Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Prayers and #candlesforCourtney

I've been following Mary Lenaburg's blog Passionate Perseverance for years now.  Though I've never met Mary or Miss Courtney, I feel like I know them.  Courtney is in her final hours at this point.  If you can, please light a candle for Courtney (#candlesforCourtney) and offer up a few prayers for a peaceful passing for Courtney and also some prayers for her family.  Here's the most recent blog post from Mary.  Join me in lifting the Lenaburgs in prayer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Targeted Homilies

There are lots of times when I'm at Mass where I feel like the homily is so specific that it seems as if it's practically targeted at me.  Most of the time it doesn't bother me because the topic is still broad enough that it's not like it has completely zeroed in and locked on me as it's specific target.  And let's be real, no one is writing a homily with me in mind, at least I hope they're not.  I suspect those homilies that seem to really hit home are just the Holy Spirit at work trying to make sure I get the point.  That wouldn't surprise me given how stubborn I can be.

So the point of this is simply that I've noticed this less than awesome trend where I go to confession, which is pretty much every other week for the most part, and a few days or even a week later a homily comes along that is so close to what I was told by the priest in the confessional that I'm left wondering if perhaps Father thought I wasn't really listening to what he said the first time around. (99% of the time I really am listening and spend days afterward reflecting on it.  Putting it into practice, however, is another story.)  But mostly, I find my thoughts drifting towards wondering if the look on my face matches the internal cringing feeling that washes over me.  Even more uncanny is how well the readings for Mass also seem to fall into place with reiterating whatever it was that I was told in the confessional.  Is this all just mere happenstance, or is there something more going on?

Whether it's deliberate or pure coincidence I will say that I certainly drives home the point.    Who knows maybe I'm such a frustrating work in progress that I'm not the only one who thinks I make the most painfully slow spiritual progress.

What I found interesting at Mass this morning was how the homily appeared to be expounding on a couple of points that were mentioned to me on Saturday.  In particular, how using Mass almost as an escape to a bit of peace in my otherwise frenetic day isn't the right way of approaching it, even if it is essentially what keeps me focused and centered on my end goal.  So if nothing else, more clarity was given, which is probably a good thing.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} My Little Man

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life...

Can you believe how big my handsome little Man Man is?  He'll be six month's old on All Saints' Day.  His expressive eyebrows remind us of Muppet characters.

You wouldn't know this thanks to my incredibly sparse blogging, but every Thursday since Anthony was one week old, I've been taking pictures of him on the chair in the nursery with this bear.  Today he decided after a few pictures that he was going to snuggle with his bear.

{Real Funny}
Bryan snapped this picture of Anthony tonight.  I love his expression.  This little guy has to be our most expressive baby ever.   Oh and did you notice that he's sitting all by himself?  Last week he figured out how to sit up on his own and now he does it quite frequently.  A few days ago he started getting up on his hands and knees and rocking back and forth.  He'll probably be crawling soon enough!

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Making an All Saints Costume from Elsa

My two older daughters participate in our parish's youth groups and this is the time of year where they have events where they can come dressed up as a saint.  Last year Madeline dressed as St. Cecelia by taking a pretty pink princess costume and adding a golden harp made from cardboard.  Ellie dressed up as St. Elizabeth of Hungary using a queen costume we had already and simply adding a basket with some plastic rolls and tissue paper flowers.

When Ellie decided that she wanted to be Elsa from Frozen for Halloween I started wondering if there was a way for me to turn this costume into a saint costume.  So after thinking about it and doing a bit of google searching, I decided that this pretty blue costume might work as an Our Lady of the Snows costume.  So with the addition of a swaddled Bitty Baby and a bridal veil that had been given to us years ago as a possible first communion veil, we have a nice costume for a Marian title that oddly enough a lot of people don't seem to know about..

Ellie likes her Our Lady of the Snows costume and I'm pretty excited that her Halloween costume will do double duty this year.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quick Takes: On My Mind


I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do.  I really wish I could blog a bit more since this space is pretty much where I record milestones the kids hit and things of that nature.  I feel like I'm totally dropping the ball with recording what has been going on with Anthony.  Can you believe he's already five months old?

We have the first quarter of the school year behind us.  This week we began the second quarter.  I'm waiting on some grades for Madeline but all of Ellie's grades have come back and she's done incredibly well with everything.  Her lowest grade for the marking period was an A- and she's very proud of herself.

About a month ago we looked into getting Katie evaluated to see if she could benefit from speech therapy since she doesn't talk a lot.  I took a week and a half for the place we called to let me know that there is about a four month wait to get an appointment.  The whole thing has me feeling frustrated.  I am noticing that she's speaking more but it seems like she has some days where she picks up a lot of words and then we hit a dry patch where she seems to prefer not using those words.  I am finding that she's talking more now than she did two months ago, but I still feel like she's behind.  The most frustrating part is knowing that she can talk but pretty much chooses not to.  


Anthony is an active little guy.  He log rolls when he wants to get to one of us or a toy.  Last Saturday he was in the family room playing on a quilt with some toys and he rolled into the kitchen where Bryan and the girls were doing something.   He will even just roll around the perimeter of a room to play with different toys.  He certainly likes to explore!

Madeline and Ellie have soccer tournaments this weekend so they'll be busying playing lots of games.  I started feeling a bit under the weather last night so I think the little ones and I will probably stay home.  I'm not sure if it's my allergies that are bothering me or if I'm coming down with a cold or something.


For the past month we've been trying to get Anthony to eat baby food and he's not the least bit interested.  The first few times we tried giving him food he ate a little bit of it.  We had one night where he ate a decent amount and then about an hour and a half later when I was nursing him he had a very scary spitting up incident where he projectile vomited for what seemed like several seconds with garden hose velocity.  He actually seemed limp towards the end of the episode.  It ranks as one of the scariest parenting moments I've had.  He seemed very shaken up about it and I certainly was, too.  Ever since then he pretty much refuses to even swallow anything I give him on a spoon.  If I put it in his mouth he pushes it out and won't open his mouth.  I'm hoping that he'll be willing to try food sometime in the near future.  I think he might associate baby food with the scary vomiting incident.  Can a five month old make a connection like that?  It's the only thing that seems to make sense.


Katie will turn three next week.  It's so hard to believe that she's already that old.  It seems like the older I get the faster time seems to fly.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Review: Sacred Fire

As a convert to Catholicism, I have encountered more than a few devotions which I had or have a hard time wrapping my mind around.  In most cases, delving deeper into why that particular devotion is practiced or learning the origins of it has been enough to essentially pull me in.  In a few instances even after having read several books on the subject matter I'm still left feeling skeptical.  For me, the Sacred Heart has been one of those devotions that I simply didn't get, yet, at the same time I've felt more and more of a pull to learn more about it.  At times, I felt like it was something that was following me just waiting for me to finally get it.  Over the past year or so, I've gained a better understanding of the Sacred Heart, but still I felt like I needed more clarity, and that clarity, for me, has come in the form of a book called Sacred Fire Practicing Devotion to the Heart of Jesus.

Philip Michael Bulman's book essentially takes you right down to the roots of the Sacred Heart devotion and explains it so well that everything seems to fall into place and make perfect sense.  The book is arranged in two parts.  The first part: A Heart Open to All  of Humanity gives us the background story of this devotion and the stories of some of the saints who have revealed so much about the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The second part of the book did a beautiful job of explaining the elements of practicing the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

I had the hardest time putting this book down as I read it.  It's a wealth of information on the roots and history of the Sacred Heart devotion and I found the more I read, the deeper my appreciation for the devotion grew.  I've read several books on the Sacred Heart and I'd have to say that this one did the best job of getting to the heart of the devotion and explaining it in such a way that was so simply put that my previous hang ups surrounding the devotion dissipated.

The book is an enjoyable read and one I certainly recommend for someone who is interested in understanding more about the Sacred Heart devotion.  I came away from this book very happy that I had invested the time in reading it.

I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.  You can take a peek inside this book at Amazon.com.

Friday, September 12, 2014

We Have a Teenager!

Every year on the anniversary of 9/11 we watch some of the documentaries that tell about that day where our world as we knew it was forever changed.  Even now, thirteen years later, that day still seems surreal.  I remember much of what I did that day quite vividly and I suspect part of that is due to the fact that it was also the day I went into labor with our first child.  In the small hours of 9/12 less than eighteen hours after the first plane hit the World Trade Center I was holding a small little baby in my arms and marveling at how amazing it was that Bryan and I actually had a tiny baby girl.  We had no idea what adventures lay ahead of us.

That little baby is no longer little.  She's grown so much and while she may drive us crazy at times, she also amuses us with her antics, her quirky outlook on life and her many quotable comments which those of you who happen to be my friend on FaceBook have no doubt seen.  From "crapple juice" (that's cran-apple to the rest of us) to "ravenous bears" striking poses in populated areas, she always keeps us laughing.

One can only imagine what the upcoming year will have in store for us.  I know she'll be confirmed sometime in the spring and she'll also graduate from 8th grade.  Before her next birthday she will officially begin high school.   I'm sure there will be plenty more Madeline quotes along the way and many more stories to be told.  It's always an adventure!

So happy birthday Madeline!  I hope your first year as a teenager is a fun one!  Try not to drive me insane....at least not deliberately.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Where are the voices?

Of all the things in recent modern history, what sticks with me, perplexes me and even haunts me frequently enough when I sleep is the Nazi Holocaust.  From about 6th or 7th grade on up I learned so much about the Holocaust in school.  I went to a college that at the time was one of only a handful in the nation offering a degree in genocide and holocaust studies.  One of the professors, who you would regularly see around campus was a concentration camp survivor.  He was a voice who was well known for making sure the atrocities committed would not be forgotten.  I honestly thought that such atrocities were something we wouldn't see repeated in my lifetime.  But, I was incorrect in my assumptions.

Even people like myself who sort of live under a rock and don't watch the news very often (I do read it online.) are aware of the crimes against humanity being committed over in Iraq and Syria courtesy of ISIS.  For the life of me, I cannot understand why this hate filled group isn't being stopped.  As a mother, I'm sickened when I read stories about children being systematically beheaded.  I try to imagine how anyone can bring themselves to slaughter innocent men, women and children, but the fact is there's no way to rationalize such a crime or the thought process behind it.  It's just flat out evil and those carrying out these acts are monsters.

Please take a moment to  watch the video below hear what Cardinal Wuerl has to say about this genocide.  He raises an important question: Where are the voices?  Watch the video and then be one of the voices.  Don't be silent, silence is as good as condoning these atrocities.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Long Day Two Hours In

Do you ever have days where so much goes wrong so quickly that instantly a day that you thought would be decent enough becomes just the opposite?  I woke up to the alarm this morning and still felt tired, but I wanted to get to Mass because it's St. Augustine's feast day and he's one of my saints, so I knew I had to go.  Not going would be like bailing on your friend's birthday party because you wanted to take a nap.  And while he's not going to give me crap for it, I will.

By all accounts, this should have been a great morning.  Anthony slept through the night, I got to bed a a reasonable time so I had plenty of sleep, even if the alarm clock and I didn't agree on the waking time, and I was right on track for getting everything done in time to get out the door for Mass with one kid, Anthony.

Best laid plans, right?  Obviously something had to go wrong.  You know why?  Because I thought to myself that I had a decent day yesterday all things considered.  I didn't whine and complain to Bryan when he was at the office for about 12 hours and gone for about 14.  I didn't lose it with any of the kids yesterday and I could have several times, but I didn't.  I get some bonus points for being more patient than usual, right God?  If not, that's cool. just make sure You remember I pretty much rocked it yesterday.

So the morning started to unravel right as I got out of the shower,  because I refuse to count getting annoyed that my book was once again missing when I sat down this morning to read it as part of the long two hour day.  Worse things could happen.  So I step out of the shower and almost instantly I hear that the baby is awake and not happy.  He's hungry and I'm rushing as fast as I can to get dried and dressed so I can go feed him.  Once he's cared for I go to wake Katie and discover that she once again has opted to use a pull up for #2 instead of the toilet.   I expressed my displeasure.  And then proceeded to do waste management which included a bath minutes before heading out the door.  Awesome way to start the day!

Ellie was dressed and ready so she was coming along with me and Anthony to Mass.  Just as I'm walking out the door, Katie who just sat down for breakfast started crying because she wanted to come, too.  So I had Madeline grab shoes for her and a granola bar and all four of the kids headed to Mass with me.

We got to Mass on time, so that felt like a success.  Katie was relatively well behaved, although she did have a few moments where she was a bit too loud for my liking.  And then, out of nowhere Anthony got me with a massive spit up that soaked my pants.  It just kept coming and coming.  I honestly don't know how this baby gains as much weight as he does with the amount of spitting up he does.  It doesn't add up.

By the time Mass was over I was exhausted and ready to call it a day.  Not exactly how I want to feel at 8:38am.  I'm hoping the rest of the day is a little less trying.  I know it's going to be a long day just because tonight's a soccer practice night which means the little ones and I will be hanging out while Bryan and the older girls are out of the house for about three hours this evening.  Feeling exhausted with 12 hours to go isn't exactly encouraging.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Theme Thursday: Google Image

Well this was an easy Theme Thursday!  This week's theme is Google Image.  Since my last name is a bit on the more common side I googled myself using my name as I have it up on my personal FaceBook account, even though I go by my married last name and not a hyphenated version of my maiden and married last names.
The first image that shows up is this one of me and Bryan which happens to be my current FaceBook profile picture:

Here's a screen shot of what came up:
First two pictures are of me, followed by my Good Friday FB status the past couple of years and a nice surprised picture of Bryan on the far right.

Go check out Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday fun.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

It seems like there's always something going on around here.  It's like there's never time to sit down and just write a blog post, or I start to write one and suddenly there's a queue of kids asking me what feels like a thousand questions.

Last week I had the hardest time sleeping for a couple of days and after two nights of only four hours of sleep each night I was completely exhausted.  Despite feeling incredibly tired I then found that I just couldn't sleep.  It wasn't until Friday that I started to be able to catch up on sleep.  I'm just now starting to feel like I've had enough sleep to function properly.

I think were now a laundry generating machine.  Anthony spits up so much that I think he creates a load of wash a day all on his own.  He's on Zantac, but it's not helping with the spit up as much as I would like.  This morning at Mass he had such a massive spit up during the Our Father right as we said "Thy will be done" that there was an audible splash and enough dripping off my arm that our friends about seven pews back commented on the dripping spit up after Mass.   Lovely.

That Mass was just a fun-filled 45 minutes of mortification.  Between Katie acting like a two year old, which she is, but she really ramped it up this morning, and Ellie grabbing Katie by the head during a novena to move her out of the way, along with Anthony's excessive spitting up, I was ready to go crawl into a hole and stay there for the rest of the day.

Later in the day the dog decided to get stuck under the shed.  If it were left to me, I would have just let him try to figure out how to get unstuck on his own, but Bryan and the girls are much nicer to him than I am.  It took Bryan a little while but he rescued the dog who then tried to go right back under the shed again.  I imagine there must be something under there that has him very interested.

This Friday the girls will wrap up their third week of school.  We're 1/12 of the way through the school year!  So far it's going well.  They're getting everything done for the most part.  I decided to just have the girls work off the lesson plans that Seton sent us rather than copy them into an excel spreadsheet for the week.  I like it better this way, but Madeline doesn't.  This way makes it harder for her to ignore the details that don't fit on the spreadsheet.

Soccer has one again taken over.  Two nights a week the girls and Bryan go off to soccer practice while I stay home with Katie and Anthony.  Being alone with the two little ones at the end of a long day can be exhausting.  I've seen more Sofia the First, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Cinderella than I care to remember.  I've also read Katie's favorite Tomie DePaola books to the point that even the newer ones we're recently added are almost memorized by me.  I have quite the collection of children's books memorized.  Too bad I can't use that awesome mom skill to remember what we need to buy at Target or the grocery store!

I think it's possible that me eating dairy foods may be making Anthony's reflux worse.  I've been noticing that when I eat a lot of dairy that he spits up a lot more than on the days when I haven't, particularly a day or two after not having much or any diary.  So, of course, after noticing this yesterday I sat down and had Tostitos and sour cream--a lot of sour cream.  Today I spent all day wiping up copious amounts of cheesy spit up.  So I'm going to try going dairy free for a few days to see if there's a change.  I really don't want to have to possibly eliminate dairy, but I'd like him to not be spitting up all the time.  So if I must, I'll stop eating it.  I'll just have to figure out what to eat instead if diary does turn out to be the culprit.

Is it bad that Anthony will be four months old in eleven days and I still haven't ordered birth announcements?  I sent them out for the girls but just never got around to doing them for Anthony.  I feel like it might be silly to send them out now, but at the same time I hate to not have a birth announcement for him when I had one for each of his sisters.

That's pretty much the nickel tour of what's been going on around here.  Nothing spectacular, just regular everyday craziness.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Curriculum for Sale

I'm trying to make sure I don't wind up on an episode of Hoarders some day, so I'm linking up with Jessica's Curriculum Sale Blog Hop and selling some books that have just been taking up space on the bookshelves.  Prices and condition details are listed below the pictures.  If you're interested in any of the books, leave a comment with your email address or email me at Karen@KareninMommyland.com.  Prices do not include shipping.

Teaching Textbooks Math 7 Brand New (removed from original shrink wrap but never used, CDs are still sealed in their package).  $80 or best offer (I paid $149.90 back in January 13).

Harcourt Trophies Spelling Grade 5 New, has some shelf wear. $5

6th grade basic skills workbook, new has some shelf wear. $4

Harcourt Trophies Reading Text.  I can't recall if this is 2nd or 3rd grade.  It's in fair shape and has some water marks on the bottom of the pages.  $5
Pearson Connected Mathematics 2 Covering and Surrounding (6th grade)  Very good condition, there are a few stray marks inside the book.  $3
Glenco Language Arts Grade 6, Cover is a bit worn but the pages are free of any writing.  Book has a contact paper book cover. $4
Faith and Life Grade 1 Student Text; New I accidentally brought two copies of this book for Ellie three years ago.  Oops!  $6
Scott Foresman Building A Nation 5th Grade Social Studies, Good used condition $6
Scott Foresman Mathematics 3rd Grade, Good used condition $6

Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Comic Book

Sometimes if you're looking to pull kids away from the TV during the summer, a comic book might be just the thing to lure them away from the TV and get them reading.  The other day a few new books showed up at our house and both my 9 year old and my 12 year old were instantly drawn to the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Comic Book.  I saw my opportunity to get each of them away from the TV for a little bit and suggested the each of them read the book.

My nine year old picked up the book first and spent a good forty-five minutes to an hour reading the book and looking at the illustrations.  A few times she came over to show me a part that she really liked or to tell me that  a part of the story that she already knew was in the book.  Once she finished the book she gave me a quick run down on the life of St. Kateri.  So she got away from the TV, she read and she learned a few things about St. Kateri that she didn't already know.  Awesome!

Before handing the book over to my twelve year old, I decided that I'd take a little break and read the book.  After all, I can't review it if I don't read it.  Having just read about St. Kateri in Fearless: Stories of the American Saints, the story was fresh in my mind and I wanted to see how this little comic book stacked up.  I'd have to say that this comic book does her life's story justice.  It doesn't get into all the nitty gritty details, but it does a pretty good job of covering all the important details.  Certainly a great spring board for getting kids acquainted with St. Kateri.  I also really enjoyed the comic book drawings.  It's a fun book to read and I know kids will enjoy reading this story over and over.

My twelve year old liked the book, too.  She breezed through the book quite a bit faster than her younger sister and reported back to me with some of the parts of her life story that she thought stuck out and she also noticed some of the foot notes sprinkled throughout the story.

Both of the girls enjoyed the book and so did I.  I'd like to see more books just like this on other saints.  I think this is a great way to introduce kids to the saints and because of all the comic book illustrations, I think the stories will make more of a lasting impression on young readers.

I was provided with a review copy of Saint Kateri Tekakwith Comic Book by the publisher, Pauline Kids, in exchange for my honest review.  Visit Pauline Media for more information on this title or to order a copy.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Review: I Forgive You

Well it looks like the author of Forever You has done it again!  Nicole Lataif's latest book I Forgive You is another beautiful book for young children with a powerful message.  About two years ago I reviewed Forever You and the book has been one that has been read to my youngest daughter countless times and has also been read to my religious education students and was even requested to be read again after the first time last year's class heard it.  After reading through I Forgive You, I know that this book will be a hit with the kindergarten crowd.

I Forgive You teaches children the importance of forgiving others and in cases where you can't forgive, going to God and asking for His help in forgiving.  The story has such a beautiful message that will help little ones to realize that no matter what we do God is always there loving us and ready to forgive us when we make mistakes.  The concept of forgiving and being forgiving is so important to instill in children while they're still very young and this book nails it!  I have no doubt that this beautiful story will touch many, both old and young who read it.

The book is geared to children ages four to seven, so pre-K through 2nd grade or thereabouts.  It's not an incredibly long or wordy story, so I think even younger children who are accustomed to listening to stories longer than a board book will have the attention span to sit and listen to it.  My two and a half year old happily sat and listened to this book and then spent some more time afterwards looking at the pictures.

The illustrations in this book are vivid and full of interest.  They're very nicely done and I like how the bold colors capture your attention without competing with the message on the page.

Very much like Forever You, I Forgive You is told in a rhyming verse style which typically goes over quite well with the little ones.  The repeating "Wherever you go, Whatever you do..." will stick with the children throughout the story and hopefully beyond.

I can see this book as being helpful in helping to prepare the hearts and minds of young children who are getting ready for first reconciliation.  It has such a soothing message about our God being all forgiving that it will be surely be a comfort to those children who might have some trepidation or concern about first reconciliation.

I certainly recommend adding a copy of I Forgive You to your child's bookshelf.  It is another excellent title in the Faith Foundations collection from Pauline Media.

I was provided with a review copy of I Forgive You by the publisher, Pauline Kids, in exchange for my honest review.  You can learn more about this title or purchase a copy by visiting Pauline Media.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review: God Is With Me

I'm always on the look out for good storybooks I can read to my younger children as well as my kindergarten religious education class.  Recently I received a sweet book entitled God Is With Me Always and Everywhere.  The title is one of the books in the Faith Foundations line from Pauline Books.  The books in this line seek to help build the foundation of faith in young children.

In this book children learn that from their baptism day onward, God is with them every day and everywhere they go.  The story has sweet illustrations and a rhyming style that will keep little ones engaged.

The book is a good introduction for little ones who are just beginning to learn about God and his loving care for each and every one of us.  As a kindergarten catechist, I feel this book will be an excellent story to share with my little students, especially those who will be haven't had much or any exposure to their faith prior to coming to religious education.  This story will help to plant seeds of faith and a confidence that they are loved by God.

The story is well suited to children in the preschool to first grade age range, but the story is short enough that even toddlers can enjoy it.  My two and a half year old likes this book and has brought it to me to read several times.

I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher, Pauline Kids, in exchange for my honest review.  Visit Pauline Media for more information on this title or to purchase.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review: The Catholic Baby Name Book

I don't know if this is the case with most parents, but I always find naming my baby to be a weighty task.  Here you are charged with naming a person for the rest of his or her life and that's no small matter.  When my husband and I are picking out names for our children we are looking for names that are family names and names of saints.  We like family names because they give our children a connection to their lineage and saint names because we want them to have a patron saint as a holy example to follow.

I didn't exactly rely on baby name books with my first three children.  Between having a great selection of female family names and wonderful corresponding patron saints for those names, we really didn't have to fret too much over the names for the girls.  But, throw a boy into the mix and you get one set of stumped parents, especially when most names we like wind up with initials that spell things that aren't exactly monograms you'd want your child to shoulder for life.
So when it came to naming Anthony, we needed a bit of naming help so I turned to The Catholic Baby Name Book.  This book offered thousands of baby name suggestions.   So we took our lists of names we were considering and then browsed through this book to see if there were any other names we liked better or would work as a middle name.  Then I took a look to see which saints were associated with the names we liked as well as what each name means.  Ultimately, we ended up sticking with the names we were originally considering, but it was nice to learn a little bit more about the names we were choosing for our son.

These days there are all sorts of "trendy" names out there that have no real meaning and that can muddy the waters a bit if you're hoping to find a name for your child that is complimentary to your faith.  So with that in mind, this book is nice because you may find that the trendy name you're considering, if you go that route, actually has a connection to a saint.  That was the case with my godson's name.  There isn't a St. Miles, but when we looked up his name in this book we found that his name is actually derived from Milles and there is a St. Miles from the 4th century A.D.

So I guess the bottom line here is this:  If you need help coming up with a baby name, or you want to find a name for your baby that is relevant to the Catholic faith, then this is a good pick.

I was provided with a copy of The Catholic Baby Name Book by the publisher, Ave Maria Press, in exchange for my honest review.   Visit Ave Maria Press for more information on this book.  You can also purchase a copy of this book by visiting Amazon.com.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Christmas in July Brother Francis Review

Today is "Christmas in July" so I'm going to tell you about another Brother Francis DVD that I should have reviewed about seven or eight months ago.  Why did I take so long?  Well, there was the pregnancy related exhaustion and the nausea which was induced by looking at any sort of screen or text, and then there was the serious strep A infection from the cut on my finger just weeks before Christmas that posed a nice threat to both the baby and my well being which pretty much limited my using my right hand for a couple of weeks.  And by the time all was once again well with me, Christmas had come and gone and Lent was on it's way.  Sigh.  So that's the nickel tour of why I'm reviewing a Christmas DVD and companion coloring book in July.

In Brother Francis The King is Born children will learn about the true meaning of Christmas.  As with other episodes of Brother Francis, I love how well our faith is explained to little ones in a way that is right on their level and in a way that they will take to heart.  In this episode, Brother Francis beautifully explains how Christmas isn't just about getting gifts and having parties, but rather, it's all about celebrating the birthday of Jesus.  The segment where he explains this is sure to reach little ones.

As children watch this DVD they will learn the story of the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah and the birth of John the Baptist, along with the stories of the annunciation, the visitation, the nativity of Our Lord and the presentation.  Throughout the episode there are some great songs some of which, you and your child may already be familiar with.

My youngest daughter was glued to my laptop when I put this DVD on for the first time since Advent.  She's seen this episode many times but I've never seen her so drawn to it like she was today.  When it was over she wanted to see more.  How awesome is that?  As a parent, you can't help but be thrilled when your child wants to watch such good program that helps in laying a solid foundation of faith.  I really can't recommend the Brother Francis series enough.

When I received the DVD of "The King is Born," I was also sent a copy of the companion Coloring & Activity Book.  The book is filled with coloring pages and activities that are appropriate for children between the ages of pre-school and second grade.

This DVD is great not only for sharing with your own children toddler through age ten, but it's also ideal for a religious education class.  I have shown several of the previous Brother Francis episodes to my kindergarten religious education classes over the years and they're always a hit with the kids. 

I was provided with review copies of The King is Born DVD and the companion Coloring & Activity Book by the publisher, Herald Entertainment, for the purpose of this review.  Visit Brother Francis Online for more information or to place an order.  Christmas will be here before you know it!  This episode will be the perfect way the help prepare the hearts and minds of little ones  for the Christmas season this Advent.

Book Review: The Story of Saint John Paul II A Boy Who Became Pope

Sometimes when children's books arrive on my front doorstep I'm the one who's the most excited about the book.  When a copy of The Story of Saint John Paul II A Boy Who Became Pope showed up at my house shortly after his canonization I was really excited.  St. John Paul II is easily one of my favorite saints.  Picture me doing my best Buddy the Elf impression when he heard that "Santa Claus is coming to town.  10AM tomorrow morning.  10AM..." when he started screaming "Santa!  I know him!" Only 1. I didn't scream Santa; rather I squealed with delight, and 2. I didn't personally know JPII like Buddy knew Santa, but he was pope for most of my life and I've always liked him, even when I wasn't Catholic.  You get the idea.  SUPER.  EXCITED.

So if just seeing the book got such a strong reaction you're probably wondering about the story, right? Of course, you are.  Well let me say that the story does not disappoint.  The story beautifully recalls the life of St. John Paul II from his very beginnings to the day he becomes pope.  The story is told on a level that will grab the attention of children in the 5-10 year old age range.  I read the story to my 2 1/2 year old and she happily sat and listened to the story and looked at the pictures.  So even younger preschoolers who are accustomed to listening to longer story books would enjoy this book.  I'm already looking forward to sharing this book with my kindergarten religious education class during the upcoming school year.

The illustrations in this book are simply beautiful.  Page after page is filled with rich illustrations.  I really liked how each of the illustrations matched the mood of the story unfolding on the page.  Not all picture books have illustrations that correlate with the story as well as this one does.  Children will enjoy looking at the pictures while listening to the story.    

Aside from the beautiful story and illustrations, I really like that this story is told in such a way that will help younger children to know St. John Paul II who is fondly remembered by so many of us who remember when this saint was alive.  Since the story follows JPII from infancy to his pontificate, it nicely illustrates to youngsters that it's never too early to start striving for sainthood.

I was provided with a copy of The Story of Saint John Paul II A Boy Who Became Pope by the publisher, Pauline Kids.  Visit Pauline Media for more information on this title as well as a sneak peek inside the book.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What We're Reading Wednesday

I think it's been ages since I've joined the WWRW link up, but here I am.  Between not really being able to read while pregnant and then being insanely busy adjusting to life with a new baby while directing VBS for our parish I've been in what I'd call a reading drought.  But this past week or so I've been able to carve out time for books and it's been amazing.

Anthony, like Katie, is content to sit and listen to longer story books.  Yay!  The end of last week and throughout this week we've been pulling out some of our old favorites like Strega Nona, The Clown of God, and Pascual and the Kitchen Angels.  Katie's love of Tomie DePaola is still going strong.

The other day she decided to break out of her usual standbys and give Big Anthony: His Story and Strega Nona's Magic Lessons a try.  Both are nice stories and I like how we get to see more of Big Anthony's antics.  Big Anthony's failure to follow directions keeps us all amused, but I'm finding that Strega Nona is really such an amazing example of patience.  She could so easily tell Big Anthony to hit the road and never come back, but she's exudes a quiet patience with him and just bears his many faults and keeps him around.  I know these books are written for kids, but I'm obviously getting something from the story, too.

Reading these stories around Anthony is funny.  Every time I say Anthony or Big Anthony while reading he looks around and raises his eyebrows.  Evidently he recognizes his name already.  How cool is that?

I wrapped up reading Fearless: Stories of the American Saints this weekend.  I really enjoyed the book and will be reviewing it soon.  I felt like I was reading the backstory of many saints who are mentioned in Madeline's 8th grade Seton History book.  Love that I was able to essentially prepare for her history class and read a book for my own enjoyment at the same time.  This book won't be available until the Fall, but it's worth adding to your reading list.

So for years and years now I've heard people going on about G.K. Chesterton.  I've read quotes here and here and read a few excerpts but nothing has really pulled me in, but still I've wondered what all the fuss was surrounding him.  I've gone down this road with J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and each time I've traveled this road I've been happy that I have.  So last night I started reading G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy.  What I've read so far I like but I'm going to wait until I done with the book to say one way or another whether or not I like it.  I approach authors like this with the assumption that I'm not going to like their work, and then, if I do, it's a bonus.

Visit Housewifespice to check out what others are reading this fine Wednesday.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Quick Takes Baby Cuteness and Soccer

Last week at his 2 month well visit my adorable little fat man weighed in at 12lbs 11oz.  I think most of that weight is situated in those squishy chubby cheeks and his little second chin.

Seriously, look at how big those cheeks are!  They're so big they wound up taking over another quick take!

I'm hardly ever in any pictures with any of the kids so I had Bryan take a few of me with Anthony the other day.  Of the ones he took I liked this one the best.  Since my kids like to steal my blog photos all of the time (they don't care when I point out the copyright notice on the sidebar of the blog) this is one they can use when I die and they're putting together one of those photo memory boards.  Got it Madeline?


Anthony's been exhibiting some pretty good head control lately and is getting a bit tired of his swing, playmat, bouncy seat and boppy pillow.  So we added a little variety and put together the bouncy entertainer thing I got as a review product a while back.  He can't bounce and jump in it yet or even reach the toys but he seems to like just sitting there and taking in the sights.
My older girls are at a Team First Soccer Academy this week so I had a rare 45 minutes of quiet yesterday while Katie and Anthony napped at the same time (Woot!).  I took advantage of that time and finished up reading a advance copy of Fearless, which I really enjoyed.  With two pages left of the book I heard Anthony stirring and decided that since he wasn't crying I had time to finish reading.  Umm, yeah.  See how he's on his belly in the above picture?  That's not how he was sleeping.  So while I finished reading about St. Katharine Drexel, this little guy decided to roll from back to front and rotate his body 90 degrees when I wasn't watching.  Arrgh!  Little Man, don't you know that you aren't supposed to hit milestones when Mommy isn't watching?!

Today was picture day at Team First Soccer Academy.  The ladies in the red shirts are soccer legends Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Tish Hoch.  The girls are having a great time at the camp and so is Bryan who is one of the volunteer coaches.

Katie's too little for this soccer camp, but she really wanted to be in a picture.  Who knows, maybe when she's older our soccer club will host this camp again.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...