Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Christmas Planner

It's all right, you don't need a fancy or expensive planner. Let it to the perfectionists out there, what you need is to have a place where you will plan your Christmas time, with all it has, in a calm way and early so you will not be overwhelmed.

Notice that I didn't name this post: How to make a Christmas Planner.
I really don't like when people, just posting about something they managed to make, name the post in a pompous way as if they were an authority about anything. It would be nicer just to say like that: How I did...(something) and not How to do... (something). Usually I don't read posts that begin that way. But that it's probably just me who does that and who doesn't mind to say it, not minding if I am stepping on some one's toes.

So, let's begin.

We just need a notepad or exercise book to write our plans on. And a pen or pencil. And maybe a rubber. And if you want to make it prettier you may want to have a ruler and nice colour pencils or pens. But that it's just if you want, not that you have to do it. It all depends on the personality of who is doing it, the time she has to spend on it and so on. So, don't be a perfectionist, which is never good, and be practical.

I will tell you how I do it and you will decide how you will do yours. Maybe you would like to take some ideas from mine or all or none. Each one of you are in charge of your own Planner.

I take an exercise book or some loose sheets and put it in a dossier, it depends on each year, I don't do always the same way. This year I didn't decide yet which way I will go but I think it will be the exercise book that I will have.
Anyway, in a place or in another, the most important is the content.

So let's think that it will be the exercise book that I will choose.

On the first page I will write, very proud of myself, Christmas Planner.

Then I will write the names of each one of my darlings to whom I will buy gifts, on the top of each page. Then I will write, in each line, real or imaginary one, what I have bought or what I will. Many times I have ideas in my mind, I write them and as I buy each one I put a tick in front of it.
Don't forget we must write the sizes of each person, either on the page of each person or on another where you put all together with the title Sizes.
On the back of each page I will write the amount I spent on each thing and I will keep adding each time I buy something.
When I bought already everything for that person I see how much I spent with her. Obviously I know, beforehand, which amount I plan to spend on that person. I always spend more with my girls than with any other person.

I count how many people I will buy presents for and, let's imagine, if I have twelve people, I count the same amount of pages, I write the names on top of each and I move to another section.

Now there is a page where I write what I'm spending in the whole, no matter with whom. I write : Spent in Presents.

Then on another page I write: Spent on Food. 

And on another: Spent On Other Things - meaning: not presents or food, just wrapping paper, bows, napkins and everything connected with Christmas.

Then it comes another part that I like very much: the list of things I will cook and bake and the ingredients I will buy. Each kind has a different page, one for food I will cook, another for the things I will bake. Another for the ingredients.

Then I make a calendar with days and hours of what I will need to do to have everything bought and done on time.
I began with One Month Before. Then I have another with Three Weeks Before. And so on. I will have one with 23 December. Another will have 24 December and another with 25 December. Also with the 26. If you are British or in any way related with them, you will have one with the 26: Boxing Day. If you are Portuguese you will have the 24 as a very special day too. It all depends on the culture of each person. 
On the pages for the days 24 and 25, I plan with times for each thing, like 7 o'clock or 6.30, depends, wake up to put the presents ready for being opened before Mass. At a certain time: get ready for Mass. And so on. This for the 25. For the 24 I write at what time I will begin peeling the potatoes for dinner, at what time I will make the soup and so on.
Each person knows what she has to do and must plan what time she begins to do each thing that will be eaten and when.

Another thing is that you may want to plan what you and the children will dress for Christmas and what needs to be done with that.
If you are traveling that time you need to plan the steps you will need to do for that.
And what about your self care ? To book the threading for your eyebrows ? Or the beautician who will wax your legs. The hairdresser ? That kind of things. And don't forget to write what you will pay for it in the section Spent On Other Things. Be careful, those are dangerous fields, plan ahead what you will spend on it and what are the prices before doing it.

I think by now you know the idea. 
The first step is to have your materials ready and to think what you will need to do for Christmas and to write all of that. Never mind if it doesn't end as a work of art, the important is to get organized so you will have peace all this time till Christmas - and after.
It's very important that you keep track of your expenses ! Be careful with that.

Add also a page in the end of everything to write anything about Christmas after it is gone, maybe it will be useful on the next one. Maybe something you will want to improve or just something like: thanks God, it all went so well. Praise the Lord!

And now let's begin with the first step: to think what to do, which materials to choose and what needs to be done. Just as thoughts, let your mind wonder. 
Next step is to take action. Don't procrastinate, please take action, you will feel so much better, you will feel happy with yourself. You can do it, just begin and everything will be in the right place.
Take something to write your ideas and plans. And write. Just do it. 
You will be really happy with it.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Some things I don't like

There are some things in houses that I can't stand. I recognize the right that some people have to like those things but that doesn't mean that I have to like it also or to pretend that I like, just because most people do.

So now I will say what are those things.

1 - Open space concept.

I can't stand it !!! I usually say that I dont't hate anybody but as this is not a person, just a thing, I think I can say: I hate it the most my soul can bare to hate something.

It comes to my mind that the person is so poor that can't afford a proper house so he bought a warehouse and dumped everything he had in that. No walls, no doors, a mix of livingroom, diningroom, entrance, hall and kitchen all in the same chaos.

I like walls, rooms, doors, corners, cozy feeling and privacy.

No, to have children is not an excuse, I had several and I could be in the kitchen and them in other room near by. Yes, I couldn't see them but I could ear them. When children are silent, something wrong is happening, unless they are sleeping. So, provided that I could ear them, I could be in the litchen or another room, there was no need for knocking down walls and have everything in a big, amourfous open plan.

2 - No walls and door between the kitchen and the dining room and living/familyroom.

A house has rooms: bedrooms, livingroom/familyroom, diningroom, litchen, bathrooms, halls and so on.

One thing is the kitchen, another is the livingroom.

The exception I can accept, if I have to, is to put together the livingroom and the diningroom. That is the most I can have, more than that, is not possible for me.

3 - Very high ceilings, in such a way that, instead of having two floors, one has only one. 

Such a waste of space ! And the look of it it's most unpleasent too. I can't stand it.

4 - To transform churches, big or small, in homes, restaurants, libraries, you name it. 

That really gets on my nerves! That, for me - and not only for me - it's the ultimate abomination.  How can people sleep and eat in a worship place ? No, it was not a worship place in the past, it is always.

5 - Modern decoration.

Cold, not cozy, nude, minimalist.

That's true, people has the right to like all those things I can't stand and present it as a beautiful thing. The same way I have the right to not like it and tell the world that I think those are ugly things. It's just that I am sick and tired to see it presented as the only right way to do it.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas Joy

Time for this. 😊

Thursday, November 28, 2019

It's ThanksGiving Day

Now that everybody cooked their turkeys, the side dishes and desserts, is time to seat around the table and give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the american friends.


And now lets remember the real First Thankgiving. 

"Blaring trumpets and thundering serenaded Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés as he waded ashore on September 8, 1565. The Spanish admiral kissed a cross held aloft by the fleet's captain, Father Francisco Lopez, then claimed Florida for both his God and his country. As curious members of the indigenous Timucua tribe looked on, the 800 newly arrived colonists gathered around a makeshift altar as Father Lopez performed a Catholic Mass of thanksgiving for their safe arrival in the newly christened settlement of St. Augustine. At the invitation of Menéndez, the Timucuans then joined the newcomers in a comunal meal.

Some Florida historians have argued that this feast - and not the one held 56 years later by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags in Plymouth, Massachusetts - was actually North America's First Thanksgiving. It was the first community act of religion and thanksgiving in the first permanent settlement in the land", wrote University of Florida Professor Emmeritus of History Michael Gannon in his book The Cross in the Sand."


And to finish this post on Thanksgiving, I can't resist on posting again that wonderful painting of Norman Rockwell on each Thanksgiving because I do like it. More than the perfect American Dream is the Family Christian Dream as it's so beautiful to see the family around the table,  everybody happy, everything nice and tidy. Quite perfect.

Happy ThanksGiving.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Saints of October

Image result for guardian angel male

So October begins with a lot of strong Saints Feast Days. On the 1 we have St. Thérèse de Lisieux, the French St. Therese, and on the 2 we have the Guardian Angels Feast Day. On the 3 it's the death of St. Francis of Assisi which feast is on the 4.
On the 5 we have St. Faustina Kowalska, to whom Our Lord talked about His Mercy. On the 6 it's St. Bruno day.
On the 7 is the Feast of Our Lady of Rosary. For information about this feast and the Battle of Lepanto read here.

And then it comes the 12 and 13 of October.
On the 12 people venerates Our Lady Aparecida (Brazil) and Our Lady of the Pillar (Spain) commemorating the Apparition of Our Lady to St. James the Apostle in Zaragoza.
Also the 12 it's the eve of the last Apparition of Our Lady in Fátima. There is a big candle procession in the night followed by Mass. People from all the world go there and some even sleep on the street for lack of hotels - and there are plenty !

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In the morning again procession and Mass in commemoration of the Apparition and Miracle of the Sun.

The 15 is the Feast day of St. Theresa of Avila, the great.
On the 16 is St. Longinus the Centurian, whose feast can also be on the 15 March.
On the 17 is St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Saint of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St Luke Apostle will be on the 18.
The 22 is the feast day of Pope JPII and also the birthday of one of my children.

Image result for st raphael the archangel

On 24 we have the feast of St. Raphael, Archangel who, after the CVII began being honoured together with St. Gabriel and Michael on the 29 September, but who many still honour and will do on the 24 of October.
On the same day we celebrate the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret.
On the 28 we have St. Jude Thaddeus and St. Simon Apostle.

Obviously there are a lot more Saints with their feast days in October but these are the ones of my special devotion. And, above all, the days of Our Lady and not forgetting that October is the month of the Rosary.

So, there you have it, a kind of post you don't read everyday. 😉

Friday, August 23, 2019

Pink Roses

In the sunset light

As it is Friday, here are some of my roses for Floral Friday Photos

A special shade of pink

The pink one

Monday, August 19, 2019

Lourdes, close to Heaven

Lourdes, close to Heaven

We went on holidays. As my children say, mum only goes on holidays to places where there  are plenty of churches. That's true. I like the landscape, trees, flowers, nice houses, fresh air but without churches no holiday is good enough for me.

So we went to Lourdes. We has everything booked, plane tickets and hotel, since January - or was it last December ? Anyway, we did it a long time ago. We counted our days and it looked as if there was years before those dreamt holidays in France.

Let me tell you. I went to Paris with my husband in honeymoon, which was like hundreds years ago. The girls never went there or any part of France. England, Spain and Italy several times they did but not France. One of them even went to Morocco and other to Ireland and now it was time to go to France but we didn't go to Lourdes only to go to France, it was the opposite way.

The Catholic world knows Lourdes, if not more, at least the name. It's a town in France, in the Pyrenees, where in the 19th century Our Lady appeared to a girl called Bernadette Soubirous. People interested in the matter can read about it here. It's the recount of the Apparitions. On the history of the place, please go here to know more about it. I can even leave here an excerpt: "Located in the Pyrenees Mountain region of France, Lourdes is the home of one of the most important shrines in the Catholic Faith: the Grotto of Massabielle. Approximately five million pilgrims, of whom a great number are sick or handicapped, come to Lourdes each year. It may be through curiosity, through a desire for a physical cure, in a movement towards belief, or to be of service to those who suffer, that they come to drink the water from the Holy Spring. "

So we went. 

The beauty of its surrounding it's astonishing. Mountains and mountains everywhere we look covered in a delicious green, many times smoothed with fog. The quality of the air and all the beauty around us makes that place a delight for the senses.

And then there is the spiritual side, which makes most people who go there.
I must say that I knew about the Apparitions since I was a child and, as a grown up, I always wanted to go there but the trip was not that easy as we would have to go to Paris and, from there, take the train to the town. But some months ago we had a delightful surprise: direct flights to Lourdes ! We booked at once. And last month we went.

I knew about Lourdes and I even went to interactive maps to know the way to the hotel and to the Sanctuary and all but what I didn't know was what we feel there. I didn't knew what I would feel there ! The strong sense of spiritual is amazing. Only going there we can understand what we feel in Lourdes - and I am used to go to Fátima, so tell be about spiritual !

As Catholics we were so happy to go and we knew it would be wonderful, what we didn't know was that it would be even more wonderful that we could dream. It was like to be in Heaven. The people there, most of them, knew well what they were doing there, they were pilgrims, not tourists. It feels really good to be amongst people like us.

Here we can see the candle procession minutes before its beginning. Every evening at 9 pm there is a Procession with a huge crowd.

Another daily Procession is the one of the Blessed Sacrament from which I almost have no pictures because, due to the most intense sense of the presence of God, I almost haven't took any and the few I have are from the end of the Procession, inside of one of the Basilicas, at the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction and from before it started. 

I will leave you mainly with pictures of the outdoors. This crown is the exterior of the cupola of the Basilica of the Rosary. Inside there are fifteen altars with "paintings" representing each one of the Mysteries of the Rosary. I wrote paintings in comas because they are not really paintings, they were made with tiny mosaic. A most astonishing thing !

The church on the right side is called Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. We can see also the dome and entrance of the Basilica of the Rosary on the left. 
Look at those stairs. We climbed it but decided that next time we would go by the ramp !

There are ramps on each side full of statues. In this image we can see Saint Anne and young Our Lady. From here we can have amazing views of the river and surroundings.

The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and the entrance to the Basilica of the Rosary.

It's unforgetable ! I think I must make another post, another day, so you may see more of Lourdes. And maybe you will want to go there. You will not regret it.

Partying at:
Inspire me Tuesday at A  Stroll Thru Life
Travel Tuesday at Intelliblog
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Grace at Home at Imparting Grace

Friday, August 16, 2019

A French Hydrangea

French Hydrangea  

As I posted before  - and I will post more next days - we went to Lourdes, France for our Summer holidays and it was even better that we could antecipate. There everything is beautiful. Nature is so lush there, everywhere we look we find beauty.
These hydrangeas we found in the garden of our hotel. So pretty, aren't they ?

Joining :
Floral Friday Photos
Anything Goes Pink Saturday
My Sunday Best Meme

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary - 15 August

The Assumption of Mary

Altar in Lourdes, France, in the Basilica of the Rosary, made with little mosaics, representing the Assumption of Our Lady to Heaven.

On Lourdes I will post something tomorrow or the day after.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Yes, that true - but not this week.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Wait ! It's still Christmas

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No, it's not yet time to take the decorations down. Christmas will NOT end till the 6 of January when it will be the Epiphany. That's right, the day when we celebrate the adoration the wise men did to the Infant Jesus and gave to him gold, incense and myrrh.
Then we will take the decorations down, will put the Christmas tree and Nativity scene in the attic or whatever place you keep those things till next December.

We are having a wonderful Christmas, thanks God and we had a very good transition from the old year to the new. The First of January was wonderful too with all the family, parents and sister and brother included, together with in laws and nephew. Thanks be to God.
Such a pity that I was so busy that I completely forgot to take pictures of the wonderful meals. Oh, well, never mind, the important part was that we were happy and giving thanks to Our Lord from Whom all things come.

And now I will leave you with the song of the Twelve Days of Christmas and it's meaning.

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” celebrates the official Christmas season which starts liturgically on Christmas Day and ends twelve days later on the Feast of the Epiphany.
 “My true love” refers to God, “me” is the individual Catholic. 
The “twelve lords a leaping” are the twelve basic beliefs of the Catholic Church as outlined in the Apostles Creed. 
The “eleven pipers piping” are the eleven Apostles who remained faithful after the treachery of Judas. 
The “ten ladies dancing” are the Ten Commandments. 
The “nine drummers drumming” are the nine choirs of angels which in those days of class distinction were thought important. 
The “eight maids a milking” are the Eight Beatitudes. 
The “seven swans a swimming” are the Seven Sacraments.
The “six geese a laying” are the Six Commandments of the Church or the six days of creation. 
The “five golden rings” are the first five books of the Old Testament called the Torah which are generally considered the most sacred and important of all the Old Testament. 
The “four calling birds” are the Four Gospels. 
The “three French hens” are the Three Persons in God or the three gifts of the Wise Men. 
The “two turtle doves” represent the two natures in Jesus: human and divine or the two Testaments, Old and New. 
The “partridge” is the piece de resistance, Jesus himself, and the “pear tree” is the Cross.


Joining TFT at Katherines Corner

Monday, December 17, 2018

Shopping and wrapping

Since October I have been Christmas shopping and a lot of shopping I did !
As I work full time, I have mostly Saturdays and Sundays for doing it so yesterday, after Mass, I head for the mall and stay there for a couple hours or more and I have lunch, or a kind of it, on the way, between shops, because I had no time to lose.

I'm quite pleased as I managed to buy things for all even if I intend to go back to buy some more. A lot  of money was spent but I did it wisely and I am very happy with myself. I don't buy on expensive shops and I always can find nice things for a good money.
I was so lucky that I managed to buy already most things.
We are a big family for European standards. Add to my children my parents, sisters and brothers, real and in law, and nephew and you'll have a lot of people to buy presents for and around the table on the days of Christmas.

So I have been wrapping ! I'm saying this all victorious because I'm doing a good job: instead of postponing day after day on wrapping I have began already and very well I am in that.
Even if I intend to buy more, I must say that I bought already quite a lot of presents. I will not leave them to last hour marathons, I began already and a lot of them are wrapped.
Oh, happiness.

I intend to keep posting about the antics of Christmas time being it shopping, wrapping, planning and cooking.

Isn't this a wonderful time of the year ?! I give thanks.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day

Yes, today is Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day.
If you heard of it but don't know what that means, go here and read.

Last 8 of December was the Immaculate Conception Feast Day and the anniversary of my Baptism.
Notice how both images have the crescent moon at Her feet.

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Detail of Her face.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Christmas food

Every part of the earth has it's own food for Christmas and even in each country there are differences depending on each home.
Well, in my family, as in all families in this corner of the world, on the Christmas Eve dinner, we eat cod with boiled potatoes and "grelos".

Some people prefer cabbage. We always must have cabbage soup that we call Caldo Verde. This it's a must have.

In some parts of the North of the country people also eat  octopus rice. Oh, that is good too. Sometimes I make it for lunch. Maybe this year I will have it for diner. Uhm, good idea.

For Christmas lunch many people have turkey but it's not mandatory, not like the cod for Christmas Eve dinner, together with the Caldo Verde.

And desserts...

I haven't any pictures of past Christmas Eve dinners, I wonder why.
This year I will be more careful about dinner pictures.


All the pictures, except the first one, were found searching the internet, they are not mine and I found them after looking for some free photos.

Partying at:
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life