Wednesday, December 11, 2013


These words from Pope Francis' first encyclical Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith):

Once man has lost the fundamental orientation which unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity of his desires; in refusing to await the time of promise, his life-story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected instants.  Idolatry, then, is always polytheism, an aimless passing from one lord to another.  Idolatry does not offer a journey but rather a plethora of paths leading nowhere and forming a vast labyrinth.  Those who choose not to put their trust in God must hear the din of countless idols crying out: "Put your trust in me!"  Faith, tied as it is to conversion, is the opposite of idolatry; it breaks with idols to turn to the living God in a personal encounter.  Believing means entrusting oneself to a merciful love which always accepts and pardons, which sustains and directs our lives, and which shows its power by its ability to make straight the crooked lines of our history.  Faith consists in the willingness to let ourselves be constantly transformed and renewed by God's call.  Herein lies the paradox: by constantly turning towards the Lord, we discover a sure path which liberates us from the dissolution imposed upon us by idols.

The thing that struck me most upon reading these words this morning is how I turn to idols to replace genuine trust in God.  The idol I turn to most is that of knowledge, that of self-help.  I am constantly seeking out the newest (new to me, however they are usually old) books and information which promises to direct me in the right way.  So often in navigating our culture, and trying to do things another way, I feel lost and so I turn to books to direct me.*  Don't get me wrong, I think books are great, knowledge (especially of self) is a path towards God.  But so often I find that instead of settling down and gleaning what wisdom I can from the sources I have, I jump to the next thing.  And then the next.  Until I am so overwhelmed with thought that I have no room for what God actually wants me to know.  For where He wants to direct me.

And so this Advent, I have decided to simplify my prayer life and reading.  I am reading Lumen Fidei and if I finish I will start Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel).  However I am not pressuring myself to read them for the sole purpose of having read them.  There is so much to ponder and I want to leave room for God to speak to me.  I am trying to make room for the Baby Jesus and His Mother in my heart.  And as it seems that so much of what Pope Francis speaks of is simplicity, and truly, for me, there is a need to simplify my heart so my Lord can order it for me.  I don't need self-help.  I need God's help.

*Please don't read me the wrong way here.  I am speaking of my tendency to acquire knowledge for its own sake.  I love to read.  And as so much has been lost in what Auntie Leila calls the collective memory, often the only place to recover some of that is through books, especially old ones.  Because I feel so far behind, though, I tend towards overdoing it, and so not much of it is able to penetrate my hard outer shell.  My own reading list will probably always be a long one, however I am wanting to slow down and allow God to direct me to the sources He wants me to read instead being lost in a "labyrinth" of ideas.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


My kids, like all good Catholic children, have had at least some exposure to Latin.  We also live in the Southwest and so they have had exposure to Spanish as well.  That doesn't mean they know how to speak those languages though.  Not by a long shot.

Overheard from the back of the van yesterday (on my home from the grocery store.  I know.  I AM awesome to be able to take four children grocery shopping.  My dear husband is out of town.  I had no choice. To be fair though, they were angels.)

Ladybug: Mom, I think you say hungry in Spanish like this: hungo.  And you say thirsty like this: thirsto.

Fritter: No, you say hungry in Spanish hanish.  And thirsty is thanish.

Ladybug: Well then, how do you say hungry and thirsty in Latin?

Fritter: You say hungry like this: hatin.  And thirsty like this: thatin.

Ladybug: Fatten?

Fritter: No not fatten.  Thatin.  Not f, t-h.  Thatin.

Sunflower: Mama?  I hungwy.

I'm telling you, my kids are brilliant.  This homeschooling thing?  Totally working out.  :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

The past two weeks have been lovely and unhurried.  Last week our van had to go in for repairs and so we couldn't go anywhere.  This week we've had a nasty cough in some of the little ones.  We normally would have our PE class on Tuesday morning, but instead stayed home.  It was wonderful.  I am finally catching up on housework, school has been humming right along, and I even managed to get in a little baking.  Heaven.  It's got me thinking about how we are spending our time.  What's important, and what's filler.  Everything this semester is already paid for, so we'll be finishing as planned, but I think I'm going to make some changes for next semester.  I like being home.

round button chicken

This morning I baked up some leftover gingerbread cookie dough (see funny below) to make some fall leaves and whipped up an easy powdered sugar frosting.  Not only are they pretty, but they are delicious and festive as well.

After seeing my dear husband off to slay dragons this morning I marveled at how cool and crisp it felt outside.  We have a few leaves on the ground (fall comes late to this part of the country) and the ground was still a little wet from the massive rain we had a couple of days ago so it smelled amazing and reminded me of fall time back home in Wyoming.  I couldn't let it pass, so after a quick breakfast the crew and I headed out on a nature walk around our neighborhood.  Our goal was to look for birds nests since we've been reading about them in our science book.  Fritter brought his camera along (our old camera that we just replaced) to document our journey.  Not only was the walk refreshing for all of us, but the pictures he took are delightful.  It's fun to see the world through Fritter's eyes.
Look closely.  Can you find the moth?

A woodpecker's nest in a saguaro.

A nest up a pine tree.

Landscaping in someone's front yard that I wouldn't have looked twice at, but I can now see how they must be intriguing to the little ones.

Tiny pebbles Ladybug found.  I think she said they are fairy eggs.
We call this little spot our fairy spot.  The oleanders are cut back so it's not quite as magical right now, but just imagine it all overgrown and kind of dark.  Back where I am taking the picture on the sidewalk is a little metal "troll bridge" and everyone runs over it quickly whenever we are on this walk.
On inspiration from The Year and Our Children, I decided to make little gingerbread apostles on the feast of Saints Simon and Jude.
Can you guess which is which?
We decorated them together as a family after dinner and of course I couldn't stop the creativity from happening.  Even dad got in on the fun.

Dad's pirate.

Ladybug's gingerbread lollipop.

Fritter's astronaut.

I don't know who made this guy.
And now on to the real.  Tonight when I went to get our pizza out of the oven for dinner I noticed that it wasn't even close to done.  Sad was my heart when I realized that the heating element in our oven must have burnt out.  I tried to use the broiler to finish cooking the pizza, but it was unsalvagable, and we ended up having ham sandwiches for dinner.  And the uncooked cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow are left rising (or not) in the fridge.
Worse is the fact that if we order the part (which my husband tells me is easy to fix) it won't be here until Wednesday.  And worse than that is that Fritter's birthday is on Friday and I promised him a rocketship birthday cake.
My dear husband is going to go to the Sears part store tomorrow in the hopes that they will have the part in stock.  Otherwise I'm going to have to think of a solution fast.  And we might be eating lots of sandwiches.
Have contentment?  Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter today!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Scenes From Halloween

We still haven't figured out this camera.  Perhaps reading the manual would be a good idea.  Until then we are dealing with grainy and blurry pictures.  My dear husband has gone so far as to declare the camera junk.  Maybe I'll bust out the manual this weekend...

First up is sweet Ladybug as Rapunzel.

Next is Fritter as Robin Hood (if you follow me on Pinterest you can see where I got the idea for his hat in the Halloween costumes board) the shirt and bag I made from the material from his past St. Francis robe.

Sunflower as Strawbababababerry Shortcake (the purse is all made by me, the shirt and hat have been altered by me.)

And last but certainly not least is my little Froggy as Paddington Bear.  No candy for this little guy.  He had to content himself with chewing on his Marmalade bag jar.

And the loot. You can't stop a mommy from digging in.  I was the one who managed to pull the costumes together after all.
No more time today.  We're off to Co-op and then we have preparations for All Saints Day today and All Souls' Day tomorrow.  Happy November everyone!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


On Raising Saints:

Did heroism go out of fashion when the New Look of the twentieth century came in?  G. K. Chesterton mourned in a poem the passing of those who delighted in honor from a world grown greedy and wise.

He would send the poor present-day idealists, born out of season, to Mary.  Let them hand the trophy of "the broken heart" and the tribute of "the unbroken word" in the house of her "who bore the Child that brought the Sword."

And what is the Sword but Truth?  Truth is the two-edged singing Sword, with the Archangel Michael's motto written on the blade: "Who is like unto God!"  And the hilt is scarred with the single, grim word: "Sacrifice!"

~"Mothers of Saints" by Sister Mariel, S.S.S. taken from the book Motherhood and Family from Integrity Magazine

Monday, October 28, 2013

{phfr} - 4 Days Late

...because that's how I roll nowadays.


I've been working on Halloween costumes for the kids this past week (and of course this week, because everything takes me waaaaaaay longer to do anymore).  On a whim, and because I'm a glutton for punishment, I decided to make a little strawberry bag for Sunflowers costume (Strawberry Shortcake).  I wanted it to be kind of sturdy so she could use it after Halloween as well.  I think it turned out pretty. 
The red material is just scraps I had laying around.  The green is actually from a discarded shirt of my dear husband.  I couldn't bring myself to throw it away at the time and now I'm glad I kept it.

I had to throw in a picture of my little Ladybug who looks so pretty in her Little Flowers shirt.


Yesterday was my dear husband's birthday.  He got his present a little early because I couldn't wait to give it to him (and because I couldn't really hide it from him) but I think he was pretty happy with it.
Sorry for the bad picture.  I still haven't figured out my camera, and though I took many pictures this is the only one that kind of came out.

 As happy as my husband was with his gift, I think the munchkins were even happier with the box.  They immediately took it outside.  It was just tall enough for them to slip inside and of course that's what they did.  What child could resist?  Not these ones.
Who's in here?

It's Sunflower!

A little Fritter-in-the-box.

Hey, that box has grown feet!  Oh wait.  I think it's Ladybug.
My dining room table has taken the brunt of all the prepping for Halloween and birthdays (yikes!) to come.  We've taken to eating in the kitchen, which is really no fun at all.  Who wants to look at a pile of dirty dishes when we're supposed to be enjoying our meal?!
You can see Sunflower's mostly finished costume on the table.  Somewhere on here is the inspiration for our little Froggy's costume.  Anyone want to take a guess what he's going to be?

Go visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more contentment!
round button chicken

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Photo Mash

Remember me?  The girl who said she was going to start blogging more often?  Um...yeah....
We've been so busy living that it's been really hard to even find time to blink.  Every once in a while I am reminded by more experienced parents that the time goes by so quickly so I should embrace it.  I now know why it goes quickly.  Half the time the day is ended before I've even realized it's begun.  I have been taking pictures though, so I thought I'd try to share what we've been up to in picture form.  Note that these may not be in any particular order, I've uploaded them from both my camera and my phone, and at some point today we MUST get some school done.
We celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7.  Because we have lots of birthday's coming up, I didn't want to ruin us on cake so I made these excellent brownies.

For the Feast of St. Therese we made sacrifice beads and read about St. Therese in our Treasure Box Books.  It's been so cute to see the children run around trying to do sacrifices in order to make a present for Jesus.

With all the feast days this month we've been doing lots of coloring.

And as always I've been falling behind on the laundry.  These are clean.  Wow, that's stressful just looking at it and I've put this all away by now.

Fritter caught a toad in our backyard.

After catching him, we looked him up and found him to be a Great Plains Toad, which apparently are very common in this neck of the woods, though this is the first one we've seen around our house.  Maybe it had something to do with all the rain we received.  Anyway, Fritter also drew him in his science notebook before letting him go.
My Fritter is always creating something.  I've been meaning to blog about this little thing for months now (as can be seen from the date stamp).  I have been told this is a blood stream.  The white puff balls are white blood cells.  I'm telling you, this kid is a genius.  :)

We have been soaking up as much of this little guy as we can.  Our little Froggy insists on growing even though I've told him not to.  Why listen to mom when growing is so much fun?

We've had lots of reading time.  Lots and lots of reading time.

Another of Fritter's creations.  This is a bug fort complete with branches from the trimming of our Bird of Paradise.

Of course the bugs needed fire wood so they could stay warm.

The cooler weather has allowed us to leave our windows open at night, but by morning time it's chilly for this little Arizona family (meaning it's about 70 degrees inside).  In an effort to keep my little Froggy warm he's gone back to wearing hats.  Paired with his grandpa's ears and it makes for one adorable baby.
And he's also a very rolly polly little guy.  Grabbing the feet is one of my favorite stages.

Like I said, lots of reading.

I'm not the only one enthralled with my boy baby.  The bigger males in the house are as well.


After taking pictures of little Frog, Miss Sunflower said, "I can has a pitur of me?"  Of course little Sunflower.  Who can resist that smile?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Feeling Fallish

Sunday saw a drastic turn in the weather around here.  I didn't realize it was the first day of fall right away, but I knew something was different.  The sun was coming in through the window in our front room, which only happens at certain times of the year.  Still I didn't recognize it.  Later Sunday afternoon I was refusing to go outside because of the oppressive heat, when my more astute husband informed me that it was not hot outside.  I thought that was just a little odd.  And then Monday morning I woke up and was just a little bit...cold.  This is why:
"It must be fall!" I thought to myself and immediately began pulling out the box of fall decorations, after I opened all of the windows of course.
We call this little guy Sully.  He was a gift from my husband last fall.
Even Pope Francis is feeling festive and fallish.
Orange, orange everywhere.
I did most of this during nap time, and since Fritter doesn't nap anymore, he decided to make his own fall things.
A leaf for each of the three big kids.
A book by Fritter: The Seasons and The Plants
The page on the left shows the seasons and the page on the right shows a flower in those various seasons.
When the little ones woke up from their naps, they were greeted with a home made a little more cozy with the oranges and yellows and browns, so of course they wanted to do something too.  We decided on woven place mats, since we didn't have enough fallish place mats anyway.

Concentrating so hard on their work.
With all of our efforts combined, our home is fully decorated and ready for fall.  Come on cooler weather, hot apple cider and tea, and pants!  ;)