"The air is full of spices."
Incense has been on my list of things I want to make for a long time. I priced it out a couple years ago and decided it was too expensive, especially since I have other interests that are more important to me. Luckily I no longer have a need to make it because my sister already is!

Last weekend I spent two nights at my sister's convent all alone. It was the first time I had been alone for more than a night in over 15 years and it was just as wonderful as I hoped it would be. I got to visit with my sister three times and our last conversation was all about plants and incense. She has been making the incense that is used during Mass and prayers for some time now and through a lot of trial and error and much research she feels she is close to an authentic ancient scent. She also informed me that St. Mary Magdalene is the Patroness of Apothecaries and Perfumers and guess what my sister's religious name is? Sr. Mary Magdalene!

I've always loved the incense burned during Mass, it is a smell that makes me feel like I am home. Here is a brief explanation about the symbolism and history of incense (in the Catholic Church) by Fr. Saunders.
The purpose of incensing and the symbolic value of the smoke is that of purification and sanctification. For example, in the Eastern Rites at the beginning of Mass, the altar and sanctuary area were incensed while Psalm 50, the "Miserere," was chanted invoking the mercy of God. The smoke symbolizes the prayers of the faithful drifting up to heaven: the Psalmist prays, "Let my prayer come like incense before you; the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice" (Psalm 141). Incense also creates the ambiance of heaven: The Book of Revelation describes the heavenly worship as follows: "Another angel came in holding a censer of gold. He took his place at the altar of incense and was given large amounts of incense to deposit on the altar of gold in front of the throne, together with the prayers of all God's holy ones. From the angel's hand, the smoke of the incense went up before God, and with it the prayers of God's people." 
Now our home smells absolutely wonderful! I bought two different scents, one which they will be selling in the near future and one that smells really good but isn't appropriate for church. We had a good laugh when she told me that one of her earlier blends smelled like something you'd smell in a vintage shop. She was my thrifting partner before she became a nun so she's very familiar with Nag Champa and similar incenses. haha!

I hope to post some pictures from my weekend this week so hopefully I can find time in the next day or two.

♥ anne



Spring SALE in my Etsy shop! Use coupon code "spring" at checkout to receive 20% off your purchase! 

I'm saving up to buy a new/vintage lens for my wet plate camera and all the money I make from my shop will go toward it :) I can't wait to get it because it's an incredible lens and it will cut down my exposure time by A LOT! Thank you in advance to anyone who purchases something!

Enter my shop HERE

♥ anne



Yesterday was a really nice day! We spent most of the day outside soaking up the sunshine and even went down to the beach for walk. Everything is blooming and beautiful which makes me want to be out all day long. I wore this breezy white cotton dress I thrifted last week and figured I'd get a pic of me in it since I haven't shared an outfit in a long time.

wild onion
Wild Onion, I'm not sure what kind but isn't it gorgeous?!
Beach Primrose and Sand Verbena
Sand Verbena and Beach Primrose. I'm so happy that Newport Beach is allowing the native plants to grow back on the sand. What a joy it is to walk onto the beach and see all these beauties.
The girls love collecting shells... actually, I think Maggie just likes eating them. Yuck! I'm hoping Maggie grows timid of the water and waves but I'm doubting that'll happen. She barrels out there like she can swim and this is the main reason I don't go to the beach that often which is kinda ridiculous considering we live so close.
My main goal for my trips to the beach is to find a sand dollar. My step mom finds them all the time and I have never seen one. ever. I WILL find one dammit! And you can be sure I'll let you know when it happens. I know, it's just a sand dollar but these little goals (like seeing an owl) keep life interesting for me :)

♥ anne


Here and Now

Good morning! I'm not moving too quickly today. Last week was a long one and I'm still recovering. Here are some snapshots from this morning, as you can see I'm working on my meal plan for the week and will be posting my next installment of Feeding Family On A Budget in the next couple days. I'm hoping to be as productive as I was last week...we'll see!
I wish I was napping there with Maggie but there are dishes and laundry waiting for me :)

♥ anne



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I was editing some of my photos to use for my etsy shop and really liked how a couple of them came out. I think I've been inspired by all the old concert posters I've been pinning on Pinterest :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

♥ anne


Neil rules! "Sponsored by nobody"

♥ anne


Feeding A Family On A Budget Part 1

I've been thinking about the best way to post about this topic and after having my first draft erased by Maggie I've decided to break it up in to sections. I get a little overwhelmed at thought of giving advice because I am no expert and chances are you are the one that should be giving me advice but none the less I will share some of my thoughts on the subject.
This last year has been our hardest financially that we've ever had.  I've really had to get my sh*t together so that we made our money stretch as far as possible. It has taught me a lot. To be honest, I'd rather have loads of money and be able to buy whatever I wanted at the grocery store, eat out, buy a coffee now and again and many other things but what would I learn from that? ;) It's challenging being on a tight budget and I totally understand how families take the easy way out and end up at a fast food place ordering off the $1 menu. I've had some really low points over the last 6 months and I've fed the family some things I'm not too proud of but in the words of Susan Powder I decided to "Stop the insanity!". Just because we can't spend as much at the store as we used to doesn't mean I have throw all my standards out the window. I just have to approach the situation from a new direction.
If you are truly on a tight budget my #1 tip is- don't eat out. I know, this is kind of a no brainer but it's true. We never go to restaurants and the couple times we have I left feeling sick. Not because of the food but because I just spent the equivalent of a weeks worth of groceries on one meal. Even fast food, which seems less expensive, really isn't. For example, two pizzas from Little Caesar's is about $11. That seems really cheap but for a couple dollars more I could buy a whole organic chicken and some vegetables and have dinner and leftovers for my husband to take for lunch the next day. Most importantly you aren't eating a bunch of GMOs and artificial crap and that is priceless!
Another money saving thing I've always done is not catering to my kids. By that I mean, I don't make separate food for them. They either eat what is for dinner or they don't eat. In today's day that may sound harsh but I don't have the time or money to be making special little kid meals along with an adult dinner. I attempt to make things that everyone likes but with 5 kids someone is usually disappointed with the menu.
I always make enough so that we have leftovers which can be taken for lunch the next day or used in some way for breakfast. Leftover veggies are delicious chopped up and added to an egg scramble. Chicken bones can be saved and used to make stock and leftover meats can be added to soup the next night. I just made chicken stock last week and freezed half of it and am using the rest of it for Crock Pot chicken soup tonight.
As much as I fought the Crock Pot, I finally gave in and started using one. So far I've made lots of beans, chicken stock and chicken noodle soup. And have you noticed everyone calls it a "slow cooker" now? Hmmm, I guess slow cooker sounds more foodie than crock pot. haha! I'm not sure using the Crock Pot is a money saver but it's certainly a time saver!
My last and most important bit of advice for today, is meal planning. I can't stress how much it money and time it saves. I'll sit down on Sunday and plan the next week's menu and write out a shopping list.  I don't have a fancy book or an app on my phone or anything, I just use a piece of paper with each day's meal written on it and put it up on the fridge. I try to make at least one new recipe a week because if we continuously eat the same things everyone gets really burnt out on them. Last week I made 4 new recipes and 3 were amazing! I haven't been meal planning for very long but man I wish I had started years ago!

What are some of your tips? Do you meal plan?

♥ anne