29 February 2008

leap day musings...

after wrapping their heads around the science of why we have a leap day every fourth february & contemplating the dilemma of birthday celebrations for those born on february 29 (including their great-grandmother), the boys informed me that the next time leap year rolls around Little Man will be a senior in high school, Big Bro will be in his 2nd year of college, & their sisters will be college graduates! how's that for a mind numbing demonstration of "time flies"??it was enough to wake me before consuming my proper morning coffee intake! it was enough to make me want to reach for a piece of comfort-chocolate! but, oops! still lent! hold on the chocolate... isn't it funny how an extra day on the calendar makes you want to celebrate just a little? there is an extra bit of silliness in the air & i love it!oh yes, & it is friday too~ end of a hard-working catch-up week & all that too. plus the sunshine is absolutely brilliant. the birds are singing wildly outside my window. it is truly a day that makes me want to leap for joy!

25 February 2008

signs & quotes...

top 5 signs that boyworld is well once again...

1. you come back inside the house to find an appliance box moving through your living room of its own volition

2. you lift the box to find...a dog!!

3. & then you hear snickering from a remote location

4. the dogs are glued to your pant legs for the rest of the afternoon

5. the quotes have begun again...
...another science edition!

"a 9 volt battery contains the same kinetic energy as a bowl of lucky charms."

ok...so the next time i am out of nine volts, boyworld must surrender the lucky charms!

24 February 2008


new day, new week...full of hope! spring is around the corner (but the north wind still has his say about things!)...this third sunday of lent~ in the early morning quiet~ has me reflecting about how much more busy my lenten prayer life has been, oh-so-much more busy than i bargained for back on ash wednesday. such is the way of things.

in so many cases, when another is suffering in some way, there is only so much those around may actually do. sometimes that is because of distance. or because there is nothing more left undone. but prayers winged heavenward...there are never too many of them. we can never be sure of the answers we will receive, but we can take comfort in their holding us together in tough times. they are seeds sown in time from which abundant fruit may later come.i'm feeling a great relief after a week of events that rock, or at least shake, one's world. M. is home from the hospital & that in & of itself is nothing short of a miracle given how her situation started. she still has a long road of rest & recovery but she is tough!

Brooke has been able to walk & though she also has a long road of recovery, her progress is encouraging & the love around her will bear her up.

& boyworld is off the couch & back out into the world...

thank you all so very, very much who have kept those dear to us in your hearts & prayers!! we are all so grateful.


on a much lighter note~~an update about the secret life of bees! would you believe that while boyworld & i wallowed in the flu, they filmed at D.'s hospital??? where is the justice in that? they could have waited until we were back on our feet, right... ;-)

there is some salvation though...a very thoughtful person did bring Dakota Fanning's autograph home for certain members of casa piacere! & D. did take some photos that are still on his phone (i will work on that later this week...)

gratitude tumbling into the new week...

42. a breathtaking total lunar eclipse last week with a clear starry sky43. airplanes~~ that carry us closer to loved ones, that ferry us away on great adventures, that raise us above cloud cover to magnificent skies

44. healing in spite of great odds

45. that from the barest of branches in winter's holdwill soon push a budthat will unfold into long-awaited beauty!
may your week bloom with joy!

20 February 2008

comfort food...for body & soul

i cannot begin to express my gratitude to all who have been keeping our friend in prayer through this time. she is recovering, making progress & we are so grateful. in fact, we are doubly grateful through this time, as the weekend presented yet another reminder of life's preciousness & fragility.one of K-Bug's friends was hit by a car in a parking lot, of all places. she was not only hit, but drug under the car a considerable distance. i feel like heaven's beggar lately, but if you could, please spare a prayer for Brooke. she is stable & has a very long road of recovery ahead of her. in her favor...she has lots of love around her, she is young & she is healthy otherwise.

my gratitude overflows right now...38. answers to many prayers.
39. the safety net of love that surrounds us & carries us on the harder days.
40. arms to hug, hands to hold.
41. a warm sunbeam in which to sit & just rest.
as i exhale a guarded sigh of relief, i realize that it has been one of those weeks when nothing else will satisfy quite like comfort food. even boyworld is slightly out of commission right now with some kind of bug...you know, the kind that puts you out on the couch for a day or two with fevers, aches, & a need for many, many tissues.
& so i meandered into the kitchen at an odd hour~~ our normal school hours are on hold a bit due to this bug. a favorite comfort food around here is banana bread. & it is even more popular if i happen to have chocolate chips to toss in the batter.
this bread was enough to get some action on the couch! & it is what's cooking wednesday...Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (this recipe has the offical boyworld seal of approval!)
mash 3 ripe bananas & add 1 c. sugar & 1/2 c. shortening...cream together until smooth
beat 2 eggs & add to banana mix
combine 2 c. flour, 1 t. baking soda & 1/2 t. salt...gradually add to banana mix
add 1 c. chocolate chips.
pour batter into 1 greased loaf pan...bake at 350 for approx. 1 hr.

16 February 2008


my heart has been with corey over the last few weeks as she has kept a vigil of love for her father. my first awareness of the ICU waiting game was on the other side of the fence, as an ICU nurse. the hardest part of that job was helping the loved ones around the bed reconcile what they understood about life & what life was presenting them in the surreal world of monitors & tubes & tests...helping them reconcile the vibrant loved one they knew with the silent, medicated person in the bed who often looked nothing like the photos they would show me from their wallets. severe illnesses & trauma will do that to a body. my experience in the ICU gave my young mind a profound awareness of the capabilities we as humans possess...the ability to endure great things, emotionally & physically, the ability to heal great injuries...beyond what i ever thought possible. one of the greatest joys of my job was seeing a former patient walk through the unit's doors, well & smiling. i rarely recognized them.yesterday i received a call at an hour when you don't want one. a friend of ours was critically ill & in surgery. i hung up the phone & jumped into the shower, my mind racing with thoughts of what her family might need at that moment. the day suddenly became an exercise in reductions...what things could be put aside for another time, what things could be discarded, what things absolutely had to be done. life is so very precious & in moments like these, it is easy to see how that is so & just what is important. before leaving to bring our friends' daughter home from college, i hugged my boys extra tight & called my girls. our family makes a point of always leaving one another with a hug & kiss & an 'i love you'...life is too short to do otherwise.on my drive i pondered how easily i had chucked my day's 'to do' list, how small the circle of 'what matters' really is. i prayed a lot for our friend & for many other things. i considered how incredibly green the new grass was. i counted the early spring flowers i saw...daffodils, tulip magnolias, quince blossoms. i took comfort in the thin sunlight that warmed my shoulder. i expressed much gratitude that our friend had received the care she needed because waiting surely could have been fatal.please keep our friend M. in your prayers. & please hug those around you extra tight today...tell them how much they mean to you.

14 February 2008

love is...

...not limited to a day on the calendar, but it is undoubtedly in the air today. i cannot blog browse today without finding many posts regarding St. Valentine's Day. love it or (try to) ignore it, this holiday has been commercialized to the hilt. quite depressing, this twisting of love into a guilt trip for the enamored consumer.

stop & take a deep breath, oh ye wearied receiver of red rose & diamond advertising...one honest expression of true charitable love is worth more than a million hallmark sentiments mass printed on recycled paper.now, i have nothing against things that remind us to show the love, as this holiday does. being what we are, we do need reminders from time to time. & we can often forget exactly what love is...as i thought about this for most of the day, my thoughts kept coming back to this..."love is patient, love is kind. love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish. love is never rude, it is not self seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. there is no limit to love's forebearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. love never fails." (1Cor. 13:4-8)that is the love i aspire to & hope for.
for quite some time i have been enjoying bleeding espresso's love thursdays' posts & today i wanted to pass some link-love to the shutter sisters who keep this delightful weekly event up & running. how cool is that?!...St. Valentine's Day falls on love thursday!
may your love shine through today & everyday!!

09 February 2008

1000 gifts & counting...

34. colors i cannot begin to describe, reflected in peaceful waters...35. a faithful friend...36. pansies...my winter solace...37. the song of a lone redwing...

07 February 2008


...cold science edition!

"did you know that the ice in antarctica is 3% penguin urine?"

i am wondering...just *who* studied & compiled that little statistic?? is it true?

but...speaking of penguins (& science & the boys), they are a critter mightily enjoyed in our home. at least 2 of us claim them as one of our very favorite animals. on several occasions i have even been asked to house one of those dapper little guys right here in eastern NC. but since i don't do ice as floor decor, the answer will remain a chilly "no"...

however we have found a way to show penguins the love without assigning them a bedroom in casa piacere...our friend mike, who studies on magdalena island in southern chile (note to beckie...volunteering, if possible, to help mike is on my own bucket list!) works with the marvelous magellanic penguin. we found him through seabirds.org & have since adopted our very own penguin~~ waffle!(waffle in burrow, courtesy of mike) mike has been very helpful in our own study of these penguins and southern south america & its weather. his very detailed updates on waffle & the colony (including sweet photos) & his patient answers to our queries are always appreciated. in his most recent update we found out that waffle's chicks are doing well & he even attached an adorable photo...

aaaawwwww!...aren't they sweet! (waffle's chicks courtesy of mike) be sure to visit seabirds.org & check out what else mike is doing.

30. kindness to critters

31. the joy of & desire for learning...a thirst for knowledge...a quest to expand the mind

32.. those who willingly & excellently teach us in so many ways

33. a good laugh in the midst of perplexion :-)

05 February 2008

spreading the love...

thoughts swirling in my head on mardi gras...lent is tomorrow. i have had what seems like a million considerations for keeping a holy lent going through my mind. what to do?

for me, a true sacrifice usually involves the foregoing of chocolate & coffee. however, in the interest of not inflicting penance on those around me who would not need or deserve it, the coffee will stay.

but, the chocolate will go. (dear me, did i just say that??!!) even the mochas. gulp. (however i am *not* giving up bella mocha!!)

but before i do...i *am* going to 'spread the love'...the nutella love, that is! today is world nutella day. break out that scrumptilelicous stuff, dig in with a spoon & indulge in the awesome recipes at ms. adventures in italy & bleeding espresso! quick! before tomorrow!!

that's the sacrifice! but Father T., some years ago, recommended that we not only make a sacrifice of giving up, but add a sacrifice of doing something extra... that resonated with D. & i and it has added a new dimension to lent ever since. i won't go into great detail here (it's not a confessional ;) but i will say that the "something extra" involves actions found on this timely list...just reflecting shared by the mother of this lot. (many, many thanks!)

it involves gratitude...the keeping of a new year's resolution of sorts...remember the one thousand gifts?well, i'm going to spend lent keeping that focus & counting away!

28. blogs that make my heart swell with joy, laugh out loud, sigh with wonder, get chills, cry a few tears, say prayers, send love around the world!

29. the kindness of blogging souls...

& that leads me to some very overdue thank you's & the passing on of some good.nearly two months ago, dear annie at the benedict notes & then just a few days later rebecca at cre8tiva passed this honor to me...something i find extremely humbling. in my reflecting on the words below, i want both annie & rebecca to know that they both exemplify this honor in their blogging & i too would have chosen them!..."Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) it to make more disciples. I'd like to take the opportunity to award five other bloggers with this award and badge for acting in the role of a disciple of Christ. These five all share the message in their own creative ways, and I admire them all for what they do."
In the spirit of this award, the rules are simple. Winners of this award must pick five other "disciples" to pass it on to. As you pass it on, I just ask that you mention and provide links for
(1)this post as the originator of the award ( Dan King of Management by God)
(2) the person that awarded it to you, and then
(3) name and sites of the five that you believe are fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ.
If you know of other deserving recipients of this award, and would like to start a new string, then please post a link to where you've started in in the comments to this post. I would love for many deserving bloggers to be blessed with this recognition.
The rules of participating:
1. Copy this post.
2. Reflect on five bloggers.
3. Make sure you link this post so others can read it and the rules.
4. Go leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they’ve been given the award.
5. Put the award icon on your site.
in the time i have spent reflecting on what this means, other bloggers have come to mind...
1. for gloriously inspirational posts...including the one thousand gifts...ann
2. for keeping us in touch with roma & the vatican like no one else...john paul
3. for a daily dose of the holiness of motherhood with 5 crazy children...the mother of this lot
4. for twining the beauty of poetry with living a holy life...debi
5. and for living a very couragous life in the face of some daunting challenges...jessica
may all of you & those who read you continue to be blessed as your share your gifts through blogging!

04 February 2008

when boyworld & world nutella day collide...

...what do you get??
lots of brown...footballs & nutella have something in common!!
a sugar-high super bowl football frenzy...add a little fire (s'mores with somthing more!!...spread nutella on the graham cracker, add the toasted marshmellow~~yummy!!)...don't forget an element of danger, for good measure!i even penned a haiku...prompted by all the sweetness of the day...

baked into sweet surprise
halftime treat!nutella filled chocolate banana cupcakes with nutella cream cheese frosting

mix 1/3 c. packed brown sugar, 1/3 c. nutella & 1 egg together well & set aside
gently melt together 11 T. butter & 14 oz. chopped chocolate (i used ~10 oz. scharffen berger 70% dark & ~valhrona 4 oz...melted in the microwave with caution)
whisk together 1 1/3 c. sugar & 4 large eggs
add to egg mixture: 1 c. flour, 1/3 c. cocoa powder, 1/4 t. baking soda & 1/4 t. salt...mixing well
add melted chocolate to flour mixture
mash 2 ripe bananas & add to flour mixture
fill each cupcake liner 1/3 full with cake batter...add ~ 1T. nutella mix over batter...then top with more cake batter (to fill liner ~2/3 full)
bake 350 ~18-22 minutes

soften 16 oz. cream cheese, 2/3 c. nutella & 8 T. butter
beat til smooth
gradually add 4 c. confectioner's sugar & beat to spreading consistency
top each cupcake with a swirl...serve to hungry football fans...there will be none left!!a VERY BIG CHOCOLATY HAZELNUT thank you to this year's gracious hostesses...
Michelle - Bleeding Espresso
Sara - Ms. Adventures in Italy

02 February 2008

mid winter...

i feel as though we have barely passed the christmas season...january simply flew by. today's feast day on the liturgical calendar...feast of the presentation(image source) has always felt like the true end of celebrating the nativity of the Lord (which technically ends much earlier in january, on the feast of the baptism of the Lord). one of our traditions is to put the nativity scene carefully away for the year & replace the old candles around the house with new ones. also referred to as candlemas, this is a traditional day to have candles blessed in rememberance of Christ as the Light of the World...
for all those prognosticators out there eagerly awaiting the vernal equinox & hoping for some weather that pushes crocus blooms...today is also groundhog day! my home-state hero...punxsutawney phil sadly predicted 6 more weeks of winter (isn't this always the case!), but i don't believe him! i downright refuse to believe him! he's wrong~!! definitely...
after the disappointment of that varmint in a top hat & his furry opinion (yes, i'm miffed at him this year!) we moved on to superbowl sunday preparations. in boyworld this is a very. BIG. deal.

i'm just the cook.

Big Bro's favorite team is in the super bowl year & so it's become quite a party here. i decided to combine another celebration with our feast preparation & thus, our dessert falls in with the nutella theme for tuesday...world nutella day! the recipe will follow tomorrow or the next day... be sure to catch all the sure-to-be-yummy nutella posts on february 5!

i think the timing of world nutella day is superb because it is also mardi gras. my fat tuesday fun usually includes a chocolate indulgence! it also includes daydreaming of the year that i might spend this time in venezia...for carnevale! check out britt-arnhild's recent post & her glorious links...

following on the heels of all this celebrating...ash wednesday, the beginning of the season of lent.

but now, it's back to la cucina for me...!