Sunday, August 28, 2016

Two Brand New Mother Teresa Picture Books {Sponsored Review & Giveaway}

I love collecting picture books about the saints! These brand new picture books about Mother Teresa, sent from Ignatius Press for us to review, will be a welcome addition to Our September Book Basket this year, just in time for her canonization on September 4th.

.: Mother Teresa: The Smile of Calcutta :.

Excellent for every age, the timely book Mother Teresa: The Smile of Calcutta is another touching addition to The Life of a Saint series.

Written for children, the story of soon to be canonized Mother Teresa, will certainly move readers of all ages and be treasured by adults and children alike.

The book gives readers an in-depth look at the life of a modern day saint and her example provides us a model, foundation, and remedy against modern injustices against life. Mother Teresa’s devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and unwavering defense of life at all stages is evident in this little story. Mother Teresa’s ability to see God in suffering souls and lift them up from despair and rejection and regain the dignity and hope that God desires in all His children is captured here with soul stirring effect.

The reader will be inspired by her charity and her timeless statements quoted throughout the book, such as: “It’s enough to turn toward Jesus and say, ‘I love you, my God, I have trust in you, I believe in you, I need you.’ Little things as simple as that. These are wonderful prayers.” Strongly encouraged for readers of all ages.

Other books in the series include: Therese: The Little Flower of LisieuxJohn Mary Vianney: The Holy Cure of Ars, and Bernadette: The Little Girl from Lourdes which can all be found in our book baskets, as well as Francis: The Poor Man of Assisi and Peter, Apostle of Jesus which are on our "wish list."

.: Mother Teresa of Calcutta :. 

The full color illustrated book Mother Teresa of Calcutta details the life of this soon to be canonized saint of our modern times.

Written for ages 9 and up, Mother Teresa of Calcutta records significant events in the life of Mother Teresa that readers of all ages will find inspirational and appealing.

This picture book shows its readers how with nothing but a burning love in her heart to serve God through the suffering souls in her midst bearing His image, Mother Teresa was able to change the face of an entire region and impress upon the modern world the living Gospel of Christ in action. Catholics will find intriguing facts of how Mother Teresa formed her Order, even explaining in detail the choice of the simple habit and colors Mother Teresa chose for herself and her sisters. The book details significant chapters of Mother Teresa's life including a section under the heading “All Life Is Sacred” where Mother Teresa is quoted saying, “Life is God’s life in us, even in an unborn child.”

The final pages of Francine Bay’s book display a timeline of her life from birth to canonization, a prayer to St. Teresa of Calcutta invoking her saintly intercession, and ending with this beautiful Meditation of Mother Teresa:

“The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace.”

.: Giveaway :.

Ignatius Press has offered to give away one of each of these brand new picture books to my visitors here at Shower of Roses as we prepare to celebrate the canonization of Mother Teresa! Two winners will be selected, one for each book.

(Giveaway has ended - Congratulations Abigail!)

(Giveaway has ended - Congratulations Carrie!) 

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter Box here.

You can find additional picture books about Mother Teresa listed in Our September Book Basket.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

LEGO Ideas :: Ancient History Inspired Mini City

While I was up in Portland last Saturday, Ranger sent me some pictures of a miniature LEGO Architecture style Parthenon he was building inspired by his Metal Earth Parthenon. (You can see a picture of him building it here - he was so little! - and also see it on his bookshelf here.)  By the time I got back home on Sunday evening he had completed a whole little mini city to submit to LEGO Ideas

There were a few things that he should have fixed... For example, the Parthenon is in Greece, not Rome, and he titled his idea "Ancient Rome."  Whoops! I need to make sure that history teacher of his starts incorporating more maps and geography! ;)  ... but overall I thought it turned out really neat!

Some of the LEGO he used for this creation came from Lincoln Memorial and the Louvre.

You can find more of his past original LEGO creations in the archives including: 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Road Trip to Portland

I can't even remember the last time I went on a road trip by myself... It's probably been at least 17 years, pre-marriage and children! I'm not someone who really needs "breaks" from my children, I prefer taking at least some of them with me when I have out-of-town plans, but after working all summer (including 15-20 hours per week at the office) I was definitely ready for a break from all things work related. Sean had the weekend off (he hasn't been sent on any fire assignments yet this summer) so it worked out perfectly. I kept debating whether or not I should go, and I almost cancelled at the last minute, but I'm so very glad I did!

.: St. Stephen's Catholic Church :. 

After driving over 250 miles, I arrived in Portland right at rush hour... Instead of fighting the traffic, I enjoyed some quiet time with Our Lord, beautiful stained glass windows, and the sound of some talented soul practicing the organ! 🎶 #unlockedchurches #deogratias

.: Kyra's Bake Shop :. 

I ended up staying with the parents of one of my childhood friends. On the way to their home I stopped at Kyra's Bake Shop, a 100% gluten free bakery in Lake Oswego. Kyra is the only four-time winner of Cupcake Wars and her gluten-free goodies are amazing!

I was especially excited to find Egg Free Paleo Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. Yum! Even though they were dairy-free, grain-free, egg-free, and refined sugar-free, they were not 100% AIP approved, but close and, well, vacation! ;)

I'll definitely be making a point to visit again the next time I'm in the Portland area.


.: Jacobsen Salt Co. :. 

I might not be able to go wine tasting, but salt tasting? That I can do! ;)

"Harvested from the cold, pristine waters of Netarts Bay on the Oregon Coast, Jacobsen Salt Co.’s flake and kosher sea salts have gained much critical acclaim for their beautiful and pure taste, texture, and appearance, and are used by chefs and home cooks around the world. We are proud to be the leader in the emerging vanguard of American Saltmakers, as well as first company to harvest salt in the Pacific Northwest since Lewis & Clark."

In addition to their website and tasting room you can also find Jacobsen Salt over at Amazon.

The tasting room was actually closed when I arrived, as they prepared for an event, but they kindly let me in anyway! It was all soooo good. I had a hard time deciding which flavors to purchase. 

They were completely out of the Flake Finishing Salt (I'll be ordering some soon!) but I did bring home some Lemon Zest, Garlic, Rosemary, White Truffle, and a Salt Gift Set with Wood Holder Display to give my mom for her birthday next month.  I thought I had bought the Vanilla Bean too, but I guess not. Next time.

I also picked up a jar of Bee Local Willamette Valley Artisan Honey. Yummmmm! 


.: Catholic Women Rejoice :. 

On Saturday I had such a wonderful time at the Catholic Women Rejoice conference... Morning Mass offered by Archbishop Sample, encouraging and inspiring talks by Mary Lenaburg, Jenna Guizar, Rebecca Frech, and Hallie Lord, visiting friends from all over the state (and out-of-state!), and finally meeting so many online friends!


.: Cultured Caveman :. 

After the conference I had made plans to go out to dinner with Hallie and Chris. I did a little research before the trip, looking for a place to eat that would work with mine and Hallie's diet restrictions, and I discovered Cultured Caveman

A menu that actually lists the foods that can be modified for Autoimmune Protocol?!?  Strawberry Kombuca on tap! It was so nice to be able to look at a restaurant menu again without having to fight the tears. The Autoimmune Protocol is not easy and it's been frustrating that I haven't had much success adding foods back in yet. 

I ended up ordering the Zoodles and Meatballs with Olive Basil Pesto, Creamy Turmeric Veggies, a cup of the Creamy Mushroom Soup (special of the day), and the Strawberry Kombuca. It was amazing! We need a Cultured Caveman in my area. Even better than the delicious food though, was getting to spend some extra time visiting with Hallie and Chris. 

.: Missa Cantata at St. Stephen's :. 

I drove back into Portland for an early morning Latin Mass offered by Fr. Andersen at St. Stephen's Catholic Church before beginning the drive back home! Portland is so blessed.

.: Mount Angel Abbey :. 

I didn't plan to visit Mount Angel Abbey on this trip, but God had other plans.

I had been invited to Mass and brunch with our youngest daughter's godparents, but I had to get back on the road early on Sunday so that I could make it back home in time for a BBQ for my sister's birthday. She was visiting from Utah and I wanted to see her while she was in town.

When I was about 45 minutes south of Portland I got a text from another sister saying that she hoped I was having fun in Portland and that she wanted to get together with me soon. I told her I was on my way home and that I'd see her at 6:00 at Dad & Mom's. She responded that the party had been changed to 1:00 and that she was worried that no one had told me.

I was so upset. Why didn't they let me know?! I had planned the whole day around needing to get up and leave really early so I could get home in time for the party. I could have stayed in Portland longer. I sat on the side of the freeway trying to decide what to do now. I realized that I was only about 15 minutes away from the Abbey, so I decided to stop and visit.

It was a beautiful day. I visited the Abbey Church, walked around, sat on a bench enjoying the peaceful view, and took a few photos. As I was walking back to my car, getting ready to leave, I ran into friends from my area and visited with them for about 15 minutes. I said goodbye, walked down the stairs to the quiet back corner of the parking lot and couldn't believe my eyes... There was my Archbishop!

He was walking about 20-30 feet away, towards the Abbey. I called over to him and asked if I could speak to him. I just so happened to have a letter addressed to him in my purse! I had hoped to give it to him the day before at the conference in Portland, but I never had the opportunity. He was so kind. He recognized my name and said he had heard great things about my family from a mutual friend/priest who we had recently had over for dinner. I was finally able to share so many of the challenges we have faced over the years, including our current challenges with getting our older boys confirmed. It's a very long story, and not one that I am going to go into here on the blog, but he listened patiently and lovingly, while I apologized for the tears. At the end of our conversation he thanked me for my perseverance, said that he will take care of this, and that families like mine give him hope for the Chuch. God is so Good!  I'm still in awe over His love, grace, and absolutely perfect timing!

.: Home Again With Love :. 
 {and Cupcakes!} 

It's so good to be home again. I had purchased treats (Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate with toasted Marshmallow Meringue, Vegan Peanut Butter Cup, and Banana Split Cupcakes!) to bring home with me and thankfully only some of them melted in the car while I was visiting Mount Angel! ;) 

Friday, August 19, 2016

End-of-Summer Daybook

Outside my window...
It's been a little crazy around here, but it looks so peaceful inside the LEGO cathedral that's on the coffee table! #wishiwasaminifig {Master Builder: Ranger}

I am thinking...
I need to put together a post with pictures for "Phase 3" of the LEGO Cathedral project Ranger has been working on this past year! He's still not finished, but he is getting closer. Here are the links to Phase 1 and Phase 2 in the archives.

I am thankful... 
for smokeless skies this summer!

Learning all the time...
The Driver's Education course that Captain took at the local community college this summer was excellent! I can not even believe how much it has improved his (and my!) driving. He passed the final exam and his Behind-the-Wheel Driving test with a score of 96%. Now we are just waiting for him to rack up the rest of the hours he needs before he takes one final computer test and is issued his driver's license!

{July 31st} "Lots of "firsts" for this guy today: Drive on the freeway, Drive at night, Drive-through Dutch Bros to celebrate! After telling the Dutch Bros barista about our driving adventures, I'm guessing the messages he picked for each of our lids were intentional"

Celebrating the liturgical year...
Monday was the feast of the Assumption of Mary! I took the day off work, dropped everything on my "to-do" list, and loaded up the van to drive (or rather Captain drove!) to the parish we have been attending on Sunday mornings for the noon Mass on the parish's feast day.

It was such a beautiful Mass (ordinary form) complete with Latin Marian hymns and incense. The boys were asked to serve when we arrived. After Mass, as I was kneeling praying with my littlest ones, an older man who had been sitting in front of us, walked over and said "Are these ALL your children?!"  I have fun with that question, especially when I can answer, "No...." (pause) "I have two more! My older boys were the two serving Mass!" His mouth dropped and he said, "You have more!" He grabbed my head, kissed my forehead, and said "BLESS YOU!"  The girls both turned bright red and Snuggles whispered (after the older man had walked away) "Quick! Wipe it off!"  Hahaha! That was a first.

On the drive home we stopped to visit with some friends and stop at Dairy Queen for a special feast day treat in honor of Our Lady, Queen of Heaven!

The Assumption of Mary (Summertime Saints) • Rosary Rummy • Feasts of Our Lord and Our Lady

From the kitchen...
Better late than never, right? A few weeks ago I finally got around to printing out Summer Bingo cards for our kids. It had been a couple years, after spending last summer traveling. It's been a great way to encourage them to get a jump start on their math for the school year, as well as a few other subjects.

After leaving them on the counter in the kitchen I heard one of the kids yell: "MOM! What baby?!?!?!" I knew there was a reason I needed to update those cards.

Oh well... It was quick and easy to fix! ;)

I am working on...
finishing up this year's curriculum list and plans. I recently shared Our 2015-2016 Curriculum.

I am creating...
plans for a 13th birthday coming up at the end of this month. The soon-to-be-teen was having a hard time coming up with a theme, but I think I've come up with one that she'll love!

I am going...
to the 5th Annual Catholic Women Rejoice conference! I really need a little break and retreat before the new school year begins. I'm especially looking forward to finally give Hallie a hug and check out her new book, On the Other Side of Fear: How I Found Peace.

I spotted a few familiar faces on my way over to the hall after Mass this morning! How is it possible that it's almost August already?!? I need to figure out how to sneak away for a few days so I can attend Catholic Women Rejoice again this year! #CWR16 #rejoiceandbefree

I am hoping...
to make some time soon to try and catch up on some emails. I'm horribly behind. Email is always one of the first things to go when I'm struggling to keep up.

I am praying...
for perseverance, and for the grace to know where I need to make changes and simplify.

I am reading…
book lists and syllabuses.

Pondering these words…
from St. Catherine of Siena:

"Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring."

I am listening…
to the captivating Audio Dramatization (also available on Audible) of The Story of Civilization: Vol 1 - The Ancient World. Have you entered the giveaway I am hosting yet?

Around the house...
It's been about three weeks since we've been able to eat at the dining room table... It's been covered with books since starting the annual book sale. Still so much to do before our new school year begins!  Sometimes I really miss having Our Little School Room.

One of my favorite things...
stained glass windows, even if they are made from LEGO.

This week's plans...
Three of my sisters just got into town (two from UT and one from CA) yesterday and I was so torn on whether I should still go to the conference or not, but I'll get back in time for Julianna's birthday on Sunday night and will finally get to meet her boyfriend. It will be another busy week at the office, with payroll and a few other things I'll need to catch up.  I also have a 13th birthday to plan for the end of this month!

A little peek at my day...
This picture is actually from yesterday morning. Ranger and I got up extra early to attend the Orientation Session for his upcoming online Latin class!

I hope you all have a great weekend!