Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good Shepherd Sunday Dinner

Happy Good Shepherd's Sunday!
I'm re-posting our traditional dinner menu as I'm scrambling out to the grocery store after Mass to pick up supplies...Good Shepherd Sunday snuck up on me this year:)  Just in case you are looking for quick and easy ideas to celebrate this special day of the Easter season!

Our Good Shepherd Menu:
  • Shepherd's Pie (I used the recipe from Simply Recipes) With a cheese cross garnish:)
  • Shepherd's Staff Bread Sticks
  • "Green Pasture" salad
  • Flock of Sheep Cookies

Our sheep cookies were really easy and turned out cute!  

Sheep Cookie Tutorial:
Here is a photo of the ingredients:

1.  Use any jumbo chocolate chip cookies. (Ours were store bought)
2.  Frost in sheep wool swirls with cream cheese frosting.  Mix with a bit of chocolate frosting for a tan color.
3.  Use regular sized marshmallows cut in half for the face
4.  Cut mini sized marshmallows in half for the ears
5.  Mini chocolate chips were used for the eyes
6.  Nose/mouth was a mini m&m
7.  Black licorice was used for the legs
Table Decor:
(I saved these and re-use each year)
Two years ago, we did a little sheep craft to decorate our table based on an idea from this link.  We made 7 sheep, for 7 people in our family to represent the fact that we are Christ's sheepfold.  Then we cut out green hand prints for the sheep's pasture to represent the hands of the father from the gospel passage:  
"My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand.  The Father and I are one." ~John 10:29-30~
Here is a tutorial for a quick and easy Good Shepherd Candle Craft if you don't have a (home) Paschal Candle:
I found this link to a printable Good Shepherd that I found in google images.  If you click on the full size image, you should be able to print to the perfect size for these clear glass candles, found at the Dollar Tree (and many other places too).
I printed it out and used this product to seal it to the candle.
This is something I found that does not cause printed color copies to bleed.  It worked perfectly!  If you don't have this, Good old Mod Podge will work too.
~The Good Shepherd candle worked great along side our Paschal Candle~

Most importantly, let us remember to always listen for the voice of the Shepherd...
Our happiness depends on our fidelity to the grace that keeps us sensitive, aware, and disposed to the tender voice of the Shepherd...."I think I could no longer live if I stopped hearing Him speak."~Johan A. Mohler~

Friday, April 27, 2012

Liturgical Decorating Gone Awry!

Ever heard the term "you reap what you sow?"
Well, I lived this first hand yesterday when this little 4 year old tried her own hand at decorating her room...
Liturgical decorating gone awry?
This is what I found...3 crosses stuck to her wall with this!
Yep, toothpaste!
She said she couldn't find any tape...
It was one of those moments when I wanted to be mad but I just lost it in laughter instead, aghast at how she thought of that!?
We had a nice talk about getting help with her decorating next time...Maybe Mommy could use her help too!?  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Catholic Guilt or Catholic Gift

I am honored to be a guest writer over at Suscipio today!  If you've never visited, this is a website designed to raise up, support, maintain & accept the Catholic Woman.  The title of my article is Catholic Guilt or Catholic Gift....  It's my first time doing a guest writing assignment so I'd be tickled to death if you'd pop over and let me know what you think!

New Inspiration

Before I Go is my newest night stand reading and I love it!  It's easy reading and one of those books you definitely want to pass on. I recommend it to anyone who is a parent and to any young adult. In fact, I'm considering it as a high school graduation gift to all of the special young people in our life.  I'm going to have my adult son preview it next.  Mostly because I want him to read it too!

Basically, it's a list of 162 things that this Catholic author and professor of philosophy would like his children (and grandchildren) to know before he leaves this earth...He speaks from the heart with profound advice that incorporates faith, life, and a sprinkle of humor.  What I love most about the book is the depth of Peter Kreeft's wisdom.  Some of his words reach deep into the soul.  Let's just say that I want to say "ditto" after every point I read!  If there's one book that lists everything I'd want my own children to know, including the best 'reminders to self', it would be this one.

I'll close with a couple of my favorite excerpts: 
#141.  How Communion Works:
"In it God says to you: Put the lips of your faith to my heart and drink my blood.  It alone will save your life. I give my life for yours in this holy exchange, this holy communion.  I suck the sin, the poison, out of your heart, if you let me.  Open your heart to my lips and I will do it.  And open your lips to my heart and I will give you a blood transfusion."
#39. One Gift for You:
"Suppose God came down the chimney this Christmas instead of Santa Claus and said to me, "I'll give you any one gift.  Anything you ask.  Guaranteed.  What do you want?"  What would I ask for?  
First of all, I'd ask it for you.
Then, I'd ask for Heaven.
My worst hell would be to go to Heaven and not find you there.  To wander across Heaven forever searching for you and not finding you would turn my Heaven into Hell.
Woody Allen says that the most important thing in life is showing up.  That's the most important thing in the afterlife too.
I hope you know how to get to Heaven, how to have a happy eternity.  There is a way, and the way is a person, the one who said "I AM the way." (John 14:6) God gave us a well-marked road map, the Bible.  Both this person and the book are called "the word of God."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Mother of all Lists

I love a good list and this has got to be the Mother of all Lists!  One of the things that I love about lists is that they keep me focused and this one is no exception.  
Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all worked at checking off a few of these things?  Well, it sure had me looking into the mirror of my soul and wincing just a few times...ouch!  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, please pray for me.
Word of Warning...This list should not be applied to toddlers.  They are the exception to all rules:)

Mother Teresa's Humility List:
1.   Speak as little as possible about yourself.
2.  Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
3.  Avoid curiosity.
4.  Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
5.  Accept small irritations with good humor.
6.  Do not dwell on the faults of others.
7.  Accept censures even if unmerited.
8.  Give in to the will of others. 
9.  Accept insults and injuries.
10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
15. Choose always the more difficult task.

Be sure to check out Truth and Charity for a thought provoking 3-part reflection! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

You Know You're Catholic When...

You know you're Catholic when your Chore Chart includes Holy Water Patrol!
I thought this was cute...Dad thought of it:)  We have several holy water fonts around the house and at the door of each bedroom.  We just re-filled our jug from the Easter Baptismal water at church so we're all stocked up here at home...Ready to bless!

Dad revised the kids' chore list this week since "some" of the children seem to need reminders every day.  We have always used a chore checklist but seem to have fallen off the wagon (again)  about using them, hence a topsy turvy routine took over.  Obviously when jobs aren't getting done, we need to get back to a list that they can check off.  Doesn't everyone need a list?  This Mama sure does! We also need to adjust our lists periodically as age-appropriate things are constantly changing around our house...We were over-due for all of this!

It's been nice to have Dad home to help us with these organizational tools, though not so nice that he's been injured.  He's doing well with physical therapy so he'll be on the mend soon.  Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers on his behalf!

We're back to the books this week...Feeling refreshed after all the spring cleaning last week.  
Just had to share this photo from our backyard cleaning.  Littlest Miss helped clean our Mary garden...It's a blank canvas now, waiting for the kiss from some beautiful flowers. 
Meanwhile, a kiss for Mama Mary will suffice until the flowers arrive around Mother's Day:)
You know you're Catholic when it's completely natural to give your Mama a kiss, even when she's a statue!
+Happy Feast of St. Bernadette+
How glad was my soul, O good Mother,
when I had the grace to look upon you!
How I love to recall those sweet moments
when I was beheld in eyes so full of kindness and mercy...
Yes, gentle Mother, you stooped down to earth
to appear to a mere child and, in spite of her unworthiness,
to communicate certain things to her.
You, the Queen of heaven and earth, wanted to make use of the most fragile thing in the eyes of the world.
~St. Bernadette Soubirous~

Friday, April 13, 2012

Liturgical Decorating~ Easter White

(We replaced our Lenten violet drape on our stair case cross with white... for He is risen!)

After our Easter cleaning frenzy, we were ready for liturgical white.
Just thought I'd share some simple ways we decorate with the Easter color of joy.  After all, it does last 50 days!
I replaced the violet bow on our front door wreath with a white bow.  I still love the symbolism of the dogwood for the Easter season.

Our prayer table or home altar covering is changed to white.
(With the addition of an Alleluia plaque and Divine Mercy sacramentals for our Divine Mercy novena and Divine Mercy Sunday)
The Divine Mercy Novena is one of my favorite Easter prayer offerings:)
I know I've posted this photo before but this is our Easter mantel, once again.
How about an Easter center piece for your kitchen table with a white table cloth?...We keep this on all 50 days, though we are constantly washing the white tablecloth!
Easter countdown?
We are using this cute one so generously offered by Lacy over at Catholic Icing...
And also this white cross made by my husband a few years ago. (The other side is painted a violet color for Lent.  Then we just flip it over for Easter white:)  I cut out simple white doves, each numbered for the 50 days.  This is a photo from last year with all of the completed countdown doves taped on.
Easter white candles...
I forgot to mention in my last post that I bought this big white candle (below) from a mission society who melts down old altar candles and re-molds them into these beautiful bees wax pillars.  They sell them and proceeds go to the mission. I love this idea! Coming from altar candles, makes this particular candle extra special for the Easter season:)
Paschal Candle
White Easter lambs...
symbolizing the Lamb of God and His Paschal sacrifice.
(Those are our palms from Palm Sunday in the background)
This little lamb (below) came from the Dollar Tree.  Isn't he cute?
Here's a close up photo (below) of the little faith-based Easter egg tree (shown above) that I found on sale at Hobby Lobby.  This would probably be a fairly easy DIY project with some nice handwriting...
 Our Resurrection Set (Oriental Trading) stays up through the Easter season.  It's pretty good quality so to me, it's worth the $25.00.  We even use the characters for our Resurrection Tomb Cake on Easter Sunday.  It comes in handy more ways than one;)
I also just had to pass on this great article about the home being a domestic church.  It's an easy-and-quick-worth-the-read!
With Divine Mercy Sunday being this weekend, here are some easy celebration ideas that I posted last year.
Happy Divine Mercy Sunday!
"I am mercy itself; therefore I ask you to offer Me your misery and this very helplessness of yours and, in this way, you will delight My Heart." (Diary of St. Faustina,  1775)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

5 Ways to Keep Easter Rejoicing!

1.  Find reason for a happy dance.  Christ is Risen for goodness sakes...This calls for a victory celebration!

It was a REAL week of Easter Joy around our house.
Can you believe we filled up 2 of these baby blues?
I blame the Easter grass for sending me into a cleaning frenzy...That stuff drives me nuts like nobody's business.

Let's just say that this week was our Spring Break so we took advantage of some time off to do some much-needed chores and work around the house and yard.  A big family...Definitely a bonus:) We got a ton done with a team of 7.  Well, really 6...We had to make our Fire Captain supervise only since he is still off duty with a sprained knee and hip.

I did a super big happy dance when we were through! I know it sounds menial but it really was a victory celebration in our own way.  Since we should be looking for ways to rejoice during the Easter season, I think my clean-up happy dance counts as Easter joy:) 

2. Shout out lots of this beautiful word...
I got this Easter mantel idea from Charlotte a couple of years ago;)  It's now a tradition that we unpack the Alleluia on Easter morning.  The children always look forward to listening for the Alleluia's in the liturgy from now on...And so do I!

3. Look for God's glory in His creation and life all around us.  After all, His goodness is what we celebrate at Easter.  He tells us to seek and we shall find.

It was a solidly rainy week and this was our reward yesterday...A full rainbow over our Court!
I proceeded to go on a rainbow chase and captured a few more neat photos around our neighborhood.
Our parish Fatima shrine...God's glory at it's finest.
4.  Keep letting your Easter light shine!  
Easter isn't over...Smile more often, Easter is the beginning of our eternal hope.

Speaking of light, I put away all of our Lenten violet candles and replaced them with Easter white.  White is the liturgical color of Easter that symbolizes joy.
We made this Paschal candle last year during Holy Week.  I was able to pull off using it one more year by changing the bottom part of the year from an 11 to a 12 with a Sharpie pen...I really only had to change the last number from a 1 to 2.  You can't even tell...Shouting out another Alleluia for squeezing a little more light out of this one!
5.  Seek to recognize Jesus all around us...In both expected and unexpected ways.

This is my favorite reason to rejoice.  He is made known to us today, just as He was made known to His disciples in the breaking of the bread.  Alleluia! (Lk 24:35)
May we recognize our risen Lord on the throne of grace, through the beauty of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist.

May we recognize our risen Lord, too, in unexpected places...Especially in those who are poor in body, mind and spirit.  May we be strengthened by the courage of the disciples to shine our Easter light in the most difficult places of our lives.

"My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready.
I will sing, I will sing your praise.
Awake, my soul,
Awake, lyre and harp,
I will awake the dawn."
Psalm 108

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Look what we found in our Easter baskets!
Happy and Holy Easter to all those who might pass this way!  ~Christ of hope has risen...Alleluia~
We started out with early morning Mass...
Followed by fun in the sun at Grandma and Grandpa's!
Loved this one and the Mary T-shirt:)
We made our traditional Resurrection Tomb Cake...
And some Alleluia Eggs
Thanks to Jennifer at Crafolic for the perfect printable toppers:)
The Easter Season begins...
"Keep the light of Christ always burning in your heart~for He is the Way to walk.  He is the Life to live. He is the Love to love."~Mother Teresa of Calcutta~

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