Monday, February 27, 2012

What's What

Happy Micsellaneous Monday! For my new readers out there, here's a break-down of what/when I post for the blog. =)

Monday - Micsellaneous Monday, so pretty much anything I feel like
Tuesday - Tasty Tuesday, recipes
Wednesday - Reading Wednesday, book reviews
Thursday - Um... themed Thursdays? Whatever I feel like.
Friday - Funky Friday, craft projects
Saturday - Sippin' Saturday, drink reviews
Sunday - church reviews

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hand Warmers

I’m trying to grow my crocheting abilities, so I am slowly working through books and finding fun projects. This week’s Funky Friday project is from “Chicks with Sticks Guide to Crochet” by Nancy Queen and Mary Ellen O’Connell. It uses chunky yarn (5) and half double crochet. Since I’d never used this stitch before, this was a great project to learn it. It was while doing this project that I realized that everything I’ve crocheted previously I had crocheted using front loops only… oops. Anyways, these are super easy to make, even if I’m not sure I’ll ever wear them. I’d like to try them in a different yarn, since the only yarn I had in the right weight was a blue blend.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

St. Cecilia's Basilica (Rome, Italy)

While we were in Rome, we were given some free time to roam (ha! Roam in Rome) and a group of us wanted to go to St. Cecilia’s Basilica. She is the patron saint of music.
Here’s a picture of the basilica. I’m not sure if this is hers or if she shares it with another saint. It is beautifully landscaped outside, although the fountain was a bit green, and was no longer running.


I love love love the fresco on the ceiling of the basilica. It’s a little hard to see in this picture, but it’s pretty much a picture of heaven and music. (I’m very into music, which is why she is such a special saint to me).


We decided as a group to go down to the chapel and catacombs beneath the basilica. We paid the nuns our 2.50 Euros and went downstairs. Since many of us didn’t yet know the story of St. Cecelia, we had one of our friends (who knew a lot about her) to tell us her story. Here’s my paraphrased version: St. Cecelia was a well wanted maiden, and this guy tried to force her to marry him. Eventually the government got involved and she kept resisting. Finally, they took a sword to her neck. She lay there almost decapitated for three days – and sang the whole three days before she died. That’s why she’s the patron saint of music. If you see statues of her, you can also see that one hand has two fingers up, and the other has only one. She tried to convey the idea of the trinity before it was widely accepted. The guy who did this to her was so moved by her love of the holy spirit, that he ended up becoming a saint as well. I would look her up though, because I don’t think my story did her justice.

Here’s a picture of the ceilings covered in mosaics in the underground chapel.


A statue of St. Cecelia.


Another cool mosaic.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ciao! By Melody Carlson

This is a light, fun book that is a great end to a wonderful series. While the series is a bit predictable (if you’ve read her other series), I really enjoyed it. These books follow a girl and her older sister who host a fashion reality show. It was refreshingly different from most Christian fiction.

Amazon.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stir Fry

A real recipe! Yay!

Ingredients
2 pork chops
1 package frozen oriental vegetables
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar


Directions
1. Cook pork chops. Remove and slice.
2. In same pan, saute vegetables, then add pork back into mix.
3. In a separate bowl, mix soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar. Add to vegetable mix.
4. Serve with rice.

Notes:
- My mom uses diced chicken instead of pork.
- My mom’s recipe also includes 2 tablespoons of sherry. I’m a poor college student, so I didn’t use sherry.
- You can also serve with sautéed mushrooms.
- This is a very flexible recipe - you can make more or less meat or rice, depending on how many you want to feed.

It was so delicious that I forgot to take a picture before I ate it... so here's a picture of the leftovers. =)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fun Videos

Here are links to two fun Catholic videos:


Can I have your Adoration Hour?

and

Stuff Catholic Girls Say
(This one made me laugh so hard, because it's so true.)

Enjoy! Happy Miscellaneous Monday!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

St. Francis of Assisi Basilica (Assisi, Italy)

Apparently, I didn’t take enough pictures of this place. But I still have enough for a decent blog post.

Assisi is a very medieval city – here’s a picture of a fortress or castle or something. There are still city gates surrounding the city, and every building is built with this medieval style.


Here’s a picture of the church. A lot of buildings were damaged in a large earthquake years ago, but most of the city has been restored. The rosette is typical of this era of architecture, meaning that God has no beginning and no end. It’s also seen on St. Claire’s church in the same city.


This is the lawn in front of St. Francis. It has the word “PAX”, which means “peace” and the Franciscan cross. St. Francis had a cross made out of twigs that looked more like a “T” than the traditional cross, and thus was born the Franciscan cross. The belt on his robe also had three knots on it, which symbolized obedience, poverty and chastity. If you’ve never read or learned anything about St. Francis of Assisi, I would. His life is super cool- he pretty much gave up a life of being rich and famous for a life dedicated to God.


A nice monk took us on a tour of the church, and explained to us different things about St. Francis’ life. The inside of the church is fantastic, and almost every wall and ceiling is covered with a different fresco. Unfortunately, this means we couldn’t take pictures because the flash would damage them.

Most of the frescoes in this basilica were done by the painter Giotto. The upper part of the church had many panels surrounding it, each depicting and important part in St. Francis’ life. One of these pictures is the stereotypical painting of St. Francis and the birds – which is misleading, according to the monk (who was a part of the Franciscan order), because St. Francis didn’t mention animals much in his works (his life is super crazy amazing, he did so much), but he’s the patron saint of animals, and people only seem to know that about him. If you want a book with wonderful pictures of the frescoes in the basilica, try “Art and History of Assisi” by Nicola Giandomenico.

We celebrated mass there as well, but not in the main church. We celebrated where the monks do, in a little half-underground medieval chamber. It was made of the same stone you see in all the other buildings, and it was dimly lit (well lit, but also dim enough to make it seem more medieval). The altar was made from a tree trunk, with the table part resting on top of where the branches started. We sat on little wicker stools in rows. Fr. Matt thought it was cool that they had so many languages available for the mass guides (I’m not sure the actual name… lectionary?) It was a very neat mass.

Before leaving Assisi, we had a brief time to go to the tomb of St. Francis. It is aweing to be so close to the body of such an amazing saint. There were even pews set up for you to pray around this area. His casket was enclosed with metal bars, and the entire area (which was underground) was dimly lit, as if by torches.
If you go to Italy, I would take time to go visit Assisi. It is a wonderful place where wonderful saints came from.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sippin' Saturday

It’s a Vitamin Water Sippin’ Saturday!


Gogo
Sweet and refreshing.

XXX
Sweeter than most others, but still refreshing and delicious.

Dragonfruit
This is one of my favorites. It’s not as sweet as the others, but still provides good flavor. Don’t get the “Zero” version though.

Focus
My sister had me try this one, and I’m quite a fan. It’s strawberry-kiwi and absolutely delicious.

Spark
This is my new favorite. Although grape-blueberry may seem like a weird combination, it’s really good. I’ve had like five of these in the past two weeks.


Picture from Google images

Friday, February 3, 2012

Valentine's Day Projects

I’ve found some super cute Valentine’s Projects online. They’re super easy and also very practical.


Heart Earrings

These are adorable. They cost me $5 (because I didn’t have liquid stitch) but were totally worth it – and I might make some for my sisters too! I love that you can make them out of a paperclip – something totally ordinary. Here’s the link to this project:  http://pitterandglink.blogspot.com/2012/01/paperclip-string-valentine-earrings.html




Valentine's Earrings

I actually really like these earrings. I thought they were going to be too cheesy or “handmade” looking for me, but they actually turned out really cute. They go well with an up-do or a dressy outfit. Plus, they are easy to make. I didn’t have headpins, so I used eye pins instead and it still turned out fine. I also used pink beads instead of heart beads, because I couldn’t find any small heart beads in local stores. And honestly, these are more “me” anyways. Here is the link to this project. http://oksanalikesit.blogspot.com/2012/01/diy-valentines-earrings.html

Me wearing them

Close-up!
Bookmark

I made this bookmark with the free printable here, by Ella Emmett. I glued each bookmark to card stock, added a ribbon through a hole-punched hole at the top, and wrote the quote (from her website) in red on the back.


Right now I'm working on a pair of crochet amigurumi love birds... hopefully they'll be done in time for me to share them next week!
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