Thursday, December 20, 2012

St. Nicholas Day 2012

I'm very behind in posting this... still want to eventually post about our apple orchard trip in October and our Thanksgiving, so hopefully that will happen soon.  Blogging has been less of a priority lately, although I do enjoy it and want to remember the things we have done in this "virtual scrapbook."

We made our favorite St. Nicholas cookies, which are a German spice cookie recipe from Maria Von Trapp.  These are so, so yummy!  I made the dough one evening and then the day before St. Nicholas day, we rolled it out and the girls used our bishop cookie cutter from the St. Nicholas Center.  

Cecilia takes her turn...

And now Caroline's turn...

rolling the dough 

They love to use this kid-sized rolling pin from their play kitchen.

After we bake the cookies, I decorate them with royal icing... I can't wait til the girls are old enough to do this part themselves!

We try to do a special breakfast on St. Nicholas day... this year, we had a yummy fig/anise/black tea bread (that had been made and frozen a couple months ago!), scrambled eggs with cheese and spinach, and a rich "German hot chocolate" made with coconut milk - yum!

Here are some of the St. Nicks on parade across the countertop.  As usual, we bagged them up and then secretly delivered them to our neighbors (yes, including the one who reported our chickens!).  We also took some to the church for our priest, our deacon, and our religious ed director and his family.  I made a little label for them, but apparently forgot to take photos of the cookies bagged up/labeled.  The tag said:

Happy St. Nicholas Day!
Nicholas was bishop of Myra in the 4th century.  Just as he did things for people in secret, these cookies are left in secret for you!

Here's a link to the document I made of the tags.  The formatting is screwy though; I'm not sure why... maybe I can come back and fix that!

Cecilia enjoys her hot cocoa... they stirred them with candy canes, which are shaped similarly to a bishop's crozier.  St. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey.

Caroline actually said her hot cocoa was too rich!

The girls made these St. Nicolas crafts a couple years ago... we pulled them out to decorate.  They are still out on our china cabinet, and tonight I overheard Cecilia making Mary and Joseph from our nativity, who are also currently on the china cabinet on their way to Bethlehem, say, "St. Nicholas - what are you doing here; you weren't even born yet!"  Ha!!!  So true!  She surprises us with her insight sometimes!

The girls left out their shoes and found treats in them, just like Nicholas threw money into the home of a poor family which landed in their shoes/stockings (depending on who you ask! ;).

Apparently all my toddlers will be enraptured with the oranges left in their shoes... Lucy's was a clementine this year, a little citrus fruit for a little girl!  She carried it around the house for awhile.  I later found it in the doll stroller...

In our house, St. Nicholas brings some new Christmas-related books... this year, he left The Story of Holly and Ivy (my older girls love this story), and two we'd never read before, My Christmas Book and The Saint Who Became Santa Claus.  We also found a CD this year by the Anonymous 4 called Legends of St. Nicholas... pretty chanting, and we've been listening in the car throughout Advent!

And of course, the girls found chocolate coins in their shoes!!  I added the St. Nicholas images again from Shower of Roses.  My kids really enjoy this touch; they like to compare the images on their coins.  I think I'm going to use some of the Christmas images for the leftover coins for their Christmas stockings... which reminds me that I really, really need to make time to finish Lucy's stocking soon!!  Must do that before any more blogging... hopefully I will get around to posting about St. Lucy's feast day as well...

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Lucy Speaks

Lucy has begun saying several things since she has turned one... she is about 14 and a half months now, nearly 15 months really, so before she gets any older, here are some of the things she is currently saying, lest I forget to record them before she moves on to bigger and better words!

moon: booo
moo (what a cow says): booo
no: no (no no no... she often will repeat this one while shaking her head!)
more: muh (while making the sign with her hands)
Mama: mama
Daddy: Dada
Uh oh: ah oh
All gone/all done/I don't know: ah oh (said while holding her hands out and apart as in a questioning manner)
shoe: sue (started as just "sss" and now sounds almost like the actual word)
Cecilia: sss
blueberry: blblblb (said with much movement of the tongue!)
Pope: pup
poke: pup
poop: pup (seeing a trend here?)
cup: pup, although it almost sounds like "bup," which was Cecilia's early version of the word cup
ball: baw
please: she makes a little p/b sound while doing the sign
dog: uff uff (making a barking sound)
cat: dah
hot: aah
hat: ah
mouse: mow (rhymes with now)... this is also about how she sounds when imitating a cat, although then it is a bit higher pitched

She also runs around making all these little sounds that have s and th sounds in them... she is rarely quiet!

Some of the things she has been doing...
* Running away from me when I am trying to change her diaper/put on her shoes/etc... not always, just on occasion
* Climbing onto the fireplace and pulling the rocks out
* Pointing to her head and saying "poke" ("pup") when we read her family book to her and get to the Uncle Tim page... she also sometimes does this when she hears us say "uncle."
* Dancing and marching to music; asking for more when we turn it off or stop singing
* "Helping" me put on my shoes by handing me shoe after shoe (more like thrusting them into my lap enthusiastically!)
* Pushing the corn popper toy all over the house... she likes this toy far more than the other kids did
* Going into the big girls' room and being delighted to get her hands on their stuff!
* Saying "Ah oh!" as she looks at the book Jamberry
* Pulling all the books off the shelves
* Climbing on the small table by the window to look out the window (time to move the table!)
* Clearly indicating no by saying it and shaking her head if I misunderstand something; for instance, if I offer her a piece of bread when she is saying/signing "more" and she really wants some ice
* Pulling things out of my purse, especially my wallet, and pulling out every credit card, receipt, and dollar bill
* Hugging with both arms... she has been blowing kisses for many months now
* Following all kinds of simple directions: "Go play in the sunroom in the little kitchen," "Put your clothes in your hamper," "Go get your shopping cart/stroller," "Go get your shoes," "Let's go to the kitchen," etc.  She also shows she understands many words and phrases such as snacktime, mailbox, outside, night-night...
* She is very interested in phones, laptops, ipads... especially when they make noise!
* She loves to go outside
* She begs for snacks by going to the pantry cabinets and pointing and making her little noises
* She likes to look through books and have them read to her, but loses interest quickly... currently she loves Jamberry and Who is Coming to Our House?
* She has temper tantrums!  My older two didn't throw fits until they were well past 24 months, ha!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sophia's Baptism!

This year, I became a godmother for the first time - twice!  Chris and I became godparents of my brother's daughter in January, and this fall, my best friend from high school, Karen, asked me to be their new baby's godmother!

They live in Jacksonville, Florida, and we had visited them briefly in August when we were there at the beach, but we'd not yet met Sophia, as she was just a few weeks old and still in the NICU since she'd been born about eight weeks premature.  

The baptism began in the narthex after Sunday Mass - October 21st.  An old friend of Jason's (Karen's husband) was the godfather.

Here we are at the baptismal font.

Caroline was excited that father asked her to hold the book for him!

Anointing Sophia with chrism... such a wonderful scent it has!!  I just love baptisms!

Happy mommy and baby!

We ended the ceremony by walking up to the altar, and afterwards, we took some photos... Jason, Karen, and Sophia

Godparent photo

Reception time!!!  There was lots of yummy food - dips and chips and crackers, lunch meats and cheeses and rolls, punch, and of course... 

the baptism cake from Publix!!  Yum.  If I have any more babies myself, there is *supposed* to be a Publix in town by then, ha ha!!

Our family was staying at a nearby hotel... we visited my grandparents on Saturday and had dinner with Karen and other out of town family on Friday and Saturday evenings.  On Sunday, Lucy and I helped get some of the food prep done before Mass.

Here's Lucy with one of Sophia's stuffed animals

Caroline with her godmother, and now her "godsister" as well!

Look at all those girls, ha ha!!

God bless you, Sophia Vivian!!!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Funniest Billboard Ever!

Located near Valdosta, GA on I-75

All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day

On October 31, the eve of All Saints Day, the girls dressed up as saints to attend our parish's All Saints vigil Mass, which was followed by a "trunk or treat" in their saint costumes.  The Hispanic community has been doing this in past years, but this year the vigil Mass was bilingual.  It was my hope that more parishioners would attend this as an event that brings both Hispanic and non-Hispanic parishioners together, but alas, there were only three non-Hispanic families attending.  Attending Mass and then celebrating the saints should be what this day is about, so I was really excited to see that it would be a bilingual event this year!

Cecilia wanted to be Saint Clare again, which was wonderful for me, because I didn't have to do anything for her costume - she just wore the one from last year!

Caroline decided to dress as one of our newest saints, who was canonized on my goddaughter's baptism day!  We designed an Indian costume for her to be Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.

Here is the costume... minus the skirt.  The shirt is only sewn a little at the armpits.  Easy!  The skirt was a long piece that wrapped around and pinned - no sewing on that part!  The inspiration for making these came from here at Catholic Inspired.  We made the skirt differently, but the shirt is basically the same, except for the sleeves being longer on my version.  Caroline made her necklace herself.  The fringe on her boots was just pinned on as well.  The headdress was something I learned how to make when teaching "Indian Lore" at a summer camp many years ago.

Here are the girls behind our van before Mass... they were so excited they could wear their costumes in church!  And Caroline got to help present the gifts to the altar.

Here is our "trunk" decorated with saint coloring pages... the girls picked a few they wanted to use, and they colored them on the couple days leading up to October 31.

Here are the girls with our priest, Fr. Patrick... he told everyone to come dressed as either saints, angels, or Biblical figures... so he dressed as Pharaoh!  I don't know who all these other people are with them... I was handing out candy when this photo was taken!

We had ballet class on All Saints Day, but the next afternoon, we had a little homeschooling All Saints party!  Here are the kids with some of our saint-themed snacks, such as St. Bernadette's Firewood (pretzel sticks), St. Francis's Animal Friends (animal crackers), Saintly Halos (pineapple rings), and St. Gabriel's Trumpets (Bugles chips), to name a few.

Here are our cupcakes for the cupcake walk... they are actually a pumpkin bread recipe, baked as muffins, with chocolate chips in them and chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Each one had a saint holy card stuck in the top.  Behind them are the prizes for the games... I had some leftover holy cards and medals from last year, and I added some extra little St. Joseph books I had gotten in a bulk deal a couple years ago.  You can see the Saint Bingo sheets in front... I apparently didn't take a picture of them playing this; I was too busy trying to keep Lucy from stealing snacks from the other kids and drinking my pumpkin spice coffee, ha!

This game was called "Crown Mary the Queen of Heaven."  We used a garden statue of Mary, and I turned an embroidery hoop into a crown using some yellow cardstock and tape.  The kids took turns throwing the crown like a ring toss game, and if they chose to use something easier, I had a hula hoop as well.  Most were able to get the crown around the statue pretty easily... next time, I will know I can put the statue a bit farther away from them!

This game is called "St. Juan Diego's Rose Toss."  Juan Diego saw Mary appearing to him, and she showed him some fresh roses growing in winter as a sign to show to the bishop.  He gathered them up in his tilma, which is a cloak, and then God left a beautiful image of Mary on it.  For our game, the children tied "tilmas" around their necks and then held them out to catch plastic roses that were thrown by their partners.  They did it like an egg toss, backing up another step in between each toss.

Here is the cupcake walk... there were images of some saints on cards that I put in a circle on the driveway, and the children walked around them as a Catholic children's CD played.  When the music was stopped, I drew a name of a saint, and the child standing on that saint's card got to go choose a cupcake - yum!

And here I feel like I should make some sort of "flying nun" joke...
St. Clare swinging at the party!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Animal Crackers

Animal Crackers 
by Christopher Morley

Animal crackers and cocoa to drink,
That is the finest of suppers I think;
When I'm grown up and can have what I please
I think I shall always insist upon these.

What do YOU choose when you're offered a treat?
When Mother says, 'What would you like best to eat?'
Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast?
It's cocoa and animals that I love most! 

The kitchen's the cosiest place that I know;
The kettle is singing, the stove is aglow,
And there in the twilight, how jolly to see
The cocoa and animals waiting for me. 

Daddy and Mother dine later in state,
With Mary to cook for them, Susan to wait;
But they don't have nearly as much fun as I
Who eat in the kitchen with Nurse standing by;
And Daddy once said, he would like to be me
Having cocoa and animals once more for tea. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Daybook for Late October 2012

Outside my window... a beautiful crisp clear fall sky... much improved over yesterday's dreary skies and wind that ushered in the first true fall temperatures for the year!  The temps are a bit low, though... we may have skipped fall temperature-wise.  I hope not!

I am thinking... about our upcoming All Saints celebrations.  Caroline's Saint Kateri costume is finished except for her necklace and "moccasins" - she's stringing some beads and cutting fringe to attach to her brown boots.  Cecilia is being Saint Clare again, so all I need to do for her is to pull last year's costume out, yay!  I'm thinking Lucy will just be baby Jesus with a pipe cleaner halo and I will be Our Lady of La Leche.  This year, we get to attend the All Saint's vigil Mass at our parish dressed as saints, followed by "trunk-or-treating" in the church parking lot.  On Friday, our informal Catholic homeschooling group is having a party.  I am thinking about a few games to bring and which kind of cupcakes to make for our cupcake walk.

I am wondering... if things will ever slow down around here... we had to deal with a neighbor reporting our backyard chickens and going before the planning board and city commission requesting a special use permit to keep them, and it still isn't over -rather than ruling on our request, they are asking the planning board to come up with guidelines and see if they can agree upon reasonable rules for chickens in the city limits.  Hopefully those guidelines will be ones we can meet, but it won't be decided until December, most likely.  And we still need to write letters and send resources to help guide them in constructing reasonable rules.  This got much bigger than ever anticipated...  the Facebook page I set up has over 300 members, and that was over a two-three week period!

I also have to finalize a letter to send to our (former) pediatrician practice.  They will kick us out if we don't fully vaccinate all our kids, yet they are allowing other families to continue to come there without getting any vaccines if they so choose.  The inconsistency and the poor communication methods (hitting parents with this at office visits in front of their kids rather than sending out a written policy) has me done with them.  But they will be getting a letter detailing exactly why we're leaving.

Other things keeping us busy have been a trip to Florida to attend my new goddaughter's baptism, homeschooling, daytrips for apple-picking and our niece's birthday party, and other day to day tasks.  The chicken thing has been mentally draining on top of the things we have been busy doing.  And I do plan to post photos of the baptism and the apple orchard at some point!

I am praying... for this snotty nose Lucy developed last night to pass quickly.  It took me an hour and a half to get her down last night, and I really have been counting on using the evenings to finalize All Saints costumes, games, cupcakes, and getting things ready in general.  At least the party isn't at my house, so I don't have to clean it, ha!

I am thankful... that my mom could come babysit after the girls were all asleep on Friday night, and trhankful also that my favorite musician actually came to do a show in our small town!!  It began at 10:30 at night - so, since Lucy typically stays asleep at least until 1am after I get her down in the evening, I figured it was a good chance for us to go, at a perfect time... so of course, the baby who for the last ten or more days has not woken up before 1am other than one night... yes, you guessed it, the night she decided to wake up was while we were at the concert, of course!  She knew my mom was here and was apparently excited, at least that's what I am telling myself caused it.  At least she didn't give her a hard time... and in the morning, Lucy only wanted Gramma and was sad when she left.

Anyway, it was loads of fun to see Emerson do a solo show - small venue, lots of song request opportunities and audience interaction.  He played "Hallway" at my request and told us that it is going on his next album.  We got to meet him afterward and get an autograph and photo and thank him for coming to such a random place, ha.  And I got to observe that apparently he likes the same kind of beer as me. :)

This is the song I requested... it was the second song of the show.  At then end when he says "for you" and motions towards the camera, he's talking to me.  I'm such a dork with my rock star borderline obsession, ha.

I am hearing... Lucy's stuffy breathing as she naps.  I was going to write this post last night, but then it was after 10pm when I finally got some downtime...

Learning at home... trucking right along with second grade.  We're really enjoying the Burgess Animal Book and learned about beavers and muskrats most recently.  Hoping to plan a trip to some local lakes to see some for ourselves!  We're hoping this afternoon to have some animal crackers and hot cocoa to go along with the most recent poem Caroline has memorized... do you know the poem??

We have also been taking advantage of the fall leaves for our nature studies:

From the kitchen... hoping to make an apple pie and pumpkin cake for the weekend... must make cupcakes on Thursday first.  Oh, and dinner.  I'm thinking pulling from the deep freeze might sound good tonight or tomorrow...

I am reading... For the Children's Sake.  Very slowly, as always.

To live the liturgical year... All Saints celebrations as previously mentioned.  St Martin de Porres has a feast day this weekend, so I am hoping the picture book about him is available at our library for us by then, and maybe we'll make the Martin's Mice snack to remind us of the story...

One of my favorite things... pumpkin recipes!

I am creating... a Saint Kateri costume.

Around the house... diapers in the wash, and I really need to swap out winter clothes for the summer ones... I hate that job, because first of all, they have way too many clothes, and then deciding what pants are long enough/fit in the waist and which things that fit Caroline at one age are too long for Cecilia and what boxes to look in and what boxes to put old things in... it is overwhelming.  And then there's socks and tights. Tights that match nothing and dresses that need leggings or tights that we don't have.  I probably need to just get a couple more colors of plain Baby Legs to fill in those gaps... and then I'll have more clothes for them, adding to the problem... it never ends, I guess.  Today Cecilia is wearing a size 6 outfit Caroline wore at one year older than Cecilia is now... whatever.  I don't even know why it is in the box it is in.  Maybe one day I will have time to just purge and reorganize...

A few plans for the rest of the week... 

* Wednesday - All Saints vigil Mass and trunk-or-treat at our church followed by Steak 'n' Shake for dinner
* Thursday - Ballet, bake cupcakes
* Friday - All Saints homeschool party in afternoon; Birthday party for a friend of the girls in evening
* Saturday - Retirement party for co-worker of hubby
* Sunday - late afternoon cookout at our house to thank our friends who have helped in our fight to keep our chickens!  And Chris's mom comes to visit that evening for a couple days - yay!

A picture thought I am sharing...

I have no idea why Snapfish uploads some of my pictures with this line through them... the right third of the photo doesn't have that dark section on it in the original file!