Thursday, March 17, 2016

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Green Edition

Since today is the Feast Day of St. Patrick, I thought I'd do a "Green" edition of this week's {pretty, happy, funny, real} link up with Like Mother, Like Daughter. I'm not Irish, but part of my husband's family is from Donegal, Ireland. You can read more about St. Patrick's life here.


We've had so much rain in the Mid-Willamette Valley this winter that our whole yard is blooming including plants that most people think of as weeds. So much green everywhere! We have one space in the backyard where these yellow flowery plants grow. I'm sure they are weeds, but the green and yellow make for a very {pretty} area.

I was very blessed to be invited to coffee with my dear friends, Annette and Cristina on Tuesday. I had been wanting to have a reason for making this green scarf, so I got up early and stitched it up. Annette graciously picked me up since I'm still not supposed to be driving. We had been going for just coffee, and Cristina ended up making us breakfast {happy}. We thought we'd be there for a short while and ended up finally leaving after 4 1/2 hours. What a {happy} time we had being able to talk and share our journeys as wives and moms.

{more happy}

My oldest son has had a great experience at Mt. Angel Seminary taking part in so many cultural celebrations/feast days since the students are so diverse. He's shared about how the only group that hasn't done anything special are the anglo community. After talking with some of his fellow seminarians and getting the okay from the staff, he decided to head up at St. Patrick's Celebration. I decided to make some {happy} cookies to help the party- Whole Wheat Celtic Knot Sugar Cookies & Green Sparkle Sugar Cookies. I love that he planned everything from talking to the chef about making Irish food to being part of an Irish Band. Even though I haven't gotten the chance to talk with him, I am sure it was a {happy} success!


Last week I shared about our {funny} cats. This week the {funny} is about Solomon the cat. I think it might be due to not having kids at home. I refuse to believe it's because I'm turning into a crazy cat lady!
So this weeks {funny} cat photo is Solomon loving on my sewing machine. He enjoys coming upstairs to my sewing room and sitting on my desk to look at the birds and the green leaves outside. The other day, I realized that Solomon also likes to rub his face all over my sewing machine. He doesn't touch the thread, so I've decided I am okay with him taking a like to the machine. I've decided I want to make a little quilt for him to lay on next to the machine. I just hope this isn't another indication of the crazy cat lady thing.


Wednesday nights from 9-10 will find me at our parish, St. Joseph Catholic Church, for my hour of Adoration. During most of the year (Ordinary Time on the Liturgical Calendar), the chapel is fairly empty, but as soon as Advent or Lent starts, it can sometimes be even standing room only. I am always so grateful to see other people come and join my husband and I in adoring the {real} presence of Christ. It just doesn't get any more {real} than this. If you haven't been to Adoration lately, consider going as many times as you can during the upcoming Holy Week. I will be praying for all of us that we can be sure we are keeping it {real}. 

Check out other {pretty, happy, funny, real} blogposts 
by visiting the link-up at 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday Scribblings- Daylight Savings Edition

Well, it's here again whether we like or not. Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins tonight. Okay, it officially begins tomorrow morning at 2:00 a.m., but I've never been one to stay up to set my clocks forward. We always just change them before we go to bed. I don't even know if my body has gotten used to standard time, and it has to change all over again. I suppose I could wax on about the political and business ramifications of the time change or even the history, but there are a lot of people who are much wiser than I where you can go to read about it. For instance, you can read the history behind it here. I will say one more thing about it, however. Just remember that Benjamin Franklin was the instigator of DST, and he was also the one who thought the turkey should be our national bird. Just sayin'.
flowers in the backyard

Yesterday I was feeling well enough to work a little bit in the backyard. I mostly just weeded and put leaves in the yard debris bin. The fun part was seeing the color in places that I didn't expect. It was raining a bit, but that didn't deter me at all. I figured when I am feeling okay and the weather isn't terrible then I need to be working outside. That way, hopefully, our yard will be ready for when Summer comes.

close up of triptych

I was able to make another pocket oratory this week. It was a triptych custom order with St. Gianna Molla, two prayers- the Hail Mary and Prayer to the Trinity, and St. Francis of Asissi. It's always such a joy to be able to help others come closer to the Lord with these little bits of light!

green rosary case

I've also been working on some new rosary cases as well. I was really pleased with this green wool felt one with The Blessed Mother and the Hail Mary. I'm so happy to have these in my Etsy shop. You can find these at Piccolo Di Luce.

I've also decided when I'm not having a dizzy day that I need to try to do as much as I am able. Besides working out in the yard and up in the sewing room, I've also been trying to do small things to keep up the kitchen. I took a little time to shine up our thrift store OXO brand tea kettle. Using some elbow grease and a smidgen of Bon Ami cleanser, it turned out so pretty and shiny!
time for tea

Last but not least is a recipe for an Apple Dutch Baby Pancake. It's what I made last Sunday for our brunch after Mass. It was so delicious and easy to make. Buono Appeitito!

Apple Dutch Baby Pancake

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium firm apples such as Gala or Jonagold, sliced thin
3/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. milk
1/4 t. baking powder
1 T. granulated sugar
4 eggs

1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. ground allspice

Preheat oven to 400. Place butter in cast iron skillet or 7 x 11 pan, and put in oven. 
Whisk flour, milk, baking powder, 1 T. sugar, and eggs in small bowl.  (You can do this part in a blender instead). Combine topping ingredients.
Place sliced apples into bottom of skillet or pan; return to oven and cook for 5 minutes.
Pour batter over apples and sprinkle with topping. Bake for 20-25 or until golden brown and puffy. Serve with maple syrup.
Serves 4

Thursday, March 10, 2016

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Mangia Mamma style

After so many years of enjoying the blog Like Mother, Like Daughter and especially their Thursday feature {pretty, happy, funny, real}, I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and add my little bit to the link up. If you happen here and haven't been on their site be sure to head over there ASAP. So much great advice from Auntie Leila as well as great posts from all her girls.                                                     

{more happy}

I must admit this may seem a bit self-serving as I get to show off a couple of my oratories. I haven't done an actual post on the new ones I've been making, but then again, I haven't been blogging much at all lately. So, here are a couple examples that make me very happy. The top one is the little pocket oraatory I sent to Auntie Leila as a thank you for her encouragement. She in turn was kind enough to post about it, and let me do a giveaway. How fun it was to make one for Hannah in Pennsylvania!
I've even made a few that have gone overseas. The bottom photo one is a special custom order I did that will be going to France (hence the French prayer). It has been such a blessing and joy to make these as it's a little way for me to help others draw closer to Christ through prayer.
With that in mind, I've also started making little wool felt Rosary cases. They have an image of Our Blessed Mother on them as well as a prayer. There are lots of choices of images and prayers which is a fun way to personalize your case. Just like the pocket oratories, you can find them at my Etsy shop, Piccolo Di Luce.

Jospehine {funny}
Solomon {funny}
I guess with all going on in our family that the {funny} is sometimes hard to find. Thankfully, even with the kids gone, our dog and cats keep us entertained. I'm not sure if that's a sign that we're not getting out enough, but it could be. Nonetheless, it's a humorous sight to see the three kitties jumping on our bed like a small herd of starving animals every morning, making me glad they are all fairly small for cats. Here's at least two of the three trying to look at least somewhat cute, if not funny!!

The last part is a bit more of the {real}. We are starting the process of trying to finally remodel the house (after 20 years of living in it). Between Brian's OCD and my Meniere's Disease, it will be quite a feat if we pull it off. This is where I finally realized this morning- sometimes it takes me a while to use my brain- that we need to not only be on the same page, but we need to be praying together for each aspect of this endeavor. I am hoping this draws us closer to both each other and to our Lord. It just can't get much more {real} than that.
{real} kitchen is on the remodel list
Be sure to check out all the great posts on the Like Mother, Like Daughter 
{pretty, happy, funny, real} link up today!!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Middle of the Week Wanderings- Cookies edition

I just realized I have been doing a lousy job of updating how the Great Keatley Baking Challenge is going. I'd love to say it's due to my Meniere's (partly true) as well as not baking as much due to Lent (again, partly true), but most of all it's because I'm a bit lazy and it's so much each to just post photos on Instagram and Facebook. 
We really have been doing some baking over the last month. David had asked for homemade cookies for his birthday in February. I did post about this a bit last month.
I figured I should share a few of the recipes we used! I used a recipe from Like Mother, Like Daughter for Leila's candied ginger and chocolate chip cookies. I even made my own candied ginger for the recipe which was easy and delicious. I also made our simple GF peanut butter cookies which only has 4 ingredients and tastes really peanut buttery. I've been trying to use some more of the recipes from the CIA's baking and pastry book, so the third cooky I made was a chocolate biscotti. It took a bit of time compared to the other two, but ended up to be a very good biscotti. Here's that recipe for you to try.

Chocolate Biscotti with Royal Icing Drizzle
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, sugar and baking powder. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks and vanilla extract. Add wet mix to dry and stir until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Add chocolate chips and mix until just incorporated. Roll the dough into 3 logs each about 10 by 2 inches. Place a piece of parchment onto a baking sheet and place logs on sheet. Place in oven and bake 20 minutes until light golden brown and remove. Allow to cool 5 minutes and cut logs on a slight diagonal into pieces 1/2-inch thick. Lower heat to 300. Return cut biscotti to baking sheet, just a little bit apart from each other, and place in oven. Bake 20 minutes until crisp and dry. Remove from oven, place on cooling racks and 
drizzle with fondant; cool before serving.
Royal Icing Drizzle:
2 tablespoon dried egg whites
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons water
To make royal icing, mix all ingredients in small bowl until blended. Add a bit more water until achieving the right consistency to drizzle.

The cookies were such a success on Fat Tuesday that we ended up making a few others to send off to David. Brian was a big help that day as we baked another batch of peanut butter cookies, this time using Grandma Pitalo's recipe as well as a gluten free cream cheese bar. Since I had a new sous chef, I let Brian at it making a new specialty "coconut macaroons". They were amazingly delicious and fairly easy for him to make. He was even able to work on his egg separating skills! Here's the recipe for the macaroons:

Brian’s Coconut Cherry Macaroons
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup coconut flakes
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 maraschino cherries, drained

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for cherries and mix well. Using a 1/4 cup measuring scoop, drop mounds onto parchment or Silpat lined baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place cherry onto top of each cooky. Return to oven and bake for 5-7 minutes more or until just starting to brown on edges. Cool on wire rack. 
Makes 12 cookies

We ended up sending a large priority mail box full of cookies and lots of birthday love plus a couple of surprises. It was a very happy sounding second son when the phone rang on the day the package arrived. The fun part was that he shared the cookies not only with his sister but with a number of other students at school. What a joy it is to get to use a few of my baking skills (and Brian's) to make our college kids birthdays a bit more memorable. If you haven't baked any cookies in a while, now is a great time to bake and share. It might even be considered a small work of mercy!