Thursday, April 3, 2014

Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit

Confirmation Sunday was in early march at our parish. There were a LOT of children being confirmed! There were 5th, 6th and 7th grade students from our parish and two other parishes in our deanery that are very small. Because the group was so large, they held this special Mass in the Catholic High School's gymnasium with both our current Bishop and Bishop Emeritus! There were a LOT of children. We were sitting up in the bleachers and this row of chairs were where Bud and Branch were assigned to sit. We eagerly awaited all of the children's arrival...
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Once the kids had come and sit down, it was fun to see them looking around for us! THEN… they found us and I got a quick picture!!
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After the processional, the Bishop used some incense around the alter and … the fire alarm started going off!!! Someone went and got that all squared away and as he began his address, he made the joke that this was how they make sure that everyone is awake and paying attention! 
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As the Bishop gave his homily about standing firm in your faith, even when it is questioned...
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I noticed that someone was not going to be standing firm AT ALL in the bleachers. In fact, this is what happens to Bump every time he is in the bleachers, it seems! Basketball games are not exciting enough and neither is a 2 1/2 hour long Mass!!
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As all of the children came forward with their sponsors to be confirmed, I watched my two eldest children and had those terrible happy mom tears as they were confirmed by Bishop Emeritus Bruskewitz.
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A good firm handshake and away he went! Confirmed with the patron saint name of St. Thomas Aquinas!
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Then it was our Branch's turn and she tells me that she thought that the Bishop was going to push a hole right into her forehead while applying the oil!
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Her chosen saint was St. Elizabeth of Hungary. As she was shaking Bishop Emeritus Bruskewitz's hand, we noticed that the children in the other line, who were being confirmed by Bishop Conley were not shaking hands, but were giving fist bumps or "knuckles"! Cracked me up!! I think the Bishop had hurt his hand, so wasn't wanting to shake hands, but the fist bump is great for this age of kids!
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I love the relationship that these two have with each other. Now, there are DAYS, but most of the time they get along splendidly and seem to always have had each other. They enjoy doing things together and this picture just gets my mama heart...
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Just after being confirmed with the oil of chrism, back to their seats… and giving each other's foreheads a sniff! Oh!! The great fragrance of the perfumed oil of chrism! They were eager and so happy to not have to be nervous any longer!!
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After mass, the children assembled for a photo with the two bishops. I tell ya… there were a LOT of children being confirmed! Can you locate the treekids in the crowd?
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Bud a few rows from the top… (funny to see the faces of kids who don't know that their picture is being taken!!)
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Branch in the front row - ever lovely and patient!
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Both treekids chose Brent, a cousin of Pops' who is currently studying at a local seminary, as their sponsor. We shared a beautiful day and are still working daily toward holiness!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blossom turns NINE!!

How do these things happen? How is it possible that the little baby that was in such a hurry to get here that she was born on the floor of the elevator lobby, just yesterday it seems, has turned NINE years old?!?! My, how time flies!

Somewhere along the way, the children have decided that it is beyond amazing to get breakfast brought to them in bed. SO, that is our tradition. If we are home, they have a breakfast in bed. It varies as to what is served. But, this year, I knew that she would love some sweet treats for her birthday… some things that we are otherwise avoiding and sacrificing this Lenten season as we prepare our hearts for Easter. So, a day for a little bit of celebrating...

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Her very favorite "KRAVE" cereal, white powdered  sugar donuts with orange salt water taffy snowman noses, fruit kabobs, orange juice, licorice tea and a paper doily and a sprig or two of baby's breath to make it look all pretty.

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They stay and wait in their bed for breakfast to arrive. SOME people truly are awoken by our birthday singing. OTHERS, like this little girl, have probably been up waiting for breakfast to arrive for over an hour! She is our early riser and Pops (the other early riser int eh house) had arrived home around 3 in the morning. So, after little baby woke me, I fed him, changed his diaper and ran out to put together the breakfast I had mostly created the night before! Just heat the water for the tea, pour the juice, the cereal and put the noses on the snowmen! She was ready for our arrival!

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And she was HUNGRY! Blossom loves fruit and grapes & strawberries most especially. So, those kabobs were right up her alley! Presentation means a lot to this kid, so I do really try to fancy things up for her! Bud would have liked fruit in a bowl just as well… but this girl - fancy fruit pattern on a skewer made her morning!! I added the snowmen donuts as a sneak peek at the rest of her birthday celebration, but I don't think that she caught on! Pops took the big 4 to a state tournament basketball game and they had a great time while I put together a special lunch!

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After they got home, she was ushered to the bathroom by her sister (to wash up) who made sure that she covered her eyes until everything was ready!!

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I added a 3-D Snowflake and Branch had helped me make white paper chain icicles the night before. And that was the beginning of the "FROZEN" theme! That little snowman is the birthday cake. His name was "Olven" and I wrote on the card that he was Olaf's long lost cousin!!
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When they came around the corner and saw all the treats… they were very excited! 

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This Snowman looks very sad. But, the olives for the mouth kept rolling off! The parmesan cheese was fresh fallen snow… and the noodles are just buttered spaghetti noodles - a favorite of Blossom's!!

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Pretzel sticks, marshmallows, raisins, & left over orange salt water taffy pieces!!

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… cheese puffs - a favorite amongst the treekids!

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I haven't made Jell-o for quite a while and they were quite excited that I did! I'm not sure it was the best that it was blue… there were quite a few blue mouths after this one!!

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I just couldn't call the olives "droppings," "dung," or "reindeer pebbles" so, I consulted ol' Roget and found "meadow muffins" and couldn't stop laughing, so I went with it.

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My treekids love these whole carrots as much as Sven the Reindeer did!!

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OH, did they EVER want to stuff these chocolates in their face!!

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Cheese & crackers are a great simple addition to a lunch … but, they were NOT a hit. I think I should have spent more time on taking the pictures and skipped making these! I was not quite ready when the family arrived home so, I had to hurry with taking pictures before they devoured it all!!

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While these are cute and lovely… I think they would be disgusting! My treekids love marshmallow, so… they were a hit! Glad they liked these easy treats!

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We had icebergs to keep our beverages cold...

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Our water was Melted Snowman!

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I bought berry flavored water and some liked it … others not so much!

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This Gatorade's flavor is "Frost"!!

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The birthday girl requested Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese  Frosting. Check!! Can do a snowman with Cream Cheese Frosting!! :) Not sure what I would have done if she wanted chocolate frosting!!

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I was so happy that she was thrilled with all the surprises on her birthday. We did her special meal at lunchtime since Pops had to catch a plane to Oregon where we had planned to be traveling to for her birthday. Unfortunately, several things "fell apart" and we ended up not getting to go at the last minute. I had 2 days to plan ANY kind of birthday party and get things ready and special for her. I was thinking about how lucky I was that we would be traveling for her birthday and I would be eating out with her and enjoying a treat from the DQ or something… But, I suspect that this birthday theme will be far more memorable than an 18 hour car ride!!

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Just cannot believe she is growing into such a little lady (well, that IS debatable. I just videoed her making ridiculous noises for laughs from Bud and Branch. Not so lady-like!)

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And the wishes were made and the presents were opened!! They were tore into quickly and she was treated to many lovely birthday packages all fun fun fun for a NINE year old girl!!
We love our Blossom and hope that she has many many many more years of happy birthdays!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mocha Pudding for Two

I mentioned a few posts back about a yummy recipe that everyone was ooohing and aaahing over and I promised many I would share it. So, without further ado… a recipe that was found and altered from HERE.
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup cold coffee concentrate or very strong coffee (I made somewhere between a double & triple strength coffee with instant decaf coffee)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6-8 tbsp dark chocolate chunks, reserving some for topping (optional)
1. In a small bowl, mix together the salt and sugar. Set aside. 
2. In a small measuring cup, mix together the cornstarch and enough of the cold coffee to dissolve the cornstarch.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine cream and the rest of the coffee over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. (Make sure to pay attention because this can easily boil over or even just curdle!)
4. When the cream and the coffee are simmering, slowly whisk in the sugar mixture. When it has come back to simmering, slowly add the coffee/cornstarch mixture. Cook until mixture thickens.
5. Strain the pudding over a fine strainer to ensure a smooth consistency. Stir chocolate chunks into the strained pudding, reserving some chocolate for topping. Note that the chocolate will melt quite a bit due to the heat of the pudding. If you want chocolate chunks add some more chocolate after the pudding has cooled quite a bit.
6. Pour pudding into a serving dish and cover the top with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap lays directly on top of the pudding. This prevents a film or "skin" from forming.
7. Refrigerate until the pudding sets. Top with dark/milk/white chocolate chunks. Serve and enjoy!
I doubled, tripled, quadrupled - I don't know how many times over to get a big bowl of this pudding made for a house-full of women at my "baby" brother-in-law's fiancĂ©'s bridal shower. I served it in those plastic champagne glasses with chocolate chips up the stem, a spoonful of pudding, and a sprinkling of white chocolate chips. I think it would have been super yummy with some crushed Heath bar, but I didn't have any and had forgotten it at the store. SO yummy! It was a hit and was great for the gluten-free needs of some of the members of the family. So… give it a try - this is just right for you and your honey (or just you if you are a glutton for punishment)!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Museum Fun!

Busy month, so far! The first weekend we celebrated the confirmation of both Bud and Branch (pictures later) and then I spent the week baking and preparing treats and cleaning house for my brother-in-law's fiancĂ©'s bridal shower. (It was a fun time!) Then, we planned to go on a road trip and it all fell apart when our rental vehicle was not longer available. So, I had two days to plan and execute a birthday celebration for Blossom! Fun doing birthdays… not under such pressure. Then my mom, dad and sister came out for a visit. They went home, I tidied up and got some laundry done before my good friend from college popped in with her three little kids. I took one day to break it all up and put my feet up before making good on a promised birthday gift of a membership to The Lincoln Children's Museum!!

We spent the morning at the museum. WOW! It has had a bit of a face lift since the last time we were there. Lots and lots of fun things to do for everyone. (Even mom… who called a mom friend in Lincoln to meet there to chitter chat with while her littles played, too!) I was not very fast on the snap for taking pictures with a babe in arms… and Branch and Blossom were BUSY going from one thing to the next wanting to do as much as possible before having to leave. It is funny as the treekids are getting older they have more freedoms and go around without needing me the same way as when we lived around here when the three oldest were nearly babies! 

I have this one, though. Bump still needs mama!! He would do an activity and come running back to find me sitting in the same chair waiting nearby. Then he realized that he had not painted his face like the big kids!! He sat down to give it a try. He had a fun time making whiskers and a nose. I added the black lines for ears...

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He got a little upset that I had put the ears on for him and I told him that they were NOT yet completed! They needed little pink bits under the ears! Smiles returned and he set out to finish his "by myself" job.

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Pink on cotton swab and ...

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apply it appropriately.

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Please notice the very wet sleeve… the entire front of his jeans, the front of his shirt and his sleeves were SOAKED. He played in the water area for nearly 40 minutes. He told me that another not very nice kid got him ALL wet. I asked if any of that water was just from him playing a bit. He said only a tiny bit and showed me a pinch with his fingers. Hmmmmmmmm… Likely story!! ;) They have ponchos to stay dry, but he was NOT interested in staying dry. He was interested in having fun and exploring. He rode home in his carseat with only his t-shirt and underpants and finds that to be incredibly hilarious!! No pants, socks or shoes in the car… Aaahhhaaa haa haa.
Checking out his handy work… he decided that it didn't look scary and therefore it had to go. He had seen Bud's paint job and wanted a scary face instead. So, we wiped it all off and he went running off to find the daughter of my friend.

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The KEVA blocks are in the temporary exhibit, currently, and it was pretty cool what was built in there to look at. Bud got right to work in creating a tower… and had fun in there building. Is anyone EVER too old for blocks? I think NOT!! :)

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Bud with his scary face paint and his tower.

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I went to find Bump & friend to get ready to leave. They were apparently ready to leave in a Mac truck (a museum exhibit). So much for minivans and suv's!

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I hope that he learns some better manners with the ladies in the next few years. I am sure they will not be impressed by these faces, blowing noises and the like in about 10 years!!!

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When we got home, I realized I didn't have pictures of Branch and Blossom AT ALL! Blossom ran and hid and washed all of her face paint off and claims to have been mad at me for a reason that she KNOWS that I KNOW. But, unfortunately… I haven't a clue what she was upset about. Her face paint was super cute and Branch had done much of it. It was cute with a snowflake on the forehead and swirls down the sides. Branch did her own little swirls and had fun. This little guy enjoyed watching all the activity around him and was awake for the full 2 hours!!

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RIght before we left, Bump begged Bud to do a scary face on him and they sat there for 5 minutes while I rounded up the girls. So, here is his dragon scary face!!

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I was cracking up at the look on this little guy's face! He hasn't had much time outside and the wind blowing up his nose still shocks him!!

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A little bit better view of Branch's pretty shirt design… she worked on that on the day that I just had to put my feet up and recoup from the busy-ness of the past few weeks! It was done as mess free as humanly possible! It involved Sharpie permanent markers, rubbing alcohol and 3 rubber bands, 3 plastic cups, a medicine dropper and a piece of cardboard. She is planning to make another one for her sister, so I'll take pictures and show how this is done when she makes that one!

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When we went inside from the deck, here, Bump sat on the floor and was treated to many many many kisses from our big puppy girl. One look and I said… to the shower with you!! I went to get a pair of undies for him and came back to my bathroom to find that he was hiding from me in the closet… under the shelves in amongst Pops' shoes!

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Silly boy has been FOUND!!

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He needed his hair washed, so shower it was… but, she was cleaning up that paint pretty well, eh!?

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Now everyone is back to normal and we have had a good day filled with art and math and spelling and reading and email and crafts and MY GOODNESS… I'll have to take another whole week off soon!! ;) I hope to be back to post confirmation pictures and birthday pictures soon. (Not one picture did I get of the bridal shower! We were running late and the guests were upon us 10 minutes early… so, no pictures. AND it was sooo lovely and the treats were quite tasty!!