Sunday, June 26, 2016

That Time I Spent $10 on a Grasshopper - a 7 Quick Takes

Sometimes I know exactly what I want to do to celebrate a certain feast day. For instance, St George's day we do pretty good at. Food? Check. Coloring pages? Check. Library books? Check. Funny YouTube video of St George and Dragon that will give my daughter nightmares for the following week? Well, um... yeah. Check. (Sorry about that one honey!)

And then there are days I think I have figured out, but when I go to execute... it turns out to be more than anticipated.  The nativity of St John the Baptist (June 24) was just such a day.

- 1 -
I actually began thinking about this day waaay back in May. (In a departure from my normal 5-6 day lead time.)
But as you can see, I didn't get very far in my thought process. So I did some research...

- 2 -
What I really love about this particular day is its cosmic connection to the calendar. We know from Luke 1:36 that when Gabriel announced to Mary that she would have Jesus, Elizabeth was already 6 months pregnant with John.  So that would make John and Jesus' birthday roughly 6 months apart too. Both John's and Jesus' birthday are celebrated shortly after the summer and winter solstices, respectively. Thus after Jesus' birthday, the days get progressively longer and after John's birthday, the days get progressively shorter. A very real and cosmic way of depicting how John said, "He must increase, and I must decrease." (John 3:30)  I find this super cool. What I don't find too cool (or even comfortable) was John's diet and wardrobe: he lived in the wilderness eating locusts and honey, and wearing a shirt made of camel hair. (Classy.) This little cartoon makes it all look really cute though:

- 3 -
But back to the story. Up until a week before JTB's day I was still thinking I would make some kind of cake with honey in the shape of a grasshopper... which the more I thought about it, the more I feared it would end up on CakeWrecks. So I ditched that idea in favor of something that I wouldn't have to make myself... hmm.... honey... what dessert uses honey? Ooo! I know! Baklava! And I'll decorate them with those plastic grasshoppers you can find everywhere. So with that plan solidly cemented in place a full 7 days in advance (go me) - I went about my week.

- 4 -
Come Thursday (the day before the big day), I figured it was time to go out and get that baklava and grasshoppers that you can easily just pick up anywhere that sells... you know... baklava and grasshoppers. Shoot. Where did I think I could just do that? I didn't have any luck at Target. So I headed to Michael's thinking I could at least get a few grasshoppers there. We scoured the whole store looking for the green little things, with E constantly asking, "Mommy? Where are the grasshoppers? Is this a grasshopper? Mommy? Is this a grasshopper? Mommy? Where are they?? OOHH!! Look! Dory! and NEMO!!" The Little Dude meanwhile was growing more impatient with every minute he was strapped into the cart - so when I finally found a tube that had plastic bugs in it - including one measly little grasshopper - I decided that was good enough and I threw it in the cart and headed up to the checkout to pay for it.


Ten freakin' eighty-six. For a grasshopper. Well, for a grasshopper and 13 other plastic bugs, that now I will find strewn all over the house and will forget that they're not real, so when I see them I will scream and freak out until I see they're plastic and then I'll feel silly and will silently curse myself for thinking that buying this tube of craptabulous stuff for $11 was the good and right thing to do. For the kids. *sigh* Well baklava shouldn't be too hard to find, right? One failed trip to a store, and 3 phone calls later... yeah, sure. Not hard at all! (Bangs head on table.)

- 5 -
However, John the Baptist's birthday was celebrated and even enjoyed! In the morning the wee girl and I colored these pages of JTB both with, and without, locusts. The wee girl is also on a bit of a Lego kick these days, and wouldn't you know it? I found a retelling of the story of John the Baptist on YouTube - done with Lego!

She didn't like it. (Of course.)

- 6 -
And dinner didn't go too badly either, if you ignore the fact that I fried the microwave. (Pro tip: insert food before turning on microwave.) I even did a little decorating!
If this counts as "decorating." And yes, that's a party hat on John.

- 7 -
So... best laid plans and all that. At least I'm prepared for next year.
Yeah, buddy. That's where you will stay for the whole year so I don't lose you and have to shell out another 10 bucks.

I'm a little late in posting my 7QT so when you click over here, you'll have a lot of (much better) blogs to read! Don't forget to say hi :)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Geeking out over veggie burgers

Confession: sometimes I do this "liturgical living" thing because I'm lazy.

Allow me to explain. Ever since we started to suspect that our diet might be having an impact (of the negative variety) on our family's health, I've been using tools like "Plan to Eat" to do meal planning. But as anyone who's ever planned meals will tell you, no matter how many apps, tools or articles you have, sometimes meal planning is just plain hard and/or boring. It's a chore.

So one of the ways I've countered this is with themed days - Meatless Mondays, Fish-on-Fridays, leftovers-on-Wednesday, Sunday Roasts. (We tried Taco Tuesdays, but that one didn't really stick...
...unless you mean to his face. Then it stuck very well.)

The "Fish-on-Fridays" one is the expressly Catholic one in the list, as Canon law says that "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays" (Can. 1251) - and for some reason fish is not considered "meat".  So, with Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays pretty much figured out that just leaves Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to plan. (Genius, right? ;) )

BUT that paragraph goes on to say that "Abstinence from meat... is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday." And yesterday, was just such a solemnity - The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!
"Come, and have hamburgers to celebrate."
(I'm terrible. Sorry. But this solemnity is a truly beautiful one - even if the paintings for it are so kitschy - as Fr. Jim Martin said so well.)

And here's where I'm lazy. Once I figured out that we could have meat on Friday I dreaded the thought of planning and cooking something - so I suggested to the husband - why don't we just go out to eat instead? This is often easier said than done with little children, so we decided fast food would be the way to go. And we were both totally on board with that until we remembered - eating hamburgers often results in us getting sick. (We're not really sure why.) So that sent us back to square one. Until we remembered this:
Also known as "Vegan Heaven"
Yes, Amy's Drive Thru - where everything on the menu is vegetarian! (Or vegan, if you so desire). The way I figured it, is that since it was a solemnity we should be celebrating and that can easily be done without meat. Just going out makes it special enough, right?

We brought our own pages to color:

Say, "Vegan CHEEZE!"

The wee girl and little dude LOVED it. I've never seen her eat pizza so fast! Both of them could hardly be contained in their seats, they were dancing around so much. And best of all? Paul and I felt perfectly fine afterwards! You guys, we went to a fast food restaurant and didn't get ill! I can see us going here a lot more often.

Amy's Drive Thru: "Runs on Love" ...and us? On the Sacred Heart.