Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Every year we make a birthday cake for Jesus and use the fancy candles


We got the live Christmas tree inside and decorated!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Advent Home Stretch

 Well, we're in the home stretch. And dare I say, I think Advent has actually gone pretty well this year? 


We're on a break from "school" right now - we were taking it pretty easy and doing a storybook Advent (inspired by Elizabeth Foss) which I loved - this one was John Paul building a block replica of a story we read. Then he was allowed to take a picture and post it on instagram himself which was VERY exciting and basically what he's always, always wanted to do.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Making Montessori Your Own: Montessori in the Home {Part 4}

Sarah's back with her final post in this Montessori series, but there's so much information out there that I'm hoping to continue this series with practical life examples from families incorporating the Montessori method in their own home - I've got some guest posts lined up and would love to hear from you! Shoot me an email at rosiehill425 at gmail dot com if you're willing to share a little bit of how you're incorporating Montessori methods into your home!

If you missed them, Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the series are linked here.

Often, I've received questions regarding what the hardest part of my job is, wanting more information on the academic side of Montessori, trying to wrap one's mind around the potentials that a child is capable of accomplishing, and how discipline is done in a Montessori environment. Honestly, these questions are all a bit overwhelming to me because I never know exactly where to start. The work is hard, but what's the hardest part? Many people do want to bring the Montessori Method into their homes, but where to start? I'd like to propose the three most important things of the method that you can do at home with your child.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December 2015 Stitch Fix

I received a note from Stitch Fix a while back waiving my styling fee as a "holiday gift" - fine by me! After several fixes I felt like they finally "got" me, but I didn't want to shell out for the styling fee so I figured I'd wait to see if there was a promotion. 

You can read my other Stitch Fix review posts here - 1, 2, 3 (FAIL!), and 4.

The package arrived and I really liked the look of everything, plus my stylist Krista really seemed to have though things through, and I greatly appreciated the fact that she actually put together outfits for everything including skirts, not just skinny jeans.

I was still annoyed by how high the prices were, though... I'm used to shopping sales and secondhand, so new retail prices always shock me! I was hoping to find at least one item to keep, though.


Up first? Market & Spruce Patsy Dress ($58)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Nerdy Kids Gift Guide

I have one child who is into all things science and technology. He has always been such a blast to shop for when it comes to birthdays and Christmas because he adores everything and would be happy with nothing but an encyclopedia! Over the years, we've had some pretty serious hits with him that I thought I'd share with you in case you've got a little nerd to shop for as well - these gifts are guaranteed to provide you with HOURS of quiet play time!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Making Montessori Your Own: Development of the Will {Part 3}

Sarah's back for Part 3 of what may develop into a much longer series on Montessori! She'll finish things up next week, and then I'm hoping to continue the series by giving you a look at some real-life Montessori setups in other homes - if you're interested in guest posting please let me know!

If you missed them, Part I is here and Part II is here. Now read on!

I'm so excited to be back for round three of this Montessori series, despite the slight delay! Since a paragraph is hardly enough space to expand on any of the four planes of development, I'm going to do so now with the first plane because I'm guessing that many of Rosie's blog readers have children primarily in that first plane of development. And what a joy that is, spending your days soaking up the sweet innocence of angelic children... right? *winks*



Young families at my parents' parish still sometimes affirm my family for how well behaved we -- the children -- are during Mass compared to their clan of rascals (their words, not mine), then they ask how my parents do it. My honest answer is that I'm in my twenties and their children are still in the preschool age range -- they must be taught how to behave during Mass and the best, most effective way to teach is by example. I presently have twenty-five students all in the first plane of development; of course I get to send them to their respective homes in the evening, but I can well relate with the angst of ensuring each child receives the utmost care, attention, and protection that they need -- not to mention their behavior when we take them to Mass (which we do, once a week), or simply sitting quietly in the school hallway (because the 'quietly' part happens... never). It's important to understand that children aren't simply going to "know" proper behavior or even respond positively to your corrections. In fact, you can't expect a young child to sit still the entire way through Mass because they just aren't capable of doing so. A child must respond to the force of their own nature; our job as educators (including parents as the primary educators) is to guide them slowly in the development of the will, including the three levels of obedience.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Twincesses Break the Internet

You'd never guess, looking at these faces, just how much mischief these little golden-haired beauties get into.


Stripping naked and running around in my heels because they're pretending to be Barbie?

Not them.

But now you know how they play with my mom's antique Barbies...

Monday, December 7, 2015

What We Wore St. Nicholas Day


St. Nicholas Day was a big hit this year! The kids all got Shining Light Dolls in their shoes and LOVE them (and they would make a great stocking stuffer if you're looking!), and new books for everybody but Peter. Sorry kid, we've got enough Christmas board books... Also two chocolate coins, no more. 

Some links are affiliate links - thank you so much for your support! 


We read our favorite St. Nicholas books (The Legend and The Miracle) and called it good :)


Still obsessed with the dolls.


Lately our Mass routine has been... Interesting. In our parish, there's a chapel separate from the church, and that kind of functions as the "cry room" with Mass streaming on a television. Me from 5 years ago would have been HORRIFIED and never ever would have done something like that for Mass.

Me now?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Advent Week 1: Make Your House Fair (as you are able...)

Twist my arm and get me to write a post about Advent, eh? I mean, it was a suggestion from Like Mother, Like Daughter. And who am I not to take a suggestion?

I'm pretty sure it's the rule that I'm supposed to put an affiliate link disclaimed in the beginning of the post? So be disclaimed, there are affiliate links here! And if you click them and make any purchases, I get a tiny bit of money that will probably go straight back into buying homeschool books, so thank you!

We're reading books from this list and listening to this CD on repeat (kid-friendly AND adult-friendly advent music? Sign me up! Thanks for the tip, Erica!), as well as Advent at Ephesus. I do NOT have all our presents bought, but I think I have ideas for everyone. I think. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime, though... I always forget somebody!


We're three days into this calendar and really enjoying it, as the kids do every year. I still haven't figured out what to do with the books because our mini-tree ends up getting dragged all over the house, and the twins are FREAKING OUT if I don't put the books back every time I read them so... For now it's just sitting on top of the stack of books for Advent.

Nobody has noticed that the stack of books is just hidden under that towel right there. Sneaky mom, right here. Also, get yourself this candle snuffer and eliminate the issue of over-zealous candle blowers who spray wax on the walls! 

What, are mine the only kids who do that? Well, in any case, the snuffer is working great!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Making Montessori Your Own: Montessori's Greatest Discovery {Part 2}

I'm glad to have Sarah back this week for the second part of her Montessori series - the introduction and a brief history of Montessori is here if you missed it!

Our method has been based on the fact that we have been guided by the manifestations of children at different phases of growth. Each of these may be considered a level or a plane. On each different level of life there are different needs and there are different manifestations... With regard to the child, education should correspond to them, so that instead of dividing the schools into nursery, primary, secondary, and university, we should divide education in planes and each of these should correspond to the phase of developing individuality goes through. -- Dr. Maria Montessori, The Four Planes of Education 

Of all the posts in this series, this one is the hardest to write. Because there is so much information I want to share on each plane of development (but am restricted to only one blog post), I am going to do my best to condense the most essential information into four paragraphs (reflective of the four planes). Unfortunately, there isn't much further reading available. Other than the handout that is pictured, several Montessorians have said that they've learned the most about each plane of development simply by observing children.



The first plane of development (approx 0-6 years of age) can be summarized in two sentences, the first actually said by a child to his teacher: "Help me to do it myself." The second is from Montessori: "Every useless aid arrests development." To the child at this stage, movement is as important as food. The child is a pure adventurer, wonderer, and seeker. He is a being who needs love and protection. This is so important from both father and mother because -- at this age -- the child cannot differentiate between parental love and Divine Love. If we take that literally, it means that YOU are the face of Christ to your child. This does not mean that you are to say 'yes' to your child's every demand; in fact, the child needs to hear the word 'no'. In part 3 of this series, I'll expand further about this first plane of development and the Absorbent Mind; meanwhile, remember that characteristics of this first plane include the need for repetition and movement.

Which probably explains why they want to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear over and over again but can't actually sit still for it...

Friday, November 27, 2015

All the Gift Guides, All in One Place! {7 Quick Takes}

Quick! It's Black Friday! And if you're anything like me, you have absolutely no desire to leave the house... Also if you're anything like me, you planned on getting all your Christmas shopping done before Advent and that's not happening, yet again.

Need ideas? I've got you covered!

Some links are affiliate links - at no extra cost to you, a small percentage of your purchase supports this blog! Thank you :)

--1--

First, if you need clothes for you or the kiddos, there are some fabulous sales going on - I stocked up on leggings, socks, and underwear from Children's Place, and Gap has 50% off EVERYTHING including some really adorable dress coats that I'm resisting but GOSH they're cute!

Until the 30th, you can head to Amazon and get 30% off ONE book (up to $10 discount) using the code HOLIDAY30 - may I suggest Pioneer Girl?

--2--

These musical instruments are all great quality and a few of them would be great stocking suffers!

--3--

These songbooks and CDs are tried-and-true favorites around here - definitely gifts that go a long way.

--4--

These CDs are still some of my favorites to listen to in the car - totally doesn't seem like children's music!

--5--

Did you see this faith-based gift guide the first time around? It's too late to order from some of these shops for Christmas, but others are still open and offering great deals this weekend! Plus you're supporting small businesses - win-win!

--6--

If you're looking for Christmas or Advent picture books (and some chapter books!), I've got a list for you right here!

--7--

Need something for the man in your life? I love these ideas, and this book is my number one recommendation - we love ours!

Hope this helps, and hope you're having a wonderful holiday weekend!

Linking up with the awesome Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Making Montessori Your Own: An Introduction {Part 1}

Hello! A while back a friend asked me if I would write a blog post explaining the Montessori method and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd a little bit... But even though I was Montessori-educated for MANY years (and my grandparents founded the Montessori school I attended - it's in my blood!) I didn't feel qualified! I knew somebody who was, though - Sarah! I think she and I "met" through the What I Wore Sunday linkup a couple of years ago, but we ended up realizing we lived right near each other and had friends in common.  Small Catholic world!

Sarah will tell you a little bit about herself below, and will be guest posting here weekly for the next four weeks as she explains the Montessori method, why Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is such an awesome thing, and how to incorporate the Montessori method into your home. I hope you enjoy this series!


Hello, beautiful readers!  I am so excited to share some of my favorite things with you in these next few posts.  Rosie, thank you for inviting me and hosting this little series!  My name is Sarah Therese; I'm a cradle Catholic and, after graduating from a lifetime of homeschool, I stumbled upon the Montessori Method at college while working toward a Degree in Early Childhood Education.  One could say that it was love at first sight because as soon as I realized that Montessori was a person who was a devout Catholic, I was captivated.  Of course, at college there was no mention of any religious education component with the method -- merely a glimpse into her discovery of human development and a little bit about her philosophy of education -- I knew, however, that if she was really a devout Catholic then, considering her remarkable discoveries of human development, there simply had to be a religious education component to the method.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Easiest Way to Score on Black Friday

Every single year I think, "Wow! Black Friday deals! I should get out of the house and shop so I don't miss any!"

And every single year Black Friday rolls around and I think, "It's cold, I'm tired, and I'd really rather not leave the house..."

Okay fine, last year I had a better excuse...

So my Black Friday shopping occurs in the comfort of my home, either on my phone or through the handy dandy laptop! I've kicked myself after putting an order through only to realize I probably could have found a coupon somewhere to use with it...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mary Claire and Elizabeth, Age 3

A week ago, the twins turned three! (Birth story here if you're into that sort of thing) I attempted to do this birthday survey with them together, first with what questions I could remember, then sitting at the computer while they answered questions. It went about as well as you would expect...


Me: Can I take a picture of you smiling for your birthday?
Mary Claire: Take a picture of me CRYING!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Christmas & Advent Reads for the 6-and-under Crowd

I know, I know, the internet is bursting with book lists for Christmas and Advent... What's one more? I'm always finding tons of great ideas, but a lot of them are long. Too long for me to read aloud with a fussy baby grabbing at the pages and kids who want me to sit and read them an entire stack one after the other! 

So if you're in the same boat with lots of littles, or are just starting out reading to your baby or toddler, hopefully this will be a good list to get you started with some of our Christmas & Advent favorites!

If you click any of the links and make any purchase through them, I get a very small percentage that helps support this blog. Thank you so much!

Daily Reads:

Advent Storybook - John Paul and Cecilia LOVED this last year - we would read a story every day after snack as part of our morning ritual, and I'm looking forward to reading it with them and the twins this year.

The Story of Christmas - This is a set of 24 ornament-sized books that tells the story of Christmas a little bit at a time, one per day. We like to light the candle on the Advent wreath, pray together, read the book for that day, and then sing a verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel every morning.


Board Books for Babies:

My First Pictures of Christmas - The Maite Roche books are always a hit with my babies - perfect for taking to Mass and whispering the words in their ears while pointing to the pictures.

A Peek-a-boo Christmas - This always gets HUGE smiles from my babies and toddlers when they "find" baby Jesus at the end! I would not recommend bring it to Mass, though, unless you want to deal with some very loud "PEEK-a-boo!" squeals.

The Story of Christmas - The text isn't anything to write home about, but for some reason all my kids adore this series of books with the handle and the old fashioned illustrations.

Jesus in the Manger - Another Maite Roche book, this one with sturdy flaps to lift!

Christmas in the Manger - This is one that I tend to gift to new parents a lot! Short board book with a basic introduction to all the "key players" of the Christmas story, but with a good rhyme scheme so it's a little more interesting to read. All my babies and toddlers have loved it!

Short & Sweet for the Youngest Ears:

Room for a Little One - this is one that always gets a happy sigh at the end from all listeners - different animals take shelter together on a cold winter night, eventually welcoming the baby Jesus

An Angel Came to Nazareth (The First Christmas) - beautiful illustrations, flowing text, good lesson of 

Who is Coming to Our House - one of my absolute favorites! Beautiful woodcut illustrations, rhyming & short text, another calming story that's especially good for toddlers who love animals

The Stable Where Jesus Was Born - "Cumulative Rhyme" is a new phrase for me but it totally makes sense with the order of this book, where each page builds on the last in a repetitive (but not tiresome) rhyming nativity story.

A Little Longer for Better Listeners:

Lift the Flap Nativity - The actual text on the pages can get long, but there are so many flaps and the pictures are so detailed that my little ones are happy to sit still for a while with this one.

Mortimer's Christmas Manger - This one is new to us but I love it! The kids are all big fans of Jane Chapman & Karma Wilson, and while this doesn't have the usual rhythm of their books, the story is so very sweet. Mortimer the Mouse finds a new home in a nativity, then realizes the stable he's worked so hard to clear of all those pesky figurines is where the poor cold baby Jesus needs to sleep!

The First Night - Very short text, beautiful paintings on wood panels.

The Animals' Christmas Eve - If you want to be technical, I suppose this is a counting book... But the rhyme scheme is so nice and I like the illustrations (even though several reviewers prefer the originals) - it's always highly requested at our house, and I'm pretty sure I have the entire thing memorized!

The Friendly Beasts - I love this carol, maybe because I sang it so much as a small child? It's lovely, and my kids love singing along with the book.

Bethlehem - I love the stained glass illustrations, and the fact that the text is straight out of the Bible!

The Little Drummer Boy - This is a classic, and our board book version is great for younger kids also but if you're going to be singing it, you need kids who are a little bit better listeners - it's a SLOW song and can take a while to read!



Even Longer Picture Books (for kids who will sit still):

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey - This is new for us this year and comes highly recommended by basically every person I know! 

Angela and the Baby Jesus - My sister got this for us last year and Cecilia especially loves it! It's always fun to have the chance to try out an Irish brogue when we read it aloud, also.

The Legend of St. Nicholas - We love Demi's style, even though this one always makes me chuckle when we read about what a very pious baby young St. Nicholas was (he FASTED as an infant! Like, refused to nurse because he was so holy!). Definitely on the longer side, but I think we'll just be spending a lot of time reading on St. Nicholas' feast day

The Miracle of St. Nicholas - This one isn't exactly a story of St. Nicholas, but rather a lovely story of enduring faith amidst the persecutions in Russia long ago. On the long side, but wonderful!

The Clown of God - A new find for us, we were all rather taken aback by the ending! Maybe not for sensitive children, but a really nice story that can be read throughout the year as well.

Joy to the World (Including Las Posadas, The Legend of the Poinsettia, and The Three Wise Kings) - If you're a Tomie DePaola fan, this is a must-have! Three books in one, plus several Christmas songs in a beautiful cover. This is another one that I like to gift to friends.

Merry Christmas, Strega Nona - I'd seen this one recommended by quite a few people and was skeptical, because how could Strega Nona make a good Christmas story? But it really is wonderful, and who would have thought Big Anthony could finally come through!

The Christmas Story - Only available used, but I think just having that much sacred art in one book is worth tracking it down!

The Lady of Guadalupe - I'm trying to track down a reasonably priced copy of this one... We get it from the library every year when the feasts of St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe come around in December, but the kids love it so much I want our own! Definitely worth checking out if your library has it.

Chapter Books & Longer Read-Alouds:

I'm pretty sure my mom has a copy of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which I got a kick out of reading as a kid, and I'm pretty sure John Paul and Cecilia will really enjoy as well.

The Family Under the Bridge comes highly recommended from several sources as an excellent Advent/Christmas read aloud, and I'm really looking forward to reading it with the older kids - only 9 chapters, so we should get through it pretty quickly.

I toyed with just picking the specific Christmas chapters out of our Little House books, but I know Cecilia especially will really enjoy reading through A Little House Christmas Treasury and I think one story each evening will make a nice read aloud time. I think I'll also get Christmas in the Big Woods for the twins - they haven't heard the entirety of the series, but they love the picture books, and should be ready for longer chapter books soon.

What would you add? What are your Christmas favorites? I'd love to hear more recommendations!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Happy Birthday, Peter!

It's been a big weekend over here. The twins turned 3 on Saturday (their birthday post is upcoming) and today Peter turned 1! (If you're a birth story junkie, his is here!)

This baby. I get such a kick out of his little personality - I think he reminds me most of Elizabeth at this age, with his sense of humor and obsession with stacking toys. Also with his lack of sleep... But I suppose John Paul didn't sleep either when he was 1.



He LOVES being with people, and has ever since he was born - any time the older kids are outside playing he's so lonely and just insists on climbing me and sticking toys in my mouth until I take him to be with them. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

What I Do Instead of Blogging {7 Quick Takes}

--1--

The thing is, every time I get the itch to blog in the middle of the day, it's the middle of the day and everybody's awake. Naps don't coincide anymore, and if I DO get anyone napping, there's so much other stuff to be done that blogging takes the back seat!


Like yesterday... I plopped Peter in his high chair and laughed at the fact that I was throwing goldfish at him so that I could make French Onion Soup for a dinner party that evening - homemade stock for us, Costco crackers for him!


And cooking is one of my default things I do when I have a free minute - I automatically think, "What can I bake?" or "What can I get started for dinner?"

Which is probably why this week I baked 4 loaves of bread, made a couple gallons of chicken stock, and canned several quarts of applesauce. But blog posts?

Nada.


--2--

Meanwhile when I'm trying to cook all the things, I turn a blind eye when the twins dump the crumbs from a bag of goldfish on the floor so they can have a "goldfish picnic" because hey, at least they were including the baby!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Let's Up the Crunch Factor {An Essential Oils Giveaway}

I feel like I don't mention it on the blog a ton, but we're pretty darned crunchy at our house... Like, bake my own bread, cloth diaper, haven't bought a roll of paper towels in 5+ years, even make my own granola-type crunchy. So it kind of seemed inevitable to me that eventually I'd hop on the essential oils bandwagon - I mean, all my crunchy friends are doing it which basically means I'm going to avoid it for as long as possible.

Don't ask me why. I just like adding a little extra counter-cultural to my counter-cultural lifestyle.

I *did* make our own bug spray out of an essential oils blend + witch hazel this past summer, but I've kind of just let it go at that because there are so many types of oils, and I was kind of overwhelmed.



So when Haley asked me if I'd like to try some out, I was a little skeptical... But also kind of excited to try something out, particularly since she was just as skeptical as I was! Cold & flu season is starting out here, and it seems like we've had a constant stream of runny noses since we moved, so I jumped at the chance to try out some Thieves Oil, which I've heard is great for preventing illness (Fun fact: the name comes from the legend that a group of robbers used this particular blend of oils to protect themselves while robbing the dying in 15th century France).

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Catchlights and Quotations {Theme Thursday}

So this week's photography challenge is to capture "Catchlights" in my photography, whatever those are. Well, actually, Micaela explained it really nicely in her post and I realized that I actually already do a pretty good job getting catchlights in my photography, solely because I always try pretty hard to make sure I'm not photographing into the light because everything ends up grainy that way. So I guess inadvertently, I was already doing something right!

Anyway, a certain 2-year-old was climbing on the banister, which she is very specifically not allowed to do but she was facing the window so I was a bad disciplinarian and took pictures instead of getting her down:

This is her posed smile... She cracks me up with those chubby little cheeks!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

All Saints & Halloween: Better Late than Never?

Pardon me while I mom-blog it up in here... I made the horrible faux pas of not taking ANY Halloween/All Saints pictures except this one:


And my sister was about ready to have my head, so I washed the costumes and we did a recap photo shoot this morning!



When you have a bunch of girls and you don't want to think about *making* them anything to wear for Halloween/All Saints' Day, you just buy a few princess dresses and tell them they can be any princess saint they want!!!

There are a lot of princess saints.


So Elizabeth chose St. Elizabeth of Hungary/Sleeping Beauty, Mary Claire chose St. Adelaide (or St. Clare pre-vocation)/Cinderella, and Cecilia chose St. Ursula/Ariel. 

Well, she chose St. Ursula like, a year ago... But then on Halloween she decided that she was NOT going to be a saint, JUST Ariel when she marries the prince.

She's never seen The Little Mermaid, but there are enough pictures in library books that she's figured it out. I even read the original story to her, death and all, and she's still obsessed. What can you do, she's 4! 


St. Adelaide is, of course, carrying the traditional badminton racket.


Just kidding. There IS no patron saint of badminton, I looked it up. Mary Claire just really wanted to hold it for pictures.


I think you'll agree with me that Elizabeth wins any posing contest, right?

And the dresses are wrinkled from going through the wash - we went to a part on Halloween and Mary Claire helped us cement our status as that family by peeing herself not once, but twice! Both times were outdoors, luckily... And Elizabeth insisted on staying inside and having ME inside with her, so really I'm sure we greatly endeared ourselves to our hosts?


John Paul was devastated when he didn't win the costume contest - I'm thinking next year I'm gonna have to shave him a tonsure to give him a fighting chance ;) Although if I had found Peter's cow costume in time, maybe that would've clinched a victory!


Although no way would Peter have tolerated it for an entire day on Saturday!


As you can see, he was not real enamored of the whole idea...


But St. Isidore probably had to deal with similar issues with his animals, right? So I think it's in keeping with the theme...

Monday, November 2, 2015

Using the Internet for Good: Pick Up That Bible!

Time and again I read articles about "putting down the smart phone" and "treasuring every moment" and the like - which I get. We're all a little bit tied down by our own distractions, particularly those that present themselves in the mindless scrolling of this negative facebook post and that negative article posted on twitter...

But for every negative image, post, article I see, there's the positive too - the tragedies that bring communities together through the power of social media, the prayer requests that receive floods of responses, the fruitful discussion that leads to greater understanding we might not achieve in person, our thoughts muddled and emotions guarded by walls that come down on facebook.

It can suck you in, that's for sure. But when you take the temptation and harness it for good it can be a powerful, powerful thing. It's why I never give up facebook for Lent, which seems to be a popular sacrifice; I've got such an awesome faith-filled community that encourages and reminds me to pray, to love, and that provides the fellowship we all so desperately need.



Nell, Laura, and Nancy are some of the most uplifting ladies I know, and we've never even met! I'll admit to being kind of a stereotypical Catholic when it comes to actually reading my Bible (although I do read scripture every day, just on my phone because it's easier), and these women have created a wonderful Advent devotional that I'm so excited about! I'd never heard of Lectio Divina before they introduced their project, and I'm so excited to have something concrete to focus on for prayer this Advent.

Are you like me? Do you need to just pick up that Bible? Laura's got a great guide on how to pray Lectio Divina with kids, and you can preorder your digital copy of Waiting in the Word right here for a discounted price.



Join the facebook group, pray it on your own, or maybe start your own prayer group with a few local friends - but get that Bible off the shelf, dust it off, and let your kids see you reading it!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Princess Picture Books, Coffee, & Photo Dumps {7QT}

Cecilia's on a princess book kick lately, and in an attempt to avoid Disney-fication, we've been exploring lots of different options at our local library - I have a feeling we'll be slowly working our way through ALL of the fairy tale options sooner rather than later, but here are some current favorites:

Affiliate links below! If you purchase something via my links, you help support this blog at no extra cost to you! Thanks for all your help :)

--1--



The Apple Pip Princess

Not at all saccharine, beautiful pictures, and a story I actually hadn't heard of before!

--2--


Mercer Mayer's Sleeping Beauty

Yes! THE Mercer Mayer who does the Little Critter books! This one is on the dark side - lots of details I'd never heard of in a fairly long Sleeping Beauty retelling, and I had a little trouble telling the difference between several of the female characters... But beautiful pictures and great text.

--3--



Rapunzel

The pictures! Rapunzel is Cecilia's favorite fairy tale princess, although I'm not sure why... I'm just glad she hasn't asked how exactly Rapunzel "married" the prince when they were alone in the tower, and how exactly Rapunzel ended up getting pregnant with twins.

--4--



Beauty and the Beast

I love love love the style of illustration in this one - it's a nice read as well, flowing language and not overly long.

--5--

And now, for something completely different!

I've been cold-brewing my coffee all summer but it's finally cool enough in the mornings that I really want something warm to drink - I've done instant (blech. But cheap, at least), and I really tried to like a hand-me-down Keurig last year but I just couldn't get the coffee strong enough!

I read about the Aeropress Coffee Maker a while back and while it's definitely more effort than brewing a whole pitcher full of coffee for the week, it's DEFINITELY an improvement on weak coffee & instant coffee! I don't drink enough to justify a real coffee maker, nor do I want something that takes up the counter space that a real coffee maker would take up...

Now I just need to get John Paul to wake up early enough to make it for me! He's DESPERATE to try... But if I'm up before 6 and he's not up until 8, there's no way I'm waiting.

--6--

How about a photo dump for those of you not on instagram?


Our playground game might just have changed for the better...


Giant playground "hamster wheel"


Peter's favorite part of the pumpkin patch we visited


Obligatory "how tall this fall" pictures...



Looking back at last year's pictures, are the twins seriously about as tall as Cecilia was a year ago? Okay, she IS a shortie! Here's 2 years ago for comparison, 3 years, and 4 years... And WHY did I not try to get Peter in a picture? Oh well.

--7--

I think this is the first year we're going to be able to skip trick or treating completely! We're going to an all-day party that's got enough activities to keep everyone happy without having to figure out how to corral everybody while trick or treating and trying to keep them from eating all their candy while walking from house to house - a big win in my book! Now maybe the big kids will forget about it and we can just do parties from now on... 

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum - go check out more Quick Takes!







Monday, October 26, 2015

Womp Womp

Well, that... Didn't happen.

You know, the posting every day this month?

I tried. Oh well. Saturday was our housewarming party and it went really well! Tasty food, great company, perfect fall weather, and no time for blogging. And Sunday apparently the weeks and weeks worth of exhaustion caught up, because I was bed-bound all day long (aside from the hour in the morning I was up with Elizabeth before I went back to bed, and the hour I was up with Peter while I waited for my mom to get home from Mass) with a horrible headache and stomachache. So once again, blogging wasn't so much on the to-do list.

Not that you really mind! And really, I feel like I could just ignore it except... Well, I said I would do it. And I didn't. So there you have it - sometimes life gets in the way and that's that.

I'll just consider this the end of the pressure for writing every day this month, honestly. It's been fun, but tiring - I hate not having the chance to answer comments on the previous post before I publish the next post, and I haven't had a chance to visit other blogs and comment as much as I usually do. Plus all those "substantive" posts I wanted to get written? Well, making the decision to write every day doesn't magically make it possible to write every day, nor does it guarantee I'll have any brain power left by the time I can write.

Maybe those drafts will get dusted off, and those real posts will get finished. And maybe not.


So I'll just give you a picture of the baby grabbing leaves and leave (ha!) it at that. Maybe I'll have something to stay tomorrow, or maybe not!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Best & Worst {7 Quick Takes}

Kelly's been hosting a Link-toberfest for her Quick Takes this month, and I have yet to answer any of her questions because I always ended up writing my takes before she posted them... But not today! Today my entire POST will be an answer to her question!

Which, in my case, means I'll be listing my 7 most popular and my 7 least popular Quick Takes posts - hopefully you're bored and want to click around for a while, because this should keep you busy!

Looking back, all the least popular posts are from when I first started linking up with 7 Quick Takes - it took a while for people to start consistently clicking through to read what I had to say, clearly!

--1--

We'll start with the 7th most popular post, as well as the 7th least popular...

Most?

22 Catholic Bloggers. 7 Babies. One Conference.

Least?

Coming in at #7 is...

Mary Claire running for Pope!

--2--

Most?

My first Stitch Fix review (I was so hopeful...)!

Least?

Some really amazing conversations with the kids from years ago... Gosh they were funny! Also weird...

John Paul:  I'm a BFF!
Me:  You're a best friend forever?
John Paul:  Yes!  And I'm an OB!
Me:  You're an obstetrician?
John Paul:  AND I'm an obligation.
Me:  What?
John Paul:  I'm a holy day of obligation.  
Me:  Uh...  What holy day of obligation are you?
John Paul:  August 15th.
Me:  Oh.  So what does that make you?
John Paul:  I'm the Assumption!!!


--3--

Most?

A post with links to my 7 favorite posts from 2 years ago... I think I've probably got some new favorites now!

Least?

My very first Quick Takes post! Including a picture of how dramatically different in size the twins were, because Elizabeth took forever to start gaining weight...

--4--

Most?

That post where I drew eyebrows on baby Elizabeth and it ended up getting linked to on College Humor...



Least?

Tiny Elizabeth in a giant hat, and me marveling at all the crafts I let the kids do in one week (it's STILL a big deal if they paint, let's be honest...)

--5--

Most?

My 2nd Stitch Fix Review - and after 4 tries, I can conclude that Golden Tote is by far a better fit for me!

Least?

Blast from the past, a post from almost 3 years ago in which you can marvel at poor Elizabeth's bald head and big ears... Of all our kids, she's the one whose appearance has made the most dramatic improvement since infancy!

--6--

Most?

Mom Style: How to Start - clearly I'm not the only one who needs help!

Least?

My 2nd ever Quick Takes Post (really not interesting....)

--7--

And the most popular post is...

Pregnancy & Post-Partum fashion tips! Because nobody really knows what to do with that awkward belly...

But more exciting, really, is the least popular post...

My 3rd-ever Quick Takes post! Which actually includes some amazing quotes from 2-year-old Cecilia, who was awesome. 4-year-old Cecilia is ALSO awesome, but man she was FUNNY back then!

Judging from the popularity (and unpopularity) of these posts, it's obvious that the best way to get lots of views on your Quick Takes is to write about fashion, and the worst way is to write random things about your kids. At least for me!

Want to see what other people have written? Check it out at Kelly's!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Same Photo, Different Angles {Theme Thursday}

This week, by golly, I'm posting my Theme Thursday pictures on Thursday!

Peter LOVES standing by the screen door and watching everything - it's actually pretty interesting, there are cows across the road in front of the house, and the darned cat is usually around in back, plus there are all those fascinating siblings to watch, too!


However, it's not a great place to get a picture - too much sunlight gives that awkward halo effect ...



A different angle works a little better, although it really just captures the hair I'm in denial is in serious need of a cut... Sadly, it hasn't gotten long gracefully, and is really just scraggly. But I'm afraid that if I cut it it won't be quite so red!


And I was going to try one more angle, but... Well, he was trying to eat the camera. You know how it is.

Linking up with Micaela at California to Korea for Theme Thursday!

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