Thursday, January 31, 2008


I think I have the flu. I woke up at midnight last night with a terrible sore throat and I could not get warm. I went to the couch and popped in a movie after taking some Advil. I was able to sleep on and off all night. This morning the aches accompanied the sore throat. Of course, I do not have time to be sick so I continued to take Advil every four hours.

We have a showing on Saturday and I decided our steps needed a transformation. No one has done anything to them in 100 years and so they are worn:
When we moved here five years ago I said we would some day refinish the stairs since they could be beautiful. It would have been a tremendous amount of work. So, naturally, we did nothing. I just kept telling people to walk on the outer edge of the stairs so the paint there would start rubbing off. No one listened. Today I decided a trip to Lowe's was in order. After seeing what they had to offer and then going to Carpet Mart and talking to the salesman there I took a trip back to Lowe's. Here's the new look:I am pleased. Nolan's comment was, "It's too bad we won't get to enjoy this longer." Well, maybe we will if no one buys our house.

On a side note, in my sickened-carpet-buying-haze I totally forgot that most stores don't open until 10am. I had to wait 20 minutes before Carpet Mart opened and so I went to the Salvation Army. I was in need of a new winter coat. Mine is still very warm but it is filthy dirty and falling apart. I was able to find a Land's End jacket for $12. I'm thrilled.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Black Bean and Crab Bisque

I do not have a picture for this but wanted to share. I got this recipe out of one of my cook books but don't have the title of it handy. The recipe called for Guiltless Gourmet bean dip. I couldn't find this at all and so substituted as follows:

Black Bean and Crab Bisque

3 cups chicken broth
1 can (15 1/2 oz until they decide to change the amounts again so we don't know the price is going up) refried black beans (the kind I bought already had some zing added with peppers)
1 can (6 or 8 oz) crab
sour cream (optional)
green onions (optional)
Brandy (optional and I didn't use it and so I have no idea how much you were supposed to put in).

Soooooo easy: mix chicken broth with refried beans and cook until boiling. Add crab and cook until crab is warm. Eat. You can add sour cream and green onions to it prior to eating but I'm telling you the three ingredients are all you need. If you are a weight watcher the points are like three per serving (without the sour cream that is). Yum.

Oh, I think the brandy was to be mixed in with the crab. I don't know for sure. I don't like brandy and I have no idea how it would change the flavor. If you want to know, leave a comment and I'll hike to the kitchen and read the recipe again.

Try it, you'll like it. It has a nice little kick.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My first Lenten sacrifice

I've continued pondering and praying what to do for Lent. I was going to buy a few new books but have decided my first sacrifice would be to use what I already own. So we are still talking about what to do but have some ideas. My kids like to draw pictures and so I am going to get them a new blank book (ok, so I am going to buy something...) and read a story of a saint each day. I have several saint books to draw from. Some are very short stories and some are longer. This way on those days that we have other activities we can still get this in. The kids will then draw an illustration of the saint. By the end of Lent they will have quite a book. On Sundays we will make homemade pizza together and begin a small study of the Mass. Mike is home then and we are making a commitment to not planning anything else during that time so we can really journey together as a family.

I am still thinking about prayer. I would like to get the boys thinking about having their own private prayer life. I realize that they pray, but only when I do. I need to teach them the importance of developing their own prayer life. Whether we focus in on one prayer or not I don't know yet.

Nolan's school will be collecting money for Heifer International this Lent. It makes sense for us to take this on as our family project as well. We have been talking about some of our character flaws and I am thinking that we may offer up money for the project day by day as we begin to overcome some of our difficulties. How we monitor this is still in the works.

I do not ask the boys to fast during Lent but believe that they can give up treats and sweets. Sundays will be our reprieve which is why we are planning homemade pizza for those days. Finally, I think I will make a poster to mark our journey day by day.

These plans will morph as time goes by. I learned from this year's Advent that I need to keep things simple or they will not be done. I am a little worried that some of these plans are too complicated so I will continue to pray over it.

On a sewing note: The above picture is from a quilt I have been working on. Winter is such a terrible time to take pictures of my sewing that I just haven't done much picture taking to show you. Also, since the quilt is for a friend who reads my blog, I can't give the whole thing away. Please pray for Matthew who is due to be born Feb. 5th ( week!!!!), for his birth parents and grandparents and for his adoptive parents and family. May God's blessing be on them all as they sacrifice and give to each other.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I hate to admit this but...

I've gotta slim down. I am now 20 pounds overweight. Probably more like 25-30 pounds over but I'm sticking with 20 for now. I wasn't going to blog about this since I generally make a resolution to eat less and eat healthier and then I don't. So I didn't want to make a big production out of saying I was going to lose weight and then not doing it. Buuuuut, then I thought to myself, why the heck not. Maybe it'll keep me focused or at least embarrassed enough to stay with the program.

Program, did I say program??? Yes, I'm desperate and realizing that I need a little (ok, a lot) of help. I probably went on my first "diet" when I was like 8 or something crazy like that. Do any of you remember that silly one where you had to eat a cup of red beets but then you could have a cup of ice cream? I did that one for a week with my mom where you ate exactly what they told you to eat (I just remember all the red beets). I actually stayed on the diet and didn't cheat but didn't lose a pound. That ended that. I did Slimfast once in college. That did work but I really hate drinking my meals. After my kids were born I went to Weight Watchers. Man did that work! I was also nursing like crazy and taking the kids for these insane walks in the double stroller everyday. I think it was the combination of running after toddlers, taking sanity walks and eating appropriately that did it. I was thinner than ever in my life.

What happened??? It didn't stick. A few years ago I discovered a program called Light Weigh.This is an amazing Catholic spiritual weight loss program. I lost about 15 pounds on that program as well at one point. It works. It also brings you closer to God. Major bonus points for that one. Of course you really need to follow the program for it to work. Boy, do I have trouble with that. Too many yummy foods out there.

So, what am I going to do????? I'm combining. I need the structure of Weight Watchers right now since I tend to eat junk food all day if left to my own devises. I am going to incorporate the spiritual aspects of the Light Weigh (prayer, Bible study and sacrifice) to my plan. Oh, and I will begin exercising again. I walk about 2 miles after I put Nolan on the bus. I'm already out there in the cold at 7:15am I might as well keep walking.

I may never post about this topic again, but then again, maybe I will (don't you love my resolve?). I am going to start a little side bar for some notes and maybe some recipes that I come across. Wish me luck (pray for me) and keep eating healthy!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lent is on the Horizon

I realized that Ash Wednesday is only a week and a half away. When we began homeschooling, I began incorporating the Liturgical Year into our life. We did specific Bible study and prayer. It is the one reason I love homeschooling. More time to devote to God. Teaching the boys about our faith and seeing their faith grow was tremendous. Now, however, Nolan is at school. Our time together is so much more limited. I have been struggling with how to continue our faith journey together. I have to admit, it has fallen by the wayside these past few months. I must set this as a priority. I am setting it as a priority.

One other problem we have encountered in the last year is a lack of time together as a family. My husband works several jobs right now and isn't home too often. Sunday is the one day we are usually all together. Mike actually works on Sundays too because he is our church organist but once Mass is finished and all rehearsals are over, he is home. I am thinking that we will plan a Sunday lunch, prayer and teaching together as a family. I'm not sure what the focus will be yet but I'm thinking we'll perhaps pray the rosary and study the Mass. I have several books on the Mass that I've been saving for an opportunity to get into with the kids but just haven't found the time yet.

I've also been checking out the Mater Amabilis site for ideas. I may look at the Prove It! series or the retreat book for children called My Path to Heaven. A book I picked up several months ago is called St. Patrick's Summer, A Children's Adventure Catechism. I began looking through it the other day and it seemed to talk more about Bible stories that my kids are already very familiar with. I'm not sure that is the focus I'm supposed to take right now. I will read the book this week to help me decide.

I've also been thinking about virtues, works of mercy and character development. maybe pick one think per week to work on? many options. I guess that is one reason I love the liturgical year, something new to work on each year as we work our way through the seasons.

I would love to know what ideas everyone else has, that is if anyone actually reads this blog! I guess I will go take a look at some other sites and spend some time in prayer before making any decisions. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Breath and books

Today I finally felt like I could take a breath. This has been much needed in my life. Selling a house stinks. Too much keeping things neat and tidy, too much fixing things that you have no problem living with but you don't think any other person will want to live with, too much wondering if anyone is ever going to look into your house. I have decided that I'm going to live as if I'm never moving and keep tidying as if people will be walking into my house every day. I'd actually love to live in a tidied house all the time so I'm looking at that aspect of selling in a VERY positive way. I love neatness and order in a home. Makes it so much easier to do things spontaneously.

I have been feeling that I haven't been spending enough time with Nathan on his school work. He can be a very independent worker and that is exactly what I want him to be. I know there are areas that he needs to work on and those have fallen a little by the wayside these last two weeks. Nathan, having Asperger's Syndrome, needs help with reading and writing. He can do both but isn't very confident and does need more of a structure. Since we are planning to send him to school next year, I wanted to focus in on his reading and writing a little more. His math skills are terrific so I am grateful that we don't have to worry about anything there. Today I was able to spend the entire day focused on his school work and I felt so GOOD about it. Like, this is just the way it is supposed to be: no hurrying or wishing he could do his work more quickly because I had things to do, etc. etc. I could breathe and so could he.

Now onto books. I recently began working at the most fantastic job I've ever had. I do small groups with children in 1-3rd grade who have been identified as being at risk for drug and alcohol use/abuse. I use a set curriculum but I am able to modify the games/books/activities to suit the group. So today I went to the library and began searching through the children's picture books. Oh, how I love picture books. Next week the lesson is about friendship and what makes a good friend. I just picked a letter and began pulling. So much fun. I can't say I found the greatest book ever but I had such a great time reading and looking at them. One reason to love my job. The best reason I love my job is, of course, the children. When I see their faces light up because they see me coming to get them out of class to go to group I feel like I'm in Heaven. Pure Joy. A gift from God.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Elizabeth Foss has a marvelous article on the Catholic Exchange today. Please read it if you have time. This is exactly what I want. No, I need to stop with the I wants (which you will notice a lot of in my last post). This is what God wants for me and so He has generously given me the desire to conform to His will. In the article Elizabeth quotes an inscription on a chapel wall, "This is all I desire: to be where God wants me to be."

This is not always easy to follow and sometimes I think I take a meandering path to get to the place in which He wants me to work. But, perhaps, each curve of the path was its own little mission. I have always thought the meandering stream in a meadow to be one of the most beautiful natural features of this earth. I can still remember being amazed when we studied geography and learned what causes a stream to meander. Usually it is something that is blocking the path of the water like a rock or a tree that fell over. Hmm, as I write this I realize that my meandering has often been due to something that is blocking my path. Those rocks and tree trunks in my own life are often things that, at the time, I wish were not in my way. Yet now that I look back over the beauty that is my meandering stream, I see that those things were placed in my life for a purpose.

The world, especially America, wants us to have a straight stream. We need to push aside the rock or the tree and forge ahead. Nothing should stop us from our success. Well, success as the world views it. No, I see those rocks and trees as times where God wants me to stop and lean on Him. He then shows me a new path to follow. When I allow this in my life (even when it is so very, very difficult) I come away refreshed and stronger in my faith. God has also given me some wisdom that I am able to impart to others who are experiencing their own pain.

So I am glad to be a meandering stream in this life. I have had a few small rocks in my way this past year: choosing to discontinue homeschooling, putting aside my own wants and desires and focusing on my children's talents and skills, trying to serve others more. Simplifying. To be where God wants me to be.

Friday, January 18, 2008


We Bitts' have made a decision. It is spiritual, financial, ethical, emotional, intellectual and my husband will kill me for saying it, environmental. We are selling our house. We are moving from this 5 bedroom house
To this two bedroom house:As I said, the reasons are many. We have been led to believe we don't need so much space. Having a separate room for everything makes you think you can buy more stuff. I hate stuff (unless it's the stuff I love). I want our family to be close together as we pursue our varied hobbies. I want a smaller mortgage and heating bill. I don't want such a big house to clean and fix up. I want a quiet street. I want my boys to have space to ride their bikes. I want to be closer to the places we go. This house does all of that and more. Now if I can just get someone to buy our house we'll be all set to go.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sewing room chill

I do believe it is colder in my sewing room than on our front porch. My sewing room is in the back of our south facing row home. This means that it gets little to no sunlight. I have been working on a few projects and today I began a quilt for a friend who is adopting a baby boy in February. I do have a little electric heater and have had it on for the last few hours but it is still really cold. I went out to the porch to check the temperature and, I'm not exaggerating, it felt warmer on the front porch than in my sewing room. I think some of this had to do with the sun beating on the porch and the fact that I was only outside for 30 seconds. I don't think I'll move my machine just yet. I may just hold off sewing until tomorrow when it warms up.I wanted to share a few of the Christmas gifts I made for the boys. Above are the much anticipated oven mitts. Nolan wanted everything red this year and Nathan, blue. In case you were wondering, red is the color of power and blue is the color of speed. So I searched for red and blue fabrics that I thought the boys would like. Nolan is still a fan of gem stones and jewels so I thought he would like the red fabric with the royal theme. Nathan's pick was just the nicest fabric in blue I could find.

The boys have enjoyed our membership to the zoo and since our last visit have been talking about the echidna (Nolan) and the lions (Nathan). I made each of them a little felt animal that was waiting to be opened on Christmas Eve. I thought it would help to have a little something to open while waiting for Christmas. For your information, the echidna is a baby and so is called a puggle. Not to be confused with the pug/beagle mix.

Finally, here is the most recent quilt wall hanging I have made. It is for my sister-in-law who has a birthday today. I don't think she reads my blog so I can show it to you. This is from the pattern I was telling you about before. I made the quilt from the pattern but it just didn't suit her personality so I modified it and chose colors that she will enjoy. I'm pleased with the way it looks

I have noticed people doing different things on their blogs now that it is the new year. Some are posting about their goals/resolutions for the new year and others are looking back over the last year. Hmmm....I may or may not do the same here. Stay tuned to find out!
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