Food, Humor, Organization, and Gift Ideas

Luxury for Mom:

Started off the early morning with 1/4 cup of Mariebelle Aztec Hot Chocolate… just enough for me to handle in the dark hours of the dawn…

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Yena’s Quote of the Month: “Mom, what’s the name of that movie, Princess Diarrhea?” (Princess Diaries)… oh my child, so blessedly out of the loop.

Tip for Slow Food Lovers in Wintry Weather:

Take some oxtails from your favorite grass fed beef farmer, put in water in a large heavy pot, bring to a boil, then simmer overnight on LOW LOW LOW. Wake up in the morning to falling-off-the-bone tenderness. Take out meat pieces with slotted spoon, leave pot with stock outside in the cold (32 degrees F here right now), covered. In the early evening an hour before dinner, take pot inside. Scoop out solidified beef fat (could probably use this for a birdseed feeder?), bring stock to a boil, season with salt and add yummy things like peeled quartered potatoes, lots of onions, whole black peppercorns, green beans and cabbage leaves. Return meat to pot and simmer just until all warmed up. Perfect for fall.

Prayer to Saint John Bosco for our Young Driver

O glorious Saint John Bosco, who in order to lead young people to the feet of the divine Master and to mould them in the light of faith and Christian morality didst heroically sacrifice thyself to the very end of thy life and didst set up a proper religious Institute destined to endure and to bring to the farthest boundaries of the earth thy glorious work, obtain also for us from Our Lord a holy love for young people who are exposed to so many seductions in order that we may generously spend ourselves in supporting them against the snares of the devil, in keeping them safe from the dangers of the world, and in guiding them, pure and holy, in the path that leads to God. Amen.

Keep her safe from irate drivers who are impatient to get to where they’re going…

On my to-do-list today:

Off to do my 15-minute-each-room tasks, so I can check them off Toodledo, THE (so-far) perfect online spot to help me accomplish tasks according to GTD principles. Still working on a paper-based organizational tool, but haven’t perfected *my* system yet.

Candy Canes

candycanes.jpg

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

red food coloring

Cream first two ingredients in mixer bowl at medium speed, then add the egg and extracts, and finally the flour and salt, until well combined. Color half the dough with red food coloring to desired redness. Divide each dough half into 9 equal pieces. Roll into cylinders, then twist around each other and shape into canes. Transfer to greased baking sheets, about 3 canes per sheet. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before baking for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven. Let cool 5 minutes on the sheets then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Recipe from

It was a good enough recipe, and made beautiful, enormous candy cane cookies. My biggest concern here is the liberal use of food coloring. I didn’t use the full recommended amount and my cookies still turned out pink and cream instead of red and cream. I won’t be making this again the way the recipe is written just because I know other people have concerns about food coloring (cancer-causing agents, etc.), and I wouldn’t want to feed this to my family either. There are alternatives though — maybe next year I’ll try adding some cranberry concentrate to the batter and see how that affects the color. Or try food coloring from Nature’s Flavors.

Got Leftover Ham? (Links to Recipes)

We’ve got some, and don’t really want to do another fried rice version. PLEASE.

However, these sound good:

Ham Biscuits — but dh can’t have these, so it’s not going to happen.

But these sound REALLY GOOD!

Corn Soup with Potatoes and Smoked Ham
Rice Noodle Soup with Ham and Lettuce which reminds me of one of my favorite soups, Filipino Hototai/Hototay, but no noodles and lots more goodies to really flavor that soup — I may adapt, or go totally with my own version
Ham with Bourbon, Molasses and Pecan Glaze — if I go with this the pecans will have to go because of allergies, but I’m thinking some pomegranate molasses will have to go in there since I still have that bottle that needs using….

What are you doing with your leftover ham?

The Plan for Advent and Christmas

Scripture Readings for Jesse Tree
Advent Wreath Prayer

  • December 2, First Sunday of Advent
    • Purple Tablecloth, Purple Ornaments
    • Jesse Tree Ornament 5 – camel / Abraham
  • December 3
    • St. Francis Xavier – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    • Trace Paul and Francis’ journeys on map.
    • Jesse Tree Ornament 6
    • Buy stamps
  • Work on Christmas stockings!
  • December 4
    • Concert with Migi and Yena
    • Yena – Ballet
    • St. John of Damascus – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    • Jesse Tree Ornament 7
  • December 5
    • Stockings and stocking fillers ready
    • Jesse Tree Ornament 8
  • December 6
    • St. Nick visits!
    • The Miracle of Saint Nicholas – Read aloud + Catholic Mosaic Activity
    • Make Saint Nicholas Cookies
    • Jesse Tree Ornament 9
    • Jessica’s St. Nicholas Cocoa
  • December 7 – Adoration, Bowling with SHoJ
    Saint Ambrose – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    Jesse Tree Ornament 10
    December 8 – Immaculate Conception
    Mass with Fraternal Household
    Mary Candle
    Act of Consecration to Mary
    Read Genesis 3:9-15, 20; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12; Luke 1:26-38
    Jesse Tree Ornament 11
    December 9 – Household at AJ and Cynthia’s
    Read Saint Juan Diego from Saints and Feast Days – rose activity (?)
    Jesse Tree Ornament 12
    December 10 – The Clown of God – Read Aloud and Catholic Mosaic Activity
    Jesse Tree Ornament 13
    December 11 – Yena Ballet
    Jesse Tree Ornament 14
    December 12 – Our Lady of Guadalupe – Light candle
    The Lady of Guadalupe – Read aloud and Catholic Mosaic Activity
    Coloring Page on 446, Saints and Feast Days
    Jesse Tree Ornament 15
    December 13 – Aisa’s concert
    Saint Lucy – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    Candles in Windows
    Jesse Tree Ornament 16
    December 14 – Aisa’s concert
    Mail out Christmas Cards
    Buy poinsettia plant
    The Donkey’s Dream – Read aloud + Catholic Mosaic Activity
    Saint John of the Cross – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    Jesse Tree Ornament 17
    December 15 – 18th Wedding Anniversary
    Bong’s 46th
    Jesse Tree Ornament 18
    December 16 – Christmas Party
    Gaudete Sunday
    Jesse Tree Ornament 19
    December 17 – The Legend of the Poinsettia – Read Aloud + Catholic Mosaic Activity
    Christmas Card Exchange cards out
    Jesse Tree Ornament 20
    December 18 – Jesse Tree Ornament 21
    December 19 – The Crippled Lamb – Read Aloud + Catholic Mosaic Activity
    Jesse Tree Ornament 22
    December 20 – Winter solstice coming! Seeds and soil at the ready.
    Jesse Tree Ornament 23
    December 21 – St. Francis and the Christmas Donkey – read aloud, Catholic Mosaic Activity
    Jesse Tree Ornament 24
    Bake cake for Yena
    St. Peter Canisius – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    December 22 – Tops arriving(?)
    Jesse Tree Ornament 25
    Yena’s 6th Birthday!
    December 23 – Papa, Mommy and Alvin arriving (?)
    Jesse Tree Ornament 26
    Saint John of Kanty – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    Locate Poland and Lithuania on map.
    December 24 – Lunch/PM Party
    Jesse Tree Ornament 27
    Midnight Mass at St. Max – Aisa/Choir
    December 25
    Jesse Tree Ornament 28
    December 26 – Mommy’s Birthday
    Read aloud St. Stephen – Saints and Feast Days
    Make paper or felt crowns
    Forgiveness Day
    December 27 – Saint John the Apostle Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    December 28
    December 29 – Saint Thomas Becket – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    Read Canterbury Tales
    December 30 – Holy Family – Make 2008 Banner for Holy Family Homeschool
    Work on family Photobook
    December 31
    January 1 – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    January 2 – Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    Reflection on Saint Basil’s writings “The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry….”
    January 3
    January 4 – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    January 5 – St. John Neumann – Read aloud from Saints and Feast Days
    Candy Catechism
    January 6 – General Assembly
    Epiphany
    Chalk for Doorway
    Sing We Three Kings
    Read / Watch Amahl and the Night Visitors