Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The dining room :)
Our tree. Notice it has no star or angel on top! We never got one!! Each year I tell myself that I will get it after Christmas when everything is on sale, but by the time Christmas is over I don't feel like shopping or spending any more money so we just keep going without a tree topper. On the left of the tree we have a small(er) nativity with just the manger and a little tree that is sort of cut off made of bells...I love the bell tree!!
And just my coffee table....Holy Family that you can burn a candle in and two angel candles.
I have decided to try my hand at some Christmas cookies too....so I am off to make some peanut butter cookies!
Friday, December 14, 2007
There's some room for additions in the religious realm, though. Yes, it's true that Kris and Jessica say their vows before God in Santa Claus is Comin to Town, and that the animals bring presents for the baby Jesus. Yes, there's Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey, which tells the story of Bethlehem from...well...a unique historical perspective. And there's "The First Christmas" which stars Angela Lansbury as Sister Theresa (more in the next post).
But in all this...AND I might add, a few different renditions/tellings of the Santa Claus story...no mention of St. Nicholas!
So I modestly propose that someone with lots of spending money hire Rankin-Bass to tell the story of St. Nicholas. And let me know if you do, because I want to write it: particularly the scene when St. Nicholas slaps Arius in the face at the Council of Nicaea. I'm not in the Writers' Union, and I work cheap.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Ben from the inside...
We had our final ultrasound today. He is measuring small/average and they estimate he will weigh in the low 7s at birth (I hope they are right!). Right now he is 4 pounds, head down (and please don't change now!), totally adorable, and completely perfect.
I have weekly ob appointments now and weekly non-stress tests.
All good news today and everything else is just to be extra cautious.
Stay tuned for pictures of the nursery!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Here is a long view of the entire scene. It takes up an entire wall of our dining room. In the far corner is the stable and actual scene of the nativity, in the middle is valley and pasture land, and at the left side (closest to you) is the desert.
Another full view...different angle.
In the desert we find the wisemen and the Roman soldiers giving the proclamation of the census. On the right in the back is the textile shop and in front you can see half of the well.
The middle back is a kitchen and just some random bystanders :)
Here on the right we have the stable and next to it is the poultry house. We pretend the guy who owns the poultry house owns the stable LOL..Under the little nook to the left we are proud to introduce our newest addition...a CAVE!! We were so excited to be able to engineer this little cave. We have always wanted one somehow but just couldn't figure out the best way to do it. So we love the cave :)
But the question was...who lived in the cave? We tried some of the figures....not quite. So Jamie says "We need someone rugged looking." So, we pulled one of the zampognari (the pipers) and one of them was wearing goatskin pants! Yeah. That's the cave dweller.
Coming down from the side of the stable is a stream (which really looks like water doesn't it??!? We were pretty impressed ourselves). There are three bridges crossing the stream and a pond at the end. All the way to the right you can see a part of the pottery shop.
Just another view. If you look closely right up front here on the little bridge crossing the bottom of the stream there is a turtle. You may not know this but turtles were abundant in Bethlehem ;)
And there you have it! Whenever we put this up I wish we could leave it all year.
What sort of scenes/decorations do you put up for advent and Christmas?
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I pray he will have many peaceful hours of slumber here...and I pray harder that most of those hours will be at night! ;)
PS yes those are my stuffed animals on the shelf and NO Benjamin can't have them :P
Claudio has sold 1 t-shirt and 5 bumper stickers on cafe press (keep an eye on the blog for links and info about our cafe press products.
I made 10 dollars answering some surveys through CashCrate
And as of this month we have lowered our monthly expenses by more than half!
Thank you for tuning in to this months "Salvucci Money Matters Moment" please stay tuned for this weeks weather...
Friday, November 30, 2007
Today starts the Christmas novena. The prayer below should be said 15 times a day from the Feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30) until Christmas. This novena is called the "unfailing novena". So for all those most special intentions...now is the time!
Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. (Mention your intentions here) Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Which is just a fancy Italian name for what is basically just pasta and beans!!
After watching Lidia of Italy on PBS this past weekend and drooling over her pasta e fagioli Cla and I decided that we must try our hand at it. So yesterday I gathered the ingredients and got to work.
It was remarkably easy, quite hearty, and VERY yummy.
Here is the recipe I came up with (a cross between our own tastes and a recipe I dug up online):
2 large cans of diced tomatos with olive oil, oregano, basil (next time I will use one can of the tomatos and one can puree because I just don't like that many tomatos)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic (I use minced garlic and just put in a table spoon or two)
1 carton of chicken broth
1 can white kidney beans (canellini beans) drained
1 can regular kidney beans drained
1 cup red wine
spices to taste (I put in a few pinches cayenne pepper, black pepper, thyme)
1 box of any small cut of pasta (I used elbows)
grated parmesan cheese
Brown garlic in the olive oil. Add the tomatos, broth, wine and spices. Let simmer for a half hour. Add beans and let simmer for however long you like. Mine went for a few hours. When you are ready to eat add pasta to the sauce and turn heat up to get a good boil. The pasta will thicken the sauce a little so you might need to add a little extra water or broth when you put the pasta in. When the pasta is tender add some grated parmesan and serve it up! We had it with some garlic bread and it was GREAT!!!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Clearly this blog is rarely political, but the candidacy of Ron Paul is just one of those things that is worth getting political over. Never have I felt so passionately about a candidate or his platform - which is simply FOLLOW THE US CONSTITUTION. It is really that simple. A vote for Ron Paul has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative, it has to do with going back to our foundations...the foundations that work...the foundations that made our country great. So below is a letter written by Thomas E. Woods, author of the NY Times Bestseller, The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and 33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask that far better explains all the reasons a Ron Paul presidancy is not only right for Catholics, but for all Americans.
An Open Letter to the Catholic Community on Behalf of Ron Paul
Never in my life have I felt as strongly about a presidential candidate – or about any politician, for that matter – as I do about Dr. Ron Paul, Republican congressman from Texas. I’ve gone from being someone so disgusted with politics that I can’t bear to read about it to being a political junkie, avidly following the activities and successes of this great man.
As an American historian, I am not aware of any congressman in American history whose voting record is so stellar, and so consistently in accord with the Constitution.
Beyond that, Ron Paul is not a panderer. He’ll speak to an interest group and tell them to their faces that he has opposed and will continue to oppose funding their pet projects. Lobbyists know they’re wasting their money if they try to wine and dine him. He recently spoke before the national convention of an organization aimed at protecting the interests of a particular ethnic group, and began by saying: "Somebody asked me whether I had a special speech for your group, and I said, no, it’s the same speech I give everywhere."
Already by 1981, Ron Paul had earned the highest rating ever given by the National Taxpayers Union, received the highest rating from the Council for a Competitive Economy, and won the Liberty Award from the American Economic Council for being "America’s outstanding defender of economic and personal freedom."
Dr. Paul, who entered Congress in 1976 and returned to his medical practice in 1984, picked up where he left off when he returned to Congress in the 1996 election. I do not expect to see his like again.
He is also a good and decent man, who really is what he appears to be when you hear him speak. As a physician at an inner-city hospital, Ron Paul provided medical care to anyone who needed it, regardless of ability to pay. He never accepted money from Medicare or Medicaid, preferring to provide free care instead. That’s what people in a free society are supposed to do: be responsible for themselves, and then lend their assistance to those who are vulnerable and alone.
Ron Paul is a candidate who doesn’t insult his listeners’ intelligence, who answers the questions he is asked, and who doesn’t simply say whatever his audience wants to hear. And unlike other major names in the race, Ron Paul doesn’t have to run away from his record, which reveals an unswerving commitment to peace, freedom, and prosperity that is second to none in all of American history.
Although I would have supported Ron Paul back before I converted to Catholicism, I think Catholics will like what they see when they examine his record. Over at Defend Life, Ron Paul comes out decisively on top in a study of the candidates’ positions on the issues according to the guidelines recently established by the United States bishops. (If anything, I think this study understates Paul’s compatibility with Catholic teaching.)
On education and home schooling, Ron Paul is the clear winner. Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Duncan Hunter all voted for the execrable No Child Left Behind Act, and Governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have both come out in favor of it. Ron Paul – as did the Republican Party itself not so long ago – opposes any federal role in education, which is the responsibility of parents and local communities.
In other words, Ron Paul believes in a little something called subsidiarity, which happens to be a central principle of Catholic social thought. Subsidiarity holds that all social functions should be carried out by the most local unit possible, as opposed to the dehumanizing alternative whereby distant bureaucratic structures are routinely and unthinkingly entrusted with more and more responsibilities for human well-being.
On home schooling, Ron Paul has proposed legislation giving tax credits worth thousands of dollars to reimburse the educational expenses of home-schooling parents, as well as those of parents who send their children to other kinds of schools. What presidential candidate speaks like this?
Parental control of child rearing, especially education, is one of the bulwarks of liberty. No nation can remain free when the state has greater influence over the knowledge and values transmitted to children than the family. By moving to restore the primacy of parents to education, the Family Education Freedom Act will not only improve America’s education, it will restore a parent’s right to choose how best to educate one’s own child, a fundamental freedom that has been eroded by the increase in federal education expenditures and the corresponding decrease in the ability of parents to provide for their children’s education out of their own pockets.
When it comes to abortion, Ron Paul – an obstetrician/gynecologist who has delivered over 4,000 babies – has been a consistent opponent of Roe v. Wade, which he rightly considers unconstitutional. But he has no interest in the failed strategy of the past 35 years whereby we sit and wait for a remedy in the form of good Supreme Court justices. His HR 300 would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over abortion, as per Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution. That would overturn Roe by a simple congressional majority.
Then we could see who is sincere on the issue, and who is just exploiting it for votes. Few in either party really want to see the abortion status quo overturned, since it means they can’t scare their supporters into sending them as much money anymore.
Upon the Pope’s death in 2005, Ron Paul paid tribute to John Paul’s consistent defense of life. On another occasion, he offered an additional tribute, of the sort few politicians would utter:
To the secularists, this was John Paul II’s unforgivable sin – he placed service to God above service to the state. Most politicians view the state, not God, as the supreme ruler on earth. They simply cannot abide a theology that does not comport with their vision of unlimited state power. This is precisely why both conservatives and liberals savaged John Paul II when his theological pronouncements did not fit their goals. But perhaps their goals simply were not godly.
Speaking of John Paul II, it is important to remember that that pope was a strong opponent of the U.S. government’s attack on Iraq, sending his personal representative, Cardinal Pio Laghi, to Washington shortly before the commencement of hostilities in order to insist to the president that such a war would be unjust. The Pope’s first comments after the war broke out were these: "When war, as in these days in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity, it is ever more urgent to proclaim, with a strong and decisive voice, that only peace is the road to follow to construct a more just and united society."
Before his election as Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked if a U.S. government attack on Iraq would be just. "Certainly not," came the reply. He predicted that "the damage would be greater than the values one wishes to save."
After the war ended, Ratzinger said: "It was right to resist the war and its threats of destruction…. It should never be the responsibility of just one nation to make decisions for the world." "There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq," he elsewhere observed. "To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a ‘just war.’"
Hundreds of thousands lost their lives in this obviously avoidable war, a war that was based on falsehoods that we would have laughed at if they’d been uttered by Leonid Brezhnev. But since they came from the White House we cheer as for a football team, and duck the appalling material and moral consequences. A country that (by regional standards) once had an excellent health care system, opportunities for women, liberal gun and alcohol laws, and – yes – lots of immigrants, was turned into a disease-ridden basket case, filled with dead, wounded, and malnourished children, for no good reason.
That’s just wrong, and it isn’t "liberal" to say so.
Likewise, Ratzinger/Benedict is not a "liberal" for opposing the war. He is a moral conservative, but a man whose conservatism is more mature than the sloganeering jingoism of so much of what passes for conservatism in today’s America. Ron Paul is an equally sober and serious statesman, and for that reason was one of very few Republicans with the courage and the foresight to oppose this economic and moral fiasco from the very start.
It is especially satisfying to learn that in the second quarter of 2007, Ron Paul received more donations from active duty and retired military personnel than any other Republican candidate. By the third quarter, he was receiving more than any other presidential candidate, Democrat or Republican. Want to support the troops? Then support Ron Paul.
My main argument to you, though, is not a specifically Catholic one. It’s one that should resonate with anybody who values honesty, integrity, and decency. Ron Paul is a good man who believes in justice and the Constitution, and who cannot be bought. His ten terms in Congress have proven that again and again.
And that is why the media fears him. Unlike the rest of them, Ron Paul is unowned.
Now every establishment hack out there wants you to vote for one of the business-as-usual candidates. Are you really so happy with the establishment that its endorsement or cajoling means anything to you? If anything, it should make us all the more interested in Ron Paul – the one candidate the establishment fears, since they know their game is up if he should win.
Far from being in the unhappy position of a candidate whose children won’t even speak to him, Ron Paul is fortunate to have family members all over the campaign trail on his behalf. He has been married to the same woman for 50 years, and has been blessed with five children and eighteen grandchildren. There are some family values.
Just think: for once, you don’t have to choose the lesser among evils. You can finally vote for someone. You can not only be happy, but actually honored, to cast your vote for Ron Paul.
But don’t just vote for him. Find out about him, and get out there and spread the word.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Because I am still way behind in the blogger learning curve some of these pictures are out of order.
This is me and my cousin Katlyn who took great pleasure in loading up a stuffed turtle doll with the ribbons. LOL She was a great help to me sorting through gifts and opening up some of those more stubborn ribbons!
My mom, the wonderful hostess of the shower and a family friend. Can you tell which is my mom? Everyone says we look alike :)
The beautiful (and tasty) cake!
My girls!! The very brave Kori who came even though she knew no one but me! My dear dear friend Jess who flew in all the way from New Hampshire. She is Ben's Godmother and he couldn't possibly have a better Godmother! And my dear friend Linda/Beany who has been my friend since 5th grade!!
Some of my family!
The guest of honor....moi!
The generosity of my friends and family was truly overwhelming. We got soooo many beautiful and practical gifts!! I am so grateful! Ben will most definitely be a very well dressed, warm, and snuggly baby!! Above is the beautiful crossstitch picture my friend Linda made. I also got lots of handmade sweaters, hats, and blankets and all the bedding and clothes a little fellow could ever need!
Now I just have to set up the nursery and organize everything! Daunting!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Just a little anecdote. The teddy bears on the top two shelves are brothers. Their names are Doolittle Buckshot and Doomore Buckshot! I love that. They came with those names.
Here is Ben's bookcase. All sorts of different stuff here from The Velveteen Rabbit to 6 volumes of My Book House that we found at a library book sale for just a couple bucks!
The yellow and green sweater reminds me of Bert and Ernie :)
I love the hat with the earflaps :)
And just had to add the above. Went into the purple room to take the pictures only to find little Mr. Bunny taking a snooze. This is teh day bed we just moved into that room and it has quickly become a favorite spot for his afternoon snooze.
PS...pics taken with my phone (as always) hence the poor quality.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
So we have been working on Bunny's sick addiction. Just now he came up from the basement, got a bite of kibble from his bowl, and came over to the bathroom door (which we do try to keep closed, but I swear this cat is Houdini...he can open anything) and started opening it!!! So I turned around and said, "Bunny! You know you are not allowed to do that.....go drink from your water bowl." So he turned around and went to drink from his water bowl...LOL....have you ever heard of such an obedient cat?!
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Anyway, here is the daybed in the purple room. I just bought this daybed cover in the spring....not expecting to be pregnant or to be moving it into another (non matching) room. But such is life. We don't have the money at the moment to buy new bedding (besides what a waste that would be! This cover is brand new) nor the ambition to paint....especially since we LOVE the purple.
Here is the window seat we built last spring. It was the perfect little nook. And the top is hinged so there is storage inside.
Here is the cushion my mom and I labored an entire afternoon on!! I LOVE the fabric (which matches the walls perfectly and is just another reason why I don't want to paint!). It took us forever to figure out how to put the piping in the seam, how to seam the corners, and how to sew the bottom on...which basically means it took us forever to figure out the whole thing. All things considered I am quite pleased with it!
Friday, November 02, 2007
Hickory nuts grow wild in the Eastern U.S., and a couple varieties, namely the shagbark and the shellbark, are really tasty. The Indians ate them. The colonists ate them. Everyone on this blessed continent ate them. I ate a few once. I found them in the woods. I liked them VERY MUCH.
So I wanted to get some more. But notwithstanding being in the most grossly consumerist society in human history, surrounded by ipods, Pepsi Jazz, and giant inflatable lawn bubbles, I couldn't find anyone locally who sold a good-tasting nut produced by the boatloads from a commonly occurring domestic tree.
So why didn't I just go out and pick more then? Ah, well on more than a few occasions I trudged out to the woods along the Neshaminy to do just that. And I found many many many hickory trees. But hickories are really really really tall trees. And in the woods, their nut-bearing branches are waaaay up in the canopy. The canopy where squirrels are happily trouncing around, gorging themselves, and dropping the bad nuts and the shells all around a member of the primate family who happens to be the least arboreal species of the bunch.
My better half managed to scrape me up some from an internet site one year, for which I was insanely grateful, but since then it's been dry.
Well, you can imagine my exquisite delight then, when she points me to this post at Trinity Acres:
Hickory Nuts Anyone?
Julie gladly sent me some samples but refused to charge me for them yet because she wasn't sure they were going to taste good.
Well, they taste every bit as good as I remember, and I now recall why it was I became obsessed with these little things to begin with. Send us an invoice, and tell Sam he can count on a regular customer!!!
So here is our updated living room. The loveseat is where the couch used to be, the rocking chair is where the loveseat used to be. And the rocking chair used to be upstairs. Lots more space now....and its echo-y!
Here are some of the bookshelves we are using as room dividers. They split the area of the family room and Cla's Arx office. The exercise machine will be moved LOL
So this is basically the family area..Pretty nice sized space.
And here is Cla's Arx office...now on the other side of the basement. The guys are making covers.
This weekend we are up to the second floor to rearrange the two spare bedrooms to make one into the nursery. After that we will be pretty baby ready! Which is good since I dreamt last night that I gave birth!