Thursday, July 23, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Sister Ollie Came to Town

Sister Olivia was able to come for a quick one week visit this week.  It was an unlooked for surprise and we were so happy to have her home, even if just for a few days.


The new photo for our vocations' board in our parish, as I had cut off Saint Joseph's head in her previous photo.  She wanted the mountains in the background this go-a-around.


One of Ollie's favorite meals is dry rubbed and grilled ribs.


Olivia was doing her best Benedict Cumberbatch imitation for the Mamarazzi (see the napkin over her face).  Seriously, this family cannot take a good photo.  Why is that?


With Sister Olivia home, we took full advantage of her seamstress skills.  She helped her two younger sisters make elements of their cosplay costumes for Comic Con in September.  

She did a beautiful job putting together Angela's Tauriel cloak.

For more {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} check out Like Mother, Like Daughter.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mediterranean Lamb Flatbread

Mediterranean Lamb Flatbread

Flatbread dough:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp honey
2 1/4 tsp active yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup olive oil

In the bowl of a standing mixer stir together all the dry ingredients.  In a small bowl combine warm water, yeast, and honey and stir to dissolve the yeast.  Let set for 10 minutes until foamy and pour into dry ingredients.  With a dough hook, mix dough ingredients on low speed and slowly add the olive oil.  Mix to form a soft, elastic dough.  Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise for about an hour.  Meanwhile, preheat a pizza stone in a 450 degree oven for at least 1/2 an hour. Divide the dough into two even pieces and roll into balls.  On a lightly floured surface, roll one ball into an oblong flatbread about 12 inches long and 8 inches wide.  Dust a pizza peel with corn meal, place rolled out dough on top, and brush it with a little olive oil.

2 tsp olive oil
1 small sweet onion; diced
2 cloves garlic; minced
1 1/2 pounds of ground lamb
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1 tsp salt 

1 cup toasted pine nuts
2 cups shredded cheese (goat or sheep cheese would be most authentic I use pecorino Tuscano)
Rosemary sprigs

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, adding a pinch of salt to draw out the moisture.  Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.  Add ground lamb and sauté until cooked through and no longer pink.  Add all the spices and continue cooking until fragrant and the mixture is evenly spiced.  Set aside.  Top rolled out dough with 1/2 the cheese, 1/2 the lamb, 1/2 the pine nuts and a few small sprigs of Rosemary.   Gently slide flatbread onto preheated stone and bake for 10-20 minutes until the bread puffs and begins to color on the bottom.  Cool for 5 minutes and cut into rough rectangular pieces.

Sauté lamb until it is no longer pink

Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium low heat.  Be very careful not to burn.

Tear small sprigs of Rosemary to scatter on the top of the other toppings

Finished Lamb Flatbread

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Marriage Mondays

My dear friend, Sam, has begun a prayer campaign for traditional marriage.  She calls it Marriage Mondays.  To participate, one need only recite the Saint Michael prayer and make a small sacrifice or fast for the intention of strengthening traditional marriage.  Sam has enlisted our friends in Maryland and over Facebook.  I've passed this campaign on to my friends here in Utah, and they have passed it on to their friends and family.  Please join us and pass it on.  A nation uplifted in prayer for the traditional definition of marriage would be a wonderful thing.

Saint Michael Prayer

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


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Friday, July 3, 2015

Thoughts on Obergefell

SCOTUS really took the sails out of June for me, but even more disheartening is the misunderstanding so many Americans have of the real meaning of marriage.  As one friend (Katherine) observed on Facebook, we have taken down three of the four pillars of marriage in the last 100 years: Fecundity was first when contraception became widely accepted and practiced after the Anglican Lambeth Conference of 1930; Permanence fell once no fault divorce became the norm rather than the exception; and then Complementarity/heterosexual union. With the Obergefell ruling, gay marriage has not only become legal in all 50 States, it is mandated.  The only pillar left standing is Monogamy and there have already been polygamous licenses applied for in Montana.  How long before the final pillar falls? Not long at all, in my opinion.  We are now living in a time when marriage means nothing and we will continue to see the decline in marriage and the destruction of the family as the years roll by.  Unfortunately, those who will suffer the most will be children.

Three of the largest mainline Christian denominations have made getting married as a gay couple in their churches a reality, showing even within the Christian community a very deep division and departure from authentic Christian teaching on marriage and morality.  As for the Catholic Church, I firmly believe we are safe, for now.  The Catholic Church already denies marriage within the Church to couples who are not Catholic, who have been divorced, etc. She will not be compelled to marry gay couples, but I am sure she will be punished for her non-compliance.

I've read so many wonderful reflections on Obergefell, I really have nothing more to add myself, but if you are interested in reading what the "smart" people are saying here are several links to brilliant pieces.

Matt Walsh has actually written several pieces since Obergefell, but this one is probably the most persuasive article regarding how the ruling does indeed harm people like me personally: Yes, Gay Marriage Hurts Me Personally

Aleteia has a great article regarding getting the conversation right about gay marriage.  Rather than focusing on the sinfulness/morality of homosexual marriage, it points out the real dangers to children raised in gay households: Gay Marriage: Getting the Conversation Right is More Important Than Ever

First Things asked the question of several members of their symposium, "Where to from here?" in this article: After Obergefell

This final piece by Adam Freedman lays out how the Obergefell ruling threatens opposing Christians: Obergefell's Threat to Religious Liberty

As the celebration of Independence Day approaches, I pray for our country.  I pray she might restore our God given rights to practice and live our Faith freely without fear of persecution.  May God Bless America. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, July 2, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} July 2


Dramatic sky


Birthday-palooza came to a close with this little guy turning 9.  Can you believe it? 9!


"You lookin' at me?!"

The chickens really are quite funny.  They love their perch, but usually I find them all crowded together in one little corner.

They aren't quite sure what to think of me with my camera.


Ben asked for a pistol style BB gun for his birthday.  That thing is dangerous!  It can easily put a hole in a tin can.  We keep it locked up and they are only allowed to shoot with Dad.  We thought it was a good idea to teach them gun safety and how to use a gun with the BB gun first.  After a few lessons, we've come to realize we are pretty wise.  It will be a loooooong time before the boys are ready to handle something more powerful.

Ben has had the most trouble deciding which hand to shoot with.  He writes with his right hand, but does almost everything else better with his left hand.  It has caused him a lot of confusion when trying to shoot properly.  

Leo loves shooting with Dad's help.

and he is pretty good about following all the safety rules.

Safety first, always! 'Merica!

For more {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} check out Like Mother, Like Daughter.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

{P,F,H,R} iPhone Photo Week

I haven't taken my DSLR out in the last several days, but thankfully I documented plenty with my iPhone to post for {P, H, F, R} this week.


Chris and I have been hiking lately near our home and around Snow Basin.  The wildflowers are so pretty right now and the mountains are still so green. 


Some of our best date nights involve nothing more than time together either fishing or hiking in our beautiful surroundings.

So this happened . . . blog post coming with my review in a day or two.

And this happened . . . I celebrated my 47th year with carrot cake cupcakes, the above iWatch, and a blue tooth head set for running.


I always check the weather before deciding whether I will run or not.  I won't go if the temps are above 70 degrees.  This is what Weather Bug claimed the temp was at 7:30 in the morning several days ago.  Hahahahaha! (It was really only 63 degrees and I went running anyway)


21st Century married life.  This is the photo I sent to Chris asking if this pile of clothing needed washing or ironing.

For more {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} check out Like Mother, Like Daughter.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} June 18


So many gorgeous sunsets here lately


Leo loves the local splash pad,


I can't recall what he was saying here, but if he was saying something it was probably pretty darn funny.  His little mouth rarely stops.  He even talks profusely in his sleep.


This was my view during Ben's last baseball game.  I was running the scoreboard.  Our little team managed a 3rd place berth in the playoffs.  They played a great game, but lost by one point, bringing their season to an end.  It was a great season.  We had really wonderful coaches and a great bunch of boys as teammates.  It was absolutely amazing how much Ben improved this season.  

For more {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} stop by Like Mother, Like Daughter.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Refreshing Italian Ices

After we discovered the extent of dairy allergies in our family (Chris, Olivia, Ben and Leo), I basically gave up making ice cream.  I mean, why bother?  After our wonderful trip to Italy and sampling the dazzling array of sorbetto offerings I was inspired.  This last weekend I experimented with and created two absolutely dairy free and delicious sorbetto or Italian ice (if you'd rather) recipes.  The tart cherry recipe ended up tasting almost exactly like one of the sorbettos we tried in Rome.

Citrus Italian Ice

2 cups juice of any variety citrus (I used 8 lemons, 2 limes, and 2 oranges)
2 TBSP zest from either lemons or oranges *
1 cup sugar
4 cups sparkling water

In a sauce pan, heat citrus juice, zest and sugar just until sugar dissolves.  Add the sparkling water and refrigerate until cold.  Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.  Pour ice into a shallow casserole dish and freeze until firm.  Alternately, you may poor the cooled liquid into a shallow casserole dish and freeze, stirring and then scraping the ice every half hour until it is the consistency to serve.

*Lime zest can become quite bitter if cooked, so I don't use it in this recipe.

This is the mixture of juice, zest, and sugar.  If you don't like bits of zest in your ice, you may strain it through a fine mesh strainer before adding the sparkling water.  We like the bits of zest.

We invested in a Sodastream last summer and have not regretted the purchase.  It gets a daily workout.  We don't even make sweet sodas. We all just like to add a little lemon and lime juice and serve it over ice.  The girls even make virgin mojitos by adding several macerated mint leaves.

Finished Citrus Ice

Tart Cherry Sorbetto

2 cans tart pie cherries*
32 ounces all natural tart cherry juice
1 cup sugar

In a blender, blend the whole cherries until pureed.  In a sauce pan, heat the juice and sugar until the sugar has just dissolved.  Add the pureed cherries and place in the refrigerator until cool.  Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.  Pour ice into a shallow casserole dish and freeze until firm.  Alternately, you may poor the cooled liquid into a shallow casserole dish and freeze, stirring and then scraping the ice every half hour until it is the consistency to serve.

*Do not use cherry pie filling and do not drain the cherries before pureeing in the blender.

I found this Just Tart Cherry juice in the commissary.  It really gives this sorbetto that extra little tart cherry kick.

Finished Tart Cherry Sorbetto

The wonderful thing about these ices is they are so very simple and contain very few ingredients.  They are incredibly refreshing and you can indulge practically guilt free.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Kingdom Animalia--Lesson 5

Continuing the weekly lesson plans for an elementary science unit focusing on Kingdom Animalia.

Lesson 5--Birds (Class Aves)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves

Read about birds and give examples.  Our favorite resource is Eyewitness Books: Bird, but you may use any good resource you like or have available.

What are the major characteristics of birds?

1) Birds have wings

2) Birds have feathers

3) Birds have hollow bones (which allow most birds to be light enough to fly)

4) Birds have beaks

5) Birds lay eggs

While learning these characteristics discuss why birds might have these particular characteristics.  (i.e. What purpose do feathers have? or beaks?)

While discussing what makes a bird a bird, be sure to compare and contrast to other classes of animals already studied.


Younger students--Draw a picture of a particular bird species and use the biodiversity website to explore the animal's taxonomy.

Older students--Fill out an animal report form (this one from CurrClick is free and will work for this activity), making sure to include the characteristics that make this animal an amphibian.  Use the bio-diversity website to explore the animal's taxonomy.

Objectives:  Student will be able to list major characteristics of birds and will be able to give examples of birds.  Student will be able to explain which characteristics of birds make it possible for most species to fly and will be able to identify why some birds are unable to fly.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Jun 11


Can't get enough of the gorgeous sunsets here in Utah.  


Leo was so happy to see his big brother on Saturday when we went to visit Sister Olivia and the other SSVM sisters who were passing through Salt Lake City on their way to their summer mission in Santa Clara.  


No explanation necessary here.


The birds have been going nuts for the bird seed in the feeders I set out a few weeks ago.  I can't keep them filled.

This is the result of the birds going nuts over the feeder.  Sprouting bird seed in my flower bed.

For more {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} stop by Like Mother, Like Daughter.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Slow Cooker Crispy Pork Carnitas

I'm not usually a big fan of the slow cooker, but when I come across a good slow cooker recipe and can adapt it so it actually turns out something pretty scrumptious, that is a happy day.  One of the huge draw backs of slow cooking meats is you lose any wonderful, crispy caramelization and that will remain true for slow cooker carnitas, unless you are willing to make that one-extra-little-step and sauté the shredded meat in a little olive oil until it is just starting to get some lovely crispy bits and pieces.  Trust me.  It is worth it!

Slow Cooker Carnitas

2 TBSP Olive oil
3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder roast; cut into 4 inch chunks
Salt and Pepper

2 Oranges; zested, juiced and set aside
2 Bay leaves
4 Cloves of garlic; peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 Large onion; roughly chopped
2 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp Cumin
2 Cinnamon sticks
3 cups Chicken broth

Salt and pepper pork chunks liberally.  Heat oil in a skillet until a bit of water sizzles when splashed upon the oil.  Add the pork in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan, and brown the pork on all sides, but do not cook all the way through.  Remove and set aside while browning the remaining meat.

Notice how the pan is not overcrowded and the pork is just taking on some nice caramelized brown color.

Place the browned pork in your slow cooker.  Add the orange zest, juice, and spent halves, as well as the rest of the spices and onion.  Stir to coat the meat in the spices and pour in the broth.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the meat is tender and easily shreds.  Remove meat from the cooker and reserve 1 cup of strained liquid from the slow cooker and set aside.  Using a fork, shredded the meat into bite sized pieces.

You may need to use more or less broth, depending on the size of your crockpot.  You want the liquid to cover about 2/3 to 3/4 of the meat.  As the meat gives off its juices the liquid will end up covering everything.

In a large skillet, heat 1-2 TBPS oil.  Adding the shredded meat in batches sauté until you begin to get some nice brown caramelized bits.  Remove from the pan to a serving dish and pour some of the reserved broth over the meat.  Serve immediately as tacos or over a salad or rice, garnished with avocado, salsa, jalapeños, etc.

This last little browning step is soooooooo worth it!
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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kingdom Animalia--Lesson 4

Continuing the weekly lesson plans for an elementary science unit focusing on Kingdom Animalia.

Lesson 4: Reptiles 

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia

Read about and find examples of reptiles.  Again our favorite resource is a Dorling Kindersley book entitled Eyewitness Books: Reptile, but feel free to use any good picture/information book which focuses on reptiles.

What are the major characteristics of reptiles?

1) Reptiles have tough skin covered with scales

2) Reptiles, like amphibians, are cold-blooded

3) Reptiles lay eggs with tough water proof shells

4) Reptiles breathe with lungs

5) Reptiles have a 3 chambered heart

While discussing what makes a reptile a reptile, be sure to compare and contrast with other classes of animals, especially amphibians.


Younger students--Draw a picture of a reptile and use the bio-diversity website to explore it's taxonomy.

Older students--Fill out an animal report form (this one from CurrClick is free and will work for this activity), making sure to include the characteristics that make this animal a reptile. Use the bio-diversity website to explore the animal's taxonomy.

Objectives:  Student will be able to list major characteristics of reptiles and be able to give an example of a reptile.  Student will be able to explain how reptiles and amphibians are different.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

3 Hour Layover with the SSVM

We had a wonderful surprise on Saturday evening.  Sister Olivia and 24 of her sister Sisters of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará had a three hour layover in the Salt Lake City Airport on their way to their summer mission in San Jose.  We were so excited they were able to leave the secure terminal and have a quick visit.

There she is on the left.  Doesn't she look happy?

The last time Leo saw the sisters was when he was still a baby and was constantly being "stolen" by one or the other.  He grew to be terrified of women in veils. Lol!  He has lost his fear of nuns and they had a blast interacting with him.  They played quite the wild game of tag near baggage claim.

Even John Paul made it for the visit.  We hardly see him as he is so busy with work and his lovely girlfriend.  Leo was extremely happy to see his big brother.

Nadja had quite the conversation with several sisters about possible mission trips after she graduates next December.  

This was my favorite photo from the visit.  These sisters are just a tad cray-cray.  Our family definitely fits in.

I love this selfie of Sister Ollie and me.  She's so much like her dad, always making silly faces for the camera.  Boy, do I ever miss her smile and her laugh.

My kids were all so thoughtful in cooperating for this photo.  They all understood this will likely be the only photo of them all together this year. (sniff)

Just before they reentered security, we snapped several group photos.

and like that, they were off and flying to San Jose. (double sniff)

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