This prayer (or Collect) and these scriptures are taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Daily Office Scripture Readings:

Sunday, October 5
Psalm 118, 145
Hosea 13:4-14, 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, Matthew 14:1-12

Monday, October 6
Psalm 106
Hosea 14:1-9, Acts 22:30-23:11, Luke 6:39-49

Tuesday, October 7
Psalm 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127
Micah 1:1-9, Acts 23:12-24, Luke 7:1-17

Wednesday, October 8
Psalm 119:145-176, 128, 129, 130
Micah 2:1-13, Acts 23:23-35, Luke 7:18-35

Thursday, October 9
Psalm 131, 132, 133, 134, 135
Micah 3:1-8, Acts 24:1-23, Luke 7:36-50

Friday, October 10
Psalm 140, 141, 142, 143
Micah 3:9-4:5, Acts 24:24-25:12, Luke 8:1-15

Saturday, October 11
Psalm 104, 137, 144
Micah 5:1-4, 10-15; Acts 25:13-27; Luke 8:16-25

Today I’m linking up with my good buddy Lauren for Oh Snap!shots of the Week.

Happily Mother After

Here’s my Katie Pearl, right proud of herself after climbing into the rocking chair to watch the big kids in the neighborhood get on the bus. It’s just about her favorite morning activity.

20111007-205316.jpg

I love food, and I really enjoy great photography, so when the two come together, it’s pure gemütlichkeit. Enter these photos I found today, thanks to my new favorite app, Flipboard.

20111007-204530.jpg

The superstitious part of me hesitates to write this immediately after the post about Katie Pearl’s first birthday, but the part of me that believes Philippians 4:6-7 doesn’t think a thing of it.

This time last year, my cousin’s two-year-old son was about to be diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Bravely, he underwent radiation and chemotherapy with trusty Buzz Lightyear by his side. This past June, Jesus welcomed him into Heaven and, I’m sure, showed him how to fly even faster and farther than Buzz.

A little more than a year ago, a friend’s eight-year-old daughter complained of stomach pain and was found to have a three-pound tumor in her abdomen. She endured surgery followed by chemo treatment after chemo treatment, all the while maintaining her sweet, spunky spirit. Earlier this summer, her scans were returned clear and blood work showed no sign of cancer.

Her mom shared this:

Web MD states, “A review of the literature in 1979, prior to the widespread use of combination chemotherapy, found only 27% of 96 patients with stage I germ cell endodermal sinus tumor alive at 2 years. Over 50% died within a year of diagnosis.” Fortunately for [her], past cancer research saved her life!

Which brings us to September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I detest that it is so prevalent it has a dedicated month, but I’m thankful research is making progress. Often, we hear about money going to medical research and come to find out some guy deep within the CDC has isolated a single cell in a rat that responded favorably to a new treatment. Woo hoo. But this — “past cancer research saved her life” — that is progress. That allows an eight-year-old to have a ninth birthday.

At the very least, do a little reading, but please also consider giving your time or money to help eradicate childhood cancer.

A few links:
The Brain Tumor Foundation for Children
CURE Childhood Cancer
Aflac Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Lighthouse Family Retreat, where families of children with cancer attend free
My friend Lauren wrote this great post

One year ago last night, Mikey and I came home with our baby girl, had a moment in the living room as a family of three, and began our new life.

And what a great life! One year into it, it gets better and better every day. On Saturday and Sunday we celebrated this fact as we celebrated our one-year-old Katie Pearl. A birthday photo essay …

 

When the food budget is tight (which it always is now that gas/food prices are creeping up every day) it’s clean-out-the-Frigidaire time at Chateau Nelson. This recipe is the result of one such night, and I didn’t want to forget it because it turned out quite tasty. All that is to say, throw in whatever is in your fridge to make this your own personal fridge-cleaner-outer.

1 lb. penne
1 zucchini, sliced paper-thin (I used my mandoline slicer for this – love that thing)
1-2 garlic cloves, sliced paper-thin (mandoline slicer, but watch your fingers)
1 sweet onion, sliced into semicircles (not on the mandoline unless yours can handle onions)
1 tablespoon butter
15 oz. ricotta cheese (I could have sworn this used to come in 16-oz. containers)
1 large boneless/skinless chicken breast, grilled and chopped
parmesan
XV olive oil
salt & pepper

Boil the pasta until al dente (I usually go one minute less than the shortest time on the box directions) and immediately strain. After straining, stir in a little olive oil, zucchini, and garlic so the heat from the pasta cooks the vegetables.

While your pasta is cooking, melt butter in a saucepan and add onions when hot. Cook until they’re a tasty golden color (caramelized). Add a teaspoon or so of sugar if you want them extra sweet.

Combine pasta/vegetables, caramelized onions, ricotta, and chicken, then add parmesan, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

Variations: Bacon, of course, never hurt anything. Asparagus would be good (throw it in with the pasta for the last 1-2 minutes of cooking). Fresh or sundried tomatoes would also be tasty.

Sometimes I just have to embrace the fact that I write what Seth Godin calls a cat blog. Mikey and I started blogging a few years ago because we thought it would be a good way to make our journals searchable (which it is), so I continue on in that vein. I’m fine with it. If you like it, too … icing on the cake.

And with that preface, my LinkTastic list of mom blogs.

Chronicles of a Babywise Mom – I’d be a full-time resident of the funny farm right now if not for this blog. Mikey and I read Babywise before Katie was born and figured it sounded simple enough, right? Big news, fans. There’s a lot it doesn’t tell you. Val (the Babywise Mom) fills in the gaps. She’s working from three kids’ worth of experience and covers absolutely everything. If you’ve got an issue she doesn’t address, I’ll eat this cupcake right here.

Orange Parents – There isn’t a sufficient supply of words in my brain to describe how edifying this blog is. If you’re a parent, about to be a parent, thinking of one day becoming a parent, or are of appropriate parent-being age, you should read every solitary post on this site.

Wholesome Baby Food – I have really enjoyed making Katie’s baby food, and this site provides a diaper-load of recipes and ideas. They don’t stop with pureed peas, either – I’m looking for Lemon Plums on my next visit to the Farmer’s Market.

Adopt A ‘Do – This may be the single most inspiring blog I’ve read this year. I spent several hours reading and watching videos the other night thinking, Can I make rosettes with Katie’s 1-inch-long hair? First order of business, though, is getting her to keep from pulling the bows out the instant I put them in.

Etsy – Mike will attest to the fact that my mom and I cannot attend an arts & crafts festival without at least once saying, “We can make that.” Etsy is basically the largest, awesomest, most easily accessible arts & crafts festival in the world. I go here for sewing ideas, art inspiration, and to support the quarterly urge I have to take up crochet.

Others I love (and not just because I love the people who write them): Happily Mother After (I will never be as good at party planning as Lauren), Nate’s Lucha Libro (Technically not a “mom” blog, but with great pictures of Elsita), and Vamos Juntos (Mothering and ministering in Africa … Katie is so much more woman than I am).

I am entranced by Abelardo Morell‘s photography with the camera obscura.

Brooklyn Bridge - abelardomorell.net

He transforms his subject room into a camera obscura by blocking all light except for a tiny hole. As light enters through the hole, it projects an upside-down image on the opposite wall. Morell uses a prism to inverse the image, then leaves his camera in the room with the shutter open. It’s a camera within a camera, you see.

Morell’s other photography is equally mesmerizing, particularly Books & Maps and Tent Camera, which is like the camera obscura but projected on the ground and roofs instead of rooms.

It takes me back to fourth grade art with Mrs. Tolleson, when we built a camera obscura to watch the solar eclipse, inciting in me a lifelong love of stellar phenomena. Perhaps Katie Pearl is too young to appreciate it now, but the day will come when we build one in the backyard, I assure you.

It’s funny what becomes a big deal when you become a mom. Poop has never had so much significance (How much is there? What color is it? How often is it showing up? Is it too dry? Too wet? Too smooth? Too lumpy?). Weight is a matter of national importance (You should hear the calls we get from all over the country when we’re due for a pediatrician’s visit.) And then there’s leaving the house.

When Katie Pearl was about three weeks old, I’d had enough of my living room. I set my mind on going to Target. It took three days for me to work up the courage, in addition to phone calls to my husband and friends to hear them say I could do it. It was late in the day before I got it together enough to go, but I did it. The car didn’t blow up. No tuberculosis patients tried to cough on her. The diaper held everything in. We left the house, did our shopping, and returned home with absolutely no drama. I felt like a superhero.

So you can imagine how I feel about our impending first flight together. “Anxious” is a strong word, but I sure am thinking about it a lot. I’ve packed our bags five times in my head, which is only half the number of times I’ve worked out our schedule for the day. I’m sure everything will go smoothly enough. And when I return, I fully expect a new cape.

Here in Atlanta, we’re experiencing our biggest snow since about 1993 (measuring six pure, fluffy, delightful inches on the patio furniture). I cannot tell you how much I HEART SNOW DAYS. It’s especially exciting since Mikey is stuck at home, too, and we’re keeping up the unflinchingly rigid Waldrop family tradition of making donuts on snow days (another recipe for another day). The Price is Right comes on in half an hour … I love my life.

All this calls for a killer comfort food recipe. I made this for the first time on Saturday, and our tongues beat our brains out trying to get to it. It took several hours to make, but every hearty bite made the time and effort worthwhile.

GUINNESS POT PIE
Makes 6 big servings
Prep & cook time is about 3 hours (see busy day option at bottom)

olive oil
3 lbs beef stew meat
1 onion
½ teaspoon dried rosemary (or one sprig fresh rosemary)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped in chunks
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut in ½” chunks
8 oz portobello mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt
pepper
2 tablespoons flour
11-oz bottle Guinness (or if you have the 15-oz cans, one of those works, too)
beef stock (about 1 cup)
8 oz extra sharp white cheddar, shredded (I like Cabot Seriously Sharp White Cheddar)
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 egg, beaten (with a splash of water for egg wash)

1. In your biggest oven-safe pot or dutch oven, brown beef in hot oil in batches (it doesn’t have to cook all the way through). It might take as many as six batches, but your patience will be rewarded. Be sure to not overcrowd the pot or the beef won’t brown. Once browned, move to separate bowl.

2. Add a little more oil to the pot and sauté onions until tender, about 5 minutes, then add garlic and rosemary and sauté another 2–3 minutes. Add carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, butter, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and flour, and stir to combine. Add beef (WITH juices in the bottom of the bowl), Guinness, and enough beef stock so liquid level is just below beef/vegetables, not fully immersed. Bring to a boil and transfer to oven.

3. Braise at 350° for 90 minutes, until the sauce is good and thick. Remove from oven and stir in half of shredded cheese (about 1 cup). Increase oven temp to 375°.

4. Pour stew into a greased 2.5–3-quart baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Roll puff pastry sheet so it’s big enough to cover top and to create a seal on the edges of the dish. Press puff pastry to edges of baking dish, and brush puff pastry top with egg wash.

5. Line a jellyroll pan with aluminum foil and place dish on it to bake. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown and stew is bubbling around edges. Make sure you have some good crusty bread with which to soak up every drop of the delicious Guinness-y stewiness.

BUSY DAY OPTION

Brown beef, then cook onions/garic/rosemary in pot. Combine this and everything else through beef stock in a Crock Pot and cook on low for 8 hours. Then, stir in half the cheese (about 1 cup) and pick up with step 4. I haven’t tried this yet, but fully intend to in the next few weeks. Can’t see why it wouldn’t work well for a weeknight dinner.

No pictures to share … sorry … we plowed into it too quickly.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.