Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Scribblings- Vocation Time

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word vocation as:
1 a :  a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action; especially :  a divine call to the religious life
   b :  an entry into the priesthood or a religious order
a :  the work in which a person is employed :  occupation
   b :  the persons engaged in a particular occupation
  the special function of an individual or group
I've always thought of my vocation as a wife and mom especially since I think it falls under the "strong inclination to a particular state...". In the last 9 years, however, my vocation has grown to include the second part of the definition, "the work in which a person is employed". I hadn't thought a whole lot about my jobs as being vocational since many people work at jobs they don't necessarily feel they've been called to do. A few years ago, our executive director at SFC said something about my fencing instructor job being more than just that. She likened it to a vocation. After having thought about for a while, I realized she is absolutely correct.
What a joy it is for me to have a group of people (from age 7 to a lot older than that) who I get the privilege to teach the sport of fencing. As I start my tenth year of teaching this month, I can look back on some of the now-grown fencers who started in one of our musketeer classes when their weapons were almost taller than they were. We've celebrated achievements, both fencing and non-fencing with numerous folks who have passed through our club. We've seen graduations from high school and college, marriages and even a baby or two. I have been able to grow in friendship with so many people I probably wouldn't have gotten to ever know if it weren't for fencing. I can even quip, "some of my best friends are fencers" and actually mean it.
Now that I've been officially given the title of head instructor, I've made the commitment to staying at the club for another 10 years, God-willing (and the creek don't rise). It's made our lives here at home a little bit more crazy, but with Josh and David at school and my girls heading off in the next year, it is good timing. 
All this to say, I've also opened another chapter to my fencing vocation this week. I had gotten to attend a USFA referee seminar in September up in Vancouver, Washington at Northpointe Fencing Club with Justin Meehan. I had taken three of our teenage fencers with me, and we had a great time learning what it takes to be a USFA referee. 

Since then, we've all been studying the guides to be able to take the test in order to go on to the next step of being rated. I can happily say that between last night and this morning, I passed all the tests I could in order to take that step. They were online exams-a general knowledge plus weapon (foil, epee, sabre) specific. The funniest part for me was that my sabre test score was the highest out of all of them, and I don't really referee sabre! 
I guess I write this as encouragement to anyone out there who is wondering if what they are doing in their life could be considered a vocation. If you know you are doing what you have been called to do, then stick with it! If you are not where you think you should be, ask the Lord to direct you to what you should be doing for Him. Remember:
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.      
Colossians 3:17

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saturday Scribblings- Little Things

Sitting here on this sunny October day with a house cleaner than it was just a few hours ago, I am feeling very grateful for the moment of calm. The girls are off working today while the boys are entering their third month of school- one 20 minutes away at seminary and one on the other side of the country. Brian's back at school this week along with a pretty bad bout of allergies. These two together have hit him full force. The good part for right now I have quiet for a bit of time.

I took the morning to do something I haven't been able to get to due to my work schedule, I cleaned the house. It started with me thinking that I should pay myself for cleaning then all of the sudden, I remembered St. Therese's little way and realized this could be a small sacrifice I could do. With that in my mind, I was able to get through the bathroom, kitchen and rest of downstairs without complaining. How much faster it seemed to go with a good attitude.
I even found a couple of embroidered linen pieces to decorate the reading chair and the Our Lady of Fatima corner. Little things can make a difference in our homes too. 

So now with house cleaning and breakfast behind me, I am looking forward to spending some time working on my October blocks of the month from the Greenbaum's First Fridays class. Each block is a little part of a bigger thing, and now I'm thinking to whom I may give the finished quilt. I'm also enjoying listening to EWTN's radio show, The Good Fight with Barabra McGuigan. She always spurs me on to a stronger Catholic life.

This is why I am looking forward to attending not only Mass tomorrow, but also taking part in the life chain in Salem. It may only seem like a little thing, but sometimes that's all that we are called to do.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Morning Brunchtime

This morning found me hosting five girlfriends for a going away brunch. My friend Michele and her family are moving northwards, so I thought a brunch sounded like a good idea. The group of us has gotten to know each other over the last few years, and it's hard to say goodbye. Knowing how well all is going for her family is helpful for the rest of us to be able to see her leave.

We talked a lot and enjoyed some delicious food and drink. A few egg dishes plus some yummy coffee cake and gluten free apple blondes- not to mention some extravagant and delicious mimosas- were on the menu. Everything was so tasty that no one went away without being well-sated. It's also at get togethers like this when I am so glad to have our "hot drink station".


Here's a quick recipe for the gluten and dairy free breakfast casserole that was my contribution to brunch.

Easy Brunch Casserole 

1 package Frozen O'Brien Potatoes 
1 dozen eggs, whisked lightly
1 lb. sausage links, cooked and cut into chunks
1 tsp. garlic powder 
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper 
6 dashes green Tabasco 

Mix together all ingredients; pour mixture into 9x13 pan. Place in fridge overnight. Next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 60-65 minutes or until browned on top. May be served with salsa.

So, don't wait for the weekend to have a brunch. Keep it simple, invite some good friends and Mangia!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Parenting Journey Continues

                                      My girls- all grown up!

Sometimes it's hard to know whether or not you're doing okay as a parent. Especially nowadays when so much is written on how to properly parent, not to mention the whole thing of children's rights being taken out of context so often. 
That being said, it felt like a pretty good week for this mom as Brian and I were able to spend a morning up at Mt. Angel with Josh Friday plus get to FaceTime with David today. This is on top of getting to go to Mass with the girls and watching Doctor Who with them while enjoying our Sunday brunch. Talking, laughing, and just being together with my kids is such a gift to me- I sometimes forget how blessed I am in my vocation as a wife and mom.
Just when I thought things were going great in the mom department, Mary and I ended up talking about when she was a young teen. She confessed to me that when we were at Salem Alliance she would skip out of youth group on Sunday mornings and sneak to the library as she didn't really feel like she was getting anything out of it. She then said if we hadn't started attending St. Joseph's she would most likely stopped going to church. Since I know first hand what a great middle & high school program SAC has, the only person I can blame for this is me. It took me about 6 years to hear this from my youngest. And here I thought I had the whole communication thing down pat.
As GK Chesterton said, "When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.” 
I know numerous young families who are on the first part of the parenting journey. There are so many pieces of advice out there. I could go on and on- just ask my kids, but I will just say this: 
Your job as a parent is to help your children to become God-loving, responsible adults. I've always thought just teaching them to be responsible is enough, but as they've grown, I realize it's also a parent's job to be the one to share with them all about God. This means His love, His goodness, His omniscience, and His omnipresence. It means Bible stories and Veggie Tales when they're little. It means Adventures in Odyssey and getting them to Religious Ed classes when they get a little older. It means making sure they know about their faith enough to want to live it as adults.So I exhort you parents out there to do all you can to help your kids now only draw close to the Lord right now, but to continue as they grow. With the help of the Blessed Trinity, we will all live happily ever after.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Middle of the Week Wanderings

Since it's Wednesday, I thought I'd do a bit of wandering. Here are a few paths of thought I've been traipsing down lately.

Now that I'm working more hours, I've been trying to give my family more opportunities to share in the joys of cooking dinner (read- I need everyone to pitch in & help). Brian and I spent some time a couple weeks ago making bread. I am hoping eventually he may want to become the family bread baker. Even if that doesn't pan out (yes, that was a pun), the time spent together was great!

I've been trying to be consistent in my daily prayers lately. I don't know about you, but I find my day goes so much better when I pray before anything else. I like to pray Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. There's always a hymn to choose from along with Scripture reading and prayers. It also is great as it has the different feasts listed. That way I have someone everyday to ask to pray for me!

My "official" Salem Fencing Club Instructor photo

I've been teaching "the art & science" of fencing since October 2005. Many things have changed for me, like going from a teaching assistant to Head Instructor (brand new this week). Also, we've changed at our club from standard/dry to focusing on electrical fencing. We've also changed our name from Salem Classical Fencing to Salem Fencing Club in the last 6 months along with a new logo and mission statement. Needless to say, I've been on a pretty big learning curve with all these changes. I am gratefully amazed that I am where I am right now considering I started fencing just so I wouldn't have to do Pilates or some other form of middle-age appropriate exercise!

I wrote a couple days ago about First Fridays at Greenbaum's Quilted Forest and the quilt I've started. I'm excited to share my second finished block- actually #9 in the booklet. I can't wait to see what the October block is going to be! I've already been trying to figure out the other block I'll do next month.

We continue to get terrific things in our Pithcfork & Crow CSA every week. This week we had stuff to make salsa, so I took up the challenge this morning. I made two types- a pico de gallo and salsa verde. Now it's time to go buy a bag of our favorite Juanita's tortilla chips.

Enjoy your middle of your week!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

On The Go Breakfast Recipes

With everyone's schedules going a little crazy around here, Mary and I decided we need some good "to go" stuff for breakfasts. These are things that freeze easily & can either be eaten cold or re-heated quickly in the microwave. With Mary living lactose free and Cari not being able to do gluten, this was a bit more challenging for me. Thankfully, David's off at school, so the nuts aren't an issue- until Chrsitmas break, anyway.

Here's a list of what I've done so far.

#1- Breakfast burritos and casserole. I cooked up bell peppers, onions and breakfast sausage then added a package of frozen shredded hash browns. To this mixture, I added cooked scrambled eggs and a small jar of salsa. After mixing it all together, I put a few cups into freezer containers for Cari and used the rest to wrap in tortillas for breakfast burritos. These got wrapped in foil then popped into a ziplock bag. We usually just take them out the foil and microwave them for about 3 1/2-4 minutes, if frozen and 1 1/2-2 minutes if thawed the night before in the refrigerator. The casserole can be heated the same way in the container (be sure to use microwave safe ones).

#2- Breakfast Cookies 
1 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup rice bran oil
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dreid cranberries
1/3 cup coconut flakes
Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Combine oils and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides if necessary, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute. Add egg, peanut butter and vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add oats, coconut, raisins and cranberries; mix over low speed just until incorporated. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment pape or Silpat. Using between 1/4 cup batter, form a ball and place on cookie sheet (you can also use a 1/4 cup scoop). Repeat with remaining batter, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are just slightly browned. Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool .

#3- Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
If you find a good "regular" zucchini bread and simply replace the flour w/ your favorite GF baking mix, it works great! I use a recipe from There Is Life After Wheat. Try some today.

#4- Roasted Potatoes and Eggplant w/eggs
If you pre-cook your potatoes and other veggies, in case eggplant, you have an easy re-heat able breakfast. I found this recipe on Pinterest and must give credit to Mother Earth Living. I made my eggs with a little of the Shishito pepper powder & it set the whole thing off deliciously! 
Here's the link, 

I hope these inspired you to try some new breakfast ideas! Whether you are feeding one or a houseful, it's good to have some healthy choices in the morning!

"Fall"ing To Pieces

So I decided this Autumn to start a new project. Since I'm helping mom at On The Stitch, I figured it was time for me to make another quilt. Greenbaum's Quilted Forest has a great way to help those of us who might procrastinate a bit. It's called First Fridays. Joining over 80 other quilters at 8:30 on the first Friday morning in September, I checked in and got my block #1 kit. The teacher- who just happens to be my mom- shared all kinds of pertinent info with us on how to put it together. I decided to buy other fabrics than were suggested just to add my own touch. 

I started the inner square a week ago then finished the whole thing yesterday. After a false starts, I got it finished. Having never done triangles before, I was pretty pleased with the results. You can't really tell, but it's larger than it appears. The pattern said it would finish at 36" but due to my having to fix my mistakes, mine ended up at 33 1/2". I now get to try to figure out what to do to make up for the extra few inches. Oh well, it's all a learning experience!

I also bought another couple of pieces for one of the blocks which I'm starting on as soon as the ivory I need for the middle comes into the store. It's such a fun project that I decided to make another quilt to raffle off for the salle. Pictures to come as soon as it's finished!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere...

We received another bunch of beautiful veggies from our Pitchfork & Crow CSA share.

Aren't they gorgeous? Now that the boys are both off to school again, we actually have a bit more food  in the house which is nice. I decided to make a few different things with the aforementioned vegetables. First on the list was roasted vegetables~ simple and delicious! Check out the following easy recipe.

Roasted Summer Vegetables

1 lb.  green beans, washed, stemmed and halved
1 lb. small red potatoes, washed and cut into quarters
1 lb. beets, washed, peeled and cut into quarters
2 zucchini or summer squash, cut into chunks
3 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried red chile powder
2 tsp. coarse sea salt (I used Sel Gris- grey sea salt from France)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place all ingredients in large bowl; mix until well blended. Pour onto baking sheet(s) and roast for 20 minutes. Stir and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes more until vegetables are tender. 
These are great as a side dish, wrapped in a tortilla or served in a bowl with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Cold Brewed Coffee-Honey Latte

So, I've been making cold brewed coffee syrup for a while, but it haven't used it for a bit. My dear friend, Annette, posted a photo of her cold brewed coffee on Instagram which made me think of the jar I had in the fridge. I decided to take the coffee syrup and pour it over some ice, mixing in a dollop of half & half and some of the honey simple syrup I had leftover from Joshua's 1920's cocktail graduation party we had Sunday. The results- delicious! Now I need to make some more coffee syrup so as to share with the other coffee drinkers in the family.

Cold Brewed Coffee Syrup
1 cup coarsely ground coffee
3 cups cold water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger

Pour coffee, b. sugar, cinnamon and ginger into quart size jar; add water and cover with lid. Shake well and place in refrigerator overnight. The next day, either 1)pour everything into a French press, press to separate grinds from coffee or 2)use strainer and strain liquid through into container to separate grinds. Wash out original jar then return coffee syrup to jar for storage. Keeps in refrigerator for up to three weeks. 

Honey Simple Syrup
1 cup honey
1 cup water

Place honey and water in medium saucepan and warm over medium heat- do not bring to boil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and pour into container. Once completely cool, store in refrigerator.

Coffee-Honey Lattee

1 1/2 cups coffee syrup
1/2 cup half & half
3 tablespoons honey simple syup

Place ice in glass. Add coffee syrup, half & half and honey syrup. Mix well. Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sisters & Moms & Quilts, Oh My

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I've figured out that quilters, no matter what age, hometown or cultural background, all have a creative streak to them that comes out when visiting a quilt show together. Such was the case a couple of weeks ago at the annual Sisters, Oregon Quilt Show. Visiting three quilt shops along with the 57 other women on the Greenbaum's bus was a lesson in likes & not-so-much. Some of the ladies tended to gravitate towards traditional designs and muted colors while others enjoy bright modern looks. The best part was there were fabrics & patterns for everyone. While I enjoyed The Stitchin' Post and Sew Many Quilts, QuiltWorks was my favorite shop visited Friday. Not only were Dave and Marylin, the store's owners, patient and kind, but the shop had a great selection of fabrics, notions and samples of many quilts. They also have a quilt gallery on a second floor that's like a mezzanine which circles the bottom floor. The challenge contest theme was "make me laugh". Here are a few examples-

And my favorite- 

Saturday morning in Sisters started out with a stop at Angeline's Bakery for some goodies and coffee. Mom had been there before, so she knew we'd like it. She was right! The coffee was good and the baked goods even better. We shared some scones and one of the best cinnamon rolls this side of mine I've ever eaten. 

We then joined the approximately 12,000 quilt enthusiasts that attend the show. Mom, Dawn and I strolled along the streets of Sisters oohing & ahhing at some amazing quilts. I have always been fascinated by the artistic quality of modern quilts, and there were a good selection of beautiful ones everywhere I looked.

Since this was my first time at the show, I just wanted to enjoy things which is exactly what I did! I am really grateful to my mom and sis for letting me tag along, and I am already looking forward to next year's Sisters weekend!

From Guilt to Gratefulness

Little did I ever expect to find myself writing this post from sear #42 on a tour bus bound for the Sisters Quilt Show. 
I had been at Mom's yesterday finishing up a quilt for On The Stitch when my sister, Dawn, appeared at the door. After greeting her with a big hug, I asked what brought her to Salem. She told me she was up to go with mom on the annual Greenbaum's bus trip to central Oregon. I have thought about going sometimes, but with my work schedule, thinking has been as far as I have ever gotten. I mentioned to Mom and Dawn to remind me next year, and maybe I could arrange my schedule to go. Mom then got on the phone with Lisa- Greenbaum's manager- to ask if the aspect happened to be any room left. After Lisa called back, it was determined that 1) yes, there was a seat, 2) there was room at the hotel, and 3) what did I want for dinner Friday. 
Not being one to do much spontaneous anymore, I immediately texted Fordyce's to ask about getting this morning off, called Mary to see if she'd teach for me tonight, and talked with Brian to make sure it was okay.
Obviously, since I already said I am on the bus, it all worked out. It felt weird this morning as the guilt of not working to do something which still feels frivolous hit me. I am not sure why this guilt, but it is moving into less of that and more of gratefulness. Gratefulness for a mom and sister who let me barge in on their already planned trip. Gratefulness for employers who are kind enough to  let me take today off. Gratefulness to a daughter who is willing to step out of her comfort zone to let her mom "run away" for a day and a half. Gratefulness for a husband who, after taking a couple of deep breaths, said it was not only okay for me to come, but financed this little last minute adventure.
I am looking forward to seeing all I can today and tomorrow. I want to continue to work on this gratefulness thing so as to spread it to others, and this trip should give me lots of opportunities to practice.    

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Choose To Be Silent No More


Everyone has a story. Everyone has a past. Thank God that everyone also has a future. I have been debating about sharing my past on this blog for a long time. I actually debated on sharing it with any more people than had already heard, but I felt it needed to be told if it would just help one person or make someone think a little harder about how they live their lives. This is why I shared the story with a group of 50-60 high school students and their parents during a second year confirmation class at St. Joseph's this past March. This is also why I shared it on a website run by very courageous women. This is also why I share it with you now as I choose to be silent, no more (this is most of the story- for my full testimony, visit Silent No More).

It all started my freshman year.I didn't think I was pregnant until one day I felt a little odd physically. I shared this news with my parents. My mom took me to a Planned Parenthood in Long Beach, CA. They did a pregnancy test, and it was positive. In a week or so, my abortion was planned. It was as if I had just gone in for something like a tonsillectomy or wisdom teeth removal.

Afterwards, I remember sharing about the abortion with people to try to get someone to feel sorry for me and help me. I was doing a bit of babysitting, and I remember just holding the little girl I was watching and crying, thinking about my baby.
I met my husband in 1984, and we were married 1985. When we realized we wanted to get married, I knew I had to share with him about the abortion. He was very loving and understanding. The first couple of years of our marriage were really rough. I went through depression and later realized it was also post-traumatic stress disorder. We then moved to Oregon. We tried from the beginning of our marriage to get pregnant. It ended up taking us 4 1/2 years to be able to conceive, and I know it was partially due to what happened to my body during the abortion. The regret I felt kept making me wonder if I would ever be able to have another baby. Even during my pregnancy with our first child, I would often find myself feeling sad and missing the baby I had aborted.

During this time, I found some healing through a support group at Salem Alliance Church. I was able to pray and to start finding forgiveness during this time. In 2011, I reverted back to the Catholic Church. It was during this time and specifically going to confession that true and full healing started. Attending Mass, confession and spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament has continued to open up more and more healing. I hope to have the opportunity to attend a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat in the next year.

In the last two years, I opened up to my four, now young adult, kids and shared with them about their half-sister. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Forgiveness and love surrounded us during this time and has continued to help us grow closer as a family.

One of the reasons I wanted to share with my kids is that my two boys have had an opportunity to be part of praying outside of abortion clinics, the March for Life in D.C. and other pro-life things. My kids and I have also been a part of 40 Days for Life. I told my kids that they are welcome to share my story if it will help someone they know at school or meet in part of their pro-life work. I have thought about sharing my story for quite a while now, but knowing this might help someone who is struggling with the thought of aborting their child or trying to find healing.

Please, if you read this and you are struggling with the after effects of abortion, visit the Silent No More website or contact me. Know that God loves you, and there is hope. There is always hope.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fruit & Flowers- Fourth of July Style

Happy Fourth of July! Since it's still a Friday, I baked in the Fordyce Farms kitchen this morning for a few hours while Mary spent the time picking blueberries & flowers. I was working on developing a new recipe for muffins with carrots & fresh currants. Not only did the new "Triple C" muffins- carrot, currants and cardamom, turn out delicious, but Mary got some beautiful berries and flowers for the house. 

After we finish watching some World Cup soccer, I plan on reading for a while before heading into the Keatley kitchen to make some kind of blueberry treat to enjoy after our dinner tonight.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summertime, and the Reading is Easy

I'd like to say the lazy dog days of summer are here, but the only thing lazy about it would possibly be our black lab, Ruby.

When I do have some "lazy" time, I really enjoy reading good books. This summer I've enjoyed          re-reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien ( I give the author's name in case you've been living under a rock). I wrote about some of the other books on my shelf a few posts back. I usually buy less than one new book a year (not counting gems from Dollar Tree), but 2014 has been an exception. My latest purchase came last night at Costco. One of my favorite authors is Dean Koontz. He has a way of writing that is much deeper than one expects for the genre under which his works are usually classified. The first time I bought one of his books was in a used bookstore on the Oregon coast. I figured they'd be under mysteries, but I could not find a single one. After finally asking the clerk, she took me to the horror section upon where my eyes perused a plethora of Mr. Koontz' books. Even though I felt weird buying something from that particular section, I walked out with three different novels. Since then I have not only read many of his books, I've also given a few for gifts. This brings me to last evening's purchase. I was only there for some essentials, dog food, dairy-free milk, gluten-free bread, etc. when I stopped by the book section. There it was...

...just waiting for me. The fact that it is an autographed copy didn't hurt either. In my cart it went and home it came. I am now waiting for the right time to read it. The Fourth of July weekend is coming up as is our family camping many choices. I even considered reading it last night when I couldn't sleep, but I knew I should wait. For now, it sits on my bookshelf. I know that whenever I decide to read it, The City will be worth the wait. 

New Recipe- Majadra

Friday found me still feeling under the weather but also knowing I needed to eat. I found a great recipe to utilize foodstuffs we have on hand- majadra. It's a delicious lentil and rice mix of yumminess. I found the recipe on At The Immigrant's Table. There were many websites with this recipe, but Ksenia had a way of writing that made me want to use her recipe. I hope you will give it a try!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Soup Time

,Woke up this morning with the head stuffies having turned into a full fledged cold. This being the case, I took what seemed like a medicine chest full of help then relaxed on our "reading chair" while drinking a cup of cold care tea. David came downstairs and I shamelessly asked him to make me some breakfast. I ended up breaking my fast with a nice plate of eggs, toast & apple slices. After breakfasting with David and the U.S. vs. Germany World Cup game, I thought I'd get around a bit and make some soup. I had split pea in mind, but alas, with all the assorted legumes in my cupboard, there was nary a pea to be found. Thanks to our CSA produce from Pitchfork & Crow, we have an abundance of yummy veggies, so I decided on a ham & veggie soup instead.  Here's what I made-

Simple Ham & Veggie Soup
2 tablespoons oil of choice - I used a blend of untoasted sesame oil & olive oil
3 carrots
1 onion
5 stalks celery
2 garlic scapes
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cabbage
2 cups diced red potatoes
8 cups chicken stock - you can use vegetable broth if preferred
2 cups chopped ham
2 tsp. mixed herbs of choice - I used marjoram and thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2-1 tsp. salt, to taste
Fresh parsley, for garnish

Chop all vegetables into bite size pieces. In large pot, heat oil over medium high. Add vegetables, garlic and herbs & reduce to medium heat. Let cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stock and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Add ham, pepper and salt to taste. Let simmer 10 minutes or so. Garnish with parsley.

This works great with any assortment of veggies. It's also terrific with some grated Parmesan cheese over the top. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Just Keep Posting

One of my favorite lines in Pixar's Finding Nemo is when Dori sings, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming". I so often think I should just get rid of this blog, but then something happens and I find myself inspired to write again. The latest inspiration would be the changes that have happened in our family the last couple of months along with what I've been reading. Because of this, I've decided to "just keep posting" even when I am dreadfully inconsistent.

I'll start with the kids- 
Cari moved back home in the spring. Mostly good, but sometimes a bit tough for her to not have her own space. It's been great to see the beautiful and creative things she's making while working at The Quilted Forest. She's also been singing a bit more at Sunday Mass which has been a blessing for all who hear her lovely voice.
Josh graduated from Thomas More in May. We all got to attend his graduation (which is a whole post in itself). He's hoping to go to seminary this fall at Mt. Angel and start the road to becoming a priest for the archdiocese of Portland. 
David finished his first year at Christendom and is enjoying watching World Cup soccer with his dad plus working part time.
Mary's finished her first year at Chemeketa, and is teaching at the salle along with working over the summer.
Now to Brian- he's been helping out around the house while I've been gone so much (see next paragraph). He's also spending the summer figuring out what classes to take this fall at Chemeketa to get his vineyard management degree next year.

As for me, work has been a bit busier over the last few months. In March, I started helping my mom with her business, 
She's been sewing since she was a little girl, and her latest venture is a longarm quilting/fabric art business. It's been really fun learning how to machine quilt, and it helps me use both sides of my brain which doesn't always happen. I actually have to do some math-like work while at the same time be creative when figuring out just what we are wanting a quilt to look like. It's a great new experience for me & getting to work with my mom has been a special joy!  


My seasonal baking  job out at Fordyce Farms started a couple weeks ago- it's taken me a bit of time to get back into the hang of Mr. F's kitchen, but I am glad to be back.
Of course, I am still teaching fencing which has been great this year. We changed our name in May to Salem Fencing Club-
be sure to check out our new very cool website! I've gotten to work with some terrific people and look forward to going to the salle every day that I work there!

Thankfully, even with all if this going on, I have been able to keep my devotional life, such as it is, going. I've read some amazing books over the last few months, including The Power of the Ring by Stratford Caldecott, Too Many Cooks by Emily Franklin, and Jesus of Nazareth part 3 by Pope Benedict. The latest to earn a place on my dresser is The Little Oratory by David Clayton and Leila Lawler. It is not only a charming book, but it contains much more wisdom than I had expected.   

Speaking of charming, I've also discovered Leila and her daughter's website, Like Mother Like Daughter. If you only have a few minutes to read a blog during your day, make it this one. Filled with insights, advice (really good advice like you'd get a from a dear friend or auntie), great ideas and lovely photos. 

All of this has helped me realize why I am really keeping the blog. I am able to record my "life journey" and hopefully offer some inspiration to those of you who chance upon Mangia Mamma. I plan on adding at least a recipe or two a week as we are always trying new things at the Keatley house (aka The Burrow according to most of my children.) Plus, I think it's helpful for me to be able to write in order for me to put down some of my thoughts on what it's like to live as a Catholic revert, semi-empty nester and woman who has the opportunity to do so many different things that she loves. With that all being said, take some time today to find inspiration in the everyday parts of your life~ Just keep doing whatever it is you are doing!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Following the Lenten-Brick Road with Catholic Sistas!

This year for Lent, I'm taking part in Catholic Sistas Instagram Photo a Day Challenge. It's been very thought provoking this far as I am supposed to take photos representing their word of the day. I've actually used some of David's photos too as he seems to have his phone at the ready more than I do. I want to also be sure to try to write some of my reflections this Lent, if for nothing else, to keep me thinking about more than myself and what's going on in my life.
So here's the first five days:

Day 1- Dust
Mary and I went to 7 a.m. Mass as she had school in the morning and I was going to work at my mom's. Father Holden imposed ashes on me. He did a pretty good job since they ended up lasting for the entire day, reminding me from dust I had come and to dust I would return (singing alleluia, alleluia).

Day 2-Virtue
David shaved his head into a mohawk for an Ash Wednesday penance. I know some people wouldn't think that's a big deal, but for a kid who can be a bit obsessive about how his hair looks, it made a difference for him.

Day 3-Test
This is a close up of a beautiful and tender print that Joshua owns. To me it shows the ultimate test of a mother's love. When I start to think of how much I love my kids, I realize it is nothing compared to the love our Blessed Mother had for her Son and how it really shows in this piece.

Day 4-Faith
Just a snippet of the collection we have amassed of amazing books by Catholic authors. We've got a whole bookshelf, but there are two more full up in the boys' room (I can't really claim them since they do belong to Josh and David, but I can read them). It's so much fun finding books that help us to grow in our Faith, and I'd love to have enough to fill up more shelves!

Day 5-Eucharist
David and 14 classmates from Christendom headed up to The Bronx yesterday for a week-long missions trip working with the Fransican Friars do the Renewal. This was a photo of David's he sent me today of their chapel. Please pray for the kids and the time they will be spending working alongside these amazing friars while helping some of our nation's poorest folks!

For more great photos, visit @CatholicSistas on Instagram!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Couple of Amazing Couples

My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday! We were able to throw together a fun "Route 66" diner-food party for them. It was really great seeing my parents so happy. Instead of waxing on about it, I'm going to have you check out this amazing post from Cari at OregonicGirl. I will, however, share a couple of photos of the happy couple~

Mom and Dad, circa 1964...

 ...and Mom and Dad, 2014!
I often forget how rare anymore it is for couples to stay married for 50 years, but so many people were surprised and pleased about my folks. I know they've been through a lot of stuff (that would take more than a book or two worth of memoirs), and I am really happy they have not only stayed married, but remained friends. Way to go, Mom and Dad~ love ya both lots!

While I am writing on great marriages, I want to introduce you to another amazing couple, Blessed Emperor Karl Von Habsburg and Empress Zita, his beautiful wife, who has been declared a Servant of God. I had learned about them a while ago on Crisis Magazine in an article written by one of Joshua's professors at Thomas More, Dennis Kitzinger. I hadn't thought about them for a while, and then I came across another article about their amazing marriage  in The Imaginative Conservative. The articles are both outstanding, but what is even more awe-inspiring was their marriage. The love they had for each other as well as The Lord and the faith they kept during even during horribly tragic circumstances is just incredible. Their family legacy still continues in a story about Archduke Imre (one of the couple's great-grandsons) and his wife, Her Imperial and Royal Highness Kathleen on The Catholic Beat. I hope I've shared enough to get you to read their stories! 

Emperor Karl and Empress Zita on their wedding day, 1911

With marriages like those of my parents as well as  Blessed Karl and Servant of God Zita, those of us who are married today have something to strive for in our relationships. Thanks to all of you who have paved the way for all of us who want to have marriages that are also friendships, but even more so, marriages that glorify God and bring Him honor.