Thursday, May 30, 2013

With a side of Joan of Arc

Happy feast of St. Joan of Arc!

 I first became enamored with this young French saint in middle school when I happened to pick up the novel Young Joan by Barbara Dana at my school library. This book explores the life of Joan of Arc before she left her home to lead the French army. This is a great read for the upper elementary/middle school level.

My admiration was solidified in high school when I read the book Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain. You heard me right, Mark Twain. Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, that Mark Twain. Which was why I was hesitant about the book when I found it. I had had to read
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for school previously and was not too fond of it, but I really wanted to read a novel about Joan of Arc, so I checked it out of the library. I now list it as my favorite book. This relatively unknown book is what Mark Twain considered his best work.

"I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others needed no preparation and got none." --Mark Twain

For dinner tonight I had a little fun with some diner slang which calls a side of French fries, a side of "Joan of Arc." (Do you get it?)  While we were making them I talked to my son about Joan of Arc in terms appropriate for his age. We mostly talked about how its important to listen to God, even when it might be a little scary, because then great things can happen. Like leading an army even when everybody said you couldn't!

 When making the fries I tried to wing it using a simple, cut, toss in olive oil and salt, then bake method,but I have to admit that they didn't turn out as well I hoped. Fine enough to still eat and not waste, but not really blog recipe worthy. So I'm calling out to all of you out  there who are kind enough to read my blog. Help! What are your favorite fry recipes and/or techniques? You don't have to limit your suggestions to potato fries either. If you have a favorite recipe for sweet potato fries, eggplant fries, zucchini fries, or whatever else, I would love to hear about it!

To learn more about St. Joan of Arc, click here.

Prayer to Saint Joan of Arc for Faith
In the face of your enemies, in the face of harassment, ridicule, and doubt, you held firm in your faith. Even in your abandonment, alone and without friends, you held firm in your faith. Even as you faced your own mortality, you held firm in your faith. I pray that I may be as bold in my beliefs as you, St. Joan. I ask that you ride alongside me in my own battles. Help me be mindful that what is worthwhile can be won when I persist. Help me hold firm in my faith. Help me believe in my ability to act well and wisely. Amen.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Apostleship of Prayer

I have recently discovered a great resource for children and families, and well, basically everybody! It is called the Apostleship of Prayer. Their website describes it as the pope's own "prayer group" and joining it is a great way to enrich your prayer life and be closer to God. They encourage a daily offering of oneself to God, praying for the pope's monthly intentions, and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If you haven't already done so, remember that today is the day to begin the Sacred Heart novena!

One of my favorite parts of their website is their children's page. They have monthly reflections and activities that are written specifically for children ages 3 -12, as well as other prayer resources. The reflections are extremely well done and I would recommend them to families, Sunday school teachers, and Catholic school teachers. There are only a couple days left in May, but this month's intentions are seminarians and administrators of justice. There are also resources for teens and adults.

Being a part of the Apostleship of Prayer is quite simple. As they put it,  "to become a member of the Apostleship of Prayer, you need only to offer yourself to God for his purposes each day. When you give God all the 'prayers, works, joys, and sufferings' of your day, you turn your entire day into a prayer for others. You are joining your will to God's will." You can sign up for free on the website, and they will send you an annual leaflet announcing the pope's intentions for that year. I really encourage you to check it out and sign up!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Field Day Fun

Tomorrow is field day at the elementary school! One of the best days of school there is in my opinion. We've also haven't been able to go out for recess the last two days because of rain, so it will be a much needed dose of the outdoors for my kindergarteners. I'm not in charge, so I don't know exactly what activities we will be partaking in, but I do have a fun water activity that would be great for your own field day, whether its at school or just having fun at home with your family.

We are also having a little end of the year bash, and the teacher I work with loves pandas, so I made special panda cookies inspired by some teddy bear ones I saw on Pinterest. She also loves Barry Manilow, but I don't know how to make a cookie for that. I'm a Hanson fan myself.

I've been making this sugar cookie recipe my grandma gave me for quite a while now, but this past Christmas I started experimenting with ways to jazz it up. At Christmas time I split the dough in half, gave them different flavors, and made swirled pinwheel cookies. I'll be sure to share instructions for this when Christmas rolls around again. I used the same divide and flavor technique for the pandas. I couldn't find my cookie cutters, so I used round containers to cut out my shapes. For the chocolate ears and noses I used a clean medicine cup.

Extra-Good Sugar Cookies - I made a double batch for this project
2/3 cup butter
3/4 sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp milk

Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add vanilla and almond extract. Mix thoroughly.

In another bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into sugar mixture along with milk. Divide in half and let chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking pan. Roll out dough until it is 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with a cookie cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 - 9 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire cookie rack.

To make Pandas:
 When you divide the dough in half leave one half plain. For the other half melt some chocolate chips (1/3 to a 1/2 cup) in the microwave and stir them into the cookie dough until well incorporated. Put these in the the fridge to chill just like in the original directions.

When its time to roll you will need bigger and smaller circle cookie cutters. Start with the plain sugar cookies, and cut out using the bigger circle cutter. Place these on the baking sheet. Then roll out the chocolate sugar cookies. Each panda will need three smaller circles; two for the ears and one for the nose. The ears go behind the head, and the nose goes on the front in the bottom. Bake and cool  according to the original directions. When removing the baked pandas, make sure the spatula is under the ears, that is the part most likely to break!

After the cookies have cooled, pipe on the nose and mouth in white icing. This can be done by simply cutting a hole in the corner of a zip top bag. Put two dots of frosting above the nose for the eyes, and stick on a chocolate chip! Aren't they cute?!

.    .    .    .    .    .

 We've had field day treats, on to the the field day activity! I've seen this craft floating around the internet, and thought I would give it a try. It turned out great! A sponge ball fight is way better than a water balloon fight! You don't have to fill them up, they're reusable, there's nothing to clean up, and the sponges fling water around as you throw them. A water balloon toss is a traditional field day game that I think should be made better with sponge balls. You don't have to estimate how many balloons you need, and the kids don't have to stop playing after their balloon breaks because they have to save balloons for the next class. My son wants to play with these everyday. Though after a while he usually stops throwing them and starts squeezing water onto the dandelions to help them grow. 

Water Fun Sponge Balls

"ouchless" hair ties (no metal on them)

To make a sponge ball cut two sponges into three strips lengthwise, (that's six strips all together). Gather the strips together and secure in the middle with a hair tie. Repeat.

Fill containers with water and soak the sponge balls in them. Start throwing!

For just me and my son we have one water bucket in the driveway. For a large scale fight you could set up water containers throughout an area. These would also be great for the pool!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stove-top Playdough

This homemade playdough is so easy and quick to make! Plus there is something about kneading warm, freshly made playdough that is almost theraputic. If you've had a bad day, check and see if your kids need new playdough. Younger kids can help with the initial combining of ingredients in the pot, and older kids can help stir over the stove and knead the playdough. (be careful, its hot right when it come out!) Of course everyone can play with it once its done!


Stove-top Playdough

1 cup white flour
1/4 cup salt
2 Tbsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp oil
food coloring (unless making white)

Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium pot. Add in the wet ingredients.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the playdough forms a ball in the middle of the pot, about 3-5 minutes. Take out of the pot and knead on a lightly floured surface. Store in an airtight container or bag.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ascension/Birthday Banana Poke Cake

Happy Feast of the Ascension and Happy 25th birthday to my wonderful husband! While Ascension traditionally falls on a Thursday, forty days after Easter, in most places in the U.S. it is celebrated the Sunday after, so this year that means May 12th.

I know that's Mother's Day, but I can tell you that as a mother, I wouldn't mind sharing the celebration with the Lord! (My birthday is already on Christmas Eve anyway, so I'm used to it!)

I heard of one Ascension tradition of having a picnic on a hilltop symbolizing being close to heaven. The weather has been beautiful here and that sounds like a wonderful idea! We've been having picnics in our yard almost everyday since it warmed up, so why not pack up some lunch and have one on top of a hill at the park? My husband wants to go out to eat tonight for his birthday, so we are doing that, but perhaps on Sunday we'll have a heavenly picnic.

It is traditional to have poultry on Ascension since Jesus "flew" to heaven. Lucky for us my husband has selected a wing joint for his birthday meal! Many people also make something light, white, and fluffy to represent clouds and heaven. That's where the cake comes in!

One of my husband's favorite desserts is this banana pudding thing with Nilla Wafers. His mom is from the South, and I guess its a Southern thing because I never heard of it until we met. Anyway, I found a cake version of that dessert on Pinterest and knew (mostly because he told me) that I had to make it for his birthday. The top is covered with fluffy whipped cream or whipped topping so it works well for Ascension too! I modified mine by adding a layer of banana slices between the cake and the topping.

This is a great cake to make with kids, there is so much that they can help with! Crushing cookies, mixing and pouring pudding, and even little ones can slice a banana with a plastic knife.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

1 box yellow cake mix (plus ingredients to make cake)
2 boxes instant banana pudding (plus ingredients to make pudding)
1 container whipped topping
vanilla wafer cookies

1. Bake cake according to directions on the box in a 9x13 cake pan

2. Prepare banana pudding

3. Poke holes all over the cooled cake with the handle of a mixing spoon (hence the "poke" part of poke cake.)

4. Pour banana pudding over the cake.

5. Add a layer of banana slices over the top of the cake.

6. Add a layer of whipped topping on top of the bananas

7. Crush the vanilla wafers and sprinkle on top of the cake

 Check out the Catholic Blogger's Network link up blitz for May!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rosary Flipbook

Happy Spring everyone! Warm temperatures have finally reached Michigan, in fact it seems like it went from winter straight to summer. Of course my three year old boy wants to spend every waking (and sleeping!) moment outside.

Big news! I now have a facebook page if anyone would like to follow Rose's Supposes there. You can find it at

May is the month of Mary, so I thought it would be a good time to start up a daily decade of the rosary with the family. We figured we'd start with just a decade a day since we only have the one little one and getting him to sit through an entire rosary would probably be quite difficult. Doing one decade a day Monday through Friday will take us through one set of mysteries a week, and then we plan on doing the Divine Mercy chaplet on the weekend. The past couple years doing the Divine Mercy novena, we have discovered that the chaplet is a great prayer to say with young kids, our son started chiming in with us last year when he was only two!

To help us out with our new prayer routine I decided to make a little booklet with all the mysteries and the different prayers we use. I used images from the Happy Saints Holy Rosary eBook. I used the large prayer card size so it would be easy to take with us wherever we go !

Making it isn't too complicated. Print and cut out the images, laminate them, cut them out again, hole punch them, and then put them on some rings. I put the tabs on before laminating.  Voila! A rosary guide the whole family can use!

1. Cover
2. Sign of Cross and Apostle's Creed
3. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
4. Fatima Prayer, Hail Holy Queen, Concluding Prayer
5. Joyful Mysteries
6. Luminous Mysteries
7. Sorrowful Mysteries
8. Glorious Mysteries

Check out the Catholic Blogger's Network link up blitz for May!
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