30 December 2013

Peppermint Oreo Cookie Balls...

...were most definitely my go-to cookie recipe this holiday season.  When Natalie first shared the recipe on her blog and made it sound easy peasy, I wanted to give them a try for upcoming parties.

These little yummies were SO good. and SO easy.  Milk's favorite cookie plus peppermint? Be still my rumbling tummy:)

1 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 package of Peppermint OREO cookies 
4 packages of semi-sweet baking chocolate
8-10 candy canes, crushed ( I cheated and used pre-crushed mints from Costco ;)

1//  Blend up cookies until they are finely crushed

 2//  Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well blended.  (The second time making these I learned how MUCH easier it is to use clean hands for this part, rather than mixing utensils.)
It took a lot of self control to not lick some of the yumminess off my hands during mixing.  Somehow, I was able to keep it together:)

3//   Shape the mixture into 1 inch round balls.  Throw in the freezer for 10 minutes.

4//  While dough balls are freezing, melt baking chocolate in the microwave.  Then, dip balls in melted chocolate.  To help make the dipping go more smoothly, I used forks to to gently scoop them out the melted chocolate yumminess and then let the excess chocolate drip off in the ball. 

5//  Set on lined wax-paper pan and sprinkle the crushed candy canes on before the chocolate hardens and the candy won't stick.

6//  Refrigerate for an hour and then store cookie balls...unless you're like and the chocolate-peppermint combo is too much to handle and you have to "sample" a few ;)

If you need a fun, easy treat to bring to your New Year's Eve festivities, these little dough balls pack a tasty punch!
All this baking chit-chat has made me hungry...I need a snack;)
Happy snacking!

09 December 2013

Worthy: See Yourself as God Does

One of the best things about the long weekend for Thanksgiving (along with a full tummy and family time) was the chance to get in some hard core reading time.  I.love.books.and.to read. a lot.  There are few things in that get me as excited as walking into Barnes and Noble with a gift card, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

One such book I finished (that was long over-due) over the holiday weekend was this treasure.  The lovely authoress (new word!) Amanda writes over at her blog, Worthy of Agape and she wrote a post recently for my series "Catholic and loving it".

I have been hearing a lot of good things about this book from other bloggers I follow so it definitely has been on "must read list" for awhile.  The basic premise of the book is helping to awaken the hearts of women today, to call out the lies that we have blindly believed for too long from Satan, but also speak the unchanging truths to our hearts that we are worthy.we are beautiful. we do have dignity. and we are called to be fierce (think Joan of Arc, the young woman solider).  I have to be honest, I have read of TON of books for women dealing with some of topics and other related ones like body image/self-esteem, but this one by far has been the best in comparison.  Honest and heart-felt it spoke truth to areas of my heart that have been bogged down for too long believing some of those lies.  This book will not help solve your emotional issues with body image, self hate, self-esteem, etc. over night, but for me personally it definitely help me grow more aware and understand myself better.

The book starts out in the beginning, with the story of the fall of Adam and Eve and how that set up humanity for a struggle in life to battle against the lies of Satan.  Amanda writes, "The Father of Lies has to start somewhere.  Satan's biggest defense, one of his greatest weapons against us, is doubt.  If he can get you to start doubting that God loves you then he begins to work his way into your heart and soul....we can start to recognize this by starting with the first lies Satan tells us as women" (pg. 20).  And what are some of those lies?  Ones many, many are too familiar with through the journey of their own life (including me): that you are not good enough, unworthy, unlovable, not pretty or thin enough,you need more make-up, and it just goes on and on.

Section two of the book focuses on the real triumph of God's love in our lives, which is really the only force that helps us love and see ourselves as He does.  In the last section of the book, this is where Amanda really offers a full punch and speaks truth to your heart on all the above issues and more.  One thing she spoke of that I never really considered before was that it takes humility on our part for love to happen and flourish.  We spend much of life at times building up walls around our hearts so we will never be hurt, but in that process we prevent joy, peace, and love from entering the deepest parts of our heart that need those things most.  Pope Benedict XVI once said, "God loves us; we need only summon up the humility to allow ourselves to be loved."  Amanda talks about what it really means to be a woman of strength and dignity; and to live it with a certain 'fierceness'.

One of the most powerful things for me in the book was when Amanda talked about the lies we have come to believe and make our own; that if we are told something enough times, we really believe it to be true.  She wrote of this analogy that just registered so deeply in my heart: "The lies are beat into our heads and hearts and they make their home within our souls.  In many ways these lies are similar to trenches often used in warfare.  Troops dig their way into the ground and hide out in the trenches.  In order to keep troops safe from incoming bullets and incoming fire, the trenches must be dug very deep into the ground.  The deeper the trenches, the safer the troops were from enemy fire.  If the trench was shallow troops risked poking their heads or limbs up and being shot.  Troops dug trenches so deep that they could stand up in them comfortably.  Satan's lies work in the same wayThe deeper he buries his lies in our hearts, the safer the lies are and safer he is.  If he only buried his lies knee-deep in our hearts he would risk attack from his enemy (God) and his defense would be blown.  So he tells us more lies, locks us in more coffins and entrenches his lies on our hearts.  These lies are entrenched so deeply that if we aren't careful, we too join in the battle, and defend Satan.  When we begin to defend Satan, we give him room to dig his trenches even deeper in our hearts, often to disastrous ends" (pg. 64)

Reading this book has been such a blessing for me in my own journey as I continue to work to on loving myself as God does, and undoing some of the lies I have believed for too long in my life.  No matter how deep our darkness is, God is still deeper.  There is never no pit of lies so twisted, no trench so deep that God cannot reach into it and totally transform our hearts.
I pray that you may blessed as I have in reading this book...

06 December 2013

What does it feel like to have the Christmas shopping done?

 I'm glad you asked!  Let me tell you...um, freaking.awesome.  Fist pump it Dwight style:)

It's been a crazy long time since linking up with Jen and her loyal crew of Friday quick takers, glad to be linking up once again:)

 1.  Christmas shopping is done!  AND most of the wrapping. 
Even though I went shopping on Black Friday with my mom and sister, most of the things I bought were some things to cute to pass up for Jim/our apartment.  How can you say no to cute boxers with the Valentines Day candy all over them?  That's what I thought too.
Having it done before Thanksgiving has made me realize how much of the month of December is spent trying to figure out what to get for those tough people to shop for and just more focused on getting the perfect gift, instead of really focusing on what this season is really all about.  I feel like it is SO easy to get caught up in all the business of getting ready for one day (Christmas) that sometimes I forget to really prepare my heart and mind, so I'm hoping by having some of that jazz taken care of early on, I can better enter into the season of Advent.
 One thing I'm excited we are using at our casa during Advent is this awesome book.  It is a short, easy book to use every day of Advent, complete with Scripture verse, reflection question, and song.  I'm actually really starting to love our off-key version of 'O Come O Come Emmanuel'.
2.  After 10 hours of hitting the pavement on Black Friday and engaging in some yummy leftovers, we were ambitious bears and decided to bust out the Christmas tree and decorations.  Our tree is somewhat 'special' because for whatever reason it does not have the ability to hold a normal sized star or angel on the top.  Thank you Walgreen's for having mini sized stars and helping our tree look more complete.  After busting out the holiday cheer, we ended with a movie night on the couch with some hot chocolate and peppermint Hershey Kisses.  Nothing like a little Clark Griswold to get some holiday cheer going....
3.   Do you ever fight with your husband/significant other?  Whew, me too!  We've had some interesting ones over the past 18 months of being married.  This past Wednesday evening, we decided to hit up a local 7pm Mass, cause who doesn't need an extra dose of grace in life?  Well we had a tiff...maybe a big tiff...let's just say I was about as friendly as an ice berg at the sign of peace.  I have a ways to go to being a saint...here's to getting better at it.

4.  I'm pretty good at planning ahead for things and using my calendar.  However, this week I realized from November-March I have 5 lock-ins on our youth ministry calendar.  epic.planning.fail.  Don't get me wrong I like teens, but the crazy weird things that no sleep at these 10 hour gigs does to your body is not always the fun part.  Two of them are combined ones with other churches, 2 are for our women's ministry for the teen ladies, and 1 is for our men's ministry for the guys.  Tomorrow night is the kick-off for men's ministry.  If you think of it tomorrow night as you head to bed, say a prayer for Jim as he is helping at it...he and no sleep don't work together well.
5.  I am really excited my brother-in-law David is going to our pictures for our Christmas card this year.  He is great with photography and editing pics, so I'm looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.  Even better, I have a coupon for them at Walgreen's and they have some great deals going on right now too!  If you're looking for photo cards, check out Walgreen's.  I was pleasantly surprised!
6.  Have you read this book??
 If you haven't you are missing out. so. good.  And even better it is coming out as a movie right in time for Easter this year.  I watched the trailer a few times this week and am already looking forward to seeing it with my family and hopefully having a field trip with the youth group to go see it.

7.  I'm starting to realize how my love affair with Diet Coke over the years is starting to catch up with me.  Any tips/suggestions how on to kick a mean diet pop habit??  I have started drinking a little more tea, specifically caffeinated green tea, but how much caffeine does tea really have though?  I'm all ears for any thoughts folks.  Hook this lady up.

 Happy weekending!

02 December 2013

Top 5 Stupidest Fights...

....in the 18 months we have been married.

A few nights ago, Jim and I were reminiscing about the crazy, stupid fights we have had in being married thus far.  Feels weird to talk about reminiscing on old fights, but man oh man have we wasted time and energy on fighting on some crazy dumb things.  We actually categorized which ones were our top 5.  Thankfully we didn't argue on that; well, at least not too much.
The following were our favorites:)

1. The ever sacred "chore chart"
Let's just say I like structure.  I especially like my way of structuring things because lets face it before you I got married, I definitely liked doing things my way.  Because of course my way was the correct way.  This was very true especially when it came to keeping a neat/clean home.  About two weeks after we got back from our Alaskan cruise honeymoon, I eagerly sat down with Jim at dinner and said something to the effect of, "Okay, so honey when are we going to make up a chore chart for our home?"  I was dead serious, and Jim just stared at me.  Clearly I didn't get it, because I started happily chatting away about how often things should be clean and home maintenance and blah blah blah blah (insert the voice of the teacher from the Charlie Brown movies here).

We have fought long and hard many time on when to clean, how to clean, who should clean; you name it, we've probably had some "lively discussions" about it.  The trickiest part of it all was that in my home of origin I grew up on chore chart, Mom had it color coated and all perfectly aligned and hanging neatly on the fridge; chores were just a part of life as I knew it.  In Jim's family of origin, it was the total opposite; he had no household chores and his Mom did everything herself, including everybody's laundry.  So here we had little Miss Lysol meets Mr. Pigpen.  Obviously after we came home from our lovely honeymoon, our two worlds of expectations on chores/household cleaning were about to have a head on collision. 

Only in the past few months have we begun to strike a balance that challenges me to be a less critical and controlling bear, while challenging Jim to be more pro-active and responsible in chores.  We created a chore chart together with chores that to need to happen and how often we complete them.  It is a fine and fancy Excel document that even has a box to for our initials when we complete chores.  Oh.happy.day.  Even better it has definitely helped resolve some of the crazy tension around chores in our home.

2. Are farts funny or gross/stupid?
If you be a gal who doesn't find potty humor funny, move on to #3.
My dear husband is the type of man who finds potty humor to be quite hysterical, like uncontrollable-giggles-hysterical.  Growing up for him it was very normal to have burping contests at dinner and multiple people finding humor in the noises of bodily functions (farting).  Manners were a big deal for us growing up and when we were younger my Mom didn't even like the word fart.

We actually had a debate one night (that may have did escalate in term of volume aka yelling) on how Jim thinks some potty humor is fine and that there is nothing inherently wrong about laughing at a fart.  I on the other hand find constant potty humor and drawing attention to farts icky, gross, and generally not as funny.  Needless to say I have gotten my panties all bunched up about bodily noises and probably did make a bigger deal on it than necessary.
So our combined conclusion when it comes to farting? There is an appropriate time and place to find such related things hysterically funny (Jim), but it is certainly not something to get SO bent outta shape on (Patty).  I may never find a good fart story terribly funny, but then again Jim probably will never get stoked to scrub the kitchen floor or do a crafting project with me either:)

3.  How often to clean the toilets
 Yes this is related to #1.  In fighting about how to do chores/make a chore chart, one thing we kept coming back to was how often to clean the toilets.  Jim's prized theory?  Clean it when you think you should, i.e. maybe once a month.  When I heard that I was ready to hit gingerly tap him on the head with the toilet brush.  I was shocked and kindly let Jim know just because you don't see germs or the toilet looks like it needs to be cleaned, doesn't mean you just leave it for a whole month.  After some a lot of going back and forth and researching online actually how dirty a toilet easily gets in a small household, we both came to a happy place and decided we can live in a home where the toilets are cleaned every other week.  Although sometimes I still get an urge to throw in an occasional weekly clean...

4. Decorating
 Both of us can tend to be stubborn people at times, so when it came to decorating it definitely took longer than needed because whether a picture to hang or where to place furniture we both wanted it done. our. way.
How many ungodly hours did we spend arguing where to hang our Papal blessing we received as a wedding gift....really of all things to argue about we chose that one??  Then there were of course the several occasions I decided to take a whack at hanging pictures/decorations on the wall myself.  After too many holes in the wrong place and not putting it in an agreed place between the both of us, Jim wasn't too impressed with my efforts. 
Learning to decorate together with both of us involved has been a process, but looking back I see now how it really is important that we both are a part of making our house into a home.

5.  Names for future children
This is one is my personal favorite.  Ever since I was a little girl, I always liked to dream and imagine what the names of my future babies would me.  So off course when I met the husband, I thought this would be a fun game to play together. no.such.luck.
Currently we have no children and no bun baking in the oven, but geez-a-lou have we had some discussions on names for future little ones.  I got so mad one time, yes I admit I stormed out of the apartment.  I really think Jim likes to come up with the most odd, possibly heinous names merely to piss me off and drive me bonkers.  Apparently it has worked.
Jim's favorite names? Bartholomew, Odysseus, Thor, Samson, Gizmo, Edna, Marge.  Even though he was mostly joking, it made me mentally nuts to even imagine bringing home a baby Thor Hubbard.  The situation was not helped any when Jim said my favorite girl name (Emma) could never work because it made him think of enema.  Thanks dearest for that one:)
All I know is when we do have little ones I think we will already have had plenty of discussions to cover names we do and do not like.

18 months in and we have had some interesting just plain crazy, weird fights...here's to hoping the next 18 months and years are full of more wisdom and maturity on both our parts!
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