Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekly Minutiae vol. 17~ Baby Bump, Feast of the Annunciation, and Palm Sunday

Just checking in here with a few little tidbits.
Just gonna go ahead and say that my little smile - no, it is not a grimace, it's a smile- is sincere... I was smirking at Anders who climbed up on a stool and photo-bombed my selfie.

I’ve been loving the book For the Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann, that I mentioned in my WM post last week.

A few good quotes:

Just brilliant.

so good.
Can you tell I like this book? :-)

We celebrated a wonderful Feast of the Annunciation on Wednesday night with Steak Frites- meaning, in our case, peppery steak served with restaurant-style french fries- corn on the cob, and Mexican street corn… recipe for street corn inspired by Taco Mamacita, and largely based  was Shauna’s recipe for Esquites in her book Bread and Wine.  Look!!! I used a real, live, actual recipe that I didn't make up or adapt/change for my own purposes!  Can you tell the page in Shauna's book is pretty dirty? ;)

We had Ginger Ale- a special treat for the kiddos- with dinner, and white/blonde oreo cookies for dessert. The whole thing was really good. We might try to do that again.

For Palm Sunday, I invited my two brothers for lunch- Uncle Eric and Uncle Evan, they are both local- and it was a wonderful celebration! Eric is a chef, and he made spicy sausage balls for us as hors d'oevres- they were so good! Evan (I'm sorry, yes this was the best we could do!) is an amazing tennis player, and former landscaping business owner (turned business coach? We shall see....) I don’t know why, but I love Palm Sunday, and I love it even more now. I always look forward to it. Maybe because the readings are very meaningful? And we sang some great hymns this year- "O Sacred Head Surrounded," among them. This marks our fourth year being in the Catholic Church (so hard to believe). We had ham, mashed potatoes, and green beans, with a chocolate trifle for dessert! So thankful for Uncles to share it with.
I can't believe this was two years ago! That baby in the picture is Madeleine! We were meeting my Aunt, Uncle, and maternal Grandma at Newk's to celebrate my 30th birthday. 
Sorry this WM is so short for today!

God bless and have a wonderful Easter holiday. :-)

Friday, March 27, 2015

7 QT~ Last-Minute Easter Basket Ideas

Do you need some original ideas for your Easter baskets, other than candy?  Here's a fun list, based on what we've done in years past, and just a couple of ideas friends threw at me on Facebook. So fun!  I try to keep things simple, read: I try not to go overboard. I have three girls, and one boy, so obviously this will be a little on the girly side!;) But several of these would work for boys, too. I will probably try to spread the love among my kids, while trying to make each basket a fair deal for each child. Age- appropriate, quality, and original were all things I took into consideration while making this list of ideas!


Hairbows and/or Hair-clips
A friend of mine with 4 girls and 1 boy (like me! Almost...) made this suggestion over on a Facebook thread.  I immediately took to the idea, as I am always losing bows and I am always in need of something that will match on my girls and look cute in the photos! ;)  I also like hair-clips, such as these daisies from target.

Shining Light Dolls
I love these pretty vinyl dolls. They're sturdy and hold up in little kid hands, they come with an educational little "card," so your child can learn more, and the options are really beautiful. Not all are available for sale. Check Amazon for more details.
to buy, (Our Lady of Lourdes, pictured) on Amazon


My kids love playdoh, and I think this little chick would look cute in an Easter basket. They also have eggs filled with playdoh- fun!
to buy


I have loved this book Home For a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown for forever. I'm partial to it. I have memories of reading it with my paternal Grandma and my parents when I was little.  There are so many sweet, Spring books and Easter books on the market. I'm picky, though.  We also like The Easter Egg by Jan Brett, and The Story of Easter by Aileen Fisher.  The Easter Story by Patricia Pingry looks good, although we don't own it. I think we may have checked it out from the library.


Purses and/or Money

The Dollar Store also has some pretty, inexpensive purses. This is a great way to carry their dollars to Mass, as they can use their dollar to light a candle in church. Tuck a dollar or some change into their Easter basket for a fun surprise!
to purchase on Amazon


to buy


Easter bonnets and kid gloves are a little old-fashioned. Why not adorn our sweet girls with a pretty necklace instead? They can wear their necklace to church, or out on the town, again and again. Better than a piece of chocolate, in my opinion!
to purchase on Amazon

My First (Communion) Rosary
This just looks so sweet. I love the pastel, so appropriate for Easter season. And it would make a nice addition to their collection in years to come.
to buy

And of course... Candy and Toothbrushes! (If you like Pez candy and dispensers, I know that they carry them at Aldi).  The fun thing about these ideas? Having something they can hold in their hands- something physical- helps them to celebrate the Easter season and remember it in a more tangible and memorable way. I hope this list helps you think of some ideas- even last minute ones!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What We Learned During Lent This Year

Happy Palm Sunday (this weekend!) and Feast of the Annunciation! And Easter! (Almost!) Soon we'll all be saying: He is risen- he is risen indeed!

Now that Lent is indeed almost over, as we're looking back, I have to be honest about these almost 40 days. We took Lent by the horns this year. It was hard. We went full-throttle and gave up a whole bunch of really lovely things.  It was extremely hard at times not to eat that piece of chocolate. But we did learn - oh boy did we learn- a whole bunch. All of us. The whole family!

So, the question remains: what- exactly- did we learn during Lent this year?

1. Prayer

First of all, we learned to pray more.

In the afternoons, when I usually have my cup of tea and read while the kids nap, I often felt a slight depression at having decided to limit caffeine and my intake of hot tea.  During those times, I usually prayed. I found it so hard not to resort to my usual compulsive behavior: checking all of the social media apps on my phone, while sipping a soda or hot beverage. Praying the hours gave me stability and a cohesiveness that I needed in the middle of the day, and as it turns out, more than I needed caffeine. That was not an easy lesson to come, but once prayer became more of a habit, I was so glad.  It was then easier to reroute to a good book in the afternoons and evenings. My one regret is that we didn't take up the habit of praying more as a family. Now we have the impetus to put that on the agenda for Eastertide!

2. Patience

Second, we learned that it can often be hard to wait.

We learned that it can be hard to wait for Sundays- the opportunity to rest from our Lenten penance and sacrifices. We also learned the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. And when he takes something away, he doesn't always give us something in its place.

For example, our babysitter stopped coming somewhat abruptly three or four weeks ago, and I tried to quickly replace her. I had to learn the hard way that that wasn’t going to cut it. The girl I tried to hire forgot about the babysitting job, and ended up being a no-show, and didn't call or text me as to why. I hate admitting it, but I became bitter in the midst of those difficult circumstances. In my bitterness, I begged Stephen, “Please pray for me; pray that she would get in touch.” Soon, she texted me back and said… not sorry, but…. “I don’t think it’s going to work out. I got a job at a Preschool. Have a great week.” I told Stephen I had a very strong temptation that I had to resist to tell her, “Well thanks for the information. And have a great life.” Ha.  I resisted the temptation to say anything like that. I did ask her if she had any  good recommendations for a replacement. I was still bitter later, even though my Mom offered to help out and I even got to run errands that same day, and ended up purchasing Molly’s Easter dress and shoes.

3. Rewards

Third, we learned that God also rewards our sufferings. Not always, but sometimes.

While we gave up TV, and felt quite a bit of empty time and space in it's absence, we had a lot of little rewards for this suffering. For one thing, Spring came early and we had lots of nice, hot sunny days here in the South to enjoy. For another thing, our girls became quite the iPad aficionados. They added new and often hard and impressive games to their repertoire. We saw them work together and learn how to share and take turns. Because of a screaming fit, one daughter didn't get her turn on the iPad one day, but learned from it. And on Sundays, we enjoyed a fun time of relaxation and a good movie each week. (Did you know that Lent is 40 days NOT counting Sundays? So yeah, it is totally legit- even scientifically-  to “rest” from your absention on Sundays).

4. Hoping

Fourth, we are hoping more deeply for Easter Sunday.

Our girls have had a clear picture of fasting, sacrifice, and penance this Lent. In turn, my prayer for them is that they will have an even deeper picture of rejoicing, celebrating, and saying with full confidence and pure sincerity "Alleluia!" on Easter Sunday.  These little penances are temporary, but with each one, we are planting in their hearts the seeds of the celebration that in turn will come their way shortly.

5. Worth it, in the end

Fifth, and finally, Lent was long this year, but all of our little “sufferings” were worth it in the end.

Pride filled my chest on multiple occasions over the little sacrifices my girls  and boy made, often without any asking or complaining.  None of us were perfect- I cheated and had chocolate ice-cream with Molly- and it was not a moment of forgetfulness. It was Baskin Robbins (major booby trap), and I was pregnant, tired, and starving. But all of us learned and grew through this time and I can tell you for sure: we are better people for having kept our Lenten fasts. Bring on social media, tv, caffeine, and chocolate this Eastertide. You’re going to have to roll me down the stairs when it’s over.

The words of one of my favorite hymns has been a great comfort during these forty days. I especially love the third and fourth verses.

Happy Easter, one and all.

Linking up with Jenna @ Call Her Happy
Cross-posting at ACWB

Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekly Minutiae vol. 16 ~ Another Sunny Day, Sacraments, Feast Days, + More


On Monday we did our usual thing, except without Lynde, our sweet babysitter. I took the kids on a playground picnic. It was so nice to see the kids playing on such a nice day after barely “coping” through cold weather/first trimester cabin fever.  I’m feeling better, and according to my doctor, 16 weeks, and you’re golden.  We'll see. And everyone said Amen. :-)

On Tuesday, we met my friend Rochelle and her kids at the playground after Storytime (Reading Group).  It was HOT. Monday and Tuesday it got up to around 78 degrees. Good grief! Shorts get pulled out much earlier here than they did in Maryland, that one thing is for sure.  I am feeling a lot more hope about my current condition. I have great sympathy with those who struggle with blood clots during pregnancy. I've heard it is extremely painful and scary.  I got a  bruise on my leg, and I've had trouble with good circulation, so my heart goes out to people who have suffered in that way!

Our new babysitter started was supposed to start on Wednesday. I was was not able to get writing and errands done like usual.  We had a rainy day at home, replete with another tea party, decorating colored eggs, and reading some books.

We also downloaded ABC mouse app for the girls earlier in the week. We’re doing a one month free-trial just to see how the girls like it. So far, it seems really good.  They have lessons and a whole curriculum for ages 2-7. That covers all three of our girls! They each have an account.  It is very different from other apps, so if you have ever thought about it, I would say definitely download the app to learn more. The commercials on TV, that I’ve seen at my doctor’s office, don’t really do it justice. (As far as I know, the app is mostly if not exactly the same as the website, but I’m not 100% sure).

We also celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (Tuesday) and St Joseph’s Day (Thursday) this week. Feast Days!

I made homemade Irish Soda Bread using this recipe.  We ate it for Breakfast, and the kids all got a special gift. Lessons learned: lollipops for Anders as a breakfast gift? BAD idea.  Getting a toy for only one child (Madeleine, who woke up first and had breakfast and opened her doll...) and books for the the older two? Jealousy will ensue.  But considering the toy, understandable. If you are looking for a good toy for Easter baskets, consider Shining Light Dolls- available on Amazon. They're adorable, Madeleine loves playing with and talking about her St. Patrick doll, and she also learned a lot about the saint from the package card that comes with it. So all in all, a win!

I didn’t have any original ideas myself, so I heavily imitated Kendra Tierney’s (from Catholic All Year) recipe for St. Joseph's Day, because Solemnities are not for being solemn. ;)  We had Butter and Parmesan Pasta, Proscuitto, and Melon (on crostini), and White Wine. YUM.

When Stephen and I went out to eat Friday night in celebration of my birthday, I thought it very funny that, after marveling at the idea of eating off a table (re: Kendra's recipe), Stephen's dinner came out on a wooden plate.  (Salmon with horseradish crust and potato fries with dijon sauce~Stephen, bacon wrapped scallops, mushrooms, garlic butter risotto, and other veggies~me//  a la Terra Mae).

We are really enjoying this nice weather. We have daffodils, narcissus, and crocuses sprouting and blooming in our yard. Today's my birthday, so being home in the South makes it feel like it really is a Spring birthday.

Book Update:

I decided to put a few more things in the rotation. I needed some “nightstand” reading.  I’m slowly reading For the Life of the World by Alexander Schemann. It's been since college classes since I've done any heavy theology reading, but I think it is good for my brain.  It’s about the sacraments and orthodoxy, from an Orthodox perspective. We had it on the shelf; I think Stephen bought it a few years ago.  I’m enjoying it. From what I know, the Orthodox perspective is almost identical to the Catholic one on the issues of the sacraments, but please correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, it's really good.

I finished rereading St. Catherine of Siena, by Sigrid Undset (so good!) and I'm still reading this one (Team of Rivals) about Lincoln, and I'm listening to an audiobook of The Wind in the Willows on free books. Since it is a free recording, people take turns reading different chapters. It actually doesn't bother me; sometimes I get tired of a reader on audiobooks, even if they are really, really amazingly good. So, I call it a win.

I listened to five chapters while I was organizing baby clothes via my new app. Highly recommended! I also downloaded the Librivox app, and the jury is still out on which one is better. I'm following along (read: skimming along to supplement my listening) in the book.

Guess which one is better ?  
Kenneth Grahame vs. Disney? *cough cough* ... ha.

I’m also starting The Kalahari Typing School for Men, and I’m hoping to finish it before we leave for our Easter/Spring Break trip to Texas. (Texas!) I've never been, so I'm excited. We're driving through Mississippi and Louisiana on down to Dallas to visit our sweet friends the Aparicios. God's grace for traveling mercies! Also, just FYI... my blog will be out of commission for at least a week (Good Friday- the following Friday)!

Still plodding along with some of my other {longer} books.

And! While cleaning out the attic, I found some baby girl remnants that made me excited. :-) 

Funny Things They Say:

Black Lady at the dollar store : He has HIS hands full *in reference to Anders*.

After playing it the ABC mouse app, Madeleine said: “I can spell my name. ABC”

Molly: (While riding in our rental car while the other is in the shop): Daddy, I think we should go ahead and get another car.
Molly: So that when I learn to drive, I can have one. . .
Molly: I think we should just go ahead and get another car.

Me: Madeleine, do you know who St. Joseph was?
Madeleine: No.
Me: Mary and Joseph had... who?
Me: Baby Jesus?
Madeleine: (very seriously) Did they have wings?
Me: Well, no...
Madeleine: Were they fairies?
Me: No... this isn't a fairytale, it's a true story, right?
Madeleine: (disappointed) Yeah.

Frances: Guess the animal I'm thinking of. It starts with a G.
Molly: Giraffe.
Madeleine: Guess the animal I'm thinking of, it starts with Giraffe.
Everyone: ...

Madeleine: (after eating her dinner) Mommy, can you make some more cantaloupe?

If you missed it, I was at Real Housekeeping last week, writing about turning my closet into a space for craft storage, and did some link-love last Friday! And don't forget to subscribe to the RH newsletter if you get a chance!

Guest Post
Also, please check out my Guest Post today at Rosie's blog for her "Crafts for Lent" series. It is an Alleluia banner (easy, so that you can make it with your little ones) to add to your Easter decor!
weekly minutiae (min-oo-shuh) updates, funny things they say, photo dumps, "blogging is fun" type deal with all of the fun trivial details that make life fun and interesting. 
Keep current on all of the latest by following me on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and/or Instagram. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

7QT~ 7 Quick Reads

Just a cute picture. ;-)

Good morning! Links it is, for today!  Once I started looking, I had a lot of links for you today, so I'm sorta hacking the 7 quick takes system and dividing them up by categories. I hope you don't mind! Enjoy reading some good links with your morning cup of coffee.



Men and Women Speak Two Different Languages @ Verily

So true. Women are so often concerned with different things... fashion, nail polish, celebrities... how could we not speak a different language from men?

Pope Francis' 7 Tips for Being a Good Father @ Aleteia

So good, and so true. Take it from the horse's mouth.


natural health

Unnatural Healing @ Becoming Peculiar

I resonate with her thoughts so deeply, and I think she expresses the conundrum in our modern society about as eloquently as could possibly be.



Lenten Lessons @

I had some similar reflections of my own last week (which was cross-posted at ACWB). Colleen just says it well here, as she usually does!



How to Save Time While Shopping @ Life as Mom

I love her advice to "take an ordered list." How many times have I had to "circle back" to the produce aisle because of a disorganized list?



Technology in Our Homeschool @ Life Your Way

It's a delicate balance, but this blogger seems to get it.

7 Ways to Deal With Internet Trolls @ Filling My Prayer Closet

If you read one link in my list, read this!

What I've Learned in Almost 8 Years of Blogging @ Entrefamily

Such a great site to recommend, and this one post is full of so much wisdom!



Where Are All the Homeschooled Highschoolers? at Fimby (Fun in my backyard)

That's a good question, and I don't know. I followed these bloggers as they hiked the AT; a lot of wisdom and a fun blog, all told. This is a good place to start, I think.



Audrey Assad's Amazing Talk for Women @ The Porn Effect

After listening to this, I couldn't not share it. It is so important for our time, and her vulnerability will help and give hope to countless people. Make time to listen sometime soon!


Funniest Stock Photos Ever

My favorite is the angry man. BAhaha.

Echoes of the Divine by Melanie Jean Juneau (writer for Catholic Mom and ACWB, among many others) - this is actually an ebook that I just recently downloaded. I really enjoyed it. She gives little snippets from mothering nine children, with touches of profundity and even some commentary on the "fountain of youth," and how to find it. Highly recommended!

Go see Kelly for more quick takes!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real~ A Tea Party Birthday Party + St. Patrick's Day


Spring has sprung!

Pretty days means more time at the playground. And that means days that go by swiftly.
We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with flowers from our garden, two new books, and the St. Patrick Shining light doll.


The girls have been diligently adding to our Easter art door. We are surrounding our Lenten map with pretty art. 

Frances' painting looks like the empty tomb!
Madeleine has become amazing at watercoloring with salt!

My sweet friend brought her girls to meet us at the English Rose for tea in celebration of me turning 32. It was going to be a tea for just the girls, but at the last minute everyone came, not excluding all the boys and husbands and my Dad! It was a huge party, but it was really fun. Fun!

We really did have a fabulous time! The food there is always so, so good. 

The kids found this brick choo choo nearby and were obsessed with playing on it!

We have a big parking lot near our house, and a tractor trailer has been there so long, it is sinking into the pavement, literally. You know you're an urban dweller when your kids play in dirty parking lots, under semi trucks. ;0) By the way, there's not an actual truck, just the trailer part. :-)

The girls looking at a beetle. Little did I know the iPhone would make the picture.

He was huge!


Today I have an article up at Real Housekeeping. I hope you check it out! Oh and you know how at the end of the article, I mention an Easter card that I made? Here you go.

And bonus! Here is an Easter mix, to get you excited about all things Easter, Spring, bunnies, eggs, and old hymns to live by, oh my! I've been listening to it for several weeks! I also included my Easter mix from last year!

Go see Like Mother, Like Daughter for more -pretty, happy, funny, real!

An Article at Real Housekeeping + Easter Music

Today I have an article up at Real Housekeeping. I hope you check it out!

(oh you know at the end of the article, I mention an Easter card that I made? Here you go).

And bonus! Here is an Easter mix, to get you excited about all things Easter, Spring, bunnies, eggs, and old hymns to live by, oh my!
 I just have to say that whenever I'm making dinner or cleaning the kitchen or doing dishes, Peter Cottontail by The Golden Orchestra pretty much just turns my mood right around. And somehow having that followed by Karma Police just is amazing, for some reason.
Want to see my mix from last Easter? Look! Johnny Cash again!