Lots of Links I Like

During our precious short Minnesota summer months I tend to hang back a little bit from blogging and online life. Summers are for being outside, getting sweaty and sunburned and sipping on very cold Rosé. Winters are for sitting on the couch under a blanket with my computer.

Lollipops courtesy of Trader Joe's  
BUT....there are a few online things going on that I think are pretty cool and I wanted to blast them at you in case you had not heard yet. 

1. Blessed is She Liturgical Planner! Guys!!! This is the best planner. I had LOVED using my 2016-2017 planner. It is so well organized, there is room for everything, information about the Liturgical Year, and it is beautiful. I am very proud of myself for keeping mine out of the grubby sticky hands of my children for the entire year. And I can't wait to start filling in my 2017-2018 calendar.

These are still available in the Blessed is She Shop, in case you'd like to get one for yourself, or get one as a gift for someone you really like. They're $60, which I know is is a lot of money for a lot of you to spend on a calendar. But in my opinion, it's worth every penny. It also helps to support Blessed is She's beautiful ministry. So if you've benefited at all from BIS over the last few years, you may want to consider saying thank you by purchasing a calendar.

2. The Dorothy Exchange. Local Ladies! My friend Cara is launching The Dorothy Exchange this month. It is a women's skillshare based out of the Twin Cities. The first workshop, hand spinning wool, is this weekend in St. Paul, there are still a few spots available. Check out the site for all the details and to register.  

3. It's Prime Day! I know everyone and their mom is an Amazon Affiliate, but on the very off chance you don't know someone who is, I am! What this means is that when I share an Amazon link and you click through and make a purchase of anything, a very small percentage of the sale goes to me at no additional cost to you. On Prime Day there are tons of great deals. So I will link to the only ones I took advantage of. This teapot. And these bed sheets. Very exciting. What I really want is this thing. I texted Alex to see what he thought, but I haven't heard back yet....so probably a no. 

4. Fountains of Carrots. Are you listening yet? You should be. Every episode is great. But the most recent few have been, in my opinion, exceptionally good. Check it!

5. The Simple Show. This is a new podcast for me. I heard about it because Haley, from Fountain of Carrots, has been on to talk about books. I have added many books from the book episodes to my reading list, and I have implemented many of the entertaining tips (like ordering pizza and using paper plates) into my summer entertaining. 

6. I have had some good luck with new recipes this summer. We don't have central air in our house, so from June through September I rarely turn on my oven. We either eat cold meals, or I use my crock-pot. We made these beef sandwiches over the weekend and they were delicious. And I'm making this pesto chicken dish tonight for the second time. Our kids love it, which always makes me want to make a recipe over and over. My children also ate these Thai peanut noodles. I was shocked. And after that I was happy.

7. Finally, are you on Instagram? If so you should pay attention to the hashtag #mondaygardentour My friends Jacqui and Laurel started giving little garden tours via their Instagram stories. Mondays seemed like a good day to do that because Mondays are normally blah. And what can take a day from blah to beautiful better than a garden? I have been having lots of fun sharing about my garden, and slowly getting over my fear of forward facing video cameras.

I hope you're all having a great summer and that your gardens are growing like gangbusters.

Linking up with Kelly for some Quick Takes. 

7 quick takes vol. 34

linking up with Kelly for some quick takes. 


Alex and I share a holy hour Monday evenings. This week was my turn to go, and I hit the holy hour jackpot. The holy hour jackpot is when our organist is practicing during our hour. It's the best. Not only do I get to spend some quality time with Jesus, but I get a beautiful soundtrack to go along with it.

Thanks Rory!


I finally tried the craze that is LulaRoe. People go banana's for this stuff, and I've been curious for a while about why that is. So when the opportunity to get some at a discount came my way I thought, sure! Why not?

When I was asking around about sizing people said everything was pretty forgiving. So I got my Lula and tried it on and, People. Now I understand.

Pretty forgiving was an understatement. How about very forgiving? How about grace upon grace forgiving? How about perfect-for-moms-who-don't-have-time-to-work-out forgiving? How about elbow length sleeves to cover up less-than-toned arms? How about busy patterns to disguise postpartum lumpiness? How about something other than a wrapped v-neck dress for nursing? Yes please!

I was so thrilled with my loot that I busted out my selfie stick and got myself in front of my mostly white shower curtain so that I could show you all what I got.

No. 1: Nicole Dress. If it's warm enough, I'll wear this to Mass this weekend. Super flattering. Super easy to nurse in.

No. 2: The famed LulaRoe leggings. I've worn a lot of leggings over the last few years, and these are probably the most comfortable. Definitely the cutest pattern.

No. 3: Cassie Skirt. It's your standard stretchy pencil skirt, but with a totally unique pattern. Love it.

No. 4. Julie Dress. Love this silhouette. It is stretchy enough to nurse in, but I feel like I shouldn't pull it down too often or I might ruin the neckline.

I especially liked this photo ^ ^ ^ ^ because you can see a bit of my toilet in the bottom right corner. We try to keep things classy around here.

And in this one it looks like I'm gunna bust a move. Still trying to perfect my selfie stick technique. So, I hope that cheers you up if you're feeling down today.


I've been hitting a lot of jackpots lately. This morning I hit the perfect-car-ride jackpot. I took the kids on a little drive to pick up my aforementioned LulaRoe items. I had discovered an ancient Caribou gift card in my wallet the night before so we swung by the drive through for a cold press. It was a beautiful sunny day. Our car ride coincided perfectly with Kerri Miller's Friday Round Table. AND she was doing a book discussion ABOUT books that have been made into movies! It. Was. Perfect.


One of the silver linings of living in a place where it is winter 6 months out of the year is that when spring finally comes and you're finally able to bring your spring shoes down from the attic, they feel like brand new shoes! I was able to bust these beauties out this past week.

Hello old friends.

Then it snowed yesterday. Go figure. Hoping to be able to wear them for the weekend!


Have you heard of Ultimate Bundles? I've been hearing about them for a while and FINALLY decided to check out The Ultimate Home Making Bundle.

This year’s edition of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes 50 ebooks, 21 eCourses, 14 printables, 2 videos, 2 audios, 2 summits, and 1 membership site.

It's a crazy-ton amount of stuff. But the thing that's really crazy about these bundles is the discount. You get all these incredible resources at 97% off! That's almost $2000 worth of products....for less than $30.

Yup. LESS THAN $30!

Here are some of the topics included in this bundle:

  • Cook up wholesome recipes for your family
  • Build stronger relationships with your kids (even your teens)
  • Discover speedy cleaning routines for the toughest messes
  • Rekindle the romance in your marriage
  • Put self-care back into your life
  • Finally enjoy homemaking.
  • Capture better photos of your family

  • I'm really looking forward to learning about that last one mentioned.

    Plus, it comes with over $290 worth of bonus offers from companies you’ll love (this is one of my favorite parts).
    • $15 store credit from Cultivate What Matters (international shipping available)
    • Free 1 month subscription from Kiwi Crate, $20 value ($15 off $50 shop purchase for existing customers, shipping available to U.S. & Canada)
    • Free 1 month MightyFix shipment from Mighty Nest, $17 value ($15 store credit toward next add-on order for existing MightyFix subscribers, international shipping available)
    • One project box from Detox Project Box, $25 value (shipping available to U.S. & Canada)
    • Free 1 month subscription from Bookroo, $18 value (box of past favorites for existing customers, international shipping available)
    • $15 store credit from Orglamix (international shipping available)
    • $15 store credit from Strawesome (international shipping available)
    • Digital download of the 2017 Hope Ink Calendar, $20+ value -or- $15 credit + 3 art prints from Hope Ink, $99 value (international shipping available)
    • Homeowner Lifetime Membership from HomeBinder, $120 value (digital)
    • Free 1 year annual membership from MollyGreen.com, $29 value (digital)
    Here's how it all works:
    1. Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this package, then click the “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.
    2. You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.
    3. Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the topic you want to tackle first and start your stress-less homemaking journey!
    This bundle is only available through May 1st, so if you want it, you need to get on it fast. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, click HERE to check it out.  


    We've got a new show! Detectorists! Jacqui recommended this one to me a few months ago, and as always it takes me a while to get on the bandwagon for things, so we just started it last weekend.

    When I heard the title and that it was British I thought it was going to be about female British detectives in the late 19th century.

    And boy was I wrong.

    It's about a couple dudes who use metal detectors and is set in the present day. But it is so so good. It has everything I want in a show, beautiful scenery, dry humor, sweet moments, great characters who draw you in and, despite their very odd looks, become so lovable. I have literally been smiling the entire time we're watching.


    I'll leave you with a something else to read. My friend Susanna wrote this piece drawing parallels between Jane Austen and Natural Family Planning. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors and NFP is one of my favorite things to talk about! It's a great read, and really affirmed for me why I believe so strongly in NFP. Thanks Susanna!

    Have a great weekend everyone! 


    ultimate homemaking bundle links are affiliate. that means if you follow the link and make a purchase I get a percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. thanks for supporting this blog! 

    7 quick takes vol: 33

    linking up with kelly for some very quick quick takes. 


    We had a really beautiful Easter. Alex and I were able to sing with our church's choir for the Triduum. Those three days are the most beautiful liturgies and I was so grateful to be able to go - without my kids - much less sing  with the choir. I look forward to taking the little nippers to the Triduum when they are older, but for now it works well for them to be at home, with the babysitter, sleeping in their beds. 

    But they sure did look cute in their Easter outfits the next morning! I was telling Alex that it is so much easier to love our kids when they look really cute. 

    Of course I was joking.


    Also, why did none of the four adults helping to capture a family photo notice that Alex had his sweatshirt on?!?!  


    I had a lot of fun with Easter baskets this year, now that our kids are old enough to understand what to do with them. We did Easter baskets and an egg hunt for them, and had a good laugh "hiding" eggs around the house. Even with the obvious spots we still had to point a few out. 

    I used Haley's book recommendations for some of their Easter basket gifts. They also each got a Sarah's Silk, something I have been eyeing for a while. Trixie got some baby dolls. These were her first dolls and she was really excited about them. 


    Alex just finished his ER rotation. Schedule wise it was actually pretty good! I'm really thankful because ER could have been any time of the day or night.

    Up until this rotation Alex has only been in clinical settings so the dress code has been business attire. ER was the first rotation he's had where he wore scrubs every day. I did not realize how much his work clothes contribute to our laundry until I was no longer washing them. It was great! But now he'll be back to business attire on Monday. Just about every shirt he owns needs to be ironed so that's what I'll be doing Sunday night.

    And in case your wondering, Alex is very capable about ironing his own clothes, but I get a little type A about the way things are ironed and would just prefer to do it myself.


    Johnny is having problems with fluid retention in his ears again. He can't hear out of his left ear at all (even with hearing aids) and it seems like his right ear might be starting to get bad again. We've got surgery for new ear tubes scheduled for May 11, so we're really hoping it doesn't get much worse between now and then.

    In the mean time, if it sounds like I'm shouting all the time I'm really just speaking very loudly for the benefit of my hearing impaired child.


    Good news! Good news! Good news! The 2017-2018 Blessed is She Liturgical Planner is available for pre-sale NOW!!! Y'all know how much I love my BIS planner, even though I had been a staunch Moleskine user before that. I'm so excited about this next, so much space for notes and planning, such a beautiful cover. And, it helps support a beautiful ministry. Get yours before it's too late! (They will ship in June.)

    Also, have you seen the beautiful wall hangings that are in the Blessed is She Shop?


    This weekend I had my first piano lesson in almost 5 years. I was a piano major in college, and after graduation I took lessons until I became pregnant with Johnny, so I've had lots of lessons in the past. I've also been teaching piano for the past 10 years, so I'm very used to being in lessons as the teacher. But being the student again was terrifying!! I can tell the challenge is going to be really good for me, and I'm excited to learn some new music. 


    If I may circle back to Easter for a moment. I had found this darling dress on Amazon that I got for Trixie to wear. But when I tried it on her I couldn't get it over her head. This is not the first time this has happened, poor girl. Her head size is off the charts. Thankfully there are free returns. But I realized that Amazon has TONS of cute kids clothes! Like this little number. If you start browsing, don't say I didn't warn you.


    disclaimer: amazon and blessed is she links are affiliate. when you follow the link and make a purchase I get a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. thanks for supporting this blog! 

    7 quick takes vol. 31: things I want to remember from now

    It's been one of those weeks were everything seems way too long. Winter is long, the days are long, Alex's hours on rotations are long. Nap time, on the other hand, has been far too short, leaving me with tired and crabby kids at the witching hour waiting for Alex to get home, scrambling to get the dinner on the table. Trixie has been sleeping terribly, she's teething, still. She's super clingy during the day. Johnny is pushing all the boundaries that a three and half year old can think to push. And he is starting to assert himself as the older brother and delights in pushing Trixie over, grabbing her toys and making her life hard in general, which makes her even more clingy. Both Alex and I are feeling just plain exhausted, with no opportunity to catch up on rest in sight. 

    When I'm exhausted it's easy to go very negative very quickly, leading to pity parties and yelling needlessly. And so at the end of a very exhausting week I've decided to go positive, because even though it's so hard to parent little people, it's also really great. There are so many sweet things that happen everyday and I find myself thinking, "I really want to remember this, the way this feels right now." So here are a few of those things.


    When Trixie nurses she likes to hold my hand. Sometimes she wraps her hand around my thumb, or one of my other fingers. Sometimes I lace her tiny fingers between my big ones. She's getting so big, but compared to my hands, hers are still so small. When she's not holding my hand she's often sticking her hand up the sleeve of my sweeter. That's usual how she falls asleep, with her warm little hand up my sleeve. When it hurts every bone in my body to get up and nurse her in the middle of night feeling her little hand up my sleeve is one small silver lining. 


    There are two times in the day where Johnny and Trixie give each other kisses. One is when Johnny leaves for school in the morning, the other is when they're going to bed. It breaks my heart every time. Sometimes they miss each other and the kisses end up on arms and foreheads and bellies. But sometimes Johnny bends down and Trixie lifts up her chin and they give each other the sweetest little puckered-lip kiss. This is something that I know will not last forever, so I am going to bask in the warmth of their brotherly and sisterly affection as long as I can. 


    Sometimes they are not fighting with each other. Sometimes they are playing nicely together. There's a game they like to play in the kitchen, usually while I'm in there cooking something. Trixie spins around in a circle and Johnny runs circles around her. They think it's hilarious, they giggle and squeal and get dizzy and fall down, and then they start back up again. It's not everyday. But when it does happen it makes me really excited for a couple years from now, when they will be old enough to really understand how to play together. 


    Johnny has been able to go to bed on his own for quite a while now. But he is going through a phase where he likes someone to lay down with him while he falls asleep. And how can we say no, since we know that in the blink of an eye he will want nothing to do with either of us. Mostly he wants me to lay down with him.  "Mama lay down." He says over and over until I'm in his bed. Then he says "glasses off." And I take my glasses off and share his pillow with him. If I try to leave before he falls asleep he pushes my head had back down onto the pillow as hard as he can entreating me with "Mama lay down" a few more times. And then he leaves his hand on my cheek to make sure I don't go anywhere. 


    Trixie is talking so much! Maybe this is normal for a 15 month old girl, but after having a hearing impaired child first, she seems freakish. She mimics Johnny's counting, pointing at things and reciting "'wah, two, wee, wah, ses, sezen, eee, mah,". She knows many different animal names. Doggy, kitty cat, elephant, horsey, and piggy. She has a very cute inflection to her speech right now. All of her words go up and then end, so that everything sounds like a question. "Mama?" "Doggy?" "Poo-poo?" "Apple?" 

    Johnny is really into naming letters. He can identify almost every letter in the alphabet. I'm not sure how he learned this! Probably in part at school. Maybe from watching Super Why? If that's the case that will make me feel less guilty about screen time. We were in the grocery store yesterday and Johnny was either shouting of the names of the foods he saw, or the letters he saw on all the signs. I found myself torn between trying to keep him quiet in a public place, and being a super proud mama.


    As I alluded to before, Johnny has been giving Trixie some grief. The other day Johnny knocked Trixie over by running into her with a Tonka Truck. She was crying and upset and Johnny was sent to his room for a time out.  Even though he beats up on her all day long, Johnny is still Trixie's favorite person. When we put him in time out she just started crying harder and ran over to his door trying to get in. I hope they can always be friends. 

    P.S. these are some of our beautiful family photos taken by our good friends at Bast Photography. 

    P.P.S. Find more quick takes at This Ain't the Lyceum

    7 quick takes vol. 30


    We are sick. Again. We have all had terrible colds for over a week now and last night Johnny threw up. Earlier that evening he, Trixie and I had all been drinking from the same cup, so I'm bracing myself, waiting for the rest of us to get hit with whatever it is he's got. We have been sick SO MUCH this year.  In fact, I cannot remember the last time that all four of us were healthy at the same time. I know it doesn't help that Johnny is in preschool. And it also doesn't help that Alex is in rotations and around sick people all day. But it seems like we just can't get on top of it.  How do other people with kids in school manage to stay healthy despite them constantly bringing germs home?


    Alex and I got to go to the wedding of one of his classmates a couple weekends ago. It was super fun. We don't go to many weddings anymore, and when we do we usually have our kids with us. It was a treat to dress up, go out, and leave the kids with the grandparents. I wore a dress that is NOT a nursing dress, something I haven't done in almost 4 years. Although, I definitely can still nurse in it. I know this because Trixie was awake when we got home and started crying and signing for milk the moment she saw me come in. There was no way she would have let me go change, so I quickly discovered the dress is stretchy enough for quick and easy access. Joy!


    Lent starts on March first, which means two things. One: I better make sure I've got the last of the Christmas decorations put away by then and two: I better order my Blessed is She Lenten Journal. The title of this year's journal is Put on Love, and it is written by Elizabeth Foss.  If you did the Advent journal you know what a talented writer she is, and you experienced how the Holy Spirit uses her words to minister to others. 

    I got to help edit the Lenten journal. Spoiler: It's going to be awesome! My editing time was spent crying through a box of Kleenexes and left me feeling like I had just been in spiritual direction. You can order your copy now at an early bird discounted price. There's also other fun Lenten goodies, beautiful Stations of the Cross cards. the Put on love mug and print. Oh! And the tote bag! I cannot get over the tote bag! Go check it all out in the Blessed is She Shop. Get something for your Easter basket. 


    I have sworn off starting any new knitting projects until I finish my Caramel Sweater, because I want to be able to actually wear it this winter. I decided to work on the sleeves before I finish the body, partly because sleeves are the worst and I have knitting them, and also because I need to make sure I allocate my yarn properly. The bottom third of the sleeves and body are going to be a mustard yellow. I love this color, but it doesn't really work with my skin, so I'm putting it far away from my face. I only have two skeins of it, so I have to plan carefully.

    Or I could leave it like this. A one armed sweater, that might catch on, right?


    I didn't really make a New Year's resolution this year, but one thing I know I'd like to work on in twenty seventeen is to read more. I have been a lousy reader since finishing college, getting through just one or two books a year. I'm trying to do a little bit of reading every day, replacing time that I would normally look at my phone with a book, and that's been working really well.

    Alex got me a Kindle for my birthday nearly 6 months ago and I'm just using it for the first time now! Not because I haven't been reading, I just had a few hard copies of some books I wanted to finish before downloading anything to my Kindle. But I made it through Gilead (so good, much crying) and now I am reading Brideshead Revisited on my Kindle! And you know what? I really like it! The book yes, but I'm talking about the Kindle. I love the romance of reading a paper version of a book, but a Kindle is really convenient, easy to hold with one hand (essential for nursing a baby) and I love being able to look up words so easily. I can just feel myself getting smarter.


    It's time for a little "What We Are Watching" update. 

    We are re-watching Parks and Recreation. It's been a couple of years and I either forgot how funny that show is, or I am more easily amused than I used to be. I have been laughing to the point of tears in almost every episode. I also have been getting very weepy at all the sweet moments. I've always been an easy crier, but motherhood has made me an absolute water works. Everything makes me cry, even Parks and Rec. We actually never finished that series so maybe we will get all the way to the end this time. 

    We're also watching the current season Madame Secretary, which I love. It has for me all the positive idealism, humor, and feel good moments of the West Wing, the show by which I judge all other shows. I also love the wardrobes. 

    Speaking of the West Wing, I have gotten all caught up on The West Wing Weekly podcast, so now I have wait each week for new episodes to come out. I know I am revealing how easy my life is when I say that it has been torturous. But, I have a new episode waiting for me that I intend to listen to this weekend while working on the second sleeve of my sweater. 

    What are you all watching, or what podcasts are you loving right now? Anything I should be aware of?


    Both of my little cherubs have woken up from a much needed (and much deserved on my end) 2.5 hour nap. I have four baskets of clean laundry sitting on the floor, and as the piles grows it becomes more difficult to ignore. And Johnny is now attempting to change Trixie diaper. "Trixie, diaper, lay down. Lay down Trixie. Lay down please." So I better sign off and tend to my home-fires. 

    Go to Kelly's for more quick takes. And have an awesome weekend, friends!


    disclaimer: some links are affiliate, meaning if you follow the link and make a purchase I get a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. 

    7 quick takes vol. 29

    linking up with Kelly, as always.


    Remember a couple weeks ago I was talking about how Alex was starting rotations and I was hoping they would be easier on our family than his academic year was, but I was bracing myself because each step of PA school has gotten progressively worse? Well, it's been two weeks of rotations so far and...the jury is still out.

    The academic year was grueling, but his schedule was set. He was usually home by 4:00 and could play with the kids while I made dinner. He had to study all the time, but he had no class on Fridays, he was around in the mornings, and it worked out perfectly for him to take Johnny to school. This first rotation, ENT, has been rather unpredictable. He's working long hours, going to multiple locations, some of them are an hour away, no more Fridays off, and he has to leave really early, so now I get to take Johnny to school. Wah-wah. And he still has studying to do. Sounds like it's worse, right?

    But, strangely, it doesn't feel as stressful. He doesn't have deadlines, the studying is more focused. He seems more motivated to make the most of his studying, since he's using it in real life situations. He also feels like he can stop, take a night off, or most of the weekend. It's busier, but it's less stressful. So, is it worse? I'm not really sure.


    I did a Warby Parker home try-on a few weeks ago. Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on Instagram. I couldn't decide on a frame, so I sent them all back. But then a friend of mine told me we have a WP store right here in Minneapolis. So the two of us went together, along with a collective four children under four years old. Sounds like a perfect storm, but no one had a melt down, and we both found frames we like. These are mine! They look almost identical to my old frames. So....really exciting!


    As I mentioned earlier, I am now taking Johnny to school in the morning.  I don't like it for many reasons. Having to get up and out the door with two small children first thing in the morning is not my idea of fun. I realize that unless I end up homeschooling this will be my life for the next 15? 20? years, so I better get used to it. But some mornings there's no time to make coffee before I leave and soon we will have snow...Ugh.

    Early morning struggles aside.  I've realized I don't like taking Johnny to school because I don't like leaving him there. Not because I think it's a bad place or that he doesn't like it.  It's a great school, his speech is improving every day. And he has a lot of fun there. His teachers told us at his parent-teacher conference (wow does that sound grown-up) that he's kind of a class clown and likes to make the other kids laugh.(by putting his shoe on his head apparently? idk) But it still makes me sad to leave him there. I think it's still just a little unnatural to not have him with me all day long. He's my first baby, and even though he's a wild and stubborn little boy, he's still my baby.

    Picking him up at the end of the day is much more fun. He is always so happy to see me. And even happier to see Trixie.


    Lots of fiber arts going on here. I spent the first couple weeks of October working on Trixie's birthday presents. I knit her a hat and mini infinity scarf, because she needed them. And I crocheted her a little purse, because she loves to carry my purse around, and a little doll, because we have no girl toys.  They were both really fun to make, although it took forEVER to put that little doll's hair in.

    I'm currently working on this sweater pattern by Isabell Kraemer. I'm making it with some Malabrigo yarn I got with a birthday gift card and I'm making it for myself. I love that golden rod/mustard yellow that has been all over the place the last year or two, but it really doesn't work with my ruddy/fair coloring. All the same I really wanted to use it in a sweater. So I'm making the majority of the sweater gray, but the last 5 inches or so will be yellow. I think the accent- far away from my face-will work nicely.


    Laurel shared this squash recipe on her Instagram feed a couple weeks ago and we made it last week and oh my stars was it AMAZING! I can't stop thinking about it. I think I'm even dreaming about it. It was so tasty and such perfect cold weather comfort food. I ate an entire half of a butternut squash you guys. No joke. You've GOT to try it.


    In case you missed it. We've got our line-up of speakers for the Midwest Catholic Women Bloggers Conference this spring. I'm so excited to have Haley, Laura, and Nell together under one roof sharing their wisdom and expertise. I feel so lucky to have met all these ladies before, and to live just a few minutes away from one of them (here's looking at you, Nell). They're all lovely and I know it's going to be a blast. If you want to stay in the loop join our Facebook group, or send me an email if you're not on Facebook.


    Now that Johnny's in school every week day except Friday, our Friday mornings at home have become really special. We stay in our jammies as long as possible and I try to kiss my babies as much as they will let me. One of their favorite games is to "play on papa's bed" as Johnny calls it. I don't know why it's just "papa's bed" and not "mama's bed" or more accurately, "mama and papa's bed." Whatever, everyone knows papa is more fun, so that must be why the fun game is associated with him.  But they just love to jump on our bed and roll around and then lay down on the pillows. It's very cute, and it means I get to stay in bed.

    Here's hoping you all have a great weekend, and that you can stay in your jammies as long as possible.

    7 quick takes vol. 28


    Yesterday Alex took a four and a half hour test that marked the end of the academic half of PA school. Yay! On Monday he will start clinical rotations and then after 14 months of that he will be totally done with school. Yay!

    This first half of PA school has been really difficult, for Alex, for me, and for our family life. Except for the couple times a year that he's on break, there has been the constant feeling that he should be studying and because of that he misses out on a lot of family time. And then when he decides to take a break and spend some time with us I have a constant feeling of guilt because I know he should be studying.  I'd like to think that rotations will be better because nothing could be worse than what we've been going through. But that's what I thought when Alex was working full time and taking prerequisites at night."there's no way PA school could be worse than this." But it was. So I'm bracing myself for something terrible come Monday. I'm learning the art of lowering expectations. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised.


    Trixie turned one on Tuesday! Alex was taking finals and Johnny was at school so Trixie and I walked down to Starbucks for a birthday latte, and then that turned into lunch at the Whole Foods across the street. My lunch, just to clarify. Trixie wants nothing to do with solids. We presented her with a little piece of a cupcake that night after dinner and some of it ended up in her hair while the rest ended up in Johnny's mouth.

    So Darling Daughter won't eat solids, but last week I found a stitch marker in her dirty diaper.  At first I felt like the World's Worst Mom for letting her eat a stitch marker on my watch.  Then I felt completely indignant that she scorns every tasty morsel of real food we offer her, and then when we're not looking she goes and eats a stitch marker.

    Anyway, we're going to celebrate her birthday properly this weekend. More to come on that, I'm sure.


    A few of my friends started writing lectio divina styled scripture studies this year. They asked me to be a guest contributor for their most recent study, Waiting in the word: A Couple's Journey. This study centers around fertility and all the ways it affects our marriages. I am so honored to be a part of it. It's available for purchase now, and if you want to participate in an online study group it's kicking off this Sunday.


    Blessed is She is also launching something new; By The Manger In The Morning, a prayer journal for Advent, written by fellow BIS writer, Elizabeth Foss. Each day has scripture readings, reflections, calls to actions, and space for you to journal and reflect in your own words. I got a sneak peak at this journal a few weeks ago as I was helping out with some editing. It is truly beautiful and so well written. I am really excited to use it to bring some calm to my own Advent and help keep me centered on Christ.

    I know that Advent seems like a million miles away, but I check the calendar, and it starts in just 6 short weeks. Yikes! You can find the journal, as well as beautiful Jesse Tree cards and lovely Advent prints designed by the very talented Erica of Be A Heart, all in the Blessed is She shop. Check it out and get ready to have a great advent. 


    I just started listening to the most amazing podcast. The West Wing Weekly. My SIL told me about it over the summer and I just got around to checking it out this week and oh my. It's pure gold. If you don't like, or have never seen The West Wing, first of all, these are problems we need to address. And secondly, I can guarantee that you will not like this podcast. It's main objective is to discuss episodes of The West Wing in great detail, WITH West Wing cast and crew members. But if you're a TWW fan you'll be in heaven.  Each episode is about an hour long, and I listened to 5 episodes yesterday. It's so good. And, as is true of all podcasts, it's perfect for knitting! 


    We've got a date for our Catholic Women Bloggers Network Midwest Conference! (What a mouthful! Maybe we need to work on a shorter name.) It's going to be March 25, 2017, right here in St. Paul, MN. So if you're a Catholic woman who blogs, or is thinking of starting a blog, or a woman blogger who is Catholic-curious, save the date and join our Facebook group so as not to miss out on any other exciting announcements. Teaser: we've got our speakers lined up and will be announcing them soon. It's going to be a lot of fun.


    We had some family photos taken last night by my very talented friends Kristen and Jameson. I had a lot of anxiety and indecision over what we all should wear and spent many minutes scanning Pinterest for some outfit combos to copy. I was feeling like maybe Alex and Johnny were too matchy and that maybe all my smiles were too forced, but Jameson posted a sneak peak on their Facebook page that put my mind at ease. Actually, I'm over the moon excited about them. Especially this one. Thank you Jameson for capturing our family so beautifully.  I can't wait to see the rest. 

    For more quick takes head on over to Kelly's. Have an awesome weekend everyone!

    7 quick takes vol. 27: things I'm pumped about.

    linking up with Kelly for some quick takes. 


    You guys, it's been a good week. I think it's because I'm still riding the waves of the amazing retreat I got to go on last weekend. You guys know that I have been writing for Blessed is She for about 2 years now. Well, last weekend, for the first time ever, we had a Blessed is She Team Retreat.  Almost all the writers, plus creatives, plus our beautiful founder Jenna all gathered in the woods of Wisconsin for some In-Real-Life togetherness.  And it was amazing, for so many reasons:

    1.  Meeting people in real life who I have stalked online for the last 2 years, or longer.

    2. Having lots of meaningful conversations, prayer time, and the like.

    3. Talking more about what it means to do women's ministry.

    4. Being totally spoiled and pampered by Nell and her family at their amazing lodge in the woods.
    If you're on Instagram and look up the hashtag #BISteamretreat you can get a pretty good idea of what the weekend was like.

    It was such a blessing to be there and I'm still not quite sure how I got so lucky as to fall in with such an amazing and holy crowd.

    This was the "Dance Party" playlist for the weekend.  If any dancing actually happened it was after I went to bed.  But it's a super fun playlist so I wanted to share it with all of you!


    Sunday after the retreat I got to go to a calligraphy class taught by Erica, who designs the logos for Blessed is She, as well as the amazing planner that everyone, including myself, is now in love with.  I have always wanted to learn calligraphy but never thought I would be able to because I am left-handed.  But I totally learned! And it's awesome!


    So, this one is kind of random, but I'm just so excited about it.  We have been having trouble getting the fitted sheet to stay on our bed. Every day the elastic corners creep up the sides of the mattress and everyday I pull them back down. We have a memory foam topper on our bed that makes it quite a bit taller, and so regular sheets don't stay on that well. Alex found sheets with "deep pockets." And all I could think of was making a decorative plaque says, "I like my men like I like my sheets, with deep pockets."

    But the deep pocketed sheets still wouldn't stay on the mattress.  So then Alex, (who is very determined) thought, "if only there was something like suspenders that you could put on the underside of your mattress to hold the sheets in place." 

    Guess what? There is! And guess what? They really work! No more having to pull the fitted sheet down over the mattress every morning.

    It's the little things.


    I got a pair of Crocs. Yes, I know they're ugly. But my feet hurt! I got them as indoor shoes to wear, mostly while I'm standing in the kitchen making dinner. I usually do this barefoot, and my feet have been really sore lately. So I got some Crocs. I got the flats and they're actually kind of cute. And they're really comfortable. So I don't care!


    We decided to check out the first episode of This Is Us last night. I don't want to give away any spoilers to folks who haven't watched it yet. All I will say is I cried my way through it, of course. There's a very interesting twist in the plot and I still get goosebumps when I think about it. We will definitely come back next week for more.

    But I think I confused some of my Instagram friends when I posted a picture of one of the main characters and said I was watching my brother on TV. To clear up any confusion, Milo Ventimiglia is not my brother.  BUT he looks exactly like my brother. And they have all the same mannerism. I've thought this since I first started watching Gilmore Girls many moons ago. And now that Milo has a beard the likeness is even more pronounced.  It's actually kind of freaky.

    See what I mean?


    I think I've mentioned before that my little sister is a professional hair stylist and she is always one step ahead when it comes to all things fashion. When we were little she was always trying to steal my makeup and borrow my clothes. But now, oh how the tables have turned.  One of my favorite things to do when she comes over to babysit my kids is dig through her giant makeup bag and play with all the super high-end goodies in there. 

    Well, knowing me as she does, she got me an Ipsy subscription for my birthday and I got my first delivery last week. It's always fun to get mail, but when it's makeup, it's like a party! I loved all my products, but the best by far was the Bombshell nail polish they sent me. I normally don't even bother painting my fingernails because they just chip within a day or two, But I am going on one week and my nails still look great! 

    The rest of my bag included a mascara, a contour brush, a conditioning hair mask, and a BB cream that is perfect for my skin. It's only $10 a month and the quality of everything is amazing. I think I just might keep it up even after my gifted months are over. If you want to use my referral link to check it out you will score me some points. Thanks! 


    I have been so fascinated by the Describe Yourself In Three Fictional Characters thing that's been going around all the social media. I've been thinking about this long and hard for the last couple of days and here's what I came up with for myself.

    Tami Taylor, responsible and sticks to her principles. Molly Weasely, nurturing and worries about her family a lot and will stick up for them no matter what.  And Anne Shirley, wildly imaginative, and short tempered.  And all of these great ladies have red hair. So there you have it!

    Have a great weekend, y'all! 

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