Nov 30, 2011

Wednesday Morning Tea

1) My current favorite tea is Raspberry Zinger by Celestial Seasons. I’m glad it’s my favorite, too since that is probably the cheapest brand of tea around.

2) This is what I am making for dinner tonight. Wednesdays means no meat & hopefully a yummy soup. That also means that Wednesday is probably not Marcus’ favorite meal day. That man loves him some meat. We don’t do meat on Fridays either {because we are Catholic & could use a weekly penance. Well, at least I could use the weekly penance} but Marcus doesn’t mind that as much seeing as how we make delicious homemade pizza on Fridays.

3) Last night, as we were eating dinner {at 8 pm..whoops!} Marcus grabbed my hand all sweet-like and said “Honey, I so appreciate you always having meals planned out. You always know what we are going to have and I never have to think about things like that. Thank you”

I died on the inside laughing. I mean truly had to stifle my laughter because for one-we were eating dinner at 8 because I had no idea what to have that night. AND we were eating taco’s. Everybody knows you make tacos when you have no idea what to make for dinner. I was stifling my laughter because I don’t plan out our meals. I mean, I do kind-of, for the grocery store, but it never comes to fruition. Dinner is just as much as a surprise to me as it is to him most nights. Oh well, HE thinks I know what I am doing. Hooray, sneaky wife!

4) Today is the feast day of St. Andrew! Don’t forget to start your St. Andrew's Christmas Novena today. Saying it 15x a day seems like a lot, but it really only takes about 5 minutes from your day. We’ll do it at dinner together. We started our Jesse Tree last night, too. We don’t have a Jesse Tree so I guess you could just say we are reading the readings for a Jesse Tree. We’ll save the arts & crafts portion for the bambinos when they come along

5) Speaking of praying, I found these cool ways to pray for your husband yesterday. It was the perfect kick in the pants for how to spend my mornings after our a-little-bit-too-early-goodbye in the mornings.

6) I bought a pomegranate at the grocery store today & I am SO excited to eat it. I tried to convince Marcus that he doesn’t like them so that I could eat the whole thing myself but it didn’t work.

7) Y’all, PRAY for our local abortion clinics to close. For the past couple of years I have prayed/sidewalk counseled on Wednesday mornings at a local clinic, but in the past couple of months they have been repeatedly closed on wed mornings, or just open every other week {which is why I am here blogging, not there praying}. I truly believe if everybody prayed at least ONCE everyday, asking God to close these clinics….miracles would abound. Pray, pray, pray. Sidewalk counselors would love to be out of a job

8)  This is how I help Marcus study for his EMT tests:

“Hey Lauralou, can you quiz me on this chapter” {hands a multiple choice quiz to me}

“SURE! I’m an EXPERT at this stuff already. I’ll be glad to help you, poor medically-uneducated husband!!!!!!!"

Then I read the test but try to make the question a little bit more confusing as I do and tap my feet as I wait for him to answer.

“Babe, could you read me some of the multiple choice answers for me to choose from? And just ask the questions as they are, ok?”

“Marcus, is your patient going to give you multiple choice options for their condition?! I want you to use your critical thinking skills. And don’t dawdle…your patient might be dying….hurry it up”

{quiz is snatched from my hand, and he resumes studying by himself.}

This is a true story. Except Marcus told me I will make a great home school mom. And the truth is, while I used to be the medical expert around these places, Marcus now wins. And when I had a nausea-inducing migraine the other night, he asked to check my pupils. If he keeps this up, I just might let him deliver our babies.

9) I promise, I am still trying to re-design my blog. I can’t stand it the way it looks now. Stay tuned for when I eventually figure out how to change things  make Marcus help.

10) My sister is helping me make burlap stockings!!! Thank goodness, because we all know I can’t sew a thing.

Alright, tea is cold! Time to get this day started!

Nov 29, 2011

Out my window

     Saw this out of my kitchen window the other night when I was making dinner. If God gave me this show more frequently, I might not grumble about cooking so much. Hint, hint God! I love Your sunsets! In fact, I found it so beautiful that I woke Marcus up from a rare after work nap when I screamed “Oh my goooshhhh, OH MY GOSH!!!! WOOAAAAH” He ran out of the bedroom so fast you would have thought somebody hurt themselves while cooking. Which apparently IS exactly what he thought. Whoops. There went his rare after work nap. After his heart rate slowed & I assured him nothing was burning, he thought the sunset was beautiful too.

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believe me when I say

these were amazing.

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And I didn’t even have to make them. Love that husband of mine.

Nov 27, 2011

The First Candle

     It was a big, exciting Sunday for Catholics everywhere! The Liturgical new year AND the first mass with the new translation. While we all still fumbled through all the new responses despite the handouts with the new translations, it was exciting and beautiful. And I got a pretty good idea of how out of the loop non-Catholics must feel when they try to keep up with all the responses & prayers during a mass.

    I love Advent! Marcus & I made {with the help of the dollar store} our first Advent wreath. We turned off the lights, lit the candle, found a prayer for the blessing of the Advent wreath and then enjoyed our dinner in the candlelight. We brainstormed ideas of how to celebrate Advent as much as possible, and THEN Christmas. We will do the St. Andrew’s Novena through Advent and try to set aside extra time for silence & prayer & expectation. I’m still browsing pinterest for ideas for a homemade Advent Calendar  and I would love to start doing a Jesse Tree, too. I think it is an awesome way to either review {for me & Marcus} or introduce {future Croftlings} to Jesus’ heritage.

     Happy New Year Y’all!!

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Nov 26, 2011

More Thanksgiving, less grumpypants

Just in case you were worried that my Thanksgiving post 2.0 would feature a return of the grumpypants, I assure you this post will be mostly pictures. My family has several quirky, yet loved traditions. In the morning we always made each other placemats while watching the Macy’s Day Parade. As a family growing up without cable, a VCR, and a lack of television in general..we were glued to the parade. And the commercials for that manner. After dinner we always took a long walk & came home to watch ‘Home Alone’ & eat pie. Nobody really likes the movie Home Alone anymore, but a tradition is a tradition. Back in our no VCR days, ABC used to always play Home Alone on Thanksgiving evening. When they stopped  playing it after about ten years, we went out and bought the DVD. So, Thanksgiving at the Danleys=Home Alone.

Here is my favorite man, making delicious pumpkin bread-

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Here is me not cooking

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The placemat tradition

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Some people put a lot of time & effort into theirs

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Some people don’t

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{I still love you Brian}

I forgot to bring the camera in at my in-laws, which was really unfortunate. If I had, this blog post would be way better..with pictures of cute dark haired baby girls & sweet nephews & the hustle & bustle of food prep & an amazing Thanksgiving dinner spread. So, so good!

Nov 25, 2011

A First Thanksgiving

Not THE first Thanksgiving…just our first Thanksgiving! Equally a big deal, right?

I am trying to decide how honest I should be here on the stress levels of a couple’s first thanksgiving….

I think a less-than-honest blog post would be cuter, but a true blog post would be more enlightening. The good news is that Marcus & I are still married, still very happy & still very Thankful. Oh,  I’m just being dramatic, y’all…our Thanksgiving {high stress levels included} was FANTASTIC. Here is how it went down

Last 5ish months:  Constantly wonder how Marcus & I should handle holidays since both sides of the family are local. Semi-obsess over it. Interview other married couples. Nag Marcus about it incessantly. Make a decision. Change your mind. Repeat. Twice.

Last week-  decide that you will have two thanksgiving dinners despite doing that the year before & ended up feeling rather sick at the end of the day. And exhausted. But isn’t that how everybody feels at the end of thanksgiving day anyways?!

Wed night-  get grumpy with new husband over your own indecisiveness over what to cook for the various dishes you are bringing to the thanksgivings. stress out about it a little bit. Then stress out about it a lot. Then ask God to give you a new personality. Next, go the grocery store at 8 pm to get ingredients so you can get some of the cooking done the night before. Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead.

Thur am-  immediately panic that you didn’t cook anything last night. Make pumpkin pancakes for a sleepy husband who has been very patient with you. The grumps make a reappearance when they turn out kind-of crappy. Pack up half your kitchen {not kidding} to go cook at my parent’s. Scramble to make corn pudding, pumpkin bread, apple pie & pie crust {thanks for the help, Kathleen} and a pineapple pretzel salad. Not a lot or anything too difficult but seemed quite the task to a girl who has only been cooking for a couple months. Rush through some Danley Family traditions. Feel guilty for not already being at your in-laws. Feel like you are missing out on their Thanksgiving morning & want to hurry up and join them. Once you are in the car on your way over with your baked goods, have a couple heated words {& by heated, I’m not talking sweet nothings} with your husband because you feel like you are being a crazy person. Then mourn leaving your parent’s house.

Thur afternoon- arrive at in-law’s with baked goods. Feel relief that you aren’t the last ones there. Enjoy football, family, cute babies, food prep & a bit of down time. Feel guilty for those earlier heated words with your husband. Feel guilty for ruining your first thanksgiving. In the midst of those feelings, feel so at home & happy with in-laws. Eat a very, very, delicious meal with them. Realize you don’t want to leave. The tryptophan sets in as your husband reminds you that it is time to have thanksgiving dessert at your parents. Feel guilty for leaving in-laws & not helping with dishes..

Thur evening- hold hands with your husband as your drive back to your parent’s for dessert. Go for a walk with family on a perfect Thanksgiving night. Feel energized again, and eat pie upon settling into the couch at mom & dad’s. Promptly fall asleep during the annual viewing of “Home Alone.” Drive home bleak eyed and full bellied at 1030 pm with your cleaned dishes & leftover cooking ingredients.

Thur late at night- think about your day. think about how good you have it. A loving & merciful God, A holy vocation, two incredibly loving & gracious families, old traditions, new traditions, jobs, health, the warmth & security of our own home, always enough to eat. And as if those physical blessing were not enough..we have the hope that God will continue to work on us. To make us less insecure, more confident in who He made us, less guilt-ridden, more sure in His mercy, less stressed, more thankful.

Fri morning- wake up completely overwhelmed with gratitude. I guess I was just running late this year

    Better late than never :)

Happy Thanksgiving blog friends!

Nov 17, 2011


     Scanned 001      I am posting this picture NOT to show off the little blue bed I slept in until I was twelve. I’m not even posting it to prove that I’ve always had wild, rat’s nest hair. I’m not even posting it to prove to my mom that I sometimes did chores like making the bed. Nope, I am posting this picture of Laura {circa 1st grade} to show off those adorable, potterybarn-esque, fantastic sheets. Blue sheets with white ducks & ribbons tied around their necks. I never had any Disney Princess sheets, just these ducks. I don’t know where they came from & we never had a matching comforter. Just the sheets & a pillowcase. And I never thought much about them. That is until is until one evening, many years later, as I was skyping with my new boyfriend Marcus. As we were talking about our days, he began laughing & looking a little sheepish.

“WHAT?!” I demanded, smoothing my hair.

As I was in the throes of a self-conscious panic, he just laughed harder and said “it’s just this ridiculous comforter on my bed. It’s really embarrassing.” After bugging him for more details he finally let me know that is was light blue with ducks on it. I pictured some decoy-duck-manly-hunting-flannel comforter. I assured him it sounded very normal & acceptable for a college student. Even for a college student with pierced ears.

“No,” he said “it’s ducks with colorful ribbons” 

At that description, I asked to see it immediately. Sure enough, he brought it over to the camera & this is what I saw:

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This man, this brand-new boyfriend {at the time} of mine HAD MY COMFORTER!

No, it wasn’t fate..We are Catholic, friends! It was God thing! A really, really cool blue sheet & comforter duck God thing!

The duck blanket now lives in our linen closet but accompanies us on trips to the beach, camping, forts in the living room for our niece & nephew, and concerts in the grass. And maybe one day we’ll be able to use it for our kiddo’s. Our kids will be lucky enough to have the sheets AND the comforter…all because two people who had ridiculous bed linens fell in love.

Nov 16, 2011


    Friends! You’ll never believe what I did!!! I actually did a craft! A craft inspired by pinterest no less! Although, I am not entirely certain this can be called a there was no cutting, gluing, sewing, actual work involved. These are the types of crafts I like.

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I just love it, I think it looks so festive & Hallowe--


The calendar on my computer has just informed me that it is November. Kind of embarrassing. Nearly a month has passed since Halloween.



I think I’ll just sneak on out of here




that’s what I get for bragging.

Nov 15, 2011

A Reconciliation.

     This post is about a reconciliation.  Not about the kind where you kneel behind the screen and start out “forgive me Father for I have sinned..” although that is my favorite type of reconciliation. This is about a very wet reconciliation. A kind that took years. It has a history. And I think it all started when my mother, taken aback at my dad’s lack of swimming form, swore that all her kids would know how to swim well. Not survival swim, but know all the strokes and look pretty doing it. Lucky for her, the navy life provided swim lessons..thank you MWR Aquatics. Little did I know that organization would soon be a huge part of my future, but you don’t want to hear that story right now. So my siblings and I spent our summers mornings {think 7:30 am} at swim lessons. I hated them. The water was freezing. I always had weird teachers {now that I teach swim lessons, I’m wondering if my student’s think I am weird?!} The classes seemed to go on forever. I just wanted to play Marco-Polo & doggy paddle. In the end, we all learned how to swim. We all survived the embarrassment of being the only 15 year old whose mother still insisted on swim lessons. I think at some point I even spent a bit of time on one of the local swim teams & I really hated that. It was like swim lessons on steroids. I had an aversion to exercise as a child.

     Despite such aversions, I was somehow forced convinced to try out for our high school swim team. Now most high schools kindly protect the self-esteem of all their students, but Maury High was a bit different. Maury’s swim team was their pride & joy and most of the kids on the team had been swimming on the local USAA {competitive swimming} swim teams since they could walk. I spent a couple of months conditioning with the team & trying to keep up. What I had in stroke form, I certainly lacked in endurance. The coach pulled me aside before try-out’s even occurred to reassure me that while I would have been a top swimmer at any other Norfolk high school, I was no Maury Swimmer. I picked up what she was putting down. Somebody with more ambition might have been disappointed or upset or embarrassed but remember friends: I wasn’t too keen on swimming or exercise. So I said goodbye to my much faster, better friends on the swim team and forwent the 5 am swim practices.

     My short stint with the swim team wasn't the end of my rocky relationship with the swimming pool, though. When I was a junior in high school, my parents reminded me that I needed to get a job that summer. Well, we lived across from a MWR pool, I had grown up there, the lifeguards were always good looking & glamorous & my sister had worked there too. So one day after school, me & my pal Whitney went to take the eligibility swim for a lifeguarding class. It was a 50 m. pool & we had to swim a 500 m to get into the class. This is not a long distance for a swimmer, merely a warm-up, but to two 16 year old girls who just wanted a cool job, it seemed impossible. Both of us finished, although not without gross consequences that I will spare you the details of. We both got into the lifeguarding class and tried not to act too immature during the CPR lessons. Every class we had to swim again & it was torture & laden fear of not finishing & being kicked out of the class. Besides, I couldn’t figure out what all this swimming had to do with lifeguarding anyways. I never saw lifeguards swim! They only stood around, twirling their whistle, looking great in red.

     Upon becoming a lifeguard, I found out that lifeguards do, in fact, swim. Not only did we have to swim to make rescues, but we had to swim at our monthly in-services and were supposed to be swimming on a weekly basis in order to continually improve. Every single in-service, before we swam, I would have mini panic attacks & a tumultuous stomach..sure that I would not finish and lose my job. By the grace of God & my strong-ish legs, I always finished. And obviously, I didn’t lose my job. But it didn’t change how I felt about swimming. And those weekly swims we were supposed to be doing? Yeah, call me insubordinate.

     I did outgrow my aversion to exercise though, at some point in college, and I began to like running. After a bit of research, I learned the incredible benefits of swimming. I worked at a pool. I was supposed to be swimming weekly. The pieces just fit. Begrudgingly, I began to swim at work. My endurance was still lacking for any distance longer than 800 meters but I kept plugging away. Somewhere in those couple of years, I became certified as a swim instructor. It was that class that helped me refine my strokes & improve my endurance. And I tell’s amazing how much more you like something when you are actually kind of good at it. It didn’t actually hit me until recently that I enjoy swimming. While I had improved and liked the work-out, I still complained about how boring swimming was, how I hated being cold & wet, whine whine whine. A couple of days ago, while at work, I dove in to the deep end & started swimming. Instead of the shock of the cool water, I thought it felt good. And as I did my flip turn after the first 50 meters, I was surprised at how natural it felt. Suddenly, I loved the quiet of lap swimming, the silence of the bubbles seen underwater. No ear buds in my ears like when I run. When it was time for me to stop, I wished I had more time. Recently when I wake up, I find myself looking forward to my swim. What was happening to me?! Why was I getting all sentimental about a work out?! Was I one of those weird swimmer people now?! Maybe my swim cap is too tight….

     But it is true..I love swimming. And don’t let this blog post fool you. While I wouldn’t mind seeing Maury' High School’s swim coach & showing her a thing or two..I’m pretty sure I actually look like this while I’m in the water:

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{Image from Pinterest..obviously. Where did you think I found an elephant to photograph, friends?!}

     Shocking, I know. A story about a lifeguard who likes to swim. Truly stimulating wonder y’all keep coming around. But I just thought everyone should know. I’ve made my peace with the water. Swimming and I are forever reconciled.

Nov 13, 2011


About a year ago my parent’s strang{ish} backyard neighbors called our house with an offer of a broken printer.

“Well it is not really broken..just kind of annoying & old. It says strange things like ‘realign ink cartridge’ over & over again. I just don’t know how to fix it” said Mrs. Strang{ish} backyard neighbor

Not because I know how to fix kind of broken printers, or because I needed one, I gladly accepted the rejected HP 950 All-in-one. Then it sat in my closet at my parent’s house. Then I brought it too my new home where it has occupied the closet here & stubbed my toe too many times. Until tonight!! Armed with a new ink cartridge, a handy husband who can fix anything, and google to frantically search unknowns, we brought the printer out. Sure enough, my Renaissance Man told that printer who was boss & out came an old research paper from My Documents. But I wanted to scan things. Scan pictures for this here blog. Scan things because I never scanned before. Scan things because I had ideas. Scan Scan Scan.  Unfortunately, the printer wasn’t having any scanning business. Even Marcus gave up. So I hung out with google for a while & probably uttered a couple ugly words under my breath. Buuuuuuuuuut, look!!!!

Scanned 001I scanned!!!!!!

Crazy curls & cowgirl boots. Not much has changed..

Now where did I put my hula hoop?

Nov 9, 2011

I would blog..

I would blog but I’m too busy going to bed at 8:30 every night in order to ensure the fire recruit is getting enough sleep

I would blog but I’m too busy selling my soul to pinterest

I would blog but I’m too busy eating Golden Oreos that said fire recruit somehow convinced me to buy at the grocery store

I would blog but I’m actually scrapbooking. Only because I want to use up all the supplies I’ve spent the last 10 years collecting. Then it is goodbye old expensive hobby..hello snapfish photobooks. My scrapbooks were always filled with misspellings and strange color combinations. I am truly not a crafty girl. Crofty, yes. Crafty..I wish.

I would blog but I spent last week with these kiddos:

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except that little boy is now taller than me & the little girl has entered the pre-teen world. And their little brother {not pictured} no longer requires diaper changers. I used to nanny for these sweet little ones during college & my beachelorette pad days. Trust me, this past week was nostalgia overload. I picked them up from school, helped them with their homework,  was amazed at their excellent behavior in mass & introduced the joys of making your own pizza with them.

I would blog but I’m too busy making butternut squash soup at least once a week. Help, I’m addicted. Maybe the homemade cinnamon sugar croutons I’m putting on top are not helping.

I would blog but I am busy being proud of my little brother for being selected for Nuclear Surface Warfare. Just like his big brother.

I would blog but I am too busy voting pro-life.

I would blog but I am too busy waiting for my sister-in-law & my best friend to have their babies. That were both due like, yesterday. Oh, babies! Your mommies must have the most comfortable wombs!

I would blog but, truly, the inspiration has been lacking recently. My camera seems to hibernate once the days get a little shorter. I am also in the process of redesigning the blog a little bit. But I have no idea how to redesign a blog. I also have no idea on what I want it to look like. Typical!

I WILL be back to blog again, promise :)

Nov 4, 2011


     I am the  middle girl in our family. I have an older sister and a younger sister {and a couple brothers thrown in there too}. Both of them, by their nature, were/are extremely helpful in the kitchen and around the house. My older sister especially had a knack for always assessing the crazy situations in the Danley household and knowing just how to help. She was always ready to help in the kitchen, and is truly a fantastic cook. Kathleen was no different. She is naturally helpful and also makes delicious food. I’ve made many a phone calls to both of them {and my mom} asking ridiculous cooking questions. Questions I was too embarrassed for Marcus or google to know I was ignorant about. My idea of being helpful when I was growing up was to entertain. I took it upon myself to stir up the madness through my drive to make everybody laugh. Extra points if I could make my dad or brothers laugh. I avoided the dishes, cooking & cleaning as diligently as I could. Never thought I would need any of those skills! Then I got married to the hungriest man on the easiest coast. That’s when the obsessive phone calls about how to boil water started. Poor Kathleen got the brunt of it. She probably dreads dinner time as my phone calls begin. She’ll answer one thing only to have the phone ring 5 minutes later. Okay, people..I’m exaggerating a bit..but you get the idea. But I am trying. Trying to cook & to love cooking. I do love it when the food comes out good! My most recent victory..Tomato Soup. Not Campbell's. As in start with some tomatoes, roast them…and so on & so forth. It was pretty delicious..especially with grilled cheese! So I’ll keep trying because the good dinners are worth it. So is cooking with Marcus. So is eating fresh as much as possible. as the budget allows ;)  Don’t worry sister’s..I’ll still be calling frequently…hopefully the questions will get a bit less ridiculous. I’m still ashamed of my “how to hard boil eggs” inquiries. Sigh…..

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Did you notice our cool cast iron dutch oven?! We scored that while antiquing in Culpepper. We feel super cool cooking with it…bring on the iron!

Making Traditions

     I promise this is the last blog post about out engagement anniversary camping trip. I know it was a little drawn out. So, I’ll just post these pictures & sneak out without another word about camping/hiking/Apple Festivals. Not.Another.Word. Until next year that is! We are hoping to make the trek yearly from now on and start just one of many new Crofty traditions

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Nov 2, 2011

Hiking in Autumn= Best Thing Ever

     Before Halloween interrupted, I was blogging about our camping trip-on which we went hiking. Another first for poor, sheltered me. After spending over 10 hours in a tent due to pouring rain the night before, I was full of energy & ready to hike. Marcus, perhaps a little worried about how I would do hiking, bought a big cup of coffee for me right before we went. His mistake. Not only was I completely WIRED {read: obnoxious} the whole time, I also embarrassed him by having to pee the outdoorsy way. When I wasn’t bouncing off the rocks or peeing in the woods, I was completely in awe over our surroundings. See for yourself…

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