Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 Scrapbook Calendar

This is a slide show of the 2009 calendar I've been working on for myself. It features pictures of my kids. :0) It's not my best work ever, but it was a first attempt at using rub-on transfers. The calendar was part of a kit by Basic Grey that I purchased at Michael's. I'm going to get three 2010 calendars when they come out and make them for the grandparents as Christmas gifts.



Christmas Memories 2008

Today I am the happy I'm home on bedrest this New Year's Eve due to walking pneumonia. The antibiotics are kicking in and I'm feeling better. I'm a bit bummed about being home alone on this New Year's Eve, but am making the best of it by blogging, doing some digital scrapbooking and finishing up my 2009 scrapbook calendar. I'll post that later. Here's the scrapbook I created with Smilebox:

Click to play Christmas Day 2008Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox

Please leave a comment!
Blessings, Lisa

Reflections of 2008

Happy New Year to All!

I'm not one to make resolutions. I tend to set goals for myself in the areas of spirituality, family, friends, marriage, self, and home. Danielle Bean at Faith and Family Live posted these questions today:

1. Did I grow closer to God in the past year? How will I grow closer to God this year?
2. What is one new thing I will pray for this year?
3. What would I consider my worst habit and what can I do to work on it in the coming year?
4. What is the one thing I will do in the coming year that will most benefit my family?
5. What is the most important decision I made last year or will make this year?
6. What new habit would I most like to adopt this year?
7. What is one new skill I would like to learn the coming year?
8. What was the most important book I read last year/want to read this year?
9. What are my talents and what will I do to better serve God and the Church with them in the coming year?
10. What is one thing that I regret in the past year and what can I do about it in the new year?

They are great questions for reflection about the past year and a stimulus for setting goals in the coming year. I hope you find them useful.

Blessings for a happy, healthy new year to you and yours,


SS. Casimir and Emerich Church

As some of you know, our parish is merging with several other churches during 2009. Christmas Eve service was bittersweet, as it is the last Christmas Eve service that will be held in our parish. Many tears were shed during the service, by young and old alike. We stayed after Mass to take some photos. The photo above shows the altar of the church, which was built by Polish immigrants in 1907. Below is a photo of the nativity scene that sits to the left of the altar.

We're sad to see our parish close, but look forward to starting a new parish in a neighboring church. Please keep all the members of the merging parishes in your prayers.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday, December 29, 2008

Good Morning!
I can't believe that it is the last Monday in 2008! We had a wonderful Christmas. I'll post about it soon.
Here's this week's menu:
Sunday~Baked Sub Sandwich, Tortilla Chips and Queso dip, Salad
Tuesday~Super Sloppy Joes, Homemade French Fries, Corn
Wednesday~New Year's Eve~We'll eat at the ECHL hockey game we're attending with family
Thursday~Happy New Year! We'll be eating at my mom's...Pork Roast, Kielbassi, Sauerkraut, and Mashed Potatoes
Friday~I'm attending a holiday party at a friend's house...dh and the kids will probably have soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Saturday~Pizza and Breaded Wings
You can find more menus at
Have a week full of blessings,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Visit with Santa and the Festival of Lights

On Sunday evening, we traveled to the Festival of Lights at Blue Spruce Park. The kids were excited to visit with Santa Claus. Our 3 yo was awestruck by Santa and was so excited. A precious memory for us, for sure. Below are some photos of the lights on display at the lake. The displays have really grown over the years. This year's theme was Santa's Safari.

The Nativity

This was dd's favorite display.


Menu Plan Monday, December 22, 2008~Christmas Edition

Good Morning! It's a very cold 3 degree morning with windchills in the -20's. We're having a 2 hour delay this morning due to the freezing temperatures.
Here's our menu for this holiday week:
Sunday~Chicken Fingers and Pizza during the game
Monday~Zesty Potato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (carry over from last week.)
Tuesday~Slow Cooker Beef Tips in Gravy over Noodles, Glazed Carrots
Wednesday~Christmas Eve Dinner~
Appetizers: Sliced Holiday and American Cheese Kielbassi, Sliced Apples, Cheese Plate, and Crackers
Dinner: Lasagna, Breaded Veal Cutlets, Spicy Italian Salad, and Homemade Rolls
Desserts: Grasshopper Pie, Cream Puffs, and Assorted Cookies and Candies
Thursday~Merry Christmas! We'll be eating at our parent's homes.
Friday~ Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken in Garlic and Olive Oil, Salad, Garlic Bread
Saturday~Date Night for dh and me
Our Family Favorite Recipe is for the holidays would be:
Breaded Veal Cutlets
1 1/2 lbs veal cutlets
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
2-4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely minced
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a shallow bowl (for dredging). If desired, a pinch of oregano, parsley, rosemary, and basil may be added to season the breadcrumbs, but only use a pinch, and be sure that these are finely minced.
Very finely mince 1 clove garlic and the parsley together; mash together with the side of the knife or cleaver with a pinch of coarse salt. Add this to 1 egg which has been beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the egg mixture. Stir to combine in a shallow bowl, for dipping.

In a large skillet, heat the oil, and butter.
Pat the veal dry using a paper towel so that the coatings will stick. Season the veal with salt and pepper. Dip each piece of veal into the seasoned bread crumbs coating both sides well. Dip into the egg mixture. Roll in the bread crumbs a second time.

Pan fry the veal cutlets in the olive oil, carefully turning once, until well browned on both sides.

Cover and continue cooking over low heat until thoroughly cooked and tenderized, which can take 30-40 minutes.
Check out the other holiday week menus at
Have a Christmas filled with blessings,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Magical Reindeer Food

The Legend of Magical Reindeer Dust
It has once been said,That right before you go to bed.
You should sprinkle magic reindeer food,
To quickly bring Santa and his brood.
For many years the legend has been told,
To boys and girls, both young and old,
Sprinkle the food throughout your yard,
Then finding your house won’t be so hard!
The reindeer can smell the food for 100 miles,
Just do not leave it in big piles!
After you do this you must go to sleep very fast,
So Santa and his reindeer will not pass!

Every Christmas, the kids and I make Magical Reindeer Food for Santa's Reindeer. This year I used the topper from The Daise Company. Here are the ingredients:

For each bag, we used 1/4 cup toasted quick oats, 1/8 cup of sugar and about 2 Tbsp sparkly red sugar. The kids dumped it in the bags and shook them up to blend.

We wish you a very, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saltine Cracker Toffee Candy

This is a classic candy that I've been making since the early years of our marriage. My ds says that it melts in your mouth...and I agree!

Saltine Cracker Toffee Candy

1/4 pound saltine crackers (1 sleeve)
2 cups milk chocolate chocolate chips
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Line the cookie sheet with saltine crackers in a single layer.

3. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over saltine cracker and spread the mixture to cover the crackers completely.

4. Bake for 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate over all the crackers and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Cool completely (overnight or about 1/2 day or more) and break into pieces.

I store my candy in a tupperware container in a cool place.

Have a day full of blessings,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday, December 15, 2008

Last week was filled with the busy days of holiday preparations. I have most of my baking completed. I have wrapped all of the gifts I've purchased so far. Tomorrow should be my last shopping trip before Christmas and everything should be completed in that department. We had a busy weekend with two hockey games, church, decorating and our grocery shopping.
Here's the menu plan for this week:
Sunday~Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken (scroll down for the recipe), Italian Pasta Salad and Garlic Bread
Monday~Ham Steaks, Easy Green Beans and Red Potatoes, Rolls
Tuesday~Awesome Baked Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Peas
Wednesday~Slow Cooker Beef Tips in Gravy over Noodles, Corn and Rolls
Thursday~Chicken Soft Tacos, Mexican Rice and Salad
Friday~Zesty Potato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Saturday~ DH and I are attending a Wedding Reception for dinner
Check out the other great menus at
Have a week full of blessings,

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Tour of Homes

Here are some photos of the Christmas decorations in our home, as part of the Magical Holiday Home Christmas Tour of Homes

This is our living room tree, complete with ds's Lionel train. The quilted tree skirt was purchased our first year or marriage. Most of the ornaments are keepsakes that we've received over the years.

This is our most important display of all...the nativity.

Above is our kitchen table decorated for the holiday. We recently renovated the kitchen and the table is a new addition. We're really enjoying it.

This shelf is also in the kitchen. Can you tell I'm a Santa collector? These are from Home Interiors and I've had them for at leat 10 years.

These are two more of my Santas that my dear husband bought for me early in our marriage on top of an inherited china closet. The china is also inherited from a great aunt, who was also a first grade teacher.

This is the centerpiece on the dining room table. For some reason the candles look orange to me, but they are red.

This is my dining room chandelier. It's covered in toile ribbon, gold beads and greens.

This is our living room fireplace. The print above the fireplace was a gift to dh a few years ago. It is by wildlife artist Dan Christ. He does wonderful work.

Thank you for checking out my photos. I'm planning on adding room shots and hopefully some pictures of our outside decorations later this week.

Have a Christmas season full of blessings,


Monday, December 8, 2008

Menu Plan Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm a bit late in the day to be posting this week's menu. My weekend was jam-packed with decorating, attending the ballet and hockey game, and all of the usual cleaning, cooking and laundry duties. This week will be busy with three evenings of hockey practice, which means easy and early meals. I'm also planning on baking a cookie a night this week for the holidays.

Here's the plan:

Sunday~ Create Your Own Pasta...Alfredo or Traditional Sauce, over Pasta with sauteed chicken, Salad and Italian Bread

Monday~Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew, Hard Rolls

Tuesday~Bisquick Oven Baked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, French Style Green Beans

Wednesday~Grilled Steaks, Twice Baked Potatoes, Salad

Thursday~Kielbassi and Kraut Sandwiches, Cheesy Tater Tots, Baked Beans

Friday~Pizza and Wing Night

Saturday~Sloppy Joes, Fries and Carrots

Check out the other menus at

Have a week full of blessings!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Books for Children

Every December, we get out our collection of Christmas books and read a book a night. The photo is of the kids a few years ago. Here are the books we read:

  • Christmas retold by Lise Caldwell

  • Santa Bear by Marcia Leonard

  • What Star Is This? by Joseph Slate

  • Santa's Busy Night by Michael Rex

  • The Mitten by Jan Brett

  • Who's That Knocking on Christmas Eve? by Jan Brett

  • Christmas Mice by Bethany Roberts

  • The Donkey's Christmas Song by Nancy Tafuri

  • Christmas Stories and Poems illustrated by Lisa McCue

  • The Christmas Story retold by Jane Werner

  • Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate

  • The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg

  • A Child's Story of Christmas illustrated by Karin Williams

  • This Is the Star by Joynce Dunbar and Gary Blythe

  • Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola

  • Come and See by Monica Mayper

  • Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight by Jerry Pallotta

  • Home for the Holidays by Sonia W. Black

  • Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Beuhner

  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Mary Engelbreit

  • An Angel Came to Nazereth by Anthony Knott

  • A Child Was Born: A First Nativity Book by Grace Maccarone

  • Stories of Santa: Up on the Housetop and Jolly Old Saint Nicholas by Hallmark

  • Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

  • The Snow Must Go On! by Molly Wigand

  • Christmas Magic by Michael Garland

  • One Baby Jesus by Patricia A. Pingry

  • Silent Night Illustrated by Darcy May

  • Arthur's Perfect Christmas by Marc Brown

  • Jolly Old Santa Claus Original Story by Sparkie with oil paintings by George Hinke


Apricot Sheet Cookies

This recipe was in the November/December issue of Cooking with Paula Deen. They were easy and are delicious. I am going to bake another batch for Christmas.

Apricot Sheet Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup all vegetable shortening (I used Crisco)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup apricot preserves

Confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar; beat until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour until combined. Beat in vanilla. Reserve 1 cup batter. Spread remaining batter evenly into prepared pan. Gently spread preserves evenly over batter. Drop remaining batter by tablespoons over preserves. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool 30 minutes and cut into bars to serve. Garnish with confectioners' sugar.




Menu Plan Monday, December 1, 2008

I can't believe that December is already here! Only 24 more days until Christmas. I love this time of year. I love the music, the hustle and bustle and the busy-ness of it all! This week's menu will be sparse due to travel. I have training out of town for 2 days. Over the weekend, dd and I will be going to see The Nutcracker with friends. A former student of mine has the lead as Clara. She's only 11 yo and is quite the ballerina and a fine young lady, too. On Saturday, we'll be decorating the house and putting up the tree.

Yesterday I made homemade meatballs for dinner. They are getting closer to tasting like my mom's each time I try to make them. As an Italian girl, it's hard to admit I'm not the best maker of meatballs. ;0) Today I'm going to bake some Apricot Bars from the December issue of Paula Deen's magazine. The kitchen is finally ready for some baking!

Here it is:

Sunday~ Spaghetti with Meatballs, Garlic Bread Sticks, Salad

Monday~Country Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes and Country Gravy,
Green Bean Casserole (I use sour cream instead of milk when I prepare it.)

Tuesday~ DH and the kids are picking up dinner after hockey practice. I'll be on the road.

Wednesday~ Pizza and Salads for dh and kids

Thursday~Chicken Breast Sandwiches, Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese, Carrots and Dip

Friday~ Zippy Calzones from Simple and Delicious, Salad

Saturday~Scalloped Potatoes and Pork Chops, Fruit

Looking for menu inspiration? Visit for more ideas!

Have a week full of blessings!