Category Archives: Celebrations/Liturgical Events

St. Patrick’s Day!!!

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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.

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(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:

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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.

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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.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

May today fill you with feelings of love and appreciation.

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As we read various stories to the kiddos of love and kindness,

may we too remember that:

we are loved!!!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, so that whomever believes in Him may not die…but have eternal life”- John 3:16

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God Bless,

Tammi

“Wait…this is the holiday where we just eat that big bird?”

“Wait…this is the holiday where we JUST eat that big bird?”

Wow….that statement by Miss Missy really had me thinking. The hubs and I have dedicated so much time into making traditions in our family for each holiday. The children look forward to our Lenten Tea during Holy Week, our annual “Running of the Alleluia banner” on Easter Sunday, our “Kids in Charge” Day over the summer, and our vast Advent/Christmas traditions. 

How did we miss having traditions for this holiday? I don’t think we have. I just think we’ve tried different things each year and haven’t “secured” the traditions yet. I  guess for us…it’s about sitting around the table with family and just being “thankful”. However, for my children, they need something more “concrete” to connect to this holiday so….here are some of the things we have done in the past/ or have decided to add to our festivities to really stress the importance of this season of “thanksgiving”.

 

1.) Make sure the word “thankful” or “thanks” is clearly present in your home. The children should come to expect to see the word “thanks” around this time of year. These little signs and reminders can be great sources of inspiration to little minds.IMG_7927

2.) Create places in your home that are reminders of the holiday. Our house, typically, has several areas that we adorn for the holidays. If I am slacking one year, one of the older children will often venture downstairs and grab the corresponding tote for that holiday, just to nudge me into decorating. I love that they love decorating as much as I do. The children helped me pick out these little adorable gourds one year when we were picking pumpkins at a patch. I thought these would look adorable as a centerpiece during the week of Thanksgiving. (You also can’t beat the dollar tree fake leaves.)

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We also love to have holiday books in a basket by our fireplace. These are some of our favorites that we have been using every year.

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3.) Get the kids involved in everything!!!  I love beautiful decor. I really do…but I don’t think beautiful has to mean not “kid-friendly”. I choose to decorate our humble abode with decorations that our children can help with. If you cringe every time your child touches a decoration, you don’t need that in your house. (that’s my opinion).

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One year, we made these adorable placemats for our children’s table. Now, we have only had a “children’s table”when we are hosting more people than can fit around our table. We laminated these and the kids loved them. You can find the link for these here.

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We also made these adorable “cups” for our table one year. You can see the link here.

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This past Thanksgiving, I also let my two older girls design our centerpiece using stuff that I had in our Thanksgiving bin. I find it adorable that they included little pumpkin name cards on each person’s plate.

4.) Start a “thanksgiving” tree. (thankful treeThe kids and I did this a few years ago and loved it. We kept it up through the first week of Advent and it’s a great reminder of all those people whom we are praying for. We add our leaves right to the tree, and then i leave extra “leaves” on the base for visitors to add theirs, or if the children want to add others.

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5.) Write letters of “thanksgiving” to family and friends. We are spending some time today, the day before Thanksgiving, writing letters to godparents, cousins, grandparents, or anyone else the children want to write. You can read about a letter I wrote Sweet Pea last year…here.

6.) Make a special recipe that honors someone who is important to you. We are making my grandmother’s famous stuffing. It’s the hubs favorite thanksgiving dish and a huge “crowd pleaser”. We will take some time to talk about my thanksgiving dinners as a child and how my grandmother and mom would make this recipe.

7.) Spend some time together doing “Christ-like” acts for those in your community. Print out some of our “Touched By His Light” cards and hand them to people while you helping them load their groceries in their van. Or maybe consider buying someone a coffee behind you in line. Send the mail man off with a card and some baked goods. Don’t forget to share some love with the parish priest…baked goods are always a hit!

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8.) Spend some time before dinner praying and giving thanks for all your blessings. Encourage your visitors to do the same. We usually go around and say reasons that we are thankful for each person. We allow this opportunity to really reflect on where we were last year at Thanksgiving. For me, it’s about this man. I’m a daddy girl…which is why I’m sure I’ve raised a few. haha. Last thanksgiving, he could barely walk. He was recovering from multiple organ failure and almost died. It was such a tough time for our family. Today we are so thankful for the blessing of another year with him.

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9.) Spend time with family. Last night, the two little girls and I picked up my parents to spend thanksgiving with. Today we will be prepping food, baking, and playing endless games with grandmom and grandpop. The hubs will take the big kids tomorrow to weather the cold for the annual family Turkey Bowl game. A few years ago, the hubs lost his wedding band when he placed it in his shoe during the game. I’m praying this year that he returns with all the kids…hahaha. I will be nice and cozy sipping on a mimosa and watching the Macy’s Thankgiving parade….silently praying that my husband does not injure himself. (please, Lord)

I snapped these shots this afternoon as the children shared old photo albums with grandpop.

10.) Photocopy fun Thanksgiving activities for the children to work on while you prepare dinner. 

My crew loves to have seasonal stuff to work on while I’m cooking. These thanksgiving bingo cards have already been laminated and are ready to go. Thanksgiving mad lids are loved by all!!!!

Most of all, this holiday is about us being thankful for all the blessings of family and friends. I know that I am tremendously blessed with our little family. I thank the Lord, daily, for the blessing of a hard-working, and dedicated husband who is also my best friend.

I pray that we all can remember the precious things in our lives and be thankful for them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

God bless, Tammi

5 kids……weekly Adoration…7 quick tips to make it possible…..

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“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”- Mark 9:24

Such beautiful words…so necessary for our times. Sometimes, I just get caught up in the rat race of keeping a clean house; trying to be a loving and Godly wife; and raising little saints for His kingdom that I forget the beauty of silence with God. The beauty of sitting in the presence of the Lord…and allowing Him to speak to my weary soul. Do I truly “possess” the notion that my Lord and savior is available to me 24 hours a day in the beauty of adoration?… “help my unbelief”….

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Eucharist Adoration was something that I experienced early as a child. My mom would take us over the summer for daily Mass and we would sit, one day a week, in adoration for a few minutes. I was far from thrilled…. Didn’t she know summer awaited me? I had summer reading to tackle and friends to chat with…but my mom was “planting seeds”. She was introducing me to an important part of my faith……the part where we learn that true “faith” is going through the motions and praying for a deeper conversion. She knew that one day….I would “get it”.

I attended adoration in high school but few things prepared me for the experience of my first “Steubenville”summer conference. Franciscan University (my alma mater) runs these Summer Youth Conferences all over the country. When I was a high school youth, they were running them only from their college campus. My high school religion teacher, an FUS graduate, convinced me that I needed to attend one. I raised the money for the trip and was off to endure the heat of summer in a huge tent with 2,000 other teens.

One night, I was told we were going to have Eucharist Adoration. No biggie…I had been to that before. However, I heard the large crowd of over 2,000 youth and their chaperones erupt in cheers and chanting. I felt like I was at a concert. “Oh my gosh!, I thought. I wander who is coming in”. Unsure of what was happening, I stood up to see the priest, illuminated by an enormous spotlight, processing through the crowd with the monstrance. At that moment, something inside me broke…and the tears fell. All of a sudden, my soul cried out, “my Lord and my God”. My mind couldn’t comprehend the thoughts that were taking over my heart but I was falling madly in love with Christ. I was truly in the presence of the “King of Kings”.

Our relationship continued to build, as I entered Franciscan University as a freshman and began my first scheduled adoration hour. In the dark of the night, I would throw on my sweatshirt and sweatpants; grab my slippers and brave the cold to meet with the Lord around 3 am. Barely awake, I would open that heavy wooden door, and the beams of lights surrounding the monstrance would overwhelm me. I would spend hours in front of the Lord.

What a gift this was for me in college! Many a night I would fall asleep under the Son’s rays and feel such peace. I would throw my cares upon the Lord…and know that he was there for me. It was before our Lord that my future husband and I often prayed for our future marriage and children.

When I returned to the campus this spring, I was eager to spend a few minutes back in that chapel. To soak in that hearty wood smell, and the creaky of the big doors…….and give my thanks for all the blessings and answers to prayers that had begun in that very building.

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It seems only fitting that my children come to know and love this time before the Lord. I need to plant the same “seeds” in my own children as my mom did. The practical implications of taking five children to weekly adoration seemed like a task I should be willing to conquer, now I just needed to figure out the easiest and most helpful ways to accomplish this.

After several weeks of adoration, I have found that these seven tips have helped me to set a successful adoration trip with my crew:

Reassess your “notion” of adoration. When I was in college, my adoration time was completely quiet. I was not distracted by little whisperers nor was I concerned with the noise level or behavior of the other people in the chapel with me. My adoration time, as a mom with my kids, is shortened to a few moments at a time when I can refocus myself. I must recognize that my time before the Lord is about quality not quantity. I must be willing to “allow my eyes to gaze upward on the Lord” and away from what my children are doing.

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Discuss the “expectations” of your child/children’s behavior. On the way to adoration, I address behavior issues that I recall from the week before. I remind the children that it is appropriate to be “kneeling before the Lord and spending a few moments in prayer”. I review that this is a special time in our week, when we get to spend with the Lord more intimately. I ask each child what they have decided to “do” during their adoration time and make suggestions of people whom they should pray for, etc. I have all my children use the bathroom before we enter the small chapel. I had to recognize that this was going to be a “learned skill” for my kids and with that I had to find a happy medium between constantly correcting them and allowing myself to “enter in” and spend some time in peace myself. I make a point to not allow myself to grow angry as I feel this is counterproductive.

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Start out with a shorter time and slowly increase it weekly. The first time the children and I EVER attended adoration, it was for about 10 minutes. I explained to the little ones, how Jesus comes in “a special way” to be with us. We gradually worked up to 20, then 30, etc…and now we stay for the full hour. I will often pull the little girls over to me to guide them into more formal prayer and to pray over them.

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Bring religious articles/books for your younger children. I have several prayer cards, rosaries, and little saint books that I throw in my bag for our adoration time. I will take a few minutes and help one of the little ones read their book or teach them how to “create the story” from looking at the pictures.

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Thanksgiving/than Petition. Guide your children in speaking to God. I encourage my children to “spend a few minutes thinking of all the blessings we have, and thank God for them. Now, ask God to bless those who have asked for prayer, and need God’s help. Finally, using your own words, tell God how much he means to you and listen for Him to speak to you.” Encourage your children to dialogue with the Lord. Teach them how to sit in the quiet and listen for the voice of God. What a beautiful blessing when they can train their young souls to seek the voice of God. Liken this time to a “visit with grandmom”. “You wouldn’t go to grandmom’s house and eat her cookies, swing in her swing, and play with her dog without greeting her and talking, right?! Well, God awaits us in the blessed sacrament. He longs for you to thank Him for all the blessings in your life.”

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Make suggestions to your children on how to spend their time. I allow my 3 and 5 yr old to color religious coloring books during this time. My 3 yr old also writes “notes” to Jesus that she rolls into scrolls and leaves near the flowers on the vase on the altar floor. My older children (ages 8, 9, and 11) spend their time praying the rosary, walking the stations of the cross on the walls, reading prayer pamphlets or lives of the saint books. Each one of them will come over to me for individual prayer time with me or just to sit in my lap while I pray.

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To make you feel more comfortable, consider speaking to the other adults that hold that same weekly adoration slot that you do. I waited for the woman that shared our adoration time one afternoon. I told her that the children would be coming weekly with me. I assured her that the children would “try” their best to be quiet but that they were learning to “adore Our Lord” and that it would be a process.  I was praying that she would understand. Her response was so loving….so thoughtful. She told me that she loved to see their little faces and that she would pray that it was a blessed time for them.

Adoration is so needed in our chaotic and hectic world today. It is imperative that we teach our young children how to seek the voice of God through silence. May God’s voice not fall on deaf ears…but young ears eager to share His message.

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Good Friday…. Is the cross enough?

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Is the Cross enough? How do you feel about someone else paying the price for you?

How many times do we think about the Crucifixion?

How often do we look at the cross….really look?

For me, It’s a very hard thing to focus on. I try to avoid it as often as I can. I like to picture Jesus as the good looking “Surfer” Jesus…..or the Good Shepherd with the little lost sheep. However, focusing on only these aspects or depictions of Jesus is denying His true mission. He came to awaken the “dead”…..not just those who were physically dead but those who were also “dead” to the greatest commandment of Love. So many of the Pharisees were sticklers to the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law.

With all the crime shows that I enjoy and can watch, I can not stomach many of the scenes of “The Passion of the Christ”.  My eyes are full of tears…. I feel sick to my stomach…and  I’m a blubbering mess. Why? Because I am brought to my knees. The cross is a reminder of a love that I can’t fathom. It’s a reminder to me of a love far greater than I can return. A real reminder of the brutality of sin and the actions of those who do nothing.

And on Good Friday, I must face that bloodied face…..I must watch My Lord take up His cross….my cross….knowing that my sins nailed him there.

Is the cross enough….to change my life?????

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This lent I have been taking part in an online Lenten reflection with Redeemed Online.  It was set up by one of my friends from Franciscan University as a means to draw us closer to Christ this Lent. It was a series of 2-3 minute daily videos from Catholic speakers around the world. It was just what this overwhelmed, tired momma needed. A video that came right to my email and could set up my day with Christ. The latest video was from a personal friend who runs the Dirty Vagabond Ministries. Please take a second to check out all the amazing work my friend, Bob is doing with his ministry after watching this video.

Ouch….that cuts deep. Bob is right. I’m one of those people in the crowd.

Too weak to live my life radically committed to Christ….

I wish I could be like St. John…..a pillar of strength for Our Lady. He never denied Christ. He was loving…he stood at the foot of the cross. He was not ashamed.

But scripture tells me that “God mercies are renewed every morning.” Today is a new day.

In fact, everyday is.

And I have time to recommit my life…and my heart.

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This picture captures the beauty of an hour of my morning.

A hot cup of vanilla tea…some beautiful Catholic music…..and some quiet time to focus on the cross.

It was the main meal for this hungry girl’s soul.

The children surprised us with “dessert”….. a beautiful rendition of the Stations of the Cross.

Jesus meets His Mother

Jesus meets His Mother

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem.

Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem.

Jesus is nailed to His cross.

Jesus is nailed to His cross.

He is alive!

He is alive!

Kids have such simple faith. They believe. They desire God. They trust that they are loved and desired by God. Watching their Stations play, helped remind me how simple Jesus’s message was: Love

Is the Cross enough?

Yes

…and it calls me to greatness.

It beckons my soul to seek to return such greatness…..

To love without hesitation or reservation.

What about you? Is it enough to change you?

God Bless,

Tammi

 

 

5 Simple and Cheap Ways to Decorate for a holiday!

Decorating for a holiday doesn’t have to be super stressful or require a lot of work. I am the Queen of procrastination and if decorating requires more than an hour or two…I can’t make it happen.

And that’s the truth. I wish I had tons of time to put into decorating but it’s not my priority but it’s something that I enjoy…… so I make time for it.

 I know that my children love to come downstairs to see what fun decorations I have put up overnight.

So…lets talk about 5 Simple and Cheap ways to decorate for any holidays :

******( This post has my St. Patrick’s Day decorations)********

1.) Keep it Simple.

When I am decorating, I like to keep stuff really simple. I have several areas in my house that I focus decorating on….my breakfast room table, a side table in my family/living room, and my family room mantle. On major holidays like Christmas, I extend the decorating throughout the house. For my table, I like to keep my plates, and cups really simple and expand my décor with cute napkins, flowers or a center piece, straws, and a table runner. I purchased a plain white set of 8 plates and bowls from BJ’s for $20 which I use for every holiday. I also purchased 8 clear “root beer float” type mugs from the dollar store which I toss a cute straw in or tie a cute bow on. I try to keep my mantle and side table pretty simple as well.

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2.) Use old holiday pictures of yourself, loved ones, and/or the kids.

I love to use old pictures of the kids from the previous years’ holidays in my decorating. Check out these cute pictures of the kids from St. Patrick’s Day past. I have framed photos for Valentine’s day, Halloween, and Christmas as well.

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The kids love to look at these and see how they were “decorated” as well. I purchased about 10 of these black picture frames from the dollar store and use them for various holidays. Holiday photo books are also a great addition to coffee tables as decorations.

These pictures, below, will also make great pictures or I can send them into Shutterfly to make cool coffee mugs for next year!

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3.) Hit the clearance rack after the holidays.

Many of my favorite “holiday” pieces were purchased after the holiday and then saved for the next year. I love to hit up Homegoods, Marshalls, Joanne Fabrics, and Michael’s craft store for fun additions. In this picture,  I purchased the cross, little pillows, and shamrock hanging banner at Joanne fabric store last year. When I opened my “St. Patrick’s Day” storage tote this year, they were a welcomed surprise. I also would recommend checking out your local dollar tree….I often get inspired to create something new with whatever I find there. Target is also a great place to stock up on decorations. I will often hit their dollar days bins and collect “favors” for upcoming birthday parties, fillers for Easter baskets, small decorative pieces and Christmas stockings.

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4.) Steal things from other rooms in your home!

The “Faith, Love, and Hope” sign, pictured above, is actually a sign that I keep on a shelf in my breakfast room. That room has more of a country style and I often borrow items from that shelf. I am constantly walking through my house and grabbing other candles, candlesticks, and baskets to aid in my decorating. When I am decorating for first communion or baptism parties, I often take statues and religious items from the children’s dressers for display. Action figures, and toys can also be great additions to kids’ tables at parties, and as cake toppers.

5.) Use your food presentation as a decoration too!

Food presentation can be so fun! Check out these fun Irish flags that I found at a teacher store over the summer. I knew these would come in handy!! I also dyed these blueberry muffins green so the kiddos loved them for their St. Patrick’s Day breakfast!

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Pinterest is always full of fun food ideas. I found this great Irish food tray

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from Shower of Roses. I replaced the cauliflower and sugar snaps with green grapes and marshmallows since I know that my kiddos would eat those better. And….what an awesome presentation for my family.

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I wish I could say that my cucumber tray came out like this but it didn’t. So…I posted this picture from Pinterest that was even better.

What an awesome, consumable decoration….haha.

Decorating can be fun without all the stress if you have a game plan! Keep it simple and have fun! Reuse what you already have available…and buy stuff when you can get a great discount on it!

Happy Decorating!!!

God bless,

Tammi

 

A quick “7 takes” on our signs of Lent…..

Signs!!!

A pictoral reminder of something that we are suppose to want to remember, right?!

A reminder to “focus” on the “task at hand”.

So I’m linking up for 7 quick takes over at “This Ain’t the Lyceum”.

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 So this blog post is just a “quick 7 takes” about the Signs of Lent in our home!

family calendar  1.) Scheduling:

I got to tell you that few things make me happier than a great “tip”. So you can imagine my joy when my girlfriend told me about this awesome dry erase calendar at Pottery Barn Teen. We have been using it in our school room religiously. (For those of you wondering….the colorful book tags are bible verses that we are memorizing this year.) However, when I found these awesome calendar tags for Lent over at Shower of Roses…it was a perfect combination to an already great set up!

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I also used her cool printouts to decorate the kid’s area for Lent.

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2.) Visual Kid-friendly Reminders

If you want your kids to take responsibility for their Lenten sacrifices and really make the “most” of this period in the church, it’s important to have an area of your home that reflects this. Every year we use our door to the basement to hang the children’s personal Lenten calendars. It’s a countdown of the 40 days which they color as they “count down”. We also sit down with each child, and write down what they are giving up or adding to their day. The little ones, 5 and under, we let give up something different each week.

This year we had one of our children give up their bed for all of Lent; another take up a 30 min. bible devotion at night; and another pick a week of doing good deeds for her siblings. We are always impressed with how they really “dig in” this Lent. On Sundays, we review their week with them.

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3.) Family Lenten Devotions

During Lent, we also pick family devotions to help our family grow closer to Christ. Each day highlights a specific action or form of worship/prayer that we will take part in as a family. Listed above is our breakdown for the week.

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4.) Simplicity of the home

All year, our house is adorned in various decorations. This simple table reminds the kids of the simplicity of this time of year…..preparation. Our Lenten decorations are simple, so as to be a stark contrast to the colorful flowers and bright Easter decorations.

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The children love the ever- changing mantel and seeing what holidays are coming up next. During Lent,  our mantle is pretty bare and it focuses on the simplicity of the season.

5.) Reduction of electronic usage

I have a love affair with TV. I love to watch various shows. I’m a Cold Case, every single CSI show and episode, and Law and Order junkie. I try and speed through the commercials so I can squeeze two shows into my one hour  of “mommy time” in the afternoon. It’s ridiculous. However, I hate what it does to my children. It turns them from super loving to easily annoyed; focused and attentive to little zombies; and it drives me insane! So our TV time is GONE on Mondays during Lent. It’s tough….but we are doing great!

Kaleigh

6.) Increased-one-on one time/ Family Togetherness!

In the picture above, the fashionista and I are working on a crossword puzzle. I had saved several of these puzzles for a “rainy day” but realized that it was just something else that we never get to. This season we are trying to spend more time pulling out the board games, and the Uno cards.

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The hubs and I have also found that when the children are focused on “denying” themselves during Lent,  that it creates a more loving atmosphere in the home. There are a lot more hugs being given out and playful banter.

Dan and Bria

Along with the board games, the hubs can’t resist the little voices that beckon him to color! With a dad that travels for work, these children soak up their time with him when he is home.

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7.) Almsgiving: Random Acts of Kindness

I started a project called Touched By His Light where I practice random acts of kindness in the name of my Catholic faith. My beautiful sister in law laminated some of my cards and gave them to me as a birthday present. Talk about “knowing me”. (I love sentimental gifts.) I pass out these cards ,when I do an act of kindness, so people understand that my loving gesture is really just allowing God to bless them through using me. My intention is that these recipients will begin to see God’s presence in their life.  So many beautiful people and families have benefited from this project.

There are signs all around us during this season. Making use of them in our lives will eventually lead to change. My prayer is that we all can embrace this change and allow the Lord to do a mighty work within us.

God bless,

Tammi

Preparing for Lent…Let’s clean house…..

I need Lent….no…seriously….no laughing… I NEED lent….

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like a runner needs water….

like a tired momma needs her wine at the end of the day….

This momma gets worn out…

After the excitement of the holidays, I start to drag and evidentially end up in survival mode….

I go from “I should wake up early to workout” to “How long can I sit here until I NEED to make dinner?” I love my family but the daily grind of being a mom, housewife, and homeschooling mom can really wear on me during the cold winter days…..

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The Church, in her wisdom, knows that around February…this momma needs to work on her “inner house”.  At this point, it’s hardly liveable……It’s kinda like that junk drawer that you know you need to clear out, or the basement you think about as you just close the door behind you. The Church is like that dear friend that comes over to help you “clear out your closet”…..you complain and stress about her coming over, but then you feel so good as you tackle stuff together. It’s that love/hate relationship that we have with growth…..we procrastinate starting it…..cry and struggle through it….and at the end, we ask ourselves what took us so long to get started.

So….I’ve done the “procrastinating thing” all year or the “kicking and screaming thing” like the photo above with DDD. But…now momma’s ready to “clean house”. (Got my rag on it…let’s do this…haha)

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Very similar to the cleaning of my physical house, I gotta work on the same things. The dust, and crumbs are replaced by….yelling and procrastinating. Scrubbing toliets and mopping floors….with being quick to anger, and lacking in kindness….and just writing them makes me feel terrible. However, like I tell the kids, you have to “own” your mistakes, be truly sorry, and ask for forgiveness. I’m not the mom that I should be. I’m not the mom God has called me to be.  And…..let’s be honest, I can read a billion blogs that will tell me that “I work hard enough” and that “being a mom is tough”, or that I “shouldn’t be so hard on myself, because we all fall short”. And those words, and those “voices”, stunt my growth. They are lies, that our society feeds off of……so that none of us “feel bad”.

But this morning, I also sat learning from myself…..somebody that I knows “gets me”. haha. I re-read some of my old Lenten blogs….You can delve into them yourself here and here. It’s somewhat humbling to read the blogs that I wrote last year or two years ago and I am still struggling with the same stuff. However, isn’t that what sin is? Struggling with the same vices over the over? As much as I would love to just “fast” from chocolate or wine, I know that the Church is calling me to a greater “fast” that only I can pinpoint.

This Lent I’m not running from my vices…I’m owning them. I desire change. Now whether or not I completely conquer my vices is not important…it is the daily effort that will change me. I desire to be a walking example of the mom I want to be and the person that others, who love me, deem that I am. So my 40 days begins, and the evolution starts.

My” tomorrow” starts today.

And just as the walk to Calvary was long and painful, I know this Lent will be too. I will need to increase my prayer time, and “arm” myself for the various situations that will present themselves this Lent.

May your embrace your vices this Lent and seek real change. My prayers are with you!

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Valentine’s Day….teaching our son “respect”

Saturday morning, my family woke up to the smell of sausage and pancakes….

Pink, heart pancakes…..

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Making a big breakfast on holidays is one of my favorite “gifts” to my family. We love to gather around a festive table, enjoy good food, and fabulous company. It’s a wonderful way to slooooooooooowwwwwww down and look around at the love that surrounds our table.

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But, our family doesn’t need Valentine’s Day to express our love for each other. We are often hugging, cuddling, and telling each other how we feel. It’s not something that came naturally for me. It was something that I experienced through watching my husband’s interactions with his family. I have often told my husband that one of the things that attracted me to him was watching him interact with his mom and sisters. I wanted to feel that same freedom in loving. I wanted to be loved by him like his sisters were. I could tell, by the love and respect that he showed his sisters, that whomever had his heart would be truly loved. I consider myself blessed to be that lady.

Yesterday, I was using my husband’s Iphone, and I found this text message from Valentine’s Day 2013 to his sisters:

” Each of you have been such an amazing witness of Motherhood and have helped form me in how to treat a lady. I don’t know how many times a day people will tell me its obvious that I have lots of sisters. “

It made me smile as I realized that that is exactly what I want for my son. One day, I would like to think that he would write a beautiful message like this to his sisters. We are trying to teach him to love his sisters….to respect the little ladies that occupy our home….to learn early what it means to honor a lady.

 

Valentine's Day 2012

Valentine’s Day 2012

Respect is something that you are taught. It is a character trait that is instilled in you as a young child. I can expect my son and daughters to look at an adult when they are being addressed, because I taught them to. I can expect him to open doors for ladies, and protect women, because…we taught him that.  My son WILL grow up honoring women, because….we taught him to.

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Valentine’s Day is a day when DDD gets to do just that. His dad takes him to the store and he gets to pick out some little “gifts” for the ladies in his life. He reminds my husband and I every year about this tradition. It’s something that he loves. It started with an idea that we had, but he possessed it. It became his tradition….and Here he is, obviously giddy with excitement.

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He calls his sisters into the room to present them each with a beautiful rose. They sit, patiently waiting, to see what he has gotten them. As a parent, it’s a beautiful exchange of love to witness your children do for each other.

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And if the roses weren’t enough, he then reveals the large box of chocolates that he picked up too.The squeals of delight, the quick hugs of excitement! It’s an amazing thing to behold.

Thankfully, he has been training by one of the best gift-givers.

These were my “spoils” from the hubs. He has taught DDD well!

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But let’s be honest….Valentine’s Day..is just one day. Valentine’s Day is just one day that we roll out the flowers and chocolates. However, true love and respect is shown daily. Thankfully, I am in a relationship/marriage full of mutual respect, passion and love. My son learns some of his biggest lessons just being in our home everyday.

We have to teach our spouses, and our children to respect us and each other. My prayer is that my son will continue to grow in virtue, respect and honor. In the meantime, I will continue to place “teachable lessons” in his path!

I hope you had a Happy Valentine’s Day!

God Bless,

Tammi

Christmas Tree shopping!!

My blog might be quiet…but it’s not for lack of action over here. We are “knee deep” in enjoying our Advent celebrations and traditions.

Finding our Christmas tree is one of our favorites. When my two oldest were young, we would just hit the local parish’s Christmas tree lot and drop $40, sometimes $60, on a Christmas tree. We would just pick one that looked “decent” and have the men help us tie it to the roof of our car. It was a 20 minute “on the way home” kinda errand.

Well…you can imagine our shear joy when we moved to our new home, five years ago, and found out that two streets over, there was a Christmas tree farm. It is a family-run farm with just the sweetest old man who passes out hot chocolate, candy canes, and coloring books to the kiddos.

After visiting our first tree farm, we fell in love with the experience!!!

If you haven’t been…I highly recommend it.  There is just something about running through a nursery of trees and picking out THAT ONE that will stand in your home.

Here is our family getting ready to begin our adventure……

Coats, hats, gloves….and ready to nab a beautiful tree!

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Dad grabs a colorful “tie” from the owner and gets ready for the inspection. He is the resident “tree expert”. Then, the kids will break off into pairs and then go in hunt for a tree.

Then…it begins….the echoing of “Found it! I found the perfect tree!!”

The hubs and I walk from tree to tree examining the kids’ choices and looking for a tree that is pretty full.

After several examinations, DDD found our tree this year! He did great!

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And finally a “We found it” picture!

 Around the time of this picture, we were ready to climb into a warm van and get home!

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Can’t wait to see this tree all “fancy”!!!

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Stay tuned for more pics of our decorated tree!

God bless,

Tammi