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!


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