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, January 31, 2013

Small Successes

Small Success Thursday

Recognizing the small things we accomplish each week helps us realize that even when it doesn't seem like it, we are getting things done! To link up your Small Successes each Thursday, go to CatholicMom.com. Here's the link.

1) I fixed a top of The Princess' that was too low-cut. I just sewed the v-neck point about 1/2 an inch & covered the stitches w/ a flower-shaped button.

2) I rearranged our front room, giving me a space for lesson planning & grading papers.

3) I made an imitation of Olive Garden's Zuppa Tuscana...a spicy sausage & potato soup. It turned out delicious! The link I added is the base for the recipe, but I modified it a bit for our family...I used sweet Italian sausage, no bacon or kale (because I didn't have any on hand), & left out the pepper flakes.

Deo Gratias...a New Thanksgiving Meme

 "If the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you, it will be enough." - Meister Eckhart

Since our mutual friend, Judy, has decided to leave the blogging world, Colleen at Thoughts on Grace, has decided to host a new meme on being thankful.

Colleen says, "Deo Gratias is Latin for Thanks be to God. Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big & small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude!"

Each week, I will join Colleen in remembering & sharing the many blessings in my life. This is such a great exercise for me, helping me to focus on the good that truly is happening in my life, no matter how many trials & stresses I may have.

This week, I am focusing on thanksgiving & prayers...
1)  While I am thankful for our safe travels in blowing snow this morning, I pray for those in Detroit involved in a 30 car pile-up, esp. those who lost their lives.

2) While I am thankful for the four beautiful blessings I've given birth to, I pray for those 55 million+ innocent babies murdered through abortion in the past 40 years.

3) While I am thankful for the warmth of my home on this cold, blustery day, I pray for those who are homeless or have to be out in this weather for extended periods of time.

4) While I am thankful that Colleen has started this meme, I pray for & will miss Judy as she withdraws from the internet world to focus on her Faith & family.

5) While I am thankful for & pray for the wonderful opportunity my nephew will have in Milan, Italy for his LDS mission, I pray for our whole family as we go for two years w/out seeing him.

You are more than welcome to join also...just list five or more blessings from God on your blog (or in the comments here or on Colleen's blog) & link back to your blog post on her blog.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review: Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/images/gold_label_virgin_coconut_oil_32oz.jpgUntil just a few months ago, I had never heard of coconut oil. Boy, was I missing out! Since then, I’ve tried several brands.

Recently, I received a 32 oz. jar of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions in return for a review here on my blog. I must admit that so far, it’s my favorite of the brands I’ve tried! (See my Disclaimer below.)

This unrefined coconut oil comes from the Philippines. “Only the highest quality coconuts are hand-picked from each harvest. The volcanic soil of Mt. Banahaw makes these organic coconuts some of the most nutritionally rich coconuts in the world!” (Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil page)

I can vouch for this statement…this coconut oil has a rich flavor & scent. I have used it in numerous recipes & can’t wait to try even more. Some of our family favorites include:

* Homemade granola
* Stovetop Popcorn (it gives the popcorn a hint of coconut flavor that my kids love & the only topping we put on is a dash of salt)
* Skillet-fried potatoes
* Stir-fry chicken (YUMMY!)
* as a spread on toast instead of butter
* Homemade toothpaste

Coconut oil comes in a solid form that can easily be melted for a wide variety of uses. When its temperature reaches above 75 degrees F, it will be a liquid. From articles I've read, it does not hurt the coconut oil to go back & forth in it's form. 

It is one of the healthier oils & can be easily used in place of other oils for baking & cooking. And, as you can see from my list above where I made toothpaste, it's not just for baking. While I haven't tried it yet, I've heard of others using it as a facial cream. No wonder Tropical Traditions carries a variety of sizes...16 oz, 32 oz, 1 gallon, & 5 gallon!

There are hundreds of uses & you can find many recipes on Tropical Traditions website. They also provided this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x28yuVzwrMk

If you've not tried coconut oil yet, I encourage you to give it a shot. While Tropical Traditions may cost more than those coconut oils found in grocery stores, theirs is well-worth the price. They also offer occasional specials, too, so be sure to check their website often. 

(Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Blog of the Year 2012" Award

Blog of the Year Award 2 star jpeg

Thank you Colleen for this blog award!

In turn, I choose the following bloggers to also receive this award. These are all bloggers who have touched me in some way during 2012. Check them out & see how wonderful these ladies are!

Violinmama at A Rosy Outlook on Life
Colleen at Thoughts on Grace (yes, she gave me the award, but she also deserves it right back!)

Here are the rules:
1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen — there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required — and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page: — http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.

5 You can now also join our Facebook group — click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.

6 As a winner of the award — please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award — and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Yes — that’s right — there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once — this award is different!
When you begin you will receive the ’1 star’ award — and every time you are given the award by another blog — you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

 6 stars image

‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Badges
Here are the six badges for you to collect – you can either ‘swop’ your badge for the next one each time you are given the award – or even proudly display all six badges if you are lucky enough to be presented with the award six times!
Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg
Blog of the Year Award 2 star jpeg
Blog of the Year Award 3 star jpeg
Blog of the Year Award 4 star jpeg
Blog of the Year Award 5 star jpeg
Blog of the Year Award 6 star jpeg

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Saint & His Angel

Friday morning, we started off our school day as we normally do...an opening prayer asking God to bless our school, personal intentions voiced by each child, the prayer to St. Michael, & a book. I decided to read a pro-life family favorite, in honor of the March for Life taking place in DC that afternoon.  

Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman is an endearing book about a baby in his/her mother's womb. This baby is comforted by the presence of his/her guardian angel, all while learning about the waters & mother surrounding him/her.

If you've not read or heard of this book, click on the link above RIGHT NOW! Go ahead...I'll wait!

Good, you're back...did you order your copy?

After I was finished reading, we had a little discussion about our own guardian angels & how they are always w/ us, even if we don't see or hear them.

Several hours later, The Saint went into the bathroom & closed the door. After about 10 minutes, he came out & looked at me. He said, "I was just talking to my guardian angel."

I asked if he had gone to the bathroom while in there & he said, "No, we were just talking!"    

Friday, January 25, 2013

What Our Blessings Think About Abortion

Abortion has been on our minds around here lately. (Actually, it's never far from my mind!) We've had the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade earlier in the week & today is the March for Life in Washington DC.

While they do not know all the horrific details (there are some things I wish I didn't even know!), all of our Blessings do understand that abortion is the killing of an innocent baby.  

For the past three years, we have prayed for spiritual babies...praying for an unborn child whose mother is contemplating an abortion. We even name that child. (Cameron, David, Noah, Therese, Lisa, & this time around, we are praying for Michael.) In our lifetime, we will never know if our prayers were affective, but that doesn't change the urgency of our prayers.

Jesus, Mary, & Joseph, we love You very much. We beg You to spare the life of the unborn baby we have spiritually adopted, who is in danger of abortion.

Jesus, may Your peace & Your love embrace the hearts, minds, & souls of the family, friends, & loved ones who encourage this abortion, and lead them all to Your sacred & Eucharistic heart. AMEN.

This morning, we were talking about a women's clinic going in about 10 miles from our home, very close to my in-laws parish. The kids were horrified that there will be a place that provides abortions so near to us & especially near a Catholic church.

I decided to ask each of our Blessings to give me a statement for here on my blog, regarding their thoughts on abortion.

The Prophet, age 12: "A person can go out & murder people & be sent to jail for life. Yet, a pregnant woman is given an option to abort her baby & does not get sent to jail. Why is murder illegal, when abortion is legal? They're both the same!"

The Archangel, age 9: "Why should people abort if they could kill someone who could one day save their life? That baby could have grown up to be a doctor to one day help them."

The Princess, age 7: "Shouldn't abortion be illegal? Because it's just like murdering...you're killing the baby. Why shouldn't you just keep a baby that God has blessed you with?" 

The Saint, age 4: "Bless us, O Lord, and these they gifts. Let the bad guys not kill babies & let Jesus have more life. Amen." (He always starts his prayers w/ Bless us, O Lord!)

Piggybacking on The Princess' last thought, all of them wonder why you would want to give back a perfect gift from God. 

I am so proud of the Blessings' openness & willingness to pray for an end to abortion. Each one of them is a loving, thoughtful, caring child & I pray that they will one day see the end of this atrocity toward the human race.    

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Small Successes are Back!

I'M BACK w/ my Small Successes! YAY!

Recognizing the small things we accomplish each week helps us realize that even when it doesn't seem like it, we are getting things done! To link up your Small Successes each Thursday, go to CatholicMom.com. Here's the link.

1) I did five loads of laundry yesterday AND put most of it away!

2) I've made homemade sandwich bread about every other day for the past week. The recipe makes two loaves 8 in. long loaves that lasts our family about 2 days...that's for sandwiches & eating by itself. So much better than that store-bought stuff that's loaded w/ unhealthy stuff!

3) I've started thinking about school curriculum for next year. I had a sober realization last week...I will have a kindergartener. The Saint is going to be five this summer. It just doesn't seem possible!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Tragedy of January 22, 1973

Forty years ago, today, an ungodly tragedy occurred in our country...abortion was made legal through the Supreme Court case of Roe vs. Wade. Since then, millions of innocent lives have been lost in this horrific procedure...and yes, it IS horrific, worse than any horror movie.

Did you know that the "Jane Roe" in the Roe vs. Wade case was taken advantage of? Her lawyers were specifically looking for a pregnant woman to use as their pawn in a plan to legalize abortion in all states. Norma McCorvey was the young woman they found. She was pregnant w/ her third child & was encouraged to say that she had been raped (a lie) to make their case more firm. Thankfully, she never had an abortion herself (the case was not approved until after her baby was born). That's not the case for the millions of other innocent babies who have become victims since 1973.

Norma McCorvey has since turned her life around & in August of 1998, was received in the Catholic Church. She continues to be active in pro-life activities. I encourage you to read her autobiography, Won by Love.  

"I think it's safe to say that the entire abortion industry is based on a lie....I am dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name." (Norma McCorvey)

I have heard women say that they would not consider an abortion for themselves, but don't feel it's right to take away another woman's right to abort a child. They say that each woman must have her own choice in the matter. What about the baby?  He/she is not given a choice in the matter. As a popular bumper sticker states, "I'm a child, NOT a choice."

ALL life is precious, from conception to natural death. There is absolutely NO reason to have an abortion! There are plenty of services to help women...whether they need healthcare throughout their pregnancy, are looking to place their baby for adoption, or just need someone for moral support.

"Life is the right of every child. Not a special privilege for the fortunate, the planned, and the perfect." (Unknown) 

Abortion hurts more than the baby (& yes, it has been proven that babies in the mother's womb do feel pain). There are the fathers who are losing a child, whether they support the abortion or not. You also have the extended family missing out on that child's life & mourning his/her loss...grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Not to mention the long-term physical & mental health effects for all involved. And what about the doctors & nurses? I can't imagine going home each night, knowing what they did at work that day.

So I ask you to join me in prayer today...
* for those lost souls, the victims of abortion
* for those women who have had an abortion or are thinking about having one
* for those fathers who have lost their babies through an abortion
* for those grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins who have lost a family member through abortion
* for a change of heart in those who support abortion
* for those participating in the March for Life in Washington DC
* and for an end to abortion & greater respect for life in ALL stages

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blog Update (or Where Have I Been Lately?)

Just a quick post to let you know that I'm still here in the blogging world. We've just been a bit busy getting back into the swing of things after the holidays

I have lots of thoughts & ideas rambling around in my mind, so hopefully I'll have some good posts in the upcoming months. I'd really like to get back into writing more about our homeschooling, The Archangel's ADHD journey, our family & faith life, & more.

Also, a note about the memes I've participated in over the years. I am sad to say the dear Judy (host of three of the memes) is no longer in the blogging world. She's felt the call from God to withdraw from many internet activities this year. I fully support her decision to back away & focus more on her faith & family.  

She had written a book called "I Surrender," on surrendering to God's call in six aspects of your life. I think her decision to back away from the internet is an excellent example of that surrender & I applaud her efforts. Many thanks, thoughts, & prayers for Judy. She has been an incredible source of family & faith-filled inspiration & will be greatly missed.

The Small Success meme is still hosted at CatholicMom.com by Sherry. I fully intend to get back to participating in it. Sharing successes has been a great exercise in recognizing that I am accomplishing much in my life, no matter how big or small.

I hope you & your families had a wonderful Christmas & New Year. May God bless you in this new year!