Thursday, May 31, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Memorial Day 2012

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life. ~


Seven very pretty girls on Memorial Day...  It was so nice to spend some time with my friend Trina and her family (she just had baby #9!) while they were in town for the weekend.   Our little Twinkle Toes was very excited to see her godparents, and we especially loved being able to spend some time with our goddaughter!


They were all very happy when the boys finally got the fire going so we could roast marshmallows!


Looking a little more closely at this picture, which I had just snapped quickly before enjoying "just one" s'more, made me realize that Hubby wasn't kidding when he said "let me know if I didn't get all the grass off of that marshmallow"... Nice! 

I took the kids and our sweet goddaughter (who just had a birthday!) out for ice cream at a little local ice cream parlor.  The "single scoop" cones for $1.50 were nearly as big as Rose's head!


The kids had so much fun playing The Settlers of Catan together with their godsister!  (We have the add-on extension so that 5-6 people can play at the same time.)  It was a REAL close game, with Captain winning by just one turn.

Also quite real was the increase on the scale after a weekend of eating out and celebrating Pentecost (though I did pass on the cake!) and Memorial Day. Hopefully after another day or two of eating healthy and exercising I will be back down to last Friday's weight, which had been a new post-partum low since December, and not blow it again next weekend! 

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

End of School Year Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Even though my children will be continuing through the summer on a few subjects (Math, Science, and maybe some History/Geography) all of their other classes are coming to an end for the school year, before we move on to Golf Camp, Swimming Lessons, and all sorts of other summertime fun!

This year was our first year participating in a homeschool charter school.  I was hesitant to join in the fall, but it truly was an answer to prayer and ended up being such a huge blessing for our family.   In addition to using our "allotment" to pay for hockey, piano lessons, most of our consumables, and even printer ink, we had the best teacher coming to our home once a week for four hours (one hour for each of the children enrolled) to help.  Cynthia was amazing.  My little ones would climb up and sit on her lap while she listened to the girls practice reading aloud, she worked with all of them wherever I needed her help (Writing With Ease, First Language Lessons, Spelling, Math, etc), greatly increased my children's confidence in writing/journaling, and even helped us plant a garden!   Over the year she became a dear friend, and I always enjoy our Wednesday morning visits.  

Since today was her last day for this school year we decided to make her gifts from each of her "students."  I found all sorts of fun ideas online and thought I'd share the ones the kids decided to make for her this year, along with their handmade thank you cards.  I also picked up all the supplies for them to make gifts for their other teacher too!  ;) 

Potted Plant 
with printable tag from Living Locurto 
from Captain

Printable Thanks "a latte" Gift Card Holder 
inspired by eighteen25
from Rascal

Enjoy Summer Carry All 
inspired by Thoughtfully Simple
from Twinkle Toes

Summer Cup 
inspired by Lisa Storms
from Chiquita

Do you have any special gift ideas for teachers?  I'd love to hear about them! 

Watching the Solar Eclipse {May 20, 2012}

Watching the Solar Eclipse
6:34 pm  (Wishing my camera would capture the full "Ring of Fire" and not just the bottom edge)
6:35 pm - Another attempt...
6:36 pm - Looks more like an eyeball, instead of an eclipse! 
7 shots taken locally by a friend -  This is what we saw through the special glasses.
Made me wish I had a better lens and filter for taking pictures of the sun! It was awesome!! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Baby's First Food

Bud wanted to try a piece of that cake on Pentecost Sunday so badly that I asked one of the kids to bring me a jar of baby food from the kitchen... It was time to let Bud try some solid foods!  He just didn't want to wait until 6 months, like Rose.  I'm hoping to have the chance to start experimenting with making our own baby food, but for now I picked up some Earth's Best First Fruits and Vegetables.

My sweet little Bud!  (5 months and 1 week old)
I just can't get enough of his cute little smiles! 
Bud's 1st Bite of Baby Food - Earth Best First Bananas
2nd Bite... He did not want to let go of that spoon! 
"Mom, may I have another bite of banana, please?"
I'd say they were a hit!  Don't you think?

Photo Credit: Captain

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Celebrating Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church :: 2012 Edition

Holy Spirit, come and shine 
On our souls with beams divine 
Issuing from your radiance bright. 
Come, O Father of the poor, 
Ever bounteous of your store, 
Come, our heart's unfailing light.

Come, Consoler, kindest, best, 
Come our bosom's dearest guest, 
Sweet refreshment, sweet repose. 
Rest in labor, coolness sweet, 
Tempering the burning heat, 
Truest comfort of our woes.

O divinest light, impart 
Unto every faithful heart 
Plenteous streams from love's bright flood. 
But for your blest Deity,
Nothing pure in man could be; 
Nothing harmless, nothing good.

Wash away each sinful stain; 
Gently shed your gracious rain 
On the dry and fruitless soul. 
Heal each wound and bend each will, 
Warm our hearts benumbed and chill, 
All our wayward steps control.

Unto all your faithful just, 
Who in you confide and trust, 
Deign the sevenfold gift to send. 
Grant us virtue's blest increase, 
Grant a death of hope and peace, 
Grant the joys that never end. 
Amen. Alleluia! 

Happy Pentecost Sunday!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Good Shepherd's Garden Party :: Week Seven

The Heavenly Zoo

"The care the eagle gives her young,  safe in her lofty nest,
is like the tender love of God for us made manifest.  
As when the time to venture comes, she stirs them out to flight,
so we are pressed to boldly try, to strive for daring height.
And if we flutter helplessly, as fledgling eagles fall, 
beneath us lift God's mighty wings to bear us one and all."

This week, for The Heavenly Zoo, instead of having a party with all the menu items, I've been making my kids a special lunch each day.  At first I thought I'd make a batch of cupcakes, decorating six each day for each animal, but then I decided (since I've been trying so hard to stick to my diet) that I'd try and come up with some sandwiches instead.   I served the special lunches with WATER, since it was the first symbol for the week.  The week started out great with reinDEER, LION, and BEEHIVE sandwiches, but since Thursday and Friday were so busy I finished the week with PEACOCK pizza & salad, PELICAN trail mix, and fiery PHOENIX chips and salsa this afternoon.

~ The Deer ~

reinDEER PB&J's
I ran across this idea on Pinterest, originally from here.  I was in a little bit of a hurry making them, since I had just gotten home from adding highlights back to my hair, that I placed the nose and eyes much higher than they should have been.   My kids didn't notice! :)

~ The Lion ~

Lazy Lion Sandwiches

These were inspired by CharlotteWe made ours with Turkey and Cheese, instead of PB&J, and served them with Animal Crackers.

~ The Beehive ~

Honey & Almond Butter Beehives
I made these on Sweet Buns, adding the almond butter and a bee made out of an almond and two almond slices, serving them with honey sticks.

~ The Peacock ~

Peacock Pizza & Spring Salad

As much as I love our little Peacock Cupcake, I decided to try something new this year.   What do you think?  Does this little creation resemble a Peacock?   Using a few things I happened to have - Spring Salad Mix, Snap Peas, Red Grapes, Carrots, Mushrooms, English Muffins, and Pizza Sauce - I made a Peacock Pizza with Salad.  My kids, who aren't at all picky (other than Snuggles), loved it!  Snuggles opted for another "Turkey and Cheese Lion, without the mane!"  :) 

~ The Pelican ~

The Pelican's "Gone Fishin" Trail Mix

My children loved this trail mix, a modified version of a trail mix from Pepperidge Farms.  We don't do a lot of snacks outside of mealtimes and special feast day teas, and when I do it's usually fresh fruits and veggies with the occasional granola bar and fruit leathers, so Gold Fish are quite the treat.   I'll have to remember this recipe for the feast of St. Peter, it would be perfect for Blue Knights.   

This trail mix was made with 3 cups of Colored Gold Fish, 1 cup each of Smores and Pretzel Goldfish,  1/2 cup each of raisins and craisins, and 1 cup each of Dry Roasted Peanuts and White Chocolate Chips. 

~ The Phoenix ~

Fiery Phoenix Chips and Salsa
These were also inspired by Charlotte.

Tomorrow is already the very last day of the Easter season, and we will be Celebrating Pentecost
I hope you all have a very blessed Pentecost Sunday!

Friday, May 25, 2012

{this moment}

Bud at 5 Months

{this moment} - A single photo, capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. To see more visit Soule Mama

An Alphabet of Mary

Have you seen the latest book written and illustrated by George & Brenda Nippert at Catholic Artworks?  Created in the same style as An Alphabet of Saints, which we used Along the Alphabet Path and inspired my Painted Alphabet Saints, An Alphabet of Mary is another beautiful and inspiring book for children.

I am looking forward to sharing it with my children!   It has been a busy month, so I've been saving it for the upcoming (traditional) feast of the Queenship of Mary on May 31st. (Which is also the new feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth.)   My hope is that I can bake a crown cake, prepare a Marian Tea, and then share this book with my children to honor Our Blessed Mother one more time, during her month of May.

NOTE: Over the past year I have had many, many, emails asking for information on Catholic Artworks, and why they were taking so long to deliver orders. Last week I finally spoke with George Nippert, the owner at Catholic Artworks, and he shared a little bit about the many struggles their family has suffered and that the last of the overdue orders were finally shipping. Mr. Nippert said that all new orders will ship promptly and that he is offering the following sale through May 31st.  I really hope that they will be able to start shipping promptly, since they really do have some nice products to offer.

All products ordered will be 30% off with the code "Let_it_be" -  Plus, if you order a copy of An Alphabet of Mary they will also include a free poster if you mention Shower of Roses.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Highlights of the Ordination of Bishop Liam Cary

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life. ~


Bishop's Cake


Photo Credit:  Marc Salvatore

We were very happy to see Monsignor Cihak in attendance at Bishop Cary's ordination!   (And even more upset that we were not in Bend!!!) Monsignor has been over in Rome, and is currently one of the MC's for the Pope!  How we miss having these holy priests in our diocese!


Here is another picture (actually two meshed together) of Monsignor Cihak and Bishop Cary, taken at our rehearsal dinner the night before our wedding back in 1999, singing a song/toast to us.
We all look so much younger!

(I also have a picture of the new Bishop singing the same song for our friend Marc, at the surprise birthday party we hosted for him last year.) 


Even though our travel plans had to be cancelled, we felt so blessed to be able to "attend" the ordination of Bishop Cary via livestream, since we were just not able to make the trip to Bend. At this point, when the new Bishop was addressing everyone in attendance - both in person, and all those that were watching along online - one of my little ones had tears streaming down her face, wishing we could have been there. It was a beautiful ordination and the diocese of Baker is blessed to have this holy man for their new bishop! Deo Gratias!!

Our friend Marc, who happened to be one of the "official photographers," has sent me a number of pictures from the ordination to share with you all!  I'll be posting them soon.

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment

State-by-State Scrapbook :: New York

"E is for Empire State and the marvelous Erie Canal.  
Opened in 1825, 
this waterway carried the lumber and goods 
that helped our state to thrive."

It has been quite some time since the boys completed these scrapbook pages for New York, but I'm just now getting around to posting them, along with the girls' State-by-State Baking post for New York.

Actually, it is the perfect time for a little review, as we have been studying the Erie Canal (reading Amazing Impossible Erie Canal and re-watching an episode from How the States Got Their Shapes) this week, as we study the Early 19th Century.

by Captain (photos taken last year)

by Rascal  (completed last year, photo taken today)

*The links to the worksheets used for these notebook pages can be found here.

We were also blessed with a goodie box from a sweet family in New York. (Thank You Harmony!)  It was packed with all sorts thoughtful gifts including pretty much the strangest thing I've ever received in the mail... Turkey Joints!  :)

This unique treat is created in Rome, New York, using an old time process and a secret formula. The end result is a decadent chocolate and brazil nut “bone marrow” center that is enrobed in a delicate, shiny and crunchy sugar “bone” outer shell.

My kids were all a little skeptical, and hesitant to try them, at first... But, after just a little nibble, they "gobbled" them all up.  And it's a good thing too!   Despite my diet, I couldn't resist having a taste myself (just three bites) and boy was it yummy!

It has been so much fun to discover (and enjoy) a few of the regional specialties found around our country.