December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

A very happy New Year to you all!  Normally I would do a year in review post, but since I am currently out visiting my Knight, I'll save that until I'm back at home.  Until then, have a blessed day and year and may it be full of the love and joy of the Lord.

December 20, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

As I write this, the first snowstorm of the year - in fact, the first snow at all - is fast approaching.  This morning started out at a warm 50 degrees and rain, but the temperature is steadily falling as the snow approaches.  After a month of up and down temperatures, grass that is still growing, and many days in which coats were unnecessary, it really is starting to look a lot like Christmas.

It is finally beginning to feel like Christmas as well.  I do think the lack of that special, Decemberish, Christmasy chill in the air has had a lot to do with the fact that I have been forgetting that Christmas is coming.  I have been struggling to get in the spirit of it... been missing that excitement and joy that I have had every year in years past... been missing the desire to prepare gifts or listen to Christmas music.  It is depressing to say the least.  When we set up all our decorations... well, it was probably the most lifeless decorating session we have ever done.

Yet in the last day or it has begun to feel a little more like Christmas.  The Christmas decorations around the house are no doubt helping me to get in the spirit, as well as the realization of it's closeness.  I am getting more excited, slowly but surely.  I am not fully there yet, but it's coming.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

December 15, 2012

The Hobbit: A Long Expected, Totally Awesome and Utterly Amazing Adventure

Well, since that title pretty much sums up my thoughts - do I really have to write the rest of this post?  Very well, I shall.  If you have not seen this movie, do not be afraid to continue reading.  I want to keep this spoiler free out of respect for anyone who may be waiting to see it  until it comes out on DVD, or have not been able to make it to the movie theaters.

An Unexpected Journey was, in a word, beautiful.  The acting, the score, the cinematography was all very well done in my opinion.  They never made a better casting decision than when they chose Martin Freeman as Bilbo.  He becomes our dear hobbit in every way. At no point during the film did I think of Martin Freeman the actor, or John Watson from Sherlock (the only other role I've ever seen Freeman in).  No, he was Bilbo Baggins to a T, and very believably a younger version of the Bilbo in The Lord of the Rings.  The rest of the cast was stellar as well, I have no complaints with any of them.

The music... the music was breathtaking.  There were hints and echos of The Lord of the Rings, but only just enough to connect the two.  The score of The Hobbit was decidedly it's own, and full of new and wonderful themes.  My favorite is The Misty Mountains theme.  I loved that song in the book, I came up with my own melody for it, and I was so excited to hear Howard Shores vision for it, and to hear it incorporated into the rest of the soundtrack.

And the most important part.... the story.  I've heard that some reviewers are saying that the film was too bloated and drawn out and Jackson shouldn't and didn't need to make it into three movies.  I disagree with that.  The filmmakers aren't just telling you the story of The Hobbit, they are continuing to tell us the story of Middle Earth.  At no point did I feel that Jackson was dragging anything out and putting in fluffy filler.  It was the story of The Hobbit, and it was everything that went on in the background that we didn't get to see on the pages of the book.  For a film, it stayed wonderfully close to the book and many of my favorite lines were written in, nearly word for word.

In conclusion, I am very, very happy with how The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey turned out.  It was all that I had hoped it to be, and I have a feeling I'll be returning to the theaters at least one more time, if not more...

December 6, 2012

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!

Happy Feast of Saint Nicholas!  One of the many traditions of Christmas is associated with this saints feast day... leaving your shoes out the night before and finding little goodies in them the next morning!  Does your family participate in this celebration?  What did Saint Nicholas surprise you with this morning?  As old as I am ;-) this is something I still look forward to every year... this year he brought me my favorite candy bar and a ticket to go see The Hobbit on the 15th (since, sadly, we won't be able to make it on the 14th.  But on the 15th we're going to the first showing of the day!)

December 4, 2012

Thoughts of Random

I scroll through my blog roll and I read so many wonderfully worded and beautifully thought out posts by my favorite bloggers... posts about various topics, and posts about everything and nothing.  I get the urge to write such a post myself, and somehow it never works out.  Most of the time the words and thoughts won't come and so I give up.  Maybe I'm trying too hard to be too profound.  Maybe the trick is to not try and to just write.

I go in and out of phases of listening to music frequently, and I am currently coming out of a not listening phase and into a listening phase again... particularly with country music.  It probably has something to do with a handful of songs that have come onto the radio that have really captured my heart.  You know those kinds of songs.  They start playing, and your face lights up with a smile and you hum along until you've learned all the words and can sing along.  

I am not sure what it is about these three songs that made me fall in love with them.  Each has a different theme... one is fun and upbeat, wild and spontaneous and asking a girl to go out with him, because he has a little bit of beer money... one is heartfelt and hopeful, honestly wondering how a girl could love a hard to love guy... one is reassuring and uplifting as it reassures that every storm runs out of rain.  Perhaps it is the instrumentals, perhaps it is the lyrics, perhaps it is the deep country voices of the men singing.  Whatever it is about them, it keeps me turning on the radio in the hopes one will come on.  Yes, I have each on my ITunes, but there is something exciting about waiting anticipation for "your song" to start playing.  A lighthearted kind of joy.

Usually in December my music turns towards the Christmas vein of things, however this year the first few days of December have been above 50 degrees, and Christmas just isn't in the air.  I suppose that this is what the season must feel like in the southern states.  Illinois, however, is not a southern state, and I want my biting winds, snow flurries and chilling cold.  In January or February such things are not as welcome, but in December they are thrilling.  Scarves, sweaters and hot chocolate don't have the same appeal when it feels like it should be Easter right around the corner...

The countdown in the upper right hand corner of my web browser says there are 23 days left.  23 days until I wake up at four in the morning and drag my suitcase out to the car.  23 days until my dad drops me off at the airport and I make my way through security to my terminal.  23 days until the plane takes off from Illinois and lands on the East Coast.  23 days until I walk out of that airport and see my Knight pull up to the curb to get me.  23 days until we are together again, for a glorious nine days.  Twenty three days, 270 hours, 16,200 minutes.

The Piano Guys Do it Again...

Behold, a beautiful new piece from the amazing Piano Guys, for your Advent listening pleasure!

November 30, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol 13


In case your day got off to a bad start, here is a little something to make you laugh.

Seriously, could anything be cuter than this?


Not my photo /\
It's been a while since I've had a Pinterest recipie to share.  To rectify this tragic turn of events, I present you with White Cheddar Chicken Pasta.  I tried it out on my family the other evening, and we all loved it.  It's fairly easy to make, though I would recommend measuring out all your ingredients ahead of time, unless you have someone to help you shred cheese and stir three pots all at once.


The Mark of Athena finally came in at the library the other day, and I've been eagerly tearing through it's 500 some pages in between work and events and chatting with my Knight.  Rick Riordan has not disappointed my expectations thus far.  The plot is full of exciting action and wonderful Roman and Greek mythologies, and more than once I've caught myself laughing out loud.  I read the previous two books back in the spring, so it's been a little bit of a struggle to remember exactly what happened previously, but Riordan does a great job of alluding to previous events just enough to trigger my memory, without completely spelling out the plots of the previous stories all over again.


This weekend The Goat Milk Soap Shop will be heading out this Saturday and Sunday to the Holiday Lane Craft Fair and Festival of Trees!  Be sure to stop in and say hello if you are in the area - check out our Facebook page for the times and location!


I've been making my way through seasons of the hit TV show Castle.  I believe I've watched enough of it now to do a review, but I suppose since I only have one and a half seasons to go, I might as well wait and give my review then.  For now I'll just say - I love it.  It is such a fun, interesting and exciting show to watch.


I decided that this year I would send out Christmas Cards to friends.  I still have the box of lovely ones that I bought last year that never were written in due to the chaos of figuring out that I was leaving school and then the excitement of going out to visit my Knight the week before Christmas.  And speaking of my Knight... only 27 more days until I get to see him again!  I am so, so excited.


Sunday marks the First Sunday of Advent and the start of the four week preparation for the birth of Christ.  It also marks the day when my siblings and I draw names out of a hat to see who they get to buy a Christmas present for this year.  We used to buy gifts for everyone in the family, but with seven of us, already meager spending money gets stretched even further, so we decided we would each get one person so that we could buy them something that they really wanted.  It's all kept very secret, and so we don't know who has who until Christmas morning...

For more Quick Takes, head on over to Jen's blog:!

November 23, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol 12.


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday with your family and friends.  My thanksgiving was very nice, filled with lots of really great food.  I think I managed to avoid gaining too much weight... ;-)


I saw this adorable craft idea the other day on Pinterest, and decided that I needed to make my own crocheted version of it.  I tried out two different stitches, and I think that they turned out pretty well.

If anyone is interested in the crochet pattern for a coffee sweater, I'd be happy to write it up!


The Piano Guys.  The Lord of the Rings.  I think this video speaks for itself.


NaNoWriMo.... at this point, I'd say the chances of me hitting 50,000 words by the end of November are pretty slim.  Instead, I think I'm going to focus on just getting the story finished.  I tend to flop when it comes to self motivation, and so in the last few years I haven't finished any of the stories that I've started.  Hopefully the few friends interested in reading this one will keep after me to get it done...


Heard in the house:

"You can't pick St. Roch for your confirmation name.  You don't know anything about him, and you're doing it just for then name!  Dismas is fine, if you really like him, or how about St. Maximillian?"
*a little while later*
"I will pick St. Blaise!  And I will blase forth in furious words that have no meaning!"


Apples to Apples is one of the best party games created thus far, I firmly believe.  Playing it with a large group is the best, and presents the challenge of having to weigh each person to decide if they tend to judge more literally, or more along the humourous lines.  I think I did pretty well last night, because I ended up winning the game. It's an often funny phenomenon of Apples to Apples that people say that the the green apple adjective cards they win describe themselves.  I ended up as feminine, charming, adorable, pure, playful, cold, silly, and... masculine.


And this is why I love the cast of The Hunger Games

November 22, 2012

Amanda's Thanksgiving ABCs

I am thankful for....
A - angels, my guardian angel and the ones I encounter every day
B - brothers, because as annoying as they can be, they are also a lot of fun and I'm glad to have them
C - coffee, I don't know how I survived when I didn't like it ;-)
D - dessert, because it's dessert and desserts are wonderful!
E - eternal life, the promise of a chance to spend forever with Jesus in Heaven
F - family, immediate family, my extended family, all my friends that I've adopted as "sisters and brothers"
G - grandparents, because the love you and spoil you and are the best people in the world
H - homeschool, because I was socialized, I had a great education and I have friends of all ages
I - internet, it helps my Knight feel a little closer, and I met him and many friends because of it
J - Jesus, no one has ever or will ever love me like He does and He is always there for me
K - my Knight, I love him so much and I can't imagine life without him
L - love, from my God, my family, my Knight, my friends
M - Mass, for providing me with spiritual nourishment and grace, and as God's great gift of love
N - notes, specifically, musical notes since I couldn't say music for m because m was taken by the Mass
O - options, the freedom of many different choices in every area of my life
P - parents, they do so much for me, and I wouldn't be here without them <3
Q - questions, without them you cannot have answers and you could never learn anything
R - reading, even though I don't have a Tardis, I can still travel to other worlds and places in time
S - sisters, you can go through friends and best friends, but no one else will understand you like your sisters
T - today, I am alive (and have another opportunity to procrastinate!)
U - underwear, wearing a skirt without it could be potentially really awkward ;-)
V - vehicles, as much as I love walking, having motorized transportation make life SO much easier!
W - work, that I have a job I enjoy and pays me enough to get by
X - X-ercise (stretching this one a little), I am physically capable of doing it
Y - youth, I still have it!
Z - Zayne from One Direction (because Sister3 said I should be thankful for him!)

This is not meant to be a comprehensive listing of all the things Amanda is thankful for.  It is advise that some entries be read with a sense of humor for maximum enjoyment and longevity. 

November 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol. 11


This weekend The Goat Milk Soap Shop will be heading out to the holiday craft fair at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Batavia, IL.  If you are in the area, please feel free to stop by and say hello!  (And check out some soap...)


The things that come out of my little brother 2's mouth are really something at times, and you have to wonder where he's coming up with it.  Yesterday my sister recounted a conversation she'd had with him, where he asked what the age was to get a kiss.  I asked him if there was a girl he wanted to kiss, and he yelled "What? No way!  What has Paul [my knight] been telling you???"
This morning on the way to Mass he informed me that I was going to have a double wedding ceremony with Sister2.


More promotional stuff!  Ink and Fairydust, a Christian e-magazine, recently started up a blog.  We're still working on getting it fully up and running, but our goal is to have blog posts and maybe someday a comic up twice a week.  You can find and follow the blog at


I discovered the following video last night with my mom, and we laughed so hard.  You'd think eventually word would get around and folks would realize that they probably can't fit under this bridge...



Also... LES MISERABLES TRAILER.  So many wonderful sounding songs and voices.  I become more and more excited for this movie each time I watch the trailer.  I personally think that Anne Hathaway is going to steal the show... the little bit I've seen of her as Fantine are absolutely amazing.



I have discovered that if I am in close proximity to Half Price Books, I will end up stopping in.  I told myself I would run in, just to look for the Dorothy Sayers book I was told I need to read before Gaudy Night, which I bought because I was told I needed to read it before The Businessman's Holiday, which I had bought previously.  I didn't find what I wasn't looking for, but ended up buying three new books anyhow.  I only spent $11, so I think it was completely worth it.


I can hardly believe that it is almost Thanksgiving already - where has November gone to?  Speaking of November flying by... I am getting rather far behind on my novel.  This is not good.  Unfortunately I am at a somewhat boring part of the plot, and I am not motivated to write through it to get to all the interesting stuff...

November 11, 2012

Be Still My Soul

While in adoration at Spirit and Truth, a young adult group I attend each week, we sang the following hymn. It is titled "Be Still My Soul", and I felt that the lyrics were particularly relevant in the face Obama's re-election, and what many Catholics and Christians feel to be a severe blow to religious freedom and to freedom in general.  Something to contemplate.

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side. 
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. 
Leave to thy God to order and provide; 
In every change, He faithful will remain. 
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend 
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end. 

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake 
To guide the future, as He has the past. 
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; 
All now mysterious shall be bright at last. 
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know 
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below. 

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on 
When we shall be forever with the Lord. 
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone, 
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored. 
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past 
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

November 10, 2012

I love birthdays! Drinks all around!

So this odd creature decided that somehow it was acceptable for her to turn 14....

Happy Birthday Rebecca!  
Hope you have an awesome day <3 

November 9, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol 10


This week, my quick takes are going to be very quick takes because I have absolutely no inspiration.  So!  Therefore the following six takes will be quick snippets on thoughts in my head throughout the past week.


I had my first experience with working an almost full time job when I covered my co-worker's part time hours in addition to my own while she was on vacation.  It really tired me out there for most of the week and a half, but over all it wasn't bad.  I really liked the paycheck that came afterwards. ;-)


Finally!  We have a full length theatrical trailer for Les Miserables.  I am so, so excited for this movie to come out  - I've never seen the musical, or read the book, but I love the music and from what I can hear from the trailer, it's going to be amazing.  And Anne Hathaway is going to be awesome.


Very well... I will say something about the election.  I don't think I ever really thought that Romney could win, so I was prepared when I woke up and learned from Facebook that Obama got another four terms.  Did I hope and pray that I would be wrong?  Of course I did.  But yeah, I can't say I was terribly surprised at the outcome. 


In relation to the previous quick take, I heard a song during adoration at the young adult group I attend the other night, that I thought was very fitting for the situation.  I'm saving that for it's own post though which means - you'll have to come back to find out what song it is!


My mom requested our Christmas lists early this year (usually we don't write them up until Advent starts) so that she isn't left biting her nails and hoping that the packages she ordered will get to the house on time.  I am... not entirely sure what to put on there.  I love gifts, so it's not that there isn't anything I would like.  I'm afraid it's that syndrome where you make a mental list of gift ideas all throughout the year, remembering it, and then the moment that list actually become necessary you forget everything that was on it.


I am really, really hoping that the internet will co-operate and my next episode of Castle will load fully so I can watch it sometime tonight.  That's the bad thing about watching things on the internet.... if you watch too many the bandwidth bombs out and you are left with a horrendous cliff hanger. 

November 8, 2012


Consider this my obligatory NaNoWriMo blog post... though doubtless many of my Quick Takes this month will be themed around said topic.

Novel Title: When Dandelions Bloomed - Persuasion by Jane Austen, set in the current day and age

Word Count: 13983

Who is your favorite character to write? Elly Dashwood, a co-worker of Anne's at Scents and Sensibility Books and Coffee

What is the last sentence you just wrote? “I apologize for interrupting, but I heard something beeping in the kitchen, and I wasn't sure if you had.”
Name at least three of your characters. Anne Jennifer Elliot, Senator William Elliot, Lisa Grove

If you could be any one of your characters, who would you be? Realistically? Probably Anne... I have a lot in common with the original Anne, and with this Anne as well.

What has been your favorite scene to write thus far? When Alice and Anne were restocking the shelves at the bookstore where they work, and Alice asked if anyone would notice if they replaced all the Twilight books with copies of Anna Karena.

What's one thing your MC treasures deeply? She treasures a gold cross necklace, from her ex-fiancee, and her memories of her mom.

November 3, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol. 9

Make that Quick Takes Saturday for this week... I usually start writing them up on Thursday, but it slipped my mind until last night when I saw got the e-mail for Jen's 7QT in my inbox.... at which point my mind thought it was once again Thursday night and said "Oh, well you can just write it all tomorrow, on Friday".  Until I woke up this morning and remembered that yesterday was Friday and today was Saturday.

This year for Halloween I'd tossed around ideas such as a librarian or a reporter from the 1940s (my sister has this gorgeous period looking outfit), and also a candy corn at one point (I was going to find yellow tights, an orange skirt and a white top) and then decided on being Arwen.  My Knight had given me the Evenstar pendant as a Christmas gift last year, and my friends older sister had made Arwen's dying dress a number of years ago, so it was super easy to put together and worked out wonderfully!  I didn't go trick or treating, but I did wear it to an awesome Halloween party.


Your Little Princess Costume Design is having a costume giveaway!  It's super easy to enter, and one lucky winner drawn at random will get a beautiful handmade dress for their little princess at a 50% discount.  Head on over to our website for more details! 
Only three more days until Election Day!  At this point - I agree with this little girl here. 

At first I wasn't going to do it, then I was, then I had a crazy November 1st and wasn't going to do it, then yesterday my friend Ella talked me into it - so yes, I am participating in NaNoWriMo!  (National Novel Writing Month for those of you who don't know).  I didn't have a plot or any characters thought out, but after a little help I decided to write up a modern re-telling of Jane Austen's Persuasion.  I love that book and I think it gets overlooked by Austen fans far too often.  I'm a little behind on the word count but as soon as I finish these quick takes I'll be off to see how many words I can knock out today.

What's that?  A little excerpt from the story?  Well gosh, since you asked so nicely, sure!  Here ya go.

You do realize that I am going to love you forever.”
No... you say that now, but you'll move on. Everyone always does. This is what's best for us, what's best for you.”What's best for me? How can you say that after – you know what, fine. Go to school, follow whose ever dream that is for you. I know it's not yours. But whatever. I'll walk out of your life, like you are telling me to do and you won't ever have to see me again. I hope that's what you want.”You know it's not.”Then why Anne? Why are you doing this?”
The dramatic notes of a Beethoven ringtone broke into Anne's thoughts and scattered her memories. She nearly dropped her iced latte as she fumbled to snatch the phone out of the pocket of her jeans. Pressing the green 'answer' button, she put the phone up to her ear. “Hello?”
“ANNE,” a shrill voice made her jump and quickly pull the phone away. “I have been trying to reach you forever but this stupid phone connection keeps dropping on me. Ugh! I can't believe that Sprint hasn't fixed their network yet. I'm really thinking about switching to Verizon, I really am. My nerves can't handle all these dropped calls when I need -”
Anne held back a sigh. “Molls, what is it that you needed to talk to me about?”


In closing... I was going to post a recipe I recently made, but then I saw this and I couldn't resist.

October 28, 2012

In Which I Give My Opinion of Killian Jones


When I heard that Captain Hook was going to become a character on Once Upon a Time during Season 2, I was expecting someone along the lines of this:

Because, you know, that's what Captain Hook is supposed to look like - at least from my perspective.  And why should I think any different?  Generally speaking, all the other fairy tale/story characters who have also been in Disney cartoons have looked at least similar to their cartoon counterparts.  So why not Hook?

Instead, what we got was this:

Now, I will admit, my first thought was "WOAH HOT GUY ON BOARD".  But then I saw the episode... and I thought about it... and I saw the second episode he was in and thought about it some more and... nope.  I don't like this guy.

I think there are two main reasons contributing to my current dislike of Killian Jones.  ("Hooks" real name, and the only name I will refer to him by.)

1) He's not Captain Hook.

He's young.  He's attractive.  HE DOESN'T HAVE A RED COAT.  This week I was so hoping to at least have him look more like Captain Hook... but no.  Still no red coat.  He flirts with women, he wears guy liner, he has that pirate beard and mustache thingy, he's leading Emma to a magical compass that can get her to where she wants to go.  This is not Captain Hook.  This is Captain Jack Sparrow veiled as Captain Hook.  If I can get past that... there is a chance I will come to like the character of Killian Jones.  As of right now, however, I think OUaT writers made a mistake with him.

2) In the promo for "The Crocodile", he was referred to as "more despicable and more evil" than Rumpelstiltskin.  Um, I'm sorry - but no.  First off... I haven't seen anything that has led me to believe that OUaT is going to be able to pull that claim off.  Secondly... you don't try to surpass Rumple.  You just don't.

October 27, 2012

Your First Time

I am certain that many, if not all of you have heard of this lovely ad, put out by our dear President Barack Obama.

I'd been reading about it, but didn't actually watch it until yesterday.  My thought was this.  The office of President is the highest in our land.  Do we seriously want to elect someone who stoops to such gross, crass, degrading levels as to create a campaign ad such as this?

Instead of going on a long rant about everything that is wrong with this video, I offer to you instead what I think is one of the best responses I've seen yet.  Enjoy.

October 26, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol. 8


About a week ago the first season of Once Upon a Time came in from the library, and I introduced my mother and the two of my sisters who haven't seen it yet.  Long story short, they've spent every spare moment (and even those that aren't) in watching 22 episodes before the 2 week check out time is up. 


Ink and Fairydust, a Christian e-magazine that I help to produce just started up a blog.  If you are a fan of I&F, then head over to for bi-weekly posts and behind the scenes peeks.  If you aren't a fan - what are you waiting for?  Past issues can be found at our website,


While searching for Country music songs about God, I happened across a beautiful gem in the song "New Again", by Brad Paisley and Sara Evans.  There are lots of country songs out there that praise God and give reference to Him in a positive way, that is one of the reasons why I love country so much.  But honestly, I never expected for find a song about the Passion of Christ outside of the christian music genre.  That, however, is exactly what I found.  


You know... a lot of people love Indian Summer, and I suppose the 80 degree weather we've had around here the last two days has been nice.  I don't know though - I guess I'm the kind of person that once the weather has turned cold I want it to just stay cold and not bounce back and forth.  Once it starts to warm up, it needs to stay warm and not go back to being cold.  Oh well.  Today is supposed to be 40 and raining and I'll have my cold weather back.  We'll see if I end up enjoying it or complaining about how miserable it is.

The election is coming up soon... and I do care about the outcome.  However, by this point I agree with this.


This week Your Little Princess Costume Design revealed the third of it's four new fall fashions. This one is one of my favorite designs.  You can see Gabriella in all her gypsy princess beauty at her very own page on our website.


I am officially fed up with Facebook.  It rather frequently decides that it is not the site I am looking for, and keeps me out.  Sometimes I can get away with it working for several hours.  Sometimes I get half a scroll down my news feed and it conks out.  Sleeping my computer and turning it back on again usually does the trick. (And other times it doesn't' and I have to actually restart my computer.  Twice.)  Occasionally - if my facebook need is not pressing - leaving the page alone and poking around on Pinterest, chatting with my Knight or doing other things will yield the result of coming back to find it working again.  That was the approach I took tonight and... two hours later we find Facebook still not the site I am looking for, and me too lazy to just go ahead and do the reboot.

October 23, 2012

I have discovered Half Price Books

Several months ago I heard about this wonderful sounding place called Half Price Books, that apparently was near to my house.  Since then I'd been dying to go, but either didn't have any extra spending money or the time to do so.  Yesterday I met up with a friend there and decided that it was a good thing that I don't do spontaneous trips to places further than 15 minutes away (HPB is 30 from my house) or I'd be there a lot more than would be good for slender spending money.  Though really ( because as the name implies, everything is half price and therefore very affordable) I think my spending money would take a harder hit from the Caribou Coffee next store.

I just love walking into a bookstore or a library and just seeing all those rows and rows of lovely books just waiting to be discovered.  Half the fun is simply looking at the books, even if you end up putting them back on the shelf.  I did come out with a bagful of books and only spent $30, so I feel the outing was quite the success.  There were some titles that I had read before, as well as one or two that I hadn't.  

I picked up a beautiful hardcover copy of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, my all time favorite Christie novel.  I also found a small treasure titled Lives of the Saints, complete with a few illustrations.  Then I got Tolkien's The Children of Hurin, which I have read, and Dorothy Sayer's Gaudy Night, which I have not.  I looked for The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins since I've now checked it out of the library three times and never gotten around to reading it but couldn't find it, so instead I bought The Moonstone, by the same author.  I did pick up one more book... but that is filed under SPOILERS to a certain someone and I cannot reveal the title.

So that was our adventure... and I really need to work on figuring out how to write up better concluding paragraphs for "hey, I went and did this!" type of blog posts.  Until I do... yep.  I'm done with this.  I'm going to go read a book now.

October 22, 2012

October 13, 2012

Master Xavier's Lair: Why I am Pro-Life [A Male Perspective]

Re-posting this from My Knight's blog.  The male perspective on Pro-Life issues, and men having the right to defend life is something I am very passionate about.  I think he explained his perspective beautifully. 

Master Xavier's Lair: Why I am Pro-Life [A Male Perspective]: Abortion.  Everyone has a position on it.  Some more so than others.  As a male living the day to day life in the college world, I see the...

October 12, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol. 7

Today is volume 7 of 7 Quick Takes Friday.  I suppose I will celebrate with 7 random lists of 7 different things.  This means I suppose I'll need a list for this QT.  So here we go, my seven of my favorite bloggers!

Seven "7" facts about my family... My mom was born on the seventh.  So was my dad.  My parents got engaged on the seventh. They got married on the seventh.  There are seven kids in my family.  My youngest brother was born on April 7th.  We've lived in six houses so far, so we pretty much consider it fate that once we move for the seventh time that's where we'll stay for good.


Seven things that I did yesterday.  I
  1. went to work and finally stamped the huge stack of postcards we didn't have stamps for
  2. checked flight prices to Boston
  3. discovered that counting calories ends up making you eat healthy, which ends up with Dr. Pepper, two rice crispie treats and a chocolate chip cookie not agreeing the best with you.
  4. slid down a slide for the first time in a long time
  5. found my way out of a corn maze and then found my way out again by going back to the entrance
  6. listened to the bells of the church ring as the Year of Faith began
  7. drove a 25 minute drive in 17 minutes because the 20+ stoplights were green the whole way.

Seven things that I cannot stand: couch pillows laying on the floor - the same adjective/verb/adverb used more than once in the space of a paragraph - mushrooms - raw chicken - reading medical illness/symptom descriptions... they make me feel so queasy! - messy rooms (this one is sort of part time... I can block it out for a while, but the minute I get stressed or have to focus on something hyper-room-cleaning-mode kicks in and I can't relax until the mess is gone) - my name being pronounced "A man, DUH"

I am looking forward to these seven things:  Visiting my Knight at the end of December - going book shopping - getting around to going fall shoe shopping - losing weight - going to Mass tonight - turning 21 next spring - my next paycheck

Seven things that I am thankful for:
  • Tea and pumpkin. Both on their own and combined with each other... pumpkin tea is pretty much amazing.
  • Country music and particularly Josh Turner because his new CD is the best.
  • Coffee - and especially the fun coffee drinks like lattes and flavored coffee and frappes and mocha
  • Jeans and knee high socks, for the days when your legs are starting to get a little fuzzy and you don't have time to shower and shave.
  • The fact that there is a Half-Price Book store near me and I'll be going there with a friend this week
  • I may not have lost my freshman fifteen yet (or eighteen...) but at least I'm not trying to lose something like a freshman forty
  • That I live in an area of the country where big creepy, super poisonous bugs, giant snakes, killer fish and the like are relatively non-existant

October 10, 2012

Scarves, Scarves and More Scarves - Part 2!

Now to continue on with Part 1 in the celebration of scarves from yesterday! 

Where Did I Get It: From my awesome friend, Elenatintil for my.... 19th birthday...?
When Do I Wear It: Mostly in the spring and summer, but it's one of my favorites so I'm sure I'll bring it out in the fall and winter too!
What Do I Wear It With: Pink... yellow... black... white... dark blue... fun, summery shirts and skirts.

Where Did I Get It: Wal-Mart

When Do I Wear It: This one I tend to wear more in the winter and fall
What Do I Wear It With: Black, gray, white, red, I've never done this before but I could see pairing it with orange shirt as well.... not a deep orange, but paler.

Where Did I Get It: My mom got it from Khols, and I "stole" it from her
When Do I Wear It: All year around
What Do I Wear It With: I've paired it with brown, white, blue and olive green. A favorite outfit is this scarf with a brown with gold sequin skirt

Where Did I Get It: This was a birthday gift for my 20th birthday from a friend of mine.
When Do I Wear It: I feel like this is a spring/summer type of scarf
What Do I Wear It With: I may have worn it with a blue shirt... white with a denim jacket is my favorite pairing.

Where Did I Get It: This was a Christmas gift this past year from my great-aunt.
When Do I Wear It: Definitely a winter scarf.
What Do I Wear It With:  Black looks best... gray, could probably pull off a red. I wore it with a black top and an olive skirt once and thought it looked cute.

Where Did I Get It:  I found this at Charming Charlie.  If you don't have a store near you, you have my deepest sympathy.  That place is AMAZING.
When Do I Wear It: Well, I only got it this past summer... I'll probably wear it in the winter as well.
What Do I Wear It With: I may have worn this with a white dress once... a white top and denim skirt, or a pale purple shirt.

Where Did I Get It:  This was another Charming Charlie find, a friend of mine took me out shopping for my birthday this year!
When Do I Wear It: Definitely a summer scarf.  But I can see pairing it with a black dress for the winter as well.
What Do I Wear It With:  Black shirt/blouse, the aforementioned black dress should I ever get one, I actually haven't worn it that often yet... but something nice.  It's darker than in the picture, so maybe another dark color.

And that concludes my mini-fashion show of scarves!  I hoped you enjoyed my posting, and if any of my dear readers are scarf fans as well I'd love to see pictures/posts of your own collections!

October 9, 2012

Scarves, Scarves and More Scarves - Part 1

In recent years, I have  come to love scarves.  They are so fun, so feminine, so elegant, sophisticated and playful.  They can and do serve to keep you warm... but sometimes they just add that extra little touch to an outfit. I'm up to 14 scarves in my personal collection now... and because now is the time of year when I start pulling out some of the warmer ones, I had the urge to take them out and photograph them and share them all with you!

Where I Got It From:  This was one of my very first scarves... I think possibly a thrift store find.  It was one of those things that I saw, then tucked away and forgot all about for a while.
When Do I Wear It: I tend to wear this one as a spring or summer scarf.
What Do I Wear It With: Typically I wear it with a white shirt/blouse, I've used it as a belt as well.

Where Did I Get It: Ooh... honestly, I have no idea.  I might have "stolen" it from a sister....?
When Do I Wear It:  This one isn't really a favorite of mine to wear so... I used it to decorate my dorm room!  Definitely a spring/summer scarf.
What Do I Wear It With: I think it would go with denim, white, perhaps another pale color.

Where Did I Get It: I think this was another thrift store find.
When Do I Wear It: This is another spring/summer favorite.
What Do I Wear It With:  I've worn it with a pink shirt as well as green... which really brings out either the flowers or leaves.This one also makes a cute belt.

Where Did I Get It:  This one I got... four-ish years ago, possibly five from Wal-Mart.  They were all the rage in our homeschooling group and I had to have one!
When Do I Wear It:  Winter.  It's nice and wide and makes an excellent shawl as well as a nice thick scarf.
What Do I Wear It With:  If it's with an outfit... black, gray, I think I've paired it with red.  I also wear it with my coat.

Where Did I Get It: I am 99% that this was a Christmas gift from my grandma a few years ago
When Do I Wear It: This is another fall/winter scarf.  It's a little thicker as well, so again it works great as a shawl/outdoor scarf!
What Do I Wear It With:  White shirts with the occasional denim jacket, black, navy blue.

Where Did I Get It: This was another Christmas gift, from my other Grandma
When Do I Wear It: I've worn this one all year around... spring, cooler summer days, fall and winter.
What Do I Wear It With: I wear it with white, navy blue, black and gray

Where Did I Get It: I got it at Wal-Mart
When Do I Wear It:  This is another year-round favorite
What Do I Wear It With: The first time I wore it was to pick up my Knight the first time he flew out to visit me for the very first time.  I wore it then with a green shirt, I've also worn it with blue, yellow and white.

And now, because 14 is a lot of photos and I know most folks don't read long blog posts.... look for Part 2 tomorrow!

October 5, 2012

7 Quick Takes - Vol 6

First off.. a little bit of a promotional! My friend Elizabeth and I started up a business of designing and creating custom costumes for little girls from toddler up through about age thirteen.  You may have noticed my link to it up at the top of my blog... Your Little Princess Costume Design.  We don't have all the details finalized yet, but within the next few weeks we'll be announcing a Costume Giveaway... the lucky winner will get 50% off of the dress of their choice!  So keep an eye out for the official announcement coming soon!

My family and I listened to the Presidential debate Wednesday night on the radio.  It was kind of neat, doing it that way.  Other than that... yeah. We listened to it.  Pretty much what I expected.  And... I'm not terribly political so that's about all I have to say on that subject. Because really... I am of the opinion that until it is made illegal, abortion is the greatest and only issue when it comes to choosing who I will vote for.  In a situation where one candidate is pro-life (a little is better than nothing at all) and one candidate is not, I will always vote for the one who is more pro-life.  Once abortion is illegal, then I will be concerned about the other issues.  Because none of them matter if you aren't alive.

This week on Pinterest.....!!!!  I actually haven't tried any new recipes this week.  Shocking, I know.  However this Brown-Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Shortbread Crust is high up on my list of desserts to try out this fall.  It looks soooo good....


The weather has been pretty lovely around here lately... in the 60s or low 70s... cool, crisp.  And then yesterday was nearly 80, reminding me of how lovely that temperature can be.  Today.... predicted high of 54.  How do we go from 80 to 54 degrees?  Oh well - hot chocolate and tea and favorite sweaters from last fall and jeans to the rescue!
Once Upon a Time is back!  I finally got the chance to watch the first episode this past Tuesday and... just wow.  This was a strong opening episode, making me hope all the more that OUaT will maintain the high levels of awesomeness that it attained mid-way through Season 1.  We got to meet three new characters and see many of our old favorites - including Snow, Charming and Emma's reunion as a family.  Without giving anything away... I thought that the explanation as to why everyone is still in Storybrooke and how the season will be able to continue with both the Fairy Tale World and Our World was very well done.  I won't say anymore, you must go and watch it yourself!  (But only if you've finished Season 1 - definitely watch and finish Season 1 before you go onto Season 2.)

A few months ago I became aware of this amazing sounding store relatively near to where I live.  I have not yet had the opportunity to visit said store, but I got my paycheck last Monday and as soon as my friend and I can figure out a day, we shall venture forth to explore the magical world of Half Price Books.  You may expect a full report of my findings once this mission has been accomplished.

Yesterday The Piano Guys released their latest music video, "Titanium/Pavane".  This one is so beautiful, and sweeping and inspiring.  And it was filmed on the edge of the canyon.  These guys seriously need to go into the piano moving business.

October 1, 2012

A Tale of Two Roses

Today is the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux.  When St. Therese died, she promised that she would send down a shower of roses from heaven.  It has become a devotion in the Catholic Church for novenas to be offered to St. Therese in time of discernment, requesting that a rose be given to guide the faithful.  As it happens, both my Knight and I each prayed such a novena at separate times.  Here are our stories...

Paul: Every St. Therese story has its unique spin; mine even more so.  As a young man I was uncertain about the path God was calling me to. Did he want me to become a priest?  Was he calling me to the married life? The single life? The path of vocations was unclear to me.  My family frequented the local St. Therese shrine for Holy Hours on a weekly basis. At the time I had been going through a sort of discernment crisis, I felt called to the married life but being 19 I really wasn't certain what could come of that at that time.  I had liked several girls but nothing seemed to ever work out, or if things seemed like they would work out, they would only open the door to more complicated situations. I was stumped.

As I knelt praying during the Holy Hour, my eyes glanced down to a small pamphlet: a novena to St. Therese.  I opened it and read that if my request was to be answered, St. Therese would respond with a rose.  I decided that I would pray for a particular request. If God wanted me to pursue the married life, he would send me a rose signifying that the girl I liked was the right girl for me.
As I prayed the novena, I was so caught up with the thought that the girl I had liked was the right girl, that I was shocked when no rose arrived. A week passed, two weeks, and months. Time went on and I felt that that girl was not an answer to my prayers. 

During all of this time I had developed many online friends on a forum; one of which was Amanda. She was a particularly close friend who I would chat with regularly and write letters back and forth with. As time progressed I met her at one of the Get-Togethers for the forum members, and our friendship continued.  She went off to college, and being in college myself, we were able to keep in contact and talk about our experiences. As 2011 came around, we both met again at the Get- Together. This time some friends worked to set us up. Amanda and I soon found ourselves enjoying each other’s company and nearly inseparable throughout the Get-Together. The Get-Together came to an end and went back our separate ways; she returned to Illinois and I returned to Rhode Island.
Soon after I wrote her a letter asking her to be my girlfriend. The rest is history.

Having read this you are probably asking how this relates to a St. Therese story. The truth is that I only realized St. Therese’s little work only months into my relationship Amanda, when after some thoughts and prayers during a Holy Hour, my thoughts drifted to the novena I had prayed several years back. I questioned its legitimacy since I never did get my rose, or did I?

Suddenly, one strong thought resonated with me.  Amanda, the girl who I had befriended online over the years and who I found myself in a relationship with across 1,000 miles, would always go by a particular username on the forum. It was a username that carried into reality, and became a sort of nick name and way of addressing her. 

“Lady Rose.”

St. Therese had answered my novena, and I had never even realized it.  St. Therese literally gave me a rose, THE Lady Rose; A beautiful sign and gesture from above. As I trudge through the dreary 1,000 miles this relationship has placed between us, I always refer back to this beautiful thought. Many people receive physical roses as answers to their prayers to St. Therese; I was blessed with rose that I had received under my very nose without even realizing.

St. Therese, Pray for Us.

Amanda: It was the winter of my freshman year in college, and I was nearly 19.  For four years now I had known that I was called to the married life.  God had given me knowledge of my vocation fairly early in my life... and knowing that, I figured that the next step couldn't be too far in the future. I was getting a little impatient - impatient and increasingly confused as I found myself in the position of liking two boys at the same time. One boy was Catholic, the other was not.  It should have been an easy choice.  But... but... one was at my school, and he was so nice... the other one was 1,000 miles away... deep down in my heart, I knew I liked him more... I had liked him for nearly three years, but he was so far away.  Could anything really happen between us?  Maybe I should settle for the more realistic of the two.

One of the first thoughts that came into my mind was to pray a novena to St. Therese, asking her to send me a rose to guide me in the right direction.  I put it off... and put it off again.  The time just didn't seem right.  At last I began the novena.  I suppose I could have asked to know which boy I should pray about a relationship with, or who to begin a more in depth discernment about.  Yet for reasons I cannot recall, I wrote out an intention asking that St. Therese would send me either a white, red, or yellow rose to guide me in the direction of the man who would be my husband.  I prayed the novena, which ended - without any planning from me - on Ash Wednesday.  I took this as a sign that I was doing the right thing.

My novena finished, I waited patiently for a sign.  I didn't receive one right away, but I was alright with that.  I had asked, I knew God had heard me, and when the time was right I knew that He would give St. Therese a rose for me, and she would let me know.  White roses did seem to be popping up frequently... but in my heart I knew they weren't my rose.  A few weeks passed, my birthday arrived, and among my gifts was a CD of Irish folk songs by one of my favorite bands.  (Trust me - this is relevant to my story!)  I also received the book When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy.  I read it, fell in love with the message, and became truly peaceful and content to wait for however long God thought I needed to.  He could make me wait for years, and I knew I could be at peace with that.

Only a day or two after I finished reading that book, I went downstairs to my basement to iron an outfit.  I was humming some tune as I did so.  As I finished and was preparing to head back upstairs... the first words of the refrain to another song popped into my head.  The song went "Red is the rose, that in yonder garden grows..."  I knew at once that St. Therese had answered my novena.  It stopped me in my tracks, because I truly was not expecting that.  I had thought I would get a physical rose... I'm pretty sure my second thought was "Wait!  Hold on!  I'm getting an answer already?  I just decided I was happy to wait for it!" - yet I knew beyond a doubt that this was my rose.  God had answered my prayer, and pointed out the right man for me.

In my novena intention, I had asked St. Therese that if the man for me was the boy I had known mostly through the internet, who lived 1,000 miles away from me, that she would send me a red rose.  Yes, that man was my Knight... and not four months after I received my rose, I received a letter from him asking me if I would be his girlfriend.

Thank you St. Therese.

September 30, 2012

Doctor Who 7.1


Last night wrapped up the seventh season of Doctor Who for now, until we pick it up again with the Christmas special, and then again with the rest of the season sometime in the spring.  Until then, we have five episodes to watch and re-watch and re-watch again.  I've neglected to write out reviews after each episode came out, but here are my brief (and not so brief) thoughts on each of the five episodes so far.

The season started off with the episode "Asylum of the Daleks".  I was not entirely thrilled when I heard that the Daleks were coming back... in my humble opinion  they had been used too many times and were no longer scary.  I was prepared for an episode that I was sure I would enjoy, but would probably be "just another Dalek adventure".  It was not long before I found myself to be proved wrong.  Yes, the Dalek's came back but Moffat managed to make them scary again with the zombie/human Daleks in the asylum.  And then there was Oswin Oswald.  Her introduction in this episode was probably the best kept secret in the Whoniverse, ever.  And the ending... oh, the ending!  Such a heart wrenching twist, and the best introduction of a companion yet - if, in fact, Miss Oswin Oswald is our new companion...

"Asylum of the Daleks" was followed by "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", the episode that was promised to  be "the fun romp that "The Curse of the Black Spot" wasn't".  I was pleased to discover that the episode lived up to that promise.  Admittedly, there was not much of a strong plotline... but dinosaurs.  On a spaceship!  Along with Queen Neferetti and Inspector Lestrade - I mean... that hunter guy, whose name escapes me but was quite amusing to watch.  Then we had Brian Williams, or rather... Brian Pond, as the Doctor called him, yet again denying that anyone connected with his little Amelia could be anything other than a Pond.  Brian Williams was brilliant.  Only Rory's dad could be whisked off in a Tardis and planted on a spaceship with aliens and be a little bewildered, but take it all in stride.  The ending has sparked a bit of debate as to whether or not the Doctor letting Solomon die was out of character.... but let us remember, this is the man who ended the Time War by killing his entire race, who has let whole civilizations die.  The Doctor prefers to save, but can at times let people die.

Ah, "A Town Called Mercy".  The Doctor gets to wear a stetson again! Stetsons are cool.  So is anachronistic electricity  keep out signs, and unfriendly stares.  The Doctor was adorable as he swaggers into a saloon, puts on his best American accent and orders the strongest tea that they've got.  The fun of being in the Wild West turns serious, however, as the Doctor and the Ponds realize that the other alien Doctor - Kahler-Jex - that they are trying to save from the Gunsligner isn't quite the innocent victim he seemed.  We get an thought provoking quandary here as the Doctor has to decide what to do with someone who is at once kind, and genuinely trying to help people while at the same time a war criminal responsible for hundreds of deaths.  I feel it was resolved a little too quickly, but it was interesting to see the Doctor snap and decide hand Kahler Jex over to die before Amy talks him out of it.  This sort of anger is something more familiar to Tennant's Doctor, but Matt Smith showed that this Doctor is still capable of that burning rage.  I was disappointing in the ending of this episode though... Kahler Jex deciding to commit suicide rather than a judgement being made on his life seemed to me to be the easy way out.  Hardly an "honorable" course of action, as the Gunslinger claimed it was.

In this episode we got to see an adventure with the Doctor from the Ponds point of view, and how traveling has impacted their lives.  I enjoyed getting their side of the story, and the glimpse of their "other life", their life without the Doctor.  It's a side that you don't usually think about, because you only see the Ponds when they are off having adventures.  We got more Brian (horray!) in this episode, and we see where Rory gets his dedication and patience from as Brian watches the mysterious black cubes tirelessly for over 60 days at the Doctor's request.  The drawback with "The Power of Three" is that the plot of the mysterious black boxes ended up really only being a plot device, leaving us with a lot of loose ends and sloppily wrapped up story lines.  I do understand that the point was to focus on the Ponds and the conflict of their two lives, however I feel that that focus could have been maintained, while still delivering a satisfying plot and resolution.

And finally... "The Angels Take Manhattan".  I absolutely loved the introduction to this one... the paperback, 1930s novel style which permeated the majority of the episode.  It drew me in, and I was overjoyed to find that the Weeping Angels had returned with all of their original "Blink" creepiness.  I had to laugh at the fact that the Statue of Liberty was a Weeping Angel, after all the internet speculation and joking... though it was a bit unbelievable.  Really?  In the city that never sleeps, how does something as big as the Statue of Liberty manage to ever move?  Statue of Liberty aside... the Angels were terrifying, and the baby angels even more so.  I enjoyed the aspect of the Doctor finding and reading a book, which turned out to be the events really happening... and it was so sweet that the Doctor loves River so much that he even fell in love with the book version of her!  River and the Doctor are so perfect together.  I realized that this is the first time we've seen them together since they were married... and they are just the perfect married couple.  Before this short review gets too long - I wasn't terribly sad to see the Ponds go, because I am ready for the new companion and really... for them it's not a sad ending.  They get to live out their lives together, and they were happy.  The poor Doctor though... my heart did break for him, and for River, having to let her parents go forever.  Those last few minutes though, were perhaps the sweetest, dearest moments of any of the seven seasons so far... as the Doctor returns to tell little Amelia Pond stories of her future, and we find out that her Raggedy Man wasn't in her imagination after all.