. May He especially lead her this year as she prepares for the sacrament of Confirmation. I thank Him for the privilege of being Mary's mother. She is a dear, dear daughter and I love her more than words can say!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Morning

Glory to the Newborn King!!!

The following are images of Christmas morning in our house. This is my six children and two nephews squeezing on to a new toboggan which is under them but can't be seen:-)
Christmas stockings ready to be emptied.

Everyone sings happy birthday to Jesus before opening anything...

All the Baby Jesus figures are placed in their respective manger scenes.

Joy to the World!!!

May the Lord bless you all with His gifts of Love, Peace, and Joy.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Classroom Christmas Parties

When I was a child I remember my mother receiving or making phone calls to arrange for refreshments for school parties. I'm wondering when and why this method switched to allowing children to commit their mothers to bringing specific refreshments for a party. I imagine it's to save time making phone calls, mothers are hard to reach, etc. It also, however, does not give mom the opportunity to decline.

I received several "requests" like this from my children this past week. As long as they give me a few days notice I've come to accept that this is just the way it is now-- as long as it it not TOO complicated a request. Once a teacher emailed all the parents with a list of what each child had volunteered to bring and added that if mom couldn't do it to please not worry about it. I thought that was very considerate.

I think my sister may get the prize for the most outrageous assignment for a school party. My nephew came home from school to tell mom that he had volunteered to bring chocolate crepes for the Christmas party for the French class the next day. She said, "What?!?!" There wasn't something simpler you could have volunteered for? He said, "Well I could have signed up for this special kind of lemonade but I figured you wouldn't want to make THAT!"

Apparently you can buy chocolate crepes frozen and then you bake them or fry them, (in case anyone else is given this assignment by a French teacher.) My sister is pictured above in the center, with two of my daughters. Dedicated mom that she is, she actually brought the chocolate crepes. God bless her!
Hope everyone's Christmas preparations are moving along peacefully...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas is almost here....

I have not posted in over a week! I am so sorry. I haven't been reading anyone's posts either. I've just been way too busy. And when I do have a moment to get online my children are all doing schoolwork!! Between Christmas shopping for my whole family, four performances of a Christmas play in which my son had the lead, sponsoring a giving tree at our parish, classroom parties that needed refreshments.....I've been way too busy.

Anyway, now that school is out I hope to get back on a daily schedule of writing and reading posts. Above is the photo Christmas card we have sent.

May everyone receive from the Infant Jesus all of His love, joy and peace.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A website on suffering, from a Catholic perspective

I have a dear friend who has ALS. She is also a very Spirit-filled woman who truly loves the Lord and suffers virtuously. (Although I'm sure she would not have wanted me to write that.)

Anyway, she would like to start a website for those who suffer. A website that would offer encouragement and inspiration in the face of suffering. She'd like it to include Catholic teaching and the Catholic perspective. She envisions it having links to other sites that would also serve this purpose, maybe having audio links to inspiring talks from EWTN or Avemaria radio. She'd like to quote saints and include a variety of inspiring works on this subject, all from a Catholic perspective. She would like the theme to be "Offer It Up."

So my friend has asked me to help her gather materials and ideas for this project. I told her I'd ask all of you too. Do you have a favorite source of inspiring material on the subject of suffering? Any saint's writings that particularly speak to you? Any ideas for a website like this?

I'm also looking for technical help for her. There are some people here locally that I will ask. but if anybody else out there would like to volunteer that would be great. My friend has the vision and the desire but neither she nor I are computer types, if you know what I mean. May God bless this project!!! I will be emailing all of your comments to her. Thank you!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Freezing Rain!!

For the third day in a row, we have freezing rain for the ride to school!!! And there are no school closings. I'm grumbling...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Freezing Rain...

Michigan weather at its most treacherous....well, almost its most treacherous. Our schools weren't closed, but I certainly would have been in favor of closing them. I turned the steering wheel to turn in to my driveway and my car kept going straight. It's pretty yucky.

But the worst part of weather like this is the competition on the freeway to see who will spin off the road first. Why the breakneck speed?? People driving 60 or 70 miles an hour with black ice? I hate feeling pressured to go faster to keep up with cars driven by maniacs. Even the average drivers go a little faster in weather like this than I feel comfortable going. In my best moments I remember to pray for the safety of those who are really driving dangerously.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

It's Merry Christmas, OK?

I am very happy that so many organizations are drawing attention to the fact that retail stores that will not use the word "Christmas" in their advertising are being silly at best and discriminating against Christians at worst.

What is the big deal? It's a national holiday. The national holiday has a name and it's name is CHRISTMAS!! It's because of Christmas that trees are purchased and decorated. The gifts that are purchased at this, the retailers' busiest time of year, are Christmas presents. That's what they are called. Yes, some are Hanukkah presents, but the vast majority of them are Christmas presents! And the Jewish people understand full well that the national holiday that falls on December 25 is called Christmas.

Somehow, I don't think this treatment of the word "Christmas" as taboo is really about respect for diversity. I think it's about not saying the name "Christ" even hidden in a word where the phonology camouflages it. Let's not forget that there is an unseen spiritual battle going on all around us. The name above all names, Jesus Christ, is very powerful. I think it is the evil one's intent to so confuse people about tolerance that they think they should not say Christmas. I don't know. Just a thought. The whole refusal to say it is just so absurd.

This is the Christmas Season!! Why don't the retailers get over it??!!??

Friday, December 07, 2007

Losing Weight

I have just completed four weeks of Weight Watcher meetings and I've only lost maybe a half pound. It's not the fault of the program. I'm just not following it. It has worked for me before. But I have to actually do it. When I want to lose pounds more than I want to eat, I will start to lose. It's that simple. My choice.

I just ate three chocolates. Well, at least it wasn't eight chocolates. And they were REALLY good. This is not a good season to resist food.

But I will not forget that while I need to control myself, having an appetite is indeed a gift.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task."

William James

Recently as I was trying to discern what should be the highest priority tasks for my day, I came across this quote on the top of the page of my Franklin planner. It confirmed what I felt the Lord was trying to tell me. Get rid of those hanging-on tasks, the things I want done but have been putting off because there is always something else that seems more important. At this time of year it is especially difficult to get to those things. But I did find that by accomplishing a few of them my spirits were lifted and I felt a resurgence of energy. For me, particularly at very busy times, it is important to protect myself against fatigue.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I've used a whole tube of lipstick!

OK. I realize this is the most mundane of posts. Are you ready? For the first time in my entire life of 53 years I have used an entire tube of lipstick. I'm at the bottom.

For most of my adult life I rarely wore makeup. Then, in my late forties, I looked in the mirror and realized that for the sake of those who had to look at me I really should do something. And I started to wear a little. Now I wear it every day. Lipstick-- not every day, but a lot of days. I've never liked to look painted and makeup on me, in my mirror, always looked painted. Now I figure it's better to look just a little painted than to look like an old hag. LOL

Am I a grown-up now?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Freezing Rain-- Yuk

We have freezing rain here today. Well, actually, now it's just rain and the temp. is about 40 degrees. I wish it would freeze. then there would be a chance of a snow day tomorrow. I love snow days.

My snapdragons that just won't die are still green, but wilted over. I think this will be it. Maybe I'll see them again in the Spring. Winter has definitely arrived.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My dad's car

This is my Dad's Lincoln Town Car. My dad loved cars. He could tell you what he was driving in what year, from the time he had a license, I think. Most of those cars were Lincolns. He could also identify the year and model of nearly every car you saw on the road. This was the car he was driving when he went into the hospital for the last time.
My dad always took great care of his cars. He was very particular about them. I remember when I was a very young driver, because of people needing to be in various places, there was going to be a need for me to drive my dad's car. I had never driven his car before. I remember telling him, "I don't know if I can drive your car.." He looked at me surprised and said, "You know how to drive a car. Why wouldn't you be able to drive my car?" I said, "OK. I guess I can." I remember appreciating his vote of confidence and thinking if my dad thinks I can, I'm sure I can.
I'm going to keep his car. At first I felt a little self-conscious about it. I would never buy such a luxurious car. I have six kids and I'm a stay-at-home mom, for heaven's sakes. I noticed I was getting some unusual looks when I drove it. We put it in the paper to sell it and I realized... I can't sell my dad's car! He loved it so much that I associate it very much with memories of him. Besides, didn't he say "You can drive my car."? People can think what they will. I'm going to drive it. And my kids still call it "grandpa's car."
And it's soooooo comfy. I love it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Remembering my dad...

One year ago today my father left this Earth. How we miss him. My oldest daughter went with me to visit his crypt. I stopped at the sweet little flower shop across from the cemetery to buy some roses. The dear man asked if it was for the cemetery and I said yes. He then gave me an unbelievably low price. It appeared they do that regularly. His manner was so kind I almost started crying right there. It was as though he could sense this was a recent wound and a significant day.

My father is pictured above on vacation with us at Lorien in Northern Michigan. He loved to spend a week there each summer with all of his grandchildren. On the way home he always stopped to buy all the kids ice cream.
My father was a kind man, very gracious and courteous. He was not easily offended and gave a lot of himself.
He was a die-hard University of Michigan fan, having graduated from there over 5o years ago. I am also a Michigan graduate as was my grandfather, and my father always hoped that one of his grandchildren would go there too. When my oldest son was accepted at both Michigan and at Notre Dame, he chose to attend Notre Dame. But he told his grandfather, "But don't worry, Grandpa, when Michigan plays Notre Dame I'll still root for Michigan." My father replied, "Really, Mike? I'm going to be rooting for Notre Dame." That was the kind of Grandpa he was. One of the last things he said to Mike was, "There's nothing I'd rather do than be at your graduation from Notre Dame this May. He didn't make it. But I know he was there in spirit....
Tomorrow, and the for the next few days, I'm going to be writing posts honoring my dad.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today, I am tired. In the afternoon I made Weight Watchers Garden Vegetable soup (zero points). I took the dog for a twenty-five minute walk (very proud of that one:-). Then I made more "Frost on the Pumpkin" for Jim since I had felt guilty two days ago when he came home REALLY in the mood for some and I had eaten the last piece. Then, for some reason, I made some cookies with dried cherries and white chocolate chips. Then, dinner and lunches for everybody for tomorrow. Now... I'm ready for bed. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my father's death and I hope to visit his crypt....I don't dare go back and read what I was posting at this time last year, but I'm glad it is recorded for when I have the courage. I do remember how supported I felt by all you e-friends, your encouraging words and especially your prayers.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wisdom of Saint Josemaria Escriva

From Furrow, by Saint Josemaria Escriva.....

"Do you feel as if goodness and absolute truth have been deposited with you, and therefore that you have been invested with a personal title or right to uproot evil at all costs?
You will never solve anything like that, but only through Love and with love, remembering that Love has forgiven you and still forgives you so much."

I have "Furrow" on my bathroom window sill. This morning I read this passage and it struck me.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Helen Bailhe's Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms
a recipe of Helen Bailhe's (my mom), may she rest in peace
3 Tbs. minced onions
2Tbs butter
1 garlic clove minced
1/8 tsp salt
1- four and a half ounce can deviled ham
2 Tbs. parmesan cheese
1 beaten egg yolk
2.5 Tbs. parsley
2 Tbs. Italian style bread crumbs
30 mushroom caps (stems pulled out)
Sautee onions and garlic in butter
Combine rest and add to sautee
Stuff caps.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 min. or until done.
These mushrooms are to die for. They are soooo YUMMY. I usually at least double the recipe. I have even quadrupled it and they are always ALL eaten. Everybody loves them. Again, this is one of my mother's old recipes. Because Underwood Deviled Ham is mentioned by name I suspect it might have been a recipe on the package at one time.
I lost this recipe for a long time. (I don't know why I don't seem to be able to keep track of recipes-- or anything else, for that matter.) Then..... while looking through my recipe books I found it on an old envelope that was postmarked (are you ready?) TWENTY YEARS prior. OK. I now have it safely typed and stored in a folder and,, in about 5 minutes, I will also have it recorded in cyberspace.
These are my very favorite stuffed mushrooms. I have never tasted any better anywhere. I can get my brother to drive over two hours to join us for dinner if I promise to make these mushrooms. Mom, your mushrooms live on!!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sharing Recipes

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. We certainly did. All of our children were home and well-loved pastor Fr. Ed joined us for dinner.

Good friend Mary O. made an interesting comment on my last post about a lost family recipe. My youngest girls were horrified that I shared on my blog my mom's "Frost on the Pumpkin" recipe which they described as "a secret family recipe." I told them it was not secret and that I was sure my mom did not even invent it. It's just a special dessert that we've had on Christmas and Thanksgiving for many years. Why not share it?

My mother did not keep this recipe a secret. But I had never written it down, or if I had I somehow lost it over the years, my not being the most organized or tidy of homemakers. For a number of years I tried to reconstruct it, knowing the ingredient list was pretty simple and remembering most of it. But I never got it quite right. Finally I thought to look through my mother's old recipe books and see if I could find it.

I found a treasure of a recipe collection-- a little book of recipes one of my teachers at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Fort Wayne, Indiana had assembled. The cover, now lost, had been a piece of construction paper decorated with a design made from a "potato stamp" I had cut from a potato. Anyone remember that art project? The pages were printed with those purple mimeograph pages. (right terminology?) The inside cover had a letter from me to my mom in the painstakingly neat cursive the nuns required. In it I apologized for the "not so hot" cover, expressed the hope that she liked the cookbook, and indicated that her recipe was on page 2. And there it was!!!! "Frost on the Pumpkin by Mrs. Richard Bailhe."

I immediately recognized the missing ingredient. I think it was the ginger. We always knew there was something of a bite missing from the reconstructed recipe.

Anyway, recipes need to be shared and recorded!! The three family recipes I made yesterday were all lost at one time. (Like I said, I am not a very organized or tidy homemaker.) Maybe I'll tell the story of how each was recovered in future posts. :-) God is good.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Frost on the Pumpkin

Frost on the Pumpkin
A recipe of Helen Bailhe’s, may she rest in peace

1 cup pumpkin
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 quart vanilla ice cream
about 1 dozen ginger snap cookie, crushed into crumbs
powdered sugar

Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, and spices. Stir ice cream to soften; then fold into pumpkin mixture. Pour into a shallow dish. (I use a 1½ quart casserole dish).Sprinkle with ginger snap crumbs. On top of crumbs, sprinkle powdered sugar. Freeze firm. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner

I feel like I'm in pretty good shape for the planning stage of Thanksgiving dinner. We will have:

stuffed mushrooms as appetizer-- Mom's recipe!!
Mashed potatoes
sweet potatoes
"frost on the pumpkin," an ice cream/pumpkin dessert recipe of my mother's
Dutch apple pie---the best
pumpkin pie--purchased

I may publish the family recipes, if I get a chance (or if you ask!)

Saint Martha, you who I am sure were very skilled at hospitality, please help those of us who are planning Thanksgiving dinners. May we always choose the better part while also fulfilling our duties to our families!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

On Friday we joined my brother and his family at our state capital in Lansing for "Silver Bells in the City." There was a great parade with marching bands and many floats, with a number of Nativity scenes, angels, magi. And the climax of the evening was the lighting of the capital's Christmas tree with fireworks behind the capital building.

Below is our state capital...

Above are my three youngest and my niece and nephew enjoying the excitement of the evening.

Here we are waiting along the curb for the parade to begin.

It was a refreshingly politically incorrect parade with numerous religious scenes and traditional carols, along with the secular symbols too. It was delightful.

Here is the capital in all its glory. Fun night.

Go Blue!!!!

On this the one year anniversary of the death of beloved University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler how can anyone not want to cheer...

Go Blue!!!!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

In the midst of the dead and dying leaves pictured above, a couple little snapdragons in my garden are still trying to bloom. We have already had a couple frosts. These snapdragons came up this Spring from the year before. I didn't even plant them. Yet here they are, giving glory to God by being all they can be as little hardy flowers even in the midst of decay and frost all around them. May I be like them-- doing all I can to give glory to God by living, as well as I can, a life of beauty, even in the frosty weather that life so often presents. Lord God, give us all such grace.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Birthday to my daughter!!! We had such a fun time last night celebrating Anne's 22nd (Good grief!!) birthday. Happy Birthday T. (you know what it stands for:-) We are all so proud of you. May the Lord bless you in every way. Love you lots!!

(My youngest took this interesting picture of the lit birthday cake from above. I thought it would be a wasted picture. Shows how much I know. Very little!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lay flat to dry.

Does anybody do this? When washing instructions say "lay flat to dry" do you lay it flat to dry?

The only way I have ever done it is on a thick beach towel folded over so the table underneath does not get wet and even then I have to fold the sleeves on top of the body of the sweater. Usually I just hang them on a hanger in the bathroom, but I have wondered if I'm stretching them out by so doing or in any way shortening the life of the item. I have only laid flat to dry the most fragile-seeming and treasured of my tops. (Believe me there aren't very many that fit that category and none right now:-)

Am I missing some simple and effective way to lay a sweater flat to dry? Does anybody really think it's necessary?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad

Today would have been my parents' 55th wedding anniversary if they were alive. It is also the first anniversary since my father's passing. So....if they are both in heaven, it is the first time in probably 15 years or so that they are celebrating their anniversary together with my mother cognizant.
They are the couple above on the left. (I have posted this picture before.) My paternal grandmother is on the right.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!! In Christ, we have the victory!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Victory for John!!!

Guess what???

My son John has won a concerto competition at EMU!! I must say, I have heard John play in many competitions. Sometimes he's played really well and sometimes not his best. On Sunday he knocked their socks off!! When I saw him later at home I just said, "John, you rock!!" It was fabulous. I guess when he was watching football all day on Saturday and told me he didn't really need to practice any more, he was right!!

This means in February he will play the concerto movement (by Prokofiev) with the EMU Symphony. He's never played with a symphony before, of course. It will be a wonderful experience for him and we are all so happy and proud!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Prayer Request!

Please pray for a friend of mine, Kathleen, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She is the mother of two and a really sweet woman who cares a lot about others. The chemo is making her pretty tired and now she's getting a cold. Please pray that she will recover completely from the cold and be able to stay well.

And, of course, please pray that she will be completely and permanently healed of cancer. Could you pray too that she will receive all the graces the Lord wants to give her through this cross? And that she and her family will be filled with His peace.

Thank you!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Images of Halloween

It was a fun night of delighting neighbors and indulging children.

Everybody all ready to go get that candy....

And, in my opinion, the most original costume of the evening-- Mary as a juice box!!!! Complete with attached straw and nutrition fact on the side. She made it herself.

Cruella Deville with her unsuspecting puppy. Too cute!!!

Zack and his little sister as a "little fat pig." Too cute.

Liz, working hard on hers... And then the final product.

And how about this "Go Irish" pumpkin, pattern courtesy of Mary O. Thanks, Mary. I love it!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

We usually pick our pumpkins for Halloween from any of a number of pick-your-own fields near us. We almost didn't stop at this one because the pumpkins looked so small from the road. Up close we saw they were very nice sizes.

And they were all so lovely. Big, round, firm, nice stems..... It was so hard to decide.....
So we ended up with FIVE lovely round pumpkins. Now that's going to be a lot of carving. My dear husband has already cleaned out all the insides.....

Cruella DeVille

Cruella Deville
Cruella Deville
If she doesn't scare you, No evil thing will.
To see her is to take a sudden chill.
Cruella, Cruella
She's like a spider waiting for the kill.
Cruella Cruella Deville.

At first you think Cruella is a devil,
But after time has worn away the shock, you come to realize you've seen her kind of eyes watching you from underneath a rock.
This vampire bat, this inhuman beast,
She ought to be locked up and never released.
The world was such a wholesome place until...
Cruella, Cruella Deville.

Here she is, with her meanest Cruella expression......:-)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Busy Day

Today I substitute taught 7th and 8th graders algebra and science. Then came home to get my youngest ready for a Halloween party. She dressed as Cruella DeVille, complete with black and white washable hair dye, full length fur coat with polka dot scarf (white with black spots, of course) and small dalmation key chain hanging from her belt. It was too funny.

Then we went into high gear picking up and cleaning the house since Mike was coming home with two friends who would spend the night. I love it when I have a deadline to get my house in order. (That's the only time it happens :-) After cleaning, it was on to the dinner which we were going to have after they arrived. Surprisingly, everything went pretty smoothly. Dinner was simple but nice and I think Mike's friends felt welcome. Now I'm ready for bed....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Today is a double birthday in our house. My son John was born on my husband's 36th birthday. The best birthday present he ever received, as he says. My husband is an electrical engineer and he works very hard for us. How grateful I am to be married to a man who is open to life and committed to his family.

I have all the things I need for dinner, just made the fruit salad, and have the ice cream cake in the freezer. All set.

Johnny is our pianist. The piano man, as we sometimes call him. I've written about his gifts before. He is the only baby of mine who actually asked me to "shhhh" when I sang lullabies to him. Lol. I think he was born with perfect pitch. He started begging for piano lessons at age three. At four we let him start. Then there was no stopping him.
So Happy Birthday, guys. Love you both lots!!!