Call Me Catholic

9 Things I’m NOT Doing This Advent

In the last post, I wrote about a few things our family will be focusing on this Advent.  In this post, I want to highlight I few things I WON’T be doing.

Now before you read this list, please know that I’m tired.  Really exhausted.  I could give you many reasons why this is so, but I’m too tired do it.  My only intent is to show you that not all families are alike, and that sometimes, one needs to cut back.

Everything you’re about to read on this list is, in fact, a good thing.  If your family is able to do them all, I’m glad!  It’s just that I can’t right now, and I suspect I’m not the only one who is a little overwhelmed.

Without any further ado, here we go.

9 Things I’m NOT Doing This Advent

  1. I don’t have a Jesse Tree.  One year I did, but not this year.  And I know that Jesse Trees don’t even have to be a difficult thing to do.  One can simply print off a bunch of paper ornaments, have the children color them, and then cut them out.  But not me.  Nope.  I can’t.
  2. I don’t even have an Advent Calendar.  Our 2018 wall calendar will have to do.  The thought of another trip into Target, or even clicking around on Amazon to find one, is just too much.
  3. There is no Elf on my shelf.  Nor has there ever been.  I understand this is a fun thing for children, but mine will have to be satisfied with Mary and Joseph traveling around the house.

    IMG_0872.jpg
    There is no Elf on these shelves.  But there are books all over the floor of this room.
  4. I’m not going to make a single cookie.  Heck, I might not even make a single cookie during Christmas.  My cookie press from Pampered Chef broke, and so I can’t make my all-time favorite Spritz Cookies using Grandma Hahn’s recipe.  This does actually make me a little sad, but really, it’s freeing too.  I know there won’t be any lack of cookies coming into the house anyway.  In fact some have already found their way into my freezer, as my mother is such a go-getter that she and my aunt already supplied me with two huge containers full.  So nope.  I’m not making any cookies.

    IMG_0873.jpg
    But hey look!  I do have some cooking supplies.  Maybe I’ll just lock myself in the pantry and eat those M&Ms and pretzels.
  5. My box of Advent and Christmas books for the children to read is not out yet.  I’ve just been too tired to actually walk down the stairs, turn a corner, open a door, and get it.  I’m really hoping that I’ll find the motivation to do so, at least by December 24th.  We do have some good ones.  In the meantime, if I can’t, one year without them will be fine.
  6. I’m not going to listen to Christmas music this Advent.  Maybe.  Goodness, this is such a hard one for me.  I love Christmas music so much, that it isn’t uncommon for me to blast it any time of the year.  Just ask my children.  Who doesn’t love a little Sleigh Ride in July?
  7. I’m not decorating for Christmas during Advent.  This one is easy to not do for the obvious reason that I don’t have to do anything!  We stopped decorating for Christmas during Advent a long time ago.  Instead it’s become a family tradition to decorate on Christmas Eve, and I can’t tell you how much fun we have!  And I also have the added bonus of my husband being home to carry the heavy boxes up from the basement for me.  So I’m not really worried about this one.
  8. I’m not going to buy a ton of Christmas gifts.  We’ve been scaling back over the years, which has been difficult because our extended families are so generous!  But now the grandparents are down to just one gift per child, and we’re doing the same.  Well, not really, I guess.  Each child gets one book, one practical item, and a little candy.  (Candy because we abstain from sweets during Advent.)  For example, my eldest son loves the Redwall series, so he’s getting book #8 along with a new watchband and a candy cane.  We’ve found that less is more.  It teaches the children gratitude.
  9. And finally, I’m not going to write any more blog posts until Christmas.  I need a little break, especially with my son’s medical issues.  But don’t worry, I’ll be back!  (I can’t seem to help myself, when it comes to writing, for better or for worse.)

May God bless you this Advent!

Call Me Catholic

Advent is Here!

Last Sunday we began the holy season of Advent.  So I’ll offer a few thoughts and ideas on what works for our family to keep this season holy and prayerful.  If you have any great traditions or ideas, I’d love to hear about them too.

IMG_0859.jpg
My Drummer Boy is ready to start the season off with a bang.  But with only one drum stick.  The other one is lost.

Where to we start?

Lately I’ve mentioned the importance of Confession and Adoration.  While we never quit going to Confession throughout the year, our family has taken a three-month hiatus from Adoration, as we were into the chaotic business of packing and moving and switching parishes.  Now that that’s over, it is our top priority to get back to a weekly holy hour, beginning this week.

This is a difficult thing, however, as we feel strongly that not only my husband and I ought to have an hour, but that all those children who have received First Holy Communion should too.  So, we just have to make it a priority, which sometimes means saying no to other things, while also getting creative.

My hour will be during the evening and by myself, as I’m home all day and need a break.   My husband’s hour, however, will be in the morning before work, and he’ll take the four older children with him.  This is doable because after the holy hour, two of the children will walk over to their school, one will join her homeschool coop, which happens to be at our parish, and the last remaining child will get picked up by me.

Complicated?  Yes.  Worth it.  Double Yes Yes.  Prayer is the most important thing we can make time for.  It is our top priority.

Advent Prayer Intentions

This Advent we will be of course offering prayers for our Church, but also specifically for our son who suffers from migraines.  Lately they’ve become more intense and debilitating, which landed us back at his neurologist’s office.  After an MRI, we discovered that he has a Chiari I Malformation, which is fancy talk for the lower brain extending too far into the spinal cord.

We don’t know if this is causing his migraines, so we’ll be traveling to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis to have a specialized, pediatric neurologist examine him.  We hope to find some answers.  And if you think of it, please pray for him.

And now the Fun Stuff

Of course we’ll be lighting our Advent wreath every evening at dinner.  The children love this because we shut all the lights off, light the candle, and sing two verses of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  Then my husband prays the Vespers Responsory and the Magnificat Antiphons, with the O Antiphons being the last seven days of Advent.  It’s beautiful.

As many of you also do, we have our nativity set out too.  Well, just the stable, shepherds, Drummer Boy, and the animals, as Mary and Joseph are traveling.  We start them off somewhere else in the house and move them closer every few days or so.

IMG_0861.jpg
We put our Nativity Set on the lower ledge of the fireplace, so that all the children can easily play with it.

And for school?  During Midmorning Prayer Time, our hymns will reflect the season.  Our favorite is On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry.  And we’ll be listening the Benedictines of Mary Advent at Ephesus during all hours of the day!

And for poetry?  I’m still looking for a good piece.  Anyone have any ideas?  Drop me a line.

I pray your season of Advent may be prayerful and fruitful!

IMG_0866.jpg
Even the baby gets to play with the Nativity Set.  Those plastic pieces must taste good!  She tried them all.
Call Me Catholic, Homeschooling

Advent and Nativity Sets

It’s cold outside, and it’s Friday.

So, it’s time to think about Nativity Sets.  Yes, I know Advent isn’t here yet, but some of us prefer to plan ahead for such things, so as to avoid stress and anxiety later.  Plus, I like to scatter the cost of Advent and Christmas over a couple of months, so December’s budget isn’t sky-high.

DSCF0858.jpg
And here’s my Nativity Set.  I know the quality of the photo is poor, but I took this a year ago with an old-fashioned camera.  You know, those digital ones that nobody has anymore.

Since most of us are home all day long, this matter of Nativity Sets is important for a couple of reasons.

  1. We are Catholics, and as such, have some sweet liturgical seasons, which ought to be celebrated in style.
  2. This is about our children after all.  What kid doesn’t like to mess around with nativity sets?  Think of it as a hands-on, Montessori-style education.
  3. Lastly, in as much as we can, we ought to make the space around us beautiful.  Hence, if you don’t already have one, buy a good, indestructible Nativity Set.

Now I am biased about nativity sets and strongly prefer Fontanini Nativity Sets mostly because I inherited a beautiful one, complete with a little stable, featuring an electric fire, along with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  But here is why Fontanini really is the best:

  1. It’s indestructible.
  2. Your children can chuck these beautifully painted pieces across the room.  Not that my children would do such a thing…
  3. There are myriads upon myriads of sheep, cows, shepherds, angels, and villagers available to play with–er–for purchase.
  4. Did I mention that these pieces don’t break?  (If you have boys, you will automatically know the importance of imperishable and everlasting nativity figures, or anything else for that matter.)

And so naturally one more question arises.  1.)  Which is my favorite nativity figure?

The Drummer Boy of course is my favorite accessory piece.  Everyone knows that a poor little drummer boy drummed on his drum for Jesus and Mary Christmas morning.  Jesus even smiled at him.  I’m pretty sure the drummer boy is in the Bible; in fact there’s a most beautiful song about it.*

Our family purchases a new figure every year, and this year we bought two camels.  I would have bought three camels, because that makes the most sense, but our budget only allows for only two.  We had to order them, however, so there not here yet.

Later next week I hope to have a post on a few more Advent things we do as a family.

 

 

*For your listening pleasure, HERE is one of the best Christmas songs ever.  I think this song is also in the Bible.**  (To those of you who prefer not to listen to music outside of its proper liturgical season, don’t listen to it!)
**Just kidding about the Drummer Boy being in the Bible.  Although if I were some kind of reforming heretic and enjoyed messing with the Bible – you know taking books out that I didn’t like and adding others – I’d for sure insert the Drummer Boy in the Christmas story.  You’d find it in the Gospel according to Kim.
Call Me Catholic

Cardinal Sarah, Mother Theresa, and One Mad Mom

I came across two articles this morning that are worthy of your attention.

  1. Anytime Cardinal Sarah speaks up, it’s worth noting.  LifeSiteNews published part of his speech at a conference in Milan this week wherein he speaks of both JPII and Mother Theresa’s love for the Eucharist.
    The cardinal recounted Mother Teresa’s own words: “Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand.”
    IMG_0262.jpg
    Have you read this yet?

    Or This?

    IMG_0417.jpg
    Sarah’s Power of Silence.  I can’t think of a better Christmas gift.
  2. Have you ever heard of One Mad Mom?  (Hey, look!  I’m not the only one.)  For any of you struggling with anger right now, she’s got a great piece about sticking to the facts and not jumping into the deep.  I needed to hear it, especially with the death of Bishop Morlino.  (May he rest in peace!  And may God send another holy bishop to that diocese!)
Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday on Saturday

In spite of all the Church Scandal, life goes on.  How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

  1. I was spoiled rotten on Thanksgiving Day.  I barely had to make anything – just frog-eye salad.  And we feasted like kings and drank good wine.  God is very good to us.  And I have the best in-laws ever.
  2. The other day The Eldest was dancing around with Little Sister when, SMACK!  Little Sister’s eye met a chair.  Grandma added purple eye shadow to the other eye to balance things out.  And then we took a picture of her because she’s still so cute.  Can you guess which eye is injured and which is fake?
IMG_0821.jpg
Ah!  They’re putting make-up on me!

3.  The 2019 Calendars from Tan Publishing are out.  Last year they had a calendar featuring monks brewing beer and drinking wine.  For example, here’s this month’s picture from 2018:

IMG_0846.jpg

 

Can you read the quotation in the bottom righthand corner?  It’s a Medieval German saying.  “Drink wine, and you will sleep well.  Sleep, and you will not sin.  Avoid sin, and you will be saved.  Ergo, drink wine and be saved.”  Hilarious.

Anyway, this year I’ve noticed that Tan has a 2019 calendar titled, Defending Christendom.  You bet I’m going to order it.  Click HERE to see it at Tan.

4.  As yesterday was Black Friday, I will offer a gift idea for lego-loving children.  A friend of mine sent me a link to this.  It’s the Last Supper built with legos.  We don’t own it, but we do own this one, which is Fr. Leopold’s Mass, and it’s great.

If any of you do own the Last Supper lego kit, drop a line below in the comments.  I’d like to hear if it’s a good set.

5.  And finally, do you live anywhere near the Bismarck/Mandan metropolitan area?  If so, come experience the Mass of the Ages, otherwise known at the Traditional Latin Mass, this Sunday at Christ the King Catholic Church in Mandan, ND, at 11:30am.  I’d love to meet you!

Call Me Catholic

I Am Mad.

Usually I like to keep the content of these pages positive, but I have to speak up, if only once.  So today, if you’re not interested, I’ll see you at a later post.

I am angry about the Homosexual Church Crisis.

I am angry because of all the silence from the bishops.*  Those of you who may be following what’s going on in the Church know what I’m talking about.  The inability of our bishops to do or say anything helpful is supremely frustrating.

Lately my husband and I have been watching Dr. Taylor Marshall on YouTube, and he’s making a lot of sense.  But just yesterday I came across Fr. Mark Goring, and I think he nailed it in one of his recent videos.  Click HERE for it.  You’ve got to watch it.

No really, like right now.  It’s only about 6 minutes long.

Now I know that Bishop Strickland of Texas spoke up at the USCCB conference, but did my bishop, Bishop Kagan?  I don’t know.  Did yours?  I tried contacting my bishop’s office, asking if he has released any statements, but I got no response.  I tried searching our diocesan website, but I found nothing.  Just more silence.  (Please, somebody, correct me if I’m wrong about this.)

Are there any priests speaking out about all this terrible business from the pulpit, for the laity to hear?  I did hear one good homily when the McCarrick Filth first broke a few months ago, but I haven’t heard anything since.  It’s like the Elephant in Room.  It’s the biggest issue of our day, and nobody wants to talk about it.  Meanwhile, the liberal media bashes the Catholic Church on all sides.  What are Catholics to believe?

I don’t want the same old solutions to these sordid problems.  I think it was G.K. Chesterton who once said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.  How are meetings, meetings, and more meetings helpful?  Especially when Rome, i.e. Pope Francis, ties everyone’s hands and won’t let anybody do anything.

Not that that matters.  Did you know that two-thirds of our bishops voted to not have McCarrick investigated at the USCCB meeting last week?  Two-thirds!  To my unsophisticated mind, that means that only one-third of our bishops in the US are worth anything.  Jesus’ words in Luke 18:8 ring loudly in my ears, “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”  My goodness, bishops, speak out!

Meanwhile, the confusion only gets worse and worse.  Priests, I beg you, start speaking out from the pulpit about this.  We want to know what’s going on, and we want to be shown the path to Eternal Life.  Give us the hard, moral truths.  We want it!  LifeSiteNews gets it.  Click HERE for their latest article, quoting Msgr. Charles Pope.

The rest of you, sign up for a weekly Holy Hour and go to Adoration.  And even though I don’t remember the last time I heard a priest speak about Confession from the pulpit, I’ll say it –  go to Confession!  Today, if possible.

And pray for our cardinals, bishops, and priests.  And especially for our Holy Father.  May this terrible Homosexual Crisis be dealt with soon.

 

*I just came across a video highlighting the few, the very few bishops who did say something at the latest USCCB meeting.  It’s painfully short, but nevertheless, these men are the Heroes of the Day.  (Along with Archbishop Vigano.)  Click HERE for it.

Kim's Kitchen

Lemon Cakes

The Eldest turned 12 last week, and it’s a custom in our family to choose what kind of cake one would like to celebrate.  Of course all birthday cakes need to be reasonable.  Like the recipe had better be in my Betty Crocker cookbook or forget about it, for I’m no gourmet chef.

IMG_0842.jpg
I love Betty Crocker.  My grandma gave this cookbook to me at my Wedding Shower.  A most sensible gift.

Now Lemon Cakes are not in my Betty Crocker cookbook, but because I love my daughter very much and was feeling very sacrificial,* I went out of my way to look up a recipe online.  I printed the first recipe that didn’t have any obscure ingredients in it.  You know, like butter milk.  Who has that on hand?

What I found was this, so I went at it.  If you look at that recipe, however, you’ll notice that it’s ridiculous because all the measurements are in Tablespoons, which is stupid.  I can’t be trusted to count out 10 Tablespoons accurately with 7 loud children running around and begging to lick a beater.  But then, if you look even closer at the recipe, you’ll notice that it requires a 7-inch bundt cake pan.  Who has that?  Not me, so I had to double the recipe, which is actually a good thing, as it means more lemon cake to eat.

In the end though, out came my trusty and sensible Betty Crocker cookbook anyway because it has an Equivalent Measures Chart in it.  Just how many cups is 20 Tablespoons of sugar?  I found out that 1 cup has 16 Tablespoons, which leaves 4 Tablespoons left over for 1/4 cup.  Whew, that’s a lot of math.

IMG_0844.jpg
This child is helping me by pointing out the Equivalent Measures Chart for all my Tablespoons.

Well, after zesting and squeezing lemons, I threw it in the oven.

IMG_0824.jpg
Someone was playing Uno while watching me zest and squeeze lemons.

When I took it out of the oven, here’s how it looked.

IMG_0827.jpg

And then here it is inverted on the cake platter…

IMG_0828.jpg

And after sprinkling it with powdered sugar and placing store-boughten candies on it…

IMG_0829.jpg
Missing 10 candles.

And finally with all the candles and most of the children…

IMG_0832.jpg
Happy Birthday!

 

 

*This was not very sacrificial of me at all.  I love lemons so much that I always have them on hand.  I mean, you never know when you might need a Lemon Martini.

 

 

 

 

Life is Worth Living

Cocktails, the End of a Successful Hunt, and the TLM

The other day, well, I mean the other month, my husband made a few drinks.  I meant to share them with you then, but I forgot because I was busy.  So, I’ll share them today because they’re good, and we’re celebrating the end of a successful Hunting Season.

Now I’d like to share a photo of my husband’s dead deer too, but there isn’t one.  You see, he had a Doe Tag and according to him, “Does are hardly worth taking photos of.”  So not only will there be no photo of him with his deer, but there will of course be no antlers to mount on the garage walls.  The boys were seriously disappointed.  One can never have too many antlers on one’s walls apparently.

IMG_0838.jpg
Some antlers on our garage wall.
IMG_0839.jpg
A pile of antlers that haven’t made it to the wall yet.

 

Brandy Alexander & a Sidecar

IMG_0642.jpg
Which one is mine?

On to drinks.  As I said, we’re celebrating a swift end to the Hunting Season, and I’d like to highlight two of our favorites: a Brandy Alexander and a Sidecar.

The drink on the left is a Brandy Alexander.  My husband and I began drinking these after reading Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, in honor of Anthony Blanche.  Those of you who have read the book or watched the (good) version of the movie (with Jeremy Irons) know what we’re talking about.  There’s a scene wherein Anthony Blanche downs three of them in a row, which is a bit reckless, no?

Normally a Brandy Alexander is made with cream, but as we never have any on hand, my husband makes them with whole milk, which of course is not as creamy, but still good.

Brandy Alexander:
Equal parts Brandy, Creme de Cocoa, and Cream

Sidecars are way too strong for me, but my husband insists that they’re classic and tasteful.  I’d probably be rather drunk if I attempted one.  Nevertheless, here’s how they’re made.

Sidecar:
3 parts brandy, 1 part lemon, 1 part triple sec

Enjoy!

And lastly,

The Traditional Latin Mass

A good friend of mine sent me an article written by Jake Neu and published in Crisis Magazine this morning.  It’s excellent.  (Click HERE for it.)  It’s also interesting that more and more people are choosing to attend the TLM.

A big Thank You to Jake Neu.  Your sentiments are mine as well.

Life is Worth Living

Opening Day of Deer Season: A Solemnity

Now there are seasons that we celebrate in this household.  You know, like Christmas, Lent, Easter, Hunting, and Advent.  It just so happens that we’re about to embark on Hunting Season this weekend.  Today is in fact Opening Day for North Dakota.

20151114_134657 (1).jpg
My husband celebrating Deer Season a year or so ago.

Like any other solemn undertaking, we begin this season with many prayers.  For example, the following prayer may be found in the Divine Office in the Proper of Seasons:

O Lord, please let my husband shoot a deer within the first hour of hunting.  You know, O Lord, how I cannot survive another Saturday without his presence.   I’m afraid I might yell.  And look like this:

Scan 1.jpeg

Help me.  I need You.  Amen.

As you know, Hunting Season commences with a Class 2 Feast Day, which is of course properly called Opening Day.*  You might also recall that at the recent Youth Synod in October many reforms were suggested by the youth to the Holy Father in the hopes of elevating this most important day.*

Suggested Reforms Coming Out of the Latest Synod

  1. Holy Father, We the Youth ask that Opening Day may be made a Solemnity and a Holy Day of Obligation wherein in all Youth are required to abstain from school and made rather to walk the glorious fields of God’s creation with a gun.
  2. We the Youth ask that this synod might be renamed from “Walking Together” to “Walking Together With Guns.”
  3. We the Youth ask that St. Hubert, patron saint of hunters, be made a Doctor of the Church.
  4. We the Youth also propose Orange Vestments to be worn during these solemn  of days.

I’m not sure if the Youth were successful in any of these endeavors.  I do know, however, that our household will also be praying the following prayer, which may found somewhere in the Bible.  I think Moses prayed it in the Wilderness with those stubborn Hebrews.

O Lord, you see that our freezer is empty.  We humbly ask that you might provide a 30 Point Buck to fall within sight of my husband’s .243 Rifle.   For You are All Powerful and Glorious forever and ever.  Amen.*
IMG_0134.jpg
Happy Deer Season y’all.
*Not really.  Nope.  These things never happened.  This is nowhere in the Bible.