Monday, September 28, 2009

Grandma is Coming

My mom is flying in to see us on Thursday. We are super excited for Grandma's visit, and have a fun week planned! She will be coming on Thursday, so the first part of the week will be full of preparations. In light of her visit, I may not be blogging too much this week. I will try to post a few things, but no promises! Hope everyone has a wonderful week!




Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sunday Snippets!

Here are this week's snippets!

Feast of St. Matthew


Feast of St. Pio


Marriage Matters: Cling to one another


Hope you enjoy this week's snippets, and don't forget to check out the other Sunday Snippets!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Playhouse Disney Live

Isaac and I had a wonderful evening together. It was so nice having some special time with Isaac. He was so excited to see Mickey Mouse. Seeing that that big smile on his face brought such joy to my heart. I sure do love my little boy!

Teddy Bear Night

Last night our local library had a teddy bear night for the kids. Isaac and Clare had so much fun eating bear snacks, listening to teddy bear stories and making a teddy bear mask. The highlight of the evening was definitely the parade through the library in their pajamas and carrying their favorite stuffed animals.




















Frugal Fridays!

It's that time of year again! You know the time of year that if you have kids you start to brainstorm the perfect Halloween costume! If you you go to a store to buy one you can count on paying at least ten, but probably twenty dollars for a costume, and if you have more than one child this can get pricey. My suggestion is put your creativity to work, and make a costume out of materials you already own or material that you can pick up at a local store for cheap!

Last year we ended up making Isaac's costume for under five dollars, and it was worth every penny! We received so many compliments about his costume, and are even considering reusing it this year since we live in a new city. Here is the Gnome costume that we made for Isaac! We got the idea from a magazine, and then adapted it to our own ideas!



We used a blue sweatsuit we already had, his rain boots, a red sash we had in our dress-up trunk, and then bought fake fur for the beard, a piece of elastic to attach the beard, and felt to make the hat. It was very easy to do, even for an artistically challenged person like myself!

So challenge yourself, and see what creative costumes you can come up with!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Marriage Matters Thursdays!

It seems like the last couple of weeks my Thursdays have been busy, but things have finally started slowing down, and so now Marriage Matters Thursdays is returning.

A few weeks ago I said that I was going to start posting reflections on the readings and Mass parts from our Nuptial Mass. So the next part of my series will continue with the first reading from our wedding. The reading we chose from the Old Testament was Genesis 2:18-24. This is probably a common reading at many wedding Masses. Jason and I chose this reading as a reminder of the fact that God created man and woman, and that He created us for companionship. I am so blessed to have been given a loving husband. I am so grateful for his love, guidance and companionship on the journey of life. One of my favorite lines in this reading is "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife." The word that stands out in this phrase is "cling." Cling is defined as "to hold fast by or as by embracing, entwining, or sticking; adhere" This is an extremely strong word for me, and reminds me that no matter what life throws at us Jason and I have to cling to one another, and help each other walk the road that God has set before us. It is only when we cling to each other, with our hears and minds focused on God, that we are strong. When Jason and I were married we became one in all ways, and we need to remember that whether life is at its highest or lowest point! Sometimes in the chaos of life I forget what a blessing it is to have someone to walk along this path with me. What a blessing I have been given, and I pray that I can daily call upon the graces of the sacrament of marriage and help lead my family to holiness!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

St. Pio of Pietrelcina



Today we celebrate the feast of St. Pio of Pietrelcina. When I was studying abroad in college I had the opportunity to go to San Giovanni Rotondo.
Three of us did a two day pilgrimage where we stayed at a convent and were able to pray at the tomb of St. Pio. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience in every way. What an example of holiness we have in this saint!

Ways to Celebrate
  1. Sip some Frangelico (Adults only :) )
  2. Make an Italian Feast
  3. Make a Cappuccino
  4. Discuss the Stigmata
  5. Read a story about Padre Pio
Quotes From St. Pio

The more you are afflicted, the more you ought to rejoice, because in the fire of tribulation the soul will become pure gold, worthy to be placed and to shine in the heavenly palace.

In the spiritual life, you must take one step forward each day in a vertical line, from the bottom up.


Our Lord sometimes makes you feel the weight of the cross. This weight seems unbearable but you carry it because in His love and mercy, the Lord helps you and gives you strength.

You must concentrate on pleasing God alone, and if He is pleased, you must be pleased.
You must not be discouraged or let yourself become dejected if your actions have not succeeded as perfectly as you intended. What do you expect? We are made of clay and not every soil yields the fruits expected by the one who tills it. But let us always humble ourselves and acknowledge that we are nothing if we lack the Divine assistance.

St. Therese Novena



Saint Therese's feast day is coming up, and today is the day to start a novena if you are interested!

Here is a link to one on EWTN's site that I think looks really nice.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weekly Menu

We have a really busy week with lots of evening activities. I tried to think of meals that I could prepare ahead of time, so that I wouldn't have to worry about cooking dinner during the evening rush!

Here is this week's menu! Enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Let the Learning Begin!

This week we are going to start our weekly lessons. My plan is to pick a theme for each week and then do various activities throughout the week to complement that theme. One resource I found to really help with the planning is the Story Place. I also have compiled a collection of preschool workbooks and coloring books from places like Sam's and Dollar Tree. Each week I will try to publish my plans here, so feel free to use what you can.

This week we will be focusing on colors. Isaac has already mastered the basic colors, but he still has trouble with some of the more difficult ones like gray and white. So this week will probably be more of a review for him, but a great opportunity to introduce colors to Clare. So here is the weekly academic schedule.

Enjoy, and hopefully I will post some pictures from our lessons!

Motherhood Monday!

In one of my first posts I discussed making a schedule. At the time I posted the schedule we followed before the big move to Little Rock! Here is the revised daily schedules as promised! I finally think I have our routine down. Of course, I am flexible with the schedule and realize that inevitably things will occur that will throw us off, but it is just nice to have a general plan for the day!

Enjoy!

The Feast of St. Matthew



Gospel Reading: Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.

And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."


Today we celebrate St. Matthew the Apostle. Before St. Matthew was an apostle he was a tax collector, which is probably why he is the patron saint of bookkeepers, accountants and all financial professionals. St. Matthew was also an evangelist to whom one of the Gospels is attributed.


Ideas for celebrating St. Matthew's Feast Day:

  • Make piggy banks
  • Eat chocolate coins
  • Do something for the needy: money for missions, donations of clothing, toys or food
  • Take time to read St. Matthew's Gospel.
  • Discuss St. Matthew's call from Christ with your family
  • Pray for people who work for financial institutions

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sunday Snippets!

Here is this week's edition of Sunday Snippets.

Our Lady of Sorrows


Motherhood Monday

The Triumph of the Cross


Hope you enjoy this week's snippets, and don't forget to check out the other Sunday Snippets!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Frugal Fridays!

Have you checked out your local library? It is a wonderful resource regardless of your state in life. I love reading, and we would be absolutely broke if I didn't utilize our library. I love going to just browse through the selection when I need some alone time! Libraries also usually have an abundant selection of DVDs and tapes that you can check out for at least a week. I have been able to find some recent movies as well as timeless classics that I have been wanting to watch.

Besides fulfilling my love of literature, the library also provides an excellent, and free, learning opportunity for my children! We love the programs the available for our children! Every Friday I take my kids to an interactive story hour where they listen to stories, sing songs, play games, and complete crafts. Not only are they learning, but they are interacting with other kids their age, and I get to interact with other people my age! This is something we all enjoy going to each week. Our library also offers special programs throughout the year to supplement their already wonderful story hours. Some extra events are a teddy bear parade, fall fun carnival, movies and munchies, and visits with Santa!

So what are you waiting for, check out your local library today, and don't forget to thank the people who work so hard to make the library such a wonderful place!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What a Mess!!!!

This is why I should worry when the kids are too quite!





Yes, that would be every book from the bookshelf and all of their toys scattered across Isaac's room! Oh well, at least they had fun!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Lady of Sorrows



Today we remember Our Lady of Sorrows. This feast day is appropriately celebrated after the feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Today we are again reminded of the power in redemptive suffering. On this day we are invited to share in Mary's sorrow and grief as she had to watch her son, Jesus, suffer and die for us! What a powerful model we have in Mary, and what a perfect example for us in what it means to embrace redemptive suffering.

The Sorrows of Mary

* The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34)
* The Holy Family's flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)
*The loss of the child Jesus for three days. (Luke 2:43)
* The meeting of Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:26)
* Standing at the foot of the Cross (John 19:25)
* Jesus being taken from the Cross (Matthew 27:57)
* The burial of Christ.
(John 19:40)


Ideas for remembering this day as a family:
  1. Say seven Hail Marys in honor of her seven sorrows
  2. Pray a rosary
  3. Ask for Mary's intercession for the courage and perseverance in following God's will, even when it causes us pain and sorrow
  4. Pray a Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows.
  5. Reflect on the Stabat Mater.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Motherhood Monday!

Seeing as today is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross, I am reminded of the importance of teaching my children the value of the cross in their own lives. It seems like society today has forgotten or is ignorant to the value of redemptive suffering. Of course I do not want my children to experience pain, in fact my heart shatters when they are in pain, but the truth is that pain and suffering are a part of life, and it is how we deal with that pain and suffering that can allow us to grow into better people and develop deeper relationships with God.

Growing up I often was told to "offer it up" whenever I was experiencing pain. Whether the pain was physical, emotional or spiritual my mom taught me at an early age that I could use that pain to pray for others and to draw closer to God. She constantly reminded me to unite my sufferings to what Christ suffered, and to remember that where there is a cross, there is always a resurrection! Although, "offering it up" didn't soothe the pain of a headache, scraped knee, or broken heart, it did help me to feel like there was a deeper purpose for the pain, and that maybe my pain was even helping someone else.

I am so grateful that my mom taught me the value of redemptive suffering, and I pray that I too can model and instruct my children in the value of picking up their crosses in life and offering them to the Lord! I can't promise my children that their lives will be painless, but I can teach them the joy of embracing and finding freedom in the Cross!


The Triumph of the Cross!



We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee,
for by thy cross thou hast redeemed the world.


Today is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross! Today we remember and celebrate the freedom we received from the Cross. What an amazing gift we have been given! What great love God has for us, and may we always remember His love and continue to be vessels of that love to all we meet!

Here are some excerpts from a homily by John Paul II on this feast day in 2003! What an amazing and wise pope we were blessed with for so many years!

Ideas For Celebrating the Triumph of the Cross
  1. Make cross shaped cookies
  2. Pray the Stations of the Cross
  3. Draw special attention to crucifixes in the home
  4. Sing songs about God's love for us and the victory of the Cross
  5. Make drawings and color pictures of the cross and the Passion of Our Lord
Here is one of my favorite hymns to sing throughout today:

Lift High The Cross Hymn

Refrain

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred Name.

Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
The hosts of God in conquering ranks combine.

Refrain

Each newborn servant of the Crucified
Bears on the brow the seal of Him Who died.

Refrain

O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
As Thou hast promised, draw the world to Thee.

Refrain

So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory.


Refrain


For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life.

- John 3:16


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Snippets!

Hope you enjoy this week's snippets!

Father Leo is on Food Network!



Mary's Birthday Party


Happy Birthday, Mary!



Hearing God's Voice


Hope you enjoyed the posts, and don't forget to check out the other Sunday Snippets!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Frugal Fridays!



On Saturday, September 26, the Smithsonian is having a free museum day! Check out it out here and find a participating museum near you! Then just print out a voucher, and you can get two free general admissions!

Frugal Fridays!

Check out this link that was posted on the Faith and Family Blog! Not only is this a great way to declutter your house, but it also allows you to make a little money. I can't wait to try this!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Recipes

Here are the recipes for those of you who were asking:

Honey Oatmeal Batter Bread

Garlic Lime Chicken

Father Leo is on Food Network!



Tune into the Food Network, today, Wednesday, September 9th, at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT to see family friend Fr. Leo Patalinghug on Throw Down with Bobby Flay.


Check out Grace Before Meals to see how Father Leo is shaking up the food world! He is a wonderful and devout priest who is touching many lives through his ministry! Tune in and support his endeavors to strengthen faith and families!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Birthday Party!

Here are some pictures of our birthday party for Mary! We ate blueberry smoothies with our dinner and had cake for dessert. What a treat!







(Here is the cake the kids and I made for Mary!)



(Isaac showing off his creation.)



(They really want to eat the cake!)





(Clare enjoying the blueberry smoothie at dinner!)



(Lighting the candles)



(Isaac blowing the candles out!)

Labor Day at the Lake!

For the past few years we have been able to enjoy Labor Day on Lake Quachita with some of Erik's parishioners. They generously allow us to spend the day with them on their houseboat. They spoil us each year with a day of fun and fabulous food! Here are a few pictures of us enjoying the day!



Jason and Kevin



Jason and I




Jason and Isaac



Me skiing



Isaac and Uncle Erik




Meagan, Isaac and Clare

Weekly Menu

Here is the menu for this week! Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Mary!



Today we celebrate Mary's birthday! Today I am so grateful for having such a loving mother in Heaven! What an example of holiness she is to all of us. Among many things she models for us purity, obedience, and openness to God's will. She is the perfect example of holy motherhood and our constant intercessor!

I encourage everyone to celebrate our Mother in Heaven's birthday today in some way. Our family will be throwing Mary a party tonight. In her honor we will have a birthday cake and blueberry smoothies. We have also been singing lots of Marian hymns around the house today!

Here is a list of some ideas that you might be able to use:
  • Make a cake
  • Pray a rosary or decade of a rosary
  • Place flowers around a statue of Mary
  • Light a candle at church
  • Sing Marian hymns

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Motherhood Monday!

Hearing God's Voice

And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him. And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, “Eph’phatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
—Mark 7:32-35

This is an excerpt from yesterday's Gospel. The priest gave an excellent homily on being attentive and listening to God's voice. This whole concept not only got me thinking about my own spiritual life, but also the spiritual lives of my children. Part of my duty as a mother is to teach my children to hear God's voice. Now, I realize this will be very difficult to do since I have a 3 year old and 18 month, and they can't even seem to master the art of listening to mom's voice! But I feel that it is important to start planting seeds early, so I try to make it a point to teach them the importance of recognizing God's voice in their daily lives. I want to teach my children at an early age to recognize God's voice and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I desire to help them to recognize the small tugging at their hearts, and to remind them that this is often the way that God draws us to Him! My job is to help them learn to constantly turn their minds to God, and to make their days a conversation with God! And lastly, hopefully I can teach them to always keep God in their decisions, and to listen attentively to the voice in their hearts that will ever so gently pull them in the right direction, even if it is not the easiest path.

The best way for me to teach my young children these concepts is to model the behaviors I want them to learn. If they see their mom trying to listen to God's voice and promptings, then hopefully they will learn to do the same. I pray that God will help me in this process, and that our Blessed Mother Mary will intercede for me as I try to teach my children to always be open to God and to hear His voice!

Sunday Snippets!

Hope you enjoy this week's snippets!

Marriage Matters Thursdays: Living Witnesses


Saint Gregory the Great


Hope you enjoyed the posts, and don't forget to check out the other Sunday Snippets!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Frugal Fridays!

When I was younger my mom and I would arise early in the morning to seek out the area garage sales, in hopes of finding great deals on clothes, toys or household items. Since moving to a bigger city, I have rediscovered my love for these fabulous money saving events!

Last Saturday Jason and I, along with the kids, drove around looking for needed items at garage sales. I have been wanting to get Isaac a tricycle or little riding bike for sometime, but couldn't bring myself to pay $50 for it. So I thought I might try to find one for him at a garage sale, and find it we did. We were able to find just the right little bike for Isaac, and the best part was that it was only a quarter! Yes, that's correct, only $.25! I was also able to pick up some really neat toys for the kids for Christmas, for much cheaper than what I would have paid for them in the store. As long as you don't mind gently used items, I think garage sales are the way to go. Just make sure to thoroughly inspect items to make sure they are in good and working condition! If they are in good condition, why pay more for the item in the store.


In closing, not only did we save money by going to garage sales on Saturday, but we had a morning of fun together as a family, and that is PRICELESS!



(Isaac enjoying his new toy!)




Marriage Matters Thursdays!

Living Witnesses

In some ways it feels like it has been ages since Jason and I were planning our wedding, and in some ways it feels like it was just yesterday! Wedding planning was such an exciting time for us. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too! One aspect of the wedding planning that we really enjoyed was getting to plan our Nuptial Mass. It was so exciting that we got to choose so many parts of the ceremony. We put a lot of thought into the prayers and readings that we chose, trying to use the ones that really symbolized us and our beliefs about marriage.

Over the next several weeks I will be posting the readings and prayers we used at our wedding, and a reflection about why we chose them. To start things off, let's look at the opening prayer we chose.

Father, when you created mankind you willed that man and wife should be one. Bind Jason and Erin in the loving union of marriage; and make their love fruitful so that they may be living witnesses to your divine love in the world. We ask this through our Lord....

After reflecting on this prayer there is one line that stands out for me: Bind Jason and Erin in the loving union of marriage; and make their love fruitful so that they may be living witnesses to your divine love in the world. To me this line sums up our mission as married couple. As a couple, united through God, we need to proclaim love, God's love, to everyone we meet. How do we do this? We do this by reflecting God's love to each other in our own marriage. The world today needs examples of genuine love. You don't have to look far to see that our world is broken, and that marriage is not valued the way that it should be. The world needs examples of a marriage rooted in God and in unselfish love. We can reflect God's love to each other by the way we interact with each other, and serve each other. We can reflect God's love in the way that we serve our children. Our mission as a married couple is to lead each other, our family, and all we meet to Heaven! This is our vocation, and it is in the way that we love each other that we will become witnesses to the world of God's divine love!


Saint Gregory the Great



Today is the feast day of Pope Saint Gregory the Great! He is the patron saint for students and teachers. Let us remember to pray for those people who instruct others in knowledge, and for all students that they may work diligently in their studies.

St. Gregory is also the patron saint for the papacy and the pope. Let us remember Pope Benedict XVI today in our prayers, too. I will be praying today that God would give him the guidance and courage he needs to lead the Church.

St. Gregory the Great Quotes
"The only true riches are those that make us rich in virtue. Therefore, if you want to be rich, beloved, love true riches. If you aspire to the heights of real honor, strive to reach the kingdom of Heaven. If you value rank and renown, hasten to be enrolled in the heavenly court of the Angels." "The universe is not rich enough to buy the vote of an honest man."

"The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."
"Whoever wishes to hold the fortress of contemplation must first of all train in the camp of action."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Isaac's First Soccer Practice!

Well, Isaac had his first practice this past Monday night. I think I was more nervous than he was. I was so proud of him though. He worked so hard and listened to everything his coach told him to do. It is hysterical watching a group of three year olds try to play soccer!

I did learn a couple important things about Isaac though. One, Isaac is a follower. For example, if a little boy started turning circles on the field, Isaac would be right there with him turning circles, too. All he needs is someone to start something, and he will join in. He is not much of an instigator, but once someone starts to do something good or bad, he joins right in! I am VERY glad I have discovered this about my son. I think it will prove to be very helpful. Second, I have learned that Isaac is a visual learner and not an auditory one. If the coach would tell Isaac to do something, Isaac would just kind of look at him, until the coach actually showed him how to perform the skill. I find it very interesting how preferred learning styles appear early on in a child's development. This too will prove to be helpful for me in teaching Isaac new skills.

One of the cutest moments of the practice was an obstacle course that the kids had to navigate through. They had to jump over small hurdles, weave through poles, and run through a ladder. As you can imagine this was very entertaining. It took Isaac two turns to figure out the concept. We were proud of him in the end, though. Check out Take One and Take Two of Isaac's attempt through the obstacle course!