Friday, December 30, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Merry Christmas Ed.

1. Merry Christmas!! We have had a very blessed Christmas thus far filled with good food, family, and gifts. I love this time of year. It's only missing one thing: SNOW!! I've spoken about my love for snow before and how it drives all the snow-haters crazy. I'm happy to have some kindred souls around me though in my husband, dog, and SIL Robyn. I can't ever remember a time when we will be ringing in the New Year and still haven't had any significant snow. Worse yet, it has been raining. Cold. icky. rain. I don't want to complain, if this is the worst of my problems, then life sure is good, and life sure is good.

2. Dominic met his 2nd (I believe) cousin on Christmas Eve. We had a great time with my husband's family as always and he got along with his cousin, Jake, wonderfully. That is until he threw a very hard big plastic toy at his head. I was mortified. His mom was so sweet and acted like it wasn't a big deal as she comforted her almost 1 yr old. Jake was a champ, and such a sweetie trying to play with my crazy, rowdy little guy.

 3. We always dress up for Church around here (I wouldn't wear jeans to my wedding after all), but especially so on Christmas. Here is my handsome boys in their Christmas best.
 Funny thing is, last year after Christmas I bought Dominic a cute outfit with Christmas tie on super clearance...and of course, the tie was no where to be found.

4. Even though last year was Doc's first Christmas, this year was the first Christmas he cared to open presents and such. It was so much fun! He caught on quickly. Next thing we know, he was opening everyone else's presents for them.

 5. I had fun decorating for Christmas this year. I am trying to find my own vintage Christmas style. I feel I have ideas and direction now so next year will be even better! Here are our last minute centerpieces made by my wonderful husband from a pine bush in our back yard and some holly from his parent's house down the road. Simple, but I really like it!

 And thanks to some thrift shopping and my creative SIL (well the idea was actually from a blogger she stalks ((well she doesn't really stalk her, she just loves all her ideas))) I now have a miniature pine tree forest. I love it! I think Robyn and I might be taking turns housing this collection. I'm excited for it to grow over the years.

6. Everyone was so generous for Christmas this year (well every year!) Dominic got some great gifts including a Brio train set, drums, some much needed clothing, and the cutest hat in the world (of which I will post pictures when I can convince him to wear it!) I also received some great things. It's funny my husband apologized after I opened one of my gifts from him, a canning kit, for it being a "working" gift. But I LOVE IT! I am a practical gift kinda girl. I mean, I like games and such, but I really like stuff that I will really use often, or that will help me grow. I've been wanting to learn how to can but wouldn't have started the initial investment myself. Thanks sweetie!

 7. Isn't it funny how when I was little, I would sneak candy so my parents wouldn't see me, lest I get in trouble. Now I sneak candy so my son won't see me, lest I have to share with him.

Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year!! Check out Jen for more Quick Takes.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Santa Thing

When I was a teenager, I babysat my two cousins a lot. They did not believe in Santa. Why? Because my aunt did not want to lie to her children. I thought it was the stupidest thing ever. I thought she was ruining their childhood and robbing them of belief and magic. It is funny now that I am in the position of having people say the same about me.

First off, none of this is a judgement on what other parents have decided to do. I think holy people of good faith can disagree on this subject; this is just what Geoff and I know to be best for our family.

St. Nicholas was awesome. He was a tremendous miracle worker whom God used to multiply food and even raise 3 children from the dead. He was a very generous Bishop who did much to take care of the poor. This is a Saint that certainly deserves our veneration. His Feast is Dec 6th and will be observed in our house. Christmas however, is (should be) all about Jesus. I think no one would argue that this holy and sacred day has instead become has all about "Santa Claus" and materialism (another blog in itself).

Going to Mass on Christmas is not enough to thank God for the amazing gift of our newborn Savior. The whole day, our whole lives should be lived as a thank you. Christmas is about giving the gifts of ourselves in return to the God who created us, and gave His life for us. It shouldn't be taken so lightly.

Here is where my problem with the whole Santa thing really comes in though. As Christian parents, nothing is more important than getting our children to Heaven and instilling in them the love of God. From a young age we tell them that God exists, that He made them and loves them. They can't see Him (with the exception of people like St. Gerard), or really KNOW He is there, but they believe because the people they know and love more than anything, their parents, tell them it is so. God gives us gifts like virtues and graces, to help us through life's trials. As they get older, society, pagans, and heretics are constantly on the attack, saying God doesn't exist and that one is wasting his or her life living for God. Not to mention the evil one and his minions are constantnly prowling looking for an opportunity to devour the soul. It is going to take a strong faith to withstand that.

On the flip side, we tell our kids Santa is real. He has cool powers and bring them wonderful gifts like trains and dolls, just the thing they really really wanted. He brings them such joy and all the world is his advocate. No one hates Santa, and goes around telling kids he doesn't exist. He is in songs, movies, and commercials that are everywhere for a good two months of the year and is just so jolly and loveable. He gives them gratification now, not the promise of future joy and eternal happiness (which seems so far away).

Now when our children find out the truth about Santa, which is obviously inevitable, I think it stands to reason that most will begin to question deep down, what else their parents have been lying about. It seems to me that the first seeds of doubt about the existance of God will be born in them. I mean, if Santa isn't real, and all of the world is behind him, what then does that say about the God that so many hate?

Now don't get me wrong, it is part of our faith journey (ownership) to question, but not at such a young age. When it really comes down to it, there is a battle going on between life and death for our souls, and the souls of our precious children. I don't want to give the devil any one-ups. I know our children won't be missing out on anything by not believing in Santa Clause, afterall God IS wonder and awe; but instead they have all of Heaven to gain.

Again, this is just what Geoffrey and I know, after prayerful discernment, is the right thing to do in our family. I'm praying our extended families honor that decision. Also I don't think less of people who choose differently; I think kids can be raised to believe in Santa and turn out perfectly holy adults. I believe however that there are enough battles for their soul, why fight a possible big one at a young age when it is completely avoidable? Sorry Santa Clause, you aren't real and my kids will know the TRUTH.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Ball Awesomeness

Be warned, these are the tastiest, yummiest things ever. Seriously. Overwhelming deliciousity. If you make them, you will eat half of them, or more. Just to give you an idea of how good they are, I made them for a cookie exchange with my husband's extended family two years ago. Last year, when I made a different cookie, there was nearly a huge revolt and a call for my burning at the stake. They had mercy on me though and trust me this year, I will be bringing these once again.

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Don't worry, I made sure to eat this one after I touched it.


Mix together:
2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cup rice krispies
1lb (3cup) powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Make balls and dip in melted:
 2 (maybe 3) package milk chocolate chips

Put on cookie sheets in fridge to harden. Enjoy.

Makes about 70 balls.

Okay so just to give a few pointers since I've been making these since I was a little child. They are kind of labor intensive. Once you get the powdered sugar in, it is almost impossible to stir. I wash my hands really good and end up using my hands to mix in the rice krispies. I gave a friend the recipe and she used a mixer. She said it turned out good, but I am too afriad to ruin a good thing so I stick with what I know.

Depending on the peanut butter you use, you may have to add more powdered sugar. You will know when you try to make a ball. If it is too sticky, add more. I've always had to add more except this year I used my new favorite peanut butter, Skippy Natural with honey. The recipe worked perfectly. If the balls are too crumbly, add more peanut butter.

The original recipe my mom used called for a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips and a bar of milk chocolate. They are still really good like this, but I prefer just to go all out and use all milk chocolate. Yep that's how I roll. And it seems that no matter how much chocolate I melt, I have to melt more so make sure you have extra on hand.

If you have left over melted chocolate, you can always use it creatively doing something else. That is how a family favorite-chocolate covered BACON!! was born in our house. Also awesomeness.

The double batch I made (140ish balls).
You're very welcome.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm Still Alive

Wow it's been a while since I've blogged. I don't have writer's block, to the contrary I have a million and one things to write about. I even have many almost finished posts. I guess I've just been living life. Not that blogging gets in the way of that but I've been busy. And believe me, life is great.

What exactly have I been up to? Having fun with and treaching Dominic. Playing games with the hubs. Cooking. Making my own cleaning products. Being creative. Having fun with the youth group. Praying. Adoration. Rosaries. Maybe sometime soon I will be able to tell you more indepth about some of these things, but for now there is a lot of living to do.

I'm still here and hopefully will blog again soon, maybe tomorrow or maybe in a few days.

For now all I have to say is, God is good. Have a blessed Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.