Monday, May 25, 2015

Pentecost Sunday and Memorial Day

It's been almost a week since I last updated my little corner of blog land here.  I guess maybe the reason is that I'm still in shock that I now have a 15 year old in our house as we celebrated her birthday last week and I wrote her annual birthday tribute post.

Introducing Saintnook: Transforming the Way We Learn About Saints 

Or maybe I haven't been a consistent blogger because I continue to work with a small team on the website, Saintnook, where the Saints are always online! What is Saintnook you may ask?  Read all about it and enjoy!
Fun and exciting things are happening with this project so if you haven't signed up for the Saintnook email newsletters, don't hesitate.  Just do it!  By signing up you receive special news and updates from us. We promise to send you only the kind of thing you want to see; secret releases, new Saintnook features, fun activities, and so on.

Or maybe I haven't been a consistent blogger because our local Catholic homeschool group is starting a co-op using Classically Catholic Memory (CCM) and we are still organizing and planning all that will go into a faith-filled, fun, and successful co-op!  Have you heard of CCM?  If so, do you use CCM at home or in a co-op setting?  If so, I would love to hear all about your experience(s) with CCM!

Whatever the reason I haven't popped over to update my blog, it's always fun to jump back on board and write a post when I can.

This past Sunday was Pentecost Sunday, when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and it is the birthday of the Church!  It's a big deal and a great reason to celebrate!  Pentecost also falls 50 days after Easter and marks the end of the Easter season and we now enter Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar.  
Red is the liturgical color for Pentecost as it represents fire and the altar is decorated with red linens and banners and the priest wears red vestments.  Our local parish also paid tribute to our fallen men and women in service as it is Memorial Day weekend as well.

Sunday night we had "Pentecost Pancakes" with 3 of my children since my husband and other 2 children were out of town for a soccer tournament all weekend and got back late Sunday night. 

Pentecost pancakes for dinner with 12 "flames" to represent the 12 "fruits" of the Holy Spirit: charity, generosity, joy, gentleness, peace, faithfulness, patience, modesty, kindness, self-control, goodness, and chastity. Although on Pentecost the Apostles received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but fruits of the Holy Spirit worked better with the strawberry theme. :)

If you are looking for an easy, delicious and "patriotic" fruit salad (for Memorial Day or the 4th of July), this one is it.  Just cut up strawberries and plums and add in the blueberries and it is a perfect combination.  I served this salad at my sister's bridal shower in 2012 and it was a hit and I've served it for several other formal and informal occasions.

I hope your Memorial Day has been blessed as we remember all those that have sacrificed so much for our families and freedom.  Thank you just doesn't seem to be adequate enough for all those who have paid the ultimate price for our country's freedom.  Our family continues to pray for all our military men, women, and families.

God bless America!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Birthday Tribute to Our Daughter: 15 Years Ago You Were Born!

15 years ago today we were blessed when we held you in our arms for the first time.  Here you are with Daddy and Mommy when you were just a few weeks old.
You were 6 lbs, 1 oz., so very tiny, but big enough to fill our hearts and home with love and wonder!  I remember being admitted into the hospital 2 weeks prior to your due date because of preeclampsia. To make a long story short, I was able to labor on my own without being induced and in about 6 hours with no epidural, you went from your dark, peaceful home into this bright, big world!  Your Daddy and I had tears of joy when we saw you for the first time!

I remember crying myself to sleep one afternoon soon after we got home from the hospital because you were so tiny and I was struggling to get you to latch on so I could nurse  you.  Your Daddy woke me from my nap to tell me that he had made a phone call to our local La Leche League and made an appointment for us to see a consultant.  I remember the feeling of gratitude and relief after our appointment because I was soon able to nurse you.  I remember thinking that you have a wonderful Daddy and I have a supportive and loving husband.
We remember when you were and will always be Daddy's little girl and Dad will never forget his first Father's Day in 2000 when he held you lovingly in his arms and gave you a sweet kiss in the backyard in our "old, old house"...

I remember when we were celebrating your first Christmas when you were 7 months old.  The outfit you are wearing in the photo below has been worn by all your siblings too to celebrate their first Christmas.  Nowadays you are more into what's wrapped in the wrapping paper vs. just laughing at the funny sounds paper can make, like you did as a baby... :) 

I remember when you were this little with your sweet bow in your hair...

I remember when I was 17 weeks pregnant with your brother (although we didn't know if you were a big sister to a brother or sister at the time), and I held you on my first Mother's Day 2001 (the first Mother's Day with you outside of my womb) as you modeled your cute outfit with a hat with your adorable smile that lit up a room...

I remember when I borrowed a watermelon print dress from a friend just so I could take pictures of you beside a watermelon and eating a watermelon with me while my belly was getting as big as a watermelon carrying your sibling. (that's alot of repetition there!)  I wanted the matching watermelon (there's that word again!) dress too so I could make the adorable page for you in your scrapbook....

I remember how you loved peeking into the (pink) bassinet looking at your baby brother sleeping.  You were just 17 months old when he was born. You loved taking care of your little brother and still do!  And now you take care of your little sisters too!

I remember taking this special photo capturing special memories.  Here you are with Nana and me. 
3 generations! 
I remember how you loved to dance so much that you would stand in front of the oven and stare at your reflection while you made all your graceful ballerina moves.

I remember that even as a little girl you loved learning about our Catholic faith.  I remember for your First Holy Communion in 2008, we went and took a picture at the same church that I received my First Holy Communion.  I remember thinking "Wow! You really do look like me!"

I remember that you loved and continue to love our family and faith traditions and how you light up our lives with your smile and sweet personality and talents each day. 

Happy Birthday to our sweet Cupcake #1!  We love you and we are proud of the beautiful young lady you are becoming each day! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

7 Quick Takes: Posts and Support for Smith Catholic Art

It's another Friday and I thought I would take this opportunity to write this 7 Quick Takes post all about Smith Catholic Art

Maybe you have seen some of my blog posts about Cameron Smith, the very talented artist at Smith Catholic Art. Not only does he have an awesome last name (no relation to me, but he and his family are dear friends of our family), but Cameron Smith has incredible talent!  I thought I would go back in the blog archives and share the links to the posts where I mention Cameron Smith's beautiful work! Check them out below!

"Happy UN-Birthday to you!" (hand-made) Jewelry Giveaway!: This blog post was written when I first started blogging in 2010 and it tells about my deceased grandparents, Cameron's talented daughter who makes hand-made jewelry and I mention Cameron Smith and his artwork at Smith Catholic Art.


7 Quick Takes: 7 Simple Ways to Celebrate Saint Valentine's Day: I mention our family's favorite image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which is Cameron's painting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Image and prints found here:
Celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday and Canonization of Two Popes!: This was a joyous post to write especially since I was able to brag about this PENCIL drawing of Saint John Paul II by Cameron. Cameron sketched our beloved JPII before JPII became Saint John Paul II.  View a larger image of this "Portrait of a Saint" and be amazed! I never grow tired staring at this print! 

 In 2005, when I first started homeschooling at Sacred Heart Academy I had these 3 cuties who are standing by a tall statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

We {Heart} Jesus' Sacred Heart with Edible Art, Painting, and Book: I show Cameron's Sacred Heart of Jesus painting in this post as I shared how we {heart} Jesus' Sacred Heart. 

7 Quick Takes: 7 Reasons To Be Thankful This Week: This post mentions how thankful I was to stumble upon one of Cameron Smith's first sketches of Saint John Paul II and our Blessed Mother in the most unusual place!

Saint John Paul II's FIRST Feast Day Today!: Saint John Paul II's first feast day was on Oct. 22, 2014 and of course, a celebration like this meant another great way to show the blogosphere the pencil drawing of the "Portrait of a Saint".


 Immaculate Heart of Mary by Cameron Smith

My Pinterest Present and Edible Rosary for our Blessed Mother's Birthday!: This was a fun post to write as I posted a few pictures of my college roommate and I when we were 19 (!!!)  and I also shared about our donut rosary for our Blessed Mother's birthday.  At the end of the post I showed Cameron's print of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Like I mentioned earlier in this post, Cameron Smith and his wife, Kristen, are dear friends of our family.  So I'm not only a big fan of Cameron Smith's artwork because he's got incredible artistic talent, but he and his family are faithful Catholics and friends.  

Cameron and Kristen are our 5th child's Godparents.  Here they are holding our little one on her baptism day on August 31, 2013.  They are a beautiful couple inside and out! 


Recently, Cameron and Kristen asked me to help spread the word about their GoFundMe page that they set up as a way to raise financial support for his calling and artistic pursuits. Go check out their GoFundMe page to find out more about Cameron's family of 7 and their goals. Your prayers and/or financial support will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

For more Quick Takes, go to This Ain't The Lyceum

seven quick takes friday 2

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Our 3rd Daughter's First Holy Communion

This past Sunday, May 3rd, our daughter received her First Holy Communion at our parish.  My daughter was one of 10 children who received Jesus' Body and Blood for the first time. It was a blessed and beautiful day and as my daughter received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time, I got emotional and teary-eyed watching her.  She was so excited and we were so proud of her!  

Here are some photos of my daughter's special day:

To prepare for her First Communion, we made this banner and also a scrapbook (I plan to blog about what we put in her scrapbook in another post).  My wonderful and very talented mom made my daughter's First Communion dress which is so beautiful and special and my other 2 daughters wore this handmade beauty at their First Communions

We are blessed to live in the same town as my parents and we are grateful they are able to share in these special sacramental celebrations with our children, family and friends.  

Our dear friend (and my roommate from college) visited from out of town to celebrate with us.  She's the cute red-head in the left photo with the white shirt. :) Some of my husband's family joined us for the First Communion Mass also who are pictured on the right side.  That's my husband's fraternal twin brother on the far left side of photo with his family. 

This beautiful cake was made by one of our local Wal-Mart stores in town.  Can you believe it?  A Catholic cake from Wal-Mart? :)  We have used this store several times in the past with our other children's First Communions and I really hope our Wal-Mart doesn't discontinue this design!  

After the Mass and a small reception at our parish, our family and some homeschool friends went to a friend's pool to celebrate. Pictured above with the cake is my daughter and 3 other homeschool children from our group that received First Holy Communion at the morning Mass.  Despite the cool temps of the pool water, the kids had fun swimming and running around.  (and no adults wanted to brave the cold pool water!) 

I'll finish this post with this beautiful video called "How Beautiful- the Catholic Version."  I think it captures this past weekend's celebration quite well.  Enjoy!

Have a beautiful weekend and if I don't get back on my blog before Mother's Day, have a blessed Mother's Day weekend and my prayers are with those whose mothers are no longer physically present with them and for women who long to be mothers one day. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Guest Post: "H" is for How I Organize our Homeschool Books

The ABCs of Homeschooling long banner 2

I’ve been homeschooling now since 2005 and I still feel like I’m floundering trying to figure out what works and doesn’t work with my children’s lessons, curriculum, organization, goals, and expectations.  Each year brings new family dynamics, challenges and successes.

Maybe I should not admit that I struggle year after year with different aspects of homeschooling for I don’t want to discourage anyone who is just beginning to embark on their homeschool journey.  But, then again admitting that I’m a constant work in progress can possibly encourage someone and for those who have been homeschooling for as long as me or even longer, maybe you can relate to my “floundering” feelings. :) 

But, despite my struggles as a homeschool mom of 5 children, I am happy to say that I have finally figured out a system to organize our homeschool books that I think is worth sharing.  I am participating in the ABCs of Homeschooling hosted by Sarah at My Joy Filled Life and “H” is for how I organize our homeschool books...Read more HERE

Friday, April 24, 2015

7 (very random) Quick Takes: Dragon, Clothespins, Hummus, Spiritual Adoption

This post contains affiliate links.

It's another Friday which means it's another opportunity to link up to Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

This edition of 7 Quick Takes is going to be random and hopefully quick since it's late and I have a full weekend ahead...


Yesterday, April 23, was Saint George's feast day.  We snacked on this veggie dragon after I read Saint George and the Dragon to my children.  Thanks Jessica at Shower of Roses for the idea of the veggie dragon! 

Do you need a different and fun way to do math facts?  How about trying out "Clothespin Calculations"?  I came up with this idea a few weeks ago as my 7 year old daughter was staring at her addition worksheet that had several problems on it.  I spotted the clothespins in our art closet and thought I would cut apart her math sheet and write numbers 1-10 on the clothespins.  She could then answer each addition problem by clipping the slip of paper onto the correct answer.  This definitely got her motivated to answer the problems vs. just writing down each answer on the worksheet. 

I call these pictures of our 20 month old "Hummus Hair".  She was so proud of her hair style and I was so glad to get her in the bath after she "styled" her hair.  Yuck! :) 

Our little one loves playing with Daddy's ties and wearing Mommy's shoes.  As soon as I called her name she looked up at me and said, "Cheeeeeeese!"  Yep, she knows the routine :) 

She loves to walk over to near our neighbor's yard and check out their "doggie".  :) 

"Looking for a fun, engaging way to pray for the unborn, as well as teach your children about the miracle of life? Join Holy Heroes’ Spiritual Adoption Program – a 9-month prayer adventure that follows the developmental cycle of an unborn child." 

I registered my email for free and can't wait to participate in this prayer adventure with my family that begins May 1st!   I hope will you want to join the adventure! 

See?  I told you this post was going to be full of randomness :)   My 10 year old daughter and 13 year old son will be playing in a soccer tournament this weekend!  We look forward to the busy weekend filled with lots of soccer and making memories!

Have a blessed weekend!



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I'm Tracy. I love my faith, family and on most days, homeschooling my 5 blessings. When I'm not busy baking cakes for my family or making memories in real life or dreaming I had a housekeeper or professional chef, I enjoy documenting a slice of Smith life in blog land.


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