Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Wishes and a Poem

Today is Christmas Eve and the time draws near,
Christ the Lord, Our Saviour is almost here.
The time begins when all slows down,
To marvel at His face so round.
So take the time to give thanks and praise,
For all the wonderful Christmas days.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas. May you be richly blessed this Christmas season. May your hearts be filled with gladness and joy. May you spend hours relaxing and enjoying your children, family and friends. God is love and love I wish you my friends.

Merry Christmas!
In the Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.



Friday, December 23, 2011

This Moment ~ My Aspiring Musician


{this moment} - A single photo, capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. To see more visit Soule Mama.


God Bless,

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Knitting Pattern Templates

I am always looking for new ways to organize my stuff, especially crafty stuff. I love to knit and crochet and have made some sheets for helping me to stay organized while planning new projects. I thought that I would share them with you as an early Christmas gift. Please feel free to print them out as often as you would like. I just ask you not to sell them or claim them as your own.

Pattern Planner Page 1

Pattern Planner Page 2

God Bless,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Canada to get aboriginal saint

"Canada to get aboriginal saint" was a headline in today's newspaper. I couldn't believe it. There is hardly ever any news in the Calgary Herald about Catholics unless it is written by our bishop himself. A tiny article between one on the problems in North Korea and another on taxi shortages, was an article about Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. It was a condensed version of the one that can be found online here:

It's a miracle! Catholic mystic to become Canada's first aboriginal saint by Sheila Dabu Nonato, Postmedia News

We have a great love for Blessed Kateri. Maria made a book about her last year. I never blogged about it and I should have. She made book using paper lunch bags. She has also tucked prayer cards and other small things in the pockets that form between the pages. See for yourself...









In the last picture, there is the prayer card that my dear highschool friend Br. Paul John Mary gave us on his last visit. It has the prayer for the canonization of Blessed Kateri on the back. You can purchase this particular card on page 21 of the following link. I am in no way affiliated or receive any profit, this is just for your information only.

Prayer for the Canonization of
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha


O God who, among the many marvels of Your Grace in the New World, did cause to blossom on the banks of the Mohawk and of the Saint Lawrence, the pure and tender Lily, Kateri Tekakwitha, grant we beseech You, the favor we beg through her intercession; that this Young Lover of Jesus and of His Cross may soon be counted among her Saints by Holy Mother Church, and that our hearts may be enkindled with a stronger desire to imitate her innocence and faith. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Imprimatur: Most Reverend Howard J. Hubbard, DD, Bishop of Albany


I am so excited for Blessed Kateri. What a wonderful Christmas gift to her. There is no set date as of yet for her canonization, but let's hope that it is soon.

Blessed Kateri, pray for us.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Year's Resolutions for 2012


I know this post is a little early. It isn't even Christmas. My husband has two weeks off over Christmas, so I probably won't be online very much. I thought that I should get a jump-start on this. I feel a need to write down my resolutions this year. To be honest, I never make resolutions. No resolutions means no disappointments. Well, that is not true. I am forever complaining that I never get anything done (which is not true) and that I am a failure at meeting goals. How can you be a failure if you never set goals, right? So to make myself accountable, I am going to make a list for all to see. Please feel free to make suggestions. This list isn't inclusive, but a foundation. I will tweek goals as necessary and not expect to meet all of the goals by the end of the year. Nothing like putting myself under more pressure, right?

So first, I am going to separate my goals into different catergories. The following categories are my main focus: Spiritual, Family, Personal, Intellectual, Financial, For the Greater Good.

Spiritual Goals
- find a spiritual director
- go to confession at least once a month
- go to Adoration once a week
- pray the Rosary daily
- learn 2 new prayers by heart
- read the Bible daily
- make a prayer intention book and begin praying intentionally for others using the book.

Family
- pray together as a family everyday (saying grace doesn't count)
- spend time outdoors everyday (weather permitting)
- go for frequent walks
- go to the Bird Sanctuary
- feed the ducks at Bowness Park
- go to at least three city parks that we have never been to besides Bowness Park
- buy a family pass using homeschool funding for Heritage Park and go there often
- build the kids a play structure for the backyard (see bottom left of picture)
- save enough points to get gift cards for the lumber and materials needed for the play structure
- buy a new kiddie pool
- learn to make dairy free homemade ice-cream
- read to all of the kids on a daily basis (this is hard for me, the key is balance)
- have a good laugh together every day
- make more special time for each individual
- tune up everyone's bikes, buy dad one (if we can swing it) and get out on the bike paths
- go camping (this is new to us)
- plant a kid friendly garden (one they can take care of)
- find an affordable and reliable babysitter, so I can have a few dates with my husband

Personal
- get in shape
- have a baby
- take time to take care of myself and don't feel guilty
- get a haircut when I need one (I usually don't)
- get into a habit of taking my vitamins
- drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
- get outside every day (weather permitting)
- get to bed earlier (by 10:00pm)
- feel better about myself, start liking myself
- learn at least 4 new techniques in handicraft this year
- make the baby some new clothes
- make hubby a sweater (I have never made him a sweater, just hats, scarves and such)
- play piano at least once a week

Intellectual
- read at least two fun books a month (cover to cover), Jane Austen would be a good start
- read at least one spiritual book a month. Only one, so I have more time to ponder, be guided and to write down my thoughts. I think I might start with something from Blessed Mother Theresa.
- try to learn something new every day. I homeschool, so that shouldn't be too hard.
- read 4 difficult reads this year. I will have to think about this one.
- read 4 biographies this year. Any suggestions?

Financial
- get debt free, finally.
- start saving for the long term.
- get a good emergency fund underway.
- start saving for a future adoption.
- start saving for a family vehicle or repairs (we have an almost 14 year old van)
- contribute to the kids savings more regularly

For the Greater Good
- take part in a 40 days for life
- write to our sponsored children at least twice a year, each.
- take the kids to the seniors home (their request) and visit, play games, read
- pray for others
- give more to good causes (maybe this should be under financial, too)
- make something for charity
- be an example

The list is long and probably even the most organized person in the world couldn't accomplish everything, but it is a try. Am I missing something?

An Early Christmas & Birthday Present

I mentioned in an earlier post that I got some Christmas and birthday money. I was really excited because this year, unlike other years, I had something I wanted to spend it on. I'll get to that in a moment. First, I want to tell you the funny story.

I saw a pin on Pinterest about crockpot recipes a few weeks ago. This pin advertised recipes that didn't use cans of this and that, but rather recipes using real food. Since I can't eat most cans of this and that because of gluten intollerance, I pinned and checked out the claims. I landed on the blog "Large Family Logistics." After looking at a few recipes, I started reading more articles on the blog and was intrigued by one in particular. It mentioned the T-Tapp workout and near the end it talked about Charlotte Siems. I had to check that out, too. (Isn't it awful that once you start clicking, you can continue clicking unendlessly.)

Charlotte Siems is a mom of 12 and she homeschools. She T-Tapped her way from a size 22 down to a size 6. Ok, this seemed unbelievable, but the more I read and watched (she's on Youtube, the more I became a believer that I have a chance at getting in shape.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/17457479 w=400&h=225]

My T-Tapp Journey from Charlotte on Vimeo.

I mentioned recently that we are expecting again. I quickly checked to see if T-tapp was safe during pregnancy. My last few pregnancies were terrible for me physically. I had difficulty walking from about 14 weeks onward and couldn't walk without pain. I had terrible edema. My husband took a picture of my feet for a reminder of how I never want to look again. Anyway, to make a point, T-tapp is safe and healthy for pregnant women (they say you should contact your Dr. first). Women have started T-Tapp during pregnancy and lost inches and had much easier births and complications. T-Tapp must be a great thing, I thought.

Now, although I am not a size 22, I am a lot bigger than before I had children. I weighed 52kg when I said "I do". That is about 115 lbs. I presently weigh about 150 lbs. I haven't been happen about my size for a long time. I was down to 143 lbs before I miscarried and gained steadily since. I have heard stress can make you gain. I want to be fit and a bit skinnier wouldn't hurt. I am not dumb, I am pregnant, so I know that I will gain and get bigger. The last pregnancy I ended up at over 200lbs (I stopped weighing myself) and felt like a blimp. I am only 5'4" and that is unacceptable considering that I started at about 150 lbs.

I did start going to the gym for a while and loved it. I lost some pounds and inches, felt much fitter and was much healthier, but then we bought our house. We moved away from that gym, so I quit my membership. I started losing that toned shape, but wasn't motivated to do my Jillian Michaels workout. I hated it. I did it for a month once and never lost any weight. I was always sore and grumpy. So, I quit.

So now, shortly before the new year I am starting a new fitness regime. Anyone want to try it with me. You can try before you buy (like I did). I loved doing the hoe downs (once I got coordinated enough). You don't have to be coordinated, believe I am not. I just got confused a bit until I got the hang of it. The hoe downs are great for bringing down blood sugar levels. Typ II Diabetes runs in the family. Try them, they're fun.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsURicKB_G8&w=420&h=315]

So are you convinced? I am and that is why I bought the Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes book and I bought the Basic Workout Plus workout video. I started my bootcamp yesterday. After two days, I feel energized already. I sit and stand straighter, too.

I am hoping and praying that I continue to be pregnant and that if it is God's will, give birth to a beautiful baby after a healthy pregnancy. I just need to find a caregiver. My midwives are full and can't take me on as a client. So far, no other midwives have room for me. I don't even have a family doctor, let alone an OB-Gyn. I am still praying that one of the midwives I called will change her mind and take me on as a client. How can you have a hospital birth after a home-waterbirth? God knows, so I trust.

God Bless,

All I Want

I stumbled upon the following video for the first time this morning. It was linked to in an email I received. Just listen and see if it jerks at your heartstrings as it does to mine.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjMz0MmYejQ&w=420&h=315]

James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows* in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

I have never mentioned this before, but my husband and I have often talked about adoption. Perhaps, it is because of the numerous miscarriages and the grief of losing a child or it is a longing that is unexplicable. I don't know. I have always wanted to adopt. We even looked into adoption a few years ago, but didn't persue it because my husband hadn't been in the country long enough. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't think of adopting.

I believe that God has planted a seed in our hearts, but the time is not yet ripe. I am listening, and praying about what to do next. While online, I always stumble upon websites that have to do with adoption. I even checked books out at the local library to learn more.

I spent a good part of the early morning looking at this website. I was reading another mom's blog and she mentioned Reece's Rainbow. I am a curious cat, so I had to look and read and read and read. I was disturbed by how many people gave up their babies for adoption, at first. I then realized, that their situations must have been desperate. Who wants to give up their child? I fell in love with a few of them. Then I realized the cost of the adoptions. How could I ever raise $25,000 - $35,000 dollars? God will provide, I know that. Right now we are expecting, so I will pray for these children. Everyone deserves a forever family. I got one. I wasn't legally adopted, but I had legal guardians who cared for me and loved me.

We also learned by stumbling once again on other blogs, that grants are available for Canadians. I have bookmarked a blog especially for Canadians called Adoption Magazine. I will continue to read and learn and foster the seed planted by Our Lord. Someday.... someday we might just adopt. If it is God's will, it will be done.

I am not naive (maybe a little) or romantic about the adoption process. I know that it can be gruelling, frustrating and can involve numerous tears. I know that you have to trust God and be extremely patient. I don't claim to know everything about adoption, but I am willing to learn.

For now, we try to do our little part in helping children in other parts of the world through Child Sponsorship and donating rabbits or chickens or blankets when we can through Chalice. We give because we can and ought to. Our sponsored children are part of God's family and ours. We received a beautiful card from one of our children a few weeks ago. She wrote to us in English! We were thrilled and embarassed that our Spanish is horrendous. Our foster child is doing very well and her mom came home. She was being raised by her father and older brother, but the sponsorship brought the family hope and a wife and mother. I don't take the credit for this. We are all instruments and we can play our part in God's great concerto. I thank God for the opportunity to be touched by Abigail and her family. We have so much to learn.

St. Jerome Emiliani, patron of orphans pray for us.
St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.
Mary, mother of all God's children, pray for us.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Advent
(A Poem based on Rev. 22:20)

I am. I was. I will be.
I am not coming soon I am here.

I was born on a cold night in a cold place
Unnoticed, unheralded by cold people
Who turned my mother away.
On that night were you listening?
On that night the "least of your brothers" was me.
Now do you see, do you hear and do you care?
I am not coming soon I am here.
In your life do you see me
In the ragged men and women
Who search the cold street
Looking for my reflection in your heart?
Do you hear my voice in
Their muttered plea or in their tear?
I am not coming soon I am here.
Do you hear me when your friend turns to you
To ask forgiveness and trust?
Do I not forgive you always?
Do I not give you a merciful ear?
I am not coming soon I am here.
In this season I was born unto you
Fulfilling the promise of God’s care.
Look for me, listen to me…
I am not coming soon I am here.


by W. H. Smaw

Are you ready for Christmas? I know that I am not. Sure, I haven't baked all that I have planned and there are packages left to wrap, but more importantly, I don't feel spiritually ready for Christmas. This weeks' goal is to focus more on the true meaning of Christmas and to prepare my heart for the coming because He will soon be here.

I wish you a Blessed 4th Sunday and week of Advent.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Der Weihnachtsmarkt

Nothing says advent in Germany like a good old fashioned Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market). You may have heard of the Christkindlesmarkt in Nürnberg.


Der Weihnachtsmarkt was one of the things that I loved the most about advent in Germany. We lived in or near Bonn the entire duration of my stay there. Der Weihnachtsmarkt made everyone feel like a child, in my opinion. The sights, the lights, the smells of chestnuts roasting, bratwurst frying, and Glühwein heating up. Ususally the Christmas market would get set up to start on the first Sunday of Advent and would get torn down on the 23rd of December. I you needed to find a personal gift, one that may be homemade or something out of the ordinary, you were sure to find it at the Christmas market.


This was one of my husband's favourite booths, the Blechspielzeug (tin toys). One year, early in our marriage, I bought Sascha one of these:


There were so many things that I never even knew existed before visiting the Bonner Weihnachtsmarkt. I just peeked at their official website and noticed that many of the booths that I had come to know over the years are still there.


I had always wished for one of these. Well, actually I wanted one that said something like "Schatzi, ich liebe dich," or "Hab dich lieb, Mausi." I never got one, but I am ok with that. I couldn't eat a huge gingerbread heart with tons of royal icing without gaining a pound or two or breaking a tooth or two. I know that my Schatzi loves his Mausi.



The smell of roasted almonds is delightful to the senses. You could get almonds in any flavour, colour or texture. Yumm.


This booth sells handmade nativity sets. They are very beautiful and I am sure quite dear. Nonetheless, I love lingering and looking at such beauties when making my rounds.


Other interesting things to see and buy are things like homemade mustard in dozens of flavours.



There is a booth that sells dolls, bears and accessories that are all handmade.


Nothing says Christmas like a Christollen. These Christmas cakes are so yummy and moist, nothing like the dry ones I grew up eating. My favourite was the Butterstollen.


This was one of a few of the booths that offered Reibekucken nach Hausfrauen Art. Sounds all fancy, but at this booth you could buy fried potato pancakes like your mother or grandmother made.


This picture makes my dear husband's heart beat a little faster. With child-like anticipation he would walk up to the counter and order Rievkoche (the Bonner slang word for potato pancakes), and a Currywurst mit Brötchen. I would just order the Currywurst mit Brötchen. Yumm.


Anyway, to make a long story short, we miss the Bonner Weihnachtsmarkt. This will be our fifth Christmas in Canada. I miss Germany, but I love living here. The kids have a much better life here. Homeschooling wouldn't even come into question if we lived in Germany. I don't want my kids being police escorted to school or worse, have them taken away from me because I homeschool. So we live here and have to make the best of things. Our memories can serve us and others. A few weeks ago, the kids, hubby and I were getting all nostalgic on the topic of visiting a Weihnachtsmarkt. We talked about what we missed the most and laughed about the visits we had. We will not miss people screaming at us because we brought a stroller that could be barely navigated between booths and dozens of grouchy citizens. We will not miss the overpriced treats as much if we make some of our own. So we decided then and there to have a Weihnachtsmarkt night in our kitchen, complete with Rievkoche and Glühwein.


The Rievkoche chef. I made the batter, since it is made "nach Hausfrauen Art." I got the recipe from Oma a few weeks ago. This grown boy was so excited to finally be eating his beloved Rievkoche. I have never made them for him before. Now that we see how easy they are to make, I might have to menu plan these from time to time.



These were my desert maker helpers. They helped me make my famous "Chipits-Chewy-Nut Bars" with a twist. We added mint chocolate candy melts to the batter. These will change anybody's mind about eating grain free. People feel sorry for us because we can't eat wheat, well don't.


Me and hubby cuddlin between batches. Der Weihnachtsmarkt is a great place to hold hands and feel lovey-dovey.


The verdict... dad did good. The Rievkoche turned out great. You have to eat them with applesauce, by the way. It's tradition. We'll have to call Oma later to tell her all about it.

There is one more thing we miss about Christmas and that would have to be Oma. I miss spending Christmas Eve at Oma's. Every year, I decorated her tree. She fed me chocolates, sat back and enjoyed not having to decorate the tree herself. Sascha tackled the lights and I did the rest. In later years, the kids helped decorate and were fed chocolate and gummi bears in return. Oma's tree still isn't standing. My in-laws haven't had time to help her out yet. Last year, if I remember correctly, they put up her tree on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. I cried, just ask the kids. Please pray that Oma's tree gets put up before Christmas. Wir lieben und vermissen dich, Oma. Frohe Weihnachten.

Christmas at Oma's in 2005.

God Bless my friends. I appologize for the length of today's post. I hope you have fond Christmas memories and traditions that you try to uphold. Frohe Weihnachten und Alles Liebe von unsere Familie.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday



"A time to remember to be thankful. A pause in the week for praise, thanksgiving and thinking positively, in addition to the normal daily praise we need to give God."


I have so much to be thankful for, but I often find myself getting bogged down by the insignificant details of life. Today I am going to make the time to be thankful.

This week, I am especially thankful for:

♥ positive pregnancy tests. Yes, tests. I buy mine here. I am also thankful that you can buy a whole bunch for the price of one test at the drugstore.
♥ a due date on a Marian Feast Day - The Assumption
♥ a blessing from our Priest for a good pregancy
♥ friends new and old, near and far.
♥ being able to find a battery for my kitchen scale, locally. The scale was a gift and I was devastated that I couldn't find a battery for it. (A long story).
♥ Oma's generosity. The family has received some great gifts from Amazon.de Family movies and books that we will cherish for years to come.
♥ My Godmother's generosity. She sent money that we used to order this, this, this, this and this. We are thankful that they have already arrived.
♥ Pinterest and great gift ideas.
♥ my Cricut, a gift from my husband. I used it to make a special gift for him based on this idea.
♥ Christmas decorations
♥ a gem of a Christmas tree that only cost $20 and part of the proceeds go to the local foodbank.
♥ Christmas cards that arrive nearly daily (I got your card Jamie Jo).
♥ hubby's new job. I am so thankful for this. He works less hours for about the same take-home pay as he had at his old job working many more hours. Thankful that he has every second Friday off and doesn't work Saturdays, Sundays or Holidays anymore!!!!
♥ kids that don't mind making lunch and watching Patrick, while mommy cleans the house. (Homemade Pizza - Noah made the dough and Owen cut up tomatoes, green onions and red peppers. They worked together without fighting. Definitely thankful for that!)
♥ grain free recipes. I can't wait to finally bake some cookies with the kids (now that my scale has a battery).
♥ Christmas music from the library. I love to hear the kids pick out their favourites. Who knew that Noah liked country Christmas music? and Johnny Cash?
♥ so much more, but I have to get back to real life.

What are you thankful for this week? Please share.

God Bless and warmest wishes from my home to yours,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Catholics Come Home

I saw and watched this video over at Trinity Acres. I thought I would share it with you. I love being a part of the largest family in the world. Are you a part of my family too? If not, I would love for you become a part of my family.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/31920094 w=400&h=225]

EPIC Full Length from Catholics Come Home on Vimeo.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Mary to Juan Diego:

“My dearest son, I am the eternal Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, Author of Life, Creator of all and Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth...and it is my desire that a church be built here in this place for me, where, as your most merciful Mother and that of all your people, I may show my loving clemency and the compassion that I bear to the Indians, and to those who love and seek me...” (from an ancient chronicle).

Let us pray:
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Heart of my Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, I unite to thy purity, thy sanctity, thy zeal and thy love, all my thoughts, words, acts, and sufferings this day, that there may be nothing in me that does not become through thee, a pleasure to Jesus, a gain to souls, and an act of reparation for the offenses against thy Heart. Amen.


God Bless You and Your Family on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pretty Happy Funny Real

I have seen the pretty, happy, funny, real posts done by others and because I just happen to have some fresh new photos, I thought that I would join in.
round button chicken{Pretty}
We made bird food ornaments after seeing them on Pinterest. I think they look so pretty hanging from the naked tree.

{Happy}
I am happy that my boys all have brush cuts again. They look pretty happy, too. I am also happy that I have a good hair clippers and other than my time, it cost me nothing. Daddy will be happy when he has the matching haircut, too.

{Funny}
Look at the little guy's eyes! They are quite funny when they are in bubbles. I guess there won't be any mohawk hair-do's in the tub for a while.

{Real}
Our life is pretty simple. My munchkin sat on his sister as usual. The table ended up pretty gooey with peanut butter and there was bird seed all over the floor. Real life during advent. Crafting, creating, sipping tea and cuddling.

To see more Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real go to Like Mother, Like Daughter.

God Bless,
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