I have rebuilt the Alphabet of Saints that was lost in a hard drive crash and will begin to upload those stories and new artwork slowly to the site. Each letter will be available as a downloadable pdf to print and use. When the entire alphabet is completed, we will offer the entire set as a single download or in spiral-bound printed form through the Family Centered Living Catalogue.
Below is a re-posting of the original letter “A”.
Long ago, in the land of Gaul, was nestled the beautiful town of Trier. The hillsides were covered, and still are today, in vines, which – every summer – grow heavy with grapes. And in one lovely house, on one of those hillsides, lived the family of Aurelius Ambrosius – his very wise and pius wife, his daughter Marcellina, and son Satyrus. The house was blessed once more with the birth of a baby – another son, whom they named Ambrose.
Ambrose was a very special child.
One day, when his mother placed him in out in the garden in his cradle for a midday nap, a swarm of bees entered from the vineyard and began to dance around the infant’s downy head. Round and round they flew, buzzing merrily, as his parents gazed on in amazement. Not a single bee offered to sting their tiny boy. And just as suddenly as they had appeared, the bees gathered themselves and flitted away back to their hives, leaving on the child’s lips
a single drop of honey.
“Surely this is a sign that the boy will grow in wisdom, and eloquence, and sweetness!” cried his father.
And he was right.
Ambrose grew to manhood and became a lawyer, then a governor, and was later elected the Bishop of Milan in Italy. He was known far and wide for his wisdom, his elegant turn of phrase, and his sweetness – especially to the poor.
St. Ambrose Day is celebrated on 7th December, during the season of Advent.
“The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,because they recognize his voice But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” – John 10:3-5 NAB
The most important thing we teach our children is to know, to love, and to serve God. So, from the youngest ages, we must introduce them to the story of their salvation. One of the ways we can tell that story is through the use of simple scenes and figures.
The story of the Good Shepherd reminds us all of God’s loving care. Start by making a flock of sheep from the pattern below.
Knitted Sheep (make as many as you wish)
1 skein worsted wool in ivory, grey, or soft brown
Knitting needles, size 6 or 7
Wool batting or roving to stuff
crochet hook, size G or H
chenille stems (optional)
CO 24 sts using your preferred method. Knit 8 rows.
Row 9: BO 6 sts. K18
Row 10: BO 6sts. K12
Rows 11-17: Knit all sts.
Row 18: K12, CO 6sts at the end of the row
Row 19: K18, CO 6sts at the end of the row (24sts)
Rows 20-26: Knit all sts.
Row 27: BO 8sts. Knit 16 sts
Row 28: BO 8 sts. Knit 8 sts.
Rows 29-45: Knit all sts.
Row 46: Bind Off.
Gather the feet and sew up each leg. Next, gather along the sides of the head. Turn sheep right side out and stuff the head.
If you want posable legs, roll each end of your chenille stems until you have the right length to fit into a pair of legs. You may need to trim a couple of inches from each stem first so that the ‘rolls’ aren’t too large. wrap a bit of stuffing around the roll and insert each end into an opposing foot. Finish stuffing the sheep and sew up the center seam, beginning by folding the remaining head edge in half (this will form the elongated face you want).
To make ears: with same colour yarn and a size G or H hook, chain 3, sl st in the first chain and finish off. Make 2. Sew to head. You can do this before you sew the final seam, or after.
If you want to make a ram, crochet a chain of 8-10 stitches and sc along one side of the chain to make it curl. Sew horns to the sheep’s head. If you’d like, secure the curl of the horn to itself with a few stitches.
September delivers the gift of abundant apples. If you don’t have your own apple trees, it is important to use apples from a local organic orchard whenever possible. To find one near you, visit the Holistic Orchard Network.
This is a traditional fall-time treat in our little family. It’s one of those foods that really qualifies as Comfort Food. It’s easy to make and is delicious with heavy (double) cream, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream. Makes enough for a large family, or as a generous offering for co-op gatherings.
4-1/2c (20floz) milk
4 eggs, slightly beaten
16 slices bread, diced (leave it out overnight, or use stale bread)
1c. organic brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. raisins (golden, black or combination)
6 apples, pared, cored and diced
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine milk and eggs. Pour over bread; add remaining ingredients. Pour into a large (really large), greased baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes until custard is well set. Serve warm.
***NOTE: Gluten-Free Bread is perfectly fine to use in this recipe.
This is the nicest applesauce we have ever had. It comes out velvety smooth and slightly pink. Our family puts up about 50 qt. each autumn, but it never makes it all the way round the year. A wonderful recipe to make with children because it is totally un-fussy.
5 lb MacIntosh apples, halved and cored
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F. Place all ingredients into a roasting pan with a lid. The water should be just enough to cover the bottom of the pan, not cover the fruit. Bake for one hour, until the apple flesh is soft. Remove cinnamon stick. Press apples through a sieve, or put through a food mill. There is no need for sugar at all. The baking develops the natural sugars so much better than boiling.
German Apple Pancakes (Dutch Baby)
My family loves this for breakfast served with bacon or sausage. This makes a batch large enough for a family of 8. You can make these in mini pans to serve individually. For those of British descent, you’ll recognize this batter as being the same as for Yorkshire pudding. If you made this recipe with ‘bangers’ or sausage instead of apples – you’d have Toad in the Hole, which is a good teatime recipe. Serve with cream if you wish and for sure remember the homemade cocoa!
1.5 c. flour (GF AP flour mix is a fine substitute+)
1.5 c. milk
1 tsp salt
½ c. butter
4 medium apples, thinly sliced
½ c. sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 400F. Place two large baking dishes (glass/Pyrex) in oven with ½ stick butter in each. Beat eggs, flour, milk and salt together for 1 minute – some folks like to use a blender for this part. When the butter is completely melted and HOT, add equal amounts of batter to each dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Combine cinnamon and sugar, set aside. Divide the apples evenly between both dishes, sprinkle on cinnamon sugar and bake for and additional 10-15 minutes. The batter will have puffed way up the sides – very impressive! When you bring it to the table, it’ll still be sizzling – that’s the panache!
Hot Mulled Cider
A wonderful drink to accompany freshly baked and still-warm bread for snack time. You can make the cider in your home juicer if you don’t own a press. Alternatively, if you are very lucky, you can find fresh, unpasteurised cider at some farms.
1/2 c. organic brown sugar
1 tsp allspice (whole)
1 tsp cloves (whole)
1/4 tsp salt
Dash ground nutmeg
3 inch stick cinnamon
2 qt fresh apple cider
Combine sugar, allspice, cloves, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cider in large saucepan. Slowly bring to boiling; cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove spices. Serve in warmed mugs with a clove-studded orange wedge in each. Serves 8.
Apple Pumpkin Dessert
A wonderful snack-time recipe that is very easy for even the smallest children to help assemble. If you don’t put up pie fillings, store bought fillings would also be fine. I like them packaged in glass jars for the flavor. You could also substitute mincemeat filling for the apple if you like it!
1 qt homemade pumpkin pie filling
1 qt homemade apple pie filling
1 box wheaten or graham crackers, crushed
¼ c organic sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter, melted
1 c. finely chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, pecans and butter. Blend well (should still be crumbly), reserve 1 cup crumbs. Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Bake crust blind for 8-10 minutes. Pour apple filling over crumb crust and spread evenly. Spoon pumpkin filling over apples and spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining graham cracker crumbs over all. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until pumpkin pie filling is set and crumbs are golden brown.
1/3 c. flour (GF AP flour mix is a fine substitute+)
1 c chopped walnuts
Peel and slice apples thinly. Butter the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, place apples evenly in dish. Cream butter and brown sugar together; add nuts, cinnamon and flour. Spread over top of apples. Bake at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes.
Apple Cider Donuts
Available at farmers markets all over in the fall time!
1/2 c. organic sugar
2 tbsp. butter
2 beaten eggs
2 c. sifted flour (GF AP flour mix is a fine substitute+)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. apple cider
1 c organic sugar
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. Mix the sugar and butter together; Add the beaten eggs and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Stir in the apple cider until blended. Heat oil to 350 degrees F Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls into the hot oil. Turn to brown evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Let cool. Meanwhile, combine 1c. sugar and 1T cinnamon in shallow bowl or baking dish. Roll slightly warm donuts in cinnamon sugar and serve! Makes about 3 dozen 1 1/2″ donuts.