Sir John and the Knights of the Long Table

Eleven of us live here at beautiful Schamelot, and we have a small 20 acre farm of chickens, emus, two dogs, 13 or so cats and a cockateil named Sassafrass.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The World's First Christmas Present

Baby Jesus In A Box

This year I had the idea (I'm pretty sure I read it somewhere so someone else actually had the idea, but I just remembered it this year) to wrap our baby Jesus from our Nativity scene in a box, in pretty wrapping paper, with a bow, and have the youngest child open that present first. We usually just process around the house with the figure singing "Happy Birthday", but this year the kids were shocked that I was actually forcing them to open a present first. They were happy to discover that it was the baby Jesus. Anyway, they opened this present first, because Christ was the world's first Christmas gift, given by the Creator, Himself. I think the symbolism will help to keep it a little more clear in their minds why we give gifts at Christmas time. Next year, I'll wrap the "present" and put it out on the first Suday of Advent, so that they'll see it all through Advent, anticipating Christmas morning when they can open it again.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Schamelot Christmas Cookies and Candies

In the seventeen years of our marriage I've accumulated a few Christmas cookie/candy recipes. I use these as part of my analogy for how tradition in the Church develops. I'll share that another day. Today I'll just share the list of cookies and candies. Maybe I'll share the recipes one day, too!

Chocolate Pepper Linzer "Oreos"

Noel Nut Balls

Jam Thumbprints

Mocha Almond Biscotti

Stained Glass Tri-Citrus Sugar Cookies

Buckeye Balls

Elves' Buttons

Homemade Marshmallows

English Toffee (Brickle)



Peppermint Bark

Friday, December 21, 2007

True Love...

Yesterday I headed down the driveway for an afternoon walk and 4 y.o. McG came running after me. I slowed to allow him to catch up and he skipped along side me a few steps. "I don't like walking," he said.

"You don't! Then why are you coming with me?"

"Well," he thought aloud, "because...I like...being with you!"

James Taylor lyrics filled my head, "How sweet it is to be loved by you..."

I think today I might have to play Cowboys and Indians...

Monday, December 17, 2007

12-year-old bests Marine in contest

This is old news, but I wanted to preserve it here in our on-line scrapbook...
We're still very proud of this one!

Neighbors column by JOHN P. CLEARY
Star-Gazette.COM Local News

Each year, the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Va., holds an annual military expo that features a push-up contest.

There are no age divisions, and the contest is open to everyone. This year, John Michael B. Schamel, 12, the son of Waverly graduate John B. Schamel and Robynn Schamel and grandson of Jack and Sally Schamel of Chemung, decided he'd give it a try.

Everyone knows a Marine can do push-ups. This year, a Marine corporal entered in the contest did 236 of them. That's a lot of push-ups. But he didn't even come close to John Michael.

The Stafford, Va., resident did 350 push-ups to easily defeat the Marine and the rest of the competition.

"He could have done more," said his grandfather. "They asked him why he stopped, and he said that everyone was stopping to look at him, and he figured (the organizers) would want them to do something else."

John Michael's prize was three backpacks with built-in canteens. You cans trap one to your back and hit the trail without stopping for a water break--just pull out the build-in hose and drink as you go.

Jack said John Michael thinks the backpacks are nice, but he'd rather have had last year's prize, a new bicycle.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

So Cool! I love statistics!

This is from Human Life International. I've always loved statistics. I wish I could see the exact process by which they came up with all these numbers. It's terrible, but what an impact this could have--like my new idea for a bumper sticker:

"The average Muslim woman has 8 children, the average Christian woman, 1.6. Think about it."

How Many Heisman Winners Has Abortion Killed?

The sports world recently greeted the news that this year's Heisman Trophy Winner, Tim Tebow from the University of Florida, was almost a casualty of abortion. Twenty-some years ago he was not the strapping 6'3", 235 lb. beloved sports hero that he is today. At that time he was a one-inch-long unborn child whose existence, because of an amoebic infection, was defined as threat to his mother's health. Pam Tebow, his mother, was told by a doctor that it would be in her best interests to abort this baby, and she refused. Her husband backed her up on that generous decision, and seven months later they gave birth to a perfectly healthy boy. Little did they know that twenty years later they would be standing on a national stage with a Heisman Trophy winner giving that magnificent witness to life. The world thanks you, Mr. and Mrs. Tebow! There cannot be a more touching Advent story than this.
I wonder if anyone has ever asked how many potential Heisman Trophy winners abortion has actually killed. The answer is, twelve. Reflect on that a bit as you read further because there is a larger lesson in the Tebows' witness.
Dr. Brian Clowes, HLI researcher, has examined the data from the 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States (most recent census data) and extrapolated the numbers of the various professions and categories of Americans who have been eliminated in the wake of nearly 49 million legalized abortions, one third of all Americans conceived since 1973. The following numbers are based on the actual government estimates of the professions represented in America. So then, who have we lost to abortion?

2 US Presidents
7 Supreme Court Justices
102 US Senators and 589 Congressmen
8,123 Federal, district and local court judges
31 Nobel Prize laureates
328 Olympic medalists including 123 Gold medalists
6,092 professional athletes
134,841 physicians and surgeons
392,500 registered nurses
70,669 priests, ministers, rabbis and imams including
6,852 priests and 11,010 nuns (vocations "shortage"?)
1,102,443 teachers (K-12)
553,821 truck drivers
224,518 maids and housekeepers
336,939 janitors
134,028 farmers and ranchers
109,984 police officers and sheriff's deputies
39,477 firefighters
17,221 barbers, and
24,450,000... women (the gender of roughly half of all children aborted).

These numbers of course are only the tip of the iceberg. Keep in mind that we get our statistics about abortion from the abortion industry itself which has a vested interest in under-reporting the numbers. Likewise, these categories are only a few of the professions that Americans actually work in and are by no means a full portrayal of the total American workforce. What they represent, however, is the immense human toll that abortion takes on a society. Abortion-promoters present abortion as an exclusively private choice, but thirty-five years of abortion exposes the perniciousness of that lie. There is a social toll that comes from abortion which cannot easily be corrected.
For three and a half decades the feminists have reveled in a misleading "freedom to choose," and on the basis of that false "right" have eliminated their children and done immense damage to the family as the basic unit of society. Those who respect these sacred realities, on the other hand, have their wives and husbands to grow old with, their children to enjoy and their grandkids to play with and spoil. The love of life, marriage and family never leaves its adherents penniless, lonely or abandoned, and every now and then God throws in a Heisman Trophy just to show the rest of us that it's all worth it.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

My dear friend, Ruth, has celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe as long as I've known her. Many times she's invited us to celebrate with her. This year was one of those times, but we decided to celebrate in the evening at home with Daddy, too, with one of my favorite Mexican dinners: Carnitas, Chiles Rellenos, Mexican Rice and Mexican Fruit Cake!

My husband's sister is married to a man of Hispanic descent from Brownsville, Texas, and since the union we've acquired some really great Mexican recipes. This is my sister-in-law's recipe (I think from her mother-in-law) for Carnitas and Chiles Rellenos:


Rub minced garlic over pork shoulder.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover with salsa verde and large chopped onion.
Cover with foil and bake at 300° for 4 1/2 hours.
Remove and cool, then skim off the fat and shred meat, removing bones.
Return to pan with juices.
Bake, uncovered, for 1/2 hour more until crisp.
Turn with spoon and cook 20 minutes more.
Serve with warm corn tortillas, avocado, lime and sour cream.

Chiles Rellenos:

Cut Poblano Chiles in half and remove seeds, trying to keep the stem for a "handle."
Stuff peppers with refried beans and queso blanco.
Sprinkle with more cheese on top.
Bake at 350° until skin is bubbly.

Mexican Rice:

Saute 3 cups of long grain white rice in 3 tablespoons of oil, until about half the grains are starting to brown. Add chopped garlic and onion to taste, about 6 cloves of garlic and 2 onions. Saute a few minutes more. Add 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice and 5 cups chicken broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low for another 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Mexican Fruit Cake:

Mexican Fruit Cake

2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 c. pecans, chopped
1/3 c. oil
1 (15 oz.) can crushed pineapple

Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Stir by hand until completely mixed. Pour into greased and floured 13 x 9 inch baking pan or dish. Bake 40 to 45 minutes in metal pan; 30 to 35 minutes in glass baking dish.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
2 c. confectioners sugar
1 stick oleo
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together. Ice when cake is cool.

We sprinkled chopped nuts and coconut over the icing to make it look a little more festive.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the Conversion of the Americas and of the World:

O Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God, who as Our Lady of Guadalupe didst aid in the conversion of Mexico from paganism in a most miraculous way, we now beseech thee to bring about in these our times, the early conversion of our modern world from its present neo-paganism to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of thy divine Son, Jesus Christ, starting in the Americas, and extending throughout the entire world, so that soon there may be truly “one fold and one shepherd,” with all governments recognizing the reign of thy Son, Jesus Christ the King. This we ask of the Eternal Father, through Jesus Christ His Son Our Lord and by thy powerful intercession -- all for the salvation of souls, the triumph of the Church and peace in the world. Amen.

Happy Feast Day!