Sunday, December 23, 2012

Homemade Nativity Butters

My children love making homemade butter in a mason jar so much that we decided to do it for Christmas this year too. Instead of making an Easter butter lamb, we used our nativity chocolate molds to make butter molds for Christmas dinner. 

 All you need is a mason jar, heavy cream, and a pinch of salt. Be prepared for your arms to get a little sore, but it only takes about 10 minutes of shaking the jar to get butter.

We used the same recipe for our homemade butter...

 Homemade Mason Jar Butter

 Pour heavy cream and a few pinches of salt (and honey or lavender or other flavoring) into the mason jar filling it up 1/2 way or less. 

Screw on the lid very tightly. Start shaking and shaking. Now shake some more. At some point after about 5-10 minutes the cream will have gotten very thick. 

Keep shaking and soon it will separate into a soft butter ball and liquid buttermilk. Transitioning to this point is the hardest part as you will feel like it's a whipped firm mass and not even shaking anymore. Keep shaking though, you are almost there.

 Shake a few more minutes to thicken up the butter ball. Then pour the buttermilk out. Save it in a jar for using later for pancakes, biscuits or baking. 

Then we spread our butter into the nativity molds and let it chill in the freezer for a few hours. 


What a lovely addition to our Christmas dinner table.

Hope you have a blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mommy Guilt Redefined

I'm sure I feel as many other mothers across the country do, a whole new version of mommy guilt. A deep sense of guilt -- I still have my little kindergartner to hug and hold and another mother does not. Every little thing he has done these past 5 days has given me a second thought, did those mother's get to have that moment? 

His first tooth is wiggling, did they get that first toothless picture? He finished his first chapter book all by himself, did they get to high five their new readers? He wrote his first Christmas list all by himself, did they get a chance to save that for his baby book? Six years old is sort of like a baby's first year all over again, so many firsts and new accomplishments. How many of these firsts did they get to have?

 I was trying to find some sense of peace this past Sunday, the third of Advent, the day we light a pink candle for Joy. The irony was so fierce and biting. I could only think of Mary, the sacrifice she gave, of her son for us. But then we received the greatest gift of all through her and her son. And in their own way through their ultimate loss, these grieving mothers have given us a great gift -- perspective. We are able to perceive through their loss how precious and fragile life is, especially the golden days of childhood. How sweet each day with our children is, how each moment, each milestone is an irreplaceable gift.

I feel like the Little Drummer Boy -- "I have no gift to give" these mothers and fathers. But like the Little Drummer Boy, I will give from my heart the most precious gift I can give, prayer. It is all I would want. But if I were those mothers I might hope too that mothers and fathers would give extra effort to savor each nugget of silliness, each toothless grin, each simple drawing, each small victory, each hard lesson learned. I would want them to fill a memory book with every gem they could muster, because even if hopefully we never live a day in this life without our children, they will not be little children forever. 

So when my precocious little six year old boy sneaked downstairs last night when he should have already been asleep, instead of scolding him, I shared a bite of my ice cream sandwich and he shared a hug.
This Christmas I will honor their lost children and their grief with joy. I will unwrap each day like it is Christmas, because each day Christmas when you are surrounded by the sweet gift of a child.

Our Lady of Sorrows, Pray for all who grieve lost children.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Saint Lucy Day 2012

Some snapshots from our day on this Feast of Saint Lucy...

Despite my pathetic paper Saint Lucy crowns, the girls were very excited to be "Saint Lucy girls" this morning and insist I call them that for the first half of the day. They were delighted to deliver the Lussekatter to their daddy and brothers.

This moment may be one of my favorite of the day. This little guy was all smiles as these pretty girls ran into his room with sweet bread in his crib. 

 We made our Saint Lucia Braided Bread for dinner and then read Lucia, Saint of Light and colored Charlotte's Saint Lucia coloring pages. We listened to "Santa Lucia" and prayed this Saint Lucia prayer.

Saint Lucy, you did not hide your light under a basket, 
but let it shine for the whole world, for all the centuries to see. 
We may not suffer torture in our lives the way you did, 
but we are still called to let the light 
of our Christianity illumine our daily lives. 
Please help us to have the courage to bring our Christianity 
into our work, our recreation, our relationships, our conversation 
-- every corner of our day.

To celebrate this saint whose name means "light" we did our annual Christmas lights pajama driving tour. Our hometown has some epic light displays and at this house you can get out of your car, meet Santa Claus and climb in his sleigh.

Another fun feast day. 

Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr, pray for us.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ave Maria Toast

For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception we made a simple snack to celebrate Immaculate Mary.
Ave Maria Toast

In separate bowls each, I dyed a small amount of whipped cream cheese (whipped definitely spreads smoother than block or regular cream cheese) pale blue and golden yellow with food coloring. I spread some white whipped cream cheese onto some toast. Using snack size ziploc bags, I piped an "A" and an "M" onto the toast in a design inspired by Catholic Emroidery's Ave Maria design.
I think it turned out lovely and the kids enjoyed eating it after they colored Charlotte's Immaculate Conception coloring page. I am sure many of you could come up some with wonderful ideas to add to this or tweak it for other feast days.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy St. Nicholas Day!!

Happy Feast of Saint Nicholas


 I savored the sweet quiet moment of looking at these still small shoes all lined up. I loved seeing their happy smiles as they opened their chocolate gold coins and their new Christmas books.

The Cherry Cheese Candy Cane Coffee Cake was a delicious way to start the day. I made this cake using the technique for shaping here, but the recipe here except I omitted the glaze on top. It was fun to add this new treat to our celebration from years past.

I love this Saint Nicholas prayer for children.

God of joy and cheer,
we thank you for your servant,
the good bishop Nicholas.
In loving the poor,
he showed us your kindness;
in caring for your children,
he revealed your love.
Make us thoughtful
without need of reward
so that we, too, may be good
followers of Jesus.

We had a simple day of Saint Nicholas activities yesterday and this morning, reading some of favorite Saint Nicholas books and watching The Boy Who Became Santa Claus.  

This little man was giddy about all the excitement.

St. Nicholas, Pray for Us.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Coming to your computer screen this December...

...this blog will be up and running again, I promise. 

I have some plans in the works. 

So for those of you that still even have me on your reader, I look forward to sharing again soon.

Jesse Tree Readings 2012

The Jesse tree is a symbol of Jesus' family tree.
It is based on this verse from the book of Isaiah, and is a way of teaching the Old Testament background for the coming of the Messiah, which is the first long "Advent."

"A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots"- Isaiah 11:1

Our Jesse Tree which we use is from this kit (pictured above, seriously why can't I remember to take a picture of our fully ornamented tree on the Epiphany).
We have also at times colored coordinating coloring pages.
Since every year the number of days in Advent is different, I tweaked previous years reading lists for this year. I have also changed it to better match this particular ornament kit, which meant deleting some significant Old Testament stories. There are various symbols for each story that will coordinate with multiple different ornaments. Here is a link to a calendar with additional daily activities for the Jesse Tree. Below each reading and symbols is a link to a coloring page that corresponds to the story.

December 2
Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4
Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth
Creation coloring page

December 3
Adam & Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24
Symbol: Man & Woman, tree
Adam & Eve coloring page

Fall of Man/Original sin: Gen. 3:1-24
Symbol: Serpent, tree, apple
Adam & Eve Expelled from the Garden coloring page

December 4
Noah: Gen. 6:5-22; 7, 8, 9:1-17
Symbol: Ark, animals, dove, rainbow
Noah's Ark coloring page

December 5
Abraham: Gen. 12:1-9, 15:1-6
Symbol: Stars, torch, sword, mountain
Abraham coloring page

December 6
Jacob: Gen. 28:10-22
Symbols: Ladder, kettle
Jacob wrestling with Angel coloring page

December 7
Joseph & his brothers: Gen. 37
Symbol: Multi-Colored Coat, bucket, well, silver coins
Joseph coloring page

Joseph's Greatness: Gen. 41
Symbol: shock of wheat
Joseph storing food coloring page

December 8
Moses as Prince: Ex. 1 & 2
Symbol: basket, baby in basket, river and rushes
Baby Moses coloring page

Moses and the Burning Bush: Ex. 3
Symbol: burning bush
Moses burning bush coloring page

December 9
Moses - Plagues: Ex. 5-12:1-36
Symbol: frog, parted sea
Moses Parting Sea coloring page

Moses - Parting Sea: Ex 5-12:1-36
Symbol: parted sea

December 10
Moses receiving Ten Commandments: Exodus 19, 20, 24:12-18
Symbol: stone tablets
December 11
Moses water from the rock: Exodus 17:1-7
Symbol: staff
December 12
Samuel: 1 Sam. 3
Symbols: Oil lamp, candle lamp, temple
December 13
David Chosen King: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Symbol: sheep
David chosen king or Star of David coloring pages

December 14
David & Goliath: 1 Samuel: 17
Symbol: slingshot
December 15
Solomon's Wisdom: 1 Kings 2:1-6, 3:4-28
Symbol: Scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword, crown
December 16
Elijah's Contest: 1 Kings 18:3,21-39
Symbol: burning rock
December 17
Jonah: Jonah 2:1-2, 11 or entire book of Jonah
Symbol: Whale
December 18
Tobiah's Journey: Tobit 5, 6:1-9, 10:1-6, 11:1-15
Symbol: fish
Daniel and the Lion's Den: Daniel 6:1-29
Symbol: Lions
December 19
John the Baptist: Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
Symbol: sandal, Shell with water, river
December 20
Annunciation: Luke 1:26-38
Symbol: Angel
December 21
Visitation: Luke 1:39-56
Symbol: Mary
December 22
Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25
Symbols: Joseph, Carpenter's Saw, hammer, chisel, angle

December 23
Journey to Bethlehem: Luke 2:1-6
Symbols: manger

December 24
Jesus is Born: Luke 2:6-20
Symbols: baby Jesus

Epiphany - January 6
Visit of the Magi: Matthew 2:1-12
Symbol: shining star

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Let the wild rumpus start"

I loved this book as a child and love it as a mother of a creative little boy who can be a "wild thing" and make "mischief of on kind and another" on occasion. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tres Leche Cake for Cinco de Mayo

We made an easy and delicious Tres Leche cake
as part of our Cinco de Mayo dinner. 
I based it off of this recipe but made some alterations
(mostly to make less sugary and cut out some unnecessary fat)
so this is my version:

Tres Leche Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups skim milk
1/2 of a 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
sprinkling of cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
  3. Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.Cool cake.
  6. Combine the skim milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
  7. Whip whipping cream, 1-2 tablespoons of sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Sprinkle top of cake with cinnamon. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, enjoy!
It was the perfect end to our dinner of fish and chicken tacos, refried beans and cheese and some yummy strawberry and mango margaritas.

Our Lady of Guadalupe & Saint Juan Diego, 
patron saints of Mexico, 
Pray for us!

Friday, April 27, 2012

My evening chcocalte craving has found a new home...

and maybe this is why I am not blogging much lately. 

I'm too busy eating super quick and easy decadent chocolate treats like this...

You must try. 

Oh and I promise, once I am sleeping more I will be back to blogging.

If you're willing to hang around, I'll catch you up. 

We have just been living and enjoying life...every yummy bite!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chaplet of Divine Mercy Novena starts Good Friday

Join me in praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy Novena starting Good Friday and ending nine days later on Divine Mercy Sunday.


First Day:

Today bring to Me ALL MANKIND, ESPECIALLY ALL SINNERS, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. 

Second Day:

Today bring to Me THE SOULS OF PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave Me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard—upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end.

Third Day:

Today bring to Me ALL DEVOUT AND FAITHFUL SOULS, and immerse then in the ocean of My mercy. The souls brought Me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were that drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.

Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wonderous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. 

Fourth Day:

Today bring to Me THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD* AND THOSE WHO DO NOT YET KNOW ME. I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.

Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages.

Fifth Day:

Today bring to Me THE SOULS OF THOSE WHO HAVE SEPARATED THEMSELVES FROM MY CHURCH,* and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church, My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son's Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages.

Sixth Day

Today bring to Me THE MEEK AND HUMBLE SOULS AND THE SOULS OF LITTLE CHILDREN, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. Only the humble soul is capable of receiving My grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart." Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father's favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Seventh Day:

Today bring to Me THE SOULS WHO ESPECIALLY VENERATE AND GLORIFY MY MERCY,* and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory.

Eighth Day:

Today bring to Me THE SOULS WHO ARE DETAINED IN PURGATORY, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. 

Ninth Day:

Today bring to Me SOULS WHO HAVE BECOME LUKEWARM,* and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls, who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy.

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