Friday, November 30, 2012

Quick Takes Volume 51

Katie was remarkably well behaved and so quiet while I showered this morning.  My eleven years as a mother and lessons learned from two previous children did not register with me this morning.  EVERY veteran mother except me knows that a quiet toddler is not a good thing unless she is sleeping.  I stepped out of the shower and began screaming like I was that guy in the Godfather who found the horse head in his bed.  Katie had the toilet brush in her mouth.  AAAAAHHH!  Thankfully, it was just the handle, but there she was happily chewing on the end of the toilet brush.  More horrifying was the discovery that she decided to put her pacifier and her little tub toy in the holder for the brush.  ICK! ICK! ICK!  I ran and got Bryan to help me clean out Katie's mouth and to discard the pacifier.  I'll give the toy a good scrubbing and contemplate whether or not it's trash bound.  Ugh!  I relocated the brush to a cabinet with a safety latch.  How was your morning?

I'm pretty close to being able to say that all of my Christmas shopping is done.  I got a lot of my shopping done in the past week.  Most of it was gift cards and online orders so I was able to get it done even while stricken with the plague hand, foot and mouth disease.  

Once my hands healed up and were functional I got a nice amount of gift wrapping and packaging done.  I realized two days ago as Katie explored in the dining room that I probably won't be able to leave the gifts I purchased for people outside our home under the tree like I normally do unless I want to keep wrapping them, which I don't.  So I'm trying to figure out what I need to do because I need my dining room table to be cleared off by tomorrow night so I can have it all set for Advent.

I've been putting some serious thought and prayer into the possibility of homeschooling the girls next school year.  I really feel like I've been jerked around on this issue.  When my husband was on board with it two years ago he quickly retracted his ok after we went to a homeschooling conference and every stereotypical homeschooler seemed to crawl out of the woodwork [The family with their children in matching sailor suits DID NOT HELP!].  You would have thought that I had just told my husband that I was going to start wearing jean jumpers and sneakers for the way he reacted.  In those two years we have tried out the middle school and switched both girls to our parish school.  Now, he's telling me he thinks I should homeschool them.  I told a homeschooling friend that I thought this year was going to wind up being a $7500 "I told you so" even though I hoped it wouldn't.  I blame the normal family we ran into on the ferry boat to Magic Kingdom.  They were homeschoolers and in her few minutes of interacting with us, I think she sold my husband on homeschooling.  

I cleaned the kitchen minus the dirty stove top yesterday.  I feel so much better now that it doesn't look like a bomb went off in this room.


Does it feel like November flashed by to anyone else?  So much went on this past month.  We had Bryan's birthday, delayed Halloween, a business trip for Bryan, family vacation, family portraits, the plague [hand, foot and mouth disease], Thanksgiving and 12th anniversary all in what feels like the fastest month ever.

I got a few sneak peeks of the family portraits that we had done about two weeks ago.  I can't wait to get all of the images so I can pick out new pictures for around the house and my Christmas cards.  The woman who took our pictures is my friend's son's teacher.  She really has a gift for taking great pictures.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review: My Baptism Bible

My Baptism Bible Catholic Edition from Pauline Kids is a lovely little keepsake bible that is perfect for gift giving.  This beautiful little picture bible has a dedication page and several pages where you can fill out personal information about the baby such as milestones and family tree.

My Baptism Bible is richly illustrated with loads of colorful pictures.  The stories are simply put and are appropriate for toddlers through kindergarten aged children.  This picture bible contains over fifty bible stories.  At the end of the book there are several pages of prayers and blessings.

As far as picture bibles for little ones are concerned, I think My Baptism Bible is quite nicely done.  It has a nice selection of bible stories, some which, are not often found in other picture bibles geared to this age set (such as the story about the widow's mite).  I also like that it has a section with prayers.  Too often that seems to be missing in picture bibles.

My Baptism Bible would make an excellent and very appropriate baptism gift.  I know I'll be keeping this bible in mind as a gift idea for any baptisms I attend in the future.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on My Baptism Bible Catholic Edition.  I was provided with a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your family Advent activities and supplies this year, such as Advent wreaths and calendars for kids, as well as Christmas decorations such as nativity scene sets and religious Christmas gifts for the whole family.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life...
After a morning nap and a yummy PB&J sandwich this pretty girl is on a mission.

Katie is always happy when she has a book.  Here she is checking out the cool new bookshe got on her baptism anniversary.
Could she be any happier?  She spent several minutes running around in the family room moving as fast as she could because she knew I was trying to take pictures.

A certain little miss thought she was a riot when she started to throw her stacking cups at me.  I didn't find it funny when she winged a cup at my favorite lensseconds after I snapped this picture.

Throwing your toys at Mommy means there are consequences.  She was not happy that I took away the  cups and made her sit down.  Despite the fact that Katie is wailing in this picture, I'm happy with how it turned out.  I'm enjoying the new camera.
A minute after I made her sit down for throwing her toys Katie was once again happily playing with her toys while I played with my camera.

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Toddler Girl Gift Ideas

When you have three children of the same gender and you're the sort of mom who doesn't throw away toys, being asked what the littlest one in the family needs/wants for Christmas can be a challenge.  Not for the gift giver, but for the parent of the child who pretty much has everything.

This Step 2 grocery cartis super sturdy and can hold a lot of toys that Katie loves.  I think it's made far better than the Little Tikes cartthat has been banished to the garage for many years now.  Katie has the pink Step 2 grocery cart which can be a bit more difficult to find.
baby dollthat is sized just right for the littlest mommy is always a welcome gift.  Katie got this adorable little doll for her first birthday.  She's just the right size for Katie to walk around with her.
Bead mazes are a huge hit in our house.  Katie got the one you see abovefor her first birthday and not only does it occupy her for long stretches of time, it also entertains her big sisters. 
Sometimes simple toys are some of the best ones.  Katie LOVES the stacking cupsfrom Discovery Toys.  We have the older version of the ones you see above.  She likes to take them and scatter them, put things in the big cups and just play with them.  Ellie likes to build towers for Katie with these cups which Katie will then dismantle one cup at a time.
I like to make sure the girls have something faith based in their stockings on Christmas morning.  This year Katie will be getting My First Catechism: The Catholic Faith for Little Ones.It's such a lovely book.  The book is very nicely done and I just love the illustrations by Maite Roche.
We don't have this cute little Rody horse,but it's one of the items on Katie's wish list this year.  My older girls have played with this toy at a local bounce house party place and they loved it so I'm betting it would be a hit with Katie.
We love books in our house so it's no surprise that we have lots of books on the wish lists!  We're big fans of the Sandra Boynton books.  Some of our favorites are Snuggle Puppy,Hippos Go Berserk,and Bob.
Little People are huge in our house.  One toy which has seen tons of play has been the Fisher-Price Little People house.  
This rainfall rattleis another one of Katie's favorites.  We've had this rattle since Madeline was about three years old and the girls have always found a way to play with it since then.  Toddlers like to shake it, roll and and just watch the beads fall while the bigger girls have used it as a musical instrument among other uses. 
Sometimes the little one you are buying for really doesn't need anything and you just don't know what to buy.  A nice keepsake ornament personalized with the child's name is always a nice gift.  I recently brought Katie this ornament from Lenox.
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Review: Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers

Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers is an attractive hardbound prayer book that would be a lovely addition to the bookshelf of any Catholic home.  The book is published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and contains a wealth of prayers and blessings for just about every state of being.  The book contains a dedication page making it suitable for gift giving.  It would be a nice gift for new parents, recent converts or even a newly married couple.

The book is presented in ten parts.  There is a section on basic prayers which has prayers that every Catholic should know.  The "essential prayers" in this section are presented in both english and latin.  Part II of this book focuses on daily prayers with the Liturgy of the Hours and offers prayers from waking to bedtime.  Part III is focused on helping you live out the days and seasons of the liturgical year.  While this book is aligned with the ordinary calendar, it does make mention of rogation and ember days which I previously have only ever seen mentioned in pre-Vatican II books.  Part IV contains family prayers that range from birth to death with a focus on major life events such as the birth or adoption of a child.  Part V includes various prayers for Catholic living.  In part VI you'll find prayers for the church and the world.  A host of litanies can be found in part VII.  The focus of part VIII is God's word in times of need.  Readers will find scripture for a range of topics in this section.  In part IX you'll find two different approaches to the Stations of the Cross.  There's the traditional stations of the cross and a scripture-based stations of the cross.  Lastly, there is a calendar of the saints.

Overall, I think this is a nicely done volume that would be worth having on hand in your home.  I take issue with one thing that this book is lacking.  The book would be so much better if it listed indulgenced prayers.  I'm actually a bit perplexed as to why many modern day prayer books seem to ignore indulgences.  From what I understand after having read through my copy of The Handbook of Indulgences, you need to have at least a general intention to obtain an indulgence when praying or performing a particular devotion in order to obtain it, so I cannot fathom why this topic is virtually ignored in most prayer books today.  In fact, there isn't even a single mention of indulgences of any sort in this book.

I was provided with a copy of this book by Tiber River in exchange for my honest review.

I wrote this review of Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

12 Years Ago Today...

Bryan and I got married twelve years ago today.  I am so grateful that I married my best friend.

This morning I'm not feeling all that great.  I have blister covered hands and feet from the horrible bout of hand, foot and mouth disease that I have.  Bryan has been doing an amazing job of taking care of me and getting me countless glasses of water, making me soup and putting up with all the movies and shows he would never want to watch (Emma, Jane Eyre and Downton Abbey to name a few).  It's a wonder he hasn't run away after yesterday.  I honestly don't know how I'm going to manage when he goes into the office on Tuesday if I haven't started to get better.

This morning I was greeted by the girls and their anniversary card and drawing.  As miserable as I feel right now, their hard work and misspelling of the word anniversary really brightened my day.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I Guess I'm Just Lucky!

I feel like I'm on a string of miserable ailments as of late.  First it was the bug bite of doom.  Then I had the filling that needed to be drilled out and replaced.  FUN!  After that I caught Ellie's cough, recovered and two days after I finished the antibiotics I was feeling bad again.  This, of course, coincided with our trip to Disney World (I will blog about this soon, I promise!).  By the end of the trip, my legs were killing me and I had several mystery bruises on my legs presumably from the rides.  Last Saturday my knee started to hurt me quite a bit and by Monday I was in a decent amount of pain.  Somehow my the one bruise on my knee had become very sore and was a bit puffy.  I was starting to think I'd need to see a doctor about it when I woke up this morning feeling a lot better than I had in days.  But, my knee feeling better isn't the end of my ailment saga.  Now I have Katie's hand, foot and mouth disease.  I fell victim to it on Thursday morning and now I have the little blisters forming on my hands.  Am I a lucky gal or what?

I'm growing weary of all these little needling ailments.  I would like very much to have a few weeks that are illness and injury free.

While I don't feel great at the moment, I'm not completely miserable.  I am rather annoyed that I will have to stay home from Mass this weekend since what I have is contagious.  I don't want to stay in the house and keep my icky virus to myself, but I will because I wouldn't want to pass this lovely illness on to anyone else.  I'm praying that Madeline and Ellie don't come down with this.

Because I'm Not the Only One

Yesterday I logged into my blogger account to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and post a picture of my family to go with the post.  I freaked out when I got this message telling me that I had maxed out my free photo storage space on the blog.  I then freaked out even more when I saw that they wanted me to spend a minimum of $2.49 a month to buy extra storage space for my photos.  I was more than a little peeved to see that if I had started to buy space before April 24th of this year that I would be paying a mere $5 a year for this space.  The cheap-skate in me really bristled at the thought of spending money for a ability to upload pictures.  While I don't have to, I already spend money for a domain which redirects to this page on blogger.

Bryan insisted on buying the storage so I could still add pictures while I decided what to do.  I contemplated possibly switching over to my domain and just having everything redirect from blogger.  That may still happen sometime down the line, but I'm sure moving over 1,000 posts will take time.

Shortly after Bryan forked over $2.49 for my photo storage and I STILL couldn't upload pictures through blogger, I started thinking about ways I could add pictures.  I knew there was an add picture using a url feature so I did some experimenting.  I found that you can't add a photo to Facebook and use the link on there to add your photo to blogger.  Then I recalled that I had a PhotoBucket account which I used to use when I spent way too much of my time on a Gymboree message board ages ago.  Turns out that PhotoBucket works like a charm, offers twice as much free space as Blogger and makes photo editing nice and easy.

I'm pretty sure that I'll be canceling the photo storage that I just purchased.  So if any of you find that you maxed out on photo storage you might want to consider using an alternative source for hosting your pictures if you don't want to pay $30 a year to upload pictures.

Just be aware that you may find that you're out of photo storage when you least expect it.  I know I was surprised when I got the message yesterday and I think B-Mama over at G-Ville was, too.

Quick Takes: Volume 50

The past week has been rough.  First we drove from Disney World back to NJ in one day.  That was an 18 1/2 hour drive since we hit traffic twice.  Once for a bad accident in FL and then for "road work" down in NC where the only thing they appeared to be doing was putting out parking cones for a several mile stretch.  I wasn't too thrilled with NC last Friday.
On Monday Katie woke up with what I thought was the worst diaper rash ever.  By 6PM that night she was covered in spots and I was worried that maybe she had chicken pox.  Turns out she picked up a case of hand, foot and mouth disease while we were on vacation.  UGH!  Poor kid is still covered in this rash.  See all the blistery spots on her legs?  She's been a trooper.  She's had a few really miserable days but for the most part she's been pretty good through the whole ordeal.

Since hand, foot and mouth is pretty contagious, I couldn't haul Katie over to the church on Wednesday for the awards ceremony for the first marking period of school.  I felt a lot of mommy guilt over not being able to see Madeline get her student of the month and honor roll certificates.
While checking out Facebook on Wednesday I kept seeing a picture of a bacon wrapped turkey where the bacon was woven on the turkey and the wings and legs were completely wrapped up in it too.  Bryan put bacon on the turkey last year and it was good so I challenged him to weave the bacon on the turkey this Thanksgiving. I only brought one pound of bacon so we couldn't cover the wings and legs.  Maybe next time.
Doesn't it look delicious?
We sort of got uninvited to Thanksgiving dinner with my parents and brother.  Hand, foot and mouth disease sort of makes you persona non grata.
The girls seemed to really enjoy the cute little apple turkey appetizer I made for them.
Remember how I said hand, foot and mouth disease is contagious?  As of yesterday morning I had the lovely little sores in the back of my throat.  And as I type, I can feel the blistery little red spots forming on my hands.  Ugh! Bryan feels like his throat has something going on.  Something makes me think it has a lot to do with a certain sick baby spending a lot of time in our bed for a few nights in a row.  Sigh. Thus far, Madeline and Ellie seem to be disease free.  I'm hoping they stay that way.  If they come down with this I'm pretty sure that means they'll be out of school for a week.

While we were away on vacation last week my camera kept having focusing issues.  The auto focus would randomly decide not to work and that meant I missed out on a lot of pictures.  Bryan told me several times before we left to stop being cheap and to buy myself the camera I had been looking at over the past six months.  I didn't listen and ended up regretting it.  So today I decided that I was going to stop procrastinating and just buy it.  So next week I'll be playing with my new Canon T3i. Just so you know, now that I brought the camera, I expect that Amazon will drop the price drastically for the sole purpose of irritating me so this might be the perfect time for you to buy it if you're looking at this camera.  
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