Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lenten Jelly Bean Activity & Prayer

Here is an activity for your children that will help them to appreciate the virtues of Lent.
On Ash Wednesday, set out a glass jar for each child with a small copy of the jellybean prayer taped to it. Determine a behavior to go with each jellybean color (corresponding with the prayer). Each day the kids could earn a jellybean of any color they followed through on. They can’t eat the jellybeans until Easter. They cannot earn white jellybeans because these represent the Grace of Christ, which is a gift not earned ourselves. On Easter morning, the kids wake to find their jars filled up where they were still empty (lacking) with white jellybeans (Christ's grace).
Jelly Bean Prayer
Red is for the blood He gave Green is for the grass He made Yellow is for the sun so bright Orange is for the edge of night Black is for the sins we made White is for the grace He gave Purple is for the house of sorrow Pink is for the new tomorrow
This is how you could interpret each color or make your own ideas based on ages and needs of your children:
Red is for the blood Christ gave (each morning choose something to sacrifice that day to earn the red jellybean, something they would have the opportunity to have or do on that day)
Green is for the palm's cool shade (earned for good deeds, as it was a good dead to provide shade for Jesus with the palm)
Yellow is for God's light so bright (earned for sharing God's light through kindness to others)
Orange is for prayers at twilight (earned for attentive behavior during bedtime prayer time or night time bible story, etc.)
Black is for sweet rest at night (earned for going to bed well, or you could use blue since some kids are not fans of black jellybeans)
White is for the Grace of Christ (these cannot be earned as mentioned above)
Purple is for His days of sorrow (earned these through apologizing to anyone you hurt with your words or deeds that day)
Pink is for each new tomorrow (earned when you forgave those who apologized to us for hurtful behavior)

Small Successes Thursday


Faith & Family Live hosts Small Successes every Thursday. You share three small things you accomlished this week, however small, that "add up to one big triumph." I will try to do this each Thursday. Here are my three: 1. I made it outdoors today to enjoy the nice weather after being home bound with kids who have Hand & Mouth virus for 3 days. 2. While I was outside I decided to take the kids for a run in the jogging stroller since I can't go to the gym with the kids this week since they are contagious. 3. I began and kept my Lenten sacrifice (only first 5-10 minutes of major news on the Today show in the morning, then news off all morning) and prayer routine (no food, internet or TV once the kids are down for nap until I have done some praying and devotional reading). Let's hope I can get out of my nap time rut of laziness and keep this up all of Lent. I am also trying to do my emailing and internet earlier in the morning before the kids get up and then have my computer off all morning and afternoon long so I don't slip from spending precious meaningful time with them. Hopefully this will be more than a Lenten promise.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monkey Bread King Cake for Shrove Tuesday

Here is my recipe for monkey bread, which if you sprinkled with purple (symbolizing Justice), green (symbolizing Faith) and gold (symbolizing Power) sugar sprinkles and hid a plastic baby doll (symbolizing baby Jesus) inside could be a perfect King Cake in honor of Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (french for "Fat Tuesday"). The idea of using Monkey Bread for a King cake is from In the Heart of My Home, but this is my recipe.

4 cans of basic size biscuit dough
4 tablespoons of cinnamon
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 sticks margarine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each biscuit into quarters. Mix cinnamon and both sugars in a bowl. Roll each biscuit quarter in the sugar-cinnamon mixture and place into bundt cake pan. Pour remaining sugar over top of biscuits in pan. Melt margarine. Pour over biscuits and sugar. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip over once removed and let cool.
I know this is probably too late for this year, but maybe you can remember for next year. This monkey bread is a Christmas morning and Easter tradition for our family. It's just so delicious. Just so you know it is a "double recipe" of the standard, which means the recipe above is double the sugar and butter of a regular recipe. Our family wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fat Tuesday Beignets

Since tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, I wanted to make somethign delicious and appropriate. Beignet is French for Fritter, and in New Orleans they’re square and topped with powdered sugar and usually served with a steaming cup of coffee. They are a classic delicacy on Mardi Gras. I have never made these before. Here is a recipe I found online that we will try tomorrow. It seems pretty doable. Please share any Fat Tuesday recipes you have. I would love to add to my list. Also here is a recipe at Catholic Cuisine for a traditional King Cake.
New Orleans Style Beignet Recipe
1 Envelope Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup Water (110 degrees F)
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Beaten Egg
1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk
3 1/2 - 3 3/4 Cups A.P. Flour
1/8 Cup Shortening
Vegetable Oil for Frying
Powdered Sugar in a shaker or sifter
Combine the Yeast, Water, and Sugar in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (You could also make this in a food processor, or the old fashioned way, by hand). Let this sit until frothy, about 5 minutes, then add the Salt, Egg, and Evaporated Milk. Mix on low speed, then add half of the flour until it starts to come together, then add the shortening. When the shortening is incorporated start adding the remaining flour, a little at a time until most of it is incorporated. At this time I always turn the dough onto a floured bench to finish by hand, just like when I make bread; it’s a touch thing. Knead the dough adding just enough flour as necessary to make a non-sticky, smooth dough. Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, loosely cover and let rise (I made mine last night and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator). After the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and turn it onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle that is about 1/2″ thick. With a very sharp knife working at a diagonal to the rectangle, cut into 2″ wide strips. Now cut into diamond shapes by making diagonal cuts in the opposite direction. Place the Beignets on a floured baking sheet to let rise about 40 minutes in a warm place (I place them in a barely warm oven).When the Beignets have risen, heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 350-360 degrees. Place 2-3 Beignets into the hot oil at a time, being careful not to smash or deflate them. When they are golden brown, flip them over until golden brown on the other side (They go pretty quickly so start checking them right after they go into the oil). Remove to paper towel lined plates to drain. Serve hot topped with plenty of powdered sugar (because the dough doesn’t contain much sugar, you will want a lot!). Makes about 2 dozen.

Happy First Birthday Peaches!!

Today is my Peaches first birthday. We had her birthday party yesterday. It was a pink bunny theme. Here are some pictures and her birthday invitation (excuse the attempt at blurring out her name and our address). I had a lot of fun with the food and decorations going along with the pink bunny theme. She and her brother were a little under the weather and had fevers (and Pumpkin had a very flushed face to match his pink shirt), so they were very patient with me taking pictures of them. But they loved their cake and ice cream and opening all the fun presents.

Pink Bunny Carrott Cake (the pink came out much brighter than I wanted but it was still cute)Pink Bunny Cupcakes for the kidsChicken salad bunny sandwichesnapkin silverware carrotts

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pelosi 's View of Holy Communion & Her Visit with Pope Benedict XVI

The below is quoted from an article from National Catholic Register: "Consider what she wrote in a book called Being Catholic Now earlier this year. In it she explained, “I’ve always been pro-choice. To me, it’s like saying, ‘Should we surrender our brains?’ I feel very comfortable with it.” But then, we really got to the core of the problem. In the book, she recalls that around the time of her swearing in as the first woman speaker of the House, her granddaughter was preparing to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time (my words, not hers). Relaying an exchange with the girl, her mother and Grandma Nancy, the congresswoman writes that the girl announced that she wanted to explain that “‘it is the BODY and BLOOD of Christ. When we go to church, IT IS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST.’” Her mother corrected the girl: “‘Yes, the host and the wine REPRESENT the body and blood of Christ.’” But Nancy’s granddaughter protested, God bless her: “‘NOT represent. IS, it IS the body and blood of Christ.’” Pelosi writes, “My granddaughter was buying into it.” Pelosi goes on to explain: “Okay. But it is hard. Every Sunday for me it’s hard. Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again. Now think of it; we say that every week. Do I really believe he’s coming again? Yes, I believe he’s coming again. Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again. This is my body; this is my blood. They’re asking a lot. In my era, we didn’t question any of it.” Of course, it’s not “they” who are asking anything. It’s Him. " I especially love how even her 7 year old grandaughter has more wisdom than she does. This is the same Pelosi who had this to say about her meeting with Pope Benedict XVI today: "It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today," Pelosi said in a statement released hours after the meeting. "In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church's leadership in fighting poverty, hunger and global warming, as well as the Holy Father's dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel. I was proud to show his Holiness a photograph of my family's papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren." The Vatican released this statement before the two had their 15 minute exchange today: "His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoins all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development." Don't you wish you could have been a fly on the wall in that room.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day from our home to yours. We'll be eating our heart donuts and exchanging Valentine's cards for breakfast and share three things each that we love about each other. Then we are off to the garden store to get our seeds for planting our Spring garden tomorrow. We're going to finish making some yummy Valentine's treats for our gift bags to our families. I'll share pictures of those later.

Valentine's Day Cards

Here are some cute ideas for crafty Valentine's Day cards that are easy and fun to make.

"Eye" heart "U" cards
I came up with this card. Using red and white construction paper (or thick cardstock if you like), I just used Elmer's glue and made a dot for the eye and the kids put their eye on. I used a glue stick to make a heart shape and then let the kids sprinkle glitter on the heart and dumped the excess glitter. Then I cut a "u" out of felt and made a "u" shape on the card with Elmer's glue and let the kids put their "u" on the glue. Then we just wrote names on it. Hand Print Heart card
1. Use half a piece of white card stock or watercolor paper. Or fold paper in half and have it open up. Using paint, carefully apply to your child's hand. I used finger paint and a sponge brush.
2. When applying the hand to the paper, turn the card paper upside down and/or backwards-so the card opens the opposite way of what you would normally expect. This way, your child will not have to bend their hand in an awkward position when stamping their hands into a heart shape. Have your child hold their fingers together instead of spread apart. This way the image will look more like a heart. The palm of the hand makes the top of the heart, and the fingers make the bottom of the heart.
3. Press the hand evenly and lift straight up when done. Wipe hand off with a rag or wipe
4. Repeat the process with the other hand.
5. Use a black pen or crayon to add words or embellish. You could also stamp some words.
6. Write a message to the loved one inside or around the heart.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hand Sewn Valentine's Card

I found this online. It looked so cute and easy. I will say I think this is a craft for a 2 year old girl or older or a 3 year old boy and older. I tried with my 2.5 year old son, and he could do it a little

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blueberry Pancakes for Our Lady of Lourdes & St. Bernadette

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. In honor of today which marks the first apparition (February 11, 1858) of Mary to St. Bernadette in the hollow of the rock at Lourdes, we will be having blueberry pancakes for dinner. White pancakes to symbolize the Holy Mother's virgin purity and blueberries to symbolize her blue mantle. You could do any version of a white or blue and white dinner menu, such as chicken, white rice, white grape juice, milk, white wine, white potatoes, mozzarella cheese, blueberry muffins, or cauliflower. A French inspired dinner menu could be chicken cordon bleu and for dessert blueberry crepes, follow the link for a recipe from Catholic Cuisine.

Here are some other ideas for activities to do with your children for this day are:
- coloring this drawing of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception since Our Lady said to St. Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception." Follow this link and open the link at the bottom of the blog entry to print the hand drawn coloring page. She also has many other for various feast days.
- pray this Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes
O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfort to the Afflicted,you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors; and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for favors, I will endeavor to imitate your virtues that I may one day share your glory. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. Amen.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.)
- watch the movie The Song of Bernadette
- although too late for today, you could order this for next year. This site sells a kit that "will allow your child to create his or her own miniature grotto for the Blessed Mother from wooden sticks, beautiful illustrations and polished semi-precious gemstones."
I came across a number of other fun and craft things to do for this feast day, but my kids are too little. A good internet search will reveal plenty more if you are interested.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chocolate Pretzel Letters

We did a fun thing today since it was so cold out, and it was also a fun learning experience. We dipped pretzels into chocolate and they were very yummy. We kept the whole pretzels for dessert, but all the fragments became whatever letter they most resembled. ome of our "discoveries" are to the right, an "x," "v" and an "e." It was silly, imaginative, and deliciously messy. For this I recommend the thin big pretzels instead of the thick or small kind. We just melted a bowl of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a bowl stirring every 30 seconds until the chocolate was smooth and liquidy. A more advance version of this activity for older children could be spelling various words.

Fun was had by all.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Different Approach to the Message of Life

I saw these videos at Faith & Family Live. They are not what you expect but very powerful.

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