October 20, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup


2 lbs butternut squash (1 Costco box)
2 potatoes
1/4 onion
2 garlic cloves
3 cans chicken or vegetable soup
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp. allspice
salt and pepper
half and half
sour cream

Saute vegetables in olive oil and butter. Add soup; boil 20 min. Add spices. Blend. Add half and half and sour creeam. Serve with croutons.

October 14, 2009

The Table is Set

 The only picture we took on the night Fr. Pendergraft came for dinner: the salad and appetizers. I can't believe we forgot to take pictures during dinner...

Cecilia Selling Lemonade

A couple of weeks ago, when it was still warm outside, Cecilia set up this little lemonade stand with a sign :$7 (actually 7cents is what she meant). She got a few customers: dad, mom, Teddy, Bebe, even Celsus who was crossing the back yard to come to our house, and had no choice but buy lemonade. Cece is also showing off her artwork, called "Woodland Park Zoo" of a bird in a tree.

October 03, 2009

New Blog

Hi Everyone,
It's been almost a year and I'm finally in a blogging mood again, although I will probably post on my homeschooling blog more often. The address is www.catholichomeeducator.blogspot.com.

November 12, 2008

Trying on the Christmas Outfits

Alex was just out of the bath and in his pj, so we didn't change him, but he has an outfit just like his brothers

Somehow that doll always appears in the pictures I take of Cece and Sophia on the couch.

This was supposed to be Sophia's Halloween costume (a chili pepper) but we had lost it and only found it now. The kids insisted that I put it on her and take her picture .

November 03, 2008

Teddy's Art

December 2004 (Teddy, 6)

January 2005 (Teddy, 6)

November 2008 (Teddy, 10)

October 2008 (Teddy, 10)

October 2008 (Teddy, 10)

Teddy started going to art school again. He went for a couple of months in 2004-2005 but then we stopped going because of the distance and cost. I recently decided that, since drawing is one of Teddy's main talents and hobbies, it is worth having him take some more lessons. I just love everything he makes there. If he is guided step by step, he makes beautiful art. At home he loves to make cartoons and is very good at it. I'm constantly looking for cartooning classes for him. He would love to take some lessons in cartooning/ drawing comics.
Benedict has been taking classes with him too but he doesn't like it. He's a mathematician not an artist :) He wants to quit.

Here is a little story of what happened today at the drawing school. When I dropped them off, I heard Benedict asking the teacher if they were supposed to do free draw and she said "yes but no violent drawings please". He likes to draw armies of soldiers fighting with all kinds of weapons. Apparently he made some of his "violent drawings" at art school. When I picked them up, the teacher asked to talk to me privately. She complained (as I expected) about his violent pictures and then she told me that Benedict got a little "political" during class, he told the kids that "Obama kills babies", but to not feel bad about it because he probably heard it from the kids at school.
When I talked to the boys in the car about the incident, they said that the teacher brought up the subject, saying that the elections were tomorrow and all the kids said that their parents were voting for Obama. The teacher said that she was Australian and couldn't vote but if she could vote, she would have voted for Obama too. One girl then said something negative about McCain. Benedict and Teddy felt like they had to say something and that's when Benedict said that Obama kills babies, which is pretty much how we explained abortion to them.

I'm just telling the story here and won't make any comments. Benedict did not get in trouble with us but I did ask them to not discuss politics with other children, especially at drawing school.

Benedict now really doesn't want to go back to that drawing school which is, as he puts it, "full of Democrats".

Here are some of Teddy's past and present works.
I think they are beautiful.

October 21, 2008

A Day in the Life of...

...our family. I was gonna do the whole day but at 1:30pm the batteries in my camera died, so I had to stop. This was on Tuesday, last week.


Making lunches for the boys. Cecilia and Alex are eating breakfast. Most days they still sleep at this hour.

The boys are getting dressed


Reading to the stuffed animals and folding laundry.


Playing with the school buses.


Getting to know my new sewing machine...and my pathetic attempt at making a skirt. At least I figured out my sewing machine. Briana was a great help the day before this picture was taken, when she came over to help.

Picnic time.


Early lunch for early risers.


Nap time for Alex.


"School time" for Cecilia.

October 20, 2008

Benedict's 8th Birthday

Our tradition is to have 2 celebrations for each of the children's birthdays, one on the actual birthday, when we just have a little party in the family (together with Thea and Ron and their kids) and a bigger party with friends on the Saturday after the birthday. On the family celebration, we usually order Pagliacci pizza and eat cake, then we have a BBQ or some other party food and another cake for the second celebration.

Here is the family "Pagliacci" party at Thea's

...notice how Benedict is gently pushing Christopher's hand from the cake :)
I made the cake using a cake mix and a Romanian chocolate cream recipe that I've used as both filling and icing. I decorated the cake with caramelized walnuts.

The party on Saturday. We had hot dogs and another cake, this time from Safeway. We had a sunny day so we were able to do the whole outdoor party thing, complete with grill and pinata and playing in the club house.

October 14, 2008


UPDATE: Those burgers were indeed horrendous, even though Benedict ate an entire burger and the other kids ate about half each, which is pretty good...Still, definitely not a keeper.

Here are a few cookbooks I've recently used/bought/borrowed.

I only discovered Barefoot Contessa recently and she has already become one of my favorite cookbook authors. I bought this book from Costco and checked out the other ones from the library. I think this one has the best recipes. I made her "Parmesan Chicken", "Lasagna with Turkey Sausage" (I used an Italian sausage instead), "Zucchini with Parmesan","Parmesan Roasted Asparagus", "Garlic Sauteed Spinach" and her "Mashed Potatoes". Everything always comes out very good, except for the spinach recipe, but that's because it's hard to cook spinach perfectly, without overcooking. Her mashed potatoes are our favorites. I've made them several times already. The only downside is that she uses a little more fat than many of us are comfortable with (one of the reasons why my mother in law doesn't like her).

I just bought this one. It was $9 at Target and now after I read the Amazon reviews, I'm sorry I wasted my money. The author, who is Jerry Seinfeld's wife, had this amazing idea, which she apparently plagiarized from some other author, of adding small amounts of vegetable or fruit purees to kid friendly recipes (cauliflower in mac and cheese, broccoli in chicken nuggets etc). I'm making her burger with mushrooms today and I really hope they will turn out OK. Many of the reviewers said that nothing they made from that book was edible. One more reason why you should read reviews BEFORE buying a book.

A few years ago, when we lived in Ballard, a Seattle neighborhood, "Ray's Boathouse" was one of our favorite restaurants (and we did go to restaurants much more often back then, since we only had two kids). They have amazing seafood. I've been wanting to buy their cook book for many years and finally did it this summer, when my in-laws where here. My sister in law, Patricia, was so impressed with the book, that she bought one herself. They have them at Costco for about a 40% discount. I know Dominic and I made more than one recipe from this book already but there's one that I remember well, the "Seafood Risotto with Morels and Chanterelles". We made it without seafood, just with the wild mushrooms added to our already much loved risotto and it was delicious. Wild mushrooms can be expensive but we found an affordable solution: the small bag of mixed dried wild mushrooms from Trader Joes, for about $4.99. It's enough for a big pot of risotto, serving 10 or so.

I borrowed this William Sonoma book from the library when my dad was visiting. He loves salmon and I wanted to make some food using local ingredients, which this book suggests. There was one recipe there that I remember making, but I don't know its name. It was a salmon with a delicious red wine sauce (they suggested an Oregon Pinot Noir, but I just used a chep red wine I had in the house, which worked out just fine). I'm pretty sure we had this with Barefoot Contessa's mashed potatoes. The salmon was a nice alternative to our usual grilled salmon with salmon rub.

October 08, 2008

Ready for Bed

New Routines

If you're wondering why I'm not writing on my blog very often, well that's because we're trying here to start the new routines going. A lot has changed lately :new baby and no help, start of school, start of Sunday school, start of extracurricular activities, adult education classes at church, volunteering, approaching auction dinner and so on.

I feel like we are starting to fall into a pretty good routine, a very different one than last year's. Here are a few things that I do differently now than last year (mostly because I have a baby and a toddler and 2 days per week a third child at home during the day):

1. I wake up at 6:00 to 6:30am to start my day before the kids wake up as opposed to waking up at 7:30am with the kids last year
2. I only go shopping once a week (at Costco, Trader Joe's or one of the supermarkets) as opposed to going almost every day last year (no more weekly Target and Value Village runs).
3. I start the kids' and my before bedtime routine at 7pm (and if I don't I should) as opposed to 8 last year.
4. I do most of the dinner preparation before I go to pick up the kids.

Many more changes to make...

October 02, 2008

Sophia and her Cousin Olivia

They seemed to be quite aware of each other's presence, which is about all you can expect from a 5 and a 3 months old on a play date.

September 27, 2008

Cecilia at the German School

We've had Teddy and Benedict in the German school in the past, Teddy for two nonconsecutive years and Benedict for one year. They both hated it, especially Teddy, because all the kids there are from German families and speak German at home so the teachers teach at their level. My kids didn't understand very much so we dropped German.

I didn't think I would return there but Cecilia is showing an unusual interest in learning the language. She started picking up words at 3- 4 while listening to German tapes, intended for her older brothers, in the car. She started saying words and singing songs and she kept asking me to speak to her in German. I borrowed all the German DVD's and tapes I found at the library several times. Even my parents have learned the "Ich heisse Moritz" and "Magst du Coca-Cola" songs. My brother in law, Chris sent us many German books and CD's from Germany for the kids and I ordered more from Amazon.de. Cecilia is listening to her CD's over and over again and can say a few phrases in German.

The logical next step was to enroll her in the German school. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she will like it and will want to stay in the school for more than 1 or 2 years. We'll see. Anyway, Frau Coffin, the Kindergarten teacher and Mrs. Newcomb, the principal, were happy to see us back, this time with a new student.
The Seattle German Language School teaches grades PK-12 and adults on Saturdays from 9-11:30am at the Villa Academy in Seattle (close to University Village).

September 26, 2008

Laura's Blog

My cousin, Laura Moisin, who lives in New York, just opened her author blog for the book she wrote. The book, called "Kid Rex" is the story of her struggle with anorexia and will be available in stores in a few weeks. It is now available to pre order.

September 25, 2008

Baby's First Taste of Solid Food

No, I wasn't planning on introducing it to Sophia before 6 months. She's happily and exclusively breastfeeding but, what do you think, while I was busy talking to this guy who wants to pave our driveway, Cecilia was sharing her mushy banana with Sophia. Sophia loved it!
Life sure is interesting in a house full of children. Nothing goes as planned.

September 23, 2008

Sophia the Cutie Pie is 5 Months Old

She's sitting on a quilt that Tavis made for her a while ago, with the help of his grandma Judy. He asked his grandma to teach him and then decided that his first project would be a quilt for Sophia. He did most of the work, the proud grandma told me.

Sophia is posing with her new toy, Sophie the giraffe. She's starting to have quite a collection of giraffes.

September 20, 2008

An Evening with Familia Romana

So what does a mother of five do an a Saturday evening? She could do a number of things, like watch a movie, eat out, read, relax after a difficult week. Well, this mother of five spent her Saturday night, in addition to feeding 5 mouths, wiping two bottoms, correcting 4 Kumon worksheet packets, picking up toys again and again, washing dishes (the normal evening routine), well she spent more than an hour looking in the Latin-English dictionary, finding unknown words to translate a 3 page Latin text for her darling 5th grader who just announced her that he has Latin homework.

See, the book that Teddy and his classmates use for Latin, Lingua Latina Part 1 (Familia Romana) was meant for high school and college level. With my pretty strong Latin background (5 years including Latin Olympiads) I still have trouble translating my 10 year old's Latin texts, meaning I need to use the dictionary and to review my Latin grammar. I try to do all the deciphering myself and once I'm very familiar with the text, then start working with Teddy, so he doesn't get too frustrated.

There are times when I think that this is way too hard for him but I have been amazed at how much he learned. He is in his 3rd (or maybe 4th?) year of Latin and I could safely say that he knows as many words as I do (I still know more grammar than him though...thank goodness). The problem is that if he wants to find a word in the dictionary, if that word has a different grammatical form than the one in the dictionary, he'll never find it. Take for example "eam". You can try to find the word in the dictionary but will not find it if you don't know that "eam" is the singular Accusative of the feminine form of the demonstrative pronoun (or whatever that's called in English) is (as in is, ea,id,eius, eius eius etc., I can still recite part of this after 13 years). To make a long story short, the kid needs help in looking up words in the dictionary and I volunteered.

To finish studying the chapter for the test, which will probably take place in a couple of weeks, we will spend a few hours, first reading and translating the text, learning whatever grammar topic is introduced in the lesson and then doing all the exercises in the textbook and in the workbook. Doing all this will probably secure a B for Teddy. C's are the norm and A is probably a one in a school year event (I'm only talking about Latin). In other words it is extremely challenging for both mother and child.

The good part is that not only does Teddy learn a lot of Latin at an early age, but I also get to review my Latin and even improve it.

Here is a little paragraph from the 3 pages of text from ch. 9 (the material I worked on tonight).

"Dum ceterae oves a pastore numerantur, ovis nigra in magna silva, ubi via nulla est, errat. Ovis, quae iam procul a pastore ceterisque ovibus abest, neque caelum neque solem supra se videt. Sub arboribus sol non lucet. Ovis nigra in umbra est."

After looking for about 6 words in the dictionary, I came up with this translation:

"While the rest of the sheep are being counted by the shepherd, the black sheep wanders off in the big forest, where there are no pathways (or trails). The sheep, which is now far away from the shepherd and the rest (ceteris= the rest as in etcetera= and the rest) of the sheep, doesn't see the sky or the sun above itself. The sun doesn't shine under the trees. The black sheep is in the shade."

This is only one out of 21 paragraphs in the chapter. We'll see how Teddy does tomorrow with the translation. I usually only offer minimum help but I do like to be familiar with the text before I work with him.

Among the many interesting things I learned from Teddy's Latin book are the animal sounds in Latin.
Did you now that in Latin "Canis latrat: Baubau, lupus ululat: Uhu, and ovis balat: Baba". How funny!

Now would anyone dare tell me that we, stay at home mommies are not intellectually stimulated?!

September 18, 2008

Teddy's Dolphin Essay 2005

This was written by Teddy when he was in 1st grade at Westgate Elementary, our local public school. Even at that very young age, they were learning a lot about the environment and endangered animals. I found this and I thought I would post it. It was so cute...but I'm glad he's not in public school anymore. Some of you who read this (the homeschool minded) will understand why this cute little essay was a warning for what was to come if Teddy stayed in the same school (teaching about global warming, overpopulation etc.)

This is what it says, if you can't read it:

"Dear people who kill dolphins, please do not kill dolphins it makes me mad and sad. Did you want to kill all the dolphins in the world and no people will be rescued and you might fall off your boat and drown without dolphins in the world and now STOP IT and QUIT IT. Now dolphins are in big danger because of you guys and other people who kill dolphins. 2005 Teddy"

In the sentence about falling off the boat and drowning he was referring to a story he heared or read about some dolphin who rescued people.

And here is Teddy at 6 (around the time he wrote this) scandalized by the murdered lobster on the table.

September 15, 2008

Lopez Island

Teddy fishing on a boat on Friday Harbor

The boys and Dominic took a trip last weekend on Lopez Island (part of the San Juan Islands). They took a ferry and rode their bikes on the island, then camped, went to Friday Harbor on Sunday and went to church there.

Two days ago, on Tavis' 9th birthday, Dominic took Teddy, Bebe, Tavis, Celsus and Joseph (their friend from school) on another bike trip. Then they had pizza and came home extremely tired.