Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pay It Forward

I joined in the Pay It Forward fun from my friend Liz's beautiful blog, The Flowering Dogwood.  I hope that three of you will join me in this fun adventure!  Sorry, but I'm only opening this to readers in the USA at this time.

1. The first 3 people to visit my blog and leave a comment saying they want to participate will receive a handmade gift from me, within the next year... (Probably much sooner than that, but you are supposed give everyone a year, because sometimes life gets in the way!)

2. You MUST have a blog of your own to to participate in the PIF.

3. You must post about the PIF on your blog & offer the PIF challenge on your blog.

By accepting the Pay It Forward challenge, YOU agree to host a Pay It Forward to the first 3 people who sign up on your will then carry on the PIF by sending them a homemade gift within a year's time, and so it goes :)

I hope you will join me!

Happy Mother's Day!

                                         Prayer for Motherhood
Lovely Lady of La Leche, most loving mother of the Child Jesus, and my mother, listen to my humble prayer. Your motherly heart knows my every wish, my every need. To you only, His spotless Virgin Mother, has your Divine Son given to understand the sentiments which fill my soul. Yours was the sacred privilege of being the Mother of the Savior. Intercede with him now, my loving Mother, that, in accordance with His will, I may become the mother of other children of our heavenly Father. This I ask, O Lady of La Leche, in the Name of your Divine Son, My Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Our Blessed Mother Display

In honor of Our Blessed Mother during the month of May, we put together a lovely little display in our dining room  to celebrate!  I found many of these wonderful ideas at Catholic Icing.

I included the most beautiful depiction of Our Blessed Mother nursing the baby Jesus.  This is a replica of Nuestra Senora de La Leche y buen parto (Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery), Mission of Nombre de Dios, St. Augustine, Florida  For more information about America's Oldest Marian Shrine, go here.
 We wanted to personalize our display, so we made a spiritual bouquet, complete with handprints and photos.  Does your family have any special traditions to honor Mary during the month of  May?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Our Budding Environmentalists

After a nasty storm a few weeks ago, many people have begun to remove trees that were damaged.  Earlier this week, our neighbors cut town two beautiful, old, large but damaged trees . . . and unfortunately every other tree in their backyard.  This did not sit well with my girls.  At one point, my older girls had our 21 month old chanting, "Don't cut down tree."  This morning I found this:
I have always taught our girls to respect the Earth and our resources . . . I think they are listening!

Check out Kids Say the Darndest Things Friday at Mystical Rose Design!

Monday, April 26, 2010

An American Girl Tea Party

My older girl s received these sweet American Girl cookbooks in their Easter baskets this year (found on the bargain shelf at Borders for $5.00!)

As soon as they flipped through them, they wanted to host a tea party.  Their Grandma and Grandpa are visiting us this week, so this became a wonderful activity for them from the cooking to the decorating to the cleaning up!

We made chicken salad tea sandwiches:
We also made walnut and cream cheese tea sandwiches, cucumber and cream cheese tea sandwiches, fruited iced tea, and fresh strawberries with a Devonshire cream:
The girls set the table with table talkers and made the place cards:
They did a wonderful job and many great memories were made!

This post is linked to Making Memories Monday at Adventures in McQuill-land and Snoring Scholar's Family Fun Friday.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An Italian Pasta Salad Perfect for Spring

I made this delicious Italian Pasta Salad last night for dinner and it was a big hit in our home.  It was very easy to put together! This recipe is from the May issue of All You magazine.

1lb. short pasta (I used bow ties)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained (I used the whole jar)
3/4 cup sliced marinated artichoke hearts, drained (I used the whole jar)
8 oz. bocconcini, drained (these are small balls of fresh mozzarella  - I used 2 containers because we LOVE fresh mozzarella!)
4 oz. salami
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions and drain.  Rinse with cold water to cool noodles.
In a large bowl, add pasta and mix with oil.
Toss with vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, salami, and basil
Season with salt and pepper.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week of 4/19/10

It has been a busy few weeks at our home.  I am really looking forward to the lazy days of summer!  I created a simple menu this week with a lot of recipes from the May issue of All You.  I hope everything tastes as good as it looks in the magazine!

Here is what you will find on our dinner table this week:

Sunday:  Linguine with white clam sauce

Monday:  Perogies and steamed mixed veges

Tuesday:  Pizza pasta salad

Wednesday:  Slow cooker Hoppin' John, steamed brocolli

Thursday:  Polenta with mushroom and meat sauce, salad

Friday:  Chicken Saltimbocca, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans

Saturday:  Grilled chicken, steak, and vege kebobs, baked sweet potato chips, baked beans, salad, and something special for dessert.  Any suggestions?

For more menus and recipes, check out Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Courageous Parents, Confident Kids: Free E-book (Limited Time Offer)

I have been incredibly busy, and now I am preparing for a visit from Grandma and Grandpa.  I will definitely be back to regular posting in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, I wanted to share this great offer I found.

I received a free copy of Courageous Parents, Confident Kids, Letting Go So You Can Both Grow by Amy Tiemmann, Ph.D.  It is available now as a FREE download from April 19th through April 21st.  I have not had the opportunity to read it cover to cover but I was intrigued after glancing through it. 

The book has been described as "powerful anthology featuring contributions from 14 nationally-recognized experts. The focus of the book is to help families avoid “helicopter parenting,” tune into their inner wisdom, stress less and create joyful independence in the nest and beyond."

The book is also available for purchase at Amazon.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Delicious Yogurt Parfaits

Here is a healthy breakfast, lunch, or snack idea that I enjoy making for my girls :

1 cup milk
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup dry whole wheat couscous
Fresh cut fruit of your choice
Vanilla yogurt (We use Stonyfield Whole Milk French Vanilla Yogurt)

In a small saucepan, bring milk and salt to a boil.  Stir in couscous.  Remove from heat.  Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. 

Divide couscous among 6 containers.  I love to use these cute ice cream sundae dishes!  Top with yogurt and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

Top with fruit and granola.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week of 4/4/10

I hope everytone had a beautiful and blessed Easter!  As you can see, we did!

I spent most of today catching up from the weekend, but I made sure to menu plan so the rest of the week goes smoothly.  Here is what you will find on our dinner table this week:

Sunday:  Easter ham, mashed potatoes, steamed carrots and greenbeans, corn, rolls, coconut cream pie

Monday:  School fundraising dinner

Tuesday:  Sauted chicken in a white wine and lemon butter sauce, steamed broccoli

Wednesday:  Pasta with turkey meatballs and fresh mozzerella

Thursday:  Italian roast beef and pasta, steamed carrots

Friday:  Crab cakes, baked sweet potatoes, salad

Saturday:  Grilled chicken and vege kabobs, brown rice, salad

For more great menus and recipes, go to and check out Menu Plan Monday!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beauty in the Small Things

Our challenge this week for the Make Your Home a Haven series at The Homespun Heart was to add beauty to our homes.  This was quite simple as I had just returned from Trader Joe's with two beautiful and inexpensive bouquets of spring flowers.

I had also just put out some of my spring decor:
I got to thinking about what truly makes a home beautiful.  My definition of beauty is probably very different from yours.There are so many TV shows, magazines and blogs dedicated to "beautiful homes."  Don't get me wrong - I watch them and read them in search of inspiration but I do not let them define what makes my home beautiful.  You see, by modern standards, my home is incredibly small for 6 people.  I am okay with that.   Our furniture is old and quite worn out from the abuse of four children and many pets through the years.  I am okay with that.  The things I use to decorate with are very inexpensive.  I am okay with that.  Our house is lived in  . . . it is quite used.  I am okay with that.  So, when thinking about the beauty in our home, I decided carry my camera thoughout the day to capture what I see as beauiful.  You may or may not agree, but I am okay with that :) 

My children had the day off and they built a fort, played with their dolls and made crafts in the living room.  Do not get me wrong - I shudder when they start to pull everything out at once but they had FUN today.  They barely argued for several hours and I was able to happily cook and bake for them. That is beauty in my home.
Later in the morning, we went out to play and enjoy the beautiful weather.  I found my 3 year old proudly  picking flowers  . . . in her pink cowboy boots.  That is beauty in my home.

The beds were made today. The rest of the room may have been messy but there is something about a made bed that makes things right.   (And I am sure some will notice that the bedspread does not coordinate with the wall colors.  I am okay with that.)  That is beauty in my home.

When someone shows appreciation for something I did for them like making some yummy granola .  That is beauty in my home.

Homemade birdfeeeders.  That is beauty in my home.
My beautiful and favorite rosary beads at my bedside.  That is beauty in my home.
Being forunate enough to be surrounded by good literature and people who appreciate it.  That is beauty in my home.
Photographs and memories  . . . and lots of them.   That is beauty in my home.
And a few reminders of those incredibly special people who passed before us.  That is is beauty in my home.
I am thankful for having the opportunity to reflect on my abundant blessings today.  I am so grateful that I took the time to appreciate the beauty in this day . . . the day was calm and I was intentional.  Where did you find beauty in your home today?

Don't forget to join Heavenly Homemakers every Tuesday for Gratituesday and count your blessings!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week of 3/28/10

Holy Week is upon us so I looked for some simple meals out of Cheap Fast Good I love to use this cookbook when I have an unusually busy week.  I want to spend Holy Week (which is also Spring Break for my girls) enjoying time with my family, attending Mass, and spending some quiet time in prayer.  I have planned some crafts and recipes to coincide with each day of Holy Week.  I saw some great ideas at Catholic Icing!   In addition to our regular meals, we will be making soft pretzels, hot cross buns, crowns of thorns, and Resurrection rolls.  Here is what you find on our dinner table this week:

Sunday: Steak, steamed broccoli

Monday:  Garlic lime chicken, jasmati rice, raw vege tray

Tuesday:  Swedish meatballs, baked apples

Wednesday:  Mini ravioli soup, homemade dinner rolls

Thursday:  Chicken and rice casserole, steamed broccoli

Friday:  Wild rice soup, raw vege tray

Saturday:  It is going to be a beautiful day BBQ:  burgers, baked sweet potatoes, baked beans, pickles

Check out tons of great menus and recipes each week at Menu Plan Monday with the Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Cleaning and Dreaming of My Summer Garden

It is been a while since my last post - I have been busy spring cleaning!  I am really enjoying the reward of a less cluttered home since I have been participating in the 40 bags in 40 Days challenge at Faith and Family.

I also recently had the opportunity to attend our local Farm to Table Conference.  It was a great day!  I was able to find some great local and organic sources of meat, dairy, and whole grains.  I attended a discussion on fermentation and I am looking forward to trying my hand at fermented saurkraut and carrots.

While browsing in the Exhibitor Hall, I met organic gardener and author, Doug Oster.  I purchased his brand new book, Tomato Garlic Basil: The Simple Pleasures of Growing and Cooking Your  Garden's Most Versatile VegesI taste tasted his sauce recipe. . . unbelievable!  He told me that while dining with his wife in Italy, she began to cry after tasting this sauce.  It was exactly like that her grandmother used to make.  He shares this recipe in the first chapter of this wonderful book filled wtih stories, tips, and recipes.  I highly recommend it!

  As the weather starts getting gradually warmer, I am dreaming of my summer garden.  I like to plant lettuce tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and LOTS of herbs.  I pulled out Mr. Oster's other book, Grow Organic: Over 250 Tips and Ideas for Growing Flowers, Veggies, Lawns and More, to get inspired.  I am really looking forward to the warmth and ease of summer! 

For now, I have to be happy with my small herb garden in my window . . . at least until May.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The corned beef and cabbage have been cooking in the crock pot all day . . . I wish you could smell it . . . sooooo good! We took a break this afternoon and enjoyed a St. Patrick's fruit tray (I found this cute idea in Family Fun Magazine) filled with strawberries, clementines, green grapes, pineapple, blueberries, red grapes, and a pot of golden bananas:And a marshmallow cloud:
It did not last very long!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Decorating for St. Patrick's Day

We are seeing a lot of green around here lately, and I am not just talking about the grass under the melting snow! St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays! Here is a peek at some of our decorations:

The Irish Blessing hangs by our front door year round:

I love to collect all things shamrock. Here is my Irish tea set:
A beautiful statue of the Blessed Mother adorned with shamrocks:
And my wedding veil with shamrock appliques. I did this in memory of my wonderful grandmother who was so very proud of her Irish heritage. I hope my girls will wear this veil some day!
We will be wearing lots of green and enjoying corned beef and cabbage, a rainbow fruit tray, and sweet shamrock pretzels tomorrow. How will you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?