Friday, December 31, 2010

Wishing you all...

Prayer for a Blessing on the New Year

O sacred and adorable Trinity, hear our prayers on behalf of our holy Father the Pope, our Bishops, our clergy, and for all that are in authority over us. Bless, we beseech Thee, during the coming year, the whole Catholic Church; convert heretics and unbelievers; soften the hearts of sinners so that they may return to Thy friendship; give prosperity to our country and peace among the nations of the world; pour down Thy blessings upon our friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and upon our enemies, if we have any; assist the poor and the sick; have pity on the souls of those whom this year has taken from us; and do Thou be merciful to those who during the coming year will be summoned before Thy judgment seat. May all our actions be preceded by Thy inspirations and carried on by Thy assistance, so that all our prayers and works, having been begun in Thee, may likewise be ended through Thee.  Amen.

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, visit Soulemama to leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Christmas Daybook :: December 30, 2010

Outside my window... I can see the Christmas lights on our cedar tree! I hadn't really noticed how much it had grown until we came home from Mass on Christmas Eve to find it covered in lights! My brother Paul loves surprising us with something at Christmas time and we LOVE the surprise!   (He had arrived at our home a bit early, and we weren't home yet.  He actually "hung"- or should I say "threw"- the lights onto the tree without any tools! lol!) 

I am listening... to the CD one of my little sisters made me for Christmas.  I love that she likes country music now!  Actually, I should clarify that... "Texas Country!"

I am watching... Emma!!!  We watched this movie back when BBC had it available online for a little while and have been wanting to add it to our collection ever since.  Thank you Hubby!

I am thinking... about our new living room, and how to position the couch.   We were all so very excited when it arrived the day before Christmas Eve, just in time for Christmas!  (It wasn't scheduled to arrive until after the 1st of the year, though we were hoping that it would arrive early.) Right now we have it in the corner of the room, which worked perfectly for Christmas, but we are undecided if that is where it will remain.

I am thankful for... being able to spend Christmas with most of my siblings this year.   It was so much fun having them over on Christmas Eve!  My sister Mary (front right of the picture below) came back after we left for Midnight Mass to fill the stockings, put all the presents under the tree, and then she even cleaned my kitchen so I could "relax" when we got home.  She St. Nick even left a note in my stocking for "one clean Christmas Eve kitchen!"   Wasn't that sweet?!

My brother Brian hadn't arrived yet when this picture was taken... It is also missing the three siblings born just after me: Jennifer, Sean and Jamie.  Hopefully one of these years we will all get to be together at the same time again!  It has been a long time

I am hoping and praying... that I will be able to go and visit my little sister JoAnn at college this next semester!   And, no, I am not only using her as an excuse to finally "meet" a few other dear friends!  ;)

From the kitchen... I just picked up all the ingredients (including some Peppermint Schnapps) to make a Lethal Peppermint Chocolate Cake for New Year's Eve.   I couldn't wait any longer to try a recipe from  the new cook book we received for Christmas!  It will be the perfect opportunity to try out my adorable new measuring cups as well!  Thank you Charlotte and family!

We have also been doing lots of Christmas baking, spread out over this week of Christmas, since very little was done before Christmas! Yesterday we baked sugar cookies to decorate for New Years. I am just amazed at how much easier it is to bake in our new kitchen.

For those of you that are under the impression that all my children eat is sweets, I just wanted to let you know that pretty much the only desserts they have are those that I blog about.  I do actually make real meals too!   Some of our favorites this week were the Easy Scalloped Potatoes I made on Christmas Eve,  my friend Jacinta's recipe for Mexican Meatball Soup, and Stuffed Red Bell Peppers!

From the learning rooms... books, books, and more books!  I decided to tackle my school room today, in hopes of getting a bit more organized for the new year, and have been moving most of my book shelves around.   I have hopes that it will be great in the end, but right now I just have an even bigger mess on my hands!  :-)

Living the Liturgical Year at Home... We have been joyfully celebrating Christmas and preparing for the upcoming feasts of Mary the Mother of God and Epiphany!  Our plans for Epiphany are pretty much the same as last year and the year before,  though my children have saved the gifts they purchased for each other (they all drew names this year) to open on Epiphany.

I am creating... plans for our next Little Flowers meeting and (eventually) a post about our last meeting, just as soon as I finish organizing the school room.

I am The boys have been wearing... the fun and Stylish Mustaches that they received from my Mom and Dad for Christmas!

Even my brother had fun trying one of the mustaches on my poor little niece.   Rose would have none of it, when they tried to get one on her! 

I am reading... Large Family Logistics and Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms.  I've also added I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux (a Christmas gift from Hubby) and Olivia's Gift (to review) to my nightstand to start reading soon!

We have also been reading the Christmas Books the children found in the empty Advent Book Basket on Christmas Morning.

On my iTouch... Christmas Music (NoelA Christmas CelebrationCatholic Christmas Classics (Volume 8)O Night Divine and Let It Snow) since we used up all of our alloted time on Padora this month.

Pondering these words... from today's passage in Small Steps for Catholic Moms:
"Who except God can give you peace?
Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?"
St. Gerard Majella

Remind me, Lord, of all the times I've looked to the world to satisfy the longing in my heart.  Teach me again the lessons of those disappointments.  As I make resolutions, grant me the strength of will to turn away from the incessant call of the world and rest in you alone.

Our little Rose... has been walking around the house with her new baby doll saying "Mama... Mama..." all the time.  It is so adorable!

Noticing that... Snuggles doesn't like to look at the camera for family photos. The picture below is proof that he can smile for the camera when he chooses not to be stubborn shy.  If only I could paste that smile into our family picture this Christmas. . .

Towards personal care...  Don't you just love receiving the sacrament of Confession!?!  Our family was able to go a couple days before Christmas.  After that, even though my shopping wasn't quite finished, I finally felt "ready" for Christmas!

"Go to your confessor; open your heart to him; display to him all the recesses of your soul; take the advice that he will give you with the utmost humility and simplicity. For God, Who has an infinite love for obedience, frequently renders profitable the counsels we take from others, but especially from those who are the guides of our souls." ~ St. Francis de Sales

Around the house... lots of Christmas Cards and Decorations!  One of my favorite additions to our Christmas decorations this year was the new manger and Baby Jesus for under our Christmas tree.   All during Advent our children filled the manger with "hay" to make a soft bed for Baby Jesus, who arrived on Christmas Day!  It reminds me so very much of my own childhood and the Baby Jesus my Grandma would let me place in her manger on Christmas Eve.

On keeping home... I am starting to think that perhaps I buy way too many books.    I'm not saying that it is a bad thing, just that it is getting harder and harder to find places to put them all! ;)

One of my favorite things... Christmas!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • Pick up curtain rods and hang curtains.  (I was hoping to get two more for above the windows in my bedroom to match the one above the sliding glass door, but when I went in a couple days ago I found out that it had just been discontinued... The good news is that they were able to find two at another store for me and they are now 75% off!)  
  • Finish organizing and cleaning the school room. 
  • Decorate cookies and bake a cake for New Year's Eve.
  • Attend Mass on New Year's Day.

A Picture thought I am sharing:

Me and my girls on Christmas Day! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sword and Mitre Cookies for St. Thomas Becket

Today is the feast of St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Cantebury, who was martyred for the Catholic Faith in his cathedral on December 29, 1170.   You can read more about this amazing saint here.

According to My Nameday-Come for Dessert, St. Thomas a Becket is symbolized by "a sword through a mitre."  Since I was already baking sugar cookies for my children to decorate this week, I decided to try and make them each a "Sword and Mitre Cookie" in honor of today's feast day using the Mitre & Cross Cookie Cutter from the St. Nicholas Center.

I just posted the recipe over at Catholic Cuisine.

 I am off to watch Becket with Hubby.  We own the movie, but if you happen to have Netflix, it is available to Watch Instantly

You can also read St. Thomas Becket's homily in the cathedral on Christmas morning 1170 excerpted from T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral.

O God, for the sake of whose Church the glorious Bishop Thomas fell by the sword of ungodly men: grant, we beseech Thee, that all who implore his aid, may obtain the good fruit of his petition. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

St. Thomas Becket, Pray for us!

Wordless Wednesday :: A 1,000 Piece Challenge

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gingerbread Fun

On Christmas Eve, after attending the vigil Mass and before heading back out to also attend the Midnight Mass, we had most of my family (my parents, three of my sisters, five of my brothers, my sister-in-law and sweet little niece)  over for dinner and to decorate Gingerbread Houses!

In preparation, earlier that afternoon Twinkle Toes and Rascal helped construct the houses, with Gingerbread Graham Crackers and melted white chocolate, so they would be all ready to decorate.

In the meantime, I raided my pantry and filled a couple muffin tins with various candies, pretzels and marshmallows to use for decorating.

This really was a perfect way to use up all the various leftover candies that have accumulated from all our baking projects over the year!   Plus, it looked really cool in the muffin tins, don't you think?!?

At first I had them on the table, but after realizing that the marshmallows were quickly disappearing, I moved the "supplies" to the counter...

After dinner, everyone was excited to get started with the decorating! 

Here are this year's finished Gingerbread Houses:

Up house with Balloons, curtains, Russell and Mr. Fredrickson
by Rascal (inspired by the movie UP)

The Chapel  by Twinkle Toes, Aunt Mary and Uncle Paul
(I just love the "bell tower, stained glass windows, and gummy trees!)

Gingerbread House on Wheels by David (my youngest sibling and Godson)

Twas' the Night before Christmas" by Brian and Meagan

Flying Buttresses by Captain and Aunt Julianna

Strawberry Cottage by Chiquita and Aunt Mary