Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thank Goodness for Name Days

To celebrate my husband's name day, the Feast of St. Bartholomew, yesterday we made this cake. I have been dreaming about this cake ever since a friend posted about it. It was delicious, rich and moist, and the perfect antidote to my pregnancy chocolate-peanut butter cravings. It wasn't all about me, it satisfied my husband's sympathy cravings too. Also a scrumptious way to celebrate his saintly namesake.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Growing and Counting Down

Only 4 weeks and a few days to go until my due date of September 23rd/24th. I am mostly ready. I have a list of little things that I still need to do. Mostly, we are just so excited. This is a picture of me a couple weeks ago that a talented photographer friend of mine, Julie Rae was kind enough to take. I have never had an official pregnancy picture taken of me, so it's nice to have this. The real purpose of the pictures was to get a five year portrait of my son and some pictures of the kids together. Thanks for letting me share.

Monday, August 15, 2011

On the Feast of the Assumption

For the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I finally got an opportunity to make the delicious Baked Blueberry & Pecan Crusted French Toast I saw at Catholic Cuisine earlier this year. It was delicious and the children enjoyed telling me how the blueberries on it make us think of Mary because her mantle is blue. We did a few of the activities listed here and we looked at some pictures of the Assumption from various books about Mary that we have. Virgin Mary, Assumed into Heaven, Pray for Us.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Our 2010-2011 Home School Plans

This will be my first year doing any kind of organized schooling. The past few years I have just done lots of picture book reading and some fun crafts and yummy treat making. This summer it became very obvious that Pumpkin was really interested in learning to read and even doing some basic math. I decided to just go for it. I am so fortunate to have so many local and online homeschooling friends who are priceless resources for me. So here is what we have decided to do this year. Our pace will be very relaxed and slow. I am not going to push it if the interest isn't there. I will let you know how it goes.

Pumpkin

Religion: Our celebrations of feast days and Holy Days through out the liturgical year, Our Lady of Victory Kindergarten Lesson Plans, Chats with God's Little Ones, New Catholic Picture Bible, Leading Little Ones to Mary

Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears (Kindergarten Teacher Guide, Letters & Numbers for Me workbook, slate chalkboard, Wide Double Line Notebook paper, Gray Block paper, cds from a friend)

Phonics & Reading: Little Angel Readers A (Teachers Manual A, Reader A, and Workbook A)

Math: Right Start Math Level A (Starter Kit level A with Standard Abacus)

Science (if time and interest are there): Science & Living in God's World Kindergarten

Peaches

Phonics & Reading: Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On the Feast of Saint Clare

We had a special day to celebrate the Feast of Saint Clare. We invited friends over to decorate these cookies and then visit our local Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration.

The children had a lot of fun decorating their cookies as they listened to the Glory Stories - Saint Clare of Assisi cd

The cookies were sugar cross-shaped cookies, decorated with chocolate brown icing to match the habit of the Poor Clares. We piped with white icing on each cookie one of the four vows that the sisters take when they profess their Solemn Vows:
poverty
chastity
obedience
enclosure
The sisters were so happy to see our happy children and to get their cookie treats on their special feast day.
"Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me." - St. Clare of Assisi

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

ARRRGHHH!!! A Pirate Birthday Party

Pumpkin just celebrated his 5th birthday with a pirate birthday party. It was really fun this year because he wanted to be involved in some of the details, but I still kept as much of it a surprise as possible. I have been trying to tone down the birthday parties. I did my best. Cake

Pirate Ship Birthday Cake

This kit my mom got me made this a lot easier. I basically made 3 sheet cakes. The ocean is a whole sheet cake. For the bottom of the ship, I used the second sheet cake, cutting two small triangles off the front and trimming the sides. For the top 1-2 layers of the ship I used the last sheet cake stacking two cut rectangles on the back of the ship and two cut small triangles on the front to make a larger triangle. The cake was a white box cake with crushed Oreos in it (half I make into crumbs in the food processor and half I crush with a fork into chunks). there is no perfect amount of Oreos, but for a reference I used 2 boxes of double stuff Oreos for 3 sheet cakes. Cooking time may be a little bit longer with the Oreos in it. It makes a really yummy and moist cake. All our adult family and friends are always requesting this cake. The brown icing is a family chocolate butter cream frosting. I use this basic butter cream recipe for white frosting to dye various colors.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (family recipe)

this is the base which I often double or triple for most cakes

1 stick salted butter or margarine 4-6 tbsp cocoa - I often add more and only use Hershey's not Nestle melt above on stove on low to low-medium heat pour melted cocoa mixture into mixing bowl and add 1 box powdered sugar 1 tsp vanilla 6 tbsp milk (sometimes I don't add all the milk, just depends on my mood and consistency) mix until creamy

For lunch there was a giant pirate ship sub sandwich made with a loaf of french bread, deli meats and cheeses, pretzel sticks for oars and printable pirate flags from here taped onto toothpicks.

I also made a creatures of the sea snack mix with colored goldfish crackers, whale crackers and shark crackers.

Activities & Games

We did a water party in the back yard, so all the kids played in kiddie pools, made water slides, slip 'n slide and sprinklers. I had a water table also.

Then the kids came in and changed and played pirate dress-up with a bunch of costumes I borrowed from my mom's neighbor. I had plastic hooks, eye patches, hats, foam swords, plastic water pistols to use with their costumes.

Then we had a treasure hunt with clues leading them around the house in search of a treasure map. The treasure map then had them count paces to the treasure. The treasure was hidden under an old white t-shirt we marked up with a big black "X." The treasure was a cardboard treasure chest filled with various trinkets including plastic bead necklaces, pirate tattoos and stickers, eye patches, treasure map games, and lots and lots of gold plastic coins. Once they found the treasure I gave the children loot bags and just let them have a free for all filling up their bags with treasure form the chest.

Pumpkin got to keep the treasure chest and has since turned his closet into a treasure room with all his loot in his treasure box. Decorations

We had red and black streamers and balloons everywhere. This pirate flag we borrowed hung from the front porch. I used all the pirate toys I could find or borrow as decorations. There were stuffed pirate puppets, pirate ships, pirate telescopes, etc.
I had little pirate flags everywhere too. The table was set with a red plastic tablecloth and black plates and red napkins folded as sails. I had pirate cups and other pirate toys and figurines on the table.
Pumpkin had a wonderful time and has been asking for another pirate birthday party everyday. Even Sweet pea has been walking around with a pirate hat on her head and a foam sword saying "AAARRRRGGGGHHH!"

Me and my sweet big 5 year old boy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Feast of Saint Clare

Updated from the archives to celebrate the Feast of Saint Clare on 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).
Here are some ideas to celebrate the Feast of Saint Clare on August 11th: Prayer 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.
Books & Reading
Clare and Francis by Guido Visconti Saint Clare of Assisi: A Light for the World by Marianne Lorraine Trouve
Clare and Francis: Saints of Assisi by Helen Homan Activities
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.
Watch the movie Clare and Francis
We are blessed enough to have just had an order of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration sisters move to our area, so we will be going to mass and making a visit to them. Hopefully we will be bringing them the cookie treat idea I have written below. Food Make cross-shaped sugar cookies using a cookie cutter. Frost with brown chocolate icing to symbolize the brown veil of the Poor Clare sisters. then frost on each cookie one of the four vows of the Poor Clares: obedience, poverty, chastity, and enclosure, the fourth of which the Poor Clares add to the three ordinary vows of religion. "The earthly color of the brown Franciscan habit reminds the nun of the Scripture passage used on Ash Wednesday: "Remember thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return". It also is a remembrance for her that - without Him - she is absolutely nothing." (from The Shrine of The Most Blessed Sacrament)
Asparagus and Scrambled Eggs with Bacon as it is a dish commonly eaten in the area of Assisi.
Catholic Cuisine has a beautiful Saint Clare cheesecake inspired by the image of Saint Clare and the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Saint Clare, Pray for Us.

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