Monday, December 27, 2010

I need a holiday from the holidays!

We had a very joyful, yet busy, Christmas weekend, it was so good to be with family and friends!
I think the stress of the holidays and working nights (not to mention the umpteen patients who came to the unit with flu symptoms - and didn't have the common courtesy to cover their coughs!) has left me sick. I started feeling it on the way home from Baytown last night. But after 14 hours straight of sleep and massive doses of Vit D3, Vit C, and elderberry tincture, I'm starting to feel much better.
Thanks to Nana and Aunt Bonnie I won't have to cook for a week!
I'm spending the next few days off to heal and get my house back in order from all the Christmas chaos.

See you after the new year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Night Before Christmas...

The Night Before Christmas
Sister St. Thomas, B.N.D. de N

A more spiritual version of the famous Christmas story

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the town,
St. Joseph was searching, walking up roads and down;
Our Lady was waiting, so meek and so mild,
While Joseph was seeking a place for the Child;

The children were nestled, each snug in their beds,
The grown-ups wouldn’t bother, there’s no room they said;
When even the innkeeper sent them away,
Joseph was wondering, where they would stay;

He thought of the caves in the side of the hills,
Lets go there said Mary, it’s silent and still;
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Made pathways of light for their tired feet to go;

And there in a cave, in a cradle of hay,
Our Savior was born on that first Christmas Day!
The Father was watching in heaven above,
He sent for His angels, His couriers of love;

More rapid than eagles God’s bright angels came;
Rejoicing and eager as each heard his name;
Come Power, Come Cherubs, Come Virtues, Come Raphael,
Come Thrones and Dominions, come Michael and Gabriel;

Now fly to the Earth, where My poor people live,
Announce the glad tiding My Son comes to give;
The Shepherds were watching their flocks on this night,
And saw in the heavens and unearthly light;

The Angels assured them, they’d nothing to fear,
It’s Christmas they said, the Savior is here!
They hastened to find Him, and stood at the door,
Till Mary invited them in to adore;

He was swaddled in bands from His head to His feet,
Never did the Shepherds see a baby so sweet!
He spoke not a word, but the shepherds all knew,
He was telling them secrets and blessing them too;

Then softly they left Him, The Babe in the hay,
And rejoiced with great joy on that first Christmas Day;
Mary heard them exclaim as they walked up the hill,
Glory to God in the Highest, Peace to men of good will!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


You just went to the top of the Naughty List, mister!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Come Let Us Adore Him...

In a little country church far, far away several pious nuns and a holy priest give us the gift of the re-telling of the Christmas story.
The kids have been hard at work all week and their little faces reflect the joy and passion of this wondrous story!

(Of course, I'm a little partial to two of the shepherd boys!)

Upon entering, the Angel said to her:
"Hail, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.

Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace with God. Behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and you shall bear a son, and you shall call his name: JESUS. He will be great, and he will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. And he will reign in the house of Jacob for eternity. And his kingdom shall have no end."

Behold, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to accept Mary as your wife. For what has been formed in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall give birth to a son. And you shall call his name JESUS. For he shall accomplish the salvation of his people from their sins."

Then Joseph also ascended from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to be declared, with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.

And there were shepherds in the same region, being vigilant and keeping watch in the night over their flock. And behold, an Angel of the Lord stood near them, and the brightness of God shone around them, and they were struck with a great fear. And the Angel said to them: "Do not be afraid. For, behold, I proclaim to you a great joy, which will be for all the people. For today a Saviour has been born for you in the city of David: he is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the celestial army, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will."

And she brought forth her firstborn son. And she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn.

And all who heard it were amazed by this, and by those things which were told to them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as it was told to them.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Legend of the Candy Cane

Above: A hand painted ornament made by my mother.
It's one of a dozen or so such ornaments handmade by her.
They are such treasures to me!

A Candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would help us remember who Christmas is really about. So he made a Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.

He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus. Hard candy to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.

The candy maker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus. It also represented the staff of the "Good Shepherd".

The candy maker then included red stripes. He used three small stripes and a large red stripe to represent the suffering Christ endured at the end of his life.

The candy became known as a Candy Cane - a decoration seen at Christmas time. The meaning has faded, but still gives joy to children young and old, whom Jesus loves and treasures.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Meatless Fridays

This week's meatless meal is alllll about comfort!
It can be made in a pinch with frozen veggies and prepared dough, or completely homemade from scratch. Either way it is delicious!
This week's Meatless Friday meal is:

Vegetable Pot Pie

1 T butter
6 c assorted vegetables, thinly sliced or diced.
Some ideas:

- bell peppers
- butternut squash
- carrots
- celery
- corn
- green beans
- leeks
- onions
- peas
- potatoes
- spinach
- tomatoes
- zucchini
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c flour
3 c warm veggie stock and/or milk
1/2 t thyme
1 T fresh parsley, minced
1 t salt or soy sauce
black pepper
1 pie crust dough recipe or prepared dough from the store

Melt the butter in the saucepan, add the vegetables and sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue sautéing for another 5 minutes.
Sprinkle flour on top and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Gradually add the warm liquid, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens.
Add thyme and parsley and continue cooking until all of the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper, then transfer vegetables to the baking casserole.
Preheat oven to 400.
Make the pie crust dough, then roll it into a circle slightly larger than the casserole. Lay on top of the vegetables, without sealing the edges.
Place in oven and bake until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, 20-30 minutes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


This week my little elves were hard at work making homemade gifts for family and friends. With some raw beeswax from the bee keepers down the road, a little olive oil, and essential oils, they made lip balms and eucalyptus rub.

All ready for Christmas cheer and giving!

Note: No elves were harmed in the melting or pouring of the beeswax!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Abby was nestled all snug in her bed...

While visions of sugarplumbs chasing squirrels,
menacing cats, and rawhide bones, danced in her head.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The annual Christmas card photo fiasco!

Every year it's the same. We fight and fight the kids to get one decent picture for our Christmas card. You'd think they'd get better with age but it's not the case! This year the older ones were worse than the little kids. Here's my little attempt at capturing family bliss!

Mistake #1: I thought that **I** would take the pictures this year. Yeah, my husband is a photographer...blah, blah, blah...but I thought I could handle the job of the picture taking and HE could handle the job of wrangling the kids.

Here, I wanted to go for a cool, artsy shot of the kids standing on the hay bales in the field behind our house.

They just played instead.

Once I did get them up on the bales and still for a moment, Danny and John Paul had a few laughs.....and wouldn't stop!

So I thought, fine, it was a stupid idea anyway and I made them sit by the bales instead. It would have been easier to get a bunch of monkeys to all look at the camera all at the same time and smile!

Then we went to the bridge.
I thought some action shots would be really nice.
I got action all right!
Lots of rock and stick throwing!

Then Kyle stole John Paul's rock...

...and crying ensued.

The blur is my fault.
It's what happens when you are trying to take pictures and yell at boys who steal rocks.

So we go back to the field and try to get some nice sunset shots.
The boys wanted Abby in the pictures and she would have none of it. Getting her to just sit was almost as bad as trying to get the boys to smile!

Then little Danny gets hurt!
I think Abby stepped on his leg.

Seeing their little brother get hurt is the only thing that makes them smile!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Meatless Fridays

Here's a little dish guaranteed to spice things up! Be sure to remove the ribs and seeds of the peppers if you don't like the heat of peppers, or you can leave them in if you like a little "kick" in your meal! This is a good old Texas recipe and it should warm you up nicely during these cold winter nights, hope you enjoy it.
This week's Meatless Friday meal is:

Stuffed Poblanos

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in puree
1 jalapeno chile (ribs and seeds removed for no heat), minced
2 small onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves (2 whole, 1 minced)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 large poblano chiles, slit down the middle (stems left intact), ribs and seeds removed

Preheat oven to 425. In a blender or food processor, combine tomatoes in puree, jalapeno, half the onions, and 2 whole garlic cloves; puree. Season with salt. Pour sauce into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine beans, corn, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, remaining onions, minced garlic, cumin, and 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper.

Dividing evenly, stuff poblano halves with bean mixture; place on top of sauce in baking dish. Sprinkle poblanos with remaining 1/2 cup cheese; cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake until poblanos are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover, and continue to cook until sauce is thickened slightly and cheese is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool 10 minutes.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The kitchen herb box

Last summer I dedicated a whole growing box to kitchen herbs. I grabbed every potted herb from the nursery that I thought I would use and planted it. All the plants grew well until about mid summer. I thought the extreme Texas heat killed off my cilantro, dill, and thyme, so I just shook the plants when they went to seed (so they would self sow) and hoped that they would come back next summer.

Well, about a week ago I started seeing a huge amount of "weed" seedlings in my garden bed. I had no time to weed due to my crazy work schedule, so I just left them thinking that a good overnight frost would soon kill them.

After another passing week, I started to recognize my little "weed" patch!

It's FULL of dill and cilantro plants!

After getting out my handy dandy garden herb book I read that these were cool weather plants. No wonder they died out before mid summer! The plants self sowed beautifully and now I have a thick fuzzy carpet of the most fragrant herbs....I'm tickled pink!

Or should I say GREEN?

I have other herbs that are just as prolific now as they were in the summer like parsley, bee balm, and lemon balm. I don't think they'll survive a hard freeze so they'll be going into the dehydrator in the next day or two.

Even my little thyme plant came back to life and is thriving with the cooler weather!

This is a great lesson in seasonal gardening for me
and I hope to apply it to the entire garden:

Seeding plants should be left to seed and self sow.

I'm going to try it with the broccoli that flowers every spring. Well see if the seeds produced will give us a nice big broccoli patch during the fall!

Lessons learned in the garden are a lot like lessons learned in life.
God knew what He was doing in His grand design of life.
I need to just sit back and let HIM take control of things!