Making Catholicism Fun!

Warning: Catholic post ahead.  lol.

Kate is getting to the age where mass attendance isn’t exactly at the top of her “most fun things to do list” and I found myself wanting to get her excited about our Faith.  As I was poking around the internet, I found a blog, Catholic All Year, where this family lives and CELEBRATES their Catholic faith.  Sign me up!  We always do an activity based advent calendar, so this year I just followed the blog and made some of the actives tied to some of the feast days during advent and it was a big hit! 

So, this year I’m going to pick a Saint each month and celebrate their Feast Day!  My hope is to get my children excited to learn more about their Faith.  🙂  Since I’m not into recreating the wheel, I thought I would share with y’all what I’m doing.  Or rather what I’m thinking about doing.  lol.  I like to start with themed food because I have to feed my family anyway so it’s not exactly adding to my work load.  The crafts and videos and such might happen, but they very well might not.  If you’re interested in more info, I highly recommend the book, The Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life by Kendra Tierney. 

Here are 3 Saints for February.  (What can I say, I had a hard time narrowing it down!)

February 1.  St Brigid of Ireland.  She lived in Ireland in the 5th century and tended the cows on her father’s farm.  She often got in trouble for giving away the butter she churned to the poor.  One day she was about to get punished for giving away all of her butter, so she prayed to God to help her and her butter churns were miraculously filled with butter.  She then decided to become a Christian and eventually became a nun, establishing the first order of nuns in Ireland.

Food: Scones with butter and jam.  We may or may not make our own butter.  We may or may not make our own scones.  

Craft: Woven cross.  There are tons of examples on Pinterest, but I think we’ll do the pipe cleaner one.

February 6.  St Paul Maki and Companions (the Japanese Martyrs).  In 1597, Br, Paul Maki and 25 companions were crucified in Nagasaki, Japan for their Faith.  I’m not going to lie, I added this one because I will take any excuse to make sushi.  lol.

Food: Homemade Sushi.  Raw fish optional.

February 11.  Our Lady of Lourdes. In 1858, Mary appeared to St Bernadette in a grotto in Lourdes, France. 

Food: French food!  But I’m not that fancy so probably baguettes?

Craft: I found loads of ideas on Pinterest for making a grotto.  If I actually get my stuff together and we end up making one, I’ll post some pics.  

Movie: Formed has a movie about St Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes and our parish has a membership! 

I know what you’re thinking, what about St Valentine?!?  Well, obviously we’re going to do all things pink and hearts on the 14th, but I actually couldn’t find much information about him so I didn’t want to count it as our feast day for the month.

Field Trip! And Pogo Pass Review

At the beginning of the summer, I bought something called a Pogo Pass.  Basically, you buy the pass and then you get 1 or 2 admission tickets to a bunch of different places over the course of the next year.  (If you’re interested, I think I have an affiliate link that I can email to you that lets you get the pass for $39.98)  Has it been worth it?  Hmm…  I actually just totaled up what we’ve used so far and I’d say it will PROBABLY end up being worth it.  For sure, it encouraged us to get out and try new places we wouldn’t have gone to otherwise so in that sense it was absolutely worth it.  And I imagine we will hit up 1 or 2 more places before our passes expire which will make it worth the sticker price.  That said, we didn’t take advantage of a lot of the places on the pass either because they are in Waco (I’m not driving 2 hours to take my kid roller skating) or the just weren’t things I could do with the babies (looking at you Hawaiian Falls.)  But, if you had only older kids I think it would definitely be worth it.

Which brings us to today!  I was looking through the Pogo Pass trying to decide on something fun to do over Winter Break, and saw Wonder World.  Um, yes please!  I am addicted to cheesy roadside attractions and I have wanted to go to this place ever since I went back to school at Texas State to get my teaching certification.  Was it fun?  Yes.  Was it insane with 2 preschoolers?  Yes!  Am I disproportionately disappointed that they didn’t sell souvenir patches?  Yes.  lol.

Luckily Kate’s BFF’s mom is super duper awesome and she always agrees to come along on my crazy adventures.  The Pogo Pass got us into 3 of the 4 attractions and I decided that was enough for my crew, we just missed out on the Wildlife Train ride.   My friend found a Groupon that included all 4 attractions, so we did the Cave, Observation Tower and Anti-Gravity House, then had a little picnic and left before they got on the train.

The Cave was fun, but to say that it wasn’t very accessible would be like saying the Sahara is a little bit dry.  I wish I had brought my wrap so I could have worn Mia, but I ended up just carrying her for large chunks of the tour while abandoning my friend to deal with Xander.  Did I mention she’s awesome?  lol.  Still, I think this is a good starter cave for kids because they can actually touch all of the walls which makes it less stressful.  That said, there were some tight spots so I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who was claustrophobic.

Kate loved the observation deck and even with my deep fear of heights I can agree that the view was lovely.  But the Anti-Gravity House?  Oh lord.  You could not pay me enough to reenter that place.  It’s designed to be disorienting, and it straight up made me fall over.  Luckily, I was near a helpfully placed bench, but yikes.  I’m still dizzy just thinking about it.  Kate, on the other hand, would have happily spent 3 hours in there.  Even I’ll admit that they had some pretty cool optical illusions with balls and water appearing to roll uphill.

Bottom line, am I glad we went?  Yes!  We had a blast and it wore the babies out enough that they are both currently napping in their cribs which is my major litmus test for if an activity was worth it.  Would we go again?  Um, probably not.  It’s kind of a one time is enough sort of experience.

As for the Pogo Pass?  I have enjoyed having “free” activities to do with the kids, but I don’t think we will be buying one again this summer.  Maybe when the babies are old enough to really take advantage of  more of the activities it will make more sense, but for now I think we’re better off looking for the occasional Groupon.

Christmas Pictures

Look at these beautiful pictures of my babies!

It was so cold, but my kids are (mostly) good sports.

There was a lot of “throw your coats over here!  Stop shivering and smile!  Now put your coats back on and walk over here!”  lol.

But I love how they turned out.  My sister and I do cousin pics every year and I love them!  Mia’s dress (my favorite Kate hand me down) is comically too large, but I just happened to get these perfect matching plaid shirts for the boys from my sister-in-law and we made it work.

I’m so glad that my sister is such a good sport about me getting a cousin pic of them every year!  And who knows, maybe next year I’ll get some where they’re all smiling at the camera at the same time.  lol.

January Goals Plan

Remember when I said I was going to try to post once a week?  Apparently I have a lot to say.  lol.  I really should space them out, but I wanted to put out my January plan to hold myself accountable.  Here goes.

  1.  New bake.  In the spirit of it being January, I’m going to attempt something healthy.  I have my eye on this recipe for quinoa breakfast bites.  I’m a little bit skeptical of weather or not my kids will eat quinoa for breakfast, but it would be awesome if we could break them of their z bar habit.
  2. New dinner recipe.  This is a combo goal!  I’m going to attempt to make chicken tikka masala for our Epiphany dinner.  I found a recipe using my best friend, the crockpot.  Now I just need to find some garam masala.  I might just order it off of amazon, but I also figure my kids would get a kick out of a field trip to a specialty grocery store.  We’ll just have to see how much time we have this week.
  3. Montessori trays.  Y’all!  I actually had these ready to go on the 31st!  And they have been a huge hit.  Mia especially loves them.  I can’t wait to get started on revamping my H is for Heart valentines stuff for February.  🙂
  4. Feast Days.  As I mentioned already, we’re celebrating Epiphany this month on January 6th.  We’ll have Chicken Tikka Masala for dinner since the 3 wise men came from the east.  I’m planning to write up a whole blog post after the fact about how we’re celebrating.  Since Epiphany falls on a Sunday, I’m going to try to come up with some more fun crafts and stuff since we’ll be home and not busy at school.  🙂
  5. Hexies.  We’ll see where we are at the end of the month.  I’m so far behind I’m not sure it’s worth trying to catch up.  lol.  I might need to come up with a new plan.
  6. Scrapping.  I’d love to get November 2017 and January 2018 done.  We’ll see.
  7. Project Life.  Hmm…  Maybe I’ll try to do June 2018 and December 2018?  I’d love to get caught up, but I also really love doing current stuff.  I’m going to play around this month and then solidify my goal for February.
  8. Portraits.  No ideas yet.  But I’m sure we’ll come up with something.
  9. Sewing Project.  I’m actually really excited about this one.  My Quilt Guild makes donation quilts for various charities and sometimes they issue challenges to encourage people to participate.  This time they gave out novelty prints and one of them was keroppi!  I’m obsessed with keroppi so I had to participate.  🙂  The idea is to add fabric from your stash to make a quilt or quilt top.  Since I don’t really have a stash (yet!) I ordered some fabric.  lol.

    As you can see, it’s a charm pack of low volume fabrics in a whole rainbow of colors!  My plan is to fussy cut keroppi hexagons and then applique them onto the charm squares.  Then I’ll machine sew the squares together to make a quilt.  I might need to add a border depending on how big it ends up.  We’ll see.  This is due at the February meeting so I’m hoping to finish it in January.
  10. New Park.  I’m leaning towards a nature park rather than a playscape park, but we’ll just have to see.
  11. Blogging.  My goal was to have 4 blog posts by the end of the month, but I think I’m going to change that to having a blog post scheduled for each Monday in January.
  12. Get Healthy.  January goal is 2 work outs a week, 10K steps a day, and track all food in My Fitness Pal.  Lofty goals indeed, but I gained almost 10 pounds in December!  Yikes!  Time to get back on track.

Should we check in on my Mini December Goals?

  1.  Write Thank You Notes.  Done!
  2. December Daily.  Done!  I’ll try to take some pics of it and blog them later this week, but the reader’s digest version is that I switched to a 4×4 format and it’s freaking awesome.
  3. Take and edit family pics.  Done!  And I think they turned out really nicely if I do say so myself.
  4. Edit/ Print/ Scrap November.  hahahahahaha.  Not even close.  But this one was always a stretch.
  5. Organize new toys.  Still a work in progress.  Especially since I dumbed out a bunch of their toys to reclaim my Montessori bins.  lol.  But it’s better.

S is for Snowflakes!

First project done!  I wanted to start off the year with my January Montessori trays ready to go and I got them done just in the nick of time.  I had forgotten how much fun I use to have making these.  🙂  I managed to repurpose some stuff from a long ago I is for Ice unit I developed for Kate and them added some new matching activities I found on Pinterest.

For those of you who haven’t seen this before, here’s my set up for Montessori trays.  RaptorDad made me doors for this cabinet years ago so we can keep this closed off.  Of course, the twins have figured out the latches, lol, so they have free access.  I used to try to do 9 trays at a time, but I’m simplifying y’all!  So I did 6 this month.  We’ll see if I can keep it up.  lol.

The first tray is some simple transfer work with some tongs and pompoms.

Mia got a new magnadoodle from Santa and yesterday RaptorDad was writing her name on it when she drew circles on the vertices of the M.  I figured this was something they were working on at school so I found some stickers and wrote her name to see what she would do.  She was thrilled!

Next up is some classic Montessori counting work.  Since this is the first time they’ll seen this work (and since I don’t have to be constantly looking for a ton of little marbles) I only went up to 5 instead of 10.

How cute are these snowmen!  They’re a free shape matching printable that I found on Pinterest.  I just printed and laminated them.

Another cute free printable!  This one is for matching snowflakes.

Last one!  This one was a big hit.  🙂  I took stripes of paper and drew cut lines on them.  Then the babies put a sticker in each square before cutting them apart.  A bit messier than I usually like these trays, but we’re working on scissor skills right now.  🙂

2019 Goals

Historically, I just do monthly goals, and who knows, I may chuck this plan out the window in February and go back to that, but for now I’m going to attempt some big goals.  12 of them in fact.  Am I crazy?  I believe we’ve already established that.  lol.

  1.  12 new bakes.  Roughly one a month.  Who knows what they will end up being, but some ideas I’ve been kicking around include roughly everything I see on The Great British Bake Off.  Except for that time they cooked with suet.  Definitely not going there.
  2. 12 new dinner recipes.  Preferably something in the healthy range that doesn’t taste like garbage.  Now accepting suggestions.  lol.
  3. 12 months of Montessori.  I used to be so good about making Montessori trays for Kate.  I even still have most of the stuff boxed up!  I need to get it all down and let Mia and Xander play with it.  I’m going to try to rotate the trays once a month.
  4. 12 feast days.  We had so much fun during advent that I’m going to try to make it a more regular thing.  Who knows that all will go into it, but at minimum I’m thinking a themed meal  and craft.
  5. 12 hexies.  I’m so far behind.  Y’all, I’m still working on November’s hexies!  But I’m going all in this year.
  6. 12 months of scrapping.  While I’d love to catch up, that seems supremely unlikely, BUT I can make sure that I don’t get even more behind.  So in January, I want to finish January of 2018.  In February, February 2018.  Etc etc.  I’ll work on November and December of 2017 throughout the year.
  7. 12 months of Project Life.  Same, but ideally I actually will catch up.  I’m still stuck in June of 2018 though, so we’ll see.
  8. 12 sets of portraits.  I want to do better about taking “real” pics of my kids this year.  Bluebonnet and Christmas pics are obvious choices, but I want to get 12 full sets.
  9. 12 finished sewing projects.  Goodness, I’ve only been quilting for a year and I’ve already racked up quite the list of unfinished projects!  I’d like to tackle that list and actually finish some of them.  First up is the charity quilt for my quilt guild which is due in February.  I’ve finally settled on a plan and ordered fabric.  And needlessly complicated it.  lol.
  10. 12 new parks.  Time to explore!
  11. 12 months of blogging.  I think it’s become clear that 3 kids does not lend itself to blogging on the regular, but I miss it so I’m just changing my expectations.  Instead of trying (and failing) to blog 3 times a week, my new goal is once a week.  Fingers crossed.  lol.
  12. Get back to healthy habits.  Blah.  Definitely not the “fun” goal, but arguably the one that needs to happen the most.  Frustratingly, it doesn’t fit neatly into my “12” theme, but my rough goals are to swim at least twice a week, get 10K steps everyday, and track what I’m eating.

I think I’ll update these and come up with the specifics once a month just like I used to with the monthly goals posts.  This will just give me more structure for the year.  Then hopefully I will add in blog posts about specific projects.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas y’all!

I love matching Christmas jammies!

Our Christmas was perfect.  🙂  Lots of family, friends, good food, and good company.  Now it’s time to start thinking about the new year, but before I set 2019 goals, I thought I would set 5 goals to accomplish in the next 5 days.  Have I mentioned that I love setting goals?  lol.

  1.  Write thank you notes.
  2. Finish 2018 December Daily.  I must have been very good this year because Santa brought me a new photo printer!  <3 <3 <3
  3. Take and edit family pics.  MY sister’s friend asked me to take some family pics for her extended family.  Yikes!  Fingers crossed.  lol.
  4. Edit/ Print/ Scrap November 2017.  Yes, I am that far behind.  lol.
  5. Organize new toys.

Will I get all of this done?  hahahahahahahaha.  No, but I will get some of it done!

Catholic Advent Calendar

I made this advent calendar years ago and I fill it with an activity to do each day in the days leading up to Christmas.  Historically, I have just put blank pieces of paper in the calendar and then frantically tried to come up with something each day with whatever supplies I had on hand.  This year I want to do better!  So I’m trying to map out the month now to make sure I have all of the supplies I need.  Last year I was also inspired by this blog and I tried to add in some more Catholic stuff to the advent calendar.  With advance planning I’m hoping to do even better this year!

Here’s my list of Advent Activities so far.  They’re pretty much all from the aforementioned blog.  🙂

  1. 1st Sunday of Advent.  Light the first advent calendar at dinner!
  2. St Nicholas Day Eve.  Ok, I just made that up, but this is the day that the kids will put their shoes out for St Nicholas Day.  lol.
  3. St Nicholas Day.  The kids will get a little (to be determined) treat in the shoes and we will probably watch a little show about St Nicholas.
  4. Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.  I think we will have some white cookies.
  5. Feast Day of St Juan Diego.  Hot chocolate!
  6. Feast Day of Our Lady of Loreto.  Gingerbread Houses.
  7. Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Maybe Pan de Dulce?
  8. St Lucia Day.  We’ll make St Lucia buns!
  9. Christmas Eve Mass!

As you can see, there are still loads of empty days.  Some of those will be dates that we have something planned (Kate’s Christmas party, a trip to see family, etc.)  and then some of them will be what I call filler days which can be done on any day.  I’m thinking this year, we these will include decorating Christmas Cookies, making an ornament, taking a walk to see the Christmas lights, basically I need to give it some thought.  But I wanted to share these date specific ones ahead of time.  🙂

My goal with advent this year is to have loads of fun while still encouraging the kids (especially Kate) to learn a bit more about our faith.  🙂

Hexagon Update!

If you’re joining me for the first time, allow me to clear up any misconceptions.  I’m insane.  lol.

I’ve decided to hand sew an entire king size quilt out of tiny 7/8 inch hexagons.  Why 7/8 you ask?  Because I cut out my own templates and I didn’t really know that most hexagons were standardized at 1 inch.  Also, making them 7/8 of an inch allows me to get 4 hexagons from each charm square.  When means, you’ve got it, there will be exactly 4 of each hexagon in the finished quilt.

In an effort to finish this quilt before I’m 95, I set a goal to finish what I’m calling one block each month.  A block is 75 hexagons sewn together.  Then I go ahead and baste another 225 hexagons each month (the extra 3 from each charm square.)  I figure I’m going to need 64 blocks.

In October, I finished block number 8 (that I should have finished in September) which means that I am officially halfway through basting hexies!  I am also really sick of basting hexies.  lol.  So I decided that instead of moving on to block number 9, I would skip ahead and makes some blocks with some of the already basted hexies.  No surprise, but it turns out that it is much much much quicker to put together these blocks.  lol.

My new plan is to switch off every other month with basting and not.  So for November, I’ll do block number 9 and then baste the additional 225 hexagons.  In December, I’ll do blocks 20, 21, and 22 which will be made using already basted hexagons.  If everything goes to plan, I’ll continue this until January of 2020 at which point I will finish the 16th block.  Then just 8 more months of stitching already basted blocks and the blocks will be done!

Of course, then I will still need to make some more hexies to join all of the blocks, but I figure I’ll worry about that when we get there.  lol.

And then, because I’m truly certifiable, I’m planning to hand quilt the whole thing.  eeep!

November Goals!

So, I never got around to blogging my October Goals, but I did set some!  Let’s take a look, shall we?

  1.  Hexies. Finish September’s block and then stitch together 2 more blocks from already basted hexagons.  Done and done!  I actually stitched together 3 from already basted hexagons.  🙂  I have a whole blog post coming out about it on Monday.
  2. Linus quilt top.  Have we talked about how I joined a quilt guild?  Because I did and it’s awesome.  One of the things they do is make charity quilts and one of the ladies actually makes kits so it’s easier.  I grabbed a kit at the September meeting and actually managed to stitch it together!  It’s the ugliest quilt ever, but hopefully some little kid will love it.
  3. Costumes.  Kate came up with the awesome idea for all of the kids to dress up as breakfast, but then she ended up changing her mind and going as a zombie ballerina.  Mia and Xander were totally sold on the idea though and ended up being fried eggs.  lol.  It was hilarious.
  4. As far as scrapping goes, I wanted to get April and March of 2018 done, but that didn’t happen.
  5. For Project Life, I wanted to get March and April of 2018 edited and uploaded and I succeeded!  I even got May done too!  Yay me! I can’t wait for these prints to get here.
  6. Name tag.  Apparently I need to make a name tag for my quilt guild.  I was planning to get that done this month but it didn’t happen.
  7. Pot Holder.  Same deal.  We are exchanging pot holders at our Christmas party.  I have the design done in my head, but I need to execute it.
  8. More editing.  I wanted to get June- Sept of 2018 done for the big scrapbook and I got it done!
  9. Road Trip Activities.  Done!  Even though they didn’t see much use.
  10. Work on super secret Christmas project.  I didn’t make any progress on it this month, but I think I’m still in good shape for a December finish.

And now for November.

  1.  Hexie block #9.
  2. Finish Jake’s stocking.  I’m so so so so close to being done.  I can probably finish it in an evening or two.
  3. Pot Holder.  I’m planning to make a hexie flower out of some Christmas fabric that I have an then applique it to some white fabric.  Then beg my Mimi to help me.  lol.
  4. Name Tag.  Same.  lol.
  5. Teacher Gifts.  Now that all 3 kids are in school, I need to make a plan for some cute (cheap!) teacher gifts.  Now taking suggestions.
  6. Order prints.  Now that I have the pics edited, I just need to upload them and actually order them.
  7. Tree Counting Activity.  I want to make a little Montessori counting activity for the twins.
  8. Scrap March and April of 2018.
  9. Scrap March, April, May 2018 Project Life.
  10. Edit June, July Project Life.  I’m not going to be ordering more prints any time soon, but I’d like to get some of the editing done so I’m ready to order next time they have a sale.
  11. Family pictures.  Professional pics are not in the budget this year, but I still want to take the kids out and try to get something for our Christmas card.  I already have their outfits picked out.  Mia’s is comically too large, but I’m going to make it work!
  12. Super Secret Christmas Project.  Um, I might have a few of these that need to be finished.  lol.