Category Archives: Celebrations/Liturgical Events

Feast of St. Teresa- quotes to live by…..

Tomorrow marks the feast day of a wonderful saint in our church….St. Teresa of Calcutta.

I will never forget the first time I saw this little woman on TV.

I remember the news reporter discussing how this little woman was treating the “sickest of the sick”.

The room full of white sheets and cots as this little woman dressed in white and blue moved from bed to bed.

She caressed those hard faces…..she lovingly held the dying…..and bandaged up those filthy wounds.

What the news reporter tried to pass off as “heroic virtue”, Mother Teresa reassured them it was simply “being Christ” to others.

Her faith was simple.

Her faith was strong.

mother teresa 2

I remember a few years later …she seemed so frail….too old to be doing all the work that she so tirelessly did.

However, I remember seeing a picture of her smiling and the joy that radiated from her eyes.

Her beauty shown forth from her soul.

She was a small woman who spoke with such conviction, and faith.

Tomorrow, I will spend the day writing some of these lesser known but beautiful quotes, from St. Teresa, on paper flowers throughout my home…..

“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.”

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

I thank God for this spunky, little Indian woman who has blessed this Earth.

I pray that her example may be a catalyst to the fire in all of our hearts to want less things, judge less hearts, and give more love.

St. Teresa….pray for us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

I do…..a lesson about finding your strength.

“I do….to the struggles. I do…to living selflessly for each other. I want you to build a wall of love that nothing can tear down. This wall that will surround these five blessings and give them security, peace, and endless love”….

 

I do.

The day started off innocent enough…I  woke up one Sunday with the desire to see the kids hit confession. Our family happens to be blessed with a local Shrine that offers confession for the 15-20 minutes before their 2:30 Mass. It’s super convenient to watch my three oldest hit the confessional and come out beaming. This Sunday, which I speak of, I did an examination of conscience with the kiddos while the hubby drove. Nothing super enlightening….your basic review of the 10 commandments with gentle “nudges” as to the areas that I saw some of them struggling with…haha.

Confession.

That sacrament that often we forget about. A sacrament, all too often underutilized, in our struggle to be Christ-like in a fallen world.

Our family would love to say that Confession is a monthly commitment like our other activities but it often isn’t. It can be anywhere between a month and a half to three months before our family goes or realizes how long it’s been.

But this time around, this little Polish priest had this unsuspecting mom crying through the first 20 minutes of Mass…with two little words….

As Mass was about to start, I saw the kids to our pew, after their confessions, and ducked into the confessional myself.

Image result for images of confession

Alright….clear my brain…..

Frustration. Quick to anger with the kiddos. Laziness. Being Judgmental

These guys knew that they were the usual culprits…haha.

As I started to roll out these guys, the priest stopped me at quick to anger with the kiddos.

“Oh…so you are a mom. How many kids?”

Five….

“Five?! Wow….you are a blessed and busy momma. And what are their ages?”

12, 10, 9, 6, 4…..

“Oh my goodness. So you are also a hard working mom.”

(insert a few tears….that was nice to hear)

“Let me ask you….do you have a good husband?”

(wait….what’s going on here. I’m just trying to remember which sins to confess and you are distracting me. And why do I feel so emotionally overwhelmed right now?)

(choking back tears) Yes…he’s a really good man. Great husband…great father….

“Then you have everything that you need…you just forget. I want you to work on the greatest strength that you have in trying to be a mom. You need to work on the strong bond of your marriage. This will give you the grace to raise your kids.”

(tears really flowing now….totally blindsided by his tender words that are hitting me so hard) um…ok.

(wait…..this is really heavy stuff….but also so simple)

“I want you to remember your wedding vows. Remember that day? Remember when you said I do? I want you to wake up everyday and say that. I want you to talk to your husband and I want you to remind him, lovingly, of those same two words and I want him to wake up thinking about the same, I do. I do….to the struggles. I do…to living selflessly for each other. I want you to build a wall of love that nothing can tear down. This wall that will surround these five blessings and give them security, peace, and endless love. This is where you will find the grace to be the gentle, loving mother, like Our Lady. ”

(searching for tissues in my purse, as I’m just a mess of tears. He can hear me sobbing.)

The only words I could muster up were…“Thank you..”

I wiped those tears and they just kept coming as I found the pew with my little family. I looked down at those five faces who I’ve been entrusted with and felt the hub’s arm run along my back and around me for a tight squeeze.

God has given such wisdom to our priests.

Thank you to that little polish priest for reaching into my heart and reminding me of the graces that God has already given me.

Thank you Lord for showing us the importance of the marital bond and the blessings that it bestows on the children.

Thank you Lord for reminding me that you are truly present in the sacrament of Confession and that you know all my sins before I bring them before you.

You desire this little heart to seek you in the “little ways” like St. Therese of Lisieux.

I pray that you find yourself in Confession soon….and that the Lord speaks truth in your heart.

But for today….find the “I do” that the Lord is requiring of you.

God Bless,

Tammi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who says birthdays have to be “self”-ish….let’s chat about A “Community Service” birthday party….

While planning the “Murder Mystery party” for Sweet Pea this past weekend (more on that subject later), I was reminded that I never blogged on Sweet Pea’s party last year. I have to say that it was the party that SHE and I were the most “proud” of.

The idea for the “selfless” party started when we were listening to Klove radio one morning. Sweet Pea, in her typical spirit of introspection, was listening to Matthew West’s “Do Something”. Here it is if you haven’t heard it before:

The song is really a “call to action” for us Christians. It’s a reminder that we need to “do something” about the poverty, injustice, and hurt in our world today. That God calls us to be that “someone” and to do what we can to help others.

As Sweet Pea listened to that song, and sung her heart out, she finished with, “Mom, I need to do more. Maybe this year, instead of my birthday, I will just donate my  birthday money to the poor.” To say that I’m proud of her selfless heart is an understatement. This child was also the one who tightly hugged my mom’s neck when she learned that one of her Christmas presents, two years ago, was a goat donated to a poor family in Haiti. I wish you could have seen her enthusiasm at knowing that that little goat was providing that family with milk for the year.

With this new found enthusiasm to help others, we worked together to devise a plan for her eleventh birthday party. After thinking of countless ways we could help others, we decided to combine several ideas and create a “Community Service birthday party”. A day in which we came together to thank God for the gift of her life and yet offer multiple opportunities to put others first. This party was about asking her friends to help her “do something” for those less fortunate around her. After discussing her party ideas with several people, Her friends were equally as excited about this gathering.

So here was the party:

Decorations: none. This had to be one of the simplest parties. No decorations. For the invitations, I sent free birthday evites.

Activities:

The girls started by making large casseroles for our parish church. The church has freezers where they store large casserole donations for a local men’s homeless shelter. Sweet Pea had taken two large casserole dishes from the church to fill up for the party. The girls were eager to help !

 

Next, the girls worked in a different room to create happy “birth” day cards to all the new babies on the labor/delivery wing of our local hospital. I called the hospital and spoke with guest services and they were thrilled to help us in getting these passed out to all the new moms.

 

We had another group of girls working on making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the local soup kitchen. We were able to make about four loaves of bread to donate and the call to the supervisor was met with such enthusiasm.

Food: A chickfilia tray was a “must” for a party like this…super simple and a great organization to be supporting. Cheese/crackers, fruit, pretzels and other chips rounded out the night. Everything was disposable and super simple to clean up since we were concentrating on making food for others rather than eating ourselves.

IMG_0152

Gifts: Sweet Pea had asked all her friends, instead of presents, to bring diapers, wipes, and baby items to be donated to the local pregnancy center or canned goods to be delivered to a local food pantry. I watched, with pride, as she delivered them to the pregnancy center….a huge smile on her face…and then to see the director offer her a huge hug for thinking of them. We even had the priviledge of delivering two check donations from the parents of two of her friends. What a sweet birthday present for Sweet Pea!

IMG_0246

This was such a great way to honor what’s important to Sweet Pea, helping others. As a homeschooling mom, I am so happy to see the beautiful girls that Sweet Pea has in her life……little ladies that are learning how important it is to reach out and be “a light” in this world that needs more love and joy.

In the words of Matthew West, “It’s not enough for us to do nothing, it’s time for us to do something!”

Blog signature

 

 

Let’s do some “appreciating”!!

When I used to teach, I loved to see all the different gift ideas that would flood my desk at the end of the year. Let’s be honest…if you have NEVER been one to “do”teacher gifts…this is your year!! Teachers truly care. We truly pour our heart and soul into teaching your children…with little financial gain. We spend countless hours after school and on the weekends working on the latest and greatest way to help our students learn. If there is anyone who desires your “appreciating”, it is your child’s teacher. However, this doesn’t have to be a huge expense. As a teacher at our local co-op and a parent, I get to receive cute gifts and give them.

When I taught in the school system,  the “crafty” moms would get something cute and trendy, and the “last minute” moms (don’t be offended…this would be me..haha) were always good for a gift card.  My desk was often filled with yummy baked goods, and candy filled mugs.

So….what did I love???!!

Here you go…….5 great gift ideas for your teacher:

  1. A group gift: One year my “class moms” collected money from any family willing to give, and gave me a Visa gift card and a card from the children. It was a hefty sum of money and was such a thoughtful way of acknowledging me. If you think giving a Visa gift card is weird, it’s not. Any teacher would love to have extra money for a dinner out or a new outfit.
  2. A gift card: I love gift cards to places that I frequent anyway. In the past, I have given and received gift cards to Wawa/convenient store, Target/Walmart, local ice cream places, Panera, and Starbucks. I love that I can also go on Pinterest and find a cute tag  to attach to my gift card. One year our family used downloads similar to these along with our Starbucks card. I would not suggest getting teachers a gift card to a teacher supply store. Enough of our money is going there anyway…haha.

photo 2

You can find these free printables here.

3.) Homemade Food gifts: In dealing with several teachers for my children’s homeschooling co-op, I found that making something “yummy” was a great and inexpensive way to acknowledge the 15 teachers that teach all 5 of them. So this year, we used these awesome tags found here.

I didn’t feel that it was necessary to bake a whole dozen or even a half dozen. Three or four nicely baked fresh cookies would be sufficient. I have also received some delicious homemade applesauce, apple butter, and taco seasoning. All great gifts that were surely enjoyed. I was so bummed when I finished off the remainder of the homemade taco seasoning.

This is also a super cute idea. You get the “feel” of a homemade gift for half the work. haha. You can find the link for this here.

Photo

4.) Homemade gifts: If you are the “crafty” type, you can really find some wonderful ideas on Pinterest. Here are some of my favorites…..

How cute are these hand scrub jars? You can check these out here.

diy lemon hand scrub in mini mason jar with custom gift tag sticker:

I received a tumbler like this one year and I loved it. The student had filled it with a couple of different “packets” of instant lemonade, and iced tea. Perfect for those poolside days!

You can print the tags for that here.

What a cute and easy idea for teacher appreciation! Cute cup with a free printable tag:

5.) Wine, wine and wine: It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t acknowledge the beauty of a nice bottle of wine..and what teacher wouldn’t love a bottle of wine with this cute tag attached. You can find it here.

Give a teacher a bottle of wine with this free printable gift tag.  Teachers love grapes.. not apples.

Most importantly, write a small handwritten note thanking the teacher and acknowledging the work that they have done in your child. Be as specific as possible. Few things make a teacher happier than knowing that he/she is making a difference.

Here’s to another great school year coming to a close!

God bless,

Tammi

Embracing the empty tomb….

It’s Holy Saturday, and as I sit here in the quiet, I’m embracing the tomb. The huge stone rolled in front of a tomb that holds my Savior.

I’m drawn to the thoughts and feelings of those Apostles.

What just happened? This man that we loved, who broke bread with us…that smile…that tenderness. How could He be taken from us?”

The bloody mess that they had to witness……the brutal beating that Christ endured. Watching someone whom you love crucified in front of you….all hope seems lost.

Jesus on the cross

I want my kids to enter in to the meaning of Christ’s death and the loneliness of the tomb.

In order to celebrate the Glory of the Resurrection, we have to truly experience the gloom of the tomb.

On Good Friday, a few years ago, the hubs and I decided to “shut down” normal activities of our home following the 3 o’clock service at our church. For us, as adults, it meant cutting off the television, and spending more time in silence thinking about the Passion of Christ. However, what does that mean for the kids?!

It meant….locking up their toys….their activities.

Thus….we started sealing off their school room and basement.

The morning of Good Friday, the children help me to create a long banner that stretches over the frame of the entrance to their school room. This banner depicts various scenes of the Passion.

Here are some of the images of the children working this year:

Here are some of the beautiful images:

IMG_1492IMG_1491IMG_1490IMG_1489IMG_1406IMG_1403IMG_1400

When we return from the service, the children help me put up the banner.

IMG_5617

This sign is a reminder for them, that their “joys” lie behind here too. It’s a reminder that we can’t partake in what we normally do because we are sacrificing for the “sake of His Sorrowful Passion”. It’s beautiful to see the kiddos stop in front of here and stare.

Good Friday also starts our nightly Divine Mercy Novena which will run from  Good Friday until next Sunday, Mercy Sunday. You can read about this novena here. I would like to also recommend checking out the website Divine Mercy for Moms, as they have so many great resources.

Holy Saturday, often ushers in the beginning “feelings” of Spring. With gorgeous weather available, we decided to hit the local park for an egg hunt and some time playing.

It is a tradition that we also dye our Easter eggs on Holy Saturday. Last year, I figured out really quickly the beauty of dyeing eggs in our garage. No crazy mom screaming about dye on the floors or counters. I just set up the plastic tables…the children dye a few eggs and then head off riding their bikes when I clean up. Dyeing eggs is a great reminder to the children about the beauty of life and how eggs remind us of the tomb of Christ. Just as a baby chick leaves the egg, so did Christ leave his tomb and bring New Life to our souls.

IMG_1381

We also “catch up” on our reading of “The Story of the First Easter” from our Lenten Tea on Thursday, making sure that the children realize that we have left Christ “in the tomb”.

This year,  we spent time watching “The Bible” series on TV with the kids. I’m always impressed by their insightful questions and the way the story of Bible history enfolds so beautifully in their minds.

In the next few days, we will be celebrating the joy of the empty tomb….and our Resurrected Savior.  Look for my post in the next few days about our Easter Celebration...and see the “running through” of our Good Friday banner on Easter.

Blog signature

Holy Thursday 2016: Lenten Tea

When I first started blogging, I was eager to share my ideas with other moms. I was eager to inspire other moms to get more involved and celebrate the liturgies of the Church in our homes. I love to celebrate holidays and liturgical events. With this in mind, I quickly found plenty of other blogger moms who had plenty of ideas to share with me as well. I have referenced Catholic All Year, Sole Searching Mama, and Sometimes Martha Always Mary, as three of these such bloggers.

Let me begin by saying that I love Holy Week. I try to set up my week by having Wednesday and Thursday be my cleaning and purging days. I wrap up all my schoolwork with the children on Wednesday. The children and I spend Holy Thursday cleaning our house and preparing for Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday! I usually run the remainder of my errands, and compile my lists of things to do for each day. I like the concept of having one or two “big” events for each day as a way to extend Holy Week.

Holy Thursday= Lenten Tea and the Washing of the Feet

A few years ago I was introduced to the concept of a Lenten Tea by the blog, Shower of Roses. You can read about that here.

A Lenten Tea sounded like the perfect way to teach the little children the story of Holy Thursday by partaking in food that would remind us of the Last Supper. This has become a beloved tradition in our home and every year we change it up a little.

Here are our pictures from this year:

IMG_1383

  • A small “tip” for moms of toddlers or wild boys…haha. I purchased a nice china tea pot that had about four pretty tea cups that I used when I had friends over for tea. As you can tell in the picture above, I would also grab tea cups from Goodwill and Thrift shops when I found them for my little kids to use. There is nothing worst than trying to enjoy a tea while you are worried about them breaking your “good china”.
  • This tea was primarily set up by Sweet Pea and the Fashionista. I would highly recommend having your children as involved in the planning and implementation of parties/events as possible. I have definitely dropped the need to have things “picture perfect” so I can allow my children to help more.

 

I use this book that tells the story of the Last Supper through the Resurrection. We read only the pages through Holy Thursday during the tea. I also photocopied Chapters 14 and 15 of the Gospel of Mark so I could quote scripture about each food item.

IMG_1382

For instance, when we read about the people waving the Palm Branches and hailing Jesus the “King”, with the screams of “Hosanna”, we wave our Romaine Lettuce “palms”. I made sure that the leaves were wet, and it was fun to “bless each other” as we yelled “Hosanna”. In years past, we have also used Spinach leaves.

IMG_1378

Our Rotisserre chicken pieces reminded us of the cock that crowed when Peter denied Jesus. In the past, we have also made chicken salad, and chicken wings.

IMG_1377

Our cheese “circles” and crackers remind us of the thirty pieces of silver that Judas betrayed Jesus for. (obviously, the kids helped themselves before this photo) My sister in law, was using Peppermint patties for these thirty pieces of silver. You could also use gold coins…however, I was interested in having less treats and more food to fill their bellies.

IMG_1379

FYI…..I just used pre-cut cheese slices and found a handy “cap” for our iced tea container to make the circular shapes.

IMG_1393

Pictured below:

  • our Fig Newtons to remind us of the story of the fig tree in the Garden of Gethsemane
  • our flatbread for the unleavened bread that Jesus broke and shared. Pita bread would be great here too. 
  • our hershey kisses to remind us how Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss
  • the tic tacs to symbolize the bitter tears that Peter wept realizing that he denied the Lord, as Jesus had foretold
  • some Cool Whip to remind us of the “clouds of heaven” that Jesus told Caiaphas that he would be returning on.
  • “sleepytime” vanilla tea to remind us of how the apostles fell asleep while Jesus was praying in the garden.

IMG_1376

Not pictured was our olive oil “dip” for the Mount of Olives.

IMG_1385

This was a great afternoon tea for us this year. I would recommend having the kids wrap their chicken pieces in their romaine lettuce…add a little olive oil dip and you’ve got a great wrap.

Lacy, over at Catholic Icing, also has an awesome Passion Lunch depicted below. You can read more about that here.

easter story lunch for Good Friday

Our second event is typically attending the Holy Thursday service at our Church and then my husband washes the children’s feet. This year, the husband was released from the hospital, on Monday, having been treated for pneumonia for 5 days. He has been trying to take it easy so we omitted these events this past year. However, I still wanted to mention them as they are important to our typical celebration.

My husband thinks its so important for the children to understand how much he loves them and how important it is to lead a life in service of others.

Stay tuned for the post tomorrow about our Good Friday details!

Blog signature

St. Patrick’s Day!!!

10689502_1040301272677620_4567959359965082580_n(2)

You know what time it is??!!! It’s the celebration for all of us Irishmen! We definitely love our Irish heritage and sport our green for Ireland on March 17! Thanks to Walmart and the local Dollar Tree, I was able to score some awesome “loot” to help the kiddos celebrate! Missing from this picture is my son’s green leprechaun hat, four more pairs of shamrock socks, Sweet Pea’s larger shamrock drop earrings, and two more scarves. My kiddos always get super excited and then race away with their loot. I’ve been know to hang on to stuff so that they actually know “where it is” come Thursday….hahaha.

I try and integrate the holidays into every aspect of our lives.  With St. Patrick’s Day, this is no acception, Pinterest always has a ton of ideas.  If you want to see some of the things we have done in years past, you can check out another blog I did on St. Patrick’s Day here.

Let me take a second to be “real” about holidays. Holidays can be so fun to celebrate and some years we just do as much as we can. However, other years…I am glad to just watch the day pass without doing anything. Then, some years I just do something simple that the kids will enjoy. So…when you are reading a blog for holiday ideas, pick and choose what you want. Don’t feel the need to do everything. It’s suppose to be helpful not burdensome.

st. pat's

(Back when they were little….)

School work/Activities: 

*I recently registered as an Amazon affiliate, which means I make a small percentage back when someone purchases from one of my links. Please know that this blog, has always and will always be my thoughts and will not be biased by any promotion or product. In looking at this program, I decided that I LOVE the ease of amazon prime myself and often “link” their products for the ease of my readers. It seemed to be a great way to make a little money to lighten my own Amazon cart…haha. ***

I wish I had remembered that these great books were in my amazon “cart” on Monday when I sent my mom her birthday present. When I opened my St. Patrick’s Day tote from the basement, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t invested in any good books for the kiddos. After the large number of books I have for St. Valentine, I’m definitely lacking with St. Patrick. Well, with these two purchases, we will be well on our way in getting our library for this holiday established.

 

I love all the Tomie De Paola books and am super excited to add this one to our collection.

This book looks like a great way to introduce St. Patrick to young children.

I have also found that super teacher worksheets is invaluable for me as a homeschooling mom when I am looking to cover holidays or different concepts with my kiddos. At $19.99 for the year, I feel like it’s a great deal. I can easily gather worksheets using Math, Readiing Comprehension or puzzle-making skills to celebrate any holiday. The great thing about this site is that you can save the worksheets onto your computer for the next year!

Here are some of the ones we used this year:

IMG_1358.JPG

Really beautiful St. Patrick coloring page. Free to print!:

Catholic Heritage Curricula has this awesome coloring page available here.

I also did a quick activity teaching the little girls about the Trinity here.

 

The children typically wake up to their place set along with Lucky Charms and some green blueberry muffins. Let me go on the record as saying that I hate Lucky Charms….but my kids have developed their father’s love for sugar cereal and since this is a once-a -year treat…they indulge!

Lucky Cereal Graphing freebie:

This year we are going to be using our knowledge of tallying and graphing along with our Lucky Charms. This is a link to the graphing page. It will redirect you to the teachers pay teachers website. Now….I totally understand if you find this frustrating…because I do too. I just want to be able to push a link and print out a cute worksheet. However, I have found many benefits to using this website. First, it’s free to sign up and if you “save” your login information on your computer, no worries of forgetting. Plus, many of the Pinterest worksheets are now found on this system. In addition, every few weeks they send me a link of several “free” downloads for the week. They are usually time-related and I typically download most of them.

  • Here are some updated pictures that I took after we completed the activity:

Let’s chat food:

This year it’s Guinness Shepherd’s Pie for dinner:

Guinness Shepherd's Pie:

Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread Allrecipes.com:

I’m going to give this project to Sweet Pea. She will love to try her hand at some Irish Soda bread, and the little munchkins will gobble it up while they complain about the shepherd’s pie and beg for dessert….haha.

This year we are going to try our hand at these Irish potatoes for dessert.

irish potatoes

I will probably make sure to have a little bit of mint chocolate chip ice cream in our fridge as well….because ice cream is my weakness!

If a tea party is more your speed, Lacy over at Catholic Icing has a great blog about that here. 

Irish Blessing Subway Art-blog size

You can get this awesome printable here, which I used in our living room with some more Irish decorations.

UPDATE:****Here are some of our pictures from St. Patrick’s Day!*****

Wishing you a great St. Patricks’ day! May we be bold like St. Patrick in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God bless,

Tammi