Thursday, March 26, 2020

Lenten Theme of the Week: Steadfastness, and cheese lasagna for meatless Friday...

Happy midish point of Lent everyone, and let's have a group hug for making it this far, yes?


I'm keeping up with my 2 devotionals, but I'm letting myself take it easy with regards to staying perfectly on a Lenten timetable. Right now, our lives ARE LENT, so I think that simply by remaining steadfast and hanging in there, we're doing just fine right now.

For our part, we've all been trying to stay busy at home, our creativity flowing via online means, and still liking each other by the end of each week. ;-) Mike and I have both been working with the kids on their schoolwork, and also trying to get our own teaching work done from home. It's been a tough balancing act, for sure.

On the upside, I've been finding lots of time for crafting! My in-progress shawl is coming along very nicely, and I'm aiming to finish it to wear on Easter:

Pattern is Find Your Fade
I also received a few new rosary purchases, and am quite in love! First up is our pal St. Patrick, I love the pop of green this time of year!

St. Patrick rosary over at Rosaries by Allison

And the next is a 7 Sorrows Rosary, which is a totally new devotion for me, and it's perfect for Lent! You could also pray this without the specialty rosary, and just keep careful count. :-) This custom rosary though has medals depicting each of the sorrows, very handy!

Created by Rosaries by Allison
The 7 Sorrows of Mary are:

1.) The Prophecy of Simeon
2.) The Flight into Egypt
3.) The Loss of Jesus in the Temple
4.) Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary
5.) Mary Stands at the Foot of the Cross
6.) Mary Receives the Body of Jesus in her Arms
7.) Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

In our evening time, we've been watching the Lord of the Rings movies as a family. This isn't our first time doing so, but it's been a few years, so we're really sinking into them anew. And Anne didn't remember the stories particularly well, so they're almost like new to her. It's been nice to have an installment to look forward to after a long day of work, and I've been making popcorn for the kids to go along with it. Lord of the Rings has also been inspiring my crafting life:

Journey hues kit from Expression Fiber Arts

Yarn purchases and project planning has been keeping me sane right now. ;-) Also keeping me sane is the vast amount of dance and fitness classes that are available online now! I've been doing at least 1 daily, and it's helping to keep my creative juices flowing, along with meeting some of the items on my dance goals list for 2020! I'm getting to study with dancers that I would ordinarily not have the opportunity with, so I'm taking advantage of everything that I can.

In terms of meal planning, we're still at it:

We've been getting takeout 1-2 times per week from a local restaurant, and that's been another way of cheering ourselves up in the early evenings, along with supporting local businesses that are really suffering financially right now. For our meatless Friday this week, we're making a 3 cheese lasagna similar to this one:

Mike isn't a huge fan of ricotta cheese (believe me, I too cannot image how this could be true :-0) and when he makes this, he subs in swiss cheese. Unconventional, and I was skeptical, but I will say that it is delicious. And it is a perfect dish for a Lenten Friday!

How are you doing, friends? Do you need anything? How are you staying busy at home? Let's cheer each other up in the comments. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Lenten Theme of the Week: Hope, and parmesean rice for meatless Friday

Hi everyone.

*big, huge, virtual hug*

I feel much better. We all needed that, yes? :-) This global health crisis is very hard on everyone right now, in a multitude of different ways, depending on your specific situation. In my family, none of us are sick (and believe me, I'm VERY grateful for that, especially since both Mike and I work on college campuses, where it's much easier to catch contagious illnesses given the volume of people in a relatively small environment), but we're all cooped up at home, which is where we need to be right now, but everyone is struggling in their own way with all of this. My Anne is downright sad. She misses school, her friends, the hobbies that she loves, and I'm struggling with the same things. I know that's all small potatoes compared to what others are dealing with, but it's still a loss to contend with, and for an unsettling unknown duration.

For my part, I'm navigating trying to work from home while also technically homeschooling the kids. It's not an easy balance, especially for someone who has never homeschooled before! We're making our way through it as best we can.

And so this week I thought that we should highlight holding on to hope. It's going to take some time, but we can all learn important things from this, and I pray that those who become ill are able to heal as quickly as possible. The loss of my routine is very hard on someone who relies on routine as a coping mechanism for her anxiety condition, so I'm finding new things to focus on and treasure. Of course, I'm grateful that my family is safe and sound at home. I also have this perfect new Lenten coffee mug:

Rosary coffee mugs available over at Willits Works, this one is the Carrying of the Cross!

...and Mike and I have been taking daily walks outside in the evenings. We've been wanting to get back to this habit for a while now, and this is the perfect opportunity! My dance and fitness classes have all moved online via Zoom, and I'm *so grateful* to still be able to connect with my friends in this way. *heart*

I've also been very excited about my knitting and crocheting:

In love with this patter, which is Find Your Fade, by Andrea Mowry
My colorway inspiration is Our Lady Star of the Sea, did you ever?!

My next color is aqua. *squeals*

I did menu-plan for the week, despite the depressing nature of our local grocery store:

...but we're decidedly interspersing with regular trips to local restaurants to get takeout and give them our support and business. Friday's meatless option is Lemon Shrimp with Parmesean Rice, and sub out the shrimp for roasted vegetables for a vegetarian option!

Just about any veggies that you have on hand would work well with this delicious rice side!

How are you all holding up, friends? I'm here to listen in the comments! We've been sharing rosary prayers and other Catholic coping mechanisms in the blog community Facebook group, if you'd like to join us over there. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Lenten Theme of the Week: Perseverence, and alfredo sauce options for meatless Friday

Wow, it's been quite a week, yes? I think everyone is feeling a heightened sense of mortality right now with our current COVID-19 situation, and that this Lent is even Lentier than usual. The university for which I work is suspending all in-person classes, and the quiet campus in the middle of March is going to seem awfully sad and lonely. It's for the best, though.

In the meantime, I've been keeping up with my Lenten devotional reading, if not the Morning Prayer with the Magnificat Lenten Companion app. I persevere and do what I can each day! I also started the St. Joseph novena this week.

I'm really loving 33 Days to Greater Glory. I'm into the third week already, and we're examing the time Jesus spent with His disciples in the Upper Room before His passion and crucifixtion. The first two weeks addressed some important people in Jesus' ministry, and the seven signs of his otherworldly power. 😍 Fascinating stuff!

I've also been busily crafting to distract myself a bit from worries, both in my own job and family, and in our world. I love handknit socks in the winter, and so I have knitted what I'm calling the Frosty Socks:

Pattern is Sailor's Delight

That wintry blue color is a favorite of mine in the colder months. I am planning many spring socks this year, plus airy and beautiful shawls knit and crocheted in sock yarn! I'm very excited, and the thought of this is definitely perking me up during this tough week.

I have to say, I'm loving these menu planning photos 😂 and here we have Lent Week 2!

Our meatless Friday option this week is Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo:

I'm not a huge fan of traditional marinara sauce on pasta (odd, but true) and so I love alternative sauces for pasta. Alfredo sauce is a rich choice, but we don't make it very often, and it's nice to intersperse with olive oil based sauces. As a seafood fan, I adore shrimp, but you can simply omit the shrimp in this recipe for a vegetarian version! We often do not have fettuccine noodles in our pantry, so I'll use either regular spaghetti or angel hair, whatever we have on hand.

How is your second full week of Lent progressing? We're right in the thick of things now!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Lenten Theme of the Week: Gratitude, and the 1st of our meatless Friday recipes!

Well, we're well into the first full week of Lent, and I'm feeling super energized. :-0 This is not unusual for me for the first week of Lent, and it is the topic of my upcoming Catholic Mom piece for March. ;-) My piece addresses 4 ideas for managing to persevere all the way through Lent without getting overwhelmed, and one of the ideas is to not take too many devotions on all at once; you'll see that this is very ironic given the sheer volume of devotionals and other prayers that I have shared/am about to share with you all as my Official Lenten Plan for 2020. 😂

This week, my thoughts immediately turned to Lenten gratitude, and the reason for that is COMMUNITY! I feel so grateful to be journeying along this Lent with all of you.

*virtual hugs and hearts*

In the mail last week, I had a little package from our dear community member Melanie. And look what she sent me!

Give up Worry for Lent

She knows I've been going through a struggle with anxiety lately, saw this book at a conference she was attending, and bought it for me as a gift. I mean, wasn't that so sweet and awesome of her?! Thank you so much, Melanie!

I've also been talking with my sister quite a bit about Lenten devotionals, and she recommended this one to me that she learned about from Twitter:

Remember Your Death and accompanying Memento Mori journal
In the spirit of community, I bought a copy. ;-) I've been keeping this one on my nightstand for use just before bed, and really liking it! I love sharing things like this with others in our group. *heart* I am feeling so very grateful this Lent to have such meangingful and long lasting relationships!

*group hug*

So as you can see, I've added to my Lenten arsenal. I'm just doing what I can, taking it all in, and enjoying everything! If I don't get to every devotional every single day during Lent, that's ok. I'm doing my best and learning a lot, and that's what is important!

We're also going to start weekly meal planning and recipe talk here on the blog during Lent, and so I snapped a picture of our family menu for Lent, Week 1:

Lots of leftovers on tap for this week, because I cooked a lot last week. We take the kids out to a restaurant once every other week as a little family tradition on the weeks Anne and I don't have Girl Scouts, and this week is one of those. For meatless options, this Friday we're having Ceasar Salmon Wraps:

If you're a vegetarian or do not enjoy fish, you could swap out the salmon for roasted or marinated vegetables! I think bell peppers, tomatoes and avocado would work particularly well.

Each Thursday, I'll feature a free meatless recipe that we'll also be trying! If it involves fish (and it often will, we like seafood), I will suggest vegetarian alternatives. :)

Check out Catholic Mom's Meatless Friday archives here!

What are you choosing for your Friday meal this week? How is gratitude playing a part in your Lent? I'd love to hear from you!