August 2009 Archives

I promise all three Summa Mamas are alive and kickin. One of us probably feeling more kicking and aliveness than the others, I would guess. Ha. Anyway:


Outside My Window... it is heavenly!! Breezy and warm without being unbearable. Our house runs cool and it is perfect in here without the AC. Birds are chirping and the laundry is waving on the line. I refuse to accept that it will warm back up even though I know deep down that it will.

I am thankful for... see below.

From the kitchen... The husband is home today and is currently making brownies to be served warm with strawberry ice cream outside where the birds are chirping, etc. This is the most important kitchen production of the day and the only one worth mentioning, really.

I am wearing... dark blue jeans, dark gray wifebeater. A yellow tee was over it earlier when I was out. Greeezy hair braid.

I am creating... my everlasting Noro blanket and Christmas mitts. Recently finished my crochet belt and Camila's hoodie.

I am going... nowhere at all. I was at Target and the bank earlier. Exciting!

I am reading... The Piano Teacher by Julia Cho. Also, Homeschooling; A Family's Journey by Gregory and Martine Millman. Jake and I finished Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World yesterday. I been all over Jeff's notes and book from his government class Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I am hoping... the baby gets a little time of relief. Her molars have popped through and she is sleeping so much better. Canines are on deck.

I am hearing... my boys, who are drawing from this book we got at the library called How to Draw Grotesque Monsters. They are discussing which ones are really real. They do not like hearing that none of them are, I've learned. Truly a heartbreaking world that holds no cyclops to defeat.

Around the house... LAUNDRY, kitchen mop, LAUNDRY, squish innocent little sugar ants that want to live in the bathroom.

One of my favorite things... Kettle Chips' Honey Dijon potato chips. Mmmm!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Childrens' P.E kickoff tomorrow, Rangers vs Toronto Wednesday (Jude cannot WAIT), sprucing and organizing for our school, which starts Monday, date night Friday, Homeschool group picnic Saturday, errands, finish books and knit a bit... it's shaping up to be a good, plump week.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... Agnes! We've had her about a month now and she's all healthy and about nine weeks old.

7 Quick Takes for Friday

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The beginning of school has kicked my routine into high gear, but it's a gear I haven't been in for several weeks. Hence my absence here. I'll get more used to it as the days progress, and I hope to blog more in the future. That could be either a curse or a blessing, a promise or a threat. Depends on your perspective.


Finished Odd Hours by Dean Koontz. I liked it a lot. I think he's headed to an interesting place--he has a clear end in mind for the Odd books, and I think I know where he's going, but I'm keeping my guess to myself so I won't look like an idiot if I'm completely off the wall. I have a couple of quotes I'll share with you from the book later, but first I have to get 'em copied into my quote journal/commonplace book.

And yes, I'm hand writing them. It forces me to slow down and think about what I'm saving.


McKid loves back to school, but it kicks her tail for the first week or so. After a very lazy, unstructured summer, school takes a lot of energy. Even when you're a high energy kid like her.

Her school gets out early every Friday, and she's at home with me, lying on the couch and soaking up the rest. She'll be back to herself in an hour or so, then watch out!


Groceries seem to be getting higher and higher. It's gotten to the point where I am going to start shopping at WalMart for everything but meat and produce. They are just SO much cheaper! A grocery chain new to THIS area, Aldi's, is going in not far from me. I hear they are cheap. I hope so. My budget could use some help.


I crocheted 2 Christmas presents this week. Woo Hoo!


OK, so I gave the Smock the afghan I crocheted for Smockling#7, so I guess ya'll can see it now:

Allenkid#7 Blanket

I'm not sure the colors show up well. It is BRIGHT green, BRIGHT pink, BRIGHT purple, BRIGHT blue, trimmed in white. Since we won't know where the Smocking is a boy or a girl until he or she gets here, I had to do something that would be neutral.

OK, so maybe NEUTRAL is the wrong word. It's cuter in person than in this picture, and I think the Smock liked it.


Started a great book this morning: Dwight Longenecker's Adventures in Orthodoxy. I knew it was good when I realized that if I had had a highligher with me I would have highlighted all but about 2 words of the Introduction.

Happy Friday, ya'll! And check out the rest of the 7 Quick Takes entries over at Jen's Conversion Diary.

Pretty Bag Pattern Tuesday!

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Keeping with MamaT's theme, check out this beaut.

cabled bag.jpg

A pretty speedy knit, I'll bet, with bulky yarn. The pattern includes knit handle instructions, but I'm really feeling this wiry improvisation.

Pretty Pattern Tuesday

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I am dying to make this bag! Once you have your 16 squares crocheted, it is constructed in an interesting manner. The pattern, in PDF, is here. The designer is German, and I'd like to give her a shout-out for making such a pretty thing available for free.



LaMa's Musica Lunes

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My man programmed this gem as the ringtone on my phone as a joke; but I really don't ever want to change it.

This is how you know you are a recipe geek:


You can even find a recipe to cut out while you're reading Sports Illustrated!

Moroccan-Style Beef Kabobs with Spiced Bulgur

1 pound tenderloin steaks, cut 1 inch thick


1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Spiced Bulgur:

1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking bulgur
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Cut beef steak into 1 1/4 inch pieces. Whisk marinade ingredients in large bowl until smooth. Add beef, toss to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes to 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, prepare Spiced Bulgur. Combine bulgur, water, raisins, orange juice, pumpkin pie spice, cumin, garlic and salt in small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until bulgur is tender and water is absorbed. Fluff with fork; stir in parsley. Keep warm.

3. Soak eight 6 inch bamboo skewers in water 10 minutes; drain. Remove beef from marinade; discard marinade. Thread beef pieces onto skewers, leaving small space between pieces.

4. Place kabobs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 6 to 8 minutes (or over medium heat on a preheated gas greill, covered, 7 to 9 minutes for medium-rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees) doneness, turning occasionally.

5. Serve over Spiced Bulgur.

This is from the Beef: It's What's For Dinner folks. They've got other recipes at their website.

MamaT's Monday Music

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A little gem from The Hollies, from about 1966, I think. Enjoy!

"Are 'bumpaholics' addicted to pregnancy?"

this article passes for journalism? first of all, the term "baby bump" itself is highly insulting. it isn't a bump. you can ride over bumps in the road, squease icky out of a bump on your face, and you can do "the bump" on the dance floor, but a baby isn't a protuberance for heaven's sake, it's a human being. as for claiming that multiple pregnancies makes a woman a "bump"-aholic, or any sort of addict speaks volumes about our society and its own sick and twisted ideas -- both towards pregnancy and towards responsible or irresponsible actions.

to limit the co-creation of a human soul to a "feel good" high is not only insulting, it's shortsighted and ludicrous. are there women out there who conceive for selfish or irresponsible reasons? surely. but to assume that every woman who chooses to have a large family is a brainless, selfish thrill-seeker is absurd. of course, the sad fact is that some truly messed-up women have children for all the wrong reasons. i've met some of them. and "wanting something to love" tops the list of really rotten and self-indulgent ideas -- and it isn't just immature and misguided teens who are saying this -- but educated, professional, single women facing mid-life all alone. thank you, betty friedan.

make no mistake, this brockenbrough woman, who wrote the article for women's health ragazine magazine, covers her bases by suggesting that not all women of multiple children are serving some self involved pathology, but she adds it in tiny little doses sprinkled throughout and closer to the end of the article. the gist of her claim is all about *hormonal highs* and the selfish desire to be the *center of the universe* and the thrill of being *larger than life* in the eyes of everyone around you.

oh, the wonderful experiences of stretch marks, hemorrhoids, raging hormonal swings, morning sickness, physical exhaustion, and funky black hairs creeping into places no hair should ever sprout may be thrilling for some; but, difficulty breathing, night sweats, nightmares, an aching back, swollen feet, nausea, skin tags and the general feeling of "OMG i swallowed a watermelon whole" do not a pleasure high make.

yes, it is an amazing miracle to know that you carry life within your womb and to feel this life growing within you, but the only true reward from pregnancy is the immortal soul that God has allowed you to bring into this world, and by His grace, to usher toward His Divine Presence in the next.

Holy Spirit Smackdown from Bible Study


For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

--------------------2 Peter, 1:5-8


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Go to ravelry and look at a certain completed baby afghan!

Woo hoo!

contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding does not cause a woman's breasts to sag. pregnancy does. okay, i'm over-simplifying a tad because actually gravity, smoking, bmi, and aging also contribute to breast ptosis (the technical term for sagging). and here's an interesting tidbit, resesarch has shown that high-impact activities like jogging and running may actually cause more stress to the ligaments of breasts than pregnancy. and, silicone breasts, because of their weight, cause the most stress (during high-impact activity) with the result that the breasts sag in a shorter time than natural breasts of the same size. so, maybe there's something to be said for the au natural sedentary lifestyle. if so, i'm all set.

but back to the subject at hand, the fact remains that if a woman is pregnant the stretching is already done. so, hopefully she will not shy away from breastfeeding because breast truly is best for baby.

if a woman knows that she or her spouse are going to be particularly conscious about perkiness, it may be a good idea for that couple to consider adoption. because adoptive breastfeeding is possible, and it won't alter breast appearance either.

live science article here.
adoptive breastfeeding article here.

rip: john hughes

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who doesn't have a favorite john hughes movie? i have several -- in fact, i would be hard pressed to try to think of just one that would be my all time favorite. my teen years were filled with his movies -- and quotes from his movies! -- and his untimely passing has hit me harder than i could have ever expected. i don't think it's a stretch to say that he was, if not the voice of my generation, then a remarkably important one. and, he and his brilliantly comedic and touching take on teenage (and adult) angst will be missed.

of the following (yes my personal faves), what's your favorite john hughes movie?
mr. mom
sixteen candles
breakfast club
pretty in pink
ferris bueller's day off
planes, trains & automobiles
uncle buck

of the following (again, personal faves), is your favorite quote?

"Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people."

"This is my ninth sick day this semester. It's pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for ten, I'm probably going to have to barf up a lung, so I better make this one count." ~ ferris bueller's day off

"I don't think I want to know a six-year-old who isn't a dreamer, or a sillyheart. And I sure don't want to know one who takes their student career seriously. I don't have a college degree. I don't even have a job. But I know a good kid when I see one. Because they're ALL good kids, until dried-out, brain-dead skags like you drag them down and convince them they're no good. You so much as scowl at my niece, or any other kid in this school, and I hear about it, and I'm coming looking for you! take this quarter, go downtown, and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face! Good day to you, madam." ~ uncle buck

"We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all."

"Well, if you say you haven't, you're a prude. If you say you have you're a slut. It's a trap. You want to but you can't, and when you do you wish you didn't, right? " ~ breakfast club

"Yes, you're a total fag."

"That's why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they'd call them something else." ~sixteen candles

"Because I wasn't unhappy! Look, maybe I was a little confused, maybe I was a little frustrated, but I knew what I was doing was important, because it means something to raise human beings." ~ mr. mom

" I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real article. What you see is what you get."

"Oh, they're drunk. How do they know where we're going?"

"Six bucks and my right nut says we're not landing in Chicago." ~ planes, trains and automobiles

his entire filmography (writer, director, producer, and actor) can be seen at
filmaking legacy article from here.

make of it what you will . . .

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Oklahoma City, look out! A nude, breastfeeding Angelina Jolie is coming to town ... in statue form, of course. The latest handiwork of celeb sculptor Daniel Edwards features Jolie in the buff with two babies -- likely meant to be twins Knox and Vivienne -- feeding off of her breasts. It should probably go without saying that this work is from Edwards' imagination, and nothing that Jolie posed for or authorized.

find the story here.

7 Quick Takes for Friday

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I am almost sure that I have crochet ADD. I love to look at patterns. I love to START things. I just have a serious problem with follow-through. I have about 5 projects "on the hook" spread out all over my house. All in various stages of completion. This is ridiculous. I have done this before and had managed to restrain myself for a couple of years, keeping only 2 projects going at a time. (I am physically incapable of doing just one at a time. As soon as I try THAT I do nothing.) But 5 or 6? Silly. So I've pulled them all out. Bagged them in carrying bags and resolved to start nothing new until I've finished what's started.


Finished Brother Odd by Dean Koontz while sitting out at the swimming pool yesterday. Liked it very much, but I'm an Oddie fan. Smock's right. Book one of the series? GREAT. Book two, not so good. Book Three (the one I just finished), good again, though not as good as the first, quite. Smock brought me book four yesterday afternoon. Can't tell about it yet.


One reason I like Dean Koontz and the Odd books? Humor. Here's something that made me snort Diet Coke up my nose:

The beauty took my breath, the way the snow fell and yet the night was still, the intricacy of the simplicity. Although the night would have been even more beautiful if she had been here to share it with me, for a moment all was well, allmanner of things were well, and then of course someone screamed.

Just that juxtaposition. Perfect.

And it so perfectly encapsulates my life at the moment.



Does everything really tend toward more and more disorganization and chaos? My house would argue that this is true. Left alone for even a second, stuff appears out of nowhere (OK, seemingly nowhere) and appears on top of every horizontal surface in the house. At CasaS we call this the law of "horizontal magnetization" which means that every single horizontal surface is magnetized to attract maximum amounts of clutter.

I don't know what law of physics this is, but I'd be honored to have it called the MamaT hypothesis.


Zman and TBC are taking McKid to Hurricane Harbor today. I think that's nice of them.
I, on the other hand, am cleaning out Sunday School rooms at the church.

Does that seem fair to YOU?

Me neither.


In the interest of budget cutting, we are trying to buy less diet drinks and drink more iced tea. I like it, but I miss the bubbles. I miss the bubbles even more than I miss the sweet taste. Do you think that I was really addicted to carbonation? Is that possible? Do you think there's a 12 step group?


Watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly this week. Not my favorite movie of all time, though I thought it was interesting. Probably this is the wrong time in my life to watch sad things. I should change the order on my Netflix queue. Stat!

And that's my 7 for today!

Read the rest via links over at Jen's place. It's always interesting to see what other folks are doing!

Fine Art Friday


This week's entries are things that struck me when I looked for images of cooking/food/food preparation. It's a mixed bag!

I picked the first one because it would look awesome hanging in my current kitchen and I wish I had it!


Much Ado About Cooking
Louisa Bellis

This second image I picked becuase of its whimsy. And, frankly, some of the things I have cooked in my day have looked little better than the dish this chef is offering!


Cooking Frog
Dot Bunn

I picked the third entry because I love, love, love vintage illustration, and this family is having such a good time:


Cooking Pancakes
John Bull Magazine, 1950

Next, a most traditional image, but so beautiful:


Still Life of Cooking Utensils, Cauldron, Frying Pan and Eggs
Jean-Baptiste Chardin

The most surprising of the images:


The Kitchen
Pablo Picasso

From the guy I can't help liking, even though it goes against my grain:


Andy Warhol

And finally this image, because the Smock wouldn't have it any other way! (And I don't get the title, since that doesn't appear to be what the picture is really about.)


Robert Hoglund

Happy Friday, ya'll!

In response to a friend's question, here's an article about homeschooling that says it better than I ever could.

Best thing we ever did. I know it's not for everyone (hey, McKid is in a charter school), but for us? The best (best, not perfect) answer.

Thinking about things on Thursday


The world knows only big things: sex and the state being its perennial idols. But they are "tohu v'bohu," says the prophet Jeremiah; the same words used to describe the emptiness of the world before God created it. We rise by our own power, we believe, and by our presumptuousness we reduce ourselves to nothing; that is the way of falsehood and death; it is the sin of Satan. But when we fall down before God and repeat the prayer of the publican, "O Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner," or when we break open what treasure we have and pour it at the feet of Jesus, as did the harlot, minging the ointment with her tears, we become like that Christ who fashioned the very dust of the universe, and did not think it was beneath him to become dust, for the sake of dust. The world has had presentiments of this truth, but there will always be something big and showy to distract us from it. Hence the value of silence, and of agreeing to descend with Christ, even to fall upon our faces and say what, after all, is only the truth, that we are nothing -- and to be convicted by that fact, yet never to despair. For even in the valley of the shadow of death, and perhaps there especially, God is with us, like a shepherd, calling home the lost.

------------------Anthony Esolen

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Oh, what a fine, fine day for Whatcha Reading? Because last night I cracked open a new book to read "just a few pages" at 11:45 before dropping off to sleep.

At 2:00 a.m. I had to force myself to PUT THE DARN BOOK DOWN. PUT IT DOWN!

It's been a long time since I had a book grab me so hard, thrust me into its world and make me turn each page to see what would happen next.

And the book? The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

It is on our book club list for later in the year, but I thought I would read it now (since I've already finished the selection for this month The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse) so that if someone else in the club needed to borrow it, they could.

It is told as a series of letters from Juliet Ashton, beginning in January 1946, as England begins the long, slow recovery from WW2. She is a writer casting about for her next subject, at loose ends, slightly depressed with how hard the peace is (harder rationing than during the war, rubble on every street, loss of friends and all her stuff, etc.) She receives an unsolicited letter from a man who has, somehow, come into possession of one of her old books, a selection of Charles Lamb's writings. He lives on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands between England and France. They were occupied by the Germans during the war (I didn't know that). And he wants to ask what else Lamb might have written, and how he might contact a bookseller in London to find out.

That begins a correspondence between Juliet and the members of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The club was active during the occupation, and provided friendship, something to think about besides the war, and some sort of "normalcy" during a very un-normal time.

Told a little snippet at a time, it is utterly charming. Some of the letters are funny. Some are quietly devastating. We have so little idea, here in the US, of what it was like to be under the heel of a dominating power. Or what it was like to live with nightly bombings. This book, in a nonthreatening and almost sneaky way makes you start thinking those "what if" thoughts.

I'm half way through the book. But my preliminary take? Go get it. Now.

Yesterday afternoon during break, I finished Stella Gibbons Cold Comfort Farm. Thoroughly enjoyable, it was a book club selection earlier in the year. (I had finished all but the last 1/4). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as is the related movie. I mean, truly, how can you not love a book with cows in it named Feckless, Aimless, Graceless and Pointless?

A comic novel that was the send up of overheated novels by Mary Webb (yes, Smock, your Mary Webb) and even of those Bronte sisters works, it is laugh out loud funny. I can never hand wash dishes again without thinking "I mun cletter my dishes with this twig." Yeah, I know it doesn't make sense to you, but it is hilarious in the context of the book. A+++.

Reading slowly through Our Mutual Friend. I read a chapter or 2, then set it aside for a bit. I think I'm reading it as it was published, one little piece at a time. This is how you know you're a book nerd: You're reading Dickens in bed and your husband turns to you and says "What are you snorting about NOW?" Parts are sad, but parts are so funny they make me gasp.

Spiritual reading? Peter Kreeft's Jesus-Shock. Good as always. More about that later.

How 'bout you?

Pretty Pattern Tuesday

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I was telling MamaT yesterday that now that I've finished my crocheted bib my next crochet endeavor is a this belt. Isn't it fantastic?


Maybe during a movie I can knock one out. Maybe it'll keep me awake. Maybe I'll make the tassels way shorter.

It is August and I'm a Spaz


It's August. Time is flying.

This is summer has been wonderfully relaxing and I'm proud that we seized it and lived fully summery. Now with the arrival of dear August I'm anxious and spazzy. School is starting for us next month, I've ordered our books, outlined our first semester plans. My Jacob is heading into first grade, dappled with second grade, at home, which is way different that K last year. There are things to be involved in. More planning to do, a nearly four year old to tandem preschool with, which is different by strides from last year's mere three year old, mind you. I'm nervous and excited. I'm also a super introverted homebody and all this signing up and precious child enthusiasm sort of makes me want to chew off my nails and grind my teeth smooth.

Little Camila is nearly 18 months, which is my very favorite age. She's incredible. A baby, a toddler; independent and dependent; learning in leaps and bounds. Nothing is safe and everything is curious. She makes me laugh a million times a day and keeps me on my toes and my guard up.

My esposo, El Papicito, Jeff, starts school in a couple weeks too. He's had straggling school credits clinging to him for a few years and we're finally in a place where he can go back to school and hike the long road toward his architecture degree. He's wanted to be an architect as long as I've known him, since '96, but ended up working for an industry that pays well and that he was great in that he hated and nipped at his soul. So onward! He's over the moon to be on this journey, I'm thrilled and also want to chew off my nails, etc...

Days are go go go and at night when the littles are down I plop down and get to THINK. I crave truly *thinking* and it's so hard to come by. I feel I'm power-swimming in a sea of busy- husband, children, school, house, finances, food, garden, that is strengthening currant-wise. Things are overall fantastic, and my mental and spiritual upper-body is getting buff with all the currant swimming, so excuse random absences while we settle into Autumn here at La Casita. I'll be 'round! Buff!

A Must See

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From the show "Ukraine's Got Talent":

You know it was a rainy July.....


......when the McKid could do her own version of Singing in the Rain on our back steps!

Singing in the Rain, Part 2

Note: McKid is now missing a front tooth, so she looks really different today!

MamaT's Monday Music


You know you've always wanted to learn the words to this, so herewith, the singalong version of "The Major General Song" from Pirates of Penzance:

Happy Monday, ya'll!



About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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