Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve-Making Bunuelos Mexicanos

In the world of the fritter there are many variations of the bunuelo.  I have fond memories of our mom packing up to go spend this day with her mother, our grandmother, which was also our grandma's birthday.  They would spend the day chismiando (gossiping), drinking weak coffee, and making bunuelos.  My mom would come home before midnight with a plateful of bunuelos just before the ball would drop in Time's Square or at least when it was airing for the central time zone.  Sometimes our mom would make them for us at home.  I remember a house filled with smoke (the oil in the pan would get dirty) and the aroma of cinnamon.  There are two things I would have serious guilt about not having for my family around New Year's Eve and Day....bunuelos for the eve and black eyed peas for the day.  I now have a check on both of those things!

Bunuelos Mexicanos

2 c. flour
dash of salt
app. 1 c. cold water

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and add enough cold water to gather the flour and salt into a ball of dough.  I used approximately 1 cup cold water.  The dough will still be a bit sticky so you can add a little flour at a time until the dough starts to slightly leave your fingers.

Break off a small portion of dough about 2 inches in diameter and roll out on a floured surface with a rolling pin.  Stretch out the flat piece of dough with your hands to make a thin flat "tortilla."  Be careful not to stretch too much and rip your dough.

Next pour vegetable oil in a skillet.  My oil was about 1/2 an inch from the bottom.  You will be frying the flat "tortillas" in the oil so use tongs and turn on your vent hood to the high setting.  You might even need to crack a window open just a bit to vent your kitchen.  Luckily I didn't need to do this!  Fry each "tortilla" about 30 seconds on each side until they are a golden brown.  If it doesn't seem cooked enough or isn't crispy yet let it fry a bit longer.

Drain the bunuelos on a paper towel lined plate.  Sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and granulated sugar on both sides of each bunuelo.  Enjoy!

From our home to yours have a Safe
and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Style Watch - Brooks Brothers

This is really Daddy's favorite place to shop after our dry cleaner told him the best and sturdiest dress shirts were from Brooks Brothers in his opinion.  After all he's a dry cleaner so he's seen them all!  Well, maybe not Barneys, but then again he is a world traveller and has a keen sense of style so maybe he has.

Keeping within his budget, Daddy carefully combed through the semi-annual sale catalogue that came in the mail.  He made an inventory of what he needed to replace and set out to capture his finds last evening.  Today, I decided to go through the catalogue to see the ladies' section.  What a treat!  I found these little items that I wish would show up on Valentine's birthday and Christmas are just too far away to wait!

I spritzed a little bit of this fragrance on when I was at the shop last evening helping Daddy shop.  He didn't notice in the store, but he sure did in the car!  I think he liked it.:)

Six Geese A'Laying....

stands for the six days of creation.  Well, today it's raining all over creation!  The snow is melting because of the rain and everything looks a bit brown and dirty.  The forecast predicts this will turn to snow a little later today which I am grateful for.  I love the way the snow looks everywhere so white and pretty.  Yesterday was very warm...almost 40 degrees!  I was thinking it felt like spring when I saw a very fat red-breasted robin as I was driving home!  I think the bird is wondering why everyone's not tanning and speaking Spanish.  It should be in Mexico by now!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

4th Day of Christmas...4 Calling Birds

For our last day of Auntie Nora's visit we had a Christmas tea.  I took the instructions and suggestions from Cottage Blessings' Christmas Tea Ideas.  You can find it here.  This was very fun for all of us.  I enjoyed shopping and putting together all the food with my sister, and the kids loved eating all the little surprises.  Here are a few pics.

I added a food item for the 4th day of Christmas using Bugles for the four calling evangelists.  Those were a hit after the ice cream!

Ice Damming

We've had a real problem with ice damming because of the heavy snows and the extremes with thawing temperatures.  Here's a fun picture of the boys being inspired by a neighbor.  Even the playhouse must be free of leaks!

Candy Dots for Christmas & New Year's Party

Inspired by Jessica at Shower of Roses, the kids and I made candy dots to share with friends over the next few days.  These are just too cute when they're done!  The kids love mint so these are a real hit.

Monday, December 27, 2010

3rd Day of Christmas...St. John the Evangelist

Maria quickly put me in my place by saying that if I roasted a chicken for dinner that would be gluttony!  I think she's seen the large bag of leftover turkey we have from Christmas dinner.  With that, I decided to forego that idea and make turkey soup instead.  I boiled the carcass last night and several root vegetables to make turkey stock for freezing.  I used Kalyn's turkey stock post to do it.  You can find that here.  To the soup I added French roasting rub spices that I planned to use on the chicken.  I think they'll taste perfect in the soup.

I also did a search for a coloring page for the kids for the feast of St. John today.  I found this great sight.  If you click on the picture you can get the full screen image and print options.  I thought it was perfect because the kids remember seeing this painting at the Prado Museum in Spain.  I just love when God has these things all figured out before I do!

Have a great day!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day

My sister says, "You either go shopping or you punch someone out!"  I probably won't go shopping today, but we'll be celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family instead.

Pear Tart from Christmas Day

Our Christmas Day was filled to the brim with happiness, peace, joy, and plenty of rest.  Hope yours was, too!

After Nick woke up he continued eating that piece of bread!

Friday, December 24, 2010

O, The Antiphons Days were Wonderful....Christmas Plans

Here's a little update from our O Antiphon Days.  I think the children enjoyed all the little surprises, and we liked how easy each thing was to do.

O Wisdom

The kids loved the giant pictures in the Life of Christ book.  We also finished The True Saint Nicholas.  This is a great book and really added a great perspective to our older children who don't believe in Santa Claus and our younger children who don't even doubt for a minute.  We learned so many things about St. Nicholas that we will never forget.  I highly recommend it!  Molly also received a book, Fear Not, Joseph, from her godmother.  It is written from Joseph's point of view.  This was hard to read without tearing up!

O Father of the House of Israel

The children enjoyed making graham cracker houses for a small village.  This was a lot of fun in spite of my hating to make them.  The children are able to do a lot by themselves so I didn't get as dirty as I thought I would.

O Rod of Jesse

I love, love, love our poinsettia.  It adds such a beautiful look to our living room and really makes it feel like Christmas is coming!

O Key of David

The keychains were a hit with the kids.  They loved seeing the Spanish versions of their names and reading the virtues associated with them.  

O Dayspring

The kids really brightened up the Marian Center in St. Paul with their singing and playing.  I am so happy they were not too shy to sing for the residents.  Daddy was so happy that I took the kids over to sing that he gave me the night off and made the breakfast dinner.  I'll have to admit that he's better at making pancakes!!

O King of the Gentiles

Remember I didn't know what to do for this day?  Well, my good friend, Kathy, asked me when I wanted her to bring over the pan of mint brownies I had asked her to make for Paul and the children so I, of course, said, "Wednesday!!"  This is definitely a brownie fit for a king.  She's the best mint brownie baker I've ever known.  I have had them before....before giving up sugar!  It's hard to stay away from these, but I just pretended I was banished from the kingdom for this day.;)

O Emmanuel

The children were so excited to receive these little Nativity figures.  I am so happy they finally have a set they can play with and I don't have to worry about.  I can hardly wait to give them the Three Kings at Epiphany!

Christmas Plans...not officially complete, but, oh well!

Here are a few things I plan to do for the 12 days of Christmas.  We'll begin by reading the Night Before Christmas after we go to Mass.  Yes, it will technically be Christmas, but I still want to read this aloud to the children since we have a new pop-up book.  I have a large poster board that I made with pictures of the 12 days that will go up in the dining room for the kids to see.  I also picked up a set of ornaments for the 12 days at a discount store two years ago.  Every morning the kids will get the ornament for that day and place it on our Christmas tree.

The partridge in a pear tree is Christ. In nature, a mother partridge will feign injury to lure predators away from her defenseless nestlings. In the same way, our Lord protects us, vulnerable human beings, from Satan. The pear tree symbolizes the salvation of mankind, just as the apple tree symbolizes Adam and Eve’s Fall from Grace.

  • 2 Turtle Doves....Turtle Sundae Ice Cream for Dessert at our Sunday evening meal.
Two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testaments. Also, Jewish couples of modest income offered two turtle doves instead of the customary lamb as a sacrifice to God when they presented their newborn child in the Temple. Interestingly, our Blessed Mother Mary and St. Joseph offered a sacrifice of two turtle doves for the presentation of our Lord (cf. Luke 2:22-24).
  • 3 French Hens... I have a French Roasting Rub for roasting a chicken for dinner that night.

Known for their beauty and rarity, the three French hens signify both the gifts of the Magi (gold, frankincense, and myrrh), and the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

  • 4 Calling Birds...
The four calling birds are associated with both the four evangelists and their gospels’ Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and the four major prophets’ Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.

  • 5 Golden Rings.... 
Five golden rings has a two-fold significance. A ring, or a circle, has no beginning or end but is continuous. Thereby, the ring reminds us of both God’s eternity, His permanent, faithful, and continuous love for us and the circle of faith God’s love for us, our love for Him, and our love for our neighbors. The number five also signifies the first five books of the Old Testament the Pentateuch or Torah (the books of law for the Jewish people).
  • 6 Geese A'Laying.... 
The six geese a-laying represent the six days of creative work recounted in Genesis.
  • 7 Swans A'Swimming
However, in Judaism, seven was a number of perfection. The seven swans a-swimming continues the Genesis theme, reminding us that God’s plan included not just the six days of creating but also the seventh day of rest; we in turn must not forget to make Sunday a holy day by worshipping God at Mass, spending time with our loved ones, and relaxing. Moreover, the seven swans a-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven corporal works of mercy, the seven spiritual works of mercy, and the seven deadly sins.
  • 8 Maids A'Milking....Dinner at the Convention Grill in Edina for the best milkshake in the Twin Cities!!
The eight maids a-milking signifies the eight beatitudes and, at that time in our Church, the eight times during the year prescribed for the faithful to receive Holy Communion.
  • 9 Ladies Dancing....Today we will announce to the girls that they will be attending the Little Flowers Father Daughter Dance in January.  Our little ladies will be so thrilled to get a chance to dance with their Daddy!
The nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit and the nine choirs of angels.
  • 10 Lords A'Leaping
The Ten Commandments are represented by the ten lords a-leaping.
  • 11 Pipers Piping
Eleven pipers piping are the eleven faithful apostles at the time of the resurrection and ascension. (Remember that Judas, one of the Twelve, betrayed our Lord and committed suicide.)
  • 12 Drummers Drumming....Today we will present the children with the 3 Kings for their nativity set in honor of Epiphany.  El Dia de Los Reyes Magos is a huge festival day in Mexican culture.  This is a day for a lot of gift giving.  We will celebrate with a Rosca de Reyes from our local Mexican Bakery and Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Finally, the number twelve for the Jewish people represented completion and fullness. Therefore, the twelve drummers drumming are the twelve minor prophets, the twelve precepts of the Apostles Creed (still the structure of the first part of the Catechism), the twelve apostles (particularly the original 11 plus St. Matthias who replaced Judas), and the twelve tribes of Israel.
**All text taken from Catholic Resource Center.

Enjoy Christmas Eve in full anticipation of Christmas Day!  From our home to yours,

Love from Us!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Not a Shabby Giveaway

Head on over to Betty Beguiles and enter to win this hot little number from Shabby Apple!

Moon River

The pic may or may not load, but you can head over to the two links and get a glimpse of it.  I had a bit of trouble loading images at the site so good luck.  And let me know if you win...I'll sure let you know if I do!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Dayspring...Giving Away Sunshine!

We were inspired to take the kids to the Marian Center where Daddy is the chiropractor on staff two days a week.  The kids have been practicing a few songs from choir and others they have chosen to sing on Christmas day for their grandparents.  This seemed a good opportunity to spread a little Christmas cheer to the residents at the eldercare facility.  Here's a little clip of the kids singing, "Prepare The Way of the Lord."

They also played a Christmas song with a piano accompaniment.  It was beautiful to see how excited they were to give the residents this beautiful ray of sunshine today!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Things That Make Me Smile

1.  Teamwork

Maria is concentrating in the first photo while she helps to reassemble Molly's graham cracker house.  Poor Molly accidentally dropped her house, but the other kids felt so bad they stayed up and put it back together for her.  In the second photo, we have the village....a boarding house, school, church, Hansel & Gretel's house, and a cabin!

2.  Being Fearless

The two oldest girls went to a birthday party last evening for a neighborhood friend.  I wondered how it would go since our kids are still retaining their childhood with lots of imagination and little to no technology.  Here are two things they helped the party girl to do:

  • Helped her ask her mother to take the cell phones away from the girls while cake was being served and "Happy Birthday" was being sung because the girls were texting and Facebooking and weren't paying attention to her.
  • Our girls didn't feel like it was good media so they gave her the option to have them call us to have them picked up so she could play Wii Dance Party with the other girls.  The birthday girl wanted our girls to stay so she opted not to play the Wii game.  Monica said she explained why it was bad media and helped the birthday girl understand her point of view.
I felt like our Advent was going well, but now I know it has been.  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

SmashBurger: A Review

Daddy invited me out for a date night so we decided to take in our local SmashBurger.  This new joint moved into the local shopping center about 2 years ago.  It's all the rage and comes out of Denver, CO.  I'm a burger hound!  I LOVE burgers.

I was impressed with the clean digs, the giant menu, and the friendly staff.  The burger was flavorful but a bit thin in my opinion.  Of course, that's why they call it "smash" burger...the burger has been....well, smashed.  Daddy ordered an order of SmashFries, too.  These were interesting thin fries that were tossed with olive oil, rosemary, and sea salt.  He said they were good, but I didn't try them.  Overall, I'd give it a 3 out of 5 for flavor and surroundings.  It's also very convenient at only 5 minutes distance from our house.  Another plus is that they have a liquor license.  Appeasing the beer-god in your spouse is always a plus!  Daddy was able to have this recent favorite from Schell's Brewery.

Yes, that's called "Nordeast."

I'm more of a "meaty" burger kinda gal...pun intended.  I would rather go for a burger at Manning's.  

Manning's has been in the U of M neighborhood since the 1930's.  It's a typical neighborhood bar so the digs are ok.  It's also a sports bar with giant TV screens and is typically loud.  However, they have hand-pressed burgers that are at least a half inch thick.  Their fries are "meatier," too.  The burger at Manning's is very flavorful, but for the size I rate this a 5 out of 5.  The free popcorn behind the bar which the kiddies love makes up for the ok digs.  Heck, for free popcorn, you can even drown out the noise from the railroad tracks!  Manning's is also family friendly giving out free ice-cream to the kids on certain days of the week.

Bon Appetit!


Friday, December 17, 2010

O, the Antiphons

I still cannot figure out what that "Link" box is under the "Title" box when I post, nor how to use the "Add enclosure link" feature.  Could someone enlighten me?

Getting on with it...I thought I would jot down my "surprise" plans for celebrating the next seven days of the O Antiphons in anticipation for CHRISTMAS!!  Because I stumble upon these things, we started celebrating the O Antiphons a few years back when a friend ( know who you are) gave us the Magnificat Advent Companion as a gift.  I loved learning about this ancient tradition and what it signifies for the Church even though I had been going over each of them since I was 20.  I would do a Christmas Novena with Regnum Christi and the Legionaries of Christ in the days prcedeeding Christmas.  I never knew what I was actually saying.  Great Titles for Christ, but I didn't know these were the O Antiphons.  The catechesis as explained in the Magnificat Advent Companion is wonderful and is a beautiful continuation if you've been doing a Jesse Tree or, in our case, have been in a Good Shepherd Atrium.  These next few days bring it all together.  Also, the girls have had to learn the Latin in O Come, O Come Emmanuel for their study in Lingua Angelica from Memoria Press.  I'm amazed at how much they retain and apply from their Latin studies.    Last year, we added the O Antiphons to our Advent Lapbooks.  This year I'm excited we'll do a little something on each day.  Say a little Prayer it goes well!  If you want to know more about the O Antiphons, you can read more here.

O Sapientia - O Wisdom  - Dec. 17


Veni, O Sapientia,
quae hic disponis omnia,
veni, viam prudentiae
ut doceas et gloriae.

O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high,
and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. 

I plan to give the kids a book....a very LARGE book for this first day of the O Antiphons.  I fell in love with this when I saw the catechist at Good Shepherd bring it out to show in the Toddler Room.  It measures 17"X13" and has beautiful artwork depicting the life of Christ.  I'll be placing this on the coffee table in the area of the living room where we do Morning Prayer.  This will be great to give the kids visual images for the Gospel readings throughout the year.  Score...I picked this up at Borders as a Bargain Book plus an additional 40% off!

O Adonai - O Lord - Dec. 18


Veni, veni, Adonai,
qui populo in Sinai
legem dedisti vertice
in maiestate gloriae. 

O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times did give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe. 

Saturday, I plan to have the children make graham cracker (gingerbread) houses.  I took this idea from Waltzing Matilda from her alternate O Antiphons ideas.  I have extra bags of white chocolate melts so this will be a great way to use them, and I can't stand Gingerbread Houses.  I hate the way they get hard and attract ants.  How does one store a Gingerbread House?  Our kids don't seem to want to eat them past the assembly.  So they'll each make their own and be responsible for either eating it or throwing it out!  Think Gingerbread Village!

O Radix Jesse - O Rod of Jesse's Stem - Dec. 19


Veni, O Iesse virgula,
ex hostis tuos ungula,
de spectu tuos tartari
educ et antro barathri. 

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse's stem,
form ev'ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict'ry o'er the grave.

Here I like Jessica's idea of getting a Christmas Poinsettia for the home.  This one's pretty easy to do and with the busy-ness of Sunday, I need easy.  The three older girls are singing at the 8:30AM Mass at St. Agnes in the children's choir so it will be an early start for which I may need an afternoon nap.

O Clavis Davidica - O Key of David - Dec. 20


Veni, Clavis Davidica,
regna reclude caelica,
fac iter tutum superum,
et claude vias inferum.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heav'nly home,
make safe the way that leads on high,
that we no more have cause to sigh.

The Holy Spirit comes through again on this one!  I remembered earlier today that I purchased key chains in Spain for the children.  In one of the gift shops in Granada I found keychains with names on them.  I remember selecting one for each of the kids.  The names are all written in Spanish with a little explanation of the name.  "Granada" is printed on each one as a souvenir.  Problem was this afternoon I couldn't find the bag of keychains.  I started to think I'd forgotten to pack it back in Spain.  I mentioned this to Daddy when we were out this evening.  He assured me that he had taken them and stored them away for safekeeping!  I love that man!!

O Oriens - O Dayspring - Dec. 21

Sun rising in the East

Veni, veni O Oriens,
solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas,
dirasque mortis tenebras. 

O come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death's dark shadow put to flight. 

For this day I'm going to do the Breakfast Dinner option.  The kids Love, Love, Love breakfast dinner.  It's a Minnesota favorite!  If I'm ambitious and not harried that day, I might make mini cinnamon sugar muffins, an egg bake, and get fresh-squeezed orange juice.  If not, I know the default waffle breakfast is actually the favorite.  Simple is usually better so I might just stick with the waffles.

O Rex Gentium - O King of the Gentiles - Dec. 22

Crowns or King Cake

Veni, veni, Rex Gentium,
veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos famulos
peccati sibi conscios.

O come, Desire of the nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid every strife and quarrel cease
and fill the world with heaven's peace.

I talked this one over with Daddy, and he didn't seem too thrilled about me making a king cake before Epiphany so I'm stumped.  I thought about crown cookies, but we have a lot of Christmas cookies for the Christmas season.  He suggested a coloring page so I might just have the kids do that.  Any ideas anyone?

O Emmanuel - O God With Us

Nativity Set

Veni, veni, Emmanuel
captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio,
privatus Dei Filio. 

Come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that morns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

I'm so excited about this one.  We have a nativity set but the figures are ceramic so the kids can't play with it.  I had another smaller set of figurines, but they were also ceramic and broke a few years ago.  I don't really want to buy a plastic Fisher Price set because I don't think the older kids will like it much.  The Play Mobile version seemed nice, but the kids have too many Play Mobile figures and parts that will just become more of a hassle.  However, I fell in love with the figures that are used in the Atrium at Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.  They use Fontanini pieces...the 5" kind that little hands can grab and hold well.  I wanted to buy the My First Fontanini set, but decided against the 3 1/2" size.  So, we'll be purchasing the simple set of three figures as a starter set.  This way we can add the stable, animals, and kings later.  I think I may purchase the kings after Christmas and give them to the kids for Epiphany!

Keep Praying for Your Hubbies!


All Lyrics taken from Fish Eaters.

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