Saturday, December 31, 2011

Big Mama and New Year's Eve


Stan said to name this post Big Mama (34 weeks)  ~ LOL ~ out of the mouths of babes, right? :)  

It's already been 4 weeks since I posted one.  That means, the next monthly picture is when I'm on my way to the hospital in 27 days!

BTW,  I finished up my shots this week.  The doctor asked if I would like two more.  I politely turned down his offer.  (They really, really made a world of difference - for the good!)

Baby Joy is resting snuggly on every nerve ending I think I have.  I'm not finding the humor in the electric pulses be sent down my legs via the groin!  

In desperation, I tried some type of yoga move...guessing that is what it was since I don't do yoga...but it  had me bending over at the waist with one leg up in the air from behind.  

Whatever the move, I had a few choice names to give it :)

Then the girls walked in.  Stopped them dead in their tracks, I did!  

I told them I'm trying to get Baby Joy to give up his/her comfort spot so that I don't go around the house walking like the Scare Crow on Wizard of Oz.  

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New Year's Eve.  

Oh my!  So many things on my mind.  But for another day...soon! 

Praying that you all will continue to find or know His peace and joy throughout this new year!

Happy New Year!

~  Patty  ~




Friday, December 30, 2011

Sunshiney Days

For all that blasted, record-breaking, drought-inducing heat we had this summer....

I love being able to play outside for the other remaining 9 months of the year :)

"Mom, it's too bwight to smile."




And I even found some roses blooming (with a whole lot of buds)...


No!  It isn't like this all winter.  We have our cold spells, too.  But we really like the old saying in Texas, "If you don't like the weather, wait till tomorrow!"


Suppose to be 70 degrees tomorrow and we will definitely savor since I heard it will fall back into the 50's next week.

~  Patty  ~

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Maple Glazed Roast Pork

 I mentioned here how I've served this the past few years now.  It is easy, fast, takes up less oven space and time, and  smells delicious  as it is roasting!

Maple Glazed Roast Pork


 
Ingredients:

2 1/2 lbs boneless pork loin roast
1 cup maple syrup
4 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
2 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

2.  Stir together the maple syrup, mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Place pork roast in a shallow roasting pan.  Spread glaze evenly over pork roast.

3.  Roast pork in the preheated oven uncovered until the internal temperature measured with a meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C), about 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let rest about 10 minutes before slicing to serve. 

*Found it much easier to slice if you really let it rest the 10 minutes.  And I slice into very small slices.

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  1 Hour
Yields:  8 servings *I get as much as 12 out of this with small slices.

I originally found this recipe back in 2008 on allrecipes.com.

Merry Christmas!

~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Swirled Candy Cane Cupcakes

I found these festive cupcakes on the cover of one of those paperback recipe books in the check out line back in early fall.  Something about them just caught my eye.

Swirled Candy Cane Cupcakes




Ingredients:

1 box white cake mix
Water, vegetable oil, and eggs called for on box of cake mix
1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
1 teaspoon of red gel/paste food coloring
2 containers of fluffy white whipped frosting
1 cup of crushed hard peppermint candies

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper baking cup in your regular- size muffin cup.

2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and peppermint extract on low for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium speed for two minutes periodically scraping sides of bowl.  Divide batter in half.

3.  To 1 portion, add food coloring; stir until uniform in color.  In each muffin cup place 2 tablespoons of red-colored batter then top with 2 tablespoons of white batter.  Swirl white batter through red batter with knife for marbled design.

4.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks.  Cool completely about 30 minutes.


This is what mine looked like when I took them out of the oven...


(Picked up the red/white striped paper cups at Hobby Lobby.)


5.  Frost each cupcake with whipped frosting and top with crushed peppermint candy.

*I only got about 18 cupcakes out of this recipe.  But it was still plenty for our family.

The kids enjoyed digging into them on Christmas Eve!  We will definitely make them again :)

Merry Christmas!

~  Patty  ~

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Our "second" family Christmas tree we put up this year...


We bought a gorgeous pre-lit tree eight years ago.  Spent a lot of money on it.  It was quite unique and a dead-ringer for a real Balsam Fir.  

Have you ever had to change string of lights on a large  pre-lit tree?  It's enough to drive a sane person mad.  Over the years, I've changed a string or two each season. 

 But this year?  Much  different.

We lost five strings of lights...in a matter of days!

And with me in this hormonal state, it nearly brought me to tears! 

Picture Clark Griswald as he freaks out trying to get his outside Christmas lights to work on Christmas Vacation.  (I didn't kick and scream, but I did get pretty upset :)

Sally tried to cheer me up by telling me, "I kind of like the effect....dark...light...dark...light..."  

Last weekend we bought this cheap one at Walmart and transferred ornaments.

The old but gorgeous tree?   David took over 3 hours cutting off  the strings of light and packed it away.  Next year, we'll do the old tree with new lights.

This tree?  The kids will be using it upstairs next year.

**********************************************

  I tried to get some photos before heading off to Christmas Eve mass.  


(Sally took this one of David and I.)

I wasn't feeling the best and opted out of a family photo.   



********************************************

Christmas Eve dinner for my family always consists of  home made vegetable beef soup with rolls.  It's nice to come home to that smelling up your kitchen.  

This year, I made a yummy new Christmas Eve dessert.  Peppermint cupcakes!  They were very yummy!


(I'll post the recipe later this week!)

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David made Stan a very special present this year.  

Stan LOVES legos.  I priced out tables and about fainted.  Way over priced!!!  David use to build furniture and cabinets ....way back before the Littles came along....so he decided he'd make a Lego table for Stan.

He gave it to Stan on Christmas Eve.


Boy! Did Little Man love his very special gift!



The grandparents usually send us money for the Littles.  It is so much easier if I pick something out and wrap it for them.  

We let the kids open those grandparent gifts on Christmas Eve.

I took this next series of shots when the girls opened part of their gift from Grammy.  It was a gift card to a nail salon.  They never go to a nail salon.  Check out their excitement...

  



I had actually found new "big kid" lunch boxes from Lands End for well under $10.  So with the remaining money I was able to pick them up that special nail salon treat!  

And after I had my piggies done a few weeks ago, I decided I am definitely going back before baby comes and wouldn't it be fun to bring my daughters?!

*****************************************************

Christmas day always starts bright and early in our house :)   The Littles love to see what Santa has delivered.  

It was mostly an electronics year in our house.  

Gifts~

Sally and Mabel each received a new camera.  I think photography is such a creative way to express oneself and I encourage all children to have a camera....if they're responsible enough to take care of it!

Ester received a much wanted iPod nano.  She almost fainted :)  *We have to be there when they upload their music so we determine what is acceptable.  And their music library is under my password!*

Stan received a bundle of Lego's.  The boy was in Lego heaven!

Family gift.   We bought the kids our "first" Wii console.  


(Dancing to Just Dance For Kids - 2 )

You should see Stan in motion with this one.  The boy has moves!

After Ester opened her iPod and the kids opened the Wii, Ester came up to David and I and said..."Now we aren't lame anymore!"   (They've been wanting a Wii for a very, very long time! :)  We just bust out laughing.

Wii games we bought for each of them::

Sally - Wii sports (2 thumbs up!)
Ester - Just Dance for Kids 2 (2 thumbs up!)
Mabel - Mario Galaxy (2 thumbs up!)
Stan - Mario Slugger (2 thumbs up!)

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Christmas Meals. 

I tried a new Cranberry - Orange French Toast.  Before I post it, I want to tweak it just a tiny bit.  It was so easy, prepared the night before by David :)

Dinner.  I've been serving a Christmas maple glazed, roasted pork loin the past few years.


It is so easy and fast that I know Sally could do this on her own!  ( I'll post this recipe later in the week.)

Feeling a good 8 months pregnant on Christmas day, I was in the kitchen at the last minute saying...no to sweet potatoes, no to corn, no to this, no to that.  I had little energy even with help from David and Sally.

We settled on this...


(Maple-glazed, roasted pork loin, cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes with gravy.)

David made the Christmas punch...


As far as a dessert goes, I cheated .  I purchased a delicious cheese cake sampler from Sam's Club for dessert.  Those are to die for!  Have you ever had those....(Sigh....)

***********************************************

Bedtime.

As I was tucking Mabel in and wishing her a Merry Christmas she said, "Mom!  One month from tomorrow we will have a new baby brother or sister!"

And I have a feeling the days are really going to pass quickly now!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Silver Bells



Hoping this finds you all happy, filled with joy and anticipation.  Our house sure is!  Christmas day soon will be here.

And I'm quickly running out of steam :)

Appointment update:

So happy to report that all is well!

* Overjoyed to hear that I have passed yet another fetal development test.

* My cerclage is holding steady and my cervix measurements are just wonderful!

*  Sono tech:: "I believe you are going to have a large baby."  Quite happy to hear that since I'm delivering two weeks early.  Head circumference is already in the 86 percentile!  Brings me comfort since I never went that early before.

*  I'm 33 weeks but measure at 35 weeks.

*  Shots...continue to go smoothly.  Only one left!!!  Woo Hoo!!!  My buns of steel of become quite the pin cushion LOL

*  Only 4 appointments left.

At this point in time, I feel I have cleared the second to last hurdle out of one million.  It's been a very long year and we are starting to boil over with excitement of meeting Baby Joy.  Words just cannot express the excitement.  I find myself tearing up thinking about it.

Yesterday the doctor looked at me and said, "YOU are at 33 weeks!"  And we both just grinned from ear to ear.  No other words were necessary.

And as a friend said, an early Christmas gift!  Yes indeed :)

34 days to go, can you believe it?!  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for all the  prayers and spiritual bouquets!  It has truly carried us through this rough and emotional year.  And as I end this post, I kindly ask that you keep them up.  We are almost there!

Advent blessings!

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Traditions

I dreamt of what my family would look like, (size, names, address), ever since I was a little girl and what traditions we would have, (all based on either my own childhood ones or The Walton's...remember The Walton's t.v. series?)

My family size...close.  Half are in Heaven.

The names of my children...not even close.  Ha ha!  My tastes have definitely changed over the years.

Address...Love the state where we ended up in.

And Christmas traditions?  Oh my goodness!  My mother was a trail blazer for me.  Her personal touch could be found in each room of the house.  Her kitchen was always filled with the aromas of baked goods.  She wrapped a package that would make professional gift wrappers at Macy's spin on their heads.  (And still does!)

She set the stage for my childhood dreams.

I love to 'see' inside the homes of others at this time of the year.  Lots of oohs and aaaaahs fall from my mouth!

Over the years, I noticed that I actually use unique and gorgeous Christmas frames to decorate with.  And I LOVE that tradition!

I always frame the 'Christmas picture of the year'.  You can see that post here from last year.  I station them around the house where one can see a framed memory wherever they turn.


Christmas ornaments.  Sigh.

I just love ornaments.  Don't you?

I particularly like to collect ornaments from where we have traveled on vacation.  They bring back such fond memories when they're unwrapped and placed on the tree!

This year's newest additions...(insert drum roll...)

*  Last January, we took a long weekend and drove to Galveston Island and Houston.  We spent a day on the island and a day at Houston Space Center.

Look at this cutie...



*  Back in July, we took a few days and went to the Texas Hill Country to go tubing down the Comal River.  I found a Christmas store that had German roots.

I found these two cuties...



Our tree is filled with memories.

I have also found that many fond memories can be made by giving ornaments as Christmas, birthday, anniversary and even wedding gifts.

Santa delivers each year as well!  The Littles always find an ornament (or two) in their stocking on Christmas morning.

He has such great taste, too!   Knows exactly what each child is interested in that year.

Oh yes.  The Littles have their own trees in their room.  By the time they are grown and on their own....they will each have quite the collection reaching back to their first baby stocking.

Ester, having a taste for bling, needed a new tree this year.  She picked out this white one with colored lights.


Sally's tree has seen its last Christmas.  Shortly after she set it up, it toppled over.  Nothing like the sound of glass ornaments breaking in a heap!


Stan and Mabel currently share a bedroom.  We picked up a new tree for them at Walmart this year for $20. They had fun decorating it.



Until they are old enough to handle their tree, they have a smaller one placed up high on a dresser.  It will be fun starting yet another baby tree next Christmas!

What about Christmas dishes?  Do you have Christmas dishes?  We love our collection!

I posted about this really fun Christmas tradition last year.  I had seen it years before we had children of our own and knew instantly that it would definitely be a tradition in our house.

The kids LOVE to use them and get so excited when I bring them out on Christmas Eve. :)

With only a few days left until Christmas, I hope you are all able to find peace, love and joy in these next few days ahead!

Advent blessings!

~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Advent Reading Week 4

We wrapped up our Advent reading today.  The Littles were disappointed.  They  LOVED.  LOVED.  LOVED.  the theme reading this year!

During our Christmas Around the World theme reading this week, we hung out in North America with three books.

United States of America (the state of New Mexico) :  The Santero's Miracle, A Bilingual Story  (written by Rudolfo Anaya).


A santero is a person who carves saints.  Don Jacobo is blessed with the talent of being an expert santero.  He and his wife live nestled in a village that lays in a valley of the mountains of northern New Mexico.  Their grandson, Andres,  has been staying with them for the past week helping out on the farm and learning techniques of a santero.  A couple of days prior to Christmas a huge snowstorm blankets that valley making the roads impassible.

Adres is worried that his parents and sister won't be able to make the drive in from Taos to celebrate Christmas with his grandparents.  Don Jacobo is worried about his very ill neighbor.  The ambulance cannot make it through with the roads being so covered in snow.

It seems as though only a miracle will help these villagers out.  Christmas Eve morning finds their prayers answered!

Again, we are introduced to a large vocabulary of Spanish words and shown the beautiful customs of the Hispanic culture.  This is a beautiful story of faith, customs, and Christmas miracles.

Canada:  The Huron Carol  (written by Ian Wallace)


This is actually a beautiful Christmas song that has a rich history reaching back to the 1600's when Father Jean de Brebeuf came to Canada from his native France as a Jesuit missionary.  He lived among the Huron people in what is now Midland, Ontario.  Father Brefeuf not only learned the Huron language but wrote the first Huron dictionary, and converted the Huron to Christians.  He wrote, in Huron, the original version of this Christmas song.  He and his fellow priests and many of their Huron parishioners were killed in an Iroquois raid in 1649.

In 1926, Toronto writer Jesse Edgar Middleton, inspired by Father Jean de Brefeuf, wrote his own version of the Huron Christmas Carol.   He added his own version in English.  The book includes Middleton's version, a French version and the Huron version.

Southwestern United States / Mexico:  The Night of Las Posadas (written by Tomie DePaola).



This is not new to my Littles, but was on the list of books for the theme.  

Las Posadas is actually a traditional Spanish custom brought to Mexico and is celebrated for nine days, from December 16-24.  It is a processional representing Joseph and Mary on their journey to Bethlehem, looking for a room at the inn.  For nine nights, families will walk in the procession knocking on doors only to find them shut or told there is no room.  Finally, on Christmas Eve a door opens and all are welcomed in for cookies and hot chocolate.

Sister Angie has been organizing their church Las Posadas in the town of old Santa Fe, New Mexico for over 50 years!  This year she is too sick to attend.  The Las Posadas must still go on.  Or will it?  A terrible snowstorm hits the mountains but the villagers will experience a miracle before the night is over.  Sister Angie witnesses her own special miracle in the church across the street from the convent that same night.

The kids were excited to see the term Santero maker in this story after reading about a santero in The Santero's Miracle.

We also learned about how Las Posadas is celebrated in San Antonio, Texas.  I told them it would be wonderful to see the San Antonio celebration one of these years.  

Last year, we took the kids over to our own parish to witness the Las Posadas procession.  A great experience for anyone if you ever have the chance!

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That wraps up our Christmas Around the World theme for this year.  As I mentioned, they were disappointed it was over.  They really enjoyed learning about so many other customs from around the world.  


I already know what I want to do for next year's Advent and Christmas reading.  Cay Gibson's Christmas Mosaic, where I took this year's theme from,  has a theme on Jan Brett's Christmas books.  I think the Littles will really enjoy that theme.  Her illustrations can captivate the mind of children ages 0-99!

Advent blessings!

~  Patty  ~

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsel Cookies

Here I was thinking that with limited activity, our house would not be smelling the same as in  past years, but when the girls ask to bake, I will not stop them :)

Sally made these cookies over the weekend ~

Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsel Cookies




Ingredients:

2  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups (10 ounce package) Nestle Toll House Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts*  If omitting nuts, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in morsels and nuts.  

3.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.  

4.  Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 4 1/2 dozen.

The mint in these adds just the right touch and makes it a cookie that everyone will enjoy :)

Advent blessings.

~  Patty  ~

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Turtle Candy

Do you like turtle candy?  My mom told me about this recipe.  It is so crazy easy, Ester and Mabel made a batch together and then Mabel asked to make her own!

And for those of you who like just 3 ingredients (you know who you are *wink*) this is right up your alley!

Turtle Candy


(They taste just like a turtle candy.  Warning:  Very addictive!)

Ingredients:

1 bag of round pretzels
1 bag of rollo candies
1 (2 cup bag) of pecans  *(we used halved pecans but I think they would be prettier with whole pecans)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a cookie sheet.  *(We used round pie pans with parchment paper cut to fit.  Easier to cool off in the freezer or outside in the cold for a bit!)

2.  Place your pretzels on the pan.  Place one rollo, fat side down, on each pretzel.  Warm in oven for 4-5 minutes.

3.  Remove from oven and immediately press one pecan down into each melted rollo.  Cool either outside in the cold air for a few minutes or in the freezer.  *(We made sure ours were good and hard before layering into the cookie containers.)

You can also find this recipe on the back of the holiday rollo candy bags.  

We thought these would make a fun addition to the Christmas cookie plates we will be preparing this coming week.

P.S. ~  I am starting a new page at the top of my blog.  I am in the process of placing all of my recipes in one place and categorizing them.  Easier for you all to look up any that peeked your interest.  Right now, I'm constructing the Holiday section.  

Advent blessings!

~  Patty  ~

Friday, December 16, 2011

Advent Reading Week 3

My Littles have really enjoyed our approach to reading Advent/Christmas books this year.  This time last year, they were starting to fade away from our daily books.

Using Cay Gibson's Christmas Around the World theme means fewer books each week, but their attention has definitely been held captive!

This week we traveled to Europe again and then to North America, specifically the Caribbean Islands!  


Sweden:  Lucia, Saint of Light (written by Katherine Bolger Hyde) and Christmas in  Noisy Village (written by Astrid Lindgren)



Lucia, Saint of Light, holds all the explanations needed, in kid-friendly terms, regarding who this saint is and all the wonderful and warm traditions around her feast day.  The Littles were excited to hear all about the customs of the Swedish people.

Christmas in Noisy Village is a cute story about three farms nestled very close to one another, the children that live in each house, and their excitement that builds up to Christmas morning.  We learned how they use each day to prepare for Christmas.  The setting is in Sweden back in the early part of the twentieth century.  The illustrations are just beautiful.

I read both stories on Dec. 13, the feast of St. Lucia.

Trinidad and Tobago (islands in the southern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela):  An Island Christmas (written by Lynn Joseph)




Let me just say that by the time we were done reading this story, we were all wishing our bags were packed for a Christmas island adventure!


This story taught us about weather on the island, especially in December.  We learned about new customs regarding Christmas on the islands, i.e. their Christmas trees (Guava tree branches), parang bands (early Spanish settlers brought this with them), foods (black currant cakes), Sorrel (a special Christmas drink), as well as sugar cane and soursop ice cream treats!  So many colorful customs!!

The Littles really liked this story a lot!

Hard to believe that we wrapped up week 3 of our Christmas Around the World theme.  One week left and it will bring us to North America.  I'll post more next week.

In the meantime, you can find many more book ideas at an Favorite Advent and Christmas Books Link up that Jessica is hosting.  If you haven't already, stop over there and take a peek!

Advent blessings!

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chocolate Crinkles

Need a chocolate fix?  This chocolate cookie coated in powder sugar is sure to do the trick!   Sally made and baked two batches of this kind  all on her own about two weeks ago.

Chocolate Crinkles



Ingredients:


1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

1.  In large bowl, mix oil, chocolate, granulated sugar and vanilla.  Stir in eggs, one at a time.  Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.  Cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours.  *(She refrigerated over night.)

2.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray.  *(We used parchment paper.)

3.  Drop dough by teaspoonfuls into powder sugar; roll around to coat and shape into balls.  Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

4.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center.  Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

Makes 6 dozen.

My mom made these when I was growing up.  We used the same old Betty Crocker recipe that she used.  These are one of our favorites :)

Advent blessings!

~  Patty  ~

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pineapple Upside-down Gingerbread Cake

Knowing good food always makes things better, I'm ending today's frustrations on a happy note.
1.  The Littles in bed REAL early tonight.
2.  A yummy dessert to share.




Pineapple Upside-Down Gingerbread

We enjoy this at least once during the season!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 can (8 oz) pineapple slices in juice, drained, **keep 1/4 cup juice reserved**
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs

Topping:
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
8 maraschino cherries with stems

Directions:
1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In 9 inch round pan, mix 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and the brown sugar, spread evenly to cover the bottom of pan.  Cut pineapple slices in half; arrange 4 halves over brown sugar mixture in center of pan.  Cut remaining halves in half again; arrange pieces around edge of pan.

Basically, it should look like this...


2.  In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  With spoon or wire whisk, beat in remaining 6 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice and all remaining gingerbread ingredients until smooth.  Spoon batter carefully over pineapple; spread to cover.

3.  Bake 30 - 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

4.  Run knife around side of pan to loosen.  Place heatproof serving plate, upside down, over pan.  Turn plate and pan over; remove pan.  Cut into wedges.  Serve with whipped cream and cherries.



I made this last Sunday.  It is as warm and delicious as it looks!!

Prep Time:  25 minutes
Ready Time:  1 hour
Serves: 8


Advent blessings!

~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Time Is Flying!

Yowzer!

I knew Advent would pass quickly but I'm still taken by surprise by just how quickly.

~  Last week,  the girls had their annual Little Flower/ Little Women Christmas cookie bake and exchange.

Each family signed up to bring a different type of cookie dough to bake .  Here's a small sampling...


My girls were getting their fix on with some other special treat though...




This Christmas package arrived just over one month ago...the day after the girls in the group threw this baby shower in fact!

Yup!  I got my fix in as well.  :)

~  Saturday morning, while Sally was off on a babysitting job,  Ester and Mabel prepared these cute Christmas gifts for their close girlfriends and some friends on the block...


BTW, if any moms of these "friends" are reading this, please don't show your kids...they won't be delivered until next week and we want to keep it a surprise (*wink*)

*They started with a bowl full of candy


 *Added a few home made items and stickers for their close girlfriends


*Rolled the treats in tissue paper...stuck them through toilet paper rolls...tied the ends off with ribbon...and covered the toilet paper rolls with Christmas scrapbook paper


They had so much fun doing this!  The idea came from American Girl Magazine, Dec 11/ Jan 12 issue.

~  Saturday night David and I went to our homeschool group's Advent party.  It was good to be alone with the hubs for a while :)

~ Sunday brought a 'boys - only' trip to Legoland Discovery Center.  It was actually part of Stan's birthday present from back in October.

This is a Lego display of downtown Dallas...


And of course the Rangers Stadium display...


Pretty amazing, huh?

My girls spent the afternoon at the park playing.  I sat on the couch and slowly wrote out Christmas cards.  It was a very peaceful, quiet Sunday for me :)

~  Back around Thanksgiving time, we had some really chilly weather.  Had to break out the winter coats and hats even!

And there are no better winter hats then the ones that Grandma Claire knits...


Grandma even does camo...



~ Monday we celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe


Our parish has a very large Hispanic community and they always celebrate this feast day in such a beautiful way.  We wanted to to take part in some of the scheduled things but look at the time for these events...

(From the bulletin)

Monday, December 12th - Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Lunes, 12 de Diciembre - Fiesta de Ntra. Sra. de Guadalupe
                Rosary / Rosario         4:30 AM
                Mariachi-MaƱanitas  5:00 AM
                Mass (Bilg) /Misa (Bilg)       6:00 AM
                Mass (Sp) /Misa (Esp)        7:00 PM


I'm usually too tired, sore, or achy by evening so we passed on the 7pm Mass.

But we still read this beautiful story::


We also had our Mexican dinner of tacos!  (I've been really craving Mexican food lately.)

~  Today we celebrated the Feast of St. Lucia.  (You can read about St. Lucia here.)  This is a new celebration that we added to our list of liturgical celebrations at home.

We read two new books...




and added to our holy card collection...




The best part was a new tradition we started this year.  Since St. Lucia is also a celebration of light and winter, we decided to use this night to drive the Littles around to look at Christmas lights. How appropriate! We got the idea from Jen.

~ Home and in my pj's now.  Ready for a quiet rest of the week and praying that you are all finding the joy of Advent in your own homes this week .  

P.S.  I don't know about you all, but I'm really enjoying reading and "seeing" what everyone else does in their homes at this time of year.  Thanks for sharing so many great ideas!

Advent blessings!

~  Patty  ~


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