Monday, June 27, 2016

I Am Loved Retreat Resources

I know that I have mentioned before that I was working on writing up a retreat for mothers and their pre-teen daughters.  It is finally finished.  This is a follow-up to my original mother/daughter retreat. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing sample talks and pictures of the event, which was held this past Saturday.  For right now,  I would like to share the resources I used to put the event together.  It may seem like this should be the last part of the puzzle, but this is how I built the retreat, so I'm sharing my process.  After finding a theme, I began searching for what resources I could use to really speak to the girls, and not just by me talking the whole time.  Here is what we used and some suggestions for others that I found but didn't have time to share.  Thanks.

We all have an internal soundtrack.  When things get quiet or boring or overwhelming, our soundtrack starts playing to give our mind a distraction.  When we fill our lives with good music that has a Godly message, our soundtrack will lead us closer to God. That is why I have always thought it important to include special music that the girls will want to enjoy. Here are the songs incorporated into Saturday's retreat.
  1. He Knows My Name by Francesca Battisteli
  2.  Beloved by Jordan Feliz
  3. You Make Everything Beautiful by Rebecca St. James 
  4. Ave Maria sung by Andrea Bocelli 
  5. Find Your Wings by Mark Harris
  6.  Grace by Laura Story
If you are looking for pop singers who are also great role models for your daughter, I highly recommend Francesca Batisteli, Rebecca St James, and Laura Story. Rebecca St James has a beautiful song, Wait for Me, about living a chaste life as a young girl. She even wrote a book by the same title that has an accompanying study guide perfect for early teens.

Here are some other worthy songs that I wanted to share but did not have enough time. One of these days I am going to find a way to do an entire day retreat!
  1. Every Good Thing by the Afters 
  2. More Beautiful You by Johnny Diaz 
  3. You Are More by Tenth Avenue North 
  4. Everything Glorious by David Crowder Band 
  5. The Words I Would Say by Sidewalk Prophets 
  6. Hello, My Name Is by Matthew West 

  In addition to music, I included a few videos. Like it or not, our children are growing up in a media saturated society.  Like Mother Angelica always strove to do, you need to us the norms of the culture to reach out with God's message.  Here are the links to the short videos included in our retreat:
  1. Modesty Doesn't Mean Frumpy by Colleen Hammond 
  2. 9 Months in the Womb by 
  3. Chloe-A Story of Infertility, Adoption, and God's Love by Moving Works 
 Please stop back for more information and resources for princesses and their queens!

Any suggestions of what you would include? 

Friday, June 24, 2016

7QT: Why I Haven't Been Blogging

Linking up with Kelly who is down in Virginia getting ready for her talk at the National IHM Conference.  I know she will do a great job!  If you happen to go, please stop by and say hi to her!

The school year is busy. The whole year seems busy actually, but school time is the craziest.  We wrapped up our year on June 1st.  June is traditionally our time to kick back and relax.  We also try to catch up with all those friends we have planned to visit all year but never got to.  You would think homeschooling would give you more time for things like that, but everyone's schedule is crazy these days, so it usually doesn't

While June ended up busier than I would have liked.  We did finally meet up with my friend, Sarah, at the park. We have been trying to meet up since she had her newest love--who is now seven months old! The kids had a blast getting wet and muddy in the stream just in time for my dermatology appointment.  At least kids wash well.

Hubby wrangled his mom and aunt for 48 hours of babysitting and spirited me away.  It was a birthday present because I didn't want a party to announce my big birthday.  We didn't do anything big. Went just far enough away so that we couldn't be home at a moment's notice but were close enough in case we needed to get home.

I can't say we did anything that amazing but it felt great to get out and spend time together.  We took a walk, slept in (and all night--no one yelling, "Mom!" at 1 AM), went out to eat, and as Hubby puts it, "Actually finished an entire conversation in less than a month's time."  My favorite part was the three hours we spent at a FSSP parish for Friday evening Adoration, High Mass and special blessing by a newly ordained priest.  It was a blessing in more ways that one.

I have been writing for Seton Magazine. No, I'm not on staff writing every day, but it has taken some of my attention.  It is a great experience, I just need to find a way to juggle both.  It's hard to throw a "quick takes" together when I have a deadline for a magazine that is paying me to write.  You can check out my latest article here. There are a few more in the works, stay tuned!

Then there is that "little event" called the mother/daughter retreat.  It is all coming together and we are looking forward to tomorrow afternoon, but it has been a lot of work.  I will be posting some sample talks and photos in the coming weeks.  A little prayer for success tomorrow afternoon will be greatly appreciated!

Remember that patch of lawn that I wanted to turn into a garden?  Well, it is a garden! The fenced garden is 600 sq ft.  There is an additional "flower and herb" garden that is 200 sq feet.  The second one is more a dream and a plan but there are a few things planted there, more coming in the fall.  It was SO MUCH WORK!  I knew it would be a lot, I had no idea just how much. Thankfully, Hubby and the kids pitched in.  Our progress in growing food isn't astounding.  We planted pretty late because getting beds built took so long.  However, the carrots and Swiss chard are looking beautiful.

We had the surprise of a lifetime in April....we found out just what we are getting for Christmas!

I sent out this announcement:
We discovered our Christmas gift early this year.  We look forward to joyfully welcoming our newest blessing around December 20, 2016.
"The Almighty has done a great thing for me, and Holy is His Name."
Luke 1:49

That's right, there's a new little bundle of joy joining our crew and we couldn't be happier!  Needless to say my energy level has taken a nose dive.  Every time I sat down to write something, my body would coax me to sleep.  I've really never been so tired while pregnant.  So my blogging energy is going to a bigger project, sorry!

Did I mention the garden?  Good golly, Miss Molly that was a lot of work.  Following is my husband's recipe of how not to start a garden.
  1. Have an unusually cold and miserable spring after a warm and balmy winter.
  2. Realize that you left your garden tools at the old house and take two weeks to pick them up.
  3. Make sure that your wife is pregnant--not noticeably so that she gets sympathy and extra help, just enough that she is exhausted and you pick up the slack to hide the fact that she is dragging.
  4. Decide to dig the garden by hand in a rocky yard during an extended dry spell.
  5. Give up and rent a rototiller on the one day that it reaches 92 degrees and 85% humidity--followed, of course, by a week of temps in the 60's.
  6. Have an active, inquisitive, and mischievous two year old as your right hand man.
  7. Pick a plot with just as much wildlife as it has rocks.
  8. Move into a well manicured neighborhood so your neighbors can stare at these strange homeschoolers who are wasting time planting food instead of mowing their lawn and mulching their landscaped beds.
LOL...well, we got it done anyway!  As Hubby says, it's not the most important thing we are growing this season.

How's your summer shaping up?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

{p, h, f, r} It's a Party for Books!

Party, did you say???  Books, did you say??  We all like a little time to chit chat with our friends and enjoy a break from the everyday.  For busy moms like me, the idea of a party has changed drastically over the years.  I consider an hour without interruptions and a cup a tea with my friend Dara a rocking good time. Let's be honest, with eight kids between us, fifteen minutes without someone yelling "Mom!" is a victory.

But I digress,  the other night I had a Facebook party for Usborne with a few friends and my sisters.  They have great books, and what is better that books???!!!!??? (I think the real reason I homeschool is that I am a closet book-aholic so it gives me an excuse all year to shop for books--can we say curriculum?  LOL)

Facebook parties are the best because there is no need for a babysitter but it gives you an excuse to lock yourself in your room with yummy snacks and chat with all your friends on-line for an hour while hubby gets the kids to bed and you shop for Christmas gifts in your pj's six months early.  Does that sound like I have too much experience in this?  Cass Heck is an Usborne Consultant and a lovely lady to work with.  Her parties are fun, engaging, and easy.  This is my second party with Cass and I'm hoping it's not my last because I have really enjoyed "hanging out" with her via Facebook.
Superhero Cass rescuing bored children one book at a time!

Now for my post.


These books are pretty amazing!  Not only are the illustrations beautiful but they have hidden pictures that can only be seen with a flashlight. One of these and a sturdy flashlight is on Buddy's list of gifts this Christmas.  Best of all, I got one of these beautiful books free just for hosting a party with Cass!  I really want wishlist keeps growing!

While on the subject of happy, what makes me happy?  Books, of course.  What makes me happier?  Books on sale!!!!  When Hubby and I were younger we banned ourselves from book stores just because it was too tempting, especially the ones that put the sale items up front! Now we go to curriculum fairs and homeschool book sales because you know, they don't count, we NEED them--lol!

Oh, golly, I can't stay on topic today. But, today is the day for you!  All books that have anything to do with veggies are on sale 10% off!  Today only!!  I think I need to pick up that garden book I keep pining over.

Moms of a certain age all remember those egg commercials that played after school--you know the ones.  I'm not sure how effective they were, but this graphic gave me a chuckle.  If you need more proof that your kids need books, listen to the master, himself, dear C.S. Lewis:


Okay, so I ave joked a lot about my book hoarding  collecting habits, but kids really do need books.  The more you know, the more you grow.  Even in this age of technology, children need actual books to fuel their imagination and teach them critical thinking.  The other side of the coin is that ALL kids need books, especially those in greatest need. That's why Cass not only hosts rocking parties, but is passionate about book drives to get books into the hands of the children that need it most.

If you would like to purchase a book for your children to beat the summer blahs or to donate, please contact CassMy party is open through midnight tonight, but she is a fabulous consultant any day of the week.  Thanks, and may the literary force be with you! 

Linking up with Auntie Leila 


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Fave Five of Practical Gifts.

Has it really been almost a month since I blogged????  Really????!!!!  I apologize, time has been flying by and it seemed like only a week or two.  It's time to start again, though I don't know where.  How about a Fave Five post?  Okay, here it goes.

I know it is very early for Christmas for most of you, but as I have shared before, I try to avoid shopping during Advent.  Autumn is an extremely busy time with birthdays, back to school, and getting ready for winter around here.  Therefore, I start my shopping around now and try to finish up by the end of August.  There are always those little things that need to be purchased last minute, for those I know exactly what I am buying and where to get it, to make the last minute shopping as painless as possible.  My children have gotten so used to me Christmasing in July that they have already proposed gift ideas--aren't they lovely. :)

Here are my fave five discoveries for practical gifts that are still so much fun!


My daughter earmarked this kit and is begging to have it soon. At first I wasn't too sure, it seemed like a lot of money at almost $60 but, it does make quite a few bars of soap and she calculated out that it was essentially the same price as buying that many bars from the Lehman catalog.  So it is on my list to acquire this Fall.


Buddy has an interest in camping and survival skills right now.  I plan on getting him his own sleeping bag, but also wanted to get him an activity.  Making these paracord bracelets is not only a fun handicraft, it is also a great potential business. Buddy is always looking for something to sell.  These bracelets are fun to wear, but they are also important to have while out hiking and exploring.  The children purchased one for their father last year that has a whistle and flint in the buckle.  At Paracord a kit to make a bracelet that includes instructions, cord, and a buckle is only $4.95!  I think that I will get some extra cord for him to make more bracelets, as well.


We are a mushroom loving family.  I know there are those who don't share our passion.  My sister refuses to go anywhere near a mushroom and will not allow her daughter to even try them.  But, I digress.  Mushrooms are not cheap though, especially the fancy kinds.  So, I found this wonderful kit to teach how to grow mushrooms.  This kit is a steal at $14.  Once you learn, Everything Mushrooms has everything you need to keep your little mushroom farm going. I'm thinking this will be for Hubby.


Now as much as we enjoy our mushrooms, we enjoy our cheese even more!  Now that I can finally have dairy again, I can't wait to get someone to make me cheese!  Quality hand made cheese has always been something I wished I could give my family but could never afford.  Solution, get one one your children to learn how to make it.  This had been my original plan for Cowgirl, I may just recommend the other kit to family members and buy this one myself because all past attempts at suggesting someone give this to her have failed.  They don't believe me that she actually wants it, but she does.  It is currently on sale for $22.49 on Amazon.  a great price for a kit of this quality.  I need to see if this is something I can purchase ahead of time.  I plan on pairing it with this book and an extra supply of cheese cloth.


Catholic Icon Lacing Cards for Boys- Religious Quiet Toy for Church (Set 3) - Boy Saints 

That leaves Little Man.  He is tough.  He thinks he is a big kid and doesn't want to play with little kid toys, but can't handle big kid things either.  One thing I do know, he is the squirreliest toddler I have ever had at Mass.  I think these lacing cards will not only keep his attention during Mass but are much more fitting that him sneaking in a matchbox car and rolling in down the aisle--not that he would ever do that! 

Do you have any favorites to add?