Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas

Christmas is probably my favorite season! 



I love being cozy in our home all together.  



The kids are happy and occupied.






I am at peace.  Paul is happy that I am content.  It is a joyful time.


My spirit is called to prayer and contemplation.  I light candles all around the house because they remind me of the light born into the world to bring us hope.



    Christmastime is perfect!

Monday, December 24, 2012

¡Feliz Navidad!

Tamales, Anyone?

The girls and I with the support of Daddy put these little delicacies together.
Thank God for FaceTime and my sister's iPad so we were able to have my Mom walk us through the process!!

Here is a collage of photos from earlier in the day.  We had a craft station set up in the school room downstairs to keep everyone busy downstairs while I prepared everything for making the tamales.  We had a very fun day.  Making tamales is challenging, but with the girls' and my Mom's help it was very doable.  Thanks, Mom!


And in case you're wondering about the stacking Nativity dolls, I found them by clicking here:  Holy Family Nesting Doll Set.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Baking Joy!

Pretty

We had a cookie order to fill so we were busy baking and decorating this weekend.  I think these cookies turned out the prettiest.




Happy

Baking and decorating cookies make us all very happy.  In spite of all the homework they had to do, Monica and Maria were front and center with the decorating.  Maria, as always, helped me with the colors.  She does such a great job mixing and coming up with the right shades.  I don't know what I would do without her.  Monica and Molly are getting steadier with the icing bottles which helps tremendously.  Hand decorating takes a lot of time and patience.  There is so much inspiration on the web, but you ultimately have to do the work!  Have competent helpers is a so wonderful.





Funny

We've been busy celebrating the nights of the O Antiphons....

O Wisdom....the kids received a set of the CGS Little Gospels which are new this season, a book on Our Lady of Guadalupe, and a board book of the 12 Days of Christmas

O Adonai....the kids made these gingerbread cake houses.  True gingerbread houses just don't get eaten so when I saw this Nordic Ware mold for making cake houses, I was on it!







Jane was more interested in eating the decorations than in decorating the houses!





They had so much fun making their houses and using my decorating supplies!

Real

I won't overwhelm your server with more pictures, but as you can see from the cookie pictures up above, I'm still playing around with lighting and editing.  I have a light box that I set up downstairs in my craft room for photographing our cookies.  The box helps a lot, but I think I have the wrong lightbulbs in the lamps that I use for lighting.  I made my light box out of tag board for about $8.00.  I bought the lamps online from Walmart which can be found in the automotive section.  A diffuser would help a lot, too.  I'm waiting for 2013 for that purchase!  The other trick is angles so I do a lot of standing on chairs and stools and use my zoom lens to get the right shots.  It's all very tedious, but I LOVE it!

I use the ironing board to adjust the box to the right height.  The iron and starch are readily available in case there are shirts to iron!;)


Unfortunately, there is not a lot of natural light in my craft room.  Fluorescent lights in the room can be good or a problem depending on what I want to accomplish.  There are so many factors to lighting.  Ugh!  I'm linking up with Leila so you can go see more PHFR posts by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

'Tis the Season....

for making COOKIES.

The annual Cookie Exchange is happening this Friday evening.  I'm participating again this year.  There are so few of us who exchange cookies so I only had to make 7 dozens.  Monica helped me find a color scheme off of Pinterest.  Even though I don't pin to any boards these days, I still like to go there for inspiration.  I have my usual haunts cookie bakers/bloggers that I follow.  And let me tell you there are plenty of ideas with those gals!  But here's what we came up with.   And, I must say, the girls did most of the work.  Monica baked all but 1 1/2 dozens.  She decorated most of the cookies with Maria's help.  Maria mixed up all the color, and Molly worked on the sugars and dragees.  Many hands do make light work.  This effort is a testament to that old adage.

Cookies assembled on paper plates ready to be wrapped!

We made 1 dozen mittens, 1 dozen large Christmas trees, 1 dozen mini Christmas trees, 1 dozen peppermint swirls, 1 dozen snowflakes, 1 dozen candy canes (not shown), and 1 dozen marbled tiles.  Each participant will get 1 dozen assorted cookies.

The mittens and marbled tiles were our favorites.  The snowflakes were a close second.
I think it's the Swedish heritage that draws us to the red and white!
 And, yes, I am taking cookie orders this holiday season.  All proceeds will go toward helping to buy Christmas presents for families sponsored by our parish and a young gal who is trying to pay off school debt so she can join a religious order.  She is also from our parish.   You can contact me either through the comments or via email at pnglittlefieldatgmaildotcom.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Its' Here, It's Here....It's Finally Here!

SNOW!!!!!


These are some of the approximate snow totals around the metro, and it's still snowing!  I'm going to grab a cup of tea, knit, and watch Downton.  Yeah!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Advent 2012

I really had to force myself this morning to grab my camera, walk around the house, and take a good look around.  There is beauty in the mundane, and I have a tendency to miss it.  I find myself wishing for more peace and serenity in my days.  Days that are filled with children, appointments, basketball practices and games, classes outside the home are so very full that I feel more like a machine than a mother at times.  But I do manage to make time for tea in the evenings, knitting, and reviewing all the Downton Abbey episodes in anticipation of the third season!!!  I'm so excited for that.  I do make time to pray, too, and read to the kids.  It's amazing how much you can stretch an almost-winter evening.  I'm making sure I'm stocked up with tea for this weekend since snow is in the forecast.

Pretty....Advent Wreath waiting for larger Advent candles.



Happy....that I have realistic expectations with my decorating and catechesis!

I can't imagine or at least bring myself to ask the kids to make Jesse Tree ornaments.  I am happy that I bought these paper punch out ornaments at an after Christmas sale two years ago.  I figure there's no harm in having them get damaged.  Whereas I'd be annoyed if the kids ruined handmade ornaments that took us time to make.



Funny

No matter what I do to pretty up the dining room table, someone always has to put more stuff on it instead of putting things away.  That someone just happens to be me this time.:(  I have no one to blame but myself for not moving the everyday fruit bowl back to the kitchen table, the fake holly decorations to the front porch for the Christmas pots, and the lone pink Advent candle back to the Christmas closet.



Real

Yes, that's the basketball practice and game schedule for December.  The highlighted green is Monica, and the highlighted pink is Maria.  Yes, there seems to be at least one if not two highlighted times on every day!  That is Jane's finger painted Christmas tree she made in her preschool class and a letter from her little friend, Andrew.  Along with that letter, he sent her a string of hot pink beads.  Smiles all around!  That paper at the bottom of the bulletin board is Molly's Schoenstatt Advent calendar.  Diligent Molly is trying to keep up with all of her Advent commitments.  Way to go, Molly!


I'm finally linking up with the ladies over at Like Mother, Like Daughter after weeks of not participating.  In case, I don't link up again for a while have a Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas!



Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!

Have I ever said that Daddy just rocks? Ok, I have, but this time he REALLY ROCKS! He knows how much I hate fumbling with packaging and getting stumped by packing tape and plastic binders. To make my life a bit easier, he made a special request to St. Nick to deliver my very own Spyderco Delica 4 pocket knife. And it even came in purple! In case you need convincing that Spyderco makes the best knife on the planet here's a little video review from one of Daddy's favorite reviewers for all things gun or knife. Oh, and I hope your shoes were filled with goodies, too!




Demo of the Spyderco
Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another Book for the Season

I forgot to let you all know about another cute book that I've been reading to the littler kids before bedtime.  This one I picked up two Christmases ago at one of our local Catholic bookstores at an after Christmas sale.



This is a collection of short stories that Tomie dePaola writes about Christmases throughout his life.  It's a bit different than other books of his we are used to.  It's more a window into his world as he grew up with his family and on through his life.  The illustrations, however, are the same types of illustrations you would be used to seeing in his other books.  Enjoy!

Advent-ing In Spite of My Back Pain

I seriously twanged my shoulder muscles today.  Can you believe it's because I took a nap in the car during Maria's flute lesson in my less than comfortable driver's seat?  On top of that, I kind of sit in a weird way in the van when I drive it.  I think that aggravated my already aching shoulder.  Ugh!  Paul adjusted my back and sprayed it with BioFreeze when I got home.  However, it's not any better.  I'll be turning in early tonight because I'm just whooped from the day.

You all know how much I love Advent so this year is no exception.  We've been adding a Jesse tree ornament to our Advent tree in the mornings and reading the corresponding Scripture passage.  At meals on Sunday we lit our first Advent candle.  I've also been reading this fun book to the kids and Paul....



This book contains many of the traditional Christmas hymns but also includes some of the popular secular songs the kids have been hearing on the radio.  I think it's fascinating to read about how Nat King Cole's original recording of The Christmas Song came to be.  It was interesting to read about Mel Torme, Judy Garland, and Bing Crosby and how they've made their way into the ears of many Americans some of whom will never know who these people were.  In any case, it's my little way of helping the kids to be well rounded!

I hope your Advent is going well, too.  I'm looking forward to the upcoming feast days....St. Nicholas, the Immaculate Conception, St. Lucy, and Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Shortly after that we'll begin our countdown to Christmas with the O Antiphons.  There's so much to help with the anticipation of Christmas.  It's so fun to be Catholic at this time of year!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Time Flies

14 Years to be exact!

UPDATE:  Now that it's Thursday, I'll fill you all in on my engagement/wedding ring.  Originally, I had my engagement ring and my simple, beautiful wedding band.  I would wear these together everyday, but I always had a fear that I would lose the band.  Paul and I talked about fusing the two together to make a heftier ring that I wouldn't lose.  We never really got around to doing it until our 10 year Anniversary.  When we met with our jeweler, he suggested adding a second band to balance the engagement ring.  I agreed that it did look better like that so we bought another band, and the jeweler fused the 3 rings together.  Another thing that happened was that I went down a couple ring sizes.  With my weight loss over the years, my rings were in danger of slipping off my finger.  So when the jeweler fused the rings, he also resized the originals.  So there you have it!  BTW if you're looking for a very good jeweler I highly recommend ours....Mark Anderson in Lakeville, MN.  He works independently, has access to exceptional diamonds, and years of experience.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thinking About Being Thankful

My heart is so filled with gratitude for so many things this Thanksgiving.  As I sit here, it is with a heavy heart that I may not get to go to Mass tomorrow morning to thank God for His many blessings over the year.  Jane has been running a fever all day so I'll likely stay home with her and Nick tomorrow morning.  I've been thinking of the following things that I wanted to place on the altar because I'm so humbly grateful for God's mercy....

  • Jane being discharged by Dr. Dahl, her orthopedist, because her legs are straightening and she's steadily grown over the last year,
  • Jane being discharged by Dr. Abuzzahab, her endocrinologist, because her growth has been steady making it possible to forego the growth hormone injections for 2 more years,
  • Grandpa Ben being here for one more day even though he suffers daily with chest pain and ongoing heart failure....everyday is a gift for him and he is a gift to us!
  • My youngest brother not having to have back surgery for the time being and getting substantial relief from pain due to a herniated disc,
  • Having our van back after a small fender bender which caused many split shift Masses because we couldn't all fit in the loaner car:(
  • For getting to go to 2 retreats this year!
  • For getting answers to High School questions for Monica after 2 months of agonizing over it all,
  • For getting a very clear mission as a Catholic in a world and nation hostile to the Gospel's message
  • For a strong marriage and healthy and happy children
  • For the vocations to be a wife and mother
Thank you all for any prayers you said for our family.  I've been very quiet over here over the past few months.  I've been too busy living each moment and haven't taken time to catalog everything we've said or done.  It's been a real change from what I was used to, but I've welcomed that change and actually enjoyed living it.

God Bless You All On Thanksgiving Day!

  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In Case I Get Too Busy Between Now and Thursday....

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!



I've already baked 2 pies and roasted my turkey so I'm going to be eating bon bons tomorrow.  Not!!  In case you need a little help getting some perspective both practical and spiritual for the big day, you can check out Auntie Leila's post here.  Oh, and here's a little peek of the cookies I want to make for the kids for T-Day.  Aren't they cute?  My cookie pics will be forthcoming.


Monday, October 29, 2012

For My Siblings

Google's homepage is a tribute to Bob Ross today.  Come on.  You remember Bob Ross....the painter....the one on PBS....with the afro.



We know the color Prussian Blue only because of Bob Ross!  I remember the painting shows had us entranced from start to finish completely engrossed by his brush strokes and how things would magically begin to take form on his canvas.  And when we tried it, it never worked.  But oh the memories!

I wish I had a photo of kids entranced by the TV with a tiny bit of drool coming from a corner of a mouth.  Classic!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Checking In

I have no recent pictures to post, but wanted to check in here just to say, "Hi."  We took a road trip up to Rice Lake, WI yesterday and stayed overnight in a hotel.  Paul's uncle, Morris, on his Dad's side passed away last week at age 86.  He was married for more than 60 years to his wife, Ginger, who is now in a nursing home.  It was great to see all of their kids gathered for the visitation last night and the funeral this morning.  It would have been better to see them under happier circumstances, but we take what we can get.  Uncle "Spike" (his nickname) and Auntie Ginger had 8 children, owned the drugstore (Uncle Spike was a pharmacist) in town, and were active members in their community.  They lived a full life together.  I have only fond memories of our time spent with them.  Uncle Spike was always smiling and cracking jokes to me, Paul, and the kids.  He was quite a character!  Poor Auntie Ginger was not at the visitation, the funeral, or the luncheon.  I think her condition is so severe that she may not even know that Uncle Spike passed away.  That makes me sad.

Now the only two children left of the original Osterbauer family are Grandpa Ben and his youngest brother, Uncle Joe.  Here's a picture of the two of them.

Grandma Carol, Uncle Joe, Grandpa Ben
at Grandpa Ben's 80th Birthday Party

It was tough to see them both at the funeral this morning taking up the gifts at Mass.  It was touching and bittersweet to think that our sweet, Grandpa Ben's days are each treasured gifts in this world.  He knows that.  We know that.  It's only a matter of time.  The oldest girls were sobered by that reality as we watched the honor guard make their salute and the bugler play "Taps" at the interment.

Today I am grateful and humbled by so many thoughts of wisdom, love, and family that have been interwoven into Paul's and my life.  We march on with heavy hearts, but we do.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Looking Back 2 Years Ago....

I was happy to see that today is the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila.  I reminded the kids at prayer time where we were 2 years ago.  You can read my post for that day by clicking on the following link:

Avila 2010

I am amazed at how the kids have grown!

Waiting for the train to Avila, Spain.

On the train.

Just outside the walls of the city.

The nuns peeking from the grated windows of the convent looking down at the parade.

Snack time

Happy Feast Day!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hello, Hello Out There?

I've been wanting to check in here to just let everyone know we're still alive.  Life has drastically changed around here with the addition of the dog, more outsourced classes, Gabe attending school, and just keeping up with the normal everyday routines.  Wow, that's a lot right there!

Anyway, sometimes I get frustrated on very overwhelming days, but mostly I feel fulfilled and blessed to be the mother of this crew and the administrator of our household.  It's quite humbling really.

Here are a few fun pics of things we've done.....

Lucas turned 8, and Monica baked and decorated the cake!!  That's a soccer ball on a green iced cake.

Maria had a sewing class and made an apron for herself.

Gabe fulfilled his promise not to dance at the ARCHES Teen Dance.

We FINALLY attended a Twins Game at the new stadium.
It's really fancy shmancy!

Happy girls with their doggie.

Lucas had his glider building class and tested his glider at the baseball field.

Maria loves the doggie!
So I guess the bottom line is that we will likely be having a bit of radio silence around this old blog.  There really is only so much time in the day and way too many things to keep on top of.  With that, as I write this post a particular 2 year old is still up!

Friday, September 21, 2012

7 Quick Takes: New News


-1-

I have to post these cute little pics of my brothers rental car.  He was surprised when he picked it up last week.  The kids all wanted to see it, but only Maria was able to because the other kids had classes.



-2-

Maria took these cute pictures of Nick.  I can't remember when, but they are adorable.  I also can see now who has been playing ding-dong-ditch at my front door!!






-3-

We finally adopted a dog from Coco's Heart Dog Rescue.  They are a great animal rescue group here in the cities.  Ferbie is a Bichon Frise/Shitzu mix.  He is 2 years old and is adjusting well after a rocky weekend.  He's now been with us a week.




-4-

Gabe had his first school fundraiser this morning.  His class did a Crazy Run around the school track wearing crazy hats.  Gabe wore a fish hat we found at our local thrift store.



 We went along to cheer him on!



Ready, set....


GO!!!!!


He ran...


and ran....


and then walked!


Then he had a snack from the PTA...popcorn and a bottle of water.




-5-

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd starts next week for us.  I am super excited this year because I'm also taking the Level 1 Training.  After my training I will work for 2 years in the atrium at St. Francis Cabrini.  After that, I'll be set to work in any atrium in the Cities if I need or want to.  This is a dream I've had for a while so I'm glad I'm finally realizing it.

-6-

I'm now down to my maintenance weight!!!  It took almost 3 months to lose those last 10 lbs., but I am finally there!!  I feel great, I'm now a size 6 and am back to a healthy, normal weight for my height, age, and frame.  It feels so good.  People keep telling me that I don't look like I've had 7 kids.  Well, I think it's a great tool for evangelization and the Pro-Life cause.  Yes, you can have a large family,  be fit & active, and NOT own a pair or two of Spanx.  ¡Si se puede!



-7-

I've been baking tons to keep up with the kids' snacks.  Studying, homework, and classes make them so hungry around 10:30AM and 3:00PM.  Caramel Apple, Chocolate Chip, and Pumpkin Muffins, Banana/Chocolate Chip Bread, and Apple Bread have been baked a ton over the last two weeks.  I may have to do one more round of tomato canning this weekend.  For that, I'll have to get in the Zone!  I'm looking forward to getting back to baking more honey oatmeal bread and having pizza dough ready to go in the fridge.  I'll be using PW's recipe.  Here it is if you don't have it.

You can see more Quick Takes over at Jen's Conversion Diary by clicking on the button above.

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