Thursday, January 31, 2013


I'm going to show you the reason why You Smart Cookie will never offer anything more than an iced sugar cookie....

Unappealing Results!!

My "regular" cookies....these are butterscotch/chocolate chip, btw....always are a hit or miss and more of a miss rather than a hit.  They usually get too hot, or spread, or are just plain ugly.

They still get eaten, but just look at this very sad cookie....

I even tried to jazz him up with a pink plate and a blue dishcloth.  I should have photoshopped a sad face on this cookie!

So for today, I will stick to what I know.....

Of course, I picked cookies for Candlemas to show you.  Smiles all around!!  Don't forget to get your candles and have them blessed on Saturday.  Blessings!

{PHFR}: Pushed to Purge

Pretty....I love seeing the titles of our cookbooks from the cupboard where we keep them.  See those two large binders on the end....the one with the broken binding and the Betty Crocker Cookbook?  They were lovingly kept in a drawer close at hand so I can reference them easily.

Having things on hand always makes me very Happy!

But I didn't organize these cookbooks because I wanted to.  Something frustrating happened with the drawer where those binder cookbooks were kept.  Apparently, they were heavy enough with the other items in that drawer to cause this.....

The kids thought the drawer railings were Funny.  They didn't think
that can happen to a drawer!
So this is the Real that is hanging out or rather resting on my dining room floor (no puns intended!).....

And I also have a pile of old cookbooks, user manuals, and other miscellaneous items that are going to be recycled ASAP!

Doesn't it look great?  I think so!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Cure for the Winter Doldrums....

Today we have a Birthday!!

Free Printable Banner from Anders/Ruff Contemporary Designs

Gifts waiting to be opened after dinner this evening!
I was able to find a few photos that I love of our sweet girl, Maria, and take a stroll down memory lane.

In January of 2001, Paul volunteered to chaperone a group of boys on a trip to Rome for the closing of the Holy Door at the Vatican.  For 10 days, he stayed at the UD Rome Campus.  Lucky duck!

He did a lot of sightseeing and visited special places.

I organized the trip for Paul, the boys, and many families that went to Rome for the pilgrimage.  I planned for months.  Just days after I took on the job of organizing the trip, I found out I was pregnant with Maria.  Her due date was February 11th.  I knew she would probably be born early and that I wouldn't be joining the other pilgrims on the trip.  So I stayed home with Monica, Auntie Nora came up and stayed with us, and we cooked a baby a little longer while Paul was away.

And then.....

she was born, January 29, 2001!

Maria's 5th Birthday - A Princess Party!

Monica, Maria, and Gabe - Eagle's Nest outing

Anyway, it was fun to have a few laughs and smiles at the memories. 

Happy 12th Birthday, Maria!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Another Winter Wonderland

It snowed again today....huge, beautiful clumps of flakes fell for a couple hours recoating everything in a white blanket.  It was perfect for a ski outing!

The trees are coated!  They look like they've been dipped in icing!

Taking a break to shovel!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: We're Alive!

After almost a week of someone or other being sick, I'm finally feeling like I am among the land of the living.  I was achy and had chills Tuesday and Wednesday, but life was still going on.  Just because the parents are sick does not mean the children who are well are willing to sacrifice their schedules.  It was good not to get too far behind so we did try to keep some things going like classes, basketball practices,  and make-up lessons.  Amazingly, the boys are still going strong and haven't missed a day of school yet.  I'm hoping that if they do get sick it's over the weekend.

Lucas now has a private tutor at the school to help bring him up to speed with his Spanish reading.  The vocabulary will come in time.  His immersion of the language has to go beyond the school and into our home which has had me tuning in to Latin radio stations using the IHeart Radio App. and picking up software for the computer.  The best I can do is to speak to the kids more frequently in Spanish.  This isn't very easy as I find that I'm yelling more than talking to the kids.  It makes me aware that a lot of our conversations aren't conversations at all but rather commands, whining, and more commands!

Very Real!

Before the illness, however, we were able to get the cookies finished for the Little Flowers Snowflake Dance.  Here are the boxes ready for a few last minute touches....

The designs were simple, tasteful, and elegant.  The final product (we thought) was Very Pretty!

I included this pic so you can see that we individually seal each cookie using an impulse sealer.
The hostess for the dance added a gift tag and ribbon which made the packaging extra special.

In the midst of all the illness, Maria was able to capture a little glimpse of the contentment in nature around the backyard.  This bluejay was sitting on a branch outside trying to stay warm.


I sometimes wonder if our birds ever get teased by the outside birds.  TX Grandma sent a Christmas gift to the kids....the movie Rio.  I saw this scene and had to chuckle at wild vs. domesticated birds!

Alice and Chloe (Canadian Geese) make fun of Blu,
a domesticated Blue Macaw, as he enjoys hot cocoa and cookies
from his comfortable home/book store.
"Winter is better INSIDE!" says Stormy.

To help the Spanish Immersion Cause underway in our home, I did a scan for Spanish books on Craig's List.  I found the SWEETEST deal from a former High School Spanish teacher who was getting rid of her library.  I bought almost 50 books from her!  We negotiated a price which is way under the value of what I came away with.  That made me Very Happy!  The kids found it strange that some of their favorite stories have been translated into Spanish.  Little do they know the world over also reads these and similar books!

 Find more Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real posts by visiting Leila and her daughters over at LMLD!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Just Chillin'

It's getting cold and will be getting colder here.  How cold?  Try 2 below 0.  It's also windy which makes the cold even more fierce.

So what do we do in Minnesota when it gets this cold?  Well, since we're gluttons for punishment, we go skiing.....cross-country skiing.  Paul has been busy waxing skis, fixing bindings, buying new/used boots, and taking some of the kids out for lessons on the pond.  Cross-country skiing is nice because you don't need hills or slopes.  And here you can just walk down the street to the park and ski on the frozen, snow-covered lake.  That is one of the joys of living where we do.

We also drink lots of tea.  This is my favorite kind of tea of late....

The kids drink hot cocoa, and Paul has been making a few hot after dinner drinks.  I found this video on my dashboard a few days ago:

While Paul's been getting the kids outfitted for skiing, I have been knitting a shawl.  So on the needles I have this pattern in Red Heart Green Fleck.  This is what it should look like when I'm done. Just picture it in green.  

True Blue Friend Knit Shawl

I have to knit the shawl to 54 inches so it may take me the rest of winter to finish!  I love it though because it gives me something to do!  The pattern has a 16 row repeat so I have to use a stitch counter in order to keep the design going the right way.  I hate having the corded counter around my neck so I wondered if there is an app for stitch counting.  Sure enough there is!

So there you have it....a little peek into our cold, Minnesota days.  I'd better go evening snack is calling!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Baptism of the Lord....Baking Day

We celebrated today's feast day with a special waffle breakfast.  Since Monica had her last tournament game and Paul was going to be volunteering at the Science Museum, we opted to go to Mass this evening.  It worked out great, and we were able to get out all the baptismal candles and the baptismal gown to remember all the baptisms we've had.

Jane's baptism

Nick's baptism

These days I like to do the week's baking on Sunday so I can relax and read or knit while goodies are in the oven.  It makes sense to bake several batches of things when the oven is already being used.  Today we baked salmon for lunch so I decided to bake muffins for this week's snacks as well.

To save space, I just flip the muffins on their sides to cool right in the muffin pan.  There just isn't enough counter
space for my cooling racks anymore!

Lastly, we offered to make the party favors for the Little Flowers Snowflake Dance this Friday evening.  We're making and decorating snowflake cookies that will get individually packaged and given to each girl attending the party.  So five dozen cookies have been baked and are now ready for decorating later in the week!  Yippee!!  I'm thinking something along these lines is what we'll try to come up with....

Does Pinterest ever fail to inspire?!

....Stay tuned!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Epiphany Photos and Then Some

I was going to link up to the Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real gals over at LMLD for my Epiphany post, but now there is more information to share so I think 7QT will have to do for this week.  With all the link ups floating around the blogosphere, who can keep up with them all?  I gave up long ago so I catch what I can here and there.

I wanted to purchase a Rosca de Reyes cake for the kids for Epiphany, but Daddy didn't want to spend any more money after we were financially hemorrhaging for the O Antiphon's Days and the Twelve Days of Christmas.  What can I say?  I was just trying to liturgically celebrate in our domestic church!  So I found a frozen batch of caramel rolls that I bought in November from a school fundraiser.  I had the idea to bake it in a ring, but I had to improvise.


I placed a Le Creuset ramekin in the center of the pan to keep the rolls from spreading together in the middle and into the oven they went.


These are from the Butter Braid people so they baked up nice and flaky!


The little ramekin even kept most of the caramel from leaking into the center.  Don't they look yummy? So when I flipped the whole thing over and onto a serving platter, this is what I had.


I hid an almond in the bread for one lucky person to find, but Daddy still thinks he ate it unknowingly.  (Eyeroll!)  Daddy always eats things without thinking.  I should've clued him in to the hidden almond surprise!

Our Kings were patiently waiting for everyone at Sunday morning breakfast.  I have collected these little boxes to hide the 3 gifts.  I was able to buy a sampling of Frankincense and Myrrh at one of our religious goods stores.  For gold, I usually just get gold foiled for each kid.


This little book is one of the Infancy Narratives I purchased from the national office of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.  It is one of 5 books that come in a boxed set titled, The Little Gospels.

In other news, Daddy is trying to get rid of a few things before any bans go into affect because of all the recent scares.  He and Maria were working on staging a photo shoot to upload photos for a posting.  I'm being cryptic for obvious reasons.  However, if you or any other enthusiast is curious, it is an original British curio and relic!  I think they did a great job with the lighting and the background.



No photo here, but we've decided to give Lucas the opportunity to attend school with Gabe.  After much deliberation over the break, we decided to pursue the possibility.  The district made a decision to relocate the school and expand it to grades K-5.  This allows the boys more time to be immersed in the Spanish language.  It was a great week to decide as I have had two conversations with Gabe in Spanish!!!!  In the first conversation, he was frantically looking for a library book and automatically flipped into Spanish.  I responded to him, and he kept right on answering me.  The second conversation was this afternoon.  I asked him about his Spelling test and how his day went.  All of his responses were in Spanish so he obviously understood what I was asking.  I'm thrilled beyond words.  I love languages so much and my native language tons so you can imagine how elated I've been all week.  Baby Steps....but that's how we grow and learn!

You can see more Quick Takes over at Jen's Conversion Diary.  Keep her in your prayers as she is now bedridden for the remainder of her pregnancy.

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