Monday, November 30, 2009

Leftover Gift Cards

I have a drawer full of gift cards. Unused, and losing $1.95 a month in service fees.

We got a million gift cards for our wedding, and I just don't want to spend them! What if I don't get the perfect item? What if I use it and then something new and amazing comes out the next week?

The thing is, honestly, the gift cards are to stores I would never shop in because they're so expensive. Even though it's technically "free," I still feel like I'm getting ripped off!

It's time to take a deep breath, let go, and go on a shopping spree!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Worse than Seasickness, but Eerily Similar

I'm more than a little ill at the moment.

I had my most intense initiation into farm life.

I watched the pig slaughter this morning. And I watched my husband collect the blood for the blood sausage. And I watched the butcher skin and gut the animal (saving the hearts and livers for sausage).

And I was doing great.

Until now, when I got home and there's a pig leg (who I saw walking around this morning) in my refrigerator.

It's time to make the sausage but I can't even stand up... I'm confined to my bed, not to be disturbed.

(Yeah, I'll get up in a while and try to get into it with great gusto, but I need a moment to... recover).

Am I a vegetarian now? No. But I won't take meat for granted anymore.

Friday, November 27, 2009

New Hobby

I haven't picked up a new hobby in a while, but I think I've found one I can't resist.

I've made rope rosaries before, but have always wanted to do chain rosaries. I never have because it's so intimidating! It requires *gasp* TOOLS.

If I started with a chaplet though, I might actually do it (less to mess up, see).

I'm off to Michael's to get supplies.


Free Friday continues.

This weekend, get a free slice of pie at Bob Evans.

Those in the NW can still get free cookie dough at Papa Murphy's.

AND TODAY ONLY: (while you're shopping up the Black Friday ads)

Get a free sample of Ocean Spray Craisins at Macy's.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Selfishness

Before we were married, my husband and I discussed several times what we would do for holidays. With the whole family, by ourselves, or some of both? Despite the fact we agreed (4 times) to do them by ourselves and "make an appearance" at family gatherings, I knew in my heart that agreement would go out the window at the first invitation to the extended-family feast.

I grew up hundreds of miles from any extended family, so all of our holidays were strictly our immediate nuclear family. I liked it that way; it was quiet, it was comfortable.

Up here, everybody lives within 10 miles of each other. Family gatherings mean excessive amounts of food, excessive amounts of noise, and for me, a lot of stress. I love these people! My husband's family is incredible. But even with these people I really love, it's stressful to for me to be in somebody else's house, eating somebody else's food, sitting on somebody else's couch, laughing at somebody else's jokes, and living somebody else's traditions when I just want to be at home with my own turkey on my own couch with my own husband.

I'm not going to lie. Since I was a little girl, I've dreamt of cooking at holidays for my husband. I love the excitement of making several dishes; the hubbub of timing each dish perfectly; the joy of a meal well prepared. My mother takes such pride in setting her beautiful table, making her mother's stuffing, glazing her candied yams... it was a delight to watch her. I looked forward to the day when I was married and could do it myself.

Now? Any dish I make to bring will get swallowed up in the cruise-like buffet. To make an entire meal here and then go over there for Round 2 would be wasteful and absurd. But what is the alternative? Making a grand feast and sitting here at home by ourselves when the party of the millennium is going on a few miles away? To be anti-social and hurt my husband's feelings by shunning his family... all because I want to stick a bird in an oven and put out my Thanksgiving napkins?

Despite the initial smarts and stings of accepting this fate, I've come to see that if we were back in the big city, I'd be at my parents' house in a heartbeat. We'll have years to ourselves later on; for now, I am so grateful I have a loving extended family who has welcomed me as one of their own.

I am so so grateful for the wondrous gift of the Sacrament of Marriage; the gift that helps rid us of our petty selfishness! The gift that takes the focus off of me, my wants, my desires, my ideas... and shows me how to die to self so as to best serve and love another. What a wonderful gift to be thankful for!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tossin' the Pigskin

Well, this Friday and Saturday when others are shopping the Black Friday sales, taking post-Thanksgiving naps, watching football games... I'll be tossing the pigskin.




It's butchering time, and we're going to be making fresh sausages. I really hope not to witness the slaughter itself, but I've got to be around the day of because we're making (don't gag) blood sausage, boudin, bratwurst, Italian sausage -- they all need fresh meat (and blood and liver).

If I actually go through with this thing, I'll try to post some non-gory pictures!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chastity Scapulars?

I am so scandalized by some of the things that go in our youth group.

Here was a conversation overheard this week:

Girl 1: "Did you know you get a partial indulgence everytime you kiss your scapular?"
Girl 2: "Wow! I'm gonna kiss mine all the time!"
Guy: "Sheesh. You're not supposed to make out with it."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Free Friday Rides Again

This morning I ate my Total Blueberry Pomegranate cereal for breakfast (that was a freebie several weeks ago). It was pretty good. I think I liked it a lot better because it was free.

In the NW, get free cookie dough at Papa Murphy's.

At Target (anywhere), get a free sample of Steaz tea.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holy, Healthy, Happy


1. Woke up for early morning Mass!

2. Have eaten pretty healthy all week (except that Slurpee last night, but it was for the youth group!).

3. Gave up all negativity and complaining for 1 day this week (it was HARD!) and was amazed at how much my mood was improved all day.

Check out others' small successes this week at Faith and Family Live.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pride Cometh Before the Fall

I was really proud of myself this week. I've been making an effort to have more focused prayer every day, my house is spotless, I've been making delicious (and nutritious) dinners for my husband, waking up early, eating healthy, going to Mass, getting to-do lists done, not wasting time. I was on top of it! Things were going great.

Then this morning I checked my phone messages.

Three missed calls.

In my hyper-productivity at home this week, I missed 3 important meetings for work. I just completely forgot about them! Didn't even cross my mind.

I suppose if I get fired from the parish church at least I'll be able to keep up my domestic church!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quick Way to Empty the Fridge

Well, we're back from Florida!! It was... as expected... sunny, warm and beautiful.

Anyway, knowing we were going to be gone a whole week, I had to quickly empty my fridge before we left. I hate throwing away food, and we had a ton of vegetables that were on the cusp of going bad.

In a brilliant stroke of genius and inspiration...


Lots of vegetables and meat...

The black olives... and peppers... and mushrooms... sausage and pepperoni... ooey gooey cheese.

Kinda makes your mouth water a bit, hm?

 I think the bubbly browned cheese is the best, though.

We packed a whole pizza in zip-locks for the plane ride. Uuuh... yum.

And it's so stinkin' easy!!

Get my recipe for homemade pizza.

Monday, November 9, 2009


We're in Florida this week! Blogging will be sparse or non-existent until next Tuesday :).

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Over the next few months I'll be tweaking and expanding the blog a bit.

The first thing you might notice right away are the 3 columns (instead of 2). It was getting a little cramped in here. Also, there are image headings in places instead of text (and a new header!). I added a section for my friends' blogs (I don't necessarily agree with them all the time, but they're my pals!). And, what I'm most excited about at the moment are the new printable recipes.

To celebrate the new digs, watch this incredible short film that makes me cry.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Blustery Day

Fall is here.

Which really means... free labor from kids who want to make leaf piles.

Happy jumping.

Free Friday continues.

For those of you blessed enough to live near a Whataburger, on November 10th just wear some orange and get a free Whataburger.

Get some junk mail, no doubt, but also get a free pocket 2010 calendar.

And the best, by far: get a $5 gift certificate to for signing up for their newsletter. There are tons of things under $5 (including shipping) in their "Gifts Under $25" section (sort by price, twice, and you'll see them listed neatly).

Thursday, November 5, 2009


In the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the dad's cure-all is Windex. It's a secret formula that can heal any ailment.

I've got my own panacea. My heating pad. Bad back? Lay on the heating pad. Headache? Sleep on the heating pad. Sore tooth? Just needs a little heat. Bad mood? Something to warm you up. Stomach ache? Works better than tea.

Today I've got a touch of the blues. I think I'll go lay on my heating pad.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Seven Course Dinner

Yesterday I pulled out the crystal and china, had five guests come over, and made a seven course dinner. We had our house blessed by one of the guests, a Monsignor... it feels palpably holier in here now :).

It was too crazy to take pictures during the production so you'll have to imagine how it looked.

Here was the menu, though:

1st Course: Crab/Caramelized Onion Stuffed Mushrooms (Chardonnay)
2nd Course: Green Salad with Olives, Blue Cheese Crumbles, and Vinaigrette
3rd Course: Chicken and Angel Hair Soup
4th Course: Linguine Alfredo
5th Course: Filet Mignon, Chive Mashed Potatoes, Creamy Sausage Green Beans (Merlot)
6th Course: Homemade Ice Cream Nutella Sandwiches
7th Course: Candied Almonds, Fresh Apples and Brie (Port)

Only a few brave guests made it through all of the courses... some were struck down after the 5th.

Besides declaring a state of emergency in my pot-strewn kitchen, the evening was amazing.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dances With Squirrels

A few months ago my husband and I were driving through a national park and he squashed a chipmunk!! There was something almost sacrilegious about killing an animal in a national park. What was worse, the little rodent had a huge mouthful of nuts... probably taking them back to her starving little dewy eyed babies. At the time, I mercilessly harangued him for it but today I made a squirrel take a dance with death and I've seen the light.

I came inches from committing a hit-and-run on our street.

What could I do? The crazy squirrel darted out from behind a parked car into my path. He actually went through my wheels and lived to tell the tale.

Bucky rides again.

Monday, November 2, 2009

On A Quest

I'm on a quest.

For the perfect bacon.

There are just four qualifications for "perfect" bacon. It's got to be thick, not too fatty, not too salty, and has to inspire an unconsciously uttered "yum" after the first bite.

Oscar Meyer claims to be America's favorite bacon, and indeed it's pretty tasty. But it's just not thick enough.

I like "slabs" of bacon!

Others swear by Safeway's bacon...


It is very good, but I'm on a Safeway boycott because they proudly celebrate gay pride month every year.

This quest has not been without its trials, burdens, and discouragement. There've been some real ups and downs.

The darker days included the bacon so thick it was like a fatty pork chop. The low point came when the house was perfumed with the glorious aroma of bacon, but the strips were so salty our lips cracked.

After my last purchase resulted in Sahara-desert-mouths and Lipitor-qualifying-cholesterol levels, I almost gave up.

But then I... I found it.

The holy grail of bacon. It's thick. It's not too salty. It crisps nicely but is equally good chewy. And best of all... I unconsciously yelled out "YUUUUM!!!" after the first taste.

But it's not nationally available. It's a NW thing.

What's your favorite bacon?