Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Very Special Intercessor!

Merry Christmas to everyone!  I hope your Advent went well and that you had a beautiful Christmas with the people you love.  We had two days with nice weather, good food and lots of family, as well as a beautiful midnight Mass.  But this post isn't about Christmas.  It's about a story that I've been wanting to tell but just haven't had the time.  It's an intercessory story related to our move.

You see, in our history of moving we've never had an easy time.  More often than not, the first house we would set out to buy would become encased in some sort of turmoil or other and we would end up buying a completely different house.  This happened to us three times.  The last time we moved, we did so because we had lost everything and were moving into a rental.  Needless to say, God had mercy on us and there was no extra drama.

This time, however, we were buying again, and although we did not have a house to sell, I fully expected the experience to be like it had been in the past.  I expected to find a house, fall in love with it, have something happen with the deal, lose the house and then find an even better one.  After all, that's how it had been before.

But God had other plans.  Let me backtrack a bit.  For the past year +, I had been praying, along with many others, for Courtney Lenaburg and her family.  In fact, it was just one year ago that she died.  When she did, I cried along with everyone else.  After her passing, I had read stories of her intercession, one in particular about a family who wanted to move but needed a miracle with their septic field.  Through Courtney's intercession, that miracle occurred.  

That got me thinking that maybe I should call upon Courtney to intercede for us in this move since I really didn't want to have to go through what we've been through in the past.  

Can I tell you something?  St. Courtney came through with flying colors.  We began our search and had looked at a few houses when something (or someone :) nudged me back to the computer to look at the 90+ listings again.  There I found it, the house we had overlooked the first time through.  We went to see it and we loved it.  We brought our kids (who, being older now, had some very definite opinions about what they were looking for).  They loved it, too.  We put in an offer and at first it didn't seem like we were going to come to terms with the seller, but I called on Courtney even more and before we knew it, the sellers came down in price and then started offering us their furniture...at no extra charge!  We closed in 30 days!  30 days, people!  With not one hitch.

Many times when miraculous things happen like this, I often find that God sends me a confirmation that what I am seeing is real.  The moment this time was when we were at the closing (which only lasted about an hour) and our realtor said, "I don't think I've ever been at a closing that got funded that fast."  From past experience, I know that that was God's way of telling me that I've witnessed something grand.  

We moved into a great neighborhood.  Having not had neighbors for 12 years, and having 7 children and 5 cars, we were a bit leery of what having neighbors might mean.  Our neighbors are wonderful.  Even funnier is the fact that in our small subdivision of about 33 homes, 95% of the people are Catholic. God has chosen a wonderful spot to reintroduce us into communal living.

I write this to let you know, in case you don't already, that there are many saints up there in heaven just waiting for us to call upon them for their help.  There is no other explanation in my mind (based on our past experiences with moving) for how smoothly everything went other than her intercession.  Miss Courtney is up there calling for miracles and how happy I am that we have been on the receiving end of her powerful intercession.  Thank you, Mary and Jerry, for raising and caring for such an extraordinary young lady!  I've been recommending her to others in need, so I think she'll be pretty busy up in heaven for quite some time. 

St. Courtney, pray for us.

God Bless!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Our 30 Day Move

It has now been over two months since I've been here to my good ole blog.  It has been a crazy time of moving our family of nine from our rental house on five acres to our own home in a neighborhood.  In what became a rather fast-paced event, we began looking for a home, found one and then moved 30 days later.  Since I really can't do-it-all, some - no A LOT - of things had to go and anything social media like was at the top of the list.

We're moved now and all settled in so I'm back to share again.  I mean really, I had just decided that turning 50 warranted more blogging and look what happens?  Sheesh.  I'm still 50, though, so I guess it is better late than never.

There's so much to talk about that's happened over the past two months, if I can just remember it all!  Like I said, we were down to a bare bones lifestyle for awhile so I thought I'd share how we handled the whole "move your family in 30 days" thing.  And just to be clear, when our offer got accepted, we had not packed ONE box.  Not even one!  Also, we did all the packing and moving ourselves.  Here's how it went down.

1.  I knew that we needed to keep schooling as long as possible.  With two high-schoolers and two grade-schoolers, I did not want to take off too much time.  The high-schoolers kept to their schedule pretty well, it was the two younger ones that needed a revamp since much of what they did required me.  Right off the bat we put our non-essential subjects on hold until the second semester.  That included geography (which was taking up a lot of time), map skills and Latin.  That right there made a huge difference.

2.  My three college aged girls all have classes and jobs, so I knew they wouldn't be much help.  When they were home and free (about 20 minutes over 30 days :), they were required to help out as much as possible, which they did.

3.  My other four kids were an immense help, especially the two in high school!  We got into a great rhythm of doing our school work in the morning and then packing and moving things in the afternoon.  Because of their hard work, we only ended up taking two weeks off of school!

4.  I made a firm decision to add nothing new to our schedule.  We kept up with what we were already involved in but we rarely did any other activities or events beyond that.  Saying NO was not fun, but crucial.

5.  Once we got in the new house I spent the first week working like a mad woman to get it into a state of readiness.  I knew that that was all the time I had, so we worked morning till night that first week so that everything was put away and in order.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to function for very long with everyone wondering where things were.

So that is how we survived our 30 day moving adventure.  Being organized was crucial.  Also, the fact that I have decluttered on an ongoing basis made things  a lot easier.  That's not to say that we still didn't get rid of a lot of stuff!  There were MANY bags of garbage as well as multiple trips to the local Goodwill.  Hopefully everything that made the cut into the new house is stuff that we need and use and not much that is superfluous! 

It's good to be back here and, God willing, I hope to continue on a much more regular basis.  I say that, but we'll see what The Plan really is :)

God Bless!

Monday, September 28, 2015

And the Winners are:

Congratulations to:  

Lori W, Stephanie S. and Chantal C.

You've been notified by email, so look for that email and send me your address so that I can get your unit study out to you before Respect Life month begins.

Thanks to all who participated!

God Bless!

Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Pro-Life Giveaway Time!!

October is Respect Life month and I've got just the thing for you to make it memorable!  I've had the pleasure of previewing the "Life is Precious" unit study from the American Life League, and it is a great resource that you can add to your own homeschool for the month, use it with a co-op or a religious ed class you're teaching.  

The cool thing about this unit study?  I know both of the authors AND the illustrator.  I've watched all three girls grow up and become talented, wonderful, Catholic young ladies.  They've put their heart into this study and I'm happy to share it with you.

We took it for a test run a couple of months back and, even though it is geared for grades K - 3, I used it with my 4th and 6th graders and they enjoyed it.  The unit study is based around four picture books and has easy to do activities and discussion questions to help emphasize the life message in the story.  


I have three copies of this great unit study to give away.  Follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to win.  The giveaway begins at midnight tonight and ends on Sunday evening, so hurry and enter as many times as you can.  I'll have it shipped to you before October starts!  Good luck!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Birthday and A Give Away!

It is now officially a new decade around here.  In other words, I officially turned 50 last week.  I don't feel much different, and I certainly didn't feel old until I saw "50" printed on a birthday card.  Looking at it in print, for some reason, made it seem old.  Well, we'll just put those cards away now, won't we?

We did some good celebrating.  Life's been a whirlwind, what with starting school and celebrating big life events, not to mention all of the usual stuff that goes on.  We managed to sneak in some fun and A LOT of good food.  Not only did I get a year older, I got five pounds heavier.  Back to the old grindstone to work that back off.

So I needed to come back here to let you all know that coming soon I will be having a give away.  Now, in the past those haven't worked that well for me as something always seems to get messed up.  However, I am willing to try again and will be announcing the giveaway soon!

What's the prize, you ask?  Well, I just happen to have three copies of the "Life is Precious" unit study from American Life League.  We were privileged to get a copy of it to try out and some other copies to give away.  I love unit studies, especially if you're schooling a handful of kids.  This one is great and is very easy to do, so check back in and get ready to win.

This unit study will be perfect to add to your schooling for the month of October, which is Respect Life month.  

See ya' soon!

God Bless!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Family Event - An Awesome Outdoor Concert

Having a large family on one income definitely makes things more difficult in a lot of ways.  What the world says you should have and do is far different from what is attainable (in most cases).  The other day I was reading a blog post about how one family paid off their debt of $150,000 in a few years.  The author made a great point about how, when doing something like this, it is important to realize that you still have to go out and do things that are enjoyable that cost money.

Sure there are lots of free things to do, and that should definitely be a priority in terms of planning things for your family if you are tight on money.  But every once-in-awhile you need to do something that you would all enjoy, even if it costs a bit of cash.

For example, we all decided a few months ago that we would love to go see The Piano Guys.  Who?  The Piano Guys.  Seriously, if you have never heard of them, you have to go check out all of their music videos on youtube.  They are incredibly talented musicians who love to have a good time with their music.

Anyhow, they were going to be playing at an outdoor music venue about 1 1/2 hours away from us, so we decided to get some lawn tickets and go enjoy them as an end-of-the-summer fling.

Having older kids who have jobs comes in handy, because one way to make things like this a bit more doable is to have those who earn an income pay for their own tickets.  That cuts down on the amount of money we are responsible for, which helps immensely.

It was a cool evening, with blankets and sweatshirts galore, but it was a great concert.  We were all so glad to have been able to do this together.  With school starting for everyone, and the variety of work schedules in the family, it isn't that often that everyone is home at the same time.  To spend the evening together outside listening to great music, sure was a nice way to start ending the summer.  We hopefully won't be ending it quite yet (although you can't tell by the weather we've been having), but I can feel that it is starting to wind down.

Be creative in your what you do for fun, try to find ways to do it cheaply, but realize that, even with a big family, sometimes it is just necessary to splurge and have a good time together.

 God Bless!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Welcome 2015-16 School Year! Yay! Yippee!

So did you read the title of this post with sarcasm or with enthusiasm? Chances are, if you've been at this for a long time, there probably was a hint of sarcasm in your mind.  If this is your first year, or one of your first, then you are probably full of enthusiasm!  Good for you!!  

I spent all of Saturday, from morning till night, getting everyone organized with their books, laying out what needs to be done when and by whom, and making up all of my nice little Excel spread sheets for the various classes.  Excel is my best friend when it comes to homeschooling. I urge all homeschooling mothers to learn how to use it.

Anyhow, I thought I'd lay out what our year will look like since I know it helps me to see what other people are doing.  You can find out more detail about a lot of these books on my website.

Math is not her strong suit so we will be spending this year going over things she has already learned to make them more cemented.
Religion - Didache "Understanding Scripture"
English - American Literature using MODG syllabus
History - "Christ and the Americas" book and workbook
Science - Apologia Biology with lab
Spanish - Duolingo

Math - Algebra II using Teaching Textbooks
Religion - Apologetics using various books
Grammar and Vocabulary - one semester of each
Spanish - Duolingo
Science - Apologia Biology with lab
World Geography 

7th Grader:
Math - LOF Fractions and Decimals and Percents
Map skills
Language of God from CHC
Apologia Animals of the Ocean
Geography unit study
Faith and Freedom Readers
All About Spelling

5th Grader:
Math - LOF Fractions and Decimals and Percents
Map Skills
Language of God from CHC
Geography unit study
Faith and Freedom Readers
All About Spelling

While my 5th and 7th graders are doing many of the same subjects, some of them will be together and some will not.  I'm basing my unit study on the book "Trail Guide to World Geography" and adding in some of my own ideas.  If it turns out good, I'll put it out here to share with you.

Overall, I think it all looks doable.  I don't know that any of us is ready for summer to be over, but like I keep telling the kids, the sooner we get started, the more likely we'll be done sometime in May.   

I pray that your school year is a good one and that you can accomplish all that you want to.

God Bless!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

When Your Brain Feels like Molasses

Today I'm starting to finalize the plans for the high school kids' school year, which, incidentally, begins on Monday.  I've been mulling it all around in my brain for awhile, now I'm just pulling the books and putting it all on paper.

It has taken me all morning and into the afternoon to do one child.  My brain feels like it is moving at the speed of molasses, making me feel like I'm trudging my way through a thick swamp.

This used to happen because of lack of sleep due to small children and infants.  Now I'm thinking that it might be because I'm approaching menopause.  Or is it something I ate that is dragging me down?  What about all the stressful situations in my life right now?  Could that be slowing me down?  Maybe it is a combination of some of them.  Or even all of them!

I took a walk to the mailbox (which is actually a bit farther than it sounds) only to find that the mail was outside my front door.  That's okay, the short walk in the cool temperatures and sunshine felt nice.

I feel like gorging on chocolate and just vegging out rather than sitting down to tackle the next student who is eagerly awaiting their school schedule (haha, I know you laughed, too!).  

Some days when I get like this, I forge ahead with what needs to be done, and other days I give in and quit thinking.  This day, after analyzing the situation to the best of my ability, I think I must forge ahead and at least get that next student underway.  Then it's cooking dinner and meal planning for next week; both of which should thoroughly utilize any existing brain cells I have left.

What do you do on days like this?  Go for the chocolate or push through it?  I'd love to hear your insight.

God Bless!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Surviving Grocery Shopping

I was thinking last week, while whizzing through Aldi and Wal-Mart, how my grocery shopping has changed and evolved over the past years.  

I actually detest meal planning and grocery shopping but I know that my life is much better if I take the time to do it.  Well, let me clarify, all our lives are better if I grocery shop, for without food...well, you know.  In reality, I guess all of our lives are better, too, if I take the time to meal plan since I save my sanity, my time and our money.

When my kids were much smaller, I would go grocery shopping in the evening so I could leave them home with my husband.  It would be a grueling task to drag my tired body through Wal-Mart for hours on end; because, really, who gets out of there in under an hour?  But far worse than trudging through the store at night was trudging through the store during the day with seven children.  This happened ONLY in extreme emergencies.  If this is your only option (taking everyone with you) then I will pray that another option makes itself available to you!

Once I had some old enough to stay home with the littles, I moved my shopping to the daytime hours.  I still went by myself whenever possible, but doing it during the afternoon made it go a little bit faster because I wasn't quite as tired.  If needed, I would still go in the evening.

Now that I've transitioned into older children, I still go during the day, but here's the difference.  I now try to take one of them with me.  Why, you might ask?  Well, because I despise standing in line at the deli counter and so I take said child with me, give them the deli list and send them on their way.  Usually by the time they are done at the deli, I've completed 90% of the shopping.  The only thing left is to stand in the checkout line, which can usually take as much time as the shopping did.

I've also begun shopping at Aldi again because the quality of their food choices has gotten much better over the past few years and the lower prices help in the budget area.  It has become a challenge to me to see how fast I can do my Aldi shopping because, well, you have to make it interesting somehow.  Last week was my personal best:  22 minutes.  It is also important to be accurate and last week I actually didn't forget anything even though I flew through the store.

My daughter and I then moved on to Wal-Mart, where I know the time is at least double that of Aldi.  I asked her if she was up to the challenge to make it another personal best time and she said she was, so in we went.  Now granted, I didn't have that complicated of a list, but many times that doesn't mean anything.  So I sent her off to the deli with her short list and before I had even made it out of the personal and household sections, she was done.  It was looking promising at that point.  We made our way through the food aisles and then headed to the checkout, where I knew that everything we had accomplished thus far could be thrown out the window.  Miracle upon miracle abounded and we were out of the store 35 minutes after we entered.  Our entire trip, from leaving to getting home, was 1 hour and 40 minutes.  Unbelievable!

So if you hate this whole process as much as I do, then try to find ways to make it easier and more fun.  Take a helpful child along with you, make it a game, buy yourself that special treat once a week, whatever it takes to make it more tolerable.  

As always, feel free to share your favorite shopping tips so others can benefit.

God Bless!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Join in the National 54 Day Rosary Novena

I just wanted to jump in and encourage you to join in the National 54 Day Rosary Novena.  If you aren't sure what that is, it is a series of 6 novenas of rosaries.  The first 27 days are days of petition and the second 27 days are days of thanksgiving.

The novena starts today, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and ends on October 7th, the Feast of the Rosary.  How providential that these two Marian feast days are 54 days apart!  Coincidence?  I think not.

If you've been wanting to start praying the rosary together as a family, then now would be a great time to start.  This website has all of the information about the national novena, including the intention and the prayers (in case you are unsure of how to pray it).  You can even sign up to get  email reminders, which I did, of course!

Happy Feast day and I hope you'll join in this national effort to bring our country back to God.

God Bless!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A New Venture

Recently I did some cleaning up on my blog.  I removed and reassigned my labels so that there were fewer of them.  This, of course, meant that I had to skim through all of my almost 2000 posts and made me realize that I've been at this blogging thing for a very long time.

I'm also about to turn 50.  I'm not really bothered by it because I've always felt that age is more about how you feel about it than what the number says you are.  I still feel a lot younger than that, so turning the numbers up one digit higher doesn't really bother me.  Now my youngest son, it bothers him.  He says it kind of "creeps him out" to think about me and his dad being 50.  

So, after much pondering about this space here, I've decided that I'm old enough now to be more of a mentor, so I'm looking to have the posts in this ole blog be more in line with my organizing book "A Plan for Joy in the Home"; which is why I reassigned all of my labels.  I'm hoping to help people more than just keep them up to date on our doings.  Of course, that will all still find its way in here, but maybe with more of a purpose.

I hope you'll join me on this new venture and share this space with your friends and homeschooling groups.  It's so much more fun when we can interact and share, so I'm hoping you'll be game to do that.

Hopefully, God willing, this will also mean more consistent posting.  I won't be surprised, however, if there is still some sporadic moments!  Overall, I'm looking forward to see what comes of this space in the future.

God Bless!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Rosaries Aren't Just for Teething on a Retreat

Way back and a day ago, I was on retreat.  That's how long ago it seems, although in reality it has only been about three weeks.  The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are the retreat of all retreats, and when you can go to one of them preached by the priests of Miles Christi, well then, my friend, you are in Heaven.  Once a year they hold a retreat that goes from Monday afternoon until late Thursday afternoon.  The rest of the time they are weekend retreats, so this gives you about one extra day which translates into more talks and more time to pray and meditate.  There's also more free time so I like to walk around and do all of that praying and meditating stuff outdoors.  

This is the first year I had a decent camera on my phone, so I took a few minutes to take some pictures of the grounds.  

Isn't it just beautiful?  This Shrine is run by the Franciscans and has had Perpetual Adoration EVERY DAY, no matter what, since the 1930s.  Unbelievable.

So on that Monday I was preparing to go and I looked up on my information sheet to see what time the retreat started.  I saw that registration began at 4:00 and so I knew that meant that the rosary was at 4:30.  Good.  I left my house about 3:15 and knew I would be in time for the rosary.  

Except that I wasn't, because registration really began at 3:00, the rosary was at 4:00 and I arrived at 4:25 with Mass to begin at 4:30.  Ugh.  I ran up the stairs, threw my stuff in the room and ran back to the chapel so that I could be on time for Mass. 

I'm still not sure how that all happened, but later that night I realized WHY it happened.  I decided later on that evening to go to the chapel in the photo above to pray my rosary since I had missed it earlier.  I remembered that I had won a copy of "Rosaries Aren't Just for Teething" a few weeks back from Cari and had the urge to read it along with my prayers.

This, of course, meant taking my phone out to read it on my Kindle app.  That meant possibly seeing a message or an email or a notification and then having to fight the major temptation NOT to look at it.  But the urge persisted and so I went directly to the app and began reading the meditations for the Joyful mysteries.

Wow, they were just what I needed to hear.  Had I not missed the rosary, I would not have gotten these messages that I needed to get.  For example, from the meditation on the Annunciation, "Rather than shake His head at us with a condescending grin, He mercifully offers us something better".  I struggle at times with the "loving" God and so this was a great thing to read to set me on the right path.

From the Visitation, "Miracles surround me through the everydayness of life and the suffering and the joys".  How often I forget this.  Especially the suffering part.  Miracles are there...everyday.  We just need to look really hard sometimes to see them.

From the Nativity, "God's plans are always better and the stories He writes are always more interesting."  Much more interesting and much, much better than anything I could ever write.

Finally, from the Presentation, "Motherhood isn't just about our own pleasure.  It is a sharing in the self-giving love of God.  It is also a sharing in the suffering of the cross."  The cross.  Oh how I need to learn to love to embrace the cross.  Right now I run away as fast as I can.  Much more work to be done there, that's for sure.

I continued to read the other three sections of the book over the next three days I was there.  They were chock full of great quotes and insights that really helped me during my retreat.  One of the way God typically speaks to me is through the written word and once again, He came through for me. 

I hardly ever win things, so I am thrilled that this was one of those rare times.  The book is a gem and if you can, you should get yourself a copy and use it to mediate on the mysteries.  And, if you haven't done so this year already, you should make time for some kind of retreat with the Lord.  I know times are busy, but even an afternoon away at an Adoration chapel will be well worth it.

God Bless!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Homeschooling Moms Helping Homeschooling Moms!

I've been away for too long!  A lot to catch up on, but I'm short on time today so I just want to leave you with this:

I was privileged to do an interview with Kerry Olvera from Catholic Homeschool Moms.  She's interviewing homeschooling moms from a variety of homeschooling backgrounds to help other homeschooling moms out, or just give them a boost if they need it.  It was so much fun and I'm very honored to have participated.  

You can find my interview here.

More will be coming, too, so check back at her home page often.  

Oh, and pass this around.  I think it has the potential to help a lot of people.

Thanks, Kerry, for the opportunity.

Be back later to update you all on more exciting things!

God Bless!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Corpus Christi

Happy Feast of Corpus Christi...one of my favorite Solemnities of the year.   The parish we used to belong to had two-mile long processions at noon and it never failed to be super hot.  This year, since the parish we belong to now isn't having a procession, my mom encouraged us to come to their procession on Saturday evening.  It was an absolutely gorgeous evening and the procession, while shorter, was just as beautiful and nowhere near as hot.  Here are some photos to enjoy in case your parish isn't having a procession.

This beautiful chalk image was on the steps leading into the church.  It's hard to see it (phone camera picture!) but there is a Latin phrase written on the face of each step.  Of course I can't remember what it says or what it means.

My baby and my mom *sigh*

The altar my mom was in charge of preparing

This lovely little country church

Recently remodeled and gorgeous!
 Have a blessed Solemnity!

God Bless!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Deep Clean Day 1

Today began my summer-break spring cleaning fest.  We're too busy in the spring time to do the deep clean so I save it up for our summer break, which officially started today (WOOHOOO!).  We're having a party in two weeks so I set it as my goal to be done by then.  I wrote out a list of all of the rooms (basement not included...ugh, that takes a week in and of itself!), and am thinking that if I do one or two rooms per day that I have free, I should get the whole house done in time.

Now, that doesn't leave me much wiggle room, so that is assuming that I feel good (no dizzy spells) and am motivated enough and that nothing else gets in the way.  How likely that is to happen, I just don't know.

I decided to begin in the rooms that are less likely to be seen by visitors so that the ones that will be seen and used will be cleaned closer to party day.  That being said, I began today in my bedroom.

Deep cleaning meant vacuuming the window screens and washing the windows, vacuuming up all the miscellaneous cobwebs that seem to grow this time of year, moving furniture, cleaning out drawers and closets (they weren't too bad since I've kept up with them) and then tackling these two headboard too-easy-to-hide-junk-in type cabinets.

This is what I had "hidden" away:

Years worth of old scapulars, medals, religious stuff you get in the mail but feel guilty throwing out so you hide it away, and loads and loads of pamphlets and catalogs.  After sorting through it all I ended up with A LOT of old scapulars that we can bury in the yard, a bunch of medals and rosaries and such that I will bring to our Adoration chapel, two bags of holy cards and prayer/novena cards that I will either leave in the back of churches, give to other people, send in the mail with correspondence or things like that, and a ton of outdated pamphlets and catalogs that I promptly tossed since all of the info can be found online.

Whew.  That felt good.  One room down, about nine more to go.  The countdown is on.  If they all go as well as this one did, the house should be looking lighter and brighter very soon.

God Bless!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

What I've Been Up To

It is absolutely amazing how much time can fly by without me ever even visiting my own blog, let alone writing on it!  Seems like lately we've been busier than even the bees.  Let's get a rundown on the past few weeks, shall we?

I really do wish that I had photos to share, but alas, I do not.  I got to be the 2nd shooter at our friend's daughter's wedding over Memorial Day weekend.  I've known her for most of her life, so it was quite an honor to be a part of it.  They are a beautiful, Catholic family so I knew how important their 2 hour Mass was to them.  I spent a lot of my photo-taking time taking photos of them during that Mass. Unfortunately, I had to turn over all my photos to the main photographer as he is doing all of the editing, so I didn't even get to see any of them.  I am eagerly awaiting the finished product - to see if I can tell which ones I took :)

My son got to be one of the nine servers for the Mass.  It is always so wonderful to see him in his serious-serving posture.

Here's the lovely couple.  (My daughter took both of these pictures, by the way)  If you look closely you can see me in the upper left with the camera in front of my face (I'm behind the other guy with the camera!).  

Right before the Mass it began to rain buckets.  After awhile we had this 10 minute respite so everyone ran outside and threw rose petals.  It was quite lovely.

That same afternoon, during the Mass, my mil had emergency surgery so my husband actually missed this part of the day.  She's doing a little better now, just slower on the recovery end of things than they were hoping for so any prayers on her behalf are greatly appreciated.  

During this same time, we also had a short, somewhat last minute visit from Ms 23 yo's boyfriend.  He came in to see her before she starts her new full-time job this coming week!  Yay!

The weather has been quite the roller coaster ride around here.  We've gone from cold to hot and humid and back to cold again, all with a lot of rain.  With the rain comes water leaking (ok, sometimes pouring) into our basement which means the mold goes into overdrive.  We're discerning what we need to do about all of this mold business.  Hopefully we can come to some clear direction on that VERY soon.

School is over (YAY!!) and I am ready for summer.  I started my summer-time to-do list; you know, all of those projects which I hope to complete at some time over the next three months, but probably won't.  I'm hoping to get to at least most of them.

This week Ms 11 yo makes her Confirmation.  She is taking the name Colette.  This I will have pictures of!  Prayers for her, please, as she takes this important step.

Essentially, June will be like the last two weeks have been.  We have so much on the calendar that it will be gone before I can say...well...June.  I will try to post updates here as much as I am able.  If I'm not here, I'll be out enjoying that crazy thing I call my life.

God Bless!

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.


 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 :)  


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.

 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!


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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