Monday, August 31, 2009

Baby Kicks

I have been feeling the baby kick for a number of weeks, but last night when the baby was kicking, my husband was able to feel it for the first time. This is always such a special moment for us because it's the first contact he has with our little baby. I just wanted to share.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Our Schooling Adventure

I have started doing the Little Saints Preschool program at home with Pumpkin. It's going well. I stressed out in the beginning getting all the crafts and learning game materials together, but I am trying to not be so worried if we do not do every single craft or game. Some of them I tweak a little and do differently. I just try to stick to the theme or supplement with other things I think of. I do not have all the picture books and some are not available from the library. Sometimes we do school in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon. Since he is still so young it's nice to have this flexibility and take advantage of it. We usually do school three days a week and in total it takes no more than thirty minutes to an hour each of those three days. We start with a circle time song to bring us together and then we say a prayer of Pumpkin's choice. There is a lesson theme we talk about, a bible reading, songs and rhymes and finger plays, poem readings, picture books to read, a couple games and a craft. I wish I could show you adorable pictures of Pumpkin's crafts like Jessica, Elizabeth, Charlotte and so many other inspiring homeschooling moms, but Pumpkin is a boy who, while he likes art and crafts, just isn't as interested in it as other children. He is also still so young, too young still for the Alphabet Path and more organized learning. I am doing the Little Saints program this year as a little baby step into making myself be on a "school schedule" while still basically doing the same thing we have always done and has thrived on, reading, playing, singing and creating art when inspired. Of course another of our favorites is to cook and bake in the kitchen so I am going to try to come up with some fun and yummy treat matching the weeks theme to do. If you haven't noticed, I have been very cautious about posting pictures of my children, so hopefully I'll remember at some point during school to take a couple postable and postworthy pictures to share.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Catholic Emroidery

Through Jessica, I learned of the company Catholic Emroidery. They have some beautiful embroidery designs for anything from aprons, baby blankets, tote bags and more. I already have lots of ideas for Christmas presents (I love the Mini Mass bag pictured above), newborn baby gifts and baptism gifts. Catholic Cuisine is hosting a giveaway of an apron and Jessica is hosting a tote bag giveaway, so be sure to visit their sites to sign up.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Graphic but Effective

This British Public Service Announcement about texting while driving is terribly graphic. I keep thinking about that little baby's lifeless face and open eyes. I have on a rare occasion read an email on my phone while driving or plugged a number in, but never again. Watching this was an effective way for me to realize how short-sided and selfish my seemingly meaningless actions were.

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Amazing Story of Life

This is an amazing story of a woman who cuddled her baby on her chest and saved the preemie little girl's life.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Hutch & Sort of New Bassinet (that I forgot to blog about last year)

I have been trying to figure out for a while on now how I was going to organize all our art supplies and the stuff I have for Pumpkin's home preschool Little Saints program (more on that to come). Our art supplies have been dangerously perched on a toy cabinet in our family room closet, I have always feared the giant bins and drawers would fall over on the kids. I searched Craigslist for weeks for a hutch and finally found it. I didn't want anything too big because the room already has a dining room table and a buffet. I wanted a classic and simple piece with two solid cabinets and a couple drawers. I found it, except it was a little scratched and a honey walnut color with old brass knobs.
So I sanded it down and put on two coats of mahogany stain with a paint brush and a third coat with a sponge brush for a smooth finish. I replaced the brass knobs with some bigger knobs with a roughened dark pewter look to match the original cabinet door hinges. I think it turned out just wonderfully, and it stores all my supplies right where I need them. Here's the amazing thing, this cost me about $55 total:
hutch $40
stain $0 (leftover from staining the bassinet in our bedroom, see below pictures and description)
oil brush $5
4 knobs $10
The best part is that it is special to me because my hard work went into making it just perfect.
Bassinet:
I thought I blogged about this bassinet before, but I guess I never did, so here is the story behind it and pictures. I do not have a picture of this bassinet before I redid it, but it was a similar honey walnut color with a good number of scratches. My mother got it for me from Goodwill (a super find) less than a week before Peaches was born. In the days before I went into labor, I sanded it down both with an electric sander and by hand for the spindles and curves. My mother, mother-in-law, sister and her boyfriend put on a coat of stain each in the days before her birth and the day after. The stain was the same same dark mahogany and perfectly matches our sleigh bed bedroom set. My mom had a standard bassinet mattress re-sized at the seamstress along with a bassinet sheet and bumpers so that it fit this antique (non-standard size) bassinet. The bassinet was ready for Peaches when we came home from the hospital. It sat right next to my bed for the first few weeks, and then I moved it up against the wall near my side of the bed until she was 3 months old and moved into her crib in the nursery. This is probably my favorite piece of furniture in the whole house. Again even more so because of all the love and hard work that went into it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Feast of St. Hyacinth

Note: This was supposed to auto post yesterday while I am at the beach, but it messed up. Sorry it's a day late. My confirmation name is Hyacinth after St. Hyacinth whose feast day is August 17th. I wish I can say that I was inspired by the words and deeds of this saint when I chose this name but the truth is I mostly just liked his name. So with all my tennage wisdom, that seemed like as good a reason as any to choose that name for my confirmation name. To celebrate this feast day, make these cute Hyacinth paper flowers.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Solemnity of the Assumption

On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption. Thus he solemnly proclaimed that the belief whereby the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the close of her earthly life, was taken up, body and soul, into the glory of heaven, definitively forms part of the deposit of faith, received from the Apostles. To avoid all that is uncertain the Pope did not state either the manner or the circumstances of time and place in which the Assumption took place — only the fact of the Assumption of Mary, body and soul, into the glory of heaven, is the matter of the definition. The Assumption completes God's work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption. The Assumption is God's crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over. (from catholicculture.org)
Other than attending mass (although this year The Solemnity of the Assumption is not a Holy Day of Obligation due to the fact that it falls on a Saturday), here are some ideas to celebrate this solemnity.
Sing Salve Regina or Immaculate Mary
Catholic Cuisine has a great post about the Assumption and the traditions and food ideas for celebrating it.
Have you children place flowers at a statue of Mary in your home, yard or at your church.
Have your children color this picture of the Blessed Virgin on her Assumption into Heaven.
Pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary with your family.
Continue to pray this Novena for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary which started on August 7th to finish on August 15th on the Solemnity of the Assumption
Novena for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, you have at last been taken to the throne prepared for you in heaven by the Holy Trinity. Lift my heart with you in the glory of your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me how small earth becomes when viewed from heaven. Make me realize that death is the triumphant gate through which I shall pass to your Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of heaven. From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to you for help. I ask for this favor: (Mention your request). When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with you. Amen.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe

Maximilian Mary Kolbe was born in Poland. He consecrated himself to the Lord in the Franciscan Order. Filled with love for the Virgin, he founded the Militia of the Immaculate Mary and, with his preaching and writing, undertook an intense apostolic mission in Europe and Asia. Imprisoned in Auschwitz during the Second World War, he offered himself in exchange for the father of a large family who was to be executed. He was given a lethal injection when he failed to die fast enough from starvation in the concentration camp. John Paul II proclaimed him the Patron of Our Suffering Century. St. Maximilian Kolbe is considered a patron of families, prisoners, and the pro-life movement. (from catholicculture.org)
To celebrate his feast day on August 14th, say a rosary and pray for an end to abortion and all unborn souls, the holocaust of our current day. Pray also for all victims of the Holocaust and those today experiencing racial and social injustice.
Prayer to Maximilian Mary Kolbe
O Lord Jesus Christ who said, "greater love than this no man has that a man lay down his life for his friends," through the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose life illustrated such love, we beseech You to grant us our petitions .....(mention them here). Through the Knights of the Immaculata movement, which Maximilian founded, he spread a fervent devotion to Our Lady throughout the world. He gave up his life for a total stranger and loved his persecutors, giving us all an example of unselfish love for all men --- a love which was inspired by true devotion to Mary. Grant O Lord Jesus, that we too may give ourselves entirely without reserve to the love and service of our Heavenly Queen in order to better love and serve our fellowman in imitation of your humble servant, Maximilian. Amen. (Say 3 Hail Marys and a Glory be....)
Catholic Cuisine has some great food and craft ideas for this feast day.
For adults and children, here are many books about this amazing man.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Taste of the Future of Our Health Care

This article really bothered me for the fact that this is happening but that it is likely a forecast of the way of the future in our country. I find it disturbing that a private catholic college is being told that it is discriminating against women by not providing oral contraception coverage in the health care package they offer to employees. So if they decided to not provide coverage for vasectomies (maybe they aren't already) would that make it non-discriminatory to women? I feel a day is coming though when the government, already discriminating against the unborn, will be discriminating against those medical personnel who refuse to provide services that harm or end the lives of the unborn. It just doesn't seem fair does it?

Feast of St. Clare - August 11th

St. Clare of Assisi was the first woman to practice the life of entire poverty as taught by St. Francis. Placed by him at the head of a few companions in the small convent of San Damiano, she governed her community for forty-two years thus founding at the gates of Assisi the Order of Poor Clares. Their Rule included austerities hitherto unknown in monasteries of women. They went barefoot, slept on the ground, kept perpetual abstinence and made poverty the basis of their lives. St. Clare died on August 11, 1253, and was canonized two years after her death. (from catholicculture.org)
To celebrate her feast day on August 11th, here are some ideas:
Make Asparagus and Scrambled Eggs with Bacon as it is a dish commonly eaten in the area of Assisi.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, drop in the trimmed asparagus and part cook for 2-3 minutes. Immerse them in cold water and drain well. Divide into four bundles and wrap each with bacon. Preheat a moderate grill. Arrange the asparagus bundles onto a tray, moisten them with olive oil and then grill them for 6-8 minutes to crisp the bacon, turning carefully once. Moisten the bread with olive oil and grill that evenly too. Now break the eggs into a bowl, add the tarragon, season and beat together with a fork. Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the eggs and stir continuously with a flat wooden spoon. When the eggs are lightly set (don't overdo it) transfer them back to the mixing bowl to prevent over-cooking. To finish off, heap the egg onto the toast, top with an asparagus bundle and serve.
Read Clare and Francis by Guido Visconti
Watch the movie Clare and Francis
Have your children mimic St. Clare's actions of self-less living as she distributed all her possessions among the poor and lived in absolute poverty by donating food and goods to needy organizations.
Say the Prayer of St. Clare
God of Mercy, You inspired Saint Clare with the love of poverty. By the help of her prayers, may we follow Christ in poverty of spirit and come to the joyful vision of your glory in the kingdom of heaven. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Amen.
St. Clare, Pray for us.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sweet Pickles

A few weeks ago we made sweet (bread and butter) pickles and canned them. A friend gave me a few bags of enormous cucumbers from her organic garden, and I didn't know what else to do with so many but to make pickles. My mama (my dad's mom - not pronounced like mima, but not mommy mama either) was a traditional southern Mississippi lady made and canned everything herself. I can still taste her perfect sweet pickles always waiting for us when we came to visit. Of all the amazing recipes I have of hers, however I do not have her sweet pickle recipe which is so sad. It somehow just got lost in the shuffle I guess.
Anyhow, I made do by using this recipe with pretty good instructions because I don't have any experience since watching my mama of canning. For "pickling spices" we used whole cinnamon sticks and then put one or two in each can. Because this was not a planned activity and something we just decided to do that weekend, we didn't have some of the basic items like a wide canning pot or canning tongs. We just made do with a deep stockpot with a dish towel on the bottom and used our regular kitchen tongs and oven mitts. it worked wonderfully. However, we'll be canning tomato sauce soon so I might be investing in those items.
here's the reicpe sans directional pictures:
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seed
1 Tbsp mustard seed
1-1/2 Tbsp mixed pickling spice (cinnamon stick, ginger, mustard seeds, cloves, peppercorns, chilies, etc.)
3-1/2 pounds cucumbers, cut into 1/4″ (or less) slices
Start heating your boiling water canner. This should be tall enough that your jars will be covered by at least one inch of boiling water and there must be additional room (2-3″) to avoid splashing during the boiling process. It should also have some sort of rack on the bottom on which to set the jars (we used a dish towel in the bottom of the pot added after the water was boiling). Remember that your jars will displace water as you submerge them. In a 5-quart pot (non-aluminum), combine sugar, vinegar, water and spices. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cucumber slices. Return to a boil, stirring gently and trying to submerge slices as they cook. When the pot returns to a boil, boil for 90 seconds, then remove from heat. The slices should have changed from a bright cucumber green to a darker pickle green. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, fill hot jars (Hot foods should go into hot jars to avoid shocking and potentially cracking the glass. You can heat your jars before filling them by placing them in a separate boiling water bath) with pickles slices, then fill each with pickling liquid, leaving 1/8″ headspace. (You may have extra brine; you can refrigerate this up to a week if you are making another batch soon.) Wipe rims clean with a damp paper towel and add lids and rings. Process in a boiling water canner — 20 minutes for quarts, 10 minutes for pints. Begin timing when the water has returned to a boil after you submerge your jars. Using a jar lifter, remove jars to a folded kitchen towel. Let cool 24 hours and make sure the jars have sealed. The lids should be sucked down in a such a way that they won’t “pop” when you press on them.

Novena for the Solemnity of the Assumption

The novena starts today August 7th to finish on the Solemnity of the Assumption on August 15th.
Novena Prayer for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, you have at last been taken to the throne prepared for you in heaven by the Holy Trinity. Lift my heart with you in the glory of your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me how small earth becomes when viewed from heaven. Make me realize that death is the triumphant gate through which I shall pass to your Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of heaven. From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to you for help. I ask for this favor: (Mention your request). When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with you.
Amen.

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