Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Those of you who have been visiting my blog since the very early days might remember back in 2008 when we bought goldfish for the four oldest (which were their very first pets), named the goldfish, mourned the loss of Mr. Peter Nemo, quickly followed by the loss of Princess and Flower.  Rascal's fish Sparkle, however, lived a very long life which came to an end this afternoon... Yes, today was another sad day, especially for Rascal, when he discovered that his fish had died!   The boys have planned the burial for tomorrow.  In the meantime Rascal added Sparkle to his timeline to remember forever... I sure love these sweet, sentimental children of ours!

All Saints' Day Banner Tutorial {including Printable!}

Since I just finished sharing the Alphabet Blocks that I made using the Saint Letters from Catholic Artworks, I thought now would be a good time to go back and share the tutorial for our All Saints' Day Banner!

Last year, for our annual All Hallows' Eve/All Saints' Day Party, I created this banner using the images from the Catholic Artworks book An Alphabet of Catholic Saints.   The clip art I used was on a CD of mine that they no longer sell, but I've been told that all the images are all included (with much more) on their current Teach Me to Discover the Saints CD.   (Catholic Artworks is the publisher, but for those of you that are hesitant to purchase from them this CD is also available from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts.)

I did call George Nippert, the owner at Catholic Artworks, and was granted his permission to share my document with you all, which includes some of their (copyrighted) Saint Letters resized to the correct size needed for this banner!   (Thank you Catholic Artworks)

Note:  Since these images are copyrighted, the document I share can not be modified in any way and is to be used exclusively to create this particular banner.  It is also not to be used for profit.   Also, if you share this post, be sure to link directly to this blog post, and not to the document on Scribd.   Thank you!



1. Print the All Saints Letter Banner Pages on white paper.

2. Cut out each banner letter, using the line as a guide.

3. Glue the letters to the card stock. (As you can see in the picture, I was able to fit two on each piece of 8.5x11" cardstock.

4. Leaving a border of card stock, trim around each banner letter using a paper cutter.

5. Using a small hole punch, punch a hole in the top two corners of each banner letter.

6. Tread ribbon (I used white) through the holes in the banner to hang.

Scroll through all All Saints' Day posts in the archives for more ideas and printables!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our New Archbishop!

Today's News From the Vatican Information Service:
Vatican City, 29 January 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Alexander King Sample as archbishop of the archdiocese of Portland (area 76,937, population 3,296,705, Catholics 412,725, priests 300, permanent deacons 72, religious 653), Oregon, USA. Bishop Sample, previously bishop of Marquette, Michigan, USA, was born in Kalispell, Montana, USA, in 1960, was ordained to the priesthood in 1990, and received episcopal ordination in 2006. In the national bishops’ conference he currently serves on the Subcommittees on Native American Catholics and on the Catechism. He is also vice-postulator for the cause for canonisation of Venerable Frederic Baraga, first bishop of the Diocese of Marquette. He succeeds Archbishop John George Vlazny, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

We are so excited to welcome our new Archbishop and couldn't be happier to hear this wonderful news today!  We were even more pleased to see that he is supportive of the Extraordinary Form and is known to celebrate it regularly!  What an incredible blessing for our diocese!

A few of the articles I've been reading today:

I'll definitely be praying today's Rosary (in thanksgiving!) for the Bishop!  

Deo Gratias!!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

An Alphabet of Saints :: B is for Blocks

Snuggles' Alphabet of Saints Blocks

I mentioned back during "B Week" that Snuggles and I began Brushing Paint on Building Blocks!    Since the girls and I made an Alphabet of Painted Saints to go along with their journey Along the Alphabet Path I wanted to come up with something for Snuggles that was just for him, but also tied in the saints from the book An Alphabet of Catholic Saints.   I thought a set of Alphabet Blocks would be perfect!  

Cupcake's Alphabet of Saints Blocks

Originally I had hoped to make eight sets in various colors/designs to give as Christmas gifts, but ended up with just three, Snuggles' set plus sets for two of our dear godchildren, since my "extra" time was so limited in November and December. I do still have a fourth set in progress for Rose since she loved these blocks so much! In fact, one day she snuck into my bedroom, snatched a few blocks while I was on the phone and then hid under Captain's desk with them until I found her... Yes, I'm hoping that she will find her very own set (made with rosy pink-uh paper of course!) inside her Easter Basket this year.


  • 1 1/2-inch square wood blocks (I used 13-16 blocks for each set)
  • Sandpaper
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush
  • Decorative paper
  • Alphabet Letters
  • Sponge


1. Sand the wooden block with sandpaper to prepare them for painting.

2. Paint the blocks with the color(s) you've selected. Allow to dry.

Snuggles' and Cupcake's sets were painted white
Bear's set was painted in multiple colors

3. Cut the Alphabet Letters and Decorative Paper to squares measuring just under 1 1/2" each.

Note:  I used the alphabet saint letters from Catholic Artworks, using a CD that they no longer carry.  I've been told that all these letters and much more are included on their updated CD titled Teach Me to Discover the Saints which is also available from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts. Unfortunately they are not a free printable.  Also, the images are very large on the CD.  I resized them to the correct size that I needed for these blocks in Word, creating the document that you see in my supplies picture.  I am sorry that due to copyrights I am not able to share it with you all.  However you can customize this idea with any letters, stickers, or embellishments of your choice!

4. Glue the paper to each side of the block using all-purpose Mod Podge. Allow the glue to dry.

Note:  Using 13 blocks I started with letters A-M on the fronts and then continued with letters N-Z on the backs (in order with N on the back of M and Z on the back of A).  Since I had room for three extra blocks in the box for Cupcake's set I added a few extra vowels and consonants for her to use in creating her names.

5. Very carefully, to prevent the printed alphabet paper from smearing, paint another coat of Mod Podge all over the block to seal. Allow to dry.

Note:  After having plenty of blocks stick to my work surface I finally started placing them on top of my paint bottles to dry, which worked nicely.

This is what my husband patiently put up with on our bedroom dresser most of Advent!  

6.  All Done!   I also found a nice little wooden box at Michaels which held the completed blocks beautifully... I was only able to find one so I'm hoping that I can find more the next time I make it back to the craft store.  

The picture book An Alphabet of Catholic Saints to go along with these blocks is available from Amazon! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life. ~


I placed my pretty St. Agnes statue on my kitchen island on her feast day this past Monday morning...

I also pulled out the ingredients to make Agnesenplätzchen (St. Agnes Cookies) from Cooking with the Saints, but ran out of time before we had to leave for town.   Even though her feast day has passed, I think I might make them for Sean and the kids this weekend anyways.  


After picking up Sean at the airport yesterday afternoon (YAY!!!!!) we all headed to meet up with friends at the the rink to go ice skating!  Happy, happy day!  


Our little cowboy just loves scooting around on his bull.  
 He also enjoys hanging out inside my book baskets...


Somebody was mad, and refused to look at his daddy, when we picked him up at the airport...
However, it didn't take Bud long at all to forgive him for being gone for three weeks!

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Well, Hello There!

How's your week going?  Better than mine, I hope!

Only 43 more hours, until my husband is home again... Not that I'm counting or anything!  ;)

I had such great plans for this week, to celebrate the feast of St. Agnes, have a Tea for Our Lady of Altagracia, finally move on to D week, catch up the laundry, organize the school room and do a little planning for the second half of our school year which begins next week, and finish up some blog post drafts, but that was not to be...

It has been a rough week around here!

Monday I had an appointment with the allergist to try and figure out what it was that made my throat swell right before Christmas (I've had other facial swelling before, but never my throat) and then again shortly after.   I opened the paperwork just before leaving and realized that the appointment could last from 1-3 hours depending on the testing and results.   They weren't kidding and I was very thankful I took Twinkle Toes along to help with Bud.

I had suspected an allergy to our outdoor cat, who loves to sneak in the house to scare me warm up, so I was tested for that along with a whole panel of other things and everything came back negative.  So I no longer have a good excuse to get rid of the cat we get to keep the cat!  (Twinkle Toes was thrilled! And, I admit, was somewhat relieved too, just because our kiddos love Ferdinand so much...)   The diagnosis ended up being the same one I was given years ago: idiopathic neurotic angioedema.  The two most common triggers of this happen to be stress and infection.   I had a sinus infection at the time my throat swelled, though I didn't know it at the time, so it all makes a little more sense now.   It was just very scary!  The good news is that angioedema is very controllable with Zyrtec and I just need to recommit to carrying it with me all the time.   (I've gotten bad about that over the years.)   This type of condition rarely requires the need of an EpiPen, though I do have a prescription for something a little stronger, should I ever have a more serious episode.  Thankfully the sinus infection is gone, and as for the stress, I don't have much of that in my life, right?  lol

After the doctors appointment we went to get something to eat and to run a few errands.   I somehow managed to bend a prong on my wedding ring so I dropped that off at the jewelers to be repaired, spent my Gymbucks at Gymboree, and picked up some groceries at Trader Joes.  We then headed to Costco to stock up on more groceries since it had been weeks since a trip to town.   What a job, but the kids were thrilled to finally have some more food in the house.

I was hoping that Tuesday would be a calm day, but no such luck.   We woke up to trash all over the yard (thank you raccoons) and no water (thank you freezing cold weather).   Of course the first priority was to make some coffee so I headed out to the well house to see if I could thaw the pipes with my hair dryer.   Hours later I gave up and melted some ice from the freezer. Anything for a cup of coffee!

In the meantime, as we continued to try and troubleshoot the lack of water, despite it warming up outside, my Dad (an electrician) walked me through taking apart the control box so I could text him a picture.

He wasn't happy with the results - I guess those copper heads shouldn't have been touching and something had tripped the breaker - so he headed up and brought along some water with him!  Yay!

After reseting the breaker and testing the electrical wires the pumps still wouldn't run and we also found out the holding tank was empty - which means the pump was most likely not working for quite some time, especially considering I hadn't been using much water on Sunday or Monday.  It was then time to call the pump guys!

Around 3:30 they arrived, along with my sister to take the girls to their Irish Dance Class, since I needed to stay home.  They finally discovered that the pipes coming up from the deep well were the ones that had frozen, and once they got the ice thawed and opened up the restrictor we finally had water running back into the holding tank.  It  also ended up being a very good thing that the breaker had tripped, preventing the deep well pump from burning out.   That would have ended up being much more expensive... Anyways, by 5:30 we finally had running water in the house! Hooray!!

Today wasn't as challenging and I finally have had some time to start cleaning house from the past couple days, get ready for the tutor tomorrow, and clean out the detached garage in the rain.   Yep... the garage was definitely not on the list for today!

Of course, after weeks of cold but dry weather, it finally started to rain this afternoon right when I had the glass company scheduled to replace the cracked windshield on Sean's car.   Thankfully, with the boys help, we made enough room to fit most of the car inside and the windshield is fixed!

Sigh... I think I need a nap.  And a Zyrtec!  ;)

Friday, January 18, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} :: 35th Birthday Edition

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life. ~


Pretty birthday flowers from my husband, who is still in Arizona on training... Only one more week until he will be home again!


Despite Sean being out of town, he and my family made sure I had a very happy birthday!  The kids decorated a cake and even took pictures of the process.   My Mom came over the day before with a gift card to my favorite coffee drive through, a new book I've been wanting to read, and a Cobb Salad from my favorite restaurant, since she was leaving for Hawaii  early on the 16th to go help my sister for a few weeks.  (My sister has been really sick and spent some time in ICU recently.  Please keep her in your prayers!) 

Instagram Photo taken by my sister Julianna

My Aunt came over and made dinner and drinks for everyone, including my Dad, brother Brian and his family (who surprised me with a gift card to our new Trader Joe's!), my sister Julianna, my brother Kevin, and my youngest brother David (who turned 17 the day before my birthday, which was the age I still was the day he was born!).  It was such a fun night!  

Me and My Seven Sweeties
David, My Dad, My Niece, and My Kiddos
Way too many candles... 

Of course, the kids made me wait until after I had blown out all the candles to open the gifts that Sean had left in their care.   The girls had helped him pick out some new perfume, and the boys helped pick out a gift at Best Buy!  I'm so excited!!  I've been balancing the laptop on top of the treadmill to help me get through all the time I've been spending on there, and this will be so much better!  Yes, they really did spoil me this year!

So tired, but very happy and very blessed! 


No, I'm not going to show you the picture of my blowing out all those candles! ;)

On Tuesday night, the girls and I stopped at a few different stores to look for a special cake pan I wanted to try and find at the last minute.  I had thought that I would make myself a gluten free persimmon spice cake, and this was a good excuse to buy that beautiful cathedral bunt pan I mentioned  wanting to purchase for the next feast of St. Thomas Becket!  We didn't have any luck finding the pan locally and I ended up just asking the girls if they would like to pick out decorations to decorate their own cake for me instead!   They had so much fun making their selections, and then I couldn't believe it when we got home to find the very pan we were looking for sitting on the porch, sent as a gift from a very sweet friend!   So, I had two birthday cakes this year!  And it was a good thing too, with all the family that ended up coming over... We only had a couple pieces left! 

A couple days before my birthday my sister Julianna asked what I wanted "if money wasn't an option..."  I told her, "to not be turning Advanced Maternal Age!" ;)   In an effort to help me feel younger, she filled a box with healthy treats including Organic fair for life Dark Chocolate, Coconut Water, Rain Water, Trident Vitality Gum, and Refreshing Burt's Bee's Lip Balm!  


My sister, sister-in-law, and Twinkle Toes took more pictures, but the rest just make me want to go climb back on the treadmill!  Yikes!  Instead I am going to show you a picture from my 1st birthday.  (You can see more childhood birthday memories here.)

I showed this picture to the kids the other night and they all thought that Bud looks just like me as a baby, if you ignore the dress and the bow!  What do you think?

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

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Announcing the Winner...

It took me longer than I thought it would to sort though all the comments and make entry slips for the giveaway! I think next time I will need to go back to numbered comments and a random number generator to make it a little easier... Nevertheless, it is always so much fun to hear from you all, and extra thanks to everyone who shared a favorite resource, organizational tip, or motivational quote!  I made sure that two entries were included in the giveaway for each of you!  I'm sure I will be revisiting those comments again when I need a little more inspiration.  That comment box is filled with so much great advice!

Since Rascal volunteered to help me fold all the entries I asked him if he would like to choose the winner.  After reading so many of your comments and realizing that the 2013 Saints Calendar & Daily Planner is out of stock everywhere I was really wishing I had more than one to give away... Next fall I will try and remember to post a reminder when the new 2014 Saints Calendar comes out in September, and maybe even host another giveaway.  

Congratulations to Shane Pruitt!  

Please email me at jessica(dot)showerofroses(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and I will mail the Saints Calendar from the postoffice on Monday.  Thanks again to everyone who participated!  

UPDATE:  Please contact me by Wednesday, January 24th or I will need to choose another name.