Friday, June 28, 2013

Follow me on Bloglovin

Since the Google reader is going away please  follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Quick Takes: Volume 74

I've determined that we have no ability to pack light when traveling with a toddler.  Pack heavy and bring pretty much everything.  That's how we roll.
While packing this morning I came to the realization that everything I wanted to bring for the baby had half of the outfit still in the laundry.  Ugh!  I suppose it would have helped if we started to pack a day or two before we were set to leave instead of an hour or two before leaving.  On the bright side, it's hot enough out that the clothes I tossed in the washer dried by time time we got to where we are staying.  I guess the heat in the car while we visited my father-in-law was enough to dry the clothes.
Have I ever mentioned that I grew up with out air conditioning in an area with super high humidity?  Sometimes I forget how much I hated summer and the horrid humidity that makes you feel gross.  I'm being reminded of it right now as I sit in my hometown in a place with room air conditioners that are starting to cool off the place.  I am so grateful for air conditioning.
I'm hot in the turning beet red sense of the word.  Much like I was two nights ago at the church carnival.  Have a mentioned how much I miss my air conditioned home?
Madeline's soccer tournament begins tomorrow.  It's her first Beach Blast tournament so I'm looking forward to seeing what the games will be like.  Of course, I'm not looking forward to sitting out in the heat on the beach while wrangling a toddler who is probably going to be covered in sand.
We're taking the kids up to the boardwalk later tonight to go on rides.  My sister-in-law and my father-in-law are going to meet up with us.  The kids should have fun on the rides.

I have a busy week ahead of me with final preparations for VBS.  I have a lot of things I need to do this weekend while we're away and then more things to take care of once we get back.  On top of all of this I still need to send out birthday invitations for Ellie's party.  I plan on relaxing on July 14th in case any of you were wondering.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Church Carnival Edition

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.

I played around with the settings on my camera to make the Gravitron look like it was going even faster than the dizzying speed that it was going.  I can't believe the girls have gotten on this ride several times. This is where peer pressure leads, folks!  If Ellie's friend didn't get on this ride they never would have considered it.


Madeline made the funniest faces while she rode on the Pharaoh's Fury.  I'm glad that Ellie's friend's mother was willing to go on this ride with her because Bryan and I were both determined to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground. 

Our new priest went in the dunk tank last night.  The kids were excited to get a chance to dunk him.  Ellie managed to hit the target on the first throw and I was able to capture her throw and Father falling into the dunk tank.  I wasn't going to take any shots at Father since I have horribly bad aim and figured I was more likely to hit him than the target, but Bryan insisted.  I don't have any pictures, but I managed to dunk him on my first throw.  We're not going to talk about how far off I was with the second throw.

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

Theme Thursday: Black and White

Last Friday Madeline had a friend sleep over and the kids went swimming.  Katie decided that the pool wasn't for her.  Perhaps it was too cold for her.  I know I find 80 degree water to feel downright chilly.  Maybe she does, too.  Once she got out of the pool she had a lot of fun playing with the beach ball.  

Visit Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday pictures.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review: Wrapped Up

Just this past week I delved into Teresa Tomeo and Cheryl Dickow's Wrapped Up God's Ten Gifts for Women.  In many ways, this book had a lot of parallels with Tammy Evevard's Becoming the Woman God Made You to Be.  Both include engaging and inspiring anecdotal stories drawn from the authors' personal experiences.  The underlying message, of course, is empowering women to see the beauty of God's plan for them.

I found Wrapped up to be a beautifully inspiring book.  Teresa and Cheryl beautifully illustrate God's gifts for women while exposing the "feminism" of our secular culture for what it is.  They'll help you to see that that God want's so much more for us as his beloved daughters than our modern culture offers us when it tries to homogenize us with men.

The book is filled with timeless and timely truths that are found throughout the chapters of this book.   These truths are inspirational quotes and scripture verses that in and of themselves will give readers plenty to ponder.  Readers will also find "Timeless Takeaways" throughout the book which also provide plenty of food for thought to take to heart as you unlock the beauty of God's gifts for us.

In the case of Cheryl and Teresa we get to see how their lives were transformed as they came to recognize and embrace God's radical love for them.  Their stories will leave you feeling inspired and will hopefully help you to better understand the amazing gift of love God has for each of us as His daughter.

Wrapped up, is much more than just a collection of anecdotal stories from the authors.  They also masterfully illustrate God's gifts for us through scripture as they explain how God's love transformed many women from the bible.  They're take on many of these stories helped me see them in a different light.  I had more than a few moments where I was amazed at how a bible story I knew pretty well was presented with a different perspective that uncovered another facet that I had never considered before.

Wrapped Up is a great book to read on your own, but you can also use this book in a group setting.  There's even a companion journal for this book to help you get even more from this book.  The companion journal gives you additional scripture passages, excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, additional insights from the authors and a series of discussion questions for each chapter.  There's even room for you to journal what you have taken away from each chapter.  Combined with the companion journal, I think this would be an awesome book to use with a women's group.  Used in group setting this book would require ten meetings to discuss the chapters and delve into the catechism and scripture verses for each section.  

I was provided with review copies of Wrapped Up and it's companion journal by the publisher, Servant Books, in exchange for my honest review.  You can take a sneak peek into the book and the companion journal at Amazon.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Book Review: The Bare Naked Truth

I recently had the opportunity to read Bekah Hamrick Martin's The Bare Naked Truth.  This book is geared to teen girls and gives them the low down on sex and waiting.  I've read several book on purity and chastity and I'd say this book ranks up there with the solid advice you would find in a book from Jason and Crystalina Evert.

Bekah's writing style is one that will easily win over most teen girls.  She meets the reader where they are, lets them know that she gets them and knows what they're up against and then gives them plenty of information to shore them up to guard their hearts and their purity.  What's spectacular about this book is she is able to convey this message without sounding preachy or like an out of touch parent.  Her tone is one that makes you feel like you're listening to a caring older sister.

She shows girls how current society and the media would have you think that purity is something outdated, but in turn exposes those lies for what they are and in doing so reveals the truth and beauty of God's plan for us.

The book is peppered with humorous stories from Bekah's personal experiences as well as anecdotal stories from many other women who have contributed their stories to this book.  The stories beautifully illustrate the points that Bekah is trying to convey to her readers in each chapter.

I like how this book has a series of journal questions at the end of each chapter so readers can take some time to reflect on the chapter and record their thoughts.  It's a useful feature that is not only good for a girl who is reading this on her own but would also be good in a discussion group for a youth ministry.  In the case of this book, it would have to be a girls' group.

Overall, The Bare Naked Truth is a great book for teen girls to shore them up so they can guard their hearts and their purity and let God's plan for them take wing.  The book beautifully presents a truly Christian outlook on chastity.  Now recognizing that this is a Christian book and not a Catholic one, I can say that this is one book that I wouldn't have any misgivings handing over to one of my daughters in a few years.  I would, however, as a Catholic parent, take a few moments to expound on a few of the chapters and add a bit more of a Catholic perspective.

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

Quick Takes Volume 73

For the second day in a row I'm battling an unpleasant headache.  I thought I was over it but then it hit me pretty badly a few minutes into Mass this morning.   I'm wondering if it might be sinus related based on how my right eye and cheek feel.  I hope I'm not coming down with something.  Now is not a good time for me to get sick.


I'm getting down to crunch time with VBS.  I have a bunch of little things to take care of and I have about two weeks to do it.  I'm going to have to find a way to carve a couple of hours out of each day to take care of everything.

Madeline has a friend sleeping over tonight.  Hopefully my headache goes away before her friend gets here.  If not, I suspect I'll be miserable.


I don't think Madeline even likes s'mores, but they're on her list of things to do for tonight.  Bryan and I have decided that we're going to do some karaoke, too.  Madeline's not exactly thrilled about it, but we think her friend will enjoy it.


We've discovered that Katie is a potato snob.  She will happily eat french fries and mashed potatoes, but don't even think about giving her a baked potato.  Twice this week she has been brought to the point of being very upset that I had the audacity to put such a food on her dinner plate.  So much for getting away from packaged potatoes.

I think I have to go and buy new basil plants.  Two of them have already died.  I had one inside and another over in the pool retainer wall garden.  They both died at roughly the same time.  The third basil plant I had in another garden is thriving.  I'm determined to grow a basil plant inside so I can have fresh basil in the winter.


My niece graduated from high school last night.  We weren't able to go to the graduation but I did get to see pictures.  We're heading to my mom's on Sunday for a small party to celebrate with her.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Theme Thursday: Water

This is one of my favorite pictures of Ellie jumping into the pool last summer.  I love getting pictures of the girls in mid-air.  Doesn't Ellie look like she's flying?

Visit Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday pictures.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} School's Out!

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life...


While we waited for Ellie's bus to drop her off on the last day of school Katie played with Ellie's pink basketball.  Katie is rather fond of this ball.  To keep her from rolling it down the driveway and into the street I kept tossing the ball onto the grass and Katie would run and get it.  It was the toddler version of playing fetch.


I put a second grader on the bus in the morning and she came back a few hours later as a third grader!  She was so excited that school was done for the summer.

I was going through all of Madeline's papers and notebooks that came home for the end of the school year.  Most of the stuff went in the trash but I found a few gems that I have to save.  For some reason she got on this kick of drawing unicorn illustrations for her vocabulary words in language arts.  Click on the pictures to see the pictures and her funny sentences.  They're a riot.  I plan to have her do some vocabulary work over the summer so we can see more of her "unicorntastic" illustrations.
This one is horribly funny.  The word is bliss and apparently the unicorn is so full of "bliss" that it's oozing out the back.  I'm told it's a Hershey kiss. 

Every time I look at her illustration for claustrophobia I can't help but laugh.  She stuffed the poor thing in a box.  And there's just a single little air hole where you can see its eyes peeking out.  The language arts teacher must have thought she was an interesting girl with all of these unicorn illustrations.

I also like this drawing that she had to do for language arts when her teacher told them that they were no longer allowed to use "I think" in their writing.  I'm hanging on to this one as proof that she doesn't think sometimes.  She does, however, believe and I think that's pretty great.  This drawing also reminds me of something my mom used to say to us all the time when we were kids: "Don't think, KNOW!"  I always wondered how I was supposed to know if I wasn't supposed to think.

Katie laughed so hard when I found her hiding in the curtains.  I think she thought that there was no way I'd see her hiding there.

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

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ten Books I Plan to Read This Summer

Some years I'm a summertime reading machine and other years I'm not so much.  I have a stack of review books that is over two feet high.  I'd love to set a goal of reading them all over the next three months but that's not realistic.  I also have a lot of great books that I purchased for myself or was given as gifts for my birthday or Christmas that I simply haven't had time to read.  So here's my list of books I hope to read this summer.


I think the title, Raising God-First Kids In A Me-First World, is pretty self-explanatory.  I'm hoping this book will offer some additional insight to how we already parent.


I already started reading this book.  I'm three chapters in and I'm really considering whether or not I should try to take on praying part of the Liturgy of the Hours.  I had considered it a while back but most of what I read pretty much indicated that you'd need to seek out a priest to walk you through how to use a breviary and that was enough to scare me off.  I've mentioned that I have a bit of a priest phobia before, right?  I think I've made some great strides in overcoming it over the past several years.  Chipping away at it bit by bit.


I've been wanting to read this book since it arrived in my mailbox many months ago but I hadn't found the time.  I read the first few chapters the other day and I think it's a really good book.  I can't wait to read the rest of it.

I'm going to accept the challenge our pastor placed before us at daily Mass a week or two ago to read all four of the gospels this summer.  The last time I sat down and read them in entirety was when I was in college before I converted.  I think I'll appreciate it a bit more this time around especially since I won't be reading the KJV translation.  I can even pull it up on my laptop thanks to the awesome USCCB website.

I offered to review this book for Fr. Mark last Summer and then I just never got around to reading the book.  To be honest, after seeing smaller type I gave up a few pages into the book because I simply couldn't read it when I was battling headaches practically every day.  Now that I've kicked my Starbucks habit and the headaches have gone away I can read the book.

I started to read this during Lent and then I just couldn't read it anymore.  So I'd like to finish The Fellowship of the Ring before the kids start school in September.

It's funny how reading saints books geared to kids piques my interest in wanting to know more about these saints.  After reading this book to Katie, I found myself wanting to read more about St. John Mary Vianney so if I make it through most of what I'm reading I'll be ordering a copy of this book.

I got this book on JPII for Christmas and I'm looking forward to reading it.

This should be a relatively quick book to read.  I've been reading a lot of books that focus on new evangelization.  So far the best one I've read on the subject is The New Evangelization and You by Greg Willits.

I hope to find an afternoon or two where I can sit down and read the manuscript for a book that an old friend from high school wrote.  She sent me the manuscript a few months ago and asked me to read it.  She's thinking of self publishing the book.  It's a fiction novel involving angels and demons.  I read the first few pages and the book is written in a writing style that reminds me of my friend.
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

Magnetic Chore Chart

Getting my older girls to do their chores is something that is no small feat.  I've tried incentives, check lists, daily schedules and lots of other things and nothing seems to work.  It's a major source of frustration for me.  I'm the sort of person who likes everything to be organized, so it bothers me when I see messes and disarray all over the place.

Over the past couple of months it's become evident that a new approach was needed.  Bryan and I have discussed the need to figure out what will work.  Essentially we needed something that is bright and attractive that screams "Pay attention to me!" in a fun and upbeat way.   Recently I was told that I needed to figure out what makes our girls tick and then leverage that to get them to do what they're supposed to do.  Consequences don't seem to phase the girls so that obviously doesn't work.  So we have decided that a chore chart that carries some sort of incentive or reward might be worth exploring.  I've seen a few different chore charts that interested me but usually there's only one or two elements that look like they'd work for us.
After a particularly trying week last week I realized that we really have to do something now if we don't want to have a miserable summer of me having to constantly tell my kids what to do and when to do it only to have them sporadically listen.  Do I sound frustrated?  I am.
I came up with the idea of a magnetic chore chart that would live in the kitchen.  I wanted magnets because I don't like the idea of having push pins with a toddler in the house.  So then I had to figure out how to accomplish a durable magnetic chore chart that would allow both girls to move their chores from a to do list to a completed list.  I wanted something visual so that I can take a quick glance and see what still needs to be done.
I decided that my oversized flower punch would be prefect for making cute little chore tags.  I wanted something that looked pretty so I used some pretty scrapbooking papers.  I don't have beautiful handwriting, so I opted to print the chores on clear mailing labels and cut them to fit on the flowers.   I then laminated them (for durability) and put adhesive magnet tape on the backs of the flowers.  I used more scrapbooking paper to create a name tag for each of the girls and tags for the "To do" and "Completed" sides of the chart.  I was torn on how to divide the chart in two.  I'm not a fan of permanently altering things so I decided that attaching grosgrain ribbon to a strip of adhesive magnet tape would do the trick.  I hate fraying ribbon so I added a bit of fray check to the ends of the ribbon to prevent unsightly fraying.  The magnet boards are lightweight enough that I can hang them with command adhesive strips.  Because we want to incorporate an incentive for doing their chores, I made a magnet clip that will hold a monthly reward chart.  The clip is simply a clothes pin painted to coordinate with the pretty papers I used for the chart.  I attached a bit of magnetic tape to the back of the clothespin.
So far the girls are responding well to the new system.  I suspect they'll be a bit more motivated once the reward charts arrive and they know what they can choose from as a reward for doing their chores.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...