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Moments of Grace No. 3

17 Feb

Since last I wrote a Catholic Woman’s Almanac post, the blog and link-up names have changed. It is now…

Moments of Grace Logo

Happy to be joining Jenny and ladies this week! Here we go!

Thanking God for
…a home heating system that continued to work through all of this crazy cold weather!
…hot tea to ease my congestion!
…wonderfully supportive parents!
…my amazing husband who loves being a daddy so much! He took our oldest girl to a Father-Daughter dance a couple weeks ago! Someone captured this beautiful pic of the two of them that’s featured on the parish website! Melt my heart!

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I am praying for
…some fellow Catholic bloggers who are going through some hard times right now, including things like miscarriages, autism, family addiction issues, etc.
…my mother-in-law’s continued fast healing after her hip replacement surgery.
…the souls in purgatory.

I am pondering
…purgatory. (See next section.)

I am reading

  • Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages and Warnings from Purgatory by Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg. This book has been on my wish list for quite some time. I finally downloaded it and it is very interesting so far. I haven’t spent too much time thinking about purgatory lately, but our prayers and sacrifices truly make a difference to these souls so that they can be finally united with God for eternity. I’m trying to be more conscious about praying for specific people and not just going through the motions for the “souls of faithful departed”.

I am creating
…hand-knit dishcloths. I love that they don’t take much time to knock out and most of my old ones were in desperate need of replacing!

I’m learning
…more about prayer. I just finished up Prayer Primer by Fr. Thomas Dubay a couple weeks ago. I’m really trying to commit to a more dedicated prayer life. I plan to post something later this month about some helpful insights I have come across.

Around the house
…My two girls and I were sick most of last week/weekend with the flu. We’re finally on the upswing. Thankfully, my husband did not catch the bug!
…Adam is clearing out the storage space today that we rented while the house was on the market. It’s going to be interesting to try to re-integrate this junk back into our house! Can anyone say, “garage sale”? The weather needs to warm up ASAP!

Look what I found
…Brandon Vogt does a weekly book give-away on his blog. Three of the current ones on this week’s Love and Marriage Book Giveaway just happen to be on my to-read list right now! Crossing my fingers that I win one of them!

I am looking forward to
…attending a protestant church service with one of my friends to hear Eric Metaxas speak again! (Love him!) Also, Christopher Duffley, will be singing! If you haven’t checked out this precious boy on YouTube yet, you should! He will amaze you and make you weep like a baby!

A favorite quote for today…

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For more of my favorite quotes on prayer, click here!

Have a great week, everyone!

Five Favorites (vol. 19)

5 Feb

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Last month, I wrote about my goals for 2014! This week, I’m writing about five of my favorite things that are helping me to be intentional and achieve these goals!

{1}
Home Budget App

HomeBudget with Sync

Finally, we found something that makes it as easy as possible to categorize and track spending! I love that this syncs between my iPad and both of our iPhones!

{2}
7-Minute Workout

This is a great little interval training video and something that I can totally fit into my schedule at least few times per week! Seven minutes is better than nothing, right?

{3}

Study the Gospels in a Year

I started receiving daily readings in my inbox in December, but you can still join and start reading now if you haven’t already signed up!

{4}

The Word Among Us

My parents bought me a subscription for Christmas! I love the daily meditations in this Catholic devotional magazine!

{5}

PowerSheets

Lara-Casey-Shop---2014-Making-Things-Happen-PowerSheet-Set_compact

I’ve mentioned these amazing planning sheets a couple times already on this blog, but it’s worth sharing in a Five Favorites post! I highly recommend these for anyone who wants to be purposeful and make sure their goals align with their priorities! I totally adore Lara Casey, who created this amazing system!

~

Have a great rest of the week! Check out Hallie’s and the other lovely ladies’ Five Favorites at Moxie Wife!!

Five Yummy Slow-Cooker Recipes!

23 Jan

It’s no secret that it has been CO-OLD around the country over the past couple weeks, so a warm meal that makes the whole house smell delicious is extra appealing and satisfying during this time of year! Plus, I love easy, inexpensive recipes! And, bonus, apparently January is National Slow Cooking Month!

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Here are some of my tried-and-true favorites!!

{1}

Chicken Taco Soup

This is more like a chili, than a soup, and it is delicious!!! It has a little kick to it, so beware!!

{2}

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I used the recipe I linked to above as my base and made some tweaks, such as adding some diced carrot and celery and eliminating the butter. I also used milk instead of cream and it turned out just fine. I’m a potato-freak, so I love this soup! And who doesn’t love bacon and cheese?!

{3}

BBQ Pulled Pork

My go-to cheap, big-crowd meal! Instead of using a tenderloin like the recipe calls for, I use a less expensive cut of pork such as a pork shoulder or Boston butt roast. I have literally spent about $5 on 4-5 lbs of meat and fed over 10 people. The secret to tenderizing the meat is root beer! And, like some reviewers suggested, I always use Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet and Sour BBQ sauce. It has a good flavor with the root beer! Yum!

{4}

Slow-Cooker Baked Chicken

Baked Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe

This chicken has turned out so well in the crock pot. It starts falling apart when I plate it! It’s the perfect way to make chicken to shred for a soup or casserole recipe or eat as is. You can add carrots underneath, in addition to potatoes wrapped in foil to make a whole meal. And you can make homemade chicken stock with the leftover bones!

{5}

Slow-Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken

Slow-Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken recipe

This can be eaten served over rice or wrapped up in a tortilla! It’s easy to overcook the peppers, though, so I’d just watch the time closely the first time you make this!

I’m always on the lookout for more great slow-cooker recipes, so please share one of your favorites in the comments!

~

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I’m linking up with Hallie and Co. at Moxie Wife! Come join us!

I’m coming for you, 2014!

6 Jan

motivational quote from Ana Brandt

Source

I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions or big annual evaluations of my goals, but I am all about living purposefully this year!

Maybe the combination of turning 30 last month and facing the reality that my oldest daughter is starting Kindergarten this year has got me putting on my big girl pants. In fact, like many others (including those linking-up at Plain Grace), I even decided on a word to focus on for 2014 – intentional!

I have been working hard on my PowerSheets, a goal-planning guide created by Lara Casey, to plan the first six months of the year. I cannot recommend this packet enough! It has motivated me so much and has really helped me put my goals into perspective in light of my vision- God’s vision- for my life! If you feel like you really want to prioritize and break things down into manageable bites, check them out! These can help you out no matter what your dreams are!

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My vision for 2014, and my life overall, includes:

-constantly seeking God’s will
-being thankful for his grace and blessings
-having a thriving marriage centered on Christ
-raising our two daughters to know, love, and serve Him
-using our talents to bring others to God and spread joy
-having a warm home where others can feel the love and joy of family and God
-reading, studying, and growing in wisdom and understanding

My five goals that I have chosen to put my energy into this year (and why) are:

1. Cultivate a marriage and family that continues to grow in God’s love, because that’s where true joy is and we want to shine His light and the goodness of family.

2. Create a financial plan/budget that works for our family, so that we can be good stewards of our money, save for our girls’ education, and prepare for emergencies, big purchases, and our future.

3. Create my online community, Faithful Dreamers, to encourage and inspire others to follow God’s will and dream big!

4. Be healthy, so that I can have more energy and feel good about how I’m taking care of myself for my family. I desperately need to squeeze in some exercise a few times each week!

5. Spend more time in prayer, so that I can hear God’s word, discern his plan for my life, and deepen my relationship with Jesus. This will greatly help me to be the best version of myself.

2014 is all about a year of action for me! I’m ready to put some ideas into motion and I want to do things with intention! For a peek at my Making Things Happen in 2014 vision board, click here!

~

What are you focusing on this year? Do you have a special word that is guiding and motivating you?

Catholic Woman’s Almanac No. 2

18 Nov

It’s taken me a little longer than I thought to get back to joining up with the ladies at Suscipio, but better late than never!

Thanking God for…
…my wonderful, amazing husband and little girls.

…my brother moving to Tennessee after living in California for 8 years.

…a job with flex days, so I can work from home a few times each month (like today)!

I am praying…
…for the grace to continue writing and articulating the truth that God reveals to me.

…for the Christians being persecuted throughout the world.

…for the success of my father-in-law’s new business.

I am pondering…
…what direction my blog will go in 2014.

I am reading…
No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green by Melody Green – Where do I begin with this one? There are so many parallels of Keith Green’s journey and where Adam is at in his own musical journey, that I will have to devote an entire post to it in the near future!

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp – I love what Ann has to say about grace and thanksgiving. It all has been tying in to other things that I’ve been reading, too.

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer – I’m still working on this one! I’ve been devoting a lot of time to No Compromise lately, but will be getting back to this once I finish up that one.

I am creating…
…Christmas gifts out of glass blocks, vinyl, ribbon, and lights!

I’m learning…
…to step into fear and be more vulnerable.

In the kitchen…
I had a very productive day today! I steamed sweet potatoes for my girls, made a big batch of homemade vegetable soup, baked some healthy fruit-and-veggie  muffins, and even made pumpkin gooey butter cake for a work potluck tomorrow!

Around the house…
We officially took our house off the market this past week, because I didn’t want to deal with showings over the holiday season! It has been such a stress reliever! We may or may not re-list it in the spring. We’ll see…

Look what I found…
PowerSheets – I recently read about these awesome organizing/planning sheets on Anne’s blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy. I just ordered some to keep me on track for 2014. I’m really excited about them!

I am looking forward to…
…my sister-in-law and twin nephews coming to visit over Thanksgiving!

…Advent! I love Christmas-time, but I don’t listen to any Christmas music or put up decorations until after Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to snuggle with my girls and watch Christmas movies! I plan to enjoy the season as much as possible!

A favorite quote for today…

Stop living in fear and start living in faith. Fear paralyzes. Faith frees. -Crystal Paine, Money Saving Mom

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Good night and have a great week!

Five Favorites (vol. 17)

6 Nov

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It seems to be all I can do to even type up a Five Favorites post lately! Other things keep climbing to the top of my to-do list! I’m happy to be linking-up with Hallie and crew today!

{1}

Melaleuca Sun Shades Mountain Mint Lip Balm

My mom gets this mint-flavored lip balm for me every Christmas! It’s the creamiest treat for your lips – ever!

{2}

Bolthouse Farms Mocha Cappuccino

Since these babies have been Buy One, Get One FREE lately, I’ve been treating myself these past couple weeks! Once again, my mom is the one who introduced me to the deliciousness that is Bolthouse Farms! Hurry to Kroger this week before they’re all gone!

{3}

CMA Awards Tonight!

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this awards show, because Adam and I aren’t really digging the state of country music right now. (Check out this Entertainment Weekly article for more about “Bro Country”!) Anyway, the show is in Nashville and Adam is working backstage, so I gotta watch! There are always a few moments that make it worth it!

Anybody else watching right now?

{4}

What Should I Read Next?

I ran across this website in a magazine earlier this week. It’s a great way to find other titles based on the author or book that is entered into the search box.

{5}

My brother is moving to Tennessee!

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My younger brother, Jeff, has lived in California for the past 8 years and just sold his house! He and my dad will be hauling his stuff here over the course of the next week! I’m praying for a smooth trip! It’ll be good to have him home for good!

~

Hope everyone is having a great week! God bless!

Five Favorites (vol. 16)

16 Oct

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It’s been quite awhile since I’ve joined my fave link-up! So I’m happy to be joining Hallie and the other lovely ladies linking-up today!

{1}

Coconut Body Butter

Image courtesy of Beauty Best Friend

 I love the smell and the consistency of this lotion! The creaminess of shea butter is the best! (Thanks, mom, for the treat!)

{2}

Lemon/Cucumber/Mint Detox Water

Image courtesy of See Vanessa Craft

My skin has been breaking out a little more than usual, so I decided to make this detox water to help with cleansing out impurities. Plus, I need to drink more water each day, and this helps me with that. I’m just trying to drink 1-2 glasses/day – not necessarily a spcial diet or anything. From what I’ve read, there are lots of health benefits from incorporating a little lemon on a daily basis.

{3}

Banana Cocoa Overnight Oatmeal

oatmeal

Photo and Recipe courtesy of The Yummy Life

This is a healthy, quick breakfast option! I have made it a few times and this flavor combination is my favorite!

{4}

 No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green

 

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A lovely co-worker of mine just gave me this book today after discovering my blog and reading more about my husband. She is a strong Christian and music-lover and said that she’d had this book for awhile and didn’t know who to pass it on to until last night when she checked out A Dreamer’s Wife! I’m not that familiar with Keith Green but I got goosebumps the moment that I started to read the back cover! I know that God will use this book to reveal another step in Adam’s journey. Just knowing that Keith played concerts for free, let’s me know that this book is meant for us to read!

{5}

Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference

Speaking of books, I just finished up this Max Lucado book! It was a pretty quick read full of insight! He used the book of Acts to outline the various chapters and ended each with a prayer. One of the powerful prayers was this:

Gracious Lord, in the Bible you are called “the One who sees me,” and I know that your eyes are always upon me to guide and protect and bless and correct. You have given me eyes too. Grant me the power to use them to truly see. Help me see those you put in my path–really see them, with all their hurts, their desires, their longings, their needs, their joys, and their challenges. As you open my eyes, prompt me to open wide my arms to offer whatever help and encouragement I have to give. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

***

Have a blessed day!

I’m Giving Myself Permission to Slack!

20 Sep

bench2quote

It has been no secret that I’ve been slacking on the blogging front for the past two months! With car problems and the house for sale and all the stress that comes with that, my brain hasn’t had much room or time for inspiration and creativity!

But, you know what? I’m okay with that! I gave myself permission to let blogging slide down a little on the priority list. Sometimes, we need to let one of the balls that we are juggling drop temporarily, so that we can remain sane!

The other night, I had intended to finally have a nice evening dedicated to writing, but a newly scheduled showing threw those plans off, since I had to spend a couple hours cleaning the house for the following morning. I was exhausted since I had stayed up too late the night before (*ahem* shopping the clearance section online at Kohl’s), and had to scrap my plans on the computer and crash in my bed instead! I know, I know! This post could easily turn into a lesson on the importance of time management, but we’re focusing on cutting myself a break, right now!

The points is, we all take care of so much each and every day, especially those of us who have children! We can’t do everything great all at the same time! Most of the time, though, we do manage to hold our responsibilities together pretty well, but sometimes we just have to know when to say, “I need a break from this!”

And, if you are like me, you are your own worst critic. The pressure you feel to do A, B, C and X, Y, Z is largely self-imposed. We not only don’t want to let others down, but we don’t want to let ourselves down, either! We have goals and plans and we know that takes hard work and time, but we can lose joy and motivation fast if we don’t know when to recharge.

So, if you are under some extra stress lately or just feel overwhelmed by life’s daily challenges, I encourage you to find something you can let go of whether it’s for today, the week, or whenever, guilt-free! The dishes next to the sink may stack up a little higher, the grass may grow a little longer, or page views may dip a little lower, but if it keeps you healthy and from the edge of a breakdown, it’s well worth it! I give you permission!

Oh, and to follow-up on those car problems I mentioned before, I’m the proud new owner of a used Chrysler Town and Country! Nothing says, “I’m a mom and almost 30” like a mini-van! 🙂

Have a great weekend! Do something relaxing!

Catholic Woman’s Almanac {No. 1}

9 Sep

I’m trying something new this week! I’m joining the Catholic Woman’s Almanac Link-up Party at Suscipio. I just have to say that I’m loving this encouraging community that Jenny has created for Catholic women – very cool!

CWA

Thanking God for…
-my amazing husband who does so much to take care of our daughters and our house
-my girls playing together nicely in their little tent
-my oldest daughter, C, telling me that she loves me forever, after reading the classic Love You Forever tonight before bed!

Looking out my window…
I’m in the basement and there is a tiny window to my right. It’s pitch black outside- I can’t see a thing!

I am praying…
…that I can raise polite, grateful, respectful, faithful girls! I am praying that I have the courage to follow God’s will- whatever He may ask of me. I am praying that my husband has the courage to follow God’s will and is able to use his musical gifts to bring other closer to Him.

I am pondering…
…how do we know what is God’s will? Sometimes there’s a feeling that we’re certain is the Holy Spirit prompting us. Other times, this feeling could be the devil or us trying to convince ourselves that what we want is what God wants for us. Of course, there are certain things that we know God wants us to do or not to do, based on scripture, tradition, and teaching. But there are some gray areas that seem to have no apparent moral consequence one way or the other, like which car or house should I buy, where should I go to school, should I take this job offer, etc.? God is the master weaver, so obviously these decisions matter but it can be so hard to discern what to do sometimes… Just a little of what’s going on in my head!

I am reading…
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC (the retreat is almost finished!)

Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference by Max Lucado

I am creating…
…the logo for my long-time project: Faithful Dreamers. I don’t want to share too much yet, but I can’t wait until it all comes together – slowly, but surely!

I’m learning…
How to better navigate GIMP (a free alternative to Photoshop)!

In the kitchen…
I made the best potato recipe from The Pioneer Woman this past week – Crash Hot Potatoes. They tasted so… amazing and they were super easy to make! Very addicting!

Around the house…
Well, if you’ve been following this blog at all the past two months, you know that my house is currently on the market, which means my house is the most organized and clean that it has ever been and I have to try to keep it that way! No easy task with two young ones!

I’m wearing…
…my favorite blue and lime green flannel pajama pants and an Eastern Illinois basketball t-shirt 🙂

Look what I found…
In the last few pages of 33 Days to Morning Glory, I discovered that the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception created two FREE iPhone apps – Mary and Divine Mercy. Check them out!

I am looking forward to…
…heading up to Indiana (my home state!) later this month! We’ll be staying with my in-laws, visiting my grandparents, and walking around the University of Notre Dame! We like to come up in the fall to take our annual family Christmas card picture on campus!

…going to bed in a few minutes!

A favorite quote for today…

dietrich quote with flowers

G’night y’all!

{7 Quick Takes #11}

15 Aug

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 228)

So it has been quite awhile since I have joined Jen and the 7 Quick Takes crew! I have so much randomness to share about what’s been going on in the Shick household so far this month that I thought breaking it down 7 Quick Takes-style would be good!

{1}

house

Our house is officially on the market! It’s exciting and highly stressful at the same time! Someone is coming later today to take video for a virtual tour thing and my house is going to have to be even more meticulously organized and spotless than it already is! Yikes! AND two showings are scheduled for this evening!

{2}

C started preschool earlier this week! She’ll be going two days per week. I felt like I climbed another step on the mom ladder when I made her lunch and packed it in her own cute brown and pink lunch box!

{3}

33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It- Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration

Last week, I started the 33 Days to Morning Glory retreat with several other Cathsorority ladies via Facebook. My mom had given me the book for Mother’s Day, but I hadn’t gotten around to checking it out yet, so it worked out perfectly to start this with a group! It’s going great so far!

{4}

With all of this crazy house stuff going on, I have gotten really behind with my coupon cutting – like at least 6 weeks worth of inserts piled up on me! I’ve been slowly tackling them this past week and now my least favorite part, filing them in my binder, awaits me! Fun times ahead for the weekend! 🙂

{5}

The beginning of August, Adam was gone as a tech at Lollapalooza in Chicago for nearly a week. It was the first time the girls had been away from him for such a long time! Daddy made some funny videos for the girls, which made it easier on me at bedtime! So, yeah, I kind of don’t miss the days of Adam being out on the road for 3-4 days at a time every weekend!

{6}

Changing the subject, I have a rare rant that I have to get off my chest! This week alone, I’ve been behind three different drivers who have tossed cigarette butts out their windows. I don’t know about anybody else, but anytime someone does that I feel like it is a personal “screw you!” I’m no environmental activist, but I feel it is so disrespectful to, like, the whole rest of the human population to litter. It’s not that hard to wait 10 minutes to throw your trash away or empty an ashtray!

I guess this is just a symptom of where our society is right now – selfish, no respect for life, etc…

Okay, rant over. Deep breath! Moving on…

{7}

On a happy note, I have to brag on my friend Abby of Creative Crumbs for a second! (You may remember that I featured her as my Dreamer in the Spotlight earlier this year.) She recently was invited to participate in Nashville’s first The NotWedding event at The Cannery Ballroom last month. Her delicious cake was called the “shining star of the reception” by one columnist!

Photo: All set for The Not Wedding!        This beautiful cake is decorated with handmade sugar flowers and chopped pistachios.  #nashvilleweddings #weddingcake

Photo courtesy of Creative Crumbs Nashville

Nashville peeps, be sure to vote for Creative Crumbs in Nashville Scene’s Best of Nashville 2013 survey as the Best Local Cake Baker!!

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Have a great weekend, everyone!