Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Random Thoughts #4: Angels and Mothers (and Cookies!)

1. Happy Feast of the Archangels!

Today we celebrate the feast day of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. I sometimes like to think of the Angel Gabriel--the Messenger-- as the patron saint of this blog, since here is where I come to convey my thoughts about my life as a Catholic wife and mother. I think blogging has encouraged me to work to deepen my relationship with Jesus, and His Mother (more about her coming up!).

Father Trujilio posted a simple and informative explanation regarding angels on his blog; you can check it out here. I like the picture he used so much, I decided to borrow it! :) BTW, it's a rendering of the three Archangels traveling with Tobias. Now I guess I'd better go read the book of Tobit. We didn't have that one in our Baptist bibles; although I have no excuse since I've had a Catholic bible for years.

To celebrate the Archangels' feast day today, I decided to make angel cookies to share with my Religious Education class. Of course, I only have two students, so it was REALLY an excuse to make cookies for my family. I used a traditional sugar cookie recipe from my Southern Living cookbook, dug out an angel cookie cutter from my Christmas baking supplies, and Curly played the part of cookie designer and came up with the idea of yellow sprinkles for wings and some stars along the skirt bottom. I thought they came out pretty cute! (I couldn't resist getting out my Southern Living At Home Angel Emmy Christmas plate for the

2. Last week I read Dr. Scott Hahn's Hail, Holy Queen. Every time I read a Scott Hahn book I am reminded of the richness and beauty of our Catholic faith, and I thank God for leading me here. In Hail Holy Queen, Dr. Hahn beautifully and simply explains how Mary is present throughout the scriptures. In the Old Testament, we see a foreshadowing of the Blessed Mother in the Ark of the Covenant. (The Ark held God's laws, the manna, and the staff of Aaron the high priest; Our Lady holds the fulfillment of the law, God himself, the Living Bread, the great High Priest.) She is the New Eve, and the woman clothed with the sun in the book of Revelation. Not only is she the Mother of Jesus; she is our Queen Mother, the mother of the Church. Many Protestants reject the Catholic practice of honoring Mary; often, it is mistaken for worship. We worship only Jesus Christ as our creator and Savior; but we honor Mary because Christ gave her to us to serve as our Mother. It's a quick and simple read, and I highly recommend it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Comics: Kids and the Bible

Recently the catechists in our parish had our summer training session. We were given a handout of quotes that kids from an actual Catholic elementary school had written. I don't know where they originated, but they are hilarious! Enjoy!

-In the first book of the bible, Guinessis, God got tired of creating the world, so he took the Sabbath off.

-Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. Noah's wife was called Joan of Ark. Noah built an ark, which the animals come on to in pears.

-Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night.

-The Jews were a proud people and throughout history they had trouble with the unsympathetic Genitals.

-Samson was a strongman who let himself be led astray by a Jezebel like Delilah.

-Moses led the hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread which is bread without any ingredients.

-The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten ammendments.

-The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.

-Moses died before he ever reached Canada. Then Joshua led the hebrews in the battle of Geritol.

-The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.

-David was a hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. he fought with the Finkelsteins, a race of people who lived in Biblical times.

-Solomon, one of David's sons, had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.

-When Mary heard that she was teh mother of Jesus, she sant the Magna Carta.

-When the three wise guys from the east side arrived they found Jesus in the manager.

-Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption.

-Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which says to do one to others before they do one to you. He also explained, "a man doth not live by sweat alone."

-It was a miracle when Jesus rose from the dead and managed to get the tombstone off the entrance.

-The people who followed the lord were called the 12 decibels. The epistles were the wives of the apostles.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

7 Quick Takes, Volume One (Better Late Than Never)

This will be the first time I've participated in this meme, hosted by Jennifer over at Conversion Diary. It's normally for Fridays, but what can I say, lateness seems to be a thing with me. OK, here goes!

1. I am a bookoholic. Here are five books I have purchased in the last two weeks:

My women's Bible study group at church is reading Hail, Holy Queen, and one of the priests from our parish, Father L, is giving a series of talks on the book with our group. Our first meeting was yesterday, and I'm looking forward to reading the book and talking about it with Father L and my church friends.

I saw the author of Fit For Eternal Life on EWTN recently, and he had a lot of interesting things to say about our spiritual and mental health. I started Charity in Truth, but frankly I think I'm going to need a study guide for that one. Maybe I'll ask Father L if he'll be willing to study that one next with our group.

Of course, I also have a plethora of secular books on my shelf that I haven't read yet: The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger; My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Piccoult, and several books by Barbara Kingsolver and Amy Tan.

2. Meanwhile, I've also been reading Don Quixote since July. In three months, my copy has gone from brand-new to this:

Mind you, I read Anna Karenina in six weeks. That's one heck of a thick book. I still have a long way to go with poor old Don:
I'm hosting a discussion of Don Quixote on Goodreads, with an online group aptly named "The Book Addicts." If you want to check it out or even join in, click here.

3. I've read lots of great books since the summer, and I'm hoping over the next few weeks to tell you about some of them. I won't make any promises though, because it seems that every time I blog about something I want to blog about, I don't get around to blogging about the thing I want to blog about. Stay tuned...

4. Last Monday our parish began a new school year of Religious Education classes. I have a class of three third graders, all boys. This will be the smallest class I've worked with so far. I'm hoping with such a small class I'll be able to cover more material and do more fun things with them than I've been able to in the past. The downside is that we're in a small space in the basement of a house that used to be our parish convent, and it's situated in such a way that people going to their classes in other rooms have to walk right through our classroom space. It's not really a room, really; and the table where the kids work is really a small pool table covered with a piece of plywood. I have found that in the past, the Lord has given me the grace to do the best I can in less-than-perfect circumstances, so I'm not worried! I'm looking forward to a great year.

5. Last weekend our parish had their annual ice-cream social and cakewalk. I brought a coconut cake that I made from a recipe passed down to me by my mother:

There were dozens of cakes to choose from (unfortunately we didn't win one), and my mousy-brown cake looked so plain next to some of the colorful and whimsical entries. Here's a sample:
One family made a cake that was a replica of our parish school, where the event was held. They even made little models of Father R, our pastor, and Sister S, the school principal:

6. If you are looking for a great movie to watch WITHOUT your kids, I highly recommend Gran Torino. Be warned--there is lots of profanity and violence, because gangs and gang violence plays a big part in the movie. It's a powerful story about forgiveness, and sends a strong positive message about the relationships between people of different races and cultures. Unlike many films you see today, it also shows the Catholic Church in a positive light. Clint Eastwood has never made me cry until I watched this film a couple of weekends ago.

7. This Wednesday kicks off the Fall 2009 40 Days For Life campaign. This is a fast-growing grassroots pro-life movement of prayer and fasting to end abortion. The upcoming fall campaign is said to be the largest one yet, with 212 cities participating. If you want to find out about a 40 Days For Life campaign in your area, click here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Praises (long overdue)

It's been a few weeks since I posted my list of things I am praising and thanking God for. I know there are many more things to be thankful for than these!! Thank you as always to Jennifer for hosting this meme (and for allowing her bloggy friends to use her great chocolate Praise graphic! :D)

1. Praise God for the beautiful weather God has given us today. Sunny and warm, not too hot. Perfect!

2. Praise God that my attempt at baking my mother's famous coconut cake yesterday was successful, and I'll be able to submit it this afternoon for the cakewalk at our annual parish ice cream social!! I just pray that it will taste good to whoever wins it...

3. Praise God that we live in America, where we are free to speak our minds without fear.

4. Praise God that these last couple of weeks since the kids started school have given me the opportunity to attend daily Mass (well, almost daily), and a daily workout as well. This has strengthened me both physically and spiritually. I pray that when my days begin to get busier I will continue to make time for the Lord and for physical activity.

5. Praise God for my husband, who spends many weekends doing yard work so I won't have to. I'd much rather cook and mop floors than mow the grass and rake leaves.

6. Praise God for calling me to teach Religious Education at our parish, which starts tomorrow; and that my family continues to support me in this, even though my children do not participate anymore now that they're in Catholic school.

7. Praise God for giving us the opportunity to spend time with loved ones the last couple of weekends. I am thankful that both sides of our family (my husband's and mine) show nothing but love for each other. So many families hold grudges against each other and fight; I think we all get along so well because God has given us the grace to forgive and love each other, despite the differences we have.

8. Praise God that Curly, our middle son, is going to be taking guitar lessons from the same teacher he had last year. Mr. Dave, the teacher is making time in his schedule to allow Curly to visit his old Montessori school one afternoon a week to learn the guitar(Praise God!) Larry and Moe are excited, too, because since some of their friends spend their afternoons in the school's after-school program, they'll get to visit with them on a regular basis.

Have a blessed week, everyone!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Recipe Swap Thursday: Father Leo's Fusion Fajitas

Normally I wouldn't post a recipe that I haven't tried, but I'm so excited about this one I couldn't wait! Thanks to Therese from The Musings of a Mom for hosting this meme. (According to her most recent blog post, her new baby was to be born today! Pop on over and wish her congratulations!)

It was only recently that I heard about Father Leo Patalinghug and Grace Before Meals. Last night on The Food Network, Father Leo appeared on "Throwdown with Bobby Flay," and his Fusion Fajita recipe was put to the test against Bobby's version. I won't tell you whose recipe won out, but you can see for yourself when the show is re-aired later this month. (Click here for details!)

Believe it or not, I couldn't find a written version of the recipe anywhere. I'm hoping to try to make these this weekend; maybe I'll email Father Leo for the recipe. :) In this Grace Before Meals episode, he seasons the steak with salt, garlic powder, and oregano and cooks it about 15 minutes on each side. For Food Network, he makes a marinade with brown sugar, soy sauce, and some other things (I need to record it again to find out; I already deleted it). I'll probably try the marinated version; but I have a feeling it's delicious either way.

UPDATE, JULY 2011: I finally picked up the latest edition of Grace Before Meals, and the fusion fajita recipe is in there! I was so excited. I haven't tried it yet, but I hope I will soon. It's kind of long, but I know lots of you come here looking for it, so here it is:


Serves 4 to 6

1 1/4 pounds flank steak


2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ginger powder


2 avocadoes, halved and pits removed

Juice from 1 lime

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons minced parsley

2 teaspoons minced cilantro

4 teaspoons finely minced red onion

4 teaspoons olive oil


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

2 colored peppers, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

2 to 4 tablespoons of the reserved marinade

Salt and pepper to taste


1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder


Use a fork and poke holes in the steak to tenderize. Place in a resealable plastic bag and set aside. In a bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients together and whisk until fully incorporated. Reserve 1/4 cup of marinade. Pour the rest of the marinade in the bag with the flank steak and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

To cook the steak, heat grill to high. Place steaks and turn down heat to medium. Cook for 7 minutes on each side and let rest for 7 minutes. When preparing to sere, cut thin strips against the grain of the meat.

To prepare the guacamole, remove the flesh from the avocadoes and immediately pour the lime juice on top to prevent the flesh from turning brown. Combine the rest of the guacamole ingredients and mash together with a fork. Set aside in the refrigerator.

To prepare the vegetables, heat olive oil and garlic in a pan over high heat. Add the vegetables and saute' for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved 1/4 cup marinade and cook for another minute. Season with salt and pepper. Take off heat and set aside.

To make the sour cream, mix together the sour cream, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble the fajitas: Spread 1 heaping tablespoon of guacamole over tortilla. Add 4 to 5 thin slices of meat. Add a few pieces of stir-fried vegetables. Top with sour cream. Pray and eat!

Grace Before Meals, by Father Leo Patalinghug, p. 21-22

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Random Thoughts #3: Surprises, Schools, and Stooges

1. A Surprise in the Mail

I have several dishrags that look like this:

The other day when I went to my mailbox, I discovered a package from Evy. A while back she had a contest on her blog, and I was one of the lucky winners! I have already been blessed with one of Evy's creations; a lovely pair of socks that I won in her 200th post giveaway. What did I win this time, you ask? These:

A pair of cute handmade dish cloths! A very timely gift, I must say; every time I'm heading to Target I make a mental note to pick up some new ones, but I always forget. They're almost too pretty to use, but I will. It will make the mundane task of washing dishes that much more enjoyable. Thanks my bloggy friend! :)

2. Catholic School!

On Monday, our three sons started a new school year at a new school. For the last several years, they have attended a FABULOUS Montessori school, and I even worked there part-time as a teaching assistant. We've been toying with the idea of sending them to Catholic school for some time now, and this year we finally decided to make the leap. So far so good; they miss their old school ("Mom, when can we go back and visit?") but so far they seem to be adjusting well to the new routine. For the first time, they have homework assignments that they must complete each night; in the past, they sometimes had projects to complete that were due at the end of the month, or some other time in the (perceived) distant future, but they have never had to complete daily homework assignments. I am happy to say they like their teachers and are making friends! Right now I'm working on getting together the paperwork that's required for substitute teaching there.

3. New nicknames

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I don't use my kids' names or post their photos. I've been trying to come up with nicknames that I can use consistently for each one, and I made my decision recently when they were watching a Three Stooges DVD: Larry, Curly, and Moe. Larry will be my oldest son's blog name, Curly for the middle one (fits him perfectly; he has handsome curly locks that to his dismay must be kept cut short), and Moe will be the youngest. I'll use these names for my boys from now on, at least until I come up with better ones.

I have a few other random thoughts somewhere in my tired brain; I'll share those another time when I'm more alert. If I can remember them. Time for sleep!

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