Monthly Archives: February 2007

Lent Begins Tomorrow

Tomorrow begins the penitential season of Lent in preparation for Our Lord’s Death and Resurrection. As Catholics, we focus on three things during this time: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We do these things to be ever more open to God’s drawing us near to Him and to continue transforming ourselves to be “light of Christ” to the world. When you attend Mass during the Lenten season, you will notice everything stripped and simplified. I often feel the need to do the same in my own life at home so as to better focus on the Lord and reflect on what is truly important in life and what is our true reality. Now with a husband and six kids and all that involves, it’s pretty tricky at times to strip away and simplify, but I always try! What doesn’t make it easier is the fact that we often add in some special activities during Lent – stations of the cross, more Daily masses, a Lenten bible study and so on. In light of life and the addition of these Lenten happenings, some things must take a back seat and/or be eliminated during this time. For me, this means very little computer time and thus, no blogging. I will only be doing an occasional check of email during Lent, but rest assured I will return to the blogging world after Easter Monday. May the Lord bless any preparations you do this Lenten season, drawing you closer to Him and giving you a joyous Easter!

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Filed under Catholicism, Christianity, Family

The Sun Has Set…

on another fun, but exhausting Valentine’s Day. As usual, the kids spent the last week assembling Valentines for the family with a few bags of craft supplies we bought. I must say, they outdid themselves this year – not only in creativity, but quantity as well! They’ve come to expect Mom will do some special decorations for the day, and I did not disappoint, although I enlisted some help on Tuesday evening. I had the kids cutting our hearts while they were watching a show. Boy, when all the kids are working, we can really crank out some quantity of hearts! After they went to bed, I decorated the kitchen with heart “streamers” and made a St. Valentine centerpiece that hung from the light. It included 4 pictures: St. Valentine baptizing St. Lucilla (by Jacopo Bassano), an icon of St. Valentine, an elarged Holy Card of St. Valentine, and a more modern representation of St. Valentine. I also set out a one page story of St. Valentine to share with the kids. Of course the table wasn’t complete without flowers, candles and candy 🙂

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After breakfast and clean up, we started the celebration by baking and frosting heart shaped cut out cookies. The batch makes about 5 dozen cookies. The kids almost saw the project to completion. First, the boys wandered off one by one (cookie in hand of course!) and then the girls finally asked if they could be done. That left Mom to finish frosting a dozen cookies and cleaning up. It was a special day, so I didn’t mind so much.

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We ate lunch in the living room, and then the work began. We spent most of the afternoon running to the post office (to mail those Valentines!), picking up the whole house, cleaning the bathrooms and the kitchen, and taking turns keeping Thumbsucker entertained. After that, I managed to sneak in baths and haircuts for everyone but Bythebook, who is growing her hair long and didn’t want any cutting done. I forgot to mention that earlier in the day, my MIL called and wondered if she and my FIL could come over tonight for a visit. I said yes, and quickly planned what to do for dinner. Once we got all the above done, I sat the kids down, told each one how much I loved them, and gave them each a small gift. As they ran off to play with their gifts, I started a roast in the crock pot for hot beef the next day, and then I made three meatloaves (as long as I was making one anyway) so I would have two to share with friends. I didn’t have time to spruce myself up too much, but I did manage to change into a nice outfit and brush my hair! Grandma and Grandpa arrived just as I was finishing up dinner. The kids were all really wound up, since they hadn’t seen Grandma and Grandpa since Christmas. It was very loud in the house all night 🙂 We had a really enjoyable visit with a meal, Valentines, conversation and cards rounding out the day. Three of the boys fell asleep, one by one, in the living room, as the night wore on, but the oldest three stayed up until Grandma and Grandpa left. We then prayed and tucked them into bed. I started to clean up just a bit while Joe was trying to write some music at the piano, but Thumbsucker woke up and wanted to be fed. I brought him out on the couch and we both fell asleep to Joe playing the piano. A nice way to end a great day. Thank you God for the blessing of family.

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Filed under Catholicism, Children, Christianity, Family, food, Home, Mothering, Parenting, St. Valentine, Valentine's Day

Never be at a loss for a dessert

Keep the ingredients on hand to make this cobbler and you will never cease to amaze even drop in guests with your culinary talents and hospitality! I got this recipe several years ago off the internet somewhere, and it is so easy to make and yummy served warm with ice cream.

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JOY’S EASY COBBLER

Prep: 5-8 minutes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a 9×13 pan, layer the following ingredients:

Pour and spread 1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
Layer 1 bag frozen peaches (or fruit of choice)
Pour 1 bag yellow cake mix evenly over the fruit
Layer 1 bag frozen peaches (or fruit of choice)
Sprinkle with 1/2 c. chopped pecans
Sprinkle with 1/4 c. sugar
Pour 1/4 c. melted butter all across top

Bake for 35-45 minutes (or until golden brown). Let stand
until lukewarm. Serve with ice cream.

The cobbler above is baking in my oven as I write and is made with strawberries and raspberries.

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Filed under Family, food, Friends, Homemaking, Recipes

Out My Back Window

is the pleasant sight of kids tramping through the woods and playing in their snow forts.

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You can’t imagine the excitement that erupted when, upon calling the time and temperature this morning to fill in our school calendar, the recording stated it was 24 degrees! Of course, this is by no means warm, but after over a week of subzero wind chills, 24 degrees seems wonderful “go outside and play” weather. Sweettooth said “Thank goodness it’s warm enough to go outside today – my potatoes are probably burned!” What? Oh, upon further clarification, sweettooth tells me she had been boiling potatoes on the stove in her fort.

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While they were outside, I pulled some cookie dough from the freezer to bake some cookies, put on some water for tea, and set the table. I’m not sure paper toweling placemats, pistachios and chocolate chip cookies are considered fancy enough for afternoon tea, but the kids are happy! Mom is too, since I enjoy teatime as much as they do and wish we could get it incorporated into our everyday routine. Joe, on the other hand, is having difficulty with his boys enjoying tea so much 🙂

And just in case you’re wondering, the potatoes were a bit “icy” but not burned. Sweettooth said the stove probably shut itself off after nobody was using it for so long.

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Thumbsucker happily played with tupperware lids (soaked in spit up – yuck!) on the floor while we all drank tea.

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Filed under Children, Family, Home, outdoors, Snow, Teatime

What’s Happening in Our Yard

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While often heard in the woods around our house, the pileated woodpecker usually remains hidden from view. Lately, however, she has decided to decimate a tree right out our front windows. Yes, I believe we will be cutting down a tree come spring! In the meantime, it has been great for the kids and I to watch her at work.

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The pumpkins that we couldn’t use and tossed on the compost heap have also been going to some good use. I think the rabbits and squirrels think they are in heaven this winter! Here’s a recently eaten pumpkin that was dragged out onto the lawn. The tracks around it look suspiciously like wabbit!

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Filed under Animals, Birds, Home, nature, Nature watching, outdoors

Did I Make You Smile?

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Did I? If I did, you’re tagged – go post your “I’ll make you smile” pictures!

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Lincoln Logs and the Wild West

Toys come and toys go…Lincoln Logs seem to be a favorite lately. Maybe there are some toys that stand the test of time – I only wish they’d had such cool collections when I was young!

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Filed under Children, toys