Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
If you want to make keeping up with reading the blogs you visit much easier, I recommend using Google Reader. With it, you can go to just your Google Reader page to read all the new entries at your favorite blogs in one, quick place. Here is how to use it: Go to www.google.com Click on "more" on the top left of the screen and then click "Reader" or go directly to www.google.com/reader Near the top left click on "Add a Subscription" and then type in the blog address that you read and click add. On the bottom left corner you can click on "manage subscriptions" to sort different blogs into categories. For more detailed information about Google Reader, read here.
Posted by Robina at 7:59 PM
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I saw this today at Faith & Family Live. Two young boys built and shot this to teach the Gospel to their younger siblings. Very creative.
When I was reading about fun activities for the Feast of the Annunciation, I learned that waffles are traditionally eaten today. Read more about this tradition at Catholic Cuisine here. So now I think we'll have waffles with blueberries on top instead of blueberry pancakes for dinner. Hopefully our finicky waffle maker will cooperate today.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Posted by Robina at 4:35 PM
Thursday, March 19, 2009
My husband shared with me this morning that today is an extra special day because it's a holy day (not a holy day of obligation, just a day that's holy - the Feast of Saint Joseph) and a national holiday (the start of the NCAA basketball tournament) all in one. We hurriedly filled out our brackets this morning and I'm sure my husband's extra computer will be open to ESPN.com all day. I think Saint Joseph would have enjoyed watching basketball with Jesus, maybe they are today. Go Tar Heels.
Posted by Robina at 1:06 PM
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Here are some fun Saint Patrick's Day crafts I found online. Little Green Leprechaun Footprints - make cards or clue notes for a hunt for gold
Cut out a heart shape from a sponge and dip into green paint. Imprint onto white paper or paper plates and then paint a stem. Allow to dry. Cut around the shamrock.Irish Flag Hand Prints Shamrock Crispy Rice Treats Gather your materials. You will need 5 1/2 cups of marshmallows, 5 1/2 cups of rice crispy type cereal, 1/4 cup of butter, green sprinkles, green candies , some non stick spray , a large sauce pan , 2 baking sheets and a shamrock cookie cutter. * I had food coloring out but didn't end up using it, the sparkles bled enough. Stir the green sparkles and candies into the cereal. Melt the butter over low heat . Add the marshmallows to the melted butter and stir until smooth. Add the cereal mix. Mix well Put the mix onto one baking sheet that has been sprayed with baking spray Press down with the 2nd, this compacts it down perfectly Let cool in your fridge for an hour. Cut out with cookie cutter and enjoy. Jello Shamrocks Ingredients: 2 boxes of 3oz Lime Jello (or any flavor you like) 2 cups of water 3/4 cup of cream Directions 1. Boil 2 cups of water. 2. Add the 2 packets of Jello, mix till it has dissolved 3. Pour into a 13" by 9" glass pan, let stand for 10 minutes. 4. Pour in one cup of cream, mix. 5. Refridgerate till jello sets up. 6. Cut out with cookie cutters.* The cream will separate on it's own creating the two layers.* This also looks nice cut into simple small squares. Tomorrow, we will probably make a variation of this Jello dessert by making green Jello in a casserole dish with green dyed Cool Whip piped on in the shape of shamrocks. I happen to have Cool Whip but forgot to get cream at the grocery store, and I don't feel like going back tomorrow. We'll see how it turns out. And here is a link to a list of many other fun crafts and treats.
The Feast of Saint Joseph is celebrated on March 19th. Saint Joseph, foster-father of Jesus and the spouse of the Virgin Mother, is a patron saint of families and children. Italians have celebrated this feast day with special fervor since the Middle Ages when it was believed that prayers to St. Joseph saved Sicily from a major drought. Italians have traditionally worn red on this feast day and created a big altar called a "St. Joseph's Table" (visit the virtual St. Joseph Altar here filled with many resources about this feats day) adorned with St. Joseph statues, flowers, candles, breads, traditional foods for the day (minestrone, pasta with breadcrumbs (the breadcrumbs symbolize the sawdust that would have covered St. Joseph's floor), seafood, Sfinge di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph's Cream Puffs), and fava beans (which was one of few food plants to survive the drought), and "decorative" breads (in the shape of a cross, staff, the shape of carpenter's tools among other shapes) and many other items depending on the region. We will be having meatless spaghetti with breadcrumbs sprinkled on for dinner and hopefully we'll have time to make the cream puffs (see recipe below). Here are are some other ideas for celebrating this feast with your family. Hopefully we will get to do most of these. - Honor Fathers on this day – Make dad breakfast, cards, or a cake for when he gets home from work. Take father and child photos. - Say the prayer to St. Joseph O glorious St. Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble and charitable mind, and perfect resignation in the Divine Will. Be my guide, father and model through life that I may merit to die as thou didst, in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Amen. - Continue or start the Novena to St. Joseph - Read your children this book which creatively expands on the legend of the swallows - "las golondrinas" - returning to the Mission of Capistrano on St. Joseph's Day. The Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi - Read your children Good Saint Joseph by Lawrence Lovasik - Make homemade pretzels and teach your children the history of pretzels and their association with Lent and St. Joseph's feast day (one of many recipes below). They can say the below pretzel prayer to reinforce the significance of prayer and fasting during. The pretzel represents the shape of the penitent's crossed arms, and was a traditional Lenten food in central European towns. Pretzels are traditionally eaten throughout Lent, and in some places are especially associated with Saint Joseph's Day which usually falls within Lent. "According to pretzel maker Snyder’s of Hanover, a young monk in the early 600s in Italy was preparing a special Lenten bread of water, flour and salt. To remind his brother monks that Lent was a time of prayer, he rolled the bread dough in strips and then shaped each strip in the form of crossed arms, mimicking the then popular prayer position of folding one’s arms over each other on the chest. The bread was then baked as a soft bread, just like the big soft pretzels one can find today. Because these breads were shaped into the form of crossed arms, they were called bracellae, the Latin word for "little arms." From this word, the Germans derived the word bretzel which has since mutated to the familiar word pretzel." (from CERC). Pretzel Prayer Heavenly Father, we ask you to bless these little breads. Each time we eat them, may we be reminded of the special season of prayer and fasting that we are keeping. May they remind us of our need to come closer to you in prayer. May they remind us of those in need. Keep your loving arms around us, O Father, to protect us always, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Soft, Hot Pretzel Recipe (from Women for Faith & Family) Combine in a mixing bowl: 1 cup warm water 1 package (1 1/2 T) active dry yeast 1 tsp sugar Add and beat at least 3 minutes: 1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour 2 Tbsp soft butter 1/2 tsp Tbsp sugar Stir in 1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour and knead until the dough loses its stickiness. Let the dough rise in a covered greased bowl until it is doubled in bulk (this is called "proofing" the dough). Punch down and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope and form it into a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on a greased baking sheet and let them rise until almost doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 475°F. In a large non aluminum kettle, prepare a boiling solution of 4 cups water 5 tsp baking soda With a slotted spoon, carefully lower the pretzels into the water and boil about 1 minute or until they float to the top. Return them to the greased sheet. Sprinkle them with coarse salt. (Sea salt or Kosher salt.) Bake the pretzels until they are nicely browned, about 10-12 minutes. Pretzels are best when eaten while still warm, but they may be stored in an air tight container for up to a week, or frozen. (Makes twelve 6 inch pretzels) - Make St. Joseph cream puffs (Sfinge di San Giuseppe). Use this recipe below or the recipe at Catholic Cuisine. 1 cup water · 1/3 cup sweet butter · 1 tablespoon sugar · Grated rind of 1 lemon · Pinch of salt · 1 cup sifted flour · 4 large eggs, at room temperature · 1 tablespoon Cognac or vanilla Optional: 1 tablespoon candied orange peel, or other candied fruit peel · Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling on top Filling: · 2 cups ricotta cheese · 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar · 1/2 teaspoon vanilla · 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon · 1/3 cup grated milk chocolate, or mini chocolate chips · 2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios Place the water, butter, granulated sugar, lemon rind, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and as soon as the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat. Add the flour all at once, stirring constantly and vigorously. Return the pan to the heat, and stir constantly until the mixture forms a ball and comes away from the sides of the pan. Continue to cook a little longer, until you hear a slight crackling or frying sound. Remove the pan from the heat, and cool slightly. Add the eggs, one at a time. Be sure that each egg is thoroughly blended into the mixture before you add the next. Keep stirring until the dough is smooth and thoroughly blended into the mixture before you add the next. Keep stirring until the dough is smooth and thoroughly blended. Add the Cognac or vanilla. Cover the dough and let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls on a buttered cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between the Sfinge. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool. So that the cream puffs will be crisp, fill them just before serving if possible. For the filling: Mix the ricotta, confectioner's sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, pistachios, and peel, if using it. Cut each cream puff horizontally part way through the middle and fill with the mixture. Optional: Just before serving sprinkle Sfinge with confectioners' sugar. Keep them refrigerated, if not serving immediately. Variation: The cream puffs can be deep-fried instead of baked. For deep-frying, heat the oil to 375º F. Drop the puff mixture 1 tablespoon at a time into the oil. Cook a few at a time, keeping the puffs separate. Fry until golden brown. Drain the puffs on paper towels. Serve them hot, sprinkled with confectioners' sugar. Other kinds of fillings can be used, such as vanilla custard or sweetened whipped cream (to which a little vanilla or a liqueur may be added).
Friday, March 13, 2009
According to former President Bill Clinton, embryos are not fertilized. Say what? My husband, who is feeling especially benevolent today because it's his 30th birthday, wants to give him the benefit of the doubt and thinks he is confusing fertilizing with implantation. Does it really matter? Regardless it is still a life. It seems to me this is a man (President Clinton, not my husband) who has trouble with basic semantics and common definitions (recall..."I did not have...___...relations with this woman). Anyhow, see and hear for yourself here.
Posted by Robina at 10:43 PM
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I don't really like corned beef and cabbage, so I was so happy to see this recipe for Irish Beef and Guiness Stew at Catholic Cuisine. I'm hoping to make this for dinner on Tuesday for Saint Patrick's Day.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The nine day novena to saint Joseph begins today. Say this prayer below starting today and ending on March 19th in honor of the feast of Saint Joseph.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The Feast of Saint Patrick is on March 17th. I listed a few ideas below for celebrating this feast day. First read up on Saint Patrick here and even more thoroughly here. Interesting tidbits about Saint Patrick's Day - Saint Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and the shamrock has been associated with him and the Irish since that time. - "One of the reasons that one wears green on St. Patrick's Day is because the Catholic side of Ireland is identified with green, and St. Patrick is a Catholic Saint credited with converting the island to Christianity. Whereas the Protestants are identified with orange, and are often called "Orangemen", as in King William the Orange. The clashes in Ireland between the Catholics and Protestants are often clashes of the green and the orange. The irony is that the Irish flag, is supposed to represent the unity of the two with the white between the two colors represnting unity. The traditional pinching of a person who wears orange on St. Patrick's Day is a mild form of the violence that has so often occured in the past as both factions have had St. Patrick's Day marches/parades." from Wikianswers Green Candied Popcorn 4 quarts popped corn1 1/2 Cups sugar1/2 Cup light corn syrup2 Tablespoons butter1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional, does make mixture slightly more creamy)1/4 teaspoon vanilla1 teaspoon baking sodagreen food coloring (I used about 1/8 teaspoon Wilton paste color in Kelly Green) In heavy saucepan on medium heat melt butter then add sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and salt. Increase temperature to medium high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Once mixture boils, add in food coloring and stop stirring. Boil for 5 minutes (Do not stir). Mixture should be about 250-260 degrees. Remove from heat and carefully stir in vanilla and baking soda. Working quickly and while mixture is foamy, pour mixture over popped corn and gently stir to coat popcorn. Place popcorn into a large roaster or rimmed baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray) and bake at 200° F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Other Green and Irish food fun: - dye milk green with food coloring drops - green mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert - corned beef and cabbage for dinner - Make Irish Soda Bread 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups buttermilk Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet.Children can measure and stir together flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and stir in buttermilk. Dough should form a ball.On a floured board or cloth, children can knead and shape dough into a round loaf, about 8 inches across. Place dough in the center of the cookie sheet. Score bread dough with a sharp knife; make an X about 1/2-inch deep. (The X is supposed to ward off the devil). Bake for about 40 minutes, until brown. Serve hot.
Read this book about Saint Patrick to your children, Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie de PaolaColor a Saint Patrick picture, click here to view and print.
Recite a prayer together that is associated with Saint Patrick
Breastplate of Saint Patrick
Christ shield me this day
Christ be with me, Christ within meChrist behind me, Christ before me Christ beside me, Christ to win me Christ to comfort me and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me Christ in quiet, Christ in danger Christ in hearts of all that love me Christ in mouth of friend or stranger. Prayer of Saint Patrick for the Faithful May the Strength of God guide us. May the Power of God preserve us. May the Wisdom of God instruct us. May the Hand of God protect us. May the Way of God direct us. May the Shield of God defend us. May the Angels of God guard us, Against the snares of the evil one. May Christ be with us! May Christ be before us! May Christ be in us, Christ be over all! May Thy Grace, Lord, Always be ours, This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen. For Moms & Dads after the kids are asleep, relax, make an Irish Coffee and share an Irish toast. May your blessings outnumber The shamrocks that grow, And may trouble avoid you Wherever you go. Slainte!
Saturday, March 7, 2009
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Posted by Robina at 2:57 PM
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Note my small green cutting board (Target $1 section purchase which I use all the time) under the parchment paper with the dough on it. I use the cutting board as a sliding vehicle that the parchment paper slides off of onto the cookie sheet in the oven.
5. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won't stick. Create a smooth ball of dough by gently pulling the sides down around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. While shaping, most of the dusting flour will fall off. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out during resting and baking. Shaping the loaf this way should take no more than 1 minute.
6.Place the dough on the pizza peel. Allow the loaf to rest for about 40 minutes. It does not need to be covered. The bread may not rise much during this time.7. Twenty minutes before baking, place a pizza stone on the center rack of the oven. If you don't have a baking stone, use another baking sheet (this is what I do, just an old cookie sheet). Remove any upper racks. Place a broiler pan on a rack below the pizza stone or on the floor of the oven. Preheat oven to 450 F. 8. When the dough has rested for 40 minutes, dust the top liberally with flour, then use a serrated knife to slash a 1/4-inch-deep cross or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top (during Lent or always you could make this the shape of a cross instead of an "x" to signify Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross) 9. Slide the loaf off the peel and onto the baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven door. 10. Bake for about 30 minutes (I usually only cook 25-27 minutes), or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Allow the bread to cool completely, preferably on a wire cooling rack.
I have been struggling the last few days with wondering if all the faithful people in my life and that I see in church struggle with the waxing and waning of the intensity of their faith that I do. I am not saying that the base or sincerity of my faith ever wavers, but I have days or series of days where I feel like I can not get my mind and heart to focus on prayer to save my life. Something always distracts me or I am so tired I fall asleep before I get very far in my evening prayer. I was stressing about this yesterday (as if I need more stresses and worries circulating in my brain) and how to fix it. I went to daily mass this morning and this was the gospel below. It was one of those moments where I really felt like Jesus was saying this directly to me, to help me. I don't know exactly what the answer is but I feel surely that He will help me focus and assist me with my spiritual ADD.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Here is our almsgiving food basket. Every evening after dinner during Lent, we talk about how lucky we are to have so much food when other people go hungry. We then go to our pantry cupboard where I have set aside some canned goods for Pumpkin to take one each evening and put it in our Give Alms food basket. Once our basket is full, we'll donate the food to our church or to a food bank. I think this is important for my children to see - that we are giving something of ours that is tangible like food instead of just an envelope with money in it in the church collection basket (what is a check or dollar bills to a two year old anyhow, it might as well be Monopoly play money).