Fall, Football and FOOD!

Fall has arrived! My favorite season! I love the colors, the new episodes of all my favorite shows, the football (not so much the NFL team that I have unfortunately sworn allegiance to as they are a GIANT mess right now, but I hear that my alma mater is doing FANTASTICALLY, so at least there’s that. So proud of you, Regals- especially you, baby brother! Keep it up!) and, of course, the apples.

The weather has turned quite crisp in Syracuse, and at the Berrigan House, we have used this as an excuse to buy excessive amounts of apples, (that we convince ourselves is ok because we find decent deals at the farmer’s market) which we use to bake all kinds of tasty fall dishes. As I was fortunate enough to find a DELICIOUS (and deliciously quick and easy) apple crisp recipe on Pinterest, it has fallen to me to bake an apple crisp on a fairly regular basis. With the start of fall, the leaf and apple-themed decorations flooding the halls, the talk of Johnny Appleseed and the K-2 field trip to the local apple orchard on my mind, I thought now would be a good time to take a break from the Dewey Decimal system and the books sitting in my library (which seem to somehow be multiplying) and share the recipe I’ve been using with you!

*Full Disclosure: This is not my recipe. I found it on someone else’s blog and made a few minor adjustments based on what we had in our kitchen and my own desire to do less dishes when I was done. The original recipe can be found at  http://www.inspiredtaste.net/18686/apple-crisp-with-oats-recipe/ Enjoy!*

Apple Crisp

It’ll take you about 25 min. to make, an hour to bake and not long at all to finish!

You will need . . .

For the Filling:
Approx. 10 small apples or 6 medium-sized apples
1/4–1/2 c. white sugar (depending on the tartness of the apples)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

For the Topping:
3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. oats
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. butter (1 stick), melted
a pinch of salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a small baking dish. (A 2 quart oval-shaped glass dish works well for us. The original recipe states a 9 inch square pan. Use your discretion.)

The Filling:
Core apples and cut into 3/4 inch cubes. Throw in a large mixing bowl and add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir it up and throw it in your buttered dish.

The Topping:
This is my favorite part of the recipe. The oats are so tasty. I use the same bowl to mix the ingredients to save on dishes and add a little apple flavor to the crumbs. (I may be imagining the apple flavor. Using the same bowl probably doesn’t affect the taste, but I pretend it does.)
Combine the flour, oats, sugars and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until it’s all crumbly. Sprinkle over the apple mixture. I do this with my hands, as the original recipe suggests (I’m trying really hard not to infringe on anyone’s apple crisp rights). It’s easy then to make a couple larger clumps of topping and make sure that the apples are all covered evenly.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour. By then the crumbs should be turning golden brown and the apples should be tender. If you want your apples softer, you can cover the pan with aluminum foil and keep baking. We’re much too impatient to do that ourselves, but to each their own.

Hopefully your crisp will then look something like this (or maybe even better!) . .

apple crisp



Sometime next week I’m looking forward to updating you all on my community’s upcoming weekend getaway to NYC! So excited!


Gossip Girl
(Just kidding! Hope you enjoyed that, Caitlin Lanis!)



Books, books, and more books (and the first day of school!)


This is my “library.” Notice the lack of books on the shelves.

Hello all! School started for us at Cathedral Academy yesterday. We have about 120 students, and they are great! (Talkative, but great!) My regular (also regularly interrupted) schedule includes an hour with kindergarteners in the morning, followed by small groups of 5th and 6th graders for English and Math and all the time in between is spent trying to make sense of my recently remodeled library/media center. As you can see, I have my work cut out for me! When the good people at St. Joe’s started transforming the library into a media center, they boxed up all of the books and placed them in the hallway. Today, after our “First Friday Mass” (each Friday of the month, we celebrate mass at our school parish), Sister Helen Ann had the 6th graders move all of the boxes into the library. Now I get to restock my shelves! Ah! What a mess! Slowly but surely, I’m hoping to unpack each of the 38 boxes. Yes. Thirty, Eight. Boxes.


14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 . . .


82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88 . . .


One million, two million, nine million

Today, my re-stocking was interrupted by substituting for the 4th grade teacher who had to leave early today. It was so great being back in a classroom, but using my “teacher voice” and patented teacher stare down/passive agressive “I’ll just wait until you’re done talking, ladies” method made me miss my kindergarteners from last year’s student teaching quite a bit! Regardless, I’m excited to do more substituing this year. It will definitely help prepare me for teaching in my own classroom (hopefully next year!!) and at the very least it will help me get some names down. At least until all the kids change clothes and hairstyles and then I’ll be lost all over again!

Again, I’d love comments and letters! Thank you for reading.



Keeping Busy!

Hello all! I know it’s been a while, and for the first time in a week, I have a bit of time at work and a chance to write. (Just a note: For those of you who do not know, my community house does not have internet- yes, it’s new and a challenge, but it has been great so far! It has given my six new housemates and I a great opportunity to intentionally spend time getting to know each other without laptops perched on our laps. And yes, I do have my phone which has internet, so I’m cheating a little bit. But I’m working on it!) Here goes:

After orientation in Pennsylvania, we headed off to Syracuse on August 13th. We had a great few days getting to know the city.. and then I forgot where everything that everyone showed me was! I’ll get the hang of it soon! I started work last week and had a full three days to fall in love with CAP’s library. Using the scanner to log new books completely re-awakened my long –suppressed (and slightly forgotten) dream of being a librarian. For those of you who have never had that pleasure, using the handheld scanner to scan barcodes is infinitely cooler than using the personal checkout thing at the library. I highly recommend it.

I put plastic covers on book jackets, I dusted, and, oh yes, I alphabetized. And I alphabetized and I alphabetized and I alphabetized. I alphabetized until I could no longer remember my ABC’s. And then we were informed that St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse who has been incredibly generous to our school in transforming our library into a library/media center, would be coming in to paint. And half of the books that I painstakingly alphabetized were taken right off the shelves, boxed up and currently sitting in a hallway patiently waiting for me to reassemble them.

Regardless, we at CAP are so excited to have enough working computers and are so thankful to St. Joe’s for the much-needed update. Even in its current, half-finished state, the library looks phenomenal, and I am so excited to see students in there.

With the library being off-limits until the furniture arrives (hopefully tomorrow!) I have been doing a little bit of everything around the school and a whole lot of cleaning. Today, Brenda (our wonderful administrative assistant) is off, so I am rolling around the office in her chair, answering the phone and saying, “Brenda’s not here today, but I will have her call you back tomorrow!” Within half an hour, I had already decided that Brenda can never leave here again because I am not qualified for this! (Frankly, no one will ever be able to fill her shoes, and I am planning on being EXTREMELY nice to any secretary I ever come across ever again.)

That’s what I’ve been up to so far! I’m still waiting to hear what I will officially be doing this year. CAP has had some recent staffing shifts, so things are changing a daily. School will be starting on September 5th, so we’ll have things figured out by then.

I’m planning on doing some letter writing this year, as being so far away has given me the chance to miss all of my family and friends back in the Midwest (especially “my babies” that I babysit for. They’re always the hardest to leave!) If anyone would like to send me anything, I LOVE getting mail. Just shoot me an email, and I’ll send you my address.

Thanks for reading! XOXO

So what exactly am I getting into?

There is an wonderful thunderstorm blowing outside right now in Iowa City, and while my room is a complete disaster from trying to pack up 4 seasons worth of clothing, it’s cozy nonetheless. The perfect time to do some writing!

I’ve noticed when talking to people about my upcoming trip that a few questions occur pretty regularly, so I thought I’d start off by giving you all a quick overview of what my next year will entail.

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) was started in 1956 by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). It centers around four values- social justice, spirituality, community, and simple living. Jesuit Volunteers (JVs) live together in supportive communities and work full-time at various jobs in order to promote social justice in the world. Basically, I’ll be living with six other JVs, but we won’t all be working in the same places. I, myself, will be a reading specialist/librarian at a small Catholic elementary school in Syracuse. As far as I can tell, my responsibilities will vary. I could be called upon to sub for absent teachers or assist in the younger classrooms. As of now, I’m just planning on being flexible and open to whatever they need me to do to best serve the students at Cathedral Academy at Pompei.

I’ll be given $90 per month for food in addition to my $100 stipend. My roommates and I can pool our food money in order to make the most out of what we have. The agencies we work for pay for our room and board. I will not be bringing my car and will be picked up for work each morning by my school’s principal- Sister Helen Ann.

So there you have it! The bare bones of the next year of my life. I know some parts of this journey will be challenging, but I have faith that the positives will far outweigh any trials that come my way.

You can learn more about Cathedral Academy at Pompei here!

Make sure you subscribe to my blog, so you don’t miss any of my fascinating updates! 🙂

“Not to utter words, but to live by them”

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

-John F. Kennedy

I want to take a second to recognize everyone who contributed to my “Send Me to Serve” campaign. In preparation for my year of intentional living, JVC asks that each JV (Jesuit Volunteer) raise around $600 to offset the various costs of running the program and supporting volunteers across the country and the world.
So, three months ago, I began the stressful, uncomfortable process of asking people for money and committed to my personal goal of raising $800. Little did I know that I would soon have raised over $1,400 with the help of my family and friends. Each donation made me feel more and more supported in my decision to begin this journey, and I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful people standing behind me.

To those who donated to JVC in my name:
I will never be able to express how much I appreciate the generosity shown by each of you, and I will be forever grateful. I will carry your words of support and pride with me next year, and I am sure they will help me have the best year possible.
Your generosity has enabled me to spend the next year giving all I possibly can to Cathedral Academy and the students I will be serving there. I promise I will do my very best to make you all proud!! Thank you , thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

You can check out the progress I’m making on my donation page here!

The beginning of a wonderful adventure

Hello! Well, I’ve never blogged anything before- unless pinterest pinning sprees count!- but my year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps is bound to be full of exciting, enlightening and, yes, challenging experiences. I am hoping that sharing my thoughts and feelings throughout my year of living intentionally will provide me with a forum to receive feedback and support. Please feel free to comment as you see fit. I’m sure there will days where I’m in need of a kind word or some advice/suggestions. I’m also fairly certain there will be days when I need someone to give me a kick in the but and tell me to suck it up and pull myself together. Either way, I would love any and all input! Also, let me know if you have any questions you would like me to cover on here. I’d love to help explain things more, and questions would save me from having to come up with topics to write about on my own! 🙂

Don’t forget to check out my “About” page (red tab on the top right!) to learn more about what I will be doing as well. Thank you for coming on this journey with me!