Thursday, December 31, 2009


ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to swans a swimming! OK, we looked for the swans, but couldn't find them, but we did find some bubble bath they used while they were swimming!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Sixth Day of Christmas

ON THE SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you...six geese a laying, but we know you don't really want the mess of six geese all over your house, do you? How about some “eggs” that they left behind!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Fifth Day of Christmas

The boys opened a parcel with this note plus a can of pineapple rings today.

ON THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you...five golden rings, but sorry, we're too poor for golden rings, but will some golden pineapple rings do?

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Fourth day of Christmas

This was the message in the fourth day parcel: ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you...four calling birds...we can't find those calling birds though! Here are some whistles they left for you before they flew off! (parcel contained many tiny whistles)

Let the photos speak!

"Someone " is home to spend a few days with us!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Third day of Christmas

The boys opened a parcel today containing this message plus a packet of their favourite chicken noodle soup.
ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you...three French hens...well, we don't have any French hens, so we're giving you some chicken noodle soup, compliments of the three French hens.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Second Day of Christmas

From 1558 until 1829 CE, Roman Catholics in England were not allowed to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning; the surface meaning, plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church.

Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality, which the children could remember.

a.. The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

b.. Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

c.. Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

d.. The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

e.. The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

f.. The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

g.. Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

h.. The eight maids a milking were the eight beatitudes.

i.. Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Ghost: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control.

j.. The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.

k.. Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

l.. Twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

Today the boys opened a parcel containing this note: (the parcel contained 2 tiny plastic turtles + a wild bird feeder.)

ON THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you...two turtle doves...but you've no idea how hard it is to catch wild turtle doves!!...will these tiny turtles do? Plus put this wild bird seed feeder up and who knows it may attract some wild turtle doves to land.

Christmas Day

Here are some pictures of yesterday's celebrations. We had a wonderful day celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior. The beginning of the day we shared gifts with each other (more on that in a later post)and then it was up to the hills to celebrate with friends. There was only one child not present and we talked with him by phone in the evening following our return. We are looking forward to him spending a few weeks with us in the very near future!

Friday, December 25, 2009

12 days of Christmas

What's this presents still under the tree?

Take a closer look and you'll see they all have numbers on them, what's this about...the 12 days of Christmas...our version.(adapted from a blog post)

This is what the boys found under the tree on the first day:the following note plus a tin of pears!

"ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you...a partridge in a pear tree. Sorry, but we can't find the partridge, so we are giving you some pears from the tree the partridge flew away from. "

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree!

I dear say we would have done it anyway.Why? Well, firstly there's the smells more like Christmas to us.

Then there's the fact that (in theory) its easier to put up(no more does this piece go with this branch or loosing part of the main trunk(we speak from experience!).We like that we get to choose it anew each year(oh the choices, the deciding, the "why can't we take them all".!!)

Our ornaments seem to fit better on it too.(a tip here: first attach the tinsel).

Of course we do have rather a lot of ornaments and homemade decorations which we(or should I say "I") can't bare to part with.

Ah but the delight when its completed, the joy of a job well done.Well lets just say that having looked at it for a couple of days and examined all the decorations placed on it so lovingly dear daughter and i felt it needed just a little bit of tweaking to achieve the desired effect.

And the boys reaction to this? Well I think this photo of our dogs kind of sums it up rather well!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our Jesse tree readings

I love reading this book during Advent.It has become a regular tradition to read it each year. The characters in it, one crusty old man and a cheeky young boy ,with powerful insight, always speak freshly to us no matter how many times it is read.

And no wonder, so they should, for they speak to the very heart of the matter, where lies all truth and abundantly given grace.They show us that the history of our God is not to be kept in a dusty tome but is to be lived and witnessed to each day.

Today I think of someone we know who is dying"But aren't we all dying" says the youngest."Yes," I answer, "But for some this is going to happen much sooner than their years on earth belie".
"Why do people die when they haven't lived very long?""If I was God I would make sure that everyone got their fair share of living first!"

And I pause and stumble over what I am reading...
So many times in these chapters we read about people who came to show others the way.People who were "ahead of their times",radical thinkers.....

Yes that's it. It helps us to see in our very limited way a young life that lead her sister and her mother to come into the journey.Someone who came every Sunday to Mass (and insisted on coming)... to sit often by themselves,...not spoken to or smiled at by others, ...but still they came again and again.

They have come like John to bear witness to the truth, and like John to be a voice of one that cries in the desert: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.None of this will take away the sorrow we will feel when they die. But that sorrow is ours, not theirs. For at their death is it not true that God, as Jesus, will stretch out His arms and envelope them in the mightiest of bear hugs while saying"welcome my beloved into the everlasting life I have prepared for you,enter thou in . And now let the true living begin!"
Yes reading this book,finding our Advent we can pause to give thanks for our friend, who has taught us well!

Monday, December 14, 2009

St Lucy

Our St Lucy celebration has been an important part of our Advent worship for many years now. We start with a procession walking from room to room and asking God’s blessing on the use this room is put to and on the people that come into it.
As we process we sing our Advent hymns. Now we are not all enthusiastic in “making a joyful noise” before the Lord so I solved that this year by playing recorded music as we walked.
Of course we have talked about the wisdom of Holy Mother Church in having this saint’s memorial in Advent.(Lucy means light and St Lucy is the little light that points, as all holy men and women through the ages have ever done ,to Christ who is the Light of the World)
Advent is a time of looking forward, looking towards the future and St Lucy ‘s little light gently leads us on to discover anew that babe born in the manger.
Of course all this has been said before and will be repeated again but that is the beauty of our Advent liturgy, ever old but always newly brought to our hearts, to speak afresh , to awaken our spirits in anticipation and longing for Christ’s coming.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

our St Lucy wreath

take one recipe of dough mixture and kneed, rise and plait

curve into a circular shape

bake until golden

drizzle with orange flavored icing and sprinkle with cranberries

and enjoy the result!

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Hannah cooked a beautiful Mexican meal for our celebration of the feast of Our lady of Guadalupe.Below is a recipe for part of the meal:

Flour Tortillas

  • 3 c unbleached flour (or whole wheat, or regular all-purpose, if that’s what you’ve got)
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ c (plus a little (1-2 T) extra – no need to measure exactly) vegetable shortening
  • 1 to 1 ¼ c warm water
Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Add the shortening, and mix them together until the shortening is evenly incorporated.

Next, add the warm water a little at a time, tossing together until the mixture forms a soft dough that is not sticky. Go ahead and knead it a few times, adding a sprinkling of flour if needed, to make it smooth.

Now divide the dough into 12 evenly-sized balls, and let rest for 10-15 minutes, while you straighten up and set up your work area for rolling out!

Here’s how we do it: Each “roller” gets a piece of parchment or “press-and-seal” (sticky side down) sprinkled with a little flour. One dough ball is lightly flattened in the center of the paper, then sprinkled with a little more flour. On top of this, a piece of plastic wrap is carefully laid across. Then roll out a circle – starting each roll in the center. It helps if the first few rolls are done somewhat lightly, until a reasonably circular shape is achieved – though, of course, perfection is unnecessary. Roll them fairly thin, or to about 8-10” in diameter.

Then flip the two layers of paper with the tortilla in between upside down, and carefully peel off the parchment for re-use; the unbaked tortilla is then placed, plastic-wrap side down, in a pile with each of the other tortillas as they are rolled. If desired, a moist paper towel can be placed lightly on top of the pile to keep the top tortilla from drying out. (If you find that the tortillas are sticking to either paper, just use a little more flour when rolling out.)

Once the rolling is well-underway, heat a 12-15” dry frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. It should be well-heated and ready by the time the last tortilla is rolled.

Each tortilla is then peeled off the plastic wrap, and placed in the hot, ungreased pan to be cooked on each side. The tortilla may bubble slightly and appear slightly dry as it bakes, and will have brown speckles on the underside when it is ready to flip/remove. It will take less than a minute on each side, so watch them carefully!

Place the tortillas atop each other inside a warm, clean kitchen towel until all are baked. They are best served immediately, but can be stored in the refrigerator in a ziplock bag (and can be reheated in the microwave before filling).

NB: the boys say the rolling out to thinness took some doing...but the results were worth it!

Our Mother encourages us with us the same words she spoke to Juan Diego:
"Hear and let it penetrate your hearts, my dear little ones. Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you; let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Do not fear vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here, your Mother? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

One of our Advent readalouds has been this book. It is based on the life of a real family.The chapters are short, and the illustrations humorous at times.As the web page says concerning the book:

“Cole Family Christmas is a delightful story about a coal-mining family of eleven in the Appalachian Mountains who learns that love and togetherness far surpass material things. It’s a story similar to the O'Henry's Gift of the Magi in which one’s most prized possession take on a new meaning when you give them away.

The humble family with nine children tightly embrace the importance of listening and respect as they struggle to make ends meet in the harsh climes in the Kentucky mountains. The co-authors, eighty-eight year old Hazel Cole Kendle, on which her true story is based, and her granddaughter-in-law Jennifer Liu Bryan, write with such beauty that you can feel the cold drifting up from the frigid floorboards. You can smell the food Mama cooks and sense the coziness in the tiny kitchen as her children help her prepare each family meal.”

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"jumpy Darling"

"Jumpy Darling" is a fairly regular visitor at our place. We have watched him grow and develop since Tracey brought him the first time when my ankle was broken. This time he enjoyed investigating our yard , he liked the bark chips, sniffed and ate the tiniest(juciest?)blades of grass, lazed on the

path like a "proper" kangaroo and... we even got to feed him!Of course he still slept a lot...but then he is a baby!