Saturday, April 25, 2015

7 Quick Ways to Celebrate St. Catherine of Siena

The Feast Day of a great Saint, St. Catherine of Siena, is circled on our liturgical calendar for next week; however, life is going such these days that I'm pretty sure it's going to be a very simple celebration for us. Since I'm sure there's a good chance that many of you are also in a busy season of life, maybe one of these quick and easy ways to celebrate will resonate with your family.

For a quick intro to this strong and memorable woman... Catherine was born in 1347 into a super large family, the 23rd child. Growing up she was always a devout child, and at age 16, she entered the Third Order of the Dominicans. Her great wisdom and spiritual leadership gained her a following. She sought for peace between the Pope and Florence and took a strong stance in the crusades against the Turks.

In 1378 the Great Schism happened, and Catherine, taking the side of Pope Urban VI, spent her last years of life pleading for unity within the Church. At the age of 33, Catherine died due to a mysterious illness. She was canonized 81 years later after her body had been found to be incorrupt some years before. Pope Paul VI gave her the title of Doctor of the Church in 1970.

So here you go, 7 fairly easy, pretty cheap, and overall simple ways to celebrate St. Catherine of Siena.


Eat Italian food

This one's pretty easy. Siena, where she was born, and Rome, where she died, are both in Italy. Ribollita, this recipe from the Food Network and Ina Garten, is a soup that is considered a traditional Sienese delicacy. Or just serve up some bruschetta with an Italian wine and call it a wrap.


Print off some quick coloring pages

This coloring page from Dover Publications is my personal favorite, but if that one is overwhelming for young artists, this lovely printable from Charlotte of WaltzingM.


Read a book about St. Catherine

I am just starting Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset, which is a great book on St. Catherine for adults. However, this series of Saints stories from Mary Fabyan Windeatt is great for older kids to read to themselves or for younger kids to listen as it's read aloud. This book in particular is perfect for today: Saint Catherine of Siena: The Story of the Girl Who Saw Saints in the Sky.


Make a heart cake

There are many wonderful quotes from St. Catherine. A few of my favorites include:
"We trust and believe in what we love."
"Love does not stay idle."
"The soul cannot live without love. She always wants to love something because love is the stuff she is made of, and through love I created her."

Catholic Cuisine has an easy heart cake, a French custom, which is perfect for dessert on this feast day.


Treat a nurse or a firefighter

Among many other things, St. Catherine is the patron saint of nurses and firefighters. Know one? Send them a personal thank you for how they serve your community. Don't know one? Send a general card to your local fire station or the nurses at your doctor's office or hospital.


Pray the Collect for the day:

O God, who set Saint Catherine of Siena on fire with divine love in her contemplation of the Lord's Passion and her service or your Church, grant, through her intercession, that your people, participating in the mystery of Christ, may ever exult in the revelation of his glory. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever.


Quite a bit longer than the Collect, but I know my kids get a kick out of praying Litanies since there are lots of responses that they can join in on.

Happy Feast Day of St. Catherine of Siena!

Don't forget Monday (as in 2 days from now!) is the last, last chance for you to grab the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle for the great deal of $29.97! If you haven't checked out the many eCourses, eBooks, and bonus treats it includes, click on the link below to find out!

Buying through my affiliate links gives me a small portion of the sale and truly helps our family out! Thanks in advance!

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 Ways to Celebrate St. Catherine of Siena first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 25 April 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

For Mamas by Mamas: Your Guide to Creative Mother's Day Gifts

Mother's Day is just a few weeks out, and I don't know about your husband and kids, but sometimes I think mine appreciate a little nudge in the direction of what I might enjoy in terms of gifts.

Typically I don't push for Hallmark holidays to be celebrated, but I think of how hard all the mamas I know work each day. Whether they are moms of one or many, moms who stay home or who are in the workplace, moms who have little kids or grown ones - they all deserve at least one day of appreciation and some little reminders that they are loved and known.

This round up is not fancy, expensive gifts, but rather gifts that are made with love by mamas around the country. Each of these is something I would love to have wrapped up for me, and I hope you find delightful as well. These mamas put their all into their work: both in their business and with their families, and I hope you consider supporting them, if not now, in the future.


Embroidered Necklaces

|| by Jenna of Call Her Happy ||
shop // site // facebook

Jenna's miniature pieces of art to hang about your neck are so unique and perfectly customized to fit many interests - she has foxes and flowers, cameras and the Sacred Heart. Just in time for Mother's Day, she is making custom necklaces with correlating rosebuds to the number of children you have.


Wall Hangings

|| by Cassie of Kent Heartstrings ||
shop // site // facebook // instagram

I know my walls are always dreadfully boring - Cassie's pieces remind me a bit of Navajo art. Each one is so interesting, and if you check out her shop, she also offers jewelry with funky geometric wooden beads.


Blessed is She Goodies

|| by Jenna + Erica ||
shop // site // facebook // instagram

Not only did Jenna start out a great ministry to women all over, but now she has a mini shop that supports the work that Blessed Is She does while reminding women in a tactile way of how special and important they are. Erica's designs are gorgeous and grace the front of not only a comfy T-shirt, but also a lovely journal and a print for your wall.

If you act quickly, today and tomorrow (April 21-22), all items are discounted 40%!!!


Rosaries Aren't {Just} for Teething

|| a book edited by Michele E. Chronister ||
shop (coming soon!!!) // site

This item isn't available just yet, but since it is set for a May 10th release date and I'm watching for the pre-order details, I decided to include it. It looks like a wonderful compilation from Catholic moms including Jenny Uebbing, Christy Isinger, Cari Donaldson, and so many more. See the site for more details as well as to learn more about the pre-order date.


Hand Lettered Fine Art Prints

|| by Katrina of Hatch Prints ||
shop // site // instagram

Katrina is just getting started with her Print business, but the few pieces I've seen out are just so beautiful that I had to include her. Plus she chooses beautifully empowering quotes that highlight how pro-woman the Catholic Church is. Can't get much better than that. I cannot wait to see what else she has in store!


Geometric + Vintage Glass Jewelry

|| by Hannah of Wifeysinger ||
shop // site // // instagram

I own a set of the vintage glass earrings from Hannah that my husband got me for my birthday, and let me just say how much I love them! They're versatile and can be worn out for a dressy evening, but at the same time I often pop them in when I want to feel a little nicer in my grungy jeans while at the playground. I have my eye on several other items in her shop already.


Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

|| by many, many moms including: Haley Stewart, Katie Kimball, and Erin Odom ||

This is a fantastic deal as I raved about in my post yesterday, but it's only available through the 27th, so you have to act quickly if you want to bless the mom in your life with it. So many wonderful books, courses, and bonus offers at your fingertips. It's kind of like the 'Choose-Your-Own-Adventure' version of Mothers' Day gifts. And for only $29.97, that's not bad at all.


Lady Leggings

|| by Nell of Whole Parenting Goods ||
shop // site // Facebook 

Sadly these were so popular that these are actually sold out now. Why did I include them you ask? Mostly because I love my pair so, and I want you to know Nell exists if you didn't before. Though she's out of lady leggings for the time being, her shop has many beautiful items perfect for baby showers, first birthdays, your own children, and more. I look forward to her next line of ladies' treats. 

Do you have a shop that makes awesome gear perfect for Mom? Or do you have a favorite you like to buy from? Please share in the comments - I'm always looking to explore new handmade shops! Happy Gifting!

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

Monday, April 20, 2015

Two Fun Treats: Online Community and a Great Sale

Hi friends! We are finally peeking our heads out from both our wintery covering of snowy/cold weather AND escaping from the sickness that has kept us in. Daily hours in the sunshine has done wonders for everybody's attitudes, mine not excepted. Today it is rainy though, so instead of dirt digging and picnics, we are catching up on some bookwork, laundry, and I figured I'd pop over and say HI.

I also wanted to let you know about two (!!!) fun opportunities for you.

One… tonight, Monday the 20th, there is a special Blessed is She Google Chat with the writers and creatives behind the scenes of this great Catholic women's ministry. You are invited to join us! It's at 10EST and I, for one, plan to be in PJs.

I say "us" with the high hopes that my baby who is cracking through some molars this week will let me slip away to join in for at least a bit. Even if I don't make it though, please go say hi to Jenna and the other wonderful ladies who give their all to Blessed Is She. They will be answering your questions and being overall real women sharing themselves. Should be fun even if you can only pop in for a few minutes!

Two. The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is now available! And it's only $29.97! Please note that this is a one time deal. This same combo of great eBooks, eCourses, online conferences, and more won't be available again, so make sure you grab it this week: April 20-27!

I'm super excited to be able to share it with you this year. I snatched up their Healthy Living Bundle last Fall, and let me tell you, the bonuses ALONE are so worth it. I just got my copy of the Homemaking Bundle, and I'm already digging into the great things includes!

Just a few of the books I am most looking forward to delving into: 'Becoming a Frugalista: Money Saving Secrets for the Frugal Family Manager,' 'How to Save Money:a 21-day Challenge to Save $500/month,' (Can you tell I need some budgeting improvement and encouragement?), 'The Healthy Breakfast Book' by Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship, 'Homeschooling Day by Day' and so many more great titles! That's not even a dent in the many books included: there are 76 titles total on topics such as organizing, motherhood, cooking, marriage, and more!

One of my favorite parts of the last bundle I bought was definitely the bonuses, and this Bundle, once again, I am just so excited about them. Some of the bonuses for this Bundle include: 1 Free online class from Craftsy, a Free Kids Discovery Box (a perfect treat to get through long summer days), and store credit to get beautiful prints from the shop of Hope Ink. 

Still have questions? The team at Ultimate Bundles offers answers to many of your FAQ questions and you can always just read the scores of great reviews, too, to get an idea of what you are in for.

I fully recommend it because I truly think it's a great deal and a wonderful way to enhance your home whether it be by learning to be better organized, planning budgets that work, eating healthier, or just focussing on some self care. Whatever you hope to get out of it, I think you'll find many treasures within this Bundle.

And that's all for now. I'm going to get back to listening to some Gnome Inspired Music and cuddling at teething boy that will be 11 months old tomorrow! Hope you can join the BiS Google Chat tonight, and please go check out the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle - you won't be sorry!

Note: I am an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles, so I do make a percentage of each sale purchased through my links. I never promote anything I wouldn't buy myself. Thank you for helping our family financially by buying through my links. 

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

This post Two Fun Treats: Online Community and a Great Sale first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 20 April 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Triduum and Easter Octave Recap

Here I sit attempting a post that's been on my To-Do list for the past two days while I attempt to thwart the plans of a wriggling 10.5 month old. Hands free is nice, and thanks to my new-to-me Sakura Bloom, which I've been pining for since I saw Nell's last summer, it's quickly possible. I haven't managed a back carry with this baby carrier just yet, so the small fingers are presently trying to grab everything on my desk within reach.

It's about the best I can do just now though. Although the beginning of the Easter Octave was perfectly lovely, we then contracted all sorts of problems, and as I sat and thought of it this morning, I realized I have washed sheets every day since Sunday. For some reason, we only own two bottom sheets for the twin sized beds, which translates to one per each boy's bed. It's been laundry central to say the least.

I'm pulling the Easter Season card and saying that we're just going to celebrate on the long run because we sure did trudge through the second half to the Easter octave as you'll see in my day by day share. But here you have it: a little of what we did attempt and what we just didn't have the energy for.

First up…

Holy Thursday

After some last minute scrubbing of the house, we did a Lenten/Triduum meal inspired by both Lacy and Jessica with some ideas I had circling my brain thrown in as well. The boys were delighted, and I timed it early enough that the adults got to eat as well before we attempted the 7 pm Holy Thursday mass.

Now 7 is usually the time we are starting to begin the bedtime routine, and it totally showed in how the mass went. This is one of 4 masses a year that is actually full at our Parish, so we got there 15 minutes early to snag reasonable seats. Mission accomplished. However, this meant the boys had to sit still and quietly for an extra 15 minutes. Adrian at this point decided he was exhausted and wailed and carried on enough that I ended up in the back with him the entire mass. The other two got a B- for mass behavior.

I obviously very confident in ability to behave during mass.

Also Triduum… how does one say that? Is there a pronunciation guide for converts? Over the past two weeks, I have heard it pronounced at least 3 different ways.

Good Friday

David gets off work at his present job for Good Friday, which makes it easy to pick up extra activities. Last year and this, we joined Catholics around the area to pray the Stations of the Cross and the Divine Mercy chaplet while walking along a major road up to an abortion clinic. It is purely peaceful and asking God's mercy in a very visible way.

The rest of the day was spent in a quiet way, or as quiet as can be when you have 3 young boys.

Holy Saturday

We did our usual egg dying this day and took a family trip to the zoo. After Thursday's mass craziness, I wasn't up for dragging them out for a 3+ hour mass. Instead, we did our own family reading of the first reading from Genesis and the Passion gospel with candles that we lit for each person in our family.

Easter Sunday!

Meat was to be had. When asked what he wanted to eat for our Easter feasting, Dominic, who is 5, replied, "Bacon and a really big sausage." I'll leave that at that. We started the morning with pulling out our eggs that had been dyeing overnight and finding the hidden Easter baskets. Even the toothbrushes were a hit.

Enjoyed mass in our Easter best (boy's outfits compliments of ThredUp, and my dress was found with thanks to Rosie) once again managing to get parking and seats - I always consider it a major win if we make it somewhere on time, not to mention early. Then we came home for a brunch of our family's twist on Eggs Benedict: biscuits, eggs, bacon, avocado, and homemade sauce; french toast muffins; strawberries and melon; and sausage.

Due to some typical-for-us April weather including some snow flurries, we moved our Easter egg hunt to inside. I hid round one, and then the older two boys entertained each other by re-hiding the eggs over and over… this went on throughout the whole Octave.

Feasting continued into the evening with pork loin, hasselback potatoes, green beans, asparagus, salad, and homemade bread to die for. I made a hazelnut, chocolate cake with Ferrero Rocher on top inspired by Theresa and her epic birthday cake.

Easter Monday - Easter Wednesday

Each morning the boys greeted me with "Happy 2nd day of Easter, etc…!" I'd decided a while back it was time for a break from schooling, so we attempted some fun activities like a trip to our local children's museum, reading books I haven't had time for, and so forth. Until Wednesday evening when Dominic came down with a nasty cold.

A cold might be something most people brush off, but for him when it gets him good, it means we are first on Asthma watch, and then in cases like this round, we end up starting inhaler treatments at home and are on ED watch.

Easter Thursday - Saturday

It just continued. Only Dom was sick though, so the other boys and I were mostly just stuck at home due to him. We had our last homeschool co-op of the year Friday, for which David had to come home from work to be with the sick one as I'd agreed to teach preschool since the regular teacher was out.

Dominic seemed better Saturday morning only to take a turn for the much worse by Saturday afternoon. I was sure we were going to end up at the hospital. Thank God we did not because that night David got sick with some GI bug. Adrian got congested, which means he protests sleep AND nursing - a lethal combo. Pretty much I hold him most of the night while propped up in bed by random pillows I pull from furniture around the house.

On top of all that, earlier in the day, David started work on our bathroom sink, which has been draining slower and slower and slower. Think: 20-30 minutes to drain a sink full of water. Obviously something was up. He took apart the piping below the sink only to discover that there was water leaking into the wall from one of the unreachable pipes. We disabled all water to the sink (our only one other than the kitchen and the utility one in the basement) and called our landlady. We still have had no word from the plumber…

Divine Mercy Sunday

We had such plans for Divine Mercy Sunday this year. First we'd thought of getting a babysitter, so just David and I could go enjoy mass, adoration, and benediction together. Then we'd contemplated driving to Buffalo for the day to see friends and enjoy a day out. Instead we went to separate masses so as to keep sick ones home.

I did manage to pull off Divine Mercy heart pancakes as a treat for the boys. And printed a picture to color of St. Faustina. And called that feast day a wrap.

And now we're here in a pile of sheets, with no bathroom sink, and on the last bits of this crunky cold. Beautiful weather is finally gracing these far reaches of Western NY, so we're enjoying as much sun as can be managed. I pretty much stop at napping outside, but all other activities - bring it on!

I hope your Easter Octaves were much less snotty and more celebratory than ours. Thank God for a full season of celebrating.

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 A Triduum and Easter Octave Recap first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 15April 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy International Children's Book Day aka ALL the book lists in onepost

Today, April 2nd, just happens to be International Children's Book Day, which I didn't even know was a thing until today. Today is Hans Christian Anderson's birthday, which is how this day was chosen. On another note, has anyone ever seen this movie with Danny Kaye? To celebrate, I thought I'd do a quick roundup of all the book lists I have posted over the years. Happy Reading! May your shelves never be a dull place.

Easter is coming up first, so here's my post on Books for Eastertide.

Also applicable at this time of year would be Springtime Books.

I also have whipped up lists for both SummertimeAutumn, and Wintertime reads.

This past February found us cuddling often and curling up with these books.

Celebrating St. George's Day in a few weeks or looking forward to Michaelmas in the Fall? Dragons hold a special place in our hearts and so of course there's an entire list of our favorite Dragon Books.

Perhaps you have preschoolers and your life revolves around learning the ABCs.

Or maybe you have a toddler and are just looking for some picture books that delight.

Mother's Day is coming up, and these Mama + Me books are so sweet. 

And of course, we can't forget Daddy and Me. 

Sometimes I share lists for no reason other than we found new books that we love. 

Or some rather obscure ones that you might never have even heard of. 

And there's a bunch of these posts that just share what's on our bookshelf.

Of course, you cannot forget Christmas for which I have written both a list of 12 Nativity Focused Books and the Epic Collection featuring Shepherds, Sugarplums, and Santa.

And you cannot forget Thanksgiving books!

And I think that about wraps it up for all the books you might want to know about. In case it doesn't, I already have 3 lists going in my drafts box. ;) 

More about International Children's Book Day can be found here.

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

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