Friday, February 28, 2014

Lenten Plans in Seven Quick Takes


We are adding the Stations of the Cross to our daily routine. My goal is that everyday at three during our snack and crafting time (I am hoping this makes me get back to that routine) I will play this lovely CD that I won from Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things!

Screens are off expect during the Bubba's nap time. I will use the computer for blogging and correspondence but that's it really. I personally limit my secular exposures during Lent because I will let myself fall off the ole wagon. Its pathetic but extremes are super helpful for me when I begin a quest. I even keep my music to hymns and sermons. I will most likely not be keeping up with Facebook either.


We complete a service project as a family. This year we are making fleece tie blankets for nursing home residents. On Good Friday, we will deliver them and visit with the residents. Oh, please pray for our local nursing home. It is being shut down by the state leaving few options for the seniors in our area.


The chickadees will be cleaning out their toy room to either donate toys or to place in a tuff box that will be cycled in and out through the year. They are very good about playing with just about everything but the choices are way too overwhelming. This way we can manage the toys and still keep toys fresh.


We change our diet quite drastically during Lent. No meat except fish on Sundays, no sugary treats or cakes ( I do allow fruit and yogurt but no candy bars or tea cakes), and no buying of unnecessary items. We also cut down on the variety of our meals and the complexity. We stop buying non-essentials, and focus our energies  to building up our family relationships. We do keep the feast days of St. Joseph and St. Patrick as well as every Sunday being a mini Easter.


I love to track our days through Lent, so we often print out a Lenten calendar from somewhere or I make up one. Each day after morning prayers, we color in a slot and read from a Catechism or the Bible. This year we are reading one of the Sunday Mass readings or from "My Catholic Faith".


I am personally struggling with my sloth in prayer and household management, so this Lent I will be getting up before the children to say my Rosary and the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows. I will also be using my free time to read Catholic non-fiction and the Bible. I will also be journaling occasionally or keeping up on the blog about the progress or any other musings. My husband is giving up yelling for Lent, and I told him that it was a smashing idea.
So, there it is dear readers. Some lofty plans. Please, please pray for me. I will be offering intentions for you dear readers as well, so leave me a comment or email me at betweenthelinen (at) gmail (dot) com.

Check out more great Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Favorite Recipe

This past holiday season in December, my mother-in-law whom is one of my best friends told me how much she loved how I would teeter into the kitchen during stressful times and make something. Honestly, I never realized I did that, but two months later, I can say that I do cook, chop, bake, mix, slurp, and knead my stress away. Snow fell again today. The upside was an early homecoming for my dear husband. I was also able to make this recipe:

Sausage Bread, serves 4

1 loaf of risen but uncooked bread (I use the recipe for white bread from The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alana Chernila ; I have used the frozen bread loaves as well with much success.)

1 lb. sausage, cooked through

2 eggs

1 cup shredded cheddar

4 tsp. Parmesan or manchego

Garlic powder to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine sausage, eggs, cheddar, Parmesan, and garlic powder together in a bowl. Set aside. Meanwhile, roll the bread flat on floured surface. Spread the sausage mixture over the bread. Roll the bread over the mix and close the ends. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes. Cut to serve.

My mother made this recipe about every week. She would use shredded chicken or ground beef as well. She served this with sour cream as a condiment and a green salad.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just a Day like Anyother:: Daybook for February's End

Outside my window:: Freezing temperatures have hit again. There is this feeling of breathing in ice when my face hits the air. Thankfully, the dogs are much quicker with their potty breaks.

Giving thanks:: for this period of preparation before Lent. Otherwise, I do not think my mind nor my heart would have been set in fast mode.

I am thinking about...

this quote from the THE QUOTABLE MONKROCK
In the Schoolroom:: We ended our trimester a month early, because we needed the break. I also needed to find a better organizational system that was longer than a week. I just don't have the time to set aside each Friday, Saturday, or Sunday to gather the paper or craft supplies. I can, however, set aside a lump of time on one Saturday a month to get my whole month prepped and organized. I also am using a binder with five folders for each week of the month with a weekly lesson plan, so I am more likely to stay focused and not stress about how long it is taking or how much we have missed.

From the kitchen...

We are gearing up for the Lenten season. My cookbooks are out, and my meal plan is being formulated. The one thing I do enjoy about living in frigid NY is that soup is still acceptable up till July.

I am creating:: I finished the quilt top, and will be picking up some fabric for the back soon.

I am working on:: priorities. Lent always has a way of bringing me back to checking my schedule and planning more time for building the relationships in my life. I am also working on some deep cleaning of the bedrooms. We have to go through some mountains of clothes (most of which are seriously stained).

I am praying:: for the situation in the Ukraine, and for the souls of several recently departed.

I am struggling..

With a sense of bitterness about winter! I just feel like it will never end. Also, our budget is getting off track again. I am hoping that the Lenten mindset will assist us in reigning in our desires versus our needs. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Breath of Color

Yesterday, I received a package from one of my best friends. Inside was a gorgeous burlap wreath complete with drama, glitz, and of course peacock feathers. I needed this infusion of color right now! The snow piles are all greyish and sad. The grass is this sick washed out green. This friend of mine is the rare sort of person that refuses to become bitter; she allows the Grace of God to flow through her without losing the ability to be stalwart in her beliefs. She helps me stave off the bitterness that creeps into my personality. Did I mention that she also keeps me up to date on recent music offerings like the Wu-tang clan. Apparently, the Wu-tang clan is not a group of rogue ninjas as I assumed.

BTW, I am not a photographer, and do this no justice of how awesome this wreath is!

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Monday with our Lady

Last August, I began my Consecration to Jesus through our Lady using the book 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration; it took me six years to begin that journey into our Mother's arms. Six years. What held me back?

1. Ignorance. I knew very few people who could answer my questions about what consecration was and how it worked. Could I still pray for people? Could I ask for intercession on my behalf? Was I opening myself up to untold suffering in order to atone for others' sins?

2. Fear. I was afraid that I could give nothing to our Mother that would warrant my receiving mercy or graces. I was afraid of trusting Mary with my everything; a priest once told me that my fear was a result of the relationship with my earthly mother which was quite accurate. I was also afraid that once I recognized Mary as perfection of motherhood that it would embitter my heart against my earthly mother (by the way complete anxiety on my part. If anything, it made me more compassionate to how much she did her best).

3. Lack of prayer. I was not devoting time to discernment about consecration to Mary.

What changed my heart then? It was a lovely mediator of a Women of Grace meeting that answered my questions and soothed my fears. She grabbed my hands, and she explained the practical aspects as well as gave me resources to read about the consecration. I had attempted to read Louis de Montford's book True Devotion to Mary: with Preparation for Total Consecration, but it was cumbersome for me since I lacked the time to devote to his intensity. However, 33 days was the right speed for me, and it could be read and meditated upon during nap time. I was able to make my consecration on Sept. 15 on the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

A week into the consecration, I was more aware of my growing devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows as well as a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. Months later, I feel the need to re-read de Montford and some other devotional literature about the Saints mentioned in 33 Days ( St. Maximillian Kolbe, Mother Theresa, and Pope Blessed John Paul II). This year has very much felt like an orientation to actually living my Consecration (if that makes sense). Spending my time groping around which prayers are beneficial to me, which mortifications are suited best, and just contemplating my spiritual status have given me a better idea of where I need to grow in my Spiritual relationship with Christ and my relationships with the world at large.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I'm Doing it! :: Weekends with Chesterton

"Most people would agree that even good writers can write too much, and that bad writers cannot write too little."
All I Survey, G.k. Chesterton

Jen Fulwiler is bringing it back, and I am going to stretch myself to do it. Since I have little to no writing skills besides some decent grammar skills, I think I could use the challenge. My sentence structures are boring and stagnant; not to mention the fact that my ideas need to be expanded and perhaps more logically explained. I know, dear readers (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!) that you are super excited for Monday.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Domesticity Inspiration :: 7 Quick Takes

Jane Brocket
Above are my four favorite books that she has published. I first read The Gentle Art of Domesticity with two toddlers nine months apart. This book was able to provide me with that feeling of cultivating beauty even when I didn't have the time to shower. Brocket has this simplicity that I find rather appealing which lead me to her book The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking. I have only completed three quilts (my first one took me three years due to my limited time and the fact that I had no idea what I was doing), but each quilt was based on her designs. The Gentle Art of Stitching was a Christmas gift last year along with Vintage Cakes. Like I said before the simplicity of her aesthetic paired with her love of color and bold authentic appreciation for the act of cultivation make her books worth the price!
William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.
All of my children are high needs and my husband always seems to be deployed when we have an infant (he swears that this pure coincidence :) ), so I was so lucky to find the Sears' books. I began reading their books before I even had children. It made a world of difference in how I processed the demands of having children. The confidence I gained from following my instincts allowed me to create a better emotional atmosphere than I been raised in. I was also able to process my emotions learning to address the why of the emotions and how to handle the emotions without repressing them or blowing up in a fit of rage when it was the fourth day without a shower.
Nigella Lawson

Even after seven years, my husband asks for recipes from her cookbooks. She has the international flair that we love but also the staples that we crave. Ouefs en Cocotte (eggs baked in a ramekin with cream) in Nigella Express is a weekly dinner for us. I pull her books off of the shelf just to peruse through them on the couch with a cuppa.
The Catholic Home by Meredith Gould
This book was given to me two and half years ago when I left a dear friend behind in Fort Campbell, Ky. I love this book as a reference for the year. If I want to try a new activity for Lent or Advent or spice up Ordinary time, she has an idea or a place to find a tradition. I like the simple structure of the book. I do find the author's opinion on the use of Latin to be ill informed but to each their own.
Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette

Since we spend Lent, Advent, and Ember days as lacto-ovo vegetarians, we really appreciate the simple warm meals he writes about. His books are also full of tidbits about Saints and feast days that you can not help but feel at home. I love the way the books are broken up; for instance, in Monastery Soups it is broken up by months and in Monastery Kitchen it is broken up into seasons. It allows for a whole foods approach as well as seasonal awareness.
Classical Education is a major influence in what we allow into our homes in the form of entertainment and education. I think the idea of read-alouds from quality literature is immensely important when forming the minds of children. I also love the concept that exposure to timeless art, science, philosophy, literature, poetry, music, and so much more is the ultimate goal.
The Holy Family

"Nothing truly can be more salutary or efficacious for Christian families to meditate upon than the example of this Holy Family, which embraces the perfection and completeness of all domestic virtues."

Pope Leo XIII 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Just Tuesday...

Lately, our life has seemed overly chaotic for no real reason. Bedtimes are a fight; dinner is no longer wanted. School work is fussed about for longer than it takes to complete. My first reaction to all of it is to fight against the current to tighten the straps. To threaten or even just throw stuff away. . .

But, its just not working. I'm burning myself out with all of it. I thought we hit burn out in January; however, this past weekend I think we flew into burn out mode. This is our second winter here in North Country, NY, and we are still not used to months and months of indoor time. Normally, we lived outside for most of the year in Tennessee with the cold coming for maybe four possibly five months. Now, we are lucky to hit three to four months outside. Its wearing on everyone even the dogs.

This idea of surrendering to the chaos popped into my mind today. I might have to relax our goals for school and housekeeping. We might not get as much accomplished but closing out the trimester a little early may be helpful. Space and solitude may be what is needed.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Preperation Begins :: Weekends with Chesterton

"We are always near the breaking-point when we care only for what is legal and nothing for what is lawful."

Until four years ago, Lent was a very abstract concept for me because I had never learned to connect my sacrifice with prayer or with creating a better me. I would always give up a creature comfort like tea or some favorite food; however, the buck stopped there. I never considered how giving up tea was teaching me to love my fellow man or how I could see Christ in my suffering. I was only following the legalities of Mother Church not the law written on my heart.
Four years ago, I re-discovered Septuagesima Sunday at our parish in Mississippi. Septuagesima Sunday marks the beginning of the pre-Lenten season in the old calendar of the Church (pre 1970). It is a time of preparation and discernment. To me, its like training before the marathon of Lent, and I always need some spiritual preparation before Lent.
Septuagesima allows me time to pray, discern, and prepare myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for Lent. I have found that over time my Lenten seasons have become simpler and more meaningful because I have learned more and more how to connect my sacrifices to actual growth.
How we prepare (or rather attempt to prepare) our house for Lent during Septuagesima:
1. We add a quiet period of reflection to our nights before retiring. My husband and I both take 15 minutes to pray or journal or a nightly examination.
2. We eat the meat in our freezers as well as any meat stocks or freezer meals with meat, since we are lacto-ovo vegetarians for Lent.
3. We add a Saint story for the chickadees each night after the decade of Rosary they say.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Living with the Saints :: Weekends with Chesterton


Since having children, my housekeeping skills have exponentially decayed in both care and in priority. We moved into this large five bedroom house last November, and you know what? It has to be cleaned. I had this great tidy routine at our smaller house on Fort Lee that allowed for all of the major chores to be done in one hour. ONE HOUR! I still don't believe it happened. Pretty sure I dreamed that up.

When we moved into this house, it had not be lived in for six months nor had anyone cleaned it. Its hard enough to create a cleaning schedule for a new house with a new baby and two toddlers and a deploying husband but to start with a mess already was very disheartening. In fact, I cried for a good 30 minutes (it also may have been brought on by leaving the South for the North  or just pregnancy just sayin').

God kept whispering the idea of selecting a patron saint for each room of the house into my heart through books, friends, and several awesome audio sermons. So, I did one day using this saint generator from Jennifer Fulwiler and a list of rooms. Then, I found this prayer in my Missal (if you know the author let me know, since I just had it printed on a sheet of paper):

O my protector, (insert Saint), as the eternal God has deposited in you an inexhaustible treasurer of grace and of supernatural virtues, hear my earnest petition, and help me with your intercession, more powerful now even than when you were on earth. Hence with blind confidence do I cast myself at your feet, there to place my requests for all those in whom I am concerned but more particularly for assistance with cleaning and maintaining this room. O glorious saint, let not my confidence in you be deceived. Present for me, to the Divine Majesty, your suppliant prayers and watch over my soul. Should sorrow and trials increase, so also will my rejoicing increase, and may my patience grow with each day, that I may thus save my soul. Amen.
Combining the above prayer with a picture of the chosen Saint on a word document, I made a poster for each room. I printed them out, and laminated them before placing them in the respective rooms. Now when I need some GRACE to start or finish my work with God on my heart, I have a prayer awaiting me.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A February afternoon in Thoughts

Outside my window:: It is still snow covered and chilly. Unfortunately, I think more snow is called for over this week. We have branches down in the side yard and the back yard from the ice storm in December. Hopefully, we will get around to cutting those down to manageable sizes.

Giving thanks:: Our car broke down on Friday last week complete with smoke and sparks y'all. Nothing like being humbled by some amazing friends to see how God provides every small grace in lives. Luckily, the repairs were under 400 buckaroos, so we got the car back yesterday with no rental car fees! Yippee!

I am thinking about...

Our next school year. Leo will be turning six, so I do not want to push him ahead to grade 2 even though he could handle the work now that reading has taken off (thank you PAL!). I think I am going to build on this year and emerge ourselves more into creating habits of reading, memory work, liturgical living, and fine arts. It will also allow me to focus on getting Mascot ready for Mother of Divine Grace (MODG) Kindergarten with some substitutions ( I really hate 100 easy lessons and her math choices. My kids love numbers, so I just go with a full curriculum from Saxon.). Also, another baby!!

In the Schoolroom:: We are working on a who/which clause book based on the human body for writing, and completing lesson 37 of PAL reading work for Leo. Math is going really well right now especially supplemented with workbooks that bring in critical thinking specifically. Bella is loving her LeapFrog workbook. It has the stickers and very easy to follow instructions.

From the kitchen...

We are eating tacos tonight which is the chickadees favorite meal as of late. Who knew that quinoa, beef, and beans would appeal to everyone so much? I am also looking forward to making a kale, chicken, and pasta casserole later this week.

I am creating:: a quilt for a very special little boy that has submarines, mustaches, robots, and critters all tiled together.

I am working on::creating some new schedule posters since the Eva loves to rip any and all paper off of the walls. I am also working on some ideas for future activities and events. I need to work on sprucing up my book shelves. Oh, and the giant piles of laundry...

I am reading...

The Yard by Alex Grecian
Desiring the Kingdom by James Smith

I am praying:: for several close friends and their families.

I am struggling...

with fatigue. I am just so tired by mid morning and late afternoon that a rest period is going to have to be prioritized.

A picture thought::

The oldest chickadee, Leo, doing his school work outside last spring. oh, how miss that green grass!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

To Remember:: Weekends with Chesterton


"You have to be happy in those quiet moments when you remember that you are alive; not in those noisy moments when you forget."
"The Spice of Life" G.K Chesterton 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Family Vacays

St. Mary's Cathedral, Ogdensburg, NY
We don't get to go on many vacations or road trips. Most of the time, its my husband's job schedule or rather his deployment schedule. I really do not like traveling alone with the kids; it feels unsafe and all the more time consuming. (By the way, I am a complete anxiety laced person about trips and leaving routine) Another huge contributing factor is income. We have student loans, one income, and a high cost of living thanks to the great state of NY.

St. Anne's Shrine, Scranton, PA
However, when we do manage a road trip, we make visiting shrines, cathedrals, Catholic churches, and monasteries our first priority. At first, this concept was really a selfish one. I enjoy visiting places associated with my interests like authors' homes and Catholic saint reliquaries. Over time, it has become an exciting expectation. My husband and chickadees now take the steps to uncover places we have not seen or churches that have some great architecture. A great place to start your research is here.

Shrine of Brother Andre in North Bangor, NY
After about four years, I see these memories as part of our family culture. Kendra at Catholic All Year has a great post about the family culture. All of my favorites blogs like Catholic All Year, Amongst Lovely Things, Pondered in my Heart, Shower of Roses, The Land of Lockhart, Better than Eden, and so many more display a strong family culture that is unique. Culture and tradition to me are significant within Catholicism, and therefore, are incredibly important to build in our own domestic churches.

Shrine of St. Marianne Cope, Syracuse, NY (left) and Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe, VT (right)