Tuesday, 26 October 2010

It's Her Dream...


It is always amazing to me how music can transport me to another time and place.  Tonight, on a rather nostalgic bent, I began searching for songs I remembered from my younger years.   I came upon this one from singer/songwriter Paul Overstreet.   It was a favorite of mine and I can remember sitting and listening to it as a teenager, then as a college student, praying that one day I might be so blessed to attain what I secretly considered the ultimate occupation.   My secret desire of my heart while all the while hearing advice about graduate schools and career paths, changing majors, etc...

And I realized, no I believed,  that I have arrived; I am living the dream.   Arrived not to a mere occupation, but to my vocation, the journey that will lead to my ultimate destination, eternity with God, in heaven--a reality of homemaking which I didn't understand as a young girl.    It really is here, with me, here, in the midst of the piles of laundry, the runny noses, the giggles, the crumbs, the hugs, the tears, the dirty dishes, the drawings posted on the fridge, the tea parties, bath time,...all the opportunities to turn to and grow closer to God, to seek and grow in the virtues, to see and trust God, through the innocent eyes of my children and each task of each new day, and to praise Him for all His precious gifts. 

Oh, I knew all of this in an academic sense, but I had not really claimed that vocation as the priceless treasure given to me by God, meant to bring me and my family in closer union to Him, until that day of our ultimate union.  Can any of us ever fully appreciate such a precious gift?   The dreamer's heart of my younger self still beats within me today, stronger now, with the combined strength and wisdom the passing years have brought.    My sufferings are so tiny compared to those of so many others, I know, but they've occupied my heart for what seems so long.   It is so easy to become discouraged when I think of the time I've lost with my children while I was overwhelmed with the pain of loss, doctors & nursing homes, and maintaining distant properties and financial matters.   I pray that tonight's recollection will lead me deeper into this vocation and journey, strengthen my resolve, and focus my attention on the little things that can so easily be unappreciated.  

Thanks be to God for my vocation of marriage and motherhood.   Dear God, forgive me for the times I take them for granted, when I forget how I once prayed for them and sometimes believed they were too precious, too wonderful to ever actually be mine.   Grant that I may see the world through my children's eyes and remember how things once appeared to me from that vantage.   Daily grant me the patience and love to be the wife and mother you would have me to be, so that I may do Your will in all things.   Help me to take it all--hopes, hurts, fears, frustrations, joys--to You, and to seek You first for my fulfillment, so that I may have Love to give.   And Dear God, I pray that I will, in, doing my daily tasks, and in loving my husband and children, grow closer always to You.   Amen.  



Blessed Virgin Mary, Model of Motherhood, pray for us!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Pre-Season Training

It's almost time for the holiday pie baking season!   After my mom died, I decided I had to learn how to make homemade pies so my children would be able to have pie like Grandma would have made.   So, I researched and practiced and discovered in the process a true love for making pies.   I'm also able to express a little creativity as I try to make the pies look as good as they taste.   Here are a few of the pies I made this week:



One of the best parts of baking pies is the left-over bits of dough.   Mama always cut these into diamonds, brushed them with melted butter, and sprinkled them with sugar and cinnamon.   I can remember stepping off the bus and smelling the crust cookies baking as I entered the house.   This week, the girls made these pretty leaf-shaped crust cookies.


Monday, 18 October 2010

More Recipes From My Autumnal Kitchen

What's better with a hearty bowl of soup or stew than cornbread?   And what's the best part of cornbread?    Those crisp outer edges, of course.   This recipe gives you that crisp outer edge through out each piece.   We also like these with chili or topped with creamed chicken.  They freeze beautifully; just be sure you cool them completely on a baking rack before freezing.
 
Corn Meal Waffles                              

1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups self-rising corn meal
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.   Break egg into bowl and beat.   Add remaining ingredients; beat until smooth.   Bake in hot waffle iron.
 from the Martha White Southern Baking Book

Snickerdoodles
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite authors was Beverly Cleary.    It seemed that it was not unusual for the mothers in those books to have cookies on hand for an after-school snack and snickerdoodles seemed to be especially common.    My mom often had homemade cookies for me, too, but she never made this particular cookie and I never tasted one until I was an adult.   I was rather disappointed in them, but then I found this recipe.   These are buttery -delicious and easy to make with the children.   They love to roll them in the sugar-cinnamon mixture!   Use colored sugars for extra holiday fun.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened                                                              
2 eggs
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Sugar Mixture:
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all cookie ingredients in large mixer bowl.   Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well-mixed (2 to 4 min.).

Stir together 3 Tbsp. sugar and cinnamon in small bowl.

Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1 inch balls; roll in sugar mixture.   Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.   Bake for 8 to 10 min. or until edges are lightly browned.
from Land O Lakes Holiday Cookies

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Tuesday Folder

"WHO TOUCHED MY MEAT MALLET?"

No longer will that question be uttered in our house.   I am typing this post on my NEW LAPTOP!!!   Let me introduce you to my last, rather cherished connection to the outside world:


My power cord was frayed and would no longer stay plugged in unless pressure was applied.   For the past few months, I managed to prop it up, finally using a prop from beneath with weight applied from above.   In the photo, a Tide pen, a meat mallet, and an antique candle holder serve to make the connection!  There were other problems, too, that added up to the cost of a new one.    I can be a little frugal and I put it off as long as I could, but I am delighted with my new computer.    We bought it today and I'm up late playing with it while my little ones sleep.

WE HAVE A BIKE RIDER!
E wanted her training wheels removed and she began to ride on her own by the second day.   She went straight from a tricycle to a big kid bike, so she never had the chance to try to balance on a toddler bike where she would probably feel a little more secure.   I'm always proud when my children stick with something and don't give up when it is challenging.   And I loved the look of pure joy and pride on her face!   She has also been enjoying reading to her sister and brother every day.   I love my big girl!


Couldn't get the video to process.   Maybe next time!


GROWING EVERY DAY

Not only is little T growing, so is his vocabulary.   Let's see if I can remember what he's saying now: bird, grape, mine, stop, help (thanks to Clare), drink, I want some, shoes, Mama, Daddy, Line (big sis), dog, cow (instantly followed by MOOO), ball, doll, baby, night (good night), room, monkey, apple.   I know I'm forgetting something!   Such a sweet little boy!


MASS APPEAL

C's behavior at mass has dramatically improved the past two Sundays.   And they were both 5:30 masses!   Last week, she looked up at me and told me, "Mama, I can be good at mass this time."   And she was!   It melts my heart to hear her sing the Gloria as loudly as she can.   This week, she wanted to know more about the words of consecration.   She has been paying attention all these years!   Thanks be to God for the children who often lead us!

When you come to our home, C may ask you, "Do you like young Mr. Gladstone or old Mr. Gladstone?"   She's fascinated by the images on our 2- volume biography of the British Prime Minister.  


LITTLE FLOWER

Oct. 1, we celebrated the Feast Day of St. Therese.  E has a name longer than she is and one :) of her middle names is Therese.   We celebrated with blueberry waffles for breakfast and roasted chicken and vegetables for supper.   In between were little activities and E received her first roses--from Daddy.



I developed a strong devotion to St. Therese, the Little Flower, when I was pregnant with E.   She was a nineteenth century French girl who came from a middle class family, but gave up her comfortable lifestyle to follow God as a nun.   Such a beautiful witness for us today!  I am sure the prayers of this holy saint, who lost her mother at a young age, have helped me through the death of my parents.

My friend Regina gave me my copy of Therese' autobiography, The Story of A Soul. for my birthday.   After E was born, Regina began looking for special Therese gifts for Emmeline.   She also decided to buy vases for her as reminders of her patron saint.


St. Therese, pray for us!


It's been a busy two weeks since my last Tuesday folder.   Life is good!  Thanks be to God!


Mama Time

I'm old enough that I remember the television commercial slogan, "Calgon, take me away!"   Sometimes, Mama just needs a little break--a little respite from the daily routine.   I'm not one for spas and my favorite form of "retail therapy" is garage sales which are limited to Saturday morning.   So, what was I to do Sunday morning of this past busy weekend?



A civilized coffee break with all my favorite little unnecessary necessities was in order.  Instead of the usual Fiesta ware cup and cream and sugar set, it was time for the china cup and saucer and my most recent splurge, sugar cubes.  They used to be so common, but now they are hard to find.    It may seem silly, but those little cubes just make me happy and I think they are beautiful in my mother's cream and sugar set. 



Another favorite item is my toast rack.   It's something I always noticed when I watched British television shows. No matter what the social class, there was some form of a toast rack at the breakfast table.  Again, perfectly unnecessary, but worth the little effort.    I brought this one back from England.

I don't need luxury get-aways, or sprees.    A little spot of simple beauty and unnecessary effort is enough for me.
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