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

May 9, 2012, 7:48 pm
Filed under: Misc

My wonderful readers, I have finally successfully moved to Please visit me there and subscribe via email or RSS to keep receiving my posts. Thanks! You’re the best!

This Week’s Miscellany: Vol. 10
May 2, 2012, 2:13 am
Filed under: Misc

So sorry about all the silence over here, folks! I’ve been (very unsuccessfully) attempting to move my blog from wordpress.COM to wordpress.ORG which is why this post is more than a week overdue.  I’ve made some progress but now I’m stuck again when trying to import all the posts to the .org version. Whew. I’ve got a couple of giveaways for you up my sleeve but doesn’t allow any sponsored giveaways so I need to move my blog before I can offer them to you.

Coming Up in the Liturgical Year: It’s still Eastertide! Thursday is the Feast of Saints Philip and James. Do you have any traditions for that feast, culinary or otherwise?

Listening to: Seabear. My 3-year-old is really into Icelandic bands. There is no reasonable explanation except that he’s super hip. This isn’t a new song but it’s one of his favorites and we’ve been jamming out to it lately even though it’s more of an Autumn kind of song. 

Watching: Once Upon a Time. I can’t decide whether the show is embarrassing or awesome. I keep wanting to get Daniel to watch it with me , but then I remember that horrible episode about Dreamy the dwarf…


We’re All Extreme Parents (Kate Wicker)

Good Fiction for Young Adults (Simcha Fisher)

My Favorite Things: Natural Recommendations for Your Home (Passionate Homemaking)

Recipe for a Toxin-Free Kitchen: 10 Homemade Kitchen Cleaners (Keeper of the Home)

Managing Your Wardrobe: Pregnancy, Post-Partum and All Those Sizes in Between (Simple Mom)

Our 21 Day Challenge (Raising a Green Family): In case you were wondering, my 21 day challenge is developing the habit of making my bed every day instead of leaving it a perpetual tangle of disaster. Benjamin noticed right off and said, “Wow, Mama. Your bed looks so pretty like this!” The unfamiliar sight was almost too much for him.

Asthma Update:Yesterday we took Benjamin to an allergist to try to figure out what his asthma triggers are. I was right about him being allergic to gluten! Vindicated! And he’s super allergic to dust mites so watch out as I become a nut about making his room as dust-free as possible.

My Quotable Mom:

My parents have been in a California for my cousin’s wedding for the past few days. I received the following email from my mom:“You may hear rumors from your “delusional” cousins, asserting that they witnessed all the uncles and aunts, in formal wear at the wedding, dancing in pairs to the song, “Twist & Shout.” If you receive “evidence” of photos of the uncles and aunts in “Twist & Shout” dance poses, in formal clothing, just remember that the technology of “Photo Shop” makes anything possible.” 

These are my parents. Aren’t they adorbs?! They were high school sweethearts.

The Quotable Benjamin:

“If we had a big magnifying glass, would we be able to see a cat’s penis? But…it might not like that. Because its penis is private so it’s just for him and not for us.” I’m glad my 3-year-old is becoming concerned with proper etiquette.

Pictures Worth Sharing:

Baby girl sleeping in the crook of my arm. Has to be one of life’s sweetest things!

Lucy Update: Baby girl has been practicing taking naps in the co-sleeper instead of in bed with me. We haven’t set up her crib yet, but we’ll need to soon because she’s almost too big for the co-sleeper. I’ve been getting her very very sleepy and making sure she’s clean and full of mama milk and then I put her in the co-sleeper to nap. She usually fusses for 1 or 2 minutes before she’s out like a light. I hope that’s not traumatic for her. And I’m starting her out in the co-sleeper in a separate room at night and then when she wakes up (last night she slept from 10pm to 1am in it) I bring her into our bed.

She also started her first solid food yesterday (she’s 6.5 months so I guess it’s about time) and really gobbled up that avocado!  I just used my finger as a spoon and gave her tiny bites. I remember trying to get 3 month old Benjamin to eat rice cereal. What a disaster! Looking back, he was definitely not ready for that and I wish we had started him off with veggies and fruits instead of grains. Do you have any recommendations for first foods? I’m planning on introducing banana or sweet potato in a couple days. Basically, I’m lazy so I want something that’s easy to mash up so I don’t have to puree things in my blender. What a drag.

And she’s scootin’ all over the place. I don’t know if you can call it crawling because she doesn’t really use her knees. She just pushes off with her toes and then uses her arms to propel herself across the floor. Also, she is adorable. Proof:

Hopefully this weekend I can figure out how to finish making the blog move to Thanks for your patience!

This Week’s Miscellany: Vol 9
April 20, 2012, 2:45 pm
Filed under: Misc

Coming Up in the Liturgical Year: St. George’s Day on Monday! I don’t have a menu planned yet but we will definitely read this beautifully illustrated book to the kids. It’s one of Benjamin’s very favorite books. Do you have any St. George traditions?


Letters of Note: C.S. Lewis on Writing

Pray the Family Rosary, Distractions and All by Agnes Penny (A great reminder!)

My Life as a Failed Country Gentleman by P.J. O’Rourke: “One season of agriculture in New England explains manifest destiny. America’s westward expansion was mainly an excuse to kill raccoons and wear them as hats.”

Humility: The First of the Lively Virtues by Anthony Esolen (I’ve never read anything by Esolen that I didn’t absolutely love.)

Top 10 Things NOT to Buy If You’re Pregnant: House Unseen, Life Unscripted This is so right.

10 Easy Natural Household Switches (That Anyone Can Make): Keeper of the Home

The Quotable Benjamin:

“Can I have s’more jelly beans? I mean, garbanzo beans?” – candy-deprived 3-year-old, gobbling up chick peas like there’s no tomorrow.

“I think our next-door neighbors are pirates.”

“Would you like a bite of my om-a-lette, Mama? Here, open up your little bird mouth and I’ll let you taste it!”

“Let’s go outside so I can grow a beard. Do you think we have the right kind of seeds?”

Pictures Worth Sharing:

Benjamin seems to be completely over his asthma attack of last weekend. And thank goodness because the boy does not stop moving. So I had to say the phrase, “SLOW YOUR BODY DOWN” at least 500 times when he was still under Dr’s orders to take it easy. I took this picture during naptime, the only time the constant wild motion stops…

This sweet girl has a little temperature this morning. She’s acting normal and eating well so I’m just gonna keep an eye on it.

There’s something about a baby girl in a sundress that just slays me. Giant forehead!

When Daniel cooks it makes me want to give up cooking forever. He makes amazing things that look so purty. This was Short Ribs in Asian Black Bean Sauce, Cinnamon Cumin Glazed Carrots, Rice Noodles with Tofu and Egg, and Salad from the Garden.

Springtime in the South is just…..perfect. Confederate Jasmine has to be my favorite scent.

I just bought one of the Mamapedia deals for ($20 for $40 worth of products) and I think I’m going to use it to get Lucy some cloth training pants. Do you get the Mamapedia emails? I found out about them from Brittany and the nifty thing is that you get $10 credit anytime someone you shared the deal with makes a purchase, so usually I’ve got some credit in the account and I feel like I’m always getting freebies. There’s another one available for 50% off Bumkins, too. Speaking of cloth diapers…I’ve got a cloth diaper giveaway in the works. More on that soon.

I hope you have a lovely weekend! I’m throwing a friend a cloth diaper shower tomorrow in celebration of her baby girl’s upcoming arrival. Got any weekend plans?

p.s. You can be super hip and like Carrots for Michaelmas on FB now.

This Week’s Miscellany: Vol 8
April 15, 2012, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Misc

First of all, sweet Benjamin is home from the hospital. We are so thankful that he only had to stay one night before being released. He really was very very good for an insanely active  3-year-old who has to sit still on a bed for 24 hours. He tried to be very brave and was so good and cooperative when they removed his IV even though he cried hard enough to break this mama’s heart. We’ve been trying to keep him quiet and still (yeah RIGHT) as best we can. It doesn’t help that albuterol and the steroids they prescribed him make him super WIRED. But we’ve been playing cards, reading books, and watching movies as much as we can. Right now he’s at the IMAX seeing The Lorax with Daddy as his special treat for being such a good boy at the hospital. Thanks so much for all your prayers and well wishes for him! I think we have a plan for his asthma treatment in the future and we’re going to see an allergist in a couple of weeks (his asthma is usually triggered by runny nose from colds or allergies). Look at this sad little boy in this pic from the hospital. Can you see how he’s got dark red circles around his eyes? Apparently they’re called allergy shiners and can signal the beginning of an attack. They’re almost gone today so that means his asthma is getting under control.

Coming Up in the Liturgical Year: We’re still in the octave of Easter. Celebrate! Since much of our Easter Octave was spent at various Dr’s offices and the hospital, we didn’t get to do as much celebrating as I’d hoped (although we’re certainly celebrating that Benjamin is home and getting better!). But I would love to make one of these beautiful Paschal Candles.

Links: Survival Tips for Parents of Three-Year-Olds – Natural Parents Network (Helpful since we’ve been experiencing some serious terrible threes around these parts)

Declaring War on Newborns – Andrew Ferguson

Killing Kindergarten – Amanda Moreno: “If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you would probably design something like a classroom.” (quote from John Medina)

How to Be a Good Mom on a Bad Day – Inspired to Action

 The Quotable Husband:

“The library is open Sunday! I’ll take Benjamin because I need to pick up a book about prehistoric mammals anyway.” (Oh right, of course, you do.)

“I have a confession to make. A couple years ago I used our blender to blend up raccoon brains to tan a hide. But don’t worry. I cleaned it out real good.” (Commence my full-fledged freak out.)

“Did you see the brand name of this dish towel?! ‘Thomas O’Brien!’ So, you know what that means….it’s an EVIL dish towel.” (Apparently, my attempt to get Daniel as obsessed with Downton Abbey as I am has been successful.)

The Quotable Benjamin:

“These jelly beans are gonna make us nice and fat! YUM!”

“Benjamin, please take all these stuffed animals back to your room.”
“NOOOOO, not my pile of sleeping kittens!”

Pictures Worth Sharing:

My husband grows food and makes it look amazing. This was lettuce wraps. He also made that mint julep for me after a rather long day. Really, he’s the best.

More food art by Daniel. I think it’s an Apple Banana Peacock/Loch Ness Monster.

Hope the rest of your Sunday is loverly!

Benjamin Hospital Update
April 14, 2012, 2:38 am
Filed under: Misc | Tags: ,

Our little bear has improved significantly since this morning! His oxygen levels started to go up and they didn’t end up having to give him any extra oxygen. He got breathing treatments throughout the day as well as an IV of steroids. After assessing him this evening, the Dr. thought there was a good chance that he WILL get to go home tomorrow instead of in 2 or 3 days as they previously thought. Benjamin had an x-ray of his lungs to make sure he didn’t have any pneumonia. His lungs were free of pneumonia but the Dr. said they showed his asthma attack was VERY bad. I’m glad I didn’t delay taking him in this morning when he continued to wheeze!

I was so proud of our sweet brave boy during this tough day. He was good as gold except for one major meltdown in the early afternoon when the novelty of the hospital wore off and he realized that being there is boring and dreadful. So hard to see him cry and beg to go home! He also had a really hard time when they were trying to put in his IV (Daniel took him to the treatment room for that while I was with Lucy. I tend to faint when I get shots or blood drawn, so I think he knew he would be better at handling the situation.) Daniel was so amazing with Benjamin all day. Our family is so lucky to have such a wonderful daddy!

And if you have to be sick in the hospital, at least you get to snuggle with Daddy and read Dr. Seuss.

Please continue to pray for our sweet boy’s recovery and that he will improve enough to come home tomorrow! I am so grateful for my precious family, medical care, insurance, and grandparents in town to bring us food and treats for Benjamin, and for your prayers.

This Week’s Miscellany: Vol. 7
March 31, 2012, 1:59 pm
Filed under: Misc | Tags: ,

Coming Up in the Liturgical Year: Palm Sunday! I can’t believe Holy Week is almost upon us! Other than a very special Easter lunch feast, we haven’t developed very many Holy Week traditions in our family, yet. Any suggestions for Holy Week activities, recipes, etc. that are helpful for little ones to learn to observe Holy Week?

Listening to: Handel’s Messiah (so good during Lent!) and also some of the other recommendations from Simcha Fisher in this post about Lenten music. Also completely obsessed with Feufollet these days. We read about this young Cajun band in Garden and Gun and then looked them up on Spotify. Sooooo good. And I’ve always hated it whenever Daniel connected with his New Orleans roots by forcing me to listen to Cajun music….now I see the light. You should probably listen to this right now:

We’re also listening to The Chieftains Voice of the Ages album featuring Bon Iver, The Decemberists, etc. Especially great on St. Patrick’s Day.


Kony 2012 Video Reopens Uganda’s Old Wounds: an excellent piece by my friend James Arinaitwe, a Ugandan, on the contraversial Kony 2012 video promoted by Invisible Children.

Chesterton on a Child’s Imagination by Christy at Fountains of Home. The topic reminded me to tell everyone I know to read Anthony Esolen’s Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.

Lazy Parenting 101 by Kate Wicker

The Quotable Benjamin:

Benjamin on why people should wear shirts in public: “Sometimes people don’t want to see other people’s nipples because they’re kinda yucky and other people wouldn’t want to see ’em.”

“Daddy is SO SWEET! He knows how to take care of us. AND he knows how to take care of chickens. Some guys don’t know how to take care of their chickens! But daddy does! Daddy’s THE BEST!”

“Do princes poop?”

Pictures Worth Sharing:

The boys checking out the progress of our oats in this beautiful warm weather.

Sibling snuggles!

Getting to be such a big girl!

11 Things
March 28, 2012, 1:04 pm
Filed under: Misc

My dear friend, the lovely Lara of Little Adventurer tagged me to answer her 11 questions. Reading hers was so delightful that I just had to comply. I haven’t seen Lara since we moved home from Texas and didn’t even know that she and her husband are simultaneously adopting and pregnant! I knew they were adopting, but had no idea they were pregnant, too. How exciting! Two babies!

The Rules:

1. The first rule is to post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 things about yourself/your life .
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them that you’ve tagged them.
About myself:
1. At least 3 times a week after Benjamin is in bed I read in the bath tub with either coffee, hot tea, a glass of wine, or a gin and tonic on the edge of the tub. Sometimes Lucy chills in the bouncer next to me, but sometimes she hangs out with Daddy and I get to be all by myself for 5 or 10 or occasionally 20 minutes.
2. Right off the top of my head, I think I’d say my favorite book is Brideshead Revisited. But The Violent Bear it Away would be a close second.
3. Sometimes I’m allergic to coffee, but not when I’m pregnant or nursing. Obvious solution: be pregnant or nursing forever.
4. My husband and I were high school sweethearts and have known each other for over a decade. I still like him a lot.
5. We went to the largest baptist university in the world and came back Catholic.
6. We’re buying a pig with some friends. Well, we’re buying half a pig, and our friends are getting the other half. Let me clarify: It’s not alive anymore. We had the option of paying for it to be processed but our husbands “saw some videos online about butchering pigs” and plan to do it themselves. How could that go wrong?!
7. Benjamin has a slumber party at Daniel’s folks house every Friday night. I know I just made you so jealous. Don’t hate me for having amazing in-laws.
 8. I did Art History grad school for one semester before deciding to be home with Benjamin and teach ballet part-time. But I have a really good story about the conversation that convinced me to quit. I’ll tell you sometime.
9. I think I have had every kind of schooling except for Montessori and Parochial schools. Private Christian school, private secular school, public school, and homeschool. Long story short: planning to homeschool.
10. My parents and Daniel’s parents are still married. What a blessing.
11. My freshman year of college I lived on Cinnamon Toast Crunch, coffee, and no sleep. Slightly shocking that I’m mildly obsessive about natural, real, local, healthy food now. Probably Daniel’s influence.
Lara’s questions:
1. What is your cocktail of choice?
Whew. Amaretto Sour? White Russian? I can’t decide.
2. If you could hop on a plane to anywhere, where would you go?
Rome. Or Paris. Or Edinburgh. This is hard. Is Hogwarts an option?
3. What is your decorating style?
Well, I’ll  ignore the obvious “cluttered mess” option. I honestly don’t know anything about decor terms. Somebody give me a word for the combination of real wood antique furniture, bohemian, and baby gear. Oh, with a touch of “trucks.”
4. What is your favorite garage sale/2nd-hand find?
Well, they’re not so much “finds” as 2nd-hand (3rd-hand?) hand-me-downs from my brother, orignally owned by my grandparents. Butterscotch-colored couches in my living room.
5. What is your favorite flower?
6. Which style icon best describes your personal style?
Lara, your questions are so hard! Friends, help me out here! Who’s my style doppleganger?
7. How would you describe your sense of humour?
I’d like to say witty, but weird would probably be more honest.
8. What is your favorite thing to cook?
Shepherd’s Pie. Hands down. Well, if you don’t count cookies. Or bacon.
9. What is one health habit you are working on?
Cutting gluten out of my diet.
10. Facebook or Pinterest?
Facebook. But I’m not proud of it. It would be way cooler to be able to say Pinterest.
11. Beatles, Elvis, or Willy Nelson?
I’ll be honest. Not a huge fan of any. Don’t hate me, Lara. Probably Willie Nelson if I had to choose. I’ve tried to get into the Beatles for as long as I can remember and I just can’t. That Across the Universe movie was torture. But, I mean, I could jam to Eleanor Rigby like everyone else.
My questions:
1. What’s your favorite musical (I know, how to choose, right?!) If you don’t like musicals…oh, wait, that’s impossible because we couldn’t be friends.
2. Who is your patron saint or who would you choose if you don’t have one?
3. What literary character do you wish you were friends with in real life?
4. Are there any movies that you like better than the book they’re based on?
5. What kind of monster/animal did you think lived under your bed when you were little?
6. If you could live in any era, what would it be and why?
7. Dogs or cats?
8. Mountains or beach?
9. If you were trapped on a desert island with books from only one author, who would it be? (And no, you can’t just say “the Bible.”)
10. Your favorite book when you were a child:
11. Would you rather never be able to drink coffee again or never be able to eat dessert again?
Tagged: (but, if you don’t have time, no pressure!)
Anybody else who wants to! Just let me know in the comments that you’ve answered!