Fonticulus Fides

Friday, December 05, 2003

Catholicism is Complicated!

Okay, you all know I'm still new at this but yowza! I have been researching ways to observe Advent, and I am completely overwhelmed at the vast number of options out there. I know, I know -- we don't have to do everything. But I keep coming across things that sound way cool, and I find myself disappointed that I won't be able to do very many of them.

Zooey had preschool snack duties today, and since tomorrow is St. Nicholas Day, we got permission to gussy up the snack a bit. Zooey wanted to bring raisin bread, which was fine by me. Although he wanted to bake from scratch and I just couldn't pull that off this week, so we settled for purchasing a couple of loaves.

We added one of these coloring pages to the mix, copying a brief story about St. Nicholas on the opposite side, as well as a short prayer that reads, "Dear God, thank you for Saint Nicholas. Let us always give the gift of kindness to others, as he did. Thank you for the gifts of love we receive from our families and friends. Amen." Then we stitched up a little sack from the sleeve of an old dark green t-shirt and filled it with one chocolate coin per child -- symbolizing the coins that St. Nicholas put in a trio of sisters' stockings in order to help out their needy family.

In fact, chocolate stuff is such a recurring theme in St. Nicholas celebrations that I have begun to wonder if he's not also the patron saint of chocolate?

All this came from the St. Nicholas Center on the web. While there, I also found a lot of recipes, including one for a raisin bread (it actually has chocolate chips in it, too!) called Biskkupsky Chelbicek, which I might make with Zooey tomorrow. (Scroll down a bit -- it's the second recipe.) There are many other cookie and candy recipes on the site as well. In fact, I'm a big fan of Dutch Letters -- basically flakey pastry filled with almonds and shaped like the letter S, and I was pleased to find out that this confection is actually a traditional St. Nicholas Day treat. Unfortunately, I do not have time to bake them, and the nearest bakery that I know carries Dutch Letters is all the way over in Iowa (and boy are they yummy). They'll ship, but I didn't know about them being related in St. Nicholas in time to order any.

I understand that tomorrow's evening meal ought to be something of a feast -- I may just add dessert to the menu, since we hardly ever include dessert with our regular suppers. And we'll hang up the stockings tonight, too, though I'm not at all prepared to fill them while the children sleep. For this year, anyway, we will stick to the Christmas morning tradition that both my family and my husband's family kept. Or maybe I'll put in a little treat for the children to find tomorrow and do the rest on Christmas morning.'s only 11:15 my time and I'm already behind for the day! Time to get Zooey from school and learn how his treat went over with the class...



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