Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Week Check-In




Holy Week check in from the O family. Here we are halfway through Holy Week, the holiest of all the weeks in the calendar year, and tomorrow begins the Paschal Triduum, where we will recall the Passion, Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus. And, as my son says, "Go to church a whole lot."

To get a peek at what our week is like, check out these posts:






I will not be back until Easter Monday, but I wanted to wish each of you a blessed rest of Holy Week and a special time with your family and loved ones as Lent wraps up and we celebrate Easter.


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This post Holy Week Check-in first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 27 March 2013 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Capture XLIV


My computer has decided to become a frustrating mess, so I have hijacked LegenDaddy's for the time being. It pretty much hates me, my computer, that is, as it refuses to stay online, and ever time I attempt to start my browser, it locks up. Oh, and it won't play Spotify anymore either, so we've been without music all week. Anyhow, while I have another to work off, I will quickly give you an update on what our week has looked like.

The snow, once again, has kept us indoors this past week. And the boys have had nasty noses. Mostly B. We celebrated St. Joseph's Feast Day Tuesday, and then not much else exciting happened the rest of the week. We did have some time to work on crafts and focus on learning activities though so that made up for being trapped inside. Otherwise, it's been a sort of slow week.

As we continue to house search, I am realizing I should probably begin the purging and packing tasks. As unorganized as I can be with house stuff, I am thinking April is going to have to be one of those months where I just focus and get as much done as possible. Evidence here that it has been on my mind. So, be forewarned that I might start to bore you with what is being cleaned out and cleaned up around here.

Holy Week begins today. This shows some ways we will be observing as a family, and here's a list of books we found to aid in keeping your focus during the week. I am excited for Dom to be old enough to participate throughout the week as we learn and focus on what is happening. It's crazy how much he remembers of last year - we attended all the Holy Week services, but his memory has focused where all his M+M filled eggs were hidden. So, yes, he'll still be getting his chocolate, but we are trying to refocus the why in the matter.

Anyhoo, here's a blip about our week...


Out of the Mouth of Dom

"Excuse me, mama. And I didn't burp, I just need you to move."

"What's a rutabega?"
Me: "It's a root vegetable."
[pause]
"Oh... and a car?"
Me: "Um, do you mean a Studebaker?"



B Boy
He's still taking 6-10 steps though he has branched out and sometimes walks to non-breathing destinations (tables, chairs, play kitchen, + the like). Still no more teeth. Not many words added to the vocabulary this week, but he has gained much confidence in his animal noises, and daily I find him "woofing" at the dogs that walk by our house as he stands on his tiptoes to see out the window.

 

Reading
I'm still working through several books mentioned a few weeks back. So now reviews from me at this point. Dom has been loving Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones - it's at least an every other day read in our house these days. It's been perfect to pair with his 'D' week for dinosaurs, but it's also one he enjoys overall. He's even started calling B, "Poquito Tito, the smallest of the small ones."


Have a blessed Holy Week! I most likely will hold off on a Weekly Capture next weekend since I don't intend to be working or on here at all, but be blessed, and I will catch up soon.

Sarah


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This post Weekly Capture XLIV first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 24 March 2013 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Children's Picture Books for Eastertide

Easter is a little over a week away, and as it approaches, I have been reading many a children's book about this time of year. Simple picture books are often the perfect way to share about this intense and dramatic story that is so important in our Faith. Some of these are focused on the true meaning of Easter and the story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ while others are more what I would term as "springtime" stories, still appropriate for this time of year, but not what I want my children necessarily associating with Easter Sunday. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you.



Let me also remind you that Easter is indeed a season: Eastertide, and just like with Christmas, we have the joy of celebrating our holiday past the day of Easter and into the days that follow. So, make sure to enjoy some of these books after Easter Day, too! Take advantage of the many Easter themed books that will most likely be making their way back to the shelves soon after Easter. And, most of all, enjoy sharing these tales with your little ones!

Christian Easter Stories



The Easter Story
by Brian Wildsmith
This was by far my favorite of all the books I discovered, mostly because of it's absolutely awe-inspiring art. The watercolors livened with touches of gold evoke the feeling of Byzantine art, and in my opinion tell just as much of the story as the words in this book do. The book follows the Passion of Christ from Palm Sunday through to His Ascension. Another favorite thing about this book over others is how Mr. Wildsmith shows the Heavenly realm taking a part in the happenings on earth. Throughout the pictures, over and again angels are portrayed watching over or even aiding in the events as they unfolded. We will definitely be obtaining a copy of this book, hopefully sooner rather than later.




At Jerusalem's Gate
by Nikki Grimes with woodcuts by David Frampton
This might be above little, little ones heads, but I thought this one a creative approach to the stories of Easter. A collection of poems, each one is a peek into feelings and characters that played into the days around Jesus' Death and Resurrection.



On That Easter Morning 
by Mary Joslin + illustrated by Helen Cann
Another book with lovely art, this one features a simple story that is easy to follow along with for small ones. Without omitting anything, I think this one takes a gentle approach to the violence and horrors around the crucifixion, so it is perfect for younger kids to be able to hear the story and know what was happening without having to be extremely gory.


The Story of the Cross: The Stations of the Cross for Children 
by Mary Joslin + illustrated by Gail Newey
I was excited to read through this one with my littles as we prepare to take them to their first Stations of the Cross next week on Good Friday as part of our Holy Week observances. It includes "The beginnings of the story," a recap on Jesus' birth and his years of ministry as well as the Passion events leading up to the First Station, 'Jesus is Condemned to Death.' Each page features one of the Stations with a short insight as well as a prayer relating in some way.





Petook: An Easter Story
by Caryll Houselander + illustrated by Tomie dePaola
Petook is a proud father of 12 grand new baby chicks, and like any good father, he is very protective of his family. A boy comes to visit the brood one day, and Petook is wary; however, the boy proves to be gentle and caring. The years pass and Petook is able to watch from afar what we know to be the Crucifixion scene. Whilst the first Easter weekend is happening in the background of this story, Petook once again is blessed with new life in his family as a new baby chick hatches on Easter morn.


Spring Focused Easter Tales



The Birds' Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story  
by Eric A. Kimmel + illustrated by Katya Krenina
Although not a direct story of the Christian Easter story, the themes of hope, love, and God's care for each of His creatures is clearly shown. This Ukrainian folktale tells of a small girl who finds and saves hundreds of golden birds from an early snow, and the gift the birds bestow upon the villagers on Easter day. Its beautiful illustrations paired with a peek into another culture are a wonderful addition, I think, to the Easter season.




 














The Easter Egg
by Jan Brett
A little rabbit, Hoppi, wanders around admiring the beautiful eggs the other rabbits are creating. He hopes to make the most beautiful one, so he will be able to assist the Easter Bunny in his task of passing the eggs out. Each bunny that he encounters shares something from their workspace, and as Hoppi returns to his home to start working on his own egg, he is met by a hullabaloo in the forest. A robin's egg has fallen, and Hoppi knows what he must do. He gives up his chances of creating an egg in his decision to care for this fallen egg. With Jan Brett's gorgeous illustrations and a sweet tale of a selfless rabbit, this is a great book to add to your list.





The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes
by DuBose Heyward + illustrated by Marjorie Flack
This book (over 70 years old!) is such a sweet tale that I thought was a wonderful celebration of mamas. The bunny who this story is all about has always dreamed of being one of the official bunnies, but after getting married and having 21 of her own little bunnies, she puts family first. She teaches her bunnies the importance of a clean, organized, well run household, and when the opening for an Easter bunny is vacant, this mama bunny proves to be the epitome of a wise, kind, and brave bunny, which is exactly what is needed.





Rechenka's Eggs
by Patricia Polacco
Babushka is preparing her hand painted eggs for the Easter festival when she finds an injured goose and takes her in. Each morning the goose supplies her with eggs. As the goose heals, she starts moving around more, and accidentally knocks over the basket of beautiful eggs. But, then, an Easter miracle happens, and the goose starts laying the most lovely eggs with intricate designs. Another lovely take of the Ukrainian tradition of painting pysanky, this book offers gorgeous illustrations full of brilliant colors and another story of new life and sacrifices.


If you're looking for books with insight into the many Easter symbols, we found these helpful:

Easter by Gail Gibbons

Lilies, Rabbits, and Painted Eggs: The Story of The Easter Symbols
by Edna Barth + illustrated by Ursula Arndt



Others that we enjoyed that didn't make the top of my list:




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This post Children's Picture Books for Eastertide first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 23 March 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Curried Veggie Rice Soup {Recipe}


Another yummy meatless meal, perfect for any night, but especially great for first Fridays or the Lenten season. This meal takes less than an hour to throw together and cook and is minimal hands on time, which is great for those nights when you need a healthy meal, but you also are taking care of littles.


You'll need:

2 TB olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp crushed coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 onion, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
3-4 cups frozen veggies - I used a variety including carrots, sweet peppers, broccoli, sugar snap peas
(I also threw in some fresh mushrooms)
1 cup brown rice
1 cup (14 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
1 TB lime juice (fresh is best, but bottled will do)

1. Thaw frozen veggies some by placing in a colander and submerging in a large bowl of cold water. 

2. Heat oil in bottom of large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute 3-4 minutes until starting to soften. Add spices and stir to make a paste.  Cook for a minute or so, stirring often. Add any fresh vegetables you have, and cook 2-3 minutes. Slowly, pour in the vegetable stock. Using a spatula stir everything together, making sure to scrape the bottom to loosen any paste or onion. Add all frozen veggies. Stir well. 

3. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add rice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 35-40 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring every 10 minutes or so. 

4. Stir in coconut milk. Cook 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat, and stir in lime juice. Ladle into bowls, and serve immediately.



Want to follow my blog? It's easy - subscribe via the RSS or email links in the top righthand corner. 
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This post Curried Veggie Rice Soup first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 22 March 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Observing Holy Week as a Family



  Lent is close to be over as we approach Palm Sunday (also known as Passion Sunday) and begin Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday. Many important events in the Church are all packed into this one week: Palm Sunday; Holy Thursday - where feet are washed in observance of Christ washing his disciples feet, and the institution of Holy Eucharist; Good Friday - a day of sorrow and solemnity as we remember Christ's crucifixion; Holy Saturday - as we wait for the final day of the Triduum: Easter Sunday, the Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord.

Our family will be observing this week with several family oriented activities, foods, stories, and so forth. As our kiddos are young enough, we'll be taking a break from our regular homeschooling schedule to focus on our Holy Week happenings. Our mornings will still begin with a reading from our family devotional booklet: Welcome Risen Jesus: Lent and Easter Reflections for Families (by Sarah Reinhard), and then we will proceed throughout our days with some of the following. I'll share our plans for each day, which include several ideas that were a part of our Lenten goals for our family. There are also a few other ideas I found that I was delighted with but I think I'll hold off with for us, at least this year.

Palm Sunday

Coming up first, on Palm Sunday, we will observe the start of Holy Week by making the first Day of the Holy Week Chart Activity from Journey to Josie. We will continue to make one of these during each day of Holy Week. This is the perfect activity/craft for very young ones as it makes real the meaning behind this week while still being a simple and low-energy/low-focus craft.
Also, sorry to anyone who was interested in this earlier, but was unable to click the previous link found in my Getting Ready for Lent post - just realized that link was broken and have fixed it!

We'll also begin reading some of  the many Easter books I have found (post on our favorites coming soon!).

Monday through Wednesday

Continue with the memorizing of the Anima Christi - this was one of our Lenten goals as a family and thus far, I think we have about half successfully memorized.

Make pretzels, a traditional Lenten food. Here's a recipe from Catholic Icing or here's one I made awhile back for Pretzel Rolls.

Work on putting together our Stations of the Cross Eggs (Catholic Icing). Other ideas I've found include a box (ideas from A Knotted Life and Three Sided Wheel), magnets from Enter Under My Roof, or candles (also Catholic Icing). The 'stained glass' craft idea included in that last link is also great for little ones and we might try it, too.

Another idea is to make your own Resurrection Eggs (what can I say? I love Catholic Icing!). If you're not the DIY type, you can also order Resurrection Eggs for a fairly decent price.

Holy Thursday

We will be attempting this ridiculously awesome Last Supper Craft, brought to you by who else by Catholic Icing (seriously, mamas, go check out this awesome site!).

In lieu of dinner, we will have a late afternoon tea, using some of the ideas from Shower of Roses, before heading to mass in the evening.

Good Friday

This solemn day will be a quiet day for our house. Well, as quiet as I can manage with two little boys under the age of 4. But, we will definitely be refraining from movies, internet, and music with words.

This ClothesPin Crucifix from Catholic Inspired is a little beyond my boys' talent levels, but one day I hope to make this with them.

Then, we will be attending the Stations of the Cross with both boys. LegenDaddy and I have been taking turns throughout Lent going solo, so this will be the first time with all of us going. Hopefully, the Stations crafts from earlier in the week will help Dom understand what is going on.


Holy Saturday

We traditionally pray in front of Planned Parenthood in the morning for the souls of the preborn children who have died in the week prior. This is something as leaders of the pro-life action ministry at our parish we do regularly throughout the year, but Holy Saturday is a day we always set aside to pray.

Family will be in town, so for us, we will spend the day enjoying our family as we wait for the Triduum to come to an end on...

Easter Sunday, the Feast Day of the Resurrection of Our Lord!

May your Holy Week be blessed as Lent comes to a close and we observe our Lord's crucifixion and celebrate His Resurrection!

Sarah



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This post Observing Holy Week as a Family first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 21 March 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Five Favorites {Vol. 3}


It's a Five sort of day (see earlier post on Five Things about me). Feeling spring-ish today if you cannot tell.

{1.}


A submission by Lauren Gabrielle Photography that makes me long for warmer days. As it is, I don't think my intended Easter outfit is going to be feasible this year.


{2.}


Why, hello, lovely little bloomers from Elizabeth's Embellishments. Aren't these just the cutest?


{3.}


Gorgeous. Enough said. Though I don't want to feel I need a coat much longer...
Inimitable Frida by LybaV on Etsy


{4.}


LOVE this chair. It'd be the perfect addition to my house. Obviously.
Not sure about the name "Goblin Armchair: though (by NameDesignStudio on Etsy)


{5.}


This photo project of children from around the world with their prized possessions by Italian photographer, Gabriele Galimberti, is well executed and makes me smile every time I see it.


Linking up with the fabulous Hallie over at Moxie Wife today!



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This post Five Favorites {Vol. 3} first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 20 March 2013

5 Things

So I was tagged by Haley of Carrots (one of my all-time favorites - both her blog and her as a person... we haven't met, I just assume we would probably be kindred spirits) in this 5 Things post, where I have to share 5 random things of no particular subject with you, my readers. I was all excited to see that I had been tagged, but then I've been thinking, trying to even come up with 5 things. Apparently, I'm not good at this.

So, here goes.

1. I overthink mostly everything. Example: this here 5 Things. Also, see my somewhat weekly attempts at 7 Quick Takes. I just seriously give too much thought to way too many things. This causes problems when I need to go to bed at night, and I'm still attempting to process whatever has happened that day. I do have an advantage that when I decide to do something or make a change, I have given it more than sufficient enough thought to know that I am completely confident in my final decision. However, my husband often has to remind me that most people don't think through each little thing as I do, and most likely they probably don't have a reason for each thing. So, I guess it's definitely one of those blurses.

2. I'm pretty sure I may be a half-Claustrophobic. Though I could handle being closed into a cardboard box, I cannot take my feet being stuck or my head. So, maybe a top + bottom Claustro? At night I cannot sleep if I get stuck in between bodies, and I must have a place for my feet to escape any and all sheets and blankets. Socks are generally a no when I'm asleep, too. If warm enough, I almost always prefer bare feet (I actually went barefooted more than 90% of the time for about 4 months in college). Also, my head. Do not like shower water hitting me in the face. Plunging into a pool or the ocean, completely fine though. And, I don't typically like my head under the blankets (blanket forts - ok, blanket directly on my face and covering it - not so much).

3. Traveling is something that has fallen out of my life, and I severely miss it. Before getting married, I travelled a ton. I spent a total of over 6 weeks in Ireland alone over 5 different trips. I also got the chance to see England, Scotland, and the Philippines. I also was way better at sporadic road trips within the US. Marriage definitely has changed that, sadly. We rarely travel. And since having kids, I haven't so much as gone to Canada. Also, on the subject of traveling - I have decided European countries agree completely with my constitution, Asian and South American countries, definitely not.

4. Cleaning out the car is at the very bottom of my "strongly disliked chores." There are mediocre chores in my life, and then there are the "definitely not my favorites," and then there is car cleaning. Not the outside, the inside. I'm pretty sure in the past 4.5 years I've been married I have never cleaned out the car that I now primarily drive. Granted, I did clean my old car several times (maybe two, actually), but our now only car has never been cleaned by me. Most things, when I see they are disgustingly dirty, I feel the need to scrub them in the near future. The car does not fit into the category at all. I'll see the grossness, and then purposefully decide I can turn a blind eye to the grime. It's pretty gross. Maybe this spring we'll get to it... until then, I'm pretty sure I just gave you all a reason never to accept a ride in my vehicle again.

5. Not a pink girl. I really am not. Most pink things have no place in my home. Every once in awhile I'll find a salmon or dusty rose and occasionally a pastel pink item that will compliment something we already own, but that is rarely the case. In having boys thus far, I haven't had to think much on how I'd avoid the whole pink, frilly wear that most children's clothing lines offer in the way of little girl wear. But, I'm pretty sure when that does happen, I'll be that mom clearing out all the other colored dresses at consignment sales.

And there we go, 5 totally random things you may or may not have known about me. I cannot think of 5 people that I know haven't been tagged yet, so there are less than 5, but anyhow, I tag: Katherine + Ruthanne (Sorry if you've already been tagged; feel free to ignore in that case).



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This post 5 Things first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 20 March 2013 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Colored Rice for Sensory Learning {DIY}



Simple, Cheap, and Fun - sound like your style? Then this is the perfect Sensory Bin filler for you. Colored rice is so easy to make, but it has many ways it can be used. We had lots of fun making this together - my boys are 1 and 3, and they both joined in the mixing part and had a blast. Then of course it's perfect for quiet play time (or not so quiet). This is also a wonderful way to reuse old or stale rice.

My boys picked our colors, so there's no particular theme, but you could easily do a springtime themed bin with more pastels and use gardening tools to play in the rice. Our bin is really just a Rubbermaid Plastic Bin. Ideas of what to pair with your colored rice: dinos, trucks, funnels + tunnels (make use of those extra TP rolls!), characters figurines, plastic Easter eggs, and more... Keep your mind running and I'm sure you can come up with your own creative twists!



You'll need:

Rice (I used about 6 cups)
Colored Food Dye
Rubbing Alcohol (not pictured)
Plastic bags (containers would work, too - just use something you don't mind being dyed!)



Put two cups of rice for each color you want to make
into separate plastic bags.

Add 15-25 drops of food coloring to each bag.
(Obviously, the more you add, the more vibrant it gets)

Put a splash (approx. 1 TB) of rubbing alcohol into each bag.

Zip tight.



Pass the bags to your kiddos, and have them shake, rattle, and roll.

Continue until color has gone through the entire bag.

It took us about 7 minutes for the 3 bags.


Open the three bags up high above fascinated hands.

Let dry for several hours to ensure dye has set.

Add to a sensory bin, and start playing!

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All rights reserved. ©Sarah G. Ortiz
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This post Colored Rice for Sensory Learning {DIY} first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 19 March 2013 


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