Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Jane Austen Birthday Party

It is a truth universally acknowledged that... 
.... some of the best parties are birthday parties!

At the end of August we celebrated our oldest daughter's 14th birthday with a Jane Austen themed birthday, focusing on the birthday girl's two favorite Austen books: Pride & Prejudice and Emma!

This brand new high schooler of ours decided to join the local high school's soccer team and ended up having daily doubles every day the week of her birthday - Run like Mr. Collins just proposed! ;)

In between her first practice and her second I took her to town for a birthday coffee and to stop at the store for some party food. While she was at her second practice we all worked together quickly at home to bake a cake, decorate, and pull together some party appetizers for a movie night. We started with the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice and then watched Hallmark's modern day spin off Unleashing Mr. Darcy. Even with very little preparation ahead of time it all came together!

.: Pride & Prejudice Inspired Birthday Banner :. 

The night before the birthday party I was up late with the baby, as usual, and ended up making a last minute birthday banner. You can download and print my document here if you'd like to use it too. 

During her morning soccer practice I cut it out and hung it up. Everything takes at least ten times longer than it did before this cute little baby arrived, but the party decorations came together!

Rose Teapot • Letter Board

While I baked the cake our 12 year old helped decorate and update the letter board.

.: Emma Inspired Birthday Cake :.

My bundt pans have saved me so many times lately when I don't have the time or energy to be very creative but still want to pull together something special... 

For this birthday I used my Nordic Ware Cathedral Cake Bundt Pan and placed it on top of 2 - 9" Round Cakes, decorating it with fresh flowers, some frosting, powdered sugar sprinkles, and grapes. 

It was inspired by this cake from the BBC version of Emma. What do you think? 

.: Pride & Prejudice Movie Night Party Appetizers :. 

Longbourn Layered Dip
The Ladies of Longbourn are diverse in their character. 
Some are lighter in substance while others are more complex, 
just like the layers of this dip.

Mr. Collins Cheese-ball
While its namesake is cheesy you may find this savory treat a little more sensible. Served with crackers.

Lady Catherine Kabobs
Her ladyship has been known to pierce through sweetness much like bamboo skewers pierced through fruit and cake.

Pemberley Salad
Almost as delightful as the grounds at Pemberley are the greens of Pemberley, especially when paired with pasta, chicken, and a creamy balsamic dressing.

Darcy's Decadence
A warm, rich, and chocolatey dessert fit for a man of good fortune.
Served with ice cream and caramel sauce.

Lydia's Lemony Libation
A sparkling lemonade and white wine punch.
Like Lydia it’s sweet but a little tart.

(Update: We made our punch with lemonade concentrate, 7-up, and vanilla ice cream. No wine included!)

.: Party Time :. 

"I love you most ardently" 💕 
#littlemissausten #prideandprejudice #allreadyforhersistersparty #hurryhomedaddy

I ordered the onsies here. Isn't it perfect?! 
Here's the link for our favorite heart swaddle and Baby Lit Board Book too. 

I love how our seven year old is always on her tip toes! 
I often don't even notice until I look at the picture later...

I love having teens!

.: Birthday Gifts:.

I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library... 

The birthday girls gifts were basically a mix of (much needed) clothing and books:

American Eagle Flannel Shirts • Nike Fleece Skirt (like her sisters) 
Jean Skirt • Pride & Prejudice Graphic T-ShirtTwist Gray Knit Infinity Scarf
White Lace Dress (for her upcoming Confirmation) and Green Dress from Macy's
Jane Austen Doll Dress (I won it in a giveaway a couple years ago!)
Pride & Prejudice Notebook • Just Bloom Planner
Marrying Mr. Darcy Card Game (I want to get her the Emma Extension for Christmas!) 

Some of her gifts doubled as party decorations, including her new set of Jane Austen books. I've had quite a few of the Austen themed gifts stashed in my closet for years waiting for one of the girls to have a Pride & Prejudice Birthday. So glad to finally pull them out! 

I love that all my girls still love to play with paper dolls. This Pride & Prejudice set is the newest addition to their collection. 

This loving big brother is the reason I was able to finish the birthday cake and be able to take any pictures of the party! He is one of the few people she allows to hold her when she's upset. 

.: Fourteen Candles :.

Completely, and perfectly, and incandescently happy...

Happy Birthday! 

Mr. Collins Cheese-ball

While its namesake is cheesy you may find this savory treat a little more sensible. Served with crackers.

I'm working on a post with all the pictures from our 14 year old's recent Jane Austen themed birthday party. In the meantime here is the recipe for the "Mr. Collins Cheese-ball" that Chiquita made as one of the appetizers for her older sister's birthday and movie night!

Mr. Collins Cheese-ball


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3 green onions, chopped (whites and greens)
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped


Mix the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, onions, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt together until well-combined.

Turn the mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap, cover and shape into a ball. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour.

Place the chopped pecans on a small plate, remove the cheese ball from the fridge and gently roll in the pecans, helping them to stick to the outside of the cheese ball.

Serve with crackers.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Three Months

#lovehercheeksandchins #september10th #3months(and2days)old #10pounds8ounces

Wearing her darling handmade outfit from a friend. Thank you, Alanna! 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bargain Priced Books :: Highway to Heaven Series:

Last night I was so excited to be able to order a hardcover copy of the recently republished First Grade text in the series Highway to Heaven Catechism series at an incredible 80% off!

Produced by the Marquette Univerity Institute of Catechetical Research under the editorship of Edward A. Fitzpatrick in the 1930’s, this series of Religion textbooks is a breath of fresh air. Unashamed love of the Catholic Faith is evident on every page.

Full of large, 2-color illustrations, The Book of the Holy Child is the First Grade text in the series. Teacher's manuals and Student Workbooks will be coming soon from St. Augustine Academy Press!

Read more here...

Unfortunately the flash sale offered by Amazon didn't last long and the books are currently back up to full price. However, the publisher is now having a sale, offering the books at the steepest price cut they could possibly offer without selling the books at a loss.

Now through September 15th only you can save 40% on purchases of the recently re-published Highway to Heaven Catechism series directly from St. Augustine Academy Press!

Note: No coupon code is necessary. Simply placing any of the books from the Highway to Heaven series in your cart will trigger this discount. Expires Friday night, September 15, 2017.

Highway to Heaven Series:

Book 6: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Book 7/8: The Highway to God

I'm really looking forward to using these Catechism books with our children!

Updated to add a couple pictures of Book 1:


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Our Lady of Fatima {100 Years Later}

Again on September 13, she appeared to them...

... "Keep saying the Rosary," she said, "
so that the war will end soon." The children made many more sacrifices, to convert sinners and to please God...

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

On the Feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta

Slightly Sweet Chai Tea with Coconut Milk on our first official day of school (we've been working on a couple subjects for a few weeks now) and the feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta 💙 The girls are planning to bake Chai Cupcakes after they finish their schoolwork!

The girls baked Chai Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and Chai Sprinkles while I was at work yesterday afternoon/evening. I was so impressed when I came home to find this platter of leftover cupcakes on the kitchen island!

Saint Teresa of Calcutta dolls from Catholic Folk Toys and Almond Rod Toys

St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us! 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Two Month Daybook

2 Months Old • 9 pounds 2 ounces

Outside my window...
fire season has arrived... This past week was filled with thunderstorms, smoky skies, and even a power outage following one of the storms. This weekend my husband is working as a resource advisor for some of the local wildfires that were started by the storms. Please keep him and all fire fighters in your prayers!

Update: It's been almost a month since I started writing this post. Maybe this weekend I'll finally be able to finish. It's still fire season... The smoke has been awful (we celebrate every time we see blue skies, which hasn't been very often lately) and my husband is on another assignment, this time at the Chetco Bar Fire.

I am thankful... 
If you follow me over on Instagram, you might have read about our scare last month. Our little baby girl had an ALTE (Apparent Life Threatening Event) on August 4th/5th and we ended up spending most of the night in the Emergency Room.

She had fallen asleep and was in her basket out in the living room. It was around 11:30pm and we had just finished watching an episode of a show on Netflix and I left to go brush my teeth. She was sleeping very quietly, which isn't very common for her, so I went out to check on her and bring her back to our room. I picked her up (in the dark) and she felt very limp, as I was carrying her down the hallway I couldn’t tell if she was breathing so I flipped the light on and could see that she wasn’t. I yelled for Sean as I brought her to our bed trying to get her to breathe. She was turning purple. Lifting her arms, patting her back, etc, nothing was working to help her stop choking. I grabbed the syringe and Sean started using it to suction out her throat. After about 4-5 attempts we finally got her breathing. It felt like forever, but was probably right around a minute. I lost a nephew of mine to SIDS and kept thinking that was what was happening... It was terrifying.

After talking to an on-call nurse, we took her to the hospital so they could check for aspiration. The ER doctor thought that this "ALTE" (I had never heard the term before this ER visit) was most likely due to her reflux. I'm still not 100% convinced that it was only the reflux, and I think it had more to do with sleep apnea and irregular breathing when she finally falls asleep, which I've noticed since she was born, mixed with the reflux... We had put her on reflux meds the week before last and I think they were making her sleep even deeper when she'd finally fall asleep. I took her off them following the ER. Her pediatrician agreed that it was best to take her off of them, since we didn't notice much of a difference - she has bad days and good days with or without them. They all said it "shouldn't" happen again. I really hope and pray it doesn't.


I am thinking...
When she was discharged, I told them she'd be seeing her doctor that upcoming week so they didn't schedule a follow up... I thought she had her two month checkup on the morning of the 10th, but when we got to the pediatrician's I found out that it was scheduled for the 15th and her doctor wasn't even in the office. I've been too exhausted to even read my planner correctly! I broke down in tears. His nurse had me bring her back anyway and checked weight, lungs, etc. she promised to call the doctor and see if he wanted to wait until next week to see her, or have us come back the next day, and then let me use the room to feed the baby before heading to our next appointment. Before we had a chance to leave the pediatrician walked in! The nurse had sent him a text message and he came right down. It was so reassuring to talk to him, go over everything, and get his opinion on what most likely happened. Had we seen him that previous Saturday, he would have admitted her for a couple days of observation and monitoring, mainly to make sure she wasn't coming down with something that caused this to happen, but we've been doing that at home and so far she hasn't had any repeats.


Learning all the time...
The little ones completed two weeks of swimming lessons from August 14th to 14th. It's Myrna's 60-something year of teaching! She has been such a blessing to our family. #MyrnasSwimmingStars


We celebrated the end of each week with 50¢ Frosties from Wendys! 

Celebrating the liturgical year...
on the feast of St. Clare: On my way home from work this evening I ran into the bakery at the local market and picked up some eclairs... We have a nameday to celebrate after our family rosary this evening! {I ran across a recipe for an AIP version that I could enjoy too, but I didn't have the time or energy to bake them this week. Maybe for the feast of St. Therese!}

From the kitchen...
baking competitions inspired by The Great British Baking Show!

I am working...
Cinnamon & Raisin Porridge for breakfast, garnished with additional raisins and toasted coconut flakes! {I've been doing my best to keep up at work, despite the challenging baby, but things at home have been extra hard, especially trying to prep foods for my special Autoimmune Protocol diet... Thursday evening, before the baby and I left the office to come home, I was given a summer bonus: 8 HOURS of paid help at home on Friday! Grocery shopping, lots of food prep, and even organizing the girls' rooms to finally make room for baby things all got done!}

I am creating...
plans for the new school year.

I am going...
August 3rd: I wasn't the only one who had an appointment with my chiropractor this morning! She loved her first (very gentle) adjustment! I'm hoping it helps her feel a little better and she'll start letting us lay her down occasionally.


August 15th: Stop at office, 9:00 p/u birth certificate at county offices (nurse baby), 10:00 2-Month Checkup with Pediatrician (nurse baby), 11:00 postpartum with my OB (nurse baby), pick up case of peaches at the farm across from the church, 12:00 Mass (nurse baby), 1:00 appointment with my chiropractor, and now we are at the hospital for a redo on the X-rays of my lower back/tailbone since last week's didn't turn out... Trying to decide whether to wake her up and feed her again, or just pray she stays asleep until after they call me back and take the X-rays?! I should have brought along a helper, but they are all at swimming lessons with the rest of our little ones. Trying to squeeze it all in before the new school year starts!

I am hoping...
that I continue to heal and won't need to continue going to the chiropractor/physical therapist. My X-rays resulted in both good and bad news. 

Good news was that the baby (either during the last few months of my pregnancy or at birth or both) "pushed" my tailbone back into the "perfect" position, and somehow (most likely from all the Relaxin in my body from the pregnancy) it didn't re-break during delivery! It has been so sore the last few months, felt badly bruised, but not nearly as bad as when it broke and it's all healed now and in perfect alignment. My husband said that someday this baby will be "patron of tailbone injuries!" ;) 

Bad news is I have to wear a brace for the next two months for my SI Joints. They are (specifically a gap on the left side) what has been causing my instability. (I fell at the office last month, and have almost fallen a few other times). At least I have an answer and reason for having trouble walking and standing and we have a plan to correct the issue!

I am praying...

Oh my God, You know my weakness and failings, and that without Your help I can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, my own and others’. Grant me, therefore, the help of Your grace. Grant it according to my particular needs this day. Enable me to see the task You will set before me in the daily routine of my life, and help me work hard at my appointed tasks. Teach me to bear patiently all the trials of suffering or failure that may come to me today. Amen.

I am reading…
We've been continuing Primary Arts of Language over the summer and they were excited when they realized they could read Faith and Freedom's Here We Come.

July 31st: She was so excited to spend some time reading aloud to the baby and I this afternoon while the inflatable kiddie pool filled with water 💙   

Pondering these words…
from St. Rose of Lima:

"Without the burden of afflictions 
it is impossible to reach the height of Grace. 
The gift of Grace increases as the struggle increases."

You can visit my friend Kristin's Etsy shop for personalized baby bracelets and more!

I am listening…
to my little ones reading aloud!

Around the house... 


One of my favorite things...
seeing the older boys holding their new baby sister. They love her so much! We all do! 

She looks so much like her oldest brother/godfather. He fell asleep on the couch while holding her a couple weeks ago and it reminded me so much of him and I when he was a baby. I pulled an old photo out to show the other children.

A little peek at my day...

Isn't she cute?!? #12weeksold #love 
{It seems like she's been happier a little more often this past week! Still praying her colic/reflux continues to improve as she gets closer to turning three months old next week. We are so grateful that she hasn't had another ALTE... Evenings and car rides are still the hardest, but she's just recently gotten to where she will sleep on her own without being held, falling asleep between 9 and 10pm, and only wakes up at 12am, 2am, 4am, and 6am to nurse!}