7 Quick Takes

I'm linking up to 7 Quick Takes Friday!

1. Boy oh boy has it been a long day. Nothing like a 9 AM visit to the pediatrician for vaccines to start the day off with a howl! Oh wait, even before that there was the blinding rain and wind to turn what is usually a 20 min drive into a 60 minute drive.



2. I found this awesome yarn through my friend Sara that is making my knitting projects for Christmas go much faster than anticipated. For this I am extremely thankful since Charlie has been quite clingy lately.


3. My youngest sibling returned from college this week. It is great to have him home. I enjoy watching him play with Charlie because I remember when he was Charlie's age. (He is 18 years and 51 weeks older than Charlie.)

4. I FINALLY got all of my Christmas cards out. The silly photographer still hasn't gotten me the formal photos of Charlie. Hopefully, they'll be ready by tomorrow. Generally, the LO is a very happy baby however, something happens when we go to the photographer and he become absolutely stone faced.

5. Last weekend we went to Lessons and Carols at our church and I honestly wish I had an audio recording of it. Thinking about how lovely the music was is relaxing. I love listening to choral music, especially Christmas songs.

6. I can't believe it is almost Christmas and Advent is almost over. I usually dread Advent because it is all about waiting and counting down to Christmas. It was wonderful to be able to celebrate St. Nicholas Day, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the feast of Saint Lucy! We had a great Advent.

7. I'm super excited because Tiber River just sent me an e-mail that my next book to review is on the way! I can't wait!

Dinner Success! Black Bean Burgers

via

So, the hubby has been trying to cut red meat out of his diet so, I decided to oblige and try to make him some tasty veggie burgers. After much internet searching, I came up with this recipe:

1 can drained black beans
1/2 onion chopped, sauteed
1 tsp garlic chopped
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil (for frying)

1.  Put all of the ingredients except the olive oil in the food processor.
2.  Pulse until you have a chunky mixture. (If you over process the ingredients, it will be too "liquidy" to stay together.)
3.  Heat your olive oil in a skillet.
4.  Form patties from your mixture in the food processor. (I just made them by hand...I know there are fancy burger patty makers so, I assume you could use one of those if you had one.)
5. Put them into the skillet and fry on each side until the out layer is crispy. (Don't flip them too much or they might fall apart.)

Due to the delicate nature of the burgers, I wouldn't recommend putting these on the BBQ unless you put aluminum foil between the burger and the grill.

I was shocked at how easy and tasty these were. The outside was actually crispy. The process kind of reminded me of cooking latkes. There are a bunch of recipes that include a bunch more ingredients but, these were simple, easy, and quick.

Check out the recipes tab for more yummy ideas!


What I Wore Sunday, Vol. 9


Today was the third Sunday of Advent we went to Mass and Lessons and Carols. All totaled, we spent 5 hours at church today...When I finally got around to taking a photo, I realized there were no more batteries in my camera so we had to settle for poor quality photo photos. 

Interestingly, Charlie befriended one of the priests during Lessons and Carols. He got so cozy he fell asleep it was so sweet! The most hilarious part was that when it ended the choirs recessed to the back of the church where we were hanging out. They proceeded to sing a hymn surrounding my sleeping baby snuggled on the priest's warm sweater. It was absolutely beautiful!



NY & CO - Pink Cardigan
Kate Hill - Black Tank Top
NY & Co - Gray Pants
Pink Pear Necklace - Gift from Hubby


When you have no words...

It is Friday. As you know, I usually participate in 7 Quick takes at conversiondiary.com. However, based on today's events in Connecticut, I just can't.


Watching the events of today unfold on the news is absolutely gut wrenching. As a former teacher and new parent,  I am literally speechless. All I can do is hug my little man and be grateful for the time God has given me with him.

It is times like these when I rely so heavily on my faith because there is no explanation as to why these little ones died today. There is absolutely no reasonable explanation. As President Obama said earlier [with tears in his eyes], " They had their whole lives ahead of them."

‎"The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people. But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail. Christ’s word is the only one that can give a response to the questions which trouble our spirit. Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say. Christian hope is based on this truth; at this time our prayerful trust draws strength from it."

—Blessed John Paul II


What have I done today? I've prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy with the women of #CathSorority.  I am trying to make sense out of the senseless acts of violence in this world. I am hopeful for the future.

[I am struggling with the next statement and have rewritten it several times but, it just doesn't sound right.]

It is my hope that my son will grow up...that he will not just grow up but, grow up in a peaceful world. That he will know the importance of loving his neighbor and treating others as he would wish to be treated. In my thoughts, in my worlds, and in my actions, it is my hope that I will teach him how to be a peaceful person with an understanding that he is loved by his family and by God.

As we move forward, we need to make sure that we are understanding of the needs of others as well as our own needs. People are going to react to this shooting in many and various ways. Before we make judgements about how people are reacting, we need to sit back and think about how this shooting is effecting them. Not everyone reacts in the same way. The only wrong way to react is with more hate.

Whether you are for or against gun control...for or again public schooling...it does not matter. What matters is that we treat each other with love and respect because we are all made in the image and likeness of God.

CONGRATS!

Congratulations are in order! My amazing brother passed his oral comps to earn his PhL from Catholic University!
This is his new biretta!
My brother on his first assignment in Taiwan.

Ahhh...perfect relaxation

I found it! I've found a place where I can go to relax. A cute little yarn shop opened in our town and it is just perfect. If any of you read the Shop on Blossom Street books by Debbie MacComber, this shop absolutely reminds me of it. It has a beautiful selection of amazing yarns. I was able to purchase two skeins of alpaca wool that are just gorgeous. I can't get over how soft it is! I love the name too...magic flute...

The women in the shop were so kind. They have a "fiber lounge" where you can go to "sit and stitch". The couches looked absolutely amazing! I hope to be able to spend some time there. They said I could bring Charlie with me whenever I wanted however, I might just want to keep this space as a spot for "me time". I've never felt the desire for time alone before. Maybe I just hadn't found the right place? We'll see how I do...

I think I'm going to pop down on Saturday since the hubby will be home to get some pointers on my scarf. I think it will be fun to have a community of women, in real life, who enjoy knitting as well!

A perfect evening...

Our little Christmas tree is lit and decorated...
Our sweet little boy is curled up in his pack n play...
We are curled up watching White Christmas...
Absolute perfection!

via


I love sitting by the tree looking at the beautiful lights. As a little kid, my father used to tell us to give the tree the "squint test" to make sure the tree had enough lights on it. Basically, you squint your eyes and if there are any bare spots on the tree. You need more lights! The most peaceful place during the Christmas season is always at night by the tree with the lights on.

This year since we are with my parents things are a little different but, I insisted that we have a little tree of our own to put our family ornaments on. Unfortunately due to flooding we lost the angel that I had as a little girl. However, this year for Charlie's first Christmas we decided to get a new angel for our tree. She may be a little big for our teeny tree this year but, as Charlie grows and our tree grows she'll be just right.

I would love to own this dress.


It is just a luxury to be able to watch a movie together usually we barely make it through the opening credits. White Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas movies because the costumes are absolutely beautiful. There isn't an outfit in that movie that I don't love. It is a sweet story that ends happily ever after. I just love it! Interestingly it is on the USCCB's top 20 Christmas movie list. I can't believe how many of these movies I haven't seen. I definitely need to catch up. How many of them have you seen?

Tiber River Review: The Truth About Therese

I chose to read The Truth About Therese beacuse I am facinated by other's devotion to St. Therese.  I am by no means an avid theological reader. I found this book to be informative and provided me with a greater appreication of St. Therese's "little way". It was a quick read that provided me with a bit of spiritual nourishment as I learned more about one of my favorite saints. As a teenager, I learned about St. Therese in my Catholic high school and continued to have a facination with her as I grew into adulthood. This book is a wonderful way to continue to learn about the trials and tribulations faced by St. Therese.

I enjoyed Henry Gheon's style of writing. He is very "matter of fact" in the questions he poses to the reader. However, this book was said to be an "unauthorized biolography" of sorts and I feel as though that was not the style of the book. It was factual and informative. It read much like other biographies I had read. I found that while this book was a quick read because of the number of pages the sentence structure made it difficult to comprehend the essence of each statement. I found myself reading and rereading paragraphs to make sure that I understood everything presented in the book.

St. Therese is a wonderful role model for young women.  I feel that this book would serve as a good companion to St. Therese's biography. This book serves as spiritual encouragement for those facing trials in their day to day life. One of the greatest things I took away from this book is St. Therese's way for deal with struggles in a quiet, demure manner. Quiet does not mean weak. Quiet strength leads to great outcomes.

I wrote this review of The Truth About Therese for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

What I Wore Sunday - Vol. 8



Sweater - One of my favorites...I don't remember where it was from
Shirt - NY & Co.
Pants - NY & Co.
Necklace - A cross from Jerusalem and my St Charles medal
Bracelet - Ralph Lauren Silver Balls from Macy's
Shoes - None, I fell going into church and messed up my ankle so I'm sporting an ice pack.

Linked to: What I Wore Sunday

7 Quick Takes

-1- 
Friday keeps sneaking up on me! I missed last week's Quick Takes because we were so busy getting ready for our trip to MD. Charlie met his great aunts for the first time and got to see his grandparents house. He was such a good little traveller. He slept in the car both ways. It helped that we travelled at night and has practically no traffic! We made it door to door in 4 hours on the way back!



-2- 
We had a blast celebrating St. Nicholas day yesterday! I can't wait until Charlie is a little older and he can verbalize his excitement. However, his squeals when he was pulling things out of his bag were priceless. How did you and your family celebrate St. Nicholas day? 



-3-
This is a big "church" weekend! Tomorrow is a holy day of obligation, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Which means that you have to get to church tonight or tomorrow morning. The Saturday night vigil Mass does NOT count for both! 
via

-4-
We will have a special visitor this weekend who will be with us until Wednesday morning. We are so excited! We bought a tree early this morning and will decorate it later.  The hubby and I are thinking of getting a small tree for Charlie so, we can put our ornaments up. I love going through the boxes and looking at the ornaments we have been given by different people. It is always fun to remember when/how we got them. As part of Charlie's St. Nicholas gift, he was given a little Santa ornament to put on the the tree. 

-5-
On Sunday, we will be participating in a craft fair at the school where I used to work. It will be nice to spend time with friends. I'm sharing a table with a great friend of mine so there will definitely be lots of chatting. 

-6-
Next week we have two opportunities to go to Christmas concerts so, hopefully we'll be able to make at least one! One of them we can definitely bring Charlie to...the other we might just show up and see what they say. He loves music and is usually pretty quiet. 

-7- 
My  little boy is asleep in my arms and he looks like an absolute angel! 

Celebrating St. Nicholas Day!


As a kid, we never celebrated St. Nicholas Day however, I always thought it was neat when my neighbors would tell me about how they put their shoes out and there were treats in them the next morning. In my years as high school teacher, the German teacher always celebrated with her students. She would ask them to bring in an extra shoe and leave it in her classroom overnight. Of course, there would be treats in their shoes in the morning. (I worked in a small Lutheran school therefore, this was manageable.) This year since we have our little one I thought it would be fun to incorporate the celebration of feast days into our Advent observance this year.



      the example of St Nicholas,
      who fed the hungry,
      brought hope to the imprisoned,
      gave comfort to the lost,
      and taught the truth to all. 
May we strive to imitate him
      by putting you first in all we do. 
Give us the courage, love and strength
      of St Nicholas, so that, like him,
      we may serve you through loving
      our brothers and sisters.  Amen.



Shockingly, in the mail, Charlie received a letter from Santa himself!

It must have been dropped off when the other little treats were dropped off.





What does modesty mean to me?




mod·est

 

adjective \ˈmä-dəst\

Definition of MODEST

1
a : placing a moderate estimate on one's abilities or worth
b : neither bold nor self-assertive : tending toward diffidence
2
: arising from or characteristic of a modest nature
3
: observing the proprieties of dress and behavior : decent
4
a : limited in size, amount, or scope <a family of modestmeans>
b : unpretentious <a modest home>
via M-W.com
Around the Catholic blogosphere, there has been a lot of discussion regarding modesty. It seems as though each individual has their own rules regarding what is viewed as "modest".  In my opinion, modesty is defined by the amount of "skin" that is showing and whether your attire causes you to receive inappropriate attention. 

Tops - Generally, tops should have sleeves. If they do not have sleeves, they should have thick enough straps that your bra straps are not showing. When you lean forward, you should not be revealing cleavage. Also, when bending, your shirt should not pull away from your pants or skirt to reveal skin. I do not particularly subscribe to the two finger rule. "A dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat..."
via

Bottoms - I am not an exclusively "skirt wearing" woman. However, I love my long skirts because they are comfortable, lady-like, and modest. It is the easiest way to get dressed, look nice, and feel good. I wear sweats, jeans, and dress pants however, I make sure that they are not too tight. By too tight, I mean they do not show underwear lines. Bottoms of any variety should not show any part of your buttocks. I also do not wear pants that have any kind of words across the backside. I make sure my pants have a high enough rise that nothing is exposed when sitting or bending.


Dresses - I tend to wear dresses on special occasions - Christmas, a fancy dinner, a special concert or other event, or even Sunday Mass.  I enjoy getting dressed up and wearing accompanying jewelry such as pearl earrings or a necklace.   The dresses I choose to wear generally do not have a low neckline.   I don't feel comfortable wearing that type of clothing.   Also, I don't wear short dresses, such as a mini-skirt.  My rules regarding underwear lines and appropriate fit also apply to dresses.  


I'd love it if you shared your thoughts on modesty in the comments section below! 

What I Wore Sunday, Vol. 7

After some technical difficulties, here it is! 
What I Wore Sunday !

This Sunday was the First Sunday of Advent. We attended Mass at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington D.C. It is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL church!





Coat: Style &Co. Macy's
Sweater: Brown & Tan Striped, Boat Neck - Ann Taylor Loft
Skirt: Style & Co. Macy's
Shoes: (Hiding under the skirt) - Brown Hush Puppies

As always, I'm linking to Fine Linen & Purple!

Stash Bash


This week I've been making a bunch of gift bags in varying sizes. I've found that they are a nice way to make a gift just a bit more special. I plan on using the bags to wrap Christmas gifts because they are reusable! I made a "bag of cheer" for our good friends who lost their home as a result of Hurricane Sandy. It was interesting for me because the fabric I used was some of the first fabric I had ever purchased.

On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston, Texas. As a result, friends of mine went to Galveston to do relief work. One of the their requests was for curtains for the FEMA trailers down there. The fabric I used for the "bag of cheer" was a remnant from the curtains I made for the people in the FEMA trailers in Galveston. At the time, I chose this fabric because it was bright and cheery. It is still is! It still makes me smile so, I hope it made our friends smile today.

Here is the video of the tutorial I used as a jumping off point:

Getting Ready for Advent

Advent Wreath 2011

Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. Therefore, this Sunday will be the First Sunday of Advent. This liturgical season is more than "just a countdown to Christmas". During these four weeks, we prepare our hearts and minds for the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ as well as for the second coming. Advent is particularly exciting because it is the beginning of the church year. It is a nice fresh start!

What are you going to do to celebrate Advent?

As a family, we purchased a child friendly Advent wreath which will enable our little one to participate without mom worrying he will burn himself on the real candles. This year we will be away for the first Sunday of Advent so, we will take our wreath with us and celebrate with Charlie's grandparents. Because the wreath is new, it would be nice to have a little blessing ceremony as a family. The USCCB  has a bunch of great resources for Advent.

I can't wait to play O Come, O Come Emmanuel for Charlie during the week. He loves music and it would be wonderful for him to begin to associate this song with Advent. In Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, there is a listing of the appropriate "O" verses for the days leading up to Christmas but you can also find it on the web.

During the last week of Advent, I plan to set up my nativity from my classroom so we can talk about why we are celebrating Christmas. My mother bought Charlie a wonderful book called, "What is Christmas?" It talks about how despite all of the secular Christmas preparations, the true meaning of Christmas is found in remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

As Charlie gets older, I think it would be fun to celebrate St. Nicholas Day and the Epiphany in conjunction with Christmas. As a kid, I remember the neighbors celebrating St. Nicholas Day. I thought it was a neat idea. As an adult, I have gone to Epiphany service with some of my Lutheran coworkers because I found that they celebrated it more so than the Catholic church did.

This will be a great year to begin some new traditions! What are your Advent traditions?

What I Wore Sunday - Vol. 6

This Sunday was the Solemnity of Christ the King so, I decided to dress up a little bit since we went to the high Mass. The Mass was amazing! It was just beautiful!

Anyway on to what I wore!



Dress: Style&Co - Macy's
Cardigan: Ann Taylor Outlet
Leggings: Target 
Shoes: BOC - DSW

Bracelet: Lenox - Gift for 8th grade graduation
Necklace: Gift for Valentine's day from my parents 

linked to fine linen & purple

7 Quick Takes


-1-
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving on Staten Island yesterday. We spent the day with our cousins. As always there were tons of tasty foods. This year my aunt made bacon ice cream, in addition to the pies. It was really different and really tasty. If I ever have an ice cream maker, I'll have to give it a whirl.

-2- 
Thanksgiving is always a day that you reflect on the many blessings in your life. This year, I feel like we were even more grateful based on the recent Hurricane. In order to get to our Thanksgiving dinner. we had to drive through several areas completely devastated by the storm. 

-3-
We were able to Skype with my brother in Rome. While we couldn't have him with us, it was nice to be able to chat with him for awhile. The dean at the PNAC apparently wrote the American students a letter to allow them to stay home from classes yesterday. 

-4-
I cannot wait for Advent to begin this year. We purchased a "kid-friendly"Advent wreath so, Charlie can enjoy the season as well. It will be so much fun to help him put the first candle on the wreath. 

-5-
Charlie is having lots of fun spending time with his uncles this weekend. They are all rolling around on the floor together for most of the afternoon. 

-6-
I have to say that I am appalled that McDonald's was open for 24 hours yesterday. I know there are a lot of stores that are no longer observing Thanksgiving in favor of starting Black Friday shopping early but, really? McDonald's couldn't even given their employees a little break? 

-7-
We are eagerly waiting for the hubby to get home since he was the only one at our house who had to work today. I love seeing the giant smile on Charlie's face when he sees his Daddy! 

What I Wore to Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! 
This year we celebrate with my cousins on Staten Island. We truly have so much to be grateful for. We had a wonderful time with the three little ones together for the holiday. 

Today was also special because we celebrated Charlie's 6 month birthday! 

My Outfit: 
Pants: Brown - NY & Co. 
Top: Purple Wool Sweater (thrifted) 
Boots: My faves from DSW - MaddenGirl
Jewelry: Bracelets - Eden Jewlers 
Earrings - Gift 
Necklace - Gift 






linked to Camp Patton

What I Wore Sunday - Vol. 5

This was my birthday outfit. My dress came from a local thrift shop. My boots were new. I love them so much! I decided to post this outfit because I really liked how it looked on me and it is something I could probably wear to church at some point.  

This is what Charlie wore to church this morning. Isn't he cute?

This is my outfit from church today. My shirt and pants were from the Bass outlet. My scarf was from Chinatown and I'm wearing my favorite boots from the outfit above.

Here's Charlie and I!

We are linking up with Fine Linen and Purple!