Sunday, September 29, 2013

Our Crabby Afternoon! :-)

Last week I took the kids to a free nature program at a local state park and there were several other families that attended from our homeschool group.   The program was all about blue crabs.  The kids got to try to catch crabs with a stick, rope, and a chicken meat piece as the bait. (unfortunately, none were caught)  Here a few pictures of the kids trying the catch the stubborn crabs.

The park ranger caught some crabs in his crab cage and showed the kids what a blue crab looked like.  Then he cooked them up and they turn orange after they are boiled in water. 
Then the park ranger showed everyone how to break open the crab to get to the meat.  Here are a few pictures of the kids holding up pieces of their cooked crabs.  It was mixed reviews as some of the kids liked the crab meat, while some said it was OK and needed more salt :) The kids thought the yellow "mustard" colored stuff (which is actually fat) in the crab was yucky! 
It was a fun day to learn something new about our coastal community with friends!

I'm linking up this week to Hearts for Home Blog Hop

Hearts for Home Blog Hop
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wonder Wednesday: Cool Cicada!

Children, children, 
What do you see?
Mom, we see a cool cicada on this park tree! 

Last week on September 11, my 5 year old daughter and her friend were playing at the park playground while waiting for soccer practice to end for a few of my other children, and they spotted this cool cicada coming out of it's "skin", something that we have never seen before.  We always find the "skin", but never with the cicada partially intact.  A mid-morph!  So cool, huh?   

Have a wonder-full Wednesday!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Blessings Abounded at our Baby's Baptism

On Saturday, August 31, 2013, we baptized our newest addition to the Smith family!  In our Catholic faith, we baptize infants into God's family.  For more information on infant baptism in the Catholic Church go HERE and HERE

Here are some photos that my Dad took of our sweet ones special and faith-filled day!  I can't thank my Dad enough for capturing another one of our family's celebrations on camera!  We are so grateful for his wonderful gift of photography! 
On the left side is the 70 year old christening gown hanging up that was hand-made by Leah's great, great grandmother.  My mom and her brother wore the gown as infants at their baptism and it has been passed down ever since.  My siblings, cousins, and I wore it at our baptism and now my children have worn it.  My son had blue long ribbons on the gown when he was baptized and at Leah's baptism he exclaimed, "I wore a dress at my baptism!" :)   On the right side is Leah modeling the beautiful gown.
"Leah, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." 

This is one of our family's favorite pictures of Fr. Alex holding and kissing our little Leah.  We are blessed to know such a wonderful priest who loves all his "children" and who loves homeschool families! 
Fr. Alex gave Leah a holy oil "bath".  You could smell her holiness for days afterward!  :) 

My parents, in-laws and families from our homeschool group who were able to attend the baptism.

Our family with Leah's Godparents and their family.  They also have the last name of Smith, but we aren't related.  Cameron Smith, Leah's Godfather, is the Catholic artist that did the amazing and beautiful print of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (shown at the top of my blog on my blog header) and Immaculate Heart of Mary.  You can view and order both prints HERE

In the top right corner are pictured my parents on the left and my in-laws on the right

 Leah's Godparents are beautiful inside and out! 

Leah was not too impressed with cutting her cake as she dozes off in the middle of cake cutting! :) My 13 year old cupcake wrote "Welcome to Leah's Baptism Reception" on our driveway with chalk to welcome our guests to our house for the reception.  The cake says "God Bless You Leah on your Baptism." 

It was a beautiful and blessed day filled with special graces, family, and friends!

Thank you for stopping by my corner of blog land to allow me to share this joyous occasion with you!

God bless!
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering 9.11.01 with Memories, Book, and Photos

This post contains affiliate links.

I've posted my memories about 9.11.01 HERE where I blogged about what I was doing on that shocking, sad, overwhelming and tragic day in our history.

This morning I will read again the book, The Little Chapel That Stood, to my 5 children.  It has become our annual tradition to remember 9.11.  It is a beautifully written and illustrated book that I highly recommend for anyone with young children.  Here is the product description from Amazon:

Product Description

St. Paul's Chapel, dwarfed by the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center right across the street, stood strong after the "giants around it had come to a fall" in 9-11. Not a pane of glass had been broken. On 9-11 St.Pauls became a service dept immediately. Firemen hung their shoes on the old iron fence as they "pulled on their boots and raced to the Towers, climbing melting steel to flaming showers. Oh, what gallant men did we lose who never came back to get their shoes."
This historic chapel was built in 1766. When George Washington was inaugurated the first president in New York City, he walked down Broadway to St. Paul's to offer his prayers for the new nation. Alexander Hamilton lies buried in the churchyard nearby.

Inside the book cover I have these two pictures taped that were taken when my boyfriend, now husband, went to New York to visit my grandparents in August 1993.   My grandparents lived in Bronx, NY, but Anthony and I went into the city and made it up to the top of the Twin Towers.

Who knew that 8 years later on 9.11.01 these pictures would give me such a strange and sad feeling??  And that 20 years later I would be showing my children these photos with such a heavy heart? 

We remember and pray today for all the lives that were lost on 9-11 in the air and on the ground in  NY, PA, and at the Pentagon.  We especially remember and pray for the victim's families and friends whose lives have been directly affected and have never been the same.  I can't imagine how so many must feel....

I  found this "Where was My God on 911? on the The Drew Mariani Show Facebook page that K.S. submitted in the comments. Thanks for sharing this K.S.! I've never seen it before now and it says so much! 

Where was My God on 911?...........

How many of us have heard that question "Where was your GOD when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was attacked?" Well I know where my GOD was the morning of September 11, 2001, and He was very busy!
He was trying to discourage anyone from taking these flights. Those four flights together held over 1000 passengers and there were only 266 aboard.
He was on 4 commercial flights giving terrified passengers the ability to stay calm. Not one of the family members who were called by a loved one on one of the hijacked planes said that passengers were screaming in the background. On one of the flights he was giving strength to passengers to try to overtake the hijackers.
He was busy trying to create obstacles for employees at the World Trade Center. After all, only around 20,000 were at the towers when the first jet hit. Since the buildings held over 50,000 workers, this was a Miracle in itself. How many of the people who were employed at the World Trade Center told the media that they were late for work or they had traffic delays.
He was holding up 2-110 story buildings so that 2/3 of the workers could get out. I was so amazed that the top of the towers didn't topple when the jets impacted. And when they did fall, they fell inward. GOD didn't allow them to topple over, as many more lives would have been lost.
And when the buildings went down, my GOD picked up almost 6,000 of his children and carried them home with him. Reassuring his frighten children that the worst was over and the best was yet to come.
He sat down and cried that 19 of His "misguided" children [terrorists] could have some much hate in their hearts. That they didn't choose Him, but another god that doesn't exist, and now they are lost forever.
He sent his children that are best trained for this disaster and had them save the few that were still alive, but unable to help themselves. And then sent many others to help in anyway they were needed.
He still isn't finished though, he held the love ones that were left behind in his arms. He comforts them daily. His other children are given the strength to reach out to them and help them in any way they can.
And I believe he will continue to help us in what is to come. He will give the people in charge of this great nation the strength and the wisdom to do the right thing. He would never leave us in our time of need.
So when anyone asks, "Where was your GOD on September 11", you can say "everywhere"! And yes, although this is without a doubt the worst thing I have seen in my life, I see God's miracles in every bit of it. I keep praying for those who don't believe in GOD, every chance I have. I can't imagine going through such a difficult time and not believing in GOD...
Life would be hopeless.
[Author Unknown]

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Happy Birthday to Our Blessed Mother: Edible Donut Rosary and "M" Cake

Once a month our homeschool families meet at someone's home from our group and we say a Mystery of the Rosary and since we usually meet on a Sunday evening, we recite the Glorious Mysteries.  This afternoon our family hosted our homeschool group's Family Rosary night and since today, Sept. 8, is the day we celebrate our Blessed Mother's birthday, we also had our annual birthday party for our Blessed Mother.

One of the many reasons I love being Catholic is that our Church celebrates Mary throughout the entire year with lots of  Marian feast days.  Mary did have such an important role in salvation history by having the privilege to cradle Jesus in her womb for 9 months and raise our Savior and it's always nice to give her honor on more days than just at Christmas time when we celebrate Jesus' birth.

There are so many wonderful Marian Feast Days in the church throughout the year and celebrating Mary's birthday is one of our family's favorite.  My children love birthdays and celebrating our Blessed Mother's special day is definitely a birthday party our family doesn't want to miss!  

For Mary's birthday party we have always made an edible rosary.  In year's past we have made the rosary out of cupcakes and Hershey kisses, but for the past couple years we have used donuts!  Our group has found this to be the easiest, quickest, (and yummiest) way to celebrate such a special day!

Here are pictures I snapped quickly of this year's edible rosary:

Thanks to Jennifer at Catholic Inspired, I was inspired to make the "M" cake from scratch using the chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Hershey Cocoa can and I dyed my homemade cream cheese icing blue and decorated with blue icing flowers.   The 3 layer white cake was made from scratch by my friend T.D.  It was layered with strawberries inside and iced with homemade buttercream icing.  Mmmmm....  

After we ate our potluck dinner and sang "Happy Birthday to Mary", all the families enjoyed the sweet treats!  
Catholic Inspired

Last Saturday, Aug. 31, our sweet Cupcake #5 was baptized...those pictures and post coming soon!  :) 

Have a blessed week!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Chocolate Green Smoothie Recipe

This post contains affiliate links.  

I'm guest posting on Lisa's "Try a New Recipe Tuesday" Link Up at her blog, Home to 4 Kiddos.

For the post I shared my Chocolate Green Smoothie recipe below that a friend of mine passed on to me.  This smoothie is what I usually eat drink for breakfast every morning.  The great thing about smoothies is that you can add or take away ingredients and come up with your own taste, but I will share the one I enjoy most in hopes it will be something you may be interested in trying.

Disclaimer:  I LOVE this smoothie, but after my husband and children (aka: cupcakes) tried it they do not like it :-(  They are missing out on a great taste and excellent nutritional benefits too.  Maybe one day they will grow to like it! And maybe your family will be brave enough to try it and like it! :)

In a blender (I love my Vitamix !) put in:

* 1 cup of unsweetened Almond milk
* 1-2 cups water, depending on how thick or runny you want the smoothie
* 1 handful of organic spinach leaves
* 1-2 cups of frozen fruit (I like to use the bag of frozen mixed fruit and the bag of wild organic blueberries from Costco for my frozen fruit.)
* 1 scoop of Whey Protein Isolate that I buy HERE from Amazon OR 2 Tablespoons plain, nonfat, gluten free Greek yogurt ( I buy my Greek yogurt at Costco and it's the Kirkland brand)
* 1 Tablespoon of Organic Golden Flax Seed that I get from Costco
* 1 Tablespoon of Chia Seeds that I get from Costco
* 1-2 scoops of Stevia Natural Sweetener that I buy HERE from Amazon.  (If you have never used Stevia before, a VERY little goes a long way!  There are over 2,000 servings in the little bottle of Stevia pictured above.) 
* 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Hershey's Cocoa  (Use the Cocoa if you want a chocolate flavor smoothie, which I always enjoy)

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!  If your blender mixes the ingredients well enough, you will not be able to taste the spinach leaves and the smoothie will be...well, smooth!

Here's a close up shot of all the ingredients before I blend them together...

...And here's the Chocolate Green Smoothie after the blender goes to work.

It may be a taste you have to get used to, but it really is yummy and tastes like a chocolate shake to me without the guilt and filled with great nutrition!


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I'm Tracy. I love my faith, family and on most days, homeschooling my 5 blessings. When I'm not busy baking cakes for my family or making memories in real life or dreaming I had a housekeeper or professional chef, I enjoy documenting a slice of Smith life in blog land.

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