Thursday, November 7, 2019

Apple Cider Punch with Bourbon


This was delicious!  And those that don't like bourbon couldn't taste the bourbon in this punch. 

Planning a large gathering for Thanksgiving at your house?  You have to serve this. 


1/2 gallon apple cider
1 cup (8oz) Bourbon 
1 bottle (12 oz) Ginger Beer, non-alcoholic (it's by the ginger ale in the soda isle)
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 apple, thinly sliced

For serving:

cinnamon sticks (optional)
cinnamon sugar apple chips (optional)


1. Combine apple cider, bourbon, and ginger beer in a large pitcher.  Top with cranberries and apple slices. 

2.  Fill glasses with ice and pour punch over top.  Garnish with cinnamon sticks and apple chips.

PS: You can make it non-alcoholic by leaving out the bourbon.  For those that want bourbon, after pouring the punch, add a shot of Bourbon directly into the glasses for those who want it.

Prep Time:
10 minutes




Monday, November 4, 2019

Halloween, All Saints, All Souls, and Celebrating Stan 2019

I told a few friends that these three days in fall, All Hallows' Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day should be called by the Church, the Fall Triduum (like the Easter Triduum).  I love my Catholic faith!  I love being able to have such a tangible faith based on Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition!

We started out by celebrating All Hallows' Eve with a couple of friends :)

It was a very chilly night for us down here in North Texas.  This was the first real chilly trick-or-treating that we had since moving here (this is our 13th year).  Having to wear coats did not stop them from having fun!

On November 1, we celebrated the Feast of All Saints.  Our homeschool group had another party which was a lot of fun.

I LOVE our Catholic community.  It is so faithful, reverent, and vibrantly alive!

Miss Clementine recycled her Halloween costume and went as St. Jadwiga (a.k.a. St. Hedwig) the first queen of Poland.

St. Jadwiga was the daughter of Luis the Great, King of Hungary and Poland.  She was highly devout spending much of her time in prayer as well as helping the poor and the sick.  She found new churches and sponsored hospitals.  The Polish language was used during Mass thanks to St. Jadwiga.  A faculty of theology at Krakow University was established because of this saint.  St. Jadwiga could be found praying every day at the foot of the black cross  in Wawel Cathedral, and it is there that she was buried.  During a homily at her funeral, she was given the title, "Most Christian Queen".  St. Jadwiga and all saints in heaven, pray for us!

November 2, All Souls Day, is the day that the Church remembers the souls of the faithful departed. 

Our homeschool group headed to the historic cemetery in town and prayed for the souls of the faithful departed. 

On this day, special prayers are offered for the souls of the faithful who which at death have not been cleansed from venial sin or have not atoned for past transgressions and cannot attain the beatific vision.  It is a time to pray for their souls, to assist the souls from purgatory to heaven. 

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen

That evening, a couple of friends and I hosted a Moms Night Out at my house.  It was a night filled with laughter, prayer, festive libations and food, and homemade sugar scrubs.  The ladies made a couple of sugar scrubs each to take home. 

At the end of the night, when the last guest left, there was enough Apple Cider Punch with Bourbon (recipe post coming soon!) for one glass.  It was so delicious!

Rounding up this busy weekend, we celebrated Stan the Man's adoption day anniversary by going out for pizza at our favorite pizza joint in town.

Stan's adoption anniversary falls on the feast of St. Martin de Porres.  Stan and St. Martin have some similarities and St. Martin de Porres is whom Stan has chosen to be his Confirmation saint.

St. Martin de Porres, pray for us!

I'm soooo grateful for the time change this fall because of all the wonderful activities we had going on.  I'm also grateful that today is going to be a slow day.  Praise the Lord for coffee!  Ha!

And just like that, it's November 4.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Caddo Lake State Park Camping Trip 2019

I put this park on my 2019 bucket list and had been looking forward to the three nights we spent here.  After such a crazy10 weeks, this was balm for the soul.  Relaxing on this natural stage over in East Texas completely exceeded my expectations.

We left for Caddo Lake on Sunday, October 20.  After setting up the camper, we headed for the lake where I had booked a reservation for a swamp tour. 

That experience was beyond belief simply because of the beauty we took in.  Our tour guide had vast knowledge of the area's flora and fauna, creatures in and out of the water, the history, and was just plain entertaining!

There have been plenty of movies made on this lake.  That shack above right?  That is Dick and Charlie's Tea House, an old, abandoned speak easy during Prohibition.  It lies on the edge of the bayou in Uncertain, TX and was constructed in the 1800's.  It's been showcased in movies.

Top left photo: Johnson's Ranch Marina, has been around since 1908 and was the state's first marina.  Walker Texas Ranger filmed at the marina before. 

The next morning after schooling and some bike riding (PE), we took in the beauty from land.

How gorgeous is that bayou?!

10 years ago, almost to the day, we took the older, four kids to Caddo Lake State Park.

Miss Clementine had her photo taken in the same spot!  (Weren't they CUTE?!)

The park office had a really great educational center. 

On the third day, we headed into a nearby town, Jefferson.  It was full of history and interesting things to check out.

The weather cooled off that last day where we could enjoy a fire. 

This was heaven.  Getting away from everything, relaxing in nature, sleeping sound...  It was a great get-away.  If you are ever near East Texas right by the Louisiana border, between I-20 and I-30, you need to take a detour and stop by the park.  You won't regret it.  I promise.

Until the next time...


Monday, October 28, 2019

End of October Daybook Post 2019

Outside my window ~

Not currently, but beautiful enough to share here

As I type this, it's an overcast day, the kind that needs a lamp turned on in the middle of the afternoon.  It's pleasant out enough that I do not need to have the air conditioner on and we can open the windows. 

I am thankful for ~

* our recent camping trip to Eastern Texas (post coming soon)

* a resemblance of normalcy back in my house
* no more hot days
* good health
* time spent with family, both afar and near

From the school room ~

We took a break from school to visit my mom and David's side of the family. 

From the kitchen ~

Miss Mabel recently started making homemade cinnamon rolls.  They are were so delicious!!  I'll have to get around to putting up that recipe.

What I am reading ~

This was a tough book to get through.  Based on actual facts, it made it even harder.  We must never forget the Holocaust!

Around the house ~

* We are getting ready for Trick-or-Treating, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day.

* Miss Mabel and her friend went to his high school homecoming football game a couple of weeks ago.  They decided to forgo the dance and went out to dinner after the football game instead.  "A blast" was how the night was summed up. :)

* David is the youngest of six children.  We really enjoyed visiting his family when we were in Illinois celebrating a nephew's wedding.  The happy couple were actually married in a Catholic church (a private ceremony) back in September in GA.  They returned to IL for their reception.

(Top picture is of David and his brothers.  Bottom picture includes his two sisters.)

* Sarah turned 2-0 over the weekend.  She came home for 4 nights.  It made my mama's heart so happy to have her here.

Her boyfriend brought over a red velvet cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes.  It was delicious!  That evening, the young adults stepped out for a night of dancing.

The kids are growing up too fast!

Sarah is doing fantastic at school, studying so hard and working clinical at the VA hospital.  She is thriving!  We are so proud of her and look forward to her budding future. :)

I am praying for ~

* an end to abortion
* those who have left their Catholic faith 
* the health of my mom

I am listening to ~

the sound of the Wii.  Miss Clementine is finished with her school and is enjoying some Wii time.

Coming down the pike this week (so much!!) ~ 

*School meeting
*8th grade graduation meeting
*All Saints Day (Mass and homeschool party)
*All Souls Day
*Moms Night Out party

A last photo to share ~

Her pumpkin Jackie will probably start rotting prior to Halloween night, but Miss Clementine insisted on having Sarah help her carve it while Sarah was home. :)

Wishing you all a safe and fun Halloween!!


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Mid-October Daybook 2019

Outside my window ~

I snapped this photo as my plane was descending into Chicago last week.  It had been raining in the area, and I thought this was such a heavenly image.  Our plane was between two layers of clouds.

I am thankful for ~

* my Catholic faith

* time with my mom

* a husband who holds the fort down while I'm away

From the school room ~

This week marks our ninth week, the end of the first quarter.  It's crazy how quickly the time goes.  For me, the first quarter always passes at a swift pace.

From the kitchen ~

I just posted the recipe for these delicious Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies.  Miss Mabel tried these last year.  We just never got around to posting the recipe.

What I am reading ~ 

I recently finished 61 Minutes to a Miracle / Fulton Sheen and a True Story of the Impossible.

This true story occurred in my childhood diocese, the Peoria Diocese (in Illinois).  What a miracle this little boy is!!  The book is an easy read.

Around the house ~

* October 2 is the Feast of the Guardian Angels.  We celebrated with angel food cake and this new DVD I had purchased for $5 at Vision Videos.

* On October 4, we celebrated Stan the Man turning 14!

I canNOT believe he is already 14!  This young man loves the outdoors (he was born on the Feast of St. Francis), camping, playing air soft, and fishing.  He is officially taller than me now.  :)   His good buddy came for dinner.  Miss Mabel made homemade brownies, and then the boys and David enjoyed an outdoor movie night (Saints and Soldiers).

* October 4 is also the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  Our homeschool group went to First Friday Mass and then had an arts and crafts hour.  They built bird houses!

For a snack that day, I read that Animal Crackers were a perfect choice for this feast day :)

* October 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Some of the families in our homeschool group gathered (in the heat from hell) to play in a splash pad, picnic, pray the Rosary together, and have a game of kickball.

* We have been enjoying movie nights in our back yard.  David ended up sewing a screen out of black out material.  I also went to see the movie, Downton Abbey, with some moms from our homeschool group.  And may I add, this was the first time I experienced drinking a libation in the movie theater!  It was so relaxing.  Where have I been?  I live such a sheltered life - Ha ha ha.

I am praying for ~

* my mom

* an end to abortion

* for all those who have asked me to pray for them

* a safe road trip to Illinois (heading back up again)

I am listening to ~

* the coffee pot

Coming down the pike the rest of October ~

* a trip to Illinois to visit my mom and attend a family wedding

* a camping trip

* Sarah's birthday

* Halloween

A last photo to share ~

Our first go at eating our way through the Rosary.  It was more of a distraction but a tasty distraction ;)

I had heard of others doing this and wanted to try it.  I'm not sure how well it played out since David played hockey with the child who was up reciting, flicking the m & m across the table into the net, the hands of the child.  Ha ha ha!

Have a great rest of you October!  We had a cold front move in and I think the 90's are gone, or almost gone.  The temps are going to be cold in Illinois when we are up there.  As David so eloquently said, "We go from burning our arces off to freezing them off in a matter of days."


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies

We had a picnic and Rosary with our homeschool group this past Sunday.  I had wanted to bring some yummy cookies that would remind me of fall (even though it was almost 100 degrees out), so I decided on baking a batch of Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies.  They were so delicious.  This is a recipe Miss Mabel discovered last year. 

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies


1/2 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup course sugar (optional)


1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer to beat the butter, sugar, pumpkin puree, and molasses together.

3.  Add the flour, pumpkin spice, salt, and baking powder.  Blend into the wet mixture.

4.  Fold in the butterscotch chips.

5.  Using a 2 tbsp scoop, scoop the cookie dough into your hand and roll it into a ball.  Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet and use the back of your hand (or something flat) to gently flatten the cookie dough to about 1/4 inch.  Top each cookie with a sprinkling of the course white sugar. (Optional)

6.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for two minutes.  Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack to continue cooling.

Yields about 2 dozen

Recipe is from Lord Byron's Kitchen.




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