Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sorry kiddo...

...Mommy's mind reading powers aren't so great before she has her morning tea!

BigBoy: (wearing his favorite football shirt and holding it out for me to see) How do I look?

Me: Very nice!

BigBoy: (a little edge to his voice) How do I look?

Me: (a little more awe to mine) Oh.... so handsome!

BigBoy: (obviously frustrated) How do I LOOK?

Me: (obviously fumbling) Like... a football guy?

BigBoy: I AM a football!

Of course. I should have known!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hylo; sut mae?

(Hello! How are you?) St. David's Day is on March 1 and we are planning on having Coffee, Tea & Thee time to honor him. Husband's family has some Welsh in their ancestry (Sunshine's middle name is actually a Welsh version of Mary) and I love any reason to make a quiche! Not that the Welsh are particularly fond of quiche, but I have a great recipe for Leek and Cheese Quiche and since the Welsh do have a fondness for that scallion on steroids, it works! I was looking for some St. David's Day crafts and found some really great websites that (taking my cue from the ever-generous Dawn) I thought I would share in case anyone else wants join in the fun.

  • First checkout this website packed with fun for St. David's Day. Everything from castles to dragons, legends and folklore. Packed I tell you! We will probably spend most of our time pouring over all the great resources here.
  • You can find out a little more about the customs and history of St. David's Day by visiting St. Fagan's National History Museum. Be sure to click on the links at the bottom of the article to find out more about the Welsh national emblem and costumes.
  • I found some leeks to color here and here. I think we might cut them out when we are done and wear them around the house!
  • Oh, there is a daffodil windmill craft found on the first website I linked to but here it is on it's own. I did a trial one using a 5 inch square and a brass brad for the connecting piece. It doesn't spin like a windmill, but makes a very pretty flower.
  • I am always trying to force encourage my kiddos to try new foods and I find that a special feast day celebration usually puts them in a more receptive mood. This Potato Leek Soup gets rave reviews over at Allrecipes!
  • Since the children have given up treats for Lent, I want to serve some Welsh Rarebit for Coffee, Tea and Thee time. I haven't decided which recipe I will use, but I thought I would share a few with you all. I think Alton Brown's might be a bit too foreign for my children's palate. These look promising. This one seems the most simple.
  • You can find a few more Welsh recipes here and here. And you can peruse 127 of them here!
  • The Wales Wide Web has some recipes posted with their traditional names and some added information like this note at the bottom of the rarebit recipe:

    There is an English abomination of this recipe in which beer is used. If you must use beer, keep it for washing your hair!

  • I found this website just now but haven't had a chance to look it over. Tell me if you find something good!
Anyway, I hope you have fun poking around some of these websites whether you speak Cymraeg or not. I will leave you with the quiche recipe I mentioned earlier. The recipe for the crust is included, but I have also made my own or used a pre-made crust. Da boch chi ffrind! (Goodbye, friend!)

Cheese and Leek Quiche

1 1/2 C. all purpose flour
6 Tbl. butter
ice cold water

4 oz. trimmed leek, thinly sliced
3 oz. Stilton cheese
2 Tbl. butter
3 eggs
3/4 C. milk
pinch of paprika
salt and pepper

Put the flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Cut the butter into pieces and rub into flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Mix to a smooth dough with 6 -7 tsp. chilled water, knead lightly and roll out thinly on a floured surface. Use to line pie pan, trimming excess. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. Melt the butter in a small skillet and saute the leek for 4-5 minutes, until soft but not brown, stirring frequently. Spoon into a bowl, stir in diced Stilton, then spread over the crust.

Beat the eggs and milk together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the leek and cheese mixture and sprinkle with paprika. Cook for 30-35 minutes. Let sit before serving.

See what I have to put up with?

Last night, I showed Husband the picture of the awesome monkey cake over at Rebeca's and mentioned how I wanted one of the children to have a jungle birthday just so I could make this is that adorable! He said, "You can make it for my birthday if you will promise to use the Bake-N-Fill pan again and fill it with tapioca pudding."

Huh? I was completely unaware of any secret passions for tapioca pudding. "Why?" I foolishly asked.

He replied with a sly grin.... Monkey brains!

Sigh. He's lucky he's cute!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lenten Meme

Thank you for the tag Angie! This is a very serious meme. I found myself having to really think this one through. (If this was your first, we will definitely have to find a fun one for you soon!)

What is your favorite Sorrowful Mystery?

Oooooh. The Agony in the Garden. I had a bit of an "ah-ha" moment in college that was inspired by this mystery.

What is your favorite Station of the Cross?
I have always been intrigued and perplexed by the meaning of the fifth station, Simon the Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross. What must Simon have felt? What must he have thought? Did he help willingly or was he forced? Was he honored or terrified?

Then again, after watching The Passion of the Christ, Jesus meeting his mother rips my heart out every time!

Do you fast during Lent?
I follow the church's regulations on fasting and abstinence on the appointed days. As far as the other days, I wouldn't call what I do "fasting", but it does involve giving up of unnecessary items.

What is your Lenten Resolution(s)?
In general, as a family, we say the Divine Mercy Chaplet every night. The children have been doing Chores for the Poor to earn money for alms giving and Husband and I have committed some extra money in matching funds. In fact, The Professor found a brochure from Food for the Poor in our most recent copy of Faith and Family. He has convinced the others to try to earn enough money to pay for a water pump for a poor village.
I do have some other resolutions but I am keeping those to myself for now.

Do you use Holy Water during Lent?
We have been using it as we usually do; at church and sometimes right before bed. Shortcake is prone to nightmares, so if she needs an extra blessing Husband will bless the beds and the door frames. We have a lovely holy water font that was given to us when we got married, but I don't keep it filled. I tried for a while, but the water evaporated almost instantly.

How many times do you go to Mass during Lent?
The children and I started off attending Mass on First Fridays about three years ago. Then, during Lent, we made it to Mass every Friday. After Lent we still try to go every Friday, but it doesn't always happen.

Let's see, I will tag Dawn, Margaret and Karen E. if they haven't done it yet and feel so inclined. Anyone else who wants to can consider themselves tagged as well!

I just have to wonder... it nature or nurture?

Picture an adorable 2 year old "little man" sitting in the new, (incredibly expensive) big boy car seat we had to buy for him because he is already over the weight and height requirements for all the other ones (yeah, we grow 'em big here in Texas) boppin' his head and lip singing the words to his favorite song from his favorite soundtrack. Route 66.

Not this version.

The rockin' version. Of course!

Where does he get this ability to "rock out" at such a tender young age you ask?

Let's see.....

...from the guy who spent a good portion of his teen years in Seattle just prior to the oh so lovely musical renaissance called "Grunge"......

......or the girl from Texas?

You decide!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Loveliness of Baking

Not too long ago I said that I loved to bake cakes. It is true. My cookies turn out flatter than roadkill and my muffins have a 50/50 chance of making it out of the pan in one piece. But I can do cakes! (Most of the time~ tee hee)! Baking a complex recipe or decorating something fun and unique is what I enjoy most.

I usually try to do something special for a birthday. Not always mind you! We have availed ourselves, on several occasions, of the lovely ladies in white behind the local SuperT bakery counter and I find them to be very capable of creating lovely confections that I didn't have to dirty a dish to deliver.

Here are some of my creations and of course I only chose the pretty ones. It's my history I'm revising here!

This one is a Banana Split Cake that was for The Professor's very first birthday party. See the cute boy in the picture frame? That's my guy! It was a Banana Pineapple cake with a
WhippedPineapple Cream Cheese frosting drizzled with chocolate and topped with cherries and peanuts. Yummy!

The Professor went through a big airplane phase! He loved them all but especially the World War II era planes. I am pretty sure we were the only people who checked out the documentary Warbirds of World War II for our three year old. We took him to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum (we had been there
tena few times before) and one of the mechanics let him sit on the wing of a real P40 Warhawk that was forever after referred to as "my Flying Tiger". (I had to ask him what the real name was and he can still rattle it off without even thinking.) The cake? Probably Duncan Hines.

Guess who requested this one? That's right, Shortcake! How did you know? Her fifth birthday was a Strawberry Shortcake birthday complete with decorations (thank you Grammie! usually we make our own) and a cake shaped like Strawberry Shortcake's hat. I don't remember what flavor it was but it was most likely a box mix also. Sometimes, you have to take shortcuts!

This little ladybug came to Shortcake's sixth birthday and was enjoyed by everyone. She was a vanilla flavored cake with chocolate mint ice cream inside. I used a Betty Crocker Bake 'N Fill pan to make it. I had requested one for my birthday because it looked really neat. What a great idea! Cake and ice cream all in one! In reality, it was very messy and hard to eat. The leftovers weren't that great either. By the time you let to cake thaw enough to eat it, the ice cream was running all over the place.

Cinderella was the theme of Sunshine's third birthday. I used a different "specialized" pan for this one and as you can see there were no problems. The Wilton Wonder Mold Kit is very versatile. We have used it for dolls, volcanoes and hat cakes. Highly recommended!

And even though BigBoy has only had two birthdays, I have had some fun with his as well. This was his first birthday cake. He didn't particularly care for Elmo, but we sure had fun watching him get covered with red frosting!

Birthdays aren't the only occasions that warrant a cake and here are some on my other favorites:

Fourteen white roses to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the ordination of our beloved pastor. It was enjoyed by him and his mother at the lunch they shared that day. This was an egg-less chocolate cake made with vinegar and frosted with a Mocha Chocolate frosting. The roses were just plain old buttercream frosting. And some of them looked more like cabbages!:^)

This is the groom's cake that I mentioned before. It was a triple chocolate cake topped with whole strawberries and shaved white chocolate which was a lot easier to do than it looked. A vegetable peeler works great and creates the lovely little curls you see but be sure to use a big piece of chocolate.

Last is this Lemon Blueberry Cake that I made for my sister-in-law's bridal shower. It is Husband's favorite and has been requested for several birthdays in a row. It is covered in a White Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting. Yum! Both recipes were from an issue of Southern Living that I still have somewhere if anyone is interested. It is a delicious cake and is best made in the summer when you can get fresh blueberries at the store or pick your own (if you live around these parts)!

Well, I just made my Lent that much harder because I gave up sweets and right now ~ I really want some cake!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Saying goodbye..., not to you!

To my sewing machine.

This is the machine I have been sewing on ever since I swiped borrowed it from my mother about 10 years ago. The machine itself is as old as I am. Notice the lovely harvest gold accent color. Guess when I was born!

I called my mom to find out a more precise age for the machine to which she responded "That thing is so old it's practically an antique!" Thanks, mom, love ya too! She remembered getting it shortly before I was born.

I loved this machine even though it is not the machine I learned on. My mom didn't teach me to sew. I learned to sew in college while working as a slave drama major in the costume shop. That is probably why my sewing doesn't always look very professional. It only had to last for 10 nights and look good in the dark! But I still loved this machine!

It came with the lovely cabinet you see it sitting on. The front wooden panel lifts up and allows you to fold the machine forward and down so that it is entirely contained inside the cabinet. Another wooden piece folds on top of it to create a completely flat surface when not in use. Have I mentioned that I really loved this machine?

She started showing signs of a terminal illness last year when I was making Easter dresses for the girls and matching dresses for their American Girl-like dolls. I thought, "OK, it's just the reverse. I don't need to use the reverse. It's not like this is a car." I found that I could just flip the fabric around to secure the ends of the stitches. Eventually the reverse problem went away. I was convinced it was miraculously cured. There must be a patron saint for sewing machines! Yeah, I know...whispers of denial.

The death throes began a few days ago when I started a project that had to be absolutely finished by Saturday. Of course, a project with a deadline! Why me? Why now? It's just not fair! Enter anger.

My husband had been waiting for this moment. He had already scouted out sewing centers in the area. He has been wanting to replace my machine for years. I kept insisting that it did everything I needed it to so there was no need to replace it. Who cares if it drives like a golf cart instead of a Cadillac? I can handle her.

He packed all of the kids in car and drove me to the closest shop. The incredibly helpful ladies listened to my problems and smiled politely while I inquired about having the machine repaired. (Did someone say "bargaining"?) Well, it sounds like it is a cam stack problem and on a machine that old, that part, if it can even be found, will cost about $395 plus any labor charges for cleaning, oiling, tuning, studying for research, and documenting for extinction risk classification.

We came home. Depression hit hard.

I had nothing left to do but move on to the final stage of grief. Acceptance (sigh).

I accept the fact that my machine is broken. The machine I love is 30 some-odd years old and while it isn't considered a dinosaur in the new high-tech world of sewing machines, it is definitely a dodo. I accept the fact that fixing it would cost more than buying a new one. So, I accepted my husband's generous offer and chose a new machine.

I have to admit...this is the most expensive gift I have ever given when you count the total cost!
I hope the new mom's labor of love won't be as painful.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Washington's Cows Birthday

Dawn had some wonderfully yummy ideas cooked up, most of them involving cherries. I was not so fortunate. Nobody likes cherries here but me. Since everyone has given up treats for Lent, I knew that cookies, cobblers and pies were out of the question, but maybe some muffins?


Oh well!

We did check out a video from the library that read D'Aulaire's George Washington for you. Our library didn't have the book or we would have just read it ourselves. But I remembered just before lights out for the kiddos that we had one other George Washington book, not very historical, but definitely funny! If you haven't ever checked out George Washington's Cows by David Small, put it on your next library list. Very clever!

With head in hand, George Washington sighed
And shed a few tears in his tea.

"My cows wear dresses, my pigs wear wigs,

And my sheep are more learned than me..."

Cathedra Petri

Today was the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. We pulled out our Pope poster and perused it pointing out some of the more interesting Pontiffs.

Did you know there was a Pope Valentine?

The Professor was pretty sure that Pope Lando was of no relation to Lando Calrissian.

Our poster is not one of the new, updated versions so we made our own addition.

Here he is next his predecessor.

We reminisced about remembering when Pope Benedict's election was announced. Husband just happened to have come home from work to get something he had left behind. We had been checking the news periodically, but didn't have it on all the time. My father called to say that the smoke was white. We turned the television on and all sat down to watch. The Professor passed out some Spiderman noise makers left over from a birthday and told everyone to blow them when the new Pope came out. We were all together when the announcement was made and true fanfare ensued. The children decorated posters saying "Habemus Papam" and Husband brought home a bottle of German wine (yeah...I know, it should have been beer, but Husband is allergic to the stuff and I haven't found any I like outside of Germany).

Please say a prayer for our beloved Pope Benedict today. He has a lot of hard work ahead of him but I truly believe that he was the best man to fill those enormous shoes!

Word Cloud

Just some fun courtesy of Margaret and Dawn who passed it along.

A Future Monk?

Sitting on my lap during Mass, looking at the ashes on my forehead...

BigBoy:(whispering) Can I wipe?

Me: No.

BigBoy: (beat) Can I wipe it?

Me: No.

BigBoy: Can I wipe it now?

Me: No.


BigBoy:(looking at Shortcake) Can I wipe it that one?

I'm pretty sure he was thinking... you'll thank me later!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dies Cinerum

Lord, who throughout these forty days
for us didst fast and pray,
teach us with thee to mourn our sins,
and close by thee to stay.

As thou with Satan didst contend
and didst the victory win,
O give us strength in thee to fight,
in thee to conquer sin.

As thou didst hunger bear and thirst,
so teach us, gracious Lord,
to die to self, and chiefly live
by thy most holy word.

And through these days of penitence,
and through thy Passiontide,
yea, evermore, in life and death,
Jesus! with us abide.

Abide with us, that so, this life
of suffering over-past,
an Easter of unending joy
we may attain at last!

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37). This is the biblical theme that this year guides our Lenten reflection. Lent is a favourable time to learn to stay with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, close to Him who on the Cross, consummated for all mankind the sacrifice of His life (cf. Jn 19:25). With a more fervent participation let us direct our gaze, therefore, in this time of penance and prayer, at Christ crucified who, dying on Calvary, revealed fully for us the love of God.

-Pope Benedict XVI
Message for Lent 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lapaz Lenten Calendar

Look at the awesome calendar that Theresa made. She came up with a great way to make the days a uniformed size. Thanks for the picture Theresa. I love the way your squares look like stepping stones!

One of those days

The Professor: (sorting his laundry) Where do I put these? Light or dark?

Me: (looking at the grey underwear in his hands and noticing the tiny holes starting to show up in the seat area) How about in the trash?

The Professor: Why?

Me: (pointing out the holes) Because we don't keep hole-y underwear unless it was worn by a Saint.

The Professor: I'm not a saint.

Was that a statement or a question?

Preparations - Final

I have really been enjoying a thread over at the 4 Real Learning Forums about how to "celebrate" Lent in the home. (Can you say celebrate and Lent in the same sentence?) I am so excited about adding the new tradition of saying *goodbye to the Alleluia. I also loved Elizabeth's purple ribbons. This will be another "new tradition". What an excellent reminder and yet also a "decoration" for this beautiful season.

*Confession time: I never even realized until I was in college that it went away during Lent. I guess there were so many additions (and subtractions) to the Mass of my youth that I didn't even notice.

I bought some white muslin at the craft store and decorated it with a golden "Alleluia" and some flowers. Fabric paint and markers (Not when they are all dried out!) did the best job.This picture was taken while it was drying on our bed (queen size) so that gives you an idea of how big it is. I sewed rings at the top that will slide onto a wooden dowel. The children helped color in the flowers while the Morning Alleluia from the Sound of Music played in the background. Well...not really, but it was a nice fantasy. In reality, the fabric was hard to paint on and the sponge brushes were tricky to load for kids who are use to water colors and brushes. I ended up having them do a decent "fill in" while I came back and did the detail work. I think I will save a final picture for Easter Sunday.

Well, now it is time to turn my gaze inward. I have my own specific plans to practice prayer, penance and alms giving starting tomorrow which will not eliminate blogging but will cut down on my computer time in general. I would like to write something deep and moving here. Something to inspire or maybe encourage. But I am not a deep thinker. I am a common sense kind of girl whose practical side tends to overshadow the profound.

Any similarity to actual inspirational thinkers, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Preparations - Part 3

We have had a Lenten Wreath on our dining room table during Lent for many years now for decoration. Having never heard of the "salt dough" version, ours is just a grapevine wreath with toothpicks that were dyed using black RIT dye. No special directions, just soak them in the dye for a few hours, drain them and let them dry on paper towels over night.This year we have added a pillar candle (it has purple flecks in it) set in sand to remind us of the penitential nature of the season and also of the desert but mostly because the kids are really into candles!

I plan to have them remove one each at snack time since that is primarily when they will be fasting from treats as an act of penance. I decided not to have them add one for any venial indiscretions. I find that I tend to focus on what they do wrong enough as it is. Trying to be more positive and acknowledge the good here!

The list of chores will be posted in several places around the house and the kids have already chosen what their first chore will be on Wednesday to earn money for the poor. (BTW we chose this route because our kids don't get allowances. If they ever were to get an allowance, I might just ask them to donate a portion of that instead.)
Here is a picture of our poor box. Shortcake chose to donate her piggy bank. It is perfectly purple, as you can see!

Oh, and if your kids are really into candles too, check out Michelle's comment below about how to do a Candlelit Stations of the Cross.

Preparations - Part 2

And he fasted forty days and forty nights
and afterward he was hungry...
Then the devil left him, and behold,
angels came and ministered to him.
Matt. 4:2, 11

One thing we have done for the past few years is count down the days of Lent on a chart. I usually draw it up on poster board so that it is a little different every year, but you could laminate it and reuse it. Our "theme" for the chart is traveling through the desert for 40 days with Jesus.

We have always explained to the children that through Lent, we journey with Christ in the desert and the removing of comforts leaves us unencumbered to deal with the temptations in our life. There are "oases" on the Sundays, a time to take a break from the burning heat and drink from the cool bubbling spring, but always mindful that we are still in the desert traveling towards the final destination.

A holy card depicting the Crucifixion will be added on Good Friday at noon. The tomb, which is empty now will be covered with a rock that evening only to reveal the risen Christ on Easter Sunday.The scripture above is one that we emphasize with the children all throughout Lent. At the end of our forty days through the desert with Jesus, the children have always been visited by the Easter Angels. In the past, they have left them treats; some in the shape of chicks, bunnies or sweet, gooey eggs. They are well aware that the cute baby animals we see in decorations all around are a reminder of Spring and rebirth.

The Easter Angels love to "minister" to the children with books and small games too, oh, and bubbles! Lots and lots of bubbles. Those angels must think bubbles are just the most amazing things on earth...either that or they just love to see babies clapping and chasing them until they pop. Mommy and Daddy definitely enjoy it to!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Making Preparations

Don't you love going to Mass and hearing a homily that not only confirms some thought or inclination you had before you sat down, but also encourages you further along the path? I do!

The message couldn't have been clearer if Father had hit me over the head with a gefilte fish. Husband and I have been brainstorming ways to focus the children (and ourselves) on prayer, penance and alms giving during this Lenten season. Then the waffling began. Mine, not Husband's. Can they do these things? Will they really get it? Will it really make a diference? Most importantly, how tough is this going to be on me? (Yeah, I am THAT selfish.)

But then...inspiration hit!...Father Peter, that is and he passed it along to us (thankfully, without the use of any fish). His whole homily was about uniting ourselves to the Blessed Mother at the foot of the cross through prayer, penance and alms giving.


Got it Father.

Here we go.

I will elaborate more on some of these ideas later, but here are our plans for right now:

1. Prayer - We have always said the Divine Mercy Chaplet as a family during Lent. We will continue to do this but in order to unite ourselves to the Blessed Mother we are also going to learn to sing the Stabat Mater. We will see how many verses we get through.

2. Penance - The form of fasting we require of the children is simply "no treats". We do not deny them snacks in between meals, but limit them to healthy snacks, only.

3. Almsgiving - We have come up with a list of chores that are above and beyond the daily chores we ask of them. The list will be posted in a prominent area. They have the opportunity to earn $0.50 per day by performing two of these chores. The catch is that we will not be reminding them. They can remind each other and encourage each other, but it shouldn't be done at our request, rather of their own choosing. The money will be collected in a jar and donated after Easter to a charity of their choosing.

Each of these things will be "checked off" in a specific way each night. Those details are for another post. Only two days left. Gotta run!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Holy Men and Women

Rachel over at Testosterhome was looking for advice on what to do with all those holy cards Catholic families seem to amass. I mentioned one of the things we do with ours and was surprised at how many people liked the idea. We call them Holy Rings. The children each have their own (except for BigBoy.. we can't find his right now). Some of the cards are the same for each child and others are different. Some of the cards are of saints to whom they have a particular devotion. Some are their name saints. The Professor has been a dedicated knight of St. Michael since he was 2 when he would point to any picture of the Archangel saying, "St. Michael whack the Debul!" Shortcake still likes to pull one out of the diaper bag and look at it when Father has a particularly long homily. Anyway, I thought I would share a picture of the three we can find:I started them with a few (5) cards each, but we have added to them over the years. St. Nicholas is usually good for one every year and the Easter Angles are always leaving a few in the Easter baskets. I do let my babies play with them and shake them around, but only under careful supervision (usually on my lap during Mass). If they start chewing on them , I get a little nervous that the sides of the cards might cut their little gums. They are all laminated and I use a single hole punch to make the hole. Large sized key rings can be found at any craft store and even come in various colors if you wanted to color code them.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Closing our eyes...

Close your eyes
and do not peek
and I'll rub Spring,
across your cheek-

smooth as satin,
soft and sleek-
close your eyes
and do not peek.

by Aileen Fisher

iPod meme

According to rules of the game, (ht: SFO Mom), “Go to your music player of choice and put it on shuffle. Say the following questions aloud, and press play. Use the song title as the answer to the question. NO CHEATING.”

If Nutmeg can have a disclaimer so can I: I bought my husband an iPod shuffle for his birthday last year and it has all of his music on it (our tastes differ a bit). I have an MP3 player that my dad got frustrated with and handed down to us but since we are a totally Mac family I have to use this crazy program that turns your Mac into a PC in order to load stuff on it and it is a big pain to use so I really haven't put very much on it. (Did you get all that?)

What this really means is that I have a very small sampling of my tastes on this thing. I could go "fill 'er up" but that would mean using that crazy program mentioned above which might also be violating the rules of the meme. Or... I could just go with what I've got. So here goes:

How does the world see you?
"I Need You" (That Thing You Do Soundtrack- fun movie with great music) Add a "Mommy" in front of that and we are good to go!

Will I have a happy life? "Very Nice Prince" (Into the Woods- Stephen Sondheim) Yes, he is and it has been so far!

What do my friends really think of me? "Lovin' you Lots and Lots" (That Thing You Do) That is so sweet. Hope it's true.

Do people secretly lust after me? "Send in the Clowns" (A Little Night Music- Sondheim) General consensus says this is a silly question, but...true fact...I was terrified of clowns as a child. Psychoanalyze that.

How can I make myself happy? "A Weekend in the Country" (A Little Night Music -Sondheim) Pleeeeeease!

What should I do with my life? "Shrimp Shack" (That Thing You Do) The people around here are kind of short and it might be mistaken for a shack if I don't get to my cleaning.

Will I ever have children? "On The Steps of the Palace" (Into the Woods) Ouch! I hope not. I'm usually game for all kinds of birthing options, but this one is a bit much!

(Aside) OK, I admit it. I am a fan of musicals (theater major, what can I say) but I have more on here than just Sondheim, I promise. Let's keep going....

What is some good advice for me? "Thy Will Be Done" (Marie Bellet) Amen!

How will I be remembered? "Agony 2" (Into The Woods) That I suffered it or caused it?
Actually, this song is about two "cry-baby" princes who can't have the Princesses they want (even though they already have the Princesses they first desired) so they complain about it each whining that he is in more agony than the other. Hmmm, maybe I should watch my whining.

What is my signature dancing song? "Dreamland" (For the Boys soundtrack) I love to dance to this soundtrack because it has a whole range of rhythms--- everything from Rumba to Swing, but this song is very hard to dance to and isn't one of my favorites.

What do I think is my current theme song? "Remember?" (A Little Night Music) This one cracked me up! I have a terrible memory. I try to write stuff down to help, but I usually forget or when I do remember to write it, I forget where I put it.

What does everyone think my current theme song is? "One Heroic Moment" (Marie Bellet) Now I am crying. Why can't I see that for myself?

What song will play at my funeral? "That Thing You Do" (That Thing You Do) It's really upbeat and fun to dance to if anyone feels like dancing at my funeral.

What type of men / women do you like? "The Ballad of Booth" (Assassins- Stephen Sondheim) No, I don't like assassins, but my husband was a history major and this song is about the assassination of Lincoln from Booth's perspective with commentary from the Balladeer/Historian.

What is my day going to be like? "Here I Am" (Marie Bellet) Ain't that the truth, Marie!

See why I have to protest? No country music (unless you count Marie Bellet) and country songs have the best titles! No Mandy Patinkin. No Gypsy Kings. No Latin Dance Music. No other musicals besides Sondheim like Schwartz, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Webber or Rice.

So there you go you nutty girl. If you were hoping to "out" me as the child of the 80's that I am, I am sorry to disappoint you (no Shot Through the Heart here, only in my head). I don't know who else has an iPod/MP3/or stereo system, so I will just say, "Play 'em if you got 'em!"

I would love to know what Suzanne, Cheryl and Dawn listen to!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A LOVE-ly Day

Happy St. Cyril and Methodius Day! I am as fond of these two saints as any good Slavic girl with Bohemian and Moravian ancestry could be, truly. My wonderful, Catholic grandparents* were married in a church dedicated to Sts. Cyril and Methodius. I have often wondered how similar the Slavic language that these amazing saints used for Mass and preaching was compared to the beautiful language I often heard lilting around the old farmhouse where I spent many a summer day. My grandparents also spoke fluent English, mind you. Their parents insisted on it! They only slipped into Czech when they didn't want me to know what they were talking about. Considering my entire Czech vocabulary consisted of "grandma", "grandpa", "Merry Christmas", and a saying that when literally translated has something to do with a billy goat wagging it's tail, their secrets were very safe!

*This is not to say that my paternal grandparents weren't wonderful. They were wonderful in their own way, oh...and they were Baptists.

I have to admit it though, I just can't quite give up my affection for St. Valentine in favor of these two Slavic icons (pun intended). I know they were two amazing men, and we know more about what they did while on this Earth than we know about all 3 saints named Valentine.


.....Saint Valentines Day!

We have already mailed Valentines to the in-state cousins. I made heart shaped buttermilk biscuits this morning that turned out horribly dry. No pictures for fear that the flash would cause them to spontaneously combust. I have never had that problem with any recipe that calls for buttermilk before (insert pout here). I promised the kids heart shaped pizzas for dinner which means
Mommy doesn't have to cookwe can have a little fun later. We are going to decorate chocolate lollipops for each other with mini M&Ms later (a little act of love and service).

We will read Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda which is one of my favorite books for this feast day. The illustrations look like mosaics in beautiful muted tones. Of course, it is a fictional legend but it does mention that he was a priest. While it does not have any examples of why he is the patron of romantic love, we always find a way to work it into the story by telling the children that the jailer probably knew of St. Valentine from the Roman soldiers who had been secretly married by him. (I had no idea it was a Catholic Mosaic book. I think I just might have to get that book.)

BigBoy asked to watch Signing Time #4. He calls it "Love" because of the awesome song Rachel Coleman sings at the end. La-la-la-la love!

Lastly, a present for my valentine, the man who ignored his inner Cookie Monster and chose to marry me even though I am just above the Mendoza line when it comes to cookie baking. Did you notice how powdered sugar covers the
burntcrispy edges nicely?

He won't.

That's why I love him!Thank you, sweetie!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Third Quarter Blues?

Has the weather got you down? Has your thermometer reached the boiling point from all the cabin fever? Is the hum-drum of your day playing a solo in your head? Check out what the fiery Red Cardigan has to say about the Third Quarter Blues and then be sure to check out her tribute to Honest Abe.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Honest Abe

To be perfectly honest, I had not planned to do much for Lincoln's birthday or President's Day but when I saw all of Dawn's wonderful ideas I was inspired. Thank you, Dawn! I thought the kids would have a blast eating making the pretzel log cabin.
I cut up a giant size goldfish box that was almost empty (thank you, BigBoy!) and sandwiched the flaps I cut in the bottom in between pieces of cardboard just to make it extra secure. I wrapped the whole thing in tin foil (so that we could keep our materials clean enough to eat later). We talked about log cabins and even made plans to explore the Texas Log Cabin Village once the mercury warms up but before it reaches scorching. Maybe the adventurous Nutmeg and her family will join us.
Here is the finished product. The kids added a little wood pile next to the front door. See the fingers in the bottom left corner? Those little fingers worked hard to get covered in peanut butter! While taking this picture, he kept saying, "Can I eat it now, Mommymom? Can I eat it now?" Snack time can't come soon enough for him (or for Mommymom's nerves). Since all of the school work is done, the children are enjoying The Smithsonian and the Presidency episode from This Is America, Charlie Brown. The Professor has been pouring over Civil War since I brought it home this weekend. I think we will enjoy eating our log cabin while reading The Story of The Gettysburg Address by Kenneth G. Richards along with a steaming mug of kid coffee. Tell me Honest Abe didn't drink coffee as a kid and he grew up just fine!

This just might have to suffice for Coffee, Tea and Thee time since it is shaping up to be a busy week.

Caution: Falling Rocks

Some of the rocks started to fall when we set them upright. I think they were ones that weren't very well set in the glue anyway. A little dab of Tacky Glue and they were stuck tight. We did end up using the Tacky Glue for the outlined pieces and the Elmer's for filling in. Both did a good job, but the Elmer's took all night to dry. Note to self: stock up on Tacky Glue!

We had a wonderful homily last night about St. Bernadette, Our Lady of Lourdes and also St. Scholastica. He enjoyed chuckling at her response to St. Benedict's rebuke when the storm kicked up. He said, "How like a sister! How like a BROTHER!"

He also created an amazing mental image of St. Bernadette's visions. St. Bernadette never called Mary by her name but always called her "the beautiful lady". She asked Our Lady her name every time she came to the grotto. When Our Lady finally gave her message, Father asked us to imagine this poor, uneducated girl running through town repeating over and over the message (as it was an unfamiliar phrase) until she came to the priest and burst out "I am the Immaculate Conception".

After Mass, we got a chance to visit with Father and he asked us if we noticed that Our Lady appears to girls more than boys. He, of course, knew why! St. Bernadette remembered everything about "the beautiful lady", described the visions even down to the PALE yellow roses on her feet. St. Juan Diego....well, she had to leave him a picture!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Loveliness of Romance

St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of Romantic Love although a quick perusal through the junk in the mail and the ads on TV would lead you to believe he was the patron of jewelers, florists and candy makers. I think there is more to romance than just flowers and candy, although...those things sure are fun! Personally, my husband can't look cuter than when he is pushing a vacuum. I admit, "romance" has been hard for me. I grew up in a house where it was an obligation for one and often times, a disappointment for the other. So I tried to find a definition of romance; one that didn't just refer to a medieval tale of chivalry or modern tale of bodice ripping. Here is what I found:

(noun) 1 a pleasurable feeling of excitement and wonder associated with love. 2 a love affair. 3 a book or film dealing with love in sentimental or idealized way. 4 a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement and remoteness from everyday life. 5 a medieval tale dealing with a hero of chivalry, of the kind common in the Romance languages.

I wasn't so sure I could identify with any of these definitions. The only mystery in my day is whether or not that smell is coming from the steamed broccoli or the toddler on my hip. Remoteness from everyday life? Ha, ha! I am the remote control of the lives that are found here every day. (Stop that! Rewind and do that again. You might want to change your channel, I mean... attitude!) I got a little worried. Maybe I'm not the romantic type? Maybe the romance is gone?

But then I saw the word... wonder. I can identify with "wonder". I frequently find myself wondering.

I wonder what he does all day? I wonder what he is doing right now? I wonder how he sits in traffic twice a day without shooting someone? I wonder if he notices I'm not 22 anymore? I wonder if the pants draped over the tub are clean or dirty? I wonder why he left them here? I wonder if he thinks I'm crazy? I wonder if he knows how much I depend on him? I wonder if he minds?

Is it a pleasurable feeling? Definitely. I wonder why he picked me? It is a mystery only Our Lord can solve. I am just excited to be in this tale with my hero speaking our own unique language of romance.

There is one other thought that I have in mind especially today. Many children of my generation and my children's generation have had to endure the pain of their parents' divorce. It can be devastating psychologically, emotionally...spiritually. To some, it is the reason they shun all forms of meaningful relationships. For others, they try to find what they missed by falling in love easily but without a proper understanding of marriage and the hard work it requires. These relationships are doomed to fail, over and over again.

We have no idea what kind of family our children's future spouses are growing up in or the hardships and sorrows they are facing. Maybe by offering a prayer for our children's future spouses, we can help earn some of the graces they need to grow spiritually and keep them close to Our Lord as they travel through this valley of tears. Perhaps when we finally meet them, we will be more inclined to treat them with kindness and charity no matter what their history or family background includes. It might make it easier to learn to love them as our child does and to accept their new place in our child's life (and also easier to accept ours). We mamas often times want to protect our children from every kind of hurt and pain, physical and emotional. Shouldn't we also want to do the same for the person they might spend the rest of their life with?

O glorious advocate and protector,
St Valentine,
look with pity upon their wants,
hear their requests,
attend to their prayers,
relieve by your intercession the miseries
under which they labour,
and obtain for them the divine blessing,
that they may be found worthy to join you
in praising the Almighty for all eternity: through the merits of
Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
St. Valentine, Patron of Romantic Love, pray for us.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Under construction

We are in the process of building our own grottoes. Small ones. With cardboard, popsicle sticks and aquarium gravel. I wanted to do something for Our Lady of Lourdes' feast day on Sunday but there wasn't enough time to order some of these. So...we made our own. Here is the prototype I made first. I tried to make it an exact duplicate of the original.Then I tweaked it a little for the kids. I used a picture I printed off rather than having them color one. The Professor really doesn't enjoy coloring but the girls could color all. day. long. Since I wanted this project finished in one nap time, not two...we ditched the coloring. I also chose to use aquarium gravel instead of semi-precious gemstones. Since we don't have a fish tank, I assumed I would find only the natural colored rocks. I was pleasantly surprised to find green, purple and blue as well.

Here are the materials I used. You don't see any glue pictured because I was still testing them when I took this picture.I used hot glue to make mine. It is faster drying and my fingers are so calloused they don't burn anymore. I tested Fast Grab Tacky Glue and plain old Elmer's. The Elmer's said it would dry clear, but I think it might take overnight since I used a big glob. (That is the technical term for it, by the way!)I think I am going to let the children try the Tacky Glue first. We only have one bottle, so if we run out, we will have to switch to Elmer's.

I hope posts like these don't come off as bragging. They are mostly for the benefit of my memory. Yes, that is my brain next to the definition of "sieve". Next year, when my kids say, "Hey Mom, can we make those things again?" I won't feel so bad when the usual, "Huh? What things?" escapes my lips.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Coffee, Tea and Thee

If I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today…
St. Josephine Bakhita

For Coffee, Tea and Thee we are celebrating St. Josephine Bakhita's feast day. What an amazing saint! She was stolen away from her home in the Sudan by slave traders and ended up in Italy. She was baptized at age 21 and became a Canossian sister. She endured terrible abuses at the hands of her captors and yet, she not only forgave them, but thanked them for helping her find the path to Christianity and the religious life. I took this opportunity to talk to the children about The Lost Boys of the Sudan. They were amazed that stories like St. Josephine's happen even today.This website had some interesting information about having an authentic Sudanese meal with recipes and instructions on how to serve your guests. We put a tablecloth on our coffee table and placed pillows all around. The flowers on the table are hibiscus flowers that the girls made. One species of the Hibiscus called the Roselle is used to make Karkade, a special tea in Egypt and Sudan. The Professor made the flag of Sudan to add to our table decorations.We opted for cinnamon tea to accompany our Creme Caramela (a traditional Sudanese dessert). Alright, it's really flan and I used an instant Jell-o mix to make it. Call me chicken, but any recipe that calls for baking something in a pan of water scares me. The cinnamon tea was delicious, but not a favorite. They were more interested in trying to catch the stick than drinking the tea. Shortcake has decided she is not a big flan fan, but loves caramel! Oh well, it was worth it just to get them to try something new!Sunshine had saved her Magnifikid that had a feature on St. Josephine and we read the story while we enjoyed our third installment of Coffee, Tea and Thee.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

...sweet, simple things of life...

Dawn mentioned that today was Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthday. Sure enough, she was right! It is also the birthday of St. Thomas More, Charles Dickens and Garth Brooks. (Glad to know Garth is in such good company.) Sunshine is reading the Little House series right now and enjoying them. I had no doubt that she would since she first fell in love with the characters when we picked up some of these at the bookstore. The My First Little House Books are a wonderful way to introduce younger children to the complete stories that they can read later on their own.
Since it was a special day, we decided to make some of Mrs. Wilder's gingerbread right here in our "little house". I found her original recipe here and loved showing the kids the letter she wrote along with it. As you can see this is definitely a ginger bread, not a cookie and it is so full of dark, fragrant spices that the children thought it was chocolate cake. It worked perfectly with The Professor's history lesson which was about the Crusades and the spices they brought back from the East. I think he sniffed just about every spice bottle in my cabinet. I had some whole cloves and cinnamon sticks on hand so he took at look at those as well. He decided garlic is his favorite because it reminds him of chicken. (I guess I make Garlic Chicken a lot more than I thought I did.)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The mind of a 2 year old...

...has to be the most wondrous place!

BigBoy : Fishy- fish. Let's go fly!(immediately upon waking up from his nap)

Monday, February 5, 2007

Field Day

The rosy-fingered Dawn of By Sun and Candlelight is requesting submissions for a new online Field Day on February 16th. Be of Dawn's Field Days was my first venturing into the blogworld as more than a commenter.
You might just get hooked too!
She links to a website for the Great Backyard Bird Count that will kick off the same day. I had never heard of this before, but it sound like fun!

A Meme from Margaret... favorite Mom in Minnesota.

Aprons – Y/N?
I have many mostly from my grandmother but I never use them. After finding these and these through Kristen's blog I just might start! I love the Princess Panel version. Second link and then scroll down.

Baking – Favorite thing to bake:
Cakes---beautiful cakes, fun cakes, gourmet cakes. My favorite is a Lemon Blueberry cake I made for my SIL's bridal shower. I have even made a groom's cake (Triple Chocolate with Strawberries on top). The groom's mother lived in France and couldn't attend, but she when she saw pictures of the cake I made she apparently replied, "Where in America did you find someone to make a cake like that?" High praise...I think.

Clothesline – Y/N?
We use to have a retractable one but not anymore. Maybe when my kids are old (tall) enough to help.

Donuts – Have you ever made them?
No, but after seeing Elizabeth's recipe for zeppole I am going to have to try.

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day:

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?
Yes, but we don’t use it as much as we would like to.

Garbage Disposal – Y/N?
We have one now but have not always had one. I didn't think it was possible, but we got along just fine for about 4 years without one.

Yes, please, can I buy it online?

Ironing – Love it or hate it?
I do like to iron but only when the house is quiet. Guess how often that happens! Seriously, I only iron Husband's work shirts. He used to do it himself, but it saves him a lot of time in the morning if I do them.

Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it?
Two in the kitchen and one in the bar/media area. Ummm...maybe my drawers are just generally junkie?

Kitchen: Design & Decorating?
Galley style kitchen with black appliances, off-white cabinets, & beige walls. No room for decoration.:^(

Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Getting to hear my kids corny jokes and being there when something makes them smile.

Mop - Y/N?
Is Swiffering an accepted synonym for mopping? If so, then yes!

Nylons - Wash by hand or in the washing machine?

Oven - Do you use the window, or open the door to check?
Both. I use the window to check for browning and the door to check temperature and doneness.

Pizza - What do you put on yours?
Grilled chicken, diced tomatoes and mushrooms. My favorite is rosemary potato & parmagiana which I had in Italy. I would love to find a recipe and try it at home.

Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Organize--- I can only do it when I am completely undisturbed.

Recipe card box - Y/N?
Yes, but I don’t always use those perfectly sized, matching cards. Lots of papers folded and shoved in that little box.

Style of house -
Late 80’s ranch style house with an attic. Vaulted ceilings are about the only architecturally interesting thing about our house.

Tablecloths and napkins - Y/N?
Special occasions only.

Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland?
Confession time--- We are missing the floor of the cabinet under the sink. Due to some leaks that the previous owners failed to notice, the wood completely rotted. I yanked most of it out one day and Husband is still trying to figure out how to fix my demolition.

Vacuum - How many times per week?
2 or 3?

Wash - How many loads of laundry do you do a week?
12,469--- isn't it?

X's - Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off?
No but I want to! I'll put it on my list of things to do.

Yard - Who does what?
I will help when he gets too busy to keep up with it, but it is mostly Husband’s responsibility. For a while we did have a nice young man down the street doing it for us.

Zzz's - What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Give Husband a kiss!

I tag Red Cardigan and Nutmeg and anyone else who wants to join the fun!

When life hands you lemons...redux

We had so much fun with our super guests for the Superbowl, (the fiery Red Cardigan and her lovely family), and I have to say that the dessert disaster below turned out excellent! (I'll need to ice my shoulder after all that reaching around to pat myself.) I admit it, I am proud of this one only because I don't exactly have the best track record when it comes to "MacGyvering" in the kitchen. I am the kind of cook who can usually make really yummy things by following a recipe exactly. I have, on occasion, tampered with or tweaked a recipe and still produced good quality food, but I think most of that has to do with a knack for choosing very forgiving recipes.

The times in which I have tried to "create" on my own, flying solo with nothing but my limited knowledge of chemistry and the experience under my belt...well, let's just say that Husband definitely earned his "new husband stripes" that first year of marriage! That is not to say that I got better over the next 10 years, I mostly just gave up trying. (You're welcome sweetie!) So, if I have any advice to offer a newly married, sweet, young, bright eyed optimist whose mother didn't teach her the finer arts of domesticity it would be this:

1. Start with a good cookbook that has a lot of basics in it. Save the gourmet ones for your first anniversary.

2. When you get the itch to create completely from scratch, stick with desserts: cake, cream, fruit and chocolate rarely ever fail you. It may not look pretty, but it will probably taste great!

3. If you think you can make a veggie pot pie using frozen vegetables and the left over clam chowder in the fridge, save yourself the trouble and toss it in the trash before you even dirty a bowl. This way, you not only save the electricity you would have used to bake it but also the time spent cleaning your oven after it bubbles out of the pie crust!. Just grab your guy and head to your favorite restaurant for a quiet dinner for two. Stay out late because you are enjoying yourselves instead of waiting for the smell to vacate the apartment.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

When life hands you lemons...

... make a Lemon Strawberry Trifle!
I just about cried when my pound cake turned out so thoroughly destroyed. (OK, maybe not actual tears, but visions of flinging it out the window took a couple spins around the dance floor in my head.) I would blame it on the pan, but the Honey Cake I made turned out just fine!

We were going to serve slices of cake topped with strawberries and lemon creme. Instead, we just mixed it all up together! I have to credit this idea to a wonderful lady I met in college. She is an amazing cook--- one of those kitchen MacGyvers who can look at a pantry full of ingredients and create something gourmet without batting an eye. She always used to say that the best thing you could do with a dry, crumbly, or (in my case) broken cake was turn it into a trifle. It sure beats choking it down with a jug of milk or flinging it out a window.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

A Grace-full Saturday Afternoon

After making her first confession!
After serving his first Mass!
After being told that her courage in the face of adversity helped make it all possible!

Shortcake took a hard fall earlier this morning. She really did a number of both knees. I was very concerned that we might have to take her somewhere to have them checked out. After about an hour of rest, ice off and on, and her favorite bibliophile pup, she was still in some pain, but chose to push through it. We were able to make our 2 hour trek to our beloved pastor for Sunshine's First Confession.

(I should explain that when he first became our pastor we only had to drive 20 minutes to get to Mass; however, a move on our part and a move on the bishop's part have stretched the distance considerably. He is just so wonderful that we can't give him up!)

Since we were there extra early for Mass, Father sent his acolyte to grab The Professor and train him to serve Mass, which he then did...for his very first time. I was so proud of all of them! Even BigBoy was a trooper and behaved himself quite well!

We are exhausted and are heading for an early bedtime so that we can enjoy our company for the Big Game tomorrow. It's really more about the company than the game. Go Colts!

Happy Feast of St. Blaise!

We love this feast day thanks to some family connections and the intercession of St. Blaise for a close friend who needed major surgery on her thyroid. We usually like to go to church and get our throats blessed today.

Part of our family connection has to do with my grandpa. He loved to tell stories as I have mentioned before, but the one story he refused to tell in it's entirety was the story of this man.

His name is Fr. Blasius and he was a Salesian priest who escaped the Communists in the former Czechoslovakia back in the 1950's, supposedly with a price on his head. (I don't know if all priests had prices on their heads back then or if his was special.) We are not sure if my grandparents helped him flee Europe or if they only became a part of his story once he reached America. Fr. Blaise spoke no English but Grandma and Grandpa both spoke English, Czech and some German. My grandmother taught him some English and my grandfather helped him to find an order of Salesians in New York.

Sad to say that is about all I know of the story. I think my grandfather was reticent to discuss the whole story because he was worried about retribution from the Communists which sounds laughable, but the world was different then. I am sure there is more, but two of the three people who would know best have passed from this world and the third hasn't returned any correspondence for a while. We knew that Fr. Blaise made it back to Europe and even returned to his beloved Czech Republic. Stories of people like these can and have filled volumes. They truly deserve to be called The Greatest Generation.

O glorious Saint Blaise, who by thy martyrdom didst leave to the Church a precious witness to the faith, obtain for us the grace to preserve within ourselves this divine gift, and to defend, without human respect, both by word and example, the truth of that same faith, which is so wickedly attacked and slandered in these our times. Thou who didst miraculously restore a little child when it was at the point of death by reason of an affliction of the throat, grant us thy mighty protection in like misfortunes; and, above all, obtain for us the grace of Christian mortification together with a faithful observance of the precepts of the Church, which may keep us from offending Almighty God. Amen.