7 Quick Takes – Vol 6 Easter Edition

Hi there! I hope you are having a happy Easter and all your festivities were blessed and wonderful. I’ve been a bit busy, but I’m happy to do another 7 Quick Takes!

1. So when I say I’ve been busy this week it is because I have had an epiphany and found just the most fantastic website. I have literally been spending days reading it and I feel so guilty…it is called Pioneer Woman. Now you may be familiar with Pioneer Woman, but I came across it by accident when a friend of mine posted a recipe of hers on Facebook and I became hooked. It is like 6 different websites in one and while one is about cooking, another is about photography. She has just the most beautiful pictures. BUT…go to the “Confessions” section and read the story of how she met, fell in love with, and married her husband. It is guaranteed wonderful and romantic. I stayed up until 3am reading it the other night. Truly delicious.

2.  Looking at all her photographs has brought back my lust for photography and I’m just dying to jump up and buy a digital SLR camera and get back into it.  I still have my old film cameras but….I’ve gotten spoiled by the instant gratification that is digital, even if it is only “point and shoot.”  Boy, it is really a toss up…dslr or iPad… I better get to saving my birthday and Christmas money.  Maybe I can get a camera used.  If you know of a good place let me know.

3.  Well, we colored Easter eggs with natural dyes and here are the results.  I used the recipes from Mother Earth News, which my husband has had a subscription to since the mid-70’s.  I did the onion skin recipe for yellow exactly as they said.  The eggs came out a beautiful golden color.  Since I did not really feel like scraping beets (especially since the only beets I had were canned and sliced) I just took the juice from the can of beets and added vinegar.  The results?…not so good.  Next time I’ll follow the directions.  And since I forgot to buy blueberries, there were no blue eggs, but that was OK, my littlest was more than happy to eat any of them.

4. So what did the Easter Bunny bring this year? Reester Bunnies and Peeps (of course) and various assorted pastel candy and money. That Bunny, he’s loaded.

5.  We actually did not have the official Easter Dinner until Tuesday.  My father-in-law is very ill and in the hospital, and so my husband had to fly up on Friday and returned on Monday evening.  We were very concerned, but my father-in-law is doing a little better and we hope for the best.

6.  We had ham again.  My husband cooks it on our charcoal barbecue.  We make a Dijon mustard, white wine and brown sugar glaze.  We serve the extra glaze with the Ham.  Wonderful.  We served it with sweet potatoes, green beans, strawberries and oranges salad, and Resurrection Rolls.  If you haven’t made Resurrection Rolls you are really missing something.  Our dinner was very simple because of the circumstances.  I did not use the good china.  My heart just wasn’t into it this year.  I did however, make Pioneer Woman’s Carrot Cake for dessert and it was very good.

7.  I was one of the readers for the Easter Vigil this year and, as always, it was beautiful.  If you have never been to one, please take the time to go next year.  While it is long (about 2.5 hours) it is so worth it.  It is hands-down the most beautiful and interesting Mass of the year.  I wanted to show you a few pictures.

This is one of our wonderful priests, Fr. Jonathan.  He LOVES baptisms!
This is our pastor, Fr. Alex.  He is a big fan of Holy Water too.  Can you tell he is just drenched?  He just returned from a trip to the Holy Land and mixed water from the Jordan River into the Easter Water to bless us.  Too cool.
I hope you have a wonderful Easter season (you do realize this is still Easter?  And that it lasts until Pentecost on May 23rd?) I pray the Lord blesses your family and friends with peace. 
He is risen!  Alleluia!
Oh, and p.s…. LiveCatholic is now on Facebook so stop by and say hello and become a fan.

Be sure to check out more 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

7 Quick Takes – Vol. 5

Well, this has been a busy couple of weeks or so.  I’ve been dealing with tonsillitis that won’t go away – but apparently is “just” a virus – therefore no antibiotics for me, a kid with an almost-broken arm, another kid being a pain, a husband with a car that refuses to stay fixed, and a general feeling of depression/incredulity/anger at all the political nonsense going on.  BUT…I have rallied and have another fine (at least to me) selection of Quick Takes.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do….

1.  This is why I’m excited about the iPad:

The apps will be so cool and could revolutionize the way we do so many things.

2.  And while I don’t want books to go away for kids, here’s another reason to like the iPad:  Are Kids Destined to Grow Up With Tablets?   I could see this as an excellent tool for middle school and up.  It is a lot easier to carry a little iPad then a back-breaking bag of books.

3.  Have you ever wondered how to make a great bowl of soup?  Read what the Soup Peddler has to say.  Be sure to look at the interview he mentions at the beginning and then read the rest.

4. I found an interesting YouTube video yesterday – the Litany of the Saints from Pope John Paul II’s funeral.  I remember being so impressed by it at the time.  I’m not sure why…maybe just the prayerful repetition… but it is beautiful.

5.  Have you ever tried to color Easter eggs the old fashioned way?

When I was a kid my mom used to color the eggs with onion skins and beet juice.  I was not happy because we did not use the cool tablets they sold in the supermarket.  How old fashioned to do it with scraps!  While the eggs don’t come out real even like with the tablets, it is neat to try to color eggs with natural products, at least once.  I do not remember the techniques my mom used, but Mother Earth News has a great article to show you how:  How to Color Eggs With Natural Dyes.

6.  My resolution this Lent is to pay more attention to my kids and not give into frustration at interruptions.  Here is a ready made article about this.  If you are not in the corporate world you need to adapt it a bit, but it is helpful:  Nine Ways to Handle Interruptions Like a Pro.

7.  On a related note, here is a good article about 10 Reasons Why You Aren’t Done Yet.  This is about getting your stuff done and focusing.  It is also very helpful. 

Have a great weekend and skip on over to Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes.

7 Quick Takes – Vol. 4

1.  So, last week I told you we were going to a concert with the Moody Blues. It was very nice and my husband and I, and our 6 year old enjoyed it.  It was a bit cold though, being outside and on the grass.  I wore my silk long winter underwear, turtleneck, sweater, coat and as a final touch the cashmere gloves & hat my mother gave me for Christmas.  I never get to wear those.  It is a bit much for a warm climate in March, but this is the coldest, longest lasting winter we have ever had here.  I’m enjoying it immensely.
7 Secrets of the Eucharist
2. One of my favorite books is 7 Secrets of the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn.  It has really helped me appreciate, and understand better, the Eucharist.  I just learned that a new study guide has come out that would be great for groups or individually.  Go to the Mercy Song website for information.
3.  Speaking of Mercy Song.  I love Vinny Flynn and his family’s song for the Divine Mercy Chaplet on EWTN.  It sticks in my head whenever I hear it, and when I think of the Chaplet, that is what I think of.  I found one decade of it on YouTube.  
4.  This article is interesting How to Easily Cut Your Calories – Eat Slowly   I believe this.  My husband’s grandmother was a firm believer of chewing slowly, and was thin as a rail her whole life.  She recommended chewing each bite of food 50 times!  That is a lot!  There are some very interesting bits in this article.
5.  If you grow tomatoes this might be a great article for you from Mother Earth News  The Best Tomatoes to Grow Where You Live 
6.  A friend of mine has been sick and wondered what medicines she could take since she is breastfeeding.  This can be a serious problem if you especially need drugs long term, like for high blood pressure, asthma, etc. or if you need cancer drugs.  Mostly moms want to know if they can take cold medicines or antibiotics, etc.  When I was breastfeeding, my lactation consultant recommended Dr. Thomas Hale’s website Breastfeeding Pharmacology.  Dr. Hale is the guru of what drugs you can take during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  He is a professor of pediatrics at Texas Tech University.  Honestly, most doctors and nurses, and even pharmacists, do not know this information and will just tell you not to take the drug, or worst of all to quit nursing.  They do this to cover their butt from lawsuits, not because the drug really is in the breastmilk.  This is my pet peeve – because it was my experience that most every drug reference, especially for lay people, would say to just about every drug, to quit nursing to take it, or just that they just did not know if it was in breastmilk or not.  In fact many, many drugs are OK, you just need to know the ones that are not.  So if you know a nursing mother, tell her to go to Breastfeeding Pharmacology and click on Breastfeeding & Medication Forums.  Under no circumstances should you quit nursing until you check this out.  And have your doctor buy his book, Medications and Mother’s Milk.
7.  I love most all things Google.  My favorite tech writer, Harry McCracken, has a great article: The Undiscovered Google: 7 Services You Need to Try.  Go to his blog Technologizer for other great tech stuff too.
Now, check out Jennifer’s 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

7 Quick Takes – Vol. 3

1.  This week finds us in the midst of a strep throat mini-epidemic in our house.  The 6 year old was really sick last week.  His dad wound up going to the urgent care center on Sunday, and while they did not test him for strep he probably has it, plus double ear and sinus infections.  Today, the 14 year old has a sore throat… I’m just waiting for it to get me…we’ll see.

2.   A friend of mine recommended this blog post to me and I found it to be so beautiful and profound.  It is about the Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb which is a French contemplative order that enables girls with Down Syndrome to answer their vocation to Christ.  It is good to be reminded that those who are disabled in some way still are people, they are not a faceless victims of a disability that have no worth or meaning.  They are people who have deep feelings, and a soul with the capability of donating all to Christ.

3.  Discover the beauty of the earth with the new photo NASA Blue Marble.  If you click “All Sizes” on the upper left you can enlarge it and take in the lovely aqua water of the Caribbean, the beautiful mountains and deserts of the West, and the Polar icecaps.  What a marvelous planet.  You might also find the photos from the Goddard Space Flight Center breathtaking as well.

4. There are two new books out by Catholic blogging moms that you might want to check out.  CatholicMom.com Lisa Hendey’s  The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul and Rachel Baulducci of Testosterhome has How Do You Tuck In a Superhero?: And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys.  Both sound lovely – by two lovely ladies.   Pull out your credit card right now!

5.  Back in November, a wife, mom and blogger in her 30’s named Anissa Mayhew, suffered a stroke.  I first learned of her on Twitter.  She has been in the hospital or in a nursing facility since then.  This past weekend she finally came home.  I urge you to take a look at the blog Hope4Payton that her husband has used to chronicle their difficult journey.  This is an amazing family.  Her husband is a tribute to all husbands, and it is wonderful to see them all home again.

6.  Well, how is Lent going for you?  I’m trying to be more patient with the kids and not get annoyed when interrupted.  I find myself slipping, but catching it first is a challenge.  I have been reading more.  I have got a great deal out of Fire Within: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel-On Prayer from Fr. Thomas Dubay.  Abstinence is not so great.  Last Friday, I completely forgot it was Friday and gratefully and happily accepted that bacon and egg on an English muffin my non-Catholic husband handed me.  Groan.  I realized it later.  So, if you do it unwittingly is it a sin?  I did not make a conscious choice to eat that bacon.  I forgot.  So, I’m figuring that is not a sin.  But I just completely forgot God that morning….yeah…real great, that one.

7.  I’m looking forward to a Moody Blues concert my husband is getting the four of us free tickets to.  Now, they were big when I was a toddler, but I’m sure they will be fantastic, as long as we don’t freeze to death.  It is outside on the water I think (we do live in a warm climate, but lately it hasn’t been so warm.)  Too bad it is not date night, cuddling on the bay while listening to great music would be very romantic.  Listening to complaining children…not so much.  But it will be nice to expose them to real live music.  Wish us luck.

OK, you’ve read my ramblings, now go see more 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

7 Quick Takes – Vol. 2

1. You know how you’ll be sitting and reading the newspaper, or a book, and the cat has to come and lay down right on top of your newspaper?

This is the modern version.  He will either come and sit behind the keyboard, blocking the whole monitor, or he will stand like this, or just use this as a pathway to the lap, making sure he brushes his tail right on my face.  He’s learned a few tricks during his 18 years.

2.  This is really creepy: Cremation Jewelry – pendants, rosaries, etc.  You fill it yourself with the ashes of your dead loved ones.

Someone you just met: “Nice to meet you… Hey, interesting necklace”
You: “Yeah, I got my dead husband in here”

3. EWTN now has a YouTube Channel that they unveiled this week. This will be a great resource to watch clips from the EWTN Catholic Network.

4.  This is what sick looks like in our house. 

Homemade Matzo Ball Soup.  Well… the Matzo Balls came from a Matzo Ball mix, but other than that it is all homemade.  My 6 year old came home from school a couple of days ago with a fever and sore throat.  After a night with a high fever (almost 105 for a short time) he spent the day vomiting.  He still has a fever but is up and around, eating and drinking.  My poor hubby has the same thing, but can’t stay home and rest. At least he is not vomiting. He is a freelancer, and when work comes you have to take it.  So he worked until 10:30pm last night, and then had to be at another short job at 4:30am.  Yuck.

5. This video is amazing.  You will never believe what you thought you saw again.  Thanks Patrick Madrid.
Stargate Studios Virtual Backlot Reel 2009

6.  I discovered this blog recently:  Abigail’s Alcove.  I really enjoy it.  Her writing is very profound.

7.  I know very little about music, especially sacred music, but even a music idiot like me knows this Chant video, Old Roman Chant is fantastic.  I find it so beautiful and listening to it really helps me focus for prayer and helps block out distractions for other things I’m doing.  I urge you to listen just once. Be sure to check out the Callixtinus Channel on YouTube for more wonderful chant.

Now, go visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes.

7 Quick Takes

Seven Quick Takes is a wonderful idea from Jennifer at Conversion Diary and I’ve always been too busy or too slow-witted to come up with 7 little things to share every Friday. This week however, I’ve come upon a bunch of new stuff and I thought finally I would be able to throw my hat in the ring.

1.  I was looking through some old issues of Cook’s Illustrated magazine I have saved and came upon a recipe for Oven Fried Bacon.  Now, you have to understand I have a love/hate relationship with bacon.  My husband is a bacon snob.  It has to be cooked a certain way, etc.   I love bacon, but am not picky and also don’t have the patience to baby the bacon while it is cooking, so I frequently either burn or otherwise mess it up.  So when I found this recipe I thought I would give it a try.  Get a jelly roll pan (aka:  cookie sheet with sides) line it with foil for easy cleanup, lay out bacon, cook at 400 degrees in the oven for 5-6 minutes, turn the pan around and cook another 5-6 minutes for regular bacon or about 8 minutes for thick sliced.  That’s it.  Serve.  When it is cool, throw foil with grease away.  Husband approved.  Wife happy and can concentrate on the pancakes.

2. I don’t care what the Apple/tech snobs say, I want an iPad.  I don’t have an iPhone because I don’t want to pay for a data plan every month.  I don’t have an iPod Touch, even though I lusted after one, because of all the cool apps.  I was not sure that reading books, etc. on one would be that great of an experience because of the size, and I investigated the Kindle but never was that enthused about non-paper books.  BUT when I heard Apple was going to be releasing a tablet I became really interested.  The snobs say “This is just a glorified Touch why would you want one?” or “It won’t replace a netbook or laptop.” or “It doesn’t have a camera or other features we think it should have.”  Well, by the time I save the money up to get one, it will probably be on it’s 2nd or even 3rd Generation by then and have all the cool features.  I’m looking forward to surfing the internet from the comfort of my recliner.
3. So what will I put on my iPad that I will someday, hopefully own?  First it will be the iBreviary.  I can’t wait!  Then I’ll get the Bible, probably Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition.  Hopefully, they will have highlighting and the ability to make notes.  Also, some books, of course.  After that, we’ll see.

4.  This week I also discovered a free language website at the BBC.  Now I can continue on my seemingly never ending quest to pick up Spanish.

5.  I am so saddened over the latest news from Haiti:  that the death toll is 230,000.  Which is the same amount as died in the terrible Tsunami a few years ago that swept over 6 countries.  And they are still counting the dead in Haiti.  Most of the churches are destroyed, most of the priests, seminarians and other clergy are dead.  I have not been able to find a good article with exact info but it is bad. I urge you to donate to Aid to the Church in Need:  Haiti

Update:  Haitian Churches Rising Out of the Ruins – Miami Herald

6. This is just fascinating.  Eric Sammons at The Divine Life has a fantastic (and short) genealogy of the Catholic Church:  Understand the Churches & Rites of the Catholic Church.  Who Knew?  Apparently not I.

7.  OK, just like you, probably, I love chocolate.  I have come to love the dark kind (but not too dark.)  A few years ago I discovered just the best chocolate.  I was using it for a truffle recipe and fell in love with Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate.  Now, I know it says “bittersweet” but it just does not seem bitter, and of course, it is not too sweet.  It is less than $3 in the supermarket baking aisle.  I have been a big fan of Dove Dark Chocolate, Lindt Dark Chocolate truffles, and Perugina Dark Chocolate for a long time, but this is my general snacking chocolate.  I take about a dozen chips and it really satisfies my chocolate craving. 

I hope you have a great weekend.  Be sure to go on over and visit Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes.