Friday, April 13, 2018

Lemons are a Girl's Best Friend: A Review

The bright yellow cover filled me with exuberance as I picked up Lemons are a Girl's Best Friend,by Janet Hayward. Filled with colorful illustrations, this delightful little book presents 30 different superfoods, with accompanying recipes. From almonds to fennel, the book covers a wide range of foods, many of which are easily obtainable at a typical grocery store. Each recipe section begins with a short description of the food being discussed and the health-boosting properties of that particular food. Two short, simple recipes follow which integrate that food. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What do our homes say about us? (Part 2)

I've spent time in convents (where religious sisters live) and rectories (where priests live) and in both of these, there are an abundance of reminders to pray. Everything is directed towards God, and a prayerful spirit permeates the atmosphere. There are also, I've found, often leisure activities like movies, books, and games, but everything is very tidily kept, simple, and beautiful. 

I am married and have young kids (a toddler and a baby in the womb), so naturally, our home will look different from that of a religious sister or priest. However, our house is not just the domain of children. It is a place of prayer, the hub of our domestic church. It is the home of my husband and I, and a meeting place for our friends. It is a place for prayer and relaxation in the arms of God, and a place for work and fun. 

In Part 1, I pondered the question of how our faith and spirituality affect our homes. Today, I'd like to discuss how my faith-and the mission of our home-practically impacts my homemaking. As I've thought about this topic, I've come to realize that there are a few particular broad principles that jump out at me. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Lent, Easter, & Lots of Marbles

Alleluia! He is risen!

I love that Catholics celebrate Easter for a whole season of fifty days. Christ's resurrection is HUGE, so having a long span of time to focus on it is really, really awesome. Not only that, but we're currently in the Octave of Easter, which means that for the rest of this week, every day is a Solemnity.

I love that massively important religious holidays have entire seasons devoted to them for many reasons; but one of the big reasons is that it puts less pressure on us to do "all the things" leading up to the day, or on the day itself. For example, we planned to put on a little Easter egg hunt for our toddler. We figured that he'd enjoy it, and it'd be fun to see him run around and find eggs. When Easter Sunday came, however, it was cold and dreary and we stayed in our pajamas all day long. While we could've easily done an egg hunt inside, we were having too much fun playing with our "family Easter present" (an awesome marble run). But no worries! We have lots of Easter left to celebrate, so we'll eventually do an egg hunt, make more treats (I love making liege waffles to celebrate Easter), and generally keep the party going :)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Jesus Died for Hippies

My favorite period of the liturgical year is the Easter Triduum, the season that runs from Mass on the evening of Holy Thursday to the Easter Sunday's evening. I love the intensity and beauty and overall epicness of this time, and I look forward to it every year.  

When Holy Week rolled around last year, I found myself sick in bed and was unable to attend Mass on Holy Thursday (to say that I was sad would be a bit of an understatement). My husband took our then-baby with him to church so I could rest. I'm sure that some people would have seized this type of opportunity for deep prayer and contemplation as they prayed with the Passion narrative in the Scriptures. 
Public domain.
I, on the other hand, did something far less noble: I curled up on the couch and read a book about hippies in the 1970s. I justified the fact that I was reading this book during one of-if not the-most intense part of the liturgical year by saying to myself, Well, Jesus died for hippies. I concluded that because Jesus died for hippies, there was no reason why I couldn't learn more about them as I sat at home sick and miserable. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

On the Bookshelf: Spring is finally here!

It's here! Beautiful weather and the joyful noises of singing birds have been filling my days, and I am so incredibly delighted. Because the weather over the past couple days has been so incredibly awesome, the toddler and I have been spending copious amounts of time outside, and I honestly have not been wanting to spend much time online. How can the online world compete with the gorgeous natural world? But, I do want to share some of my recent reads with y'all, and I don't want to neglect this beloved blog of mine, so as my son sleeps (fingers crossed that he stays asleep while I finish this post!) and I sit next to the open window, I figured it'd be a good time to pop in. Lately I've read some non-fiction and various types of fiction, and there's really quite a variety of stuff here. Let's get started! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What do our homes say about us? (Part 1)

I distinctly remember the moment when, years ago, I walked into the house of one of my friends. It was a beautiful house, in a nice neighborhood, and it was extremely tidy and well-kept inside. However, when I stepped into the entryway, what my eyes settled on was not a fancy decorative vase or designer artwork. What I noticed was a pile of papers sitting on the kitchen counter-and it made me delighted. 

I was so ecstatic, in fact, that I gleefully declared how happy I was to see this "junk pile." The presence of a stack of papers and store ads communicated to me that the people who lived here were OK with less than Martha Stewart perfection, and that I could let my hair down, kick up my feet and be at home in their house. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

How Jane Austen's Novels Helped Me Appreciate "The Office"

I had very little desire to watch The Office (in this post I will be referring to the U.S. version of the show). In high school, I saw one episode during my religion class as we discussed the rights and dignity of workers-and I was not impressed with what I saw. The show seemed stupid, I didn't know who the characters were, and the whole premise seemed rather pointless. In the years following this incident, I continued to hold onto a negative view of The Office.

I like shows that have purpose, direction, and adventure; shows like Doctor Who that have exciting stories about saving the world from monsters, or shows like Mercy Street, which highlight a dramatic story within a historical event. But a show about a bunch of people sitting in an office all day? Thank you, but NOPE.

One day, my husband mentioned that he wanted to show me The Office. I figured, Well, he's probably just saying that and it will never actually happen. However, one fateful evening last summer, as I was reading Emma, by Jane Austen, my husband enthusiastically declared that he had The Office all queued up for us to watch. Dragging my feet-and placing Emma nearby so I could easily grab it-I plopped into a chair and prepared myself for the worst. 

I could not believe it: My eyes were riveted to the screen, and I could not stop watching. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Getting nostalgic, joining the stroller club, and why we shouldn't trust health food bloggers (7QT)

Happy Friday, everyone! Life has been very full over here lately, and topped off with some pregnancy sickness and a very active toddler, I just haven't been around this blog as much as I'd like. So, I thought I'd pop in for some quick takes to let y'all know what's been happening around here lately :) 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

"Daring to Hope:" A Review

With gorgeous prose and gut-wrenching honesty, Katie Davis Majors' memoir, Daring to Hope, challenges the reader to look at tragedies and hardships in a new light. The book opens by bringing us into the scene of Davis Majors' kitchen. Into this cozy, familiar atmosphere, we become privy to the author's reflections on the beautiful life that the author has found living and working in Uganda. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

On the Bookshelf: Beating the Winter Blues

Hi, friends! I don't know about y'all, but I am so done with winter. I guess it's because the recent winters we've had in Oklahoma were very mild/warm/awesome-the days of bleak cold are kind of dragging along. When the weather's cold (sadly with no magical snow), books are one of the ways I stay sane and entertain myself. So let's take a look at what I've been reading lately! 

Monday, February 12, 2018

What we're doing instead of watching the Olympics

Apparently, much of the world is watching the Olympics right now. The Olympics are great, but we don't have TV, and while I'm sure I could find them online somewhere, I just haven't gotten around to it (I've got very little motivation this pregnancy!). When I came home from a meeting the other night, my husband was watching Olympics...of a sort.

I still can't figure out if the Marblelympics are really dumb or pretty cool; maybe both? My husband is fairly obsessed with them, so we've been watching them quite a bit, and lots of other little things have been filling our days. 

The other night, when I needed a break from watching marbles race down a track, I made some grain-free chocolate chip cookies. I have really been enjoying them. I figure that since they're made of almond flour (protein!!!) and coconut oil, they're not that unhealthy, and make a relatively good pregnancy snack.