Friday, May 31, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} :: Beautiful Smiles!

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life. ~


At the Orthodontist just before her braces were taken off! 
This morning Twinkle Toes told me that right before she woke up she dreamt that she heard my footsteps coming towards her bedroom and then I said "Wake up! Today's your lucky day, Baby!" (in the voice of the cocky rooster from one of Chiquita's new favorite audio books...) Yes, she was very excited about her orthodontist appointment this morning!  Today her braces were scheduled to come off!   Her braces were put on during the first week of school and taken off during the last!  The purpose of the braces (this was phase one of two) was to make room for her other teeth to come in naturally and avoid having oral surgery and/or permanent teeth pulled when she is older.   (This "lucky" daughter of ours inherited my teeth... I had braces for 5 years and a total of 10 teeth pulled - 2 baby teeth, 4 permanent teeth and then the 4 wisdom teeth.  My husband, on the other hand, has never even had one filling!  I'm hoping more of our children take after him!) She loves having the braces off, and is now adjusting to wearing a retainer! 

Beautiful Smile!


Chiquita's First Dentist Appointment & Cleaning
Chiquita also had her very first appointment with the dentist this afternoon.  The hygienist was very pleased with her brushing and said that she is doing a great job!  I was so happy it was good news, especially since we had put off taking her to see the dentist for so long.  I'm also so happy that we finally purchased dental insurance!  After the amount of debt we wracked up last year between the braces and Rascal's broken tooth, we couldn't afford not to have dental insurance any longer...


I helped the girls with their hair, but I probably should have checked Snuggles choice of clothing and shoes before heading to town!  He cracks me up... 

Still not sure what to think about seeing the Dentist for the first time...


It was a crazy day - with four stops at the orthodontist (Captain-wire removed, Twinkle Toes-braces off, Captain-wire replaced, and Twinkle Toes-pick up retainer) and three at the dentist (cleaning for Captain, Chiquita and Snuggles)!  They were overlapping at two different places at pretty much the same time, which ended up creating about six trips for me, from one to the other, over a couple hour time period...   I was ready for a nap by noon the time we made it home!  

And yet I still managed to take pictures through it all, thanks to my new iPhone!  I had been counting the days (all 20 months!) until I was able to upgrade my Droid cell phone and it (finally!) arrived yesterday!  I didn't waste anytime getting down to the store and picking up my new phone... I've been having so much fun setting up iCloud and syncing it with my computer and iPad!  I've been reading through my copy of Paperless Home Organization: How to Create a Digital Home Management Binder (recommended by a friend) and am looking forward to (hopefully) getting a little more organized.   I hope you all have a great weekend!

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blessed :: A Locket for Mother's Day!

I've been so excited to share a couple pictures of my beautiful new locket with you all, and finally have a chance to do so this morning!  This was an incredibly generous Mother's Day gift from Tricia at Origami Owl, one of my dear visitors here at Shower of Roses!

The Large Locket includes a "blessed" tag, 7 birthstones - one for each of our living children, a rose, a camera, and the letter J.  There is also a Rose Dangle, representing the rose from St. Therese, which my husband happened to leave on my apartment doorstep on the 9th day of a novena (March 17, 1999) I prayed to her asking for a sign if he was who I was to marry (it was the first flower he ever gave me and did not know I was praying the novena!) along with a Small Locket containing a cross and two little hearts - one with tiny blue footprints - in memory of my babies in heaven.  It is just perfect and I love how it so beautifully "tells my story with jewelry."

Tricia pointed out how easy it will be, especially for Catholic moms like myself with big and growing families, to continue to add charms as our family grows, and they are only $5 a charm!   There is no need to buy a whole new necklace each time a new baby arrives!  She also mentioned that, once you own the locket, you can change out the charms as often as you like, and move them to various other locket designs to change the look.

So far every time I've worn the locket I've had people ask me about it and comment on how it is so unique and pretty... Rose especially loves looking at my locket and pointing out all of the beautiful charms!

Pictures Taken on Mother's Day - May 12, 2013

If you are interested in creating your own locket, be sure to visit Tricia's website.  In addition to Mother's Day, these would be great gifts for graduations, weddings, birthdays, and Christmas!  You can also contact her directly for personalized design help at

Thank you Tricia!  May God reward you for your kindness and generosity!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Saturday Morning in May

Outside my window... 
I can see the beautiful new flowers my thoughtful husband picked up on his way home from work and planted in my hanging baskets from last year.  Much to everyone's delight the hummingbirds have already been spotted enjoying the flowers too!

I am thinking...        
about curriculum plans for next year!  I'd love to wrap them up soon and place the last of my book orders.

I am thankful... 
for this delicious steamy cup of coffee (with a little half-and-half) following the three-day detox which I successfully completed, despite the flu-like symptoms on Day One!  It was a tough few days, especially choking down the flax granola each morning (which is surprisingly starting to become more palatable), but I really do feel great and it has been so nice to see the weight, which has crept on the last couple months, fall right back off!  I am confident that I'll finally be able to hit a new low this week and finally get off this plateau and continue moving towards my goal.

Learning all the time... 

"I would't do..."

Celebrating the liturgical year... 
Trinity Sunday is tomorrow.  I think we will pick up some Neapolitan Ice Cream on our way home from Mass... And maybe I'll make Tacos for dinner!

From the kitchen... 
lots of recipes from The Plan: Eliminate the Surprising "Healthy" Foods that Are Making You Fat--and Lose Weight Fast as I continue through the 20-Day Meal Plan.  Today I get to have Coffee (1 cup only), Cheese, Wine and Chocolate! I am the most excited about this morning's cup of coffee and the 1 oz of dark chocolate for dessert.  I've never been able to drink wine without having an allergic reaction, and we'll see how it goes with that goat cheese (the test food for today)... My mom is determined to find some that I will like and suggested some soft cheese with herbs from a local creamery.

Preparing Carrot Ginger Soup for Lunch on Day One

Updated to add:
Goat cheese.... Wait for it.... Yep, there is that awful aftertaste! ;)
Actually, I must admit, of all the goat cheeses I've tried in the past, this was the least disgusting best.  
Day Four Dinner... YUM!!

I am working on... 
cutting out the names of more states, with the boys' help, using the Cricut!  The biggest challenge of this State-by-State Study has been having the materials available for the boys when they are ready for them!  They are now all set with the worksheets for all the remaining states, and the scrapbook pages for the next nine.  Next up is Florida, which means I still need to post pictures of their completed Maine, Missouri, Arkansas and Michigan pages!  (Note to self:  If Snuggles decides to do this project be sure to have everything ready ahead of time and maybe it will only take 1 to 2 years instead of 3 or 4!) 

Speaking of our State-by-State Study, and since Florida is up next, I'm really excited about the Unit Study from Catholic Pilgrimage Press we will be incorporating!  I would love to have something like this available for each state to easily incorporate the Catholic history.  In the meantime, I just ordered a copy of Our United States of America to add to our study, as we work our way through the second half of the states using the Discover America Series!

I am creating... 
a list of books to read during our upcoming study of WWII.  If you have a favorite I'd love to hear about it!   The Winged Watchman and Enemy Brothers, are already definite favorites in our home.  Sean just started reading Snow Treasure to all the kids and I am planning on starting Five For Victory   with them next week.   I also picked up the Molly series at the library yesterday and Twinkle Toes has already completed five of the six books!

I am going... 
to grade the boys Math lessons. I'm already missing the automated grading in Teaching Textbooks...  If only they could turn Saxon into a computer program!

I am hoping... 
that I get to see my little sister JoAnn (one of the twins) while she is in town this weekend!

I am praying... 
for my brother.  Next week would have been my nephew's 5th birthday... It doesn't seem like it has been nearly 5 years since that heartbreaking night.

I am reading... 
lots of fun picture books to my little ones.  Actually, last night, as I started to read The Miraculous Tale of the Two Maries (such a unique and interesting book!) to my little Rose, I loved how all seven of my children cuddled up on the couch to listen to the story!   I couldn't help but think that these days are limited as the boys get older...  I'm enjoying every minute of it while it lasts!

Pondering these words...
from Strickland Gillilan found in my copy of Reading the Saints.  This has been such an excellent resource, and I just love the little quotes sprinkled throughout... I just realized it has been updated and there is now a brand new Second Edition.  I might have to add that to my wish list!

"You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be-
I had a mother who read to me." 

I am listening...  
the sounds of spring heard through the open windows.

Around the house yard... 
pinecones... LOTS of pinecones! The boys have been picking up a wheelbarrow full each week!

One of my favorite things...  
my new scale!  I had a feeling that our old scale was off, since I always weighed less when I would visit the doctor or midwife in the past.  Gotta love it when you find out that you actually weigh a couple pounds less than you thought you did!  (Even if it isn't technically a new low for me, I love seeing that lower number!) Oh, and our kids all prefer the old scale... They can have it! ;)

This week's plans...
Only two more weeks until our summer break!  We've finished quite a few of our courses from this year and are still working on wrapping up a few.  In addition to the tutors on Tuesday and Thursday we have Orthodontist and Dentist appointments on Friday.  Hopefully we will be able to finish planting the garden too!

A little peek at some recent days in the garden...

I wrote this post this morning and then headed out to the garden without clicking post...  
It has been such a nice day! I hope you are all having a relaxing Memorial Day weekend! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life. ~


My pretty necklace from Jesse Tree Treasures!  Thank you Angie! :) 


Incorporating fun foods, like our Pentecost Cake, in our celebrations of the liturgical year always makes my children happy!  This year's cake was made quickly with a boxed cake mix and store bought whipped frosting, which I picked up on our way home from Mass along with a box of organic strawberries.  I just used candles that I already had at home, which ended up being all red this year.   Of course I like to make it pretty, but they just love blowing out all the candles and celebrating the birthday of the Church with cake

An anonymous commenter pointed out that I was missing a candle... Next year I think we might add an extra candle (in a different color, so it is not confused with the 12 candles for the apostles) for the Blessed Mother, like Charlotte did on her beautiful cake for her family, or perhaps tie a pretty marian blue ribbon around the platter.  Of course, it is fun to include all the symbolism, but not at all necessary like all the other extra family activities and recipes for the saints and liturgical year... Our real celebration is attending Mass!  How blessed we are to have our faith and the sacraments! 


Okay, it's not really funny, but I couldn't believe it when Captain was working on Lesson 115 of Teaching Textbooks 6 (the first introduction to missing numbers) and I noticed that I was teaching the girls the same concept (missing addends) in their very first lesson of Saxon 5/4 for 4th grade.  These were some of the problems/concepts that my boys had no idea how to answer when it came to their tests.  So far Saxon is going well for all of the older children and I think the switch is going to be just what we need!   I really appreciated all the feedback from everyone on my School Year in Review post last week.  Thank you! 


It has been a challenging week in our home, which explains why it has been so quiet here on the blog.  (I have tried to keep up with some of the questions/comments, but I just haven't had the time to respond to all of them, or even begin to try and get to emails.)  On Tuesday Bud (who still sleeps with his eyes somewhat open sometimes) had a mild concussion after a fall which required a trip to see his pedatrician (I'm really starting to dislike these "practical" tile floors of ours!) and Chiquita is fighting a bad case of Poison Oak which has spread from her arms, back, and neck to her face...  I've been on a detox diet the past couple days, and our evenings have been spent working on building new raised beds for the garden.  Yep, just a little busy...  I'm so ready for the weekend! 

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

Monday, May 20, 2013

Celebrating Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
And in our hearts take up Thy rest;
Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comfort blest, to Thee we cry,
Thou heavenly gift of God Most High,
Thou font of life and fire of love,
And sweet anointing from above.

Praise be to Thee, Father and Son, 
And Holy Spirit, with them one;
And may the Son on us bestow
The gifts that from the Spirit flow.

We had so much fun teaching Bud how to blow out those candles!

He was so cute, even if he couldn't manage a "mighty wind" and wasn't sure what to think of all the smoke...  Here are a couple quick videos of his attempts: 

And while I am posting videos (and since it only took 5 minutes to upload, after switching internet providers last week, versus all night like the videos I've posted in the past!!!) here is another one of Bud walking around (for the first time outside) yesterday after Mass.  Taking away the Wheely Bug (he has it back now) was just the motivation he needed to start walking.

It was such a beautiful day!  We attended the late Mass, which ended up being our parish's First Holy Communion Mass.  The girls were very excited to be there to see some of their little friends from Irish Dancing receive Our Lord for the first time!  I did have plans to make a 12 Fruit Salad and 7 Layer Bean Dip, but ended up just making a cake and my mom's potato salad to go along with the burgers that Sean grilled.  The highlight for the children is always blowing out the candles anyways!

I hope you all had a blessed Pentecost Sunday!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bargain Priced Books Illustrated by Gennady Spirin

I've always admired the beautiful illustrations by Gennady Spirin in our copy of We Three Kings.  When I ran across a couple more of his books on sale for 71-72% off I ordered them to stash away for next Christmas.   Here are the links in case anyone else is interested:

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Hardcover) by Gennady Spirin is just $4.91. 

Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Hardcover) by Gennady Spirin is just $5.00.

Also, for those who still haven't ordered a copy of Angels and Saints at Ephesus, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Angels are running a Pentecost Special right now on their website!  If you buy 1 or more copies of Angels and Saints at Ephesus they will send an additional copy for free!  Here is the link.  This sale is effective until midnight (CDT) on Sunday, May 19, 2013. 

I pray you all have a blessed Pentecost Sunday!  

Friday, May 17, 2013

Seven Not-So-Quick Takes :: Our School Year in Review and a Few of Our Plans for Next Year

I've been spending a lot of time the past couple months making plans for our next school year, deciding which programs we will continue and where we will be making changes.  Here is the link to our original Curriculum Plans :: 2012-2013.   

— 1 —

Let's start with Language Arts... So far we have loved everything we have used from the Institute of Excellence in Writing!  The oldest three just completed (yes, completed!!!!) the Student Writing Intensive, Level A and it has helped them incredibly with their writing.   Next year we will either move on to either the Continuation Course or perhaps the Ancient History Themed Writing Course to go along with our history studies.  Or maybe a combination of both? I haven't decided yet.

We have also completed Latin, Handwriting, and Vocabulary for the year.  (Prima Latina was a little too difficult for my 2nd grader, so we dropped it early in the year.) We will also continue with Fix It!  and all the children have been working on memorizing poems from Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization.

Phonetic Zoo and All About Spelling continue to be the perfect spelling programs for our family.  The oldest two are currently working on Level B of the Phonetic Zoo and Twinkle Toes is in Level A.  Chiquita will spend another year using All About Spelling before she moves on to Phonetic Zoo as well.

Snuggles started the year with the Alphabet Path and the writing portion of Primary Arts of Language.  I was so happy with PAL that I purchased the reading portion as well.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to keep up with all the extra fun activities for him with the Alphabet Path, but between the Primary Arts of Language and his Math he has continued to learn so much each week.  I am still hoping to add my posts from C and D weeks soon and then return to the Alphabet Path over the summer and continue next year as I originally planned.

— 2 —

Moving on to Math...  Bleh!  As much as I have loved it in the past, I am not happy with Teaching Textbooks...

I've mentioned before that last year we enrolled our children in a local Charter School.   The benefits of the Charter School, in addition to still being able to choose my own curriculum, have been that I have an "Educational Specialist" (who is a Catholic friend of mine) come to the house each week and spend one hour working with each of my children enrolled (5 hours on Thursdays, which has greatly helped keep me on track).  I receive an "allotment" that can be used towards purchasing some of our curriculum, paying for music and sports, or used towards extra tutoring, etc.  Some of the "drawbacks" are that I have work samples and reports to turn in for each quarter and we have extra testing throughout the year.  (When we were exclusively homeschooling we were required to test in 3rd grade, 5th grade, etc. Not every year.)

Anyways, back in March my oldest three children had to take the state tests.   It didn't go well.  My oldest (who struggles with Auditory Processing Challenges and is currently a 6th grader) failed both tests - Math and Language Arts.  Our 2nd son, who is in 5th grade, passed the Language Arts and Science, but failed Math.   Our oldest daughter in 3rd grade passed both the Language Arts and Math, but just barely on the Math.  (I thought for sure she would "exceed" since she is nearly a year ahead in Math.)

Over all it wasn't too bad - collectively they passed 4 of the 7 tests they were given.  I felt a little better once I had a chance to see how the whole school had tested.  Twinkle Toes (who I thought would exceed expectations) was the only student who passed the 3rd grade Math test.   The boys, did not pass the math tests, but only 16-19% of the students in their own grade levels actually passed. (Many of the students in the charter school also use Teaching Textbooks for math.)

Is it the test?  Or is it the programs being used to teach Math?   I've been spending many hours the past couple months trying to figure it all out. I've been talking to friends, comparing programs, and reexamining my decision to continue with Teaching Textbooks.

If you asked me a few months ago I would have told you that I love Teaching Textbooks.  Originally I switched to Teaching Textbooks out of necessity.  With a large growing family and babies arriving every other year I just wasn't able to keep up with the other programs we had been using.  I figured that the math they would get with Teaching Textbooks was most likely more than they would have been getting with me each day...  It really did help get me through some challenging times. Yet, now it seems that it has given both myself and the children a false sense of accomplishment.   How can the kids score 90-100% on all their lessons and then fail standardized tests and placement testing for other programs?  And it isn't just the tests (I'm not a big fan of the tests to begin with) there are so many concepts that they just haven't learned or do not understand.

Last month I hired another tutor (a friend of mine who has been teaching High School Saxon for the past 6 years) to start working with my older boys for Math, to prepare them to retake the test, and we started realizing just how far behind they are from Saxon Math.  Even after a couple months of tutoring and lots of extra studying the boys still were not able to pass the math test on the second attempt, though both of their scores did increase and Rascal "nearly met" the requirements.

All along I've been under the impression that Teaching Textbooks is a little behind and have been trying to compensate for that by having them try to get ahead in the program. (Chiquita just started TT 4 at the end of 2nd grade and Twinkle Toes should finish TT 4 soon.)

My long term plan has been to switch back to Saxon for High School.  We have a co-op here that I hope to join for a few subjects, which uses Saxon.  After discussing it with the boys' new math tutor, and having her compare programs, we realized just how much Teaching Textbooks is missing.  It seems to start out about 1/2 year behind or so, but by High School it seems to be about 2 years behind!

Needless to say we will be switching back to Saxon next year, at least for the oldest two.   After taking the placement tests my soon to be 7th grader (who just completed TT 6 and has been tutored with Saxon to help catch him up the past couple months) will still be going back to Saxon 7/6 (6th grade math).  My plan is to put both boys in the same level together and have a tutor come once a week to help with any challenging areas.

I still haven't decided what to do with my girls.  Twinkle Toes, who is going into 4th grade could move right over to Saxon 5/4.  This would probably be the ideal thing to do for her.  Chiquita who is just completing 2nd grade will probably continue with Teaching Textbooks 4 and move on to Teaching Textbooks 5, keeping her ahead a couple grades until we are ready to switch her back over to Saxon as well.  Decisions, decisions...

As for Snuggles, he has been using Singapore Essential Math which he has enjoyed.  I never did get to much Calendar Work with him and he definitely needs some practice there...  (That is one thing I've missed from the Elementary Saxon books!  I'm actually considering going back to Saxon 1 with him next year, now that I've sold all my old books! lol I think he'd really do well with the program.)  I've also been happy with Times Tales, as well as a couple math apps recommended by Charlotte:  Speed (definitely a favorite with my kids!) and Dragon Box.  For next year I am also planning on purchasing the actual Speed Card game for the children to play against each other as well, since they enjoy the app so much.

— 3 —

Maybe it was because of the accident in the fall, but we were all ready for a change from Exploring Creation... The older boys were also ready for something a little more challenging to prepare them for High School so we switched them half way through the year to Concepts and Challenges in Science Book 1. They have just completed the sections on Biology and Chemistry.  I have been very happy with this change and they will continue using this series next year.  (Note: If anyone out there has hardcover versions of Concepts and Challenges in Science Book 1, 2, or 3 that you are interested in selling please contact me!  These books are so hard to find...)

The girls are still working on completing Exploring Creation With Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day and their Notebooking Journals, but I will be switching programs for them next year too.  At least for now... We will probably go back to the Exploring Creation Series again at some point.

Anyways, I just purchased Focus on Elementary Chemistry and Focus on Middle School Chemistry for next year. I have a few more pictures to share, but you can also read more about these books on the publisher's website Real Science 4 Kids or at Emmanuel Books.

— 4 —

The boys are still working on completing our American History Studies for this year.  You can see our Election Study here and I still need to post the pictures from our Civil War Unit Study.   The boys have also nearly completed their Industrial Revolution to the Great Depression Unit Study. So that just leaves World War II which we might try and study over the summer going back to Ancient History in the fall.

The girls have also continued to enjoy their American (Girl) History studies!  I still need to post pictures of their Kirsten and Addy Lap Books and they are currently working on Samantha and Kit.

— 5 —

Everyone has completed their Maps Charts and Graphs workbooks and I've already ordered the next in the series for the fall.  We've also continued to make very slow progress through our State-by-State study.  Whenever things get too busy this is the first to get set aside...

I'm sure the kids will all want to continue making their way through the states, but next year I'd like to move on to World Geography.  That reminds me of a question I have for all of you...  I'd love to hear any thoughts you all have on Classically Catholic Memory.   Has anyone used in in a home setting, and if so how have you liked it?

— 6 —

In addition to our usual Baltimore Catechism studies, the children all just about finished with their Living In God's Church textbooks and their various assigned stories from Young People's Book of Saints, Golden Legend of Young Saints, Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls, and More Tales for Boys and Girls.

The highlight of the year was definitely the election of our new Holy Father and our Papal Lap Books!

— 7 —

Throughout the year we have studied a couple composers, though piano lessons needed to be put on hold for now, to spend the funds (from our charter school allotment) on extra tutoring.  We also had to take a break from organized sports.  On the plus side it left lots of family time and afternoons and weekends spent playing outside in addition to a couple little road trips.  It has been such a great year!

The other things we weren't able to get to included Blue Knights and Little Women Hospitality.  It is so much harder to "make the time" when it's not done in a group setting.  I am thankful that we were at least able to still have a Mother-Daughter Tea Party!  I'm still considering if I want to coordinate actual groups again next year or not... We'll see.

I've been trying to get all my plans for next year finished by the end of the month and start creating new color-coded checklists for next year.  The checklists were such a blessing and really did help keep us on track!

I may not have gotten to everything I had originally planned, and we may be struggling in a couple areas, but over all I think it was a very productive and successful school year.

For additional Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Benedictines of Mary Angels and Saints at Ephesus Debuts At #1 Classical Traditional Chart

Praise the Lord all ye Angels: A Hymn to all His Saints ~ Psalm 148

Have you ordered a copy of Angels and Saints at Ephesus yet?   I've been listening to it all week, since my husband gave me my own copy for Mother's Day!  Please consider purchasing a copy (it makes an excellent gift for family, friends, and even to give to teachers as the school year ends!) or sharing the link.  Let's help keep them at the top of the charts! 

Atlanta, GA, May 15, 2013 – ANGELS AND SAINTS AT EPHESUS from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, has debuted at No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Classical Traditional Music Chart. The album also earned the No. 2 spot on Billboard’s new-artist “Heatseekers” chart, which encompasses all music genres.

ANGELS AND SAINTS AT EPHESUS topped a group of classical albums that includes Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album and Downton Abbey: The Essential Collection.

“This is an unprecedented accomplishment for an artist, a group of Contemplative Nuns, this devoted, hidden prayerful group who do not tour and remain close to their Benedictine Rule of Life,” said Monica Fitzgibbons, co-founder of De Montfort Music. “We wish to thank all of those who have generously taken the time to help shine the spotlight on this incredible music. The Sisters also thank all those who have come out and supported this music. This generosity has allowed the Sisters to maintain their hidden life of prayer and sacrifice for Priests and for the whole world. We thank you in advance for continuing to help spread the word about this most important heavenly masterpiece.”

De Montfort enlisted nine-time International Grammy® winning producer Christopher Alder, who hails from Germany and two-time Grammy® winning engineer Mark Donahue to record and capture the Sisters in their contemplative environment singing all of ANGELS AND SAINTS AT EPHESUS.

“The Benedictines of Mary have again created a beautiful recording to connect us to the oldest traditions of European monastic chant and hymns,” remarked Costa Pilavachi, Senior Vice-President, Classical A+R Universal Music Group International.

The full track list for the album:

1. O God of Loveliness
2. Te Joseph Celebrent
3. Christe Sanctorum
4. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
5. Duo Seraphim
6. Veritas Mea
7. Jesu Dulcis Memoria
8. Lorica of St. Patrick
9. Est Secretum
10. Virgin Wholly Marvellous
11. Laeta Quies
12. Ave Regina Caelorum
13. A Rose Unpetalled
14. Emicat Meridies
15. O Deus Ego Amo Te
16. Jesu Corona Virginum
17. Dear Angel Ever at My Side

The album was released May 7, and a 30-minute special on the making of the album began airing on EWTN the week of May 5.

This is the second album from the Benedictines of Mary that has reached No. 1 on Billboard Magazine’s Classical Traditional Music Chart. Last November and December, the Sisters’ debut album, ADVENT AT EPHESUS, with De Montfort Music/Decca, spent six weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Classical Music Chart, and the Sisters ended up as the #1 Classical Traditional Artist of 2012, according to Nielson’s Soundscan.

ADVENT AT EPHESUS rejoined Billboard magazine’s Classical Traditional Music Chart this week, coming in at No. 15.

About the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles

Founded in 1995, The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, are a young, monastic order of Sisters. The Sisters sing together eight times a day as they chant the Divine Office in Latin.

I love all the songs on the CD!  O God of Loveliness is a Poem composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori, Te Joseph Celebrent is the Vespers Hymn to St. Joseph, Spouse of Our Lady, from his feast on March 19th. Christe, Sanctorum is the Lauds Hymn for the feast of St. Michael the Archangel on September 29th.  Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence is the Greek Seraphic hymn in honor of the Holy Eucharist. The lyrics of Duo Seraphim are chanted in the 12th Responsory for Sunday Matins.  Veritas Mea is the offertory chanted on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  Jesu Dulcis Memoria is a hymn written by St. Bernard of Clairvaux.  Lorica of St. Patrick is an excerpt from St. Patrick's famous "breastplate." Est Secretum's lyrics are words of the Virgin Martyr St. Cecilia (patron of musicians) to her husband, St. Valerian, chanted at first Vespers of her feast on November 22nd.  Virgin Wholly Marvelous is a marian hymn by St. Ephraem the Syrian.  Laeta Quies is chanted at Mass on the feasts of the death and translation of the relics of St. Benedict, founder and Father of the Benedictine Order. Ave Regina Caelorum's lyrics are taken from the Compline antiphon of Our Lady of the Angels, chanted between the Purification (February 2nd) and Easter. A Rose Unpetalled (one of my favorites!) is a poem of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, set to original music. Emicat Meridies is chanted at Mass on the feast of St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict and Mother of Benedictine Nuns. O Deus Ego Amo Te (you can listen to it below) is taken from a prayer written by the missionary St. Francis Xavier. Jesu Corona Virginum is the vespers hymn of the Virgin Martyr St. Agnes, whose feast is January 21st.  And Dear Angel Ever at My Side (another favorite of mine) is to the Guardian Angels, sung on their feast on October 2nd.  Every song is simply beautiful and inspiring! 

Angels and Saints at Ephesus, the Benedictines of Mary's new CD 
in honor of all the Angels and Saints, was released on May 7th. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} :: 2013 State High School Golf Championships

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life. ~


Yesterday, thanks to my dear husband who has been spoiling me lately took a day of annual leave to stay home with all our little ones, our oldest two boys and I were able to take a road trip with my dad to meet up with my mom and watch the final day of my youngest two brothers High School Golf Championships at the State level!  

Even though Kevin and David have been playing golf for years, this was the first time I had ever been able to watch them play!   It was so much fun!! 

The weather was beautiful and it was the perfect day to walk the golf course.


My boys were so happy to be able to take the day off school and cheer for their uncles! 


After landing in yet another bunker, the boys thought it was so funny when Uncle David told them that he was "going to see how many times he could hit the bunkers!"  He continued on to land in a few more, but I was always so impressed at how well he could get the ball out of those things and right on to the green.

As for the hair?  Well, thankfully, that was actually just a hat that their whole team and coaches (except for Kevin who only put it on for the team photo) wore during the tournament, and not a "new look" for that Godson of mine... Whew! 

And NO, Captain, you may not trade hats with your uncle!  I think your Dad would like it even less than Grandpa! ;)


I was so proud of both my brothers.  Not only are they excellent golfers, but they have such great attitudes and have become such great young men.   Kevin may not have won 1st place at State, like he did last year, but he still placed 2nd (Way to go, Kevin!!) and is also headed to college in the fall on a full 4 year scholarship for golf!

The High School team they play for (homeschoolers in our state are welcome to join the local public schools for sports) also placed 2nd - setting another new record for the school!

Great job boys!  I look forward to watching you play again in the future... And maybe one of these years you can take that oldest favorite sister of yours out and teach her how to play too! ;)

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