Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pork Fried Rice; A Recipe

  I have mentioned that I really enjoy to cook, and have promised a recipe. I will be honest, between working full time, church activities, and now a move to another state , my meals have been a mere need for sustenance versus a glorious adventure.

I wanted to share a favorite meal of mine and my fiancés that has been a hit. Not only is it easy, it can yield a lot for a large family or a week of left overs. This can be simple and a recipe to follow exactly or a way to clean our your fridge, I present, " pork ( or whatever you may want) fried rice!

So, main ingredients are as follows

 *Brown rice ( or white if you prefer, or couscous, whatever works) make it how it says on the box.

*Pork (prepared  however you want!) or as mentioned whatever meat you want, or none at all.

*Veggies (frozen or already cooked) ( I really like to put snap peas, broccoli, peas etc, but once again whatever you and your family prefer!)

*Soy sauce, I prefer the low sodium, but whatever floats your boat!

*Sesame seed oil

*A couple eggs

You may have noticed I didn't put the amount of each ingredient because I really do this  randomly every time. for 2 people and lots of left overs I make about 1 cup of rice (precooked), 4 small pork chops, and 3-4 cups veggies.

When you have your pork/whatever meat you are using prepared, and your rice cooked( this can be done ahead of time, or even better used from a meal from another day). I would pour 2 tablespoons of  sesame seed oil into the pan and put in the rice and the veggies and "fry it" aka ;  keep a constant stir on it.

Eventually  would add the pork to it, and a little bit of soy-sauce, a tiny bit more of sesame seed oil. When everything is ready,  I push all of this to the side, and in the same pan or in a separate pan slowly scramble eggs. I add this to the veggie/meat mix and voila!  Instant pork ( or whatever) fried rice!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: The Thrifty Amish and Mennonite Closet

This weeks review is of a small shop that  I ran into while looking for a modest dress. I took a look at her page and was shocked with her prices as they are so darn low! $5.99 for a modest Amish cape dress.   After seeing her payments; which were PayPal and credit cards through PayPal I decided to take the plunge and order a beautiful forest green cape dress and see what happens.

Only a few days later I was surprised with a package from her shop and pulled out a lovely forest green, soft dress. I immediately tried it on and it fit like a glove. I noticed that the bust was a little tight and I would have to let that out , but other than that the dress was perfect! For $5.99 I simply could not complain!

This online shop has a variety of dresses, mens wear, children's wear, kapps, amish toys etc, all items lean toward Amish and Mennonite style. The items are hand crafted or repurposed. The prices cannot be beat and the quality/craftsmanship is a 4 out 5 stars! I recommend buying a few items, and making sure you get correct sizes. The shipping is about 5 dollars which is equal to one item in her shop ( give or take), this way you can combine shipping and get the ultimate deal!

Overall the shop earns a 4.5 stars out of 5. Her reviews are impeccable. Her shipping is lightening fast. The only qualm I have is some of the stitching,  still, I would buy from Paula again and again, and I will continue to do so!

Facebook Page: Amish Clothes
Etsy store: PaulasThisandThat

Sunday, September 28, 2014

St. Joseph

For CCD this year we are doing a Saints series. I wanted to share our Saint adventures with my readers! This month we decided to start with St. Joseph. I am so happy to do this series because it forces me to learn more about the Saints. I am trying to to a mix of Saints that the kids are familiar with but also some understated ones.

Each week we pray a prayer for the Saint asking their intercession, read about their lives, and the children also receive a Holy Card for that Saint.

This month, as mentioned was St. Joseph. As a important father figure head in the Bible I was disappointed that I couldn't find all that much about him. Regardless, it was a fun research project for me.

Saint Joseph is the patron Saint of the Universal Church, which the children also learned that Catholic  means "Universal".  St. Joseph was a foster father to Jesus, a very selfless giving man, that only is mentioned in the Bible a few times. St. Joseph is also the patron saint of carpenters, father and social justice. His feast day is March 19th.

Before class, we pray as a class...

"Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son. Amen."

Happy Sunday! Stay tuned for our October Saint! May God Bless you all!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Review: Sew Free Clothing Company

This weeks review is for " Sew Free Clothing Company". I was guided to this Facebook page by a few other lovely women. Unlike the other stores that I have reviewed, Sew Free Company is a little different.

First I must mention that Laura, the creator of SFCC does not have any clothing readily available for sale, but rather her ministry is to provide those who cannot afford certain items.

On her Facebook site her story reads;

"I've always loved to sew but never had the inspiration until recently to really put my heart into it daily. Then I suffered through some incredible personal tragedy and battled grief for years, I still do everyday. I found that sewing was clarifying and relaxing and helped me smile again. Then I met an incredible group of Facebook friends who encouraged me to be beautiful inside and out through modesty, charity and serving others.

 I discovered that I could sew beautiful "new" clothes to match the joy I was rediscovering on the inside and I could do it for other people too!! I have found that I could take all my treasured clothes and make them more updated or more vintage, definitely more stylish, hopefully more modest and save so much money!! I could turn favorite old T-shirts into keepsake quilts (thanks to a dear college friend for that inspiration!) and I could even up-cycle my husbands old button down shirts and old ties and make button down dress shirts for my toddler and bow ties from his Dad's stuff for him.
Cute little girl dresses, "upcycled" from a t shirt and added fabric to the bottom!

Beautiful, homemade, and up-cycled!

 Dear husband needs some comfy P.J.'s but he's a XXXL. What to do? Pay full retail sometimes $50.00 or more...FORGET IT! Buy a $0.99 pattern on sale and get some comfy cotton Star Wars fabric and in a few hours I'm the greatest wife in the whole world for about $10.00. I have taken my little girl's barely used T-shirts that were just too short sewn a poodle skirt on it and have an instant original and one-of-a-kind precious dress! Then I started to devote time to designing and making chapel veils, First Communion veils, Mantillas and others for free for other women and girls in my church and I am so very, very blessed to say that I have been honored to be chosen by more women to do the same for them and their daughter(s). 
One of the many beautiful veils she as made

I had made my own babies Baptismal gowns and handkerchief bonnets and costumes for all kinds of occasions!! This passion is something I do for free for anyone who needs or wants a seamstress. I want to devote more time to doing for others and giving back what I have been given in love, kindness, charity and generosity. So get out there, go hit your local thrift store and find a really great dress and send it to me with that fantastic lace you got for a few bucks at the fabric store or you ripped off your Aunt Susie's vintage frock she had in the "give away" pile and lets see what we can create!!"

This woman of valor does not take a DIME for her time and efforts, and relies solely on the donations of others. This may be a monetary donation or a donation of clothing, as she enjoys "up-cycling". The photos above are example of what she can do!

For a long time I have wanted a covering  such as this one. I searched a great assortment of stores online and could not find one that I loved. I contacted SFCC, and without questioned she offered to make me a beautiful covering like this! I could not be more blessed!

As many women probably know, sewing takes time, patience and money. SFCC is run solely on donations. I urge you that if you feel the same way about this company ( amazing!),that you look through your closets and see if you can donate anything! I also encourage you to check out and share her go fund me page where you can make a monetary donation. Also, pray! Pray that she is able to continue her ministry and turn this into something great! I am giving her a 5 star out of 5 because of her efforts, her charitable ministry and my belief that her work that she sends me will be great.

Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/sewfree
Go Fund Me Page :http://www.gofundme.com/ei999k

Friday, September 19, 2014

7 Quick Takes; New Parish Edition

This week. for my 7 Quick Takes, I am featuring a parish I went to in Wisconsin. Seeing as Wisconsin will be my new home, and this parish happens to be about 10 minutes away from my apartment, I hope to join this beautiful parish! The first time I went there I gushed about it for weeks, I think Sebastian was a tiny bit tired of hearing about it, but I believe he felt the same way. Here are my top 7 reasons why I love this church, and what a great first impression it made on me. Thank you St. Mary's of Pine Bluff for being so wonderful!

1) The People
When I knew that we were going to be visiting the Wisconsin area, I went to a few of my Facebook groups and asked for recommendations about a Catholic church nearby. I was disappointed to find out that the Catholic population is not profoundly abundant, however, I learned a lesson of quality and not quality. The ladies from the Facebook site were so excited that I was going to visit, they sent me with tons of resources. Right from the get-go I felt welcomed. 

On the day that we went, I was welcomed immediately, and felt at home by seeing tons of women with a veil on their heads! I was very excited and felt Jesus's presence.

2) Gathering Area
When we first walked in, I was a little nervous and anxious to get inside. We walked past the gathering area and I was impressed to see that there were rosaries, different prayer material and extra chapel veils for those who wanted to utilize them. How awesome!

3) The priest/homily
I was told when I talked to the lovely ladies on Facebook that this parish was traditional and so was the priest. Man, I had no idea. It was beautiful!  Not only was the inside beautiful, but there was no center alter, and I believe it was as close as to a Latin mass that I could possibly get to but in English. The priest seemed as if  he loved his vocation, took it seriously and was very reverent. His homily; I listened to it with great open ears, and was taking it in like water on a hot day.

4) Sign of Peace
There is a lot of controversy about the sign of peace being out of place. This isn't the post where I will go into that, but I finally found a parish that has it perfected. No sign of peace was exchange with anyone other than the priest, in unison. Perfect.

This was probably my favorite part. Communion was done perfectly, and never have I seen it done like this. We lined up and knelt in front of the alter, receiving communion on tongue, knelt in front of our Lord, receiving only from the priest. I almost cried with JOY.

6)Latin and NO Mass.
It is wonderful that this parish offers both  a Latin Mass and a very traditional NO! Although we didn't make the Latin Mass ( I slept in!), they have many different hours for Mass, another great thing in case I have to work a Sunday!

7) Getting involved?
I am hoping to get involved in this parish. I will be contacting the priest through their website. Please pray for me about this! I will be new to the area so it would be wonderful to make friends!

Thanks for stopping by ! Now go to Conversion Diary for some more quick takes!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Changing of Seasons

As we are aggressively approaching the fall time, my favorite time of the year! There are many changes happening in my life! There will be a move for me in the near future, a new job, a new city, and a new parish. It is a bittersweet time in my life. Leaving a job that I absolutely love, leaving a town that I have grown close to. I am am offering it up, and letting God work in my life.

At this point, I would love to ask for your prayers for everything that is going on. I will have more details soon, till then please pray with me, and for me.

Almighty God, father God, God of great mercy. I love and am grateful I can come before you knowing you accept me as your child whom you love. 

Thank you so much dear Jesus that you are with me where ever I go. Like a child in his mother's arms I come to you. Take ownership of me, guide me, prompt me, teach me, and instruct me dear God in the way I should go. May your great plan for my life be fulfilled so I may be closer to you. 

Thank you dear God for all you have done. 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Five Favorites; Youtube Video Edition

This weeks, Five Favorites; Youtube Video Edition

This week I wanted to share with all of you my top Five Favorite Youtube videos, as of right now! I feel that I sometimes I get sucked into watching videos a little but too much... some are funny, some are heartfelt, some are just weird, enjoy!

There girls singing the National Anthem. This is just beautiful, their ages range from 7-9 I believe. What talent! What voices!

What a beautiful video about veiling!

 This video is a little old, but... who doesn't love nuns!

I don't have a TV, so I don't often watch shows that are popular. I have always liked American Idol and XFACTOR, and I love it when contestants prove judges wrong and give the audience something to stand up and cheer for!

I know that this is an old song, but I enjoy Toby Mac and his music! This video and song are awesome!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why I Veil; Part 3

In this weeks segment of " Why I Veil", I will be answering, from my point of view, frequently asked questions! I hope to do another question-post in the future, if you have any questions that you would like answered, please comment below or email me!

Why would a Catholic women wear a veil to Mass/Adoration/time of prayer?

Let me start out with a paragraph that perfectly explains my veiling.

"While it is absolutely clear to me that there is no canonical or moral obligation for 
women to wear a head-covering in Church, women are certainly free to do so as a matter 
of personal devotion. They should, however, see it as a sign of subordination to God, as 
that better suits the liturgical context. Those who wear a covering or veil, and those who 
don't, should not judge the motives of the other, but leave each woman free in a matter 
that is clearly not of obligation."

With that in mind, I wear a veil in the above mentioned places as a act of subordination to God, piety, and it honestly helps me focus on the subject or act in hand. These are just some of the reasons a women would choose to veil/cover herself.

Shouldn't I avoid drawing attention to myself?
Absolutely, Mass is about going to Jesus, open mind and heart. One should not draw attention to ones self,and some claim that veil can do that. Most people are "shocked" at first when someone is veiling,but over time it becomes the norm for them to see you like that, and it might just encourage them to ask you about your veil, once again I can't stress enough how important it is to veil your heart first, and then physically on your head. You don't have to spew out bible verses, but be confident in your decision to veil. I recommend this sermon about the veil.

I am scared that people will look at me funny, no one veils in my church how did you get over this?

I hate to break it to you, but there is no easy way. I remembered the first time I veiled, I was so nervous, no one else in my church veiled. As soon as I walked in I forgot about all that was around me. Yes, I received a few stares, but no one said anything! To this day it can be a little nerve wreaking especially if I go to the church near my house. This is a perfect example that my veil is my choice, and it is for the Lord, and no one else. The only people that ever tend to comment about my veil are children, and they listen with open ears and open heart to my simplified reasoning's.

I wore a veil once, and someone said something negative and I stopped veiling, any thoughts?
I am sorry that you had a negative experience, as I mentioned in Why I Veil; Part 1, my parents are not very supportive as it was a controversial topic pre-Vatican 2. People tend to have opinions on a lot of things, and anything done differently. I can't stress enough that you must know your reasons why you are veiling and stick to them! I have had priests happy with my actions, and I had a priest say that he thoughts I was " travelling back in time". For me, veiling in front of our Lord, covered in his presence is right for ME. I would never force anyone to veil, as I think you should be committed to it , and I would be displeased if someone asked me to stop veiling.

I will add this attachment Right here that talks about head coverings in church , and incorporates cannon law. A excellent resource.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why I NFP {1}

As I have mentioned in another post, in edition to my " Why I Veil" series, I will be adding a " Why I NFP" series as well. For my first post I will be sharing Kristen's Natural Family Planning story. Thank you so much Kristen for be a witness to the faith and being open to life!

"Years ago when I was first introduced to the reproductive system I was fascinated by the concept of it all, but didn't really understand the complexity of the woman’s cycle. I was first introduced to the concept of natural family planning in college, however, being raised in a very conservative, Christian home and school I believed (although wasn't necessarily taught) God should control family size ultimately. I came to this conclusion after being introduced to the reproductive system by a family member who had never been married ironically; my parents did NOT discuss sex with me. I was only taught about the female reproductive system because it was deemed inappropriate to discuss the male system with a female teen I suppose. I was very curious and wanted to know biologically how things functioned and even asked but only got a reiteration of how the woman’s body worked.

After my two discussions about reproduction that were exactly the same (we weren't taught anything about it in school) I was told about birth control. My discussion also was based on the now scientifically dis-proven ‘rhythm method’. I was told day 14 you ovulated and that day was when you could conceive or use a condom or birth control if you didn't want a baby. I had been instilled with a deep sense of right and wrong and questioned “But doesn't God and shouldn't God control how many kids you should have?” At this point I had no idea what Natural Family Planning was, as this was long before college. I was told, yes, but you’ll probably change your mind. God wants you to be responsible was even a phrase I heard from some. I understand I wasn't married at this point and thus had no clue how hard this practice would be. However, I've been married almost 4 years now and still haven’t been led to believe any differently.

Fast forward to my courtship and actual marriage…Jacob and I talked about birth control and natural family planning even while engaged. He agreed with me. I was afraid my reckless trust in God may scare him, but that man still adores me and would go to the ends of the earth for me even if we had 20 kids. We had friends tell us we were nuts, family tell us that God doesn't expect that from us, and so many opinions. It was difficult. I told them that NFP works because by now I’d met a variety of Catholic friends who showed me actual research on the topic.

On our wedding night, we TRULY came together as one. I’ll forever be grateful for that despite the fact, of course, it wasn't the best sexual experience because it was our first time actually consummating.We were VERY poor when we first wed and a baby was a scary thing. However, I stood by my trust in God. My husband responded with JOY although some were shocked we were pregnant so soon. I was happy although it was scary to think about providing for a baby.

Ezra was born in September. I still didn't know how to do NFP. I assumed breastfeeding would keep my cycle at bay. It didn't but I assumed I was infertile. More truly coming together resulted in Olivia being born the next September. I was tired. Two pregnancies back-to-back with postpartum depression right in the middle and throughout was a tough cross to bear.

We decided a barrier method would work and for the next year we alternated between barrier methods and fully giving ourselves to one another. That was also the year our marriage began to fall apart. We had a million other issues besides not fully surrendering our fertility to each other, but I think that one affected us more than we knew. I assumed if we could have more sex that our marriage would be better. I assumed not having to worry about a baby would make us enjoy it more. I halfway tracked my periods and did more of a fertility awareness method during that time. We grew further apart.

Another problem that arose during this time had to do with the false idea of sexuality that is permeating even churches. I was taught sex was only for marriage (obviously I agree with that) but once you were married you could do whatever you wanted whenever and if you did not have sex with your husband at least several times a week he’d find it elsewhere and he couldn't really help it. This false idea that no self-control or selflessness was required in marriage really wreaked havoc on our young marriage. Even if I wasn't taught that, that’s what I HEARD, which was something like this in my head “Buy sexy lingerie, he’ll be happy. If you don’t give him sex he’ll cheat on you and it’s wrong, but who could blame him.” I understand we should be mindful of each other and not withhold, however, to blame one spouse for the other cheating is similar to Adam blaming Eve. They both got cursed. They BOTH were wrong. Sexuality should be respected and mutually shared by both spouses, but when you are not on the same page, problems DO arise.

After a couple very rough years of marriage, I switched doctors from my pro-NFP doctor to one who would prescribe birth control. (I still love both doctors, by the way, they just have different opinions of morality.) I got on it and thought we could relax. I felt good…at first. Then the guilt came. I read the insert where it clearly says that a fertilized egg can have a hard time implanting. Does life begin at implantation or conception? I knew the answer deep in my heart. Also, this device did not cause us to have more or more enjoyable sex. It simply drove a bigger wedge between us because I was literally a crazy woman on it. (Probably partially due to the guilt.) My husband later told me that he never wanted me to go on it in the first place, which I’m sure drove a bigger wedge between us.

After a few months on this, my husband and I separated for a time. . Thankfully, God restored our marriage, and during a church service not long after our reconciliation, I felt God nudging me to GET OFF the pill. I foolishly shared this with a family member who thought I was crazy and it caused a big problem. I now do not discuss fertility with most people, ironically, since I’m blogging about it. However, I feel like the message needs to be heard.

During my time on the pill, I was assured by many that God didn’t mind, after all, the doctors and many nurses said it is NOT an abortifacient. Then WHY does the insert in the pill box say it can do this? Even if there’s a .05% chance I’m killing a baby, I’m not willing to take it anymore. This is a very touchy subject amongst Protestants. I recently learned until 50 years ago Protestants also were opposed to any form of birth control. I highly doubt the Bible changed over thousands of years and that makes me very skeptical of the modern understanding of such a topic. I’ve found the Protestants of today vary from “NFP is just CATHOLIC birth control” to “If you really trust God you’ll have as many kids as He wants you to even if it’s 20,” to “Use whatever birth control device you want as long as you aren't aborting, you’re good.” to “Well, a barrier method doesn’t actually fertilize anything so you’re okay, because you didn't KILL anything,”.

There are some areas God shows us that will look different than others, the passage about eating meat, drinking wine, observing holidays, etc. (Romans 14 ) However, I do not think you can do that with the whole Bible. Jesus was loving but also very honest. He said his yoke was easy and burden light ( Matthew 11:30) but He also said He came to divide families. We would have to choose, Him or the world and sometimes the world is even in our own family even if it’s just in the form of a worldly opinion. (Matthew 10:35)

There’s freedom in Christ, I’m told. YES, but to quote something I learned in high school in Bible class, “With great freedom comes great responsibility.” I never dreamed that little quote that was hammered into our heads would make such an impact on my life. Thanks, dear parents, and I’m sorry I fussed about being sent to a Christian school. I appreciate it, now. You ironically set me up for this radical belief that God will provide and that sexuality belongs in the Biblical context and not the worldly.

I still didn’t know how to do NFP. We were soon expecting blessing #3 and he was born recently. We took one class, but decided we could learn on our own and a dear friend gave me a book on NFP. We decided we are going to do it right this time. God’s way. My husband is such a trooper. He seriously wouldn’t mind if we had 10 kids, I don’t think. However, it IS possible to know when you are fertile and to abstain. I’ve heard many people say this is unhealthy for a marriage. Why then is the divorce rate so low in practicing NFP couples?

I’d like to venture to answer in my own limited understanding of God’s ways. I think because God honors self-control in marriage and He honors us following His commandments. NFP makes one always open to life, to blessing. Children are always referred to as a blessing in the Bible. Debt is referred to as a curse. Our society has it very backwards. Another aspect of this is the beauty of NFP is the ‘honeymoon affect’. This is what happens when the couples come back together monthly after a short period of abstinence. The sexual tension builds and the reunion is sweet and the fact that your spouse respects you is amazing.

 Also, because you are open to life even if you are trying to avoid a pregnancy, there is no need for a barrier or interruption of the beautiful act of God’s creation. There is no fear in joining with your husband or wife. I know many couples who struggle to keep the spark alive, however, I don’t think we’re going to be that couple anymore, because with a few days of waiting every month, we get to have a honeymoon EVERY month. It is beautiful. So beautiful that recently my husband told me he really didn’t care if we conceived because we enjoyed each other that much after a waiting period. However, NFP can work to avoid if it’s very necessary, just as it can easily be used to achieve without fear of complications from chemicals and hormones injected into one’s body.

I’d like to explore some scripture verses that can be applied. Paul urges couples to abstain for a time and then come back together. (I Corinthians 7 ) He urges the couples to use their time of abstinence to pray and fast. He gives no command about how long you should or shouldn’t abstain. I think the 3-6 days per month works well, although of course, it is hard to do so in our human strength if we are truly trying to avoid a pregnancy. However, I love to keep in mind God IS the one who opens and closes the womb. (Isaiah 66:9 )
Also, lastly, my favorite scripture verse about children is found in Psalms.

“3Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

4As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

5Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Are we perfect? No. Do we sometimes fail at NFP the ‘right way’? Sure. But, God is gracious. He knows our hearts. I have to say I feel very sorry for couples who routinely do not come together completely. I think fertility is a terrible thing to withhold from one’s spouse. I’ve also read several studies citing birth control causing a myriad of health problems. The most recent study I read was just funny. They found women on the pill made poorer choices in their mates and often divorced after going off the pill. In the same study, they cited giving birth control to female monkeys and it utterly confused the male monkeys. So, even monkeys can teach us a lesson. I for one choose not to use this form of hindrance. Our relationship has not yet suffered from it. In fact, I feel much more respected and I think our communication has opened up considerably.

Besides, if we do become pregnant that’s nine months of freedom in intimacy. God’s special little gift to those dedicated to His way, I like to think, because studies show that it can soften the cervix and help prepare it for birth. Apparently we did a lot of softening on my second child because she was born an hour after I went into active labor for her. We are so blessed to have 3 beautiful children, Ezra, Olivia, and Elijah. I am so glad we obeyed. God DOES know what He is doing and we’ve been blessed abundantly with financial resources, a bigger house we actually OWN, and many other opportunities.

Thus, our journey continues. I pray we continue to TRUST God with our fertility and our family size and are able to discern when is a good time to attempt to add a family member. We will always welcome a new member, planned or not. My advice and encouragement to young Catholics, Protestants, and Christians in general is listen to God’s voice. Do not let culture dictate what you believe. God’s way is not always easy, but it’s always sweeter and better. Give Him a chance and let Him guide you in every area, even in the scary areas that could produce mess-making, stick, lovable little miniature versions of yourself. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go vacuum up cereal my 2 and 3 year old decorated their playroom with this morning."

Friday, September 12, 2014

7 Quick Take; In Which We Explore My Crunchy Side

                         Linking up with Jen over at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday!

As many of you may not know, I do have a crunchy organic/natural side of me. Today I will share things you may or may not know or want to know:-) beware.

1. Organic/Natural
When I tell people that I am into natural/organic items they automatically assume everything I consume has a USDA Organic stamp on it, this is false. They also may picture me running around barefoot everywhere, this is also false(sometimes;-) ). I prefer to call what I do natural vs. organic and here is why.

 While organic is great, it is an expensive label to have. Many local farmers who have natural products simply cannot afford to have a organic label. Another big conflict with organic is;  for example; a dairy cow who has gotten an infection. By organic standards you have to kill the cow, because it will need antibiotics therefore making the cow un-natural. A normal farmer will treat his cow with antibiotics (same as we get sick) and simply milk her but not use the milk.... if that makes sense! So to sum it up, organic is cool, but natural/fresh and local are best, for me!

2. Non-aluminum Deodorant 
This is something somewhat new in my crunchy world. My fiancĂ© and I have made the brave switch from using traditional deoderant to a natural aluminum free brand. We are using TOMS as well as a Whole Foods generic brand, I feel passionately about this subject, for more information you can click here.

3. Kombucha Tea
I have been brewing Kombucha tea for a few months now. Essentially Kombucha tea is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Although it's sometimes referred to as kombucha mushroom tea, kombucha is not a mushroom — it's a colony of bacteria and yeast. To read more about the health effects of Kombucha check out this site

4.Natural Remedies
All my life I have had to be on antibiotics for this or that, or taking large amount of pain killers due to injuries. Recently, I have decided that no more do I want to take artificial drugs unless absolutely needed. I believe that everything we need to heal ourselves has been provided by God through the earth. I am slowly trying to not reach for the bottle of aspirin but rather a vitamin or the castor oil. Here is a picture of ordinary day items that can help simple symptoms. Keep in mind, I am not a doctor nor forcing you to do this. Please ask your doctor before you attempt anything like this.

5. Natural Family Planning
As a Catholic I do not believe in artificial contraception and I am open to life. However, there are grave reasons why a couple may want to abstain from having children. There are different programs through Natural Family Planning. Here is a great site to reference. Also be on the look out as in addition to my Why I Veil series, I will be hosting a Why I NFP series. Stay tuned!

6, Conflict free products
In the last few months I have been very conciseness of where my products are coming from. This gets a little tougher with non edibles. I can't exactly  grow a pair of shoes on a tree and call it a day. I try to do my best to research companies that produce conflict free products. Here is a link where you can learn more about conflict free items.


In a a few months Sebastian and I will be embarking on a experiment. The details are still in the works but you guys are one of the first people to know! Over the last few years Sebastian and I have become more aware of the products that we use, consume and represent. These products have vastly changed over the years.

We were inspired by a book we read together in class entitled " No Impact Man". Here is a link where you can read more about the documentary/book. As mentioned the details are still in works but we would like to test the hypothesis if it is possible to live a "natural/organic" lifestyle, as recent college graduates with little to no stability and limited income.We would like to test this over the course of one year, implementing a new variable each month. I will keep you updated on that!

As you probably noticed, I am providing a lot of links versus giving page long descriptions. I wanted to keep this post somewhat short, and encourage you all to do research about the products you are buying and consuming!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why I Veil; Part Two

As I shared my story of why I veil, I had many ladies contact me with questions and their own personal stories. I decided to continue this " Why I Veil" as a series and invite my readers to join in. If you have any questions about veiling, I would love to answer them as best as I can and with my own convictions.

Welcome to Why I Veil; Part Two

Meet Marie, a beautiful Catholic lady who is sharing her story this week of why she veils.

"I am the oldest grandchild on my Mom's side of the family, and the eldest of 7.   I became aware of church as a wonderful place when I was very young.  I remember the Latin Mass, the incense, the chants, the bells all being as much fun,, as going to Grandma and Grandpa's house. In Spring, 1966, I made my First Holy Communion in the beautiful, old Church in front of the marble railing and High Altar where my parents and grandparents had been married.  It was such a wonderful sense of family history and continuity.  I remember that I felt very grown up, wearing a veil with a comb in it, instead of an itchy hat with a string of elastic under my chin.  

The next year, my brother made his First Holy Communion, but it was in the gym at the high school.   I didn't need to wear a hat, or a veil to go Mass there.  When we moved back to the Church, everything was very different, very plain.  And almost nobody wore hats or veils anymore.  The next veil I wore to Church was when I married, back in the same family Church, at the age of 30: my Grandmother's wedding veil.  

Fast forward 17 years:  With two adolescent sons, my marriage in Canada on the ropes, having grown in my faith, but my husband has not.  My health is failing, and my doctor can't figure out why.  My job is at risk, anxiety and depression are growing, and my body starts forming potentially fatal blood clots.  Within the year, my job is gone, my husband is gone, and a cancer is found.  A very large, very slow growing endometrial cancer has consumed my womb and is poised to invade adjacent systems before it is diagnosed and removed.  Yet... my faith continues to grow!    

Unable to find another job with sufficient income to keep the family together, I put my resume on line.  After much prayer, I moved to Maryland, a move which has made the last 6 years a kaleidoscope of schools, contracts, moves, joy and heartbreak..  I find in each County a church that I like, and I become as much a part of the community as I can.  I continue as an RCIA sponsor for two more women who have become good friends.  I sing in choirs as much as I am able, and begin to remember the Latin of my childhood.

Suddenly, more problems loom.  Paychecks are lost in the mail, and I face another eviction.  In asking for help, my employer decides that I show poor decision making skills and cancels my contract.  Literally heartbroken and without a penny to my name, my mother and my sister pay for my bus ticket to return home to Wisconsin.  In 7 years, I have gone from a wife, mother, homeowner at the top of a promising career, to a homeless,jobless bag lady riding the bus back to my mother.  

Winter in Wisconsin is very much like winter in central Ontario, and a lot colder than winter in Maryland.  My sweaters and winter clothes are all gone to those who scavenge evictions and resale shops.  I can't afford a coat, so I layer up.  Long sleeve shirts, a heavy cardigan, an oversize lined windbreaker work well enough, but my head is still cold when I go out.  The Church of my family and my heritage has changed, almost unrecognizable in some ways.  A Prayer Shawl ministry has been started, a pleasant change. I find a beautiful blue wrap, and curled around my head and shoulders, I am much warmer going home after Mass that day.  

As the cold deepens, I continue to wear the shawl around my neck and shoulders when I go out, mostly to Mass.  As my soul heals, I realize that among the changes in the Church is that I can't see the Tabernacle from where mom and I usually sit in the new wing.  I have started studying Consoling the Heart of Jesus with an online group.  Then, one Sunday, as we go to our regular pews, I feel a sudden pain in my heart, an aching sense of loss.  

The feeling doesn't come from me, though.  It is simple, honest, direct.  "Have you forgotten ME already?"  The accusation is both child-like and ancient.  I looked around, but nobody was looking at me, as though waiting for an answer.  I couldn't see the Tabernacle, or the Altar Lamp which burns to signify that Jesus is present.  I pulled my prayer shawl up over my head again, and I felt such JOY flood my soul!  Tears come to my eyes simply writing these words.  I have never entered the Church, any Church, with my head uncovered again.  

I can't say that there is a happy ending for this, because it hasn't ended yet.  Mom and I argued for a few weeks about my choice to cover my head at Mass.  Her friends have asked her questions about my motives that she can't answer.  I am the only person in this parish to cover my head.  There are "under-covered" nuns who attend the same Masses, but I don't know who they are.  There are lighter moments:  Once Fr. wanted to congratulate Sister Mary Suzanne on the anniversary of her taking permanent orders, and everybody looked at me!  I have found some light weight infinity scarves to wear through the summer, and others are beginning to ask me questions about veiling.  I give them the facts about the changes of Vatican II, and the change in the 1983 Code of Canon Law.  https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/head_coverings_in_church.htm"

Thank you Marie for sharing your story. Be assured of my prayers as your journey through life and veiling.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Skirt Outlet: Review

Next in our series is another modest skirt store!

The Skirt Outlet has a brick and mortar location as a online store. I first heard about i when the shop opened up in my college town. I was very excited. I mean come on, a whole store dedicated to modest skirts, less than a mile away? Sweet!

What a cute store front!

I absolutely love The Skirt Outlet. Although it is cramped inside, it is very clean, beautifully designed, and very cozy. The store is set up into a few different sections. One section is for little girls and babies. Another section is brand new modest skirts from many different brands in the $25-$60 range.

The last section is a consignment section where you are able to sell your skirts or buy used ones, the price range differs depending on the skirts but I have found some great skirts for under $7! Some of the consignment skirts are really brand new but have a few "errors" and are significantly marked down!

The store isn't open all hours of the week, so I would definitely give them a call before stopping in. The are only open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I would count this as their only con, as I usually happen to drive by the store on a day that they are closed! 

I love the fact that the store offers skirts in a variety of colors, ages and price ranges. You can count on quality, style and great customer service here. The ladies are always very willing to help and get a fitting room if necessary! The sizes vary but go up to plus size, so no worries for the ladies with some curves!

The story behind The Skirt Outlet

 "The Skirt Outlet was founded from a desire to provide affordable, classic and comfortable long skirts for women and girls, without hours of shopping disappointments. We are committed to providing a real alternative to today's extreme fashions and yesterday's out-dated look.

Founded in 2008, The Skirt Outlet started out as a retail brick-and-mortar store in Eureka, Illinois. As word spread about the store, The Skirt Outlet began getting calls from out of state, requesting skirts to be shipped to them. This website was thus founded to meet the needs of those who were unable to make it to our store. However, we still welcome all customers to come and visit our retail store in Eureka!"

I personally have about 10 skirts or so from The Skirt Outlet. Some are brand new, and some were off of their consignment rack. With all of them I have been pleasantly surprised with their durability.

For those not in the Eureka/Peoria area, and would like to see the ginormous selection that the Skirt Outlet offers, jump over to their website The Skirt Outlet  and if you happen to be in the area here is their address;
The Skirt Outlet
118 South Main Street

Eureka, Illinois 61530

Tuesday: 12-5 

Thursday & Friday: 10-5 
Saturday: 9-3