Tuesday, January 01, 2013
All day I've been reading posts on Facebook from friends so proud that their Christmas decorations and tree are no longer taking up valuable living space in their homes. As devout practicing Catholics, in our home we have only just begun to celebrate this blessed Christmas season.
Though commercially, our society would have us believe that Christmas ends on December 25. On the contrary, the celebration has only just begun on that blessed day. Here's the explanation of how the seasons break down according to the catechism of the church...
The Christmas season runs from December 25th until the Baptism of the Lord, January 9. The Octave of Christmas runs from December 25th through January 1st.
Typically here in the USA, the Catholic church celebrates the Advent season from the weekend after Thanksgiving until the Sunday before Christmas. That is why in most Catholic churches in the USA, you don't see the nativity and other related religious artifacts popping up until Christmas Eve. The Christmas SEASON runs from December 25th until the Baptism of Jesus, which is listed on the 2013 calendar as Wednesday, January 9. Because Jesus’ Baptism is not a Holy Day of Obligation, that celebration moves to the following Sunday on the church calendar. Yes, the 12 Days of Christmas go from December 25th through January 5th, and are then followed by the Epiphany, which is also moved to a Sunday for the same reason -- it's not a Holy Day of obligation in the USA.
With virtually no time from between the Advent to Christmas seasons, it’s always a mad rush at Basilica of St. Louis, King (The Old Cathedral) in Saint Louis, Missouri USA for such a small group of experienced volunteers to get the 25 or so fir trees lit up and positioned on the side altars, pine wreaths hung on hooks and centered under each window, red bows and pine cones strategically positioned, 30+ poinsettia plants in their decorative containers to display, the heavy cast iron nativity scene (which dates back to 1800s) out of storage and into place, and extra candles lined up around the altars.
These are just some snapshots taken on my iPhone at The Old Cathedral this Christmas. The finished product is much more spectacular in person, and it’s especially beautiful during Midnight Mass at Christmas Eve.
When does your Christmas tree and all the decorative trimmings come down? In our home, we celebrate both Advent and Christmas seasons—leaving the tree and nativity up—through the Baptism of our Lord.
Merry Christmas and New Year’s Blessings to all!
Sunday, December 30, 2012
How many times have we -- those of us who are trying to shed weight -- put losing those extra pounds on the top of our New Year's resolutions list? Well, I can't recall a time in my entire life when that one important item HAS NOT been on my list.
Last Christmas when I joined SparkPeople, I vowed that this was my catalyst, my savior, my motivation to "get 'er done!" once and for all! As I sit here creating this post, I know there are more challenges and accomplishments still ahead.
Well, I admit that this past year wasn't a total bust. I have lost a few pounds, started a wonderful walking routine, learned to make time to create home-cooked, lower-calorie meals, and motivated myself to do better in other areas of my life where family and my employment situation are concerned. That's a pretty good start in 2012!
Still, gravity can be cruel to we ladies over that half century milestone. When we don't see instant results, we tend to get discouraged. This year will be different. In 2013, in addition to the above accomplishments, I'll stick to doing what's right, what works, what brings me joy and fulfillment. After all, consistently is the key and moderation is KING!
And maybe this year I'll also bring along another companion to share this new life journey. Traveling the highway and byways of life is so much sweeter with companionship!
Thursday, December 06, 2012
As the story goes, St. Nicholas used to be a wealthy Bishop who surprised the poor children in his village with food to eat on their window sill where their socks were drying over night. If no socks were hung out to dry, he would leave a small sack with bread, fruit, nuts, etc. For some children in that village, that little bit of food might have been their only meal that day. Sometimes there was a small toy as well.
Nicholas was the Bishop of Turkey and is to this day the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, children and students. His reputation for secret gift giving to those in need became the inspiration for the modern day Santa Claus. Catholic and Orthodox Christians celebrate St. Nicholas Day in various ways around the world on December 6th, the day of his death in AD 343. The Christmas traditions of hanging stockings, candy canes, and giving to charity all have roots in the history of St. Nicholas.
When our German ancestries immigrated to the United States, this tradition was brought along when they settled in to their new home in America. All these 100 plus years later, we carry on the tradition with our son. (My DH Jeff's family came through Texas and mine by way of Ellis Island in NYC.)
So on Dec 5, before bed, my 7 1/2 year old son pulls out his biggest sock. In this case, it was one of his soccer stockings. He left his Christmas wish list along side it at the kitchen table. (We don't have a fire place and this was the tradition with my family when I was growing up.) The wish list is also there since typically we haven't yet seen Santa so early in the Christmas season to share his wants.
So, as I'm up long before the rest of the house to do my fitness routine, I stuffed his sock with a grapefruit, a navel orange, a banana, and two small trinkets from the dollar store. The nicer, more practical and useful gift is a book. Though not just any book; it's a Lego Ninjago Official Guide with mini figure. He will be so thrilled! Yes, we've raised a fabulous reader who also has a passion for Lego Ninjago!!
Friday, November 30, 2012
While thumbing through a couple holiday magazines last week, I saw meatballs baked in cupcake pan. Genius idea! So I decided to make this for my family dinner tonight combining a couple recipes I located online. These meatballs were so super easy and really quick to make. I'll never make meatballs the old-fashioned way again!
Here's my adaption to make Quick & Easy Meatballs. I adapted it to what was on hand in my kitchen.
1 1/2 pounds of (85/15) ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Italian Bread seasonings
½ cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon salt, optional
¼ teaspoon pepper, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. Soften the onion and garlic in a fry pan for 2-3 minutes.
3. Using Mysto sprayer, coat a cupcake pan with olive oil.
4. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
5. Using a 1" scoop, place one meatball in each muffin well.
6. Bake the meatballs in the oven for about 25-30 minutes.
Serve 1 or 2 over pasta with marinara sauce and large spinach salad. Boy, was this a big hit with my family!! We'll be doing this again really soon!
Monday, November 26, 2012
A couple weeks ago, BOSS61, one of my very first SparkFriends, sent a blanket challenge in his blog to all Sparkers. He suggested that we stay focused and on target with our new health and fitness routines to continue losing 1 pound over each of the next 6 weeks, taking us through the holidays.
I'm so proud to report that I'm meeting this challenge. Today, after a long weekend of snacking and enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving meal, I've still lost 1 pound. Last week I also lost 1 pound.
Today my scale proved th at my plan to enjoy the weekend treats in moderation is the key. I didn't deprive myself of any of my favorites. I just chose to consume less of them this year. It paid off and I'm thrilled with the results!
Oh, yeah, I also made sure to keep up with my fitness routines, too! The combination of the two is key to success!
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