Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Five Favorite Inspirational Pins

I am feeling a bit uninspired... and there's no better way to inspire than find words that challenge me.  So here are a few favorites:

 I am going to a wedding this weekend.... it's one with tons of old high school friends.  I am feeling frumpy and obsessing about looking good  (need prayer?... hmm..)  Anyway, this quote captures how I want to live my life.  Forget if my friends weigh less than they did in high school and look so perfectly kept.  I am my own flower.


Yes.  Yes.  and more Yes.  I love my littles so much... God help me be the mom I want to be!


This goes with parenting and wife-ing in my opinion.  Letting go of the things that busy my life without purpose is a goal of mine.  If I am not a better wife, mother, or Christian, why am I do _____?


I love the wisdom of Blessed Mother Teresa.  That's all! :)


Seriously this just makes me smile.  This is the humor that my girls enjoy right now.  And I am loving this age.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Five Fave/Hints.. making good eaters

 Developing good eating habits with little people

It seems like I share these tips on a somewhat regular basis with friends and acquaintances so I thought I'd share them here.  (If I believed in jinxes I might not--- since Jack is too young to prove my eating hints work.)

I believe in moderation... what you'll read below seems extreme but my children do get treats and we do deviate from this plan but this is the foundation that I believe has made them into little people that love broccoli and ask for carrots for snack

1.  Stop the snacks!  We do not have snacks in cars or strollers or in between meals.  We have three meals and a snack after nap.  That's it.  My girls are hungry and meal time and  I believe that makes for a good eater.  I see moms and dads use snacks as coaxes to get children to behave.  I don't want to use food in that way for my children.  I have my own food issues... (too much and too frequent!).... so I am aware of instilling better habits in my children.

2.  Eliminate all the processed foods.  I know I'd rather have a Ritz cracker and piece of cheese than broccoli... why wouldn't my girls??  We just don't have those easy foods readily available so they aren't an option.   Healthy foods in the house make for easier meals.

3.  Serve meals in courses.  This is especially important when little ones are under three.  If I set a plate down with a serving of spaghetti, asparagus, salad, and bread, then guess what?? The bread goes first followed by the spaghetti.  The green stuff will likely never be eaten. However, if they get food in courses, the salad and asparagus are gobbled down because they are HUNGRY and they want to eat.  We then follow with protein and carbs.

4. Have meals together and make it clear that a meal is a meal is a meal.  There aren't short-ordered cooks in my house.  This week I made a ground turkey and rice dish that may not have been that visually appealing.  Both girls chose not to eat it... Guess what?? That's okay.  They ate their veggies.  They knew that was dinner.  They never complained about being hungry... and they were fine with just a little dinner.

5.  Now that I have a three year old, I am learning that talking about food is powerful.  She knows what food is her "grow food" and which food is her "sometimes food".  For example, we had an ice cream treat on Saturday.  She put the words to it and said she loves "sometimes food" but she needs to eat more "grow food" to get tall!  Little people need to understand they are fueling their bodies to go on to do great things!

PS-  I struggle with my weight.  In fact, I need and want to lose some weight right now.  Following these same rules is helping me!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Five places to visit

We are having beautiful weather... which is typical for Southern California this time of year.  (really any time of year!?!)  So I can't blame it on the weather... not sure what to blame it on... but I have a real itch to travel.

Perhaps it's just  being a mom.  Before kids, we spent extra money and time on travelling.  Near and far... we just liked to see new things.  That's one thing I truly miss as a mom... the ability to get up and go.. and the extra money to do so.

So for today's Fab Five, I am five of my favorite

1.  The Grand Canyon.  It's vastness is awe-inspiring.  There's nothing quite like it. I have been fortunate to visit the Grand Canyon several times and it never gets old to me.  It brings perspective to me and inspires me.  It is peaceful yet challenging.  My dad hiked to the bottom a few years ago.  J and I plan to do so at some point... Alas I need a knee replacement first.

2.  Washington DC.   I had a educational opportunity to spend a week in DC each quarter for a few years in the early 2000s. I'd been to DC before but this gave me an opportunity to really get to know the area.  There's so much I love about DC... everything from natural beauty and monuments to the hustle and bustle of life to taking a trip to the Basilica.  J had never been so the year before children I took him and we had a fantastic trip.  Among my favorite things to do in DC are visit the Newseum ( I could spend hours looking at old newspapers), visiting the Blessed John Paul the Second Shrine, and visiting the Supreme Court (so cool!)
I also love the Eleanor Roosevelt tribute at the FDR memorial.  So much to see and do in DC.  Oh, and John loves the Folger Shakespeare Library.... so much to see and do there too!

3.  Back to nature... Last year we spent a week in Southern Utah.  I fell in love with the area.  So beautiful.  Great hiking.  Not many crowds.  Lovely lovely lovely!!  Go if you have a chance.  Bryce and Zion are amazing.  Different but amazing.  

4.  Ireland.  Oh Ireland.    I do think Ireland will be the first place my little ones get a passport stamp.  It's such a beautiful country and "easy" vacation.  Short drives.  Quaint shopping.  Lovely hikes.  Easy village dinners and brews.  Lambs and more lambs!!  We've talked about going back... probably in three or four years with the children.  I can see them running through pastures with lambs :) 

The picture is of a cross in a cemetery in Mount Mellick where John has great aunts and uncles buried.  His great grandparents immigrated. The parish in Mt Mellick was so welcoming... it was Good Friday and they opened their doors and shared baptismal and death records.  It was amazing to see so many generations of his maternal family tied to this one church.

5.  And finally, Kenya!!  I wish everyone could visit Africa.  We visited Kenya and Tanzania.  Kenya felt safer IMO so Kenya is our favorite destination of all time.  We plan on returning for our ten year anniversary in a few years.  We won't take children on this trip but hope to take them in their teen age years.  (Clearly Africa is always dependent on politics and safety as we plan trips.)

What I love about Africa is that is that perspective I love... similar to the Grand Canyon... it gives you a sense of your smallness yet also your greatness. It was a very spiritual place for me to visit.  Seeing God's world untouched is breathtaking.  Removing all the hassles of life and watching the rhythm of nature is something that stays with you always.  If you consider one of our guides had no idea where Los Angeles is, who Mickey Mouse is, or what a bear is... says it all.  If ever you have the chance... go!!

Happy travels!!

PS-  I just realized why my travel bug is rearing it's head--- four out of five of these trips were taken over Easter Break.  We celebrated Easter and attended Mass in DC, Ireland, AZ, and UT...  this year we'll be in Prescott.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


 (picture of MJ and Jack... no real significance... just wanted to see my cuties at the top of this post.)

I am so not a "blogger" but boy do I love the blog world.  So many blogs provide me guidance and encouragement even though I don't know the authors.  I struggle to wrap my mind around it-- are blog posts the equivalent of my mom reading parenting articles in Good Housekeeping?  Or is it more like overhearing ladies discuss life in while sitting on a bus?    I am not sure but what I do know is narrowing down my top five favorite blogs is tough... but I'll give it a try:

1.  Hands down favorite:  Memories on Clover Lane.  Love love love Sarah.  Her no-nonsense parenting style is my kind of parenting.  I appreciate her common sense and her desire to not have all the distractions in life that take up our time.  She is the person I'd want as a neighbor!  She's busy w/her own life  but she'd be great to catch up with over tea.

2.  Grace In My Heart  is a beautiful mix of adoption, parenting, and faith.  The author inspires me to be a better Catholic.  I adore her faith and her pro-life positioning.  Her blog is easy to read and resonates with me.  She also has adorable kids that are really close in age to mine... opposite genders... too bad arranged marriages are out?!

3.  I "met" J in the adoption world.  But she has a way with words and a calming spirit.  These Prices is a well-grounded blog that reflects on faith and parenting quite often.  J also heads up a "Positive Parenting" FB group that offers support in being that parent I want to be.  Lots of respect for the intelligence and ability to reflect that I see in J.

4.  Shannan will do big things in her life. Flower Patch Farm Girl I love her faith and attitude and she continues to inspire me to be better and live with less.  Her blog pushes my comfort levels on a regular basis.  And that's a good thing!  PS-  She has the cutest children and her home style is what I wish I had... eclectic, quirky, flea marketish... all wrapped up into a simple but practical home.

5.  Number five is hard....  love Jen Hatmaker and I enjoy Kristin Howerton at Rage Against the Minivan... but there are also things I don't love about their blogs.  There are several "big time" Catholic bloggers that I LOVE... including our FiveFaves fearless leader, Hallie.... but my #5 today will go to a new find... and a big name, Kendra at Catholic All Year  I love her quirkiness and her large family.  I like her style.  And I gravitate towards her because she is a modest Catholic life in SoCal... which is somewhat rare.

Have a lovely week!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Five Fave Preschooler style

So Mary Jane isn't actually in preschool..... she has two and half years before K... still not sure what we will do for preschool... but that's a post for another day.  I am off on a tangent but I can't help it.  I really don't like calling her a preschooler... but she's no longer a toddler... so preschooler is the best definition I have found to describe a 3 year old even though she is not in a formal preschool.

So here are my five favorites from be mama to a 3 year old...

1.  While we have television sets at home, we don't watch much at all with children.  I don't judge others that do... I just know for me it would be a slippery slope and I'd rely on TV too much.  Right now we allow the girls to watch TV on Saturday morning and occasionally if John or I are not home during bedtime routine. They each get to choose a show.

Right now MJ has a new favorite cartoon-- Peppa Pig.
Peppa is English and has an adorable accent.  Her cartoons are only 5 minutes long.  Very pleasant... not as formulaic as Dora which the girls love too.

If you haven't watched Peppa and have a three year old, here she is on Youtube.  Peppa Pig

2.  The influence of God.  Seriously, MJ is so impressed and empowered by the concept of God and Jesus.
We were recently talking about our brains and she asked if God could see her brain.  People.... she's starting to get it.  Makes me think the work we are doing is.... working!

3.  Clothing-- Anything and everything Hanna Andersson... It's expensive (in my opinion) but it lasts forever... and washes so well.    I am a bit of a nut about staying modest too... so Hanna dresses work well with leggings underneath even in the summer.  

4.  Food.. my girls are good eaters, especially MJ.  She loves veggies but her most recent favorite is roasted broccoli.  If you have started roasting broccoli yet, do.  It is fantastic!!  

5.  BFF.... seriously folks, I love this girl.  She is my Korean-American mini-me.  Three years old is fantastic.  We have conversations.  She makes me think.... she is definitely one of my besties!  Loving loving loving this age!  
(yes, she is sitting in the front of a car... it's not moving.... it's my dad's old restored 1966 Bronco and we were playing in it while visiting AZ last weekend.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Five Faves!

Good morning Blogland...

I'll start my Moxiewife's Five Fave list with a non-fave.  I don't like the look of my blog.  It's cluttered and bothers me.  But.. who has time for blog clean up? I barely have time to blog.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest... here are this week's five:

1-  An Oil Mister from Williams Sonoma.  First off, WS rocks.  A college roommate turned best friend worked there for a few years post college and made me a devotee.  Love the store and never seem disappointed.  Anyway.. this oil mister was given to me courtesy of my dear husband at Christmas (disclaimer-  I had it on a list of wants... he is no cook and didn't know what it was... but who cares!)

The oil mister takes the place of PAM or other oil sprays.  When I first opened it, I thought it was broken because it won't pump.  Well, follow directions and you'll see... you've gotta pump air into it to force the oil out.  It works magically.  I don't think I've been this excited over a kitchen gadget ever.

2-  I've taken back popcorn!  After years of nasty tasting microwave popcorn, I decided to make it as a snack for the girls.  It's delish!  Using a heavy pan on the stove with olive oil, I pop and lightly season.  So yummy as a treat and so natural as compared to microwave yuckiness.

3.  My skin has grown dry over the years yet I still have break outs.  I finally realized I need to cleanse with a creamy cleanser.  I found this one on Amazon and love it!.  It smells good. It's gentle.  And it's inexpensive.

4.  Best sippy cups "hand's down". Nalgene Grip and Go toddler cup.  No further review needed!

5.  And my last favorite was from New Year's Eve.  As my three year old said, "this is fancy dinner!"  We had dinner on our China with our nice flatware and cloth napkins... but it't what I served that's a new fave.
Easy Shrimp Scampi
Defrosted bag of uncooked shrimp.  I used medium size
Stick of butter (yes, the whole stick... this  is NOT healthy!)
A package of Italian salad dressing seasoning

Throw it over med-low heat and cook.  YUMMY!  Make sure not to overcook the shrimp.  Keep them tender by watching them as they move from translucent to white.  Turn off heat before pink.  Serve over Jasmine rice w/a side of whatever.... no one will care what veggie you are serving when the get a taste of this!

Happy 2014!

Friday, January 3, 2014

7 Quick Takes

Alas "Quick Takes" and "Five Faves" are an easy way to remind me to blog :)

Today's quick takes are somewhat resolutions for the new year.  Overall 2013 was a good year... definitely more highs than lows... most important-  a new baby!  But with dear Jack Jack came a crush in routine.  I feel sort of out of rhythm. If I were a Yogi, I'd take to the mat all day to straighten things out.  Instead I am a word person so I'll try and summarize what needs to be tweaked into 7 Quick Takes:

1-  Prioritize time.  Take back Sundays as Holy and family days.  I find that too often our Sundays include laundry, cleaning, and other not so fun things.  If it works for your family to mix it all up, great... but for me, I need time to decompress and focus on what's important-  God, my husband, my children, and me.  
In addition to taking back Sundays, I want to be deliberate about one "family exploration day" a month and "one date" with my hubby a month.  These can be cost free or complete indulgences.  They just need to happen to feed my soul.  Lastly, I need to find more time to read and knit.  My time to stimulate my brain and creativity makes me a better mommy... and that's important.

2.   Take care of myself.  I need to "eat more carrots"!  My girls are so healthy in their eating.  I need to be more like them.  I want to instill good eating by example. I love food and I over indulge.  I eat healthy things.. followed with indulgences.  I need to remember that my body is a gift from God and I need to treat it as such.    Here is a pic from Christmas day (note the dog is NOT ours!):
I want to stretch more, walk more, be active, and feel healthier.
In addition to being more aware of my health, I want to feel better about ME.  That means getting dressed in real clothes and not Yoga pants (remember #1 I am not a Yogi!), wearing make up daily, painting my nails... the things that make me feel attractive.

3.  Be smart about money.  We go through phases where we are super good with money but that's not always the case.  We need to budget monthly, discuss weekly, and be cognizant of how we use our resources.

4.  Be peaceful.  I want my girls not to hear my frantic or stressed.  I've had them say "it's okay mama" when I am stressed.  That makes me feel awful.  I need to keep in mind that my reactions impact who they are... and I love my girls so much and want to impart peace.  I have made up a little diddly that helps... I sing "come Holy Spirit, come to Us, come Holy Spirit, come to us, come Holy Spirit, come to us, help ______."
It started as a song that I would sing as I rocked them and they resisted sleep... but now I call on the Holy Spirit to bring me the gracefulness of peace.

5.  Organize my favorite and inspiring blogs.  Some days blogs are what I read and nothing else.  Let me fill my mind with inspiring and good women... not harsh condescending and/or sarcastic women.

6.  Grow my spiritual life.   Adding a third to our home has been wonderful but I am so much busier.  I feel that the business has impeded my spiritual life.  I was in such a good place last Spring... I need to return there.  I am super excited that I'll be attended the Created for Care conference in March.  It's a retreat for Christian women who are touched by adoption.  I want to make sure my heart is ready to fully soak in the goodness of the retreat.

7.  Simplify.  I am coming to terms with who I am at this stage of my life and simplicity fits who I am best.  I need to focus on keeping life simple.  I am better with less... less chaos of "things".  This is a hard one for me but I know it's important.

Happy New  Year!