Friday, October 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Braces OFF, My Win!, Corn Maze Fun, Little Pumpkin, Healthy Scare!, All Saints Day

Our oldest daughter FINALLY got her braces off after 2.5 years!  She was very excited!  Her orthodontist gave her a bottle of candy and let her hit a drum. Then the staff sang a cute song to her. 

Look at what arrived in the mail this week compliments of Kendra at Catholic All Year!  I was selected the winner from commenting on Kendra's post HERE.  She brought these beautiful treasures home with her from her recent trip to Lourdes.  Wow! What lovely gifts! Thank you Kendra! 

This past week, we went to a Corn Maze over an hour away from our house.  We went with a few of our homeschool families for the second year in a row.  We enjoyed the beautiful day playing and doing the "finger" corn maze for younger kids (but all my kids enjoyed it).  In a finger maze you find 5 different stations with different colored chalk.  You put one finger from your right hand in the chalk until all 5 fingers have a different colored chalk.  When you exit the maze you find the color pattern of your hand on a big board and it will tell you to do something silly like "Act like a chicken" or "Jump up and down".  It's a cute maze.  We saw some neat animals too! 

Our little pumpkin turned 15 months on October 30!  Where does the time go?  She was happy to sit on our pumpkin porch and take her photos while 2 of my other daughters encouraged her to smile big!

This is so healthy, it's scary! :)  I found this healthy Halloween snack on a friend's Facebook news feed and printed out the picture so I could make it.   I made it for the All Saints' Day party we are hosting today, Friday, Oct. 31. So we will be celebrating All Saints Day and Halloween (All Hallows' Eve) on the same day since All Saints' Day falls on a Saturday this year and Saturdays get busy for families. Speaking of (veggie) skeletons, be sure to check out Chris's Skeletal System Unit Study  over at Campfires and Cleats!  Lots of great resources and hands-on fun to study this fascinating body system! 

Speaking of All Saints' Day, this is the banner I made for our party, which says "HAPPY FEAST OF ALL SAINTS".  Jessica over at Shower of Roses has a tutorial and printout of the letters with Saints on them HERE.  I printed them and laminated the banner letters to be used for future All Saints' Day parties.  Thank you Jessica! 

It's going to be a busy weekend with our All Saints Day party on Friday morning with our homeschool group and then I'm going to see a local ballet performance of Phantom of the Opera with my 4 older children and my mom.  Then we have Halloween night festivities, Saturday soccer games, my oldest daughter will be singing at the Saturday Vigil Mass and then going to a Teen Homeschool Barn Dance.  Two of my children also have birthday parties to attend for their friends.  Whew!   Have a blessed weekend!   

For more Quick Takes, visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary.  
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

FirePit Party Cake and Cupcakes

Last night, we celebrated our son's 13th birthday party with a Fire Pit Party!   His birthday was last Sunday, October 19, but due to a stomach virus that was an unwelcomed guest in our home the week prior to his birthdate, we had to postpone the party.

His cake this year was inspired by Jessica's Campfire Cake over at Shower of Roses.  Since our party would be outdoors with some football and soccer games and then roasted hot dogs and dessert around our backyard fire pit, I came up with this fire pit cake and cupcakes.  

Our fire pit is in our backyard near our woods and my husband made the pit with stones around it on the ground.   My son wanted  homemade cream cheese icing (that I dyed green to look like grass), so that's why the cake is green with "stones" surrounding the "fire pit." 

To make the cake... 
Use your favorite cake mix and make (2) 9 in. round cakes.  Wrap a dish with aluminum foil and put one layer on foil.  Spread icing on top of first layer.  Then place 2nd round cake on top of icing and finish icing until cakes are covered.  My son wanted the Pillsbury Funfetti box cake vs. the homemade funfetti cake that I made for him last year.  I don't like using box cakes, but I have to admit it was a time-saver so I was happy to fulfill his request. :)

To make the "flames"...
1)  Unwrap 5-10 butterscotch and cinnamon hard candies.  Place the candies in a large ziplock bag and use a hammer to crush candy into small pieces.  
2) Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray foil with non-stick spray.  Spread out crushed candy pieces on foil. 
3) Put in oven at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes until candy is melted.  Let cool before handling. 

Then to make the flames, just break apart the candy into pieces with sharp/pointed edges and arrange the flames in between the campfire logs.   

To make the "logs"....
I bought Pirouline Artisan Rolled Wafers (Chocolate Hazelnut) and broke them in half and arranged them on the cake to make it look like logs stacked in a fire. Use about 5-10, depending on how many you want to arrange. 

To make the "stones"... 
I found these German Chocolate Cake sprinkles in the grocery store.  As soon as I saw them on the shelf, they immediately reminded me of our fire pit stones. 

I thought I would add some marshmallows on a pretzel stick burning in the fire and placed logs and flames on homemade chocolate cupcakes.  The chocolate cupcake recipe from the outside of the Hershey's container is so delicious and always a family favorite.

While my husband and the boys played some tag football and soccer games in our backyard, I was watching our littlest one climb our swing set and go down the slide.

Then it was time for roasted hot dogs by the fire pit, snacks, cake, and S'mores. 

It was a wonderful evening celebrating our son's 13th birthday!  It was a lot of fun and many special memories were made by all!

I linked up this post at Claire Justine's blog hop here: 

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Our New Maid, Tim Staples, Outside Fun, I'm a Winner!

At the beginning of October, I trained and hired the cutest maid.  She did a super job vacuuming our kitchen floors.  I think we will keep her since she loves the job! ;-)

Last Friday night, Oct. 17, Tim Staples from Catholic Answers came and spoke at our parish in the evening.  It was a wonderful talk as he used some of Pope Paul VI encyclicals and writings to explain how to evangelize the Good News and Catholic faith.  It was a wonderful presentation and Staples used his experiences as a former Pentecostal youth minister, now Catholic apologist, to present an inspiring and humorous presentation. 

So after the Tim Staples talk last Friday night, my husband and I got the stomach bug that night together.  Oh joy!  The entire week our kids were vomiting and now it was the parental units' turn! No fun!  So the weekend was long and I was literally in bed all day last Saturday with nausea, dizziness, and sore muscles.  Our son turned 13 last Sunday and we had to postpone his party until this weekend because we were afraid to spread the awful virus.  He was disappointed to delay the party plans, but he was such a good sport about it.  Thankfully, we were all feeling better by last Sunday, on our son's actual birthday so we did go out to eat as a family and had a backyard fire with the family and neighborhood friends as a way to celebrate 13 great years with our wonderful teenager!

Our little one is growing so fast!  She will be 15 months on October 30!  Can you believe it?  This past week we took advantage of the beautiful Fall weather and all the kids and I headed to the park just walking/running/riding bike distance from our home.  Cupcake #5 enjoyed playing in the park and eating the swing I pushed her in, which could explain the runny nose she has now.  Grrr.....

Another way we took advantage of the beautiful weather is by having my daughter write her spelling words with chalk on our driveway which gave me some time to work with my other children on their homeschool lessons.   My little speller was so proud of her chalk work!  

Saint John Paul II FIRST feast day was just the other day on October 22 and in case you missed my post about this great day, HERE it is.  Kendra at Catholic All Year also wrote a post about this beloved Saint HERE and in honor of JPII she had a giveaway. She was giving away some goodies from her trip to Spain and France, including a rosary, medals, and a bottle of Lourdes water.  Well, I just got an email this morning from Kendra telling me that I was the winner of the giveaway!  I am so thankful and excited!  I love visiting blogs and commenting because I enjoy getting to know other bloggers this way, but when my comment helps me win a giveaway, that's just icing on the cake!  :)  I can't wait to see what comes in the mail!  
Another busy weekend coming up filled with soccer games and my son's 13th birthday party, in real life! (finally!)  I plan on making a Campfire Cake inspired by Jessica at Shower of Roses.  Stay tuned to see how it all turns out! :)   Have a blessed weekend!

For more Quick Takes be sure to visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Saint John Paul II's FIRST Feast Day Today!

This post contains affiliate links.

Today is October 22, Saint John Paul II's FIRST feast day celebration!  We are going to look at the Canonization Lapbooks we made back in the Spring when both Saint John Paul II and Saint John Paul XXIII were canonized on April 27, 2014.   

Our family also loves watching this humorous YouTube video of Saint John Paul II "singing":

And thanks to a friend for telling me about this YouTube video of Karol Wojtyla (now Saint JPII) singing "Ave Maria" in 1976.  It's so beautiful it gave me chills! Enjoy!

There are so many other great ways to celebrate this day!

Kendra over at Catholic All Year has made some great printables with wonderful quotes from Saint JPII.

How about this yummy Polish dinner from Catholic Cuisine?

And for dessert?  a Pope Cake from Melody at Melodies Harmonies

And while you are eating the yummy cake you can listen to Glory Stories CD Vol 11: Pope Saint John Paul II.  Hmmm...I don't think we even have this CD yet, but I'll have to put it on my wish list!  

Or you can read some of these great children's books about Saint John Paul II.  Click link below for a great list of books...

Saint John Paul II Children's Books 

We especially love this book about this great Pope and Saint:

And I have to show you this pencil drawing (Yes! A PENCIL drawing) of Saint JPII that Cameron Smith drew {did I mention drew with a PENCIL!?!}  (no relation to me, but he and his wife are our 5th child's Godparents)  This "Portrait of a Saint", pencil on paper, was completed in 2001 by Cameron Smith.   Be sure to visit Smith Catholic Art!  What talent!

 photo credit:  Word on Fire

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy (belated) 13th Birthday to Cupcake #2!

The stomach bug hit our house all last week for all 7 of us and my husband and I both got sick Friday night into Saturday. I was in bed all day Saturday not feeling well at all.  No fun!  I will have to brag here on my husband who took the baby with him to 2 soccer games Saturday afternoon so I could literally stay in bed all day!  (and he wasn't feeling great either!)  It was a looooooooooooong week and weekend, which delayed our birthday party plans for our son and hence this belated birthday post.  He turned 13 on Sunday, October 19 and everyone was better which was a blessing so we did go out to eat as a family which was nice. 

So here's my annual birthday tribute to our wonderful TEEN son!  (now we have 2 teens in the house!  Yikes! :) )

13 years ago today, our bouncing baby boy blessed our family, friends, and all those he meets with his adorable personality, beautiful smile, his dark curly hair, and above all, the special way he nurtures and loves all of God's creations!  I found some of my favorite pictures of our son from the past when flipping through our photo albums:

He loves his Mommy! (oh and I love him so much too!) 
He loves to laugh, but he sometimes says he doesn't love his curly hair :(

He loves nature, being outside, and dirt!

He loves playing/watching sports, especially soccer, flag football, and football!

He loves special outings with Dad!  Go NC State Wolfpack!
He loves to smile! :) 
He loves ALL his sisters! 

He loves serving God and we hope and pray he always will!

Happy 13th Birthday!  We love you! 


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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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