Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Many is TOO Many?

I'm sure by now everyone has heard that Mrs. Dugger is expecting another child. While many people are happy for them, there are those who think "enough is enough - that's just too many!" This is a topic I deal with frequently in my own life. Just today, as a matter of fact, while I was out shopping with all the children I got some pretty nasty looks and a comment or two. (To be fair, there were a few positive comments as well.)
There are obviously people who think that a family larger than two children is nothing more than suicide for the planet, hideous people who think China's one child policy is the way to go. These people I don't even need to discuss. But what about those people who say they are pro-life? Are they all really  pro-life? Well, what does pro-life mean?
We all know pro-life to mean against abortion, but I would argue that there is more to it. Many are willing to  go far enough to say that no baby, once conceived, should be denied its chance at life -  but before life begins - well that's a different story altogether. We must use our reason, the sense that God gave us and plan our families, keep them to an acceptable number, stop when age could be a hindrance. Is that really what pro-life means? It is my feeling that the definition of pro-life should extend to any life God wishes to create. If we put limitations on our family size, are we not suggesting that we know better than God? Are we not interfering with the will of God when we do things to prevent him from forming life if he so chooses? The Bible is clear on the evils of contraception. (see scripture catholic for a comprehensive list of scriptures as well as the traditions passed on by the church fathers.)  Many seek to bring life into this world and are,  despite all that modern science can do, unable - why? Could it be that it is not the will of God for that couple to have a large family? God's ways are not our ways - should we question him?  A family with a large number of children is also created by the will of God, and should not be questioned.   Life and death are two areas that belong solely to God and should not to tampered with by man, whose knowledge is but a speck compared to the knowledge of God. A family that is putting faith and trust in God above all else will be truly blessed by the Lord, no matter the amount of children they eventually have. Just imagine if Mary had told the Angel Gabriel -"Well, I'm really not ready for a child at this time. I have some things I would like to do first, the timing isn't very good for me " Thankfully for us she responded in a more positive manner, "Be it done unto me according to thy will."

Thus amongst the blessings of marriage, the child holds the first place. And indeed the Creator of the human race Himself, Who in His goodness wishes to use men as His helpers in the propagation of life, taught this when, instituting marriage in Paradise, He said to our first parents, and through them to all future spouses: "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth." As St. Augustine admirably deduces from the words of the holy Apostle Saint Paul to Timothy when he says: "The Apostle himself is therefore a witness that marriage is for the sake of generation: 'I wish,' he says, 'young girls to marry.' And, as if someone said to him, 'Why?,' he immediately adds: 'To bear children, to be mothers of families'."
-Encyclical Casti Connubii, Pope Pius XI

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm back!

Sorry I havent posted in so long! I don't know how you bloggers keep up with things around the holidays!
We did a lot of things the past month and although I didn't get pictures of everything, we had lots of fun.
Heres some of what we've been up to:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Filling

Since Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I decided it was time to think about what we are going to eat! I have no idea about the food yet, but I do know I want to make pumpkin pie!  I thought I would share the recipe for the filling, in case someone else out there has allergies and was wondering how they would enjoy this holiday favorite.  The recipe is from the book Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook by Cybele Pascal

Pumpkin Pie Filling

2 cups pumpkin puree
2 Tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup sucanat or brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups chilled rice milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 (0.3ounce) packet gelatin
 (if you really want it to be vegan don't get regular gelatin!)

To make the filling:
Combine the pumpkin, canola oil, Sugar, maple syrup, salt, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/4 cups of the rice milk in a heavy saucepan, whisking well. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then decrease to medium-low. Cook five minutes while stirring.

Next whisk the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the rice milk. Pour into the pumpkin mixture and cook about 2 more minutes. Whisk to smooth out any lumps, then remove from heat and set aside.
Whisk the gelatin into the remaining 2 cups of rice milk. Pour into a small saucepan. Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.
Working quickly, pour the gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture, stirring well to combine thoroughly, then pour into a precooked pie shell. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

I haven't made it yet, so I can't tell you if its any good, although I do know that I have loved everything I have made from this book. If someone makes it, please write and let me know how it turned out and  I'll let you know how mine goes. Bon Appetit!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More Dream House Musings

I think our large family could squeeze in here.

One of the nicest houses I have seen (well in pictures anyway) is Claude Monet's house in Giverny, France. I always loved Monet's art, and a few years ago I purchased this book and this book . I never realized what a beautiful house he lived in  and his style was instantly added to the list of dream house ideas.

Now, I have to say that I love this room and I think it is the ideal dining room - I'm just not a big fan of the yellow.

This is his kitchen, and I don't think there is anything here I would change. I love how open and airy it is. You can't see the curtains too well, but they are blue and white check and you can get a similar pair from Country Curtains if you're interested.

This is Monet's bedroom - and if you are wondering about the single bed - yes, he had a separate room from his wife. (Which if you think about it, could have its merits - but that's a post for another day!) Again there are some things here I would change, but I love the windows.  I think if I had windows like that, I would be ok without my sleeping porch.

Of course Monet is famous for painting his gardens and water lily pond. What perfect places for nature study!

With so much inspiration around him, no wonder Monet loved to paint.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I feel like drawing something.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sir Ken Robinson

"Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality."
-Beatrix Potter

If you home school, and you have never heard Sir Ken Robinson speak, you should take the time to watch and listen.  I think that what he has to say is very poignant and may make you think about how you educate.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pretty, Happy Funny, Real

round button chicken


Ok, I took this picture in the summer - but its still pretty! It was very cold here in the beginning of the week and I was wishing for warm weather and the pretty things that come with it.


Major Bouncer was away for a week and everyone was waiting with anticipation for his return.


FBR thinking he was doing a fine job making his own quick bread.

So this is what happens when Major Bouncer is away.  There is aways someone willing to take his spot.

There was really no room left in the inn.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November, Month of the Holy Souls

If you follow the rhythm of the church year, you know that November is the month dedicated to praying for the Holy Souls in purgatory.  It is the time when the church asks us to renew our vigor, and remember that these suffering souls can benefit by our prayers. Some of you may be wondering, is the doctrine of purgatory sound? Isn't it something the Catholics made up? Well, I'm pleased to inform you that it is not made up. Not only was in mentioned as far back as A.D. 211 (Tertullian, The Crown) but is also clearly mentioned in the bible.  This  is expertly pointed out by Paul Whitcomb, a former protestant minister, in his book  The Catholic Church has the Answer. 
The main body of Christians have always believed in the existence of a place between Heaven and Hell where souls go to be punished for lesser sins and to repay the debt of temporal punishment for sins which have been forgiven.  Even after Moses was forgiven by God, he was still punished for his sins. (2 kg. or 2 Sam. 12:13-14).  The primitive Church Fathers regarded the doctrine of Purgatory as one of the basic tenets of the Christian faith.  St. Augustine, one of the greatest doctors of the Church, said the doctrine of Purgatory "has been received from the Fathers and it is observed by the Universal Church."  True, the word "Purgatory" does not appear in the Bible, but a place where lesser sins are purged away and the soul is saved "yet so as by fire," is mentioned. (1Cor. 3:15).  Also, the Bible distinguishes between those who enter Heaven straightaway, calling them "the church of the firstborn" (Heb. 12:23) and those who enter after having undergone a purgation, calling them "the spirits of the just made perfect." (Heb. 12:23) Christ Himself stated:  " Amen  I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing." (Matt. 5:26). And: Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment." (Matt. 12:36).  These are obviously references to Purgatory.  Further, the Second Book of Machabees (which was dropped for the scriptures by the Protestant Reformers) says: "It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may beloosed from sins." (2 Mach. 12:46) {even if you discount this as a true book of the Bible,  it cannot be ignored as a historical reference} Ancient Christian tomb inscriptions from the second and third centuries frequently contain an appeal for prayers for the dead.  In fact, the custom of praying for the dead - which is meaningless if there is no Purgatory - was universal among Christians for the fifteen centuries preceding the Protestant Reformation.
....Also, what Christian is there who, despite his faith in Christ and hes sincere attempts to be Christlike, does not find sin and worldliness still in his heart?  Yet " there shall not enter into it [the new Jerusalem, Heaven] anything defiled." (Apoc. or Rev. 21:27).....Christ insists that we be tryly holy and sinless to the core of our souls. "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt. 5:48).  This growth in sinlessness - in Christian virtue and holiness- is of course the work of an entire lifetime (and is possible only through the grace of God).  With many this cleansing is completed only in Purgatory.  If there is no Purgatory, but only Heaven for the perfect and Hell for the imperfect, then the vast majority of us are hoping in vain for life eternal in Heaven.

I think it is clear now that praying for the souls of the dead is not such a foreign idea afterall. Why not take a moment daily this month to send up a prayer for those suffering in Purgatory. I'm sure they will thank you with their own prayers for you.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Recipes for a Peaceful Tummy

The last several weeks for me have been very hard on the stomach. I am one of those pregnant women who can't be pleased. If I'm not nauseous I'm miserable because I think something is wrong, and if I am nauseous I'm miserable because - well I"m nauseous. Its not easy for me to spend hours and days sitting around feeling that any moment my stomach is going to defy gravity. It's especially hard with a house full of little ones who think helping Mommy clean means shoving everything in a corner. To say that finding something that I want and can eat has been a challenge would be somewhat of an understatement. I think its hard for most pregnant women who suffer morning sickness to find something they want to eat, then add allergies to eggs, wheat, dairy, oats, and shellfish; and your chances of finding something that taste good  are about the same as the President deciding to pop over for dinner to discuss foreign policy.
 One thing I realized  was that I feel a lot better not eating meat.  It's just not digesting well. If you combine not eating meat with my allergies you end up with a vegan diet. So, I looked online and found this cookbook,
The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion . Now I would just like to say that I didn't  actually notice that it said for entertaining until I finished flipping through the book. Yes, very non-observant.  Hey, I was busy trying to decide if I could eat what she was cooking  - although I did think there were a lot of recipes for  different events in the book - oh well, we all have our moments. Anyway everything looks really good in here and I can't wait to try so many of these recipes.  We had a version of her veggie paninis for lunch today and it was quite tasty. For dinner we had harvest stuffed acorn squash. I liked it, although next time I think I'll cut back on the spice some. Maybe you won't feel the need to if you're not pregnant. Anyway, if the squash sounds interesting you can watch her make it here.  If you scroll through the menu on the side, you'll see her recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies, eggless egg salad, three bean chili, and magic chocolate cake. So if you're suffering from allergies or just looking for a meatless meal, check out these recipes.

I was going to take pictures of the food I made, but I got too hungry to take them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

{ Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

Every Thursday I will be joining the ladies over at Like Mother, Like Daughter in their posting of  pictures that are pretty, happy, funny, and real. I think posting things like this help us to find the beauty in our everyday lives. Sometimes its hard to find beauty when you're tied down to all the cares of raising a family and all the work that comes with it. If we look closely though, there is always something lovely to be seen - even if it is chocolate covered.

round button chicken

Heres little Mopsy looking as adorable as ever!

I'm not sure I would classify this as "pretty", unless pretty was followed by the word "funny". Evidently one of his siblings thought this was a great fashon statement, because as we were sitting in the basemenent on Sunday after Mass, I noticed that someone had accessorized this little guy's outfit for him.


Happy is not a strong enough word for these pictures! We feel truly blessed that the Lord has once again given us the chance to bring another soul into this world! It is such a privilege to be a mother and I thank God with all my heart for the opportunity to be a mother to yet another little one. So everyone meet Peapod, due to come into this world May 28, 2012. We are so excited!!


I call this Fierce Bad Rabbit a la creme. The "creme" is actually whoopie pie, and  FBR was hiding from me as I tried to take his picture, which is why he is under the table.


Our drive to Mass on Sunday was quite a snowy one. Worse then the actual snow was all the fallen trees. I took this picture out of the car window as we passed right under these downed power lines that were a little too close for comfort.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy All Saints Day

Happy Feast of All Saints everyone!
 We weren't able to do too much celebrating today, but we tried our best. One thing we did was a "Name the Saints quiz" from the book "A Year With God" available for purchase from Catholic Heritage Curricula .   It has lots of activities to take you through the church year.
Would you like to test your knowledge too?  See if you can guess what Saints said the following quotes. The answers are at the bottom - but no peaking until you go through all the quotes!

Who said:

1) "Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing."

2) " He must increase, I must decrease."

3) "Let us love God, but with the strength of our arms,  in the sweat of our brow."

4) "If I am in the state of grace, may God keep me in it; if I am not, may God put me in it."

5) "Do only what you can offer to God."

6) "Lord Jesus receive my spirit."

7) "Compared to the crucifix, all my books are as so much straw."

8) "The road of true progress for a man is to show himself great in little things."

9)" Extending His arms on the cross like wings, Christ embraces all who come to Him sheltering them in his wounds"

10) " Sanctify yourself an you will sanctify society."

11) " I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of God."

12) " If it is possible, it can be done; if it is impossible, it must be done."


1. St. Therese of Lisieux; 2.St. John the Baptist; 3. St. Vincent de Paul; 4.St. Joan of Arc; 5.St. John Vianney; 6.St. Stephen; 7. St. Thomas Aquinas; 8. St. Francis Xavier; 9. St. Anthony of Padua; 10. St. Francis of Assisi; 11. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque; 12. St. Frances Cabrini