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.

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