#CreatedtoCreate

Happy New Year and all that jazz! It’s been quiet here on the blog with the holiday season joys and fullness. But there’s a lot coming up including a series of posts specifically on cooking during Lent and of course, the Lenten Journals. Big thanks to everyone who downloaded the Advent Journals and used them throughout the season. If you have any feedback for me on those journals, what you liked, didn’t like, wish you had instead, I would love to hear it as I work on the ones for Lent.

In case you didn’t know this about me, I am a crafter. I especially love fiber arts like crochet, cross stitch, and quilting. I have dabbled in making clothes, I have a fascination but with no skills attached to knitting, and a yet to be explored obsession with weaving. There is an underlying desire within me to always be either making something or learning how to make something new. 

I love cooking and making. I make our own bread and yogurt. I make pasta when I can. I make fruit preserves and homemade pies. New recipes inspire me (though not too spicy please!). I decorate sugar cookies for holidays and just because it brings me joy to do so. 

I am a maker, a creator. One of the codes, if you will, that I live my life by is: “Why buy what you can make.”

I know I am not alone in this desire to create, though the “maker community” is larger than you might think. Those belonging to the community are not just artists, designers, or builders. In fact, I would argue that every single person carries the title “creator” even if they do not know it. 

I recently read Every Tool’s a Hammer, a mix up of biography, how-to and inspirational book by Adam Savage. Savage was one of the co-hosts for Discovery Channel’s hit show Mythbusters. In the book, Savage reflects on what it means to him to be a maker, a person who makes [insert pretty much anything]. 

“We’re taking our experiences and filtering it through our words, or our hands, or our voices, or our bodies, and we’re putting something in the culture that didn’t exist before. In fact, we’re not putting what we make into culture, what we make IS the culture. Putting something in the world that didn’t exist before is the broadest definition of making, which means all of us are makers. Creators” (p 44).

Though not speaking from a religious sense, Savage couldn’t be more correct. Consider how the first acts of creation came about. God created the world, the seas, stars, plants, animals, everything. But only humans does He create in His own image (cf. Gen 1:26-27). Humans are told to, “Be fertile and multiply.” Go forth, create! Do as I did. Bring forth new beauty into this beautiful world. This has been the calling of humanity from the beginning of time. 

It is January, the month of resolutions. As I began this year, I was listening to Sarah McKenzie’s podcast The Read Aloud Revival where she highlighted the prolific children’s author and illustrator, Barbara Cooney. One of Cooney’s most well known books is titled, Miss Rumphius. Without giving the story away, I was struck by this one line which I plan to carry forward into this new year:

“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” 

We are all made in the image of God. Just as God creates, so to we, at our own level, are called to create. In a hashtag, #createdtocreate.

Catholic Conference 4 Moms: Learning in the Home with Danielle Bean

I loved Danielle’s presentation yesterday! Did you? I was also super inspired by the healthy eating presentation by Katie Kimball on Day 1. We might be asking grandparents to gift her kitchen class for kids web series for Christmas. It looks so good, and purposeful presents. That’s the Christmas theme this year – purposeful presents.

I hope you’ve been enjoying the conference. If you’re just hearing about it, no worries! Today is only Day 3 of 5, plus a bonus Day 6 of encores of the presentations. And it’s totally free! Seriously, go check it out.

If you wanted to hear more about what I thought about Danielle’s presentation, head on over to CatholicMom.com where it posted yesterday.

Also, if you are loving this who experience, there is a way for you to keep the spirit alive. Catholic Mosaic, the organization who puts this conference on, has a special M4M (More 4 Mom) package that you can purchase. You get all the presentations to download, so you can watch them anytime, anywhere. Also included is a discussion guide for all the presentations. Looking for a new study for your Moms group? Trying to get a way to engage parents during your Religious Education classes? Need something quick and easy for Advent this year? The applications are endless!

If that wasn’t enough, you also will receive ebooks, inspirational prints, coloring pages and so much more! When you add it all up, it’s about $150 worth of stuff, which is incredible!

more-4-mom-ad-1-1_origThe presentations, plus the bonus material, is only $30. It is a great price for such a wealth of information, resources and encouragement. Check out here for the full list and details. Also, as an affiliate of the conference, if you use my links listed here I will receive a small kickback as thanks for sending you there.

My big takeaway yesterday came from Colleen Duggan’s Love in the Family presentation where she challenged everyone to consider how often during the day they thought about themselves. How often am I thinking about what I want to do, how easy or hard this moment is for me, when will I be done, ect. There’s some deep thinking and praying in this for me, I’ll probably be blogging about it soon.

Enjoy the conference! And check out the More 4 Mom package!

Mise en place

Mise en place is French for “putting in place” (thank you Wikipedia). It is a phrase used in the culinary world, typically referring to the preparation and organization of ingredients. When I am cooking, I always feel so much better when I take the time to prep – to mise en place – my ingredients.

Just this past week we celebrated both my baby girl Clare’s first birthday, which also happens to be her great-grandmother’s birthday. We were enormously blessed to have Grammie, as we are fondly calling Ben’s grandma, visit us and to be here for their birthdays. Typically for birthdays we let the birthday person pick the dinner. Since Clare is only 1, we decided Grammie might make a better dinner choice. She asked for something Italian, which is great for me and my cooking comfort zone. I’m not sure what I would have done if she had said, “You know, I’d love some Thai food.” I’d like to think I would have figured something out, but it probably would have kept me up all night wondering if I could pull it off.

The saved frozen batch - I was so excited to eat I forgot to take a picture of the final product! So just imagine the cheese is ooey-gooey and everything is hot and baked
The saved frozen batch – I was so excited to eat I forgot to take a picture of the final product! So just imagine the cheese is ooey-gooey and everything is hot and baked

Anyway, long story short, I decided to make stuffed shells. Basically, think lasagna but instead of layers like a cake, the ricotta cheese and sausage/ground beef mix is stuffed into a jumbo noodle shell and then baked in a marinara sauce and covered in more cheese – delicious! But, very time consuming if you don’t plan and mise en place well. Thank goodness for Grammie who is so helpful in the kitchen.

Continue reading “Mise en place”