So it’s New Year’ Eve. The Year That Was 2006 brought us Philip’s promotion, Bip’s baptism, a trip to Disneyland, a move, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, dance lessons, new friends, my “job” as a product reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and Phil’s appointment as parish council president. And finally, on Christmas Day, Bip – who has been able to walk since October – decided to really start walking so I can stop worrying about him. I wonder what this next year holds?
Here’s a message specifically for all my friends over at HomeschoolBlogger (but for other bloggers, too). Please turn on your RSS feed! You do this by accessing your Control Panel, then settings. Look for where it says “Publish RSS feed” and click “yes.” This allows other people, like me, to subscribe to your blog. If you don’t, then I have to make an actual visit to your blog every day to see if you’ve updated it And while I love you all dearly, I just don’t have that kind of time.
So what does it mean, “subscribe to a blog.” Well, think of blogs like
magazines. You find one you like, you want to subscribe. No problem, but you need a place for your subscription to be sent to, sort of like your mailbox. That is called a “news aggregate”, but don’t worry about the term. There are many out there, I personally like Bloglines because it is free, easy and there is nothing to install on to your computer. Register with them and then you will have a “mailbox” for your blog subscriptions to be sent to.
There are many ways to subscribe to a blog. The best way is to add a “Sub with Bloglines” (if that’s who you’re using) button to your brower’s toolbar. Then when you’re reading a blog you want to subscribe to, you click the button on your browser and all the work is done for
Another way is to look for a “subscribe to this blogs feed” graphic on the blog’s sidebar. Click that and again, all the work is done for you.
That’s it. It looks way more complicated than it is.
In a nutshell: you need a place to have your blog subscriptions sent to, think of it like a “blog mailbox.” Once you do this, the rest of the process makes sense and is as simple as clicking on links. Then, once your “blog mailbox” is set up and you’ve subscribed to any
number of blogs, you can check your mailbox as much as you want and read what your friends have been up to.
Give it a try. If you’re using HSB, it’s a lot easier to manage than the “friends” page on
your blog, . Plus, you can subscribe to anyone’s blog, even those not on hsblogger.
This week between Christmas and New Year’s has always been my favorite week of the year. The frenzy and stress that precedes Christmas is gone but the decorations and good feelings remain. There are few obligations at this time of the year, so it is a quiet time to enjoy the tasty treats and presents. I like to continue to play Christmas music, right through to New Year’s, though I tend to choose instrumentals now.
So how was your Christmas? Ours was wonderful. We started with Mass on Christmas Eve. Here are Boo and Pumpkin Girl all decked out. If you look carefully, you can see the remnants of Pumpkin Girl’s black eyes.
The next day, children were up bright and early. They were genuinely surprised and delighted to find their stockings filled, especially given their behavior of the previous couple of days. They got everything they had wanted for Christmas “and more,” as Pumpkin Girl said. She got her very first Barbie doll. We managed to hold her off until this year, when she started asking for one. No matter what, she always came back to Barbie. I had a Barbie as a child, and I turned out ok. Well, more or less. But whatever issues I may have are not Barbie’s fault. So we are now a Barbie household. I need some help, though. Where does one buy Barbie clothes? Our base PX only carries the dolls, no extra clothes. Of course, her clothes need to be conservative and modest. If anyone knows of a good online source of decent Barbie clothes, please let me know.
Bip really got into opening gifts. He was thrilled with all of his gifts, which aside from a wooden rocking horse fell into 2 categories: things to pound and cars. Such a boy!
If you are in the Washington, DC area, let me give 10 thumbs up to the Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park in Maryland. For $5 a car, the entire family is treated to a wonderful display of holiday lights. Everyone in our car enjoyed it, thus the 10 thumbs up, even Nicholas, who squealed in delight the whole time. It took us about 30 minutes to drive through the whole thing and about another 30 minutes to get home, just inside the District. The Festival goes through January 1st and is free on Christmas Day. If you’re up for a drive, this is a don’t miss! Looks like this is going to become an family tradion while we live here.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby!
We remember that cold Winter Solstace Day, just three short years ago, when you arrived. How happy were to meet you and what a perfect addition to our family you were. You were the absolute best Christmas present ever. There simply are no words that can begin to describe the joy that you brought to each one of us.
Though our time with you on earth was short, our love for you has never diminished. Thank you, little Becca, for being our daughter. You are our "very nice baby." We love you.
This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it
We’ve been busy little bakers over the last few days. We started with White Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies for our UPS driver and our mailman. The recipe is from my friend Heidi and they are probably some of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted. The recipe makes around 6 dozen cookies, depending on how much dough you eat. Our UPS driver, Anthony, is the best! He’s friendly, always addresses us by name, sets heavy packages inside the door for me, and waves at us when he sees us around base. I do almost all my shopping on the internet, so if I’ve bought it, chances are, Anthony has delivered it. He definitely deserves some cookies. Our mailman is great, too. First class service all around, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Today we tackled our own Christmas cookies. I usually make 3 different types of cookies: Yum-Yums (aka Seven Layer Cookies), thumbprints and candy canes. Pumpkin Girl was able to do most of the Yum-Yums herself this year. Her favorite part was crushing the graham crackers with a molinillo.
We also made pumpkin bars for our homeschool group tomorrow. I got the recipe off a box of Fiber One right about the time I had Pumpkin Girl. They are so tasty and all that fiber does a great job of getting the ol’ postpartum digestive system back in order, if you know what I mean. They also help get things moving when the children are a bit stuck, too.
Depending on how the rest of the day goes, I’ll get started on the thumbprints and candy canes tonight. If time allows, I’ll make a Cherry Eggnog bread on Saturday. If I run out of time, I’ll save it for New Year’s Eve.
Heidi’s Lorri’s White Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c butter
1 c sugar
Cream until fluffy. Then add:
1 c brown sugar
2 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
3 c flour
Do not over beat once flour is added.
1 bag chocolate chips
1 bag white chocolate chips
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
1 1/2 c Fiber One cereal
2 c sugar
2/3 c vegetable oil
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 c raisins
Grease and flour jelly roll pan (I just use a casserole dish). Crush cereal. Stir together cereal, sugar, oil and pumpkin. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir in eggs until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients Spread in pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Cut into 7×7 rows. Refrigerate any remaining bars.
Cherry Eggnog Bread
3/4 c maraschino cherries, chopped and well drained
2 1/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
1 c sugar
3/4 c butter, softened
1 c eggnog
1/2 c powdered sugar
3 to 4 tsp eggnog
1/4c toasted, sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom only of loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt; set aside. In another bowl, beat sugar and butter on high speed of electric mixer until mixture is light and fluffy. On medium speed add eggs, one at a time, beating until blended. Add one third of the flour mixture, beating on low until just blended. Beat in one half of the eggnog. Add another one third of the flour mixture, the remaining eggnog and then the remaining flour mixture, beating after each addition just until combined. Gently stir cherries into batter; pour batter into pan.
Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean and top s golden brown. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf; remove from pan to cooling rack and cool completely.
For glaze, mix powdered sugar and eggnog until smooth. Drizzle half of mixture over cooled loaf. sprinkle evenly with almonds. Drizzle remaining glaze over almonds.
Philip’s love language is acts of service. Which means that instead of saying “I love you” with loving caresses or decorating me with jewelry, he expresses love by taking out the trash, washing dishes and driving me wherever I want to go because I hate to drive. Because of recent events, we found ourselves with an opportunity to get a fresh start with organizing our pantry. This is what it looked like before.
My wonderful, loving husband spent the day putting it together. He’s not really the handy-man type, though he does own several tools and a new tool belt (thanks, Dad!). So this was no small undertaking, especially since it involved math. When he was finished, Philip presented me my new pantry. He was beaming. This was no ordinary, everyday taking-out-the-trash-folding-laundry-washing-dishes brand of love offerings. This was a veritable Monument to Love. A Pantry Taj Mahal. I danced a little jig when I saw it. I walked in and out of it, just because I could. Then I loaded it up with formally soggy food stuffs. Would you like to see it?