7 Quick Takes Friday - August 22, 2014

--- 1 ---

Collin has several job prospects on the horizon. I don't want to go into more detail than that, so apologies for the vagueness, but could you please pray for us and our discernment?

--- 2 ---

Congratulations to Amy (and her husband) from This Cross I Embrace! I have been praying for them for years, and I'm so overjoyed that they are parents at last! I was so happy when I heard the news that I teared up.

--- 3 ---

Peter had an orthopedist appointment yesterday. The doctor said his feet continue to look great! He did order some adjustments to his brace, but the pediatric orthopedics shop was booked so we can't get those done until next week.

sweet little feet
--- 4 ---

Speaking of Peter, look who is allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllmost crawling:

He hasn't quite figured it out yet, but he's very close. *gulp*

--- 5 ---

The kids started school on August 7 - Ellie in 4th grade and William in 1st. Sigh... time flies.

--- 6 ---

In contrast, here is a picture of me and my brother in 1987, on our first day of school -- he was starting 3rd grade and I was starting 1st grade.

 Am I rocking that '80s hair or what? And check out Matt's totally rad suspenders!

--- 7 ---

I'm going to try and see The Giver this weekend (Collin saw it last weekend and liked it quite a bit). I've read that while there are some notable differences from the book (which is one of my favorite books of all time), Lois Lowry approved them all and also said that some made the story better.

Did you know that The Giver has three sequels? I'm actually surprised at how few people know that. I didn't know myself until a few years ago, and I only read the fourth very recently. (The fourth is the best of the sequels, in my opinion, but they are all great!)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Over at Catholic Stand...

...I've provided a helpful guide on when it's permissible to use NFP to avoid pregnancy.

You can read it here.

Also, just a reminder that the coupon code for the Organic Mama Shop ends TOMORROW!

Whole Wheat Pita Bread in the Bread Machine

Thank you to Heidi for the recipe! I made it last weekend and ate it this weekend (it was in the freezer all week). Very tasty pita bread, and wonderful with roasted garlic hummus.

1.5 pound:  
1 and 1/8 water
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1.5 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp active dry yeast 

1 pound:
7/8 cup water
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp oil
1 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in bread pan, select Dough setting, and press Start.

When dough has risen long enough, the machine will beep.  Turn off bread machine, remove bread pan, and turn out dough onto a floured countertop or cutting board.  Gently roll and stretch dough into a 12 inch rope.

1.5 pound:  with a sharp knife, divide dough into 8 pieces
1 pound:  with a sharp knife, divide dough into 6 pieces

Roll each piece into a smooth ball.  With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6 inch circle.  Set aside on a lightly floured countertop:  cover with a towel.  Let pitas rise about 30 minutes until slightly puffy.

Position oven rack in the middle of oven:  preheat to 500ºF.  Place 2 or 3 pitas on a wire cake rack.  Place cake rack directly onto oven rack.  Bake pitas 4 to 5 minutes until puffed and tops begin to brown.  Remove from oven and immediately place pitas in a sealed brown paper bag or cover them with a damp kitchen towel until soft.  Once the pitas are softened, either cut in half or split open the top edge for half or whole pitas.   They can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for 1 to 2 months.

Product Review - Organic Mama Shop

When I was at Edel, I loved the vendor tables. So many beautiful items! (But, alas, so little money!) 

One table in particular that really impressed me was Organic Mamas Shop. (There's a Facebook page, too.)

I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a beautiful necklace.

The beads were my favorite shade of slate blue, and the pendant was an elegant wooden "M" with a miraculous medal embedded in it. Isn't it beautiful?

It has ten beads so it can be used as a one-decade rosary as well. 

Look at those gorgeous shades of blue! I had to buy it. 

Then, Shannon (the lovely proprietor of the shop) told me that my purchase was part of a special promotion -- spend more than $20 and pick out free nursing necklace! Peter's getting to the age where he likes to try pull my hair while nursing, so this was fantastic news to me. They were all in paper bags so I had Luisa pick one at random, and to my delight I got one that was the same blue as my necklace!

Both necklaces are made with organic cotton cord (so no metal allergies to worry about, if you have any).

Plus, they're fully adjustable!

I'm so pleased with both of them that I immediately volunteered when Shannon asked if any customers wanted to do a blog review.

Also, because Shannon is just that awesome, she offered a discount coupon for my readers!

If you purchase anything from her shop and enter the code STAROFHOPE, you'll get 25% off!  How awesome is that? There's a catch, though -- the code will only be good for the next TEN days. So you have until August 22 to take advantage.

Be sure to check out her gorgeous rosaries and rosary bracelets, too. (FYI... my wedding anniversary is in less than a month. And my birthday is in November. Just thought I'd throw that out there.) ;)

Happy shopping!

Catholic Working Mothers

Hello friends! For anyone who is interested, I've started a Facebook support group for Catholic moms who work outside the home. Full- or part-time, in-home businesses and freelancers included. 


Peter approves this message. 

If I Was Stranded on a Deserted Island...

Recently I was contacted by Man Crates and asked to write a post about what I'd like to have in a survival kit if I was stranded on a deserted island and found a crate washed up on shore.

[What are Man Crates, you ask? Well, I'll let them speak for themselves:

We say 'no' to ugly neckties, cologne samplers and executive trinkets. We don't save wrapping paper, we don't do ribbons.

We ship bragworthy gifts for guys. Gifts that you can't wait to arrive because you know the recipient will love opening them.

Gifts that people gather round at the office, people following the sounds of wood being torn from wood by the included, laser-engraved crowbar.

We are Man Crates, and we deliver awesome gifts for men.]

And while these gifts may be primarily designed for men, I saw many that I'd love as well! For example, I'd be beyond heaven if I found one of their Bacon Crates waiting for me. *drool*

But, failing that, these would be my top five items in my Survival Crate:

(1) Flint and Steel

Matches run out eventually, and trying to start a fire by twirling a stick is both tedious and tiring. Flint and steel, however, won't wear out and are fairly easy to use to start a fire.

(2) Mosquito repellent

I HATE MOSQUITOES, and unless I'm on a deserted island with no vegetation, chances are I'll share it with mosquitoes. I'd want something to keep the obnoxious little beasties from eating me alive.

(3) Sunscreen

I'm a lily-white Scandinavian, and I've had people ask me if I'm albino despite the fact that my eyes are blue, not pink. Sunscreen, at least SPF 30, is a MUST.

(4) Hammock

Sleeping on the ground doesn't really appeal to me. I think a hammock sounds like a much better alternative. I'd love to fall asleep gently swaying in the breeze while listening to the sounds of the ocean. A covered hammock would be even better for rainy nights.

doesn't that look lovely?

(5) Books

When I was 14, I went to Washington, D.C. and, while there, visited the Library of Congress. In the gift shop, I bought a mug and a tote bag that both said, "I cannot live without books. - Thomas Jefferson." (I still have both the mug and the bag!) It's absolutely true for me; I'd shrivel up and fade away if I didn't have anything to read while swinging in that hammock. Ideally, I'd want the complete works of G.K. Chesterton and L.M. Mongtomery, and maybe the entire run of my guilty pleasure, the "In Death" series by J.D. Robb. I'd also want some how to manuals for desert island survival, such as Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe. ;)

What about you? What's your must-have item for survival on a deserted island?

The Edel Gathering 2014 - Day 3

Sorry for the delay in my day 3 recap! I was trying to be productive around my house (futile, I know).

Luisa and I didn't fly out of Austin until 9:30pm, so we had the entire day to sight-see.

We started our day with the La Quinta continental breakfast, which featured some very special waffles:

Which then inspired me to make this meme:

After breakfast we went to Mass at the gorgeous St. Mary's Cathedral, just a block or two away from our hotel.

After Mass we browsed St. Mary's gift shop for a bit, then headed back to La Quinta to pack up and check out. The front desk clerk graciously agreed to let us keep our bags there for a few hours so we didn't have to drag them along with us.

(While we were checking out, another hotel patron had a seizure right outside the hotel and had to be rushed to the hospital. Say a prayer for her? I've been thinking about her often and hope she's doing okay.)

After checking out we grabbed some lunch and Subway and walked to the Museum of the Weird.

Oddly, they did not have my picture hanging up inside. Talk about an oversight.

We didn't actually go in, because the $12 per person entry fee was a bit steep. But we browsed the gift shop for a while.

We explored a bit more. I loved the little plaques detailing Texas history that were all over the downtown area.

We found Collin's mothership - a combination arcade & bar. I want to go back to Austin with him someday (sans minor children) just so we can check it out:

And I want to go here, too:

This made me laugh:

As did this:

After a while we were tired and hungry and wanted to charge our phones, so we stopped at the Driskill Hotel for some Texas pecan pie.

Peter approved.

And the pie was marvelous.

Fueled by pie, we walked to the Capitol building.

First we went to the visitor's center and checked out their exhibits, such as flags that used to fly over the capitol when Texas was a republic:

I loved the visitor's center -- they had many interactive exhibits for kids and lots of interesting tidbits about Texas history (such as the life story of O. Henry). They also had a 6,600 lb safe on display that used to be part of the land office (which was what the building was used for prior to its conversion to the visitor's center). There was a great gift shop, too.

It was a short walk from the visitor's center to the actual Capitol building, and along the way we saw this vintage drinking fountain. It was in use until 1980, when new water regulations mandated that it couldn't be used anymore.

Doesn't it look like Narnia should be around somewhere?

The Capitol building was spectacular. I was quite impressed.

view from the rotunda

All the doors had these beautiful ornate hinges. 

The House chamber

Rotunda floor, as seen from above

Capitol research library

There used to be a bank of pay phones here, I'm sure.
Now that everyone has a cell phone, they're gone, but the shells remain.

This was labeled "Unknown Judge." I'm fascinated by it.
How did they know he was a judge, but not know his name?

The Texas Capitol building contains a chapel. (It wasn't open to the public.)
I hope many of the employees make use of it.

Giant portrait of Davy Crockett!

Alamo memorial

Texas rangers memorial
Once we were done sightseeing, we retrieved our bags from La Quinta and walked to a restaurant called the Brick Oven, which was coincidentally across the street from our bus stop. Marvelous Italian food -- I had a custom pizza (alfredo sauce, cheese, garlic, chicken, and spinach) and Luisa had an enormous calzone. We finished our meal just in time to catch the bus to the airport.

It was a fun day and a nice cap to the conference. I was glad we had the chance to see some of Austin -- it's a beautiful city and I'd love to go back sometime.

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