• Don't Miss the Portland Greek Festival!

    0 comments / Posted by kristin spear

     It has arrived! Portland Greek Festival. The annual harbinger of Fall, Greek dancing and drinking beer on cool days. We decided to hit it early for lunch and load up on all things Greek.

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  • Seven Ways to Honor Your Pet this Feast of St. Francis

    0 comments / Posted by kristin spear

    I can't imagine life without my dog - his sincere and goofy ways bring abundant love and laughter into my home, along with dirt, dead leaves, and seemingly endless training challenges. I wouldn't have it any other way, and since a whopping 65% of American households include pets, obviously neither would many others. The celebration of The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4, which coincides with World Pet Day, is a great reason to honor the pets in your life with a blessing or something more. Many local Catholic churches offer in-person blessings for pets by a bona-fide priest; Google your local area to find out where and when. Or try one of our ideas for honoring your pet:


    catAdopt a cat, dog, horse, rat, or bird. Right now, more than 300,000 adoptable pets are available nationwide on Pet Finder. Find your soulmate and save a life. If you can't adopt, consider fostering an animal through a local animal rescue organization.



    leashFound My Animal offers some of the most stylish dog collars and leashes around, while giving you the opportunity to advertise your "adopt" values and donating to worthwhile causes. Each leash or collar comes with an individually-numbered, stamped tags to serve as a reminder of the uniqueness of your animal.



    dog-for-dog-food-banner2 copyDog for Dog has a simple mission: to feed as many shelter pets as possible. By purchasing your dog's food from Dog for Dog, you are feeding two for the price of one!





    indestructaballShop for your pet essentials at sites that give back to causes that serve pets. We like Doggy Loot because it donates 1 lb of dog food with every order, and offers this Indestructaball, made of eco-friendly mango wood.



    BB_CMF_RetrieverWest Paw Design offers up the best pet beds around: smush-resistant and made in the U.S. of materials made from recycled plastic bottles. Even better, West Paw is a certified B-Corp, a business that holds an above-and-beyond commitment to healthier employees, sustainable practices, transparency and accountability.



    cat cocoon

    Indoor cats are safe cats, and keeping cats indoors protects birds and wildlife. Keep your cat cozy indoors with a handmade felted cat cocoon available from Vaiva Nat on Etsy. She'll be so contented in her fuzzy pod that she won't want to go out, anyway.



    fetchMake your shopping count. Look for business that give back to causes that support animals. One such example is Fetch Eyewear, an online (and brick-and-mortar) retailer of affordable designer eyewear that donates all profits to animal welfare.

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  • The Yule Logs of Instagram

    0 comments / Posted by kristin spear

    The Yule Logs of Instagram.

    What is a yule log you say?  According to History.com -

    Way back when, Celtic Brits and Gaelic Europeans would gather to welcome the winter solstice at December’s end. People would feast to celebrate the days finally becoming longer, signaling the end of the winter season. To cleanse the air of the previous year’s events and to usher in the spring, families would burn logs decorated with holly, pinecones or ivy. Wine and salt were also often used to anoint the logs. Once burned, the log’s ashes were valuable treasures said to have medicinal benefits and to guard against evil. Some groups claimed the ashes would protect the bearer from lightning—an important quality at a time when houses (and most of the contents in them) were made of wood.

    It's actually a very cool tradition and one you could incorporate into today's world with your loved ones and either a fireplace or a firepit.

    Around the 16th century a creative baker made a log shape cake to be burned in the hearth-or fireplace. That is believed to be the start of the 'cake' yule log which was then made popular by those smart French bakers in the 19th century and they called it buche de noel. These cakes are rolled sponge cake and frosting with meringue decorations all done up to look just like a cute little log in the forest.

    Cut to 2015 and you have people baking yule logs and buche de noel all over the world. With the popularity of photo sharing websites like Instagram -where we love to hang out-we can see just what kind of yule logs are out there. So without further adieu we bring you our favorite yule logs of Instagram.

    Cath Kidston Yule
    Behold the glory of this yule log in all it's simplicity from Cath Kidston. They are kind enough to offer their recipe on their blog as well so check them out! A great London company offering lots of Christmas gear. Instagram @cathkidston_ltd


    Natasha's Kitchen Yule Log
    Serious perfection in these mushrooms. Notice the 'dirt' which is most likely crushed Oreo cookies. A few pine needles and voila- a beautiful log. Natasha's Kitchen crushed it! She's the Ukranian Foodie and has this recipe and more on her site. Go! Instagram @natashaskitchen

    Yes- this says Happy Anniversary but don't let that fool you. It's still a yule log! We love the holly, mushrooms, snow and red background. We got the fever. From Sweet Inspirations in Denver, CO. Instagram @sweetibakery

    So we can't confirm who made this or if there's a recipe for this, well, buche de noel (can't call it a yule log but it's AMAZING!!). Instagram user @alexclooz posted this pic and all we can say is wow! Looks cool and edible and it has trees!

    Perhaps you could tell by the little sign that this is done by a French baker. Yes, Patisserie La Seigneuriale in Quebec. Stop by their bakery at 2416 Boulevard Louis-XIV, Bauport, and pick one up- yummy and French! Instagram @patisseriefrancaise

    You had us at white (and we have a copy of the Joy of Cooking). We love everything white and all it's purity so why not make your yule log look like it just got hit with a fresh dusting of snow! Powdered sugar snow even better. From the Joy of Cooking and from our hometown of Portland, OR. Head to their blog for the recipe. Instagram @joyofcooking.

    At first this picture reminded me of home and the pictures we take on our Ikea wood counters. Then we realized there's a real work of art here that we could never come close to. The Swiss Haus Bakery has a yule log complete with snowman and little santas we hope are edible! They have a location on Market St. in Philadelphia and a website. No relation to FAITHHAUS (Swiss Haus) :)


    Balthazar Bakery Yule Log
    From what we can tell Raquel Bagatini is the pastry chef at the Balthazar Bakery in Englewood, NJ. which is the wholesale division for Balthazar Restaurant in NYC. No matter, she has made a classic and gorgeous buche de noel that leaves our mouths watering. Booking the flight now.... Instagram @raquebagatini for amazing food pics!

    All the way in Indonesia we have St Claire Patisserie and their elaborate ode to Christmas. This yule log covers all the bases and sadly you must be there to get one! Or maybe that's a good thing, we all need a trip to Indonesia for Christmas. Instagram @stclairepatisserie


    Merry Christmas and happy yule log eating. FH

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  • Sacraments LInked to Seasons

    0 comments / Posted by kristin spear

    sacraments linked to seasons

    We found this lovely piece called "Sacraments linked to seasons" written by Lucy Balish, an 8th grade young lady who attends St. John Fisher School in Portland, OR.
    We are excited to see someone so wise and thoughtful in her writing and her life at this age. For those who aren't familiar with the term sacraments here is the definition: a religious ceremony or act of the Christian Church that is regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace, in particular. We can't say anything better than she did so read on... and thank you Lucy, for letting us re-print this from the Catholic Sentinal.


    Sacraments Linked to Seasons, by Lucy Balish

    Ever since I moved out of my crib, I have been surrounded by the rituals of farm life and have learned the routine of each season. Over these years of growing in faith, I have found that the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church have a peculiar way of connecting to the seasons of the year.

    For me, springtime is the beginning of a new year. The excitement of planting seeds, seeing sprouts, and watching flowers blossom motivates me to step outside and breathe in the fresh spring air. The start of spring is similar to Baptism because in both we are born again. Later in the spring, the cold changes to warmer weather.

    Reconciliation parallels this because one is cold when they are separated from God but grow warmer as they become closer to him. During summer, I love to watch the fruit and vegetables grow, develop, and ripen with the warm sun on my back. This is similar to receiving Communion when we grow closer to God and feel his light upon our face. Confirmation is like the sunny, warm, and welcoming long days of summer that we savor. With this sacrament, we commit to our faith like the summer weather commits to the growth of crops.

    In the fall, I look forward to raking the colorful leaves and harvesting the bounty of fruits, vegetables, and best of all, making apple cider. Whatever we harvest determines the fresh produce that we consume during the upcoming chilly months. This is like Matrimony and Holy Orders, which both determine the path your future will follow. In the winter, our creek freezes, frost is on the ground, and it feels as if the world is sleeping, waiting until spring to awaken. Fires with wood cut from our orchard keep us warm during the frigid dark days. Just as we must turn to fire to warm our bones, during the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, we must turn towards God and pray that he heals our bodies.

    I know that few people have a way of life similar to mine involving chickens, quail, a bunny, and a dog, along with a vineyard, garden, creek, and orchard. I am very thankful for what I have and appreciate all the blessings I have received. Because I have grown up in this environment, I have the ability to grow in understanding and faith, and for this I am eternally grateful. I know that to whom much is given, much is expected. With my God-given gifts, I hope that I can make the world a better place.


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  • The Top Baptism Gifts

    0 comments / Posted by Brianne Huntsman

    Top 10 Baptism Gifts

    Congratulations! We’re guessing that if you’re here, a little bundle of joy in your life is getting baptized soon. And when it comes to brainstorming baptism gift ideas, you’re not alone. Did you know that The Church of England alone carries out more than 10,000 christenings each month? That’s a lot of gifts!

    That’s also a lot of people running around searching for the perfect baby baptism gift. But have no fear. We’re here to share with you our list of the best gift ideas–all of which can be conveniently ordered online.



     THE CLASSIC. Ah, Tiffany’s. Coveted around the world, the silver comb comes with a pink or blue tassel. Will it actually get used? Doesn’t matter–it’s an heirloom piece that will always be treasured and remembered as a baptism gift.

    tiffany's baby comb christening gift

    THE KEEPSAKE. Similar to keeping the child’s first tooth, the first haircut is symbolic in many cultures. The silver plated hair lock box from Harrods is a sweet gift for both baby and mother when the time comes to save a lock from that very first haircut.

    baptism gift harrod's

    THE FRENCH GIFT. The Little Prince gourmette–otherwise known in English as the chain bracelet–is one of the top baby baptism gifts en France. This bracelet from Monnaie de Paris comes in silver and gold and may be engraved with your favorite little one’s name and birthdate.

    baby bracelet christening gift

    THE SILVER SPOON. It’s been said that a silver spoon in the mouth will bring about riches. The silver spoon has a long history dating all the way back to the 15th century, so even if it’s hard to believe that old proverb, it’s still a timeless gift the baby’s family will love. This one is from the classic Scottish company Edinburgh Silver.

    christening spoon


    THE MODERN GIFT. These lovely paperweights from Uncommon Goods contain a dandelion seed puff in all its glory–a beautiful reminder that nature is ever-present, even in a newborn’s bedroom.

    dandelion paperweight




    THE OUTFIT. Often a family’s baptismal gown is passed down from one generation to another. When that’s not already the case with your loved one’s family, Caremour's beautiful gowns and accessories of heirloom quality are a great way to help start the hand-me-down tradition.

    ivory baptismal gown


    THE PIGGY BANK. The elephant is strong and mindful of all things. Its presence can remind a child to emulate these qualities and urge them to start saving for a bright future! This particular “piggy” bank comes from Pottery Barn.

    Pottery Barn- elephant piggy bank-baptism gift ideas


    THE SILVER CUP. Tradition upholds the symbolic silver cup as a sacred part of nourishment and communion. We love the celtic ones from John Swan.

    sterling silver baptismal cup

    THE TRINKET DISH. We love these little dishes from Susabellas. They’re simple, customizable, and can be both classic and modern. It’s the perfect place for love notes, baseballs, and of course–the rosary!

    blessed heart bowl baptism gift


    THE ROSARY. The rosary will be used throughout the baby’s life, so what better time to give her her first rosary than at her christening? Willow & Bee makes a beautiful custom rosary with the child’s birthstone, which makes for a perfect for baby baptism gift.


     rosary prayer beads baptism gift


    Even if you don’t end up choosing something from our top 10 baptism gift ideas, we hope this list has helped set you in the right direction. Now go forth and find the perfect baby baptism gift for your little loved one–one she’ll be able to treasure for a lifetime!




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