Monday, December 28, 2009

Hearts for Home ♥ ♥ December 29


"In today’s busy and aggressive society mothers at home are not given much encouragement to be committed to their role in being home.

In my weekly 'Hearts for Home' post I am encouraging myself and others to commit to thinking about what 4-6 things we can do each week to bring our thoughts, prayers and actions to keeping our 'Hearts for Home'.

I am praying that a spirit of gentleness, generosity in thoughts and time along with loveliness and grace would lead us to be all that God wants us to be.

So each week list 4-6 things you will commit to that will keep your "Hearts for Home". Gae from Cherished Hearts at Home


My list for the 29th December is ♥ ♥

Make a list of family goals for 2010. We started this last year and we accomplished most of our goals. Home improvement, family outings and general goals make it on this list with approximate costs and times of suggested completion.

♥ Make a to do list of all of the things that I want to accomplish before our baby's arrival.

♥ Put books on hold from the library for the month of January. Refer to the Catholic Mosaic book list as a guide.

♥ Enjoy daddy being home early everyday this week and enjoy another long weekend with daddy at home.

♥ Make a new menu for the next two weeks and plan the grocery lists accordingly.

♥ Start looking for a babysitter for the home birth and begin preparing our birth plan.

For more "Hearts for Home" ♥ ♥ lists, visit Gae's blog at Cherished Hearts at Home

My Birthday Daybook ~ December 28, 2009.

FOR TODAY...

Outside My Window: A cold winter's day. It is still grey outside with the hopes that the sun will come out to shine.

I am Listening to: The children playing quietly.

I am wearing: My favourite pj pants and hubby's t-shirt and a fleece zip-up jacket. I am a little frosty. None of my other pj's fit and I have yet to get dressed.

I am Thankful For: My family. I love my husband and dear children more than anything in the whole world. They know how to make me feel so special.

I am Pondering: What it will be like to have a little baby again. It has been over four years since we had such a little baby in our arms. Will it be easier or harder? How will I manage baby, house duties and homeschooling?

I am Reading: You're a Better Parent Than You Think!: A Guide to Common-Sense Parenting I just started it, so I can give you a better review later. So far, I have found it very uplifting and confidence boosting.

From the Kitchen: Today there will be leftover Shrimp Creole for lunch and homemade gluten free pizza for supper with a yummy blueberry cheesecake using gluten free chocolate cookie crumbs as a base. Yummmmmm!

I am Thinking: About all of the hopes and dreams I had as a child. I am thoroughly amazed, that even though my dreams were different than today's reality, I am a million times happier than I could have imagined. God's plan is always the best plan.

I am Creating: Baby's Fringed Playmat from the book Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures I just love this book and all of it's ideas. This playmat is a family project that will be a gift to the new baby. Pictures to follow for sure.

Towards a Real Education: Right now we are enjoying some time off from the regular school routine to nest and prepare for the baby. If that isn't real education, then I don't know what is.

Towards Rhythm and Beauty: I have to think about this one. We are always trying to keep up with our chores and are always creating new ways to be efficient and tidy. I guess this our contribution to rhythm and beauty in our home.

To Live the Liturgy: We ordered a new bible with hubby's Christmas bonus (gift card from the mall). Our family really enjoyed doing all of the bible readings for the Jesse Tree during advent so much, but agreed that we needed a modern translation of the bible. We own the Douay Rheims bible, a German bible, a children's bible in English and one in German. Between all of the bibles we were successful in understanding the daily readings. On the other hand, it would have been nice to just use one bible for the whole season of advent. My husband wants us to continue our bible reading in the evening, but would like to be able to understand what I am reading. I also am pondering the idea of reading the King of the Gold City and the Acts of the Apostles for Children in the evenings while we are waiting for our bible to arrive.

I am Hoping and Praying: For a safe and healthy home-birth. I keep offering up everything for this one particular thing. We have never had a home birth and the children really want to be present to welcome their little brother into the world.

In the Garden: Lots of snow. Winter is here. The garden is covered in a blanket of snow.

Around the House: Tidying, decluttering and all-around nesting. I really want to dig out the baby cloths and get them washed and ready soon.

On Keeping Home: I received some money for Christmas and my birthday from my godmother and ordered the two above mentioned books as well as Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House I am learning a lot and looking at the tedious job of keeping home in a totally different way. I am trying to look at it the way I imagine Mary would have looked at it.

One of My Favorite Things: Cheesecake. Yummmmmmy!!! I know that my husband really wanted to make me a cheesecake for my birthday (he always makes me a birthday cake), but unfortunately he had to work today. I don't mind, then at least I get to lick the beaters and the bowl. Cheesecake is one of my all-time favourite comfort foods. Growing up, it was the birthday cake of choice by most of us six kids.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week: Nesting, making more cloth diapers, playing some Wii with the kids and relaxing. We are back to school next week and I really want to enjoy the break. We really deserve it after finished 18 weeks of Seton Home School plans!!!

A Picture Thought I'm Sharing (actually 3) Christmas Eve under the tree with my loved ones:




Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

At last, our Saviour is here! Thank you Lord Jesus, for coming into the world as a tiny infant. You are the King of Kings, Prince of Peace and Redeemer of the world! Bless all of your dear children during this wonderful and blessed Christmas season.


We wish all a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent in Our Home

I have been taking a little break from blogging in the hopes of keeping Advent holy and secretly hoping to finish week 18 of Seton Home School curriculum before Christmas break. Week 18 marks the half way point of the school year. We hope to get the 3rd quarter done before our baby arrives and have been ploughing through the school work and have been sticking to our schedule more than less.

Otherwise, we have been trying to include feast days in our schedule as well as attend art classes and piano lessons weekly. I must say that in our house, feast days that are on weekends tend to get shortchanged. On the feast of Saint Nicholas we enjoyed a St. Nicholas tea with St. Nicholas gingerbread cookies and goodies that Mia and I made the day before.



No, I don't own a table cloth. I don't even own a statue of St. Nicholas. I often read other blogs and feel somewhat plain and simple in regards to our dinner table. I see posts like this or this and secretly wish that my house and table were more beautiful. At the same time, I must remind myself not to covet and to rejoice in what I have. We do not have a large home, (actually we rent and will probably never own a home) or a large wallet and that beauty is also found in the simple things. If I can not afford a table cloth or pretty statues or even a tea pot, that is ok. I can be close to our Lord without all of the fancy things. It doesn't make me less of a catholic, a mother or wife. I am sure that Mary did not worry about keeping up with the Jones' or having the most beautiful things for her child. She would have provided with the resources she had and would have rejoiced in God's generosity. This is what I am trying to learn this advent.

On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we were very busy. We had gluten free blueberry muffins for breakfast. It seems that without thinking, I make blueberry muffins on every Marian Feast Day. (The same thing happened on the Feast of the Immuculate Conception).


After breakfast, I cut the boys' and dad's hair, showered and bathed everyone and headed out in -34C weather to attend Noah's first piano Recital. We think he played really well, considering he has only been taking lessons since September.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcH8gAI4xAo&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x234900&color2=0x4e9e00&border=1]

When we came home we made some Mexican Shepherds pie. I would have liked to have had the children make paperbag Tilmas, but I decided to let the children play. It had been a very busy day. A few days earlier, I made a wreath in Our Lady's honour. The card pictured in the centre was actually blessed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and given to me from the organizer of our Rosary Making Group upon return from her pilgrimage to Mexico.



For the Feast of Saint Lucy, we actually didn't do too much. I decided to make my own version of Saint Lucy bread, but forgot to buy candles. We actually ate it as a dessert after supper and not for breakfast. We also rejoiced in knowing that our little niece/cousin, named Lucy who lives in Germany was baptized yesterday. Her parents aren't church goers, but they make sure that their children receive the sacraments. They wanted her to be baptised a week earlier, but as God would have it, they had to wait until the 13th, which happens to be her Patron's Feast Day. God is so Good! St. Lucy, pray for us.



Our Advent has been rather quiet and I am glad that we have been faithful to our Jesse Tree readings every evening and that we have been reading lots of wonderful Advent and Christmas books from the library. We have also rejoiced in our daughter's reception of her first confession on December 5th. In joyful hope, we await our Saviour's birth. We wish your family a blessed and Holy Advent season.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How to get a Holy Card from the Pope

I stopped by Catholicmom.com to look at some Advent resources when I stumbled upon this link:

How to get a Holy Card from Pope Benedict the XVI this Advent

I followed the link and landed on a post from Nun Blog, dated November 19, 2008.

I don't know if it works, but it is worth a try. A blessed Advent to all of my readers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Stockings for the Feast of Saint Nicholas

The feast of Saint Nicholas is in three days. As a German-Canadian family, we have always leaned toward the German celebration of this saint's feast day. I have been gathering activities from the Saint Nicholas Center. There are numerous activities, colouring pages and recipies appropriate for celebrating this wonderful saint. This year, I let the oldest two kids help make St. Nicholas stockings. I found this easy pattern. I don't have a fancy sewing machine with embroidery stiches, so I straight stitched the edge, leaving raw edges. They look charming anyway. I ordered a few things from the Saint Nicholas Centre to stuff the stockings with. We don't do presents on Saint Nicholas, but typically fill a stocking (or a shoe) with little goodies and prayer cards etc. I am planning on decorating some Saint Nicholas cookies that I baked the other day using one of the cookie cutters on the website. We also like to read stories about Saint Nicholas. A definite favourite is The Miracle of St. Nicholas.

A Stocking for Jesus

I was reading other blogs trying to get ideas for making Advent truly a time of preparation, when I stumbled upon the idea of having a stocking for Jesus. I had some leftover scraps from our Jesse tree and Mia's Christmas dress and sewed with Godspeed this stocking. The idea is to write down things that you are thankful for and put them in the stocking. On Christmas Eve, we will read them and offer them to Our Lord Jesus. We have the stocking hanging in the living room so everyone can access it. The pattern I used is here.

Did I mention that some of our nativity figures didn't survive last Christmas? A number of the figures broke and we haven't replaced them yet. Right now we have a felt family awaiting the birth of Our Lord. I want to replace the old figures, but this family is much more practical. I sewed what I called a five-minute-manger out of a scrap of felt and cut up scraps of yarn. The children put in a piece of yarn everytime they do a good deed. The plan is to give Jesus a really soft bed of straw come Christmas Eve. There are already a number of yarn pieces in the manger for helping mom without being told, or being extra patient when things aren't going as planned.

Advent is always such a busy season. I am really trying to keep it simple this year. Last year we tried to do everything. We tried to pray every Novena, do a Jesse Tree, celebrate Saints' feast days etc. In the end, we didn't follow through on half of it. I know that I might be copping out on the extra prayers, but reading the Bible every night is good, too. We are really enjoying doing the Jesse Tree. We are focusing on making our actions our extra prayers. This is not to say that we don't pray, rather that we don't try to do it all. So far our Advent has been very peaceful.

This is our Jesse Tree and little felt nativity. I took the picture a few days ago. I have to remind myself to be humble. I tend to get googly-eyed looking at other Catholic blogs. I see what other families are doing and sometimes feel like I am not doing enough or my stuff isn't as pretty or nice. I don't have a mantle to display things or a large dining room or etc. My husband always gently reminds me not to compare myself and that he loves me just as I am. He tells me that God has provided for us and that we should be thankful. I guess I should quickly write a note for Jesus, thanking him for blessing me with such a wise and humble husband.

Gluten Free Herb and Cheese Bread

This bread recipe was adapted from a German gluten free bread recipe that I found and didn't really like. The texture was good, but flavour was lacking. I tweaked it and now it is really yummy and goes great with soups, stews, chili and works well as garlic bread.

Ingredients:

4 cups Gluten Free Flour (more or less depending on your flour)
1 pinch of salt
3 Tbsp of cane suger
1 tsp psyllium husk (don't omit!!! this gives it kneadability)
2 1/2 tsp yeast or one packet
1 egg
400ml warm milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup cheese, grated
1 tsp herb mix of your choice (I use tomato and herb from PC)
flour for rolling out the dough
parchment paper for your baking sheet
1 egg yolk and a little milk to make an eggwash


Preheat oven to 425F.

Mix flour, salt, sugar, psyllium husk and yeast in a large bowl.

Mix separately egg, melted butter and warm milk and add to the flour mixture. Knead to a smooth dough. During the kneading process add cheese and herbs. Divide the dough in half. The original bread recipe tells you to take each half and divide into three parts and braid. This looks very nice. I was lazy and free-formed two loaves on my parchment paper covered baking sheet.

Beat your egg yolk and a little milk and brush it on top of the loaf. I cut slits in the top of my loaf, but you don't have to.

Put a heat resistant mug filled with water on the bottom rack of your preheated. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Mine was ready after 22min. but we live in a dry city at a high elevation. It should look golden brown on top. Enjoy.

We prefer to eat it warm. It does get very hard the next day. Reheat or toast and it is just like freshly baked.

For garlic bread I butter both sides, sprinkle with garlic powder and cheese (opt.) and bake at 350F for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and it looks toasted.
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