Friday, February 28, 2014

Rainbow Connection: A Baby Shower for Kristin

I've been participating in the 7 posts in 7 days challenge, but just wasn't able to put a post together last night.  Thursdays are always a really full day for us each week, with the tutor here from 12-5. We are still recovering from the stomach flu we came down with last weekend, and Ranger (who we thought was the only one of the nine of us to escape it) came down with it last night...  Overall, if you count all those State-by-State posts at the beginning of the week individually, this is post #9 for the week so I've completed the challenge, right? ;)  I am working on putting together a list of our saint books for March which I will try and post tonight or tomorrow, and I'll also be back sometime this weekend with a giveaway from St. Luke's Brush!  (P.S. If you haven't entered the Sew Sweet Booties giveaway, today is the last day!)


The weekend before last I attended a baby shower for Ranger's godmother (who was also my Confirmation sponsor many years ago).  This is her first baby after an 11 year gap and we are all so excited for her!  She also just found out that baby is a GIRL, which is even more of a surprise, since they currently have 5 boys!  Her sister (another dear friend/bridesmaid of mine planned the shower and I was able to help with a few things.  

Ann-Marie wanted to incorporate Rainbow Connection, a childhood favorite of Kristi's which she sings to her own babies.  Ann-Marie made a darling rainbow cake, pretzel rods, candies, jello (made with mostly fruit juice!), and so much more. 

Trina made a veggie platter and I made the fruit rainbow.  They were all so pretty and colorful! 

Even prettier than the rainbows, though, was the beautiful St. Therese doll Amy made for the baby!  It is such a darling doll, and still one of our little Rose's favorites too.  
(If you happen to know how to crochet you can purchase her pattern here!) 


One of the games that Ann-Marie planned was a socking pairing competition. At 28.7 seconds I won this game, though Kathleen (the tutor I have here on Thursdays) came really close to beating me at just over 29 seconds!  The prize was one of Ann-Marie's Heat/Cold Lavender Scented Therapy Packs which we have been putting to good use this past week as we still battle colds and stomach flus. 


When I asked Ann-Marie what else she needed help with, other than the few decorations I was bringing along and the fruit platter, she asked if I could help with a couple games.  

I was trying to come up with some that we hadn't played before and ended up choosing Play-Doh Babies, inspired by a suggestion at BabyCenter!  I purchased a Box o'Color (affiliate link) with 16 individually wrapped packages of play doh and passed them out during the shower. We set a timer for five minutes and had each person sculpt a baby.

You can give multiple prizes based on different categories (most realistic, most creative, most disturbing, most silly, etc.) but we just had Kristi choose her favorite.  She picked Trina's with the cute little pacifier in it's mouth! If only there had been a category for most disturbing, she might have had a much harder time choosing the winner! ;) 


Apparently the M&M guessing game I brought along, thanks to some help from my boys, was really hard and there were only two women who were even remotely close to guessing correctly. 

Would any of you like to try and guess how many M&M's are really in that jar?  If you'd like to play, just leave your guess in the comment box and I'll send a little prize to whoever has the closest guess by Sunday night! 

UPDATE:  The answer is 843 M&M's!   
Congratulations Christine M!  Your guess of 840 was the closest.
Thank you all for playing along.  That was fun! :)   

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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Veiling :: A Lenten Sacrifice I Grew to Love

Ten years ago, in the spring of 2004, I decided to start wearing veils as a lenten sacrifice.

It was something I had felt called to do for a couple years,  but my vanity and pride had prevented me from taking the first step.

Our family was going to be traveling that May to the ordination of my husband's oldest brother, the first of his three brothers to be ordained to the Holy Priesthood with the Fraternity of St. Peter. I had never attended a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, at least not that I could remember, but I knew that most of the women in attendance would be wearing a veil. I didn't want to stand out for not veiling, but I also didn't want to wear a veil just for the sake of blending in with the crowd.  

If I was going to wear a veil I wanted to make sure I was doing it for Christ alone.

The year before, during Lent of 2003, I had started wearing skirts on a daily basis, offering it up for a special intention.  By the end of Lent it was no longer a sacrifice, but something I had grown to love.  The same happened for me with veiling. After lots of reading and many discussions with my husband's brothers on the symbolism and reasons for veiling I decided it was time and that this act of devotion was something God was asking me to do for Him.  

It wasn't easy at first.  

I remember walking into Mass on Ash Wednesday and slipping into the back pew with my three little ones, ages 3, 2 and 6 months. It was definitely going to be an adjustment and take some practice (and lots of bobby pins!) to find a way to keep that veil on my head while juggling all those babies!  There were a few other dear older women at Mass wearing veils, so I wasn't the only one, but it was still hard. The next day was the same, and the next...

I was so afraid of what people were thinking of me.  I didn't want others to think I was wearing a veil to "try and look holy" or to draw extra attention to myself.  I didn't want to be an additional distraction during Mass. 

I still remember the afternoon of that first Friday during Lent. I pulled Sermons of the Curé of Ars (affiliate link) off the shelf and opened it up to read St. John Vianney's sermon for the First Sunday of Lent. The sermon was titled Temptations and was exactly what I needed to read at that moment.  Here is a particular quote from the sermon which I found particularly inspiring and which has stuck with me all these years:

The first temptation, my brethren, which the devil prepares for those who have begun to be more zealous in the service of God, is the fear of man. They are afraid to show themselves. They shun those persons whose society they formerly frequented. If they are told that they have changed very much, they are ashamed! The question, "What will be said of me?" haunts them so, that they have no more courage to do good before the world.  

The next day it was so much easier to push aside my fears, and blame them on temptations from the devil. I said a little prayer and slipped on my veil, before entering the Church. Despite what others might be thinking, God knows my personal intentions for veiling, and that is all that matters. With God's grace I was able to persevere and it continued to get easier.  Even with the constant distractions of little ones, wearing a veil has always helped me remain more focused on what is taking place at Mass and to treasure this precious time with my Lord.

I have grown to love wearing a veil for Mass, and whenever I am in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.  The veil has such inspiring symbolism and is a beautiful way to give glory to God.  I pray that all women who feel drawn to begin veiling are given the courage and graces they need to do so.

Note: Currently my favorite veils are my rose covered veil (pictured at the top of this post and purchased from the limited quantities offered by Michele Quigley), my silver and black mantilla (pictured above, purchased from... oh, I can't remember at the moment!), and my black Soft Tulle Veil ordered from Catholic Embroidery and made by Veils by Lily. Lily has an excellent page on her website with answers to Frequently Asked Questions about veiling

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Big Purse Dump

Note: This post contains affiliate links. 

For today's 7 posts in 7 days blog entry I thought it might be fun to participate in Kendra's Big Purse Dump link-up.  My husband bought me a new purse for Christmas (Apparently it is called The Kendra Tote!) and I've been pretty good at cleaning it out on a regular basis... It doesn't contain anything nearly as interesting as Kelly's, but I'm going to share anyways.

I have my little Finders Key Purse Fleur Di Lis attached to my keys and hooked over the side of my purse.  Love, love, love that little hook! 

This purse has a large center section with an additional pocket on each side.  

On one side I have a couple of my black veils for Mass.  
Right now my purse also has one of the older girls' white veils and Rose's pink veil as well.  
(The girls received these pretty veils in last year's Easter Baskets.) 

In one of the inside pockets I keep some kleenex and Zyrtec.  I usually try to have travel packs of Zyrtec, but ran out recently and just put in the whole container.  I've had some pretty bad allergic reactions this year (due to my angio-edema) and my husband has started making sure I've got Zyrtec in my purse at all times or he'll turn the car around and go back home to pick it up... Thankfully the Zyrtec has been enough to keep the reactions under control. 

I've been using Rose's rosary case (for my St. Therese Rosary) and need to order another.  

In the center section, underneath my wallet, was all the random items that had sunk to the bottom: a couple fruit leathers, my camera lens cover, Baby Shower favor, loose change, a notebook/pen, Pocket Posh Logic, a couple hair ties, pens, tide stain remover, the Bible Candy Valentine Snuggles gave me, and a packet of TAZO zen tea, the (now expired) Costco coupon booklet, and the brand new Lent at Ephesus CD

In one of the end pockets I have a little Hand Sanitizer from Bath & Body Works.  

In the other side pocket I have a few books, including my Catholic Daily Planner, The Context of Holiness, and a copy of a little pamphlet my husband put together of Frequently Asked Questions About the Latin Mass to hand out at our next bi-monthly Extraordinary Form Mass. 

-It's my favorite thing in here: So many favorites... I love my Key Hook, but I also love my Catholic Daily Planner.  The Context of Holiness is quickly becoming another favorite. 

-Wow, I really have a lot of these: Pens.  Three loose in the bottom of my purse, one attached to the notebook, and two more inside my wallet, and yet I never can seem to find one when it's needed. 

-I've been looking for those: My camera lens cover!  I am constantly misplacing that thing and this time it ended up being in the bottom of my purse. 

-Huh. THAT shouldn't be in here: Nothing really too out of place at the moment, though the camera lens cover is back on the camera, the Costco coupons are in the recycle bin, and the girls veils are headed back to the Mass Bag in the van. I also have a diaper bag that stays packed in the van as well. 

And since there is "no cheating" allowed, I couldn't slip the two copies of Kendra's brand new book back into my purse, but they were in there last Wednesday after arriving in the mail.  A Little Book about Confession for Children is an excellent book!  A copy will definitely be going into our 6 year old's Easter basket this year and I'll be offering the other as a giveaway here sometime soon.  
(Speaking of giveaways, there is still time to enter the Sew Many Booties giveaway!)  

Congratulations on your new book, Kendra, and thanks for hosting the link-up!

Monday, February 24, 2014

State-by-State Baking :: Texas Cookies

Independence starts with I,
a big and important word.
Texas has been victorious - 
freedom has been assured.
  ~ L is for Lone Star: A Texas Alphabet
(affiliate links included in this post)

Bud ended up sharing his stomach virus with the rest of us... Since Friday everyone has gotten sick at some point, except for Ranger.  This is the first stomach flu we've had since that traumatic trip to Nebraska, and the first ever for the two youngest.  I've been so careful to stay home and away from all the germs, but I guess with all that running around last week we were bound to catch something.  It has made for a very long and exhausting few days and nights.

Anyways, I guess I was feeling a little optimistic on Saturday (Bud was feeling a little better and no one else had gotten sick, yet) and went and signed myself up for Jen's 7 posts in 7 days again this year!  I can still do it, right?  I did manage to find a little computer time this afternoon and finally finished up all the State-by-State posts that had been stacking up (just like that fun app!) in my drafts folder. I have this one last post for you and I promise I will move on to another topic tomorrow!

For the state of Texas, the 28th state in our State-by-State Study, the girls baked Texas and Star Sugar Cookies, using a Texas shaped cookie cutter from our favorite Texans, after reading L is for Lone Star: A Texas Alphabet and completing their Texas Notebook Pages.

Texas Cookies 

Shape, Decorate and Bake Cookies! 

State-by-State Scrapbook :: Texas

N is for the Nine-banded armadillo-
nature's brownish armored knight.
Our state's official small mammal-
his burrow a common sight.
*affiliate links included in this post

Texas is the 28th State in our State-by-State Study

The boys also read Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett, from the library, to their younger siblings.

.: Texas by Captain :.

.: Texas by Ranger :.

*The links to the worksheets used for these notebook pages can be found here, and here is the link to all of our State-by-State Study posts including our State-by-State Baking!

State-by-State Scrapbook :: Florida

J is Juan Ponce de Leon,
an explorer of old.
He discovered Florida 
while searching for gold.
  ~ S is for Sunshine: A Florida Alphabet 
*affiliate links included in this post

Florida is the 27th State in our State-by-State Study

While studying Florida we also incorporated an excellent Catholic Pilgrimage Geography Study Guide.    Additional books included Welcome to the River of Grass by Jane Yolen and Everglades by Jean Craighead George, both recommended in A Picture Perfect Childhood.

.: Florida by Captain :.

.: Florida by Ranger :.

*The links to the worksheets used for these notebook pages can be found here, and here is the link to all of our State-by-State Study posts including our State-by-State Baking!