Monday, June 30, 2014

Feasts & Seasons :: Our June Book Basket

At the beginning of each month I fill a basket with books featuring the the various saints whose feast days will be celebrated during the month and place it in the living room. Throughout the month I will find the children curled up on the couch reading books they have chosen from the basket, either on their own or to their younger siblings. I also choose books from the basket for some of our afternoon family read-alouds. Our collection started very small and we have continued adding additional books over the years which we have either purchased or have been given as gifts. Some are picture books, some are chapter books, and some are collections of saint stories. This post is a work in progress and I will continue adding links as I sort through our collection.

Month Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

 The Story of the Sacred Heart by Daniel A. Lord, S.J. - Originally post: The Catholic Child and the Sacred Heart

June 1st, St. Angela Merici (Trad.) (New – January 27th):

June 3rd, St. Charles Lwanga & Comps. (New, Trad./some places):

June 3rd, St. Kevin (Hist.):

June 3rd, St. Clotilde (Hist.):

June 6th, St. Norbert (New, Trad.):

June 9th, Our Lady, Virgin Mother of Grace:

June 9th, St. Columba (Trad./some places):

June 9th, St. Ephrem of Syria (New) (Trad. – June 18th):

June 10th, St. Margaret of Scotland (Trad.) (November 16th - New):
  • Margaret by Sister M. Juliana of Maryknoll (Neumann Press - preorder from TAN)
  • St. Margaret: Queen of Scotland (The Book of Saints and Heroes) by Andrew Lang

June 13th, St. Anthony of Padua (New, Trad.):

June 15th, St. Germaine Cousin (Hist.):

June 21st, St. Aloysius Gonzaga (New, Trad.):

June 22nd, St. Thomas More (New) (Hist – July 9th):

June 24th, Nativity of St. John the Baptist (New, Trad.):

June 29th, Sts. Peter & Paul; St. Peter the First Pope (New, Trad.) (St. Paul – Trad. – June 30th; see below for St. Paul book list):

June 30th, St. Paul, the Apostle (Trad.) (See June 29th)

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (New – Saturday following 2nd Sunday after Pentecost):

Other Links for June:

A Summer Daybook on the Last Day of June

Outside my window...
an ultraviolet water filtration system is being installed in our nearly completed new well house! We have been purchasing bottled spring water for a couple months now, which has been getting expensive for our large family, after discovering bacteria in our water. It's been quite a process - first the patio/foundation had to be poured, then a new, full-size well house had to be built (the contractor will finish it after he returns from vacation), and now we finally have the room that was needed to install the filter.  I'm really looking forward to having unlimited drinking water again!

I am thinking...
our water issues might have had something to do with our oldest son's health challenges. He has been symptom free for over four months now!

I am thankful... 
for all the prayers that have been sent our way as I continue to recover and heal from my recent miscarriage. Last week was definitely harder than the first, perhaps since I had been keeping myself so busy up until then? Anyways, I posted on Instagram the other day that I was struggling with depression (with anxiety/panic attacks/chest pain - I've struggled with this in the past following a couple of my other pregnancies) and I can feel the extra strength and graces from all the prayers.  Thank you all!  (And that beautiful three mile walk really helped me feel better too!)

Rather than ride home with Sean and the kids from our annual hometown parade, I decided to walk home. It is such a beautiful day! #needexercise #fightingdepressionaftermiscarriage #prayersplease

Learning all the time...
So far this summer we've completed two weeks of daily swimming lessons, a camping trip, a week of golf camp, and a week at Quo Vadis Days for the two older boys. It's been lots of fun but I'm looking forward to some time home this week! ;)

Celebrating the liturgical year...
Our liturgical year celebrations have been simple lately, focusing on prayer and daily saint stories during dinner, but we did bake a heart shaped Applesauce Spice Cake for the Solemnity Feast of the Sacred Heart last Friday.

The girls helped decorate the cake with strawberries and pretzel sticks. 

From the kitchen... 
Chicken and Vegetables with a Coconut Milk and Red Curry sauce inspired by my friend Cassandra, who just announced that she is expecting!  SO yummy! I'm working on eating extra healthy again and focusing on a paleo diet while I try and lose some of the extra weight which has crept back over the last year.  I had a headache for three days (sugar withdrawal?) but it's finally gone. :)

I am working on... 
It's time to update the book basket with saint books for July.  I'll try and compile our list soon to share with you all! (And perhaps finally complete the post with our June books too…)

I am creating...
plans for next school year and lists of books that need to be ordered.  I had been so motivated to finish my plans and get an early start, until our miscarriage… I'd still like to get a jump start on the school year, since we'd like to take a family trip after fire season for our 15th Anniversary in October.  I should probably get back to those plans!

I am going...
to start the Saints Joachim & Anne Faith Folder with a couple of the children in preparation for their feast on July 26th!

I am hoping...
that we can figure out a way to take the children to the summer camps (one for the older boys and another for the older girls) organized by one of their uncles for his parish… We waited too long to make reservations at a campsite and I haven't had any luck finding somewhere affordable for us to stay. At the very least we are hoping that Sean can take the two older boys this year!

I am praying...
for Max. Karla's family has suffered so much with the loss of their 10 year old son Sanjay a few years ago, and now Max is in need of prayers. Karla recently sent me an email asking me to share her prayer request with you all.  She and her husband recently found out that their son Max has kidney disease and barring a miracle he will need a kidney transplant soon. She said that he is already down to 15% function. Please keep their family in your prayers!

We are also praying for the soul of a dear friend, Gary Francis, who passed away early Sunday morning. We will be attending his funeral later this week.  +May he rest in peace+

I am reading
The Sacred Heart of Jesus: Jesus' Love for Us from the sweet Gloria Series collection.  I've had this book stashed away in my closet, along with the other books in the series, to give the little ones next Christmas or Easter, but I pulled it out to read to my little ones last Friday afternoon on the Solemnity Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

They are small and inexpensive hardcover books and you can find them at Sacred Heart Books and Gifts (search Gloria Series for the whole collection).  The 5"x6" books are perfect for little hands! 

Rose always loves to "reread" books after we finish, over and over, examining all the pictures more closely.  These precious books are filled with beautiful artwork form the Library of Fratelli Bonella in Italy!

Oops, she caught me taking pictures! :) 

Pondering these words...
from St. Therese's poem My Joy:

"My joy is to love suffering. I smile shedding tears. 
I accept with gratitude the thorns mixed with the flowers."

I am listening... 
to the girls working together in the kitchen. It sounds like they are trying to find the pumpkin pie spice. They are baking Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins for an afternoon snack.  I love all the giggles!

Around the house...
everything seems to be damaged or breaking lately.  Sometime this afternoon our plumber will be coming over to figure out why both of the Master Bathroom sinks started leaking (soaking everything!) on Saturday, and a new coffee pot just moved to the top of my shopping list.

One of my favorite things...  
new books!  A couple books just arrived that I had pre-ordered awhile ago: Karol, The Boy Who Became Pope: A Story about Saint John Paul II published by Neumann Press (and also available directly from TAN) and Thérèse of Lisieux: Little Flower of Love published by Liguori.

This week's plans
Enjoy Summer and Celebrate the 4th of July!  You can find some 4th of July ideas and recipes in the archives: 

A little peek at some of my Instagram Feed last week...

  1. Monday - The boys left for summer camp early this morning... I miss them already!
  2. Tuesday - Fun at the park following five back-to-back cleanings and exams at the Dentist's office. Next up: naps for everyone!
  3. Thursday - Home from Quo Vadis Days! (Ranger was blessed to be able to serve Mass, along with four other boys, for our Archbishop on the last day of camp!!!)  
  4. Friday - 10:00 AM the day after camp... Do I let them keep sleeping, or wake them up to eat their breakfast (which has been in the warming drawer for the past hour)  (I let them sleep. And you can see their triple bunk bed here.) 
  5. Friday - A Strawberry Rose for my little "Rose" (Inspired by Prim aka Elizabeth Star.) 
  6. Friday - Left my iPhone on the couch for a minute and came back to find this picture. Yep, I'm sure they intended to include Jesus' Sacred Heart in honor of today's Solemnity Feast!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life. ~


I wasn't the only one in the kitchen this past Saturday… Our oldest daughter has been such a huge help and loves working with me (or without me!) in the kitchen.  In these pictures she is cooking the bacon for the Club Sandwiches and, unlike her mother, she never burns it! ;)

She has been loving the pretty summer dresses we recently purchased from Lands End!

(Clearance Prices+Coupon Code+Ebates Rebate+Free Shipping=I'm so tempted to order more!)

She is still 10, but we ordered the Size 12 to give the dresses extra length, and so that they will fit her a little longer. We ordered the dress in Pink Hyacinth Stripe and Wood Lily Plaid.


Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreos!
(affiliate link, but I'm sure they are much less expensive at your local store)

I couldn't resist buying the Reese's Oreos when I was looking for Oreos for on top of our "Worm Burners." Let's just say it's a very good thing that there are nine people in our family and that they didn't last very long.  YUM!!!


Snuggles and all his funny faces. . . That boy!



"He blew out ALL the candles…"

"I know it's his birthday, but doesn't he know that I'm the candle-blower-outer around here?"

Don't worry Bud, we'll relight them for you!
Yep… All of them!

"That's better! Now you can cut the cake."

We are off to meet up with friends for lunch and bowling and then can't wait to welcome Captain and Ranger back home this evening!  They've been away at Quo Vadis Days (our diocesan vocations camp) all week and we miss them like crazy… Hope you all have a great day! 

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Par-Tee Time! {A Golf Birthday at the 7th Hole}

Looking at the pictures in this post you would never guess that I was not very prepared for Snuggles' birthday this past week. All I had done to prepare was order a few things from Amazon (Golf Cart, Golf Ball Candy Mold, a book, and a couple Golf Games - which arrived quickly thanks to Amazon Prime) and created some food labels on Wednesday, then grocery shop Friday evening following the final day of the children's Golf Camp & Tournament.
Note: This post contains affiliate links.  

Saturday morning the birthday boy didn't want to come out into the kitchen until his cake was ready so he could be "surprised!" (I really need to get back into the habit of making them the night before) so his Daddy came to my rescue and took him to town for a Birthday Smoothie and to run a couple errands. Thankfully everything came together quickly and beautifully despite my near panic attack halfway through decorating the cake!  ;)

It was just our immediate family, but we had a splendid day celebrating this little character of ours.  I also, especially after spending very little time in the kitchen following my miscarriage the week before, really enjoyed (and went overboard) creating fun "golf" inspired foods for his special day… It was a nice distraction from the difficult week that had just passed. I hope you don't mind, I have quite a few pictures to share with you all! 

.: Decorations :. 

One of the kind helpers at golf camp sent home the balloons from the tournament when she heard that we had a birthday the next day!  Held down with some new golf balls and tees placed in a jar (which I won at this year's Hadley Hope fundraiser) the balloons made a fun and colorful centerpiece. 

When I noticed that Sleeping Bear Press had A Golf Alphabet book I had to order it for our collection...

… and also couldn't resist the little pull back Golf Cart

(My parents have had golf carts - or "Putt-Putt" as my youngest brothers called them - since I was a teen, for riding around their property. They are always one of the highlight's when we visit!)

.: Par-Tee Games :. 

Sean and I recently splurged at Costco when we saw the Disc Golf they had for sale.  We saved it as a birthday surprise and as soon as Sean arrived back from town, he and the boys set up the three-hole course around our property!  It has been so much fun! 

I had also planned to create a "Pin-the-Ball in the Hole" game. and had picked up a poster board when I was at the store, but my older boys (aka resident helpers and artists) were working at the neighbors all morning digging holes (their first "real" job!) and I decided it wasn't that necessary after all… We had plenty to keep us busy for the day! 

.: Birthday Gifts :. 

In addition to the decorations and games that doubled as birthday gifts, we had a few more gifts for the birthday boy including a #7 Beaver's Jersey! (Sean and I happened to run across some clearance Beaver's clothing back in January and saved it for his birthday, along with some Beavers Pajamas that I wrapped.) 

Rose, who I had taken shopping with me the night before, had picked out a box of animal crackers for her brother. . . 

. . . the older boys gave him a Nerf Super Soaker, Twinkle Toes gave him a sweet card along with $1 (which she had recently discovered under her pillow after losing a tooth), and Chiquita gave him all the Not-So-Hot Cocoa gift certificates she had won during golf camp! 

A card arrived in the mail from Grandpa and Grandma G. and he also received a Lego Family House from Sean and I, which he started building immediately! 

.: Playing Disc Golf :. 

.: Golf Inspired Buffet :. 

As I mentioned above, I went totally overboard creating golf themed food for the party! 

The birthday boy loved it all! 

- On The Menu - 

BOGEY Hoagies
CLUB Sandwiches
WOODS & IRONS Pretzel Rods
Rice Krispie BUNKERS
Watermelon SLICE
Sweet TEE

Fruit PARfait

...and a few more ideas that I ended up skipping since we had more than enough...

SLICEd Veggies

In my search for party food ideas I had run across the suggestion for Berry Blue Jello Water Hazards.  I adapted the idea, adding some Green Gummi Frogs to the top and, once the jello started to set, pushed down a few white Candy Pearls into the jello to look like Golf Balls falling into the water! 

Rice Krispie Treats cut into a kidney shape, with one end dipped into frosting or white candy melts and then covered with green spinkles, for Bunkers/Sand Traps. 

S is for a sand trap, an easy place to reach. 
But getting out is difficult. You're swinging from the beach. 

Chocolate Pudding topped with Gummi Worms and crushed Oreos for "Worm Burner!" 

Worm Burner: When a golf ball is hit hard and is intended to go airborne but instead rolls or skips along the ground at high speed.  

B is for Birdie, a very good golf score.
It's finishing a long par 5 with a score of four. 

Our "Sweet Tea Tee" was actually lemonade... 

… and water bottles wrapped with some Argyle Duck Tape I ordered back in 2011 and never used. 
It worked perfectly for this party! 

.: Golf Birthday Cake :. 

N is for Number written down on a scorecard.
Add the holes up and you will find… golf is pretty hard. 

.: Breakfast FORE! Dinner :. 

"Fore!" shouts the golfer to make sure folks are clear.
And F is for flagsticks, which should say, "Hey! Aim here!"

We ended the birthday with Breakfast FORE! Dinner: 
a Bucket of Balls (aka donuts), Hole-in-One Eggs, and Fruit PARfait!

Read the green. Judge the speed. Aim it and… Guess what?
P is for a score of par. You've made a perfect putt.