Monday, December 28, 2009

Economy Menu

Week of December 27, 2009-January 2, 2010

LUNCHES:
  • Pork Rib Pattie poboys & french fries
  • Chili dogs & french fries
  • Beef Ravioli in marinara sauce
  • Frozen pizzas
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

SUPPERS:
  • Fried Fish (caught in lake)/ french fries/homemade onion rings/ lime & mint-flavored asparagus
  • Chicken & Dumplings
  • Lima bean & ham bone pot (Soup)
  • Chicken broth & Star Pasta Soup
  • Pork Sausage Jambalaya
Party Foods on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day Meal at Oma's is included in this week's planning             

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Week Daybook

FOR TODAY... from Cay's Daybook
Outside my window... a beautiful golden December day marking the Winter Solstice. Longer days are here again!

I am hearing...Kayleigh's crutches and Annie's Christmas CD.

I am thinking...how sorry I am not to have the last two Mother's Missives up and ready for all you mothers to enjoy these last two Sundays of Advent. Sickness in my house and a newborn baby in the webmaster's house threw a candycane curve into the best-laid plans. But perhaps the two Sundays after Advent are more receptive and prayerful than these final weeks before a joyous birth. Yes?

I encourage those of you who haven't had a chance to check out the first two missives that this is a good week for quiet meditation...even if your house isn't quiet. It might be a good week to try: Hillside Education is offering them FREE

I am thankful for...all life's blessings, both big and small.

I am wearing...blue jeans, floral t-shirt, blue jacket, no earrings.

I am remembering...the birth of my littlest Gibson Girl eight yesterdays ago and wondering where all those yesterdays went.

This is my note to myself...Actually I'm making notes to myself on my sidebar for Advent...so my plans don't get lost under the tinsel and fake snow.

I am reading... cookbooks! Does that count?

I am creating...Christmas!

I am hoping...to rid the house of sickness before Christmas Day.

On my mind...the Christmas menu is upper-most.

From the learning rooms...We unintentionally discovered a 3 week holiday break. And then Chelsea got sick. That was unintentional too.

From the Advent/Christmas calendar...
  • It's Gingerbread Week! More on this later.
  • Other than putting the ornaments on the minature Advent tree and Advent calendar, our Advent plans have bombed. Chelsea has been very sick. I couldn't get an appointment for her on Friday so I anointed her head with damp rags, sponged her arms, administered fever-reducing meds, shot her up with nasal spray, and smeared salve under her nose. We made it through the weekend but the sleepless nights are catching up with those ornaments on the Advent tree.
My list this week...is on my sidebar:
  • Finish wrapping gifts
  • Finish mailing Christmas cards
  • Turn-up the Christmas music
Pondering these words...given to me on a small wooden magnet at last week's CCD class by a dear little girl:

"For God so LOVED the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." ~ John 3:16

From the kitchen...you don't realize how many friends you have until you look at your kitchen countertop and count the sweet treats delivered from them.

Christmas Day Menu:
Pork Roast & Spiral Ham
Rice Dressing (Oma)
Squash Dish (still pouring over recipes)
Tomato Florentine
Spinach and Artichoke Frittata
Rolls
Almond Pound Cake
Dessert (Oma)
Drinks (MawMaw Red)
Whatever Else We Gel Together this week. :-)

Around the house...lots of new birthday toys and joy around the house.

One of my favorite things...The Lake radio station which treats us to non-stop Christmas music 24-7 from Thanksgiving Day until Christmas Day.

I am praying...that my little girl gets better in time to have a Merry Christmas.

From my picture journal...

Annie playing with her new birthday gift: edible jewelry maker.

Not feeling too perky but never too big to sit on Daddy's lap.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Littlest Gibson Girl


Licking the birthday candles

In the mist of a heritage of Miller-Sonnier-Gibson girls (with many others missing because, trust me, there's a bunch of us)

Big brother delivers the cake as Great-grandma watches

Getting special one-on-one attention from Adrain because, after all, today was *Annie's* day!

Happy Brithday Wishes from all of us who LOVE YOU!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Edible Advent Wreaths


We made these a few years ago with some friends. This year I made them with my 4th grade catechism class. My girls and I will make them again this Sunday, December 20th, for the final Sunday of Advent and Annie's birthday.

They are so easy to make, so enjoyable to eat, and such a wonderful treat to observe the first or last Sunday of Advent.


Items needed:
  • plain doughnuts (glazed, cake, or however you like them)
  • vanilla frosting tinted green
  • red hot candies (for berries)
  • a plastic knife so they can frost their doughnut
  • 4 birthday candles per wreath (I was unable to find purple candles so we used 3 whites and 1 pink)

For my class I added (because it heightened the suspense in this sweet treat):
  • green sprinkles
  • transparent sugar sprinkles (for snow)
Light your main Advent wreath and your minature edible ones and turn out the lights and sing (or listen to) Silent Night and Oh Holy Night (a stunning vocal performance by Martina McBride with absolutely no musical percussions at all...just her voice). This is a wonderful time to remind our children that Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa are not Christmas carols. Culture songs, perhaps, but not carols. All true Christmas carols sing about the glory of Christ's Nativity.

The children will delight in this edible project (I guarantee it) and will equally delight in the information you share about Christmas carols. Just ask my class what a true Christmas carol is. They will tell you. They can also tell you all about Advent, Advent wreaths, and what each candle signifies.

The first candle: We Hope in the coming our Lord Jesus!
Second candle: We find Peace knowing our Lord Jesus is coming!
Third candle: We experience Joy in the anticipated coming of our Lord Jesus!
Fourth candle: We Love our Lord Jesus who has come to earth to save us!
Fifth candle (white candle placed in the center of wreath on Christmas morning): Represents Christ~the light and Savior of the World!

If you can find this lovely, historical, artistic picture book (which is surprisingly, appallingly, unjustifiably OOP), you must read it aloud to your family:


Friday, December 18, 2009

Just Rest, My Friend

The other night *The Pretty Pens* met for a Christmas dinner and, believe me, we were pretty! Pretty and very festive. Kimberly and her daughter in their holly-red shirtwaists, me in my pine-green knit shirt and multi-colored lightbulb necklace, Grace with her smile that lights the shadowy corners of any room, and salsa-Linda in her faithful black crocs which are as footloose and fancy-free as she is. It's a little thing that makes us love her all the more. We arrived with festive wrapped packages, cellophane-sparkly goodies, and cheerful bow-tied baskets. I never saw bows smile that wide...or journals that spoke so poignantly.

The journal was Kimberly's gift to Linda and me. On the dated back page she wrote a very special, personal note to each of us. Inside of mine, where she explained the purpose of this journal, she wrote:

"I'm sure you have numerous books, notebooks, and journals. (Kimberly knows me well.) This one is different. It is your Blessings/Gifts journal. ...Everytime you think of something the Lord has given to you, write it down."

It didn't take me long to skate into this habit. Not long at all. Then, two night later to be exact, my little family got sick. Scary sick. Kimberly's assurance that "this list does not have to be elaborate" made it easy to keep track of my little blessings and gifts throughout the day. I had only to pay attention to "everytime (I thought) of something the Lord (had) given to (me)..."

It was that simple, that easy, that contagious.



Like seeing Annie tuck one of her new stuffed animals next to her feverish sister as she slept. Or, instead of walking into a crowded, stenchy laundry room, noticing the smell of those recently purchased Gain dryer-sheets scenting the air. And noticing how specially nice the people in the stores are this time of year. Or how, after a sleepless night with a husband coughing and a child hallucinating, one son surprises me with Chinese carryout for lunch. And the other son comes home during his lunch hour to check on his little sister because he's worried about her. And how a dear friend texts a soft message to me that reads, "Just rest, my friend."

Blessings are often found in the little things of life and I found myself surrounded in little blessings today. In one day's time, this new little journal has done what it promised it would:

"May it remind you just how much the He loves you."

Believe me, I felt the love today. And tonight the fever is gone and all is calm, all is bright, as we await the arrival of His littlest blessing which proves how exponentially "he loves us.".

Naughty or Nice?


Keeping an eye...


on Annie and Peppy working outside...

as they do chores while everyone else is sick in the house.

Mommies 4 Life

Annie (as she watched me bleach the floor): "Mommy, where is Kayleigh?"
Mom: "She went to stay at Brittany's house."

Annie: "Why?"
Mom: "So she doesn't come down with what you all have."

Annie (wonderingly): "You mean she ran away?"

Mom (with a laugh): "Basically...yes."

Annie (seriously): "Mommies can't run away, huh?"
Mom: "Nope, 'fraid not. We're here for the long haul."

We'd appreciate a prayer---or two---as there are lots of sickies here this week.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday & Sunday Elf-on-a-Shelf Sightings


On the piano...

*Hanging* out in Annie's stocking...

St. Lucia Feast Day


Feast of St. Lucy
Feast Day: December 13

Relying on Your goodness, O God, we humbly ask you, by the intercession of your servant, Saint Lucy, to give perfect vision to our eyes, that we may serve for your greater honor and glory. And we pray for the salvation of our souls in this world, that we may come to the enjoyment of the unfailing light of the Lamb of God in heaven. St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, hear our prayers and answer our petitions.  ~ Amen.

I don't remember what year these photos of my middle daughter were taken but she was probably five or six years of age. She's twelve now. We had a little party at our house complete with:
  • empty tiolet paper rolls spray-painted red...the "fire" was candy wrapped in yellow tissue paper...these served as party favors for our guests
  • refreshments were doughnuts with green frosting, red hot candies (for berries) and birthday cake candles

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Magical Month of Sweets



Every December the girls and I scoop out our Gooseberry Patch Christmas Cookies Cookbook and select our favorite cookie recipes. In Christmases past, we've done the grab-bag scenerio. That was fun and the girls loved our gift bag with all the cookie names written on gift tags tossed, tumbled, and shook into that bag. It was really a sweet tradition.

This year I only designated one week to cookie baking because I wanted to extend our holiday tradition to include other sweet treats such as last year when we enjoyed a Gingerbread Day with the birthday girl and cousins.



There are enough picture books to gobble up the entire month in cookies, peppermint, gingerbread, puddings, eggnog, punch, and candy. It gives us a wonderful chance to journey with Clara and her Nutcracker friend to the Magical Land of Sweets and we fully intend to pack our snowcases and take a trip there.

If you care to join us, I'll be posting all our cookie picture books from last week, as well as what we're reading this week...real soon!

Joyful Daybook Entry

FOR TODAY... from Cay's Daybook

Outside my window... more like April showers than December frosties.

I am hearing...Watching and listening to Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. He's in Alaska eating lots of raw fish dishes. I suspect some of these dishes, which seem so strange to me here in Louisiana, would look the same to an Alaskan looking upon our boiled crawfish, boudin, alligators, and frog legs dishes.

 I am thinking...Of kind, thoughtful words given to me by friends this week regarding my children.

I am thankful for...God's mercy

I am wearing...Green knit, three-quarter length sleeved top with black slacks, silver-bell necklace.

I am remembering...how it felt to be in my 20's with dreams, hopes, and humble beginnings.

This is my note to myself...Actually I'm making notes to myself on my sidebar for Advent...so my plans don't get lost under the tinsel and fake snow.

I am reading... this beautiful message from Pope Benedict XVI today on the feast of the Immaculate Conception: Mary Talks to People of Our Time




I am creating...Advent/Christmas memories!

I am hoping...for peace on earth, goodwill towards men.

On my mind...how incredible it is that 2010 is already being written for me before I even open my 2010 planner!

From the learning rooms...We have not breaked yet. We're still dutifully doing schoolwork (ie: laborsome, sometimes boring, but consistent *school work*). It seems to have worked well with my older three (work ethic, diligence, and accountability) so we continue. It only takes about 3 hours (sometimes 2/sometimes 4) a day. The rest of the day is unschooling and everything inbetween. It has worked all these years and continues to work well today.

From the Advent/Christmas calendar...It's Peppermint Week! More on this later.

We are doing well with our Advent calendar, Advent tree, and Advent readings. The girls share even and odd days. We will begin our Nativity set-up and reflection next week. I'm keeping my own Advent study with Christmas Comfort books. It's my own quiet, reflective time in Adoration and I'm enjoying it.

Still planning a little bit of: Poetry, Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus improvising this free unit study: Names of Jesus, Free Symbols of Christmas Study, and our paper-bound Jesse Tree

Our Elf-on-the-Shelf is back!


This morning we found him in the girls' bedroom atop their dollhouse. I believe he was making sure they made their beds this morning.

My list this week... is on my sidebar:
  • Finish Christmas shopping
  • Wrap gifts
  • Mail Christmas cards
  • It's Peppermint Week here...more on this later
  • Order Christmas cards
  • Help write and mail Santa letter
  • Help girls with Christmas shopping lists
  • Pull Secret Santa Names
  • Shop for baby shower gift
  • Clean out girls' room
  • Plan Christmas Menu
  • Order chocolate-covered strawberry boxes for teachers/friends
  • Get ready for Annie's birthday party this Sunday
Pondering these words..."Each one of us contributes with our lives to its moral climate for better or worse. The border between good and evil runs across everyone’s heart and none of us should feel entitled to judge others. Instead, each one of us must feel duty-bound to improve ourselves." ~ Pope Benedict XVI

From the kitchen...
Lots of deer, chicken, and pork sausage made this past weekend. We froze over 80+ pounds. Here are some pictures that I think everyone should be able to view: Making Deer Sausage

Around the house...I'm home alone tonight. It's pretty weird. Basically I'm sitting here dreaming of all the stuff to be done.

One of my favorite things...Listening to Annie recite her state capitals. Cool!

I am praying...For this dear family and their little daughter.

From my picture journal...



Sunday, December 6, 2009

2nd Mother's Missive is Up

You can find the next free installment of A Mother's Advent Missive here:
The First Christmas Stocking (PDF file)



There will be two more meditative missives coming for the next two Sundays of Advent. You can order the featured books here:
Third Sunday of Advent: Uncle Vova's Tree by Patricia Polacco
Last Sunday of Advent: Mary, Did You Know by Mary Lowry

We hope and pray that you are blessed and spiritually-filled (and, in turn, your family as well) as we wait and prepare for the birth of our Savior!

Just a Couple of Reasons...

...you might want to consider ordering A Picture Perfect Childhood this month.
(1) It's a pretty awesome way to start the new year with pre-arranged booklists starting in January and taking you and your family all the way to forever.

Booklists such as:
  1. Children's Hour (A 12-Month Historical Timeline along with supplementary reading in subjects like science, art, music, poetry, geography, nature, language arts...even math and Shakespeare)
  2. Teaching Virtues Through Picture Books
  3. List for Teenaged Readers and Reluctant Readers
  4. Monthly fairy tale, myth, and tall tale
  5. Never-Ending List of Children's Authors & Illustrators
  6. Expansive Subject-Based List
  7. Spanning the Globe (take a tour around the globe with picture books)
  8. Pack Your Suitcase and Read Across America (travel the 50 United States with picture books as your guide)
  9. Let's Get Cooking with Literature (Picture Books about Cooking and Recipes ~ My personal favorite list) Here's a taste of the monthly selections:
    • January: Gumbos & Soups
    • February: Pancakes
    • March: Breads
    • April: Sweets to the Sweet
    • May: Cakes
    • June: Thirst Quenchers & Summer Snacks
    • July: Variety
    • August: Cultural Foods
    • September: Apple Harvest
    • October: Autumn Treasures & Pumpkins
    • November: Thanksgiving Time
    • December: Holiday Yummies & Christmas Cookies (which the girls and I are using right now)
  10. More, more, & more
(2) We have an awesome charity we're donating to. Again this year, we---together, all of us---will be purchasing a generous amount of picture books to ship to St. Jude's Hospital for the New 2010 Year. How do you contribute to these purchases? When you purchase a copy of A Picture Perfect Childhood, a percentage of the sale goes toward purchasing new picture books to be sent to the hospital. Thank you again for helping us to do something for these children who, at Christmastime, belong to all of us.

(3) After two years in publication, PPC is still selling well and the reviews are pretty awesome too. And moreMerci! :-)

Available at:

Adoremus Books
Hillside Education
Sacred Heart Books and Gifts
St. George Books and Gifts

Holiday Stirrings


~ Our little elf friend Jingles is back to see us again. Annie is thrilled! ~


~ And St. Nicholas paid his annual visit on his feast day with books, DVDs, gold coins, and chocolate Santas. ~

~ And I find myself wearing lots and lots of red lately. ~

Recommendations by Engageya

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