Friday, April 27, 2012

As If I Needed More Books

Or at least that's what my dear husband would say.  I can't help it.  There is so much to read and so little time.  And Simcha Fisher's newest post is not helping my book habit.  Thank goodness for paperbackswap.*  I think I would put us in the poor house buying books were it not for that.

I know, I know, you're saying.  Get thee to the library, girl!  And we do go.  But my fines are stacking up, because getting the books back to the library is not my strong suit.  And there really isn't anything better than having bookshelves overflowing with books in your house.

I just call what I spend on books part of the "Education" budget.  What?  My kids will read "Til We Have Faces" at some point, right?  And then I won't have to spend money on the books that I get now (because, ahem, I'll be buying even more then).  I'm investing in our future.

Who knows?  At the rate things are going now, by the time my kids are old enough to read some of the books I have acquired, they may be unavailable, or worse yet, banned...

*If you join paperbackswap using my link, I will get a free book credit.  And then you too will be investing in my children's education.  :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012


The rain rain rain came down down down
In rushing, rising, rivlets,
'Til the river rushed right out of bed
And crept right into Piglets!
Poor Piglet, he was frightened,
With quite a rightful fright.
And so, in desperation
A message he did write.
He placed it in a bottle
And it floated out of sight.

And the rain rain rain came down down down
So Piglet started bailing.
He was unaware, atop his chair,
While bailing he was sailing!

And the rain rain rain came down down down
And the flood rose up up upper.
Pooh, too, was caught and so he thought,
"I must rescue my supper!"
Ten honey pots he rescued,
Enough to see him through,
But as he sopped up his supper,
The river sopped up Pooh!
And the water twirled and tossed him
In a honey pot canoe!

The rain rain rain came down down down...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chosen and Cherished

Like all Kimberly Hahn books, Chosen and Cherished: Biblical Wisdom for your Marriage is packed with wisdom.  It is the first of six books in the Life-Nurturing Love series, which is a study of the woman from Proverbs 31.  Chosen and Cherished specifically looks at Proverbs 31:10-12:
Who can find a woman of worth?
Far beyond jewels is her value.
Her husband trusts her judgement;
he does not lack income.
She brings him profit not loss,
                all the days of her life.
Some women from my moms group and I read this book as a study group.  This was made very easy for us, since Kimberly broke the book into six sessions, each with study questions at the end of the book.  This book could also be easily adapted for a study for married couples, and there are separate questions for each session for couples preparing for marriage.
The topics in this book on marriage range from trusting in the Lord, being a woman of worth, trusting in each other, conflict resolution (I especially loved "The Anger Ladder" that she presents), to the sanctity of marriage.  This is advice you can readily apply to your own marriage.  Unlike many marriage books out there which unhelpfully state that my happiness is the most important thing and have the spouses vying for postition on leadership, Chosen and Cherished actually provides sound biblical wisdom.  Kimberly Hahn doesn't just tell you that you should be self-giving either, but talks about the complementarity of the spouses and how through self-giving they can find true happiness in marriage.
I really think this book would be a great gift for couples preparing for marriage.  It also works well as a group study.  I highly recommend it.
*I wrote this review of Chosen and Cherished for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts.

The Handbook for Catholic Moms

I originally got The Handbook for Catholic Moms for a book study my mom's group was doing.  The study itself did not continue, but I did continue reading Lisa Hendey's very useful book.  The book is divided into four parts: heart, mind, body, and soul, with the idea of helping mom's nurture their whole being.  The premises is really great, bringing a sense of balance to (for many of us moms) an imbalanced life. 
This is not a book like many on the market today about taking care of you and only you, for the sole purpose of selfishness.  The Handbook for Catholic Moms (much like the website Lisa started, is about being a better version of yourself so as to be more of a blessing to our families.
One of the things I liked best about the book is the inclusion of writings from other moms in a variety of individual circumstances.  They include small snippets from other lives to help illustrate the particular point Lisa is making in the book.  At the end of each chapter Lisa gives the reader "Homework" to help carry out what was learned into everyday life.  This is great, because I know for me, I read quite a bit, but have a tendency to leave what I read behind when I reenter real life.  Lisa calls these "baby steps...toward the ultimate goal of caring for ourselves better as moms, as women, and as Catholics."  She also includes web resources to provide further support.
I highly recommend this book for any Catholic mom that is striving to reach that precious balance in her life.  It is a resource that I know I will continue to return to throughout my years of motherhood.
* I wrote this review of The Handbook for Catholic Moms for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts. Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

**Lisa let me know in the comments that there is a study guide with questions for each chapter!  If you are interested in this, see the information in the comment to contact her.  Thanks Lisa!

Friday, April 20, 2012

This Is The Life

It is these quiet moments, when the children are sweetly engaged with their play, that I am able to step back and wonder at the beauty of these precious souls entrusted to me.  This in itself is something to be grateful for.

...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~Philippians 4:8

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Aptly Said

The truth is that only men to whom the family is sacred will ever have a standard or a status by which to criticise the state.  They alone can appeal to something more holy than the gods of the city; the gods of the hearth. 

~The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Watercolor and Ink by CMerie

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
By Eugene Field

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe--
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Said Wynken,
and Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoes,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea--
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish--
Never afeard are we!"
So cried the stars to the fisherman three,
And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam--
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'Twas all so pretty asail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea--
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of the wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three--
And Nod.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Marriage - Small Steps, Big Rewards

I love all things Dr. Ray Guarendi, so when I saw that he had come out with a book on marriage, I had to have it.  I was not disappointed.  Dr. Ray brings practical wisdom to family life and in Marriage - Small Steps, Big Rewards, he does the same thing for marriage.  The book is broken up into 10 "small steps", each designed to bring greater peace to married life.  From the introduction:

The ideas in this book infuse good marriages.  That's why I present them.  You will find no psychobabble, no fancy communication strategies, no grand alterations in lifestyle--just some simple ways to break bad habits and replace them with good ones.

Sounds doable, right?  But change can be hard so Dr. Ray goes even further.  With each small step, he provides several  "resistance rationale"'s, or ways we talk ourselves out of doing what we should.  And he counteracts each of them with sound advice that gives you greater resolve to make the changes you should.

Personally, I have found that most of the steps in this book are common sense things that common people forget to do in married life.  The first step is "Say, I'm Sorry", which for most of us seems like a no-brainer.  But how often do we talk ourselves out of saying those two little words?  The excuses are (hopefully) forever banished in this book.

Like the title implies, these small steps can really reap big rewards in the marriage arena.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Marriage - Small Steps, Big Rewards. They are also a great source for a baptism gifts or first communion gifts.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Teaching Moment

My dear husband got home late this evening after a short business trip.  After tucking little ones into bed, I gladly passed the torch onto him so I could indulge in a much needed shower.  While finishing up, I heard some little voices coming from Fritter's room.  Going to investigate, I saw the light was on, and there were definitely two small voices chatting over something or other in very serious tones.  As I peaked around the corner, I saw Fritter and Ladybug peering over a children's bible "reading" it together and discussing the pictures.

What a dilemma for Mama!  Ladybug was out of bed, Fritter had turned his light on, and dad was not paying very close attention to his little charges.  And yet, in those few minutes, my two rule breakers were learning more together about Jesus than I could probably teach them.

As I scooted Ladybug back off to bed, I sat down prepared to deliver a (very) small reprimand to Fritter for breaking the rules.  Before I could, however, he interrupted with, "Mom, could you tell me more about Jesus?"  How could I resist?!  I pointed out the pictures they were looking at, which were of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus.  I then pointed out the pictures of the Resurrection.  Fritter said, "Jesus never disappears, does he?  He only appears and stays with us, right?"

Oh, to have the heart of a child again!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

From my rugrats to yours.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Seder Preparations and the Virtue of Letting Go

This past year I've learned an awful lot about letting go of my extremely high expectations.  And preparing for tonight's supper and the coming Tridium has been no less of a learning process.  All week I had high expectations of spring cleaning, well behaved and not sick children, wonderful food on our family's yearly Seder.  And all week long a little voice has been whispering, "Let it go.  I see your efforts.  I know your heart.  I love you."

After a stressful morning which almost ended in with me a puddly mess on the floor, I finally listened.  "Let it go!"  So I have.  Instead of looking at what is not yet done, I am choosing to look at what has been done, and allowing myself to be just a wee bit excited about Easter.  It's almost here!  Can you feel it?!

The bedrooms have been cleaned, the bathrooms have been scrubbed, the rest of the house will be ok.  The food is prepped for tonight, with only a few minor things left to do for the rest of the weekend (hot cross buns! stuff the eggs! Not thinking about it!)

How are things coming on your Tridium preparations?

There is only one person in the family that likes radishes, so I mix them in with a "bitter" spinach salad.

My own version of charoses.  I like to use cream cheese to make a spread for the flat bread.  It looks like mortar, right?

The table is set.  If I can just keep the little hands away.

Today the only thing left that really matters is to frost the lamb cake.  I can do that with my eyes closed.  :)