Thursday, October 31, 2013

The BackBurner

You know how in life sometimes things slide to the backburner? Well, sadly, the blog has had to take that spot the past several weeks as I catch up with the rest of life and attempt to get many things in order before the Advent Season hits.

Life just doesn't slow down, and along with family life, homeschooling, attempting to keep the house running and so forth, I've also picked up some extra work this season. This has been great for me as well as my business, but it has meant lots of editing taking precedence over the blog and other fun things. If you want to peek at what my Photography business looks like, check out my FB page here.

I promise I haven't forgotten about Two Os + More, nor am I giving up on the whole actually writing thing, but due to many things being in the air here in the O home, I have had to let the frequent posting slide a little bit. I'm not anywhere ready to give up though, and I am almost caught up on other stuff, SO that means you, my lovely readers, can be on the lookout for new posts SOON! Many ideas are swirling in my head, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, I highly suggest you check out Ordinary Acts, a lovely guide being put together by Molly of Molly Makes Do with submissions by many writers from around the blogosphere! Sign up now on the site to receive e-mail updates or connect with other forms of Social Media.

I hope you are each enjoying a lovely Autumn full of colorful leaves, fragrant spices, crunchy apples, and all the delights of this season! 


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All rights reserved. ©Sarah G. Ortiz
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This post The Backburner first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 31 October 2013 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

5 Favorites {Vol. 22}

What a long and crazy few weeks it has been. You probably have caught on to this busy-ness in my life due to the lack of posts. As much as I'd love to have extra free time to spend here, I have been having to devote any I come across to finishing work jobs (photo sessions + consequent editing hours). So, for today I leave you with some favorites that have kept me going lately. =)

Enjoy, and go check out more favorites over at Moxie Wife.


Did you know Hugh Laurie was a singer? I didn't until about 2 weeks ago when I was grabbing my annual *PSL (that's pumpkin spice latte for those of you who don't do Starbucks speak) and saw his newer album 'Didn't It Rain.' Of course as soon as I got home I had to Spotify it (that word has ranked amongst 'Facebook' and 'Google' to join the ranks of noun/verb combo, right?)

Anyways, both the new album and his previous: 'Let Them Talk' are full of fun toe-tapping blues classics sung by Mr. Laurie and various other singers. My sons are now huge fans of "They're Red Hot."

*You'll notice the PSL didn't make my 5 Favorites. After trying it again this year, I was struck by how fake it tastes to me and just not tasty... apparently I haven't been drinking enough knock off drinks. So, I have made a goal to learn to make a homemade, more natural and tasty version. 


Puzzles definitely make this list because I can start the 3 year old with one in the morning and get a headstart in the day. He is thoroughly intrigued and willing to work at any that have interesting art. For that reason and for the reason that they hold up really well, we love Ravensburger Puzzles. I've actually been able to find a few used, too.


My aunt and cousin stopped by for a one night stay this past month and brought us a round of this delicious cheese. It is soooo good, and we still are making our way through it after a few weeks. Sisters at the Trappist Monastery, Our Lady of the Angels, in the Blue Ridge Mountains in VA make the Gouda in the Old World style using Dutch techniques. You can learn more about their process and how it supports the monastery as well as order yourself some here at their website


This sweater from Anthro is just sooo lovely. I did see it in person first, so I can attest to it's soft and cuddliness. I can't swing the price tag, but it definitely has made my 'wish list' if it ever goes on sale. =) Mustardy yellow fall colors, oversized goodness with a little bit of form for style. So perfect. 

Our weather though doesn't seem to agree that it's sweater wearing time yet...


And another wish list item that can be worn despite the unusually warm temps. The Marshall Earrings from Sheer Addiction Jewelry are super lovely, don't you think?
 I love the vintage vibes going on. Sheer Addiction uses vintage brass stampings combined with new fixings to create such lovely pieces. (And in NY state for that matter!) Give their whole shop a look!

Your favorites this week? Do share!

Linking up with the lovely Hallie @ Moxie Wife today. Go check out others' favorites!

Want to follow my blog? It's easy - subscribe via the RSS or email links in the top righthand corner. 
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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 5 Favorites {Vol. 22} first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 2 October 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis receives the Stigmata (fresco attributed to Giotto)

This week is the week of Feast Days - we had St. Wenceslaus on the 28th (sang his song once or twice), celebrated Michaelmas, the Feast of the Archangels, all out with a feast on the 29th, read about St. Jerome yesterday (30th), and today (Oct. 1st) we'll be reading about St. Therese of Lisieux. Tomorrow is the Feast of the Guardian Angels, and although I won't be writing a special post about it, you can see some ideas shared on the Two Os Plus More Facebook Page and my Pinterest board, Learning: Our Faith.

A special one for me is coming up this Friday though: the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Although I grew up Protestant, St. Francis was well known in our house as my mama always had a special love for him. I remember my sister getting a copy of Tomie dePaola's book about him, and we all loved reading it and hearing about this saint who loved simplicity and serving the poor while living in poverty. So, on October 4th we'll be learning a little more about the Saint who loved animals, received the stigmata, and surrendered his worldly possessions to better serve Christ. He also is the patron of our Pope, so that makes him all the more special.

The stigmatisation of St. Francis
St. Francis was born in 1181 or 1182 to a rich Italian cloth merchant and his wife, who hoped Francis would become a prominent religious leader. In his young years, Francis embraced the rich lifestyle and lived it to the fullest, including a stint as a soldier for Assisi. When he was around 18, Francis had a vision that brought him home to Assisi, and he was dissatisfied with the life he'd been living up to that point.

Francis gave up all his worldly goods up to the cloak off his back. Francis received a word from Christ while praying in the Chapel of San Damiano: "Rebuild My Church." Taking this to mean 'physically,' Francis began to work to repair churches that were falling apart. He also began preaching on the streets, amassing a following that became an Order in 1210, after being authorized by Pope Innocent III. In his lifetime, Francis founded two more orders: The Order of St. Clare and the Third Order of St. Francis.

Other things that Francis is remembered for includes his love for all creation - he was known to preach to not only the least, the lost, and the lonely, but also nature itself. In 1224 Francis became the first recorded person to receive the stigmata, which is the wounds of Christ's passion. We can also thank St. Francis for the creche as he was the first to put together a living nativity to make real the Birth of Christ to those around.

Francis was declared a Saint less than two years following his death, and he is the patron saint of animals, the environment, and Italy. He preached actions over word and loving through serving those in need. St. Francis is known today as one of the most popular Catholic saints and even those who are not Catholic often know something about this great and humble man.

Painting by El Greco (1541-1614).


  There is only one recorded food that St. Francis is known to have loved: Mostaccioli, which is a form of almond cookie.  Here is a recipe for it that is found in A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith Throughout the Christian Year (by Evelyn Birge Vitz), which I highly recommend you add to your Domestic Church Library:

1 lb. blanched almonds
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon, or 1 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
Approximately 1 cup flour 
Chop the almonds very fine or coarsely grind in a blender or food processor.  
In a bowl combine the nuts, honey, cinnamon, and egg whites. Mix thoroughly. Gradually stir in enough flour to form a thick paste.  
On a lightly floured surface, knead the paste until smooth and stiff. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut in to diamond shapes, about 2 1/2 inches long. Place the diamonds on a lightly buttered and floured baking sheet. Let dry for 1-2 hours. 
Bake in a preheated 250˚ F. oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until set. Do not let brown. 
Yields about 3 dozen
For our main dish at dinner, we are going to make a simple Italian vegetarian dish. St. Francis, although he loved animals, was not a vegetarian. However, he took great care to always thank the animals for their sacrifice they gave in giving up themselves as food. I would say he probably would not condone the fashion in which most of America's meat is obtained. My reasoning for vegetarian is more due to it also being First Friday, which we are attempting to stay meatless on all year. =)

Here are more food ideas from Catholic Cuisine

Crafts + Activities

  • If you have pets, many parishes do a blessing of the animals on this feast day. Consider taking them.
  • Try making one of these fantastic craft ideas from Catholic Icing - I especially love the spoon St. Francis doll.
  • Do something for someone less fortunate than you - buy canned food for a soup kitchen, have your kids do an extra service act or chore to earn money they can place in offering, give away toys or clothes to a shelter.

Watch this YouTube video that although a little off historically, gives the gist of St. Francis' mission and teaching.

To Read

These are two of my favorites; the first is the story of Francis' life, and the second a richly illustrated version of his Canticle, Brother Sun.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Katherine Paterson + illustrated by Pamela Dalton

Some others we have enjoyed:

I hope your St. Francis day celebrations help you to remember the simple joy and love of the legacy of the Poor Man of Assisi. I'd love to hear more about your plans or past ways you've observed this day - please share in the comments!

Want to follow my blog? It's easy - subscribe via the RSS or email links in the top righthand corner. 
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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 Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 1 October 2013 

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