Carrots for Michaelmas: Musings of a Catholic Wife, Mother, and Occasional Redhead

August Reads
August 31, 2010, 9:26 pm
Filed under: Books

I’m currently enjoying two books. One is Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, a medieval mystery. Eco’s enjoyment of words and language translates beautifully and it is delightful. I love anything medieval, so something so well-written and historically rich is a treat.

I’m trying to read a nonfiction for every fiction I read which is proving difficult but I am loving Wendell Berry’s collection of essays, The Art of the Commonplace.

I liked Berry’s fiction but found the excessive exposition a little wearying. I think I like his poems and essays better. Here’s some of my favorite quotes so far:

“After the trouble one has taken to be a modern man, one has come back under the spell of a primitive awe, wordless and humble.” (A Native Hill)

“…it should not be necessary to point out the connection between the oppression of women and the general contempt for household work. It is well established among us that you may hold up your head in polite society with a public lie in your mouth or other people’s money in your pocket or innocent blood on your hands, but not with dishwater on your hands or mud on your shoes.” (Racism and the Economy)

“Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else’s legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make.” (Racism and the Economy)

“Our present idea of freedom is only the freedom to do as we please: to sell ourselves for a high salary, a home in the suburbs, and idle weekends. But that is a freedom dependent upon affluence, which is in turn dependent upon the rapid consumption of exhaustible supplies. The other kind of freedom is the freedom to take care of ourselves and of each other. The freedom of affluence opposes and contradicts the freedom of community life.” (Racism and the Economy)

I really like what Berry says about freedom. Modern freedom is defined as the liberty to do what we desire whereas true freedom, as described by the Church Fathers like St. Augustine, is the ability to do what is right.

I’d like to read Radical Homemakers next on Katherine’s recommendation.

What are you reading? Any suggestions?

On another note, Benjamin is enjoying the last days of summer immensely.

I just asked him what music he wanted to listen to and he looks confused. So I said, “Benjamin, what’s your favorite band?” “Rubber band!” he responded after taking a second to think about it.

Making Playdough
August 26, 2010, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Children

This morning, Benjamin and I made homemade playdough from my mom’s recipe. He was a big help.

We made some bad decisions:

Throwing caution to the wind, Benjamin decided to “taste it.” He explained that it was “not very good.” Mama thought it would be a good idea to use all natural food coloring made of hibiscus and beet extract. This did not turn out to be a good idea. The stuff smelled terrible. Just use the regular stuff, we learned. This discovery also solved the mystery of why the red velvet cake I made earlier this week tasted so much like beets. I don’t like beets and especially not in cake. So we made a second batch.

Worked out great sans the nasty beet smell. Here’s the recipe:

2 C plain white flour
2 C water 
1 T oil 
1 t cream of tartar 
1 C salt
Optional: ground cinammon (makes it smell so good)

Note: After cooking (below), fold in more flour if it seems to need it. 

Place all ingredients in a medium or large sauce pan. Cook slowly, on medium-high. Stir until it thickens. Allow to cool. Divide into 4 quarters and fold & knead in a different food color into each quarter. Keeps best in fridge, in screw-on or locking plastic containers.

A bit too young?
August 25, 2010, 12:38 pm
Filed under: Children

Benjamin will be 19 months old on my 25th birthday, September 8th. He is already trying to convince me to let him drink coffee.

This morning after he spotted my mug and begged, “coffee! hot coffee! see it! taste it!” I allowed him to smell my coffee with the proviso that he not drink it or stick his hand in the cup (a common occurrence in our household). He carefully obeyed, giving the coffee a good sniff. According to Benjamin, I should let him “drink it” because he would really “like it.” Sorry, babe. Ask again in a decade or so.

In other news, Benjamin’s favorite outfit these days is a combination of these slippers and just a diaper:

It’s a little bit awesome. 

This morning has included a reading of “Mike Mulligan”  and snuggling in Mama and Daddy’s bed, breakfast and coffee (for Mama and Daddy only), watching the rest of the world wake up while listening to Page France and considering the endless possibilities of today…

Sorry about the iphone pics! We finally unpacked our camera cord only to discover that we don’t know where our camera is….any ideas?

Hello, again
August 15, 2010, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Children, Motherhood


In NC in his cool backpack with Uncle Garrett

Since my last post in April:

We moved across the country from beloved Texas to beloved North Florida where both of our families live.

I started grad school in Art History, with a concentration in medieval art and got to take a class on medieval barbarian art, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Picts, Celts. Lovely.

We bought a wonderful little house built in the ‘40s with wood floors, a fantastic kitchen, and a big yard.

After finishing out the summer semester well, I quit. Although the program was great, the stress of being a full-time student was not worth it to me due to the way it was interfering with my enjoyment of mothering my busy toddler. And didn’t really have a concrete plan for using my degree—not very motivating. I also plan on having a million babies and grad school was getting in the way. Just being honest.

I got a part-time job teaching ballet for the studio/company I used to dance with.

So, that about brings you up to date. I just finished school a week ago and am now trying to get our lives back in order after three months of insanity. For example, my current project is to actually unpack our bathroom. That’s the kind of shape we’re in. Boxes in the bathroom.

As soon as we’re really unpacked and uncover the cable that connects the camera to the computer, I’ll post some pictures of our house and garden.

For now you’ll just have to feast your eyes on some iphone pics of our Not So Little Bear.

Boat trip with Daniel's folks and friends Ms. Deb and Mr. Tommy

Reading his current favorite: Noah's Ark for the 200,000th time with a longsuffering Uncle Garrett

Legos with Grandaddy!

The Park!

It's a big job to help Grandaddy refill the birdseed. It also ties in well to Bear's new favorite song: Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins. He sings: "Birdies, Tupence, Tupence."

He's been quite fond of naps lately: "Seepy. Bankie. Nap. Please."

Blueberry smoothies for breakfast!

More blueberry cobbler, please!

Just hiking in NC. No big deal.