Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lots of Cool Catholic Blogs All in One Place! ~ Catholic Crafts and more!

I just came across another Catholic Blogs Link Up and I wanted to put it on my blog for my personal reference and to help readers of my blog find other Catholic blogs.

If you aren't familiar with Blog Link Ups it's just a page where others can link up their blog titles so alot of blogs can be easily found in one spot in blog land. But besides the fact that it is convenient to find blogs of similar interest in one place, it also makes the (blog) world a smaller place and can build a "virtual community."  There are millions of blogs in the blogoshere covering a wide range of topics  so it's nice to "meet" others with "About" pages like your own.  So go HERE to find other Catholic blogs you may want to visit. Just click on their blog title under their blog's button. My blog is linked up in the 49th spot.  Enjoy your visits! ~ Catholic Crafts and more!
Catholic Blogs Link Up was started by Jennifer, a Catholic homeschool mom with 9 children.  Jennifer is quite crafty with Catholic crafts!  (Say that over and over again!) :) She posts "the God-inspired faith-centered crafts and activities that she creates with her kids" over at Crafolic.  Her products are amazing! She is so talented and very busy too!  You can see the products she sells at her Crafolic Store HERE.  

Catholic Bloggers Network
Another great Catholic blog community in blog/Facebook land that I have been a part of for a little while now is Catholic Bloggers Network. With almost 300 Catholic blogs already linked up (my blog is in the 4th spot at the top), there is something for everyone on this page as readers visit and comment on the many blogs listed.  On the About Us page it states this about the network: 

"Saint Padre Pio Catholic Bloggers Network" is a Facebook group for bloggers to communicate and join in on unified initiatives. After the First International Meeting of Bloggers in August, 2011, with Pope Benedict XVI, this unified front was inspired. This group was created for better communication among bloggers and also to create a webpage directory of Catholic bloggers or a web portal of those interested in networking.

With the New Evangelization, "The Church has the duty to announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ always and everywhere." Our motto is: "The greatest charity is to take away souls from Satan and to bring them back to God!" ~ Saint Padre Pio

Together we can make a difference on the world wide web! Let's remind the world, via our presence in Catholic Social Media, that God exists and to educate them about the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church!

One of the founders of Catholic Bloggers Network is Monica over at Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families.   Monica has so many great and creative resources that she designed to teach our Catholic faith to our children and families.   I'm always impressed by her creativity and products and I enjoyed reviewing one of them called Color Me Catholic: New Roman Missal Edition craft kit.

You can find my review HERE.  You can also find all Monica's products at her Arma Dei Shoppe HERE.   

I close this post with some of Pope John Paul II's wisdom and insights as he highlighted the need for evangelization through the media when he stated...
"For the new evangelization to be effective, it is essential to have a deep understanding of the culture of our time in which the social communications media are most influential. Therefore, knowledge and use of the media, whether the more traditional forms or those which technology has produced in recent times, is indispensable. Contemporary reality demands a capacity to learn the language, nature and characteristics of mass media. Using the media correctly and competently can lead to a genuine inculturation of the Gospel. At the same time, the media also help to shape the culture and mentality of people today, which is why there must be special pastoral activity aimed at those working in the media (EA 72)."  Source: Apothegm Blog

No Ordinary Blog Hop

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Super Big Brother and Super Easy Salads

This week one of my older brothers is visiting from literally across the world...Australia!  He and his wife live there and it's always a treat to visit with him when he can (especially since I don't have plans to travel to Australia anytime soon) Boo Hoo :(    Our family had a nice dinner with him and my parents a few nights ago and we took some pictures (of course)...

 Here's my big bro with his little nieces.  Two of my daughters are sporting the sports bands he gave them that have the Australian flag on them.  :) 

My son uses the Australian bandana as a hat that my brother gave him. :)
 My gang with my brother and parents.

One of the things I served for dinner was a salad.  But, my friend JH gave me a fun and easy way to serve salad vs. putting all the toppings in with the salad.  Set up a salad bar so people can choose what they want.  This especially appeals to the little people :) 

Here is just a bowl of lettuce with the toppings in another dish.  You can add whatever toppings you want.  I've included tomatoes, yellow/red/orange peppers, carrots, cucumbers, and shredded cheese in the middle section.  Next time, I'll throw in some crumbled up bacon and other toppings.  

Another delicious and easy salad idea (thanks to my sister-in-law for this one) that I served last night for our family is cut up plums, strawberries and blueberries.  Mix, refrigerate and enjoy!  The sweet plums with the other berries is yummy and my son especially loves this too!  It looks pretty too! 

No Ordinary Blog Hop

Monday, July 23, 2012

Horse Party and Cupcakes

This past weekend we went to visit my husband's twin brother, his wife and our 2 nieces to celebrate our niece's 11th birthday.  We had a wonderful visit and my children loved spending time with their cousins since they live 5 hours away from us. 
Friday night after dinner my sister-in-law served this yummy dessert that everyone enjoyed called "Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Bar Dessert".  You can find the recipe at this blog post HERE.

Then it was cupcake decorating time to get ready for my niece's birthday on Saturday afternoon!  My sister-in-law and I spent about 3 hours working on these horse cupcakes.  It was a fun team effort! 

The book Hello, Cupcake! was our guide and one reason it took so long (even with the two of us working together) was because after each step we had to put the pieces in the fridge to harden the melted chocolate when we made the wafer necks and attached the head to the wafers.   
Here is my sister-in-law and I at about midnight on Friday after we finished the horse cupcakes.  My niece and all the kids loved them!  A true labor of love for sure, but so fun and worth it to see their smiles and joy on their faces! 

Then Saturday we headed to a local horse stable to celebrate my nieces birthday with friends and our family.  

Everyone got to pet the rooster, even its red crown, which felt like a piece of rubber.

Petting a bunny.

I spotted the farm's dog tucked away in the bushes in the shade.  So cute!

 The kids got to pet a baby goat.

Then it was time to groom the horses...

I got a picture of one of the horses yawning, but it looks like it is about to bite my daughter's head :)

This is a special kind of horse, referred to as a "Medicine Hat" horse.  The girl told us that there are 1 out of 10,000 horses born with the 3 features that this horse has...Medicine cap (hair between the ears), blue eyes, and the brown marking on the top of the legs).  Indians believed that this horse was so special with its unique look that only the Indian chiefs could ride on them.  Here is a little more about this horse that I found on the internet and is similar to the information the lady at the stable told us:
Written by Rena Sherwood

A "Medicine Hat" horse is not a horse of a particular breed, but of a particular color. This is an unusual pinto pattern where the base of the horse is white, but the ears and around the entire top of the head is brown, black or roan. The horse looks like he has a tight cap on. Legend has it that Native American tribes, especially Plains tribes, called the spot a "Medicine Hat" or "war bonnet".
The important distinguishing characteristic of a Medicine Hat is the head. The rest of the body can be of any other pattern. But in order to get a white head and colored ears and cap, most Medicine Hats or Wart Bonnets are mostly white in color with very few other colored patches. They very often have pink muzzles.
What's The Big Deal?
The Medicine Hat marking denoted a horse of superior ability in some way. Some tribes had legends where a rider of a Medicine Hat horse would never be hurt on the back on the horse. Some were said to be able to warn his or her master of danger, or to be able to find game in the most barren of landscapes.
A blue eyed Medicine Hat was especially prized for his or her unusual beauty. The blue eyes of the horse (known often as "sky eyes") made the horse seem otherworldly or ghostly. However, many white faced horses tend to have blue or odd-colored eyes. Because of their mostly white hides, magic or power symbols were often added to him.
Medicine Hats were also considered incredibly lucky. In wearing a magic symbol, the horse personified the magical qualities of a tribe. If your tribe lost its Medicine Hat, misfortune was soon to come, because all of the good magic was gone. Please keep in mind that his is a very simplified explanation for a very complex belief system.
Medicine Hats Today
Modern culture probably wouldn't know much about Medicine Hats if it wasn't for a book entitled "San Domingo: The Medicine Hat Stallion" by famous children's author Marguerite Henry (who also wrote "Misty of Chincoteague"). That book probably would have faded into obscurity if it were not for the fame of the author and a popular Breyer model horse made of the main character, San Domingo.
The Medicine Hat coat variation still exists today and is considered just as valuable now as in the Old West. They can be found in several breeds, including the Paint Horse, Spanish Barb, Mustang, Appaloosa and crossbreeds (called a "grade" horse). Sometimes the coat pattern pops up in ponies as well as horses.

Read more:
After grooming the horses with the 3 different kinds of brushes it was time to take a ride on these beautiful creatures.

The beautiful and happy birthday girl!

Then time for horse cupcakes and presents!

My Cupcakes and their cousins loved spending time together at the party and over the weekend!
After a fun birthday celebration at the horse stable it was time to chill out at our sister-in-laws neighborhood pool after dinner...

"Dad, Dad throw me off your shoulders again!" (and again...and again...and again!)  All my kids and their cousins enjoyed jumping off my husband's shoulders. :)

Happy 11th birthday to our beautiful niece! Our family can't wait to visit again with all of you!

No Ordinary Blog Hop


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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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