Thoughts on a Happy New Year!

Or we certainly hope and pray so! Right?

Come the end of every calendar year, we all wish each other a Happy New Year!. Naturally, that truly is our wish for each other, and in fact, ourselves. And damn if it doesn’t feel good, to have that fresh new calendar year ahead of us! A clean slate. A new start, with new hope. 12 months, when all kinds of wonderful things, have the potential to happen!

But the fact is, we all know that life, is just not happy ALL of the time. And it certainly does not come about, with just hopes and wishes.

If we’re human, and I can only assume anyone reading this is, the truth of the matter is that no one ever has a 100% happy year. One free of very difficult unexpected events, failures, losses and rough days that just seem to go all wrong with the little things. Things that can sometimes just pile up and break us down. No, no one has ever had a year free of all of those things. Chances are, not a soul will have one this year, either! And I just feel it on my heart to share my thoughts with you all, a little bit, about that today. Not because I want to bring anyone down, to kick off your new year! Perhaps, so no one is overly disappointed when day 3, or any other brand new day of the new year, seems to go all wrong. 😉   But, more-so, my intention is to bring you some great hope and comfort about the matter!  In my own rambling kind of way, of course.

I’ve just been thinking, how people seem to be hardwired, to [Read more…]

Our Daughter’s Handmade Rosary, & the *Tuesday LINK-UP PARTY*/Features

& FEATURED Linkers !


Happy Tuesday, once again! Unless of course, it’s Monday Eve. Or Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Because of course, we leave the party door open for you, hoping you’ll get to coming around at some point through the week, to link-up, and inspire us with your ideas!!  Sometimes, People are just ‘late to the party’. Right? We’ve been there. So we’d hate for you to miss out. Feel free to ‘bring a friend’ to the party anytime, too!  Invite them through Twitter, your blog, or any way you’d like.

I wanted to kick off the features this week, with a project by our very own 14 year old daughter, {A}.

It’s a Rosary, if by chance you didn’t know, because you’re not Catholic as we are.  She made it as a gift for her friend, Fr. Bob Reed.  The Rosary center is a metal of St. Therese of Lisieux, who is Fr. Reed’s favorite saint, also known as ‘St. Therese – The Little Flower’, thus the roses for the Our Father Beads.  Yellow roses, as many of us know, are symbolic of friendship. But yellow is also one of Fr. Reed’s favorite colors, as well as blue, in the Swarovski crystals, which serve as the Hail Mary prayer beads. So suffice it to say, being a Catholic priest, who loves saying the Rosary, Fr. Reed was very happy to receive this gift from {A}, that consisted of so many of his favorite things.  But from a creative standpoint, I am sure many of you can also appreciate the tedious work that went into this project, as well. {A} selected all of the beads, and special pieces of the Rosary in an eclectic manner, through Etsy searches as well as the craft stores, until she had all she needed to begin her project. Then using eye pins and crimping pliers, she created the Rosary.  I was really impressed with not only her handiwork, but her giving heart as well.

Here are our other features this week:

This rustic key holder from Thrifty Decorating, is just what we need around here! Not only do I love the look of it, but I was impressed that Nicole fired up a circular saw and used it, all by herself!  Those things scare the dickens of of me.


Let me tell you why we’re featuring these Banana Bites, from The Prudent Pantry.  Because the kids and I made them rather spontaneously the other day, and they are as gooood as Miss Prudent Pantry says they are. (I’m sorry, but I could not find her first name anywhere on her blog.) As quickly as we made them, and popped them all down, I did take photos along the way. So I’ll be doing a Vittles post on them as well, asap.


Well, you all know how much I love children’s story books. Especially those with fabulous illustrations, and encouraging or value-laden messages for children, through the imagination of great story tellers.  So I was smitten with this kid’s project that Crissy from Crissy’s Crafts linked us up to, inspired by the children’s story book, The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn. The story & the craft, come just in time to ease the worries and fears of any little ones you may have, who are a little anxious about going (back) to school this year.


Lastly, are these waaaaayyyyyy coooool tie-dye t-shirts, linked up by ChristyB, from christyB Photography Blog.   Her daughter made these from an easy, no mess kit, and she tells you where you can get it.I want that shirt on the right, in the worst way!!

Incidentally, the kids and I did a wicked cool & wicked fun t-shirt project of our own this week!!  It’s a twist, on the traditional tie-dye shirts.  It’s one of those projects you just want to keep doing. (My kids proved that!).  It’s really so cool, and so easy.  I took loads of photos (which I have not edited yet….yikes!), and that post is coming right up this week. Even if it kills me. And it might with my agenda this week!

That’s a Feature Wrap!

If YOU are ready to party with us, and possibly get featured yourself, grab a button or a link, and LET’S GO!!  We can’t wait to see what you’ve got!




Palm Cross


With Palm Sunday almost upon us once again, we thought we would re-post this tutorial which we had in the Big Picture section last year, on how to make a nice cross for your home, with the blessed palms you bring home from mass on Palm Sunday.  We hope you find the instructions and photos helpful, and the craft enjoyable, in making a beautiful palm cross for the walls of your home.


First, take 3 sets of 2 palms each, and at least one good palm wisp.


In the area the intersection of the cross is, put the ends of one set of palms alternately layered in between 2 of the others, going in the opposite direction of course.


Then takes the last set, and layers those for the other side.


Pinching it all together at the intersection, take one side of the palms and makes a loop with them to the back of your cross.


Securing that with your fingers to the middle as well, and then do the same with the other side.

With the formed cross in hand, take the wisp of palm you had set aside, and start wrapping the intersection of the crossed pieces, to secure them tightly.

The below collage, to be viewed left to right in rows top to bottom, is not every single move. It just gives you a general idea of how it is wrapped around, crisscrossing, and going up and down as well.



When you only have about 2 inches left, turn the cross over,  place it on the table, and holding the wrap tightly, take the remaining end and feed it under the wrap a couple of times, and then just pull it tightly. The front of the middle of the cross then looks like the last square in the above collage.That’s it!


We hope you have a happy and peace filled Palm Sunday !

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Our Christmas Wishes and New Nativity Displayed

It’s Christmas Eve! So just a quick note to you all:   Our nativity set that Fr. Reed and CatholicTV gifted us with is all set up, and we wanted to share some photos of it with you, just as we promised to.  And what more appropriate day to do so?  You can be sure, we will treasure this nativity set for all of our family history to come.


Michael designed and built the stable (I stained it! : ), that so beautifully displays these exquisite figurines, that depicts so well the birth of our Savior.  It truly sets the holy scene that means SO very much to us all.


My favorite piece is the angel.  Every time I look at it, I think of my mother.  Not because she was an angel on earth, ; ), mind you. But because she loved angels so very much.



To each one of you, and your families, from our family-

We wish you all a blessed, peaceful and joyful Christmas!

Enjoy every moment!

An Early Christmas Gift, from CatholicTV

So {A} expressed her wishes in her last post, that she hoped we would blog about our wonderful, unexpected, fill-our-hearts with joy, early Christmas gift. And since I took photos, why not!?

After Mass on Sunday, Fr. Bob Reed, who is Director of CatholicTV, and who also helps out with Masses at our parish, asked us to stay after Mass as he had something for us.  Once we all went outside, he proceeded to transport a huge wrapped gift from his trunk, to our van! We were so confused. He said it was an early Christmas gift for us from himself and everyone at CatholicTV.  Now, as many of you may know, we willingly let them film our family for a new series on Catholic families, for their TV station. We were the first family to do this, so maybe that is why they have expressed their gratitude many times, which was enough for us!!  But here, we had this gift from them.

I asked if we should wait until Christmas to open it, but he said “Oh no!!  Open it TODAY!!”.  Now our plans were to go shopping from there but……you can bet those plans got a little rearranged.  We went home first to open the gift.

Now, we are thankful for anything. Or nothing. From anyone.  But as I looked at this box, I had an inkling.  Or maybe it was wishful thinking.  It my heart, I was a little bit hoping and praying, that it was just what it turned out to be.  Hold on.

So here are the kids waiting to open it.  Daddy was in the other room doing something, or something. I forget.  But we were waiting. And wondering.   Hmmmm.


Then we let them tear it open, which took all of 1/2 second.


Next, Daddy had to open the stapled box, and carefully cut the tape of the styrofoam box as well.  Clearly it was something breakable. (That was a good sign to me!!  lol)

He lifted off the cover, and though each piece was wrapped in plastic, it was clear enough that my little prayer had come true.  The kids cheered!  Can you tell what it is??


Here is a better look.  The beauty of each piece is just……….


I can’t tell you how HAPPY this gift made us.  So how did I have an inkling of what it was??  Many weeks ago, when that man from Bethlehem was selling religious wood goods at our parish, I told Fr. Reed how we need to get a nativity set, and soon.  I told him we’ve never really had one, except for the Fisher Price Little People set our little ones had.  He then mentioned a place he knew that made beautiful sets, but then told me to be sure we didn’t get one.  Now WHY would a priest tell you not to get a nativity set?  I was just about to ask him where he recommended, since he said he knew of a great place.

We even used that Little People Nativity Set last year, even though our youngest ones were 5 years old and a little old for it!  We figured, hey, it was better than nothing.  The thing is, our home was always too small before, and lacked a good display area for a nativity set.  We couldn’t really afford one, anyway. Later, we added on and had more space, but then with 3 toddlers thrashing about the house, I didn’t want anything get get broken, IF we had one.  But it was definitely time, to have a REAL one. Michael and I have wanted one ever since we’ve owned a home, and it was always sadly put off, for one reason or another.  A nativity set IS what Christmas is, and we wanted it to be part of our home, for every Christmas season from now on.

But to receive such a BEAUTIFUL set, as a GIFT, from Fr. Reed (whom we adore), and CatholicTV, just adds sentiment to this set, that we will always treasure.  The children will always remember how, when, where, we got it, and it just makes it that more special. It’ll be a family treasure, for many, many generations to come.

Michael will be building a stable that is just right, to accommodate our new Nativity set. We are all very excited to set it up in a place of honor.  I’ll be sure to take and share photos.

To Fr. Reed (if you’re reading) and Catholic TV — THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts, from our whole family here “at #19”. Your beautiful, thoughtful, amazing gift will never go unappreciated, and will always mean more to us than you will ever know.

And here is the STAR of the show! The very reason we celebrate every Christmas…..