November 29, 2010

St. Andrew Christmas Novena

St. Andrew Christmas Novena
Hail and blessed be the hour
And moment in which the Son of God
Was born of the most pure Virgin Mary,
At midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, O my God,
To hear my prayer and grant my desires,
Through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
And of His Blessed Mother. Amen
(To be recited fifteen times a day from the Feastof St. Andrew (Nov. 30) until Christmas)

November 28, 2010

Nothing Much and Advent

This week's baking for the baking challenge was Rich Peanut Butter Cookies (pg 20 of the Farmer's Wife Baking Cookbook). They are the best peanut butter cookies I have ever tasted or at least very close to my friend-who-is-opening-a-cookie-shop's peanut butter cookies. Next time I think we will put a Hershey Kiss on top after baking. A little chocolate never hurts. :D We didn't have any lard available so we used all butter instead of 1/2 and 1/2. This recipe will definitely go into my binder of tried and true. These have a slightly crispy yet slightly soft, smooth texture, unlike peanut butter cookies that often have a grainy texture.

My husband is not a peanut butter cookie lover like his ever-loving wife so when I asked what he had to say about the cookies he said, "I don't know? They are round?" *chuckle*

Eowyn roller blading down the hall.... actually I think is it more accurate to say roller-chugging as she was not at all blading, just kind of trying to balance and move forward.

On the way to the butcher. Poor guy. I've had days like that too.

Well, here we are... Advent. One of our little traditions is to set up the buildings of our ever-growing Fontanini Nativity set and each day of Advent the children rotate putting up one or two figures. This year we set it up in the bookshelf next to the piano. We'll see if it stays there, Poppy tries to climb up it now that there are no baskets or books to deter her from the effort.

I got this cute little idea from one of our homeschooling groups. In all our 14 Advents/Christmases with children we have never made a paper chain that I can recall. Someone came up with this idea that you cut out enough papers for each day of Advent and on each paper you write a person or family or whatever to pray for. So all 9 of our children-who-can-talk-somewhat-coherently each came up with 3 people/intentions to pray for (Poppy merely came in and said "HI!") and I wrote the names on the strips of paper. I have to admit to being secretly glad that some of the children thought to mention "mom and dad".
It's also the beginning of the Liturgical Year so a great time to start "new year's" resolutions in light of our prayer lives and how we live that out.

November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa's

We had a fabulous dinner at Grandma/pa's. I know there were well over 12 courses as I lost track after that point. It was a huge.... delicous... dinner and just an overall really nice evening.

Auntie found this adorable coat and bonnet for Poppy.

Eleanor and Poppy get into the dress up box.

Thanksgiving at Home

Breakfast consisted of a simple breakfast of waffles and sausage. A note on waffles. I'm not a boxed waffle person but I bought the box of 60 waffles anyway. I could not believe when I got home from Mass and Adoration to find that the children who were at home made the entire box. However, there were only 5 left-over.

After breakfast the 2 big boys and Aragorn went hunting and got a big ol' buck.

While the other deer was into ground venison this one will be made into gyro.

Not the biggest rack Aragorn has every gotten, but a nice rack just the same.

Lunch consisted of a spiral cut ham, cranberry-orange jello salad, strawberries, raspberries, crescents and rolls, a tossed salad and cranberry hot "tea".

Setting a Table

We were trying to figure out where to set the tea cups for our Thanksgiving lunch so I found this image in an internet search. I laughed out loud and thought, "No wonder Europeans have such small families." According to the diagram our family would have to set the table with 98 pieces of silverware, 48 cups, etc....


Sam's first dissection project for science was to dissect a worm.

I kept thinking, we live in the country and we bought a pickled worm to dissect.

Poppy dissects a box of cheerios. Please note it is not wise to let the 1 year old help with the groceries. It translates as "help yourself to the groceries"......

November 21, 2010

Baking Challenge

Over cyber-yonder, Lady Modesty is sponsoring a Baking Challenge. Since we like to bake we decided we would like to try! The $100 Panera gift card for the winner was mighty tempting, too! Just to give a quick synopsis, each week she will post 5 choices from the Farmer's Wife's Baking Cookbook (found everywhere)... so yes... you need the cookbook. You choose 1 to make. One recipe a week, that can't be too difficult. Submit a picture (very easy for a blogger) and voila! 52 recipes later....... we celebrate at Panera.... maybe.... or we just think with envy about the person who is celebrating at Panera! :D

We made the Good Sugar Cookie recipe found on page 16.

These cookies are a nice soft sugar cookie with crispy edges, spiced with cinnamon and cloves. They remind me very much of the sugar cookies my NY Grandma used to make. Anyway, these were delicious and I think they would be perfect with some hot apple cider or cranberry hot drink. Aragorn's reaction was "They are like a pancake." chuckle We made a single batch. I forgot how small a single batch is! We only got 15 big cookies. For the ordinary size family that is about 4 cookies each, in our size family that is a 1-1/4 cookie teaser.

Deer and Little Women

St. Hubert, patron saint of hunters.
Here are my 2 young hunters, they just try and run the deer out. If you look verrrrrrrrrry careful you can see my 3rd hunter, the not-so-young-one, way out in the field... behind the big garden weeds.

Got one the first day. YAY!

Bilbo just making a fashion statement.
A little while back we ate a lovely little lunch at our friends' house before heading out to see the Broadway Musical version of Little Women.

After the show, they invited anyone to come up on stage so the small fry in our group headed up.

The show was terrific. "Jo" had a fabulous voice!

November 19, 2010

Misc Pics

I guess we were having such a good time with our guests we didn't get many pictures. Here the bigger kids playing a game called Catan.
One of many buffets which is how we handled all our meals during our x-large family days.

One of our cabinet doors broke off and you will never believe this but NOBODY drew a smiley-face person on the door with Elmer's glue. NOBODY. I'm afraid we might have a ghost.... named NOBODY.... or a very talented mouse.

The abominable snow baby..... minus the snow which we have not gotten any of yet. I believe I'm the only local eager for snow.

We have a never-ending kitchen story going on. We are simply trying to move our "work-portion" of our kitchen to the other side of the wall where we used to have our laundry room and pantry. Well, I won't bore you with all the delays. But Aragorn is building an... "old-fashioned oven" (Rosie), a "clay oven" (Frodo) and "I don't know oven" (Aragorn)... call it what you will, it's like those stone oven things you see in some restraunts and they use one of those long wooden paddles to take things out of (a paddle oven?) It is obviously not finished yet (but this may be as finished as it gets). Galadriel was baking some homemade bread in it to be tasted at dinner. We did a trial the other day but it was made by Aragorn's idea of a recipe which is "a little of this a little of that, is the consistency right?" method (I am wondering if there is a GPS for cooking for men) But although the flavor was a bit.... interesting.... the crusty-crust was incredible.

Month of November

Picture borrowed with permission from Kimberlee at Pondered in my Heart
As I was scrolling through Pondered in My Heart Blog I ran across a picture there that made me stop and think that this is the grave for me. So, whoever plans my funeral, I'd like that up there. I'd also like a Solemn High Traditional Latin Mass and I've got music picked out, too. Of course, I'm not likely to go anywhere any time soon.... but.... you never can tell!

November 17, 2010

Quandaries of a 2 Year Old

Me to the little boys: Go outside and play on the bricks but wear a jacket and shoes because it's cold.
Bilbo: Who made it cold? pause Ohhhhhhhh... the dezzole, he made it cold.
Obviously any weather that renders the use of shoes and jackets must come from the evil one.

Traditional Latin Children's Choir

My friend Kay wrote a lovely article about the children's choir that my friend Michele and I started this year. It appeared in our local Catholic paper this week. I'd like to share it here. 6 of the children in the choir are mine :)
It all began with the death of a dear friend, complemented by their immense love and adoration of Jesus Christ, especially through the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). Inspired by their belief that the rich musical tradition contained within the Church's repository of Sacred music, so much of it languishing in obscurity, should be transmitted to the younger generations, the St. Norbert's TLM Children's Choir was born.
Michele, Julie and 16 children, ages 7 to 15, will be presenting their first Sung High Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at 5:00 PM on Wednesday, December 8 at St. Norbert’s Church in Roxbury. A light dinner reception will follow.
Michele shares, "Our St. Norbert's Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) Choir lost one of its members, William, to cancer in July. Per his wishes, a Traditional Requiem High Mass was celebrated on July 29, 2010 by Rev. John Blewett, a priest from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest. Deeply moved by both the experience of William's humble acceptance of sickness and death, and by the majesty of the Requiem Mass, I experienced an interior urging to start a children's choir.”
“I was right on board as soon as Michele mentioned the idea of forming a children's choir”, said Julie. “We first met at St. Michael's back in 1991 and having a mutual love for beautiful music, started a chant schola, which dissipated with the death of Fr. Kunz. With the Motu Proprio and re-introduction of the Traditional Latin Mass in the Madison Diocese, we were once again reunited through the Latin Mass Choir at St. Norbert's. I think that children should learn truly beautiful music that is so often forgotten in the Church today. Since the first purpose of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is to adore God in the most perfect way, the music chosen should serve to enhance the Mass and uplift the soul to God.”
Michele agreed, “It is my own personal sense that the children of our times have a special role to play in the restoration of beauty. My hope for them is that their hearts and spirits continue to sing the praises of their God and their Catholic faith throughout periods of joy, privation, or persecution. Music has the ability to momentarily transport us from this mortal plane of existence, allowing us to experience our connection to the Celestial Realm and Those who eagerly await us there.”
Julie mentioned that St. Cecilia and St. Augustine are their patrons. St. Augustine, who deemed himself to be exceptionally sensitive to music, understood its power to stimulate the emotions, as evidenced in his Confessions: “The tears flowed from me when I heard your hymns and canticles, for the sweet singing of your Church moved me deeply. The music surged in my ears, truth seeped into my heart and my feelings of devotion overflowed, so that the tears streamed down. But they were tears of gladness.”
The children are singing Gregorian Chant Mass IX - Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Salve Mater Misericordiae and Credo IV. The hymns include Omni Die Dic Mariae and O Purest of Creatures as well as polyphonic pieces sung in two parts: Ecce Panis Angelorum, Alma Redemptoris and O Esca Viatorum.
***********End of Article********
We are currently also working on some Christmas Hymns, they will sing during the prelude to Midnight Mass. Each month we sing special hymns dedicated to the month, for example this month we are singing special hymns in honor of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Our next sung High Mass will be for the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19th at one of our other cluster parishes that says the TLM on Saturday mornings. After Christmas we will begin to work on that.
If you are local are interested in joining us... email me.

Support Our Priests

I received yet another letter about our priests, our good, holy and saintly priests. Priests who are making changes in the Church to try and bring Catholics to a greater sense of holiness. Of course given Catholics today who have had the last 1/2 a century of brainwashing into a horizontal theology, as we the people and the mediator between God and man is no longer really needed except to be our buddy, is resiliant to any form of true spirituality.

You may read the article in full HERE but I will highlight a few of the points (because if you are like me you really can't stand just a blind link that you don't know what you are going to and whether it is worth the time)

In case you are not aware, our Bishop and three Priests have come under some rather severe public criticism. It all began when our Bishop brought in three Priests from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest to serve the needs of St. Mary's Parish in Platteville. The immediate reaction among many, even before the Priests arrived, was that this was not going to work. This kind of predisposition is certainly uncharitable. Almost predictably, after a few months during which these Priests and our Bishop were treated to a barrage of public criticism, even scorn, donations in Platteville have dropped in half.
You will be happy to know that our local Knights are rallying to the support of their Priests, their Bishop and their beloved parish school. I attended their last council meeting and found Knights discussing ways in which they could publicly express their support for their Priests as well as raise funds to help their Catholic school. They are dedicating the funds from their next two breakfasts to the support of the school, which is in desperate need of funds to continue through the remainder of this school year.
After the meeting one of the Knights took me to view their sanctuary. I had noticed how beautiful it looked before the meeting but I did not know the history. He told me that the beautiful area behind the altar, with the two statues, the "spires" pointing heavenward, and the ornate tabernacle were all placed there by the new Priests. ............. Unfortunately, this change was met with great resistance among many in the parish.
Another change that was met with perhaps even greater resistance was to move to bolster priestly vocations by declaring that all altar servers must be boys.
Please pray that the people of Platteville will have their hearts and minds opened to understand the gift they are being given.
With three Priests, they have been able to add Masses to the regular schedule. There is now an opportunity for masses in Latin daily and a Mass in Spanish, the native language of these Priests, on Sunday. Even this is being criticized. Also, with three priests, they no longer have a need for extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Of course, you guessed it, more criticism, even though our Church is clear that extraordinary ministers are to be used only when the extraordinary (not ordinary) need exists.
So read HERE for the full article.
The Knights are collecting money to help keep the school open, if you would like to donate please click on the article. Or I just received this nifty widget from one of the priests.... (let's see if I can handle this)

November 15, 2010

Seasoned Mothers

As a mother of many and of only 2 younger-teens, I value the thoughts, opinions and experience of other mothers..... seasoned mothers. You know, the kind that don't say "Life is a bowl of cherries and this is the pits." that don't say, "You just wait, it gets worse." I have waited and now I have 2 younger-teens and I still like them! But I still hear, "Well, just wait til they are 16." Bridget, at Our Magnum Opus, is one of my favorite seasoned mothers. In this article she mentions she loves having a 17 year old. HOPE! So it isn't all hopeless afterall! There is a way to raise up-standing teens. You mean they don't have to be like that typical teen?! When I grow up, I want to be just like Bridget. Of course, it is likely I might not grow up but... there is hope.

I Miss You

November 13, 2010

I Love Trash

Well, actually I detest trash, it's the bane of my existance but it seems to be a theme song around here.

Let this be a reminder that what you let your children watch/listen to when they are small will be what they want to hear again when they reach 40+. And here I sit bellowing out I love trash, anything dirty or dingy or dusty.... The older children groaned the little ones are giddy.

November 11, 2010

Bigger Family & The Cave

This week we increased our family size to 14 children as we enjoy the company of our Doodle Acres Long Island friends. The girls playing what I would describe as Extreme Clue.
Live LOTR's music. Heaven.

The oldest boys playing poker.

The youngest boys playing "lego store" or that is what they said it was. Looked to me like "lego bomb"

We went on a little field trip to a local Cave. Look who was there.

Here's our group.

Panning for gold with out the stuff to pan.

The cave was incredible but I'll let it speak for yourself, even if I am using a broken camera.