Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Move!

Here we go!

We're moving the furniture today and will be in the new place tonight (tomorrow will be a cleaning day at this place)!

The internet will be turned on Tuesday (we hope... rather disappointing since we called to set up an appointment to have it moved two weeks ago and no one ever called back!) but I'm sure I'll be online at Nani's before then. Just have to type up posts here and post them when we're near an internet source.

Here's hoping everything goes smoothly from here on out!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Saint Gerard Chaplets have Arrived!

They're here! This is definitely one of the chaplets I'm the most excited about offering in my shop! I still have more to post, but knowing that I have a long day tomorrow, I'm calling it a night (actually before I was able to post this I was called away by a crying baby... so it became a morning post!). However, not before I show you the four I already posted (they're my favorites!). Here they are:






And as part of a "Moving Sale" I just reactivated the FULLOFGRACE10 coupon code! It's only for a few days though!

Hopefully once we move my brain will be back and I'll be back to more newsworthy posts! For the time being though, it's kind of occupied!

A Moving Update and a Couple New Chaplets

So here I am taking a break from packing (which I really shouldn't be doing). The carpet is in (I haven't seen it yet, but I stopped by the store this morning to make sure they were putting in the right stuff and to show Paul what it looked like so there wouldn't be any additional mistakes) and Grumpa spent a part of the morning in the pouring rain on the roof fixing newly discovered leaks (note to potential do-it-yourselfers: drilling straight down through the roof and sticking a hose through without any sort of sealing will cause water to pour down inside when it rains).

Tomorrow morning Nani is going to come over and stay with the girls while I start taking car loads back and forth. Once Paul gets off work he'll join in the moving fun!

My other distraction from the joy of packing has been posting new chaplets in my store. And I've also started making rosary place markers (these are a must with little ones in the house!). Here are a few of my favorites:




I've posted several Our Lady of Guadalupe chaplets, but this is my absolute favorite.


And a simple black onyx holy communion chaplet (I think this is one of my more masculine chaplets!).

Now the choice... do I pack or do I post the half dozen Saint Gerard Majella chaplets I've been working on? Decisions, decisions... I may opt for both. This may be a late night!

Monday, December 27, 2010

How Rich Are You?

If you head over to this site you will be able to complete this form to see where you fall in terms of wealth when compared with the rest of the world. Our family ended up being in the top 30%. It's an interesting site! When we put in our information it let me know that if we donated 10% of our income to charity we would still make twice as much as the typical person. It definitely gives me something to think about and helps me to appreciate how blessed we are.

How Rich Am I?

Annual household income (after tax):

Size of your household:

You are in the richest % of the world's population.1

Your income is more than times that of the typical person.2

If you donate 10% of your income…

You will still be in the richest % of the world's population.

Your income will be more than times that of the typical person.

The New Place: Part 2: The Flooring Incident

Deep breath. In the grand scale of things this is tiny. Miniscule. And after the past few months it really shouldn't bother me at all. We've had big things happen. This is tiny.

Still, I'm sitting here, while dinner cooks, very much bothered.

I just got off the phone with Paul and he described the beautiful grey and brown vinyl flooring that was just installed in our new place. At first I didn't realize there was a problem. Because I had picked out brown and grey flooring. I believe it was brown for the kitchen and grey for the bathrooms. Most definitely not brown and grey together on the same tile.

After a few seconds description and the words "the linoleum for the bathroom and kitchen and entry way all came off the same roll" I began to realize there was a problem.

No. they couldn't have come off the same roll. I picked a big brown roll for the kitchen to match our brown carpet (it's all one room). I picked a little grey roll for the bathrooms. I most certainly did not pick a grey and brown (combined) pattern.

Sigh.

Okay I guess I'm mostly bothered because I feel like no one is listening to me at the moment (probably why I'm blogging right now too). I'd been very excited about picking out brand new flooring. I described what I picked 50 times. And no one noticed that something else entirely came in and was installed (I was watching the girls since the place isn't exactly child friendly at the moment)?!?!

This is it. It's out of my system. I'm sitting in a living room with stained, disgusting carpet. New flooring is new flooring. It will be clean and when I see it I'm sure I will love it. All of it. Brown and grey. And brown and grey together...

Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway: An Amethyst Rosary Bracelet

It's time for another Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway!

I have been working on Chaplets almost every night lately (I did take off a few nights for Christmas!) and have a growing selection that I will soon be posting (and I’ll have some new chaplet giveaways coming up). However I forgot my camera (which has dead batteries at the moment anyways) at my parents’ house so I don’t have any new chaplet pictures so….

This week’s giveaway will be an amethyst rosary bracelet! The winner will be able to decide between a miraculous medal and a crucifix.

Now for the rules of the giveaway (they haven’t changed in a while!):

There's no limit to the number of times you can win (in other words, if you've won before you can enter again!)!

You can earn one entry simply for leaving your contract information in the comment section (only once though!).

You can earn one entry (each) if you tell me that you mentioned this giveaway on facebook or twitter!

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 January 2nd at noon and the winner will be announced sometime Monday morning!

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

Good luck and God Bless!

Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway: Saint Therese of Lisieux Chaplet! And the Winner is....

It’s time for another Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway! I used the Random Integer Generator to pick a winner and here’s what I got:

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
5

Timestamp: 2010-12-27 07:23:45 UTC

And that means that today’s lucky winner is Elizabeth (who has a new blog Life, Love and Etouffee which is worth checking out!).

I’ll get your chaplet in the mail Elizabeth! Congratulations!

Now for another giveaway!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Favorite Bishops for 2010?

The first week of the new year I'm going to be doing a new annual blog feature that ties in with my "Bishop of the Week" posts. I'll be naming The Top 10 Bishops of the Year. You can probably guess who some of them are going to be, but I'd love to hear suggestions too! Who is your favorite Bishop (or Bishops!) that you would like to see mentioned?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Why Santa Claus Won't Be Stopping At Our House Tonight

It's not for the reason you might have immediately thought of. Here's the whole story:

We had quite a time getting Sadie to sleep tonight.

I had started the morning with grand plans for the day and evening. Things started to unravel when I found out that Christmas Eve Mass would only be offered in our county (at two different parishes) at 5 pm. Paul worked until 6 tonight, so that was the first part of our day that was crossed of the list (Christmas Eve mass is one of my favorites and I thought it was usually at 7pm so I was surprised to hear it was so much earlier!).

I decided to focus on our other evening plans. I pictures the family listening to Christmas carols after dinner while we put out cookies for Santa and then getting them into their Christmas PJs.

However, while I held the Santa Cookie plate on the ride home from Nani and Grumpa's house, Sadie fell asleep. She woke up a little over an hour later as we were trying to slip her into her bed and that's when the night's drama began to unfold.

Sadie woke and looked around. I was trying to get Maggie to sleep and so I had Paul take her downstairs to see if she wanted any of the broccoli and cheddar soup that was in the crock pot. She refused and so Paul brought her upstairs and we started to get her ready for bed. And that is when I made the mistake of saying:

"Daddy and I will get the Santa plate ready with the cookies and the milk, okay?" Sadie dissolved into hysterical tears within seconds. After a few minutes of sobbing that escalated at the thought of "Santa bringing presents" we had promised that Santa wouldn't be coming near our home and Sadie was sniffling in her bed.

I have an inkling that it has something to do with the tall, intimidating man that was dressed as Santa that came up to Sadie in CVS and repeatedly asked her if she'd been a good girl, while she attempted to hide.

So we won't be mentioning the S-word tomorrow morning. Now to do the last of the Christmas preparations and then get some sleep.

Edited to Add: Paul's Facebook Status Update for tonight:

"I can't but help but wonder if Sadie is afraid of Santa Claus because of my storytelling to the wife about how good old Saint Nick punched out Arius at an ecumenical council for denying the divinity of Christ. Any talk of Santa tonight has brought Sadie to tears, so I've reassured her that Daddy is going to meet Santa later tonight to get the Christmas presents."

No, I think it was the scary Santa at CVS. But his update did make me smile.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The New Place: Part 1: The Work Begins

The last post showed our previous homes... and now there is work to be done! Actually there is a lot of work to be done. First the tour:

Home Sweet Home


The Living Room: before they started tearing up the carpet...


The Kitchen and Dining Room: before they started tearing up the linoleum...


The Second Bathroom: before they fixed the broken window (it was fixed today!)...


The Master Bathroom: before they tore up the floors. I love the wallpaper! Actually I love all the wallpaper in this place! I think it's because it reminds me of the wallpaper when I was little!


The Master Bedroom: Note the piece of plywood in the corner... after it was removed it was discovered that the toilet in the master bedroom had been leaking and that there was a four foot drop through the floor to the ground below! The leak has been stop and they're fixing it this week (Paul and Grumpa have their work cut out for them!).


Another problem spot (after the carpet had been torn out)! The big heater is getting lots of work drying out the wet spots!


The backyard! I am very excited about having our own fenced in yard!


And that is your first tour of the new place! I'm going to post pictures as we go along. We have to be moved out of this place by New Years Eve at midnight so we have a lot of work to do in the next seven days! It's going to be a whirlwind!

Home Sweet Home: A Walk Down Memory Lane

I decided to take a walk down memory lane today and remember the homes that Paul and I have lived in over the course of our four year marriage.

We started out small (with a much bigger garden). The biggest problem with this one was that it had a five gallon waste tank that had to be emptied frequently (and it was a long, uphill walk to do so) and that it only had ice cold water from a hose hooked into it:



Then came the cabin (the cabin is the small hundred and something square foot building on the right, the water tank is the similar sized building on the left). I love the cabin! I think it's the reason I actually don't mind having a small room, because it reminds me of our cabin days. If only the cabin had water inside it would have been perfect:



The inside of the cabin...



The apartment of oh-so-many-911-calls:


Still, if it weren't for all the problems that plagued us here, it would have been a good little home (side note- a question I've come to wonder frequently since living here: Why do all domestic disagreements in this place have to move outside into the parking lot/driveway? Don't people know that when you take a fight outside the possibility that the police will respond increases exponentially? And don't people realize that by the time they're screaming "I'm not going back to jail!" they probably are going to be spending the night there?)...


But inside it nice and cozy. At least it was nice and cozy when it wasn't smokey.


We have a lot of work to do (another post on that!) but I am thrilled! Home sweet home!

What I Almost Forgot to Mention!

We picked up the keys to our new place tonight!

Tomorrow Paul and Grumpa will start ripping up the carpet and the floor boards (there are several soft spots in the floor where it gives way under our feet, so we know some of it needs to be replaced, although we're not sure how much.

The new carpet and linoleum will be delivered on Monday.

And we have to be out of this place on New Years Eve.

I am so excited (and rather exhausted) when I think of the coming week!

The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia

I just finished reading a wonderful story (that I was somewhat surprised to see on NPR). I've included a few of the highlights, but it's really worth it to read the entire thing on the NPR site:
"For the most part, these are grim days for Catholic nuns. Convents are closing, nuns are aging and there are relatively few new recruits. But something startling is happening in Nashville, Tenn. The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia are seeing a boom in new young sisters: Twenty-seven joined this year and 90 entered over the past five years.

The average of new entrants here is 23. And overall, the average age of the Nashville Dominicans is 36 — four decades younger than the average nun nationwide.

Unlike many older sisters in previous generations, who wear street clothes and live alone, the Nashville Dominicans wear traditional habits and adhere to a strict life of prayer, teaching and silence."

...

"It's a mysterious call to what they describe as a love relationship with Jesus. And for them it is literal: They consider the white habit a wedding gown.

"It's beautiful, and it's a reminder that you are a spouse of Christ," says Sister Mara Rose McDonnell. But it's more than that.

"It tells others that there's a reality beyond this world. There's heaven. We're all orienting ourselves towards heaven," she says.

To the world, the habit is the most visible symbol of their commitment — one they all acknowledge exacts a price."

...

""Our generation is thirsting for orthodoxy," she says. "And I know it because I've seen it in university settings. I've seen how young people ... love JP2 not only because he was a nice-looking old man and he gave great hugs or something — but because what he spoke and wrote was the truth and it spoke to their hearts.""

...

"But what about doubt? I ask Clark, "Do you think you'll have any regrets?" She pauses, then shakes her head slowly.

"I met the person for me," she says. "I've been known by him forever. And I've known him more or less throughout my life. And now I know that this is where I'm called to.""


To read the entire story click here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Daily Dose of Cuteness: The Line to See Jesus

I love to watch Sadie playing with her nativity set. She's so incredibly sweet. She does disagree with me on which figure should play the part of Joseph. She thinks that the blue king (the one that's the color that matches Mary) should be on the opposite side of Mary and whenever I put the figure in the nativity scene that's supposed to be Joseph she will promptly remove him and put him with the shepherds (his outfit does match the shepherds outfits).
Sadie has apparently come up with her own idea of how the whole Nativity happened and she corrected me when I told her that the angel Gabriel had appeared to Mary to tell her she was going to have a baby. She wanted Gabriel to carry the baby down and deliver him to Mary and was a little annoyed that there was going to be a donkey ride to Bethlehem first. After I finished the story she began to set up her own version of the nativity.

Last week one of my best friends had me listen to a song by Becky Kelley called "Where's the Line to See Jesus." I was reminded of it today after we finished the story (but before I continue my story here's the song):


Sadie took the Baby Jesus figurine out of the manger and put it a little ways away and then started lining up the animals next to him. She was quite taken with her work and refused the Mommy interview I tried to conduct (particularly once she saw that I had snuck the camera out and was trying to capture her cuteness on film, although Maggie talked nonstop in the background while her sister was on camera). She even brought over Swiper the Fox (from Dora the Explorer) to see Jesus (although she then seemed to change her mind about whether or not that was a good idea... would Swiper try to Swipe the baby?!?!). Here's the part I got on film after she'd been playing for a little while:

video

If I'm this excited when she plays with her nativity I can just imagine what I'm going to be like when Sadie is big enough to say her prayers...

Daily Dose of the Catechism

"The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists, it is because God created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator."

-Catechism of the Catholic Church 27 from Vatican Council II GS 19

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bishop of the Week: Bishop Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix

"We cannot take the life of an innocent human being."
-Bishop Olmsted

The announcement that many have been expecting to come this week was made today, when Bishop Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix stripped Saint Joseph's Hospital of it's Catholic status. Saint Joseph's "Catholic" status first came into the public spotlight when a direct abortion was performed there last year:
"Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Az. announced in a news conference Tuesday morning that St. Joseph’s Hospital was no longer Catholic after it refused to comply with the bishop’s terms, which included renouncing the direct killing of an unborn baby of a woman suffering from pulmonary hypertension, at 11 weeks gestation.

Olmsted said that, “Communication with leadership at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Catholic Healthcare West has only eroded my confidence about their commitment to the church’s ethical and religious directives for health care,” according to local news reports.

“They have not addressed in an adequate manner the scandal caused by the abortion,” said the bishop. “Moreover, I have recently learned that many other violations of the ethical and religious directives have been taking place at Catholic Healthcare West facilities in Arizona throughout my seven years as bishop of Phoenix and far longer.”"
Read the entire article here.
The Bishop also stated that he had recently learned that St. Joseph's (and Catholic Healthcare West) "administered contraceptives, performed sterilizations, and conducted other direct abortions..."

This got me thinking. I know that sterilizations are performed at our local Catholic Healthcare West Hospital because my OB asked me a couple of months before Maggie was born if she should tie my tubes since I'd already be open for the C-section (conveniently asked at one of the few appointments my husband wasn't able to make). And that would be at a "Catholic" hospital in the diocese of Sacramento (more specifically a Catholic Healthcare West Hospital). I would love to see Bishop Soto follow Bishop Olmsted's (and Bishop Vasa previously) lead on this and tell the Catholic hospitals to start acting like Catholic hospital's that respect Church teachings or to drop the act and stop pretending to be something they're not. I think I have a letter (on several subjects... but primarily this one...) that needs to be written.

Daily Dose of the Catechism

"The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself."

-Catechism of the Catholic Church- 27

The Suddenly Talking Toddler

Here's a photo of Sadie showing Maggie "Baby G."

She is suddenly full of words, bubbling to identify everything that she sees (and surprising all of us with her vocabulary, which is a nice change after months of not talking!). She will be two and a half tomorrow.

My favorite moments, that I can think of off the top of my head, are these:

When she makes the sign of the cross and then puts her little hands together and says "A---- Men!" (This is usually when we say grace, but can also be her way of trying to end anything. She wants to news to be over: "A-men!" She thinks a homily is a bit lengthy: "A-men!")

Telling her sister about "Baby G" which is her name for the baby Jesus in our nativity. Yesterday she was down on the floor playing with the nativity and I suddenly realized that every single fischer price animal in the house was clustered in one small area. While I watched I realized that at the center of that area was the baby Jesus figure with the Mary figure close by. When I asked her who all the animals were going to see she said "Baby G!" in an excited voice.

This morning she went and dug through her book shelf and found the rosary coloring book that we have there and brought it over to me. I keep meaning to make copies of the pages to give to her to use, so she hasn't looked at it much. When she brought it over I asked her who was on the cover and she pointed to Mary and said "Mar!"

There were quite a few little girls in the book so I asked her which one she was and she found a picture of Saint Bernadette and pointed it out (before later telling me that that wasn't actually her).

Other favorite words and phrases on her list include: "Hospital!" (because she loves to look at her baby book with pictures of us in the hospital) and "rainbow!" She also likes to look at the picture of us right after she was born and point out the IV going into my arm and say "medicine... arm!" Another favorite photo is the one of the doctor holding her, so that she can say: "doctor! hand!"

It's nice, after the doctor acted like it was so odd that she wasn't speaking much, to have her suddenly using all sorts of words that you'd never expect! It was what we thought was likely to happen, and I'm pretty joyful that it's finally here! And she's much less frustrated (most of the time)!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway: Saint Therese of Lisieux Chaplet

This morning’s new Giveaway from Full of Grace Creations is a St. Therese Chaplet. I've been busy adding to the chaplet section and there should be new chaplets going up every day! Here is the chaplet that I'm giving away next Monday:










“It is commonly believed that St. Therese grants the sign of a rose to those who practice this devotion during a period of nine to twenty four days, as proof that the petition is granted…

To pray this Rosary, bless yourself and say on the first bead:
St. Therese of the Infant Jesus, Patroness of Missions, pray for us!

On each of the remaining twenty-four beads say the Glory be to the Father in honor of the Blessed Trinity, in thanksgiving for giving the world the Little Saint who lived only twenty four years.

Prayer to Saint Therese:

Saint Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more.

The prayer above, plus five Our Fathers, five Hail Marys and five Glory be to the Fathers, must be said on five successive days before 11 a.m. On the fifth day, when the fifth set of prayers have been completed, offer one more set, five Our Father, five Hail Marys and five Glory be to the Fathers.”

From My Treasury of Chaplets

Now for the rules of the giveaway (they haven’t changed in a while!):

There's no limit to the number of times you can win (in other words, if you've won before you can enter again!)!

You can earn one entry simply for leaving your contract information in the comment section (only once though!).

You can earn one entry (each) if you tell me that you mentioned this giveaway on facebook or twitter!

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 December 26th at noon and the winner will be announced sometime Monday morning!

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

Good luck and God Bless!

Husky Tools Giveaway: And the Winner is....

Now to finish up the day of giveaways I am going to announce the Husky 13-Piece Precision Cordless Screwdriver Giveaway (for more Husky Tools check this page out!)!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

4

Timestamp: 2010-12-20 15:49:40 UTC

And that means that today's second lucky winner is Elizabeth! Congratulations Elizabeth! I have your mailing info so I'll get that in the mail to you!

Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway: The Holy Communion Chaplet- And The Winner is...

It’s time for another Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway! Today’s giveaway is a beautiful pearl Holy Communion Chaplet. I used random.org to pick a winner and here's what I got:

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
39
Timestamp: 2010-12-20 06:55:11 UTC

And that means that Dayna is the winner! Congratulations Dayna! I don’t have your email so send me a message at thiswomansplace at gmail dot com with your contact info and I’ll get your chaplet in the mail!

Now for another giveaway!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Coupon Shopping Store Reviews: And the Drama of Buying "Too Many" Papers at the Mountain Outpost in Weaverville...

As most of you know I get pretty excited about Coupon shopping. When you live on an incredibly limited budget (you could multiply our income by 2 and we would still be about a grand below the 2009 Federal Poverty level for our family size) couponing is important and allows us to live at a comfortable level and gives us the opportunity to help others (after all, what am I going to do with the 20 tubes of free toothpaste that I've picked up over the last few months, or the half dozen razors?).

An incident this morning, along with a half years worth of experiences with coupon-hostile stores (and on the flip side, coupon friendly stores) has inspired this post. Since I'm writing from experience I'll be writing about the local stores in Trinity and Shasta counties in Northern California, but feel free to share your favorite (and least favorite) stores for couponing if you have them!

I'll start with this morning's incident. After Mass, with the girls piled in the back of the car, we went to the only local store that sells newspapers inside, Weaverville's Mountain Outpost (the photo of the store is from the Visit! Trinity County website). They know that we buy papers for the coupons that they contain.

My husband was informed by the clerk, this morning, that he couldn't buy newspapers, because we buy too many (we buy four each week, which is on the low end for coupon-ers, I know quite a few people buy 8 each week). I was a little confused about the logic of this. We buy four newspapers every week. They can count on it (and it means they're selling papers!). If they do sometimes run out they can order more and depend on us buying four more (that they know will sell... I would pay in advance if it was necessary!).

I would think a little store would like that kind of business, but instead, because of the rather rude clerk hassling my husband, we're probably not going to be going back. I'll just make sure I get a roll of quarters each week to use one of the machine's outside the post office. So much for shopping locally to help out small businesses! You can only help out small businesses by spending if they'll sell to you (I should also note that this particular store has tacked on an extra 80 cents for using a debit card without telling us... I would have still shopped there, but it's nice to be told rather than just charged!)!

My favorite couponing story at our other local market, Tops, comes from a family member. She took her carefully clipped coupons in and had one checker ask "What is that?" in a disgusted tone. The brave couponer said "a coupon" in a meek tone (she'd spent a lot of time clipping and wasn't about to give up on saving money). "Where did you get it?" The clerk continued as if she were being handed a pile of the bear scat that Sadie points to every time we go on nature walks. In the end, however, she took the coupon and it worked, which is more than I can say for my least favorite couponing store.

As many couponers know, Target has a bad reputation. And there's a very good reason. A lot of coupons (including their own "Target" Coupons) don't work there. That isn't all that unusual, but the negative about Target, in my experience, is that if a coupon doesn't work there's a good chance that the checker will just say "sorry, nothing we can do." I've read some pretty horrible stories on other sites about managers refusing coupons there because people would "get things too cheap" and after my own experience carefully clipping coupons and then having only a couple of them work I've given up on the store. I am keeping my eyes open because I've heard that they've changed their policies to make it more coupon friendly, but until I actually see the change in action (in the form of coupon site reviews from customers) I won't do much shopping there.

Walmart has been neutral in my experience. Sometimes they'll force a coupon to work and sometimes they won't even when it's clearly valid. But usually they try (and since it is by far the least expensive store in our area I do most of our food shopping there).

Micheal's is one store that's taken every coupon I've brought in. Joann Fabrics has always taken my coupons too (although I've only used Joann's coupons at their store).

Then there's my favorite couponing store: I am biased when it comes to CVS because my husband works there. Usually I do shop with my husband when I'm coupon shopping, because of the volume of coupons that I use. He's worked there long enough to know how to make pretty much any coupon work and when you have fifty or so coupons some of them are probably not going to scan. However even when he's not there and coupons don't work I've had good luck getting checkers to force through coupons. I just point out that it's valid and stand there until they figure out how to run it. The other trick to CVS is to make sure you get your extra bucks on the receipt. If they don't print point it out and if the checker doesn't know how to force it a manager will easily be able to put in the code and print the coupon for you!

And that's how the stores I shop at stack up in the coupon department!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Daily Dose of the Catechism

Lately I've been trying to squeeze in a little bit of time each day to read scripture and the catechism. And since you get quite a bit of scripture every time you go to Mass I thought I'd share some of my favorite quotes from the Catechism in a new section I'm thinking off adding called the Daily Dose of Catechism. Usually it will just be the verse and maybe a thought that came along with it. Today thought, since it's the first post, I'll explain what I've been up to:

Here's my method for reading so far. I begin with a prayer. I need all the help I can get to absorb everything and keep my focus these days. Then I'll read for fifteen minutes, with a little notebook next to me, writing down verses that stand out so I can go back and reread them later. After fifteen minutes (or sometimes thirty... it's really a far more absorbing read than I ever imagined it would be) I go back and reread those important parts and then reread them again the next morning so that the ideas really begin to sink in.

And here it is- You're very first Daily Dose of the Catechism:

"Faith is man's response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life."

Catechism of the Catholic Church- 26

My Lovely Family...

Too bad I snapped this after I ordered our Christmas card photos...

...I believe Maggie is over somewhere behind me pretending she doesn't know these two...

... while Sadie enjoys her bribe lollypop that is intended to keep her from destroying the gingerbread train while Paul builds it.

It was pretty cute in the end though!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Double Rant: Changing Christmas Carols and the Lord's Prayer to Make them "Better?"

Paul's question "Do you want to go to Christmas Mass on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?" should not draw a frown. And I'm trying to have a good attitude and not focus on this one little tidbit that bothers me every Christmas season (for the last few years at least).

I will focus. I will appreciate the sacrifice of the Mass and praise God. And I will not be distracted by the fact that our hymnals have been compiled by someone who was so politically correct that they felt the need to change all of the traditional Christmas carols to include gender inclusive language. I've ranted about this before.

I love Christmas songs. I sang in our Community Christmas Choir pretty much every year growing up and know almost every Christmas song that we sing by heart, verse by verse (and this is a huge part of the problem). You see when we get to a verse and the line ends with "mankind" and the editor of this particular hymnal has felt that it is necessary to change the word, which was penned over a century ago, to "human kind" or "all of us" it feels, to my ears, like nails on a chalkboard. I wince. I usually sing the wrong words accidently, because I'm holding a baby while I'm trying to follow along in the dimly light church (I always opt for Christmas Eve if we can make it). And that's just one of the changes. Anything that sounds vaguely masculine must be made feminine. Or at least castrated into neutrality.

Are there really people who don't understand that the author meant "all of us" when he wrote "mankind?"

As someone who has always been in love with the written word it bothers me quite a bit. The motivation behind it, the idea that we should conceal our differences and pretend they don't exist, bothers me even more.

So when I go to sleep on Christmas Eve I'll ask my husband, "if we someday become rich, or maybe just not so poor, can we donate some hymnals that aren't so awful to our parish? Would it be wrong to say, "Father, we'd love to pay off the mortgage on the hall, and all the bills for the year, just please let us replace the songbooks too?" Not that that's a realistic concern.

Deep breath. It shouldn't bother me. It really shouldn't. And it's something I'm working on and praying about ("Dear God, please help me not to be so wrapped up in silly things... Help me focus on what is important. You. The sacrifice of You. Your Presence."

Because there's a far more important reason for being there that outshines everything else.

And that should be more than enough to keep my bad attitude in check.

A side note that is somewhat related (because it's about singing) and a question: When our parish sings the "Our Father" (deep breath) the words are "...as we forgive those who trespass against us, father hear our prayer. And lead us not, into temptation but deliver us, deliver us, from all that is evil, hear our prayer."

It just seems pretentious (and wrong) to me to change the actual words of the Lord's Prayer during Mass. Frankly I don't care if people want to ad lib and do whatever they want outside of Mass (although I personally wouldn't... after all, who gave us this prayer?), but in Mass it seems like a really big step to take to change the prayer Jesus gave us.

As if we can somehow add to it and make it better.

Thoughts? Would this bother you (the Our Father part particularly, although I'm interested in your thoughts on the other part too)?

Deep breaths again. Sorry this turned into a double rant. I think I need to pray for calm about this a little (okay, a lot) more.

Husky 13-Piece Precision Cordless Screwdriver Giveaway

I'm excited to be able to hold a very special before Christmas giveaway! Husky Tools has given me a screwdriver set to give away!

My first thought when the screwdriver arrived was that it looked like it would be perfect to use with all of the toys that we have that require a screw driver to replace the batteries.

Sadie has one particular toy, a little MP3 player that is loaded with fun kid music that she got for her first birthday, that needs new batteries pretty much every day that she uses. This is one of the reasons it doesn't get used very often, because even with rechargeable batteries it was still a pain to find a screw driver and unscrew two little screws, replace the batteries and put the whole thing back together. But this handy little power cordless screwdriver would make that kind of job much easier!

After I was told that I could host this giveaway I went over and looked at the Husky site and I was surprised how many affordable tools they sell. This particular tool could be a present on its own or a really great stocking stuffer!

Here's a demonstration of the screwdriver being used:



Now for the giveaway rules (these are a little different this time).

You can get one entry by doing one of two things: either tell me who you would give this tool to as a present (or if you'd keep it!) or tell me which of the other tools on the site is your favorite.

For another entry you can mention it on facebook or twitter (1 entry each mention).

And for one extra entry you can blog about it.

This is a shorter contest because I want to get it in the mail early next week, although I'm not sure if it will make it by Christmas (a New Year's gift! Encouragement for fix-it projects around the house!), so the contest will run until Monday at 7am Pacific time.

Good luck!

I was provided with this tool, by Husky Tools, to give away to a lucky winner!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Daily Dose of Cuteness: A Candy Thief, "Baby G" and A Whirling Pink Tornado

Sadie is suddenly talking a lot more. It's wonderful, because she's much less frustrated most of the time, since she can express herself more clearly. Here were some of today's highlights:

Sadie and Paul made a gingerbread train together. After they finished the train Paul went upstairs to work on a law school application essay. Maggie was upstairs taking a nap (she's sleeping so much better now that she's not hungry!) and I was cleaning up the kitchen. Sadie had been working on making a "castle" under the dining room table but suddenly I noticed she was standing at the edge of the table, reaching as far as she could to pick the candy off of the train (which slowly seemed to make its way towards her). A conversation that went something like this followed:

Me: "Sadie, what do you think Daddy would say about what you're doing?"
Sadie: "No!" Followed by a lull where she stops picking at the train.
Until I glance back over and see that she's doing it again.
Me: "Sadie, what did we decide Daddy would say?"
Sadie: "Good!"
Me: "You think Daddy would say 'good' if he saw you eating the candy of the train you two made?"
Sadie: "Good! O-tay!"

Strangely enough when he came downstairs she changed her tune a bit and said "no!" again (followed by "o-tay! o-tay!" and then "good!" at one point again.). However, most of the candy pieces on the front are gone. I'd be surprised if the train survived the next 24 hours.

Next daily highlight: We've also been talking about the Christmas story (she has the fischer price nativity set) and she brought baby Jesus over to Maggie and told Maggie that he was "Baby Gs!" repeatedly. She then went back over and set up the nativity herself, in the barn, with Mary and one of the wise men on either side of baby Jesus (I think the wise man is in there because he's the same blue color as Mary). And when we said our family rosary tonight she shouted "Gs!" when I finished the first half of our first Hail Mary.

And then there was this video. I call it "The Pink Whirling Tornado." You'll see why if you watch it (and yes, she insists on wearing all of her tutus as tube tops):

video

And now they are both peacefully asleep. I wonder how long it will last. The Pink Tornado has gotten very good at sneaking silently out of her room, climbing our very tall bed and silently making her way up to my pillow, where I wake to find her. It's amazing how much space one rather small person can take up in a king sized bed. Especially when they have kicky feet.

A Busy Day: Vaccines, A Weigh In and Maggie's First Food!

Maggie is five months old and today, after she got her vaccines, I asked if I could weigh her to see how much she's grown. The answer....


... she is now 19 lbs 6 oz.

And that leads me to my confession of the night. Tonight, for the very first time in her entire life, Maggie had non- milk food.

My goal, with both Sadie and Maggie, has been to wait until they were 6 months old to start rice cereal. But Maggie has been absolutely ravenous pretty much around the clock, for the past few weeks.

Her growth makes it pretty evident that she's getting lots of milk (she's worn 18 and 24 month outfits the last few days... and the 24 month one is a tad big...), but she was still hungry, even right after she'd eaten (and she would be frustrated that I didn't have much milk 15 minutes after she'd had a big feeding). I guess it's just hard to be 20 lbs and survive on milk alone (and she does nurse on demand, whenever she wants, around the clock).

That last sentence might get me lots of comments that sound something like this: "Your baby absolutely did not need food. I breast fed my baby without starting solids for 18 months and he weighed 37 lbs when he was your babies age and was just fine without solids" (actually you guys are great so I don't really expect to get that here... other places... if I posted this, I'd definitely expect it!).

Here's what it came down to... Maggie was hungry. And she seemed ready to eat. She actually maneuvered her way across the living room, rolling and belly crawling towards her sister, to throw herself on Sadie's plate to attempt to eat her toast. She would literally lunge, mouth wide open, at every single piece of food that went past her (it was kind of sad to watch).

This morning I began to think about the situation and questioned my own motivation. I was striving to meet some standard (six months) because that's what everyone says you're supposed to do, but it no longer felt like it was what was best for my baby... and that's what I really needed to do. Maggie's doctor said she was ready for rice cereal a month and a half ago...

So we bought cereal and Maggie had a great time. I didn't realize I had my camera with me right away, so we missed the first part of the feeding, but Maggie took her first bite of food, looked at all of us and smiled. She then grabbed the spoon and kept trying to force it back into her mouth. However we did get this on camera:

video

And then there's the interview with Maggie afterwards:

video

And she didn't seem hungry afterwards, which I think is a good sign! Time to get some rest! We've had a very busy day!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Apologetics... A Way to Make Housework Fly By...

I've found a new tactic that makes doing tedious housework (cleaning the kitchen each night is a prime example) fly by. Real Catholic TV. We have definitely continued to get our money's worth out of our premium subscription to Real Catholic TV. I prop my computer up on top of our grill and pick out a program and begin my cleaning routine (I also do this while I work on my rosaries, jewelry and chaplets). Time flies by.

I usually start out by watching the Vortex and the Catholic News Roundup (which are relatively short compared to the longer subscription programs). Then I have a choice to make. Is it an apologetics night (found in the program "Basic Training")? Or will I click on "Armor of God" which is a series based on the Baltimore Catechism that includes titles like "The Holy Spirit and Actual Grace" and "The End of Man."

If Paul is downstairs and we have a (relatively) short amount of time, chances our we'll end up watching "One True Faith," which will likely lead to a disagreement about which episode we're going to watch. Will it be from Season Seven, which examines the occult? Or will we go further back (we recently watched Season Two's "The Great Heresies" and it is a favorite)?

If we have a bit more time there's a good chance we'll watch one of the Catholic Investigative Agency programs (the one that investigates the CCHD is deeply disturbing... the stuff you read about the CCHD most of the time, and I read pretty much everything I can find about it, is really just the tip of the iceberg).

And there are still quite a few programs I haven't even watched a single episode of yet, so there's a good chance I'll be on here talking about how wonderful they are in the near future.

At the moment the apologetics programs are my favorite. After watching two hours of programs on the eucharist I was excited to talk with Paul about pretty much everything I could remember (particularly the links between the old testament and the new testament!). I would love to write a weekly post here and touch on the many wonderful things that I'm learning, but at the moment my brain feels so full that I'd have a hard time processing it and putting it in a neatly well thought out post. I'm hoping that isn't too far away though, because I'd love to discuss what I'm learning with people who are interested.

I also love that watching has been inspiring me to study on my own more, when I have spare moments (which is admittedly rare and means I'm getting a bit less sleep!).

It's a good thing I married a theology student. Otherwise I'd be driving my husband crazy with all this talk!

Abraham's Offering

I have had this song going through my head for the last three days. It's just so beautiful (as are all of the songs of Danielle that I've heard so far!). Here's the version I found on YouTube:



I also stumbled across this website while I was googling Danielle's music and it does indicate that we will be hearing more amazing music in the near future. Here's the quote:
"In August 2007, Danielle accepted Jesus' invitation to enter the convent to discern a religious vocation. Immediately before her entrance, Danielle recorded her fourth album, Pursue Me, which describes the journey of accepting the call to discernment.

After more than two years of formation in the convent (it’s a six to ten-year process of discernment before final vows), Danielle came to a successful discernment with her community: the Lord was calling her to follow Him in a different way. Seeking at every turn only to heed His voice and to do His will, Danielle left the convent in November 2009.

This journey of surrender and obedience taught her more deeply than ever that loving God and doing His will is more important than anything else. With this new understanding, Danielle has joyfully accepted Jesus’ invitation to continue sharing His Song for the glory of God and the salvation of souls."
So it does look like we will be blessed with more beautiful songs glorifying God from Danielle Rose (hopefully in the very near future)!

A Quick and Easy Chicken Corn Chowder (adding flavor to a canned soup)

I’ve come up with a quick soup that I make when taking something frozen out for dinner has completely slipped my mind and we don’t have an hour and a half left to cook one of my frozen casseroles (and I’m feeling too tired to whip something up from scratch). We have quite a few types of Campbell’s soups in our garage that Paul takes with him when he goes down to school for the weekends.

I tried his favorite, Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Clam Chowder, but found it to be a little bland (Paul suggests that my love for all things spicy has killed off my appreciation of less strong flavors). After playing around in the kitchen for a short amount of time I came up with a solution that we both like and we’ve had it several times now. It’s a quick family favorite.

I take two cans off Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Corn Chowder and put them on low heat in a large saucepan (I know I’ve mentioned this with other recipes, but the “low” heat on my oven tends to scald quite a few dishes if I’m not constantly stirring, so this might be “medium” on other stoves). I start the modification process by adding a can of sweet corn (drained).

Then it’s time to work on the flavor. I add a large scoop (with a regular sized spoon) of chopped garlic and generous sprinklings of garlic powder, oregano and basil (my three favorite herbs!). I would estimate the “sprinkling” amounts to be in the 1+ tbs range (okay, probably closer to 2+ to 3). Then I add a pinch (or three) of kosher salt. The finishing touch is half of a chopped onion and voila: a tasty, quick meal (especially when served with French bread!).

I love soup! We probably have nearly a months worth of homemade frozen soup in the freezer at this point, and while this may not beat any of my favorite homemade soup recipes (potato soup, split pea soup and cheddar broccoli soup) it comes in pretty close (and isn’t nearly as time consuming as any of those three recipes!).

As a side note, when I googled the soup to make sure of the name (and find a picture, which, by the way, is from amazon) I had no idea that you can buy soups on Amazon. But there’s a ton of them! They really do sell everything now, don’t they?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top 5 Reasons I'm Thrilled to Be Moving

With the upcoming move and an every growing To-Do list, things have been a little hectic around here. Still, I can’t help but be incredibly thankful. In only a few more weeks we will be completely moved, putting this apartment and all the drama that accompanied it, behind us. While it is a cute little apartment to look at, I started compiling a list of the things that I won’t miss (in my head) these last few days and I think it’s time to put it down on paper. So here it is…

The Top Reasons I am Thrilled to Be Moving

1) The Pot Smoke Situation- Since our umpteenth call to the sheriff’s department the smoke has stopped coming into our apartment (so our neighbors probably had some idea where it was coming through since they had some idea how to stop it). However, because it was so on and off for a while, I’m still more than a little paranoid that it will happen again. And let’s face it, after all those visits from the sheriff’s deputies our drug-influenced neighbors are probably not all that fond of us. I will be thrilled to leave this particular traumatic chapter of our lives behind us.

2) The Electrical Outlet Situation- I haven’t mentioned this one before because it’s brand new. Yesterday I noticed Paul’s computer was half unplugged from the wall. I walked over to push the plug back in and was shocked to feel hot air streaming out of the outlet. I touched the plug and the wall and they were both very hot. We unplugged everything and called the manager (she lives a couple of hours away). This afternoon the electrician arrived and was pretty shocked when he removed the socket. He says it’s not an electrical problem, but that the wall was very hot (although the air wasn’t blowing through at the moment). He thinks somehow one of the heaters is venting into the walls. I think this may partially explain #1 also.

3) The General Dinginess Factor- I worked very hard to make this little apartment homey. I scraped the gum off the cupboards and scrubbed the red lipstick and dirt off the walls. But there were limits to what could be done. The carpet is literally disintegrating (it pretty much was when we moved in...). And it took a major effort not to be a teensy bit jealous when they renovated the apartment next door and put in hardwood floors and new carpeting… You see there's only so much I could do with what I started with. I tried to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear... but there's only so much I could do!

4) The Attempted Break-In- In the wake of the whole Smoke Situation I haven’t had much time to worry over the day we discovered that someone had tried to pry the screen off the second story nursery window. This one on it’s own is enough to make me glad we’re moving to a place where we know quite a few of our neighbors!

5) This is a big one, but I’ll save it for after we move out! I can hardly wait! And after all of this we really better get our cleaning deposit back! I’m going to make sure it’s spotless and considering the condition it was in when we moved it, it shouldn’t even be a question (we took hundreds of pictures and got them put on a dated disk and made a list three pages long of the damage and problems when we moved in, just to make sure… since the owner has a reputation for keeping security deposits according to the former managers!).


Nine days until we can start getting the new place ready (i.e. ripping up the floors!). I am so excited!