Thursday, December 31, 2009
and Charlie snuggled in the middle, right under the tree...
6 Bakugon balls, 5 extra pounds, 4 boys still in helmets, 3 Auto-mo-blox, 2 masked marauders, and a song from my new rock star!
(I still have no idea what these things are exactly...but he does, and he's happy. I do know they're magnetic somehow, and pop-open into gnarley little creatures.)
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Some of the kids may be joining me on-air for a bit. I'd love to hear from you...it is a call-in show!!! 1-866-333-6279
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Frequent phone calls with my parents indicate that both of my brothers and families are on their way home from Florida, though slightly behind schedule. They're expected to arrive home sometime around 3am. Yikes. (My big brother who lives in Jacksonville is driving his family home for Christmas, and our younger brother who lives in town here, is returning from a pre-Christmas Disney cruise with his family.) Just so happens they managed to meet up on the interstate and are caravaning home together. It IS a small world afterall!
I'm actually looking forward to scrubbing the kitchen floor tonight (how sad is that?) and have a handful of other things to check off my list...like browning sausage for my Christmas morning brunch, wrapping a few more gifts, maybe even splurging a little and dipping my feet in a warm soak for a little pedicure. I'll be working tomorrow and plan to get home just in time to help everyone get ready for the 4 o'clock Children's mass. That reminds me...I better see who needs ironing done for mass. Add it to my list...
Charlie got a boo-boo. Accident with the scissors while "crafting" with his big sisters. Alice made it all better with a much-too-big bandaid.
The girls (and a few young boys) stayed busy in the kitchen making cards and posters to welcome home Jim, Judy and Jamie from Florida. It's Jim's birthday on Christmas eve.
Happy birthday big brother!!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Oh, but trying to keep the house clean for visitors to stop by, attempting to stay ahead of the laundry so we have clean clothes for the parties and special masses, and wondering if I should get groceries again before the Christmas weekend...when all I really want to do is take a nap...yep. That's what's wearing me out.
I'm so looking forward to entering into Christmas with the 4 o'clock Children's mass on Christmas eve...where Alice and Sam will be singing in the choir, Emma has a reading part, Grace, Mary, John and Charlie will be dressed as angels...leaving just a few of us left in the pew together to enjoy it. We'll follow that up with Christmas eve dinner and celebrating at my parents, where my brother and his family will be home from Florida for our first Christmas together again in 9 years. That will be Christmas!
Yep...I can't wait for it to be here. All this waiting in joyful hope...it's exhausting. I can't wait to be in the heart of it...the love of family, the joy of giving, the peace that seems to follow in those 12 days of quiet Christmas at home. I'm ready to soak it all in.
This Willow Tree Nativity set was a gift from John on our 10th wedding anniversary. It too, stays out year round, typically on the dresser in our bedroom. I moved it out to the bookshelf in our family room this Christmas though, and added a single white light behind it to make it glow. I believe there are many more pieces now to the set including a creche, animals, kings, etc. But I've never looked into collecting them all. I kind of like it just as it is...simple.
This next one sits very high atop the 7ft bookshelf in our tv room year round. It's a Fontanini set that Grace received when she was born from a dear friend of mine. It looks a bit cheesey with the colored lights around it, but most of our Christmas decor is colored lights. It glows quite beautifully in the evening. And I like it despite the cheese.
Unfortunately, John had to leave early with one of the girls who was overcome suddenly with the aweful stomach virus that had hit most of the others. By Sunday, 11 of us had been hit. Charlie seems to be walking around with a big red bullseye on his back, and we keep waiting for him to show symptoms. I pray he's just fortunate, and avoids it altogether.
There were enough well here on Sunday to finally celebrate Lucy's 2nd birthday, just 2 days late with cake, and a visit from grandparents... even an unexpected visit from her Godfather who lives 2 hours away. How kind of him to think of her, and make time to stop in!
Happy Birthday Dear Lucy!
Ever-thankful for you Lucy, God's Little Princess!
Sunday evening, Alice and Sam donned their finest Christmas duds to participate in our parish's Christmas Concert. The evening included Christmas music performed by our Men's Choir, Mixed Choir, Children's Choir, Bell Choir, Folk Group and even the Brass Ensemble. John took Emma and Grace along for the evening, and I stayed home with the rest of the crew. Everyone enjoyed it immensely. I was tickled just to see my two leave here looking so handsome/beautiful! Melted my heart...
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Prayer: Come, O come, Emmanuel; ransom captive Israel!
Mary and Joseph waited patiently for the coming of Jesus.
I will try to be patient today, especially when others keep me waiting or do things that bother me.
Mary and Joseph thanked God for a safe trip and the stable to stay in.
I will thank God for all he gives me. I will show my parents I am grateful for all they do for me.
Mary and Joseph were at peace because they trusted God to care for them.
I will trust God to help me today to be a peacemaker in school and at home.
A beautiful, very bright star shone in the night sky over the stable.
I will bring the brightness of joy to everyone I meet today.
Mary and Joseph welcomed Jesus with great love!
I will welcome Jesus with great love also and offer him all my good acts and prayers during the weeks of Advent & Christmas.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Lucy's cake went right into the freezer, and we're hoping tomorrow might be a good day to celebrate. Cheers to good health, and another year with our baby girl. (okay, 'spose she's not my "baby," and yet...she'll always be my "baby!")
The birthday girl enjoying cupcake and cocoa earlier in the week.
The cake and candles will have to wait till bellies here can tolerate it.
Happy Belated Birthday baby girl!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Charlie asked me to marry him, and I graciously declined. Although, how could I turn down a plea for a kiss...my little prince charming. (Just like his dad!)
> Happy 15th Anniversary John!
So grateful for the gift of you in my life, and all the blessings God has provided.
Cheers! ...to many more.
1 pkg choco chips (12 oz.)
2 sticks butter
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
Mix together 1 stick melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, peanut butter, and br. sugar & spread into 9x13 pan. Melt chocolate chips with 1 stick butter. Mix and spread over peanut butter mixture. Let cool. Cut into small (1 inch square) bars and enjoy! YUMM!
(okay, so I usually do not measure for this...just pour in, coat with chocolate, and mix...I'll try to "measure" for you here.) Typically, I double this and mix in my giant popcorn bowl. It disappears too fast!
3 c. Crispix cereal
3 c. Bugles (original) snacks
2c. Red & Green M&M's
1 package of Almond Bark (20 oz.) or white chocolate, melted
Mix all till well coated in chocolate, spread out on lightly greased foil or waxed paper to allow chocolate to harden. Store in ziplocs or airtight containers.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Please join me this Monday morning (yes that's tomorrow!) for my Family Spirit Alive program on Radio Maria (88.7fm) or listen live online from 11:30am to 12:30pm, and plan to CALL in with comments, questions, thoughts, you-name-it. I'm relying on you listeners to call and help make this an interactive program! (I get tired of hearing myself...)
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Prayer: I will be happy, O Lord, for you are near.
Mary and Joseph were offered only a poor stable to stay in. They accepted gratefully.
I will excuse others when they are thoughtless, and I will try to be more thoughtful of others today.
The animals helped to warm the stable by being there.
I will share the warmth of my friendship with others, especially with someone I do not like.
Joseph cleaned the stable for Mary and for Jesus, who would soon be born.
I will keep my heart pure today by thinking and doing only pure things and by saying only kind things about others.
Mary put fresh straw in the manger to make a bed for the Christ Child.
I will brighten the day for others by smiling and showing how happy I am that Jesus is coming.
Joseph made a bed of clean straw for Mary to sleep on during the night.
I will secretly do a kind act for someone who is not very friendly toward me.
Mary unpacked the swaddling clothes that would keep the baby Jesus warm.
I will warm my heart with love for Jesus by doing a kind act for each one in my family.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
- Chocolate Chip Cookies with Red & Green M&M's -DONE
- Caramel Corn -DONE
- Buckeye Bars (same great taste as the Buckeye treats, but spread into a pan...much easier!) -DONE
- Brownie Bites with a Reeses cup tucked in-DONE
- Chex Mix -DONE
- Ranch Snack mix -DONE
- Peanut Brittle (this year will be my first attempt, any hints?)-DONE
- Spiced Pecans
- Puppy Chow-DONE
- Oreo Truffles
- Chocolate Truffles
- Crunch Toffee Bars
- Pecan Shortbread Cookies (a new recipe that looks simple and yummy!)-DONE
- Peanut Butter/Kisses cookies
- Pretzels topped with Kiss and M&M smushed in-DONE
- Spritz cookies (we made these with my mom as a kid...and now my kids love to decorate them)
- Decorated Sugar cookies
Of course we don't eat all this ourselves. Much of it is shared with neighbors, teachers, coworkers, etc. A sample of each is set out on trays to greet visitors on Christmas morning, and through the 12 days of Christmas (or as long as it lasts.) Can't wait to hear what you're cooking up!
Monday, December 7, 2009
"The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin." (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854.)
Father, you prepared the Virgin Mary to be the worthy mother of your Son.You let her share beforehand in the salvation Christ would bring by his death,and kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception. Help us by her prayers to live in your presence without sin. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,one God for ever and ever. Amen
The Liturgy of the Hours
The kids reeled and screamed with delight this morning to see their long lost friend. It meant an emergency scramble for hats and mittens for the school kids. Fortunately I had pulled the bin of snow clothes out of storage last week with the best intentions for going through them soon. Today was soon. Even the youngest ones picked through our mound of hats and mismatched gloves, earwarmers and scarves. Something for everyone, and more.
I enjoyed watching the kids dressing up in their hats and mittens tonight in the basement "pretending" to build snowmen and forts with their toys. Hopefully won't be pretending for long. Anyone else still a big "kid" on the inside when it comes to snow. I know I am.
(Note to self: stock up on hot cocoa mix next time it's on sale. 'Tis the season!)
Sunday, December 6, 2009
This has been our Nativity set since we were first married, 15 years ago next week.
I still love the muted colors, and the light it casts. This year it's been moved to the top of the armoire in our bedroom. Guests who stop by usually throw their coats in there, and it's right off our main hallway, so I like having a bit of Christmas there too.
~with flash to show details
Anyhow, we realized at bedtime this evening, that all the kids had a list prepared except for Lucy. We had fun interviewing her about what she was hoping the man in red might bring. Of course she said "yes" to everything. We were all in stitches.
Lucy, would you like a new baby doll? ..."YES!"
Would you like some clip-clop shoes? ...."YES!"
How about a pet buffalo? ...."YES!"
Too cute. (Let's pray he doesn't bring the pet buffalo.)
God of joy and cheer,
we thank you for your servant,
the good bishop Nicholas.
In loving the poor,
he showed us your kindness;
in caring for your children,
he revealed your love.
Make us thoughtful
without need of reward
so that we, too, may be good
followers of Jesus.
From All Through the Day, All Through the Year: Family Prayers and Celebrations, by David B. Batchelder,
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, and save all the nations.
Mary and Joseph traveled with many different people on their way to Bethlehem. They were kind to all.
I will be kind to all I meet today- and in a special way to someone I do not like.
Mary and Joseph were very tired at the end of the day because travel was uncomfortable and hard.
I will help my parents with some chores to give them time to relax after a hard day's work.
When Mary and Joseph reached Bethlehem, they were pushed and pressed by the crowd. They stayed calm.
I will keep calm and not lose my temper when I am pushed or treated rudely.
Joseph tried for Mary's sake, to find a clean, comfortable place to stay.
I will honor Mary in a special way today by being cheerful. I will pray the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary.
Joseph went from door to door, but in every place he heard "No room!"
I will make room in my heart for others and will try to show special love for someone who seems lonely or unhappy.
Mary felt sorry for those who had no room. She knew they would like to have helped.
I will ask Mary to help me make room for Jesus in my heart by doing what he wants me to.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
As I continue to unpack a few last decorations for the Advent and Christmas seasons, I'm finding that I've accumulated a handful of Nativity sets over the years. Several of them stay out year round, and some make their way out of the boxes only for a month or two. It's a shame really, to keep them hidden away, so I thought it would be fun to share some pics of a few of them over the next couple weeks.
Here's the first stop on our photo-tour. It's new for this Christmas, a Mother's Day gift that John and the boys picked out while the girls and I were spending a day out together. I was flabbergasted to receive it...certainly nothing I could have ever asked for. But I LOVE it! I've kept the large Holy Family figurines out on the armoire in our bedroom year-round, but was excited to bring out the large Sanctuary and animals. I moved it to the top of our old pie-safe in the kitchen and adorned it with a few evergreen trees and white lights. It's difficult to tell from the picture, but the Sanctuary is over 2 feet tall, and statues are close to 16 inches. It glows beautifully through the evening, and provides a perfect focal point when we gather in for meals.
This photo below (taken with a flash) shows a bit more of the color and detail.
Charlie came rushing over to me excitedly today, reminiscing about our family Thanksgiving party last week. "Mom, remember the gun party we went to? and that one big guy shot me in the eye?"
It's true, but you're not getting the whole story. You see, John's family has grown in numbers so that we reserve a hall to celebrate the holidays. This Thanksgiving his sister rented an old school house that provided plenty of room in the basement for the family to gather and enjoy the meal. In addition the entire main floor was empty for the kids to bring along their nerf guns (and there were MANY), jumpropes, and other fun toys to keep them entertained and burning off some of that extra energy. It got a bit rough at times when the older boys would join in. Hence...the "gun party" and being "shot in the eye."
Really...it was a "G" rated party, I promise!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
With the help of our parish "librarian" I found this great little advent calendar of prayers/reflections to share daily with the kids.
Prayer: To you, my God, I lift my soul. I trust in you.
Mary and Joseph lived happily at Nazareth, doing their daily work with joy.
I will do my daily work well today, and with joy- for God.
Joseph received the order from the Roman ruler to go to Bethlehem and register. He obeyed the order and got ready to go.
I will obey my parents, teachers, and others in charge of me.
Mary got their house ready and began to pack what they would need for the trip. She did so without complaint.
I will not complain today, even if I must do things I do not like.
Mary and Joseph traveled by donkey.
I will be happy with the things I have and will not ask my family for more or better things.
Mary and Joseph ate the food of the poor on their journey.
I will eat healthful foods today rather than those that are not good for me. I will thank God for the food I have and pray for the hungry.
After traveling all day, Mary made Joseph a meal, and he found her a resting place.
I will do something special to bring joy to my parents and family today.
I'll update next weeks prayers before Sunday. Check back...
I'm tackling christmas decorations in small bits this year...one dusty shelf or nook at a time. I'm quite glad to report, that I'm nearly finished with the decorating and the shopping. So now I can breathe, and spend my time doing what's meant to be done this Advent season...waiting and anticipating the coming of our King.
I came across some great little daily prayers/reflections for Advent. I'll try to post them early each day or perhaps weekly, if you're interested in sharing them with your family. We'll be saying ours at breakfast time...the only meal we can all be together.
In putting out the decorations, I've also come to the realization that I've collected quite a few Nativity sets over the years, and will try to share pictures of some of those in the days ahead.
Peaceful night everyone!