Friday, December 31, 2010

Mary, Marriage, Epiphany, and Happy Twenty Eleven!

 Virgin & Child

In the Catholic Church, January 1st is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.  Many are not comfortable calling Jesus' mother, the Mother of God.  Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosi has an interesting article titled, Mary, Mother of God?, which discusses how this title of our Blessed Mother came to be and the history behind it. 

I always enjoy attending Mass on New Years Day as a family to set the new year off right.  This year we will be spending New Years Eve at a rehearsal dinner for a young couple getting married.  On New Years Day we will attend their wedding Mass and we are looking forward to this joyous occasion!  Our oldest daughter and my husband and I have a small part in the wedding ceremony.  I introduced this couple to each other so we are excited to see them exchange their wedding vows on such a special day!
I remember when I got married, a good friend gave us something similar to this:

 I decided to give the same gift for our friend's wedding because when I use my dish I always reflect back to our wedding and the friends who gave us the creative gift.

On the lid you can see I added the phrase "Marriage for a Lifetime!" so that it will read "Servette Serves and Stores Marriages for a Lifetime!"
Then I typed out "Look Inside for the Recipe for a Successful Marriage"

 This is what I have inside:
I color copied the vegetables from the front of the lid. In the middle I typed out the couple's names, then "May your love and marriage be filled with... "

"Cups of Kindness"

"Forkful of Forgiveness" 

"Piles of Patience" 

"Lots of Love and Laughter"

"Plenty of Prayer"

"Overabundance of Offspring"

This Servette is a part of their wedding gift and it's a fun way to wish the happy couple a long and successful marriage!

This weekend our homeschool group will have our annual Epiphany party.  We have a get together after the Christmas rush and it's nice to come together in fun and fellowship just before the second half of our school year begins.  I'll be bringing the frankincense and myrrh that Anna-Marie at Life's Adventures posted about and then she sent me some in the mail.  I look forward to bringing these nativity gifts to our Epiphany party!  Thank you Anna-Marie for your thoughtfulness!  For a great article about the Epiphany feast day be sure to read The Epiphany Revealed!

To start off the new year, Angela at Blog Mommas is starting over and collecting submissions to her directory for blog mommas and blogging dads too.  If you would like Angela to include your blog,  go here and submit your information.  She also has a directory for businesses too!  Angela does a wonderful job highlighting all the great blogs out there!  Be sure to spread the word about Blog Mommas to all your blogging friends!

Happy New Year to all my family and friends!  May you have a happy and blessed Twenty Eleven!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

(almost) Wordless Wednesday: My Special Sister!

Spending time with my younger sister is always a blessing, especially this past CHRISTmas!   Everyone thinks she's older than me, which isn't a bad thing for me :)  We could go into a contest and win for the siblings who look nothing alike...I'm the "white" Italian, she's the "black" Italian :)  Love you J.B.!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Valentine Candy Canes and CHRISTmas Crackers!

A CHRISTmas tradition we do each year is read the story, The Legend of the Candy Cane.  This is such a wonderful story that really does focus on the true reason for the season as it uses the candy cane to tell the love that Jesus has for us.   Here are a couple of photos that were taken several years ago with my 3 children (before Cupcake #4 was born) holding a copy of the book that we enjoy reading:

 Here they are holding their candy canes to stand for "J" for Jesus:

For next year, I may try making Candy Cane Cookies like Alida did at blackpurl's knitpickings.   They look so lovely and yummy!  Including this Candy Cane Poem with store bought or homemade Candy Cane Cookies is always a nice way to share the symbolism pertaining to the candy cane.

So what do you do with leftover candy canes from the CHRISTmas holiday?  Valentine's Day will be here before we know it so you could use your candy canes to make Valentine cards like this:

I can't take credit for this heart shaped candy cane card idea, but I don't remember where I saw this cute way to tell someone special that you love them.

Another CHRISTmas tradition I hope to continue is celebrating with CHRISTmas crackers.
For my 3 year old's princess party this past November, I made a goody bag treat out of toilet paper rolls and tissue paper that looked like this:

I  had no idea that there was a special name for this kind of treat that I made.  Anna-Marie at Life's Adventures commented that what I had made are called "crackers" in the UK, where Anna-Marie lives with her family.  She did a post about the CHRISTmas cracker and this British tradition here.  She was so sweet to send our family a box of 12 CHRISTmas crackers for us to enjoy on CHRISTmas Day.  Our family hosted a lunch on CHRISTmas for lots of family and friends so I decorated one of our tables with the crackers (and silverware stockings) as you can see here:
The crackers looked so lovely as they lined the middle of the table.  I then told our guests about the crackers using this great link that Anna-Marie provided on her blog post.  The history about the cracker is very interesting and it was invented by a man with the last name of "Smith".  Smiths know how to have fun! :)    We all followed the directions on how to open the cracker by getting in a circle and crossing arms:

Then we pulled the crackers at both ends and all of us were surprised how loud they popped! It was so much fun and a fun surprise to hear the crackers "pop!"

Here is my daughter and our friends collecting some of the goodies that were inside the crackers.  They collected little toys, cards, jokes, erasers.  One joke I read was so British (and cute).  It said, "What do does the word minimum mean?  A very small mother."  Hee! Hee!

...and there were paper crowns in the crackers like this one on my daughter's head:

We had such a fun time opening our CHRISTmas crackers and all our guests enjoyed this tradition.  I hope to find crackers in the U.S. for next CHRISTmas to keep this tradition going.  Thank you Anna-Marie for helping us make our CHRISTmas a memorable one with your thoughtful gift! 

I give Joy to the World by celebrating CHRISTmas with family and friends in memorable ways!  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Each year since our children were very small, we have decorated a birthday cake for Jesus and we sing "Happy Birthday" to Him on Christmas Day.   My children and their cousins love to sprinkle (dump) lots of sprinkles and multi-colored sugar crystals on the cake.  Then we place a small plastic manger with baby Jesus in it in the middle of the cake.  Here is a picture of our oldest Cupcake decorating a cake when she was 2 1/2 years old:

 Here are pictures of my Cupcakes and cousins decorating away last year:
Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Full of Wonder Wednesday: He's on His way

This poster image for the 2010 campaign, Baby Scan Jesus, is from

May you have a Merry and Blessed CHRISTmas and a happy and safe new year from our family to yours! 
 Thank you to all my family, friends, followers, visitors, and commenters for making 2010 such a memorable year! 

I give Joy to the World when I appreciate all the blessings in my life, including my faith, family, and friends!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

LifeSaver Ornaments

Several years ago I found a creative way to make ornaments using LifeSaver candies.  I saw this idea in the Kraft Food and Family Holiday 2004 issue and we have made these ornaments for a few years now.  Yesterday we had some neighborhood children playing in our house and everyone started fussing with one another so I ripped open the LifeSaver bag (they don't call them "LifeSavers" for nothing! LOL!)

 I put aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and Preheated the oven to 325 degrees.  The kids unwrapped their candies and made their designs.  

After we built the designs, I found it easiest to put in a metal ornament hook in one of the holes of the candy before putting it in the oven so the candy melts around the hook.
I made the wreath below with green ones then I crushed some red ones and put them in the holes before placing them in the oven.   Here are just a few of our designs.

Put the designs in the preheated oven for 3 to  6 minutes until melted.  Once they are melted, pull them out of the oven and let them cool before carefully pulling the aluminum foil from the back of the ornaments.

From the picture below you can see the hooks that I had put in the holes prior to baking.  The candy melted around the hooks.  These ornaments do break very easily and can be sticky (especially if your children lick them like mine did once they were cooled off!), so be careful with them.  A lot of our ornaments did break :(

When the ornaments cooled, I tied a red ribbon around the hook and hung them to our light wires in our kitchen with another hook like this:
I think they look so lovely with the light coming through them!

I am linking this CHRISTmas craft post up to Kylie's "World Wide Classroom" CHRISTmas Fun Party Week Three.  If you want to get more CHRISTmas crafts/ideas and link up your ideas to spread good cheer and fun, visit World Wide Classroom!
 Our Worldwide Classroom

I give Joy to the World when I do fun CHRISTmas crafts with my children and their friends!


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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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