Unless otherwise specified, all writing here on my blog is my own original work. If you refer to something I've written here, please be sure to give me proper credit.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED: Please don't let that deter you from commenting, though. I LOVE to read your thoughts! I only ask that you keep it clean & respectful.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - The Sick Children (2 Weeks Ago) Edition

Friday, December 18, 2009

Honesty is the Best Policy

Ooooohh! I'm so excited! Judy at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings has given me a blog award! I've never been given one before. All I have to do is list 7 Honest things about myself & then award 7 of my dear blogger buddies. So, without further ado, here are the 7 Honest Things About Me:

1) I twisted & broke my ankle in 8th grade gym class & didn't know it until about 10 years later. Later, in high school, I sprained it again. Both times it was X-rayed & determined to be just a sprain. Still bothering me in college, I went to a podiatrist during my senior year who found that I had actually broken a small bone chip from my ankle bone. It was wedged between my ankle & heel bone, causing the pain. I had surgery to remove the bone chip. It is much better now, but still bothers me at times.

2) Also in 8th grade, I decided to try contacts. The eye doctor put gas permeable ones in my eyes to see how I would do w/ them. He told me to not look up. Of course I did & they brushed against the inside of my upper eyelid. I didn't fare so well after that...I passed out, right in his chair!

3) I studied music in Kecskemet, Hungary for four months during college. During one of the our trips to the local market, my friend & I were accused of shoplifting. After we had paid for our items, an employee ushered us to the backroom & questioned. We kept saying, "Nem ertem." (I don't understand, in Hungarian.) The employee finally showed us an item they thought we had taken, I think a man's deodorant. We started emptying our pockets & bags to show we didn't have it. They finally believed us & let us go, but we had to use the back door of the store instead of the front. What a scary experience for us! It would be scary enough here in the US, but in a foreign country...Oy!

4) I would love to do the voice over, singing for a Disney cartoon. Casinodad thinks I do a pretty good version of Snow White!

5) Speaking of Casinodad, did you know that I could have reported him for harassment on Christmas Eve 13 years ago when he (the bank teller) asked if he could call me (the customer) sometime ? It's a good thing I liked his smile & thought he was cute.

6) I LOVE baby feet! They're so chubby & soft, untouched & unscratched. I could kiss them all day long. One of my favorite things to do w/ The Saint is to puff out my cheeks & pop them w/ his tootsies! Which, in turn, brings on another of my favorite things...a baby's laugh!

7) I LOVE reading to the munchkins & thankfully they all LOVE me reading to them. I just finished reading The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander to The Prophet for school. He loved the different voices I did for the characters, especially Gurgi (who loves his "crunchings & munchings!" - for those of you familiar w/ the book.)

Now for those I'm giving this award to...DRUM ROLL PLEASE...

1) Momto5Boys

2) ViolinMama

3) Colleen

4) Young Mom

5) Lawgirl


7) Christy at Family at Work

Thanks Judy! This was so fun!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) I have two sick munchkins right now w/ a tummy bug. Yesterday starting at 4am, The Princess started. Every 15 minutes for the next three hours, she was getting sick. Then it was every 1/2 hour until about 3pm. The Saint joined in about 6am. Neither could keep anything down, even water. He is still not doing well so I'm taking him to the doctor later this morning.

My success in this is how patient I've been & that I'm not stressing over getting things done (or the fact that our living room carpet is going to need some serious cleaning when this is all over!) I'm focusing on keeping them comfortable. Thankfully the two older boys have been getting along well & have been helpful & loving toward their sick siblings.

2) Did four loads of laundry (including folding & putting away) yesterday due to the little sickies. Granted, they were small loads mostly of towels, sheeys, & kids clothes, but they still got done in between clean-up patrols!

3) Thankfully most of our Christmas shopping is done. Not sure if we'll get cards out in time, but, Christmas STARTS on the 25th & goes for 12 days. We've got plenty of time to send those greetings!

Well, that's my week! How about yours? Share & see others at Faith & Family Live.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Future Leaders

Well, the munchkins have been full of interesting conversations lately. Take today, for instance...

The Princess: "Hey guys! I know what you can do. When you're adults, you can both be presidents. (The Saint) can be the king of the presidents."

The Prophet: "If I were president, I'd erase the economy."

The Archangel: "If I were president, I'd erase school."

The Prophet: "No one would vote for you because Moms & Dads want kids to be in school."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Logical Question...

Heard in the van on the way to the doctor this morning:

The Princess - "Are we on the highway?"

Me - "Nope."

The Princess - "Are we on the low-way?"

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) This morning, I (by myself) took all four munchkins to get flu shots & they all did great! The Archangel volunteered to go first. Now, this is the child who jerked his leg a few years ago & snapped the needle off of the syringe. His comment afterwards today was, "That was so fast, I didn't even have time to say OUCH!"

2) I decided to not try to control something & leave the decision in God's hands. What a tough thing to do!

3) Since putting up the Christmas decorations, I've been doing pretty well to keep the house somewhat uncluttered & clean (the downstairs at least...the upstairs I think needs a demolition crew!!)

Your turn. Go to Faith & Family Live to share & check out other Small Successes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Faith & Family Live Drawings

Danielle Bean is hosting Faith & Family Days this week at Faith & Family Live. Each day there are various items to be won in a drawing. There are lots of great items to be won - books, jewelry, statues, rosaries, etc. Be sure to check it out! While you're there, sign up for a subscription to Faith & Family Magazine...a great family resource packed full of wonderful ideas & articles!

Wordless Wednesday - "No Copying" Edition!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Saint Recognizes Jesus

The Saint was sitting on my lap during Mass on Sunday & was playing w/my crucifix necklace. I looked down & told him that was Jesus. He looked at it again, then turned & pointed to the crucifixion scene painted on the wall behind the altar. A future priest, perhaps?

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Heard around our house this afternoon...

The Archangel (while vacuuming the living room): "I know why I had to mow the living room a lot..."

The Princess (while coloring & the color wouldn't show up): "C'mon! Show your pinkness!"

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) I finally finished & posted my newest book review for The Catholic Company.

2) I decided to go simple for our Christmas decorations this year. I'm not getting out everything, even some of the things I always get out. Judy at BENMAKESTEN ran some Advent suggestions recently & I decided to do the Christmas tree one. So, this week we are reflecting on Life w/ just the tree up. Next week, we reflect on Christ being our Light & add the Christmas lights. The 3rd week of Advent, the ornaments will go up - special touches in joyful anticipation of Christ's birth. The 4th week of Advent we'll top it off. In the past we've used a beautiful Latin American angel (DH is 1/2 Mexican & this angel was much prettier than the Caucasian one) I bought when I was an Avon rep. But, we downsized our tree a couple years ago & she's way too big. Until I can find a smaller angel or star that I like, I put some pretty, velvety bows around the top. Thank you Judy, for this great suggestion!

3) I did not get frustrated when checking the outdoor Christmas lights. You know how aggravating those lights can get!!! Today I check the lights for the tree.

So now it's your turn! Check out Faith & Family Live to add your successes or just share in the successes of others.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Catholic Company Book Review - The Essential Catholic Survival Guide

“Being Catholic isn’t easy.” (from the back cover)

Many people don’t understand our Catholic faith – including many Catholics (I’ll admit to being one of them at times). Some people, in an effort to learn & understand Catholics better, will question various aspects of our faith. Others will flat out attack Catholics for their beliefs & customs. How does one respond when faced with these questions or attacks?

The staff of Catholic Answers have written many tracts over the years. They have taken seventy of their best ones and put them into one book – The Essential Catholic Survival Guide. These tracts cover many of the questions & misconceptions about our Catholic faith, including the Church & the Papacy, Mary & the Saints, Sacraments…just to name a few.

I like the way this book is organized. Each tract is clearly stated in the Table of Contents, so you can go right to the tract you need. They address the common questions that one not familiar with the Catholic Church may ask, responses to those questions, & have scriptural references to back up the answers. One of the tracts towards the back is a list of books great for enhancing your Catholic faith or for someone who wants to know more. It is broken down by topic (apologetics, scripture, church documents, Jesus, church history, etc.) They also include sections of common Catholic prayers and scripture references for the various topics.

I am not a confrontational person, partially due to the fact that I usually don’t have a quick response or information to back up what I might say. (Also, because I just don’t like to debate or argue.) Therefore, I think The Essential Catholic Survival Guide is a good reference for my family to have on hand. We don’t get questioned often, but if & when we do, I know right where to go for a response. Each tract goes into great depth, more than most of our encounters would call for. I found that I could pick out the simplest response, then if needed, have this reference to go to for more detail.

(This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Essential Catholic Survival Guide.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday - The Prophet Got Braces & a Palatal Expander

Week One: Spacers on the Back Teeth

Week Two: Brackets & Blue Glue (to control his overbite)

Week Three: Wires & Palatal Expander

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What I'm Thankful For

With Thanksgiving just two days away, I thought I would list some of the things I'm thankful for in my life.

1) Above all else, my Lord & Savior - Despite my shortcomings, blindness, stubbornness, self-centeredness, (need I go on?), He is always there waiting for me to return to Him. I find that the days I start in His presence go much smoother...still not perfect, but better than if I just rush into the day w/out Him.

2) Casinodad - I've said it before & will continue saying it, he is a wonderful man. God has placed this loving, caring, patient man in my life. He's a great father to our munchkins & husband to me.

3) The Prophet - At nine years old, he's grown into such a loving young man. Sure, he has his moments (don't all children?), but he cares about his family & will go out of his way to help out at times.

4) The Archangel - This very loving boy has brightened our lives from the beginning.
He, too, has his moments, but he can be very caring, especially to his siblings. He loves to come up & give us hugs out of the blue.

5) The Princess - This little lady, being the only girl, has the voice of an angel. She loves to sing & dance around the house, play w/ her dolls, & do all sorts of girly things. But don't let that fool you...being surrounded by boys, she can be just as rough & tough!

6) The Saint - He's such a happy toddler & is quite the tease. He has this sly grin & knows how to use it w/ his sneaky ways. Put on some music & he starts wiggling to the beat. He loves to discover the world around him, pointing out all that strikes his fancy.

7) My family & friends - There are so many loving, caring people in my life. I am so thankful that God has placed them there.

8) The many friends I've met in the blogging world - We've shared comments on each other's blogs. I've laughed & cried along w/ many of you in your daily adventures.

9) A roof over our heads & food on the table

10) Our new church family - We changed parishes this past summer & have been so welcomed in our new church.

11) Freedom

12) Coffee

13) Chocolate - especially Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, M&M's, & Nutella

14) Good books, good movies, & good music

There is so much to be thankful for, that this is in no way a complete list. If you're making your thankful list on your blog, let me know in the comments. I'd love to read yours!

I hope you & your families have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving! God bless each of you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cleaning & Fun Can Go in the Same Sentence After All!

I the following on Faith & Family Live as a reply to one of the posts & thought I'd share it here too!

My oldest three children (9, 6, & 4) occasionally complain that I never play w/ them. I tell them that if I didn’t have so much to do around the house, I’d have more time hoping they will help out a bit more. Today, instead of yelling at them to help out, I had an epiphany…we can play AND clean at the same time. I set the stove timer for a variety of minutes (3 the first time, 2 the next, 4 after that, etc. - I didn’t tell them how long I set it) & we spent that time cleaning up. Once the timer rang, I put on some fun music (Veggie Tales) & we (yes, me included!) danced for a whole song. We did that for about an hour & even though our house is not completed cleaned up, we made a big dent in it! DS #2 decided several times to not dance & continued to wash dishes. We loved the time we were able to spend w/ each other this morning while getting things done & they want to do it more often!

Accomplishments: 1 hour of Phys. Ed. & Music for school, the house gets cleaned, & happy munchkins (& Mom, too!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) I went to a combination Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, & Lia Sophia party on Sunday & DID NOT PURCHASE A SINGLE THING!!! I was very tempted, but knew we just didn't have the money at this time. It was nice to visit w/ my best friend & some other ladies for a few hours. With our busy schedules, we don't see much of each other.

2) I kept to our meal plan for the last week & a half. Any alterations have just been trading nights for meals.

3) I've been trying to make an effort to avoid yelling at the munchkins. I hate the fact that I'm a "yelling Mom" & have been working at doing better. When I catch the urge to yell, I just close my mouth & put my head in my hands to let the moment pass or I try to talk firmer, yet softer. I'm nowhere near perfect & still find myself yelling at times (like today), but I've been trying...does that count?

So how's your week been? Check out Faith & Family Live's weekly Small Successes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) Thanks to my quick reflexes, I avoided a near catastrophic collision on the interstate yesterday. I was just getting on & didn't need to merge, as my lane remained. However, a large tractor trailer decided to cut across two lanes, directly in front of me, to get to the berm. I slammed on my brakes & layed on my horn, but doubt he even heard it. So many thanks are needed in this situation: I was paying attention & able to avoid hitting him, there was no one behind me, & the munchkins were not w/ me. Thank You, God!!!!!

2) Casinodad & I got most of our Christmas shopping done for the munchkins.

3) We stocked up on some food items this past weekend & I even managed to get everything organized on the shelves in the basement. Thankfully, we had cleaned the basement a few weeks ago.

What's your week been like? Anything you'd like to share? Check out Faith & Family Live for more successes & to share your own. Many Blessings to You!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Small Successes - One Day Late

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

I didn't get around to posting my successes yesterday. It's been a rough week on the homeschooling & parenting front! Any prayers you can spare would be very welcome & much appreciated!

So, here is what I did manage to succeed at this past week:
1) On Sunday, I spent a few hours w/ my dear college friend, Lawgirl. I went to her apartment first & got to meet her wonderful fiance! Then we went to lunch at a nice little restaurant on her side of town. After lunch we went out for ice cream. They have some of the best, yet odd, flavors of ice cream. I got Goat Cheese w/ Roasted Red Cherries in a waffle cone...VERY GOOD! I tried a few others: Wildberry Lavendar (good, but just a tad too much lavendar), Riesling w/ Poached Pear, Salty Caramel, & another that I can't remember. We ended the afternoon at her apartment watching several episodes of Glee. I had not seen it yet & she's always talking about how good it is. Yes, despite my resolve to not start any new TV series' I got hooked on it too!

2) Survived a week so far w/out our microwave! It finally died on us last week (it was a hand-me-down from my sister who got it when she was first married 12 years ago).

3) I got back into my morning prayer routine. I had gotten away from it for a while & it definitely feels good to be back into it.

Join other wonderful ladies at Faith & Family Live to share "Small Successes" each Thursday. No success is too small or too big.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

We took the munchkins Trick or Treating on Thursday evening. They got a ton of candy for Casinodad & me - LOL!!!

Here is The Saint in our great $5 garage sale find! The costume still had its tags on it & would probably have retailed for about $20 or $30. He'll probably be able to wear it next year too!

The boys wanted to be the Super Mario Brothers. I had a heck of a time finding overalls for boys of their age & finally ended up ordering from Amazon.com. I also ordered their newsboy hats there. For the initials on the hats, I just used a circle of white felt & colored the initials w/ Sharpies.

The Princess decided the day before that she wanted to be a bride. I was going to use an old ivory tablecloth for her costume until I remembered that I had my First Communion dress. She tried it on & it fit her perfectly...at age 4...so I know it won't fit her in 3 1/2 years for her First Communion.

And here is our Pro-Life Pumpkin. One of the ladies in my homeschool group sent out a link to the pattern. When I pulled it up online, the boys loved it right away & asked if we could do that w/ our pumpkin. I'd never stenciled a pumpkin before. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

This evening, we went to Mass at my parents' church. Dad (the parish deacon) was doing his homily on the history of Halloween & had invited the children of the parish to come dressed up. Then, he asked the children to come down to the foot of the altar & he directed his homily toward them.

Hope you had a wonderful Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

What a productive weekend we just had!

1) Friday, The Archangel wanted to help me w/ household chores during his quiet time. (Yes, I know he was just trying to get out of it, but he wanted to clean, so I let him!) He helped clear off the island, wiped down counters, swept the floor, & other stuff I can't remember at the moment. Casinodad came home to a nice, clean kitchen! The picture below is to prove that the island was cleared off (sorry it's kind of dark - I think we need a new camera).

2) On rainy Saturday, with the munchkins help, we cleaned & organized most of the basement. We still need to clear out under the stairs & who knows when I may get to the crawlspace, but that's not a priority at the moment. They now have plenty of room to play & we've been making sure that they put things away before getting something else. How long this will last...I do not know.

3) We took advantage of Sunday's beautiful weather to do yardwork after Mass & PSR. The Prophet mowed the lawn w/ just a bit of Casinodad's help. While they did that, The Archangel & The Princess helped me weed & clear out the flower beds on both sides of the house.

Wow! I'm tired just typing all our weekend accomplishments! What have you done this past week? Check out Faith & Family Live to share yours & see what others have done.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - More of The Saint

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) Still working on the kitchen (it's taking a lot longer than I expected - basically I'm just plain lazy at times!) Anyway, I'm still keeping up on the dishes each night, cleared off most of the island (that is the worst part as we always just dump stuff there), & sorted through a stack of recipes that have been sitting by the fridge for months. Maybe I'll actually use some of them!

2) I created a five week meal plan (yes, I said five week & only 3 meals are doubled w/in that time). All seven days of the week are included & I even gave thought to the evenings we have plans (my Small Church Community gatherings every other Wed. & Cub Scouts on Thursdays). I planned stuff that Casinodad can't have (due to his GIRD) for nights that he works later. Now to create the shopping list - perhaps a success for next week?!?!

3) Finally started reading my newest book to review for The Catholic Company. My goal is to finish it w/in the next month, if not sooner!

What are your successes? Inquiring minds at Faith and Family Live would love to know!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - The Tiger & Bear Cub Scouts

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Small Successes


1) I decided to focus on the visual parts of the kitchen this week. So far I have rearranged the kitchen table to make the space more open, kept up w/ the dishes each evening, cleared off some clutter on the counters, & put up some Halloween decorations. It's all about getting rid of the clutter & opening up space.

2) Got all but a couple fall items up for my decorations. Wow! I could really use some more. The munchkins did help out & created their own pictures to hang around the house - spider webs, ghosts, mice, & pumpkins.

3) Prior to putting up the decorations, I got the living room cleaned up - including going through some files on the computer desk that haven't been touched in ages.

So, what have you been up to the past week? Check out Faith & Family Live to share you successes & see what others have accomplished. Remember, no success is too small! Those are the ones that help me feel like I've accomplished something.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, October 9, 2009

Quirky Ole Me

I've had the idea for this post rumbling around in my head for a while, trying to think of all the funny little quirks I have. So, here are some that I came up with.

1) I cannot visualize the faces of the characters in the books I read. No matter how well the author describes a character, the faces are just a blur to me. I can see their hair, clothes, settings, etc. - just not the faces. Sometimes, if the book has been made into a movie, I can see the actors' face, but even that doesn't happen all the time. Case in point - I just finished the Twilight series but none of the images in my head fit the ones from the movie.

2) When I eat my cereal, I take a few bites of the cereal & milk together. Then I drink down all but a little bit of the milk before I finish eating. The only reason I could come up w/ for this was that I don't want the cereal to get soggy.

3) I think I'm allergic to thinking hard! Go ahead...laugh, but it's true! Almost every time I put myself deep in thought or prayer, my nose gets all congested & I start a sneezing fit. I first discovered this about 10 years ago when I was taking a mail correspondence course in writing. Whenever I had to concentrate & focus, it would happen.

4) The open end of my pillowcase must always face towards the outer edge of the bed.

I'm sure I have more & will post them once I think of them. Do you know of any quirks I have or are you a quirky person too? Leave me a comment & let me know!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) It seems like I've been doing a lot of laundry lately. Sunday, I did four loads & put most of them away. Yesterday, I did two loads of the munchkins' clothes AND put them all away!!!
2) I did not freak out when I first heard, then saw a mouse trying to scratch through the kitchen floor near our patio door. I calmly grabbed a mousetrap, put some peanut butter on it (we've since changed to that cheese in a can stuff), & set up a blockade w/ our kitchen chairs to protect little fingers & toes from the trap. It's been about a week & he's not been caught yet. He is still there, though...we've seen sawdust from his scratchings.
3) We got our Halloween & Fall decorations out of the crawlspace. They're not all up yet, but getting them out was a big step for me this week!
What have you succeeded at this week? Share & see others at Faith & Family Live.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Small Successes


Recognizing the small things in life really helps me get through the rough times. It makes me feel like I'm still accomplishing something, even if it is small. So, here are this week's successes...

1) We rented a cabin in Hocking Hills (southeastern Ohio) for a couple days last week. It was a fun family vacation, even if only for a couple days. We hiked through Old Man's Cave & the Rockhouse, played at a nearby park, & just enjoyed life as a family w/out cell phones & computer. (That is why I missed last week's successes!)

2) Upon our return, I didn't go straight to the computer! We unloaded the van, unpacked our stuff, & I even threw our dirty clothes in the washer.

3) After the initial shock wore off, I did not freak out when The Archangel cut The Princess' hair last week! I even managed to laugh about it.

How about your successes? Check out Faith & Family Live for more.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Evolution of The Princess' Hair

Over the last month, The Princess has had several changes in her hair. The first picture below shows her just after she begged me to cut her hair. As much as it pained me, I did it & it did looked very cute on her.

This next picture was taken last Monday after she & The Archangel were once again playing "Beauty Shop." I was downstairs working w/ The Prophet on some of his schoolwork. All of a sudden, she calls me from the top of the stairs & says, "Look, (The Archangel) cut my hair!" And indeed he did! She told me that she asked him to, but he was supposed to use her play scissors, not his school ones! So, off we went to Grandma's for an emergency haircut.

This picture was taken on our Hocking Hills vacation this past week. See how short her hair ended up? It does look cute, but to go from her long hair to this almost pixy style in less than a month was very difficult for me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Getting Through Life's Tough Spots

I normally listen to our local Christian music station, but for the past few weeks, I've been on a Country kick. Maybe it's the nostalgic feeling I seem to get every Fall...I don't know. Some of my favorites lately have been Toby Keith's American Ride (leave it to Toby to tell it like it is!), several of Taylor Swift's songs, almost anything by Tim McGraw, & various others.

This refrain from Rodney Adkins just struck me as I was listening to the radio.

If you're going through hell,
Keep on going, don't slow down,
If you're scared, don't show it,
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there.

It seems that lately, we've just hit one rough patch after another. (I won't bore you w/ all the details!) What a great way to shift the focus away from the tough spots life throws at you. Of course, leaning on God is the best defense & even when going through hell, He's there w/ us.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday - She Begged Me to Cut Her Hair!

(Isn't is cute the way The Saint is hugging her in her new dress? Casinodad had just hugged her, so Baby was imitating Daddy! The dress she's wearing is one I was going to make until I realized I was in over my head. So, a dear friend of mine volunteered to make it for her, along w/ the matching purse. It's the same material I used to make my version of the Moby Wrap.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Does Your Man Talk Like This?

Is it just my dear Casinodad or do other men do this? Whenever he talks to his guy friends, whether on the phone or in person, he seems to take on a different tone of voice. He speaks w/ various accents, lowers his voice, & uses a lot of "Hey Man!", What's up, Dude?", "I hear ya, Bro!", & other manly-type phrases. He even has kind of a "stoned" sound to his voice (think Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Ashton Kutcher in "Dude, Where's My Car?").

So, does your man do this too? Inquiring minds want to know!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Small Successes


Oops! I missed Small Successes last week! We are in our fourth week of school & I'm still trying to get us organized & on some type of schedule. At the rate I'm going, we might be on track by Christmas!!

Anyway, here are this week's Small Successes...

1) I went through all the boys' clothes in the crawlspace, decided what to keep & what to send to my in-laws for their garage sale.

2) No matter how much I've wanted to stay in bed lately, I've been making myself get up, go downstairs, start coffee, & read the day's readings. On Sept. 1, I also started working my way through Proverbs - one chapter per day. My plan is to continue this each month.

3) Casinodad & I had a night to ourselves last Saturday. My parents took all four munchkins overnight. We rented a movie (Pink Panther 2 w/ Steve Martin - very, very funny & clean too!), had a nice relaxing dinner (chicken, green peppers, & pineapple in soy sauce, rice, cheese wontons, & coconut-crusted shrimp w/ mango chutney sauce), & just enjoyed each other's company. We slept in the next morning (we'd gone to Mass Saturday evening), went to Tim Hortons for breakfast, & stopped at a couple garage sales. We really needed this time to focus & spend w/ each other.

What are your successes? Share them at Faith & Family Live & while you're at it, check out others!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Book Review - Fire of God's Love: 120 Reflections on the Eucharist

My recent review for The Catholic Company is Fire of God's Love: 120 Reflections on the Eucharist compiled by Mike Aquilina. Mr. Aquilina has collected 120 reflections on the Eucharist written by over 75 people during the past 2000 years.

I struggled for many years to understand the Eucharist (see my post here), so when I saw the title of this book, I thought it would be perfect for me. I was right! This book is full of encouragement & inspiration, both of which I found to help me in my journey toward fully understanding the Eucharist. I marked numerous reflections which jumped out at me. Several of my favorites come from St. John Vianney:

"When God desired to give a food to our soul to sustain it in the pilgrimage of life, he looked upon creation and found nothing that was worthy of it. Then he turned again to himself, and resolved to give himself."

"He who comes to Communion loses himself in God, as a drop of water in the ocean. They can be no more separated."

Besides the many great reflections, Mr. Aquilina has included a section at the back of the book that gives some information on the authors of each reflection. I found this to be a great tool. While I recognized many of the names, some were unfamiliar to me. This would be a great book for someone who participates in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at their church. The reflections are fairly short. One can read straight through them or take one at a time for deeper reflection. I plan on revisiting this book for many years!

This review has been written for The Catholic Company. Visit their website to order this & other fine Catholic books & materials.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bulletin Reflection for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8 / James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27 / Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

In today’s Gospel, Jesus chides the Pharisees for holding to traditions even though their hearts are not in it. Traditions can be good, but when done by rote or on automatic pilot, they tend to lose their meaning. Many people cling to traditions because they fear change. Last spring, my nephew was in his school’s musical, Fiddler on the Roof. Tevye, the lead, tries to fight the changes happening in the outside world by clinging to the Jewish & family traditions he’s always known. It takes the marriages of his daughters & the revolution for him to embrace change.

We need to take a hard look at our lives & the way we live. In today’s society, just as in Tevye’s time, there are constant changes – many of which try to draw us further from God. Do we stick with the old traditions or do we reach out & embrace change? Some of those traditions may not be strong enough to keep us close to God, so we need to change. Mix up your prayer routine a bit. Attend Adoration & Benediction on the 1st Friday of the month. Join a Small Church Community. Create a new tradition for your spiritual journey.

What traditions to you cling to? Do they hold you back from God or draw you closer?

What changes can you make to help you draw closer to God?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Small Successes


Let's celebrate those little things that mean a lot. Here are my successes for the past week:

1) We moved The Saint out of our room & into The Princess'. He'd still been waking up many times throughout the night & not putting himself back to sleep because he could sense us in there with him. While he's still waking a few times a night, it's much better than before. Plus, she loves having him in there.

2) I took Casinodad to the doctor's office this morning for a scope on his GI system. (He's been dealing w/ a lot of acid reflux issues this past year.) My success is that I've remained calm throughout his many repeat questions as the medication from his procedure is wearing off. It's actually kind of funny seeing how loopy he is! BTW - He doesn't have any major issues, thankfully. He just needs to continue watching what he eats & taking Nexium for the acid.

3) Another issue of remaining calm - I didn't freak out when I saw the bill for our most recent van repairs (front brakes replaced & driver's side window motor replaced - all this after having the rear brakes & transmission filter replaced last month for even more $$$). Murphy's Law - We paid the van off a couple months ago & all we've done since then is repair it!

What are your successes this week? Check out Faith & Family Live for more.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bulletin Reflection for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b / Ephesians 5:21-32 / John 6:60-69

Today’s readings focus on choices. In the 1st, Joshua asks the Israelites to decide whom they will serve. The 2nd reading talks about how to choose to love your spouse. And in the Gospel, Jesus asks His disciples if they want to return to their former way of life or continue to follow Him. Growing up, I made all kinds of choices from which toys to play with to whether or not to obey my parents. There was one thing I didn’t see as a choice – belief in God. I was taught that He existed & I just accepted it. As I grew older & went out on my own, I was exposed to a lot of new things. I began to question my faith & wondered if God truly existed. I never turned my back on the Church, but I did struggle with my inner feelings. After talking with a dear friend, we came to the conclusion that I had never made the choice to believe. Many young adults stop going to church in their college years & later choose to come back. Because I never left the Church, there wasn’t a choice to return. Our talk & a lot of prayer helped me to make that choice. Believing is still tough at times, but I choose to remain faithful to God through prayer & encouragement.

If you’ve ever left the Church, why did you choose to leave? Who or what brought you back?

What does it take for you to continue your belief in Jesus, the Holy One of God?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Small Successes


Yes, believe it or not, it is Thursday again! So, what have I been successful with this week?

1) Despite our extremely limited amout of sleep the past six or seven weeks (yes, I said weeks), Casinodad & I have grown stronger instead of biting each others' heads off. I'm not a pleasant person when I don't get much sleep, so this is actually a huge success!

2) I've been struggling w/ an issue of forgiveness for many years. I'm still not ready to forgive, but I feel like I'm making progress. There's a chapter in The Shack by William P. Young that deals w/ forgiveness & it's really helped change my thinking.

3) We started school on Monday. Need I say more?!

Any successes for you this week? Share & check out others at Faith & Family Live.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - The Finished School Cabinet

Friday, August 14, 2009

Seven Things I Love Meme

Thanks to Kelly at Gratiae Deus for tagging me in this meme. Here, in no particular order, are Seven Things I Love:

1) Casinodad - I've been blessed w/ a kind, loving, sweetheart of a husband & I thank God every day for bringing him into my life.

2) The Munchkins - God has blessed us abundantly w/ these four souls to raise. Life is never dull around here!

3) Coffee - my morning lifeline, after God of course!

4) Chocolate - another lifeline!

5) God & my faith - I may not always feel His presence, but I know He's always there.

6) Books - It's always nice to escape into a good book.

7) Music - There's always something to fit whatever mood I may be in.

If you're reading this, please consider yourself tagged. Leave me a comment so I can check out Seven Things You Love!

Bulletin Reflection for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Proverbs 9:1-6 / Ephesians 5:15-20 / John 6:51-58

This is the third Sunday in a row that we’ve heard of Jesus being the Living Bread. Hmmm! Do you think that might be something important for us to remember? The only way to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ. What better way to meet Jesus than through the Eucharist – the Living Bread.

Somewhere in my education, the ball was dropped. Whether it was my educators or me, I do not know, but I grew up thinking the bread & wine was just a symbol of Christ’s Body & Blood. It’s only been within the past 10 years, through the help of my Small Church Community, and this past year, watching my son prepare for & make his First Holy Communion, that I’ve come to understand that Jesus truly is present in the Eucharist. The bread & wine does become His Body & Blood. What a wonderful feeling to know that the Living Bread is in me! Just recently, after receiving the Eucharist, my son told us that he felt all warm inside. I pray that we may all have the warmth of the Living Bread inside of us each time we receive Christ in the Eucharist.

How has your faith grown in receiving the Living Bread during the celebration of the Eucharist?

What can you do to better understand Jesus as the Living Bread?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Small Successes


1) I've tried so many different cleansers on our shower floor, yet that grime still remained. Over the weekend, I tried some Comet cleanser & a scrubby sponge...it worked. I only got about 75%of it done & I still have to do the walls, but those 20 minutes of small, circular scrubbings finally made a BIG difference.

2) We got a head start on some of our school for this year. We're doing the K12 program this year & school officially starts on Monday. We've been working through the introduction to the online school so that we can start right into lessons on Monday. So far the boys are enjoying it.

3) I've been staying away from the computer more this week...other than school related things. I've still been looking at my favorite blogs & sites, just not several times a day!

Check out Faith & Family Live for more successes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - "Must. Have. Sleep."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bulletin Reflection for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: 1 Kings 19:4-8 / Ephesians 4:30--5:2 / John 6:41-51
I’m sure all parents have gone through the “picky eater” stage at least once. You know – the child who refuses to eat that fry because it bumped the nuggets & now has a microscopic crumb on it! I’ve been through many frustrating meals, trying to coax my picky eater to try just one bite of those “good-for-you” veggies. I’ve even followed those tips that have you pureeing foods to hide in other foods – Shhh! They’ll never know it’s got healthy stuff in it!

I wonder how God feels when one of His children becomes a picky eater & turns away from Eucharist. He’s given us free will, but I’m sure it hurts Him plenty. It’s up to us to choose the Living Bread & live forever with Him or the stale bread of eternity without Him.

What can you do to reach out to those who have left the Church?

What does it mean to you to receive the Living Bread at each Mass?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Small Successes


I'm a little later than usual today, but it's never too late to share success! In joining Danielle Bean & other wonderful ladies at Faith & Family Live, here are my small successes for the past week:

1) I've stayed away from the grocery store for six days! No going in, no spending money!!

2) The homilies I heard at church the past two weekends have stuck w/ me. For the first time in a long time, I could actually tell you what they were about.

3) Went to a local farmers' market & got lots of great fruits & veggies today: corn on the cob, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cucumbers, garlic, watermelon, new potatoes, & apricots. Plus, the munchkins were REALLY good for my mom & me, despite the crowd.

Check out Faith & Family Live for more successes.

This is my 28th round of Small Successes. Multiply that by three (since most of my entries consisted of three), then that's at least 84 Small Successes for me in the past few months. I'd say that is a success in itself!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Book Review: Thank God Ahead of Time

Thank God Ahead of Time: The Life and Spirituality of Solanus Casey
by Michael H. Crosby, O.F.M. CAP.

My most recent review item for The Catholic Company is this book on Capuchin Father Solanus Casey. He is the first man from the United States to be declared “Venerable” by the Catholic Church. For those not familiar w/ the term, venerable is the form of address for one in the first stage of canonization, the process of becoming a saint.

I took my time reading because there was so much in this book to absorb. I really enjoyed reading it & look forward to reading it again, as I know there was a lot that I didn’t catch the first time around.

Each chapter covers the different cities in which he lived (Detroit, Yonkers, Manhattan, etc.). He was born in Wisconsin on November 25, 1870, the sixth child out of sixteen. At the age of 26, he went to Saint Bonaventure Chapel & Monastery in Detroit to begin his Novitiate. He struggled through his studies & his superiors had doubts about him becoming a priest. They eventually allowed his ordination, however, they decided he would not be able to hear confessions or preach dogmatic sermons. Throughout his ministry, he lived a life of servitude & obedience, never questioning his assignments & where they would take him.

Fr. Casey lived his life in such a way that knowing God called for appreciation, love, & service. He also encouraged others in this respect. Throughout his ministry, people came to him with requests for advice & blessings. There were so many positive responses to these requests, that his superiors asked him to keep a log of them. By the time of his death, he had filled up seven 12x10 inch letter-type notebooks with requests & their outcomes. People would always thank him for the miracles in their lives, but he humbly replied that it was always God, not him granting the miracle. "People believed in God's healing power because Solanus believed in it. Solanus believed in God; people believed in Solanus. Somehow, in this circle of belief, wonderful things occurred through his intercession and the actions he asked them to perform." (pg. 164)

Some of my favorite quotes of Fr. Casey’s:

“To those who don’t understand, no explanation is sufficient and to those who do understand, no explanation is necessary.”

“Life is to live and life is to give and talents to use for good if you choose. Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle but you shall be a miracle.”

“One need not be a priest to be an instrument in God’s hands. If a man lives as he should, he will be given the knowledge to aid people. And if we are interested in saving souls we must have an interest in others.”

“Deo Gratias!”
was commonly heard from him, for he believed that we must always thank God for our blessings – not just after we’ve received them, but before they’ve been given to us.

Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Thank God Ahead of Time.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Who Knew?

Well, both our parents had anniversaries in June. We decided to get them some gift cards & ordered them online. For Casinodad's parents, we got one for Darden restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster). For mine, we decided on (what we thought) was a nice Italian restaurant. I was sure I had passed one at some point & thought it was on the way to their house. The other day, I drove by & found that I was wrong. It was a different Italian restaurant, but that's okay...we'll figure out where it is because I'm sure it's not far. (Insert hesitate laugh here.)

Once I got to their house, I apologized because it wasn't where I thought it was. Dad then asked me exactly what I thought the place was. My response: an Italian restaurant, right? Nope! We had given them at gift card to Cabelas - a outdoor sporting store...FOR THEIR ANNIVERSARY!

Oh, & this gets even better! Mom called this morning. She went online to see where the closest one was. The two closest are in our neighboring states! So, when did I see one?!?!?!

I'm too young for Senior Moments. Is there such a thing as Junior Moments?

Reflections for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

There are six of us in our parish who write reflections for our church bulletin for two months of the year. I was assigned April & August. (If you click on the "Reflections" label below, you'll see those I had written for April.) I had some doubts when I first began to write them, but once I started, I found that I really enjoyed it. This time around, most of my thoughts came during those late night feedings - great reflection/prayer time for me!

So, here is the first of my five August reflections. I'll try to post them each Fri. or Sat. in August.

Readings: Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15 / Ephesians 4:17, 20-24 / John 6:24-35

Daily we seek to fill what we think are our needs. We consume too much food in an effort to fill our stomachs. We spend hours on our computers connecting with others through Facebook, emails, Twitter, etc. We flood our minds with endless images from TV & computer screens. We turn to drugs, alcohol, & other vices to escape from reality, hoping to fill a need or void in our lives. Still that need remains, always there until we choose to follow today’s Gospel. Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” What more do we need?

How much time do you spend watching TV or surfing the net? How much time do you spend with Jesus? Take a good look at those answers – is there a change needed?

What makes it difficult for you in filling your spiritual void?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Small Successes


Recognizing my "Small Successes" each week is a wonderful tool to find the positives in my life instead of dwelling on the negatives. So, in joining w/ other ladies at Faith & Family Live, here is what I accomplished/did this past week:

1) While waiting for the munchkins to get themselves ready yesterday morning & instead of constantly prodding them, I took that extra bit of time to organize my spice cabinet. Did you know that home dried rosemary smells much better than the bottled kind you find in the store? I had a several bottles of my dad's rosemary & one store bought. Even the munchkins could tell the difference between the two!

2) I've been working on our front room which will be used for school this year. It's still no where near my vision, but I have done the following: set up the K12 computer, including wireless from our own computer w/ the help of Casinodad's best friend; decided where all the furniture will be placed (only had to move the desk to make room for the cabinet); & prepped the cabinet. The cabinet is part of my college loft bed. I sanded & painted it to match the room. Now I'm just waiting for my dad to make some shelves for the inside. (I used it as a wardrobe in college.)

3) I made Mexican rice that came very close to Casinodad's aunt's. It will never be just like hers, as no one can compete w/ her rice, but it was pretty darn close! See the recipe here in this post.

So, what have you accomplished this past week?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Movie Review - Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

We had saved up some money & decided to take the munchkins to a movie last weekend while my mom watched The Saint. This was the first time we'd all gone to a movie as a family & we were all looking forward to it.

Our movie of choice was Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. We didn't see it in 3D because we thought it might be a bit too much for the munchkins in the theater (especially The Princess who's going through a shy/scared phase right now.) I really liked the first two, but this one was disappointing to me.

The storyline wasn't bad, although not quite historically correct. The mismatched herd that formed in the first two movies is anxiously awaiting the birth of Manny & Ellie the mammoths' baby. Diego, the sabertooth tiger, feels it's time to move on & Sid, the sloth, has desires to have his own family. He finds three dinosaur eggs & cares for them until they hatch. Once they do, he takes on the roll of "mommy" to them. Meanwhile, the momma dinosaur is on the hunt for her missing children. Once she find them, she carries them off, along w/ Sid. The mismatched herd sets off to rescue Sid & in the process, finds a lost dinosaur world beneath the ice.

So, why didn't I like it?
1) It was full of cliches. I know a few are needed in movies like this, but there were just way too many. Casinodad brought up the fact that they were probably relying on the 3D effects to carry the movie, so they didn't put much effort into the conversations & such.

2) There were several gender related comments made by the characters that I felt were just not appropriate at all. The comments went over the munchkins' heads, but not Casinodad's & mine. Looking back on numerous movies I watched as a child, I realize they had adult-related references that went over my head. But as an adult now, I question why producers have to do that.

There were some good examples of working together to save friends/family & taking care of each other, but overall I found the movie lacking in taste, quality, & originality. Thankfully we went to a matinee at one of the cheaper theaters in town & only paid $4.50 each.

Wordless Wednesday - The Saint's Pledge of Allegiance

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Christmas in July!

I'm listening to Harry Connick, Jr.'s Only You Cd right now. It's a compilation of romantic big band & orchestra standards from the 50s & 60s. The Princess came downstairs & asked why I was listening to Christmas music. The Prophet asked me the same thing the other day. They recognized his voice from his When My Heart Finds Christmas CD, one of my favorites that we listen to a lot during the Christmas season.

Mexican Rice Recipe

Casinodad's aunt makes the best Mexican rice & numerous times, she's told me how to do it. I never attempted to do it because I thought it would be too much work & I wouldn't be able to get the ingredients just right. Well, I happened to pull out a Latino cookbook one of Casinodad's cousins gave us for our wedding. Low & behold, there is a Mexican Rice recipe. I tried it last weekend w/ a few variations I knew his aunt used & it turned out very close to hers, although a little on the bland side. Here is the recipe & below I listed my variations & what I'll do next time. It's a lot easier than I thought it would be!

Mexican Rice

1 med. white onion, chopped coarse
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 c. whole tomatoes
3 ½ c. water or chicken broth
3 T. vegetable oil
2 c. long-grain rice, rinsed
2 extra-large chicken bouillon cubes (if using water)
½ t. salt
1 c. frozen peas & carrots

In a blender, puree the onion, garlic, tomatoes w/ their juice, & ½ c. broth until smooth. In a skillet, heat the oil over med-high heat. Saute the rice, stirring constantly, until golden brown (about 8 minutes). Stir in the blended tomato mixture, remaining broth, bouillon, & salt. Bring to a boil; cover & simmer undisturbed for 25 minutes. Add vegetables, cover, & remove from heat. Allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.

My variations: I just used water & 2 standard size bouillon cubes, olive oil, & 1 c. V-8 juice instead of the tomatoes.

Next time: I’ll used 1 c. tomatoes & 1 c. V-8 juice, then add some cumin. The rice was just a bit bland when I made it. I also think I'll simmer it a bit longer to absorb more flavor.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Small Successes


1) I managed to have the house cleaned up & "birthday party ready" about an hour before The Saint's party was to start. Usually I'm still straightening up a few things as guests arrive.

2) When I could have said something to Casinodad that would have started an argument, I chose to keep my mouth shut.

3) I saved $91 yesterday, w/the help of my mom. I had some money saved up to buy myself some new clothes, so my mom & I went to Kohl's. (I rarely buy clothes for myself & am still wearing some items I had before I had The Prophet almost 9 years ago.) If she used her charge card & the coupon, she could get an additional 30% off. So, I was able to buy 4 shirts for only $32 (& I still have money left!) Retail price of all would have been $123. One was a lavendar short sleeved knit sweater that retailed for $44. It was 90% off clearance, plus the 30% off - a whoppin' $3.08 + tax! I just love bargain shopping!

Check out Faith & Family Live for more successes.