May 15, 2018

Good Pie - FAIL

Who doesn't love Good Pie?!

This is a recipe from the Sister Weaver Recipe Collection - The title clearly says Good pie.............except I FAILED miserably.

How hard can it be?

There were no instructions, just an ingredient list, but how hard can it be. I mean it's pretty much just concentrate and cool whip almost poured into a pie shell, a premade no-bake pie shell at that. You just dump it all in a bowl and mix, right? Apparently not. In my defense I've never in my life made a no-bake pie until I started making these recipes. Nope, not one. I had images of beautiful pink (because who doesn't love pink lemonade?!) filling with a dollop of cool whip....I have NO idea what I did wrong. It was NASTY.

And it certainly was NOT pink.............more a weak chocolate milk brown. NOT good. Soooo I can make bread from scratch, cook an ENTIRE Christmas dinner plus desserts, and feed an army of kids, but I failed on this pie. I am LAUGHING! Brought me down a peg or two for sure. It was a liquidy, curdled mess, and one huge NOPE! I guess I'm putting this one back in the back until AFTER I look up just what exactly I did or didn't do right.

May 13, 2018

Sacred Sunday - Mother's Day

source: same as the image on left

“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”
--Saint Maximilian Kolbe

"When we were little, we kept close to our mother in a dark alley or if dogs barked at us. Now, when we feel temptations of the flesh, we should run to the side of our Mother in Heaven, by realizing how she is to us, and by means of aspirations. She will defend us and lead us to the light."
--St. Josemaria Escriva

"If you ever feel distressed during your day — call upon our Lady — just say this simple prayer: 'Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.' I must admit — this prayer has never failed me."
--Blessed Mother Teresa 

"So your strength is failing you? Why don't you tell your mother about it? . . . Mother! Call her with a loud voice. She is listening to you; she sees you in danger, perhaps, and she—your holy mother Mary—offers you, along with the grace of her son, the refuge of her arms, the tenderness of her embrace . . . and you will find yourself with added strength for the new battle."
--St. Josemaria Escriva

"Only after the Last Judgment will Mary get any rest; from now until then, she is much too busy with her children."
--St. John Vianney

Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.
--Saint Francis de Sales

”For if we are bidden to honor carnal fathers and mothers, how much more the spiritual? . . . If this virtue of charity has been overlooked, a man will lose any fruit of salvation in any good he may do.”
--Pope Saint Gregory VII

“For God, having given her power over his only-begotten and natural Son, also gave her power over his adopted children - not only in what concerns their body - which would be of little account - but also in what concerns their soul.”
--Saint Louis Marie de Montfort

"Mary seeks for those who approach her devoutly and with reverence, for such she loves, nourishes, and adopts as her children."
--Saint Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church

"She is more Mother than Queen."
--Saint Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church

"The day of the Nativity of the Mother of God is a day of universal joy, because through the Mother of God, the entire human race was renewed, and the sorrow of the first mother, Eve, was transformed into joy."
--Saint John Damascene, Father and Doctor of the Church

- I found the quotes from here. The website is a gem and can be found at

May 12, 2018

My Dear Mom Letter

Scene a week or so before Mother's Day of my childhood almost every....single....year....

Me: *yelling from a room or so away* Hey Mom! Mom! MOOOOMMMM!

Her: WHHHAAAATTTTT?! *annoyed because I'm yelling again after being told a bazillion times not to*

Me: *walking slowly towards her, possibly, even if not I'm likely still yelling* What do you want for Mother's Day?

Her: *looking tired usually* Same thing I ask for every year.

Me: *deadpan* No, really, what do you want.

Her: *straight faced* Peace and quiet. (or) Sleep.

Me: *loud sigh and my 'not so inner' brat being extremely evident* You never tell us what you really want.

Her: *quietly, sweetly, resignedly* I need socks, but anything you get is fine. 

-Ooooooohhhhhhhh how I get it now! So here is this year's Dear Mom Letter

Dear Mom,

I get it, I'm sorry. Thank you for not killing me. More importantly though you need to know a few things. You should know you are the reason I have any strength of character, love, and goodness in me. You have only ever wanted the best for me and I, for years, resented you because I either misunderstood what you were trying to do, felt ashamed for disappointing you, or just felt completely unworthy of the love you give. You lived through and sacrificed so much for us kids and even when I was breaking your heart by becoming all that you were afraid of you loved me anyway. When shame kept me from admitting to myself what you already knew about my life and my marriage you loved me anyway. When I STILL screw up and make a mess of thing, you are right there, loving me anyway. You mom, YOU are why I know it's what you DO and not what you say that means and ultimately says the most. I am not as strong as you are and worry I never will be, but God knows what little strength I do have I get it all from you. I saw when you put yourself in danger to protect me, often from myself. I heard about it when you called the school out and stood up for me. I paid attention when you spoke, even if I didn't always seem to. I saw you doing dishes every day after you cooked the meal, that you often made after you got home from work. I saw how tired you were after you got home from a long shift, and STILL did housework and stayed available if we needed you. I never forgot how you rubbed the feet of an elderly patient and tucked them back under the covers as you spoke softly and warmly to him. I was so jealous of him in that moment even as my heart swelled with pride. (You are and always will be the nurse I compare all other nurses to.) In that incredibly brief and selfish moment I'd forgotten you sitting up, holding me, rubbing my feet when I was little, and always speaking the very same way with me during my fevers, and earaches, and at that time braxton hicks. You DID love, but in my ignorance I didn't hear it because you weren't and aren't a loud, huggy, kissy, showy kind of person. You never really said it because you never stopped living it, it should have been obvious. I'm sorry for any pain my blindness caused you. That was one hell of a peanut butter moment* on my part. Know I was sooo proud that you could put away your feelings and make someone else feel they were the most important person in the world even if just for a second or two. I wanted to be just like you, and I still do. I didn't know that it was your love for us that kept you working so hard for others so you could take care of us. I also didn't understand how difficult it could be to be loving and soft to a hard headed mouthy teenager that knew it all but didn't truly know or appreciate you at all. (I can be such a huge pain in the ass sometimes. I'm sorry.) I took you for granted, and I'm sorry I did. I wish I could go back and have a 'do over', but I honestly don't think either one of us is up for reliving those days! hahahaha I can only hope and pray that my head is sufficiently pulled far enough out of my rear end to make the most of the fact you are here, now, and to show you, not just tell you how much you really mean to me. I love you mom, YOU are the best part of me.


P.S. No, I don't want anything. Well, that's not true. I want you to be  healthy and happy and to spend time with you, the one person that's always had my back, and one of my very best friends.

Now if any of you out there have gotten this far and see the woman in the pictures below give her a salute, because not only is she the best mom in the world, she was an officer and IS a United States Air Force Vietnam veteran, she sooooo earned it! (I used to love it when people said my mama wore combat boots I'd retort "Yes! Yes she did, and better than you could!" I actually found out she never did wear combat boots as a nurse/officer, but God knows she would have rocked them if she had! hahahaha She is awesome!

My mama y'all! Though she be but little, she is fierce! 


*A peanut butter moment in our house is when someone that has been struggling to see, usually loudly and obnoxiously, finds what they were looking for. It got the name when my father once absolutely insisted that the peanut butter was NOT where my mom kept telling him it was. Lord knows he was looking ALL over the pantry.......until she calmly and quietly walked away from the stove to the pantry, and handed him the peanut butter that was less than 12 inches from his face. I laughed my ass off, because I related so well to my dad and I knew the expression of "idiot" on my mom's face ooooooohhhhhh so well. - And no, my family has never been boring.

May 10, 2018

Edna Johnson's Cornbread Dressing with Chicken on Top - A Sister Weaver's Collection Recipe

I made this few weeks ago while the weather was cool and it will be definitely be returning to our table later in the year, but with a few changes. The chicken was a little dry,(which I expected in all honesty) not bad enough that the kids noticed, but enough that I will be tweaking the recipe a little. Where it said to put the chicken on top I'll push it in to keep it from drying out and cover with foil. However, I wanted to stay true to what was written because there are sooooo many things in some of these recipes that are just alien to me. It sure is fun seeing how differently women fed their families and their brothers and sisters in Christ just a few decades ago. I've gone through and picked a few recipes that I will be making very soon that are summer heat friendly. Enjoy!

Cornbread Dressing with Chicken on Top
Edna Johnson
In salted Water
Boil 1 fryer + debone Save broth
Cornbread (note here to say the ingredients for it follow)
2 Cup meal 1 tsp soda 1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar 2 cups buttermilk 1 egg
1 tbsp Oil
Bake in 9 inch pan in 450 oven
Crumbled cornbread. Toast 4 slices bread Crumble Crisps Toast dry 3/4 pkg. pepperidge Farm dressing Mix (Blue lable) Medium Onion Chopped 3 stalk Celery Chopped 6 Boiled eggs chopped Saute Celery + onion in a bit olio + mix All, Adding eggs eggs last, then add Chicken broth + Salt + pepper to taste. put Chicken on Top, Bake 45 min in 350 oven.

I put just enough water to cover the 4 lb. the chicken I had and used the broth from it. I used her cornbread recipe, cooking it in my cast iron skillet, buttered the way I normally would. I had absolutely no leftovers from the recipe, so I repeat it is good, just remember to at least cover the chicken or to push it into the dressing a bit better than I did, or mix it in completely to keep it from drying out. I will also probably make a chicken gravy to serve with it and a side of steamed broccoli and roasted root veggies and iced tea sure do sound good!

*It's been brought to my attention that the directions are less than clear. The cornmeal is regular cornmeal, not the self-rising but if that is what you have just omit the soda and salt. Pepperidge Farm is a brand name and the product called for here is their bread stuffing that's in the bag with the blue label. Olio is an old school term for margarine. The closest thing I can find to what I've seen used in the past is something called Country Patties Vegetable Spread. I am sorry I didn't include the clarifications earlier.

May 9, 2018

Rome Sweet Home - Book Review

While I was 'a Catholic in training' this book helped me feel less alone. My very fundamentalist background (Pentacostal and Southern Baptist mostly) left me with a lot of misinformation about the truth of the Roman Catholic Church. This book helped me understand not only the errors of what I'd been taught but also navigate my mixed feelings. Scott Hahn was relatable the first time I read it because I shared his mistrust of the Catholic Church, maybe not quite as deeply as he did, but I was NOT happy with the direction I found God leading me. There were times reading it the first time it felt like Mr. Hahn was writing straight from my own life. His reaction to a rosary was similar. His friends not knowing what to do and many leaving was dead on. Reading his journey was really like reading my own. As a newcomer to the faith all those years ago there weren't many conversion stories to help naviagate the emotions, and the realities of converstion for many of us. Rome Sweet Home was healing in the sense that it took some of the sting of loneliness out of the journey.

The second time I read it, not long ago, I began to understand Kimberly better. While I appreciated Kimberly's part when I first converted it wasn't until I reread it years later that I began to understand her. Now that I gotten past the honeymoon phase of marriage, her frustrations with Scott going in a different direction were more relatable. Not making waves and trying not to think about what was happening and her discontent is something more relatable now that I have increased in age and experience. Reading her internal conflicts while she watched her husband become someone she barely recognized helped me to want to go back to Mass and rekindle my love for God. While in her story she and Scott were united in the Church and mine did the opposite, her courage to follow God's lead no matter the outcome has given me new hope. Not for my marriage, that ship has sailed and I'm at peace with that, but for my children. The good news is that He is always waiting for us with open arms. I close my eyes and trust in that every single day.

May 8, 2018

Why I Miss Spring in the Skook

The park is open!

The Skook, a mixed blessing for sure! Some hate it, some love it, no matter what you feel about it you'll never forget it. Living there has been one of the greatest blessings of my life, one that I will cherish forever. Personally, I miss it, especially the winter, but spring in the Skook is just as beautiful! These are a few things about spring in the Skook that I miss. 

1. The unabashed joy on kids faces when the playgrounds open back up after being closed for the winter. (see picture above) Everyone is getting out of the house and starting to enjoy the warmer weather. You start seeing friends and neighbors out and about. Talking and laughter can be heard again from the streets.

2. The call of the garden beckons! From potted plants in windows to small little side gardens, the gardeners are coming out of their homes with starter plants and potting soil galore.

Neighbor and the kids starting a garden.
3. Having windows and doors open to allow the spring breeze to whisk away the stale winter air. Those moments are golden!

enjoying the fresh air

4. Lent hardly feels like a time of fasting there. From the fish fries in the churches and fire halls to the amazing deals at Boyers it hardly feels like a sacrifice at all and more like hitting the jackpot. Click for Boyer's online weekly ads

5. The first Schuylkill homeschool meetup at Stoyer's Dam in Schuylkill Haven was always a treat! If you homeschool and you live in that area you need to get involved in the group. You can find them on facebook and it is one the the best homeschooling groups you can ask for. It's very informal, and everyone is welcome. Click here for their Facebook page

6. Rita's Italian Ice give away on the first day of spring. It's a tradition and it's an awesome tradition. So if you are near one, go  Find one near you!

7. The first family hike and just enjoying being outside in the warm weather and nature. There are tons of places to get out and enjoy nature in Schuylkill county. One of our favorites is Hawk Mountain, but we were closer to Locust Lake so that was our primary spot.

Our first trip to Locust Lake

8. Hopping in the car and exploring with the windows down. The roads were usually nice enough even if there was still some snow. We'd hit a Sheetz for snacks and maybe have a quick picnic in one of the parks. We went all over the place. There is a map of historical markers that we would pick and choose from starting each spring that can be found here. We used it quite often.

One of our finds.

9. If you live in Schuylkill Co. you know Dunkin' is just a part of life. They are everywhere! The two ways you know it's spring, when walking outside you don't feel the urge to go in just to get warm and while driving you stop debating on getting out of the car or just hit the drive thru. (We had little ones in car seats, hands down drive thru every time until warm weather hit.)

Best fast food coffee ever, and I miss the Pottscream filled Donuts!

10. Birds, yes, I know, I know, every place has birds returning. However, after the cold months of dealing with making sure pipes aren't freezing (or dealing with the aftermath if they had), heating oil costs, and stale winter air inside, there is just something magical about seeing a robin or hearing geese return for the first time each year. I don't care if there's still snow on the ground, it's lovely just to stand in the doorway and just take in the life that is returning!

First robin I saw in 2016, the year we moved back to AL.

Hands down though the best thing about spring in the Skook is my heart babies walking through my open front door, plopping down at my kitchen table and chatting away over a quick snack, even for just a few mintues, and often just to say hi. Before I could blink sometimes they'd be out the back kitchen door and over the fence chasing life.

Times there are hard with the economy down and the drugs, many of them came from broken homes and had their own ways of dealing with it all, good or bad. I never did have problems with very many of them at all and only one seriously. Some of them have gone on to become parents themselves, some struggle more than others, all are loved, all are missed, all know that my doors are open.

Mar 30, 2018

Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani?

God, God why have you forsaken me? That is the question Jesus himself uttered upon the cross the day he died. He felt completely and utterly alone. We did that.

Crucifixion is not only a death meant to be as painful as possible but also the utmost humiliation. A person crucified was the lowest of the low, criminal, and their bodies hanging were a warning to those who saw them. He suffered that.

A sacrifice was needed and he accepted that responsibility.

He died so that we will live.

Good Friday isn't good because it's fun or easy.
Good Friday is good because without it we are lost.