Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Meménto, homo, quia pulvis es,
et in púlverem revertéris.

Remember, man, that thou art dust,
and unto dust thou shalt return.

A blessed Ash Wednesday to all as we commence our Lenten journey.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Morning

This morning we went to the early Mass, and afterward we went to the brunch that was prepared by the Knights of Columbus. It seems of late we have not gone to coffee hour after Mass, but after this morning my husband and I agreed we need to make it a more consistent part of our Sunday morning.

Our boys played with other kids while we we were able to greet Father, say hi and visit a bit with old friends, as well as becoming better acquainted with some new ones, one of whom we have heretofore only known... well... in blogdom! Nice to make all those connections.

Holy Mass, followed by delicious food, good conversation with friends, and kids at play. Now that's the way to spend a Sunday morning.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


.... to the designer of my new My Morning Cup header. I think he did a great job, and he did it for free!

Matrimony has its privileges. :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rest in Peace....

Today is the funeral of a dear 31-year old mom from our homeschooling community. One week ago she collapsed while homeschooling her kids, and died immediately of what was later found to be coronary artery disease, which she was unaware of having. She leaves behind a husband and four children, ages 7 down to a baby who is not yet one year old. In just over an hour family and friends will say good-bye at a solemn high requiem Mass (where we would be but for sickness).

This is a loss that I can't fathom. I know such tragedies happen, within the will of our loving God, but it is so far beyond my scope of understanding, that I don't have adequate words to apply to it. But I do know that it has given those of us who knew her pause to consider our own mortality, to be thankful for our own families, to realize when our husbands leave for work in the morning that it could be the last time we say good-bye.

For we all share in her destiny, and in the scope of all eternity, none of us has a very long earthly existence. "Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is a vapour which appeareth for a little while, and afterwards shall vanish away. " (James 4:14-15) And hopefully, with this heightened sense of the brevity of our own earthly lives, we will renew our resolve to be ever-ready for our own eternal destiny.

And yet for all of the truth and comfort we find in our faith, my heart aches for the family enduring the loss of this young wife, mother, daughter. And so we do all that we know to do: we pray. We pray for this dear soul: Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her, may she rest in peace. We pray for her family, may they find comfort in Mary, Our Blessed Mother, who certainly bore such sorrows, and in Jesus her Son and Our Lord, who alone can give peace, which surpasses our understanding, amidst their present storm.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray or us!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!


Monday, February 9, 2009

The Gift of Your Cross

"The everlasting God has in His wisdom forseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His all-knowing eyes, understood with His Divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with His loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His Holy Name, annointed it with His Grace, perfumed it with His Consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from Heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God." - St. Francis de Sales

Friday, February 6, 2009

Shire! Baggins!

I've done it. I've introduced the boys to the inhabitants of Middle-Earth.

In previous posts here I've said that the boys are not ready for the Lord of the Rings trilogy yet, and as much as I'd like to begin reading it to them, there are enough good books out there that they might grow beyond in just a few years, that I saw no need to rush into LOTR; I want to exhaust my book list for the age group they're in now, first.

Well, my youngest has been asking me to read it to them. Added to that, I recently spoke with another homeschooling mom who had read it to her 7 and 9 year olds, and they loved it. So, I decided to give it a go.

We started The Hobbit about a week ago and we are better than halfway through it. They are following it just fine, and enjoying it a lot! If they are still interested when we finish it, we'll go on to Fellowship of the Ring.

It's been seven years since I've read it--I remember my youngest was an infant when I read it last, so I'm enjoying our journey to the Lonely Mountain where Smaug lives, and I look forward to LOTR. And maybe if we get through the trilogy, I might just go on to read The Silmarillion (to myself, not aloud), a book I've had for some time, but have never read.

In any case, it's great fun to have a good excuse to visit Middle-Earth once again, and greater fun to bring the boys with me this time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Definitive Cheesecake

I love to bake, so when birthdays roll around I enjoy making the birthday boy's (I'm the only girl here, and I don't bake for myself!) favorite cake. In my husband's case, that would be cheesecake, bar-none. Well, I've tried many recipes through the years, most of which have been fine, even "mmm, that's good", but not "wow... that recipe is a keeper!" Until this time. Finally I chanced upon a recipe out of Taste of Home magazine that is THE cheesecake that I will, without doubt, make again. And again! No need to search the recipe files anymore for the best cheesecake recipe--I found it.

Following is the recipe as written. I did make a couple of minor alterations. At the last minute (too late) I realized I did not have mini-chocolate chips for the filling, so I simply left them out. It was so good, I would leave them out next time. We thought the crust provided plenty of chocolate chip flavor. The only other alteration I made was with the garnish. I chose not to place crumbled cookies on top; instead, just before serving I drizzled warmed hot fudge sauce on top. Delicious and nice looking too.

One more thing this recipe has going for it: the top didn't split during baking as so many recipes I've tried before. It was beautiful coming out of the oven.

And so (without apologies for the fat content!) I give you the recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake. Cheesecake lovers, bake this one with confidence!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake


  • 2 cups chocolate chip cookie crumbs (about 28 cookies) - I used Chunky Chips Ahoy
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 5 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate chip cookie crumbs


In a large bowl, combine cookie crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 2 in. up the sides of a greased 9-in. springform pan; set aside.

In another large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add flour; mix well. Add eggs and egg yolks; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat in sour cream, orange peel and vanilla just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Bake at 325° for 65-75 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from the oven; let stand for 5 minutes. Combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla; spread over filling. Return to the oven for 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with cookie crumbs. Yield: 12-14 servings.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sweet Song of Spring

Yesterday when our family returned home after Mass, upon opening the car door I heard a sound I hadn't heard for months: the distinctive song of the Cardinal! On February 1! It was such a beautiful sound I immediately followed it up to the top of a tall and bare maple tree. There sitting in the branches against a bluer-than-blue sky was my favorite bird, the bright red male cardinal. I told the kids, who heard him singing as well, to look up in the tree, and they easily spotted him. They too, were thrilled to see their first cardinal of 2009.

Seeing redbirds, and hearing their song being sung so loudly makes me think spring must be near. And yet, there is still snow on the ground from last week's winter storm, Phil saw his shadow today, meaning there is supposedly six more weeks of winter, and it is only February 2! It is much too early to be thinking spring in the midwest.

But the Cardinals are singing, very soon the baseball Cardinals will be swinging their bats at spring training, in no time the tulip bulbs will be poking through the earth; come what may, winter storm-wise, spring will be here soon. And that's a happy thought!

And on this February 2, this Feastday of the Purification of our Lady, it is also my husband's birthday. Happy birthday, sweetheart.