Thursday, March 31, 2016

Strawberry Milkshake

After dropping my three oldest off at golf practice, the younger kids and I decided to head outside and enjoy this gorgeous spring weather too! #strawberrymilkshakes #oldfashionedringtoss

One of these days I will hope to have a chance to share the rest of our "Anne of Green Gables" birthday party photos, including this old fashioned ring toss game...  In the meantime, here is a recipe for a yummy (autoimmune protocol approved!) strawberry milkshake! 

Strawberry Milkshake

  • 1 - 10 ounce bag organic strawberries, frozen
  • 1 - 13.5 ounce can Natural Value Coconut Milk (no added guar gum)
  • Honey, to taste (I used about 1 tablespoon) 
  • dash or two of fine sea salt  

Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender (I use my Vitamix) and puree until silky smooth. Enjoy! 

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life with Like Mother, Like Daughter. ~


Happy Easter Monday! I stopped to admire the "Raindrops on Roses" before getting back in the car this morning. I'm going to miss this little slice of heaven on earth! #thomasaquinascollege


This road trip has been filled with one blessing after the next... Beautiful Masses, touring Missions, visiting my husband's parents, and spending time with many new and old friends! Today I got to visit with one of my dearest childhood friends (and bridesmaid!) who I hadn't seen since her wedding nine years ago! It was so great to catch up and meet her three (soon-to-be four!) darling little boys!

One last visit with friends! Thank you for your hospitality @joyfilledfamily 
#Easter #roadtrip #homebound


"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." 
#roadtrip #thomasaquinascollege


The Easter Baskets will have to wait until after we get home from this road trip, there just wasn't any extra room in the car, but I do have some symbolic Easter candy for the kids to wake up to in the morning! I'm finishing them up now, before the Easter Vigil begins at 11pm! 
#EasterIsASeason #Catholic #livingliturgically #CatholicCuisine

After driving 3,000+ miles over the past 11 days, it's so good to be home! 

I will have more pictures to share from our road trip (visiting grandparents, touring missions, and celebrating Easter!) just as soon as I catch up the laundry download them from the camera! 

Additional pictures from our road trip: St. Joseph's Day and Good Friday

Happy Easter! 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Symbols Candy

Oh cherished cross! Through thee my most bitter trials are replete with graces! – St. Paul of the Cross

What are the various symbols of Easter, what do they mean, and what do they have to do with the Resurrection of Our Lord? These symbolic chocolates provide a beautiful and yummy opportunity to share the meanings behind each of the following Easter symbols:

The cross is the most universal and oldest of all Christian symbols. It not only symbolizes Christ, but for Christians it is also a symbol of our religion and redemption won for us through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

The lamb is also a symbol of Christ. In the Old Testament lambs were often sacrificed on an altar to expiate sins. Because Christ was sent as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, Christians refer to Him as "The Lamb of God (Latin, Agnus Dei)" (John 1:29), and "The Paschal Lamb" (Exodus 12:3-11) from whose sacrifice shelters the People of God.

Bread of Life
Bread is the universal symbol for sustaining and nourishing life. It symbolizes God’s nurture and care of His People. The Israelites in the desert were fed manna from the heavens prompting Moses to exclaim, “this is the bread which the Lord has sent for you to eat” (Exodus 16:15). Christ likened Himself to manna when after the miracle of the loaves, he spoke the words, “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” Bread is also used at each mass to become the Body of Christ in keeping with the Lord’s command: “Then he took bread, and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is my body, given for you; do this for a commemoration of me” (Luke 22:19).

The lily symbolizes purity. Its stoic structure, pure white color, and delicately sweet aroma attribute to qualities of royalty, purity, and chastity. It is the symbolic flower of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is sometimes depicted with other saints who possess these qualities. A lily among thorns represents the Immaculate Conception as the purity of the Virgin is preserved among the fallen nature of the world. Legend says that the lily originated from Eve’s tears when she and Adam were banished from the Garden of Eden. Another legend claims that lilies sprang up from the ground when drops of blood fell to the foot of the Cross. During the Easter season, many churches line their altars with Easter Lilies to signify the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life.

The egg represents the resurrection. Like the tomb of the crucified Savior, the egg encloses a self-supported life. At the appointed time, a new and glorious life within bursts forth from its enclosure.

The butterfly is also a symbol of the resurrection of Christ, but moreover the resurrection of man, as Christ promises us. The three stages in its life (caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly) can be attributed to the three stages of man’s existence (life, death, and resurrection).

Christians have used the peacocks as the symbol of immortality and are an ancient symbol of the Resurrection. Legend tells that the flesh of the peacock never corrupts. The peacock is often depicted in Christian art such as in Fra Angelico’s Adoration of the Magi and other Nativity scenes.

To the Christian, bells function as a summons to worship. They are rung at the procession before Low Mass, at the Sanctus to call the Faithful to enter into the deep mystery of Holy Eucharist, and at mass they are rung again to worship the elevated Body and Blood of Christ at the altar. More recently they have been used to herald the election of a new pope. Bells from local church towers also ring as reminders of the Faithful within earshot to engage in daily prayer devotions. The Angelus Bell rung at 6 am, 12 pm, and 6 pm calls upon the Faithful to pray the Angelus. Some areas ring a De Profundis bell to pray for the faithful departed. Bells are another aid for the Christian to converse with God. In some countries the bells are silent from Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday. In the middle ages farmers would comfort their families by saying, “The bells have flown to Rome, but they’ll come back on Easter!”

Easter Symbols Candy

  • Easter Symbols Chocolate Coins (download my free printable here)
  • Chocolate Coins, 8 each
  • Scissors and/or Circle Punch
  • Glue Stick
  • Drawstring Pouch or Clear Treat Bag, 1 each


Cut out Easter Symbol images using scissors or circle punch.

While explaining each of the various Easter symbols, have the children glue the images onto the chocolate coins.

Place the Easter Symbols Candy into a drawstring pouch or clear treat bag.

God’s blessing rest upon you
This happy Easter Day.
God make His joy to shine
As sunlight on your way;
God fill your heart with song
So glad it will not cease;
God bless you every day
With love and joy and peace.
~ Easter Prayer

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

O my dying Jesus, I kiss devoutly the cross on which Thou didst die for love of me. I have merited by my sins to die a miserable death, but Thy death is my hope. Ah, by the merits of Thy death, give me grace to die, embracing Thy feet and burning with love of Thee. I commit my soul into Thy hands. I love Thee with my whole heart; I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Books for Boys :: A Closer Look at the Bookshelf

I've been meaning to share this post ever since posting Books for Girls :: A Closer Look at the Bookshelf! I actually took these photos back in November of last year 2014 and since then the boys have both grown quite a few inches and started high school! made a few changes... They passed down all the Playmobil ships (Soldier Boat, Viking Longboat, Royal Ship of Egypt, and Roman Galley) to their two younger brothers, and replaced them with their LEGO Modular buildings (Palace Cinema, Pet Shop, and Parisian Restaurant) which fit perfectly on top of the bookshelf, safely out of reach of little hands! Some of the actual books on this bookshelf have changed as well, since I originally took the pictures for this post as well, making room for the new books the have received for Easter and Christmas, but rather than starting over, I'm just going to share what they had at this point.

{Note: Many of their books are kept on the History and Saint bookshelves. This post just lists the book which they keep in their bedroom. All links are Amazon Affiliate links.}

.: Top Shelf :. 

Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan

In February of last year our (then) 13 year old was given hardcover editions of the rest of the Ranger's Apprentice series for his Ranger's Apprentice themed birthday! The boys were also given a copy of the brand new (personalized and autographed thanks to friends in Texas!) prequel: The Tournament of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice: The Early Years)

The Brotherband Chronicles by John Flanagan
I have also pre-ordered the next in the series for the boys: The Ghostfaces (Book 6)

Tales of Foreign Lands, Volume 1
Tales of Foreign Lands, Volume 2
Tales of Foreign Lands, Volume 3
This series was a gift from the boys' grandparents. 

Various books by J.R.R. Tolkien

I'm working on this post while traveling and I don't have access to all the boys' books to check the ISBN numbers to find the matching editions for our older boxed sets. We gave this illustrated edition of the Hobbit  to our 8 year old and it is by far his favorite book. I'm tempted to order another copy while it's 40% off! 

You can find Ranger's Lord of the Rings Hand-Painted Action Figures here

.: Second Shelf :. 

A Few of Ranger's Metal Earth Models:

The Constitution of the United States of America
Dragon Slayers: The Essential Training Guide for Young Dragon Fighters
Letters to an Altar Boy
The Young Man of Character
The Young People's Book of Saints
The Soldier of Christ: Talks Before Confirmation
A Child's Book of Warriors
The Gate
Twenty Tales of Irish Saints
Christians Courageous
Crossbows & Crucifixes: A Novel of the Priest Hunters and the Brave Young Men Who Fought Them
Saint Magnus, The Last Viking
Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades
A Soldier Surrenders: The Conversion of Saint Camillus de Lellis
Ablaze: The Stories of Daring Teen Saints

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Hornblower Saga)
Hornblower and the "Hotspur" (Hornblower Saga)
Hornblower During the Crisis (Hornblower Saga)
Hornblower Beat to the Quarters (Hornblower Saga)
(This series was also a gift from their grandparents.) 

Lost in Peter's Tomb
Break-In At the Basilica
Curse of the Coins
Secrets of Siena

Bank Robbery!

Shadow in the Dark
The Haunted Cathedral
The Fire of Eden

Fabre's Book of Insects
The Call of the Wind
The Adventures of Tom Saywer
My Side of the Mountain
By the Great Horn Spoon
Swallows and Amazons
The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread
Adam of the Road
The Good Master
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Snow Treasure

The two sets in the corner of this shelf are a couple of their favorites from when they were younger. Our current eight year old really enjoyed reading them last year!

The Tales of the RAF series includes:
We have the paperback editions, but the whole set is also available in hardcover and I'd love to add it to our collection! 

The Billy and Blaze series includes:

Additional Metal Earth models have been added including Neuschwanstein Castle (pictures here), Brooklyn Bridge, London Tower Bridge, Golden Gate BridgeStar Wars Millennium Falcon, and Notre Dame.

.: Third Shelf :.

Chronicles of Narnia Box Set

Tom Playfair: Or Making a Start
Percy Winn: Or Making a Boy of Him
Harry Dee: Or Working it Out
(They also have additional books written by Father Finn including: Claude Lightfoot: Or How the Problem Was SolvedEthelred Preston: Or the Adventures of a Newcomer, and That Football Game: And What Came of It

The Boy Mechanic: 200 Classic Things to Build
The Boy Scientist: 160 Extraordinary Experiments & Adventures
The Boy Camper: 160 Outdoor Projects and Activities
(Gifts from grandparents.) 

Ship's Boy with Magellan
John Treegate's Musket
Peter Treegate's War
Sea Captain from Salem
Treegate's Raiders
The Reb and the Redcoats

Alvin's Secret Code
Alvin Fernald, Foreign Trader
Alvin Fernald, Mayor for the Day

The Winged Watchman (We love the audio version!)
Enemy Brothers (The audio version of this book is excellent too!
Hittite Warrior
The Small War of Sergeant Donkey

Old Sam: Dakota Trotter
Augustine Came to Kent
Brave Buffalo Fighter
Beyond the Desert Gate
With Pipe, Paddle, and Song: A Story of the French-Canadian Voyageurs
The Mystery of the Periodic Table
Between the Forest and the Hills
The Drovers Road Collection: Adventures in New Zealand
The Flying Ensign: Greencoats Against Napoleon
The Lantern Bearers (The Roman Britain Trilogy)
The Silver Branch (The Roman Britain Trilogy)
The Eagle of the Ninth (The Roman Britain Trilogy)
Warrior Scarlet
King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table
Great Names in Our Country's Story
The Outdoor Book for Adventurous Boys: Essential Skills and Activities For Boys of All Ages
The Art of Stone Skipping and Other Fun Old Time Games: Stoopball, Jacks, String Games, Coin Flipping, Line Baseball, Jump Rope, and More

(I can't believe how much these two have grown in the past year and a half!) 

Additional LEGO Architecture sets have been added including The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Lincoln Memorial.

.: Fourth Shelf :.

The Hardy Boys 
(some from their Dad's childhood collection and others from a friend)

Childhood of Famous Americans
(various books from the series) 

Landmark Books including:

King Arthur for Boys
A Boy Sailer with John Paul Jones
Men Against the Sea
The Mapmaker
Friar Among Savages
Outlaws of Ravenhurst
The Chariot Race: From Ben Hur

.: Bottom Shelf :. 

Holy Card Albums
Lap Books
Various Civil War books
The Art of the Hobbit
The Atlas of Middle-Earth
Gettysburg: The Long Encampment
Arms & Equipment of the Civil War
Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices
The Dangerous Book for Boys
Amon's Adventures: A Family Story for Easter
Learn to Burn: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Started in Pyrography
See Inside the Middle Ages
Time Traveler
The Usborne Book of World History
Second World War
World War II Discovery Kit
The Civil War Day by Day
Songs of the Wild West
Blue Knights Boys' Club Member Books
Behind the Blue and Gray: The Soldier's Life in the Civil War
A Christmas Carol (illustrated by P.J. Lynch)
Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

.: From the Archives :.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

St. Joseph's Day

We spent St. Joseph's Day on the road this year, on our way to visit my husband's parents. It was such a beautiful day filled with so many blessings! 

We finished loading the car at 4:30 AM (after way too little sleep!) and were on the road by just after 5:00 AM... After our first few (of way too many!) hours on the road, we picked up a little treat for today's solemnity of St. Joseph! {The kids loved their doughnuts, but they weren't nearly as sweet as the little surprise dear St. Joseph had in store for us just a few hours later!}

.: St. Stephen the First Martyr :. 

After a few more hours on the road it was time for another little break... I knew we were too late for Mass (we had looked up Mass times before leaving home) plus we all looked like we had just rolled out of bed (our youngest was even still in his pjs) but we decided to drive by the church anyway. Guess who I happened to run into in the parking lot?! It was so fun to see her family, attend the end of the Solemn High Mass (after tidying ourselves up a bit), visit with the priests and parishioners, and join them for their traditional St. Joseph's Table!

.: St. Joseph Altar :.

Each year we usually set up our own St. Joseph Altar at home, but this was the first time we have ever seen one at a parish!!! The kids enjoyed all the traditional foods including all the pastries, various bread shapes, and the Pasta Milanese, the traditional St. Joseph's feast pasta, made with fennel, anchovies, pine nuts, and topped with toasted bread crumbs (Mudica) which represent the sawdust of St. Joseph, the carpenter. It was such a wonderful, unexpected blessing for our family! Deo Gratias!

.: Thomas Aquinas College :. 

As we pulled in last night (late on St. Joseph's Day), and saw this beautiful chapel for the first time, our ten year old asked,"Can I wear my Easter dress for Mass tomorrow? I don't think any of my other clothes are nice enough!"

A visit to the chapel before bed ♥

Glorious St. Joseph, protect me and my family from all evil as you did the Holy Family. Kindly keep us ever united in the love of Christ, ever fervent in imitation of the virtue of our Blessed Lady, your sinless spouse, and always faithful in devotion to you. Amen. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Garlic-Rubbed Tostones with Cilantro Chimichurri

Before I began the autoimmune protocol I'm not even sure I had ever heard of plantains, let alone ever tried one. Now they are a staple of my diet. First it was just Plantain Chips but, now that I've tried frying my own green plantains, I have another new favorite meatless meal for Fridays! 

Like the Chunky Tuna Salad recipe I've been using for my wraps, these recipes are also from The Healing Kitchen: 175+ Quick & Easy Paleo Recipes to Help You Thrive. This cookbook has been such a great addition to my collection and I highly recommend it to anyone who is on the autoimmune protocol. 

Garlic-Rubbed Tostones

  • 2 green plantains
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, sliced in half
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


Slice each plantain peel lengthwise from tip to tip without cutting into the fruit. Remove the peel by peeling it back with your fingers. Slice the plantain crosswise, on the diagonal, into 1 1/2-inch-wide pieces. 

Heat the coconut oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, fry the plantains until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. The centers will not be cooked through. Remove the plantains to a large cutting board with a slotted spoon. 

Smash the plantains by pressing them with the flat bottom of a heavy glass to create 1/3-inch-thick tostones. 

Return the tostones to the skillet and fry for 1 minute per side until crispy and golden. Transfer to a serving dish. 

Rub the tostones with the sliced garlic clove. Sprinkle with the salt and serve immediately with Cilantro Chimichurri, if desired. 

Cilantro Chimichurri

  • 2 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup chopped unpeeled zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor (I use my Vitamix) and blend until finely chopped. While the food processor is running, slowly pour in the olive oil and continue processing until well combined.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day-book

Outside my window... 
It's been gorgeous outside this week! After just two weeks of golf, the boys had their very first high school junior varsity golf tournament on Monday (they came in first and second place!) and their first high school varsity tournament on Wednesday (they didn't place last!).


I am thankful... 
that I was able to spend some time with my mom and youngest brother while watching the boys golf on Wednesday! My two youngest brothers actually competed against some of the current high school seniors just a few years ago, back when they were seniors and the current seniors were all freshman, including one of the boys on my boys' team! (My brothers both play college golf now.) It was kind of funny overhearing all the parents, coaches, and golfers coming up to my mom, saying hello, and finding out that she was there to watch her grandsons who are now in high school!  :)

My Beautiful Mom ♥
She will be having another MRI in May - Thank you all for the continued prayers! 
Uncle David's college team is currently number 14 on the national 2015-16 NAIA Men’s Golf Coaches’ Top 25 Poll!

I am thinking... 
about ways to balance school and sports. It's been challenging for the boys to keep up with their full schedule, but they are sure loving the opportunity to participate in high school sports this year!

Learning all the time... 
our Spring Break is next week. We'll be taking a break from our usual studies and spending lots of time in the car! I'm trying to come up with some fun plans, maybe visit a Catholic college and at least a couple missions. I also need to make sure to fill a media card with some new audio books.... Adding that to my to-do list now.

Celebrating the liturgical year... 
I actually thought we'd be celebrating this feast on the road this year, so I picked up St. Patrick's Day Potatoes from See's Candies to pack along for all the kids. I loved these back when I could eat them. They were a hit! Now to come up with some ideas for celebrating St. Joseph's Day in the car...

From the kitchen... 
Shamrock Cinnamon Rolls! They turn out a little differently from year to year, but always delicious!

Patrick: Saint of Ireland

I am creating... 
Blessed Trinity Shamrock "Glory Be" Prayer Posters! I actually created these for the children earlier this school year, while studying St. Patrick in history, but we pulled them out again today!

S is for shamrock, a three-leaf plant from Ireland. A legend says Patrick used this plant to explain the Holy Trinity - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. ~ St. Patrick's Day Alphabet

I am going... 
to visit Sean's parents! Apparently it's been "5 years and 4 months" since we have all been there for a visit. (Sean took the five youngest a couple years ago.) It's going to be a challenging drive to say the least, but we are all so excited to see them again! We were suppose to leave on Wednesday but the boys' golf tournament schedule changed and we won't be able to leave until this weekend.

I am hoping... 
that all the time in the car doesn't set me back too badly... My tailbone is taking forever to heal! Such a pain... Lots to offer up for Holy Week!

I am reading... 
The Wolf and the Shield. Actually, I am just listening to Snuggles read it aloud!

I am praying... 
for a safe trip. Will you please keep us in your prayers?

Our once-every-other-month Latin Mass last Sunday - Deo Gratias!
Originally posted on Instagram

Pondering these words...
from the confession of St. Patrick:

"According, therefore, to the measure of one’s faith in the Trinity, one should proceed without holding back from danger to make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, to spread God’s name everywhere with confidence and without fear."

I am listening...  
an audio drama about St. Patrick: Torch of Fire.

Around the house... 
Lots of half packed suitcases. I have so much to do and not nearly enough time... Pretty much the theme of my life lately! :)

One of my favorite things...  
saint dolls! The newest addition to our collection of St. Patrick toys (including St. Patricks from Catholic Folk Toys, Shining Light Dolls, Tiny Saints, and Almond Rod Toys) is this beautiful St. Patrick from Naturally Catholic!

A few plans for the rest of the week...
One more golf tournament for the boys Friday while the girls and I catch up the laundry and pack!

A little peek at my day...

Saint Patrick of Ireland, Ora Pro Nobis!