Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Theirs, Mine, and Ours {What We're Reading}


Oh goodness, the kids read all day long.  And the longer the book, the better.  Honestly, they read a LOT of reference books...  But here are some that they love right now that NORMAL kids would also like!

Princess Peepers Picks a Pet

We checked this out last year (and the original, Princess Peepers) and the kids all loved it!  It's a fun, cute read - Princess Peepers is an out-of-the-ordinary princess who gets into some pretty amusing trouble.  One thing I like about it is that it's a picture book that's actually enjoyable to read, from a parent's perspective - the words flow nicely and there's a fair amount of alliteration, which I get a kick out of!

The Paper Bag Princess

I need to buy our own copy of this one - we renewed the last one for three months, and a month later I checked it out again...  Not your typical obnoxious princess story, in this one the princess Elizabeth outsmarts the dragon to save the prince!  But not in an obnoxious "GIRL POWER and here is my AGENDA" way, but in a "Hey look, princesses don't have to be morons!" way.  She and Cimorene would totally be friends.


The Mother of the Little Flower: Zelie Martin

A while back, there were all those articles going around about how St. Therese was actually rather a handful as a child, and I thought, "Well...  Maybe it's time to read up on her parents (who will be canonized in October!) and see how they dealt with her?"  (Michele shared recently about them here)

There aren't a ton of married saints, and this was a fairly short and manageable read with lots of "Wow!  YES!" quotes that I highlighted.  Also a few "Huh? Seriously?" quotes...  Like when she was dying and kept talking about how they prayed for a miracle, but if God didn't heal her it must mean she was useless on Earth.  I'm gonna blame translation there... She can't have been THAT dour!

Anyway, definitely recommended!

Sky Raiders

I love Brandon Mull's books.  Have you read the Fablehaven series?  It's incredible.  The Beyonders series wasn't quite as good, but still very good.  And I'm really enjoying this latest series - I finished the first book and can't wait to get started on the next one!  I don't read a lot of male authors, but he's one that I'd group in with my favorite young adult fantasy authors - Patricia Wrede, Dianna Wynne Jones, Robin McKinley, etc...  He's definitely one whose books give me the same sort of feel as theirs.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

When I posted my bread recipe last month, Sarah recommended I check this book out from the library and it's FASCINATING!  I'm still just making regular old bread, but I'm definitely going to be trying some of the other recipes soon.  I just really like reading about the science behind it!


The Railway Children (free on kindle! But we have this edition and it's so lovely, definitely worth spending money on)

We've almost finished this as our most recent read aloud and I'm so excited to read ALL the E. Nesbit!  Truly, one of my all-time favorite authors.  This is different from her usual books, since there's no magic anywhere (which makes my sister dislike it, but she's just plain wrong!) but she just writes children SO well!

What are you reading these days?  Check out Jessica's blog for more recommendations!

Amazon links are affiliate links - thanks for supporting this blog at no extra cost to you!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What They Said, Volume 15

John Paul: I'm thanking God for all the things He's given me. Thank you God for giving me steel. Thank you God for giving me porcelain.


Cecilia: Maybe I'll get a St. Cecilia rosary for my first communion
John Paul: Yeah, and I'll get a St. Benedict rosary!
Cecilia: Or maybe I'll get a Blessed Imelda rosary, 'cuz she hasn't been canonized yet
JP: Yeah! And I'll get a Blessed Miguel Pro rosary!!!
Elizabeth: And! I get a PINK rosary for my BIRFDAY!!! A YIGHT pink rosary!

Have you heard?  She likes pink.

Me, telling Elizabeth a story:  Once upon a time, Princess Elizabeth went to the pet store and her mom and dad bought her a puppy!!!
Elizabeth: A PINK puppy!!!  And it was a stuffed puppy!!!

Um...  Okay?

Best dressed. Always.
Me, telling Elizabeth another story:  Once, Princess Elizabeth was riding her flying horse and they went over a rainbow!  And there were pink clouds in the sky!  And butterflies everywhere!
My mom, sarcastically: And then the butterflies pooped glitter...
Elizabeth, excited: And! Da butterfyies NOT pooped in da SKY!!!

Always a climactic way to end a story.

I don't even know what this face is...
Cecilia: Mom, Jesus lived before the dinosaurs.
Me: No. He didn't.
Cecilia: Mom, first, da dinosaurs lived. Den, da mammoths. Den, Jesus. And den you and me!!! And Katherine.

Check your history books, I'm pretty sure that's the official timeline.

Cecilia: Mom, sometime could we make water?
Me: You mean by melting ice or snow?
Cecilia: NO, with hydrogen and oxygen!

Apparently she's been paying attention to John Paul's studies...

Mary Claire: One day, Pwincess Cecilia began to smile, and den Pwince Peter came!!!
Me: And then what happened?
Mary Claire: And den Dad came! And... Da wise men!

What can I say? I'm raising professional storytellers.

At the dinner table:

Cecilia:  Mom, what could I be when I grow up?
Me: Well, you could be a nun, or a doctor, or a librarian, or a scientist...
Mary Claire: And what could I be???
Me: A teacher, or an astronaut, or a farmer, or...
John Paul: I'm going to be a monk who lives in a monastery that attaches to Cecilia's convent.
Elizabeth: And I be a monk!
Me: You'll be a monk, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth, giggling: A CHIP-monk!!!

It might be the best joke a 2-year-old has ever made up...

Mary Claire, seeing a little girl with a blue sippy cup at Mass: I was dwinkin' fwom my bwue sippy cup and den LIZabif snatched it fwom me and I WAS STILL DWINKIN' IT!!!

And with your spirit, kid.

Mary Claire, looking at a picture of toys: I was playin' wif dat toy and den John Paul TAKED it fwom me and I WAS STILL PLAYIN' WIF IT!!!

She repeated this for every toy in the picture, including the ones that she has never seen in her life...

Mary Claire, talking about Peter: Peter was holdin' a toy and den JOHN PAUL SNATCHED IT FWOM HIM!!!  And HE was still HOLDIN' IT!!!

Can you sense a theme here?

She's even started making up stories that involve things being taken from her:

John Paul got his first library card today and we had the following conversation:

Me: So, was it the best day of your life?
Him: Yes.
Me: Which was better, getting a library card or getting a baby brother?
Him: I like Peter the same amount as my library card. Those were the key events of my life.

Of course, Peter hasn't tried to eat his library card yet...  We'll see how he feels when that happens!

Need more laughs? Other quotable posts are here!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Adding Color (and Prayer) to Your Lent: A Lenten Coloring Book

Happy Monday!  This week Rita from Open Window is guest posting with a coloring & activity book she's made.  I gave John Paul and Cecilia each their own copy yesterday and they LOVED it!  Cecilia (4) has just gotten really into coloring, and John Paul adores dot-to-dots and word searches.  Normally I just give them these coloring books and leave them to their own devices, but I tried really hard to engage with them while they completed the activities, and they loved it!  John Paul and I worked hard on the word search together, and Cecilia kept excitedly showing me every picture she colored, each time exclaiming, "I stayed in the lines!"

Rita is a wife and mother of two boys. She works full-time outside the home, owns an astonishing number of flyswatters, and blogs at Open Window about faith, family, adoption, and parenting after infertility.

Most of the crafts we do in our house are spontaneous creations. They involve a lot of paper and tape, and they are usually airplanes or other flying vehicles.
For Lent I thought I would take on a quieter activity, a coloring book we could even bring into our pew at Mass. When I talked with our sons about the idea, I realized that they actually wanted to draw some things on the pages themselves. I kept that in mind while creating this book.

To be honest, drawing is not my strength.
“How does this picture look?” I asked Leo, who is 7.
“Mama, it’s not perfect,” he said. “But it is pretty good. And no one is perfect.”
That’s for sure. I’m far from perfect. And what I’m doing certainly isn’t perfect. But isn’t that the purpose of Lent? To take what isn't perfect within us and stretch ourselves and try to improve?

So here is the coloring book. You can print it and then use the pages separately or staple or tie them together. Then see what happens. It's a coloring book, so the beauty of it is that your child can only improve it and make it even more beautiful.

I slipped in a rosary coloring page, which offers an interactive way to introduce that beautiful prayer. And because we love activities in our coloring books, I added a connect-the-dots page, a maze, and a word search.

I hope the coloring book will offer an opportunity to pray together as a family. I used to think that the stories of Lent and Holy Week were difficult ones to take on with our children, but I find that our children actually talk quite simply and openly about Jesus' death on the cross and how he suffered for us.

Children have such an amazing faith, and I so often underestimate what they are capable of understanding—and appreciating.
I hope you are enjoying this Lenten season with your children. Thank you for hosting, Rosie, and encouraging us to find tangible ways to share our faith with our children at home!

Thank you so much for sharing, Rita! I hope this coloring book is a blessing to anyone who's able to use it!

Want a free coloring & activity book of your own?  Download it here!

Looking for more ideas?  Here's a sensory bin you could create, or a prayer chain (it's never too late!).

Friday, February 27, 2015

Waffles, Saints, and Baby Pictures {7QT}


I pinned this waffle recipe weeks ago and it immediately earned a spot on the permanent breakfast rotation - not too shabby, considering I refuse to actually cook anything for breakfast...  But it's SO easy - you make the batter the night before and just pop it in the waffle maker in the morning!  One recipe makes about 12 Belgian waffles, and we go through 8 as a family, which leaves 4 for leftovers the next day for me and the big kids.

Topped with a fried egg and bacon for Mardi Gras - YUM!
They're seriously SO good.  I've never been much of a waffle person but these honestly don't even need any toppings!  Waffle Wednesdays are now a thing at our house.


Are you ahead of the game and already thinking about Easter basket treats?  My friend Lindsey started an etsy shop this past fall with her awesome Blessings Blocks - the kids each have one of their own name saints and they adore them - Mary Claire's always lining them up so they can "go to Communion."

Her artwork is so beautiful - go check out Almond Rod Toys and order soon so you can get yours in time for Easter!  She has a beautiful Stations of the Cross set that I've got my eye on for the kids, and I know they're dying for more saints to add to our collection!  

One awesome thing about these is that they're so reasonably priced - I really wanted to start getting peg dolls for the kids years ago, but the beautiful ones are so expensive and I just can't justify the cost when there are always mouthy kids in our house who might scrape the paint off with their teeth...  So far these are indestructible - Mary Claire even colored all over one with pen and it wiped right off!


Winking brothers.  Love them!


Nearly everyone in the house is overdue for a hair cut...  Me most of all, considering the last time I got mine cut was before the twins were born.

But I knew Cecilia's could be taken care of really quickly - I caught her in a good mood and chopped off 4 or 5 inches so that it's not scraggly and tangled all the time anymore.  And it's ADORABLE!

Andrew hates it, but I reminded him that hair grows.  Cecilia alternates between not caring and ALSO hating it because she wants long hair like Rapunzel.

Next up...  The twins!!!  I just don't want to cut off those adorable baby curls.  But it's gotta happen, they've got such mullets.



Apparently being the youngest of 5 makes you want to be around all the people all the time!

I'm really thankful that I can sometimes enlist their help in watching the baby while I get stuff done! And he ADORES them!

And that tongue in the first picture? Kills me. He's always sticking it out just a tiny bit and it's SO cute. And kind of gross, because John Paul and Cecilia like to make him lick their faces...


One last happy baby picture for you!  I had others I wanted to post but my camera decided to delete all the pictures I took of the twins' first time in the snow (WHAT???) so I've got a recovery program running to try to restore them.  So obnoxious.  But at least Peter's cute!


Did you read this week's posts?

Sunday's post was a photo dump with a WIWS appearance at the end

Michele from My Domestic Monastery guest-posted with an awesome Lenten sensory bin!

There's still time to enter the Veggie Tales Giveaway!

BAM! Baby was up to nurse so I'm linking up right on time with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum - go check out more Quick Takes!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Veggie Tales Noah's Ark: Review & Giveaway

The kids are on a serious Veggie Tales kick lately, which I'm 100% okay with because Veggie Tales is awesome.

We scored an advance copy of Veggie Tales Noah's Ark and previewed it yesterday.  As I expected, everybody loved it!

I don't think there's a child in all the world that doesn't know the story of Noah's Ark.  As Veggie Tales films always are, the movie was faithful to the main themes of the story, with obvious embellishments.

Like, you know, water slides and karaoke in the ark.  John Paul looked at me, eyes lit up, and said, "This must be the FUN Noah's Ark!!!"

"Do you really think they had Karaoke back then?"

"Yup.  Definitely."

So, you know, suspend your disbelief.

Wayne Brady and Jaci Velasquez (anyone else addicted to the WOW CDs back in the day?) are the voices of Shem and his wife, and the story is told from Shem's perspective.  He and his wife arrive back from their honeymoon to see that Noah (Pa Grape) has made a ginormous boat and that they're expected to live there instead of the adorable house they were planning on building.

They were entranced!  Elizabeth's favorite part was the pigs.  Because they were pink.  ("MOM!!!  Da pink pig is puyying da WAGON!!!")

Cecilia was very pleased that Mr. Hamster made his way back to Mrs. Hamster in the end.

Best line?  Noah: There's no giant squid in this story - come back for Job!

I laughed out loud :)

The music was decent, although none of the songs were particularly catchy (but that could be because it was only our first time watching it).  Very gospel-inspired, and the last song really reminded me of "A Star is Born" from Hercules.

My kids loved it, and I think your kids will too!  I've got a copy to give away for YOU - what a fun Easter basket treat that will be!  

You've got until the end of the day Monday to enter (US only, please) - I hope you win! 

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