Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Celebrating Lent as a Family

Here is a quick peek a the 2nd Lenten activity we are doing with Dom. (The first was chronicled on this post). Yes, we're running behind.  It's been an insane week. 
I was inspired to create a 'Lent lamb' by Karen Edmisten's blog post on Lent. However, our Lamb is a little less detailed as I was attempting a more simple approach.  We cut out construction paper shapes and glued him together.  Each day of Lent one cotton ball is added, and by Easter, he will be complete.  I wanted Dom to spend time learning something over Lent and decided upon the Guardian Angel prayer as he's already memorized the Our Father and The Prayer of St. Michael.  So, each day, we say the prayer together, and then he can glue on that day's cotton ball.  

For those of you who don't know the Guardian Angel prayer, it goes as such:
Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom God's love
commits me here,
Ever this day,
be at my side,
To light and guard,
Rule and guide.

Here is a link with some other ideas for celebrating Lent intentionally as a family. I am enjoying spending this time together and working on things together. I'm excited to see how it strengthens us as a family.

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All rights reserved. ©Sarah G. Ortiz
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This post Celebrating Lent as a Family first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 29 February 2012

Getting excited for Project: Simplify 2012

You know you're an adult when you get really excited about buckets. Oh wait. Scratch that since these lovely metal pails from Land of Nod entertained Dom for a good chunk of time.  ou know you're an adult when you see fun objects as the perfect way to organize.  

This is me gearing up for week 1 of Project Simplify, which will attack Kid's spaces. Hopefully, these buckets will help in my attempt to organize some of the little man's toys.  I'm excited for this planned opportunity to purge and simplify our space. And after a whole week of being home with a sick two year old, our house is going to need a makeover.

Speaking of sick... after a day of a low grade fever and a rash beginning to take over Dom's body, we took him into the doc on Monday. It turned out to be a bacterial infection that had gotten into his already eczema inflicted skin that spread like wildfire.  Now two days into antibiotics, anti-itch meds, oatmeal baths (2 a day), and hydrocortisone + lotion slatherings, we've got the rash to where it's not getting worse. Now for it to get better...  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Link love.

My "crazy hair" as my son calls it.

Since my weekly wrap-up last week lacked links, here are some I've appreciated this past week.  I had to go searching for them, so it took a little longer than I'd have liked to have them up here. But, instead of two or three, I came up with a bunch that have kept me thinking of all kinds of things I hope to do in the coming weeks. So, here we go:

How to Teach Kids to Clean [Simple Homeschooling]
100 Picture Books to Read Before Kindergarten [Greater Victoria Public Library]
75 Books That Build Character [No Time for FlashCards]

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sick days.

Man, oh man I hate having tiny sick people. I think it might be one of the worst parts of being a parent. It's just so hard to watch a young child get sick to where it changes their demeanor.
My poor little man is having one of those nights. He was running around the kitchen, happy as a lark, taking breaks in his storytelling to plop down on the rug (we have a house rule about sitting to eat) and eat a "crunchy" (soy crisps that he's recently fallen in love with). Five minutes later I'd gone in the living room and settled into the couch to nurse tiny dude. Dom wandered in and asked if he could sit with me. He leaned his little head on me and then didn't do anything. Not a word. For two whole minutes. Anyone that knows him knows he's a perpetual chatterbox. I asked if he was ok, and he replied with a yeah. Not quite content with that answer, I asked if I could feel his head. Sure enough one warm forehead. It's a low grade fever, not going up or down, and he's now conked out. So, now we just wait and pray, and hopefully, by morning I'll have my cheerful little guy back.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Weekly Capture II

The boys at a morning photo shoot from this week

I fully intended to post this yesterday, but last night the winds were so strong and we lost power a few times, so I decided to turn off the computer just to be safe.  So, Saturday morning upload it is.  

A Sweet Moment (or two)
After our tea party on Tuesday (at the end of which, Dom remarked, "That was beautiful, Mama"), Dom waking up from his nap on Wednesday requesting another tea party.  So, we put the kettle on and settled down on the kitchen floor to enjoy tea and scones together.  

"Man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself." 

~ Pope John Paul II

Listening to
Dom sing me his version of 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off' ("I say caah-nada, you say tomahta... pinahta. pahtahta")

Stephen Fry's In America - it's thoroughly entertaining and somewhat informative (thankfully I did pay attention in US history to know most of what he's shared)

My computer deleted all the windows I had open, and I forgot with my fantastic mama brain being what it is, so no links for now...

Looking forward to
kids going back to school this week, so we can enjoy quiet activities out again

8 Things I am Thankful For
  • Lent
  • packages and treats nearly every day!
  • $1 sales at one of my favourite consignment stores
  • fun photos of some of my favourite, favourite people uploaded this week
  • mini daffodil plants - the little man and I picked one out for our kitchen window this week
  • friends who've blessed us with dinner AND stayed to chat
  • swaddle-up-the-baby-in-what-looks-like-a-straight-jacket outfits
  • snuggly storytimes with the little man

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Beautiful thought

A cousin of mine shared this link the other day, and I thought it summed up the charm and mystery of the privileges of serving in the home wonderfully.  I often need to remember this.  I hope you enjoy as well.

Is Domesticity Dull?

 People say the domestic life is narrow and stultifying, a prison for the intellect. Feminists have long made this claim.
I guess you could say that’s true, but only if you think human history is boring, the laws of nature are boring, love is boring, birth is boring, children are boring, personality is boring, the mind is boring, morality is boring, death is boring, male and female are boring, sex is boring, illness is boring, kisses are boring, prayers are boring, literature is boring, philosophy is boring, poetry is boring, God is boring, the seasons are boring, music is boring, trees are boring, sunlight is boring, the stars are boring, snow is boring, dew is boring. If all this is true, the home is not what it appears: a fount of ideas and truths, a university and a museum, a laboratory for the curious, a gallery of all that is human. If the home is boring, life itself is a desert.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A tea party.

Dom has a new favorite book: 'A Sick Day for Amos McGee.'  We discovered it at the library last week, and now we read it over and over and over.  Mama also loves this new book as the art is lovely, and the story is sweet and unselfish (a rarity in children's books it seems). If you're looking for a new read, we highly back this one.  

In this story, Amos has tea daily.  As a result, my son was inspired to beg for a tea party.  He insisted we use my tea pot, make scones (that's not even in the book...), and use my tiny silver spoons that have teapots on the handle.  So, we did.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feasting Before the Fast


Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which begins the Church season of Lent, a beautiful time of sacrifice, reflection, prayer, fasting, self-examination, spiritual reflection, and penance.  As we enter this solemn period of time in the Church year in preparation for Easter, our family usually refrains from richer foods (this year for us this will include meat - send me your best vegetarian recipes, please! I'd love ideas) and desserts.  SO, today we celebrated Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).  As someone was blessing us with a meal tonight, we ate our Mardi Gras feast last night (New Orleans style Jambalaya, roasted Brussel sprouts, and cornbread made by the little man - he's becoming quite the chef/baker!).


And we finished off our celebration with a King's cake after dinner tonight.  
Dom was enthralled by the King's cake, especially the little plastic baby you stick in the cake to represent Baby Jesus.

"Um, baby Jesus is naked...  He has no nipples!"


I searched around for some ideas for how to explain Lent to a 2 year old.  In this post by Karen Edmisten, she shares an idea for a Lenten caterpillar.  So, we made an egg carton creature today as well. This little guy will be wrapped up in brown paper as his "cocoon" on Palm Sunday, and we'll make a butterfly on Easter Monday to represent new life and transformation.  Dom was mostly impressed with the googley eyes. 

Want to follow my blog? It's easy - subscribe via the RSS or email links in the top righthand corner.
You can also follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.
All rights reserved. ©Sarah G. Ortiz
::This blog post may contain Amazon Affiliate links.
By clicking through to make a purchase, you help to financially support TO+M::
This post Feasting before the Fast was first featured on Two Os Plus More on 21 February 2012


I went in to get D up from his nap yesterday...

I told him, "Guess who's coming to play tomorrow?"  (His friend, Macy, is coming over)
He stared at me.
I said "It's your friend that we saw at the zoo today"
Dom: "Ohhhhh.
The tiger?"

My son is a little confused as to who his friends are.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

That boy is a smart one.

I ate breakfast after the rest of the family today as my loving husband must have seen my 7 o'clock face and decided more sleep was in order. (It was). He sweetly snuck both boys out, made breakfast, and got morning chores started. I got myself a good man.
Anyhow D seeing me eating thought this a perfect opportunity for him to attempt 2nd breakfast.

D: Can I have a pancake?
Me: You may have a bite.

A few minutes pass
D: Can I have another bite?
Me: Sure.

Maybe 2 minutes later
D: Last one! (in adorable intonations)

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Weekly Capture

D watching the winter snowflakes.  17 February.

It's the end of my first week of purposefully blogging.  As in I actually am updating.  Not just thinking about updating.  

As a part of blogging more often, I hope to have regular "themed" posts.  They need more creative names (keep thinking of ones that are too cheesy), but my brain is somewhat dead.  It's been one of those days.  2 year old "I don't want to..." in regards to everything. Pooped on by a projectile pooping expert. Yes, I know gross. But it happened, so I'm noting it. Reheated my cup of tea 3 times before I actually took a sip that was warm. Ridiculous amounts of laundry (mostly due to the poop explosion). A random rash appearing on my arms ended my day.  Yup, one of those days.

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” ― C.S. Lewis

A Sweet Moment 
My older son telling my younger son, "You're so cute. Super cute. You're awesome!"

Listening to
Amy Winehouse :: Someone to Watch Over Me


Looking forward to
Mardi Gras + Ash Wednesday 

8 Things I am Thankful For
  • my fabulous little family
  • meal blessings right and left
  • HUGE, white snowflakes (no offense winter, but you've been pretty lame thus far)
  • winning contests, even ones with small prizes
  • spicy molasses ginger cookies
  • b's swing - it's the perfect thing when I cannot hold him
  • the moby + beco - again when I need my hands but still want to cuddle my boy
  • 2 hour downton this week! (now I'm on pins + needles for the finale)

Ideas borrowed from Carrots for Michaelmas + Go Love Serve

Project Simplify!

My house could definitely use some simplifying in several areas.  We have been considering the idea of buying a house, which would (obviously) include moving.  A scary thought.  At least to me it is.  I don't mind moving too much, but the whole packing extravaganza that must happen first somewhat terrifies me.  I've already done it several times, and it always is overly stressful.  I figure to combat as much stress as I can I should take all precautions now by attacking different areas of my house.

I saw this online challenge over on Simple Mom a few days ago.  The basic idea is during March, each week one cluttered area will be attacked.  The hot spots chosen for 2012's challenge are: kids' stuff; kitchen and/or pantry; closets, countertops, and drawers (yikes!); and Choose your own adventure.  I am so glad the hot spots were revealed in advance this year - it fits so much better with my personality.  If I'm going to plan to do something, I must have as many details as are available. The more available, the better.

Kids' stuff is a perfect first as I have to go through everything anyway to prep for the summer and see what all I need to be on the lookout to purchase at this Springs' HUGE consignment event, Weepeats, which I will be volunteering at and, of course, shopping at.  A perfect way to start a major stuff go through.  Hopefully this will include some major purging as well.

For now, check out my fancy 'Project Simplify' widget  to the left, and check back in March for my super awesome organized self de-cluttering my not so organized left.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

11 Things.

I saw this post first over at Sorta Crunchy.  I wasn't tagged or anything, but I thought it looked like fun, and as the age of neverending surveys seems to have passed, I haven't done one of these in a LONG time.  As you can tell, it's obviously nowhere near the 11th anymore.  So, it'll have to be '11 Things on the 16th.'  Hey, I made it within the week - that's gotta count for something, right?  Here goes...

11 Random Things About Me
1. It took me quite awhile sitting and thinking to even begin this list.  I think I am too organized to be truly random.
2. I have super powers.  At least that's what I tell my boys. They believe me.  
3. I haven't seen a movie in theaters in over 2 years.
4. I have a thing for awesome monkey paraphernalia.  And, sometimes, well often, I refer to my sons as monkeys.
5. I might have gone a little crazy with my green goals for this year... more to come on that in another post.
6. I love the smell of newborns' heads.
7. I have plans to get a piercing this year.  Maybe a tattoo, too.  
8. I rarely wear deodorant... mostly because I don't need it but also because the ingredient list scares me a little.  I plan to try my hand at making it at some point.
9. I love the children's book character, Olivia the pig. More than my son does. But only a little bit so. (I even own a stuffed version).
10. If you know me pretty well, these things are probably not really random.
11.  I did this list in random order (as in not starting with 1.)

11 Questions from SortaCrunchy

1. Which season is your favorite and why? My favourite seasons are anything less than 80 degrees, but if I have to pick, I'd say fall.  It means summer is over, scarves, sweaters, + boots can be worn. Colorful leaves and lovely smells. Cider, pumpkin patches, and apple picking.  Yup, definitely a great time of year.
2. What is the best deal you've ever gotten on anything? I got my husband for free - does that count?  Otherwise I couldn't even tell you... I get pretty much everything for a deal.  It's kind of the way I roll.
3. What is your favorite dessert? Mmm. Oh so many to choose from. I guess it depends on who's baking.  My mama makes an amazing almost pound cake.  My husband makes a delicious flan and a to-die-for Julia Childs almond chocolate cake.  It also depends on what kind of mood I'm in...
4. When was the last time you went to the dentist? For a cleaning?  Not for way too long, but I did go about 4 months ago for a weird pregnancy tumor I had in my mouth at the time.
5. Do you prefer older homes or new construction? Older homes have ever much more character.
6. What is your favorite social media platform and why? (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, etc)  I think I'd have to say FB just because it's the easiest to share everything from. 
7. Photography: do it yourself or go to a professional? Both.  Always do it myself and since I'm a pro, that kind of covers both options.
8. What is the last thing you made? A cup of peach tea.
9. Thrifting: love it or hate it? Silly question (for me, at least).  LOVE it.  
10. Sunrise or sunset? Sunset, only because I hate getting up super early.  If I was well rested, which doesn't really happen with an infant, I might be up for getting up and watching the sun rise.
11. What is your guilty pleasure? cinnamon buns from a can.  I rarely eat them, but still they are one of the grosser things I crave at times.

I'm not going to tag anything.  I feel these are no fun when you feel like you're supposed to do it, for one reason or another.

Future Posts :: Please reply!!!

So, I know I have promised a katrillion things to different people.  I am (honestly!) compiling a list of stories I promised to share and reviews on products tried and other such stuff.  Right now I know I have wishes to hear B's birth story, cloth diaper suggestions, newborn top products, other green things we've done around our home, and probably many my mama brain has made me forget.

Please do comment on this post and let me know if you've requested something in the past few months and would like to see it.  I will try my darndest to get it written up and posted.

I am trying to be somewhat more consistent - discovering that I can actually get the scheduling-in-advance-posting to work has been terrific.  So, yes, please let me know if you've asked me questions and I've yet to answer them by posting below.  Thanks!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Giveaway over at Carrots for Michaelmas!

There's a Giveaway over at Carrots for Michaelmas for a beautiful clothbound copy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  I recently discovered this blog of a Catholic mama of 2 children and have enjoyed sharing in what she shares of her family's life.  Her views of motherhood and of everyday life are so refreshing and extremely encouraging.

So, this week (through next Wednesday, the 23rd) she is hosting a giveaway in which one winner will win a copy of the above mentioned book.  Check out her blog post for more details.  I know I'd love to win *this* copy of Pride and Prejudice even though I already own a copy.  Mine is just not as lovely as this version...  so head over and enter today.

Pretty true.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Recipe: Spicy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Made these cookies with the help of my little man the other day... 

2 cups AP flour (I used whole wheat for 1/2 of it, and it worked fine)
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg

Additional sugar
Yoghurt covered raisins (or just regular ones)

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Combine flour, ginger, soda, cloves, and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.
3. Beat butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl of electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add molasses and egg; beat until well blended.  Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed just until blended.
4. Drop dough by level 1/4 cupfuls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (if you don't have parchment paper, you can just spray the pan with oil - you might need to lower oven temp. if you do this), spacing 3 inches apart.  Flatten each ball of dough until 2 inches in diameter with bottom of glass that has been dipped in additional sugar. Press 7-8 raisins into the top of each cookie.
5. Bake 11-12 minutes or until cookies are set.  Cool cookies 2 minutes on cookie sheets; slide parchment paper and cookies onto countertop.  Cool completely.

Makes about 1 dozen (4-in) cookies.

Also posted over at: Comestibilis

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Adjusting to two.

So my first major (and most irritating thus far) adjustment to real life with two thus far was was this past Thursday when I attempted a trip to Wegmans. (For those of you without this luxury, Wegmans is the most fabulous of grocery stores. It originated in Rochester, so we have an abundance of them). Wow, I did not know what I was in for. B was conked out, and I thought, wrongly it turned out, that it'd be easiest to leave him in his carseat. I'd left not one, but both my carriers at home. Note to self: always make sure to have some kind of carrier in car with me for such occasions.

As I walked towards the store, I realized we'd need some sort of special cart.  D voted on the one with the car attached to the front.  Figuring I should at least attempt to keep the boys on the happier side, I agreed.  I then attempted to place B + his carseat in the flip open seat in the cart... nope, that didn't work. Apparently car seats are now built to be super inconvenient because D's infant seat fit just fine clipped into the "seat" in carts.  I then tried placing the seat horizontally balanced in the back of the car to no avail.  (D's seat also fit like this).  At this point, B had woken up, and I figured we should get a move on it if I wanted to make it home with any groceries in tow.

It turned out the only place to stick an infant seat was taking up the majority of space in the back of the cart.  This left pretty much no room for food.  I guess if you have two kids small in size, you come to the grocery store for poo + giggles.  I know I definitely was only there to parade around.  Sliding bags of apples and packages of sausage on either side of B's seat, I managed to fit pretty much everything into the cart.

Oh, and just to top of my trip, I got stuck behind that woman who double checks the price on every single flippin' item she is considering purchasing.  Yup, the one who says (after the cashier has scanned the item), "Um, I am positive that is on sale.  You have the wrong price... no, I think you should check it again.  Oh, I cannot remember what the price was, but it was cheaper than *that*!"

We made it home in one piece though.  Next time our ever faithful Beco shall accompany us.  And, at least D had a blast turning the steering wheel and saying "Drive, drive, drive!  Coming through.  Turning right!" as we maneuvered our bestest through Wegmans.

Pretzel Rolls {Recipe}

A simple variation on a recipe found included in the instructional booklet that came with our bread maker. Very easy and made for a fun snack! D thought they were fun to make into "snakes."

7/8 cup warm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour (recipe calls for bread, but I used all purpose)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp active dry yeast

2 TB kosher salt OR cinnamon sugar mix
1 egg, slightly beaten

Measure all ingredients into bread pan in order, except kosher salt and egg. 
Select dough setting and start. 
When dough is done, preheat oven to 450F. 
Divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into 8 inch rope. Form into pretzel shape or leave in stick shape. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Brush each with beaten egg, and sprinkle with salt. 
Bake 12 - 15 minutes. They puffed up tons, and came out more like pretzel-ish shaped rolls, but they were still tasty. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Words to live by.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

Blessed Mother Teresa

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

3 weeks.

We are getting back into the swing of life.

B was 3 weeks yesterday, and today at his check up proved he is following along the 75% curve (with his head size and height being a little higher along the curve). So we have for ourselves another healthy eater - not quite as voracious an eater as his older bro but healthy all the same.

Yesterday we ventured out to the zoo... D enjoyed it thoroughly and B slept the entire time.

The excursion was grand but by naptime we were all pooped.

So, thus far two boys is fun and at times a little more tiring, but we're getting the hang of it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


... is a slight obsession of mine.  I limit my time on it, so I guess you could call it a controlled obsession.  Having the app on my Ipod makes it way easier to follow trends and see more awesome "pins" while spending less time on the site.  If you haven't heard of Pinterest, I describe it as my visual thought gathering.  Instead of finding random things on the internet that I might one day want to purchase, make, try, or copy, and then bookmarking it in a crazy long list of links, I can pin a photo onto my Pinterest boards and find it again later.  If you have heard of it and have your own account, please note my new button over on the left directing you to my boards!  

Organization is key on Pinterest, I've found.  My boards could probably use even more organizing and fine tuning, but as of right now, I have boards featuring everything from stuff for my tiny peoples, fashion inspiration, natural home cleaning, toddler activities, and so forth.  It's pretty wonderful.  I find all kinds of stuff.  My newest goal for myself, though, is to actually act on some of my pins.  It's great to have them visually logged in one place, but if I never cook any of the meals, or try any of the art projects, or attempt the organizing ideas, I don't really see the point of having Pinterest.  

Soooo, that's been one of my resolutions for 2012.  (I rarely make resolution lists, but I made a few resolutions this year that I know I can keep, and this is one of them).  With that being said, here is a recipe for Playdough I found via a pin that the elder boy + I tried out the other day.  We are fans.  

Here is the recipe we tried:

Cream of Tartar Playdough Recipe

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 2 cups of colored water (food coloring)
  • 1 tbsp. of cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 cup of salt

  • Place all of the ingredients in a medium size or large pan.
  • Cook slowly on medium-high and stir it until the playdough thickens.
  • Thought there would be more steps? Nope, we keep it simple.
Keep the finished playdough in a plastic container in the fridge, that way it lasts alot longer. This playdough recipe is similar to the traditional playdough recipe, make sure to take a look at thatplaydough recipe too.
This recipe takes less than 10 minutes, giving you more time to enjoying the finished playdough.
Who knew Cream of Tartar had more uses than just for baking Snickerdoodles???  Well, whatever it does in this recipe, it definitely made for some great playdough.  
If you are interested in trying out Pinterest, let me know!  I can send you an invite.  =)
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