Friday, January 31, 2014

St. John Bosco's Feast Day and My Dad's Induction to Hall of Fame!

St. John Bosco's feast day is today, January 31.  In the short paragraph HERE about John Bosco's life it states that,"to ensure the continuation of his work, St.  John Bosco founded a religious congregation named in honor of one of his favorite saints, St Francis de Sales.   This holy saint died in 1888, but today John Bosco's Salesians continue his work all over the world.

I love learning more about this Saint, especially since my father is a graduate of one of the schools that was inspired by John Bosco's life and by the religious congregation that Don (Don = a traditional Italian honorific for a priest) Bosco founded!  I think that's a cool connection to have to a man who later became a Saint! :) 

In 2011, my Dad was inducted into Salesian High School's Hall of Fame and you can read my post about this great honor and trip with my parents HERE.

Patty over at Reasons for Chocolate made this traditional Italian dessert in honor of Saint John Bosco: Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti.  Mmmmm...I might just have to try these out!

Saint John Bosco, pray for us!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Congratulations Winners of the Catholic Bloggers Birthday Giveaway!

Congratulations to the Winners of the Catholic Bloggers Birthday Giveaway!

We have selected 21 winners to each receive one of the 21 awesome prizes!
We have emailed the winners…so if one of these names looks like yours…check your inbox (and maybe your spam folder)!

We need you to reply as soon as possible with the information requested in the email so that we can allocate the prizes, with special consideration to your first and second choice of prize!

drumroll please…
A. Faber
M. Koralewski
M. Natores
C. Weitzel
B.M. Harrell
E. Brana (you have won the copy of "Pope Awesome" from me and I sent you an email! Congrats!)
L. Jasmin
A. Durocher
M. Reyna
M. Oberle
R. Longwell
M. Roy
C. Sconochini
A. Good
D. Harre
T.D. Masters
S. Patterson
A.D. Hilker
J.J. Ramirez
A. O’Donoughue

Congrats again to all the winners!!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Easy Homemade Brownie Mix

This post contains affiliate links.

I'm really trying hard to not buy boxed cake mixes and make cakes and sweets from scratch as much as possible as a healthier alternative to the boxed ingredients.   In the past, I have made this soccer cake with homemade yellow cake with cream cheese icing, homemade funfetti cake with chocolate mousse layers, homemade chocolate cupcakes, and recently I posted about the homemade pancake mix that has been a hit with our family.

Last week, it was my 6 year old's turn to make our Tea Time snack (I'll blog about what Tea Time is all about soon, I hope), and she wanted to make brownies.  I didn't want to go to the store to buy a boxed variety so I went to Pinterest and found a delicious and easy Homemade Brownie Mix.  And my mind tells me it's a "healthier" version of brownies (sort of) so I can sneak a few more brownie bites :)

Here's the recipe and I like that you can easily turn this recipe into a gift by placing the dry ingredients into a mason jar or container and leave instructions on how to add the wet ingredients and bake them.  They are delicious (and did I mention easy too?) :)

Homemade Brownie Mix

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
chopped pecans (optional)

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup melted butter or margarine
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Mix dry ingredients together and place in a jar or container.

To Make Brownies:
1 Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until well combined.  Grease a 9 X 13 pan.  Spread batter evenly and bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes or until done.

Gluten Free...Use your favorite gluten free flour mix in place of the all purpose flour and add 1 tsp. xanthum gum.    For Dairy Free....Use dairy free margarine.


Want to check out other recipes?
This week I'm linking up to Lisa's New Recipe Link Up at Home to 4 Kiddos.


Friday, January 24, 2014

What I Like/Don't Like About Homeschooling

I've been homeschooling since 2005 and it seems I think about what I like and don't like about homeschooling all the time. 

This post here is a humble attempt to be as transparent as possible (yet still maintain some privacy). 
My hope is that my triumphs and trials will be encouraging for all of us homeschooling moms who may think, "THAT mom must have it all together because her life/blog posts show only perfect pictures, projects, children, and all smiles!" (I must admit, I am guilty of feeling this way when I observe local homeschool moms or visit others' blogs as a homeschool mom and blogger myself.) 

Maybe my list will give my readers a more realistic picture of what my life is really like behind closed doors as a homeschooling mom who, by God's grace, strives everyday to be a better wife, mom, and teacher for my family.

Since I'm in my 9th year of homeschooling here are 9 things I like and don't like about homeschooling...

1.  I like passing on my family's faith and values to my children all day, everyday.  I don't like that satan discourages me often as I try to build a solid faith foundation for the souls God has entrusted me.

2.  I like being with my kids all day (most of the time!).  I don't like being with my kids all day (when I am impatient or the kids/me have bad attitudes toward school work or they argue with one another or at the end of a hard day I'm crying on my husband's shoulder as my heart and soul is filled with doubt, fear, frustrations)

Photo Credit: Google Image
3. I like knowing what my kids are learning and who is teaching them.  I don't like feeling like I'm talking to a brick wall when my kids seem to dislike what they are learning and they give me blank stares. :-/ 

4. I like having so much good, quality curriculum to choose from which makes teaching and learning interesting and fun.  I don't like having so many curriculum choices since I get easily overwhelmed with all that is available.

5.  I like praying all day with my kids in order to be peaceful and stay sane and reading scripture/the lives of the Saints/great literature, history, science books out loud to my kids everyday.  I don't like when I struggle with my prayer life and my kids are distracted while I'm reading out loud to them. {speaking of prayer, I really like the prayer, The Stressed Out Parent's Prayer, written by Tina.}

6. I like spending time as a family, building up relationships, in and out of "school" time.  I don't like spending time on constantly disciplining and correcting behavior in and out of school time.

7.  I like making my own schedule and fitting events around our family's priorities vs. fitting our family into a school system's schedule.  I don't like when my schedule does not go as planned because I felt I did more disciplining than teaching academics with my children.

8. I like being able to do my morning routine at home vs. rushing my kids out the door to beat a tardy bell.  I don't like when my morning routine does not go smoothly because my children and I have lack of discipline and at least one of us wakes up on the wrong side of the bed.

9.  I like hearing my kids say, "This is fun!" as they do school work that involves a variety of teaching methods.  I don't like hearing my kids complain and say, "This is boring/hard/stupid" as they do school work that they don't like as much.

So there you have it.  Some things of what I like and don't like about homeschooling.  It's a roller coaster ride, this calling to homeschool my children, and I know I find great comfort knowing I'm not the only one who struggles daily with this important calling.  Comment below if you can relate to the daily struggles of being a homeschool mom.  I would love to be blessed by you! 

I hope my post here is a little reminder that all of us are fighting some kind of battle, even those that appear to have the most perfect family, homeschool and blog life. 

God bless you as you live out God's calling in your life, one day and prayer at a time!


It's quite an honor and quite humbling that my little corner of blog land has been nominated for a 2014 Sheenazing Award hosted by Bonnie at A Knotted Life.  My blog was nominated in the "Best Looking Blog" Category.

As you will see there are alot of blogs I'm up against and all of them are beautiful and wonderful!  So if I win I'll be shocked, but I thought I would at least mention it in case you want to click on over and vote for me at "A Slice of Smith Life".   

You can cast your vote by scrolling down the page HERE and click on the circle to the left next to my blog title under the "Best Looking Blog" Category.  Thanks!   

Wright's Law: An Incredible Video and My Blog's Been Nominated!

This was incredibly touching and made me cry. "Why do we have stars in the sky?" Mr. Wright asks his students, "because Someone loves you."

It's quite an honor and quite humbling that my little corner of blog land has been nominated for a
2014 Sheenazing Award hosted by Bonnie at A Knotted Life.  My blog was nominated in the "Best Looking Blog" Category.  

As you will see there are alot of blogs I'm up against and all of them are beautiful and wonderful!  So if I win I'll be shocked, but I thought I would at least mention it in case you want to click on over and vote for me at "A Slice of Smith Life".   

You can cast your vote by scrolling down the page HERE and click on the circle to the left next to my blog title under the "Best Looking Blog" Category.  Thanks!   



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

March for Life 2014

Unfortunately, I can't attend this year's March for Life again.  I wish there was no need for a March for Life. I wish there was no need to stand up to defend the millions that have no voice and that have been terminated killed.  But, there is a need and until abortion ends, there will always be a March for Life.
I hear it will be a record number of people from all walks of life, no matter the gender, age, race, religion, who will be marching this year as it was 41 years ago that abortion became legal in the Roe v. Wade case on Jan. 22, 1973. Each year since the Roe v. Wade case, pro-lifers have been marching in Washington D.C. on/near the Jan. 22 date to peacefully and prayerfully protest the abortion industry and to solemnly remember the 55 million + lives that have been lost to abortion. 

So since I won't be physically at the march, I will be there in spirit praying for friends and the rest of the 500,000 that will be attending  March for Life 2014.  I pray for their safe travels as I hear the weather is supposed to be bitter cold temps and snow. 

But, here are my previous posts about our March for Life experiences if you want to check them out complete with words, pictures, and video. Just click on the titles to go directly to that post. 

Our First March for Life: In My Own Words and Photos  (March for Life 2011)


Capturing March for Life 2012 in My Own Words/Photos/Videos (March for Life 2012)

I started a Pinterest Pro-Life board called "L.I.F.E. = Life Is For Everyone" awhile ago, where I have been collecting pro-life posts.  If you are interested in following the board go HERE.

March on!  God bless all those that stand up for those who never get a chance to have a life or voice!

Many Catholic bloggers, including my blog here, are celebrating life with a birthday giveaway going on right now!  Have you entered to win 1 of 21 awesome prizes that includes Amazon gift cards, Catholic books, printables, and gifts?  Go HERE for more information and to enter!  



Sunday, January 19, 2014

You're Invited to the Party! Catholic Bloggers Birthday Giveaway with $300 in Prizes!


Catholic Bloggers Network is celebrating their 2nd birthday with the
Catholic Bloggers Birthday GIVEAWAY sponsored by many bloggers, including me!

This FABULOUS GIVEAWAY is also sponsored by the following

In addition to TWO Amazon Gift Cards 
(one winner will get a $45 card and one winner will get a $40 card), we are giving these


Catholic Printables

...and these Popular Printables:

Catholic Gifts

...and these Awesome Catholic Gifts!
(pick TWO from: Mary, Blessed Mother Saint Therese of Lisieux Pope Francis Saint Joseph
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Saint Anne Saint Anthony Saint Brigid of Ireland Saint Catherine of Siena
Saint Cecilia Saint Christopher Saint Clare Saint Francis of Assisi Saint George Saint Gianna
Saint Joan of Arc Saint Jude Saint Mark Saint Maximilian Kolbe Saint Michael the Archangel
Saint Patrick Saint Paul Saint Peregrine

To Enter Giveaway to win 1 of the above prizes Follow Rafflecopter Directions Below or go HERE" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway




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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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