Sunday, May 3, 2015

WIWS: Coral & Polka Dots

I. Love. Spring. And I love this coral skirt - it's one of my absolute favorite items in my closet! I got this shirt off of Twice right after Peter was born because it looked nursing-friendly, and it's perfect - drapey enough to do a half tuck with a pencil skirt, long enough for booty coverage, button-down for easy access.


On reviewing this outfit, I'm not a big fan of the combination - love the pieces separately, but the shirt is a little too blousy tucked like this to work with a full skirt. Ah well, live and learn!

John Paul's facial expression? Yeah, that's him in a nutshell these days. We got to Mass and he chose a pew second from the front, right next to a single man in his 40s. I suggested moving to the empty pew behind him, but he sat 5 feet away from that man for the entirety of Mass while Cecilia, Elizabeth and I sat behind.

It was really awkward. But not worth making a fuss and having to deal with the fallout... And actually it was good practice, because eventually we'd like him to be able to go to Mass with Andrew also (or instead of with me, except he generally wants to go to as much Mass as possible so it'll probably always be also). But he'd have to be able to hold his own in a pew while Andrew's up directing the choir, so probably not until he's a little older.


Yesterday I was privileged to spend time with some awesome ladies at a local blogging conference - it was such a fun time! Getting to meet some of these people in person whose blogs I've been following for ages (like Lisa and Laura, my Catholic Mom Blog fashion inspiration!) just felt so *right* and it was wonderful to have that fellowship (and a day away from the older kids!).


I might write a longer recap if I get the chance, but if not... This basically sums up Peter's opinion - he spent the entire time grinning and flirting with all the ladies!

Jamie, Me, Cristina, Abbey, Lisa, Nicole, and Julie (and all our babies!)
And of course, there were babies aplenty!

Linking up with Fine Linen & Purple for What I Wore Sunday!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Easy Recipe: Marinated Flank Steak with Grilled Asparagus

It's grilling season! Which means it's time for some of my favorite recipes to come back in the rotation - these both work fine in the oven, but you just can't beat the grill marks on this marinated flank steak, and the grilled asparagus gets a great smoky flavor that the oven can't match!


The steak is tender and incredibly flavorful, and a favorite of everybody in our house - especially the kids! Flank steak isn't the cheapest cut of meat, so a little really does go a long way in this recipe.


Grab your ingredients: Red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, and sugar. And flank steak! You can use a pretty small cut and make it go a long way - we usually only need about 1.5 pounds to feed the whole family (2 adults and 4 meat-loving kids).


Peel & smash the garlic cloves; massage with rosemary, salt, and pepper in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Add vinegar, oil, and sugar and mix. Marinate your steak in the mixture for anywhere from 4-24 hours. 

I try to do this in the morning after breakfast to make sure it marinates long enough! 


Wash and trim a bunch of asparagus, lay on two sheets of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Seal up your foil packet so it's ready to throw on the grill with the steak!

About 45 minutes before you're ready to eat, start preheating the grill to high. Once the grill is heated, throw the asparagus on in the foil package. Grill the steak for anywhere from 4-8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your steak and how done you want it to be. Remove and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing against the grain. Check asparagus after 10 minutes and continue cooking until fork tender.



I served it with the Pioneer Woman's potato bundles, which you could *also* grill, but I stuck them in the oven this time.


Marinated Flank Steak:

4 garlic cloves
4 sprigs rosemary
1 tsp salt
pepper
1 tsp sugar
5 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Peel & crush garlic cloves in gallon-sized freezer bag with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
2. Add vinegar, oil, and sugar. Mix.
3. Add steak and refrigerate in bag for 4-24 hours, turning to distribute marinade every few hours.
4. Preheat grill to high, then grill steak for 4-8 minutes per side until it reaches desired doneness.
5. Remove steak from grill, allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting against the grain.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What They Said, Volume 16

John Paul: I did it!!! I won at solitaire just by looking under the cards!!!

Or... Cheating?



John Paul: I think... We'll have more than 9 kids. Or maybe less than 9 kids. Or MAYBE... Exactly 9 kids!

John Paul, after eating his sixth slice of the frozen pizza Andrew slaved over: This is the BEST pizza EVER!!!

Yeah, never mind that pizza mom makes FROM SCRATCH (sauce, dough, and all) - this frozen stuff is where it's at!

#whydoieventry

John Paul: What does "hitherto" mean?
Me: Use it in a sentence.
John Paul: Well, as I was saying, "Hitherto, hitherto, hitherto..."

Great example...


John Paul, to Peter: He doesn't know what a G is... Peter, you have a G! It's the seventh letter of the alphabet! The word alphabet comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta!

John Paul: You're a nerd.
Cecilia: No I'm not! I'm wearing clothes!!!

Nerd != Nude..

John Paul: A mysterious saint is buried here... Who lived before 1015?
Cecilia: Uh... St. Therese?
John Paul: No...
Cecilia: Jesus?
John Paul: *disgusted sigh*

...

Cecilia: Mom, how do dey make stuffed animals? Just take an animal dat's dead and stuff it?

Yup. Or, you know, taxidermy...

Cecilia: Mom, if you're upside down and you're sighing, then you would be up-SIGH down! That's a joke.

Style. She's got it.
Cecilia, talking about The Railway Children: Mom, why did dey call her Bobbie?
Me: It's a nickname for Roberta, kind of like Cece could be a nickname for Cecilia.
Cecilia, thinking: Or...  It could be a nickname for Assisi!
Me:  Yes, I guess it could...
Cecilia: Mom, is Assisi a city or a town?
Me: I think it's a town. 
Cecilia: Yeah, where St. Francis was!
Me: And when you grow up maybe you could travel there!  And walk where St. Francis walked, and go to Mass where he went to Mass...
Cecilia:  Like Aunt Sister!  But I would bring all my kids.
Me: How many kids do you think you'll have?
Cecilia: 4 or 5?
Me: Oh?
Cecilia: Or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9...
Me: Yeah?
JP: Me too!
Cecilia: Or 10.
Me: What will your husband do?
Cecilia, thinking hard: ... Go to work?
Me: But what will he DO at work?
Cecilia, thinking hard again: ...  Make money?

Life goals, in a nutshell.



Cecilia: Mom, last night I had a dream. There was a child and a priest on a cloud, and the cloud was supported by a pillar.  The pillar fell, and the child and the priest...  Were dead.
Me: ... Why were they on a cloud?
Cecilia:  They were at Mass.  But then the pillar fell and they died.  It was a little scary? But not very much.

Ooookay then...



Cecilia: Mom, am I a Christian?
Me: Yes.
Cecilia: Maybe I'll be a martyr... And Peter, maybe YOU'LL be a martyr! But Peter... (Sternly) You CAN'T marry your sister.

Lectures by Cecilia...



Cecilia: Mom, can only boys be presidents?
Me: No, girls can be president too, just no girl has ever been president. Do you think you might want to be president some day?
Cecilia: Mom? Can presidents be saints?
Me: Yes, they can.
Cecilia: Mom? Then yeah, I want to be president AND a saint!!!

...

Elizabeth, holding up two wedges of cheese: I got two wedgies!!!


The twins were being too quiet, so I went to find them... Quietly stacking books together?

Elizabeth: Mom, May Cyaire and Eyizabif are pwetend da pwaywoom is a monastewy!!!

As you were, twins. As you were.


Me: Mary Claire, WHY were you eating sand again???
Mary Claire: It was patendin' to be tortellini...




Me: Mary Claire, were you eating dirt again???
Mary Claire: I was eating a ant!
Is it wine o'clock yet?



Me: Mary Claire, why didn't you sleep during nap?
Mary Claire: I was patend to be da noise machine.
Me: And why were you pretending to be the noise machine?
Mary Claire: Because it was patend to be Lawwy.

Of course.



Peter: Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba Da-da-da-da-da-da-da!

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Daybook? Or Something?

Can I just make up my own daybook? Is that how it works? Because there's just a whole lot of random swirling around here...

Thinking about...

Blog comments! I try my best to respond to all, but sometimes it takes a few days to actually sit down at the computer and do it! And sometimes when I finally get the chance to sit down at the computer, I'm trying to hammer out a quick post so there's no time to get to the comments.

I love it when you comment, though! And I especially love it if you have a link back to your blog so I can come visit you in your space - I've found some of my favorite bloggers through the comment sections on other blogs, so please don't feel shameless about sharing your links here! I think a lot of you have a lot in common with one another and would be great friends!

Excited for...

The Catholic Women Blogging Network Mid-Atlantic mini-conference this weekend! Sweet Julie of These Walls is hosting it and I'm so excited to spend time with friends I already know in real life, and to finally meet these friends I've made in the blogging world! I *may* overgram it a little for you all, just because I know I really enjoyed following the Indiana and California conferences.

Wearing...

This hat is slightly too small for my head, but I wear it anyway because hats! I do wish I could find one or two that fit properly for the spring and summer, though...

All the full skirts! Which requires ironing, but I saw a tip a while back that said just to iron things immediately before wearing them, and it's actually working great for me! I sneak downstairs while the kids are snacking in the morning, let the iron heat up while I'm choosing an outfit, iron whatever skirt or dress I've got a hankering for, and am ready in no time!



No, I don't iron every day... Maybe twice a week? Linking it up with Fine Linen & Purple for What I Wore Sunday!

Planting...

One of the tomato plants started flowering this week! The carrots are sprouting, peas are shooting up, pole beans are being sabotaged by one or both of the twins... We planted cosmos, marigolds, zinnias, and basil in one of the beds yesterday and I'm excited to have lots of flowers growing!

My view...
Yes, that's an onion... I'm gonna plant it!

John Paul picked this Mary statue out at Franciscan Monastery we visited last weekend, and graciously consented to let me put it on the kitchen windowsill - I'm thankful that I got these little bud vases at a thrift store a while ago, because Mary is constantly being graced with tiny little bouquets of violets or single flowers from the garden.

Reading...


We hit up the library used book sale and found all the Little House books for $1/each! So now the kids have been carrying them all around the house, reading them nonstop...

Meanwhile, we're about to finish up 5 Children and It, and are getting ready to start My Father's Dragon.  I'm not sure if I want to continue with Nesbit right now - the chapters are long, the humor seems to be largely lost on John Paul and Cecilia... Maybe we'll come back to the books in a couple of years.

Cooking...

Oh, do I have recipes I want to share with you! I keep promising to write out my recipe for bacon mac 'n cheese, and I promise that will happen soon. Also marinated flank steak for the grill, grilled asparagus, maybe a salad dressing recipe? I just really love cooking and am so excited to be getting things on the grill now! I'd make burgers for dinner every night if it didn't feel like junk food.




The kids...

This tiny argyle cardigan makes me smile - Mary Claire wore it with a green seersucker dress to Mass with me yesterday and was adorable enough to make up for her behavior... Hitting her head on the pew, necessitating speedy removal (of course we were sitting in the front... But the big kids stayed put quietly for the rest of the Homily while I was out with her!), complaining that she wanted to go outside, asking when Mass would be over, asking when we would sing, asking when we could talk... Really, predictable behavior for a 2-year-old but she and Elizabeth had been doing so much better lately! I suppose we were due for a setback.


I've resigned myself to the fact that he's just another high-maintenance baby. We don't make them easy, apparently. Sleeping while not being held is so rare that I have to take a picture when it happens!


I ordered a bunch of new clothes for the kids (still 50% off at Children's Place! And free shipping!) and John Paul was SO excited that he had to try on the new clothes immediately. And then tuck his shirt into his pants, find the tool box, and shove every tool into every utility pocket. This boy just OOZES cool.


Meanwhile, Cecilia crafted herself a "dress" out of a blanket and bag clips. Project Runway, here she comes!


And I cut the back of Elizabeth's hair! The mullet just wasn't cutting it anymore, but I felt terrible chopping those locks she had spent YEARS growing! It looks so much better now, though.

What are you cooking/reading/growing? I'd love suggestions!

Friday, April 24, 2015

It's My Birthday! How about a HUGE Giveaway? {7 Quick Takes}

Okay I apologize, these are the longest Quick Takes ever...

But it's worth it! I promise!

See, it's my birthday tomorrow, and as you can see everyone is SO excited about it:


See? John Paul's card is BURSTING with enthusiasm!


Cecilia's is a little more exciting... I think that might be me wearing a backpack? But that's the wrapping paper - inside it is my card that I'm not allowed to open until Saturday!


The 25th, in case you were wondering. John Paul got confused. "Alleluia!"

Anyway, it's my 29th birthday tomorrow! And in celebration of the LAST year of my 20s, I teamed up with a bunch of really awesome ladies for a great big giveaway for YOU!

It makes sense - I like giving presents WAY more than getting them, and if you win you're getting a LOT!

--1--

Something to wear:



These adorable baby leggings from Nell at Whole Parenting Family in size 0-6 months

Too sweet for words!


--2--

Something to read:



A printable pdf version of the famous Kelly Mantoan's planner, The Best Laid Plans

I have a hard copy and I LOVE it! I'm not a "planner" person but this has really been helping me organize my meal planning, garden planning, grocery shopping, and feast days. And having Kelly's witty voice throughout is a HUGE bonus!



An electronic copy of Rosaries Aren't {Just} For Teething, featuring reflections on the mysteries of the rosary by SO many of your favorite bloggers, from Michele at My Domestic Monastery.

I'm so excited to read this when it comes out!


--3-- 

Something for prayer:



A cord rosary in "Blessed Blue" from Sarah at Cherishing Everyday Beauty - blessed by her father the deacon, and infused with her prayers!

Babyproof! And the absolute perfect color blue, in my opinion!




A handmade chaplet from Cam at A Woman's Place.

Who doesn't have a soft spot for St. Therese?




A crocheted set of Rosary Roses from Annie at Annery at Home.

How perfect are these for little hands?

--4--

Something pretty:



A flexi clip of your choice in size mini-large from Lilla Rose - Mandi Richards.

I LOVE mine!!!





A custom Mother's Embroidered Rosette Necklace from Jenna at Call Her Happy.

Her instagram feed is so beautiful, full of her lovely embroidery and her adorable kids - go follow her now!

--5--

Something artsy:




A framed print from Rakstar Designs, Rakhi at The Pitter Patter Diaries' etsy shop.

This will be beautiful framed and hanging in your home!

--6--

Something for play:




A saint block of your choice from Lindsey at AlmondRod Toys.

I've mentioned several times how much the kids love these - they absolutely adore them!


--7--

Something for whatever you want:



And a $10 Amazon gift card from me, as a thank you for ordering through my Amazon affiliate links.

Because I'm not good enough at crafting to make you anything!

There are a million ways to enter - choose one, choose a bunch, choose them all, it's up to you! I hope you win :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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