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.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Small Successes


Each success is important - no matter the size. For the past couple months, I've been participating in Faith & Family Live's Small Successes. Women from all over the world share three of their successes from the past week. Here are mine:

1) I cleaned most of the refrigerator (all but the two bottom drawers) - I took everything off the shelves & tossed "science experiments", took off the shelves & scrubbed them, scrubbed the inner walls, then rearranged everything as I put them back in. I still need to do those last two drawers & the freezer side. Perhaps those will make it to next week's successes!

2) I got together w/ my dear college friend, Lawgirl, on Sunday. We went to a movie (my first in I don't know how long - maybe Charlie & the Chocolate Factory?!?) We saw 17 Again w/ Zac Efron. It was a modified take on an old theme of going back to do part of your life over. It was a cute girlie-girl type movie - not a lot of thought required, which was just what I needed. Afterwards, we picked up Chinese take-out & brought it home to share w/ Casionodad & the munchkins.

3) I tended to part of God's great earth - I did some weeding & mulching in front of our house while the munchkins played outside in the beautiful spring weather.

See & share others at http://www.faithandfamilylive.com/. Have a wonderful week of Small Successes!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Catholic Company Review - Paul in a Basket

Recently I signed up to review various items for The Catholic Company - http://www.catholiccompany.com. Following is my review of Paul in a Basket, a Children's Musical by Rob Evans, the Donut Man.

Paul in a Basket is an hour long musical celebrating the life of St. Paul. The first half of the CD contains all the narrated parts alternated with the songs. The second half has the songs alone. It can be performed as a musical by all ages and the narrated parts are simple enough that even young children can understand them.

In a family &/or homeschool setting, Paul in a Basket can be used to educate children about St. Paul's life in a fun, musical way. Most of the songs are catchy & upbeat. My munchkins loved them! After hearing the CD only twice, they were going around the house singing some of the songs. In addition to listening to the narration & songs, we've just played the music throughout the day while the munchkins play &/or do independent school work. I also think it would be great for longer car trips.

So, whether you're a parent, teacher, or youth leader in your parish, Paul in a Basket would be a great addition to your library. It comes in two versions - one is the student's CD for $10 & the other is the director's CD for $20 (which provides all the information you need to put on a performance).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Archangel Ponderings

Most nights, before the munchkins go to bed & after we've said our family prayers, I will read a bedtime story. The book I'm currently using is Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories Volume One (published in 1950). I've had the first five volumes of these stories since I was a little girl. They are nice, wholesome stories about children just like ours. Sure, some of the topics are a bit outdated, but that just makes for some good discussions & reflections afterwards.

The other night, I read the story God's Great Kingdom Part 1: How Big it Is. The Prophet enjoyed it because it tied in w/ some of our science about our solar system. I also had to make a side note to the munchkins. In this story, the young boy asked Mamma if anyone had every flown off the world & gone to the moon. Mamma said no because there is little air to breath & that it would take "an airplane traveling at three hundred miles an hour more than a month to get there." She also mentioned that an airplane, traveling at the same rate would take more than 50 years to get to the sun. (As I said, this was from 1950!)

Once I was finished reading, the munchkins came up with some wonderful discussion questions & for once it was not an attempt to stall their bedtime. The Archangel especially had some good questions/comments -

Him: I wish Jesus was still alive so He could come to my party.
Me: But He is alive & was there in the hearts of everyone who was there.
Him: We must be like a tiny spot in God's hands.
Me: Yes, but He can see all.
Him: Does God talk?
Me: Yes.
Him: But, if we were in Heaven, we wouldn't be able to hear Him because we are so small.
Me: We'd still be able to hear Him. He speaks to us all the time, we just need to listen. And, we don't always hear w/ our ears, we hear w/ our...
Him: ...hearts!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Birthday Updates!

Because I was not online much during Lent, I neglected to post about The Princess' birthday. She turned four in February - although it seems like she went straight from 3 to 13 :( She's grown into such a loving, sweet young lady. She loves to wear dresses, but at the same time can be found making just as big a muddy mess as her brothers. She's eager to please & very sensitive. Just one look, the wrong way, can set her to tears. Yet, she's always there to comfort & console. If I'm lying on the couch, exhausted after a long day (believe it or not, exhaustion does happen at times to a homeschooling mother of four!), she'll come up, place her hand on my cheek, & say, "Poor Mommy." She's always watching out for her baby brother, quick to let us know if he's somewhere he shouldn't be or about to put something in his mouth. She also loves to color & will go through coloring books & paper faster than you can say "Crayola!"

So, Happy Belated Blog-posted Birthday to my dear, sweet Princess! You've been a wonderful blessing to our family & we love you lots!


Casinodad had a birthday in April. He turned thirty-something! He has been such a wonderful gift to the munchkins & me. He is a great husband to me & father to our munchkins. He works hard to provide for us & still manages to find time to play with the munchkins. He's such faith-filled inspiration to me. This year, I sent letters to his mom & dad in honor of his birthday. I wanted to thank them for all they've done to shape him into the wonderful husband & father he's become. Without their love, guidance, & examples, he would not be the man he is today. I thank God daily for bringing him into my life. I'm a better person for knowing him.

Happy birthday, my love!


Yet another birthday in the family was The Archangel's, also in April. He turned six. My how the time flies! What a joy he has been for our family. He always keeps us on our toes. He's always been our child of a thousand faces, as his expressions can change in a split-second. He is a ball of energy throughout the day, but at night he crashes into bed. He's finishing up Kindergarten & has been doing quite well. He loves his school work & is already reading on a 4th grade level. He's traded Thomas the Tank Engine for Legos & Super Mario Brothers. For his birthday, he wanted Bullet Bill (a character from Super Mario Bros.) for his cake. So, I once again pulled out the dome shaped cake pan. If you look closely, you can see the Bullet Bill action figure next to the cake. (And yes, those are Storm Trooper Mr. Potato Head arms!)

Happy Sixth Birthday to my Little Man! We're blessed to have you! Lots of love to you!


Oh yeah! I had a birthday in February also. Just another thirty-something, but not too long before it becomes forty-something! I don't have any pictures, but Casinodad took me to Logan's Steakhouse for dinner. Delicious! It was so fun to watch the munchkins w/ the peanuts. They'd open up the shell, eat the nut, then toss the shells over their shoulders. They loved it. And it was fun for me to see them so happy making a mess that neither they nor I would have to clean up!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Book Meme

Anne at Catholic Mommy Brain www.catholicmommybrain.com/2009/04/23/book-talk-thursdays-a-fun-book-meme/ posted this book meme on her blog & it sounded like fun, so here's mine:

Include up to 3 answers each if you like. Consider the Bible or other religious texts a gimme.

1. Most treasured childhood book(s)? Bridge to Terebithia is one that comes to mind at the moment. The Sweet Valley High series, until it got to book 25 & the twins were still only 16 years old. After all, how much can happen to them in just one year?!? As a mother now, I’m finding that I love Tomie de Paola’s stories & the Berenstain Bears. Thankfully the munchkins do too & always get both from the library.

2. Classic(s) you are embarrassed to admit you’ve never read: I didn’t read the complete Chronicles of Narnia until last year. (Why did I wait so long?)

3. Classic(s) you read, but hated? The Scarlet Letter – had to read it in high school & I just didn’t care for it at all

4. Favorite genre(s)? Catholic spiritual; Christian novels; children’s classics

5. Favorite light reading? Nicholas Sparks; Katherine Valentine; Jan Karon’s Mitford Series

6. Favorite heavy reading? None at the moment – my mind is too tired to focus on anything heavy (although, I just started trying to read the Bible & Catechism in one year)

7. Last book(s) you finished? The Sister Agatha series by Aimee & David Thurlo; Left to Tell & Led by Faith by Immaculee Ilibigiza (what an amazing inspiration in faith & forgiveness!)

8. Last book(s) you bailed on? I can’t remember the name of it, but it was something by George Weigel that a friend let me borrow. I just couldn’t get into it – too deep for my mushy mind at the time!

9. Three books on your nightstand? None on my nightstand – Because The Saint sleeps in an open closet in our room, I don’t read up there. I do have some on my living room end table & on top of the computer desk! I am currently reading Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly & am finding it quiet inspirational. I also just picked up Pope John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility at the library.

10. Book(s) you’ve read more than once, twice or three times? Do the books I read over & over to the munchkins count? I didn’t think so! The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Bringing up Boys by Dr. James Dobson

11. The book(s) that meant a lot to you when you were younger (ie, college/young adult): I really didn’t read much that had deep meaning to me then, mostly novels to get away from studies & work stresses. So, nothing stands out for this question.

12. Book(s) that changed the way you looked at life? Wow! There are definitely a lot to list here, but I’ll just list a few. Both of Immaculee Ilibigiza’s books; Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly (even though I’m not done yet); The Shack by William Young (I know it’s not Catholic, but it is quite thought provoking & my Small Church Community is currently reading & discussing it.)

Post a comment if you do one so I can check yours out!

Small Successes


It's that time again - where has the past week gone? Here are my Small Successes from the past week.

1) We threw a birthday party for The Archangel Sat. night. On Fri. & Sat., I cleaned the downstairs part of our house to get ready. I also managed to find time to do a little weeding outside & the munchkins even wanted to help w/ that! The Archangel wanted a Bullet Bill birthday cake. For those of you who aren't familiar w/ Super Mario Bros., Bullet Bill is one of the characters. He's shaped like a bullet, has eyes on either side of the rounded end of his head, & has two small arms sticking out from the bottom half. I'll try to post his birthday pictures by this weekend, as well as The Princess's from Feb.

2) I mailed letters to Casinodad's parents in honor of his birthday earlier this month. I thanked them for all they've done to shape him into the wonderful husband & father he's become. Even though they divorced when he was young, they both had a tremendous influence on the faith-filled man he is today. I am so thankful to have him in my life!

3) I've managed to keep myself to a morning routine for the past week or so. I've been up, started my coffee, read the day's readings, & showered by 7:45am at the latest & before the munchkins awake (w/ the exception of Wed., when they were all up very early).

It's your turn - what are your successes from this past week, no matter how small? Share & check out others at www.faithandfamilylive.com.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Crazy 8s Meme

I saw this on another blog & thought it looked like fun. Plus, I haven't done any Memes lately, so here goes!

8 Things I am looking forward to:
1. The Prophet’s First Holy Communion on May 9.
2. A weekend getaway in June w/ my girlfriends.
3. Going out w/ Lawgirl on Sunday, my dear friend from college.
4. Anytime that Casinodad has off work & is able to stay home w/ us.
5. Spring weather that actually stays around for more than two days at a time!
6. Taking a family vacation, hopefully in the Fall.
7. Having the house completely cleaned, decluttered, & organized – is this asking too much?!?
8. Growing deeper in my faith & making it to Heaven!

8 Things I did yesterday:
1. Took The Archangel & The Saint to the doctor for their checkups.
2. Returned our library movies – ON TIME!
3. Along w/ the other First Communion parents, we wrote the prayer that will be read after Communion May 9th.
4. Did a load of the munchkins’ laundry.
5. Folded laundry.
6. Only yelled at the munchkins once – this is something I’ve been working very hard on, so this is a big accomplishment for me!
7. Worked on our church bulletin at church since our computer had a virus until yesterday afternoon. The munchkins were very good for me at church, too!
8. Read the day’s Mass readings & a chapter of Matthew Kelly’s Rediscovering Catholicism – lots of good stuff & I will post a review once I’m done.

8 Things I wish I could do:
1. See #7 above of 8 Things I’ve Looking Forward To.
2. Be more organized when it comes to housecleaning & homeschooling.
3. Find more hours in the day – better yet, make better use of the hours I do have!
4. Go on two cruises – one to Alaska & one to the Mediterranean.
5. Go to Europe & share the sites I visited in college w/ Casiondad.
6. Take the munchkins & Casinodad to Disneyworld.
7. Catch up on my scrapbooks. (I don’t think I’ve done anything in at least a year.)
8. Repaint several rooms in our house.

8 Shows I Watch
1. Lost
2. Emergency (yes, the one from the 70s – I remember watching when I was three & now it’s on everyday on Retro Television Network. The munchkins love it too!)
3. Smallville (but we’ve gotten behind & will have to wait until this season is on DVD)
4. Sid the Science Kid (on PBS – I watch w/ the munchkins occasionally)
5. Ghost Whisper (got behind on this one also)
6. The Incredible Hulk (the 70s TV series, also on RTN – I had forgotten how good it actually was)
7. House (another one I’ve gotten behind on)
8. Super Nanny (to remind myself to thank God for my munchkins)

I tag anyone who would like to participate! Be sure to leave me a comment so I check out your Crazy 8’s!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Small Successes


Every success, no matter how big or small, is important! So here I am, once again, sharing those successes of mine from the past week. The first two are actually our family's successes.

1) On Good Friday, we did the Stations of the Cross box. I put together a box of items representing each station. Casinodad & I took turns reading from "The Way of the Cross for Children" while each munchkin took turns finding the specific item from the box for each station. This was a great way for all of them to understand the Stations & they want to do it next year too!

2) We made Easter Story Cookies the night before Easter. Each ingredient & step represents a part of the Passion (ex. the beating of the pecans represents the beating of Jesus by soldiers). There is also a Bible passage to go along w/ each step. The cookies are left in the pre-heated oven overnight (the oven gets turned off) & in the morning they are hollow, to represent Jesus' Resurrection & the empty tomb.

3) You've heard the expression - "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!" In my case, when life hands you eggs, make egg salad! My MIL asked me to make deviled eggs for Easter Sunday's dinner. Well, the eggs had some separation issues! They didn't want to come apart from the shell, no matter what I tried. So, I made egg salad!

To see more Small Successes, go to www.faithandfamilylive.com. And, have a blessed Easter season!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sister Agatha Series of Books

As I mentioned in Small Successes recently, I happened to stumble across a new book series at the library a couple weeks ago & am already halfway through the fourth one (there are five so far). It's the Sister Agatha series by Aimee & David Thurlo.

Sr. Agatha is an extern nun at a cloistered monastery in New Mexico. She & the other extern are the only ones to be the go-betweens for the outside world. Prior to becoming a nun, she was an investigative reporter & a not-quite-so-angelic person. Each book has her using those skills (the investigative ones!) to solve a variety of crimes & such. The monastery has an old Chrysler station wagon that just barely gets them around. The nuns have named it the "Anti-Chrysler" because it's constantly breaking down.

I'm not usually into mysteries, but this series has held my interest quite well. She's quite spunky! I've gotten several great quotes on faith in the books. Here are the books in order, in case you're interested:

Bad Faith
Thief in Retreat
Prey for a Miracle (yes, I spelled "prey" correctly)
False Witness
The Prodigal Nun

Quotes from Sr. Agatha (I love all of these, but especially the last one):

"What we know to be true isn't always dependent on what we see."
(on faith & being optimistic from Thief in Retreat)
"It's just hard to belive in the extraordinary - particularily when it happens in the midst of very ordinary life."
(on some people's lack of faith from Prey for a Miracle)
"Sometimes people lose their way, Pax (the monastery's dog - a former police dog). All we can do is pray and leave the matter in God's gentle hands. That battle isn't ours to fight."
(on trying to convince someone that God does care & does answer prayers from False Witness)
Happy Reading!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Morning 2009 in Pictures (w/ a few captions!)

The Saint - enjoying his new sippy cup

The Princess - among her many treasures from her basket

The Archangel - shows off the bag he decorated at Grandma's house (which she filled, of course!)

The Prophet - enjoys his new Lego Star Wars mini figure

The six of us in front of our church's altar.
From our family to yours - Hope you have a wonderfully, blessed Easter Season 2009!
"Why do you search for the Living One among the dead? He is not here; He has been raised up." (Luke 24:5b-6a)
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Small Successes


1) Saturday was a very productive day for our family! I went to breakfast w/ some girlfriends while Casinodad took his Series 6 Investment test. (He passed!) In the afternoon, we finished cleaning out the garage. I had started on Thurs. We had a shelf falling apart, so I took it down. We threw out a ton of garbage! It looks much better. Afterwards, we relaxed for about an hour then went out to dinner to celebrate Casinodad's test passing & The Archangel's birthday coming up later this month. He chose Pizza Hut.

2) My faith has really been deepening this Lent. I've been making time in the morning to read the daily readings before the munchkins get up, I've been praying a lot more, & I feel so much more peaceful over all. What a difference this makes in my parenting & marriage, too!

3) Casinodad's birthday was Tuesday. He decided that he wanted me to make him "Breakfast for Dinner." I made pumpkin pancakes, pepper bacon, scrambled eggs, grits, & cinnamon rolls (instead of a cake). We also spent the evening playing a game of Sorry. We had a wonderful evening & he really enjoyed the time spent together for his birthday.

(On a side note, The Princess burnt her lip when I was making the pancakes. She brought the stool over to the stove to see what was in the pan. I told her to be careful so she wouldn't burn her lip. The next morning, I saw a spot on her lip & asked if she'd bitten it. She said no, she burnt it on the pan. Never once did she cry or complain. When I asked why she didn't say anything, she said it was because she was brave. The poor dear was probably too embarrassed to say anything.)

Check out www.faithandfamilylive.com to see more Small Successes & have a wonderfully, blessed Easter!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fool's Day Pranks

I'm slightly breaking my Lenten fast from blogs just to post about the April Fool's Day pranks I pulled on the munchkins yesterday. We've never done anything but I thought it would be fun this year.

1) The night before, I told them that I would lay their clothes for the next day at the end of their beds so they could get dressed as soon as they got up. The Princess woke up to find Daddy's camo outfit & the boys woke up to find one of their sister's dresses at the end of their beds.

2) We have two shelves of family photos in frames above the couch in the living room. I turned 1/2 of them around & the others backwards.

3) Both boys took a timed math test - all the problems were 0 + 0.

4) I put food coloring in the downstairs toilet. I tried to make it purple, but it turned into an ugly yellowish brown.

5) Each of them has an Easter bucket from last year in the pantry where they keep their candy. I took all of their candy out. Inside each bucket, I placed a bag of dried beans, a can of tuna, a salt packet, & a bouillon cube.

6) I set my copy of O Henry on the table. When The Prophet asked what it was, I told him it was his next book to read to me!

They really enjoyed these little pranks. In "retaliation" they made our bed for us & put their pillows & comforters on top of ours. I think our first round of April Fool's Day pranks was a success!

Small Successes


1) Several times this week, I've stopped whatever I was doing (reading, watching TV, cleaning, etc.) to cuddle &/or play w/ the munchkins. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I'm doing that I don't take that extra time. Don't get me wrong-they're not neglected. This was just lots of extra cuddle time.

2) Since I gave up reading blogs & spending extra time online this Lent, I've felt more peaceful. When something goes wrong, I seem to be a lot calmer in dealing w/ the situation instead of getting upset quickly. I'm still a work in progress, but I can definitely feel the change. To my daily prayers, I've added asking God to help me increase this sense of peace in my life.

3) I read 3 more books - the next 2 in the Sr. Agatha series & Danielle Bean's Mom to Mom, Day to Day. (A great book, Danielle! I love the prayers at the end of each section.) Please don't think I've spent all my time reading - I just have much more available since I'm not on the computer all day. Plus, the munchkins have been going outside a lot lately & The Saint has been sick this week. Nursing is one of the few things that comforts him, so I read during those times.

For more Small Successes & to share yours, go to http://www.faithandfamilylive.com/.