Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Recipes!

So MG and I cooked Thanksgiving for us and some friends of ours - the family who took me in when my house was rejecting me.  It was nice to have them and their 17 month old twins!  Great times were had by all.  Since we cooked all 'new to us' recipes, I'd thought I'd share them along to you, if you need some Christmas ideas!

Breakfast: Fresh Cranberry & Orange Scones from Two Peas in their Pod ... and there's enough for breakfast all weekend!  Score!

Our Thanksgiving table was quite beautiful!

Appetizers were some crackers and Cranberry Cinnamon Goat Cheese (log from Aldi).

Crackers with Brie, Sugared Cranberries, Jam, and Mint adapted from Yummly Mummy Kitchen ... no maple syrup around here so we warmed white wine and honey for the berries to soak in overnight.

They were so beautiful!  And delicious!

For Dinner we had Buttermilk Brined Cornish Hens from Kitchen Confidante ... doubled the recipe to get 4.

Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen ... again doubled the recipe and Aldi only had gigantic stalks rather than skinny ones!

Twice Baked Potatoes from Saveur - these were a huge hit and I am super excited that we had 8 halves (each person could only really eat 1 half) and now have left overs for today!

We also had gravy and stuffing - although both were delicious, neither were super exciting.  And for the little ones I made Annie's Bunny Mac & Cheese.

We also had Greek Yogurt Biscuits from Lovely Little Kitchen which were quite delicious even though the cook time was a little messed up - a 'not so hot' oven would have made them amazing.  I'll have to try again and then have them for breakfast with butter and honey this month.  Sorry no pic!

For Dessert we had the most amazing Ooey Gooey Butter Cake from Paula Deen (who else but the queen of butter) topped with Vanilla Ice Cream.

All in all, it was an amazing dinner with pretty great people and now we've got even more days for vacation relaxing.  Today we are off to paint and see the newest Hunger Games, tomorrow some more relaxing, and Sunday more of the same!

Happy beginning of Advent on Sunday - see you then! Check our Beth Anne's for the first day of the Advent Blog Hop - we'll be over here on Monday the 8th for my take on Nativity Decoration on the Immaculate Conception!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NAS: Thanksgiving

In what ways are we thankful?! Write about anything you want under this theme! Do you have any family traditions that help you to be mindful of the blessings in your life?

I am a girl who loves stability and traditions.  I decided to go to a Benedictine College because of the vow of stability that the monks make, and I'm always looking for how my life will be the same in a few years.  Not that everything has to be the same, but it's hard for me to make decisions when everything is on shaky ground.  When something (like a house for my living situation) is on solid ground, all of the other decisions are somehow easier to make and the change is easier to adapt to.

I've been in Charlotte for 7 Thanksgivings now - well, 6 and Thursday makes 7.  The first year I was here my parents and baby brother came for Turkey Day.  The following year I went home to PA (and it was WAY too much traveling for the November/December time frame, so I decided never to go home for Thanksgiving again.

Since then I've been invited to friend's houses for dinner a few times, and the last two years (and this year) made plans to spend it with MG.  Having a best friend makes good things happen!  We went to Savannah one year, last year we were dog sitting for another friend of mine (well, me the whole week, MG spent the 'vacation' days), and this year Thanksgiving is in my new house.  We are also taking in a family, not a random family but the one who gave me a home when mine was throwing up on my earlier this Fall.  So we will be 6, 4 adults and 2 toddlers.

For me the traditions of Thanksgiving are friends, new foods, Mass, and relaxing!  I crave tradition/stability and even though every year Thanksgiving has been different, it has been the same as well - a good dinner, great friends and conversation, and a time to be grateful.  I'm extremely blessed, I know this.  I've always really been blessed.  Nothing tragic has ever happened to me, and the Lord shines His face on me withe blessings every day.  And not just the 'sun is shining' and 'I'm breathing blessings.'  Those are great too - but I don't have to search deep to see where he's blessing me in a storm most of the time.  He is more than generous to this daughter.

I have an amazing family, even when they drive me absolutely insane.  I have a great job, even when I feel a little flabbergasted.  I have a house, even if it threw up on me.  I have fantastic friends, great coworkers, and my health.

Truly those are just a few of my blessings.  I need to remind myself about them whenever I'm feeling down.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!  If our adventurous dinner comes out good, look for a post this week with pics and recipes!  I did make this turkey for my office and they LOVED it - so if you need a turkey recipe, this one is worth it!

Head on over to Morgan's this week for the link-up and as always thanks to her and Jen for hosting the Not Alone Series - I'm extremely grateful for this group of ladies as a support group!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Flabbergasted (a book & my life)!

would link to amazon, but the cover is completely different
and this green car is actually a main character
A while ago a friend recommended for me to read Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston (amazon) so I put it on my library reserve list and waited.  Then a few weeks ago I got the email, picked it up, and started reading.  After a little while, I realized that I had previously read this book, but I couldn't remember the ending and I was stuck on a plane, so I kept going.

It was an interesting read.  The main character, Jay Jarvis, moves to Greenville, SC because he was relocated for work.  He begins attending Church for one reason - to find himself a nice gal.  He finds one, well sort of, and makes a lot of friends as well.  The girl he meets is a missionary who's heart is in South America so it seems like he ends up choosing between money and the girl ... but the ending is so dissatisfying that I remembered why I wasn't a huge fan of it in the past.

But as I was gathering the link from amazon for my post - I saw that it's just Book #1 - and there are two more books following Jay Jarvis and his journey toward missionary life.  Delirious Summer and Lost Rooville and books #2 and #3 respectively!

So I was going to write this pretty scathing review of the book, but now feel like that would be unfair since there is in fact two more installments to continue to follow Jay's journey - maybe he'll start going to Church for God and not just in search of good looking girls.  Maybe not ... maybe he will just abandon this missionary life when he sees that Allie has absolutely no interest in him romantically and he could be more successful if he went back to working in the financial world.

I don't know - but I do know that it's odd to become a full blown missionary while chasing after a girl when no one has had a conversation with you about faith and Jesus and WHY you are a missionary!

I kept thinking about why this book was recommended to me, what did Beth see in the story that led her to me?  She's never made a recommendation before.  Or did the Lord prompt this so that I would consider the life of a missionary.  Don't take this next paragraph as a decision I'm making.  It's just something that came up today at our work retreat that I'm writing down, out loud, to the entire internet.

We did this exercise where you had to choose whether you were a St. Bernard, a Wolf, or a Lion.  I am definitely not the St. Bernard, and don't consider myself a wolf, so I choose Lion - and I was the only one.  It's probably good we don't have too many people who think they are king of the jungle - or in this case Queen of the Church Office, but I was so hesitant to take on that role.  I don't want to be known as the bratty girl who wants to always be in charge and do things her way because she's the queen.  I know that many people see this as an enviable quality and also as a valued quality in the workplace, but I see it as a weakness.  I see it as an inability to let go of control coupled with a tendency to put my nose in places where it doesn't belong - where my opinion is just that - a thought that doesn't need to be expressed.

Then when we looked at our results of the SDI assessment (if you know what that is great, if not - well, I can't explain - it's another Myers Briggs type of personality instrument), I see that I don't test like a lion at all.  I'm very middle of the 'hub' as they say and when I'm stressed I'm more in the category of 'wolf'.  The guy leading the discussion made a comment about my compensating because we lack a 'lion' and additionally it's the position that I've been put in because I'm the Office Manager.

The question is "Is my career suited to my natural tendencies?"  Or should I run off and become a missionary in the jungle of Africa?  Maybe my own Jay Jarvis is there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NAS: When Struggles Come

What ways do you run to implore the Lord's help when you are struggling? Do you always spend time in Adoration? Do you dive into the bible? Automatically go to Confession? Could you be better? And what about those times when things are good and you are joyous? Do you still give the Lord your time?

I was contemplating whether I was going to write this week or not since I'm out of town for work.  I'm visiting at Our Sunday Visitor until Thursday, so today has been filled with lots of traveling, meeting new people, and even an on camera interview!  A pretty exciting day!

Then when we got back from dinner earlier than expected, I figured I would share what I do when I'm struggling...  Great Question!

Ever since I became more involved in my faith the Hail Mary has been my go to prayer in times of need.  So I usually go back there any time I'm struggling with the single life, scared in the middle of the night when I wake up to a startling sound in the dark, anxious at the doctor's office for that appointment, don't know what to say in a tough conversation, get to an intersection that's full of traffic, really need a parking spot, when I can't sleep, and sometimes when I'm just bored.  Sometimes it's the entire Rosary - which I do try to pray daily, but it's usually just a Hail Mary or two or 15, depending on the situation.

There are definitely other forms of prayer that I engage in, but I do have to say that the Rosary is my favorite.  I feel extreme comfort when praying the Rosary and find it a serious delivery of peace and calming.

The other place I run to when I'm struggling with the single life are my friends.  They provide a support system, encouragement, advice, and a lot of the time some cute kiddos and babes for me to love on, squeeze, and get my fix for another week!

Thanks to Morgan for hosting and Jen for always supporting!  See you next week - just a few more weeks until we take a little break for Christmas!!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday ... November 7th

Welcome to November!  I cannot believe we are already in November, time seems to fly by!  I also cannot believe that I've been doing this Office Manager job for almost 2 years now ... we are in month 24.  What will the next two years look like?  More fun times as Office Manager? Or different fun times?  Only the Lord truly knows!

Have you been listening to Serial?  If not, then you should start!  It's the best of NPR, This American Life, crime drama, and the criminal system all in one.  It's hard to describe, but Sara Koenig's reporting is fantastic.  I cannot tell if Adnan killed Hae or not - and if not, who did?  I'm dying to listen to this week's episode, but cannot wait until next week's What's the Deal with Jay?

This week we were discussing Deal Breakers with the NAS gals ... it's been interesting!

So it's November - and it's also Fall!  The last week has been WAY too cold for me, but there have been so many beautiful sunsets!

Last Saturday I celebrated All Saint's Day with a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  I was in attendance and was also the resident photographer/videographer.  Check out my cool video!

click over here for the video if you're reading in a reader

So for the past two weeks (first & second) I've written about how I've been trying to stay away from the grocery store - ie: only buy things that I need.  I still haven't gone - it's been interesting to try to make creative dinners, lunches, and breakfasts.  I think I will be able to make it until next Thursday evening when I get back from Indiana from my trip to visit Our Sunday Visitor.

I was invited to be part of a Customer Advisory Panel with Our Sunday Visitor next week.  I'm pretty excited to see the organization and how things work!  See you on the other side of Indiana!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NAS: Deal Breakers?

We have chatted about our deal breakers/non-negotiables before (well, I didn't participate then, but the other ladies did), but how do you keep from letting your standards fall? What prevents you from just dating any guy out there? What keeps you going?

So for this topic, I just read the beginning of Jen's post and am totally going to steal this paragraph and say I completely agree and couldn't have typed it better myself:
I am not going to date just any guy, because I want to date a godly man. I want to share in that together. For me, the biggest thing: sharing in the sacraments together. The Eucharist. Confession. It's a beautiful gift, but to experience those things together with your future hubby is truly incredible (I would imagine). The grace you receive in general is awesome, but also for your relationship?? It can only make it stronger and pointed toward Heaven.
How do I not lose hope that the guy I think exists does in fact actually exist?  Well, because really - there's no other option.  There's no option except, this is the desire that God has placed on my heart, continues to place on my heart, and so it (both marriage and the guy I'm attracted to) must be there.  Otherwise, I guess I'll be a single gal for a long, long time.  

I also get hope from Cindy's theory of The Veil:
Think of The Veil as a simple metaphor:  It is the idea that God places a protective veil over all of us and the purpose of the veil is to hide us from every possible suitor except the one that God intends for us to marry.  I call the person God wants us to marry our ‘holy spouse.’
Thinking this is the only way to continue to hope that a guy for me exists (I'll use a rather than the since I haven't fully prescribed to the fact that there's only one - when I do, I lose some hope - see the comments on this post from earlier this month) especially when the nice guy I met at Church never calls, or the messages on CM randomly stop.

I also keep hope because I meet them, they aren't still single anymore - most of the time they've got beautiful wives and a gaggle of babes.  The thing I don't know is whether they were truly Godly men before they met their wives or if they grew in virtue because they met their wives.  That is the real key.  So if the second is true - then looking for a super Godly man now seems difficult - better to grow in virtue together.  But if they were great before their wife's influence, then better to hold out.

But what are these deal breakers?  If you're looking to fix me up, what should you look for?  Well, I will suffice is to say this - the dream I have of what marriage should look like - what good marriages do look like - what couples who have stayed married appear to be.  

1.  The men lead spiritually.  This does not mean that the women have no spiritual say or ever utter a word that is a difference in opinion of their husbands.  I attend Mass weekly, well, actually daily - and I want my children to be faithful Catholics.  Statistically the best way to get that result is for them to have a father who prays, leads spiritually, is present spiritually, and teaches them.  If the father is not a strong spiritual leader, then it's a coin toss if the kids are.  If the father is a strong spiritual leader, then there's an almost 90% chance that the kids will be.  If my number one job in life is to get my kids to Heaven (well them and my husband), then I want to have the best odds possible.  So setting them up with a strong spiritual leader as a father seems like the only way to do that.

2.  The couple respects one another.  When differences of opinion about anything - as small as where to eat out to as large as education of children or financial issues - inevitably occur, then respect each other enough to listen to all sides and then live with the decision that best suits both spouses.  If there's not respect for one another or each other, then no true marriage can exist or last.

3.  Each spouse is trying to grow in virtue and they encourage each other.  This of course relates to chastity in a dating relationship - where you can figure out who's serious about virtue growth and who's doing it (or in this case not doing it, if you will) just because the other one 'says so'.  This also relates to family planning methods in marriage like NFP or just being open to life (as Haley says at Carrots: Awesome Family Planning).  Our goal is salvation.  The ultimate end of marriage is salvation for both spouses.  We both need to have that goal in mind.  If our desires aren't to "Be a Saint" when this is all said and done, then our marriage will never last.

And at bare minimum that is it - I mean, none of the rest of it matters, I don't think anyway.

Check out Jen's for the other ladies and as always thanks to her and Morgan for hosting!  See you next week!

Friday, October 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday ... October 31st

Well, today is Halloween - my absolute least favorite holiday.  It has nothing to with the devil, religious reasons, calling it 'all hallow's eve' or any like that.  It's actually because I don't like dressing up or acting like someone I'm not.  I can appreciate what Kendra has as a tradition with her children - super scary, super cool saints and Halloween costumes.  I am also excited to see all of the babies in my life dressed up in super cute costumes - Doug, a puppy, and an old man are in the works for today!

This week I had a chance to put some old pictures from CDs onto my computer and upload them up to my google photos ... check out some of these fun ones!

Mike (now Father) and I in Germany for WYD
more here
Yes, that is JPII!!!  A SAINT!
more from WYD here
There are more, but you'll have to wait a few weeks!

Brenda, over at Triple Braided Life, featured me on Tuesday as a Single Woman Making A Difference.  Pretty fun!

Nervously, I posted the link on Facebook to share ... it felt so scrazy (that's scary and crazy together) - really putting myself out there when I usually try to keep this little blog on the DL.  It went well though, there was an overwhelming positive response and I'm super grateful for them - and for you, my faithful but few readers.

Yesterday I decided to take a little trip back on the Bones wagon to the end of Season 1 when Bones found her mom.  It's so interesting to me to see Emily play Bones 9 years ago and today.  I'm always intrigued by the writing for this show.  Nothing more to say about that - except that Bones is always a great tv choice!!!

Over in our NAS Facebook Group we've been discussing Chivalry, Modesty, Sex, and Discernment over the past month.  We always marvel at all of the great articles that get posted surrounding our topics the same weeks we decide to discuss.  A few of the articles have been really great and definitely work checking out.  Matt Walsh on marriage this week, Thought Catalog's catalog of Chivalry, Relevant Magazine on the Church and Sex Teachings (not RC, btw), FOCUS on relaxing about dating, and so many more - but these are some good ones to read for all.

Also this is just fun!  Watch all the way to the end, it's not about what you think it's about!

Told ya! What a laugh!  (if you're reading in a reader, click here for the video)

As I'm writing these quick takes, I see this is what I wrote last week:
I've been trying to eat the things I have in my home rather than going out to the store to buy new stuff - which is a good economical choice except for the fact that I had to pour Soy Milk into my coffee this morning since I'm out of half-and-half.  Hmm.... I prefer half-and-half and the creaminess that it changes a cup of coffee into!!!  Oh the small sacrifices that I can hardly convince my self to do - how will I ever get to Heaven?!
I still don't have half-and-half, but have managed all week by putting soy milk in my coffee.  Not that I love this - but I think I can make it until at least Saturday - maybe longer without any other groceries, so sacrifices in the morning galore over here at Casa Katie.  Until Saturday at least... no guarantees after that!

That's all for now - hope your October was fantastic and you are looking forward to an amazing November!  Hopefully a warm November!!!  Happy Eve of All Saints!!!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!