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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Am Not Missing

Just sick. I was also feeling kind of down. We arrived at our church (which is renting space in another building, we are still seeking our own church building) on Sunday to find swastikas, Ku Klux Klan and satanic graffiti all over the building and benches. It is not the first time there has been graffiti on the building, but it's the first time it was so hateful. So, we had a sober and kind of subdued opening of our service. I don't think it had anything to do with our church, although we do have our sign up with the other organizations who use the building, but it was still hard to focus on worship at first when that was what greeted us. I'll write more about it later, I took some pictures just because it was so shocking to us, I don't know if I'll post them.

So, I apologize for the missing Finished Object Friday post, and for not posting my Menu Plan Monday. We've been fighting illness in the house for a few weeks, and I was just taking my vitamins, drinking a lot of fluids and trying to get rest, while still teaching the children and trying to get the bare minimum done here. Well, we all finally succumbed last week, and it's been a rough time.

The good thing about the homeschooling is that even sick days don't have to be complete goof off days, because even if we don't get all our goals met, and even if we're too tired or unwell to apply ourselves to every topic, we can still do pertinent reading, and some of our projects. The bad side is that the teacher, is dragging out of bed and a little short tempered. I finally set some "sick goals" and decided that anything we did more than that was a bonus.

We are getting ready to mummify our chicken, though, and the children are really excited about that. We will not be making the canopic jars, because mummification smells bad enough, we don't need rotting organs in spices and oil lying around the house.

Elijah, who has not been the most academically minded of our children, said something yesterday that just made my day. I had given him and Amira some coloring to do, and then told them to pick a book to read while I worked with their brothers on their math. When they finished, he asked what they should do, and I said to go play for a little while. He asked in a very sad voice, "Aren't we going to have school?" I assured him that we would, that afternoon, and he was happy again. I asked him if he liked school that much, and he said he did. It was hugely gratifying to hear that. Especially because I'm not really a crafty mom, so I have to really remember how important those are, and not drop them from the Little Saints lesson, if it isn't convenient for me.

By the way, I would really strongly recommend the Little Saints books for any Christian parents doing pre-school or kindergarten with their children. If you come from a tradition that does not venerate the saints, it is very simple to work around that, there are only a few lessons which are explicitly about particular saints, and you can either extend one of the other lessons, leave out the parts that are doctrinally different from your faith, or just substitute something else for that week's lesson. It does follow the church seasons, which for us is a plus, but you can emphasize that or not according to your preference.

The other set of books I have, the Image of God Series, is a wonderful religious education tool, but this one is far more Catholic/Orthodox. We've been using the lessons from that for their morning crafts and coloring, and I think it is better suited for that or for a Sunday School than for religious education in a homeschool/private school setting. To me, it seems like a homeschool or private school that is intentional in its religious teaching wouldn't need something like this, as the "subject" of religion is largely integrated in the other activities (e.g, the books read, the songs sung, etc). Basically, it reinforces what I'm already teaching them. I do think it would be a great Sunday School program, though. The first lesson is on the oneness of God and the Trinity, and it has various levels of exercises for different ages to cover the same lesson and concept. There was a connect the dots shamrock, a set of images out of sequence that were cut out and put in the right order to show how to make the sign of the cross for the youngest, the next age had a connect the dots of a cross and introduced the Glory Be prayer and the shamrock was used to illustrate St. Patrick's teaching on the Trinity, there were similarly more complicated tasks for the kindergarten level book. The parent book has the basic outline of the lesson plan, the concept to be taught and some suggestions on ways to talk about them and activities which would show the concepts to the children. Although it does seem intended for homeschool parents, I really think it could be better used as a Sunday School curriculum. The preschool books probably could be used at home for preschool without any other materials, though I am really sold on Little Saints, so it would be an additional book for me, but the kindergarten book doesn't cover the letters and numbers and seasons and calendar as much as I think is necessary, so as far as I'm concerned you'd need another book.

Two of the story books we've gotten that the children are loving (and that express our world view, to use the current jargon), are The Weight of a Mass (which is a fictional adaptation of a true story), and Angel in the Waters. Both of these have thoroughly enchanted our children and they are reading them over and over. Even the non-readers have memorized either parts of the whole and quote them frequently. They have beautiful pictures and sweet stories.

Anyway, I will post the menu plan for the benefit of my in-laws who will be coming this weekend, so if you check back, you should see at least a partial weekly menu. I also have received my swap boxes and need to post about that.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No Chinese Here

Today at lunch, after listening to her older brothers discuss what the ancient Egyptians believed in, and how that was different from their general religious life now, Amira made a solemn announcement.

She does not believe in China.

We had no idea that she was concerned that we might think she did. Of course, we also weren't talking about China.

She then went on to tell us that she was hungry for mustachios. It took me a little while to figure out she meant pistachios.

Hers were not the only amusing comments today. No, Dominic was not going to be bested by his little sister. He told Alexander that most modern Egyptians believe in one god now. Ammon.

I asked him if he meant Ra or the inc*stuous product of Lot and his daughter mentioned in the Old Testament, whose descendents worshiped Moloch and practiced infant sacrifice. Yes, I did tell him that Muslims worship Allah not Ammon.

They already know about the Egyptian Christians, and how they are treated in Egypt. That was a little easier to remember. There also wasn't that problem of remembering His name, of course.

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November: Greys & Blacks

The deadline for registration this month is 12:01 a.m PDT. October 31, 2007. This is Tuesday night. If you wish to sign up, send me an email at arabianknits at gmail dot com with your full name, mailing address, email address that you check regularly, and blog url. This is open to knitters worldwide, but I am going to make a big effort to pair people within the same nation or at least continent, since there is only a month in which to allow for something to arrive. I am going to limit the swap to the first 50 respondents. Please feel free to spread the word about this, though.

The first thing to come to mind in terms of color is, of course, yarn, but please don't limit yourself to that. Handmade cards, candles, soaps, bath salts, stationery, candies, chocolates, knitterly tools or gadgets, knitting themed accessories and roving/fiber for those who are spinners as well are all good idea for gifts. Knitting something for someone would be a lovely gift. Including shipping, the minimum price for this swap should be considered at $25 (remember, that includes shipping and any packaging). I know how difficult it is to determine the monetary value of something handmade, or handspun or hand dyed, and I do not consider those things as cheap, but please keep in mind a general sense of the price of the package being sent. Participants should expect to receive one package and to send out one package for each round of the swap. Packages should arrive by the end of each month, preferably earlier.

Remember that registration for November ends 12:01 a.m. October 31, 2007 and the color theme is Grey and Black. Have fun! I will have assignments sent to you by the 5th of November.

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Comical Critique

Not a lot of time to post right now. I have about three or four posts waiting to be written. In the meantime, I saw this satire (it is not real, this is a joke) of Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn's unused audio commentary to the Fellowship of the Ring. Part two can be found here.

I especially loved this:

Zinn: Right. And here we receive our first glimpse of the supposedly dreadful Mordor, which actually looks like a fairly functioning place.

Chomsky: This type of city is most likely the best the Orcs can do if all they have are cliffs to grow on. It's very impressive, in that sense.

Zinn: Especially considering the economic sanctions no doubt faced by Mordor. They must be dreadful. We see now that the Black Riders have been released, and they're going after Frodo. The Black Riders. Of course they're black. Everything evil is always black. And later Gandalf the Grey becomes Gandalf the White. Have you noticed that?

This is exactly how they talk about places like Cuba. This person is spot on in the satire. Enjoy!


Monday, October 22, 2007

October Swappers

I sent out partner information the first week of October. If you haven't heard from your partner, please e-mail me.

Our participants this month are:

Please feel free to take one of the buttons above for your blog. Also, remember that at the end of this I will have a prize for one of the people who designed a button, one skein of yarn for each color theme of the year. There are only two months to go! You can send me an e-mail with a jpg or gif. Thank you!


Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

All of our children began their prayers with Amen. That may seem backward, but it wasn't. You see, they first learned that Amen is a word related to prayer.

So, every time we said grace, or prayed over them when they were sick or scared, or prayed with them at night, and, of course, when we were at church, they would hear this word Amen. Amen meant prayer to them. So, each one of them would start saying Amen, amen, amen, to "pray" with us. Jerome has been at this stage for some time now. He amens his way through church and our prayer times at home.

This morning, I was thrilled to see him learning another prayer. He woke up starving and demanding mook (milk). So, I put him in his high chair with some milk, and started breaking a banana into little pieces for him to eat while I got breakfast for the rest of the family. Since he cannot pray, I pray aloud for him, thanking God for the food and ask God's blessing on him. I ended the prayer in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Jerome immediately stopped shoveling banana in his mouth, put his thumb, index and middle finger on his right hand together, and tapped his shoulder and his chest.

We couldn't have trained him to do that. It would have been frustrating for him and for us. He has learned from watching his parents and siblings and observing the people at church that those words correspond with a physical act of prayer. Just as we bow at the cross, kneel in confession and genuflect to the living presence of the Lord in the altar, we make the sign of the cross. He doesn't understand the Trinity, nor what the sign of the cross signifies, in fact he can't really make the sign of the cross, but he is being formed to know and understand those things. His faith and conscience are being developed by the things he experiences and observes. It is our job to help him form his character now, but this training will help him form his own character when he is grown up.

I had a conversation a while back with a dear friend of mine who lives in Israel and is (with her husband and children) an observant Orthodox Jew. She related how proud she was to see her eldest son imitating the praying motions her husband did. We talked about how happy we were to see that these were the things our children picked up. At that point, Elijah was in the habit of elevating his psalter at church as he saw the gospel being elevated by the priest, and it just delighted us to see him doing it. She had no illusions that he suddenly understood all of the Jewish tradition, only that he was acting out what was normal for him to see in his home, neither did we think that suddenly Elijah should be made a priest. Her son was trying to do those things he saw in his parents.

All parents know that children find a great deal of security and comfort in a routine. What children also gain is instruction on those things that matter to the family, the values and beliefs that are conveyed in far more than the meager lessons in faith or ideology that are given in child friendly language. A child learns what his family loves and believes by what they do and say as a matter of routine.

It can, in fact, be discouraging explicitly teaching your children your beliefs. They fidget, don't seem to listen, can't remember what you said or read, don't make the connections you think are obvious. There are times when Rich and I have looked at each other with raised eyebrows and wondered what the point of our daily prayers, scripture readings and meditations on the lives of the saints is. There are times when we want to throw up our hands and quit, because our children are so clearly not getting it.

Moments like this morning are what keep us going. After days of yelling at our children to Get downstairs so we can worship and glorify God! for crying out loud, and interupting our prayers to pull Amira away from the window, put the crying baby down for nap, or tell Elijah to save his story for later, and feeling like I am wasting our time, Alexander will hear the epistle from St. Paul and ask me if that is why we have the general confession before we celebrate the Eucharist. Dominic will light up and tell me that those words from the Last Supper are what Fr. Joseph says every Sunday. Elijah, while eating his lunch, will ask me theological questions that adults struggle with, and wait while I explain in my feeble way (praying that my simplification doesn't introduce heresy to my son). Amira sings ancient church hymns as she colors and plays. They live out what they see and hear. Then, we heave a sigh of relief and realize they are getting it, and it gives us the hope and strength to keep on keeping on.

Each of them has a little understanding, some more than others, but at this point they are mostly imitating what they learn by observation. We see how much they understand when they live out the principles we teach them, when they make the connections, and even more exciting to us, when they teach their siblings about right and wrong, who our Lord is, or how important it is to pray. Right now, Jerome doesn't know that there is a different way than what he sees at home. He doesn't understand our faith, but he is being trained and molded to walk in that way. As he grows older, he will learn and have to make choices to either remain in this path or turn another way. Seeing his little attempt to pray with us this morning gives me all the encouragement I need to continue seeing that his character and habits are being shaped in the way we know to be right. We have no guarantees that he will always stay on this path, but we are forging the path for him and with him, so if he gets lost and wishes to return, it will be there, ready for him to walk in it again.

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Menu Plan Monday: October 22

Last week was so busy! Monday, I ended up having to go to the doctor, because I wasn't feeling well. That night, we had a cub scouts meeting, Tuesday, Elijah had his last post-op physical check up (all clear, but his surgeon wants him to get annual AFP tests still, with the pediatrician, for a while longer), that night, we had home group, Wednesday we had two different activities for the children, Rich took three of them to one, I took two of them to another, and that night I had a homeschool meeting with some other mothers in our area, Thursday, we had the pack meeting for the boys, Friday, there were our normal end of week activities, plus a book signing at the shop. The weekend was just as full. I worked at the shop on Saturday and visited with our neighbors after that (the children went over to play with their daughter, or her toys at least), Sunday we had church, then Alexander's den had a field trip, then we had to rush home because we were hosting a field trip for Dominic's den, had dinner quickly and got the kids in bed so the Laudate kids could come. All of this on top of homeschooling and trying to keep some semblance of order in the house. Whew!

I missed a party Saturday evening, because I was so worn out, I just didn't want to go. This week is fairly quiet, and I am glad. We don't have one evening commitment we usually have, no cub scout meetings, not much extra for fun or work, and it's the break week for Dominic and Elijah's gymnastics class. We are getting together with some friends of the boys from their school last year, after we finish lessons today. Other than that, no doctors, no extra classes except Amira's ballet, and normal schedules.

Normal is good. I'd much rather have a predictable, calm week.

What is on your menu this week?

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Finished Object Friday: Home Stretch

Here it is, another week, and I still have nothing to show you. If I really get some work done today, I may be able to post a photo tonight. In the meantime, I am trying to finish up three patterns so I can have them ready for the shop, and to sell here. Pray for me to finish.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: October 15

I'm getting in under the wire, right before I go to sleep.

What is on your menu this week?

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Finished Object Friday: Not So Productive Anymore

I'm feeling kind of dumb hosting these each week when I can't get much finished on my end. Our new schedule leaves me with less time to knit, crochet and sew, and I'm often too tired at night. Apparently, I got a lot of knitting done while I waited to pick up the boys at school.

So, folks, give me a little kick in the right direction. I have less than a month to finish a project for a friend who will be in town then, I have a design, my sweater shrug, that I need sewn together and pattern ready to sell and I have the ballerina tank top. You want to come here and clean house while I knit?

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ballerina Tank Top Progress

Evidently in the time it took for me to finish the back and start the front, I forgot how to smoothly knit the hem up. I did it and ripped out five times, before I decided that the front hem would just have to be sewn, so I could continue knitting. Now that I am much further along, I think I remember how I did it, but I'm not ripping back to try it again. It is possible for me to finish this before the end of this month, but unless we get a hot spell, I won't be wearing this until spring at the earliest. So much for getting a quick summer knit made this year. It is for me, however, and finishing more for myself was a goal of mine.

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Family Photos

It's been a long time since I posted pictures, and I know my cousin said she was going to check the blog, so I ought to put some recent ones up for her and you.

This was the first field trip the children took. Rich took them to our local nursery which has a little seedlings club for children to learn about plants and do crafts. They do it once a month, and the kids get coupons to take home to parents so they will buy things at the nursery.

They also enter each child in a drawing for a prize. Since out of the 10 children, four of them were ours, we kind of had a higher chance of winning. Elijah was so excited to win something, and he has been having fun working in the garden with his tools.

Since there were three tools in the set, and we had four children there, Rich asked if there were any other similar tools he could buy. There were, so he picked up a fourth tool for the children to share.

There aren't the best photos, but I did manage to get a few shots of Elijah and Dominic doing their stretching and gymnastics practice.

Dominic is the closer one in the green tank top and Elijah is just past him.

Jerome climbed into his sister's rocking chair and had a great time rocking.

Here is the famiy eating at the Moscow Food Co-op. I wish I had gotten some pictures of everyone in the arboretum. It was lovely. We even had a local fellow from Rich's conference who gave us a tour.

While Rich was in his meetings during the day, the children and I did lessons and explored the area. We only found one yarn shop, which shared a building with a quilt shop. The owner of the shop was at the conference the first night, though, because her husband works in airport management. He really did a good job plugging her shop to me the first night, also, when he saw me knitting. He seemed very supportive of her shop.

We also visited the McConnell Mansion and learned a lot about the history of the area and that house.

That's it for photos now. I got a bit of knitting done while we travelled with Rich. It took me a day to make any progress, though, because I kept having to rip out the hem. I finally gave up and decided that one side would be sewn, but that is getting into the subject of my next post.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: ABCs in the Bathroom

I know this sounds bizarre, but let me explain. What parent doesn't have trouble getting his child to wash hands long enough and properly? I frequently observed our children waving their hands over the soap and dashing their fingers in the running water, wiping their hands on the towel as they ran past and leaving the bathroom with "clean" hands. We also had the need to teach our children the alphabet.

So, what is a parent to do? Why combine them of course. Two birds with one stone and all that. I have the younger children sing the alphabet song all the way through while getting soap on their hands and rubbing them under the water. Children are compulsive enough that if they mess up the alphabet, they will start over, so this solves the problem of time, even if they sing quickly. In the meantime, they are practicing their alphabet and reinforcing alphabetical order.

Our older children, of course, already know the alphabet, so this doesn't apply to them. If I catch them washing too quickly, though, I tell them to do so as well. Kind of remedial handwashing and alphabetical order all together. Maybe I'll have them start on the Greek alphabet.


Can't Have Them Learning Too Fast, Can We?

More craziness from school districts who can't cope with homeschooling.

I am glad we live in Washington. It has many problems, but at least we do not have to report to the school districts. When they can produce children who can perform better on standardized tests than homeschooled kids, they might have a right to an opinion, though that still wouldn't give them any right to my children. I do not have a problem with public education, but I am starting to have a problem with the sense of entitlement that the system has over any school aged children.

I got to deal with that recently in our own school district. There is testing that is available free to any school aged child from the school district for children who have speech or motor skills or any other type of developmental delay. The state law here, at least, requires that this testing is available to any child, regardless of enrollment in the public school. Private school students as well as homeschooled students are to have access to the testing and subsequent therapy, if it is necessary.

Since we have some concerns about Elijah, our pediatrician advised us to get this testing done, and at least see if there is a real problem, or if he is just working on his own schedule. So, I called the local school (it has to be done in the school in which the child would be enrolled). First thing was their insistence that I had to enroll him. I explained that he was homeschooled, and that I wasn't going to enroll him, and that the law required this testing to be done by the school for anyone in their district and so on. Then, I got to call six different people who all told me to call the next person or the first person, until I finally got the school psychologist. She at least knew the law, and seemed willing to work with me. She needed me to fill out some forms, and to return them to her. No problem.

Then, at the end of the conversation, she said that she would need a release form to get access to all of his medical records. At that point, I wouldn't go along with it. These are the same schools who won't let the parents know anything that happens with their children, to protect their privacy (while at the same time holding the parents responsible for anything the child does), but she wanted access to all of Elijah's medical records. I don't think so. If they need any pertinent medical information, they can ask me to get it. We were asking for an assessment of his motor skills, not a physical, or medical treatment, or psychological evaluation. They do not need to have their fingers in every aspect of his life. What about preserving his privacy from them?

So, we are instead going to pay for the testing ourselves. The test with the schools may be free, but it comes at too high a cost. It turns out the clinic which does the kind of therapy we may need, depending on the test and evaluation results, won't need access to all of his medical records. Fancy that? They ask for the pertinent records to be brought to them. Can you imagine? Yet the school shrink thinks she should be allowed free reign in any part of my son's history that she wishes.

I understand why compulsory schooling came to be, but I think that some people in public education now think that means that children should be forced to be educated by them, in the way they see fit. The superintendent of our local school disctrict is right to exercise authority of the district, but our authority as parents still trumps theirs. We are the superintendents of our childrens' educations, and should we decide to put them in private school, home school or public school, or with tutors, that is our decision, responsibility and right. I know I am not the only parent who dislikes the usurpation of the authority and respect that the school districts attempt to wrest from parents.

I used to think this was just a traditionalist, religious point of view, but my homeschooling moms group is full of mostly secularist parents, and they have the same view. Schools and school administrations do not always know best. Parents who live with and raise their children daily know their children better, and need to be informed and involved every step of the way, not told that since they are only the parents, they don't really count and that their understanding of their child is not as deep as the schools. Please.

I still remember the story one of our priests told of his brother who was put in a special education without anyone notifying, let alone asking the permission of his mother. (I know his wife reads my blog, correct me if I am wrong about the details.) He exhibited some strange speech patterns, which they assumed to be a developmental problem, and they were sure they knew best how to fix him. When their mother found out she was livid. You see, she was actually trained in special education and linguistics. She marched into that school office and asked what the signs were that made them so concerned. They were typical of a foreign student who came from China. What the school didn't know, and never would have found out, since they didn't bother to talk to the parents, was that he was born in China, and had been raised around Chinese speaking maids and nannies, and his first language had actually been Chinese. He didn't need special education, he needed acclimation to American English now that he was back in the states.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Menu Plan Tuesday: Nine Years Later

Alexander's birthday was yesterday. Our little boy is now nine years old! Nine years ago yesterday, I was in the hospital in Tulsa, OK, seeing my precious first born for the first time. He was our first miracle baby, the one three doctors told us would be so hard to conceive, and now he's almost in the double digits, and I can't believe it. He is so big and capable. When he dresses up for church, he looks like such a little man in his dress pants, shirt and vest. He sometimes puts on his tie, and the picture is just too much! He requested that we go to our local Mongolian Barbecue place for dinner, and I made him a carrot cake wth cream cheese frosting. We bought him a remote control hovercopter, which he has been playing with in every spare moment. It turns out that it scares the bejeebers out of Jerome, though, and he had to be held and comforted the entire time it was flying last night.

I have been really bad about posting my birthday lists this year, so here is Alexander's:

Nine Things That Make Alexander Great

Happy Birthday Alexander!

On to the menu plan...

So, I made the ricotta noodles last week. I ended up increasing the cheese and salt and pepper. It was alright, but mostly the benefit of doing it in a crockpot was that I was able to leave it and take the boys to gymnastics while it cooked. It would have been better baked in the oven.

What is on your menu this week?

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Finished Object Friday: I Hope You Did

This is the third week, I think, of nothing finished here. I'm working on that. What do you have, though? Did you finish something last week that you are dying to share?

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: October 1

updated with recipe

I can't believe it's already October! In one week, Alexander will be nine years old. It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that he was born, and now he's a young man. He looks so grown up, and he is so capable. He's already made his requests for his birthday dinner, so I only have to think about the cake.

This week, though, I planned out, since last week we were on the road and had no plan. As always, I will provide recipes upon request.

Creamy Spinach Ricotta Noodlesfrom 300 Slow Cooker Favorites
serves 6-8
2 cups dried fusilli or other medium pasta
2 tablespoon butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (I'm using 16 oz of leaf spinach instead)
2 roasted red peppers, chopped (broil them for about 5- 10 minutes per side and put in a paper bag for a few minutes to loosen up the skins, peel, seed and chop)
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs (I'll probably use twice as much because of the size and shape of my crock pot)
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (ditto)

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, cook for five minutes, stirring. Add flour and cook, stirring, for one minute. Whisk in milk and cook, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Stir in mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in cooked pasta, ricotta, Asiago, spinach and red peppers.

Transfer mixture to lightly greased slow cooker and sprinkle with brread crumbs and Parmesan. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for three to four hours, until hot and bubbly.

What is on your menu this week?

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