Thursday, September 30, 2010

Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Weekly Giveaway #1

I've been thinking this over for a little while (because I really love doing giveaways!) and I've decided to start a weekly giveaway on my blog! I will occasionally host giveaways for other stores as I've done in the past (when the opportunity arises), but the bulk of the giveaways will be from my own store, Full of Grace Creations. The plan for the giveaways goes something like this:

I am going to skip the first Monday of October, since it's already almost here, so the first of the Monday Morning Weekly Giveaways will take place on October 11th and will be a rosary! The winner can decide between pink, white, off white or grey glass pearls! The rosary will look something like this:

Now for the rules!

You can earn one entry simply for leaving your contract information in the comment section.
You can earn three entries when you become a follower (or if you already are a follower!). Just mention it in the comment section (it can be in the same post).
Lastly you can earn five entries if you post the link to your blog post about this giveaway in the comment section!

Entries will be closed Sunday the 10th at noon and the winner will be announced sometime Monday morning!

And my international readers are welcome to enter! We ship internationally now!

Good luck and God Bless!

Thomist Speaks..

Once in a while Thomist, who is a kind-of guest blogger on A Woman's Place (he gives a man's perspective!) writes in. And sometimes his comments deserve there own post. Here's todays:


Reading your posts is a good exercise in abnormal psychology.

First, we read that you think children should never be slandered.

Second, we read that in this particular case of the Haney child it is allowable because other children, at a school in which the Haney child no longer attends, "say" she is talking disparagingly about their school.

Third, you then proceed to hold the minor as more morally culpable than the adult. Keep in mind that you have only hearsay for information on the child and photographic evidence for the adult. Furthermore, you disregard the fact that one is a child and the other is AN ADULT.

Fourthly, you then sympathize with this adult who is drawing negative attention to herself by attacking children. You begin to claim that others who just happen to be holding her responsible for what in truth is morally repugnant and evil are violating her first amendment rights. I am glad to see that relativism is alive and well in Trinity County. Common sense on the other hand seems to be taking a back seat to the afore mentioned relativism.

Anonymous, most people would look at this woman who slanders children by car propaganda and see her as a complete psycho. This psychopath then wonders why people stop to look at her. Perhaps she even wonders why others might take pictures of this freak-show. Instead of realizing this woman for what she is, either A. crazy or B. evil; you have raised her up to be some sort of political martyr.

If you want the "stupid chatter" to end I recommend being quite. Look at what is being said by both candidates and their supporters. If a maniac who paints political messages all over her car can convince you to muddy the clear waters perhaps democracy is too complicated for you. Now open your eyes and stop being dense.


SEPTEMBER 30, 2010 6:22 PM

This is Amazing!

Weekly Baby Weight Loss Update!

I just completed my nightly 45 minutes on the exercise bike. I'm currently stuck at the same weight I was stuck at with Sadie! And it's kind of frustrating! I've now lost 28 lbs (that means I'm 17 lbs from my goal)!

I dug up this picture to help motivate myself. Here I am near my goal weight (back in the day before I had discovered cute little white Church sweaters!)! That is still my favorite dress though!

And here's another blast from the past! Check out the curls!

Maybe I'll try to bump it up to an hour each night on the exercise bike. I did it once this week. But even with netflicks I just get bored!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Response to a ComBox Comment

A few months after I married Paul I was asked to be the cheerleading advisor at our local high school... At the time I was working as the sports writer for our local paper, so I was going to be at all the games anyways, and we had been scrimping and saving every penny that we earned to go on a grand trip around the world that we had been planning since we first met. The two thousand dollar stipend would go straight into the fund!

I had become a cheerleader when I was young because I loved to dance. I took classes ranging from ballet to tap to irish dance (tap was always my favorite and was the one I stuck with when I was older) from the age of 3 to the age of 16. Cheerleading seemed like a natural extension of dance and it gave me another stage on which to perform, because, despite being an extreme introvert in everyday life, I had no problem dancing on stage in beautiful costumes.

And so I became the cheerleading coach at our local school, in charge of sixteen teenage girls.

Thus began to longest three and a half months of my life (in experienced time it felt more like three years...).

I remember high school and I can't say that I would ever want to go back to that time. But in the six years that passed between my graduation and the time I spent coaching, a lot had changed. The cruelty and ruthlessness with which the girls treated each other had been taken to a surprising level.

And I was definitely not a favorite among them. I was far too strict. No making out with boyfriends in uniform (or straddling them on the gym benches during games). Don't be late to practice. The expectations I had were the same that were common when I was in school, and the consequences were the same. Break a rule and the entire team ran together (I would even run with them!).

By the end of the season I'd been cussed out by a girl (who was kicked off the team because of it) and by her father when I explained to him that she'd skipped practice for a month, lied to me and the principal and then let out a string of profanities when I'd confronted her about it.

It was then that I began to realize something that has since been confirmed over and over again: the apple doesn't fall far from the tree (I guess there's a reason that it's a cliche!).

Parents who are cruel, who gossip about kids and badmouth their own friends, raise children who are cruel, who don't even really know how to be a good friend. Parents who show no respect to the people around them, raise children who don't respect themselves, much less others.

That was one of the things that was so funny about the comment I received in the combox earlier today. I'd written a post about a bunch of rather pathetic adults bashing a teenager, because her dad is running for public office. And an adult writes immediately back in the comment box justifying that sort of behavior (in fact in another comment she claims to have written more that I didn't post... which isn't true... but I must admit I'm very curious to see what other vicious ramblings she'd be brave enough to post. People always seem to be brave when they hide behind anonymity). Here's my response, which pretty much sums up my thoughts on the entire situation:
Cam said...

Is that to imply that you sent a second comment that I didn't post (not true!) or that your second comment would be so crass that I wouldn't post it? You're right if it's the second. If you post again, making denigrating comments about a young person, I won't post it. If you want to act like a grown up, I will.

It's not surprising that you don't appreciate the irony of your first comment. I write a post about adults gossiping about kids. And you post back saying basically that she "deserved" to be gossiped about. That's the kind of attitude that produces today's bullies. I wouldn't be surprised if you were the parent of one of the lovely children that probably made life so pleasant at that school for so many others. After all the apple usually doesn't fall far from the tree.

If only parents would act like parents! Being 16 is hard enough without adults trapped in a state of perpetual adolescence making it worse!

A Quick Note

If you've read my last few posts you know I'm addressing some very serious issues that are going on in my county! However, I promise I'll still have my normal, upbeat A Woman's Place posts, too, every day! And I will be having a Full of Grace Creations giveaway soon!

If you aren't interested in all the Trinity County going-ons feel free to ignore it (I know you're probably being showered with enough of the politics in your own towns and counties and states as it is)!

Any suggestions for my next giveaway? Last time the consensus was sacrifice beads? Any preferences this time?

The Trinity County Sheriff's Race: Why it's So Important

Sometimes a story really sticks with you. This one, which I read about in the local newspaper, and which I retell now from memory, was deeply disturbing.

I'll begin with a little background: Our county has a very serious drug problem. In this case I’m not referring to the rampant over-written prescription problem that exists. No, that is a far lesser problem when compared with the large scale marijuana production that goes on in a little, tragic corner of our county called "Trinity Pines." Trinity Pines is a large subdivision that is "off the grid."

At one point it was beautiful there. No longer. People have flocked from out of state (the license plates in the area are mostly Oregon, Washington and Florida) to work on pot plantations that have completely destroyed the land. Bulldozers and raw sewage abound. The structures are built without regulations, and deforestation (to make room for pot gardens) have left the land bare. When law enforcement officers show up gunshots ring out throughout the subdivision.

Unfortunately, many people moved to Trinity Pines before it became the toxically dangerous mess that it is today. People bought land to retire. They moved their to raise their families in a beautiful, pristine place. And not all of them have been able to afford to pack up and move, particularly now that Trinity Pines has become a cesspool (not good for land prices when you're trying to sell).

Now to the story that stands out so clearly, perhaps because it could really happen to anyone in this county.

A man returns home to find out from his wife that his neighbors, who are growers, have been firing their guns onto his property again. The wife managed to get the children quickly inside, where they've spent the day cowering in fear, hoping that the walls of the house keep them safe from the gun fire outside.

He goes next door. It's the last thing that he wants to do, but he must do something. He's called the sheriff dozens of times for the same complaint and they never come. Gun fire is low on their list of problems. Even if it is directed at small children.

Things go better than expected when he shows up at his neighbors house. He asks them not to shoot at his home. And he goes back to work on his own property.

A few hours later he's out working on his tractor when his neighbors step out of the trees, towards him, holding shotguns. The two that he sees right away climb up on the front of his tractor. He doesn't see the third until it's too late. The third man climbs up behind him and grabs him around the neck and begins to strangle him.

The hero of this story, a father, trying to make a living for his family and protect them, has long since learned to work with a rifle across his lap. He begins to fight back as the three men attack him, using the butt of his rifle to hit one of them. As he does the rifle fires, shooting the man behind him, whose fingers are still wrapped around his neck, in the shoulder.

That ends the fight. The other two are less bold now that their friend is on the ground bleeding. Our hero asks them if they'd like him to drive them into town to the hospital. They refuse, picking their friend up and disappearing into the forest.

Our hero goes back to his home and calls 911. He explains what happened. He tells them that he was attacked by three men with guns, three men who had been firing at his children all day, and that he shot one of them in the struggle.

Hours pass. He stays inside with his family. Finally, five hours later, the sheriff's deputies arrive, led by Mr. Dave Cox, who would like to be our brave new leader. They arrest the father, and confiscate all of his weapons (in a county with drug cartels, everyday growers, mountain lions, bears and coyotes, most people do have weapons). They let the other men, all of who have outstanding warrants on weapons charges in other counties, go. And then they leave the mother and her children, alone and unarmed.

Thankfully, they survived the terrifying days that followed, while Our Hero spent his days in a jail cell, waiting for bail to be set. Finally, weeks later, he was released, without being charged, despite Mr. Cox's best efforts.

The story of being held for weeks, or months, or even years (one man was held for two years without bail before finally being found innocent on all charges) isn't unusual in our county. Mr. Cox, who works for the investigator's office, is more concerned with getting convictions than with the truth.

And that may be the most frightening part of all of this...

Dave Cox Campaign Rolls On with Intimidation Tactics

The Dave Cox Trinity County Sheriff campaign rolls on.

I can't say I'm surprised. I mean, I've heard so many stories of people who have been threatened and intimidated by Dave Cox and his supporters in this town that I did acknowledge that there was the possibility that they would try to retaliate against me. On the other hand bullies usually don't like to confront people that stand up to bullies. They like to pick on people who are afraid to fight back (that's never been my problem, thank goodness!). And we've been seeing a lot of that in town lately.

The last comment I received (and posted, although I was hesitant since the person decided to take a few more, entirely untrue, shots at a kid again) threatened a law suit for posting that picture on my site.

It also tried to skew the situation of the taking of the picture which involved pulling into a parking lot and snapping a photo, while several Cox supporters came over and tried to intimidate the photographer (thankfully, I come by my backbone honestly and he doesn't intimidate easy!).

Seriously... Someone writes slander on their car against a minor and parks it in a public parking lot in the middle of town... and then they get upset when someone snaps a picture. I was careful not to show the license plate (which wasn't in the photo anyways!). Which is more than we can say about the Cox campaign who posted the Haney's home address in the paper in a paid ad a couple of weeks ago (in case anyone was wondering that's very, very illegal, since he is a law enforcement officer).

Intimidation won't work here and in response I am going to be much more vocal in the next month as I follow the election. Thank you anonymous for helping me develop my blogging policy in the upcoming month. Thank you!

Sadie Frown of the Year: An Attempted Break-In...

This morning I discovered something unpleasant (okay, "unpleasant" is an understatement, and I'm really rather freaked out). I went into Sadie's room where she was sitting on her bed. Lately she's wanted to play for a few minutes before we go downstairs, which is perfect, because it gives me a chance to get ready for the day (especially since Paul's still on crutches). Sadie's room only has a fairly small lamp, so I pulled open the blinds to let in a little bit of light and the frame of the screen caught my eye.

I should start by saying that Sadie's blinds are almost always closed. The sun shines on that side of the building at the hottest part of the day and so we usually have everything shut down to keep the apartment from heating up too much. I'd opened them last week for one day, for the first time in a couple of months and Paul had closed them at bedtime. So I know that the screen was fine about a week ago.

Today when the blinds opened and I looked out it was clear that someone had pried the screen frame out at the corner and bent it back in an attempt to get into the room. I wish there was another way of looking at it, but I really don't see any other possibility. The window is set back in the building, between two rooms that jut out, and so it really doesn't seem like it could be the wind. It's a second floor window, so someone had to either climb up, or come out of one of the other apartments windows onto the roof's slanted ledge (it's about ten feet wide).

And of course, I'm especially upset because it was Sadie's room.

We called the sheriff's department and they were pretty concerned after they heard that it was a child's room, but there's really not much they can do. They're terribly understaffed. They took a report and said that they would try to send deputies on patrol by that apartment complex a little more frequently.

I have to say I kind of wish the apartments here had as many security measures as the houses I lived in when I was a student in South Africa. I wouldn't mind security bars and razor wire right now (or panic buttons!). And the upside down bottles set in cement and then shattered at the tops that lined all the walls surrounding both places I stayed are looking pretty good too... Somehow putting a bar in the window frame just doesn't make me feel quite as safe as those other methods...

The fact that the apartment complex is almost completely dark at night doesn't make me feel much better either....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bruce Haney and Dave Cox: The Trinity County Sheriff's Race Saga Continues

When you grow up in a small town, you usually understand pretty early on how small town politics and the small town gossip mill works. The scrutiny can be especially intense on children when a parent is in a position, or a potential position, of power.

As the daughter of a high school superintendent I saw this first hand and as I have watched this year's sheriff election unfold I can't help but sympathize with one of the candidates children.

In national politics even the paparazzi have seemed to have some sort of standards about the children of candidates and public officials. Sasha and Malia. Jenna and Barbara. Chelsea. They were off limits.

In a small town it doesn't work that way. Grown men and women see nothing wrong with slandering a young teenage girl that they've all watched grow up. The gossip mill is an easy way to spread "information" (or misinformation) about a candidate and try to turn public opinion in your favor (especially when your as desperate as these guys are!).

I've struggled these past few weeks with my view on Mud-Slinging. The Haney campaign has made it clear that they're running a clean campaign, on the merits of Bruce Haney and that they don't need to air the dirty laundry of the opposition in order to win (and from what I've heard in town, staying above the fray is working VERY well for them).

On the other hand, it's very hard to resist the temptation to write a long rant here about all the deeply disturbing things that have been going on in our beautiful little town. I personally know people who have been screamed at by the opposition candidate, for posting a Haney sign in their window or yard. Some have been so terrified that they've taken all of their signs down. Others are more determined than ever to show their support for the best man for the job. And then there are the stories of treatment that not just one, or two, but of many that have come forward to tell of their "treatment" by Mr. MudSlinger himself (and we're talking about stories by regular, hardworking people, who were never charged with any crime!).

But I digress. Bruce doesn't need any of us to sling the other candidates own dark truths back at him. He will win because he is the best man for the job and the vast majority of the people in this town know it (I'm predicting he takes 2/3 of the votes from talking to people in town!).

With all the mudslinging that has gone on, I have a feeling that Dave Cox is his own worst enemy. He might have had a chance if he'd realized before he began campaigning that bullying people doesn't usually equate to votes when the curtain closes on the voting booth.

Diamond Earring Giveaway Winner!

I just used a random number generator for the first time (instead of cutting up a ton of little slips of papers and writing names on them) and now have a winner for today's giveaway for the beautiful pair of earrings from

The earrings will look just like these:

And the result from the number generator looked like this:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2010-09-29 02:33:49 UTC

The fourth person to enter the giveaway was Lily from The Catholic Wife! Congratulations Lily! If you email me the mailing address you want them sent to I'll pass it on to the people at and they'll send you your new pair of earrings!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Adventures in Coupons: $221.58 for a $11.86 gain!

Today while Paul was dropping Sadie off at Nani's, but before we headed into The City for Paul's surgery, I sat in the middle of the living room floor and furiously clipped coupons while Maggie babbled away on her blanket. Most of the coupons were from the Proctor and Gamble booklet from the last two months, which made things go a little faster, and in only half an hour I had my coupons organized in a neat little pile next to my list and I was ready to go.

When Paul got home we headed to CVS and the weekly coupon adventure began. Here is the result (minus a bag of chips and a candy bar that I brought along on the trip to The City):

And here's the damage:
The grand total before any sales and coupons came to $221.58.
The grand total after sales and coupons came to $28.14.
$12.51 of that was tax.
We received $25 back in CVS extra bucks and a $15 off coupon for the new Iron Man 2 movie which comes out tomorrow!
Altogether that makes todays trip a $11.86 gain!

Here's a picture of my list for the week. I copy and paste straight from hip2save into a word document so that I have specific instructions for each individual scenario. Then I go through my coupons and check off each set of coupons for each couponing scenario.

This brand new toothbrush from Oral-B is one of this weeks best deals. The problem is finding it! It's usually over $30 but this week it's on sale for $23. There was a $10 coupon this week in the Proctor and Gamble coupon book in the Sunday paper AND you get $13 extra bucks back on your receipt when you purchase it! That makes this toothbrush entirely free! And the limit allows for a purchase of two with this deal! The biggest problem is finding two. Our store only had one... I'm hoping they get more in on Tuesday when the next shipment comes in! So my weeks couponing isn't quite over yet!

One of my favorite parts about couponing is getting things that we would never be able to afford (like the body wash above!) for free! I love finding things that I know Paul would like to use (these men's body washes are a great example) on super sale.

I was also really excited with the Aveeno baby sale this week! Sadie has super dry skin that's also very sensitive, so we go through tons of lotion! And finding my favorite shampoo (any 2 in 1 head and shoulders... because it's quick to use, and time is in short supply these days!) and stain spray (which we go through at an incredibly quick rate) were two highlights.

Lastly there was this! I've been waiting to buy this cake mold for quite some time. Like the bread pan below I'm planning on making a few baked goods with it for our booth. And it comes with a little book of ideas of fillings for cupcakes too! I can hardly wait to get started!

A Beautiful Pumpkin Bread Pan

I'm about to do a coupon-ing post, but first I have to show off my new bread making pan! I've been baking breads like crazy (we're going to have a jewelry/rosary/knit/crochet booth in the upcoming harvest festival in a couple weeks and I'm going to have a few breads for sale too) and thought this would make the breads a little extra special!

I was stopping by Michael's before Paul's surgery to pick up more orange and green yarn (I've been crocheting cute little pumpkin hats) and this pan caught my eye. It was $29.99, but I happened to have a 40% off coupon for any item in the store from the Sunday paper, and since my yarn was on sale and the coupon couldn't be used with it I decided to splurge and use it on this pan (it knocked the price down to $17.99, which still felt REALLY pricy to me, but I'm hoping to make it back on the breads I bake with it!).

I just hope my bread looks as lovely as the bread on the coverage of the package it came in. I have a feeling it may take a bit of practice!

I have four new pumpkin bread recipes to try out (I've been on a banana bread spree, and I was planning on baking tea bread next, but this pan may bump pumpkin bread into the next baking slot), so hopefully I'll have some beautiful pumpkin bread pictures soon!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hospital Trips and Surgery

The girls are finally asleep at the same time, and Paul is still at work, so I am (as very rarely happens) downstairs by myself, watching a movie (and typing a post!) and trying to get up the motivation to get on the exercise bike and pedal for forty five minutes.

I've been checking in every hour or so with my mom, who is sitting in the waiting room at the ER where my grandpa is being seen again for stomach problems (at least we think that's it). They seem to think he is going to get to come home tonight, but we've discovered over the years that it's better to go in sooner rather than later, which will hopefully avert a longer stay.

The last phone conversation I had, a few minutes ago, didn't paint a very pretty picture of the ER. It was very loud in the background as mom described a scene that included a man with a severed artery that was wrapped up, but that would spurt blood across the room if he let the pressure off of it, and a woman with a severe break in her ankle. The people who had been in the waiting room the longest had been waiting for three hours, and anytime they nearly made it past the waiting room, another ambulance would pull up and unload someone. Before getting off the phone I heard my mom trying to convince the woman with the badly deformed ankle to stay, instead of giving up and going home for the night. The next nearest hospital is over an hour away. I have a feeling it's going to be a long night for mom (and grandma and grandpa, although I think they're probably already in their own room).

So if you have an extra minute tonight, offer up a few prayers for the people waiting to be seen by the overworked hospital staff, and for the overworked doctor's who are trying to make sure everyone who needs to be seen is cared for.

And tomorrow afternoon Paul goes in for his knee surgery! At least he's taken five days off of work to recover. He should get a lot of studying in this week.

Now for the bike...

Update: Grandpa is home from the hospital!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Electricity and Taxes...

Our electricity bill arrived yesterday and as I looked over the charges I was struck by the ridiculousness of the "additions" that were over and above what we paid for power in our little apartment.

Here's how the entire thing added up:

We paid $57.04 for electricity. Not bad considering the non-stop loads of laundry, a very old refrigerator that we bought from the repair man, and a large freezer in the garage.

Then there was the "Deregulation Surcharge" which added up to $17.22.

After that was the "Drought Relief Surcharge" which tacked on another $5.68.

Then came the "California Energy Surcharge" which is a mere $.21.

And last is the "California Public Benefit Charge" which takes another $2.28.

So the grand total is $82.43. $57.04 in actual electricity and $25.39 in extra charges.

Our phone bill looks very similar, which is ridiculous since we only have local in area calling. If a number doesn't start with out towns code, we can't dial it.

I was wondering if this is a "California thing" or if it's an everywhere in the US thing. I was leaning towards it being a California thing... So... Does your power bill cost nearly 50% more because of surcharges?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cloth Diaper Cover Favorite: The Wonder Wrap!

The verdict is in. I now officially have a favorite diaper cover.

It wasn't the one I expected to be my favorite. In fact, I almost didn't buy a Wonder Wrap. The store I bought the first one from only had Mandarin, and it was my least favorite color of the four choices... but I figured that trying different covers was the best way to figure out which one would work best for us, so I added it to our cart. And I am so glad that we did!

I ordered four more this week, since Maggie only fits in two of her diaper covers now (1 Wonder Wrap and 1 Happy Heiny), and just received an email informing me that they were out of the Vanilla and Blackberry, but that they have plenty of Mandarin and Kiwi (of course they do...). So we're going to have three mandarin wraps and two kiwi wraps... and that shows just how well these wraps work. I'm willing to get two colors that I really don't like because I know that they contain blow out diapers really, really well.

My only wish is that they made the diapers in cuter colors (or that I could find a store with "vanilla" in stock!).

The Happy Heiny's Diaper Cover comes in a close second. It would be tied or first if it weren't for the fact that the edges of the diapers has gotten kind of linty and the super-sticky-velcro seems to stick to everything (which is why the edges are linty... the diaper cover sticks to itself in the wash...). But it does a great job of not leaking, just like the Wonder Wrap, so it's definitely a favorite.

I'm not really a Bummi's or a Thirsties fan. We just had a more leaks with those brands (although they have a lot of cute patterns and colors, so I really wanted them to work out!) and Maggie has already, at the ripe old age of 2 and a half months, grown out of the size 1's.

I like the words "one size fits all" at the top of a diaper. With babies that grow this fast, it's a must!

The Over Population Myth

I finally had an opportunity to watch these clips and I just had to post them here. It's nice to have internet now that's fast enough to play video clips!

Outfit of the Week

I've stumbled across this store before, while searching for classic, stylish modest dresses, but I made the mistake of not bookmarking the site and I just couldn't find it for the longest time. Today, however, I finally stumbled across it again and instantly recognized my favorite dress (the red dress below!).

Who says that all dresses either have to be low cut or show way too much leg? These dresses prove (to anyone who had doubts in the first place!) that it's possible to be stylish and modest at the same time!

Now if only the stores at the mall would realize that dresses don't have to be "barely there" to sell! "Barely there" usually isn't flattering too very many women, even when they aren't worried about dressing modestly! When will designers and store buyers realize that leaving something to the imagination is a good thing?

A New Full of Grace Creation: Sacrifice Bracelets

I just completed and shipped off a custom order that's given me a new idea for a new product at Full of Grace Creations. Sacrifice bracelets! It took me two tries to make this one the right size, but when I finished the second one I was really happy with how it turned out! Here's the picture:

This one has a Saint Gerard medal, but I'll probably make most of the ones I post with a Miraculous medal or a tiny crucifix. Of course you can always request any of my bracelets or necklaces with the saint of your choice! So far Saint Gerard has been the most popular!

Now I need to get to work to make a few more to post in my shop!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh Sweetie....

How do I know that my husband carefully reads my blog?

This picture is proof!

Remember a couple of days ago when I said that I was saving my money for a few kitchen utensils?

I am no longer in need of a spatula!

I picked him up from work yesterday and he hopped in the car holding the spatula pictured above and said:

"I got your anniversary present! And look, it was on clearance for 99 cents!"

Paul knows I'm a sucker for a good deal!

He also noticed I was desperately in need of shirts and picked up two really cute USF shirts (also on sale! Yay! Good job honey!) at the campus bookstore at school.

And I gave him Peter Kreeft's Back to Virtue, which I also can't wait to read...

Four Years Ago Today...

Four years ago today Paul and I were married! Five years ago today we went on our first date!

Oh, how the time flies!

Here's a picture taken while we were dating...

Here's one taken a few seconds after Paul proposed (it was soooooooo cold!)!


1 Year Anniversary

Right around 2 years...

Happily Married for a little over 3 years!

And because we didn't take a family picture today I'll have to use a couple different pictures!

Daddy and Sadie!

Sadie again!


And me!

That's our little family 4 years after Paul and I were joined together in holy matrimony!

Now I need to work on getting a 4th Anniversary family picture! I need to do it quick because Paul is about to be on crutches. He went in for his pre-op today for knee surgery on Monday morning! What a busy week!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Giveaway from

I was pretty excited when I was given the opportunity to review a pair of simulated diamond stud earrings from! And I was especially excited to find that I could also giveaway a pair of the same earrings!

They arrived yesterday in a cute little heart shaped box!

And when I opened it I saw this lovely pair of earrings!

I was really impatient to try them on!

And as you can see I'm really, really happy with them!

I think the winner of this giveaway will be happy when they receive their pair too!

To enter leave your name and email address in the comment box. For extra entries you can post about this giveaway on your blog, facebook or on twitter. Then let me know in separate comments in the comment box for additional entries! If you leave a comment with your info and then leave comments about posting on your blog, facebook and twitter you can earn four entries altogether!

I'll draw and announce the winner on Tuesday, September 28th.

Good luck!

Sewing Project of the Week: Denim Wrap Skirt

This is my most useful sewing project so far! I finished this skirt a few weeks ago and have been meaning to post a picture of it since I finished it. It is a super simple wrap skirt from Christine Haynes' Chic and Simple Sewing.

It should only have taken a very short amount of time to make, but it was stretched out over several days. Every time I sewed one seam Maggie would wake up and start to fuss and so I ended up sewing an average of one seam a day.

Here's the finished product!

And while I doubt that I'll manage to sew one project a week, I'm hoping that the title of this post will motivate me to sew more than I have been in the past few months!

I have another, calf length denim skirt cut out already. Hopefully I can manage at least a seam a day to get it finished soon!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Diamond Earring Giveaway and Review Coming Soon!

I am so excited! I was asked if I wanted to do a review and a giveaway of a pair of simulated diamond earrings! They arrived yesterday and as soon as I get a few photographs snapped I'll post both the review and giveaway! It should be up by tonight as long as today goes smoothly!

"Are You Done Now?"

I was just reading another wonderful post by Melody and it reminded me of a conversation I had with a relative a couple of weeks ago. Actually it reminded me of a number of conversations I've had over the course of the past year (too many to relate right now), but I'll start with the most recent. It went something like this:

Relative: "So are you planning on having any more children or are you two done?"

Me: "We'd like to have more."

Relative: "Really?"

Paul, standing a ways away, sees me falter in response and begin to look uncomfortable, and decides to help out: "Oh, we'd like to have at least seven."

Relative: "You know you're cousin is done now. Her uterus literally almost fell out of her body. The doctor's had to push it back in..." Accompanied by a rather graphic description of the aforementioned process, complete with hand gestures, followed by a description of how hard life is with four children.

Someone else at the table (coming to my rescue): "So you really want to have seven?"

Me: "You know what they used to say... Catholic or Careless? We're Catholic."

Well, we are Catholic. And we will lovingly and joyfully welcome as many children as God sends us. Which brings me to a church luncheon I was at recently (not a Catholic luncheon... we'll say it was "catholic lite" and leave it at that...).

The conversation turned to the Duggar's and the pastor and one of the other women at the table took turns ranting about the stupidity of having a large family and how God had given us a brain to use it (presumably to contracept). I tried to speak up a couple of times only to be bulldozed over, and finally was thankful when Maggie started to fuss and I had an excuse to stand up and leave the table. The ridiculousness reached a point when one of the older women who was watching Sadie joyfully run around in the garden (not bothering anyone) said "you know they have leashes!"

Yes, they do...

And of course there are always the "oh, you're having another girl?" comments that had already begun with Maggie. I can't imagine what it will be like if God decides to someday bless us with another little girl! I was thrilled when we found out that Sadie was going to have a little sister to play with.

But the general consensus from society was that another girl meant that we might not be "done." And there were plenty of questions about whether we were going to "try again for our boy." I was surprised at how many times I had that conversation as I walked to my car after Mass (although to be fair many people were also excited when we said we wanted a large family)!

Paul likes to field that one for me. "If we keep on having more, sooner or later there will probably be a boy..." That almost always results in a shocked expression.

Then again, following Church teaching these days sure is shocking!

The Piggy Bank: Saving Before Spending

This little piggy has had a tough week. I brought him home because he was on clearance for $2 at Target and I thought he could help us collect all the spare change in the apartment. Sadie saw him stashed on the ground next to my little work area and decided that he was for riding. And no sooner than I said, "she's fine, I don't think she could actually hurt it..." to Paul, than the pig had a chipped ear and was being whisked upstairs to safety while Sadie tried to scramble after Daddy to bring her new friend back downstairs...

He has a pretty big job, despite his injured ear: I've been squirreling away a dollar here and five dollars there (and tons of quarters and dimes and nickels) to buy non-essential items.

I haven't sworn of using credit altogether. I do use a card to buy all the essential things we need and I pay it off in full every month. I figure since we're buying all these things anyways we might as well get the "cash back bonus" for them. And because the cards are paid off in full each month, there isn't an interest payment.

My last savings goal came home this past week and Paul is downstairs putting it together right now. Here's the picture:

It was 50% off at Big 5 last week ($75), which meant I could use the left over money to buy a new high tech thermometer that takes forehead temperatures (although when I tried to test it out on Sadie she screamed and acted like she'd been attacked... despite the fact that the thermometer doesn't even have to touch her forehead to work...). I am still hopeful that it will at least make temperatures possible when she's asleep.

Saving to buy something does give me a sense of accomplishment when I've finally squirreled away enough to make the purchase. And because it takes so long there isn't a risk the risk of an impulse buy!

Next on the savings list: a spatula, a masher (not sure what that utensil is actually called... maybe that's the right name), a whisk and a blender. The spatula, masher and whisk are at the top of the list. They will make life and baking much easier! The blender is so that I can make Sadie fruit smoothies for breakfast!

And hopefully this bike, once assembled, will help me lose the rest of the baby weight! These days when we go on walks Sadie insists on walking and as a result our pace is very slow and slow just doesn't seem to burn many calories!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Farmer's Market and My New Eggplant Spaghetti and Garlic Bread Recipes

The Farmer's Market is definitely becoming one of the high points of my week! This last week Maggie was in one of her happy-go-lucky Maggie moods, so I asked Paul to watch her (she slept in her bassinet while he studied) and walked with Sadie downtown to the Farmer's Market. Sadie was quite a site to behold. She'd chosen her own "accessories" and was wearing her giant pink Disney Princess snow boots and her bright orange and lime green Wonder Pet gardening gloves. She was the epitome of being "two."

We picked out our veggies and put them in our canvas bag (I was happy with myself for finally remembering to bring it). I let Sadie pick one vegetable to buy and she picked a long skinny hot red pepper (she's taking after Mommy already!). Next we went to another booth and bought strawberries and tomatoes. As we stood in line to pay Sadie tried to jump up and down under the strawberries with her tongue out to see if she could taste them.

Then we sat out on the grass and listened to the music and ate the tomatoes and strawberries! Sadie was pretty thrilled (and she was on her absolute best behavior).

My favorite Farmers Market find were these eggplants. They were labeled as "fairy eggplants" and they were just so cute!

Tonight I was planning on following a recipe for an eggplant pasta. I really was. Unfortunately I apparently have a very strong aversion to actually following a recipe for more than five minutes. Once I realized I was short one item on the list of ingredients I used it as an excuse to completely give up on the recipe and go off on my own. Here's what I came up with:

First I sliced and salted the eggplant and let them drain, so that it wouldn't be bitter. Then I rinsed off the salt and sliced and diced the eggplant and put it in a large frying pan with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper to cook. While it cooked I sliced onions, and then added crushed garlic to the eggplant. I sliced up mushrooms next and added the mushrooms and onions, along with copious amounts of oregano, garlic powder, basil, "italian seasoning" and powdered onion (I do tend to get carried away with spices). In the meantime I'd grilled two red peppers (not the hot one Sadie picked) and let them cool. I diced them up and added them and then added two tomatoes I'd chopped. Everything was smelling delicious and garlicky by that point so I poured in three quarters of a jar of tomato sauce to give the recipe a saucy texture and now we have a new vegetarian eggplant spaghetti sauce.

We ate it on rigatoni and even Sadie loved it!

I served it with the garlic bread recipe that I've been perfecting this past month. I think I finally have a recipe I love. Here it is:

I cut a loaf of Walmart French Bread into thick slices. Then I take a nice and use it to scoop up a gob of crushed garlic (about the amount that would fit on a knife tip... I know... I know... my measurements leave something to be desired!) and deposit that amount on each slice. Then I sprinkle a thin layer of garlic salt over each piece of bread, followed by a sprinkle of oregano and basil. After that I sprinkle on a tiny bit of parmesan. Then I take a generous amount of margarine and spread it over the top of the ingredients on the bread, being careful to mix everything well.

I bake the bread at 350 degrees for ten minutes, or until it's just starting to look crispy. We served it tonight with the leftover spaghetti sauce from the jar and it was great!

The Family Rosary: Back to Stay!

"The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors."

-Pope Pius XI

"No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary"

-Bishop Hugh Doyle

Tonight we reinstated the family rosary in our home.

We really had never planned to stop praying each night as a family before bedtime. But when Maggie came along it often just seemed easier to split Maggie and Sadie up at bedtime and have one of us take Maggie downstairs while the other stayed upstairs with Sadie. And since I was usually upstairs in the dark bedroom with Sadie (and that is Sadie's special cuddle time each day!) it was just too easy to fall asleep while praying. Thus would begin the rounds of waking and praying and falling back to sleep only to wake up again and give it another try...

The other factor that played a role in the elimination of our family prayer time was the fact that Paul was being scheduled for the evening shift pretty frequently lately, and so he wasn't home at bed time. We could have tried mornings, but I never really gave mornings much consideration because we're usually hurrying so much as it is.

Paul's schedule seems to be changing though. We found out yesterday that he works mornings this week (for the most part anyways!). While we hadn't talked about it much, it was a part of our day that we both really missed.

And so it is back and I am committed to making sure it remains, the prayer at the center of our everyday lives, regardless of busy schedules and schedule changes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bruce Haney for Trinity County Sheriff

I know that most of my readers aren't in the same county as I am (or even the same state!) but for those that are I just had to write a quick post to encourage you to vote for Bruce Haney for Sheriff in the upcoming election! If you live here you probably already know how important this election is! We don't need a sheriff who says that there are "ways around the Constitution"! And we don't need a sheriff who "knows us well enough to know what's best for us!" (particularly in light of that earlier statement).

We do need a sheriff who is an honorable man who doesn't stoop to lying and mudslinging on a weekly basis.

We don't need a sheriff who finds half truths and twists them for his own means.

The opposition has made it clear that their attitude is Machiavellian: The end justifies the means. They want to win this election and the truth is only an inconvenience at best.

And that's why Maggie was wearing her Haney for Sheriff button this morning when we went to the VFW breakfast!

And here's my favorite picture from the morning: Bruce receiving an award from the National Guard for being a great employer who supports the guardsman who works for him.