Saturday, August 30

Yum, yum, yum...

After reading about this bread recipe via Meredith's blog, I decided to pull out the bread machine this morning. It was a gift from my husband a month before our marriage and though it was well used for things like cinnamon roll dough and pizza dough, the bread recipes I tried were never very good.

I have a feeling that this bad boy is going to be working very hard for now on! I LOVE THIS BREAD!!

You should go make it now!

Friday Night Family Night...

Free Opera, a playground, and a carousel... what more could a family want?

Friday, August 29

When Your Husband Asks for a Better Lamp to Read By...

When your husband asks for a better lamp to read by and you move the floor lamp from one side of the room to the other...'ll notice the bare wall you've meant to hang something on. You'll dig out two frames from your decoration boxes and sort through your child's art work for something suitable, then bang in a couple of nails to hang them.

You'll notice that moving the table and lamp from where you put the floor lamp looks a little bare, so you'll move the children's bookcase out and lug the dollhouse over.

You'll have to find a spot for the displaced lamp and vase from the side table, so you'll put them on the desk and move the things that were there to the windowsills.

Next, you'll trip over the bookcase and so you'll push and pull it over to it's old location in the family room (where you like it better anyway!).

Now, the table that was there needs to be relocated and re-decorated. Taking the round decorator's table that was there and putting it in storage makes taking care of at least one thing easy!

All that's left to do is find a home for the table that was kicked out of the reading room. How about in the corner where the baby swing is since the baby has gotten to big for it? We'll wait to decorate it until the Autumn decorations come out!

Moving the swing upstairs to the nursery where it will await it's fate of being dismantled until we need it again and passing the linen closet will remind you that the light bulb in the floor lamp that started all of this needs to be replace before your husband can switch on the lamp and read!

Thursday, August 28

Thursday's Feminine Tip...

Take a few moments to snuggle down in your bed tonight. Light a candle and enjoy some time to be quiet - whether you just lie there watching the shadows or read a few chapters in a good book.

The Ability to Please...

The French woman, whose reputation for charm is long and lasting, has trained herself to be charming, for she feels that there is an art of living. She makes you feel that she wants to please you, even though she hold your eyes for a fraction of a second in a receiving line. To her this wish is her strength not her weakness. Her poise, her confidence, her training as a woman, have convinced her that graciousness is a matter of noblesse oblige.

This logic seems very clear, for it is well known that we all like to do and want to do the thing we do well. As a rule, the woman who has the power and the ability to please is the one who wants to please and enjoys doing so. After all, isn't that what women were made for? It is our place to blend and smooth, to refresh, to amuse, to rest, to inspire - else the world would go sadly awry, not only for others, but for ourselves."

Margery Wilson

Wednesday, August 27

Wednesday's Feminine Tip...

Bake something delicious for the ones you love.

What I Wore Wednesday...

What are you wearing?


To walk well there is only one general rule applicable to everybody and that is this - walk on one line. Don't run on two tracks like a street-car. All this talk about the ball of the foot and the shoulder is unnecessary, for you could not possibly walk on a line without having a proper carriage and weight displacement.

Most people walk on two lines and this causes them to wabble from side to side no matter how talk and willowy... walking is supposed to carry us forward, but it carries most of us quite as far from side to side. Think of the energy this wabble consumes! No wonder we look anxious, puffy, and off balance...

By walking on one line a woman will appear more graceful, and if there is any soft drapery about her costume she will seem almost to float into a room. A man will preserve his dignity by not bobbing about, and we will all save energy by the directness of the movement."

Margery Wilson

Tuesday, August 26

Pretty Sidewalks...

I love the way a near-by town dresses up the sidewalks... the flowers are so abundant and you can never go wrong with a wicker fence in my opinion!

Tuesday's Feminine Tip...

Take the time to plan a special meal for your family - for no reason!

The Beach...

We've been making the effort to spend some time at the beach each week (we live ablout five minutes from the ocean!). So far, it is our daughter's number one favorite place to visit... she asks if we can go every! single! day!

Monday, August 25

An Easy Felt Board...

After seeing a pretty neat felt board at the library recently, I wondered how hard it would be to make one and whether the cost of making one would exceed the cost of just buying one. After finding out all one needed to make a felt board was flannel, a board, and some felt shapes, I decided to try.

I bought some pale blue flannel and using a cork board we already had, cut the material slightly larger than the bulletin board. Using a butter knife, I pushed the flannel underneath the wooden frame so that it was tightly stretched across the cork. After covering the board, I began cutting out some felt shapes. So far, all we have is the moon and sun, stars, a tree, leaves, and a fence... but our toddler loves it and had enjoyed putting the shapes up in different configurations.

Teething Biscuit Mess...

The maple scent of these teething biscuits makes the mess worthwhile!

Renovations at My Father's Parish...

We were able to take a little tour of the renovations going on at the parish where my father is a priest while we were visiting family. Things are looking great there!

This Week's Menu Plan...

As part of my new resolution to stick to my household budget, I have been making a meal plan (something I have slacked on since our son was born - eight months ago!). We will be using our grill a bit more this week at my husband's request... I'll never turn down the opportunity to hand some of the cooking over to him - he's a great cook!!

Monday: Baked Ziti, Salad, and Garlic Bread
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken smothered in sauteed Mushrooms, Bacon, and Monterrey Jack Cheese, Peas, and Baked Potatoes
Wednesday: Hearty Vegetable Soup and Bread
Thursday: BBQ Chicken and Potato Salad
Friday: Falafel Sandwiches
Saturday: Taco Salad
Sunday: Grilled Steaks, Peas, and Baked Potatoes

Friday, August 22

Budget Savvy Fashion Solutions...

Times may be tough financially but this does not mean that you are going to have to give up looking good. It just means a different approach as to how you do it. Here are some suggestions that will help you still look stylish without breaking the bank.

The Anchor Solution
Many people have a very outfit-driven wardrobe. They will limit a top to be worn with only one pair of pants, or a skirt that they only wear with one particular blouse. Not only is this limiting, dressing this way is also expensive because these pieces aren’t getting enough mileage.

Instead, try expanding what you already own with a simple strategy that I call the Anchor Solution. To start, take a basic piece from your wardrobe and, instead of using this piece to make only one outfit, try to style this one piece at least four different ways with pieces you already own.

In addition, when shopping and considering the purchase of something new, think about how many new outfits you can create by adding this one new item to your wardrobe. If you can’t come up with several outfits by infusing this new purchase into your wardrobe, then don’t buy it.

The Change Up
Take a look at your own life and see just how multi-faceted it is. Your life may consist of being a mother, a professional and more. Often, we need to dress in different ways for each area of our lives and it can get expensive to have a separate wardrobe for each part.

Are there pieces that you have relegated to being only fun weekend tops or dresses that you only wear to work? Sometimes, it is just with the quick change of a shoe or accessory that these pieces can become used in other parts of your life as well. A basic v-neck sweater, for example, can be worn with jeans and a pair of ballerina flats on the weekend but may also be able to be worn to work with a skirt and pretty shoes.

Use this strategy when shopping as well. If your budget is tight, before buying anything make sure that the piece can be used in different parts of your life.

Clothing S.O.S.
Before you rid yourself of any clothing in your wardrobe, make sure to call a tailor or seamstress to try and resuscitate the piece. Not only are most of us becoming more aware of our spending, but we are also are more eco-conscious. It is cheaper and more eco-friendly to get better use from what you have.

Any clothing fit issues can easily be fixed by a tailor. Plus, if a shirt is too boxy, bring it to the tailor and see if adding shape to it can save it. Can that skirt that seems too A-lined be tapered a bit or (if you are feeling really ambitious) can that dress that you love, but doesn’t fit well on top anymore, be turned into a skirt now for less money than it would cost to buy new?

To be more eco-conscious, instead of one big bag of random cast-offs, prepare separate donations and send to the proper organizations or charities. Donation to the right places ensures that what you are giving away doesn’t ultimately wind up in a landfill.

Less Clothing, More Accessories
When times are tough financially, a great way to save money is to lower your clothing expenses and increase your accessory budget. While your budget is tight, commit to not purchasing any new clothing and use whatever extra money you have to spend solely on accessories. You can get some great things for a fraction of what you would spend on a new outfit and you may be surprised by how the fun bracelet you bought for five bucks at the flea market or the cool sandals you found on the sales rack can breathe new life into what you already own.

Don’t Deny
Think about the last diet you failed at. The reason diets fail is because people deprive themselves as opposed to having the occasional small treat. This is true for your wardrobe as well. If you feel like you are on a fashion diet, don’t cut yourself off completely. Allow yourself the occasional affordable purchase that fits within the context of your new fashion budget, even if your budget is ten dollars per week.

When you take the “Don’t Deny” approach, you don’t sacrifice. Just as you won’t find yourself crashing and pulling up a chair at the buffet, the chances are greater that you also won’t be handing over your credit card on clothing you can’t afford.

Style expert and author, Bridgette Raes is the owner of Bridgette Raes Style Group and the author of Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want.

Wednesday, August 20



1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl gently mix by hand the ground beef, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic, onion, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and egg. Shape into 12 meatballs, and place in a baking dish.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cooked through.

Delicious served with pasta and tomato sauce or on a chunk of Italian bread loaded with tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese and broiled in the oven until melted and golden.


The past few weeks have passed by in a blur! I was so busy that there were days when I didn't even check my e-mail... a huge rarity for me even when I'm away from home!

With the past two weeks and this coming week full of guests, services, events, 50th anniversary parties, reunions, and traveling, the summer is winding down quickly! Despite all the frenzied activity we've been experiencing we've been finding some time to do the things that we enjoy and spend some time relaxing.

I've made the effort to give the babies some bath play time every evening before bed and I've noticed that it really helps them calm down after the long day. Our son is particularly fond of bath time - he loves splashing and practicing his new skills in the tub. Our daughter loves to have time to paint or use markers in the morning for some special Mama Time while Boy (as she refers to him) takes a nap. I've been trying to spend some time enjoying a chapter or two of a Miss Read book each day and despite all of our activities, Fr. John and I have been making a real effort to spend time together each evening. We've been hooked into Season Five of 24 the past few nights (I love borrowing dvds from the library!) and are really enjoying the show and each other.

What do you like to do to savor a little time when things are busy?

A New Addition to My Wardrobe...

I ordered this skirt (at the prodding of my mother) with a free shipping code and received it today. I LOVE IT! It is very soft and made from stretchy cotton, but isn't cheap looking. It is form skimming but not tight and the color (I picked navy) is just right! I plan on getting the brown, black, and gray versions in the near future!

Thursday, August 7

Butterflies, Butterflies Everywhere...

Two of my three sisters came down for a quick visit this week. Both came bearing gifts: Kate brought craft supplies and knowledge (lovely raw wool for felted balls and her crocheting teaching skills) and Anna gave us this beautiful butterfly decoration. After checking out the construction (fishing line that runs through each butterfly and a bead at the bottom for a weight), we decided that it would be a cinch to make one for each season (or even holiday)... we shall see!

BTW, have you noticed that my last three posts have involved the color orange? I assure you that was totally unplanned!

My First Crocheted Ball...

Though it's a little lumpy and half of it didn't follow a pattern, this is my first crocheted ball! Thanks for helping me learn how to crochet in the round, Kate!

Butterfly Lunch Bag...

Now that both of our children are eating table food, I have found that it is important to have snacks on me when we go out. The baby is still easy to feed (thanks to nursing), but a drink and some kind of munchie is nearly always requested from our little girl. We found this plain lunch bag at a shop recently and last night we happened upon a butterfly iron-on. Though it is still simple, I kind of like how it turned out... and so does the little one!

Auntie Claudia's Tuna Pasta Salad...


4 -5 cans of tuna
1lb of pasta (the tri-colored twisty kind is our favorite!)
1 lemon
red onion
1/4 cup of capers
mayonnaise (we substitute Vegenaise when we're not eating dairy)
1 T. Old Bay seasoning
1 T. Dijon mustard


1. Drain cans of tuna well while pasta is cooking. Break up the tuna and add the juice of the lemon.
2. Stains and rinse pasta with cool water once it is done cooking.
3. Add celery, red onion, and capers
4. Add mayo, Old Bay, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
5. Chill and enjoy!

** In my opinion, the longer it sits, the better the flavor. I'll often make it the night before I want to serve it. **

Monday, August 4

August 3rd...

It's time for another Commitment to Loveliness! This is a fun way to increase femininity and beauty in our lives each week without even trying! All you have to do is choose five things that you would like to work on or do during the week that will increase the loveliness in your life!

Here is my list for this week:

1. Take the children to story hour at the Children's Bookstore (we are luck enough to live about 20-25 minutes from a store much like the one in You've Got Mail!)
2. Use Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme as much as humanly possible!
3. Find a suitable clothesline for the screened-in porch - due to the fact that we're renting, Fr. John doesn't want to drill holes into the siding... any ideas, ladies?! I wish that I could use the clothesline that Well Preserved mentioned because it looks awesome!

4. Practice better posture.

Try to learn how to crochet a ball. It was frustrating trying to get this right, but I am going to keep plugging away... Someday I'll get it;)

Once you have chosen five simple things, post them on your blog and link to this post in your post, and then post the direct link to your Commitment to Loveliness post in the comments section. If you do not have a blog, but have a commitment to share, please post them in the comments section. I'll link to your Commitments on this post as I get them

Peach Picking...

We enjoyed a morning of peach picking a week or so ago. I was a little nervous that we would be unable to eat the 10 lbs (minimum) we were required to pick at this orchard, but my mother reminded me that it would be wonderful to have frozen peaches for baking this fall and winter. We enjoyed all the fresh ones we could eat, a nice warm peach crisp, and we *still* have a huge container of juicy sliced peaches in the freezer! Next up: Blueberries!!

Saturday, August 2

Saturday's Feminine Tip...

Carve a little time out during your week to pursue something creative (writing, photography, arts and crafts, handwork, cooking, flower arranging, gardening, decoration, etc.!).

With all the painting my little one has been doing, my fingers have been itching to pick up a brush. I finally bought an inexpensive box of pan watercolors (Crayola 8 count to be exact) and spent a few minutes several afternoons this week painting. I mainly worked on some little things for the books I've been making our daughter to help her speech (the one pictured is her new market booklet), but I'm gearing up for some bigger projects. I'd also like to work on crocheting (I'm waiting for my mom to visit so I can get some one-on-one help with that!) and some felt wee folk making.

What are you going to do?

Friday, August 1

Pretty Shoes...

After being inspired by Hannah's ruby red shoes, I finally broke down and bought these pretty ones from Target (whose shipping is unbelievably s-l-o-w!). Wearing red shoes is quite the departure from my usual black, brown, or tan footwear, but I really like them! I may never wear a neural colored shoe again!

Now I match my little girlfriend:

I just hope that my daughter doesn't start to feel the way the daughter in Chocolat feels: "Why can't you wear black shoes like the other mothers?"

Somebody is on the Move...

Little Man has been trying very diligently to crawl the past two weeks and today was the day he was able to get somewhere without using his rolling skills. He is also getting to and staying in the sitting position by himself and is starting to teeth (check out his wet front!). He's getting so big! I can't believe that he is already seven and a half months old!

A Concert and Picnic on the Library's Lawn...

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