Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Meeting with Lacy

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting with the talented Lacy of Catholic Icing.  Being an artist, she had wanted to "get her hands on some clay" for some time, so I was glad to show her how I make my beads.   When we realized that we lived only an hour and half away from each other and that we had the "Steubenville" connection, we decided that we needed to get together soon!

Lacy lives in a cute old farmhouse decorated Lacy-style...purple! Her house is very charming and unique, but I'd have to say her children are the most charming of all.  Our kids enjoyed playing together for half the day while Lacy and I got work makin' beads.

First I showed Lacy how to make a simple flower cane (above). Then we moved onto a more complicated rose made with blended petals using the skinner method.  The sequence of photos below shows how the skinner method is done.  This was the first time I had done this method too.  I've seen this method many times, but I don't use this method on my beads because it only makes a small amount of blended clay at one time. 

First we started with two pieces of rolled out clay- the pink and the white. After forming them into a square, we sliced them diagonally and put together a new square with each color. 

Then we rolled it through the pasta machine many times--folding it in half each time. 
After folding and rolling about ten times, it started to look like this.  We rolled the clay into a "jellyroll" to make the petals for the rose.
Here I am making the center of the rose. Lacy says I should always wear my own art- or at least some funky jewelry made by some else. I agree. My neck looks too bare- some big, chunky clay beads would really give me the eccentric artist look!
The finished rose.  It turned out very well! Lacy is a natural at cane work. Look at her work below.

Can you believe this was the first day she had ever made polymer clay beads?!  I just love her signature cupcakes at the bottom of this photo.  And her stars and stripes are so fun and patriotic! Way to go Lacy!

I think this is a start of a good friendship- and to think- we met on the Internet through our blogs! Just goes to show bloggers are REAL people- and they make great friends- on and offline.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Deceptively Delicious Part II

After several days of trying these Deceptively Delicious recipes, I've come back to report on them.  In my first post about Jessica Simpson's book, I promised to share my findings on my sneakiness.  First of all, the instructions to make the purees ahead of time, is the best advice EVER.  I find that now the vegetable purees are in my freezer, it is sooooo easy to just throw them into anything and everything I am making.

As far as the recipes themselves, they are ok.  The chicken nuggets were alright, but what a pain to make! The sweet potato coating was gooey and very awkward to work with.  Plus, my kids did not gobble them up the way they do with the regular kind.  The rice balls were a flop. They took way more time than I wanted to spend on them and my kids didn't even like them.  The turkey meatloaf was great, but my favorite recipe so far was "Buttered Noodles". They were made with yellow squash and tasted amazing! Everyone ate happily and obliviously.

The reason I am glad I went the whole ten yards to read the book thoroughly and stash a month or two worth of vegetables in my freezer is because it enabled me to serve vegetables all time when I normally wouldn't have gone the extra mile.  I now serve vegetables during morning, noon, and nighty-night too and my kids have no idea! For breakfast, I either put pureed cauliflower or spinach in with our normal scrambled eggs.  If we have pancakes, I put beet puree in with the regular batter mix.  I'm even throwing in pureed vegetables into our regular brownie mix.  Don't get me wrong, I still will serve vegetables every now and then, so they don't forget how they taste (and hopefully start to enjoy them).  At least now, I can find some peace knowing we are getting a well balanced diet--without the constant struggle.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A New Way to Pray (for me)

In the past several months, I have been hearing and reading a lot about the kind of prayer that involves *listening* to God.  I don't mean "hearing" him in the metaphorical sense, but actually stopping everything, to hear His voice in the silence of the heart.  This kind of prayer is mysterious and baffling to me. I didn't understand how it was done, but I know it is essential to my growth in my relationship with God. 

Frank, from Why I Am Catholic, mentioned a powerful book on prayer written by Sister Wendy in one of his blog posts. I wasn't planning on buying the book, but while I was buying some other books off Amazon, I stumbled across this one and decided to get it it. I am so glad I did.

I didn't know that this book was going to teach me everything I needed to know right now about contemplative prayer, but it is. I am learning a new way to pray that is above and beyond the lower level of prayer that I am at right now. It is very excited to me!  Sister Wendy says it hard at first and it takes time to develop, but I am willing to try.  I really want to know God as a close friend and this is the only way to deepen our relationship. 

This kind of prayer is the silent kind. No words, prayer books, no beads, not even any thoughts are needed to enter into a true meeting with God.  "You are just there to stand in His presence and let Him take possession of you" (Sister Wendy on Prayer, p. 44).  The key is to abandon myself.  I have to be able to let go of all that binds me to this earth and be an empty vessel to have God fill me. Of course, it may sound pretty easy to Sister Wendy to do since she is a hermit who spends 7 hours straight each day in contemplative prayer, but she says our circumstances in life do not matter when it comes to putting ourselves in the presence of God. We bring with us all our circumstances: motherhood, sickness, happiness, depression, sinfulness, etc. to prayer and lay it down.  We don't have to be a hermit or "feel holy" to pray.  "We retain possession of our self hood and offer it to God.  It is the offering that matters, the will, the choosing....You bring yourself in whatever state you are and offer that to God. There may be very little satisfaction in this.  All you may be conscious of are your own feelings, but God does not ask us to pass a test of how beautiful our feelings are.  He simply wants us to pray," (Sister Wendy p. 43).

I thought, if this is the case, I can handle it.  I just have to be prepared to not feel any huge ecstasies with God.  He comes to me on his own terms, Sister Wendy says. I tried this contemplative prayer this morning. It wasn't easy and I am terrible at it. My mind kept racing and I had to keep reminding myself to come back into God's presence and empty myself. However bad I am at this, I have faith that God will meet me where I am.  He chose to reveal this intimate type of prayer to me and it must mean that He wants more of me.  If this is the case, who am I to refuse?  I will keep on trying and wait to hear His voice.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bows 4 Life

You may have heard of this website, but I wanted to share it with you in case you hadn't.  Bows 4 Life is an online shop that sells very cute hair bows of all kinds for girls.  The mother who makes these quality bows gives 10% of all sales to pro life organizations.  You can also donate $5.00 for a bow to go to a girl in Mother's Theresa's Orphanage.  "It will make each girl feel pretty and bright as she is told and retold that she is a daughter of God, His little princess!". 

I thought this was such a sweet idea. I have a few birthdays coming up for little girls and I know exactly what to give them.  Along with their bows, I will enclose a note saying that $5.00 was donated in their name for another little girl to know that she is special too.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rosary Video

This a beautiful video that shows the importance of praying the rosary with amazing photos and sweet music. I saw it on another person's blog and had to share.  With my son giving up his afternoon nap recently, I don't have my scheduled quiet time for my afternoon rosary.  This is a good reminder of something I need to put back into my daily schedule.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Deceptively Delicious

My mother in law recently gave this book to me and I was excited to try it.  I had wanted to do some "sneaky chef" type stuff because my kids, especially my three year old, hates almost all vegetables.  It's hard enough to get them on the table sometimes in an appetizing way- even for Eric and I- not to mention getting the kids to actually eat them! So, I hoping this will get us all eating more of what we should be eating.

According to Jessica Seinfeld, the first step to deceiving your way to a healthy, kid friendly meal, is to make all the vegetables ahead of time and freeze them in 1/2 cup portions.  Never having actually tried any of these recipes, I bought $40.00 worth of vegetables and spent the afternoon steaming, roasting, and pureeing twenty-some bags of vegetables.  Later on I thought, gee, maybe I should have just done a couple bags and tried the recipes to see if they actually worked... But no, I'm an all or nothin' kind of girl!

For dinner, I made flat bread pizzas. The secret ingredient: pureed spinach. The verdict: EXCELLENT! This one's a success for us! I especially loved that I could put  anchovies and olives on my individual pizza without hearing, "my slice tastes fishy- gross!!".  It was probably the easiest recipe in the book, but I took pride as my son (after trying to scrap off the spinach) told me it was a very good pizza.  Of course, we had to reassure him that the green stuff was just part of the sauce and it doesn't taste like anything (not a lie).  After a bit of wining, he finally took a few bites and had to agree it was good- despite the appearance of green bits in the sauce.  I hoping the chicken nuggets I am making tomorrow have the same effect. They are made with pureed sweet potato! I will fill you in on the progress of the twenty-some meals I will be making with the secret ingredients in my freezer ;)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pregnancy News

I just went for my 20 week ultrasound and it is very clear that we are having a boy! His name will be Jude Thomas.  The ultrasounds are definitely the best thing that happens at pregnancy! It's like you can get see what's really going on in there. 

Jude Thomas definitely won my heart.  He was so precious! He was sleeping throughout the whole ultrasound with his legs up over his head and his hands over his face.  He's a very flexible little cuddly guy! I have to get to go in for another ultrasound in a couple weeks so they can get a clearer picture of his heart since he was facing the wrong direction.  Can't wait to see the little guy again!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

St. Joseph with Christ Child by Micheal D. O Brian
Happy Father's Day to all Dad's! Today in a special way, may you know your great worth in an irreplaceable role as Father. 

Here is a little prayer I took from an email sent by Magnificat for Father's Day. 

God our Father,
in your wisdom and love you made all things.
Bless these men,
that they may be strengthened as Christian fathers.
Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.
Grant that we, their sons and daughters,
may honor them always
with a spirit of profound respect.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Prioritizing with My Man

From reading my marriage book, I've realized that I don't spend enough one-on-one time with my man.  My man will tell me- duh, Sarah!! I know we've talked about spending more time together, but it always just seems like something a wish list, and not something on a NEED list.  I have always felt guilty about going out and getting a babysitter or having grandparents or friends watch the kids. For some reason, leaving the house for a date night feels like a luxury.  I've come to the conclusion that it is NOT a luxury in marriage and shouldn't be treated as one.  It is a necessity of a healthy marriage.

One-on-one time with a spouse is not a luxury afforded to spoiled parents.  It is a choice made to make your spouse the top priority of your life for however much time you care to be one-on-one. So how much time is needed for couples to have a healthy marriage? I've read that 15 hours is needed per week of one-on-one time- and sleeping does not count! It seems a bit high too me. I wonder if watching a movie together counts toward that 15 hours?   At any rate, if that number is any where near accurate, I am going to need to book some more date nights stat!

How much one-on-one time do you think is needed for a healthy marriage? Please share!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Wicked Wench

Today I am trying extra hard to choose not to be a wicked wench like Jezebel in the first reading for today.  I feel that God has put the choice of choosing death or life- love or hate in front of me today in a very obvious way.  If you remember Jezebel, she's the one took her husband's money troubles and made them disappear...by having a Godly man stoned to death. What a wicked woman! In the Gospel today,  Jesus tells his disciples to turn the other cheek and not to repay evil with evil. Jezebel had a choice, and she choose death. 

Last night, I read a great deal of one of my favorite authors- Dr. Popcak.  He writes about a game couples play with each other- marital chicken.  I was a little surprised to see this being written in a book because I seriously thought that I was the first to make that game up!  I am a real winner winner when it comes to marital chicken because I am very good at being a stubborn wench and choosing not to do the right thing until my husband does it first.  My husband jokes that it's the stubborn German girl that I am, but we both know it's my sinful pride that I have a hard time letting go. 

Choosing life, choosing love for me means letting go of my pride and letting God's grace take control.  It is only in that humble moment that God can work within me.  And the more miserable of a wench I am, only means more grace and mercy that God will give me.  Thanks be to God!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer Slowdown

It's the summer slowdown for sellers of religious goods worldwide.  I'm taking advantage of this down time to do many a thing.  I might also add, it seems to be a slow down for bloggers the world over. I for one, will probably be posting a little less. But here's what I've been up to:
  • Searching the Internet for inspiration for my new jewelry line.  Since polymer clay jewelry is almost nonexistent in stores, I had a hard time thinking of ways to incorporate my clay beads into attractive jewelry pieces.  Not to fear, I have found more than enough inspiration from online shops.  So hang on...jewelry will be coming to Clay Rosaries by the end of the summer!
  • Along the lines of new jewelry...I spent quite a bit of time putting together a HUGE order from Firemountain Beads for jewelry components.  I am looking forward to that coming so I can get started on some clay jewelry making!
  • Slicing beads....lots of beads! Remember all those clay canes I put together in the past three months? (several simple ones I didn't even post).  Well, now I have to roll all those canes and slice them into beads for rosaries.  This time consuming activity I have saved for a time when I wouldn't be so busy...like now. 
  • Perusing downtown Fredricksburg (it is one of the coolest downtown's ever- plus it's a half a mile away!), hanging out with friends more, and trying to take it easy on this pregnant body of mine ...which can easily translate into filling my tummy with lots of ice cream, chocolate and whatever else I can think of at the moment....hmmm...pickles sound good! 
I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I am!  Now I had better get back to work.  So many beads to slice, and only three months left! 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kids Playing Nicely...Together?? Grab the Camera!

For 16 months I have waited for this special time to come- when my kids would play nicely together.  Finally, it has happened this past week.  It is a glorious moment for any mother, I'm sure.  I am still in shock when I leave them to play and don't hear screams coming out of the room 30 seconds later.  For the past few days, I have left them to play in the room next to me or right beside me as I work on something else and when I peek over to see how they are doing, I find them playing nicely next to each other- sometimes even with each other!  I guess my baby girl is growing up and learning to deal with her sometimes rough big brother, and my little boy is learning to compromise with is sometimes demanding little sister.  I am just hoping it will last!

I caught them in the above moment playing "train" together.  Liam has wanted Analee to play this game with him for a long time and she finally has obliged. The ride is bumpy, but she deals with it! Amen, Alleluia!

Below is a video of one Analee's favorite things to do after she discovered it makes her brother (and her parents) laugh hysterically.  Notice how nicely they are sharing the screen time...until the last few seconds...

And I had waaaay to much fun picking out fun music for this video!

Mixed Review of Maria of Guadalupe Book.

Warning: This a book review from someone who is not qualified to give sound, profession book reviews.  If you want a book review from a pro and not just someone with an opinion, do not take any of this seriously.  I'm just a girl with an opinion and her husband's opinion.

Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, let me give you my review of Maria of Guadalupe by Paul Badde. Published by Ignatius Press. I have mixed feelings about this book. First let me tell what is great about it.  It tells the history, story and newest facts out there about Our Lady of Guadalupe. I have only read one other book on her, but this one trumps it.  It has all the amazing little factoids that make you say, "wow, this is so undeniably true, why isn't this published in school books?" Plus it has the entire original ancient text that tells the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and plus cool new findings and interviews that I'm pretty sure you cannot find in any other Guadalupe book...like the angel under Mary's feet...not an angel! You'll have to read the book to find out who it is.

So that is in the first three or four chapters of the book.  Which brings me to the downside of this book.  Paul Badde is a historian who has some pretty neat connections and has gotten to see and do a lot of things because of the people he knows and meets along the way, but most of it has nothing to do with Our Lady of Guadalupe! He spends at least a third of the book in Jerusalem learning about Mary's history there.  Why did I need to read about his travels there?? I have no idea! There is no real connection to his travels which take up about two thirds of the book and Our Lady of Guadalupe except that it's about Mary.  I totally would have skipped this chapters, had I not been waiting for Paul Badde's conversion.  In the beginning of the book, he mentions how he is a lapsed Catholic.  So all along his "journey" to discover who Mary was, I am patiently waiting for him to turn from historian to a real person with a soul! I am waiting for that, "ah ha!" moment when he realizes Mary is his mother and not just a nice history lesson.  This *sort of* happens in the last couple paragraphs of the book but is so nonchalant that I was deeply disappointed.

About my husband's opinion- he recommended this book to me with rave reviews.  After I read it, I probed for more information about why he liked the book.  He liked all the parts that I liked, and didn't remember the other parts (which were that unmemorable), so that is why he gave it two thumbs up.

If you want to read a great book about Our Lady of Guadalupe, I do recommend this book.  Just skip over the random jots about Badde's excursions around Europe and Jerusalem.  You really won't miss much.  I wish I had skipped over them because the book would have been excellent without them.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Best Darn Supper- Stuffed Manicotti Shells

Spinach and Cheese Manicotti

This is one of my tried and true all time favorite recipes for supper. I got it from allrecipes.com awhile back, and it was an instant staple in my recipe collection. 

The best things about this recipe are:
  1. You don't need to bother with side dishes. This meal has all four food groups covered beautifully.
  2. You will not need to shove the veggies down your kids' throats- they eat them willing because they are tasteless in this recipe!
  3. You do not need to stuff cooked manicotti shells. If you have ever tried stuffing cooked manicotti shells you probably have never done it again. It's impossible! which makes me wonder why there are not more recipes where you stuff uncooked shells. 
  4. Healthy, Healthy, Healthy!
  5. Yummy, Yummy, Yummy!!
Here it is:
This recipe feeds our family of four for two meals- dinner, and lunch the next day.  If you want to make an extra one to freeze for later, this is a great recipe for that.


  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley (not needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (8 ounce) package manicotti shells
  • (I also add 1 lb ground Italian sausage or turkey sausage to the spaghetti sauce)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, onion and egg. Season with parsley, pepper and garlic powder. Mix in 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan. In a separate bowl, stir together spaghetti sauce and water.
  3. Spread 1 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Stuff uncooked manicotti shells with ricotta mixture, and arrange in a single layer in the dish. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until noodles are soft. (I usually have to add about 25 minutes onto this amount because the noodles take longer to cook for me for some strange reason)

Friday, June 4, 2010

A New Tool for the Old Prayer Toolbox

I have a new favorite prayer tool.  Prayer tools are things that help you to pray, and I would add--or things that remind you to pray- like the rosary, or having a rosary in your pocket.   The Bible, a prayer book, sacred images, candles, music, even prayer shawls are all prayer tools.  If you have been reading my blog, you know that another favorite prayer tool- my MOST favorite prayer tool is a daily prayer book called the Magnificat.  You can find more about it on their website, but my new favorite prayer tool is an ancient Eastern tradition of burning incense. 

I've always loved the smell of incense and looked forward to the Good Friday service when incense was used heavily in my church growing up.  When I was a teenager, I used to burn incense at home until I found out that most young people who burn incense are doing it to cover up the smell of the drugs they are smoking!  OK, I thought...no more incense for THIS girl! A few years ago I worked for an Hindu family and every day when the mom came in from work, she lit a small incense cone and let the smoke rise up in front of their pagan statues while she cooked dinner. That's a really neat tradition, I thought, for them, but I am not Hindu.  Then last month when I was in Epcot at Disney World, I walked into the Japanese store and smelled incense once more.   The Japanese culture is one that I've always liked.  On one of the boxes of incense they had for sale, it even said that incense invokes curiosity in children! Seeing how they value incense in their homes, made me think it might not be so bad to try it at home again.

I don't know about curiosity, but the smell of burning incense invokes a feeling a God's presence which is why it is my new favorite prayer tool.  Burning incense at home makes me feel like I'm in a holy place and makes me think or want to think holy thoughts.  When I see the smoke rise up and disappear, it reminds me of how my prayer leave my lips and enter into into another dimension: the heavenly throne of God.  "Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!" (Psalm 141:2)  "And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand." (Revelations 8:4)  Incense somehow helps me know God is near and wants to hear my prayer.  

And if someone comes in and thinks I'm burning incense because I'm trying to hide something...they may be right.  It also helps to hide lingering after dinner smells like bacon and fish.  This prayer tool is multifunctional!

Now your turn...what are your prayer tools or your favorite prayer tools? I love comments and look forward to reading yours!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Pill- An Elixir of Life?

Today I read a disturbing article in my town's newspaper about how oral contraception is an "elixir of life" and how the pill took women out of the Stone Age.  I promptly sent out an email to all the moms in my mom's group with an attachment to the article and a contact form for the editor. 

Interesting enough, today is also the feast day of St. Justin who is known for standing up for his faith and his work against heresies.  This definitely prompted me to do a little research and write a letter to the editor.  Here's my little letter. It had to be under 300 words, which was hard, but I think I got the main points out there.

The article: "Birth Control- the Elixir of Life" by  Malcolm Potts fails to mention how the many ways the pill is dangerous.  In fact, the pill KILLS.   It kills the environment, women and babies.   Numerous studies have shown how the chemicals from the pill discharge wreaks havoc for the reproductive systems in fish in waterways across the globe including the Potomac.  The pill kills the newly conceived embryos of suspecting mothers using many different contraceptives.  Lastly, the pill kills women by increasing the risk of breast cancer by up to 40%.  The pill also causes blood clots, heart attacks, and pulmonary embolisms.  The pill is an "elixir of life?" Hardly! Let's get the facts straight! 

I knew about all the ways the pill is dangerous, but I wasn't sure about the details, so I found a great website: www.thepillkills.com to help me formulate my argument.

If you care to read the article in my local newspaper, here's the link.  It's actually written by a guy in Berkeley California.  I also find it annoying that he had to mention how the Catholic Church was against contraception from the start.  He didn't say anything nasty about the Church, but the fact that he had to make that connection with the Church and the Stone Age shows he is trying to undermine the teachings of the Church.  I don't know about you, but I am so done with our culture of death and lies! And I'm only 28! What will happen when I'm 40? I just may go crazy... or become a national speaker. A crazy national speaker is more likely! 

What do you think?