Friday, May 31, 2013

7 Quick Takes May 31 2013

--- 1 ---
I finally got to go pick out my Mother's Day present with the kids this past Monday.  We picked out some flowers to plant and then we saw this hanging beauty.

I'm really hoping that it will attract the humming bird we've seen around lately.  We have it hanging outside our patio door by the kitchen table for good viewing.
--- 2 ---

This is an anniversary gift from friends of ours!  I cannot tell you how cool this is.  We always talk about gardening but either don't do it or do such a pathetic job of it that we don't produce much.  Our friends, on the other hand, love gardening and coming up with creative ways of doing it.

These are self-watering buckets filled with all kinds of goodies.  Even the bins that look like just dirt have potatoes, onions, carrots, radishes and soon to have beans.  We can keep them on our patio, water them once in awhile and reap the benefits.  Now this is my kind of gift and my kind of gardening!!
--- 3 ---
Here's a picture of the awesome pita wrap we had for lunch the other day. 

The older girls and I have been doing a 5 day program through Turbo Fire - low calories/high intensity workouts.  This is one of the lunches they had in the program and it was awesome; although I really am not a fan of alfalfa sprouts (or hair on my sandwich as one daughter put it).  I love these yummy, healthy alternatives to the lunch-drudgery we're used to :)

--- 4 ---

I was doing fairly well on this program until I threw my back out.  Apparently my body can't take two high-intensity-throw-your-body-around-the-room-at-warp-speed type workouts in one day.  By the time I went to bed that night I knew I was in trouble.  Oh well, I'll stick to the weight training DVDs and alternate these in there on occasion just for the fun of it!
--- 5 ---

I just hope I'm back on my feet by Sunday as our parish is having their annual Corpus Christi procession - 2 miles around town with the Eucharist.  We participated last year and it was beautiful.  Someone suggested my hubby push me in a wheelchair, but then I remembered that he, along with most of the older kids have some form of "job" during the procession so that would leave me in the hands of Mr 8 yo.  I think I'll walk!
--- 6 ---

Switching gears here.  I had the opportunity to preview an ebook on prayer written by the lovely Carol at Simple Catholic Living.  I was excited to read it because I was hoping it would be a nice compliment to the section on prayer in my book and I was right! You can get my book here and her book here.  Thanks Carol!
--- 7 ---

Busy weekend with a bridal shower, a graduation party, a Eucharistic procession then followed up by a Confirmation and a Graduation.  Oi vey I hope my back is up to all of the festivities!  Have a peaceful and blessed weekend.

God Bless! 
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Theme Thursday - Self Portraits

Yuck!  One of the reasons I love photography is because I am usually not in the pictures.  That's why when I saw this week's theme, my first response was oh no, really?  

Then I started thinking about wanting to do something other than stand in front of a mirror and take a picture of myself.  I thought about getting the tripod out and using the timer, but I hurt my back the other day so that seemed like too much work (pathetic, I know).  

I went outside and took some shots but my eyes were so squinted that I looked like Mr. Lunt from Vegie Tales.  

I came inside and took some, trying different angles but there are only so many ways you can hold a camera at arms length.  I tried shooting from above because I just read an article that said to be careful about how you shoot women because of the "double chin" effect.  Too many double chin effect photos to count.

I took this one while sitting down, which I kind of liked in the sepia tone; you can't really see my chin and my eyes are open.

Just for the fun of it, on the way back to my computer, I took some in front of the mirror and the very last one I took is the one I like best.

Oh well, at least I'm not required to tell how many photos I had to take before I found the two I'm willing to post! 

Join in the fun over at Clan Donaldson.

God Bless!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Sights and Sounds of the Weekend

Our wonderful children gave us tickets to the Tim McGraw concert this past weekend for our anniversary.  Wow, nothing like going to a concert to remind you how old you're getting!  Good thing they got me some earplugs, too!  

Brantley Gilbert opened for Tim and he was incredibly loud!!!  I have to question the country thing, too.  It looked like a bunch of bikers on stage with deep, raspy voices and loud music singing about things country singers sing about.  There was quite a contrast between the seeing and the hearing! The bass was so loud and low it made my chest hurt!  I know, I'm showing my age.

Tim McGraw was awesome!  Loved his "Faith" tattoo, as well as the cross and Christian fish he had, too :) He sang a bunch of old favorites ("Let it Go", "Between the River and Me" and "Indian Outlaw") as well as some new ones  ("Highway Don't Care" and "Mexicoma").

The very underaged, incredibly drunk girl who had to be carried out of the porta-potty by her three friends reminded me of a few things:  I'm so glad to be waaayyy past that stage of life (not that I ever had to be carried out of a porta-potty, mind you!); I'm so glad my children, thus far, have been spared the temptation and pressure to go down that path; and I sure hope they took that girl to the medic tent because she looked that bad.

On Saturday we had to totally switch gears from loud and rockin' to quiet and prayerful.  We attended our first wedding ceremony in the Tridentine Rite.  The bride was gorgeous, her dress was beautiful and the Mass was lovely.  These two really made you see that marriage takes three - Bride, Groom and God.

Are you noticing the lack of pictures in this post?  Yeah, so am I.  I was going to bring my daughter's camera to the concert since it is smaller than mine, but I forgot.  I could have brought it to the wedding, too, but I forgot.  Very frustrating.

So the rest of the weekend was pretty low key; not much on Sunday, a small BBQ on Monday with our traditional cheeseburgers and Statue of Liberty dessert.  All-in-all, a great weekend.  Thanks to all the servicemen who gave their lives so that we can have any kind of weekend we want.  What a gift!

God Bless!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blessed Memorial Day

God bless all the men and women who have served our country.  May all their efforts not be in vain!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

7 Quick Takes May 24 2013

--- 1 ---
Who here is excited?  I am because in one week we finish school!  Yippee, yahoo!  I don't know who is more excited, me or the kids.  It might be a tie.  Although, I do have to say that we've been winding down the subjects for a few weeks now and I've already heard some comments along the lines of, "I'm bored" and "There's nothing to do".  I haven't even had time to sit in the sun yet and they're already complaining?? Ugh.  I keep threatening with cleaning projects and then they change their tune.
--- 2 ---

I've been back to exercising lately.  My newest routine that kills me challenges me is "Turbo Fire".  I'm sorry, my body just can't move that fast anymore.  To save myself and my poor limbs, I'm mixing it up with the strength training routines from P90X.  Next week the girls are joining in and we're doing the extreme five day Turbo Fire and lean eating program that they have.  We'll see how long it is before we start eating the furniture.
--- 3 ---

 It's Memorial Day weekend so that means rain and cold for most of the weekend.  Of course it looks beautiful after Monday.  It's like Mother's Day all over again.  We're headed up farther north for vacation this summer and I'm just hoping there's still not ice on the lake! 

--- 4 ---

It's that time of the year again to start planning for the fall school year.  I'd just like to remind you of two resources which could be of great help to you in that endeavor:


--- 5 ---

I'd also just like to mention one last time that my friend Simonetta and her four lovely daughters have just one more week to raise the last of their necessary funds for their sacred music album.  If you would like to support something like that, please consider checking out their Kickstarter page here.

I just checked and they don't have that much more to go to get to their goal, so hurry over there and put them over the top!!!
--- 6 ---

In keeping with our fitness theme around here, we have been experimenting with taking body fat measurements.  Have you ever had that done???  IT HURTS - all I keep hearing from the other room is "OW!!" and "That hurts!"  Not to mention that it is not fun to find out just how much fat you have on your body.   The things we do for our loved ones :)

--- 7 ---

We have a busy first half of the weekend and a lazy second half.  Kind of a nice mix.  We're going to our first wedding and Tridentine Mass combo this weekend.  It will be in a beautiful church so I can't wait.  Reception in the evening means dancing!  Yippee!  Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

God Bless!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Theme Thursday - Bodies

Hmm, this was a tough one.  Bodies?  I suppose one could think of the body of a car or an airplane, however I don't have any exciting pictures of either of those.  Yes, there's human bodies and animal bodies, but how to make them about bodies and not about the humans or the animals?  

Suffice it to say I couldn't figure it out, so I'm using pictures of bodies in a modern dance class that I took over the weekend.  Wait, let me rephrase that, I'm using the pictures I took over the weekend, not that I took a modern dance class over the weekend.  I would have liked to have taken the class because I really enjoy modern dance (as opposed to ballet, which I also had to take pictures of over the weekend - I am just not a fan of ballet), which is why I'm using those pictures for the bodies theme instead of the ballet ones.

Anyhow, here are my pictures of bodies in modern dance class doing amazing things:

That's my son in the white shirt and the shorts :)

Don't you wish you could bend like this:

Or this!  This is flexibility insanity!

 Can't do this either.

Nothing extreme about this one; I just like it.

Take your body on over to Clan Donaldson to see what others have come up with!

God Bless!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When Homeschooling Moms Graduate

Our homeschool group graduation is fast approaching and this year I will have two graduates - Ms 14 yo from 8th grade and Ms 17 yo from high school.

I was talking with a friend of mine at a party this past weekend and she made the comment that she wants to wear a cap and gown to the graduation, too, because her last child is graduating high school.
She told me that someone asked her if she was going to go out and get a job, now that she's done. Her response was much more charitable than mine, I'm sure.  As she put it, when she thinks about all of the things around her house and in her life that she has put off for the past 14 years because she's been homeschooling, she has more than enough to keep her busy!
Now, mind you, this is something I will not be encountering for another 10 years (ugh) but it got me thinking what a huge milestone this is in a homeschooling mom's life. In fact, this year we will have THREE moms who are ending their homeschooling career!  I really believe that we need to acknowledge this event in the lives of these outstanding women, so I'm coming up with a plan to do just that at our annual homeschool gradation Mass.

I'm open to suggestions, since I don't seem to be overly creative, so if there is a way that you can think of that would honor these moms, please feel free to share it with me.  I want to make this a special night for these moms and their families, so get your thinking caps on and then let me know what you come up with!

God Bless!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Theme Thursday - Animals

Here are a bunch of animal pictures from our trip to the zoo a few weeks ago.  No matter how many times I go to the zoo, I always take pictures of the animals, don't you?  I probably have a gazillion pictures of the same animals.  Oh well, it's fun.    The above pic is from Stingray Bay, where you got to pay money to stick you hand in a pool and touch a stingray.  It was cool :)

The above picture is of some lazy snow leopards. The funny thing about this picture is that a few days later, I saw a friend of mine on facebook had the same picture.  Seems these babies don't move around too much!

Sorry, just had to revisit this python and his lunch :)

Love the look on that giraffe!  That's how I would look if people were staring at me all day.

Can't remember is this was an alligator or a crocodile.  Can anyone tell?

Here's my favorite T-Rex.  Don't worry, he wasn't real.  The zoo has this very well marketed Dinosaur Extravaganza that, quite frankly, wasn't worth the extra money.   Oh well, you never know when you might need a creepy picture of a dinosaur head.

Wish I had pictures of our own cute and cuddly little animals, but I don't because we don't have any.  Unless you count the spider that my daughters killed and then named Ernesto. 

Join the fun over at Clan Donaldson!

God Bless!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Holy Heroes - Inside the Sacraments

I had the wonderful privilege of reviewing a copy of the first DVD in the new series called "Inside the Sacraments" by the gang at Holy Heroes.  About half way through, Mr 8 yo asked if we will be able to get thesecond DVD, too! 

This first installment is about the Holy Eucharist and is a very thorough, yet easy to understand, dissertation on the Eucharist.  I know dissertation might sound boring, but believe me this was far from boring.  The entire 45 minute story is told by kids and is full of a lot of great information and a lot of humor.  We laughed out loud a number of times and, as Ms 9 yo said, "Lily and Caroline are SOO cute!"

I always love when people tie the Old Testament and the New Testament together for me, and this was done throughout the video, especially when they explained how God prefigured the Eucharist with the manna in the dessert.  The entire section on Moses was very well done.

During this video, they covered everything from Moses, to Jesus and the Last Supper (my younger kids' favorite part) to Eucharistic miracles, how to receive worthily and spiritual communions.

There were many questions presented, some covering complex topics, that were all explained in ways that even the younger viewers could understand.  This video is recommended for ages 5 through 12, but even those of us older than 12 enjoyed it and learned from it.

There are bonus selections, too, including an informative section on adoration, exposition and benediction, as well as bloopers and an online quiz that you can have your kids take to see how much they learned.

This DVD would make an excellent accompaniment to your religious education curriculum, whether you homeschool, teach RE or send your kids to a Catholic school.  Even though I received my copy free in order to review it, in no way does that skew my recommendation that this DVD belongs in every Catholic home, and it would make a great gift to give, especially to someone who doesn't quite believe in the Eucharist.

We can't wait for the second DVD to come out!

God Bless!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What is Polyphony?

Well, I'm not going to attempt to answer that question, but I'll let my friend Simonetta do that for you here.

In case you missed this in my Quick Takes post this past Friday, Simonetta and her four daughters are trying to raise money for their new musical endeavor.  She has recorded several CDs already by herself, and this time she's taking advantage of the talent in her family to bring us the beautiful sounds of sacred music.  You can find Simonetta's other music via The Saint Philomena Foundation.

If you would like to check out their Kickstarter campaign and consider supporting this wonderful Catholic group, you can do that here.

Before this I hadn't heard of Kickstarter, but now it seems to be popping up all over my radar.  It really is a great way to raise funds for a worthy (or sometimes not so worthy) project!  Thanks for allowing me this PSA.  I think you'll really appreciate the fruits of their labor.

 God Bless!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Grand Day for A Mother or My Life as a Reality TV Show

A happy belated Mother's Day to all the moms out there.  I hope that you each had a very blessed day. I am, however, still searching for the answer to the question:  Why is the weather never nice on Mother's Day?  It was sunny here, I'll give you that much, but the wind and temperature made it rather uncomfortable to be outside.  Oh well, we all look forward to Father's Day when the weather around here is usually wonderful!

We went to Mass yesterday and our little Communicant got to dress in all his finery again for two reasons: 
1.  The priest asked him to - in order to help with the May crowning, of course

2.  Because last Sunday I forgot to get a nice picture of him by the altar for our mantle, where we have first Communion pictures of all of the other kids.  Yeah, bad mom.  No one will ever know that this picture was taken the following week.  Unless that big statue of Mary with the crown of flowers on her head gives it away.

After Mass we came home and chilled out (not really, but it sounds more Mother's Day like, doesn't it?) and then went to dinner by my mom's house.  On the way over there we realized that we would be in a house with TV reception at the same time that the season finale of "Once Upon A Time" was going to be on.  Major Score!  

While we were waiting to watch OUAT, we realized that "Duck Dynasty" was on...all 47 hours of it, it seems.  Having never seen it but having heard a lot of people talking about it, we decided to give it a try.

So, really??  People watch this?  To its credit, my dh said that the second hour was much more entertaining than the first episode we watched together.  I have to admit that Si was the highlight of the show.  

This got me to thinking that we could make a pretty good reality TV show.  Have you ever done that?  Think about your life as it is happening as a reality TV show?  On the way home I was mentioning this to the family.  They weren't exactly going for it.  I mean really, we have a philosophizing 12 year old and an 8 year old who comes out with some pretty amazing statements.  And who doesn't want to watch four teenage and older girls bickering?  The topper would be watching me strategize every week about how to get the lowest gas prices.  I mean, really, who couldn't relate to that.

After awhile of fantasizing about it, eldest daughter pointed out that we would probably get a lot of hate mail.  I guess you're right.  I suppose a pro-life, Catholic homeschooling family just isn't what main-stream America wants to watch every week. I think we need something more unique than that :)

God Bless!

Friday, May 10, 2013

7 Quick Takes May 10 2013

--- 1 ---

It has been a busy week and I will attempt to catch up in these quick takes, and with a bunch of photos.  First, here's Mr 8 yo.  This was last weekend right before he received his First Holy Communion.

Quite a strapping young man, isn't he?  He is our LAST First Holy Communion.  While it is exciting to all be "Communicating" together, there is something sad about it being the last one.
--- 2 ---

This is me and my good friend, Simonetta.

Simonetta is an incredibly talented Catholic singer and songwriter, as well as a playwrite and director extraordinaire, and a lovely person, too...but I digress.  Anyhow, she and her four equally talented daughters are going to be recording an album of sacred music - you know, the beautiful church music that you don't hear too often anymore.  They're in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for this endeavor and I'd love it if you would check it out and consider donating to this wonderful cause.  Thanks!
--- 3 ---

DH and I also celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary last weekend.  It was a big party and we had a great time with friends and family.  Here is the awesome cake that my sister-in-law made for us

and here we are eating it :)

--- 4 ---

On our actual anniversary, we packed up the crew and headed to our local zoo.  It was a beautiful, sunny day.  We took this picture at the time we would have been saying our vows exactly 25 years earlier.  

Coincidentally, this was picture number 777 on my camera.  I'm taking that as a good sign :) 

--- 5 ---

We saw some interesting sites at the zoo this time.  We hung around this guy for awhile hoping to get to see him actually consume his lunch, but he was taking his sweet time at it, so we had to move on. 

We did get to watch him drag the already dead rabbit across his enclosure, smash it around a number of times and then eventually settle down on top of it.  He looked too comfy to be ingesting it any time soon.
--- 6 ---
The zoo also opened up a new bear exhibit and it is quite cool (literally :).  There is this underwater viewing area where you can watch them play in the water.  What we thought was funny was the view from various angles that showed the refraction of the water on the bear.  Here he is in his "split" view.

--- 7 ---

All in all we had a beautiful, fun and tiring day.  Here's one of my favorite photos from our adventure.

Hope you all have a blessed Mother's Day and a peaceful and restful weekend.
God Bless! 
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Theme Thursday - Mom

Very conveniently, I spent a lot of time with my mother this past week so I was able to take a nice photo with her.  Here we are at our parish in the prayer garden with in front of a statue of Our Mother (at least I think that is who the statue is depicting).  The occasion was dh's and my 25th anniversary.  We went to Mass and got a blessing and my parents were there with us.

I must say that I am incredibly blessed to have the mother I have.  She has always been there for me and I am so lucky to have her as a sounding board for everything.  Thanks, Mom, for all you've done for me and for being my friend as well as my mother!

Go over and check out all the other Mom photos at Clan Donaldson!

God Bless!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Theme Thursday - Play

This week's theme over at Clan Donaldson is "play".  It's been a busy week here so last night I was racking my brain about how I could get an interesting looking "play" picture today in between all of the cleaning and work being done (I would have totally rocked a "clean" theme!).  

Well, I decided a picture of my kids playing was just not inspiring, so here are pictures of my kids, and others, in a play.  They do a lot of this and I take the photos, so I have a ton to choose from but here is a small sampling.

These pictures are from a production of "The King of the Golden City" that my friend Simonetta wrote (adapted from the book of the same name) and produced.  

God Bless!