Make homemade vanilla extract now for Christmas gifts!

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Last year, we gave a bunch of people homemade vanilla extract for Christmas. Was it appreciated? I have no idea. But we kept a bunch for ourselves, and it is wonderful. Here's our current personal stash:It was quite cheap, and you can really taste the difference in recipes over store bought vanilla extract. (The boys also add a bit to their mice's drinking water a few times a month, to make them stink a bit less. In theory.)Best of all, it's SUPER EASY. The only hard part is thinking … [Read more...]

Sola Americana

Day 255 - Clinger

I hereby move that American Catholics live up to their bad reputation and stop reading the Bible.Or at least, I move that they stop treating the Bible like a grab bag of political gotcha lines, rustling around until they find something that has all the right key words in it, and then wrenching it out by the roots, leaving all the really really important context behind.The latest example: On Herman Cain's Facebook page,  a post from yesterday says: Robert Laurie, Our resident lifelong Ca … [Read more...]

Has Etsy banned the sale of sacramentals?


To a casual onlooker, it really does seem like Catholics believe that if you die with a scapular, God has to let you into heaven; that if you stick a St. Christopher medal to your dashboard, you can drive like a maniac and walk away unscathed; that if you pray on a rosary blessed by an especially good Pope, or sneak a relic of your favorite saint underneath some sinner's mattress, then whatever you wish will come true. This is not what Catholics believe. We do not believe in magic, and we do n … [Read more...]

Big Families Say “Laudato Si!”

Just doing our part to save the world, one or two babies at a time.

 Got a big family? Then you already know that you’re crazy, a traitor to feminism, and a slave to the patriarchy; you’re neglecting most of your kids and robbing the rest of their childhood; you’re a burden on the system in general, and you probably don’t own a TV.But wait, there’s more! Don’t forget, you’re also destroying the earth.It’s become fashionable, in the name of the planet, to denounce large families as irresponsible, even selfish. Some politicians and a good many comb … [Read more...]

Should you read Laudato Si? A quiz

pope francis

Laudato Si is here, and not a moment too soon. Any day now, all the pundits and politicians and armchair theologians were going to start feeling ashamed for going so berserk over an encyclical that hadn't been released yet. Any day, I'm sure of it!. Now that it's here, should you read it? It is kind of long, and there aren't any pictures or gifs to break it up. Here's a short quiz to help you determine whether or not you should invest the time and effort. The more points you get, the more u … [Read more...]

House Horrible! 7 quick ways to spruce down your home


I was at the oral surgeon today. Actually I was at two oral surgeons. The first one kindly called around town until we figured out which oral surgeon I actually had an appointment with.  Anyway, with all that waiting room hopping, I had the chance to flip through some magazines, including ones devoted to home décor. I love the ones that show pretty little domestic scenes, and then show you how you can achieve this effect in your own home.I don't mean to promote envy, but it occurs to me that … [Read more...]

Those unsophisticated Catholics just exorcised the entire country of Mexico.

santa muerte

He was speaking about being too guarded against inexplicable wonders, being so sophisticated that we "miss Christmas."  But I think his warning is just as useful when we encounter inexplicable horrors. Just as we savvy, sophisticated, skeptical Catholics are in danger of insulating ourselves against the glorious works of God, we might also miss the blunt and obvious signs that the devil is also busy and active in the world. If the Mexican clerics believe an exorcism was necessary, then I believe … [Read more...]