Friday, November 29, 2013

Fabulous Black Friday/Weekend Deals Not to Miss!

Because everybody knows I LOVE a good deal, I thought I'd share a few of these awesome ones with you!

I love supporting small business owners as much as possible because so much more of the price I pay actually goes to support the author, artist, proprietor, etc.

Happy shopping and deal hunting!

Feast!, a liturgical cookbook by Daniel and Haley Stewart (Haley of Carrots of Michaelmas fame) is on sale for only $4.99 through tomorrow before the price goes up. Grab your copy of this EBook now! The first recipe of the Liturgical year is for St. Andrew's feast day, which is tomorrow, so don't wait! Click here to view more details.

Maybe not the perfect item for right now (at least not if you live somewheres snowy like me), BUT for 50% off this is definitely worth purchasing now to have for later. Perfect for your own baby or to give as a gift, the Beachfront Baby Wraps are similar to a Moby wrap, but they're made of mesh, so they can be worn in warm weather AND to splash parks, wading pools, and the like. Check out their clearance section here with savings up to 50%!

Mandi Richards (writer at Messy Wife, Blessed Life) is also a consultant for Lilla Rose. Check out her online shop here or go to her FB page for some wonderful deals this weekend! 

Heidalas, a women's sustainable fashion line, is made right here in upstate NY by a great gal I met at an Arts + Crafts show a few years back. This weekend you can find deals up to 50% off some very funky clothes. I'm definitely a fan, and it's always great to support independent artists. 

I am a huge fan of Stephanie's From Your Freezer To Your Family: Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes, which the print copy of is on sale for a small percentage off on Amazon. However, if you head over to Mama and Baby Love's website, you can get the EBooks for 50% off this weekend only! It's such a great deal, so go check it out now!

The Donkey's Dream and other of our favorite Nativity themed Christmas children's books are on sale at Amazon right now! You can see more of our favorites here

There are many more great deals and small businesses out there, so feel free to share your faves in the comments. And you can definitely promote you own small business, too!

Disclaimer: Most of these businesses I am sharing solely because I LOVE them and the people who run them. However, a few of them I do earn a small percentage of what you pay as an Affiliate, and it's no extra cost to you. I would never share or recommend something that I wouldn't buy myself.

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 Affiliate links. 
By clicking through to make a purchase, you help to financially support TO+M::

This post Fabulous Black Friday/Weekend Deals Not to Miss! first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 29 November 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Liturgical Living at Home : Getting Started {and a Giveaway!}

Very, very soon the New Year is going to begin! No, I'm not talking about the calendar year that starts on January 1st with a giant crystal ball dropping in NYC, champagne toasts, and loads of confetti. I'm referring to the Church's Liturgical Year.

The Church year, recognized in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Orthodox faith (though their calendar differs slightly) as well as in some Protestant faith backgrounds, is made up by a number of Seasons. These seasons helps us to grow in our Faith, walking through the year with times of celebration, fasting, waiting, and so forth. Advent is the first Season followed by Christmas, then Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter, and another season of Ordinary Time before coming to a new year.

I grew up attending churches that often celebrated the Church year. We moved often, so sometimes we ended up at a church that didn't, but even so, our family always observed Advent and Lent. We didn't go overboard, but I was always aware those periods of time before an important church feast were in existence.

The Season of Advent starts us off as we prepare for the Nativity of our King. It begins this year on December 1st, and we will be observing the Church year not only in our Church and on Sunday mornings but also in our everyday life at home.

Nearly two years ago, I stumbled across the blog: Carrots for Michaelmas. I was so inspired by the way Haley + her family made the Liturgical year a part of their home life. It was right before the Season of Lent that I found the site. We began to make small changes in our home, making way for the Seasons of the Church to become the Seasons of our Home, our Domestic Church, as well.

It has been a beautiful thing adding traditions and things to look forward to each month in our home that directly relate to our Faith. Our boys not only look forward to Christmas stockings and Easter baskets, but they also cannot wait to put their shoes outside their doors on St. Nicholas Day or dress up as their favorite Saint for All Saints Day.

I fully understand that it can be completely overwhelming when you find a blog that is already firmly rooted in living our the Church year, and it seems like they do *everything.* Or you search Pinterest, and two katrillion amazing ideas show up. Like with any major change you make in your life, I highly recommend 1.) Start Slow and 2.) Go at the pace that is right for you and your family.

For us, this means all out celebrating major holidays (Christmas, Easter, All Saints, and the like), and then we pick a few other feast days each month to celebrate. Sometimes our celebrations can be a little time consuming, and other times, it's as simple as finding a story about a saint in one of our many favorite books we've started to collect and reading it.

Here are some simple ideas for you to get Started Living Liturgically Within Your Home: 

Buy a calendar like this one to hang on your wall. The Year of Grace Liturgical Calendar 2014 [Laminated Poster] allows the whole family to visually engage in where you are in the Church calendar.

Pick a few Saints to celebrate throughout the year - I think we covered 5 or 6 the first year we started. A good starting point recommendation: your family's patron saints or if you have a special devotion to a particular saint, add them!

Our St. George's Day Feast
Celebrate a Saint or other Feast Day with a meal. This is where the giveaway will come in handy, so look below for your chance to win a copy of A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith Throughout the Christian Year! (The Giveaway is now over!)
Also, check out Catholic Cuisine - there are many recipes covering many saints!

Daniel + Haley Stewart (of Carrots for Michaelmas) just released their new E-cookbook, Feast!, and you can purchase it today! Click here to view more details
I am already loving my copy and will be sharing more about it soon - right now it's on sale for 40% OFF! Hurry and get your copy before this special offer ends on Thanksgiving Day.

Print a coloring page off for your child(ren) to decorate. Waltzing Matilda has by far the most extensive collection I have found so far. Her drawings are lovely yet still are simple enough to not be too complex for a preschooler.

Holy Week Activities
Try another activity or craft! Make pinecone birdfeeders for St. Francis' feast day. Make paper roses for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Go through your belongings and give away clothes on St. Martin's day and toys on St. Nicholas' day.
Catholic Icing has so many wonderful ideas to get you started (and you might not ever need to leave her site).

Learn a prayer. Many of the saints have a prayer associated with them if not several - you can have little ones repeat after you or make it a part of bedtime prayers for the week of the saint's feast day. Older kids, especially if you homeschool, could use the prayer as a handwriting exercise.

Treasury of Saints and Martyrs by Brenda Mulvilhill

And last, but not least, read a story about the saint! There is so much to be learned from each of these faithful men + women. We have begun a collection of saint story books, but if you don't own any, just Google the saint. There are many stories on different reading/listening levels to be found.

Remember, none of these are must dos. Only add what is blessing and enriching your life. If you're stressing about it too much, then perhaps that is not the activity that is a good fit for you. We are far from perfect, and oftentimes I find myself (especially when I plan a craft or activity) doing things a day or two late. It is going to be extra work, but only take on what you can handle!

Annnnnnd, now for the Giveaway: 

The book, A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith Throughout the Christian Year, by Evelyn Birge Viz was one of the first books I added to our Liturgical Living book collection. It is a wonderful collection of over 275 recipes covering not only feast days, but daily life, birthdays, baptisms and other days of celebration as well. Each recipe has a small introduction with historical context, traditions from around the world, and other advice to begin incorporating the Church's Seasons into the days of your life. It's one of my favorites still to reference as we continue to delve more into Liturgical Living in our home.

To Enter to win a copy of the book: A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith Throughout the Christian Year :: Giveaway is now over ::

Using the Rafflecopter Widget below, earn entries by:

{1} Answer the Question: What is a tradition your family has for the Advent or Christmas season?
Please share in the comments section. {Mandatory - Leave comment in Comment form and put name in Widget} (3 entries)

{2} Like Two Os + More on Facebook. (2 entries)

{3} Follow @TwoOsPlusMore on Twitter (2 entries)

{4} Tweet about the giveaway (1 entry - can be done daily)

{5} Share via Facebook (1 entry - can be done daily)

{6} Pin on Pinterest (2 entries)

{7} Subscribe to Two Os Plus More via E-mail (2 entries)

There are 13 possible entries, with a few options to come back daily and earn extra entries. I will use Rafflecopter's generator to choose the winner, who will then be announced here on the blog + via social media. I will also e-mail them - e-mail address you provide will only be used to contact you if you win. U.S. + Canada mailing addresses only. Entries will be accepted until 12:00am 27 November 2013. Giveaway is now over.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: All Giveaway products were provided by me and the reviews are my honest opinion. No 3rd party is involved in any way in this Giveaway. 

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 Affiliate links. 
By clicking through to make a purchase, you help to financially support TO+M::

This post "Integrity is When You Get New Bones" first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 17 November 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Integrity is when you get new bones."

Sometimes Dominic just has too many great quotes to be included in one Weekly Capture, and in those cases, he gets a whole post devoted to his silly sayings.

"That's really good to suck on this." Out of context, it's way funnier, so I'll leave it that way.

After complaining there might be something in his refried beans, Dom commented:
"Oh, it might be the beans I was tasting. Yup, I think that's it."

"When I die, there will be two St. Dominics." - my ever humble son

I asked Dom to complete two more sips of milk before he could be excused:

"One... two.... and another for good luck."

 "Integrity is when you get new bones."

"I don't think I want to wear a shirt anymore."

"Or you can eat pumpkin butter straight up!" - Dom

Playing imagine pet store with my boy:
"Have fun with your pets, Mama! Take care of them and don't kill 'em."

"All my favorite foods are specifically my flavor." D

After begging and then going grocery shopping with me, he told me: "I went with you because you're the best mama ever."

"I'll be your company man, mama, because you were all by yourself."

David: "Weren't you going to tell me something?"
Dom: "I lost it in my mouth."

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 Affiliate links. 
By clicking through to make a purchase, you help to financially support TO+M::

This post "Integrity is When You Get New Bones" first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 17 November 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weekly Capture LX

  These Roman Numerals are getting the best of me as you'll see if you look into the archives of the Weekly Captures. You who are rather exceptional at telling what the Is, Vs, and Xs mean will note right away that I haven't been counting in order and have instead possibly made up some random numbers.

2014 will find me finding a new system, but for now, know this is number 60, and THE first WC (which yes, I know also stands for Water Closet for you who are Canadian) since the beginning of September. Soooooo, be prepared for some serious updates about our little family. =)

Since the last post, we've mostly moved into our somewhat new home though I must admit the walls are still super bare thus meaning there are boxes of frames lying about the living room. That is my goal for this next week though. =) Although I can swing a hammer, I'm always hesitant to put holes in walls especially since I'm enough of a perfectionist that I care that it's right the first time.

We're nearly halfway through our Preschool curriculum, Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven. Dom is still enjoying it, and Blaise is able to join in on some of the simpler projects and of course any and all story times. We have found a local Catholic homeschool group to attach ourselves to in an attempt to make friends with like-minded folk in a similar walk of life. Last Wednesday we attended our first Preschool gathering, which was fun for all. Looking forward to joining in more activities over the coming months!

Catholic Church, here we come! David (otherwise known as LegenDaddy, but in this instance figured I'd make him sound mature) and I have been taking turns attending a weekly catechism "class"/bible study in place of RCIA. Due to lack of a babysitter, we've just been switching off, and then we share what happened afterwards. Our parish has this in place for those who have already been baptized and have grown up in a Protestant faith background or who are reuniting with their Roman Catholic faith.

The last checkbox on our "To get done to become Catholic" list has been taken care of: find a sponsor! A friend of ours has agreed to sponsor us, and we're so excited to have him behind us on this final leg as well as into our early days as Catholics. Our catechist has suggested that we pick a date in early 2014 (before Ash Wednesday), and we will be received into Full Communion with the Church then. Needless to say, we're pretty ecstatic!

In the Church year, we are gearing up to celebrate the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary this coming Thursday (November 21st), and then the feast of St. Cecelia a day later. The apostle, St. Andrew's feast is the last day of this month and the last day before the new Church year begins with the Season of Advent on December 1st! Have you seen all my Advent ideas popping up over on my Pinterest board: Domestic Church: Advent, Christmas, + Epiphany?

Other exciting things are coming on Two Os + More, including a few giveaways and a long awaited redesign. =) Also, please be on the lookout for the coming of a really excited project put together by Molly of Molly Makes DoOrdinary Acts. I have a few pieces that will be featured, and there are several other great bloggers with articles submitted, too. Volume I is going to be released very soon, so make sure you are signed up via e-mail or blog reader (both are easy to do - just go to the site and look on the left).

Without further ado, here are the updates you've *really* been waiting for. 

My Dom Boy

With his 4th birthday right around the corner, our Dom is growing up more and more each day. These days he is attempting read any word he can sound out and is fascinated with how spelling works. He's beginning to get the hang of numbers and basic addition, but words definitely are his primary interest right now. 100 piece puzzles are his newest challenge, and he only will do things if the picture is interesting enough. And of course, the things that come out of his mouth: still hilarious. A separate post highlighting them coming tomorrow.

And, no, he doesn't wear glasses - he's just taken to wearing a pair of costume ones he found in my stash.

Mr. B

Aging in at 22 months now, Blaise is joining his brother in funny quotes:

Me: "Boys, what do you want for dinner?"

D: "I'll have some curry."

B: "Pizza. Hot Sauce?"

His vocabulary has exploded in the past month, and he is now stringing phrases and being overly specific like nobody's business. Teeth also decided to all come in, and possibly related to that, B is now a horrible sleeper. Refusing to sleep in his bed, screeching at LegenDaddy if he tries to calm him away from Mama, and waking up to 8 times a night. Yes, coffee *is* my bestest of friends most days.

Listening To + Consequently Singing

Dom - Lonesome Polecat from '7 Brides for 7 Brothers'

Blaise - Thomas' Anthem from 'Thomas the Tank Engine'

The Parents - Wake Me Up (Acoustic) by Aloe Blacc

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All rights reserved. ©Sarah G. Ortiz
::This blog post may contain Affiliate links. 
By clicking through to make a purchase, you help to financially support TO+M::

This post Weekly Capture LX first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 16 November 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes :: Getting Back Into the Blogging Swing

Jumping back into the blogosphere has finally been added back to my daily task list. October, as you probably know, I mostly just dropped off the radar. Life needed me to focus my attention in other directions.

So, as I decided to turn some time this week in the blog's direction, life decided to deal me some more crud to deal with. It never stops - that's for sure! See QT #1 for yet another thing that has been added to my plate.

When it rains, it pours. I've received two family updates from my dad in the past 15 hours that a grandparent on either side of my family has had a medical emergency. On one side, it's just a matter of healing and the doctors learning what is awry. The other grandparent has been in a state of dying from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia for years, and we have finally reached what looks to be the end. 

In short, prayers would be much appreciated as we go through the next few weeks. 

My mind is a mess right now, and I know my whole family especially needs prayers as we go through these moments. Thanks muchly.

On a more lighthearted note, check out these historical photographs that have been realistically colorized by several different artists. What a peek into yesteryear! It's fascinating, but I must say several of them, including the one above, remind me of a movie set now that they're in color. Some of them, such as the portrait of Mark Twain, I think look completely believable, and I can barely imagine them in B + W now...

This story that photographer, Angelo Merendino, captured of his wife's battle with cancer are not only beautiful, but oh so powerful as well. As a photographer myself, I am impressed with his approach that tells her story with so much dignity whilst being told from an emotionally close connection. To see more of the story and more photographers, see Mr. Merendino's website: The Battle We Didn't Choose.

I guess this Take ties in bizarrely with the previous two, but you can't keep a photojournalist major away from a great story told with such visual impact.

Speaking of photographs, B has been taking in my footsteps and whenever he can sneak my phone out of my line of vision, he flips on the camera and takes his own little artsy snaps. He was so proud of himself for this self-portrait of his bitsy toes. 

--- 5 ---

Time for a moving picture Take, and then I'll get off my photo spiel. My little brother is finishing up his last year at RIT and is working full time (and some) on completing his final film project. To see a little about it and follow his progress, you can go to the FB page for Odin 6 here. 

If you feel it in your heart (and pocket) to help a poor starving film student out, they have an IndieGoGo campaign page, and even $10 would be very helpful. You never know - in a few years when my brother makes it big, you can say you helped with one of his first pieces. ;)

This one would do better in a 5 Favorites link-up post, but as I haven't done one recently, it's ending up snuck in here instead.

I got the most awesome hat recently at a local Indie Arts + Crafts Show from Golden Hands Design. Not only is it super warm, but it reminds me of gnome-y goodness, so of course, it is now my new favorite. 

We finally got our first snow this past Monday, so perfect timing, too. It was a magical sprinkling of 1/2" or so that stuck around for a couple of days. Dom, immediately upon seeing it, requested that we go outside and build a snowman. B, who had mostly forgotten about the white stuff, was mostly just in awe though a little worried because it'd gotten on his pumpkin.

Lastly, I'm excited to share very soon some of our Advent plans for this year! I'm so excited. I loved our Advent celebrations and observations last year, and this year we will be building on those and adding some new ones! What are your family's traditions and plans for this coming Advent?

Happy Quick Takes, and look for more on what we've been up to in Tomorrow's "Weekly" Capture. =)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
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
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This post 7 Quick Takes :: Getting Back Into the Blogging Swing first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 15 November 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What's On YOUR Bookshelf?

   Nothing like a good link-up to get one out of a blogging slump. Modern Mrs. Darcy always has a fresh outlook on life with lots of bibliophile love happening on her site, and when I saw her most recent link-up idea: What's On YOUR Bookshelf? for sharing what is on the bookshelves of your home, I knew I had to share a peek at ours.

We are huge book lovers in our house as you'll soon see from the WAY TOO MANY photos of most of our bookshelves (yes, I omitted a few and we have some boxed up still). 

Both LegenDaddy and I came into our marriage with many, many books although I beat him by at least 5 times as many.

Our house is somewhat of a book tour with each shelf featuring a different genre of books.

To the left is a living room bookshelf featuring our religious books, children's/young adult fiction chapter books, a selection of picture books, and then the Calvin + Hobbes collection and some other random books on the bottom.

Close up of the children's/young adult fiction shelf: I loved the Bobbsey Twins as a child and read many of them at my grandparent's house whenever I could. Now whenever I see a hardback copy of one, I pick it up. 

A close up of our Religious book section: Many of these books are new additions that we've been poring over as we've made our journey into the Catholic Church. A mix of Church Fathers with modern thinkers covering philosophy, apologetics, history, the sacraments, family life, and more.

Another Living Room shelf with an eclectic assortment of History, Math, fitness, reference, and other books that hadn't found a shelf  yet.  

Before you head up the stairs, there is a crate of my GIANT books, mostly photography books, but also a few Civil War history books, and a Normal Rockwell collection as well.

First stop upstairs, the boy's bedroom. Since we try to encourage our children to read as much as possible, books are placed at easily accessible spots for each child.

Metal cubby holes have provided a great transitional spot for books that my almost 4 year old looks at during his rest time. Big enough to hold the "Look + Find" style of books yet sturdy enough to accomodate some heavier choices, we have this one right at the foot of his bed.

We have several small baskets around the house to put our ever-rotating board books in. Another easy access point for small hands.

The boys' nicer books are kept in this shelf, where we try to keep the books in a little bit tidier state.

A close up of some of our favorite children's books.

Here is my favorite, favorite bookshelf. My dad made this shelf for me when I was high school. In this house, we keep this one that is filled with all my classic fiction, plays, and poetry, and we keep it out in our reading room.

And, no, it's not an illusion. The shelf does magically get bigger as it goes to the top. My dad is a genius. =)

And this is what happens when you own too many paperback classics... I also am anal and keep them in alphabetic order according to authors' last names, but somehow the ones that ended up on the floor are not the end of the alphabet...

And lastly, here is our SUPER messy shelf, otherwise known as the magazine and library shelf. Ever changing. Ever untidy. But, it is the most used of all our shelves, so I forgive it for being such a mess. 

Oh, and pretend there's not painter's tape all over it...

Missing are our cookbooks to be found along the counter in the kitchen as well as any of my craft/blogging/presently using for whatever which are lain about on my desk.

My faves are mostly the ones found in our reading room as they're lovelies that I've collected over the years at many a used book sale. It's hard to pick a favorite though when they all seem like old friends. There are just so many I love.

As far as most used, these days it's probably my growing collection of liturgical home and ideas books.  Presently my Harry Potters are in a state of being re-read, and I am plowing through a few religious/faith books. I really need to attend to my Book List for 2013 as we draw this year to a close.

And there you are, a tour of our bookshelves throughout out house. Head over to The Modern Mrs. Darcy to see many others' fabulous shelves.

:: Linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for What's On YOUR Bookshelf?
Share pictures of your bookshelves through Nov. 19th ::

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 What's On YOUR Bookshelf? first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 14 November 2013
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