Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Thoughts


Well I hate to be a party pooper, but I thought I'd start the new year by making you think. This will make you mad, and also a little guilty about how materialistic we have become. Maybe we can all resolve to be a little more simplistic in our ways in 2012..............HAPPY NEW YEAR!!




Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Merry Christmas to Everyone!


I hope everyone is enjoying this Christmas season! We had a wonderful Christmas and our Christmas Eve Mass was breathtakingly beautiful. There is nothing better than a candlelight Mass on Christmas Eve, especially when it's accompanied by a really good sermon. The only bad thing is that my computer crashed  - but as you can see it is back up and running.
I got some nice things for Christmas! The best was a new camera!!! Its a Nikon D3100 - so so cool!
(although the picture here is very bad - blame Amazon!)



This baby is a joy to take pictures with, let me tell you.  So much nicer than the old point-and-shoot!

The other nice gift I got was a book, Large Family Logistics.


Since we have kind of a large family, this seemed like a good book to read! I got a cold the day after Christmas and spent a day in bed so I have been able to read quite a bit of it. There are some ideas that we already have stumbled on, some that we used to do and have fallen away from, and some that are new. I look forward to implementing some of these ideas in the new year. I'll try to keep you informed of what works!
Last but not least, a book I got for myself - MaryJanes Outpost.


Yes, MaryJane can be a little to liberal for me and a little too much of a feminist at times. She has some good ideas though, and there are lots of nice pictures in the book! I just ignore all that modern thinking and  look at  the ideas she has.
Now that Christmas Day is past, I am trying to focus on those new year resolutions. I have a list floating in my head, but I think I need to put it on paper! Normally I'm not a resolution type of person, but I think setting some goals for the year isn't such a bad idea. A few of them will come from my new books, I'm sure!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas thoughts by St. Alphonsus Liguori

I hope everyone is having a good week preparing for Christmas. It is a happy time of year, but lets not forget that although we rejoice that our Savior was born, his life was one of suffering for our sins. Here is a quote from The Incarnation, Birth, and Infancy of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus.

Consider the painful life that Jesus Christ led in the womb of his Mother, and the long confined and dark imprisonment that he suffered there for nine months. Other infants are indeed in the same state; but they do not feel the miseries of it, because they do not know them. But Jesus knew them well, because from the first moment of his life he had the perfect use of reason. He had his senses, but he could not use them; eyes, but he could not see; a tongue, but he could not speak; hands, but he could not stretch them out; feet, but he could not walk;- so that for nine months he had to remain in the womb of Mary like a dead man shut up  in the tomb: I am become like a man without help, free among the dead.  He was free, because he had of his own free-will made himself a prisoner of love in this prison; but love deprived him of liberty, and bound him there so fast in chains that he could not move:  "Free among the dead! Oh great patience of our Savior!" says St. Ambrose, while he considered the sufferings of Jesus in the womb of Mary.



Sunday, December 18, 2011

More Last Minute Gift Ideas

Well, I wish that I was just oh-so-crafty that I had a pocketful of great ideas for you, but alas, dear reader, I am not. I can, however, direct you to some cute things I found!
The first is this easy popcorn and mittens idea from The Beehive Cottage. Isn't it cute!
.

She also has a link for this cute Hershey's kiss jar.




Aesthetic Nest has this cute placemat and napkin that seem pretty easy.



Here are some neat tea towels to go along with the dinner theme.


tea towels for two


Not one for sewing? Here are ten quick recipes  to make and give. Will someone makes these nuts for me???




For the knitter, Little Cotton Rabbits has these cute little tree bears.


Christmas toys

Whatever craft you choose, and however it comes out just remember - its the thought that counts!
HAPPY CRAFTING!!




Thursday, December 15, 2011

pretty, happy, funny, real

Time again to join the ladies at Like Mother, Like Daughter for.....

round button chicken



WARNING: This pretty, happy, funny, real contains some explicit pictures of  a real life mess. Neat freaks beware.


PRETTY

Despite the fact the the whole house was in need of attention, we spent half a day decorating what is affectionately referred to as Mopsy's "play place".  Mopsy is very "pink" (it's her favorite color and for a while if you asked her how she was she would say she was feeling pink,  meaning in a good mood) so her decorations needed to reflect her pinkness, hence the pink tree.







HAPPY


Happy is said pink one when she saw the finished product.


FUNNY



It's funny that a boy never knows how to behave properly in a sophisticated atmosphere.


REAL


This was the condition of the "play place" before we started decorating. REAL scary!!



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Easy (and Cheap!) Gift Idea

$19.50 from Bath and Body Works.....for sugar.


If you are getting close to the end of your Christmas budget, but you still have people you want to give something to, I have an easy gift idea for you: homemade sugar scrubs. These things are super easy to mix and you can make it as simple or complex as you want. I don't have one of my own to show you, but I have made them in the past with good results. Really the key is how you package it. If you use a pretty jar and spend some time making a nice label, it can really be impressive. There are plenty of recipes to be found, but here are a few to get you started.
Paula Deen has some on her website, one for a Brown Sugar Body Scrub  and one for Sweet Tea with Lemon Scrub. This page has lots of information about scrubs if you really want to delve into the hows and whys of it all. Here's a recipe for a candy cane scrub, but I warn you this does not fall into the "cheap" category.  There are some other recipes  at the bottom of the page as well.
 So go mix up some scrub, and while you're at it, make one for yourself. They really do make your skin feel nice and the are much gentler than salt scrubs, which sting if you have any type of cut on you.  My only warning with these scrubs is be careful you don't slide!! They make the shower floor very slippery so be aware of that, and if you give it as a gift please pass on the warning.
HAPPY SCRUBBING!


This scrub is from  dominosugar.com

Sunday, December 11, 2011

HAPPY GAUDETE SUNDAY!!

Anuna singing Gaudete

Here is a good explanation of the day taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia. 

The third Sunday of Advent, so called from the first word of the Introit at Mass (Gaudete, i.e. Rejoice). The season of Advent originated as a fast of forty days in preparation for Christmas, commencing on the day after the feast of St. Martin (12 November), whence it was often called "St. Martin's Lent"-- a name by which it was known as early as the fifth century. The introduction of the Advent fast cannot be placed much earlier, because there is no evidence of Christmas being kept on 25 December before the end of the fourth century (Duchesne, "Origines du culte chr├ętien", Paris, 1889), and the preparation for the feast could not have been of earlier date than the feast itself. In the ninth century, the duration of Advent was reduced to four weeks, the first allusion to the shortened season being in a letter of St. Nicholas I (858-867) to the Bulgarians, and by the twelfth century the fast had been replaced by simple abstinence. St. Gregory the Great was the first to draw up an Office for the Advent season, and the Gregorian Sacramentary is the earliest to provide Masses for the Sundays of Advent. In both Office and Mass provision is made for five Sundays, but by the tenth century four was the usual number, though some churches of France observed five as late as the thirteenth century. Notwithstanding all these modifications, however, Advent still preserved most of the characteristics of a penitential seasons which made it a kind of counterpart to Lent, the middle (or third) Sunday corresponding with Laetare or Mid-Lent Sunday. On it, as on Laetare Sunday, the organ and flowers, forbidden during the rest of the season, were, permitted to be used; rose-coloured vestments were allowed instead of purple (or black, as formerly); the deacon and subdeacon reassumed the dalmatic and tunicle at the chief Mass, and cardinals wore rose-colour instead of purple. All these distinguishing marks have continued in use, and are the present discipline of the Latin Church. Gaudete Sunday, therefore, makes a breaker like Laetare Sunday, about midway through a season which is otherwise of a penitential character, and signifies the nearness of the Lord's coming. Of the "stations" kept in Rome the four Sundays of Advent, that at the Vatican basilica is assigned to Gaudete, as being the most important and imposing of the four. In both Office and Mass throughout Advent continual reference is made to our Lord's second coming, and this is emphasized on the third Sunday by the additional signs of gladness permitted on that day. Gaudete Sunday is further marked by a new Invitatory, the Church no longer inviting the faithful to adore merely "The Lord who is to come", but calling upon them to worship and hail with joy "The Lord who is now nigh and close at hand". The Nocturn lessons from the Prophecy of Isaias describe the Lord's coming and the blessings that will result from it, and the antiphons at Vespers re-echo the prophetic promises. The joy of expectation is emphasized by the constant Alleluias, which occur in both Office and Mass throughout the entire season. In the Mass, the Introit "Gaudete in Domino semper" strikes the same note, and gives its name to the day. The Epistle again incites us to rejoicing, and bids us prepare to meet the coming Saviour with prayers and supplication and thanksgiving, whilst the Gospel, the words of St. John Baptist, warns us that the Lamb of God is even now in our midst, though we appear to know Him not. The spirit of the Office and Liturgy all through Advent is one of expectation and preparation for the Christmas feast as well as for the second coming of Christ, and the penitential exercises suitable to that spirit are thus on Gaudete Sunday suspended, as were, for a while in order to symbolize that joy and gladness in the Promised Redemption which should never be absent from the heart of the faithful.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

History of the Candy Cane

I was thinking the other day about how the candy cane originated, since I have heard different stories. I decided to search around and see what I could come up with. From what I found, the following story seems to be the one mostly accepted as true. The following is taken from about.com:

2007_12_candy_cane_500

Birth of the Candy Cane

Around the seventeenth century, European-Christians began to adopt the use of Christmas trees as part of their Christmas celebrations. They made special decorations for their trees from foods like cookies and sugar-stick candy. The first historical reference to the familiar cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent the sugar-sticks into canes to represent a shepherd's staff. The all-white candy canes were given out to children during the long-winded nativity services.
The clergymen's custom of handing out candy canes during Christmas services spread throughout Europe and later to America. The canes were still white, but sometimes the candy-makers would add sugar-roses to decorate the canes further.
The first historical reference to the candy cane being in America goes back to 1847, when a German immigrant called August Imgard decorated the Christmas tree in his Wooster, Ohio home with candy canes.

The Stripes

About fifty years later the first red-and-white striped candy canes appeared. No one knows who exactly invented the stripes, but Christmas cards prior to the year 1900 showed only all-white candy canes. Christmas cards after 1900 showed illustrations of striped candy canes. Around the same time, candy-makers added peppermint and wintergreen flavors to their candy canes and those flavors then became the traditional favorites.

SO that's the story !
If you are searching for the perfect candy cane and don't mind spending a bit of money on it  you can find some all natural varieties at The Natural Candy Store. I'd love to try them, but $7.99 each times 7 children  - we'd have to win the lottery first! I think we will just stick to the average (read cheap) ones.!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

round button chicken
 

Once again, let's join the ladies at Like Mother, Like Daughter for Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real.
Ready!
(OOPS! I posted the link wrong at Like Mother LIke Daughter  - sorry - but I don't know how to fix it now!!)
PRETTY


This is our new Nativity set, which I think is pretty. Our old one was "cute"  - but I got tired of cute! The new one is much more realistic.


The only thing that isn't pretty is the bare white wall behind it.  I hate white walls, but being the pessimistic person that I am I can never get myself to paint army housing. One day I'll move and I 'll have to paint it white again - TOO MUCH WORK!

HAPPY


Everyone was happy to help set up the new set.

FUNNY


Funny is what happens when a guy eats a doughnut too late at night. We cut out the dessert for our family advent sacrifice, so sugar has been scarce around here. (Remember there is a penitential side to Advent too.)  Exceptions are made for feast days and Sundays, so this little guy got to sneak  part of a doughnut Saturday night.Obviously his tolerance for sugar decreased during the week because boy was he hyper!


REAL


This is how we spent Black Peter day. Poor FBR lost all his fierceness. He had a very bad fever and just lay around all day. Its hard to believe this is the same toddler that was dancing on the dining room table in the above pictures.  I had lots of plans for the day but the reality is that a sick baby trumps any pre-made plans.



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

I wanted to post yesterday about our visit from Black Peter, but I had a very sick Fierce Bad Rabbit. Too sick, in fact, to be Fierce at all. (which was the only nice thing about it!) He just wanted to be held and to sleep. I can never put down a sick baby who wants to be held, so that was how I spent my day. After a rocky start, he was better today. Now hes back to his old fierce self!
I wanted to show you the finished shoes, so here they are:


There is actually one pair missing because somebody took forever to get his sewn. I won't mention any names.

Here's a view of our cute St. Nicholas and Black Peter.


Black Peter stopped by on Monday to see if everyone was being good. I guess he wasn't around when they started fighting because no one got a stick.  Monday night everyone put out their shoes for St. Nicholas to fill.  I think the dear saint went a little overboard this year, because nothing fit in the shoes! He's just supposed to bring little things, you know.


Everyone was happy with what they got!



We ended the day with a lovely dinner in honor of our beloved saint.


I hope everyone had a great St. Nicholas Day!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Getting Ready for St. Nicholas

Things are getting busy over here as we prepare for the first big feast of the month - St. Nicholas Day. The jolly old bishop will be making his visits this coming Tuesday, and his helper  Black Peter will be sneaking around on Monday to prepare his way. Everyone is on their P's and Q's around here (well, almost everyone) because who wants to get a stick from Black Peter when they could get candy instead! Today we started making new shoes for St. Nicholas to fill, since the old ones were - well old - and some were lost. This year we are making them big and better than the original!!


During the week we went to Michael's and everyone picked out their felt.


Here's the soles of Mopsy's shoes.


Here's the top.



The finishing touches are being added.



The start of FBR's shoe.





Jemima Puddleduck and Thomasina Tittlemouse sewing their shoes together. Thomasina is sporting the latest in men's reading glasses. The collection is called "Borrowed from Dad".

Stay tuned for the completed project and more St. Nicholas festivities.



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Demographic Winter

Along the lines of yesterdays post, I thought I would share this video with you. It does a good job of showing factually that there are not an over abundance of children being born anywhere in the world - just in case any of you fear us large families may cause overpopulation!