Friday, January 30, 2015

7 Quick Reads ~ 7 Quick Takes~ The Pro-Life Edition

Well, hey. I did a little bit of crowd-sourcing on Facebook yesterday, and it turns out, almost everyone who commented there likes or even loved Pope Francis! I was surprised by that, as not every IRL (in real life) conversation turns out like that for me.  Anyway.... more thoughts on that at a later time.

Here are the best links of the Pro-life web - in my humble opinion-  over the past week or two. Enjoy!


not a read... this one's a watch.
This Time  - Pro-Life music video by John Elefante @
Worth a watch and listen.


Popes, Planes, and Common Sense @ Fountains of Home
So true and well-put!  I like her reference to Orthodoxy and the reminder that the church's teaching is Responsible Parenting, just as the Pope said.


The Pope, Rabbits, and Prudence @
Wise words. Very wise words, coming from a Mom of 7.


650K Will March on Washington But You Won't Hear Anything About It @ The Little Shop of Words
So important. So, so important. There is a reason it isn't mainstream news. It's uncomfortable to face facts and reality. This is the world we live in today.


Guess Who Thinks Pope Francis Shouldn't Give So Many Interviews? by Philip Lawler @ Catholic Culture
This was the best deconstruction of the Pope's statement on rabbits that I've read. I don't agree with his final statement, but the rest is right-on (more of my thoughts on this at a later time).

I Named My Child Grace @ Vox Luminis
This is actually the story of a woman who is a cousin, friend, and has had a great impact with her Pro-life involvement with the National Memorial for the Unborn here in Chattanooga. She has a powerful witness and testimony- take a minute to read her story!

Go see Kelly and all the other lovelies for more!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

PHFR~ Bookshelves, Placemats, Notebooks, and Reading


I don't have a picture, but I'm sure glad our kids played outside in the snow on Monday night. Because, despite its blizzard quality and the fact that all the cars were white, by Tuesday morning it was completely gone!

We got a new bookshelf. I am so pleased with the way it matches the frame in the painting above.

Fun fact: my Great Aunt Esther painted these daffodils... so lovely!


I also decided to buy some more placemats for Valentine's Day.


I was doing a bunch of research online for an article I'm working on for the ACWB.  Then I turned to my left and looked on our bookshelf. Right next to me was a book that Stephen bought a few years ago... and it had everything I needed in it!
I ordered a new moleskine notebook. I decided to go for the graph paper so that I can keep records of memorization and exercise and things like that.Working on memorizing with the kids.

Also in actually funny, did you see this funny, funny piece on Goodnight Moon at the Ugly Volvo? Although I do not share her non-Christian perspective, I always find that site to be hilarious.


Dreams- since Cristina is always recounting her dreams on her blog, today, I recount mine from Monday night: I was in college. I had a ten-year-old son (...). I got asked on a date by an Asian man at my college. Later,  at a floral arranging class at my school, I told some friends I wasn't interested, but that I was interested in marrying... wait for it... my boyfriend(??).  So I go ask my friend Suzanne what my boyfriend's phone number is (??), and she said, "He just sent me a funny text about his job at the Pre-School!" (??) So we try to find his phone number from the text message, and end up flipping through the college directory, where we still can't find it.

This is sort of a recurring dream, that I'm not married but looking for a husband kind of thing.  Which is just even weirder. (And disclaimer: strangely juvenile...) I wake up and tell Stephen and he's like... "No." I also feel like I have to give the disclaimer one of this is even remotely indicative of my past or reality! Completely and utterly random. Ok, I don't think I'm going to talk about dreams on my blog in the future. It's too...awkward. I blame this strange divergence on pregnancy hormones and Filling My Prayer Closet. ;-)

Yep, pretty much. Eat, sleep, read. And also add a few other things like pray and mothering.  Gelly roll pens are my real this week.  Naysayers begone! It is okay for a woman in her thirties to use these! I promise!

Also in Real.... 8 weeks....and look how far I'm coming in Middlemarch! It's almost to time to start my February reading (so hard to believe), but I'll keep plugging away on this till I'm done... even if it takes until the middle of March!

the funnier meme with the same picture (i know, so sad, right?!)

har har har

Did you hear that my friend Rhonda wrote a book? You can buy it here!
Also, Real Housekeeping has had a great a Winter Blues series going and a whole slew of fun articles this month.... have you seen the awesomeness that is the coffee posts? You simply must check those out. They were seriously channeling the Beck Household with those posts!

Go see Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekly Minutiae vol. 9~Fancy Nancy, Food, and Mixers

We’ve had quite an interesting week, but between my pregnancy, and Molly’s birthday party, and just general upkeep, I’ve hardly had enough time to sit down and write the things worth mentioning in this week’s Weekly Minutiae post.
my favorite word was in Middlemarch

I will say that we have been eating well: steak with kale salad, green beans, rice, and buttered bread on Monday… roasted chicken with dried basil and garlic with carrots and mashed potatoes on Tuesday... and lots of yumminess like this smoothie in the Vitamix this week as well. At the end of the week we did egg noodles with chicken leftovers, then ravioli with corn and garlic toast. I know, I know you were on the edge of your seat wondering.

Have you seen these mixers at Publix? I usually don’t splurge on things like this (read: I almost never did in my twenties) but as I get older I like branching out and trying the various pre-made things available in the freezers. It’s funny how you start to feel not-as-guilty about things like that as you get older. (or is that just me). I got the Seattle’s Best and also this Smoothie mixer.  Our food budget is…ahem… liberal but in need of some family meetings and budget-talks.  Basically we shop at Aldi, then I go to Target, Publix, or Whole Foods, and get whatever we run out of (or whatever looks good….)  (Would I ever go back to Sam’s? No, no, that is a big fat no. I spent way too much there- way more than we're currently spending on groceries-and it is not even a comparison when you’re used to being frugal and shopping at Aldi.... and when you’re used to buying other things besides groceries. This is not an "agree with me or be wrong" situation, except that maybe, it is.*;)

We had a fabulous birthday for Molly.  I decided to do Fancy Nancy, but it was not all-my-heart Fancy Nancy.  I’m not one of those Mom’s, ladies. I know what I do well and what I don’t do well, and you know what? I’m good.
But it was fun and it was all about Molly.
 It was her perfect day. Her friends were all so sweet and so excited to come. Their Moms all said that the girls couldn’t wait for Molly’s party (fun age!). They played blissfully together for a long time, enjoyed the food, enjoyed the cake. That is satisfaction enough without the Pinterest-perfection. (Don’t tell Molly, but I love her friend’s Moms so much, and we enjoyed talking, so that always works out really nicely for me, too!)
Our kitty is still bringing lots of life and love to our house. Only problem is, he’s living up to his nickname, not his name. Prince Caspian (aka Mr. Sneaky) disappears for long periods at a time. I think he is sleeping ....probably under the couch, or under the cabinets in the kitchen.
looking for the kitty...
hiding/sleeping behind the bookshelf

He shows up when you least expect him, and he’s all: “I’m gonna bounce and bound around the room and show off to my heart’s content… and play and ask you to pet me and hide and cuddle… and then I’m gonna disappear again and make you really, really stressed out and worried about me.”

He disappeared at the very moment we had a Vet appointment scheduled for him, so yeah, that wasn’t good. After looking all over the entire house, we decided to reschedule it. Then later, he wandered out... ready to play, and we were totally exasperated. I’m thinking his best time of day is around 5-6pm… is the vet open at that time? ;-)

funny things they say
Anders : bakur bakur! in response to bacon for breakfast
Anders, in response to seeing this mug: chug-a-chug-a-choo-choo!

I left Madeleine’s jacket on for about a bit after we got back from the store.. and this is when I realized I needed to take her jacket off--
Madeleine: “I love you… Jesus… with my jacket on… and don’t do that ever again.”
truck! truck! car! car!
Playing with her new lego set!

Making up stories with her sisters.... after Molly telling Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel, Madeleine says:
Madeleine: Once upon a time, there was a witch...
Me: Do you think you can you make up a story that isn't about a witch? ((Because you get scared really easily, and I want you to sleep tonight.))
Madeleine: Once upon a time, there was a really nice witch....

Stephen: Do you want cereal, or toast with jelly? Or a rice cake?
Madeleine: bacon.

Madeleine: Dear God, I pray that the baby would grow out of Mommy's tummy. Amen.

weekly minutiae (min-oo-shuh) updates, funny things they say, photo dumps, "blogging is fun" type deal with all of the fun trivial details that make life fun and interesting.  Keep current on all of the latest by following me on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and/or Instagram.  

* I- again-  maintain that Sam's Club is not fair trade and we spent more money (and it wasn't just on groceries!), even still, when we shopped there versus now, when we don't.  But it is not black and white. I get that. :-) 

Friday, January 23, 2015

7 More Apps I Recommend

I feel like I can write about apps we like, with some intelligence, as my husband works for an App for iPad. And yes, Open Table is an app we like. (LOVE). :-) So here are seven more tried and true apps for your smartphone, or other handheld device. I hope this helps you. Hit me up in the comments with some apps that YOU like!

1. Time hop

This is fun for tracking pictures from years passed. You can go to this day 1, 2, 3, and more years back. I had forgotten what we did for Molly's birthday last year, but time hop reminded me - on her birthday- about exactly what we did and where we went. I wouldn't think to look back without it.

3. 7 Minute Workout

This is fun and free, it's a good workout and easily accomplished, as it only takes 7 minutes. It includes all the basics... push-ups, abdominal crunches, wall sits, etc. If I don't do it every night, I do it every other night! ;-)

4. A Beautiful Mess

This is great fun for editing pictures and adding borders, text, fun phrases, etc. It's not free, but it's worth every one of those 99 pennies.

5. Keezy

I can't even explain this one's awesomeness. We've used it for a couple of years now, and it's fun for kids and adults alike. You can record yourself and mix and loop the sounds like a pro. Lots of fun for wasting time waiting in the car, and that kind of thing.

6. Bugs and Buttons/Bugs and Bubbles

This is a great app for kids, they learn counting, matching, sorting, and more. Once again, we've used this with four kids for probably going on four years or so. It is excellent, and tried and true.

7. Wunderlist

Stay organized and keep track of your to-do list and other reminders (and  collaborate with your honey do-list!) all in one place!

BONUS apps:

New Evangelization Rosary (iOS8) or Pocket Rosary (iOs7)

I've written about apps we like before! To read my first apps post, click here.

What do you recommend?
Go see Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum for more quick takes!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

PHFR big news+ the final quilt product

The finished and fully sewn quilt...I am trying to think of a name for this turkey. :-)

And since it isn't Thanksgiving, I hung it Turkey-facing-wall...
in the girls' room. I still need to add another binding to the bottom of the quilt, in keeping with the off-white binding on the top and sides.


I'm making progress on Middlemarch.  It is making me happy to submerge myself in an epic. It has been a while since I read a book this long.


I have a physical copy of Middlemarch, and I found a free version from iBooks (the app for iPad).  Everytime I finish a section on the iPad, I move the bookmark in my actual book. For some reason it is really good for mental endurance- I think it is the encouragement of having a physical reminder that I'm making progress.

I do have opinions about the book, but I'll spare you for now.

So, the same week our first kitty, Aranea, escaped, a couple of funny things happened.
  • I ate a 5 for 5 deal in it's entirety from Krystal at 10:30 in the morning
  • I had a severe craving for Pop-Tarts and asked Stephen to pick some up for me
  • I became very ill trying to make dinner three days in a row, and had Stephen pick up dinner two of those days
  • I couldn't get off the couch so I skipped church
So.... I'm not sure at what point during that week I started feeling suspicious. Not at all and yet all along, I think. Finally, on Sunday, I was very suspicious, because I hate missing Mass. I took a test after all of that and sure enough... I was pregnant. Bowled over. All in all I'm feeling ok. I'm a little over 7 weeks, and it could be worse. I think I spent a lot of time worrying about pregnancy, and now that I'm in the midst of it, that's why I feel like it could be worse. Maybe I am just really good at handling symptoms this time around? I am getting a TON of sleep, I know that much. Oh well. Knock on wood. I know it might be not-so-good any day now.

Like I said, I think that means I'm about 7 or so weeks right this baby is due September 8th, about a month after Anders' two-year birthday. Perfect timing, in my book. And yes, we will be the parents of five kids. I don't even know what that means. ACK! :/ :D  I can't really fathom it. What does that even mean, other than... every seat in our van will be occupied?   I guess it means that Anders will have another little brother or sister. So he won't be the youngest. And it means he'll have to share a room. And it means our house might start to feel smaller, but our hearts will feel a whole lot bigger. I slay me with cheesiness.

So all in all, we are all really happy. I'm also just a little bit stupefied. Did I mention that there is nothing sweeter or more cherished in the world to me than a newborn babe?!  I have been drinking a lot of this smoothie.  We told the kids last night, and this morning Madeleine asked, "Now do we have a new baby?"

By the way, I'm cross-posting today on The Association of Catholic Women Bloggers. Click here to read my article: What Do You Do When the Epiphany Chalk Means Nothing to You?

Go see Like Mother, Like Daughter for more photos of contentment!

What Do You Do When Epiphany Chalk Means Nothing to You?

What do you do when the Epiphany chalk means nothing to you?

I actually got in a teeny-tiny little fight about this with myself this year. Where do I draw the line when my ignorance clashes with expectation. There are so many traditions in the Catholic Church, and keeping up with them, for a convert, is like speaking another language. The tradition of the blessing of the chalk on Epiphany, for one. I had never heard of it, nor did I understand its use or purpose. Not eating meat on Fridays.  Or midnight mass. There are so many new things to get accustomed to as a convert. I remember when we were in RCIA.... the teacher brought up
Holy Days of Obligation.... crickets.
Receiving the Eucharist on the tongue....crickets.
Additionally, as a convert, it can be so overwhelming because there are so many people to know about that I truly knew so little about...  Who is Fulton Sheen? Father Robert Barron? Cardinal Dolan? I literally knew who the Pope was, and Mother Theresa, and that was about it.

So, what is one to do when you feel like singing the song, "It means nothing to me"? What do I do when I just feel like it's all too much?!

If you literally have no clue as to the what or why, here are five options, as I see it:

1. First, you can learn, grow, and get used to it. The first option is the best option. So what if you're a convert? That's not a good excuse.  You need to learn about it, so it does mean something to you.  You should have technically asked all of your questions in your RCIA like a good catechumen. But, as I know from experiencing an amazing RCIA in the D.C./Baltimore diocese, there is no way you would cover everything you need to know in a matter of months, even in the best RCIA class.

2. Second, give yourself time.  Just like starting a new school (I'm remembering my first week of college, here), there is NO way- even if you were the best of the bestest students in your orientation week- that you would know where every classroom is, or where to get the best ice-cream on campus, or who to take for English 101.  It takes time. I was blessed with a husband who jumped in with both feet, reading any and every book he could get his hands on that had to do with Catholicism. I did a little bit of reading on the lives of saints, but not much beyond that. With our faith, considering its richness, don't beat yourself up if you don't "get" everything. It takes time.

3. Third, give yourself grace. When the first two options just aren't cutting it, give yourself grace. If you've already learned twenty new things this week, and you've gone to twenty new events this month, and you've started twenty organizations this year, STOP.  REST. Give yourself a little break. Because all people everywhere- even Catholics- have a lot on their plate. And YOU don't have to be the one to do it all. That's what a community is for.

4. Fourth, take responsibility if and when you can. Since we are a body, every member of the body has a job to do. The big toe and the head are two very different parts, and yes, the head is slightly more important than the toe. If you are in a leadership role, (in your parish, or even in your home-- motherhood counts, of course, as a leadership role!) it would be irresponsible not to learn and grow and take up your cross, in time, when you can.

5. Fifth and finally, discuss it with your husband or wife.  If you are married, an issue can easily be cleared up with a conversation. If your conscience feels strongly about something, but your husband (or wife) seems extremely nonchalant about the issue, talk and pray about it.  Perhaps their nonchalance is a sign that God wants you to stop worrying about the issue for now.  A lot of times, my husband and I feel really differently about an issue, and after talking about it, we have a clearer direction on where we need to go and what we need to do!

So. There you have it. I think it's a mixed bag, and if you simple cannot incorporate all of the feast days, traditions, and prayers, I think it is ok. But next year, try to add in more of them. And as a responsible adult, it is your job to make sure your children are getting the support they need in their faith and in their personal journey of growth toward God. And as a faithful spouse, it is important to discuss the various options together as a couple.

To close, here is a good explanation of Epiphany in all its glory!  @ Aleteia

Cross-posting at the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers

photo credit
from here

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekly Minutiae vol. 8~ Planners and Birthdays

A few friends told me that they were excited about this link up! Please consider adding your link!  I'm still here, and I will still be here coming up. :-)I mean,  hey, I'll still be here, or a shoddy imitation of myself will try to show up, at the very least. ;-)

what we’ve been up to…

and molly’s birthday!

Strawberry cream cheese cupcakes. They were gone in .2 days.

 I can say they were good, so....mmmm. 

blowing out candles!.... and happy girl!

We thought the kids needed another cat, so we decided to go to the McKamey's Rescue Clinic to ask about cats/kittens who were up for adoption.  This little guy was actually the only kitten they had. He warmed up to us quickly. He is between 7-8 weeks, the same age Aranea was when we lost her. We got to hang out with him, and get to know him a bit, and I just had a good feeling about him.Then, they told us his story... the woman working at the clinic said "We usually don't mention the background details, but this story was so unusual, I had to tell you. He was a stray cat who fell through the ceiling, into someone's office... " ("He fell from Heaven!" we all joked. Harhar.).

My parents have a cat- also white, actually- named Princess Guinevere Luna, so we decided he needed a royal name. The kids love Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so they picked Prince Caspian.

Our sad feelings are mostly completely gone, I think. So far he likes to conquer unknown territories... such as the "islands" known as under-our-kitchen- cabinets and behind-our-dishwasher and behind-the-washer-and-dryer. (yes. imagine the worst... unscrewing the dishwasher and removing it to find him hiding behind it). He is also affectionately known as Mr. Sneaky.

So I guess you could say it all fell into place. :-))

Also of note in the special/fun planner.

I love my planner.
while we're on the excruciatingly cheesy level

It has stickers, holidays, a place for notes, and a place on each page where you can tear out your lists- to do lists and shopping lists- or what have you.

This is my second year using it, and it’s just so pretty and useful, I don’t think I could go back. It's also carried at Amazon, but I bought it at Hobby Lobby, as it also carries all kinds of fun things you can use to decorate it, if you OR your kids are into that kind of thing.

funny things they say

Frances: (holding a book about bugs) Pretend that this praying mantis wanted to be a human, so he prayed and asked God to make him a human, but he still had the head of a praying mantis.
Me: that is very kafkaesque, frances.
stephen: Yes, it is!

madeleine: I am the keeper of all the fairy secrets. (the girls are in love with The Secret of the Wings on Netflix).

frances: Do we have any candy canes?
stephen: No, they’re all gone. But we have cough drops.
frances: (running) YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
madeleine: (running) yay!!!!!!!!!!

first grader (or I should say SEVEN year-old) jokes:
molly: (at the dinner table) Y-o-u e-a-t f-e-e-t (delirious laughter) Those were my spelling words at school today. E-A-T F-E-E-T.

Anders: Sock. Sock. Sock. (I think he meant to say "First Graders ROCK.")
This just makes me really happy... 

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