"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Thursday, March 14, 2019

My ingenious liturgical binder (AKA how I manage to do fun liturgical things with my kids)

Once upon a time I was a mom who got frustrated with doing fun liturgical things with my kids. I would find - and sometimes buy - cute printables and coloring pages which they would love! And then the next year I either a) couldn't remember what I did for a particular feast day, b) couldn't remember where I found/bought whatever we did, or c) spend way too much time finding them again (and sometimes not being able to, because blogs expire or whatever).

Then I had an idea. I could make a liturgical binder! It could hold all of the activities we like to do for all of our favorite feast days!

Now, let me just say that I like to be organized but I do not care about how fancy it is. So my binder is one I found around the house, and I made my own dividers because budget, and I found sheet protectors that I reused. So I literally paid zero dollars to make this binder that now holds all of our fun liturgical things. (Although I really should buy more sheet protectors. And get a bigger binder.)

See? Not fancy. But you do you, of course.

It's divided into sections:
  1. Advent
  2. Christmas
  3. Lent
  4. Easter
  5. Feast days from January to April
  6. Feast days from May to August
  7. Feast days from September to December
That way everything is easily found! (Just keeping it real though - I have zero things in section 6. Apparently I slack off during the summer. And also there were zero things in the Christmas section until this past year, which is crazy to me. We actually do lots of activities during Christmas!)

So. Whenever I find a cute coloring page that the boys love or realize whatever activity I bought is something we want to do again next year (i.e. the Jesus Tree during Lent from Nancy at Do Small Things with Love), I put it in the binder!

If it's a coloring page, I'll usually print it 2 on a page (especially if it's just of one saint or something) to save paper. I'll put a copy on card stock in my binder, because it holds up better. And because I like card stock.


Now whenever it's the day before a feast day - or um, the actual feast day - and I'm like crap, what are we going to do? I pull out my binder! And there's usually at least a coloring page or something for that day, and I just make copies of it and put it back in the binder so I can find it next year.

I haven't even thought about St. Patrick's day - which is on Sunday FYI - but look! I'm totally prepared.

Maybe people do this already. But I live under a rock.

Before Advent even started, I was super on the ball and got everything ready/copied and put it in a separate folder. Winning. But for Lent, I didn't even think about what to do until we got home from Disney last weekend. And since I was too busy catching up on laundry and errands and all, I didn't pull out my binder until yesterday. It's totally fine, though, because our Jesus Tree is up on the wall now and I know I have a couple other activities I can do with the boys when I'm feeling up to it. (Can you say a prayer this awful cough I have goes away? Please and thank you.)

Do you keep your liturgical activities organized? Got any ideas to make this better?

Sunday, March 10, 2019

We did a thing...THE thing

We always thought that Disney World would be something we couldn't afford for a long, long time. But last year we decided to get a quote from our friend who plans Disney trips just to see. And then we realized that if we fit it in before Aaron turned 3, he would be free and we could fit in one small (and cheap) room! And considering more babies may be in our future, it was almost felt like a "now or never" situation. Assuming our financial situation stays the same, at least.

So we put every extra dollar towards our vacation fund. Birthday money, Christmas money, etc. We cancelled Netflix and didn't renew Prime. We didn't renew our zoo/aquarium/insectarium membership. We ate out even less than we already do, which is like once a month usually.

We booked the trip last summer saying that if we weren't pregnant by Christmas, we would for sure go during Mardi Gras break. But at some point in early December it seriously looked like we would not be able to save enough money, thanks to unexpected expenses and people's lack of tips. (Friendly reminder that you should tip your valet driver at least $5, mmkay?)

But alas, we buckled down EVEN MORE (almost like a pre-Lent Lent) and God really provided in so many ways. It was pretty cool actually. We even ended up saving enough to do the dining plan ($$$) which is only worth it if you do mostly character meals and you have a kid under 3, which we did. (Since we went into this trip thinking it would be the only time we'd go, we went big with all the character meals, but if we do go again, we probably won't do so many character meals and the meal plan. FYI.) (But we're still really glad we splurged this time.)

All of this to say....WE WENT TO DISNEY WORLD, Y'ALL!

And before I show you some of our cute and fun pictures, let me just tell you that these pictures do not show all of the craziness that happened, like...

  • Chase getting pink eye and running fever the day before our arrival
  • Forgetting the autograph book for our very first character meal
  • Our stroller breaking the first day in the parks. Seriously. We had to lift the front wheel up while pushing most of that day which was annoying. Logan managed to somewhat fix it that night in the hotel but it made noises the rest of the trip
  • Getting on the wrong monorail to our second character meal
  • A dozen toddler tantrums
  • Getting rained on for 3 hours in Epcot
  • Not getting to see half of the countries in Epcot because one of our Fast Passes taking FOREVER, and Logan and I were looking forward to the countries the most (Epcot was our most frustrating day by far)
  • Trying to get 2 sleeping kids and a double stroller on and off the bus...twice
  • Getting stuck in traffic for almost an hour when we were only 30 minutes away from arriving home

I know every vacation has their mishaps and ours certainly did, but there were just as many pleasant surprises. And it was still worth it. Our boys loved their first trip to Disney, and Logan and I are already talking about how/when we can go back in a few years. Because we're crazy.

Now for cute pictures. (These are different than the ones I posted on my personal FB page! We have soooo many.)
Aaron be like "Don't care. I fell asleep during your movie." We also met Alice, Mad Hatter, Pooh, and Tigger.
 We rode the monorail on our arrival day to look at some of the fancier resorts. My sister gave me this cute LulaRoe Randi with Minnie on it!

 Our first day in the parks! First up, Monday in Magic Kingdom.
 Landon also took his own picture with Belle, per his request. #ladiesman

We also met Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Pluto. It was the boys' first time meeting Mickey and they were thrilled! Goofy is also one of Aaron's faves.
 Give me all the snacks! I totally had a list of snacks I wanted to try (because I am ridiculous with learning all the things before I do something) and Ash Wednesday put a kink in it, but we still managed to try a lot.
So glad we watched a dozen Disney movies before the trip, because they could totally make the connection with the tea cups. And the Peter Pan ride was neat too since we had just watched the movie.
Tuesday in Epcot!
Leave it to Aaron to fuss about a chocolate cupcake for breakfast. Jk. I don't remember why he was pouting but he got over it.

Probably our favorite character meal! They brought you the food (as opposed to a buffet like the others), the restaurant turned slowly, AND you saw the characters more since it was smaller. Plus the food was delicious.
 The drinks were too. ;) Happy Mardi Gras!
 We met Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale.

 Wednesday in Magic Kingdom! (We skipped Animal Kingdom so we could do MK twice. Worth it.)
 Okay, I totally shared this on FB but it's one of my faves. Because clearly Landon and I are the only ones who did this ride right, right?
 Maybe the other boys were sleeping for this? I don't remember. (Okay, Logan tells me Chase was sleeping and Aaron was crying. Divide and conquer.)
Chase was the one I was worried about before this trip because he's like me and needs his sleep. But he just slept when he needed to and it was all good.
 Thursday in Hollywood Studios! Quite possibly our favorite day, surprisingly enough.
We signed up the boys for the Jedi training and they LOVED it.
 Landon totally didn't follow instructions and tried to trip Kylo Ren, which was pretty hilarious.
 And Chase wasn't intimidated by Kylo Ren getting all up in his face right before their little "fight." So proud.
 Aaron did not want to leave the Incredibles area.
 We met Donald, Daisy, Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.

 Toy Story Land!
One of their favorite rides!
We left Friday and decided to have dessert right after breakfast since we still had some snack credits left. And also because Logan wanted a Mickey bar before we left!

We're still recovering and trying to adjust back into the real world. I really don't know how people go to Disney like every year! Or even every other. It's fun, but the time right before and after is rough.

We have a busy week ahead which makes me go ughhh, but Logan and I thankfully have a marriage retreat to look forward to soon! That will be our vacation to recover from our vacation. Ha.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Recent Reads (vol.16)

A new year but the same old gig. I read a lot, if you're new here. And I share my thoughts about recent reads. But what I've decided is to not put pictures of the covers because it takes too much time. So, sorry if you liked that.

Wellll, I just realized I've read 16 books since my last book post! (Well, 18 if you include the Bible and my Advent devotional, but I'm not including them here.) Yikes. So let's see how short I can keep these....

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden

This was a re-read for me and I loved it all over again.

Spousal Prayer: A Way to Marital Happiness by Deacon James Keating

Short and easy read. It wasn't as marriage-specific as I was expecting, so I actually think anybody who wants some good thoughts on prayer could read it.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The first half was kind of slow for me, but I ended up liking it. I know some people reread this one a lot, but I'm not sure it's that type of book for me.

Joy to the World: How Christ's Coming Changed Everything by Scott Hahn

I had so many epiphanies while reading this! It was the perfect Advent read.

Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table With Recipes by Shauna Niequist

She kind of got me obsessed with food. All of her recipes sound delicious and she just has a lovely poetic style of writing. I definitely liked this one more than I was expecting!

My Heart Will Triumph by Mirjana Soldo

This is written by one of the Medjugorje visionaries, and while it's not the best written book, it had a big impact on me. And it doesn't even matter if you "believe" in the apparitions or not. Logan actually just finished this too (he read a book!! miracle!!) and it's safe to say this book has unexpectedly changed our lives. (And I know that sounds crazy...but it's true.)
Proof that Logan read! 

Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle With Stuff by Dana K. White

I listened to the audiobook while decluttering and it was super motivating.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Another reread to prep for the date night we had at church about the love languages (that I couldn't attend since I was sick, boo). I will always recommend this to everyone! It was a game-changer for our marriage.

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke

This wasn't exactly what I expected - it had a super duper Christian spin on it, which was kind of annoying and repetitive at times (I know, that makes me sound bad). BUT it posed some very good questions and definitely got me thinking.

Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen

I loved this but I felt bad about loving it. It was not your typical Julie Klassen book (Christian fiction) and while the general storyline was really good....it wasn't exactly moral. Like, there was enough sensuality to make me uncomfortable. Maybe I'm just weird and super conservative. (It's very likely.) So basically, I loved it but cannot in good conscience recommend it just in case it's a near occasion of sin for anyone. Read any of her other books though!

The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections With Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie

A good read if you need to be convinced of the importance of reading to your kids! Really motivating too. She includes a bunch of book lists too!

A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living by Emily Ley

I'm all about simplifying so I enjoyed this one.

Signs of Life: 20 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots by Scott Hahn

While this was interesting in some parts, I found it hard to read at times.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

I listened to the audiobook of this former Muslim who converts to Christianity. This book is his journey and it was very interesting!

The Catholic Church Saved My Marriage: Discovering Hidden Grace in the Sacrament of Matrimony by David Anders

This book intrigued me because I've come to love and appreciate all of the graces we are given in marriage! It was less memoir-ish than I was expecting and pretty theological (which makes sense, I guess), but it was still a good story of this couple's conversion.

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica N. Turner

This wasn't a bad book...I just didn't get a whole lot out of it because it's things I've learned/realized over the last few years. But I'm sure it would be really helpful for a lot of people!


Congrats if you made it to the end! Now tell me what good books you've read lately...

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Winter craziness, Abide conference, and other stuff

I say winter, but really, we didn't experience a polar vortex like most of the country, and I was literally was wearing flip flops two days ago while most of the country has snow...but you know. It's still been winter craziness.

All the kids got the flu, followed by ear infections by two, pneumonia by one, and I got the flu and then the worst sinus infection ever. Fun times.

So we're all finally better and I'm doing a lot of catching up in life. Yesterday I told Logan I felt like I got nothing done all day, so he asked me exactly what I did do, and after I said I folded 2 loads of laundry and put them away and did the dishes, he stopped me and said, "You're good. You got things done." LOL. If that's any indication of how much I did - or didn't do - when I was feeling like crap. Makes me think about life when I'm pregnant and everything falls apart...

During the flupocalypse of 2019 just so happened to be a date night event at our church that I helped plan. And Logan and I were supposed to speak briefly at the event together - our first time speaking! But I had the flu so Logan handled it himself and did really well. Or so I'm told, even if he made one too many jokes about how his wife wasn't there to tell him to shut up. Ha. Here's a picture for evidence:
Handsome guy, right there. ;)

Last summer, on my birthday, I bought a ticket to the Abide Women's Conference that was February 1-2, 2019 in Lafayette, 2 hours away. A bunch of my besties bought tickets too. But alas, on January 31, the day before I was supposed to leave, Chase was diagnosed with the flu. And then the morning I was supposed to leave, Aaron started running fever (which ended up being flu too). And I was so torn about leaving my sick kids, but I had also been looking forward to the conference SO MUCH.

Logan insisted that they would be fine (because he's super dad) and really felt like God was saying it was okay for me to go, and honestly that's all I needed, because I felt God telling me the same. So I still went to the conference.

And it was awesome. (I didn't get sick until a few days later, probably because my boys were hugging on me like crazy when I got home.)

And my goodness, I am so short. LOL.

I could write a whole post about the conference (ain't happening though), but let me just say my besties and I rolled up to the DoubleTree just expecting a good time. What we got was an AMAZING time. It was more like a retreat than a conference, which was a pleasant surprise for this introvert. There was Adoration both Friday and Saturday night (with the best worship team, seriously), plenty opportunities for confession, fun vendors, and some of the best speakers that included Jen Fulwiler and Sr. Miriam James.

It's going to happen every other year, FYI, so you should totally plan on going in 2021, okay? My friends will adopt you into our group if you'd like, because that's what we do.

Oh, and look who I got to meet in person!
Lorelei of Books, Faith, and Life! (And founder of the Catholic Mom Bundle).  She joined our group on Saturday and it was sooo nice meeting an online friend. I also met randomly met Erin of Humble Handmaid after she sat next to me in a breakout session and introduced herself. And awkward introvert me was like, "Hey, I've been wanting to meet you! I've read your blog." And she was super sweet and realized she's come across my blog too!

We've been doing screen-free evenings Monday through Thursday from 3-8pm (ish) and that led to Family Movie Nights on Friday. It's become such a lovely tradition, and we've been watching all kinds of movies that I haven't seen before. Both of the Incredibles movies were really good! We just watched Pinocchio which was really weird. But then we realized it was made in 1940 so that totally makes sense. Anyways. Got any suggestions for good family movies we could watch? I've been getting all of them from the library because free is awesome.

I suppose that's a good update for now. We have a big March coming up and even though Lent is later this year, it still just sneaks up on you, doesn't it? I've read way too many books in the last 7-8 weeks thanks to sickness so hopefully I'll be hitting y'all up with a Recent Reads post soon.

That reminds me...I never posted my 2019 goals. That post has been sitting in my drafts for almost 2 months so hopefully I'll finally getting around to that too. (Whyyyy am I sucking at my blogging these days?)

Thanks for sticking around. :) 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Books I'm reading in 2019

It's a little ridiculous how much time I spend making this list every year, but it really does help me read books I've been having and have forgotten about, and making sure I read from a variety of genres. Highly recommend it. I don't think I would have read 45 books last year had it not been for my 2018 book list! (Full disclosure: every year there is at least one book I don't actually read on the list. Last year I didn't read two, and I only read half of another. That's okay! Still make a list!)

Usually I categorize them, but I'm feeling a little free spirited right now, so just a plain list it is. And I feel like I should always warn you ahead of time that I read much less fiction than the average human being. Sorry not sorry.


Books to read for the first time:


My Heart Will Triumph by Mirjana Soldo

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens AKA my marathon book of the year

Signs of Life by Scott Hahn

The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ by Brant Pitre

Fearless: Conquer Your Demons and Love With Abandon by Sonja Corbitt

The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie

Three Secrets to Holiness in Marriage: A 33-Day Self-Guided Retreat for Catholic Couples by Dan and Amber DeMatte

Bible Basics for Catholics: A New Picture of Salvation History by John Bergsma

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

The Forgiving Life by Robert Enright

Persuasion by Jane Austen

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Into Your Hands, Father: Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us by Wilfrid Stinissen

Memoirs of a Happy Failure by Alice von Hildebrand

Soul of the Apostolate by Jean-Baptiste Chautard

The Catholic Church Saved My Marriage: Discovering Hidden Grace in the Sacrament of Matrimony by David Anders

Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery

33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley

A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living by Emily Ley

Amazing Grace for Married Couples: 12 Life-Changing Stories of Renewed Love by Jeff Cavins, Matthew Pinto, and Patti Armstrong


Rereads:


A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Choleric Child by Connie Rossini

The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours by Daria Sockey


Whew, that's almost half of my goal of reading 50 books this year. Maaaaaybe I'm feeling overzealous with this list. But maaaaybe a lot of these books will change my life. We shall see. (And actually all but 3 are ones that I own and have not read yet.)

What about you? What books are you most excited to read this year? Are you reading any of these books?

Monday, January 7, 2019

A look back at my 2018 goals

I've been making goals posts for a few years now, but this is the first year that I'm writing a recap on how everything went down. I wrote a progress post during the summer too so I'm feeling pretty awesome right now, even though a lot of these goals were a bust. (Seriously, so many.)

Instead of listing them like I did originally, I'm categorizing them all by whether I completed them, just made progress, or completely busted them. (Seeing all of the ones I actually did makes me feel better about the ones I didn't do.)


Completed:

-Read the Bible in a year. Quite possibly the best decision I made this year. (It's made an impact on Logan and the boys too.)
-Read 45 books. I read exactly 45, finished on New Year's Eve, and I totally included the Bible in that count. See my faves of the year here.
-Attend another retreat. AND we already have another one booked for next year! 
-Enjoy our family of 5. We definitely did! Although our boys are super crazy most of the time, it's been fun doing things that are normally not-so-fun (or even doable) when we're also dealing with a baby or pregnancy. And we didn't have either this year, which was new for us. Big kids are fun!
-Go on a mini-vacation to somewhere new! Well, it wasn't really a new place (just for Aaron). But it was super fun and refreshing, and we're thinking mini-vacations need to happen more often.
-Buy tires for the van. Adulting is hard sometimes but it feels awesome when we are responsible and stuff.


Made some progress:

-Incorporate more silence in my prayer time. I still have a long ways to go on this, and perhaps it will be a lifelong work in progress. But I think I did do a little better with this since my progress post. (Reading The Power of Silence was good motivation.) (Advent helped too.)
-Get a month ahead of our expenses. We were at about 25% progress during the summer, and we definitely didn't lose that. I'm just not sure how to measure it, since many expenses are annual and we've been really good at setting aside money each month for all of those things. YNAB is the bomb diggity.
-Save another $1,000 for emergencies. Honestly, we didn't really focus too much on this once we decided to save up for a vacation. Plus we had a lot of unexpected stuff that came up that also made it hard to put much towards this. To clarify, though, this is an additional $1,000 to our emergency fund. So even though only we didn't even get 25% of the way, I'm glad I put it on the list because now I know that we could totally save $1,000 if we're really motivated (and not also saving up for a fancy vacay, lol). And if you really want to get picky about it, we totally have way more than this set aside for other stuff...so we could use it for an emergency if we really had to.


Bust:

-Run a 5K. Bahaha. This was my biggest bust of the year. HOWEVER, I did actually register for for a 5K earlier in the year and it was cancelled due to weather. So that sucked. And now I just really don't care about running. 
-Finish writing a book. Well, dang. Logan totally kept telling me to do this, and I just keep getting distracted by other writing projects and other online endeavors. Unfortunately, I don't think I worked much on the book I've been wanting to finish. (I did help write an Advent devotional but I'm not really counting that.)
-Go on a cruise. This was nixed when we decided to save up for a family vacation instead, and I'm okay with that. (Although a cruise sounds SOOOO nice.)
-Buy a reclining loveseat. At some point, we decided we would only do this if we ended up not going on our fancy vacation next year (i.e. if I ended up pregnant, because we do have the money for it now). But it looks like we ARE going on that vacation (because, not pregnant, and we've been saving enough), so this is also nixed, and I'm also okay with that.



It'd be really easy to beat myself up over all of the things I didn't do, but there's so much we DID do that wasn't on this list of goals. The main thing being: starting Surprised By Marriage. It was the main goal I had that I was too nervous to share about, and well, we did it! It's been almost a year, and it's taken more time and energy than I was expecting, but it's been good.


So there you go. Now I need to finalize my goals post for 2019...(but I'll be sharing my 2019 book list first!)
Christmas Eve 2018 :)

Friday, December 28, 2018

My favorite books I read in 2018

It's that time of year again! It's always hard picking my favorites and this year was no different. I will say that while a lot of the books I rated 5-stars were really good, they weren't exactly easy reads and/or aren't for everybody. So I tried to stick with the ones I thought anybody could read. Mostly.

FYI: I'm not including my re-reads in this list, because they already made a fave book list in a previous year. Also, I'm keeping my explanations brief, but you can use the search tool on my blog's sidebar to find the Recent Reads post where I explained more about what I thought about each book. (Does that make sense?)
Let's get to it!

One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler

Hilarious, encouraging, and an important message for all of us - not just women. (I read it in less than 3 days.)


The First Society by Scott Hahn

The book about marriage that everyone should read, even if you're not married. Our society is failing because marriage is failing! 


Ignite by Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Sonja Corbitt

This was one of the books that inspired me to read Scripture more. I'll probably revisit it one day when I need some extra motivation!


Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

I couldn't decide whether or not to include this one but I'm going ahead and doing it because it really did stick with me. 


Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

My favorite fiction read of the year, although it's based on a true story. Heart-wrenching, kind of Catholic, and it sucks you in big time. I just love me a good WWII story.


Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly

I still can't believe I'm including this book, but it's super easy to read and I'm pretty sure anyone would be convicted about something while reading it.


Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

I need to read this one again, because I remember being so fascinated by it, and I need a refresher on all of the good communication tips! (FYI: the audiobook was good.)


Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Father Jacques Philippe

It's not too often that a small book affects me so much, but this one definitely did. It's going on that list of frequent rereads.

----------------
Since there are a few books that are specifically for mothers that I definitely recommend, I'm including them here as honorable mentions:

  • The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
  • Divine Mercy for Moms by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet
  • Walking with Purpose by Lisa Brenninkmeyer


I also feel the need to recommend these for those feeling super motivated for a not-so-easy but powerful spiritual read:

  • The Power of Silence by Robert Cardinal Sarah
  • The Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales


And also, I'm sharing my fave marriage books that I read this year over at Surprised By Marriage.

Okay, that's it, promise. Until next year. ;)

Now tell me, which books made your fave list this year?? (I'm working on my 2019 booklist...)

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