Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas at the Copper Corral

Here are some pictures of our Christmas traditions and gatherings. The first few are of our short gathering with the great grandparents and some of my husband's extended family on Christmas Eve night. Most of the pictures are of Christmas Day.
On Christmas morning we attended Mass, visited the nativity scene afterwards to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, and then get our picture taken with Him. After Mass, we went home for a quick lunch and then Dear Hubby read the Christmas story to us all. It was always a big production in my family when baby Jesus is finally placed in the manger on Christmas day. The kids each got to process with a baby Jesus while singing “Silent Night”. Now as a mother, I’ve tried to do this with my own children before opening presents. This year my brother and his family were visiting and shared in this tradition. It was really neat to see all nine kids (ages 9 to 2 months) lined up in age order processing with their baby Jesus. Makes me want another six! LOL! Things were a little chaotic at times, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. We had a very blessed Christmas!

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about families and family size. A friend of a friend just adopted a little girl. Friends of ours are expecting twins and this will mean that they will have 7 kids under the age of 6 when the twins arrive. I have no doubt that God will give them the strength to fulfill this monumental calling to be parents of so many little blessings. Some other friends of ours just had their 8th child. She was born with some physical problems, but after a surgery or two she should be fine for the most part. Maybe it is the inspiring examples of these three families, or just this time of year when we gather together with family, that makes me think about the importance of having the children God asks us to bring into this world.

Today is the feast of the Holy Family. I realize that nobody’s family will ever be perfect like that of the Holy Family. No parents can compare to Mary and St. Joseph. However, the generosity of those who say yes to God and lovingly accept another child into their family (whether through adoption or natural means) is inspiring to me. Pope John Paul II said that the best gift you can give your child is another sibling. I don’t know if we will be able to have any more children, but I am open to however many children God is calling us to bring into our family. What a better gift to give this time of year, than the gift of life!

Little Eli at 3 months old. He is oh, so sweet! I just want to kiss him everytime I see him! He looked so cute in his Santa hat.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Some Advent Adventures

This is a group shot of those who attended the cookie exchange for our homeschooling group this year. It was a long drive, but worth the while. We all had a great time. ( I know I look like the Hunch Back of Notre Dame in this photo. No wonder my back has been hurting lately!)

We made popcorn ropes this year to hang on our "memory" tree in the basement. I figured it would be very good physical therapy for my son, whose hand-eye coordination could use some improvement. It also kept them busy for quite some time. When we are finished using it on our tree, we plan to take it outside and decorate one of our bushes so the birds can enjoy a treat.

This picture is what happens when a two-year old decides to give a baby doll a bath in toothpaste. I knew there was something wrong when she came to me with sticky hands, her stiff hair sticking straight up in the front, and she smelt like mint. I immediately went around the house to see what she had gotten into this time. Apparently it was the older kids' toothpaste that they forgot to put back into the medicine cabinet. At least the baby doll was clean after I scrubbed all the toothpaste off. I guess that is just life with kids. R has gotten into more things and made more messes than all the others combined. I hope she grows out of this stage soon.

These are pictures of our Christmas with Grandpa this past Sunday. The kids were so excited that they got to open some presents early. Grandpa always spoils them and lets them climb all over him. They are always glad when Grandpa comes over for Sunday lunch and a visit. The little girls weren't very happy when I told them the rest of the presents will have to wait until Christmas. It can be so hard for little ones to wait. I am proud of our little R who hasn't gotten into any of the presents under the tree...yet. I hope I haven't spoken too soon!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Breakfast with Santa, Christmas Cookies, and Snow

Even though it is still mid-Advent, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
We attended the pancake breakfast with Santa at our new parish. The kids were thrilled that this fell on the feast of St. Nicholas, Dec. 6 th. They each told him what they would like for Christmas and then told him, "Happy Feast Day!" At first he looked a little puzzled, then when I told him it was the feast of St. Nicholas, he quickly said, "Thank you!"

After breakfast, I took the baby and went to a Christmas cookie exchange. There were lots of beautiful cookies and some fun games, too. This is the one event that the kids always want me to attend because of all the delicious treats I bring back.

Then, to put the finishing touch on our seasonal festivities, it snowed yesterday. The kids were thrilled out of their minds! They were ecstatic when I announced that we would delay school for an hour so they could play outside before the snow all melted. It is times like these that my kids are always grateful they are home schooled! LOL!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Part 2 of 4 Pro-Life Advent Reflections with Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

Here is the link to the second Advent Reflection. See my earlier post to go directly to part 1, if you missed it. These are well worth your time and a great way to reflect on the Scriptures this Advent season. Have a blessed Advent season.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December's First Friday Activities

We focussed on learning more about Our Lady of Guadalupe for our December first Friday activities. Though we weren't able to stay the entire time, we were able to hear more about St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The kids made roses out of tissue paper and decorated cup "vases" to give to the residents at the nursing home. It was great to see the older kids helping the little ones. Everyone did a great job. I am sure the residents are very happy to recieve these winter roses.

Baby Jesus in a Manger Cookie

I usually make "haystacks" for Christmas each year. They were always one of my favorites growing up. It is because they are honey and butterscotch favored. An unusual combination that I only eat this time of year. This year I decided to get a little creative and make my "haystacks" into little mangers for baby Jesus. After all, wasn't the baby Jesus placed in a manger filled with hay? So here is a picture of my updated version of this holiday favorite.
The general recipe for "haystacks" is as follows:
12 oz. bag of La Choy Chow Mein Noodles
1 cup of chopped nuts (usually walnuts or pecans)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1-2 Tbs. margarine
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
11 oz. baf of butterscotch chips
Large and mini-marshmallows for making baby Jesus
Put noodles and nuts in a large bowl. Mix honey, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a pan. Boil, then remove from heat and add chips. Stir till melted. Pour over noodles and nuts. Mix and shape into balls or flatten them into ovals for a manger. Place on wax paper to cool.
To make the baby Jesus, cut large marshmallows into fourths for the body and press down onto the manger. For the face cut a mini marshmallow in half and put the sticky side down. With food coloring or an edible marker pen make eyes and a mouth.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Grandpa's Visit and Science Club

R's final celebration of her Birthday was this past Sunday when Grandpa came to visit. He brought her a Fisher Price Little People house. She was thrilled. We were playing with it again tonight. I think that for the money the Little People play sets are the best!

Today we had our science club meeting. The theme for this past month was Engineering. Daddy took charge of helping the kids with these experiments since he is an engineer by profession. T chose to do civil engineering while M chose chemical engineering. T tested the structural integrity of bridges while M worked on coming up with the best glue made from just vinegar, corn syrup, corn starch, and water. The both did a great job! They presented their findings to their groups today. Here are some of the pictures that Daddy took while they were working on their projects.
This month we are talking about Chemistry. The science club meeting was divided into groups and stations. They rotated and did all sorts of different experiments. Here are some of the things they did today. The kids made a "lava lamp" out of oil and water that was dyed dark blue using a water bottle. Using a microwave, they experimented on what soap would do when heated and also the difference between Ivory soap and other brands. (Try that one at home, it is really cool.) They made a "fizzy" orange juice by putting baking soda in it. There were more stations than that, but I was stuck in the back room watching little kids, so I'm not sure what else went on out there. All I know is that the kids had a great time and are excited to start on their chemistry projects. Mission accomplished in my mind.

Here are the links that were sent out by our science club:

CHEMISTRY RESOURCES: (Fun stuff done with Twinkies) (Information about the most common form of matter) (Super website for all types of science experiments with videos)
Other Videos: (Elephant Toothpaste) (Lava Lamp) (Ivory Soap Soufflé) (Baby Diaper Dissection) (Dancing Raisins) (Baggie Ice Cream - this is fun and tastes good!) (Experiments with citrus)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Craft and Opening Night

To reinforce our history lesson on the Pilgrims and Indians, we made the standard Pilgrim and Indian hats. I know, this is definitely not politically correct anymore, but the kids had a blast running around pretending to be Indians. They especially loved pretending to hunt deer with their imaginary bow and arrows. When we attended Mass Thanksgiving morning, Father gave an excellent homily about the history of the first Thanksgiving and the earlier Catholic Thanksgivings. It was an excellent homily that reminded us all of the importance of the Eucharist and that we need to not only be thankful for things, but be thankful to people. He concluded by stating that we especially need to be thankful to God, and therefore should avoid saying "Happy Turkey Day", but instead insist on saying, "Happy Thanksgiving".
Last night was opening night for the play Nuncrackers. M played the little girl named Maria. I know I am a little bias, but she was fantastic and the show was hilarious.

Monday, November 23, 2009

R's B-day

R is going to be 2 tomorrow. We celebrate her birthday last night with Nana, Aunt Olivia, and her great grandparents, Ma and Pa. We ate chili for dinner, opened presents, and had cake and ice cream. Though it was a rather small gathering, she had a great time being the center of attention. She wore her "Birthday Girl" hat all afternoon in anticipation of her party and kept saying "Birday". That is her version of birthday.

R decided on a monkey cake this year. I tried my best to give her what she asked for, but I made the face a little too big to put a body on the cake. Instead, I just made the face and some extra cupcakes to match. Since there were going to be four girls and one boy eating them, I only put pink bows on four of the five cupcakes. The kids thought that was so cool. I'm always amazed at how little things amuse them. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. This party was definitely low key and small, but it went very well. R had a blast and that is all that matters. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recent Photos

Michael Dean, my nephew, being baptized.

The nine grandkids all lined up on the couch the day of Michael's baptism.

Elias and Michael laying next to each other. Elias is 8 weeks and Michael is 3 weeks.

Grammy and R, with the apron and pot holders that Grammy made for R's Birthday.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Updates on the Kids

Elias is now 8 weeks old. Here are some recent shots of him.

We've had a bit of bad health over the past three-four days, but also some really good news. First the bad news. We have two kids with ear infections and one with pink eye. I just hope we can contain the pink-eye. It is usually rather contagious. When there are six kids involved, that usually means more than one of them will get it. Of course, R, who touches everything and puts nearly everything in her mouth, has pink eye. Here is a picture of her. She actually looks rather good in these pictures. This was after she started on the medicine.

Now the good news. Everyone else is in really good health. Even I am! My previous tests while pregnant came back that I had some irregular cells. I received a letter in the mail today, saying the most recent tests came back negative. That is a relief. Thank goodness!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Playing, Portraying Saints, and Painted Fish

We've been really busy doing all sorts of field trips and fun activities. Here are a few pictures from some of them.

This one is of the kids with another homeschooling family after a science field trip. We met them at a local pizza/arcade place. The kids had a good time running around and climbing on everything in sight.

These are some of the kids at our All Saints Day party and First Friday activities. B was St. Bridget of Sweden, and C was St. Cecelia (Though, I don't think they had blue plastic flutes back then, lol.)

This one is of our trip with to Mother of the Redeemer Farm near Bloomington, Indiana. We took the whole family and two of our friends with us. We were able to attend the First Saturday Mass, adoration, and confessions. I think the kids enjoyed the hill and the gift shop the most, though. Thank goodness, it was a very warm fall day and they could run around between activities.

Today we were invited by a homeschooling family that lives near us to meet a master fish printer, Mineo Ryuka Yamamoto from Japan. We went to their home to see some of his work. Mr. Yamamoto also taught us how to print a sea scallop. If you want to see more of his work, check out his site It is not everyday that you have an internationally renown advanced gyotaku artist in your neighborhood. It was really neat to see his work! The kids were very impressed and so was I.
To see the other homeschooling family's blog and more pictures of our lesson with Mr. Yamamoto, go to the following site: