Thursday, February 28, 2013

Monthly Wrap Up :: February

Another month of 2013 down. Sadly, I lost a week of this already short month to the flu. This past week is the sickest I've been in years. I'm just now starting to feel functionable once again, even though I'm still definitely sick. Be glad you can't catch my germs via the internets.

February did not take this family anywhere travel wise. We did have visitors, and successfully started our preschool program though. We celebrated the Feast of St. BrigidCandlemas and the Feast of St. BlaiseSt. Valentine's Day, and began the Season of Lent. Snow did not disappoint this year, and we have been blessed with an abundance. I have two little snow lovers, who have thoroughly enjoyed some roughhousing, sledding, snow angel making, etc.

From our Bookshelf

Although I haven't made any great strides with my book list for this year, I have finished a few books that I'd wanted to read anyhow this month.

The Girl in Blue by P. G. Wodehouse

Classic Wodehouse combining wit, English manor houses, many misunderstandings, connections betwixt every character, and a lovely sweet romance holding out throughout the entire story. An American lawyer drops his sister, who has been caught attempting thievery, mostly for her own amusement, at an old English house, crumbling to its demise, whilst he ventures on for a trip elsewhere in Europe. A miniature painting goes missing from a lawyer's desk, the lawyer happening to be the brother of the owner of the grand country house, and suspicions turn to the the previously accused petty thief...

The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

A fascinating allegory of Heaven and Hell. A man tells his story as he takes a bus from Hell into Heaven and travels around with George MacDonald as his guide. He learns that all are welcome in the world that is Heaven, but few actually want to submit to God's will fully and lose themselves and the things they've given mastery of their lives in order to  remain. As typical of Lewis, this makes for an intriguing fable, but also entices the reader to deeper thought in regards to what happens after life.

Berlioz the Bear by Jan Brett

A strange buzzing noise coming from Berlioz's double bass has him worried as he and his band travel to the village square, where they will be performing. As they ride along, the horse and cart get stuck, and the worries just increase. The answer to his wonders as to what the noise may be also ends up being the answer to all the troubles the merry bunch face. We thought this was a fun story with plenty of 'B' words to aid in learning.

Another lovely find from Jan Brett (as you've probably noticed, she's another one of our very favorite children's authors/illustrators). Set in the plains of Africa, this story tells of a honey guide and a honey badger, who usually work together to find and enjoy honey. However, one day the honey badger decides to be greedy and leave none for the honey guide. The honey guide decides to teach that honey badger a lesson he will never forget.

What's been Popular

Top post of the month was again How to Help Comfort a Teething Baby,

with A Collection of Meatless Meals for Lent following close behind.

As you can see, the new look is slow in coming. I was counting way too much on having last week and this week to work since David is on break from grad school, but the flu definitely made sure that wasn't going to happen. Once I get caught back up with the rest of life, work shall follow, and then maybe, maybe I can devote some time to this lil guy.

So Happy March, folks. Here's to me being a better poster this month!


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This post Monthly Wrap Up :: February first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 28 February 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Where I've Been All Week

So, I didn't actually fall off the planet. Nor did I forget to update this blog. In reality, I actually have been nowhere. We actually contracted the most horrid flu this week and our whole house has become a sick ward.

Starting Tuesday evening through now I've pretty much been completely out of commission. And in turn, each person in the family has gotten the illness to varying degrees. Along with fevers, aches and chills, hacking up who knows what, runny noses, and scratchy throats, we've also dealt with bloody noses, bed wetting (our poor boy who's completely potty trained has had little control this week), and so forth.

It has just been one thing after another. Thankfully, LegenDaddy has sick time at work, which he's been able to use because honestly, I don't know how I could have done anything this week. I was barely moving Thursday and Friday, let alone cooking, cleaning, feeding, dressing, etc.

We're still in recovery mode at this point, but I think we're all mostly on the up side. Prayers would definitely be appreciated as we battle the last of these germs and attempt to rest our thoroughly worn out selves. Thank you, and I hope to be writing real posts again next week.

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This post Where I've Been All Week first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 23 February 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lent :: For the Good of My Soul

Here we are at Day 6 of Lent, and already I have messed up several of my Lenten sacrifices and promises. I keep trying to tell myself that it's ok, maybe I should just not try to attempt so much. But the truth is, I really did not add that much to my life. I share with you the following bit of reflection that has been in my mind since yesterday as I recall the difficult path Lent can be and more often than not, is.

My Lenten additions of prayer and almsgiving and the abstaining we are doing as a family is not really that much in the grand scheme of things. Hard, yes, at times it is. Trying? For sure. Painful? Sometimes. But still very possible.

It seems easier (somehow) to have a mug brownie in the afternoon once my little ones are wrangled into bed rather than just sitting in silence for some time or praying the rosary in those precious moments of quiet. To pass on my daily Lenten reflections and bible readings. To just give up giving up for Lent. It is so much easier. To surf through the unending, not super important updates on Facebook rather than to pick up a spiritual reading book.

"How can we complain when He Himself was considered 'as one struck by God and afflicted." (Isa 53:4)    St. Teresa of Lisieux

Yes, Lent does require grace, faith, and perseverance. The grand thing is, however, that these virtues can be asked for. We are invited to request help. To ask the Saints and the Blessed Mother to pray for our journey through this desert season. Our Lord never asked us to take off on our own for 40 days. Rather we join in with the entire Church in seeking to come closer to Him during this time. We abstain from things getting in the way of our focus on Christ. Through the rigorous examining of our soul, we can scratch up the layers of insincerity, pride, apathy, and so forth that have built up over the past year, and we are able to expose the true us that God created underneath.

Easy doesn't cut it. Just as we as parents have the difficult calling in disciplining our children and teaching them the straight paths, so we are called, especially in this Season, to discipline ourselves for the good of our souls. Even though letting our kid's slide in rule following, family chores, and the like is way easier on us as moms (or dads), we know deep down it's better for them in the long run if we keep on plugging along. It's for their best interests to learn to have that discipline in their lives, to understand rules being in place for a reason, and to learn to love and live in harmony with one another.

"Suffering is a great favor. Remember that everything soon comes to an end... and take courage. Think of how our gain is eternal.  St. Teresa of Avila

It's the same for us. As we lean in and discipline ourselves, focussing on clearing off the build-up of nastiness, let us remember this hard, dry, and sometimes painful time is truly for the good of our souls in the long run.

Peace be with you in these 40 days of Lent,

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This post Lent :: For the Good of My Soul first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 18 February 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Weekly Capture XL

A quick Weekly Capture you shall get this week because I only have maybe 25 minutes before all my beloved noise comes barreling back into our house. LegenDaddy decided to brave the crowds this morning and treat our boyOs to some fun time at the most amazing Children's museum, which just happens to be right down the street from our house. (I've heard tell of Indianapolis' trumping this one, but we haven't visited that one yet...)

A fun week it has been. Successful homeschooling week 2. Successful in the sense that we finally accomplished all I hoped for the letter A. If you've missed my past posts, we're using Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven by Sarah V. Park, and we're aiming to spend about 1.5 -2 weeks on each letter. We're moving at our own pace, but so far that seems to work the best for us. My sister showed up late Tuesday evening and was here for a wonderful 38 hours or so. We've also packed in 3 meals with other extended family members, so it's been a great week for spending time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.

Aunts are the awesomest because they find mustache pops + buy them.

Out of the Mouth of Dom
"The neighbor doesn't wake me up in the middle of the night, mom, because *I* have a magic rug."

Me: "Daddy agrees with me."
Dom: "Well, I agree with myself."
Oh, arguments with the 3 year old are the *best*.

"Well, I can't cut hair because I got no snissors."

Is standing on his own WAY more frequently. He took one step towards me, but it was definitely more of one of those "step into a fall" kind of steps. My estimate is that my lil man shall be walking in 2 - 4 weeks. He is frustrated beyond belief with how little I understand of his babble, but he is mostly stubbornly refusing to use sign language. He does love pointing at whatever his heart desires and then hollering at me for not hearing his points. Son, oh son, if only I could do everything.

Listening to

A new favorite brought to me by my sister. You might as well send her a note of thanks as well. The Lost Fingers (not to be taken as gory as far as I can tell) is a French band, classifying themselves as Gypsy Jazz, and covering popular songs from the 80s. Spotify has their albums as well, so get thee a listening.

I'm a bum at actually completing the list of books I made for myself to read this year. Perhaps if I just make a stack of all the books and put them next to my bed...

Dom has been quite into snuggley book time this week, and B has shown more and more interest in joining us for most of our daily reading time. Another favorite discovered at the library to be added to our personal shelves one day: The Knight and the Dragon by our ever favorite Tomie dePaola. It is low on words, but is great for imagination and beginning sight reading.

Contests You Should Most Definitely Enter

$20 Credit to Aquinas and More Catholic Bookstore brought to you by House Unseen, Life Unscripted

Win a Copy of 'A Continual Feast' brought to you by Molly Makes Do

Mama Cloth Rocks : Huge Giveaway brought to you by The Humbled Homemaker

Have a lovely weekend,

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This post Weekly Capture XL first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 16 February 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes :: Preparation

--- 1 ---
In attempts to get this week's Quick Takes out faster than last week's, I started with a title on Monday... yup, didn't help much. More preparation needed next week.

--- 2 ---
Speaking of Preparation, Lent is here. Time to prepare ourselves with prayer, penance, almsgiving, and fasting.  

--- 3 ---
Meal planning has begun. Going meatless for Lent definitely puts some twists into what we can eat. Any veggie options you can share would be super awesome! Its been one of those mornings, so as I sit and think of meal ideas I've been singing "Gotta meal plan on Friday" to the tune of Rebecca Black's song Friday. S
ad I know.

--- 4 ---
Just wrapping up the letter 'A' in our homeschooling in Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven. I have quickly discovered that I need to be way better at preparing. First I waited til the day before I wanted to start to begin finding the books needed. Bad idea. Our library had 2 off the list. Then I thought we'd prep crafts and such together... yeah, my 3 year old's patience doesn't go for that. For 'B,' we shall begin collecting our collage clipping on Day 1 rather than the last day.
--- 5 ---
In attempts to get started on the completion of this self given challenge of completing all these ways to love on LegenDaddy before Lent is over, I got him this card for St. Valentine's Day:

Yes, I am that epic. You, too, can get one at Julie Ann Art on Etsy.

--- 6 ---
Oh, and things you can't prepare for: Parenthood. Today I had to sniff my child's hand for poop. (Yes, his hand!!) Ugh, you just cannot make these things up.

--- 7 ---

Now to start next weeks Quick Takes... At least this week's took me less than an hour, and in the middle of that I had to put to sleep one sweet lil pooka. So, success on that front. Well, both those fronts. =) 

            Til next week,

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

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This post 7 Quick Takes :: Preparation first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 15 February 2013

A Collection of Meatless Meals for Lent

Being the First Friday during the Season of Lent and Fridays being a day of obligatory fasting from meat, here is a collection of some of our favorite meatless meals I'd like to share with you. Almost all of these have been hits with every member of our family. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have. Bon Appetit!

Lentil Soup with Lemon Yogurt Cream

Lentil + Chick Pea Curry with Coconut Milk

Cheesy Quinoa Bake

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers

Red Lentil Burgers with Aoili

Chicken + Barley Soup - obviously not Veg, but can easily be made so by substituting something for the chicken. I suggest mushrooms and/or beans.

Barley Lentil Soup

Brazilian Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Burgers - a friend shared this recipe, and we have made a few changes. Usually we mince onion and garlic and quickly saute it before adding to the bean mixture.

Spaghetti with Mascarpone, Meyer Lemon, Spinach, and Hazelnuts

Butternut Squash, Sage, and Parmesan Pasties

If you are looking for meatless Lunch ideas, check out this post I wrote with 10 ideas for great lunches to eat during Lent or any time you are wanting something meatless!

What are your favorite Vegetarian meals? Please share - I'd love new ones to add to our repertoire, especially during this Season of fasting and abstaining. 

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This post A Collection of Meatless Meals for Lent first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 15 February 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

St. Valentine's Day : The Martyr not the Roses

St. Valentine's Day is in only two days, so time is short. As I said in an earlier post on loving on your husband I am no huge fan of the ridiculous craze that Hallmark has made of this feast day. Barely anyone seems to know much about St. Valentine or even what a feast day is. I believe this is one of the days we as Christians need to reclaim and teach our children the history and truth that can be found in the day.

Instead they associate this day with fat naked cherub babies attempting to shoot those one is attracted to with a love arrow. Or maybe it's about decorating your house with all forms of red, pink, lace, and hearts and giving capitalism a great hoo-rah. Those who are in relationships seem to expect some new expensive piece of jewelry or at least overpriced roses. Those who are single bemoan their relationship status and celebrate Singles Awareness Day, whatever on earth that means...

Somehow out of this Saint, whom not much is known about, our society has managed to make a holiday based on consumerism culminating in pink decor. Instead of avoiding the holiday altogether (which I am sometimes tempted to do, I admit), we will be focussing instead on what little we can find out about the real St. Valentine (or possible two or three of them!) and talk about love in the sense that God loves us and our commandments to love Him and one another. I believe it is important to pass on to our children the definition of real love, of love that sacrifices and gives of oneself.

St. Valentine*

There were several St. Valentines throughout the ages, but the most common one I could find information about was a priest in Rome in the 3rd century. Some stories tell of him aiding Christian couples and performing secret marriages of Christians during a time with Christian persecution didn't permit this according to Roman law. Other stories tell of how he healed his jailer's daughter's eyesight. Whatever story is true, it can be said that this man of faith was willing to go beyond what was easy and simple to love others. He held fast to what he believed, stating even with his life that he believed in the Ultimate depiction of Love, his Faith in Christ. Despite the unjust Roman laws, he continued to hold fast to the Church's teachings and practice his callings as a priest including administering the Sacraments. He died a martyr's death, making even the end of his life a depiction of true love.

For our St. Valentine's Day activities, we will be: 

Making this fun paper bag puppet of the Saint from Catholic Icing. He's depicted as a Bishop here, and in some histories of St. Valentine, he is a Bishop. Other histories say there are two - one who was a priest, one a bishop. Either way, this is a perfect way to bring the red paper hearts back to being about God and the Church. 

Make simple Valentines to send to our family members. I'm going to have Dom think of one reason why he loves each person and write it on there. For some simple St. Valentine's Day crafts, check out my Pinterest board: Other Holidays.

As it'll be Lent at that point, we will forego chocolate and other such edible treats. I did buy the boys little treats to be from LegenDaddy and I, but I set my limit at $5 to keep it small. Otherwise, we're not going to make much of a hulabaloo about the day. We shall honor the Saint, talk about what true Love as given to us by our Savior and as lived out by the people of His Church looks like, and give small tokens of our love. And that is how this O family shall be celebrating St. Valentine's Day.

In closing, here are some wise words about Love from the Saints who have gone before us.

"The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, It produces Love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life."   St. Thomas Aquinas
"Pure love... knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love - love, and always love."  St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul
"Intense love does not measure... it just gives."   Blessed Mother Teresa 
"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like."   St. Augustine of Hippo 
"The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."    Pope St. Gregory the Great

May these be the teachings of Love that we pass on to our children.

Linking up with Little Holy Days - click on the link to learn more about the Link-up and to share your own posts about Lent, feast days, and other special times during this Season.

*Found this image at Wholly Roamin Catholic, but I couldn't find the original source. If you know, please tell me. Thanks!

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This post St. Valentine's Day : The Martyr not the Roses first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 12 February 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

25 Simple Ways to Love on Your Husband

St. Valentine's Day is coming up this week, and love (or the ideas that the common public have of it) is in the air. I'm not a huge fan of celebrating Hallmark holidays, but St. Valentine's Day is not actually a true Hallmark holiday. Sure it is now, but it originated with the feast day of a martyr. With both Lent and Valentine's Day mooshed right into one week, I've been thinking alot of my marriage and how I can better serve LegenDaddy. I often get caught up in the service of our home and our family, and I think I sometimes forget to pay specific attention to him and pointedly serving and loving him.

Serving me is definitely one of his strengths - he never ceases to amaze me with how he likes to surprise me and how much he thinks of me first. At this very moment, I'm enjoying quiet moments to focus and write as he lovingly pushed me out of our house of neverending craziness and noise, which has been especially stressful this week, and aim me in the direction of one of my favorite coffeehouses.

Every day is the perfect day to start strengthening your marriage, to add some romance in the midst of busy lives, and to truly and actively appreciate one another. I am learning this more each day. I challenge you to pick a few of these (or all of them, if you're feeling ambitious), and letting your husband know what a blessing he is to you and your family. I am aiming to complete this list by Easter, which I think is completely doable. So, join me in working on strengthening your marriage and celebrating this important Sacrament that it part of your life.

1. Write short love notes, and hide them in his pockets, his briefcase/backpack

2. Wake up early in the morning and make a special breakfast to enjoy before the kiddos wake up.

3. Make a fancy dinner for after you put kiddos to bed.

4. Using your spouse's love language, make him feel loved.

5. Have a conversation and avoid any nagging or complaining. Don't know about you, but this is a hard one for me.

6. Compliment something he does or wears or makes.

7. Think of some reasons he makes you proud. Tell him.

8. Stop and look into his eyes when he's talking to you.

9. Make his favorite dessert or other treat Might have to wait til Lent is over for this one...

10. Encourage him to spend time with his men friends.

11. Initiate. Kisses, sex, you name it. Make a move.

12. Text him spontaneous fun and flirty texts throughout his day. Bonus points for less words used.

13. Change your sheets and make up your bed, so it looks nice. Maybe you already do this, but I sure don't.

14. Play his favorite game or watch his favorite movie.

15. Surprise him with a phone call in the middle of the day ONLY to tell him you love him.

16. Write him a list of the some of the reasons why you love him.

17. Buy him a gift he's had his eye on for awhile.

18. Do a chore that you usually leave for him. Take the garbage out, shovel the walkway/driveway, clean off his car...

19. Dress up for him for no apparent reason.

20. Give him a backrub or neckrub. Shoot, we love them; I'm pretty sure he would, too.

21. Verbally affirm in front of your children.

22. Get somebody to take a picture of you, and print it and frame it for him.

23. Pray together. The rosary or Evening Compline is a perfect way to end your day before you head to bed.

24. Ask him about his hopes and dreams.

25. Tell him you love him before he tells you. Do it often.

What would you add to this list? What are your favorite ways to let your husband know you love him? 

This post is linked up with the Little HolyDays link-up. This link- up is focussed on, but not limited to, Lent, St. Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, and Ash Wednesday. Please click on the link to read other wonderful articles and share your own!

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All rights reserved. ©Sarah G. Ortiz
::This blog post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. 
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This post 25 Simple Ways to Love on Your Husband first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 11 February 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekly Capture XXXIX

A flu scare and some chilly weather kept us inside most of this week, making for one antsy mama who cannot wait to get out this weekend. It's been a slow, hard week with little sleep on more than one night and stressful day situations between our neighbor and a 3 year old who is trying this mama's patience over and over and over. So, yes, very happy to say goodbye to this week and start anew with whatever next week brings.

Snowy streets last night

Our homeschooling venture has begun fairly well. I waited til the last minute to collect the books needed from the library, which was a mistake as they only had two from the whole list. Thankfully, we owned a few that made do for the week. Dom complained off and on of stomach pains throughout the week, and as we'd been exposed to the stomach flu, I thought it best to keep him inside. He enjoys certain aspects of "school," but others he's not so keep on. He did request to start yet another chapter book to be a part of our day's schedule, so we did. It's lovely to move beyond picture books in some ways. Thankfully both boys still love picture books though - I don't think I'll be wanting to give them up anytime soon.

We have begun to gather our thoughts, devotionals, etc together as we make preparations for the Season of Lent. We celebrated St. Brigid's Feast Day and a Candlemas/St. Blaise's Day feast this past weekend. Looking forward to Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and a chocolate-less St. Valentine's Day, too (3 days in a row there!). We're also much looking forward to a much missed, favorite person ever (my sister is going to come visit us for about 46 hours, and we shall make the most of every moment, or at least that is the plan). So, that's a fair amount to keep our next week hopping and delightful.

"Sick boys wear hoodies"

Out of the mouth of Dom
"B, you must wear socks. That's just the way life is."

"Are you a naughty boy now?" ... to his father. [In context it was in reference to the characters displayed in the game, Chutes + Ladders, but overheard it was hilarious]

B-boy Updates
No steps yet. I'll leave him standing freely sometimes, and then he'll suddenly realize it and lurch forwards. Poor B has been blessed cursed with his parents' lovely skin issues. Yet another eczema covered baby. The cold, dry weather is just exacerbating it more and more. Thankfully babies covered in coconut oil smell positively delightful.
B has changed "Dada" into "Da-DEE!" and calls to his brother now. He has discovered that Dom will play peek-a-boo with him if B hides behind a chair in our living room and pops his head out every so often. They both end up in giggles. It's simply adorable. And sorry, no video exists at this moment in time.

My smooshy faced B

A bit of entertainment for your enjoyment (you know you can't turn down a mix of Les Mis + HIMYM/Neil Patrick Harris)

Funny, yet well done, am I right?

I picked up a P.G. Wodehouse for some "lighter reading," so I am about a third through The Girl in Blue. Still plowing through Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic as well.

A favorite picture book this week has been Can I Keep Him? by Steven Kellogg, a sweet tale of a little boy who keeps finding "pets" to bring home to his mother, who, of course, has a reason for why he cannot keep each. Definitely one we'd recommend!

Links I've enjoyed - the Lent edition

Lenten Rookie Mistakes :: by Simcha Fisher for the NC Register
100 Things to do for Lent :: Held by His Pierced Hands
Preparing for Lent :: Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas

and another for good measure, mostly because it has been one of the best pieces I've read in awhile:
A Letter to My Former Self on the Day I Became a Mother :: Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas

       Best wishes for a wonderful (and perhaps wintery, for some of you) weekend,

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This post Weekly Capture XXXIX first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 9 February 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

7 Quick Takes : Determination

Since first seeing the 7 Quick Takes over at House Unseen, Life Unscripted, I've been intrigued with the whole idea of joining a whole bunch of others in a random link-up. Random is kinda my middle name as you might as well know.
I have placed Diego in charge of the littles, so I could "quickly" type up this. Typically not my favorite mama move, but man, it's been one of those weeks. You know the ones. I've left the house twice in the past 7 days. Once for a frustrating run to grab coffee, and once to go grocery shopping with the bairns. An exciting outing, if ever there was one.
Oh sons, oh sons. It really is not as delightful as you make it out to be to go to take a shower and as soon as I step in, to hear toy cars making use of the bathroom door as a racetrack. And to hear wooden mallets, meant for another purpose, used as knocking devices. One day I will get to take more than a 6 minute shower in peace, right? RIGHT?

Perhaps I should label this week as "Complaints" rather than "Determination." Poo on being positive. Apparently that's not working right now...

Read this article by Hallie at Moxie Wife the other day. I've decided I need a Sister to Spill It to. Well, a local one.I think it would help with the holding in I tend to do, which often then gets taken out on LegenDaddy. Poor man.

Well, I have now been working on this list for nearly 3 hours (Does it take anyone else this long???). So much for it being "quick" - at least I haven't actually spent the full 3 hours on it. Though that doesn't really make me feel better. More so it makes me sad that it takes an eternity to complete something.


Lastly, please enjoy this lovely photo of my boy's smoothie mustaches. In a determined attempt to keep our bodies nice and healthy we have been eating a gratuitous amount of smoothies in this household.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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This post 7 Quick Takes : Determination first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 8 February 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting Ready for Lent

I cannot believe how quickly Lent has come upon us. It is early next year, Ash Wednesday being next Wednesday. This is the time of year we remember that "dust we are and to dust we shall return." In the forty days prior to the Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord (otherwise known as Easter Sunday), we are invited to face our humanity. Our dustiness. Our dirt that we've let settle in our spiritual lives. The liturgical color given to this Season is purple, a color depicting sorrow and penitence. During these forty days that the Church has set as the Season of Lent, we are able to look through and examine ourselves. We are offered a set season to intentionally focus on preparing ourselves inside and out for the Beauty that is Holy Week, a time to abstain from things in order to better clear our minds, bodies, hearts, and souls.

Lent is the perfect time, as a family and as an individual, to set new habits in gear, to learn new prayers, to study the Bible more, to serve and offer mercy and charity, and to all around reflect on one's Christian walk and how we can better it. It is a perfect time to be very honest with oneself. I have been thinking this whole past week about how we, as a family, and how I might set goals for what we shall do as well as decide on things from which we will fast.

Here are two posts from last year of how we set aside preparing ourselves for Easter during the season of Lent: Feasting Before the Fast and Celebrating Lent as a Family.

This year, we will celebrate Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday with a Feast of Feasts, to finish off the meat in our household before we abstain as a family throughout Lent. And, of course, a lovely King's Cake to finish off the meal. And then Ash Wednesday, upon which we'll venture off to mass to receive a gritty sign on our foreheads to remind us of our humanity.

As we work through the 40 Days of Lent, here are some disciplines we plan to add to our lives:
  • Make Pretzel rolls - Pretzels are a common fasting food, and the shape reminds us of arms folded in prayer
  • Memorize the Prayer, the Anima Christi, as a family. Last year, Dom worked on memorizing the Guardian Angel prayer, and now we've made that a part of his naptime + bedtime prayers.
  • Bless someone (or someones) we know with either a meal or baked goods
  • Pray the Rosary - I want to try for once daily myself, and hopefully once a week as a family.
  • Stations of the Cross Eggs - this DIY guide from Catholic Icing to making your own eggs that tell the story of the 14 Stations are perfect for any child to better grasp the steps. We'll be working to collect the pieces as we work our way through Lent.
  • Holy Week Calendar - to be made during Holy Week with Dom to help him better understand the importance of that week.
  • Get thee to Confession.
  • Keep up with a devotional. I obtained Lent With the Saints: Daily Meditations and I'm hoping to get each days devotion in with my morning coffee.

Also go check out my ever favorite Carrots for Michaelmas for Haley's latest on Preparing for Lent and this epic-ly long, yet equally epic-ly awesome post from Karen Edmisten - it has ideas, whys, hows, you name it. Just go read them.

I'd love to hear ways that your family observes the Season of Lent and practices and traditions you've made a part of your family's life. Please share! It's encouraging to see what others have thought up.

Note that abstaining meat is not a Church-wide practice or requirement - rather you are only asked to sacrifice meat on Fridays during Lent. As a family, we choose to not eat meat or desserts throughout the whole of Lent, with exception of a few Feast days and if we are being hosted by another family, who is preparing the meal. Our children eat meat with their lunches as well to maintain proper nutritional balance.

Linking Up at Catholic Inspired

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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 Getting Ready for Lent first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 7 February 2013
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