Friday, July 29, 2016

Seven Quick Takes vol. 146 - Holiday edition

Check out Kelly and the cool kids for better takes!


I'm alive! We're all alive! It's still summer! We went on holiday! 
And that could basically be my quick takes, but let's go into some detail shall we? 
I feel like I've lost almost two weeks with the packing for the holiday, the actual 5 days away, and then the subsequent laundry. I miraculously found 5x5 pairs of underwear plus at least 10 extras, then there were multiple shoe choices, because mountains, and then different layers of jackets for rain, for cold, because mountains, and then five days worth of food because we had a cabin with a kitchen. But we made it with only a few things forgotten and miraculously survived without two different kinds of child carriers. We're basically survivalists. 


The mountains were beautiful and it was a really lovely time! This is the third year we've gone back to the same cabin (and only partly because finding hotel/cabin accommodations for 5 kids is so easy!), and the kids are really sweet because they each have something they remember from previous years that they want to see and do. Or we'll have memories of what funny thing what funny kid did here or there. It's turning into a sweet tradition.


Timeout while I now wash my kitchen from top to bottom.


Andddddd, we're back. 
To my husband's eternal delight we all went on a rafting trip down the Athabasca river. I think it shaved off a good 5 years of my life worrying one of my precious babies would fall into the river, but other than that it was a lot of fun! I can definitely picture having a lot of fun myself rafting if all my offspring weren't in the inflatable raft with me at the same time. 
Dom sat at the front and laughed out loud whenever someone else got splashed by water while barely ever holding on to the rope himself, Gemma chatted up the shirtless rafting guide giving my husband a pleasant glimpse into the not-so-distant future, and Luke, Max, and Nora took turns loving it and then being a bit freaked out if things got rough and we got wet. 


We also went on several short hikes with all the kids and they did great! We visited different glacial lakes, kayaked on the lake our cabin is on, ate ice cream everyday, got very little sleep, saw elk and one bear, and basically had an all around great time. We're so lucky to be able to go and I'm sure when I look back on the pictures in a few years I'll know that these were some of the sweetest times.


My Facebook page also reached over 1000 likes and I can hardly even believe it! Thank you so much if you follow me on Facebook, I'm a pretty sporadic poster so I promise when I do post something and it by chance ends up in your feed it's good stuff!

Also; if you've been living under an online rock (which is a very legit choice these days) or aren't Catholic then let me tell you it's been NFP Awareness Week! Party time, excellent...
All my NFP posts have been published elsewhere, which probably says a lot about me, but I've written about the Billings method of NFP, and what to do when NFP doesn't go your way over at Haley's. And if you're in an even tougher spot with NFP I wrote a piece last year for Jenny on all the sex we're not having. Enjoy ;)


And it's another long weekend for us up here so we're planning on hitting our small town parade and rodeo and hopefully hanging out with some friends. My sister will be home and I think it's high time for a croquet tournament. And it's finally gotten hot this week so I'm putting on my non-lazy-mom pants and taking everyone to our nearby lake this afternoon. Try not to let my overachieving intimidate you! 
I hope your weekend is beautiful and relaxing! I said it - relaxing. That's the goal.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Life and Cigars

I smoked my first cigar at a Catholic missionary/bible school, that should come as no surprise to you, when I was 18. Introduced to smoking them by my dearest roommate and our partner in crime, giggling, and chocolate binging. I can't remember if we were the only girls who enjoyed cigar smoking at school, but we felt like we were pretty cool.

That year we smoked around campfires, on fire escapes after curfew, and out in the snow. There was perilously little to do in that small town and no where to hide alcohol. We smoked Captain Blacks with relish.

At Catholic university there was a few of us who snuck cigars onto the decks of our dorms, smoked them while walking by the lake, and sometimes down the dark street beside the cemetery. I think this was the first time I smoked a legitimate cigar, with smooth deep flavours and scents of leather and oak.

I did end up taking a prolonged hiatus from cigar smoking, during those back-to-back-to-back(etc.) years of pregnancy and breastfeeding, but I did miss the relaxing hits that only nicotine offers, the camaraderie of sharing a cigar around a campfire, watching a late summer sunset with only a cigar for company.

Of course, last year at a conference full of Catholic moms you know cigar smoking was on the menu. Even if it was out on a street corner in downtown Charleston. It was basically the greatest.

Since last summer I've gotten back in the semi-habit of smoking the occasional cigar while out for an evening walk by myself on the weekends, or around the campfire with my husband with a glass of scotch, and recently on my birthday with some great friends. There's really just a relaxing, fun quality of cigar smoking. Something that feels special even if there isn't a special occasion, and delightfully freeing somehow, maybe it's just because it makes a mom like me feel a bit rebellious.

Last year the highlight of my blogging career happened when a sainted man from emailed me and offered me cigars to try and review. Free cigars! To try and review! My blogging ship had come in folks!

And I got them within a week, and then didn't smoke them until this spring.

Which is ridiculously criminal when it comes to smoking cigars, but for some reason I just don't smoke cigars in the winter when it's dark by 4:30 and -25 degrees.

But then I finally smoked them this spring and they still were awesome! He sent me some Joya de Nicaraguan cigars which turned out to be a really evenly smoking, full bodied cigar that both my friends and I enjoyed a lot. And also some CAO Gold cigars which were smooth yet complexly flavoured and really tasty. I'm so glad I got to smoke these with friends because we really had a fun time trying out new cigars together.

In conclusion, I'm a cigar fan for life and possibly the worst blog reviewer ever. But if you're looking for cigars online that will be shipped to you conveniently preventing you from risking taking all your young children to a cigar shop in the middle of the day then check out CigarsCity. If anything you've gotta appreciate a cigar store taking a risk on a Catholic mommy blogger while trying to reach the coveted cigar market of Catholic moms.

Now go on and smoke a cigar this weekend, it'll be the best fun you've had all summer!

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Seven Quick Take vol. 145

Saying hi to Kelly!


I'm obsessed with instagramming mushrooms and I can't stop.

I'm still in denial it's already July, and yet here we are already a week in! We've had a nice slow, lazy summer week this week which has been nice. I've been noticing I'm getting a little crazy anxious thinking we should be doing more, we're not doing enough, but the whole point of summer is to have this break from the schedules and appointments and activities. But it's really hard as a mom, especially a homeschool mom, who feels wired to be moving people at all times to just sit back and relax about it all. Because the thing is I really believe that kids need the down time, the boredom, the freedom of summer. And I know our schedule has much busier weeks and weekends this summer than this one so I need to calm the heck down!


Our weather has been cool and the forecast So we haven't been to the lake yet this year and haven't been in the kiddie pool and sprinkler this week. It equals kids needing a bit more things to do around the house, and I've been balancing some sick kids with normal kids and I've had a few days where I feel like they're definitely driving me crazy. In other words: nothing new to see here, folks!


I've been on a Pimm's Cup kick as of late. And a few people were asking me on Instagram what the heck it was. Those people were obviously not British. A Pimm's Cup is basically Pimm's, a spiced and slightly sweetened gin aperitif, and ginger ale or lemonade, then garnished with cucumber and strawberry. A really easy summer cocktail that isn't too sweet and has a nice kick of spice that I really enjoy. I'm sure there are fancier recipes out there, but for simplicity sake this is a go-to for me. Until I run our of Pimm's of course.


I hope you all have heard of the wonderful new membership site of Blessed Is She. It's a new part of the ministry where you'll be able to join in some amazing live workshops, have access to the Advent and Lent journals shipped to you directly as soon as they're published, and hopefully more opportunities to grow alongside other Catholic women. It's something you can do on a monthly basis if you're interested in particular workshops and it helps keep this ministry going!


I've also been meaning to share a bit about Kelly's new retreat book that she's recently released, it's a really straight forward but richly rewarding three day retreat based on the writings of Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ. This is the perfect resource if you're looking for a personal renewal and focus on the Eucharist, or if you've got a small group or retreat planned. I think it would be great to do with a few friends, and to really dive into a more personal devotion to the Eucharist. Highly recommended!


We're going to be taking a little podcasting break, but before we do we have a brand new episode this week where Haley and I talk all about the fun of making big life decisions together with our spouse. We hoped to touch on some of the big facets of making decisions even though it can be a really big topic. Haley has come up with a whole ebook devoted to the subject and I think she makes some really great points if you're looking for a bit of guidance when it comes to this kinda thing. Hope you get a chance to listen!


Hoping you all have a wonderful weekend, it's probably going to be hotter than ours, but we're Canadian so we'll make it. We're hoping to take the kids to Finding Dory, and most of my kids are just excited for the popcorn and pop. Because we did it ONE time and now we HAVE to! Kids these days...

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