Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Taking a Break from Blogging

I will be taking a few days off from blogging. I need to spend some time moving stuff around on my blog and cleaning it up a bit for my Made in the USA features (starting this weekend!). So, unless I have time, I will not be posting for the next few days.

But, in the mean time, I want to leave you with a link to a great and thoughtful post about Mode of Dress at Building Cathedrals. This has been on my mind a lot lately since I am reading Dressing with Dignity by Collen Hammond.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - June 29, 2009

From the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...

The sun is shining. It is not too hot . . . I love it!

I am thinking...
About the fact that I am beginning my Made in the USA feature on my blog this weekend. I am planning it all out in my mind and on paper. And I am just offering it to God since I feel that He is the one that put it on my heart.

I am thankful for...
My boys. They are growing up so fast. I love them!

From the learning rooms...
Lots of summer reading.

From the kitchen...
I have been good at planning dinner, but never god at planning breakfast. After recognizing how just eating cereal in the AM affects my emotions, and reading this post on homeschooling boys, I have started to plan breakfasts. We are limiting cereal and increasing our protein intake in the AM.

I am wearing...
Shorts, black t-shirt and flip flops.

I am creating...
Hopefully, more order in my home!

I am going...
To pick J up from Vacation Bible School soon!

I am reading . . .
I cannot believe it, but I am back to Twilight . . . . I picked it up at the library this AM. I wonder if I will get past page 20 this time!

I am hoping...
To take the boys to the pool this afternoon.

I am praying . . .
To gain more appreciation for all of the blessings in my life.

I am hearing...
Kris Allen . . . yes I am an American Idol fan!

Around the house...
Closets are getting cleaned out and moved. I have stuff out that needs to be put on ebay and Craigslist, and other things that need to get freecycled.

One of my favorite things...
How K wants to workout with me or go running with me in the morning . . . .it is so cute when he asks, "Mommy, can I workout with you?"

A few plans for the rest of the week:
J is off to VBS every morning, getting together with a friend, go to the pool.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Go here to see more Summer Daybooks.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Today while working out I was listening to music. In order to keep up the pace on the Nordic Track, I have to listen to really up beat music (some would call it edgy or hard). I am one of those people that needs an electric treadmill that makes you go fast, but since I do not have one, I have to pump loud, fast music into my ears.

When I get to the "high point" in my workout, I start listening to a song by Daughtry called, There and Back Again.

One part of that song really stood out for me today:

Here's Your Moment to Shine

Then I started to think about the scripture:

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.
Matthew 5:16

So, yes, while pounding away on the Nordic Track, I started to pray, "God, what are you trying to tell me?"


What does it mean?

It means living life to its fullest. God has placed me in certain roles, a certain community (and even blog!), for a reason. It means being the best Wife, Mom, Home school teacher, community member, church family memeber that I can be. Because I am called to spread His Light. He is the Hope and the Light of the world, but only so much as I believe in Him and live that in my daily life so others can see Him in me.

Today, for me, this message was about shining His light through how I take care of myself. And as I worked out, the questions kept coming: Do I eat well?, Do I give myself enough sleep?, Do I exercise to take care of this body? It is so easy as a mom to give of myself so much to my kids that I do not take care of myself. It is easy to say I am doing these things in the name of sacrifice. To say it is my vocation. But how many times does scripture say that this body of mine is a temple of the Holy Spirit?

For you have been purchased with a price;
therefore glorify God in your body.
1Cor. 6:20
Taking care of myself honors God and shines His light. My boys gain far more from that than they would if I gave up my workout and eating healthy so I could do other things that I think may benefit them.

In this world it is so easy to get discouraged. To wonder what will happen and what the future will hold for our children.

And then God speaks . . .

You are the light of the world . . .

Am I living that so that I can be part of the transforming power? So my kids can have a future full of hope?

It really starts with me. (and you :-) )

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Way to go, Mom!


Here are my small successes for the week:

1. The "Great Room Change" is pretty much complete. All rooms are in order, baby A is already sleeping more (just not at night ;-) ), and most seem to be happy with the new arrangements. I still need to move the closets, but this is about what I have done, not what I still need to do, right?

2. I got the Review and Giveaway up for the My Mass Kit. Please go and leave a comment to try to win it!

3. I have been fairly successful at having the house clean for when my hubby gets home. I like to have the house in order when he gets home from work. I heard that in a talk once and thought it was a good idea. This week, with changing the rooms and going to the pool, it has been hard, but I have done it.

What are your small successes, share them at Faith and Family, Live!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Birthday J!!

Happy Birthday my dear J! It is so hard to believe you are 6 today. It seems like just yesterday, you were this smiley little baby.

You are so much fun to be with. You are smart and so sweet. I love your shy little ways.

You are a great big brother to both K and A.

You are such a sweet, sincere boy. You love God and are growing in your faith everyday.

I feel so honored to be your Mom and to get to home school you and watch you grow and learn!

Happy Birthday!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wee Believers My Mass Kit Review

This Giveaway is Temporarily CLOSED. Look for upcoming details.

I love my Catholic faith. And, as a mom of three boys, my heart's desire is to instill in my boys a love for Jesus and a love for the Catholic Church. I am continually searching for fun ways to engage the boys so that they can pick up the Faith. That was why I was so excited to learn of the Wee Believers My Mass Kit. I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to review the My Mass Kit.

Wee Believers was started by Steve and Joni Abdalla who wanted to develop a line of quality toys that teach the Faith in a fun and creative way. The My Mass Kit is the first of several products that Wee Believers is launching. This is a great company and I highly recommend you watch this interview on This is the Day at Catholic TV to learn more about their mission and up coming products.

The My Mass Kit comes in a nylon carrying case that allows for easy storage and travel. The Kits consists of 12 pieces: a Chalice, Paten, Crucifix, 2 Candles, Hosts, 2 Cruets, Corporal, Purificator, Finger Bowl, and Thurible. Each piece is made of a vibrant colored cloth that is easy to clean. I will be honest, I was not sure if I would like the Kit at first. The proof of the product, for me, came in whether my boys liked it.

My boys were drawn to it right away and immediately wanted to play Mass. The pieces were easy for them to use and handle. I liked the fact that the Kit contains all of the essential pieces for Mass so that my sons could set up their "altar" just as they would see it set up in Church. One of my favorite things about the kit is that it comes with an ecclesiastically approved instructional booklet that explains each piece and how it is used in Mass. It gives the proper name for each item, along with its picture so that you can use the kit as an instructional tool. This kit is perfect for young boys (ages 2-6, in my opinion). A "toy" like this is so unique because it not only teaches children about Mass, but, helps to draw them into the Liturgy more fully.

The My Mass Kit is not inexpensive, at $89.99, it is an investment. An investment in creating new ways for your children to learn more about the Faith and to inspire.

Buy My Mass Kit: You can purchase the My Mass Kit for $89.99 from the Wee Believers Website, or go to the the Wee Believers website to find a Catholic Store in your area that carries it.

or (this is the fun part!!)

Win it:
One lucky reader will win the My Mass Kit!!!
(US Residents only, sorry!)

To enter:

1. Go to the Wee Believers website and come back here and leave a comment and tell me which of their current and/or upcoming products that you like the most and why.

For Additional entries (the first entry MUST be done before you can get any extra entries). Leave a separate comment for each:

2. Follow me on Twitter and Tweet abut the giveaway. Please leave Twitter ID and Tweet URL in comment. You can just copy and Tweet the following:

My Mass Kit Giveaway! @blsdwfullhands http://bit.ly/FmyyB

3. Follow Wee Believers on Twitter.

4. Blog about the giveaway. (Include a link to this post in your post. Leave the URL for the post.)

5. Follow my blog.

You do not need to have a blog to enter. Please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you in your comment if I cannot contact you via your blog. Winner will be chosen via random.org and will be notified via email. If you are the winner, you will have 36 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen.

Contest is currently closed! Come back soon for more details!

Good Luck!

Simple Woman's Daybook - June 22, 2009

From the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...

The sun is shining. There is a light breeze. It is a perfect day!

I am thinking...
I need to buy new curtains for the boy's room . . . they are waking up with the sun! (Too early for me!)

I am thankful for...
For a nice weekend, my wonderful husband and my parents.

From the learning rooms...
J continues to work on his reading. Grandma and Grandpa gave him books for his birthday, so he has been pouring over those all morning!

From the kitchen...
Leftovers . . . .our fridge needs to get cleaned out!

I am wearing...
Still in my workout clothes!

I am creating...
A post of a review and giveaway of the Wee Believers My Mass Kit. Hopefully, I will have it up later today!

I am going...
To take a shower after I am done with this post.

I am reading . . .
I did not get very far with Twilight . . . I picked up Mansfield Park instead!

I am hoping...
To get a lot done today.

I am praying . . .
For peace and patience in my life.

I am hearing...

Around the house...
The house is still a little out of order since the move. Overall, I love the changes, but they are hard to get used to. I miss having little A in the room (even though I am getting more sleep).

One of my favorite things...
I love when I get hit with the realization that even though life can be hectic and crazy, I am wonderfully blessed.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Finish changing the rooms. Put some stuff on Craigslist. Clean out the garage.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
None today . . . I am feeling a bit "uninspired" at the moment.

Go here to see more Summer Daybooks.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Way to go, Mom!


Here are my Small Successes for the week:

1. The "Great Room Change" is underway. We are moving bedrooms. My hubby and I had the big bedroom upstairs (with baby A), the boys were in the smallest room upstairs, and the boy's toys were downstairs in one of the bedrooms. My hubby and I are now downstairs (K, this AM, looked at us and said "Why were you sleeping in the playroom?"). The boys are in transition to the big bedroom upstairs (where their toys will be as well). A will be in the "spare room" upstairs until he starts sleeping through the night. There are several reasons why we are doing this. First, A needs to be out of our room. As much as I love seeing the little boy sleep, I have realized that I really need to get a good night sleep. And, the only way I think that will happen is if Baby A is not in our room. Second, I am hoping that this will help in effectively using all the space in our house. I sometimes feel that our house is so small. I am hoping with the room changes that it will "free" up more space.

2. I am continuing with my workout routine and new eating plan. I am so happy to say that my clothes is starting to get loose on me!!

3. The boys and I have spent some quality time reading most mornings this week. I think they could sit on the couch and listen to me read for hours!

Want to share your Successes? Go to Faith and Family, Live!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thank you Catholic Vote!

This is a new initiative started by Catholicvote.org. I love the idea!. To read more about "Closed on Sundays" go here.

Here is a copy of an email they sent to their readers:

Dear CatholicVote.org Member,

Please don’t visit CatholicVote.org this Sunday.

Yes, you read that correctly. This Sunday, and every Sunday in fact, you will not be able to interact on our website.

That’s because starting this weekend CatholicVote.org will be closed on Sundays. You won’t be able to watch our videos, read our blog, or chat in our forums. In fact, you won’t even be able to donate to CatholicVote.org.

Every Sunday our website will display this simple message: “Sorry, we’re closed on Sunday. Go to Church. Read a book. Take a walk. Call a friend. Celebrate life. See you tomorrow…” For a glimpse of our Sunday page – click here.

In our hectic world, we at CatholicVote.org want to tell the world that Sunday is not simply just another day. As the Bible states: “The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord,” (Exodus 31:15).

A recent headline confirms the need for us to do something. The Annenberg Center for the Digital Future just announced that 28 percent of Americans interviewed last year said that they have been spending less time with members of their households. Only 11 percent said this in 2006. While the researchers in that study didn’t assign a culprit, they did note that the trend correlates with the rise in Internet usage and a boom in social networking websites.

That’s why we’re encouraging people on Sunday to log off the Internet, Facebook and other sites. Of course, our Lord didn’t say ‘Thou Shalt Not Tweet on Sunday.’ But he did say, ‘Keep Holy the Sabbath.’ With this small step, we want to help reclaim the Lord’s Day as a day of worship and rest.

Our decision may surprise some. But in many ways we believe this effort will be our most important initiative. By encouraging our visitors to avoid our site on Sunday, we hope to spark a movement across many sites on the Internet. Even a small movement to respect Sunday could have a profound impact on our culture. If you think about it, every effort to reform our country, our politics, and our culture begins with what we do on Sunday.

The launch date of this new campaign is not coincidental. This new Sunday campaign is our way of honoring our Heavenly Father this Father's Day.

Put Him first and He will take care of the rest.

Brian Burch


P.S. One of the more famous examples of respecting Sunday is fast-food chain Chik-Fil-A. The second largest chicken-based fast food restaurant in America has over 700 restaurants that close every Sunday.

Chick-Fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy once said: Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and directing our attention to things more important than our business. If it took seven days to make a living with a restaurant, then we needed to be in some other line of work.”

Of course, we aren’t selling chicken. Instead we are in the business of changing minds and the imagination of our culture with powerful new media campaigns. If you like what we are doing, please consider chipping in. We could really use your help in promoting this campaign. Just don’t try and donate on Sunday!

Wordless Wednesday - Silly A

Silly A

To see more Wordless Wednesday Posts, visit Go, Graham Go!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Dog and His Boy

We have a dog. Cooper. If you have seen the movie, or read the book, Marley and Me, you have "met" our dog. Except Cooper is a Golden Retriever. A large Golden Retriever. He eats any toys left on the floor, but leaves scraps that fell from the dinner table. He will chew on the boys' arms to play. And he can knock K and J over in a moment. The boys love him, but do not like playing with him. Nor do they really like him around when they are playing. K's favorite saying, in reference to Copper, is "Put Cooper in his crate!"

But Copper has found a new friend in our house. Baby A. Baby A does not seem to be intimidated by Copper's size, his reputation, or even his teeth. I think Baby A really likes Cooper. A has been crawling up to Cooper to touch his feet and grab his ears whenever Cooper is laying on the floor.

Here A is poking Cooper in the eye!

Here A is sharing a toy with Cooper (and Copper did not even eat it!!).

Holding hands (Paws? Hand and Paw?).

Hopefully this friendship will last when A starts walking and can be knocked down by his new buddy!

Sleepy Wrap Winner

The winner of the Sleepy Wrap is comment #24 Med School Mama!

Congratulations! I will be contacting you shortly.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - June 15, 2009

From the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...

The sun is shining. There is a light breeze. It is not too hot. Really, a beautiful day.

I am thinking...
What home schooling curriculum should I get for next year?

I am thankful for...
My portfolio review is over . . . I feel like summer can finally begin.

From the learning rooms...
Learning? Learning occurs here? I thought the only things that happened in this house were wrestling, light saber battles and guns fights!

From the kitchen...
Barbecue Chicken Pita Pizzas and Buffalo Chicken Pita Pizzas

I am wearing...
Shorts, a tank top and denim short sleeve shirt.

I am creating...
A new cover for our rocking chair. It is worn out and in need of a new look.

I am going...
To take the kids to the pool as soon as I am done.

I am reading . . .
I have caved to pop culture . . . . I am reading Twilight!

I am hoping...
My vegetables continue to grow well.

I am praying . . .
That I listen to God a little better.

I am hearing...
The boys cleaning furiously so we can go to the pool.

Around the house...
I think the room switch will happen this week!

One of my favorite things...
K's incredible personality. He is all generosity and hospitality.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
This is a busy week. Grandma and Grandpa P are coming. I am planning on taking the boys to Day out with Thomas. We are moving rooms. The carpets need to be cleaned.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

None today . . . I need to get off the computer to get to the pool.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tennis Anyone?

This is a reprint of a post I wrote last summer. I had started a blog about marriage, but did not continue with it because I could not keep up with posting.

Marriage can be a cause of growth when you let it. Your spouse can help you grow in holiness and as a person, if you allow him/her to do so.

My spouse is no different. From the time I first met Pete, he has helped me to grow tremendously and I love him for it. I have become a better person because he is in my life. Sometimes I have not enjoyed his "encouragement" (OK ,there have been times I have do right hated it), but it has helped me to grow more into the woman that God is calling me to be. Who ever said growth was painless???

Last night was no different. First, I have to admit, I LOVE tennis. Ever since I was a girl, I have loved playing tennis. I wanted to play tennis in high school, but a job prevented me from doing so. I would read tennis magazines, I was "up" on the latest tennis rackets and the newest string for tennis rackets. I loved to watch the US Open, Wimbledon, and the French Open (never really got into the Australian Open). But, I have not really played in years and my skills are severely lacking. My husband is really good at tennis and played for years. We have played just a few times since we have gotten married and it usually ends with us getting mad at each other for some reason, so we have not played in about 4 years (the fact that we have 3 young children has also added to that too!!).

Well, fast forward in time . . . . we now belong to a pool and tennis club. It offers free adult tennis lessons every Tuesday night. Pete started going a while ago, but although I kept on saying I wanted to go, I had given excuses each Tuesday as to why I could not go (and those excuses are readily available when you have three children and a messy house!!). The truth was I was scared. You would not think a tennis lesson would be a scary thing, but, for me it was.

You see, I have this horrible perfectionist streak in me. I try to avoid doing things unless I know that I am fairly good at them. I have never been really good at sports, so I will usually avoid even games for fun. The only sport I did in High School was Cross Country. I was not very good at it, and I think the only reason I stuck with it was because one of the guys on the team said that several people were shocked I was running cross country and did not think I would last the season (I was more of a geek in high school, and I think ,most people believed I had no "jock" in me) (Not only am I a perfectionist, but I also work hard to prove other people wrong when it comes to what I can and cannot do!!). I will try to get back to the topic . . . I DID NOT WANT TO GO TO TENNIS LESSONS!!!!

Last night was the last tennis lesson of the season that we could attend. Pete called me from work and continually said "Can't wait to see you at lessons tonight." He even left work early so that I could go. With each phone call, the anxiety increased. How would I get out of this? I do not want to go. I do not want to look like a fool on the courts. Pete got home 15 minutes before lessons started . . . I had nothing ready. He, very calmly continued to push, as I began to pout like a child and stomp around the house saying I did not want to go. I was tired. The house was a mess. I had not finished making dinner. Still pouting, I got dressed for lessons . . . how was I going to get out of this? Pete, still calmly persisting. I did not think that there would be any way to convince him I should not go, so I conceded. We went to the pool. Lessons were in full swing. Relieved, I thought I was off the hook. Pete saw the instructor and asked if I could join the lesson. Although she hesitated, she did let me join. And you know what, I had a great time. I had so much fun playing. But, mostly, I had conquered a fear. I was an example to our children (who were so cute in cheering me on during my lesson) that when you are afraid to do something, it is good to overcome that fear . . . you grow as a person when you do.

I was so happy the rest of the night. I was proud of myself. I was so grateful for my husband and his gentle, persistent ways. Pete truly makes me a better person. Thank you sweetie, I love you!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Homeschool Family

I am not feeling well today, so I do not have the energy to finish the few posts I am working on. So, to entertain you all, here is a great Tim Hawkins video. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Way to Go, Mom!


Well, it seems that we have successfully kept the flu bug. that is going around, at bay . . . I hope I am not stating that too soon!

Anyways, on to my real small successes . . .

1. I am committed. Last night I registered for the Marine Corps Marathon 10K. This is my first step in working myself toward a Marathon. The race is in October and I am fundraising with the Run for Vocations group that raises money for the seminarians in the Archdiocese.

2. I got our new curtain rod hung on the large living room window. Our old, cheap, flimsy one had been bent in two places by our sons hanging and grabbing onto the curtains. The whole thing looked like it was about to fall off. It needed to go.

3. I went to the parish picnic by myself with the boys. This is a big accomplishment for me because my hubby had to work. I was not worried about being able to handle the boys, in public, by myself. But, I am an introvert by nature and I really do not like to go to parties, large events by myself, even if I know tons of people there.

What are your small successes? Share them at Faith and Family, Live!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Worldless Wednesday

For some reason, I have been thinking about our last trip to Williamsburg. This is one of my favorite photos of J. He is such a crazy, active boy who is more often goofy, than not. But he transforms when we go to Colonial Williamsburg. He loves to wear his tricorn hat, carry his gun and wear his "soldier coat." When the fife and rum band begins to play, he is all seriousness. He marches dutifully behind them until they disband. I love my little solider.

Got to Go Graham, Go! to see other posts.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sleepy Wrap Review

Thanks to Sleepy Wrap, I am a convert . . .

A wrap convert, that is . . .

When my third son, who is now 1 year old, was just a baby, I was able to try a different wrap. I will be honest, it was intimidating. I could not get my baby situated correctly and the fabric did not give. With that experience, I figured I was not a "wrap mama".

Until now.

I recently have had the pleasure to try the brand new, Organic Sleepy Wrap. Like other wraps, it is one long piece of fabric. But there are many features that make it so unique. The first thing I noticed was the tapered ends. These made it much easier to tie. Also, the fabric is so soft and light. I have worn it on some of the hotter days thus far this summer and I have been comfortable in it the whole time.

The fabric also is stretchy. It is made of 95% cotton, 5% Spandex. This feature is so amazing because it kept my son secure in the wrap without sagging. And, once I took it off, it kept its original shape.

And, even with an older baby, my back and shoulders did not get sore while wearing it.

The Wrap comes with wrapping instructions. You can also go to the Sleepy Wrap website to learn other ways to wrap and even how to nurse in the wrap. The wrap also comes with a matching pouch, to make carrying the wrap with you very easy. Plus, everything is machine washable!!

The Organic Sleepy Wrap comes in two neutral colors. The colors are so rich and beautiful. But, if you like a little more color, the original Sleepy Wrap comes in 12 great colors.

This would make a great gift for a newly expecting mom, or for any mom who is looking for a comfortable, versatile carrier. Go to the Sleepy Wrap site to purchase.

Do not forget . . . you can win it!! Go to my post here to enter!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - Summer Edition

From the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...

The sun is shining. It looks like it will be a hot one today!

I am thinking...
About how we will rearrange our rooms in our house. I want to maximize the space and minimize the mess the boys make.

I am thankful for...
Our parish picnic yesterday. At first I did not want to go because my hubby had to work. But, I am so glad I went. I am so thankful for our parish and the amazing families in it.

From the learning rooms...
We are still reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and J is working on his reading a math to keep his skills up. Other than that, we are not doing anything formal.

From the kitchen...
Turkey wraps with homemade tortillas!

I am wearing...
I am still in my jammies . . . but as soon as this post is done, I am getting my workout clothes on.

I am creating...
I am reviewing the My Mass Kit next week and I am thinking a lot about making play vestments for J and K. I am creating a pattern and since the fabric store is having a closing sale, I am going to head over there to get some fabric.

I am going...
To workout as soon as I am done with this post.

I am reading . . .
Grace Cafe

I am hoping...
To get my "To do" list done for the day.

I am praying . . .
That God give us clarity on a few things.

I am hearing...
K playing with his new Storm Trooper action figure and J shooting off his Nerf gun.

Around the house...
Things are more organized than last week, but still in transition. I really want to switch the rooms, but I have to convince hubby that it really will be the best for everyone!

One of my favorite things...
To see how much K has grown. He is such a polite little boy. He was even so grateful for his $1 pair of flip flops he got for his birthday.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I do not have much planned for the rest of this week. My hubby is home today, so we will take it easy today and I will plan the rest of the week tonight.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

The birthday boy after eating cake!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Happy Birthday K!

Today, our K turns 3.
Oh, K, you are such a blessing to us!

We love your smile, your football playing, wrestling ways.

We love that you will talk to anyone that is within ear shot.

You attack life and jump out of bed each morning with a joyful smile.

Each of the last three years with you have been so wonderful. We cannot wait to see what God has in store for your future.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Born in the USA, Baby!

If any of you actually have read my blog for a while, you may have noticed that my blog has been "transforming" over the last several weeks. Well, there is a reason . . .

Several months ago I had this idea to start a new blog. It is really an idea I have had for quite a while. And, when I get ideas that "stick" with me, it means I really should pray about it to see if I should act on it. I feel that for some reason, this is becoming an apostolate for me, so I have decided to start a new feature on this blog, instead of starting a whole new blog.

What is it?

It is called Born in the USA, Baby! (Hence, the reason for the my new button). This will be a regular feature on my blog where I host reviews and giveaways for products to enhance family life that are MADE in the USA!!

This feature will also include informative information as to why it is important to buy American made, local, and handmade goods as well. This will include supporting local farmers through farm markets and highlighting the Slow Food Movement. And, although I am not very crafty, I will include a "how to make your own" section as well.


I have never been a label reader. I figured most of the things in my home were made in China and did not give the subject much thought after that. But after my third son was born, I started really looking at the labels of the things I purchased. I remember ordering a baby product for him and when I got it and opened it up, the packaging read "Lovingly Made in China." That was a turning point for me. I got so upset by that simple statement, that I said to myself that I need to do something. I began reading more labels. I started only buying cloth diapers that are made in the USA. I started making my own items more and more too.

Then, the financial crisis occurred. If you read the newspapers (or news blogs), or watch the news on TV, it is apparent, more and more manufacturing jobs are leaving the US and moving overseas. How does that affect our economy?

Yes, I am thrifty and love a good bargain, but at what price? I am not saying to never buy non-made in the USA products. There are some amazing companies out there with incredible missions that do so much for the people of this country, that they are worth supporting, in my opinion. But, there are so many companies who sacrifice to have their products made in the US that often get overlooked because their product my cost more than another.

So, to end my incessant rambling, I am starting a feature on this blog that highlights products that are Made in the USA. Anytime you see a review or giveaway on my blog with the Born in the USA, Baby! button, that product was proudly made in the USA.


It only seemed appropriate to start this on the Fourth of July! So, starting over the Fourth of July weekend, I will be hosting some reviews and giveaways of some great Made in the USA products.

Stay Tuned!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Climbing the Walls

We are now in our second day of rain. After having such beautiful weather, the rain has my son J climbing the walls.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Teach Us How to Pray

As a mom to three young boys, I am constantly looking for books or devotionals that I can use for prayer that fit my life. That is why I was so excited to be reintroduced to Magnificat, a monthly prayer "magazine" through the Catholic Company.

What I love about Magnificat is that it follows the Divine Office/ Liturgy of the Hours. It includes morning prayer and evening prayer as well as all of the readings for mass each day. When I pray these prayers, I know that I am in concert with those in the Chruch throughout the world. Magnificat also includes well written, daily meditations and daily lives of the saints.

I really enjoy using Magnificat for my prayer times. I love to have all of these in one, small, easy, to transport place. I love that I can easily carry it in my purse (or diaper bag) and use it wherever I go!

Way to Go, Mom!


Here are my small successes for the week:

1. I posted my first giveaway and wrote my first book review! I must admit, after starting the giveaway, I was not even sure if I wanted to "go down that road" with my blog. But, it has been great so far. I have been able to "meet" some amazing people in the blogosphere. God is so good! I also have Catholic review and giveaway coming up! Please watch for it!

2. And, because of my giveaway and visiting more blogs, etc, I have been intentional about spending less time on the Internet. I check everything in the AM and then shut the computer off. I do not turn it on again until after the boys are in bed. And again, only spend a limited amount of time on the computer before it goes off again. I have realized that I waste a lot of time during the day doing nothing, really nothing, on the Internet . . . there are only so many times I need to check my email!

3. I am back on track with exercising. I have worked out every day this week. It is amazing how much better I feel when I am working out regularly.

Want to share your successes, or read others? Go to Faith and Family, Live!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Book Review: Praying Scripture for a Change

The Catholic Company asked me to review the book Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to the Lectio Divinia by Dr. Tim Gray. This easy to read book is less than 150 pages.

Dr. Gray first writes about the difficulties we often have in prayer and then introduces the meaning of Lectio Divinia. Lectio Divinia is a form of prayer that has its origins with the Church fathers and has four "stages" or "rungs on the ladder." This is the prayer of the saints throughout Church history. Dr. Gray moves through each part of the book beautifully, giving examples of what each stage encompasses and how to "pray" with scripture. The author also uses vivid imagery in describing the stages of the Lectio Divinia as a vineyard that is tended and, through a great deal of work, yields a fine wine. His inspiring images helped the stages of Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, and Contemplatio come alive for me.

Dr. Gray's explanations of each stage clearly showed that he is well versed in scripture. While reading his incredible examples, I wondered if I could really experience the fullness of this prayer that relies heavily on reading scripture and hearing God speak to me through it. Just as I was ready to say, "I do not think I can pray Lectio Divinia", Dr Gray eloquently addressed my fears and the concerns that any reader may have.

Overall, I really enjoyed Praying Scripture for a Change. I know I do not pray with scripture often enough. This book helped me to better understand the stages of prayer and how important it is pray them in order. Scripture reading (Lectio) allows us to meditate (Meditatio) and discover what we ought to pray for (Oratio), so that we can, then, discern how God wants us to move or change and, finally, drink in the fullness of His Love for us (Contemplatio).

I highly recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a solid understanding of Lectio Divinia, or is simply looking for a new form of prayer to invigorate their own prayer life.

Baby A's New Diet Plan

Ever since baby A has become more mobile (he crawls constantly), we have stumbled upon a new diet plan for him that not only saves money, but saves time . . .

This is A under the kitchen table after dinner . . . eating the scraps that fell off his brothers' plates.

No food gets wasted . . .

. . . . and the floor gets clean!! ;-)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook - June 1, 2009

From the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...
The sun is shining. Not a cloud in the sky. I think it will be a beautiful day.

I am thinking...
I feel like we just "slid" into summer . . . where did the school year go? The boys are asking to go to the pool all the time . . . does it have to be swimsuit time already?

I am thankful for...

For having my husband home both days this weekend. Lately, it seems like that is a rarity. He has to work both days this coming weekend and we will miss him tons.

From the learning rooms...
We are done, we are done, we are done!! I have to organize everything for my portfolio review. I have a few homeschooling catalogues to drool over this summer!

From the kitchen...
I have not planned the menu yet, so I am not sure!

I am wearing...
I am still in my jammies . . . I feel like I could still go to sleep . . . baby A was up every two hours last night. I think he is getting more teeth.

I am creating...
A book review.

I am going...
To read to the boys and then workout as soon as I am done with this post.

I am reading . . .
I am between books . . . I will start another one in a day or two.

I am hoping...
To get some rest today.

I am praying . . .
For Babcia

I am hearing...
J and K laughing at each other.

Around the house...
A is sleeping. K and J are playing.

One of my favorite things...
The smell of lavender. I moved my lavender plants last week and one is now close to my kitchen window. I can smell the lavender when I am washing dishes. It is such a beautiful smell.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Go to the pool, have my portfolio review, go to the pool, go to the library, go to the pool, get a good book to read, go to the pool, go to soccer . . . . did I mention, go to the pool? ;-)

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

My lilies are blooming . . . I love my lilies!