Sunday, July 27

July 27th...

It's time for another Commitment to Loveliness! This is a fun way to increase femininity and beauty in our lives each week without even trying! All you have to do is choose five things that you would like to work on or do during the week that will increase the loveliness in your life!

Here is my list for this week:

1. Climb back on the cloth diaper wagon...
2. Begin keeping a spending log to help curb thoughtless purchasing.
3. Find a suitable clothesline to hang in the screened-in porch and hang it. I'm thinking something retractable.

4. Organize children's books
Try to learn how to crochet a ball.

Once you have chosen five simple things, post them on your blog and link to this post in your post, and then post the direct link to your Commitment to Loveliness post in the comments section. If you do not have a blog, but have a commitment to share, please post them in the comments section. I'll link to your Commitments on this post as I get them.

Thank You!

Thanks for all of your encouraging comments about my new 'do. I am feeling better about it - not because I wanted it - but because it it something different and as much as I probably won't purposely cut my hair short again, I now know how I look with shorter hair:)

I feel a little guilty for feeling upset about my hair when bloggers I know have real problems to deal with. Thanks for your support, encouragement, and reminders that it'll grow:)

Why Do We Wear a Cross?

In pre­-Christian times, the Cross was the instrument of a shameful and horrible death. The ancient Romans invented it and used it everywhere in order to intimidate the peoples whom they had subjugated. Everyone looked on this instrument of execution ­ the shameful Cross ­ with horror.

But a remarkable change took place with respect to the Cross after Our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on it. The Lord suffered and died on the Cross. He took horrible sufferings upon Himself in order to save us from sins. The Cross received great glory, such as no other object made by the hands of man has possessed. The Cross became the sign of our salvation, through which we receive the power of God ­ the grace of God.

The Cross is the first and greatest Christian sacred object. When the priest sanctifies water, he immerses the Cross in it, and the water becomes holy. When we wear the Cross on our breast, our body constantly touches it, and from this touch it, too, is sanctified. The Cross that we wear protects us from all kinds of danger.

In Communist Russia, believing people ­ our brothers and sisters ­ would wear a Cross at great risk, since there could be much unpleasantness from the godless for this. But these remarkable people were not afraid to confess their faith, and they would fearlessly wear a Cross.One ought not to look upon the Cross as some kind of jewelry like a bracelet or brooch. The Cross must adorn our soul and not our clothing, and must constantly remind us that we are Orthodox Christians, called to live according to our faith, which is founded on the Savior's sufferings on the Cross.

Article taken from:

Friday, July 25

Keeping a Cross on Your Child...

Orthodox Christians wear crosses and when I was expecting our first child, I fully intended to keep a cross on my little one! For the first few months after she was born, I'd dress her and carefully pin a safety pin with her cross dangling from it onto her outfit. As time wore on and things got busier, I was lucky if I remembered to pin on her cross on Sunday morning before church!

With the birth of our son in December, I was reminded of my intention to keep a cross on my children and recommitted myself to the task. I devised a plan to help make this important part of getting my children dressed a habit. I simply remove the cross pin from whatever they were wearing and pin it to whatever I am putting them in immediately. This means that they have their cross on whether they are wearing their pajamas or are in their fifth outfit of the day. There are times that I forget this step, but they are fewer and farther between then when I didn't make this a priority!


I've been trying to start the little ritual of tea-time in our house. We usually have our snack after naps and what we eat really depends upon how lunch went. Lately, my little girlfriend hasn't wanted much of a lunch so she has a more filling tea-time. Since she gobbled up her tomato soup and grilled cheese, madelines and apple juice on a quilt on the family room floor were the perfect treat today!

What little rituals have found their way into your home lately?

I Don't Even Know Where to Begin...

I started out the day looking like this:

I called a beauty parlor and got an appointment for 4:00 so that I could look like this:

I walked out of the beauty parlor at 4:35 and looked like this:

I am not happy.

Thursday, July 24

Nature Tables...

I've wanted to incorporate a nature table into our family's life for awhile. Scouring the internet for ideas revealed some examples that seemed a little on the pagan side of things, which we would never do. Discussing the dilemma with my friend (we need pictures of yours, Courtney!!) provided the answer! We could create a little nature centerpiece for our table and not only incorporate some pretty things from nature, but also take some elements from the Liturgical season! We've been switching out the blessing (what is in the little frame) for the feast day's hymn (mainly the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church) and it seems to be working quite nicely! The blessing pictured is the "everyday" one we use before meals.

Thursday's Feminine Tip...

If you have the time (and gas!) to stop at a farmer's market or roadside vegetable stand, buying your fruits and vegetables locally is a much nicer experience than just tossing them into your cart at the market. Once you get your bounty home, use your fruits and vegetables as an edible centerpiece!

Wednesday, July 23

Nursery Improvements...

The nursery is still a work-in-progress (some of the furniture needs painting, I need picture frames for the bird number cards, and we'd like to change the toddler bed to a full sized one... not to mention that I'd love to get rid of the couch!), but there are finally things on the wall, a furniture arrangement that I can live with, and a fun hidey-hole for the babies to play in (thanks to Papa's savvy decorating sense - I had no idea how to incorporate that little alcove with the furniture we have). I am so glad that this room looks a little nicer than it has in the past!

Friday, July 18

Friday's Feminine Tip...

Take some time to make the meals that you prepare and serve special today. Add a cloth to the table, pop a few flowers into a vase for a quick centerpiece, garnish your dishes with fresh herbs, or even use your best china! Make every meal beautiful... even the bowl of cheerios you hand your child for breakfast!

Thursday, July 17

Book Club: The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage...

Chapter Three: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In this chapter, Dr. Laura asks the following questions of the reader:

  • What was your biggest surprise to learn about marriage?
  • In what way has marriage made you a better person?
  • What are the benefits of being married vs. being single?

While she was writing this book Dr. Laura posed the above questions to her listeners (both male and female) and got a variety of responses. Of all the responses she shares in this chapter, I chose two (one woman's response and one man's) of my favorites.

"I really feel like I have been given a dream partner to share life with and while that is a gift, it is also a huge responsibility. The desire I have to see my husband happy was surprisingly overwhelming for me, considering that I have always bee a self-focused, depressed person (childhood scars). My problem was a need to have him parent me with daily reassurance. However I could see in his eyes from time to time, a longing for ME to truly KNOW that I was okay so that I could be his peaceful woman and not his anxious little girl. When he was tired and emotionally drained from his workday, I know the last thing he needed was for me to drain whatever drop was left in his emotional tap. That is when the accountability part kicked in: I LOVED HIM SO MUCH THAT I WOULD CHANGE. I started practicing not being in a slump all day and now it has become almost natural!"


"One day I was helping a friend build a fence. It was hot and he was down on his knees pouring concrete for the fence post. Our wives were both there. His wife could see that he was hot, she began to fan him with her hand and then she bent over and began to blow on his neck. I was astounded! Where do you find such a woman? Hell would freeze over before my wife would blow on my neck. My wife said that she was doing that just for effect. But I can tell you this - her husband would die for her. And all of his friends wish they could trade him places."

Discussion: How would you answer the questions Dr. Laura asks?

Wednesday, July 16

Wednesday's Feminine Tip...

Take some time today to ruthlessly sort through your lingerie drawer. Toss everything that no longer does it's job beautifully. Make a list of what you need and plan a leisurely (if you can manage it!) to purchase any new undergarments that you need. In my case, I'll need to make that list and buy things before I toss anything... it wouldn't be a pretty sight, otherwise!

Friday, July 11

Book Club: The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage...

Chapter Two "I've Met the Enemy... and It's Me!"

"Through all the years I was in private practice as a marriage, family, and child therapist, I never once had folks walk in and point to themselves as a/the problem with the marriage; not once. When couples or individuals call in to my radio program to address their marital issues, one of the very first things I do is to ask, "What do you do to hurt your spouse personally and/or the marriage in general?" It is amazing how capable people are to place the blame anywhere else but with themselves. This is not to say that the other person is not contributory; this is to say that it is easier to get your spouse to take responsibility if you role model doing such! Also the only control each one of us has in our relationships is over ourselves"

The above quote pretty much summarizes chapter two in this book. Using examples from some of the callers to her radio program, Dr. Laura illustrates the fact that in order to help fix (or prevent) problems in a marriage, a person needs to take responsibility for his or her own actions and defects and change them... not an easy feat!

One of Dr. Laura's callers resented the fact that her husband no longer wooed and courted her like he had when they were dating. Despite nagging, begging, and crying, he didn't change. She noticed that her husband bought gifts and did thoughtful things for their daughter and realized the following:

"I knew that my husband was capable of thinking of others and doing things to demonstrate his love. While reading your book, it dawned on me. Sarah {their daughter} had been demonstrating for me what I, as a wife, needed to be doing. The moment he walks in the door after work, she runs to him yelling, 'Daddy!!' and nothing else matters to her but that he is home."

"I on the other hand, am too busy getting dinner ready and am irritated that he would actually expect me to drop what I am doing to give him a king's welcome. I shed many tears thinking about this, knowing it was not too late to start."

She made some simple rules for herself:

1. Stop whatever it is that I am doing and greet him.
2. Do my laundry, dishes, etc. during the day and put everything away. It doesn't have to be perfect, like I want it to be - he just wants a comfy home to come to with a loveing wife and children.
3. Just love and appreciate him without nagging and criticisms for the way the baby's diaper is on, or that he picked out the wrong pajamas.

Since my husband works from home, I don't usually have the opportunity to give him a king's welcome... however, there are plenty of times during the day that he pops out of his office to say "hi" or asks me to look at something. Let me tell you, I can be irritated (with a capitol "I") that I am being interrupted from whatever I am doing. This chapter was a good reminder to me to loose my 'tude with my husband and treat him the wonderful way that he treats me when I interrupt his work - graciously and with a smile!

Discussion: Is there a "rule" that you can make for yourself that will help to foster more love and peace in your marriage?

Book Club: The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage...

Awhile ago, I started to do some posts on Dr. Laura Schlessinger's book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage. Unfortunately, I never finished doing the posts (though I did finish reading it myself!). I'd like to finish the Book Club postings this summer if people are interested. Here are links to the previous posts I wrote:

I'll put up Chapter Two today:)

Friday's Feminine Tip...

Take a walk today and enjoy the beauty around you... Notice the flowers and trees, the things that people have done to make their houses more welcoming, and the colors of the sky. Smile at people that you meet, enjoy the smells that you encounter, and return home refreshed and ready to tackle any challenges that come next!

Thursday, July 10

The Ultimate Job Search...

My friend's husband could really use a job! Please pass this along to anyone you think might be interested(it would be great to have it posted on your blogs)!

Wednesday, July 9

E-mail Me...

My e-mail address is now posted on my sidebar. Feel free to drop me a line if you have a question or comment you'd like to ask privately!

Six Random Things About Me...

I was tagged by Penny to share 6 random things about me! Thanks, Penny:)

Here are the rules :
- Link to the person who tagged you.
- Post the rules on your blog.
- Write six random things about yourself.
- Tag six people at the end of your post.
- Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
- Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I love inclement weather... thunder and lightening storms, snow, fog, etc. I think it's because I like to be cozy at home.

2. I am really into comfort foods like shepherd's pie, baked ziti, roasted chicken and all the trimmings, Beef Stroganoff, etc.

3. I like to collect whole sets of hardcover books (I'm working on getting all of the Mitford books, the Little House books, and anything by Shirley Hughes).

4. When I get interested in something, I can easily get overwhelmed with plans and list making... sometimes it gets to the point that I loose interest because I know I can't do it all.

5. I really want to learn how to sew, embroider, and crochet.

6. I like to wear skirts "just because" (I think a lot of people think that it's for religious reasons).

Tag, You're it!

Natural Bath Toys...

I was giving the babies a bath a few nights ago and as usual, the bathtub was full of rubber ducks, shaving cream caps, and boats. A few minutes into the bath, I began noticing little black bits floating in the water. I was horrified to realize that mold was coming out of the rubber ducks the kids like so much. Gross!

Happily, I recently read somewhere that shells, river rocks, and sponges make good toys in the bath. We already had a natural sponge and cute little bird washcloth toy and I was able to find bags of shells and rocks in the craft section of Walmart. We'll see what the babies think at bath time tonight!

Note: Test your tub to see if the shells or rocks will scratch the finish before you let your kids play!

Welcome to Our House, Lulu...

So we received Jacqueline, our nesting doll, in the mail on Monday afternoon and she was promptly scooped up by our little one! We decided to rename her Lulu because it is easier to say for her mama.

On Monday evening, we were saying our evening prayers with our children. Our daughter started coughing and gagging and the next thing we knew, daughter, Baby, Lulu, and the carpet were covered with throw-up:( Ugh. As I was bathing our little girl and my husband was rinsing out the carpet, he said, "Welcome to our house, Lulu!"

Everyone is healthy and clean right now... I am very thankful for washable toys!!

I've Been Waiting for This Day for Two Years...


Sunday, July 6

Our Favorite Homemade Pizza...

We love pizza in our house! I've finally found a recipe (and a great pan!) for making homemade pizza. Thanks to Crystal's dough recipe our family enjoys pizza nearly every week! The toppings we use on this white sausage pie can be changed so easily... I think we're going to try a white spinach or broccoli pie next time!

First, Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Next, combine ingredients into your mixing bowl

Mix ingredients on low to medium speed for five minutes.

While your mixer is kneading your dough, begin to make Alfredo sauce for your pizza. I cheat and use a seasoning packet, but you could make your own or even use jarred Alfredo sauce.

Dice cooked sweet or spicy Italian sausage for your pizza. I cooked this sausage a few weeks ago and froze it to use later.

Grease your pizza pan and press your dough out.

Spread the Alfredo sauce over the dough.

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and sausage over the sauce and dough.

Add dollops of ricotta cheese and a sprinkling of garlic powder and Italian seasoning over the entire pie.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 12 -15 minutes and serve piping hot.


Note: If you have leftovers, this pizza pan is great for reheating slices... they stay crisp and don't burn!

A Yummy Namesday Treat...

Papa had the good idea of breaking out the s'mores maker for our little girl's namesday dessert... Yum!

From Office Building to Church: Part Fifteen...

I was finally able to get to pretty up the bathroom at church! The men cleared out their construction paraphernalia, we cleaned everything thoroughly, and added some feminine touches. My favorite is the "mistreatment" on the changing table... who knew that a $2.99 fabric remnant could look so pretty and be so functional (you don't want to know what is behind that curtain!)?!

Happy Fourth of July!

We started our day with some red, white, and blue fruit pastries from the market (cherry, apple, and blueberry) and ended it with fireworks! How was your fourth?
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