Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Catholic Words Memory Match

I've had the pleasure recently of meeting (via the internet) Dan Gonzalez who has a great set of cards and an app for apple and android devices that deal with Catholicism.  He's a new advertiser on my website and he also asked if I'd be willing to review his Catholic Words Memory Match card game.  He graciously sent me both volumes of his game and I can say that I am impressed with the quality of them.  

 Each deck has 26 pairs of cards with Catholic words on them.  There is also a .pdf available that has the definitions of the words so that you (if need be) and your kids can learn the proper definitions.  

The cards are designed to be used in a matching game by 1 to 5 people. 
We opted for the "1" route.  My youngest has played this and enjoyed it.  The cards are very sturdy and colorful.  They will definitely catch the attention of your children!




Even though Mr 10 yo knew the words, he still enjoyed playing the game.  I think this would be a great way to teach your budding Catholic students all of the important words of the faith.

For those of you who are into electronic ways of teaching, Dan also has a  Catholic word app that looks very cool.  I haven't tried it, but I think the Catholic Spell It looks like it might be particularly useful.

So while you're planning for summer activities, or for next school year, you might want to consider getting yourself either the card game or the app, or maybe even both.  While Dan sent these to me to review, it doesn't mean I had to like them, so when I give my endorsement to something, you can be assured that I really did enjoy it.  I hope you'll consider supporting Dan in his endeavor to bring the Catholic faith to families in new and fun ways.

God Bless!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

Joining "Like Mother, Like Daughter" for {pretty, happy, funny, real} this week.

Pretty

 My little Rosebud picking wild flowers for a May crowning today.  We were all actually in the car waiting for her and threatened to drive away if anyone came by, which is why she is looking at me that way :)  

Happy

Watching these fuzzy babies every morning outside my window while I say my prayers makes me happy.  Surprisingly they don't make much noise, but they are definitely getting too big for that nest.

Funny
 Is this pile of pillows my daughter brought home from work.  She works at a hotel and they just replaced all of their pillows.  Her boss was ordering people to take home cases of them so that they could get rid of them.  The local mission came and picked up a bunch but they didn't want all of them.  Even funnier, I just got rid of this pile when my friend stopped by.  Seems they're having a lot of visitors this summer!

Real

These words are the real deal.  It all is in picking yourself back up and trying again.  That's what counts in God's eyes.  Apparently the first time I read this I was moved by it...thus the underlining and exclamation point.

Thanks for joining me and have a great day.  Check out {p,h,f,r} to see what others have to say.

God Bless!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lessons from a Semi-Incapacitating Virus

This past week has taught me a few things.   You see, I've had this bothersome virus since last Wednesday that has made me dizzy and nauseous - a really annoying combination.  It has prevented me from doing a lot of things; important things like moving around, driving and eating.  So here's what I've learned

1.  To be grateful for my good health.  It's only when you can't do something that you realize how much you take doing that thing for granted.  As much as I hate to drive a lot, I realize how much my family and I depend on my being able to drive.  I had to have one of my kids drive me to the grocery story last week.  Thankfully one of them was available.  If this turned into a common occurrence (which I know it is for some people), it would make the already dreaded grocery shopping trip into something even more dreaded.  Not that shopping with my kids is something I dread, mind you, but depending on them to be around to take me would be dreaded.

2.  To pray more for other moms who suffer from some kind of chronic illness that impacts their ability to function as a mother.  I know from some of the mom-facebook groups I'm in that there are a lot of moms out there who suffer like this.  Trust me, after this minor stint at being somewhat incapacitated, I will pray even more for you when you ask me to!

I'm still having bouts of this on and off throughout the day, so hopefully whatever it is will take the fast train out of town soon!  In the meantime, I will pray for those of you who suffer on a daily basis!

God Bless!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Take A Few Moments of Peace

Consider me weird, but the other day I found myself with some free time in the afternoon and I didn't know what to do.  On the rare occasions that that happens, my first reaction is to kind of get all anxious...like, what am I forgetting?  Surely I must be forgetting something.  After I talk myself down from there, I think about things I might feel like doing.  Most of the time, however, this free time isn't long enough to really complete anything big.  How about sitting outside, in the sunshine, with your cup of coffee and PRAYING?  Wow, what a novel idea, huh?  So that's what I did.  I forced myself to sit still, in the middle of the day, and just be quiet.  No phone, no computer, no people.  Just me and God.  I don't know why that is so hard sometimes.

But then I finished my cup of coffee and realized it was time to start dinner so that's what I did.  It was a nice few minutes and it made me remember how important those few minutes of peace can be in the midst of our hectic lives.  I hope you get a few minutes like that for yourself today (even if they aren't in the sun but are in the bathroom behind a locked door ;) ).  


God Bless!

P.S.  I originally shared this image on Instagram under my public profile:  aplanforjoy.  If you're on Instagram, look me up!  

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Best Read Aloud Book This Year

Last summer, as I was planning for the school year, I knew that I wanted to revive our Read Aloud time.  Like most homeschooling mothers of many children, I used to read aloud a lot when my oldest kids were little.  As they grew and things got busy, reading aloud usually went out the window.  Oh, every once in awhile we'd grab a book and read it together, but never with any great frequency.

This year I was determined to bring it back for my youngest two.  Mr 10 yo has been a struggling reader so I new that reading aloud would be another way that we could help him along the reading path.

I didn't want to be overly ambitious knowing how our schedule can be, so I set out to read the following books this year.  We began with  "Kateri Tekawitha, Mohawk Maiden" by Evelyn M Brown.  This is one of the Vision books on the saints and it was a great way to get our year started by learning about the early years of our country and the lives of the Indians.

Next up I chose "Archimedes and the Door of Science" by Jeanne Bendick.  This was a great book.  We learned a lot and it was very entertaining at the same time.  This corresponded to us learning about the ancient Greeks during our history time so it really helped to bring that time period to life.  I would highly recommend this book to add to your Greek studies.

To continue to tie in to our history, I decided to go to another Vision book and read "St. Paul the Apostle:  The Story of the Apostle to the Gentiles".  What a fascinating book.  I loved being able to tie together the events of all the Epistles from the Bible and trace out the life of this fascinating Saint.  It was a very interesting story and it did a wonderful job tying together our history and religion.

Our final book of the year was "Crusader King" by Susan Peek.  This book was FANTASTIC.  By far it was the best book we've read in a long time.  Talk about a page turner.  We would forgo other school work just so we could read one more chapter.  The story was about King Baldwin IV, King of Jerusalem, and the Crusades.  I was so intrigued by the story that I did some additional research on him and that time period.  I knew a bit about the Crusades from the perspective of Rome and the Pope but not from the perspective of those in Jerusalem.  If you are studying this time period, I would highly recommend adding this book to your study.  It was so good that, as I was reading aloud to my youngest two, others in the house would stop by and sit down to listen, too.

So that's all I had planned for read alouds for this year.  I'm thinking that it might be nice to do one over the summer but I have yet to pick one out.  If anyone has any great recommendations that they'd like to share that would be a fun and engaging summertime read, I would love to hear it.

God Bless!
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

Joining in over at Like Mother, Like Daughter again this week for another go around.

Pretty:

Given the technology we have, anyone can take a nice picture if they have a decent camera, or even a good camera on their phone.  If you are a photographer, it then becomes even more of a challenge to not just take a nice picture but to take a great picture.  I think that there is something else that makes a picture great and that is the editing.  A person can take a great picture and, if they have a good eye and some creativity, can make it even greater.  That being said, the other day Ms 16 yo was in the mood for photographs, so she asked her older sister to do the honors.  They took some pretty pictures along the way, but I especially enjoyed how she edited some of them. 



 Good job, girls :)

Happy:

Happy?  This makes me happy.


This is all of the extra clothing and household items that have been sitting in our basement waiting for this day...the day when we can take them to the semi-annual Free 4 All that friends of mine run at our church.  We actually began this a long time ago for just our homeschooling group.  Now, they hold it in a big facility and open it up to the public.  It makes me happy to see all of the stuff we can get rid of that can still be put to good use by others.  Although really, where does all this stuff come from???? 

Funny:

See these shoes?  Aren't they cute? 



This past Sunday I was getting ready for church and I needed some black shoes.  I searched for the ones I usually borrow from Ms 23 yo but, doggoneit, she took them with her to the conference she was at.  I searched through the closet and found these gems.  I'd never seen them before, so I texted her this picture to ask where they came from and if I could borrow them.  She got them from my mil I believe and said yes I could wear them.  Super exciting!

I wore them to church and they still looked cute.  Later that day we went to a choir concert and I was taking pictures.  I had to climb up to the choir loft and then back down multiple times throughout the two hour concert.  It was at the cathedral.  The cathedral is big so that meant a lot of steps and a lot of walking.  Guess which shoes weren't so cute anymore?  Ugh. By the time we left I was limping and could barely put my feet in them because of the blisters forming by my toes.  So much for those cute shoes.  But hey, the concert was nice and I'm happy with my pictures!


Real:


This, my friends, is real...real love.  My dh brought this piece of Portillo's chocolate cake home for me for no reason at all :).  If you have never had a piece of Portillo's chocolate cake, I'm sorry.

Join in at P,H,F,R to see what others have to say.

God Bless!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Woes of Spiritual Reading

I used to be good at reading.  Well, I mean, I'm still good at reading, I just don't get to it very often anymore.  Thinking back, back before things like facebook and blogger, I did read quite a bit.  Even now, if you give me a good novel, I'll probably get lost in it and finish it in a day or two.

Spiritual reading, however, like the kind St. Ignatius recommends you do EVERY day...well that just seems to be really hard for me to do.

I'm almost finished reading Matthew Kelly's book "Rediscover Catholicism".  I didn't expect to like it at all but it is wonderful.  He has a chapter dedicated to spiritual reading and the importance of it.  In fact, that book is what helped inspire me to set a spiritual reading goal for the year.  If I'm to stay on track, I have to finish the book by Thursday.  I have one chapter left, so I think I might be able to do it.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  The next two days are pretty busy.

Anyhow, all this talking about spiritual reading got me thinking about books that I have read in the past that have had a big impact on me.  I figured they had a big impact on me if I could remember the title after all this time.  Here, in no particular order, are the books that popped into my head (and, truly had a big impact on my life...like changed it for the better in some way):

1.  In Conversation With God by Francis Fernandez. This isn't just one book, but seven.  These were books I read early on that really imparted a lot of wisdom to me.  They are books filled with daily meditations on the readings of the day inspired by St. Jose Maria Escriva.  You want daily inspiration?  Get these.

2.  Abandonment to Divine Providence by Reverend Jean-Pierre De Caussade S.J.  Short book...huge impact.  This should be on everyone's spiritual reading list.  It really got me on the "letting go, letting God" path.

3.  Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly.  And not just because I'm still reading it and therefore can remember it.  It really is full of good, spiritual stuff.  I might have already known about most of it, but it was SO good to read it again.

4. I'm going to mention this book because it really changed the way I viewed and lived my vocation as a wife.  However, because it is written by the Pearl's, it has gotten a lot of criticism.  "Created to be His Helpmeet" was a pivotal book in our marriage.  There really, really needs to be a book about this written from a truly Catholic perspective.  The topic is just that important.  Maybe someday I'll get around to giving that a try...

5.  I remember reading "Story of a Soul" by St. Therese and absolutely being amazed by her and her Little Way.  A number of years later I read "I Believe in Love, A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese" by
Jean C. J. d'ElbĂ©e and was even more moved by her Little Way.  Reading both of these really helped me to understand and live out her philosophy in a much more profound way.

So there you have it.  Five books that I have remembered for more than one hour.  If you're looking for something to deepen your faith, I highly recommend any one of these books.  Then, see if you can do better than I can at hitting the 15-30 minutes per day mark that St. Ignatius and other spiritual powerhouses recommend.

God Bless!
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