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

April Reads
April 26, 2011, 5:58 pm
Filed under: Books

I’m still plugging away at Glittering Vices by Rebecca DeYoung and Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen both of which I highly recommend.

I finished the second Kristin Lavransdatter book and I’m taking a break before starting the third and final part of the saga.

For perhaps by 7th re-read, I thoroughly enjoyed the sappy but wonderful Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

It’s by far my favorite Anne book. Probably because Anne and Gilbert FINALLY get together. And I love the little vignettes of Anne’s college days. The only downside is that reading it always makes me discontented with the miniseries and wish that they had done more of them and been more true to the books instead of conflating several to make Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (formerly called Anne of Avonlea).

Speaking of miniseries, have you seen this yet?

It’s currently streaming on Netflix and it’s the best miniseries I’ve seen since Brideshead Revisited (the Jeremy Irons version, not the unspeakably dreadful Emma Thompson version).

Anyhow, I’ve decided my next fiction will be Brian Jacques Redwall. I read it as an 8 or 9-year-old and loved it. My best friend Eleanor is reading the series and recommended it to me. I hardly remember a thing about it so I’m excited to re-read.

Our House, Part VI: The Dining Room
April 26, 2011, 5:42 pm
Filed under: Our Home

It’s been months since I posted any pictures of our new house for our Texas friends who haven’t seen it yet. Since the Dining Room was relatively clean and I actually cleaned the little toddler handprints off of the windows (a rare occurence), it seemed like an opportune time for a post.

My parents got us the pie safe and the wooden high chair, both of which I love. The pie safe was built by sharecroppers at the turn of the century and can fold in half for easy transport.

Looking out on the back porch and shed. The shed is a forbidden place for Benjamin and therefore enticing beyond words…

April 26, 2011, 1:21 am
Filed under: Easter

Benjamin was thrilled with his first Easter Egg Hunt.

However, he was often distracted by the treats inside and took a break to eat the contents before going on to the next egg.

We were shocked to discover that he was not a bit freaked out by the youth wearing an Easter Bunny costume. Benjamin is usually very wary of such things but he ran over to him and jumped in his lap. Maybe I was surprised because I think life-size bunnies are creepy. I guess I never got over Donnie Darko.

Afterward we went to the park and took some pictures.

We gave Benjamin a little Easter basket filled with dyed eggs and a couple gifties from Ten Thousand Villages: a wooden cross for his room and some musical shakers made from gourds that look like owls.

Benjamin and I dyed the eggs with natural dye from beets, red cabbage, and turmeric, all of which we had on hand or in the garden. Look at the magenta color the beets make when simmering!

The red cabbage created a blue tinted dye that turned pale purple and didn’t do much at all to the eggs, but the turmeric left a wonderful yellow tint.

Here’s the finished eggs from the turmeric and the beets:

Easter evening we had my parents, Daniel’s parents, my brother, and our friend Sarah over for dinner.

Nasturium Salad!

This is the delicious and beautiful Colombo Paschal (Italian Easter Bread) that Daniel made. Yum.

So glad that Eastertide is here!

Good Friday
April 22, 2011, 1:14 pm
Filed under: Good Friday | Tags:

East Coker IV

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam’s curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good

-T.S. Eliot

Lamentation, Giotto

I awoke this morning to the sound of two sweet voices praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary and heard Daniel explain the Crucifixion story to him as they prayed. When I came out Benjamin told me that bad things happened to Jesus and he didn’t like those bad things and that Jesus was hurt and what does hurting mean, Mama?  This is the first Holy Week that Benjamin has been able to understand any of the Easter story at all. Of course it’s too much for him to understand this year. It’s too much for anyone to understand. But I love that he wants to learn the Gospel story.

We spent some of the morning listening to the Easter portion of Handel’s Messiah. Benjamin would ask me questions like “Why is Jesus the Lamb of God?”

I think we’re going to prepare the natural dyes today to soak our Easter eggs in this weekend. Then Daniel’s coming home early so we can go to Stations of the Cross this afternoon before the Good Friday service. Benjamin was a trooper during last night’s Maundy Thursday Mass. Here’s hoping he’ll be as angelic this afternoon and evening!

I hope you have a blessed Good Friday. This Lent has seemed very long and I am so looking forward to celebrating the Feast of Feasts with our family on Sunday. This Easter will mark our first year since being confirmed in the Catholic Church and our joy is increased because our dear friend Luke is being confirmed this year at St. Louis Church which was our parish in Waco. Welcome home, Luke!

Kohlrabi Cuteness
April 19, 2011, 6:29 pm
Filed under: Children, Easter, Farm Life

Can you even handle this?

How bout this silly smile?

I love this blog post about natural dyes for Easter eggs at Boulder Locavore. I think we might dye eggs on Saturday so that they can soak in the dye overnight and be ready to display Sunday.

We’ve already got red cabbage and turmeric. We don’t have spinach but we’ve got plenty of greens in the garden so we might just try that. But we’ll need to get beets because the ones in our garden aren’t ready.

We haven’t done much planning for our Easter feast yet. What are your plans?

Pregnancy Update
April 19, 2011, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Pregnancy

This one was taken a couple weeks ago. I’m 15 weeks now and finally starting to feel like myself again. The 9 weeks of miserable morning sickness are mostly behind me and I’m starting to have some more energy again! My only complaint is a UTI that hasn’t gone away after 2 rounds of antibiotics, which I was loathe to take anyway. Any ideas on how to get rid of this thing? I know infections are dangerous for baby but surely antibiotics aren’t great either.

We’ll have our next appointment in a week and a half and make an appointment then for our ultrasound to find out the gender. I can’t wait to find out of Benjamin is getting a baby brother or a baby sister! At least once a day he’ll say, “Mama, tell you (meaning himself) about babies!” And we’ll talk about our new baby and how big it is in Mama’s tummy and what will happen as it grows and when it arrives. He seems thrilled although I’m sure losing the spotlight will be a huge adjustment for him.

Please pray that my UTI will go away and for continued protection over this new life. It still doesn’t seem quite real that our little family is expanding to 4. And hey! if you know of a wonderful pattern for cloth diapers let me know about it. I want to start sewing an arsenal of them.

April 5, 2011, 1:05 am
Filed under: Children, Health

With a new baby on the way we’re facing the vaccine dilemma again. I didn’t feel informed about the vaccine controversy when Benjamin was born and so just went with our pediatrician recommendations. Benjamin is healthy and happy even with oodles of vaccinations but he did struggle with reflux as an infant and had eczema. Possibly (probably?) completely unrelated to vaccinations. But I just want to do a better job this time of educating myself. I’ve flipped through Dr. Sear’s Vaccination Book and read a couple of articles that are anti-vax. Most of the information I can find that is pro-vaccine hasn’t given me very much information other than, “Don’t listen to anti-vax alarmists. Vaccinate your child or they are endangered.” I don’t want to vaccinate simply because I’m afraid but I also don’t want to do something that might actually endanger my child. At this point I don’t feel certain whether vaccinating or not vaccinating is more dangerous.


So, Mamas, did you vaccinate? What have you read that convinced you one way or another? I’d really like to read some peer-reviewed articles on this subject. There’s tons of anti-vax web sites but it’s hard to tell which are actually reliable.


At this point my concern with vaccinations are two-fold. One aspect is the danger to the immune system that vaccines may cause and the other concern is the additives such as mercury and formaldehyde going into the child’s system.


Thoughts? Please comment respectfully. I have friends that feel strongly about both sides and of course every mama wants to do what’s best for her baby.