“Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be Catholics.”


I can still hear that twangy country song in my head, which was part of a satirical show presented by college students at a Catholic College where my dad used to teach. I still remember them strumming their guitars, making jokes about all the babies we Catholics produce. We can say that, cuz, you know, we’re Catholic…Cut to 10 years later, and I’ve got a fourth one on the way! Yee-haw!

It’s funny telling people you’re pregnant when the babies are so close together. I actually opted to do an e-mail/Facebook release of a home video this time around. We were SUPER excited about it, and wanted it to be special – but the first question we’ll get from many is – “Congrats! So…was this a surprise?” Nope! We wanted this little baby, and every baby God has blessed us with. Or, when we’d tell people we were thinking about a fourth, some would smile and say: “Woah, reeeeeeeeeeally?” Yep, really! “There’s still some room in the minivan,” I’d joke.

You see, my mama let her baby grow up to be Catholic. To believe that as long as we can provide for our babies, as long as our heart and health and soul can handle it and wish for it, then we shall accept God’s blessings.

As a kid, my parents were told that I wouldn’t be able to conceive due to other complications. Whelp, turns out they were completely wrong! So why wouldn’t we take that as a blessing and take our love for our babies to grow our family?

Saint Alexis Church hit it home when they posted the following quote from Pope Francis: “Today, too, children are a sign. They are a sign of hope, a sign of life, but also a ‘diagnostic’ sign, a marker indicating the health of families, society and the entire world. Wherever children are accepted, loved, cared for and protected, the family is healthy, society is more healthy and the world is more human.”

As each one of our babies came into our lives, one by one they brought new blessings. Our first was the beginning of our family. On the week our second was born, we moved into our first home. With the birth of our third, we started our own business, which allows us to grow as a family even more. Who know what gifts baby number four will come bearing (Well, for starters a bigger home is in the works ; – ))?

But wait! What about the children! How did our kids feel about it? See for yourself! (Song Credit: “I get to be the One” by JJ Heller)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Twix ice cream bar to go eat – or two- or three…


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Twix ice cream bar to go eat – or two- or three…

Mommies Are Horrible Friends


That’s right. I said it. We’re freaking terrible. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s true. Mommies can be horrible friends. And I get to say this, because I myself am a mommy. I’ve actually been blessed with super duper and helpful non-mommy friends who stuck by my side through thick and thin and served as lovely “aunties” to my kiddos, but I have heard other fellow mommies with the issue of losing touch with friends because they just simply don’t get why mommies just don’t come around anymore.

Before getting married and having kids, I was the best friend one could have. I’d help you move, paint your new apartment, tag along to an awkward dinner party, keep you company while you returned random items at the mall, homemake the most thoughtful presents for your birthday (Which, looking back, were kinda crap – I wasn’t the craftiest person), not to mention actually remembered your birthday, housesat, dog-sat, slept over, drove over an hour just to see a friend, you name it! I was there.

But those days are gone! Why? Because we’ve got our kiddos and houses and husbands that require all of that same stuff, and our cope container is full. And if we don’t put our kids, home and husband first, then who will? And I know that sucks, but now is the time when we absolutely must put the health and happiness, and financial well-being towards our families in order for it to thrive. Our responsibilities to be a good friend have a had to shift to raise a good family, with children who are raised to be kind-hearted, productive members of society.

Do we feel guilty? YES! Do we feel bad? YES! Do we feel left out every time we see Facebook pictures of you drinking margaritas with your other non-kiddoed-up gal pals? Absolutely. But not any guiltier than we’d feel to give up a Saturday afternoon to help you pick out a new pillow sham rather than spending it canoodling with the kiddos and hubby or driving someone to soccer practice, karate, art lessons, doctor’s appointments…and the sickest part is, we LOVE it!

And one day, don’t worry. You’ll have us back. And as luck would have it, as soon as all our kiddos turn old enough to suck their own snot out of their noses, you may have just jumped on the baby wagon, and we’ll be SOL ourselves for a partner in crime! But you know what YOU WILL INDEED
have? Someone who’s been there and done that and happy to bring you over a meatloaf with tons of gravy to help you through it. Until then, friends, please know that our undying love for you will never go away, and that our experiences with being your confidant, your assistant, your shopping buddy, is what helped us build the patience we much needed when we started our family. And also – just know – that we are totally jealous of the act that you can literally take a nap whenever the heck you want! Enjoy it while it lasts!


Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Presents for All



A Valentine’s Day gift isn’t any good unless it’s unique and from the heart…but it’s even better if it is also an inexpensive gift. And to accomplish that, all you have to do is make your Valentine a basket! It’s heartfelt, it’s special, and if you do it right, it won’t cost you too much at all.

The special thing about the gift basket is that it is personalized to the person you are giving it to. All you have to do is listen, and you’ll make them the perfect valentine present.

Where do you get the supplies? Surprisingly, thrift stores like Goodwill have a huge selection of baskets for about a dollar a piece that you can use. Just remember to keep in mind your contents when picking it out. As for the filler and basket bag or shrink wrap, any dollar store should have that for you. Don’t get conned into paying too much at a craft or party supply store!

You could even make your entire super special basket out of one simple trip to the dollar store! Got a candy junkie friend? Just get 15 different candy boxes, and you’re set! Got someone who needs to relax? Go to the bath and body section and pick out a bunch of relaxing scented soaps and body washes – file0001509359493 (2)they don’t need to be from the expensive boutique at the mall! Movie junkie Valentine? Just get them a double feature DVD with popcorn bowls and popcorn, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic movie night theme. The basket is special not because of the price, but because it was truly well-thought out and customized to your Valentine. What about a child who is a lover of crafts? Put crayons, construction paper, pipe cleaners, glitter, glue, scissors, and stickers in a basket, and you’ve probably even saved their mother’s life as well by keeping the craft lover busy and happy.

If you have a whole group in mind to be your Valentine, obviously Costco is your best bet. You could do an Italian-themed array of baskets by buying their bulk pasta, pasta sauce, parmesan, dried salami, pizzelles, biscotti, etc. Most of the stuff there is individually wrapped in bulk anyway. You can make a cheese lover very happy by scouting out the cheese section there, or even at any local grocery store. Or, put together a basket full of individually-wrapped healthy snacks for the whole office for Valentine’s day (That way, you please everybody – many people are still trying to hang on to that New Year’s Resolution of losing weight or getting healthy, or it’s simply their actual life style on a regular basis). Don’t forget about the wine lovers! Partner their favorite bottle with some cheese and crackers, and they are going to have one good night whether they have a Valentine or not!

You see, companies that sell gift baskets as a product either surcharge for the packaging, or they are able to do it at a reasonable price because they can buy bulk. Well, like I already said, you can do that at Costco, or even call in a favor from a friend who maybe works in a business where they are able to get even better bulk pricing for products by a supplier. Either way, the key is to make it personal, and not spend too much on your Valentine’s Day gift if you don’t have to!

Perfect Gift Basket Resources – on a budget!



A gift isn’t is extra special when it’s unique and from the heart…but it’s even better if it is also within your budget. And to accomplish that, all you have to do is make your loved ones a basket yourself! It’s heartfelt, it’s special, and if you do it right, it won’t cost you too much at all.

The special thing about the gift basket is that it is personalized to the person you are giving it to. All you have to do is listen, and you’ll make them the perfect present.

Where do you get the supplies? Surprisingly, thrift stores like Goodwill have a huge selection of baskets for about a dollar a piece that you can use. And a lot of people don’t know this, but thrift stores actually carry a ton of unused, new, originally-packaged items that either stores with a surplus donate, or that people never ever used and donated them because that is simply the easiest thing to do. Just remember to keep in mind your theme when picking items out (I got REALLY carried away last time I went and forgot the logistics of also having my three kids with me to bring back to the car – the Goodwill attendant was very nice to help me carry the awesome brand new items I scored for really cheap). As for the filler and basket bag or shrink wrap, any dollar store should have that for you. Don’t get conned into paying too much at a craft or party supply store!

You could even make your entire super special basket out of one simple trip to the dollar store! Got a candy junkie friend? Just get 15 different candy boxes, and you’re set! Got someone who needs to relax? Go to the bath and body section and pick out a bunch of relaxing scented soaps and body washes – file0001509359493 (2)they don’t need to be from the expensive boutique at the mall! Movie junkie? Just get them a double feature DVD with popcorn bowls and popcorn, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic movie night theme. The basket is special not because of the price, but because it was truly well-thought out and customized to your beloved receiver. What about a child who is a lover of crafts? Put crayons, construction paper, pipe cleaners, glitter, glue, scissors, and stickers in a basket, and you’ve probably even saved their mother’s life as well by keeping the craft lover busy and happy.

If you have a whole group in mind, obviously Costco is your best bet. You could do an Italian-themed array of baskets by buying their bulk pasta, pasta sauce, parmesan, dried salami, pizzelles, biscotti, olives, seasoned artichokes, you name it. Most of the stuff at Costco is individually wrapped in bulk anyway. You can make a cheese lover very happy by scouting out the cheese section there, or even at any local grocery store. Or, put together a basket full of individually-wrapped healthy snacks for the whole office. Don’t forget about the wine lovers! Partner their favorite bottle with some cheese and crackers, and they are going to have one good night! Organizing a benefit and need to put together baskets? Go to Costco, and you can get some of their high-quality name-brand stuff at a great price.

You see, companies that sell gift baskets as a product either surcharge for the packaging, or they are able to do it at a reasonable price because they can buy bulk. Well, like I already said, you can do that at Costco, or even call in a favor from a friend who maybe works in a business where they are able to get even better bulk pricing for products by a supplier. Either way, the key is to make it personal, and not spend too much on your awesome personalized gift basket if you don’t have to!

Simple Pasta Primavera



We were asked to type up our favorite summer recipes for my son’s kindergarden glass, so I figured I would share it with you all! Hopefully it’ll bring a warm breeze to your heart, as you think of hotter days! ; – )

Simple Pasta Primavera

This recipe is a perfect, quick, meal solution with most of your food groups!

Prep time: About 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • One box of (8 servings) Barilla Penne Pasta
  • One pint of grape tomatoes
  • 8 oz container of mozzarella bites
  • 2 oz of grated fresh basil
  • 8 oz of grilled chicken cubes OR 6 oz of tuna (Optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring water to a boil
  2. Add salt to water
  3. Mix in salt
  4. Add pasta box to water and cook 7-9 minutes so it is to “Al Dente” firmness
  5. While pasta is cooking, put olive oil, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and/or optional protein source of chicken or tuna into large pasta serving bowl.
  6. Once pasta is cooked, drain pasta (DO NOT RINSE).
  7. (Optional step) If you like extra moisture to your pasta, place a clean, small bowl underneath your strainer to catch some of the clean, boiled water. Add about 3 oz of the water to the pasta mixture to add moisture.
  8. Let pasta cool in strainer for about 3 minutes (Not too long, or it will stick).
  9. Place pasta in bowl wit hthe rest of the ingredients and toss!
  10. Voila, you’ve got your quick and simple Pasta Primavera.