Friday, June 27, 2014

Wedding Planning Two weeks In: 7 Quick Takes Friday

1.  No we don't have a date set.

This is the question I am getting most.  We need to talk to our priest, and schedule the ceremony around some other people's schedules if at all possible  (My father is deceased and I want a close friend to walk me down the aisle.)  In addition, I want to join the Church prior to the wedding.

2.  No, I won't answer your question about when I'll have a baby.  

Really?  In what universe is it okay to ask a woman in her 40s when she is going to have a child?  You don't know what issues there might be that might be able to prevent that.  A few people I graduated with are now grandparents.  I don't even have a wedding date set yet, and I'm getting this question.  This is an area that if I want you to know about it, I will discuss it with you, and if not, please don't bring it up.

3.  I miss the weddings from the 1970s and 1980s.

Maybe it was just where I grew up, but I loved how back in the 1970s and 1980s if someone was getting married and you knew them, you would show up.  There would be a ceremony, and everyone would go to the church basement, give them a small gift, usually very small, and everyone would eat mints and children would spill red punch on their best clothes.  We are hoping for something more along the lines of this, so we're wanting to do a very low budget wedding so we can invite everyone.

4.  I wish I had more talented friends who are willing to help. 

Having a low budget wedding means I would gladly take some services as a wedding gift.  I've done this in the past with friends having low budget weddings.  I had taken every photography class my college offered and I had a nice camera and filters, etc.  I did photography for friends who couldn't afford a photographer otherwise.  Made a great gift, and saved them money.

5.   I am considering taking a cake decorating class.

Cake decorating classes are offered around here for about $50.  I am thinking if I can make a cake look better than average I might bake my own.  I particularly would like one that looks kind of like the one Mom and Dad had (and as you can see in the photo it was nothing special.)   I'd like it for a photo op because both my parents are deceased and it would be neat to be able to hang both photos side by side.  Of course on my cake I want to make guinea pig bride and groom cake toppers.

6.  I'm more than willing do do reviews on my blog for wedding stuff.

Yes, this is a bit of an announcement.  I would love to review anything wedding related.  We're trying to keep costs at a minimum.  If I can't review it, win it, borrow it, we have to buy it.  And we don't want to buy much.   Did I mention we are on a tight budget?

7.   I've been focusing on the planning in this post, but the most important this is. . .

The most important thing when planning a wedding is the sacrament.  The vows before God.  Then family and friends.  That's why I am not obsessing about finding the "perfect" wedding gown.  What is going to be perfect is when family and friends are able to share in this sacrament with us.   And the fact that there will be no punch.  I hate punch.  (Meaning that we are able to make this as unique as we are, and the only people we have to please is ourselves at the reception!)

You can read more Seven Quick Takes over at

Monday, June 23, 2014

Book Review: Hail, Holy Queen

Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of GodHail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Scott Hahn has a way of making simple theological concepts.  As a former Protestant, Dr. Hahn has, in this book, tackled the one area of faith that has so often divided Protestants from Catholics — Mary.   Who is Mary?  Why is she so revered?  What does the Bible say about her?  What does the Church say about her?  These are just a few of the topics that are covered in this book.

As someone who grew up Protestant, I have appreciated the works by Dr. Hahn over the years.  They have taught me about the theology of our Catholic brothers and sisters and have made me realize we are Christians.  By his taking different concepts and breaking them down into book form, it has made me understand not only our differences, but our sameness.  I think anyone who is Protestant who reads this will understand why Catholics honor Mary.  (Catholics do not worship Mary, but instead honor her because she is Jesus’ mother.)

I often hear teachings when I was growing up about “types and shadows” meaning that teachings in the Old Testament were often fulfilled in the New.  In this book, there area examples of how Old Testament passages were actually referring to Mary.  This was an exciting discovery for me because I never realized this prior to this book.  By reading this book, I walked away with a much better grasp of who Mary is and why she is important to the Church and to faith.

As someone who recently went through the RCIA class, I felt the class left a lot to be desired in the instruction of the role of Mary in the Church as well as in history and the Bible.  I believe this book should be referenced (if not utilized as required reading) in every RCIA class as the doctrine of Mary is often the most difficult for converts to Catholicism to overcome, mainly because of the misrepresentation of others who are not Catholic.

This is a quick and easy read and one I highly recommend for all Christians.  Even if you are Protestant, understanding Catholic theology is never a waste of time.  I believe it only builds understanding between the two groups.

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  The opinions are my own.

You can purchase this book here:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Free Parent Child Agreement on Cell Phone Usage #BetterMoments

FTC disclaimer: I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade and this is a sponsored post.

On Friday evening June 13, 2014, my boyfriend asked me to marry him.   We were at a youth camp, and in a room full of 50 teenagers, only a few adults had a cell phone.  To get photos, I had to toss my phone to one of them so he could snap photos with my phone.   Under normal circumstances, my boyfriend on one knee would have meant tons of photos snapped, and even a video (which I wish there would have been).  But do you know why none of  the teenagers had a phone with them? According to the rules, cell phones were allowed only after dinner -- and my boyfriend proposed at dinner.

I know this was a youth camp where if the teens disobeyed the rules, they could get sent home, but still one thing that every one of these campers had in common was they knew

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Answer Me This. . . Volume 2

To read other bloggers answers to the "Answer Me This" post, you can find them here at Catholic All Year

1. What’s something you intended to do today, but didn't?

Hmm, nearly everything.   I spent most of the day on the phone and on Facebook.  Somehow having a lot of friends and posting a photo like this with the caption "The answer was yes" results in a lot of time on Facebook reading lots of congratulations.  :)

In addition, I was engaged at a Catholic youth camp.  The priest from that parish was in our home this week, and he had to return early for a meeting.  He missed our engagement but called to extend his congratulations.  Just lots of wonderful things today and meant I only did dishes, went to Mass, and social media-ed.  lol

2. What's your favorite grilling recipe?

We just got a grill.  Hot dogs were made on it yesterday.  Despite what 50 kids from a parish in Pittsburgh may think, I am not a great cook.  I just made my best dishes for them.   My boyfriend My fiance, is the cook, and he often just throws stuff together, although recently he has been writing down his recipes and entering them in recipe contests.  (We are keeping our fingers crossed.  Weddings are expensive and hopefully he can win with some of his recipes.)

3. What movie did you see most recently?

Madea's Witness Protection Program.  Before last summer, it was 1999 since I had seen a movie in a theater.  I'm not much of a movie watcher.  I do like documentaries.  I have one here of the rise and fall of the VHS tape called Rewind This! but I can't talk my boyfriend my fiance into watching it!

4. Would you say your tendency is to over or under react to medical situations?

Probably under react.  I don't have insurance (not even after it was made "affordable" because someone else's idea of "affordable" and mine differ.  I suffered through a 2 hour long asthma attack recently because I didn't want to pay the fee at a hospital to go and a breathing treatment.  Thankfully my doctor has now prescribed an inhaler (I need to check around for prices on that and try to find it cheaper somewhere.)  

5. Do you squeeze the toothpaste tube or roll it?

I squeeze, but my boyfriend my fiance is very picky about rolling his toothpaste.  In fact, he uses a binder clip to help keep it rolled up neatly.  

6. What are you doing for Father's Day?

My boyfriend My fiance works.  (My dad died in 2006 and we are visiting my boyfriend's fiance's dad soon.)  I will likely be working on a blog post I need to get written, cleaning house, reading, and likely spending more time on Facebook than I should.  (See question one.)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Answer Me This. . . Volume 1

This is my first time participating in the link up Answer Me This from Catholic All Year but the questions looked fun, and I thought I'd jump in.  After all I hear the water is fine!  (ha ha!)

1. Do you have a land line?

No.  My mother loved a land line, but when she passed away in February, her funeral was on a Friday.  The next week I cancelled things that would cost us that we no longer needed.   This included her cell phone, the land lane, and cable TV.

2.  What is your least favorite food?

Do I have to pick one?   I hate chocolate.  I also hate ham.  Okay, how about ham dipped in chocolate.   Most people are horrified to learn that I hate chocolate.  I used to love it.  In fact, I can look at something chocolatey and know how good it would taste to others.  But in 2012 I was in the hospital for 8 days with a bone infection.  I was on IV antibiotics for that entire time and was on oral antibiotics for 9 months.  The antibiotics changed some of my tastes, and chocolate was one of the casualties.  Of course, it's not something I need to be healthy (well, I do choke down some dark chocolate almost daily because of the health benefits.)

3.  What's on your summer reading list?

I need to finish a couple books for reviews.  I have a stack of books on my night stand.

 There's one about the history of the Sheetz gas station / convenience store that I bought months ago.
Made to Order: The Sheetz Story

There are two my priest gave me in September.  (He's moving next week and I still haven't finished them.  Thankfully he gave them to me and I don't have to return them.)

I have also purchased several from thrift stores that look great.  I haven't had a lot of time to read lately.

4.  Is there something that people constantly ask your advice on?  What is it?

Yes!  Being frugal.  Saving money, especially with coupons.  And for some reason friends think that because I shop at a grocery store and can save significantly on a cart of essentials that I have some magic wand I can wave and get them a Disney vacation much cheaper.  (That's actually the #1 question I get -- How can I save on a Disney vacation? I want to laugh in people's faces when they ask that.  Seriously?  You're asking someone without children, who is not a huge Disney Fan about saving on a place she's never been?  My advice is learn to save money elsewhere and earmark that savings for the Magic Kingdom.  Somehow it seems that the people who ask that aren't very appreciative when I say I honestly have no idea and then point them to resources like this:

Save the Big Bucks at Walt Disney World: Discounts, Deals, and Freebies 2014

and this:

How I earn Money and Gift Cards Online

Somehow I think the "try and save on your necessities and pay only 25 cents for your toothbrushes after coupon" isn't the savings they want.  I might write a blog post on this sometime on how to save on everyday purchases so you can afford some bigger things (If you have the money, sometimes savings are just needed to survive.)

5.  What's the most physically demanding thing you've ever done?  

I went to fat camp.  I mean Faith and Fitness Week sponsored by RetroFit Ministries.

This photo is of me receiving my Dare to Soar Award.  Also pictured with me are Austin (left) and Ken (right) Andrews, a father/son team who were former contestants on Biggest Loser.

During this week we worked out about 4 hours a day, heard a weight loss testimony in the morning, nutrion class in the afternoon, evening praise and worship, small group after worship, we'd fall into bed, and up for the same thing the next day.  It was so hard, but it was wonderful.  I got to work with some of the best trainers in the country including Mr. Natural America, John Heart,  Laurie Graves, author of Fit for Freedom, and Charline Bucher.  It was the hardest thing I've ever done, but also one of the most rewarding.  My only regret is I was not able to continue to take care of myself when my mother got sick and had to focus all my attention and energy to her.  I would love to go back to another Faith and Fitness week.  There were Christians from every denomination there -- Pentecostals, Catholics, Mennonite, Seventh Day Adventist.  It was worth every penny!

6.  How do you feel about massages?

Add this to the list of things I've never had.  (Also, pedicure, manicure, etc.)  I'm not a prissy girl.  I'd rather have the money for a book, gas money to find another geocache, or even a gift card for groceries.  I'm usually practical (except when it comes to travel.  I have a passport and I know how to use it!)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Weekly Geocaching Roundup #4

It's been a busy geocaching week for us.  On Thursday, my boyfriend had a short work meeting in a town an hour away then the rest of the day free, so I tagged along and we went geocaching afterwards.  We decided to go up into Pennsylvania and see what we could find, and we did find some neat ones.  After he worked all weekend, he had two days off in a row, so we decided to go on an overnight trip to Martinsburg, West Virginia.  This is one of the best geocaching areas in the country.  WVTIM loves putting out gadget caches, and I regret we were only able to find about 30 caches during our trip.  One reason for that is we did the Villages of Berkeley County geotrail to get this cool coin.

The Villages GeoTrail covered a lot of area, but they were easy to find, it was just a lot of driving between caches.  The gadgets were more concentrated in area, but they took a slight bit more figuring to open -- you had to solve a puzzle to be able to open the combination lock on them.  Most of them were much more simple than we tried to make this.   This is the first gadget cache we found, and it was actually quite easy.  Each of these vials contained a scent and on the cache page there was a list of scents.  We had to put them in order, and the order gave us the combination to the lock based on the numbers at each scent.

At this one, the cache was under a merry go round.  You can watch the video here:  (warning includes spoilers)

So here I am getting the cache.   I was going to make my boyfriend get the cache, but I couldn't get the merry go round to go as fast as required.  So I was the lucky one who got to get dizzy.

At this one we had to play a song to be able to figure out the combination to the lock that opens the cache!

We didn't have time to get both geocoins -- we are two caches away from the coin for the gadget trail!  In addition to those on the trail, there are so many fantastic geocaches in the Martinsburg, WV area that we are hoping to go back another time!

Thursday:  15
Monday: 16
Tuesday: 14
Wednesday: 1

Total: 151