Monday, January 31, 2011

Blast from the Past

One of my friends just posted a bunch of pictures from our cheerleading days on facebook. It feels like such a long time ago! This was 12 years ago: I was a baby!

That's me in the middle (in the picture below).

Yup. Definitely wouldn't be caught dead in a skirt like that these days. I do remember loving those old sweaters though.

On Blog-y Break-Ups

One of the wonderful and strange things about our little blogging world is that sometimes you really start to think of your fellow bloggers as friends. Especially in the small world of Catholic moms, it's been wonderful to be able to "meet" and share thoughts and experiences with other moms who view the world in a similar way. It makes me feel normal and supported and all in all it's been an amazing couple of years.

At the same it's always a little sad when you notice that one of your favorite blog friends has suddenly stopped following you and deleted any links to your blog. You think "did I do something to offend her? Was my last post horrible?... Or did she quit the blogging scene and take down her profile?"

And when it's determined that the profile and blog are still very much there, and your blog is the only one that's gone it's a kind of sad moment.

That is why, on an occasion like this, I end up stopping following myself... because reading the blog would remind me of the whole silly thing (and I admit I'm being silly, but I really do think of a lot of you guys as friends and it's kind of like being dumped by a friend, particularly when it's someone that you appreciate "talking" too... and you don't know why...).

All I have to do is think of how wonderful the experience has been overall though and it makes me smile. And I have been kind of complain-y lately (like this post). I'll have to work on that!

Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway: A Pearl and Amethyst Bracelet

This morning's Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway is one of the biggest I've done so far, an amethyst and freshwater pearl rosary bracelet. You can see the matching necklace here. I originally made this one for the store, but when I saw it this morning I thought it would be perfect for a pre-Valentine's day giveaway! Here's a couple of photos of it:

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 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 Philomena Chaplet- And the Winner is...

It's time for the results of this morning's Full of Grace Creations drawing. I used to draw and here's what I got:
Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2011-01-31 16:13:09 UTC

That means that the winner is Nicole! Congratulations Nicole! I have your new address so I'll get it in the mail to you today!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beautiful but Tough...

Mass was kind of tough today. On multiple levels. Beautiful, as always, but also tough.

First there was our not so tiny princess bunny. She'd had a difficult morning when she decided that she hated every dress in her closet (the problem lately is that she shares it with her sister and her sister's 12-month sized dresses look infinitely more appealing to her. She simply refuses to believe that she can't fit her size 5 body into a 12 month dress). I was slightly hopeful when she pulled things together and seemed cheerful as Mass began. I was slightly surprised when she started dancing during the Kyrie Eleison (and the opening hymn), but was frankly relieved that she was being quiet, considering her mood.

For the record, she actually has been great at Mass lately (with the exception of today). For the past few months she's been back to sitting quietly on Paul's lap (instead of howling at the top of her lungs). She was quiet for 75% of the time. The other 25% caused her to be taken out twice (once it began with her saying "No Mae! No Mae! No Mae!" after a curl got to close to one of Mae's chubby little hands and continued on and on and on...) but all in all it could have been much worse.

And then there was the other part, which made me feel like I was the one who was about to have a tantrum (deep breath). It was when our priest (who is new at our parish) began to say the Our Father and a person in the church began playing the guitar over the words and when about half of the congregation continued to pray with him, speaking instead of singing, the music volume increased and the singing began over the spoken prayer. I've noted before that one of my main pet peeves is that the words are actually different in the sung version, but the entire scene, with the guitarist actually playing over the spoken prayer, made it somehow seem much, much worse.

I did focus every ounce of energy on the Eucharist and prayed and prayed and prayed to not be bothered and actually was blessed to be able to focus on Christ's real presence, but I have to say, that the entire thing is somewhat unbelievable.

On a lighter note, the Valentine's Day present I bought Paul kind of ties into this story. It's two parts that you can see here and here (PAUL DO NOT CLICK ON THOSE LINKS!!!! You have to be surprised!). Maybe I should have bought him two of present #1. One to wash and one to wear...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cloth Diapering Question

Okay... I have a question for all you cloth diapering experts out there.

I used cloth diapers on Maggie up until we moved at the beginning of this month and everything was fine. I used disposables sometimes too, and we never had a problem with either one.

When we moved I used disposables for about a week (1 package) while we were getting everything set up, so I didn't have to deal with laundry every night. Shortly before we moved I had tried a new detergent (a coupon disaster... it was Gain) and found out that Maggie was allergic to it. I washed all the diapers several times that has been washed in it, although the rash actually broke out on her chest.

Fast forward to now: every time I put Maggie in a cloth diaper she breaks out in welts all along the edge of the diaper line where it touches her legs. I've tried lotion and diaper ointment and powder. We're back to the scentless, hypoallergenic detergent. And I'm changing her more than ever and I just can't figure out what it is that's causing it.

Any ideas for causes or solutions for this type of problem?

I'm at wits end. I've been using disposables this week and all but 1 welt is gone. I just can't figure out anything else that's changed. We're still on city water. And that's pretty much all I can think of at the moment.

Any ideas are appreciated. I've just completely run out of cloth related solutions...

"Toy Paper?"

Conversation I just heard coming from the bathroom where Nani had just taken Sadie to brush her teeth.

Sadie: "Butt Paper!"
Nani: "Toilet paper. That's toilet paper."
Sadie: "Toy Paper?"

Why Do You Believe... in the Eucharist

When I first began to learn about Catholicism, I had already agreed to become Catholic. I’d begun to pray around a year earlier (after a long while of not praying) and while the prayers I said felt forced and brittle, I kept on. It was after about eight months of this sort of prayer that I met my future husband and we began to discuss going to church together. My husband-to-be hadn’t been to Mass regularly in a while, but he was adamantly Catholic, and thus began my journey towards being received into the Church.

The Mass and many of the Church’s teachings were certainly foreign to me. Yet at the same time certain verses that I must have read many times in the past, began to jump off the page. Answers formed to questions that had nagged at me for years. And I wondered how I could have missed them. How could I have read these same words for years and basically, for lack of a better way of describing it, missed the point?

Apostolic Succession and the Eucharist were two of the main points that transformed the way I thought. I went from thinking: “I’ll go to this Church because my fiancĂ© was raised in it and wants to raise our children in it” to thinking, “I am so incredibly fortunate and blessed to have found my way Home.”

Since these two first points, which are really starting points, could fill volumes (and have over the centuries) I’ll just begin to tackle one of them in this post. It is the sacrament you find at the center of Catholic life: the Eucharist.

Now the fact that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of our Lord is very odd (at best) to non-Catholics. You will often hear the argument: “well He didn’t mean that literally” in discussions about transubstantiation and the Body and Blood of Christ.

However, it is perfectly clear in John Chapter 6 that he very much did mean it literally. Let’s take a look, starting with verse 47:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?"

Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."

These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?"

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe." Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father."

As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"

Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
I included this much of the chapter because I think it’s that one many people would like to ignore. But to ignore what is said here is to ignore what Jesus taught and what he taught very clearly.

Would a symbolic gesture of eating bread and drinking wine shock anyone? It would be fairly mundane. And yet, Jesus loses many of his disciples because of this teaching.

It is a straightforward statement. Yet just as it was two millennium ago, it is still a difficult for many to accept. So the question becomes: Are you going to walk away from the Body and Blood of Christ and tell yourself that it’s just symbolic, and completely unnecessary? Or are you going to be united with Him in the Eucharist?

It is a truly amazing reality, an experience that should be lived (regularly) by every single person, and it’s something I need to remember to cherish and thank God for more frequently.

Next up (when I get a chance to think of something other than day-to-day life for more than five minutes) Apostolic Succession (sometimes known as the shocking moment when we realize that our pride might be a source of trouble and that we might not always be the greatest authority on every issue under the sun…).

Friday, January 28, 2011

A First Haircut

As you may remember I am the family barber/stylist. Here's my first attempt at a haircut (Paul was the guinea pig. Paul does cut my hair and I'm due for a trim any week now.). And Sadie was a bit older when I started trimming her hair. But Maggie's hair was so long (and more importantly so uneven) that I trimmed the bottom this morning. Here's the event in pictures:

Sunday Morning (pre haircut hair length)

This morning after her bath before the haircut.


Presenting Princess Maggie!

She looks older to me now! Like less of a tiny baby!

Two Recipes in One: Beef Burritos and Chile

I've been feeling creative lately. Today I went to the store and picked up one lb ground beef. When I brought it home I had no idea what I was going to make. I browned it and made up the following recipe as I went along. It turned out to be a new family favorite (Paul and Sadie both loved it and Sadie is a tough critic!).

1 lb ground beef
2 cans corn
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 small can medium red enchilada sauce
1 pack taco seasoning (I added extra cumin too!)
2 tbs crushed garlic
2 tbs canned green peppers
4 stalks celery
1 can olives (sliced)

Sour Cream

(for the second night) black beans

Mix ground beef with cumin (around 3 tbs) and crushed garlic. Brown on stove top. Add to slow cooker. Mix in corn, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, taco seasoning packet, green peppers, celery and olives. Cook on high for two hours.

Warm tortillas in oven. Place burrito mixture in a line on the center of tortilla. Top with shredded cheese, avocado and sour cream (or whatever other toppings sound good!). Fold, short ends in first and then fold over long edges.

And enjoy!

Since this makes quite a lot our plan for the next meal is to add it to the 2 cups of black beans that I have soaking for chile (Paul’s idea!)!
I'll cook the black beans for two hours and then mix everything together and voila, a second meal!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How'd I Get To Be So Picky About Bible Translations?

I'd really like to know the answer to the above question. It's a little embarrassing. I try not to be bothered... but it always slips out.

When I began RCIA, Paul wanted to buy me a Bible. Thus began a journey to find one that I liked (it took a while...).

I was looking for a Bible verse tonight for a post that I've been planning, but as I was searching for it I was sidetracked. First I looked in one of my two favorite Bibles, the Douay Rheims (my other favorite is the RSV CE). I love the Doay Rheims, but after reading through the part I was searching for I wondered if I shouldn't check out a couple other versions, because it was a post that I was hoping would be very relatable and the Douay Rheims isn't necessarily the easiest read.

Here are the three versions that I came across (and this just happens to be the first verse that caught my eye):

"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you..."

-Douay Rheims Bible

"Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you..."

-New American Bible

"Do not work for food that goes bad, but work for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of man will give you.."

-New Jerusalem Bible
I'll admit, after reading less than ten words of the New Jerusalem Bible I could tell that I wasn't going to like the translation. I was getting that grating, nails on chalkboard feeling. So I clicked back over to a couple other versions and read the same verse, one after another.

I knew within moments what it was that bothered me. It was the same thing that bothered me when we looked at different translations in RCIA and read a few that, while sold as "adult" Bibles were so incredibly oversimplified that it was hard to get a glimpse of the original meaning. One version that stands out even now was missing the word "temptation." Apparently it was thought to be too difficult a word and had been left out (we had been talking about how different Bibles were graded at different grade levels that night... but I really don't think "temptation" is that tough of a word, despite it's three syllables...).

In the verse above, in the New Jerusalem, they've decided to do away with the word "perishes" and replace it with "go bad." It means the same thing. And yet I had to force myself to keep reading because it just "sounded" off when I read the verse to myself. I'll admit, I tend to be a little obsessive about words and cadence and how paragraphs fall together.

I'll also admit that I was being a little dramatic when I flopped down on the bed with my laptop and asked Paul, who was hard at work on his computer, my next question. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Is that Bible that you like the Jerusalem or the New Jerusalem?"
Him: "Jerusalem. Why?"
Me: "Because I was just looking for a Bible verse and I found it in the New Jerusalem. And I actually feel a little bit dumber now than I did ten minutes ago." (I know, I know, it's not nearly that bad. I was being dramatic. I should also mention that I'm also really tired right now and feel a little bit goofy from sheer exhaustion. I read a simple paragraph that was only slightly funny on another website half an hour ago and laughed for like five minutes... I'll be going to bed soon...).
Him: "I'll have to let my professor know that. He loves the New Jerusalem Bible. It uses gender inclusive language."

There you have it. See, my instincts aren't all that bad. And if you read this blog regularly you may remember that I do believe that gender inclusive language sounds exactly like finger nails on a chalkboard.

I may be a little neurotic and this might be my most boring post ever, so I think I'm going to get that sleep I so desperately need. And tomorrow I'll try again to write that post I've been planning (the title is "Why I'm Catholic: Part 1").

I'll make sure I avoid the New Jerusalem, so I don't get distracted...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Mae Babe Sits Up

Maggie sat up for the first time on Friday and today she spent the day practicing her new skill. She also seemed determined to move on to the next step (or skip ahead five or so steps!). She's been watching her sister and after sitting up she started trying, over and over again, without holding on to anything, to straighten one leg and reach up to the sky with one arm like she was going to jump to her feet. This may be why Sadie was walking around later saying "Mae Walk! Mae Walk!"

I'm not quite ready for her to be racing around on her own yet...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway: Saint Philomena Chaplet

It's time for another giveaway from Full of Grace Creations! This weeks giveaway is a Saint Philomena Chaplet. The chaplet consists of red glass beads and three large freshwater pearls!

Saint Philomena is a helper of students at examinations, the sick in desperate cases, and mothers at childbirth.

"This chaplet consists of three white beads and thirteen red beads. On the medal say the Apostles’ Creed to ask for the grace of faith.

On each of the white beads say an Our Father in honor of the three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity in thanksgiving for all favors obtained through St. Philomena’s intercession.

On each of the red beads, which are thirteen in number to commemorate the thirteen years that St. Philomena spent on earth, say the following prayer:

Hail, Oh holy St. Philomena, whom I acknowledge, after Mary, as my advocate with the Divine Spouse, intercede for me now and at the hour of my death.

Saint Philomena, beloved daughter of Jesus and Mary, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Amen.

In conclusion say:

Hail, O illustrious St. Philomena, who shed so courageously your blood for Christ! I bless the Lord for all the graces He has bestowed upon thee during thy life, and especially at thy death.

I praise and glorify Him for the honor and power with which He has crowned thee, and I beg thee to obtain for me from God the graces I ask through thy intercession.

-from My Treasury of Chaplets (eighth edition)
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 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!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday "Morning" Giveaway: And the Winner is...

Time got away from me today! Actually I guess the day itself got away from me, because it was midday before I realized that it was a giveaway day and that I wouldn't have any time to do the giveaway until after the girls were tucked into bed.

Well that time has finally arrived. I used to pick a winner:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2011-01-25 03:10:48 UTC

And that means that the winner is clanmiz77. Congratulations clanmiz77! I'll send you an email and as soon as I get your response, with your choice of beads and a mailing address I'll get it made and in the mail!

Look for another giveaway tomorrow!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Headcovering Post

I haven't written about headcovering in a while. The reason, when I think about it, is that I don't worry about it nearly as much as I did when I first began covering. It's simply become a part of life. The stress of "what will people think" that was a worry when I first began covering doesn't come to mind these days (maybe I'm too busy fending off Maggie's grabby little hands, which seem to be in love with lace!).

I feel called to cover my head during Mass and so I do. It's as simple as that.

And yet, once in a while, I read something that reminds me that the act of sliding a comb into my hair with a piece of lace attached is, apparently, seen as controversial to some.

The conversation takes place on this post. The blogger says that she's been veiling for two years and that she feels like it's an excellent reminder to pray without ceasing. And then the responses start. You wouldn't think that a woman saying that she chooses to cover (without making any sort of comment about what anyone else should do) would cause such outrage. And yet it does. Here's one of the comments:
"You’d fit in well in Saudi Arabia.
Covering women is a manifestation of gender politics. Women are covered to symbolize concealment of shame. This makes men feel better about themselves, because a quick glance at a covered woman lets him think “harlot!” and feel off the hook for abusing her in other situations.
Honestly, that’s rediculous. Why do you want to wear symbols of shame before your God? Don’t you consider his creation to be good?"
Sigh. Where to begin?

The first thing that comes to mind is that it's rather sad that there are people who've actually bought into this way of thinking.

And while people may think many things when they see a woman wearing a chapel veil, I would truly be shocked if "harlot" was even in the top hundred on the list of thoughts that come to mind.

Veil are not "symbols of shame."

Alice Von Hildrebrand gives the best response I've heard to the fictional claim that the Catholic Church oppresses women (because that claim usually goes along with this particular view of veils) in the Privilege of Being a Woman. Here she dispels the myth:
"In order to understand the greatness of a woman's mission, we must open our minds and hearts to the message of the supernatural. It is the key that will reveal to us the greatness of femininity. It is one thing to read a text; it is another to interpret it correctly. All the arguments which seem to favor the thesis that the Bible has been discriminating against women from the very beginning can easily be reversed by interpreting the sacred text with the eyes of faith.

That men and women are perfectly equal in dignity- both being made to God's image and likeness- cannot be contested. But to be created last does not indicate inferiority. As a matter of fact, it could be argued that there is an ascending line in creation: from inanimate matter, to plants, lower animals, mammals, man, and finally, woman. Obviously we are not inferring that woman, being created last, is superior to man. We only wish to show that the argument used to prove her "inferiority" is not valid and can be turned on its head.

The fact that Eve's body was fashioned from Adam's rib can also easily be interpreted as a sign of special dignity and preciousness: for to be made from the body of a human person (made in God's image and likeness) is definitely nobler than being fashioned from the dust of the earth.

Indeed the punishment meted out to Eve, as de Beauvoir points out, was particularly severe. As mentioned above, when referring to excruciating pains, the Old Testament mentions the pangs of childbirth. But, in light of redemption (which has given a sublime meaning to suffering), to suffer agony to bring another human being into the world is a premonition of the sufferings of Christ whose blood has redeemed us. It imitates that if Eve carries a heavy responsibility for the tragedy of original sin, the new Eve will play a cardinal role in the work of redemption. Saint Andrew of Crete writes: "The women applaud, for if at another time it was a woman who was the imprudent occasion of sin, now too it is a woman who brings in the first fruits of salvation." Kierkegaard writes: "it is my conviction that if it was a woman that ruined man, it was a woman also that has fairly and honestly made reparation and still does so..." More will be said about this later.


If we are to speak of Church practices, it is not by accident that seven of the fifteen decades of the rosary are dedicated to Mary, once again putting the limelight on her unique role in the economy of redemption. Moreover, the Stations of the Cross honor women.


As soon as we abandon a secularistic interpretation of the Bible, we can perceive that, from a supernatural point of view, women are actually granted a privileged position in the economy of redemption. Those who persist in wearing secularistic lenses have eyes and do not see, have ears and do not hear. For the Bible cannot be understood except in an attitude of humble receptivity, that is, "on one's knees," (as Kierkegaard puts it). So called "biblical" scholars may know Aramaic and Greek, but nevertheless radically misunderstand the divine message, because their "scholarship" has warped their faith. A tacit refusal to receive God's message-- because of intellectual pride-- is punished by blindness. "
And for a good explanation of headcovering I suggest this post from the Catholic Knight.

Daily Dose of Cuteness: "Amen! High Five!"

Every night before dinner we say grace. Usually at some point during the prayer Sadie crosses herself and says "amen!" Tonight she made a huge, enthusiastic sign of the cross and then said "Amen!" before turning to me, smiling and saying "High Five!"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: "Mae Babe"

"Mae Babe" may be the most frequently heard phrase in our house. It's Sadie's name for Maggie and she repeats it over and over again throughout the day. And it's catching on. We've all started calling her Mae because we hear it all the time.

The other day I started snapping pictures of Sadie because she had a bow in her hair, when Maggie started rolling around and acting like a total ham for the camera. When I would put the camera down she would start to cry. Each time I picked it back up she would smile and giggle and do cute little things. Here's the result:

There's actually a lot more, but these are my favorites!

In other Maggie news she sat up by herself for the first time yesterday! Nani was sitting in the living room with the girls while I unloaded the car. She turned her back to Maggie for a few seconds and when she turned around Maggie was sitting up. She's getting so big!

The Veggie Stew (because it deserved a picture!)

I thought this recipe from the other day deserved it's very own picture. So here it is:

An Anniversary to Be Mourned...

I don't usually do the "change your facebook status to this cause" things. But this is a good one:

Today January 22, 2011 marks the 38th anniversary of Roe V. Wade. This decision has caused over 53,000,000 innocent human beings to lose their lives to voluntary pregnancy terminations (abortions). Today I am changing my status for life, to stand in unity with other pro-lifers against this horrible tragedy. Stand with me for life, copy and paste this status for one hour today.

What a very sad anniversary. I think I'll keep it up all day...

Vegetable Stew

I came up with a vegetarian stew. I was trying to figure out something easy that I could pop in the slow cooker, that would be done before dinner time (ha! I should have started earlier!). I love how it turned out! In the end Sadie and Maggie ended up eating and going to bed and Paul and I ate and watched Netflix after they were asleep. Here’s the new recipe:

1 large eggplant
1 large sweet onion
1 small jar artichokes in oil
2 tbs garlic
2 cans diced tomatoes
About 8 large mushrooms
½ tbs kosher salt
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs basil
1 tbs oregano

Slice one large sweet onion and put it in the bottom of the slow cooker along with a small jar of artichoke hearts in oil (I put the entire jar in with the oil, instead of adding olive oil with the onions) and (around) two heaping tablespoons of diced garlic. I let these cook (on low) while we walked to the store to pick up a large eggplant and some mushrooms (about forty five minutes, although I don’t think the wait was necessary, after combining the onion, artichokes and garlic I think you can go straight to the next step!).

Add two cans diced tomatoes and stir. Slice the eggplant and salt. Let sit for twenty minutes and then rinse thoroughly. Dice eggplants and add to slow cooker. Slice mushrooms and add to mixture. Add kosher salt and garlic powder.

I cooked it on high for about four hours (cook until the eggplant and mushroom are tender). You could easily put it on in the morning though and let it cook on low all day. In the last half hour add the basil and oregano (and you can add more garlic powder to taste if you think it needs it!).

In the end you have a delicious vegetable stew (and I’ve never been a stew person!)! I served it with homemade bread and butter! There was enough for dinner for two with a large bowl of leftovers (my estimate is about five servings).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"What Do You Do?"

I read an interesting article the other day about how to answer the question “What do you do?” It got me thinking a bit. I don’t hear that question very often these days. Actually, to be completely honest, I don’t hear that question at all. Before Maggie was born people would ask me when I was going to go back to work, but since we added the little cubby bear to the family no one has said a thing. Which is a good thing. Because the question/statement combination; “So when are you going to go to back to work… I mean, you didn’t go to college to be a mom!” causes a fake, plastic smile to freeze on my face and I’m just about as good at faking smiles as I am at faking hugs (which is to say, not at all).

Now-a-days the words I hear most frequently, from people I know and from random strangers passing me on the street is the phrase: “You’ve got your hands full, don’t you?” It could possibly be because Sadie perpetually has a look that lets everyone know she may be plotting an escape. And she is.

I saw a picture of a quiet looking Hollywood starlet’s child the other day. The actress was lying on the beach as the child played nearby. It caught my eye because I remember that particular actress being pregnant at the same time I was, but as I studied the picture one thought stood out… I can’t imagine lying down with Sadie playing at the beach. She’d charge straight in the water (it happened. It was right around 50 degrees outside and the water was freezing, as it tends to be on the Oregon border in October, and she went straight in.). Or she would head out to explore! She definitely wouldn’t play quietly next to me while I relaxed! In my most wonderful dreams Sadie stays quietly near me at all times when we’re out. The reality is something else entirely.

Back to the original question (and the original point of this post! I’m so easily distracted!). Before I found out I was expecting Sadie I hated hearing the words “What do you do?” They made me wince slightly.

You see life had just changed drastically for me. I had gone from working as at a rock climbing gym in the city and having been hired to work for the clandestine services of the CIA (after 13 months of the hiring process) to being a housewife in a town of 164 with a tiny trailer and an inflatable mattress. I was writing a novel and working as a sports reporter for the local newspaper, but I didn’t really like talking about the novel (it’s done by the way, and it’s hiding now, all 90-something-thousand words of it, along with another one I finished after I finished it, on a high shelf in a closet at my parent’s house) and I didn’t really feel like my ten hours a week sports writing gig answered the question.

I experimented with answers. If I said “homemaker” people looked at me like I was insane, as if they wanted to say “don’t you know that’s not a job” (I wanted to reply to their look, “it most certainly is a job! And a full time one at that!” but that’s the problem with responding to looks, you have to be much bolder than I am). If I said writer, they wanted to know about what I was writing (which I was even less enthusiastic about talking about). Maybe I should have said “farmer.” I did have 90 tomato plants at that point (a seed planting mistake that flourished and supplied half the town with tomatoes all summer and fall long), along with eggplants, peppers, carrots, radishes, lettuce and grapes.

The author of the blog I was reading had struggled with the answer to the question as well (and she has come up with a strategy for answering that’s less strained than anything I came up with).

Not having to answer the question these days is something of a relief. For now. And I have two or three more years before the next round of questions start… “Why aren’t you’re kids in school right now?”… And then I can hear all the different opinions about homeschooling. I bet they’re just as much fun as the opinions I’ve heard about “wasting” my education or being a homemaker! Maybe I will have perfected my "listening to something ridiculous" smile by then!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Maggie's Christmas Jacket

Here's Maggie in her Christmas jacket from her great grandparents. She loves it! It's so soft! She was also pretty proud of her big girl shoes (it was warm later in the day but it was chilly enough this morning that I put these on her). She's already wearing size 5s! I still can't believe how big she is. The last checkup put her at a little over 20 lbs and 28 1/2 inches. I'm convinced she's going to be taller than me by the time she's five. She's gaining on her sister!

Home Sweet Home: Paul's Back From Rome!

Yay! Paul finally made the (roughly) 300 mile drive back from the airport! And I am very happy.
Maggie and Sadie were both delighted that Daddy was home. When he picked Maggie up she clung to him and cried any time he tried to put her down. Later when she was finally sitting with me again she sat and cooed at him in this sweet little quiet voice (she usually "talks" pretty loudly to be heard above her sister).

Sadie was also thrilled and zoomed back and forth through the house before finally collapsing on the couch where we watched Curious George while Daddy and Maggie both took naps.

Paul did come home with quite a few Rome Stories. Maybe I'll share some in the next few days... Then again, I'm not sure how I like the way his Rome Stories are colliding with the idealized version of Rome that I am trying to maintain in my head. Oh well.

And while the house was not quite spotless when he got home (Sadie'd been trying her best all day!) the boxes are completely unpacked. Now I just need to start scrubbing the doors and windows that have been written on in permanent marker. Baby steps! But we are getting there!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back in the USA!

Yay! Paul is back in the US!

And of course, he had security difficulties. When he got to the airport in Italy they told him that his passport had been flagged. Just like they said three years ago in Zurich.

He said it took three calls to security and half an hour before they finally let him go. I wonder what the problem is with that passport?

I'll be so glad when he's home! And Sadie is going to be thrilled. She named a giant stuff bunny "Daddy" and keeps showing me his picture. I'm counting the hours!

This Blog Has Moved!

I should have done this a while ago! Sadie has a new little sister and I have a new blog (for anyone who doesn't already know!). It's A Woman's Place Depends on Her Vocation! So if you haven't already and you'd like to, come over and visit!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway: Saint Gerard of Majella Chaplet

It's (finally!) time for another Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway! This morning's giveaway is a Saint Gerard of Majella Chaplet! The winner can decide between a pink chaplet like the one shown here, a chaplet with beads like this one, or this one (the silver), or even substitute freshwater pearls (white, pink or blue!) Here's a quick look at the prayers that accompany the chaplet:

Here's the prayers the accompany the chaplet:

This chaplet is composed of a nine-bead configuration (3 groups of 3) with a St. Gerard medal on one end and a Holy Family medal on the other.

There are two sets of prayer you may use for this chaplet.

One is for expectant mothers followed by:
3 Our Fathers, 3 Hail Marys, and 3 Glory Be's
The one for motherhood followed by:
3 Our Fathers, 3 Hail Marys, and 3 Glory Be's

"Great St. Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, you are a perfect imitator of our meek and humble Saviour, and a devoted child of the Mother of God. Enkindle in my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity that glowed in yours and made you a beacon of love.

Glorious St. Gerard, like your divine Master you bore without murmur or complaint the calumnies of wicked men when falsely accused of crime, and you have been raised up by God as the patron and protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from dangers, and shield the child I now carry. Pray that my baby may be brought safely to the light of day and receive the sacrament of baptism."

"Most Blessed Trinity, I, Your child, thank You for all the gifts and privledges which You granted to St. Gerard, especially for those virtues with which you adorned him on earth and the glory which you now impart to him in heaven. Accomplish Your work, O Lord, so that Your Kingdom may come about on earth. Through his merits, in union with those of Jesus and Mary, grant me the grace for which I ask...

And you, my powerful intercessor, St. Gerard, always so ready to help those who have recourse to you, pray for me. Come before the Throne of Divine Mercy and do not leave without being heard. To you I confide this important and urgent affair....

Graciously take my cause in hand and do not let me end this novena without having experienced in some way the effects of your intercession. Amen."
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 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!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Maggie and the Chocolate Milk Bottle

Sadie has a few toy bottles (that are real bottles we never use that she plays with). Now and then Nani will fill a bottle with diluted hot cocoa and give it to Sadie as a treat. Yesterday I caught Sadie holding a bottle of hot cocoa up to Maggie's lips.

Maggie doesn't take bottles. I guess I'm just to lazy to go to all the trouble of repeated boiling (well water here at Nani's) and after some 27 months of nursing we just haven't really needed to (I did try to give Sadie expressed milk when we went on vacation once... I thought it would be easier on the road... instead we had a bought of something like colic that lasted for the rest of the day and part of the night... so that also probably contributes to my current bottle-less stance).

Still, she knew what that bottle was for. She latched right on and fought me as I tried to take it away. Thankfully it was nearly empty and I think, at the very most, she got a drop that was in the nipple.

However, whatever taste she got, she loved and kept reaching for it. And of course, her loving big sister, spent the rest of the night trying to smuggle her sippie cups and bottles.

Maggie wishes she was Sadie-Sized. She's determined to do everything her sister does.

Did your second babies (or any subsequent ones) do things like crawling and walking earlier than your first ones did? Maggie just always seems to be trying to do things because her sister does. She doesn't even want board books because her sister has paper ones (and that's just a disaster waiting to happen!). She's always watching her sister and she wants to do everything!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

CSN Review: My New Sony DVD Player!

I posted a while back about an upcoming review for CSN Stores and it's finally here! I'm always excited to have an opportunity to do a CSN review because they have so many different products (and stores) to decide between. From dollhouses and toys to bathroom furniture and cookware they have almost everything you can think of!

So when my CSN review code came and I got to do a little bit of shopping I was very excited. I almost bought a beautiful pair of boots that I'd had my eye on. And then it happened. Disaster (okay disaster is way too dramatic a word, but in our house it felt like disaster) struck. Our DVD player, which belonged to Paul before we got married and had already been showing signs of distress for quite some time, besides simply refusing to play some disks, began to freeze after every single frame. If I turned it on or off a couple (or five) times it would eventually start to work again. For a while at least.

Our DVD player is a big deal in our house. We don't have any sort of television service and on days when I'm home alone with the girls putting Maggie in her exersaucer and giving Sadie a sippie cup and putting on Go Diego Go can buy me enough time to make dinner if I haven't thought of something ahead of time (my freezer supply has dwindled since we moved).

As a result I was delighted when I saw a this Sony DVD Player. It was just under the amount of my certificate and with shipping would cost $2-something. I ordered it and it literally arrived less than 48 hours later. Since we were in the middle of moving when it arrived I kept it safely in its box as things got shuffled from one place to the other.

Once we got to the new place I unpacked it and set it up. It was a lifesaver while I was unpacking boxes with two little girls when most of our belongings were still in boxes. One of my favorite features is that it starts any DVD from the spot where it last stopped. Our old DVD player would start the disk that was in it from the same spot, but once the disk drive had been opened it would restart from the beginning. Now maybe this is something that DVD players have had for a while (since I obviously haven't been using a "new" DVD player for quite a while), but its new to me and I'm pretty excited about it.

Paul and I can watch half of a Netflix movie one night and then take the disk out, let the girls work on their Italian with Muzzy before dinner the next day, and then put the disk back in after they go to bed and the DVD player will restart the movie where we left off!

So overall I'm pretty thrilled! The DVD player arrived at the perfect time and for such a slim, simple looking little machine it does a lot!

Check Rome Off the List!

It's been determined that we will not be moving to Rome next year! This is why it's good to visit a school on the other side of the world before moving! And while it would have been a great adventure I'm kind of relieved not to have to move the entire family for such a long stretch (five years) to such an expensive place, halfway around the world. A year or two would have been fun, but five years is a long time to so far from family.

I am excited to have one more possibility ticked off the possibility check list. We're a little closer to figuring out where we are going to be. Will it be Naples, Florida? San Francisco (oh my sanity!)? New Orleans? D.C.? Milwaukee? Ottowa? The list is so long (Paul applied to some 35 schools) and there are so many possibilities!

At least we have the continent narrowed down!

A Coupon Deal So Tasty I Had to Share!

Quick! I don't know how long this deal will last, but I've subscribed to magazines through Tanga before and it's really the way to go. In fact, I'm starting to think it's the only way to buy magazines. I wait for coupon deals and when I see a year long magazine subscription for a few dollars I go for it!

I haven't read bon appetit before, but the covers looked so tasty, and for $3.99 for an entire year, I thought it was worth a try.

Just click on the link and press "buy" (it will look like it's going to cost $23.99) and then type in FOOD in the coupon code on the next page and it update. The price will drop to $3.99 a year (I just did it!) and you can decide how many years you want.

The covers are making me hungry!

Friday, January 14, 2011

One Space After Each Sentence?

Okay, so I was shocked by this article (in a bored, it's "late" at night and I should be working on "work" or going to sleep early for once since I'm sick, but instead I am reading silly articles in bed, sort of way). The two spaces after a period thing was drilled into us. In fact, if I remember correctly, when we learned to write we learned to put two fingers at the beginning of each sentence to make sure there was enough room (and four in front of a paragraph I think!).

And after years of drilling typing (I was dorky enough to compete in keyboarding in college), I don't think my two spaces will be changing anytime soon. I tried it for one sentence and gave it up as a complete failure.

Did anyone else know that one space is "correct?"

Making Peace with the Sign of Peace?

You might not be able to tell from my blog, but I’m really very introverted.

Years ago I used to make an effort to be outgoing, but as the years have gone by I’ve come to the conclusion that the exhausting effort to act like I’m an extrovert, just isn’t worth it. However, the other day when I saw this article on Father Z’s blog, I thought that I might be making little teeny baby steps of progress. Had I really made peace with the often stressful Sign of Peace?

The question, which I first saw in poll form, asked readers what they thought of the Sign of Peace during the NO Mass.

I read through the choices and they were:
1) I like it and am happy to do it.
2) I don’t care one way or another.
3) I tolerate it.
4) I dread it as it approaches and think of ways to avoid it.
5) I hate it so much I won’t go to Mass where it is done.

I’ll admit that my first reaction, and the answer that I quickly clicked, was #4 (which ended up coming in second behind “I tolerate it”). Then I thought about it a little bit more and realized that I don’t dread it nearly as much as I used to.

See, I’ve never been a big “hugger” with people that I don’t know extremely well. In high school I’d get comments about my “fake hugs” which was a weak, one armed pat on the back when someone I wasn’t exceptionally close to tried to hug me.

One of the great things about our parish is that it’s very warm and welcoming. But that also means, for introverts, a little more hugging that we’d probably chose for ourselves. Or wish upon anyone who’s hugging impaired. Anyways, I digress. Back to the Sign of Peace…

Could it really be that the Sign of Peace no longer bothered me? Had I actually gotten used to it?

I tried to think back. I’d dreaded it and desperately thought of ways to avoid it for the first year or so after my conversion. After Sadie was born, however, my tactics changed. Paul and I both began to compete to see who would be holding the baby when it came time for the Sign of Peace.

It was kind of funny when I think about it. My arms would be exhausted, straining after holding a twenty pound baby for more than half an hour and suddenly it would almost be time for the Our Father and Paul would look over, quite concerned, and offer to take the baby (I’m not sure how he feels about the Sign of Peace, but I know how he feels about holding hands during the Our Father!). At that point, however, I wasn’t about to give her up. I’d held her until my arms were about to fall off. And no one could hug me when my arms were full of 20-lbs of baby!

That hasn’t happened for a while now, and I’ve finally realized why I moved from the “dread” to the “tolerate” category: two babies. With Maggie and Sadie there’s no jockeying to hold a baby. We both have one and that means 1) no hand holding during the Our Father and 2) no hugging during the Sign of Peace.

So I have to come to the conclusion that I really haven’t “gotten used to it.” I just have a better excuse these days for my non-huggable status. I have a feeling that when our little ones are old enough to sit on their own and not be held I’ll be back to “dreading” the Sign of Peace.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Guess It Was For the Best...

It's a good thing that I'm not in Rome today...

...because I have the flu and Maggie has the flu and Sadie is just at the tail end of having the flu and I have no idea how we would have survived yesterday's plane trip if we'd actually had tickets. For the last couple of days Sadie has been pretty hysterical every time we've stepped outside of the house. A long plane ride just wouldn't have happened.

Paul is, at this very moment according to his last message to me on Facebook, on his way to the Vatican. And I am, for the first time, glad we didn't all go, because it would have been a disaster! While Maggie's fever has come down a little bit she is still on sick little bunny. I was really hoping she would miss this, but no such luck.

In other news, before I go to bed and hope tomorrow is better than today, Sadie announced this evening that she is ready for big girl pants. I have an entire drawer full of big girl pants that have been waiting for this moment (I would take them out and ask her if she was ready to wear them and she would dissolve in tears so this is a big step!).

I could not be more thrilled by this development! I would love to not have to buy any diapers (I tried to convince her that cloth diapers were the way to go once I got the hang of them and then gave up after it became clear that the hysterics weren't going to subside in the near future).

Now for some sleep.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's in a Name?

As you probably can tell from reading my blog, I'm a big fan of traditional names (although a lot of my favorite traditional names are pretty trendy right now too). So I was interested to see this article, which was being debated over at Catholic Answers Forum (I didn't join in!):
"While names such as Sienna and Scarlett have become fashionable in recent years, Pope Benedict XVI called for a return to tradition.

During Mass at the Sistine Chapel, he said: "Every baptised child acquires the character of the son of God, beginning with their Christian name, an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit causes man to be born anew in the womb of the Church." He added that a name was an "indelible seal" that set children off on a lifelong "journey of religious faith"."

Read the entire article here.
So what do you think? Do you tend to pick traditional (or cultural) names/family names/ saint names? Or do you go for names that are unique (or are both? There are some pretty unique sounding saint names!).

Out of the first and middle names we picked, one (first name) was the name of great great grandparents on both sides (a name I'd picked out in fifth grade), one (middle name) was a great grandparent's name, one (first name) was a family name and a favorite saint and one (middle name) is the name of the baby's Godmother.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dress Shopping

Sadie ended up with quite a few gift cards for Christmas this year. We hadn't braved our local summit to take a trip to "The City" in a few weeks and since Paul also needed to pick up a few things for his voyage overseas (give me a moment to stifle my jealousy as I stay home with a sick toddler, hoping against hope that Maggie avoids coming down with this awful bug...) we drove an hour and went to two stores to make all of Sadie's dress dreams come true.

You see, lately she refuses to wear anything other than dresses. And now that she's a five she's outgrown almost all of the clothing in her closet.

I imagine that most two year olds would want to head to the toy section. Instead Sadie ohhed and ahhed over the dresses (mostly on clearance) at Target and Macy's. I'm pretty sure she's now one of the best dressed kids in the trailer park (that was Paul's comment as I showed him what she'd picked out). So far the pink princess dress is her favorite, followed by a frilly yellow and white number. At least this should keep her from trying to squeeze into her sister's twelve month dresses. I hope at least.

She actually managed to convince us to let her put on the princess dress in the Target parking lot... and then spent the rest of the day giggling.

Here are some of the highlights:

When It's Not All Relative...

An evil, deeply disturbing, but important topic is being tackled by Shea over at NCRegister.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Daily Dose of Dumb: Making Up Catholic Religious History As She Goes Along

It's unfortunate that so many people out there seem to get their Catholic religious history from Monty-Python-ish sources. It's worse when no one calls them on it and they lead others astray as a result of their lies.

The commercial is pretty dumb. But the part that made me want to yell at my computer monitor came towards the end of the clip. Can you guess what the topic was that was so upsetting?

Hint: it comes at around the 5 minute mark!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Startling Toddler: And How Babies are Born...

Sadie has been acting out something lately and I will admit we're all more than a little bit surprised. It all started a couple of weeks ago when somehow the fact that Maggie used to be in my tummy came up. Then Sadie started pretending that her Pooh Bear doll was her baby and that he was in her tummy. She started by getting a blanket and putting Pooh under the blanket on her tummy and has progressed to stuffing Pooh Bear inside her dresses so that she has a Pooh Bear bump.

One day, she pointed at the anatomically correct exit for most babies (on me), although not for our babies since they were both c-sections, and said "Mag!" as if to explain how babies are born (surprising thing to point out when everyone is just sitting around in the living room playing and reading books!). And that pretty much shocked all of us since the extent of the discussion on where her little sister came from was "the doctor took Maggie out of Mommy's tummy."

We don't have cable or satellite TV so it's not like she's seen A Baby Story or anything on babies being born on TV! I have wondered if it has to do with her fascination with all things "poo" (as in animal scat when we go on walks, because we come across a lot of bear and fox scat...) and that she's calling her sister "poo" since she always giggles after she says it.

Most surprising perhaps, was when she was sitting in her beautiful Christmas gift princess dress last night at a restaurant birthday party with the entire family. She decided, in her high chair at the head of the table, that she was going to stuff Pooh Bear down the front of her princess dress and then "deliver" Pooh Bear in a fit of giggles out the bottom of the dress with a flourish. Four generations of raised eyebrows (okay, three since Maggie was too busy playing with her teething ring) shot up.

She was always fascinated with my Maggie bump before Mag's was born and was already pointing at it when asked where the baby was when she was pretty tiny (I think around 17 months old).

I guess Sadie doesn't need this doll to explain where babies are from. And that's a good thing because I can't imagine forking over that kind of cash for a rag doll (or any doll! Heck it's way more than an American Girl doll!).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sadie Frown of the Week: PDA's During Mass

I attended an absolutely beautiful Mass this morning. We have a new priest and he's using Eucharist prayers that we've rarely heard. It was truly amazing...

... And yet, the entire time one thought kept running through my head. I tried to brush it aside. And then I tried to force it aside. And yet it kept coming back, again and again, for the entire rest of the day. It was slightly nauseating.

Here it is:

Public Displays of Affection during Mass truly disgust me.

Deep breath.

There is apparently something that bothers me more than singing the "Our Father" and changing the words. It bothers me more than gender inclusive language. It is a couple, sitting directly in my line of sight, who cannot keep there hands off of each other.

I know what you're thinking: Teenagers!

Unfortunately, not at all. In fact, they were decades away from using "youth" as an excuse.

Words like "grope" shouldn't come to mind during Mass.

However, I have learned a few very important lessons today, in retrospect. 1) Come early to Mass (we arrived two minutes before it was scheduled and it had already started, so we had to sneak in and sit in the back... which leads me to #2). 2) Sit in the front! It's better for the babies to watch everything AND no one other than the priest is in front of you. No one in front of me had any idea what was going on and the people who were behind off to the sides likely missed it as well. In fact I'm pretty sure even the priest facing us couldn't see what was going on.

Paul pointed out on the car ride home (we had a long shopping day so this was hours later) that they really didn't seem to know they were doing anything inappropriate and I think he's actually (sadly) correct. They didn't seem to know that the fact that they couldn't keep their hands to themselves was not appropriate. And that says something very sad about our culture. Everyone should no that PDA's in Church are absolutely unacceptable.

Anyways, I have learned my lesson: come early, sit in the front. I don't need an extra "show" to go along with the Eucharist.