Seven things I feel are worthy of a first Friday shout-out!
1. The Podcasting Priest
Finally! Joel and I have been bugging Fr. Kautzky, our parish’s associate priest,Â for nearly a year to begin podcasting his homilies, and that moment has arrived! His first podcasted homily has been uploaded and is ready for the world to hear. He delivered an outstanding message on Corpus Christi Sunday about why the Eucharist is the reason he is Catholic.
We will be sharing the audio files of his homilies here, but if you use iTunes, go to Father Kautzkyâ€™s iTunes channel and subscribe to automatically receive his podcasts in your iTunes once a new one is uploaded. Also, if you are motivated to do so, take just a minute or two to write a favorable review for him on iTunes as well.
2. Smarter than a third grader?
I rarely meet a game show I donâ€™t like â€“ guess it goes with my competitive nature. I recently stumbled upon one I couldnâ€™t turn away from called WOW: The CatholicTV Challenge. The show features three rounds of three different groups of third graders (intentional with the threes to symbolize the Trinity?) answering host Father Reed’s questions about various “WUDABOUT” topics that have significance in Catholic life. These WUDABOUT show topics vary from Christmas, to the Early Church, to the Holy Rosary, to praying and beyond. While the repetitive â€œWow!â€ reaction from the youthful audience grows a tad old; while my ego took a beating when I couldnâ€™t answer even one question correctly during one of the rounds; while it seems the third graders have been prepped with the answers (if they werenâ€™t, please tell me where these kids receive such solid catechesis!), I am truly enjoying the various episodes and admittedly have learned a thing or two from the show. Head over to CatholicTV.com and check out the series â€” if you have kids, this might be an activity that provides for a little change of pace from all the busy activities occurring in the warm sun this summer.
3. Des Moinesâ€™ Best Kept Secret
My dear friend and fellow St. Francis of Assisi parishioner Tami owns Fashion by the Hall Tree â€” Des Moines’ â€œbest kept secretâ€ when it comes to a women’s clothing specialty boutique. I have made a handful of purchases at the Hall Tree, and I always receive compliments when sporting clothing from the store. And by saying always, please know it’s not an exaggeration.
Tami (far-right in the picture) and staff recently opened another location in Pella, Iowa. Chance would have it that Sarah Palin was visiting Pella this week and was taken by her â€œpeopleâ€ to shop at the Hall Tree. Whatever your views on Governor Palin, Iâ€™m so excited for Tami to receive this publicity and more importantly, so proud that she and her husband have built an outstanding small business. Beyond that, the Hall Tree’s employees are some of the best in Des Moines (Iâ€™m talking â€˜bout you, Jill!)! If you are looking for great customer service, a fun atmosphere, and most of all great clothing, check out the Hall Tree. And you donâ€™t have to live in Iowa to shop there; nearly all merchandise will soon be available for purchase via their online store.
4. Jewelry For the Journey
Angie, another friend who I met through my volunteer work with Pure Fashion, designs and crafts jewelry with a faith-based theme under the name Little Charmers. I own a couple pieces of Angieâ€™s beautiful jewelry (the Madonna & Child necklace shown here and this rosary bracelet), and once again, I am always asked by someone where I purchased them. One of the cool things about the Madonna & Child necklace is you can pick your favorite phrase, Bible verse, prayer, etc. on the back. My phrase? The first line of the Magnificat prayer, “My Soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Â Just another small business with great customer service that I feel is very worthy of praise.
5. TJs No Longer Funding PP
I finally made an exploration into Trader Joeâ€™s after our local Catholic radio station owner informed me that TJs has now pulled all donations to Planned Parenthood. I headed there on my birthday and Joel encouraged me to select a beautiful and quite large bouquet of flowers for only $11.99. They have lasted a week and still show no sign of wilting. Our homes are special places, and fresh flowers lend a lease of life to any room within them. Been worth every penny! And, I’m very proud to support a retailer who sees the merits of not funding an organization that performs abortions.
6. The Kitchen is Open!
Iâ€™ve heard about E-mealz through the grapevine many times over, but when Rachel Balducci posted at Faith & Family that E-mealz was offering a three-month subscription for $6, I jumped on it and finally signed up for an account. Many of you know I have a husband who, by hobby, is a fantastic short-order chef. When we prepare meals together, itâ€™s an event that typically involves ingredients most people have never heard of. So I sometimes shy away from simple recipes â€” for fear they wonâ€™t be packed with enough flavor. Iâ€™ve been using E-mealz for two weeks now, and I’ve foundÂ the recipes to be VERY simple with quick preparation and even more important have GREAT flavor. The bonus: Iâ€™ve noticed our weekly grocery bill has decreased given each recipe maximizes flavor by using pantry staples and a low number of ingredients. It’s one area in my life that has been greatly simplified, and it was much needed!
7. A Terrific Birthday Cake for a Strawberry Lover
Speaking of that short-order chef, hereâ€™s a picture of the strawberry cream cake dessert Joel made for my birthday. He promises itâ€™s not as hard to prepare as the instructions appear. Whateverâ€¦