Friday Pizza

Friday, February 22, 2013
On Fridays during Lent, Catholics are supposed to abstain from eating meat as a penitential observance and remembrance of Christ's Passion and Death (which occurred on a Friday).

However, did you know that prior to the 1960's, Catholics never ate meat on Fridays during the entire year? I had no idea until a few years ago. It was not until 1966 that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops declared Catholics were no longer obligated to abstain from meat on Fridays (except during Lent) and that they could instead perform some act of Penance or Charity.

Now, I don't know about you, but to me that declaration of "some act" seems very vague and very forgettable, meaning personally, I would forget to do it. And seeing as I am not very creative or inclined to come up some charitable act every Friday, our family simply adheres to the "old ways" and forgoes eating meat on Fridays.

To be completely honest, it's not very difficult and I am quite used to it now. We don't eat much meat in general, so forgoing meat is not a huge sacrifice, but it is noticed and it is felt. But, I love it! It is a small sacrifice made with love.

For the last few months our Friday meal has simply been homemade pizza. Everyone likes it and everyone eats it, so win-win in my book. I use the Smitten Kitchen pizza dough recipe and while it does require a bit of prep and planning, it's definitely worth it.  I usually make two pesto pizzas and we eat nearly all of it. The girls love pizza, Abby especially (she is just an amazing eater). 

Hannah loves helping me in the kitchen and really enjoys rolling the dough. I think she rolled that dough for a good twenty minutes. Friday pizza night is something the entire family looks forward to, myself included. Are there any go-to meals that your family has on Fridays?

Whew, What a Week!

For whatever reason, this week has been crazy busy. This is mostly my fault because I tend to overschedule myself, but it was also just one of those weeks. 

On Monday, the girls and I were scheduled to participate in the 40 Days for Life that is being held in Boston. It's the first year that 40 Days for Life has had a presence in Boston (although they've been in other parts of the state), which is exciting (kinda). But it also means working to get the word out, which I volunteered to help out with. Easy enough to send a bunch of emails, although it does take time. Anyways, I had to cancel our volunteer hour on Monday because it was like 20 degrees. But it turned out Planned Parenthood was closed that day anyways. So we're going today instead. 

Tuesday the girls and I went to the library for a little while. It's school vacation week so places like the library and museums are packed with kids. For a California girl, February vacation is like the best idea ever, except when it's practically July and the poor kids are still in school. 

Tuesday afternoon I made homemade meatballs using Pioneer Woman's recipe and much to my surprise/relief, they turned out really well. Actually, I didn't try them--they were for the family of my friend who is currently on bedrest. But she said they were delicious, so hopefully she was telling the truth. Pioneer Woman has never failed me in the kitchen.

On Wednesday I was able to participate in a focus group in Boston for an hour. And I was paid $150, woo hoo! So that was fun. 

Thursday we had our mom's Rosary group. We celebrated the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter (which is actually today) and the kids made a craft of edible little chairs made from graham crackers, peanut butter and pirouette cookies. The chairs were mostly a major fail, but the kids enjoyed eating them. Oh well, I tried. 

Thursday afternoon I had to go into Boston again to meet with a kid I might be tutoring for a standardized test. The school where I work on Saturdays asked me if I would be interested and I initially said yes, thinking it would be for a few hours in Chinatown. Turns out the family wants me to travel to a town north of the city and only for an hour a week. So I don't think I am actually going to take the job. 

Today we are once again scheduled to be in Boston for the 40 Days for Life. And this afternoon we are scheduled to Skype with my Mom. (Hi Mom!) 

So now that I've bored you with my schedule, I will end.

Oh and next Monday, Hannah and I are going to visit a little preschool that we plan on sending her to in the fall! Can you believe it? School! Matthew and I have been going back and forth about it and although we initially thought about homeschooling her for preschool, this little school is only two hours/twice a week. She can go and make friends and practice her manners and make a bunch of messy crafts. I think she'll love it. But school! My baby is leaving me! I'm gonna go cry now.

Abigail's Pictures

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
I figured I would try to save myself some money and take some "professional" pictures of Abby. So I set up a little "studio" in our bedroom and dressed her up all cute. I thought it would be no sweat to get some nice pictures of her.

Needless to say, it didn't go so well. The kid does not sit still. 

Maybe we'll try again tomorrow. 
She kept walking up to the camera.
My "studio."

Notice we are no longer in my little studio.
She's a busy Betty, but she's also so darn cute (if I do say so myself).

Valentine Pictures

Sunday, February 17, 2013

We love giving hugs in this family. However, we do not always love receiving hugs. Poor Abby, is she being tortured or what?

Happy Saint Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Happy Saint Valentine's Day! For those of you who don't know, Valentine was an actual person. A priest and a doctor and an eventual Christian martyr during the Roman empire. He gave his life for his faith. Legend has it that he was beaten with clubs and eventually beheaded. Now that's what should be on a Valentine's Day card--"I love you so much, I would be beaten and beheaded for you."

Matthew gave the girls flowers in their own cute little vases.
Poor Hannah, she has really dry skin around her nose and mouth from her cold. She's getting better though.

We had to wait until Abby was asleep to take her picture with her flowers. The child does not stop moving, even for a picture memento. 

And I was feeling crafty, so I made these little Valentine mailboxes for the girls. This makes me look like I'm creative. I'm not. But I am good at copying other people's creativity. I stole the idea from this blog.
The little mailboxes were a dollar from Target. I picked up wooden candlestick holders from Michael's, which I then painted black. The glitter letters are also from Michael's. Total cost for both mailboxes: about $10.
A close-up of the mailboxes. 
Happy St. Valentine's Day to you! We love you!

Ash Wednesday (Belated)

Ash Wednesday was rough going. Between trying to wrangle two little ones by myself during a looong Ash Wednesday Mass and Hannah having a tough day (behavior wise) and all that fasting (I am no good at fasting), it was a tough day. 

These 40 days in the desert might prove my undoing.

But you know what? Bring it on. Let's do this thing.

Papa Bene

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Sooo... the blizzard wasn't quite as much "fun" as I thought it was going to be. It's all fun and games until someone (me) loses power and heat. No fun, no fun at all.

Our electricity and heat went out on Friday night during the blizzard and I thought for sure it would be back on by Saturday afternoon. But it wasn't. And it was starting to get cold in our apartment. By Saturday afternoon we threw in the towel and travel ban be damned, we hopped in the car and drove to my mother-in-law's house. We're so lucky to have family in the area. Her place was toasty warm, so we camped there until Monday afternoon when our power finally came back on.

It's so good to be home now--back in our warm home. During the fiasco blizzard of 2013, I realized I can do without a lot of things--TV, internet, even lights, but I cannot, cannot handle a house without heat. 

Anyways, I don't really want to talk about the blizzard anymore. I want to talk about Pope Benedict! Oh my heart, I'm so sad. What a good and holy Pope we have had in him. In this modern era, he has reminded us of simple truths--that God is love. And not in some hokey, generic, 'God loves you' way, but in a deep, soul wrenching, 'this is what we were made for- to know and love God'- way. 

He has spoke to our modern times. He has foretold that the Church will become smaller, indeed it already has. So many Catholics have been lured away by the god of relativism, unable to handle the "hard teachings" of Christ and his Holy Church.  And for those of us who remain in the Church, more will be demanded.

He has encouraged us to be bold in our faith. We must live the New Evangelization. As intimidating as this call to holiness and evangelization is, I also find it a bit thrilling. The bar is raised and the challenge is set.

But I think above all, Pope Benedict has shown us how to love God with humility. Even in his resignation speech, we were able to glimpse an intimacy that so clearly exists between God and our Pope. And in his great humility and despite the worldly ramifications of a papal resignation, Benedict pointed us back to our God. "And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of our supreme pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the cardinal fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new supreme pontiff." He reminded us that popes come and go, but Christ is with us always.

As Scott Hahn said so perfectly yesterday, "Today God has shown us what we are all giving up for Lent." How we will miss our Holy Father.

7 Quick Takes

Friday, February 8, 2013
1) The blizzard is coming, the blizzard is coming! Do not fear family, we are ready. We are stocked up on food, blankets, clean clothes and have a full tank of gas in the car (not that we'll be driving anywhere). I'm actually kinda looking forward to the much-hyped blizzard. Hopefully we'll be able to make a few Frosties (snowmen) once it's all said and done. 

2) Abby has been babbling/talking a bit more lately. The other night Matthew was doing "Trot, trot to Boston" with her (bouncing her on his knee) and afterwards she was laughing and said very clearly "again!" We started laughing because it was so clear. She's full of surprises, our Abigail. She also says "Brown" for Charlie Brown (her favorite show). We're so curious to see what she is going to sound like or what she will have to say once she really starts talking because she's such a character. 
Random cute picture of Hannah.
3) Speaking of Abby, we met with a new plastic surgeon on Monday to make a plan for the removal of her nevus sebaceous. She will have a skin expander implanted underneath the nevus to grow some more skin before they can remove it. Then I will have to take her to the hospital about once a week to have the expander actually expanded. For this, they will have to put her under (not with anesthesia, but with laughing gas) and insert a saline solution into the expander pouch. It may take up to a few months to grow the expander to the point we need it to. The unfortunate part is that we'll (I'll) be making weekly trips to Children's again. Bummer. But I've given myself a pep talk. We can do this!

4) We gave Hannah The Sound of Music for her birthday. We've had Julie Andrews songs stuck in our heads ever since. Hannah loves to sing "Doe a deer..." Last night I filmed her singing it and was going to post it, but quite honestly, her performance could have been better, said the Tiger Mother. 

5) I've started running on the treadmill downstairs (in the gym) this week. Of course, I've started eating a lot more cookies this week too, so I guess the two cancel each other out.

6) Can you believe Lent starts next week? Ack! I've been trying to figure out what my Lenten resolutions will be. I was thinking of trying to cut out sugar from my diet, then I thought "don't be crazy." So I'm back to square one. Any suggestions?

7) What else? Let's see. Hannah has soccer this morning, which should be fun. We're having homemade pizza for dinner like we do every Friday. Okay, these takes are getting pretty darn boring.

Have a great weekend!

Go Niners!

Sunday, February 3, 2013
Are you ready for some football?

Truth: I love football. I really do. And I love my Niners. Any kid who grew up in the Bay Area during the reign of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Steve Young is forever and always a 49ers fan, world without end, Amen. 

The past few decades have been some lean years for our 49ers, but now with a chance for a Super Bowl title, we're all holding our breath and crossing our fingers. This could be it! 

I'm off to go prepare some 7-layer bean dip.

Go Niners!

A Quote I've Been Contemplating Lately

"All past persecutors of the Church are now no more, but the Church still lives on. The same fate awaits modern persecutors; they, too, will pass on, but the Church of Jesus Christ will always remain, for God has pledged His Word to protect Her and be with Her forever, until the end of time."
~St. John Bosco
"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)


Little sister made herself quite at home at big sister's soccer practice. She weaseled her way in there and sat down right next to her buddy. She wanted to play too. I didn't have the heart to drag her away. How cute is this picture?
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