Being Catholic: [Home Decor]

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I had a thought the other day, inspired by a post I saw (by A Knotted Life) and my sister (as she and her family get settled into a new house), if someone walked into our home chateau, would they be able to tell we're Catholic? Like by our decor, if you will? Then in line with our Being Catholic series, I thought I'd touch on the topic, and how we be Catholic, in our home decor. 
Along with a few crosses here and there, bible verses and chalkboard designs/drawings, we currently we have a few religious items throughout our home, but I'd like to add to our collection in a way that complements our 'style', encourages our faith, and sets an example for our little ones.
I have a crucifix over our front door; and over each of our bedroom doors, a St. Benedict crucifix. The St. Benedict medal is rich in meaning, history, and known for his 'power' in warding off evil.
In each of the kids' rooms, along with their St. Benedict crucifix, I like to incorporate little reminders of our faith to encourage not only their involvement, but excitement about being Catholic.
Prayer blocks
Prayer painting
XL Rosary // Holy family figurine
Having these items available for T to play with, touch, hold, and interact with offer such great opportunities to teach and talk about our faith.
So, I think one would be able to tell we are Catholic-Christian by the items we have in our home, but I'd definitely like to incorporate more. A sign of this sort will be showing up on my birthday wishlist (coming soon). Not only is it a very direct 'public announcement' but a good reminder for us, and our purpose as a household.
Other items I'm considering adding to our home include a 'Jesus laughing' print, images of the Blessed Mother and Last Supper, other prayers or verses, and/or something to represent the Holy Family. It's not exactly the stuff Pottery Barn magazines are made of, but if we can't/don't/won't express and share our beliefs within our own home, where or how will we share? Not only that, but we want to give our children the best foundation/roots we can; we believe a majority of that will be through our Catholic faith. We want them to be surrounded by these positive and uplifting reminders that encourages their spiritual growth.

Free Books from Dolly Parton

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Uhh, pardon me? (See what I did there..?)
That's right, free books from the 'ol queen of country.
It's called Imagination Library and it's a program launched by Dolly Parton in 1995 to provide free books to children and their families in hopes of fostering a love for reading.
When I first heard about it from my SIL, I thought, 'What's the catch? But shouldn't it just be for low-income? Do they charge you later? Did you say Dolly Parton?'
None. It's for anybody. Nope. Yes I did.
Each month your child will receive an age-appropriate book, so if started from birth (like Homegirl), by the time she is 5 years old (when the program ends), she'll have her own library of 60 books.
Let me tell you, on the days we receive our books in the mail, it's like Christmas (for both me and the kids)!! We usually check the mail after we get home for the day, so if it's our lucky day, entertainment is provided while I put supper together. Win/win.
I'm not exactly sure how/why, but T has been IN LOVE with books since the beginning. He loves to look at them, sit and read, scan the pages for any and every little thing. Now, he's even recalling books that we read often and is identifying letters, which obviously leads me to believe he's the smartest kid in the world!! It's been so fun watching him continue to explore each new book, monthly. I'm hoping Homegirl follows in his footsteps and enjoys her books just as much; I believe she may be on her way, as she had her very first solo page turn while we were looking at our books.
So, go now and see if this is available in your area (yes, Canada too) and start receiving your free books!!
If it's not, maybe it's something you'd like to start for your community.
Or maybe even, you'd like to help support your local program. 
This is not a sponsored post, however we did receive these books for free - because THAT'S the program, free books. Just an honest-to-goodness sharing about a great program.
Are you familiar with Imagination Library? Did you get your kids signed up?

Weekend Fun: [Penny Arcade]

Monday, March 23, 2015

We finally had some great weather and an excuse to make it to a neighboring hippie-mountain town to visit the Penny Arcade for a little friend's birthday party. The Mr. and I had been, but it was a long time ago and I didn't remember just how many rides and games they had there. T was in heaven, along with the other kids at the party.

Everything isn't exactly a 'penny' anymore, but it was a unique-kinda fun with plenty of kid-friendly 'rides'; lots of animals, planes, spaceships, and cars that bounce, shake, go back and forth, or up and down. 
Whenever we tell T we're going to a party, his first question is usually, 'will there be cake?' Needless to say, he was NOT disappointed.
It was a great weekend; spring is definitely in the air, and we sure enjoyed it!! 

Shepard's Pie

Thursday, March 19, 2015

While we weren't super festive for St. Patrick's Day this year, we all managed to wear green, I browsed through our photo book from our visit to Ireland, overused the green heart and 4-leaf clover emoticons, downed an Irish car bomb, and made the BEST Shepard's pie for dinner.

Most commonly known as Shepard's pie, cottage pie is actually what it's called when made with ground beef, as opposed to lamb.

I loosely followed this recipe, but here is the real-life-you've-got-30-minutes-to-get-dinner-made recipe; plus we all know (ok, Mr.), I can never really measure and follow a recipe. :) Next time, I'll try to be better prepared and follow this recipe more closely (fresh veggies + mushrooms).
Real-life-you've-got-30-minutes-to-get-dinner-made Cottage Pie

Brown 1 lb of ground beef with onion
Once cooked, add some minced garlic
Sprinkle with some salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme
Stir in about a 1/3 little can of tomato paste
Stir in a bag of frozen mixed vegetables
Sprinkle ground beef mixture with maybe 1/4 cup of flour
Go to the garage and get about 1 cup of the Mr.'s fresh home brew from the kegerator (Irish red ale) and stir it in (I think is the what makes this dish, so dee-lish. The recipe calls for a Guiness).
Let it cook/simmer for a bit to cook off the alcohol
Add a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
Add a cup of beef stock/broth
(After I added the beef broth, I thought the mixture was a little too runny, so I continued to cook/simmer it down for a bit longer.)
Dump in a baking dish and sprinkle with shredded cheese
Mix up two packages of instant roasted garlic mashed potatoes and evenly spread over top of mixture/cheese
Bake at 350-400 degrees (the less time I have the higher I crank it up to get it done!) until bubbly and mashed potatoes are slightly browned and crispy

It was delicious!! Like I said, I think the beer is the winning/secret ingredient. I also love that it includes vegetables and is a one dish/pot kinda meal (easy clean-up). Also made for great leftovers (and lots of them).

Being Catholic: [A Series]

Friday, March 13, 2015

For Lent this year, I challenged myself to do something 'public' with my faith and share a few posts here about being Catholic.
Don't eye-roll on me, I know religion can be controversial but I'm not afraid of a few questions, plus it's our responsibility as Christians to spread the good news, right?! So, through my little little corner of the Internet, I'm going to touch on a few things about our life as Catholics in a Chateau Deveau series we'll call, Being Catholic.
Let's start by clearing up a few misconceptions about Catholics:
We ARE Christians.
We do not worship Mary.
We do not worship the Pope.
We read/believe the Bible.
Just because we're Catholic, doesn't mean we don't believe in science/evolution.
 (Although I don't plan to dive into these subjects specifically, I am open to any questions you may have.)

Our History
I was born and raised Catholic (I know boring, no impressive-super-inspiring convert story here..). I'll be honest and admit there were times growing up I didn't want to go to church; thankfully I had parents who 'made' me go and guilt that helped push me through the time most young adults fall away from the Church. Now I'm happy to attend Mass and practice my faith. I'm also very thankful and appreciate my family that is both supportive and encouraging.

When I first met the Mr., I noticed one of his tattoos was a symbol for the Trinity. This interested me and I asked if he was Catholic, lucky for him (and me), he was!! He was also born and raised Catholic but throughout college had slightly fallen away from actively practicing.

Once we started dating, we began going to Mass together and the rest is history..
We were married in the Catholic church and both our kids are baptized Catholic as well.
So here we go; this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.

Twinning & Cousins

Thursday, March 12, 2015

It's so fun to be able to have my sister and her family visit now that they live close. They recently moved back to CO and bought a house down the street from our childhood home (where my parents still live). Having family near is such a blessing, especially with these little girls being only 20 days apart in age. 
The BEST part, as you may have seen on Instagram, was when they showed up this past weekend for a day visit and our adorable little God-daughter was unexpectedly wearing the same outfit Homegirl had on. It's so fun to watch them together, but when they're wearing the same thing, it takes the cuteness level up quite a few notches!!
These girls stop dead in their tracks to watch and/or listen to T. It's so nice they already help entertain each other!!
They're not the only ones smitten, it's quite heart-warming watching T interact with the girls. He's (for the most part) always kind and gentle and had a good time 'playing' with them.
I'm sure it was partly his way of getting attention also, but it wasn't by throwing a fit, hitting them, or breaking something; instead, he got a book and sat down to 'read' to them. He also tried to lay with them, which ended in those little arms of theirs, still learning to control themselves, smacking him in the face. He was so patient with it all.
As always, we are thankful for and thoroughly enjoyed our time with family.
I hope there are more play times and unplanned matching in the future.

Year of Dates: [Birthday Date]

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Last weekend, we celebrated the Mr.'s birthday and had our first of twelve dates (as part of the year of dates gift I gave him for his birthday).
 My parents were kind enough to come and babysit, so we took the afternoon and went bowling. The Mr. had been wanting to go, so I thought it'd be the perfect afternoon activity before we headed out to dinner. We both were off work early, so we went before the Friday-night rush, and it was perfect. The Mr. beat me in all three games (in fact, one game he scored a 244, two points away from his personal best). I was impressed as we haven't gone in a long time!!
Then we headed home to change (and feed Homegirl) before dinner. Since it's Lent, we don't eat meat on Fridays, so it worked out perfectly to try out the new Bonefish Grill here in town. Even with a later reservation, the place was packed when we arrived. Thankfully we didn't have to wait long; the perfect table opened up, we were seated and enjoying ourselves in no time. Everything was great and delicious - get yourself a martini and bang bang shrimp, YUM. I didn't remember to get a picture of us or a selfie until on the way home (while at a stop with brake lights illuminating our faces).
We ended the night out with a stop by Trader Joe's and loaded up on unnecessary goodies, cause that's what you do when you're kid-free and browsing.
It was a great time celebrating the Mr. and start to our year of dates. 
I'm already looking forward to next month, which happens to also be my birthday. ;)

Happy Birthday, Mr.!!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Dear Mr./Daddy,
 You are so lucky to have a Friday birthday, they are the best!! :) And we are so lucky that 30-some years ago (yes, you're a 30-something now), you were born. Last year I told you I was so excited for what the next year had in store for you - what a year it was!! We grew our family, you became an award-winning brew master, and we had many fun memories and moments together as a family..
Baby Mr.
We are so thankful for you. You are the best husband, father, and leader of our family. We thank you for all you do and look forward to celebrating YOU on your special day weekend.
 Daddy and newborn T // Daddy and newborn Homegirl

I'm not sure why, but lately I've felt so reminiscent of how we 'used' to be or things we 'used' to do, you know, before kids. I suppose because life with a toddler and infant get 'busy' and tiring and I still feel like we're in a transitional phase; things of 'us' get brushed aside and put on the back burner; I know I am to blame for most of that too.
When we 'used' to be..

you're 'opening' one of your gifts RIGHT NOW.
Inspired by some lovely ladies (Ashlee/Elizabeth/Meghan..),

I am gifting you a
with me, obviously.
Twelve dates. Once a month. Time set aside just for us.
Details coming later today.

I'm looking forward to this afternoon, when we start this next year off with some 'us' time.

Happy Birthday, my dear!! We love you and are so happy you're ours!!
xoxo - Momma, T, & Homegirl

A week without the Mr...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 like a frigid winter day.
Cold and lonely. We started out our week alone with at least 8"+ of snow.
We tried to stay cozy-warm inside, but I woke up really cold in the wee hours of the morning to a 62 degree house. Brrrr. Our furnace had shut down and wasn't staying on without being 'reset' every hour or so. We are thankful for safe travels, neighbors who cleared our driveway once for us, and a furnace that didn't need replaced in the Mr.'s absence. like a shot in the leg.
Literally. For poor Homegirl. It just so happened that snow-packed, chilly morning was when I had scheduled her 4-month appointment. 'Earliest appointment available, please.' What was I thinking?! We made it on time, she passed her check-up with flying colors, but broke her momma (and big brother's) heart when she got her shots and let out a big cry. a week of endless selfies.
As always, we had fun snapping pics to send to the Mr. each morning before unloading at daycare. It's funny to see how that back seat has changed compared to the last week without the Mr. we blogged about.. never over fast enough.
We are so happy to have the Mr. home!! There's no better welcome then an adorable little boy running to jump in your arms, hollering, 'Daddddyyyyyy!!' in the airport lobby.