Friday, May 23, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Strawberry Farm, AHG, Family Vacation/Blog-cation, My Seton Online Magazine Feature 
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Well, I'm a little late with my 7 Quick Takes Friday, but better late than never I suppose AND I had a good excuse for my Quick Takes tardiness :)  (refer to Quick Take #4 below for my good excuse)


Last Wednesday, May 14, we met some friends and we made our annual trip to a local strawberry farm just down the road from our home.  We love the fruit pickin', but the homemade ice cream lickin' is always a highlight of our trips!  3 years ago I did a post about this farm HERE

This past Tuesday night, our 3 older girls had their awards ceremony for American Heritage Girls (AHG).  This is our first year in a troop and it has been a blessing.  2 out of 3 of my daughters crossed over to a new level during the ceremony.  
So I'm way late posting this Quick Take post because our family is taking a family vacation sometime in the near future so the bags are getting packed and plans are being made for the excitement.  I will be enjoying a "blog-cation" as well.  Stay tuned for a blog post of some of our vacation memories.   

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I was just informed that my first publication for Seton Online Magazine will be published sometime next week!  I'm very excited and quite honored!   It is titled, "The Two Absolutely Best Arguments for Homeschooling" and it is a review and some of my thoughts on one of Matt Walsh's blog posts. This particular post of Walsh's is very popular with almost 1,800 comments!   I'm a big fan of Walsh's blog so it was quite an honor to be asked to base my article on one of his many popular posts. 
Our little one is standing tall and crawling everywhere!  She will be 10 months old next week and sometimes her stages of development feel like it is its own 10,000 year epoch, especially since she is not sleeping through the night yet, but overall the time has gone by fast!

May you and your family have a blessed Memorial Day weekend!  Thank you to all the men, women, and families who have sacrificed so much for our country!  God bless America!

For more Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary

Have a blessed weekend! 
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Turning 14 and Birthday Bash on the Beach

This past Saturday we celebrated our Goddaughter's First Communion and then yesterday our oldest daughter turned 14 years old!

I really can't believe it!  Is she really that old?  Wait a minute, am I really that old to have a 14 year old? :) It seems like it was yesterday that my hubby and I looked this young holding our first born who was so tiny and sweet!  She's still sweet and now tall! 

Last night we hit the beach with a few of my daughter's friends to celebrate her special day.  My daughter wanted a cheesecake so Sam's Club helped me out in the cake department :)  I can't say I really missed making a homemade cake for my daughter this year, but I did get to use my imagination and creativity with the food thanks to Pinterest! :)  

The "Sunbathers in a Blanket" were just pigs in a blanket that I made with cut-up hot dogs and biscuits.  Those are covered with foil in the above table picture.

All the girls and my children went swimming in the ocean despite the cool temps and wind.  Here are some pictures from our fun birthday celebration:

 It was a fun evening celebrating the life of our now 14 year old daughter!

Our Goddaughter's First Holy Communion Mass

We've had a busy past few days full of fun celebrations! This past weekend was First Communion for our Goddaughter and during this week we also celebrated our oldest daughter turning 14

On Saturday, May 16, 2014, our homeschool group celebrated a First Holy Communion Mass for four children in our homeschool group and one of these special first communicants was our Goddaughter.  My husband and I are blessed to have such a special gal for a Goddaughter, who we have always and will always continue to keep her in prayer.  We were also blessed to celebrate this special day with her family and friends as she continues on her faith journey.

At the beginning of the Mass, the first communicants and their friends processed down the aisle with fresh flowers to place in vases in front of our Blessed Mother and then our Goddaughter placed a beautiful flower crown on Mary's statue.

Here is our Goddaughter receiving the Precious Body and Blood for the first time.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  

It was such beautiful Mass and day!  Our family was so happy to celebrate with our Goddaughter, family, and friends!  M.R.H., may you always stay close to Jesus and His Church and continue to receive the sacraments with much love, faith, hope, and joy! 

To see other First Communion Celebrations, be sure to visit HERE at "Sacraments Cele-LINKY" where I linked up this post!


Monday, May 19, 2014

14 Years Ago Today You Were Born!

14 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 2 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 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 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 six years ago, 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 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! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Daughter Donated Her Hair!

On Monday, May 12,  my 9 year old daughter wanted to get her loooong hair cut and she wanted to donate her hair after she cut it.  So we headed to a local hair salon that gives free haircuts in exchange for the donation.

The salon was super nice (with super nice workers) so I was super excited my daughter was getting her hair cut for free! :)   I wish I took a picture of the hair dryers that were hanging by their cords from the ceilings!  I told the hair dresser, "Maybe I don't get out much, but I have never seen hair dryers hanging from a ceiling!"

When my daughter was getting her hair dried (after a shampoo and a rinse), the hair dresser pulled down the dryer from the ceiling and started to blow dry the hair.  I just thought this was a fascinating invention and both the hair dresser and I thought having one in our home would be quite convenient!  :)

Here are pictures from my daughter's haircut...

Someone is going to be very happy with their new wig! I was proud of her for donating all that hair!  The hair dresser said they donate it to Pantene.   My daughter wants to grow her hair out again and possibly a year from now, get it cut again to donate.  I thought that was a great idea! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Something Other Than God Review, Jumping Baby, etc.

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7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about interviews, crazy toddlers, and why my hand is probably going to fall off by the end of the week 


We already know that the host of  the weekly 7 Quick Takes Friday is a really great person and blogger, but she's also a fabulous author too!  I read Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It by Jennifer Fulwiler and posted a review HERE and HERE.  If you are looking for a great summertime read or anytime read, this one is for you!  You can purchase a copy of  Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It  from Amazon HERE. 

Our little Cupcake #5 turned 9 months old on April 30, 2014.  Wow how time flies! She's scooting, crawling, pulling up, saying "Mama" and "Dada", waving Hi and Bye, and the most entertaining talent that her older siblings love to make her do is spit as she sticks her tongue out and makes noises!  :)
And here she is dancing to her older brother's piano playing :) 

I just saw this graphic on my Facebook news feed.  Can you see the beautiful image in the tree's branches?

Photo: Alright, I've stared at this thing about 20 different times and I never "see" anything? What am I missing...can someone help me out? :) -Kendall

The Ring of Fantasy 

There is a talented Catholic author named Dominic de Souza, who wrote The Ring of Fantasy, and I did a review of this adventurous tale HERE.  Dominic has a beautiful family and he and his wife, Maria, have a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Maria's medical treatments.  They have almost reached their goal in just a few days and they are hoping to get to the finish line soon!  Be sure to read their story HERE and prayers and donations are always appreciated! 

-6- and -7-
It's getting waaaaaaay past my bedtime so I better sign off now. :)  Maybe if I get some rest and can think more clearly I'll add Quick Take 6 and 7 to this post here.  Until then for more Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary.
Have a blessed weekend! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler: A Review

This post contains affiliate links

 by Jennifer Fulwiler

Have you heard about this book yet?  Have you read this book yet?  If you answered "No" to either question, you will hear about it right now and hopefully you will want to read it SOON!

I first "met" Jennifer Fulwiler through her blog, Conversion Diary by Jennifer Fulwiler.  I love following her fun and faith-filled posts.

I then got a chance to hear Jennifer speak at the Ignited By Truth Catholic Conference at the end of March 2014 and I stalked her to meet her in person and get a picture with her :) Here we are after one of her talks.

Jennifer referenced her book during some of her talks over the conference weekend.  Many people, including myself, pre-ordered our copy of  Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It, and anxiously awaited for the release date of April 29!

I couldn't wait for my copy to arrive in the mail!

My copy finally arrived on May 1 and I was so bummed when I got it!  Why you may ask when I just said that I was anxiously awaiting its arrival?  Because when my copy plopped on my front porch I was in the middle of life with my 5 children in the middle of the day and I had loads of laundry waiting to be folded in the basket.   All I wanted to do was ignore the laundry and my kids and start reading the book NOW!  The thought even crossed my mind that I should lock myself in my bathroom to start reading the book in hopes that my children would not notice that I was missing.  Really, I did think of this "plan".

I didn't lock myself in the bathroom and ignore the homeschooling, laundry, and the caring for my children that I needed to do, but if I did, I'm sure I would have read Jennifer's book in a matter of hours vs. the 3 days that it actually took me to read it as I juggled my busy family life.  

So where do I even begin to say just how much I loved reading Jennifer's conversion story from a once happy, atheist to a now happier Catholic mom with a beautiful family?  I can sum up my thoughts about her life story with what I said as I read the last line of her book and closed it....WOW!

As someone who has always been Catholic (a.k.a. "Cradle Catholic") conversion stories fascinate me because I grow deeper in my own faith and gain a deeper appreciation for it.  I always love seeing how God's grace and blessings lead converts to the faith through sometimes the most unusual paths.

Jennifer's journey from only believing in the material world for most of her life and not acknowledging God to now a Catholic mom of six children was fascinating, riveting, completely honest, inspiring and entertaining at times!  I couldn't wait to read more and more as her thought-provoking questions for her own life caused me to ponder many things in my life as well.  

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I was especially interested in how God blessed Jennifer during her difficult pregnancies as she and her husband, Joe, trusted God more and more with all areas of their lives. (By the way, I can't help to think how much Joe's patience and unconditional spousal love played a major role in Jennifer's conversion.)  I just kept thinking that ALL the insulin shots and several finger pricks I had to give myself for gestational diabetes with my last two pregnancies didn't seem so bad after reading how much pain and uncertainties Jennifer had to overcome with her pregnancies.  Throughout these chapters, I kept asking myself, "How is God going to help Jennifer and Joe out of this difficult situation?" My curiosity kept me turning the pages. 

Jennifer is such a great writer using descriptive language.  With her words I was able to vividly picture what she was writing about.   There were many descriptive lines in her book, but one of my favorites was when she was describing her first confession experience.  Her choice of words spoke to my heart as I recall feeling a similar way during my confession experiences.

I highly recommend everyone read Jennifer Fulwiler's book, especially anyone seeking, searching, and questioning what is Truth and love.  It will inspire and entertain you cover to cover!

You can purchase a copy of  Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It  from Amazon HERE. 

Enjoy and God bless!


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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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