Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Frugal and Faithful Easter Baskets

My secret weapon for an Easter basket that is inexpensive, fun, and focused on faith? You may not believe it, but its the Dollar Tree!

Finding even one Easter item that has anything to do with the holiday's true meaning at your local supermarket is often nearly impossible. But it's surprisingly easy at the Dollar Tree!

Not only do they usually have a nice supply of Bible story themed puzzles, picture books, and coloring books year round, I was also able to find an egg dyeing kit that included stickers and decorations of crosses, stained glass windows, lambs, bibles, and the like. Not only has my son recently really gotten into puzzles, but we plan on dyeing eggs after Easter Sunday so it works out great! Remember that Easter doesn't end on Easter Sunday, but lasts for 50 days!

 In the Easter candy section there were not one, but two different types of religious themed Easter chocolates. And most surprisingly of all, I have found very specifically Catholic stickers there, like ones featuring depictions of different titles and apparitions of Mary. Sometimes next to the teacher school supplies, there are Sunday school supplies as well, which is where I found the stickers. Who would of thunk it! Sadly I couldn't find them this time around, but they've been there before.  Of course you can also get your basics like Easter baskets, grass, and jellybeans as well as simple fun gifts like bubbles, chalk, and jump ropes.

Most of the Dollar Tree items are best suited for younger children, but that's okay for now because a younger child is what I have. There may also be great items at other dollar stores, but Dollar Tree has always been my favorite because everything there is actually only one dollar, while other dollar stores may have things ranging from one dollar to twenty dollars. I think that its important to remember that kids don't really need a bunch of fancy stuff to be happy. Most young kids can find hours of entertainment with the simplest of items. My son has even invented a game called "Spiderland" that requires nothing more than his hands. Of course when you ask him how many legs a spider has he says five! So for this Easter weekend stay focused on God's incredible gift, have fun, and if your baskets aren't ready yet, head over to your local Dollar Tree!

This post is linked up on the Catholic Bloggers Network 2014 Link Up Blitz! Check it out!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Classic St. Patrick's Corned Beef

Is it really an American St. Patrick's Day without corned beef? Many would argue that it is not. My mom taught me how to make the best corned beef, and she took the recipe from our local Catholic church's St. Patrick's Day dinner and dance event, so you know it has to be good. My in laws partook of the meal this year. My father in law is not a meat and potatoes guy, he is a meat guy, and lets just say that there were no leftovers.

Of course in addition to the corned beef and dying our lemonade green, we can't forget that St. Patrick was a holy man who loved God and brought Christianity to Ireland. I posted some great videos for kids about St. Patrick last year. My son and I also did a shamrock craft that showed how St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach people about the trinity. It worked for St. Patrick back then, and its a great teaching tool today as well! The shamrock is one plant with three leaves, just like God is one God with three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


 Corned Beef

Ingredients:
-1 uncooked corned beef with seasoning packet (easily found in your grocery stores in March)
- Spicy Mustard

Directions:

Par boil the corned beef with its seasonings for 3-4 hours.

Remove the beef from the pot and place in a baking dish. Smother the beef with spicy mustard.

Bake at 315 to 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve with cabbage and potatoes.

 This post is linked up on the Catholic Bloggers Network 2014 Link Up Blitz! Check it out!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lent 2014

Its here! Ash Wednesday is tomorrow which marks the beginning of Lent 2014!

In the past I have had a tendency to pick way too many things that I'd like to do, and then not do very well with any of them. Just like cleaning schedules, and diet and exercise plans, I start off with enthusiasm and then peter out after a few weeks. Doing a lot of things is a big temptation with all the wonderful ideas that can be found out there in internet land! This year I'm hoping to get out of that habit by picking just a few meaningful things that will still challenge me, but are reasonable to accomplish.

That being said, this year I have to get creative because of the wonderful news that my husband and I are expecting our second child! So no fasting for me, and dang it, I'm going to eat what I want (or can keep down!)

Just today I came up with something that I think will be a great creative solution. As regular readers may know, I work from home as a teacher for a virtual school. While sometimes staying cozy in your PJs is one of the benefits of working from home, I have fallen into the bad habit of staying in my pajamas all day, every day. Seriously,  I pretty much only get dressed if I have to go somewhere in the evening. I'm not saying I'm proud. So for Lent this year I'm going to get dressed every morning before I start work. This may sound a little silly, but I really think its going to be beneficial. That time when I'm getting dressed will probably be a good time for a little morning offering prayer as well.

Another idea I've seen that I like is writing letters. I always have people that I want to write to in the back of my mind, but I almost never do it. While I don't think I could do 40 letters, one for each day of Lent, I would like to try to write a letter to someone I've been meaning to write to once a week during Lent.

I'm also going to attempt to finish my Lenten cross-stitch project from the past two Lents! I posted about this last year, when I was determined to finish it then!
The finished pattern will look like this. The link to this free pattern can be found here:
http://www.better-cross-stitch-patterns.com/he-is-risen.html

 Of course our  family will be working adding more prayer and charity as well. I also hope to add in little things like reading more faith based stories, and listening to religious music while I work.

Figuring out how to make Lent meaningful for my four year this year is proving to be challenging. He has definitely fallen into a phase where church is very difficult for him. No matter how well our conversation about why church is important and why we go and how we should behave goes before hand, it never seems to matter once we actually get there.  When I gave simple examples of  things people might give up during Lent the poor boy was almost in tears. He couldn't understand why God would want him to do something so incredibly sad as not eating candy or watching cartoons. I tried to explain that when we give things up we show God that He is more important than those things, and when we get closer to God and love Him more we get happier, not sadder, but I couldn't stop the tears. So I figure he's not quite ready for giving up something like that. We talked a little longer and came up with something that I think, I hope, will work well. Sam has decided that he is going to give up whining for Lent. I think he can understand how trying to stop doing something  naughty can make God happy, and help get him ready for Easter.

I'm also going print off a Lenten Calendar and Prayer chart to help guide him, and us, through Lent.

Here is the prayer chart from Enter Under My Roof:
http://enterundermyroof.blogspot.com/2014/02/activity-lenten-prayer-stained-glass.html

The calendar printable we will use is from Catholic Icing, but I am currently having trouble connecting to the site, so I will add that link in later.

What do you think, is my list already too long? 

I hope everyone has a fruitful Lent!





This post is linked up on the Catholic Bloggers Network 2014 Link Up Blitz! Check it out!

Monday, March 3, 2014

St. David's Potato-Leek Soup

March 1st was the feast of St. David, the patron of Wales. In Wales and Welsh communities throughout the world, St. David's Day is celebrated in a similar fashion to St. Patrick's Day here in the United States, with parades, parties, and good food. Sometimes school children in Wales even get the day off! You can learn more about St. David here.

It is traditional on St. David's Day for the Welsh people to adorn themselves with either a daffodil or a leek. When I found this out I immediately thought of potato-leek soup, known to fancy people as vichyssoise. This soup used to be a Christmas Eve tradition for my parents until I came along. After that Christmas Eve lunch/dinner was whatever I chose for my birthday!

I hadn't had potato-leek soup for a long time and was really looking forward to making it. As soon as the raw vegetables hit the warm chicken broth the smell was amazing, and I had barely started cooking! This soup is smooth and velvety and perfect for these still chilly Michigan days. The first spoonful was heavenly, the kind where you just have to close your eyes and say, "mmmmm." I don't think I've eaten something that satisfying in long time. I must make potato-leek soup more often.


Potato-Leek Soup

Ingredients:
-6 cups sliced potatoes (I happened to use Yukon Golds this time.)
-3 cups sliced leeks
-8 cups chicken stock
-2 Tablespoons butter
-1 cup half & half
- salt and pepper

Simmer vegetables in stock until tender. Cool slightly. Puree in blender.

When ready to eat, add half & half, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. I actually left pepper out of my batch because I didn't want little black dots all over my smooth white soup. If you don't care, go for it. You could also use white pepper. Garnish with minced chives or parsley. Enjoy!


This post is linked up on the Catholic Bloggers Network 2014 Link Up Blitz! Check it out!




Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy SAINT Valentine's!

My four year old had his first school Valentine's party at preschool yesterday. He was so excited and of course brought home lots of candy!

Since he attends a Catholic preschool I knew that this was perfect time to break out the Happy Saints to create Valentines for his school friends and teachers. I saw this idea last year at Equipping Catholic Families, and was so happy that  I now had the chance to make them!

Of course its more fun if the you make them together. At my son's age cutting is still difficult, so my husband did that, but Sam was happy to help me glue and write his name.

 I don't know if the boys ended up with boy saints and the girls ended up with girl saints or not, but I hope that whoever each child got, they enjoyed seeing their Happy Saint Valentine reminding them about the love of God!

Of course you could also go really crazy and make St. Cyril and Methodius cards instead!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Best Banana Bread

When life gives you mushy bananas, make banana bread! Quick breads are great for an impromptu cooking project because they're, well, quick! As much as I love yeast breads sometimes its nice to just mix, pour, and bake. Banana bread isn't normally my favorite, but this recipe from my trusty family cookbook turned out quite well and was very tasty, especially topped with real butter. I personally would enjoy the addition of things like nuts and even coconut, but I know that my four year old wouldn't eat it that way, so we made it plain. The recipe in the cookbook was labeled "World's Best Banana Bread." I changed the title slightly here because I made a couple of adjustments based on what I had on hand around the house.

Best Banana Bread

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
2  ripe, soft, well mashed bananas
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs beaten lightly
6 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients up to and including the walnuts in a large bowl.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.

Gently fold the banana mixture into the dry mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined and batter is thick and chunky. Scrape into a 9 inch loaf pan.

Place bread on the lower middle rack of the oven and bake at 350 for 55 minutes; until loaf is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

One Year Anniversary- Top Ten Posts!


Exactly one year ago today, I published my first post and started my blogging adventure! I've had a lot of fun and I hope all of you out there who are reading have been enjoying it too. In honor Rose's Supposes one year anniversary I've decided to highlight my top ten posts from my first year of blogging.









#1: Saints, Saints, Who do you see?
This was an Easter gift for my son last year. A take on the children's classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? There's a host of our family's favorite saints all praying for each other and for us! I used artwork from the Nippert and Co. Artworks Faith Keepers series.  A big shout out to Jennifer from Catholic Inspired who shared this on her blog which played a huge part in making this my #1 most popular post for the year!








# 2: Saints Matching Game
A birthday gift for my son last year, and my first blog post after my welcome message one year ago, I had just discovered the adorable saint images from Happy Saints and put them to use making this memory game. Thanks to Happy Saints creator Victor Teh for sharing and helping to make this post so popular!






#3:  Rosary Flipbook
Another project made popular by being shared with Happy Saints fans. It was also the first thing I posted on Rose's Suppoes facebook page! I used the Happy Saints Rosary e-book to make a booklet that aids in praying the rosary.





#4: Stations of the Cross Picture Pull
It looks like Happy Saints really helps make things popular! I used the Stations of the Cross e-book to create this project for a children's Stations of the Cross that can be done sitting at the kitchen table.



#5: St. Lawrence Day Cookout
My family had a cookout on the feast of St. Lawrence with my dad and stepmom. As a family who loves to tell jokes, we appreciate this saint's sense of humor. On the menu were venison burgers, grilled veggies, and grilled fruit sundaes.






#6: Dr. Seuss Celebration
On Dr. Suess' birthday in March I posted pictures from my son's 1 year old birthday party which was Green Eggs and Ham themed. This is one of my favorite cakes I've decorated! On the menu were green deviled eggs, baked ham, broccoli salad, pineapple boats, parker house rolls, and a cheese and cracker platter.


#7: Arroz con Pollo for St. Josemaria Escriva
This recipe for rice and chicken from my Puerto Rican great-grandmother is one of my most re-pinned items on Pinterest. A family favorite I've enjoyed since childhood, we made it on the feast of St. Josemaria Escriva, even though he's Spanish.






 #8: Dinner for St. Gemma
St. Gemma has proved to be a great saint for our family. My husband had severe back problems this year, and was able to get treatment and feel much better! For her feast day we had spinach alfredo lasagna with chicken and red peppers, and a chocolate cake decorated with the symbol for the Passionist order.






  #9: St. John Bosco Sticks
When I was working a long term sub job at a small Catholic school I quickly learned that the kids got very excited for lunch when it was Bosco Stick day, Bosco sticks being a cheese filled breadstick. When I was presenting the saint of the day, St. John Bosco, they asked if Bosco Sticks were named after him. This experience had me making my own homemade version of Bosco Sticks for his feast day. Though it turns out there is a connection between the saint and the Bosco Stick pizza company!




#10: Joking Around with St. Jane Frances de Chantal
There's no recipe or craft with this one, just a reflection on an amazing saint I discovered this year. Also included are some of my family's favorite bad jokes, thanks to a quote from one of St. Jane's friends. "Even stupid jokes were funny when she told them."

Saturday, January 4, 2014

5th Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated five years of marriage! We were able to spend some time away from the house and really reconnect. It was very nice and very needed. We'll have to make sure that one of our new year's resolutions is to spend more one on one time with each other! The past five years have had their ups and downs, but my husband is an amazing man and I wouldn't trade any of our time together for anything.

video
I was thinking about what I could do for him for this special anniversary, and when I heard this song at a recent Hanson concert, (have I ever mentioned I'm a bit of a Fanson?), I knew it would be perfect for a video highlighting our journey together. We've been married for five years, but our journey started ten years ago on the high school drumline. He played the snare drum, I played the bass, and so a wonderful life together began. He's a wonderful husband and father, and I thank God that he came into my life.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Winnie the Pooh Birthday

Even though it happens every year, I can't believe my son just got older! Yesterday he turned the ripe old age of 4, and even with friends being sick and having to stay home we had a lot of fun.

Sam asked for a Winnie the Pooh theme this year and I really enjoyed putting it together. We had it at the dance studio I work at, thanks to the kindness of my friend the owner!

 Decorations:
I was surprised to find that there weren't any Winnie the Pooh decorations in the party sections of local stores, so I used color to give our party room the Pooh feeling. A yellow table cloth with red place settings worked very well. For a little centerpiece I tied a blue balloon to Sam's stuffed Pooh Bear, a tribute to the story where Pooh tried to get honey from the honey tree by pretending to be a rain cloud. It may have worked a little better if we had helium balloons, but oh well. 

 Sam's other stuffed Pooh friends joined the party as well, and I used black and orange streamers to represent Tigger.
 Games:

Pin the Tail on Eeyore
A Winnie the Pooh twist on the classic pin the tail on the donkey. My husband found an online printable and put it together for me. Sam admits that "he only peeked with one eye!"

Pooh Pinata:
Another birthday party classic. Sam saw a cartoon about the Mexican Christmas tradition of Las Posadas, and has been asking for a pinata for his birthday ever since.

Tigger's Bounce and Freeze:
Just another twist on a familiar kid favorite! While the music plays, everyone bounces, (The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers would be a good music choice), and when the music stops, everyone has to freeze!

 Food:
The birthday boy requested apple slices, carrots, milk, and chicken nuggets, so that is what we had. To make it a little more Pooh themed we brought in honey barbeque sauce, honey mustard, and honey to dip the nuggets in as well as some honey nut Chex mix. We were going to call the veggie tray with the carrots "Rabbit's Garden" but I didn't get around to making cute labels for the food.

The cake was classic chocolate, Sam's favorite, made in Wilton's teddy bear pan and frosted to look like Winnie the Pooh with a star tip.




Happy 4th Birthday Sam! Thanks for all the joy you bring into our lives!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Kumquat Christmas Drink


Over the weekend we went to my dad's to help pick out a Christmas tree and decorate the house. Of course my dad always has a nice assortment of goodies laid for the festivities. Everything from cheese and sausage, to a variety of homemade pickled veggies. The beverage of choice for festive gatherings in my family is something we simply call "Christmas Drink."

It started when my brothers and sisters and I were little. We wanted a "fancy" drink like the grown ups had, so my dad came up with this drink by grabbing a couple random things from the grocery store. He ended up grabbing raspberry pop and kumquats.

In addition to our special drink, kumquats themselves have become a Christmas tradition in our family. We started out with just the little pints you could get at the grocery store, but then I discovered kumquatgrowers.com, where you  can order 10 pound boxes of kumquats to be delivered right to your door! Things really started taking off then, and we make almost everything we  can out of kumquats. In fact one of my very first posts on this blog was my dad's recipe for kumquat marmalade.

For those of you who have not been following my blog from the beginning and don't know what a kumquat is here is my explaination:

 A kumquat is a small citrus fruit. The rind is sweet and the inside is sour. After the seeds are removed it is eaten whole, skin and all.  The season for kumquats lasts from about November through March. In the United States they mostly grow in Florida.

Kumquat Christmas drink is quite simple, but lots of fun! (I mean, what kid doesn't find the mere word "kumquat" a hoot?")

Kumquat Christmas Drink

-1 glass raspberry pop (raspberry pop has been hard to find recently, so we've been using cranberry. You could fancy it up by using sparkling raspberry spumante, or make it more adult by adding some white wine or your alcohol of choice.)
-At least two kumquats, more if you like it. .

1. Fill a glass with raspberry pop
2. Roll the kumquats on a cutting board to release the oils and get the juices going.
3. Cut the kumquats in half, and drop them into the glass of pop.
4. When the pop is all gone, eat the raspberry soaked kumquats.

Enjoy!