Friday, April 27, 2012

Feast of St. George

Monday, April 23 was the feast of St. George (wow, can you believe I'm actually posting about it less than a week later??).  I decided last-minute that we'd make our school day center around this theme... baking a cake for math, reading/retelling a picture book about St. George and the Dragon, and coloring a St. George stained glass window picture.  While the cake cooled, we also threw in some science/nature reading to round out the day. :)

So, if you've seen any other dragon cakes out there in the blogging world, it appears the original idea was from a Family Fun magazine, and it's been shared by Catholic bloggers for this feast day or several years now.  Above, you can see how I cut and assembled the two round layers of cake.  It was a whole wheat devil's food cake recipe... because I had all the ingredients on hand for it, and because in the legend of St. George, the dragon is a symbol of the devil/sin.  Anyway, I didn't cut it quite like the other examples I've seen... for one, the idea of using Ding Dongs for the feet and snout didn't appeal to me (not only did I not want to have to go to the store, I didn't want those in my house because I'd probably eat all the extras myself).  Also, I didn't want a long neck on my dragon cake.  I know dragons typically have long necks, but I just like the look of this better... my dragon basically has no neck, and so I used the would-be-neck cake to make the legs and snout.

We frosted him with icing (2 sticks of butter in that, y'all.  Paula Deen would approve.) tinted a pale green... can we all agree that while much healthier, natural food coloring stinks at producing, well, color?  I ran it out, too, so this is as green as I could get it!  He has white chocolate chip claws, upside-down Hershey Kisses with red M & Ms for eyes, and Hershey Kiss spikes (along w/ two chocolate hip spikes at the end of the tail).  His nostrils are brown M & Ms and his tongue is raspberry fruit leather.

This was actually much easier to put together than I thought it would be... still, I could never have done it in addition to a "regular" school day.  

And here is how I was able to get it assembled/frosted... Caroline provided baby entertainment.  She's not yet crawling, so still not quite ready to do much self-entertainment (ie, pull books off shelves, tear up and eat magazines, eat crumbs and lint off the floor...).

Here the girls slay the dragon with cocktail toothpick swords...

And he just looked so friendly that it was a shame to have to slay him, but mmmmm, he was tasty!  Two sticks of butter, remember?  And that was just in the frosting!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Holy Thursday and Good Friday 2012

On Holy Thursday, we had our Lenten teatime meal as lunch with our friends.  For the original idea and menu at Cottage Blessings, click here.  My kids love these teas, and it helps them to remember the story.  This one begins with Jesus entering the city on Palm Sunday and continues through Peter's denial.

Represented in this picture - not in the order as they appear in the Bible - we have the costly oil used to anoint Jesus's feet (olive oil), Peter's tears of remorse (Tic Tacs), "before the cock crows twice (chicken salad tea sandwiches)," unleavened bread as part of the Last Supper meal (pita bread), Gethsemane figs (our favorite fig bars), the Mount of Olives where Jesus went to pray (mound of black olives), and thirty pieces of silver which Judas received for betraying Jesus (30 rounds of cheeses, cut with a small biscuit cutter). 

And in this photo... "you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven (whipped cream)," the palms on the road into Jerusalem (heart of palm sliced on bread, with ketchup on it), and Judas's kiss of betrayal (strawberries and Hershey Kisses... we had both, so used both!).

I read from the Bible as the kids ate, and we pointed out each food and what it represented as it came up in the passages read.  I was reading from the book of Mark, chapter 14.  The little signs on each food were printed from Shower of Roses, and then Caroline cut them out and taped them to toothpicks to stick in the food.

On Good Friday morning, I had to go to a doctor's appointment.  My awesome husband stayed home with the older two and made dough for our favorite whole grain hot cross buns recipe, which was rising when I got home!!  So later in the day, Caroline and Cecilia helped me make the dough into buns.  Apparently I didn't take any photos of the process, but each of them held up a finished pan for a photo after adding the crosses.  

These are so, so good with black tea... Earl Grey or Irish breakfast tea are my favorites.

We also read the Passion from the book of John and used our homemade figures to act it out.  And for our dinner on Good Friday, we had the second Lenten Tea menu, but I didn't take any photos.

Random Stuff and a Few Firsts for Lucy

Old photos from the past month or so...

March 25 was the Feast of the Annunciation, when Mary said "yes" to God's will when the angel told her of God's plan... so we had this blueberry coffee cake for breakfast that day.  It was really yummy - not too sweet, and perfect with breakfast tea!  The blueberries were a little... um, frightening.  The coffee cake was a last minute impulsive thing, and the only blueberries in the freezer looked like they'd been thawed and then re-frozen and tasted slightly fermented... ew.  Nobody died, I guess because I only put a very small amount in the batter.

Lucy tries her first attempt at solid foods... just a spear of steamed asparagus.  Yeah, I'm pretty unconventional with first foods...

She's not really ready yet... she gets it in her mouth but then gags and it comes back up/out.  She might try a couple bites and then loses interest.  She's done the same with a chunk of banana.  And the other night, she gnawed a small hole in a slice of raw zucchini that she was trying to grab while I cooked.  She tried pear too, but seemed to enjoy sucking the sticky pear residue off her fingers more than actually trying to pick up the little chunks of pear and put them in her mouth.

Bathroom mirror shot - and some great hair!

Another first... Lucy's first time in the big bath!  She was excited to smack the water and splash herself in the face.  Doesn't care too much for the getting washed part, but doesn't have a fit about it or anything.  

Like all the babies do, she tried to grab the drain...


...and more splashing.  She might be the splashiest baby I've had.  She's certainly the wiggliest!

Here's our columbine that I bought (and thought I killed) last year.  It survived, and we have beautiful flowers this spring!  Now the leaves are getting shriveled and changing color, so not sure what's happening to it... it's a weird plant.

THESE ARE SO GOOD.  Truly.  They are called potato cheese scones and Martha Stewart claims they're Scottish.  I don't care that she probably made that up, because they are just soooooo very yummy.

The girls' cousin, Julianne, turned two in March, and we went to her party.  I put Lucy next to Chloe for some pictures.  Lucy again tried to grab and eat Chloe's head.  It should be fun seeing these two together at the beach this summer... I imagine they'll be crawling and maybe even starting to walk!

Cecilia in the inflatable that they had for the party... their neighborhood has a little playground (which my brother Mike jokes is the old McDonald's playground... it has a thing that looks like the old hamburglar climbing thing... all metal  We lamented the fact that there was no big Grimace cage thing.  If you don't remember McDonald's playgrounds of the 80s, then check this out for visuals.  And here's the climbing thing... it's actually "Officer Big Mac," not Hamburglar... ah, well, that shows you how infrequently my mom took us there as kids!

Here's the birthday girl!

All the female babies (including mine) at this party had the big flower head explosion things going on... although I must say, most were rather small compared to some of those monstrous headband bow things I've seen.

Here's Julianne opening presents

All five girl cousins together, first photo ever of all of them

Lucy says, "Eat more Chick-fil-A cows!"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Easter 2012 in Pictures

This year's Easter baskets - chocolate crosses, Reese's eggs, Trader Joe's jelly beans, Catholic stickers (from the Dollar Tree!), sidewalk chalk, and new books

Cecilia's basket

Caroline's basket (was my mom's first!)

Lucy's basket - I always have a hard time finding a basket for each kid... they can't all share the awesome hand-me-down.  Got this one at Target.  Yes, Lucy got nothing for Easter - I'm so mean to not give a six month old candy.  Hey, I bought her a Sophie the Giraffe on eBay the other day (it was used), that counts, right?  It's just too late for it to be in her basket Easter morning, but I'm sure it'll arrive before Pentecost and she'll never know the difference... poor third-born, hee hee.

Resurrection rolls... the empty tomb.  Excuse Caroline's bangs; they are growing out right now...

Cecilia is the one who helped me make them the day before.

After Easter Mass in the prayer garden outside our church

Cecilia poses by our Lent/Easter figure scene... we re-enacted Good Friday with it, and this morning Jesus had risen from the tomb!

This post has close-ups of the figures.

And now for an endless stream of cute baby pics... it's my blog, so I can brag about how cute I think she is all I want, right?

My mom made this dress and bonnet.  For me.  32 years ago!!  It is still in beautiful shape.  I wore it for my first Easter, and Caroline wore it for her second Easter (since she was only 6 days old on her first Easter!).  I thought Cecilia wore it for Easter too, but I looked back at pics and she didn't - boo.  She did get professional portraits made in it at about 8 month, though.  So, Lucy and I are the only ones who wore it on our first Easters.

Click to see a close-up... the smocking on the bonnet matches the smocking on the dress.  I want my mom to start smocking again!!

not real eggs...

anyone know how to get stiff drooled-on ribbon clean without putting it through the washer??

hunting for eggs... one of the most low-action events in our family.  My kids have to be encouraged greatly to actually LOOK for the eggs.  They seem to expect them to just jump out into their baskets, it seems!

back of the bonnet... so cute!!

more egg-hunting

opening the resurrection eggs and retelling the story

The girls and I made nest treats on Saturday... complete with "puff birds."  We made another batch with blue candy melts, and they were prettier...

Cecilia shook up a baggie of coconut and a couple drops of green food coloring for the Easter grass in the blue nests.

Then she filled them with candy "eggs."  Notice her chocolate-covered face?

the finished nests... pretty and yummy!

Sure, this might look all festive, but really it's a big fail.  The reason I had to make this is because I actually began dyeing the eggs before I hard-boiled them - duh.  So, I remembered that to make Easter Nest bread, you use uncooked dyed eggs.  So... I took some of the resurrection roll dough and quickly made this.  It sat uncooked in the fridge and then we cooked it on Sunday.  We had plenty to eat, so we didn't even have this with our dinner really, but the eggs did cook in the oven - very cool.  And even though I started heating the oven both while the resurrection roll dough was rising AND the next day when this was rising, I didn't kill the bread - or set the oven on fire.

random "legless baby" shot

She did this to herself, I swear.

We all laughed and watched.  

And then she finally got it off by herself.

My parents and brother Tim came for Easter dinner, of which I ate entirely too much.