Thursday, December 31, 2009
and a cookbook from the Country Women's Association of Australia,
containing such delightful-sounding recipes as "Puffaloonies", and several ingredients with strange names that we had to google (they turned out to be pretty common things like golden raisins and peppers).
The card enclosed with the package said (in part), "N.B. pages 170 & 172 for ANZAC biscuits, originally invented to sustain the soldiers of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps." Naturally, that was the first recipe we tried, with delightful results.
Many thanks to you, Rosalind and Lucy, for your wonderful gift! It is much appreciated, and we'll be drinking a cup of tea to your health and saying a rosary for your intentions!
That young people may learn to use modern means of social communication for their personal growth and to better prepare themselves to serve society.
That every believer in Christ may be conscious that unity among all Christians is a condition for more effective proclamation of the Gospel.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
My favorite gift this Christmas was this beautiful cookie mold depicting the Three Kings. The molds can be used for cookies, marzipan, or filled with fondant for a cake top.
House on the Hill sells a wide range of these molds, including many lovely images in the "Faith" category, which includes everything from the days of creation to Adam and Eve to scenes from the life of Christ to the saints and the sacraments. Check them out to add some beauty to your next domestic church celebration.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
This gift can be customized to fit the recipient. It works best if the giver and recipient are geographically proximate, but can still be used if you see each other monthly and can transport perishables. Basically, you're taking the expensive concept sold in magazines, and cutting out the middle man by doing the cooking/purchasing/delivering yourself.
Flower of the Month (drop off a bouquet each month)
Herb of the Month (for the budding gardener)
Tea of the Month
Soup of the month
Cheese of the Month
Wine of the Month
Pie of the Month
Bar (Cookie) of the Month
Hot Dish of the Month (the latter two reflect my Midwestern heritage)
Chore of the Month coupons
You can even package the idea up nicely. Wrap up a vase, pretty tea cup, ladle, cheese serving set, a corkscrew, pie server, casserole dish, or other symbol of your gift to come.
Now, where's Margie with the hot dish?
From "O Wisdom"
I watched a sheet of cloud scud from north to south, sweeping across the sky. I thought of my own smallness, as I listened to the voice in the back of the van say "How much farther now, Mom?" Twenty-five miles, sweetheart. I imagined the skies behind the clouds, boundless space and tremendous stars, and I thought about the might of God that wrought those realms and somehow chose to be contained within a human frame, a baby's frame. I sang, "The universe declares your majesty," but I didn't sing very long because I had to stop and say, Twenty-one, Pete. Only twenty-one more miles.
From "O Adonai"
Moses was amazed when he saw that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. How much more amazing that God has chosen us for a dwelling place, that the flame of the Holy Spirit can shine forth from us to bring warmth and light into the world. Though it burns away our impurities, we will not be consumed. He says, "I am Lord over the heartbreak, and I am the Refiner whose fire transforms ore -- rock with potential -- into a beautiful and enduring precious metal." Cleanse me.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
This particular container was 6" tall, making it ideal for shorter dpns. I've seen taller containers for other baked goods, which would be handy for longer needles, dpn or straight.
Depending on what implements you own, you might
-Store all your dpns, tied together in size batches with ribbons and tags
-Organize your tools by size, e.g, all your 4 mm circs, dpns, and crochet hooks. Place a sticker with the size on the lid.
I used left-over adhesive shelf paper. Wallpaper or other sturdy paper would work if you don't mind the mess of glue. Voila! You now have a storage container that coordinates with your decor.
2 cups semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
20 plastic spoons or 4 new large wooden spoons (for a family treat)
Line a baking tray with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over low heat until smooth. Dip the business end of the spoon in chocolate, then set on tray to cool. Wrap with plastic wrap and tie with a ribbon.
Whether historical or not, I have always been interested in the following concept:
An old custom comes down from the monasteries of medieval times, where the monks used to get extra treats during this octave before Christmas. For example, on December 19th, when the Church calls on Christ, “O Radix Jesse” (“O Root of Jesse”), Brother Gardener brought his choicest vegetables and fruits, with specially beautiful roots among them; or on December 20th, when the Antiphon says, “O Key of David. . . .” Brother Cellarer used his key for the wine cellar and brought out the best wine. Finally, on December 23rd, it was the turn of the Abbot, who came with special gifts to the brothers. This beautiful custom could be restored in families, the members of the house taking turns in providing a surprise at the evening meal... [Maria Trapp, Around the Year with the Trapp Family]
Here are some menu ideas... do you have any to share?
O Wisdom (Dec 17)
O Lord (who shows Himself to Moses in the burning bush) (Dec 18)
O Root of Jesse (Dec 19)
Root Vegetable Salad (Red cabbage, carrots, and cheese, in a lemon-olive oil dressing)
Himmel und Erd
O Key of David (Dec 20)
White Beans cooked in red wine
O Radiant Dawn (Dec 21)
Eggs baked with Spinach
Pasta with sun-dried tomato pesto
O King of Nations (Dec 22)
Chicken ala King
King crab cakes
O Emmanuel (Dec 23)
In the place of Father Abbot, Dad makes dinner
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I think this would be a fun idea for business logos, First Holy Communion parties, wedding favors, or themed Church Lady tea parties. What do you think?
Some of our Sodality sisters on the other side of the pond have been Quite Busy. The Church Ladies of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, host a quite a weekly undertaking: a three-course lunch for about 40 people, complete with live music! Props to you!
[full post at the Hermeneutic of Continuity]
CLOCHE tip: Teresa
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I have no trouble summoning joy on Gaudete Sunday. Many moons ago, on the Saturday before the Third Sunday of Advent, I got engaged. I remember perfectly the joy of the day- the proposal at the Grotto at Our Lady's University, the blessing of the engagement in the Law School chapel, sharing the news with friends, the drive home through the blizzard, and an engagement party that the priest and MC braved the elements to attend. The years of waiting, akin to the season of Advent were over.
Zenit has a beautiful reflection on the Third Sunday of Advent. Here's a snippet:
In today's second reading, St. Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord always [Philippians 4:4-7; see also Philippians 2:18; 3:1;4.4). The rejoicing to which St. Paul invites us, and which forms the heart of the Advent season. But we must ask ourselves, what did persecuted Christians have to rejoice about? The answer is their relationship with the Lord, which can even become stronger and more intimate in times of persecution. Their joy is not in their circumstance; indeed it is often in spite of their circumstance. Rather it is in the Lord. Sheer joy arises out of a deep and abiding relationship with God that carries the believer through all sorts of trials and tribulations. Rejoicing in the Lord is a sort of adoration, and adoration often takes the form of prayer. Rejoicing constantly leads to praying and praising repeatedly. Since Paul refers to giving thanks after he mentions prayer, it is probable that the term "praying" refers to petitioning God in some form, perhaps interceding for self and others in some manner.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
The Holy Spirit overshadowing the Mother of God,
William McNichols S.J., Collection of Boston College
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Christmas is not about cozy.
We are getting ready to celebrate a birth. That means work, not idleness. Before the baby comes, you prepare. You think hard about what the baby will need from you and you find it. Even if it's costly, you figure out a way to obtain it -- it's for the baby, after all, and nothing is more important than the baby right now. You get everything ready. You clean the house. You wait -- not idly, wondering if the chestnuts are toasted yet -- but expectantly, eagerly. Your whole world is about to change.
We tend to romanticize the Nativity, but I think often of how hard it must have been....I think he chose that time and place to say, Where there is privation, I am Lord. Where it stinks and you have to watch out for the piles of dung, I am still Lord. When it is not what you expected, not what you would have chosen, I am Lord even then. In the humblest circumstances, my glory is undimmed. The angels saw it and sang out: gloria in excelsis. Often we imagine the same tableau, strange and humbling, and we sing out too: our cheeks are nice and rosy and comfy cozy are we.
Image source: Giorgione, The Adoration of the Shepherds
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Earlier this week I was making Pot-au-Feu from Second Thanksgiving's turkey carcass. Since I writing "Cook Twice, Wash Once," I had come across a tip from Amy Dacyczyn (The Frugal Zealot). Amy claims that adding 1 oz of vinegar for every 1 quart of water (up to 4 oz of vinegar) would draw more calcium from the bones, and that you can't taste the vinegar in the end result. So I threw in about 1/3 cup of white vinegar.
Now, I currently lack means of testing the calcium content of my soup, but the vinegar did something. A 12 lb bird's carcass, already carved pretty clean by my husband, produced 2.5 quarts of shredded meat- enough meat for three more meals, Turkey ala King, Turkey Tacos, and Turkey Chili. The vinegar may have also loosened the gelatin from the bones, because I ended up with only 2 cups of thick stock and was forced to bail on the pot-au-feu. But Church Ladies are masters of operating on the fly.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The Annunciation (1393-99) by Melchior Broederlam
We were in a hurry to enjoy all the scenery along the lakeshore of which we had heard so much. Though it was quite cold, we went to the very end of the lake, and like children, came back fascinated with the marvelous beauties of our new home. . . .
Once more, we felt that
[Fr Edward Sorin CSC, December 5, 1842]
Monday, December 7, 2009
"Run the heels of stockings faithfully; and mend thin places as well as holes. 'A stitch in time saves nine.'" [The American Frugal Housewife, 1829]
When I got married, I was shocked to learn my husband threw away socks once they got holes in them. There's no need! Check out this handy tutorial on sock darning instead, and stocking darning, for your own leg-wear.
Image Source: Boursse, Dutch Interior with Woman Sewing
- 30 inches of 1/2" diameter PVC pipe available at any home improvement store that sells plumbing supplies
- PVC joints (2 caps, 2 elbows, and 2 T joints)
- a saw that will cut PVC (a hacksaw will work - a power mitre saw will work really well)
- mini marshmallows (I typically include about 2 dozen in a zip-loc sandwich bag.)
- Cut the PVC into the lengths pictured on the diagram.
- Use a jack knife or some other sharp edge to smooth the cut edges of the PVC. The sharpening steel from your knife set might work.
- Push them together according to this diagram.
- Viola! That's it!
- If you're making them for multiple children in the same family, you may want to decorate the guns with electrical tape stripes or permanent marker so each child can identify their own gun.
- It's not necessary to glue the pieces together. In fact, keeping them separate allows them to be easily rinsed or even put in the dishwasher periodically. (Only use when they are completely dry though!)
- To use - place a mini marshmallow in the mouth end of the gun, take a big breath, put your mouth on the end of the PVC, and blow hard. You'll be surprised to see how fast and how far your marshmallow will fly out the other end!
- It's the rule in our house that all ammunition shot indoors MUST be retrieved - no exceptions! (I do not want to find marshmallows in the sofa cushions!)
- I know of a boy scout troop that made these and used small pom-poms for ammunition.