Reminder–New Site!

Hey friends! Just a quick (and final) reminder that I’ve moved over to

Come on over, subscribe for emails when a new blog is posted, and see what I’ve been up to! I’ve been talking to homeschool moms, sharing some best of the web finds, and more!

Making A Move!

This week the blog will be rather quiet, while I move things over to a new web home. It’s been on my mind for a while to take a leap and make this blog a smidge more official. I’ve gone ahead and set up a personal domain to own. It’s all grown-up for my blogging self. Find me from now on at I’ll be glad to connect with you in my new blog-home!

Best of the Web

Annnnnd…I apparently can’t resist a good guest-post opportunity. Bonnie at A Knotted Life asked for guest posts a while back, so I jumped at that chance, too. It was fun! If you haven’t checked out Bonnie’s blog, do, at least to read her stories of her son’s miracle and learn about the cause for Fulton J. Sheen’s canonization–his intercession had a huge role in their son’s miracle at birth!


I’ve never done a “best of the web” post before, but when Bonnie was looking for guest posts and suggested it as a post option, I thought, “how fun! I can use things from Pinterest and my time-wasting moments to fill a blog! I don’t have to think too hard!” which is perfect for me right now. I can’t think much this week, after hours in the orthopedic office to get a cast on my Little Man, keeping up with our homeschool schedule so we can still have our summer break when planned, getting through graduation with my hubs…I’ve missed an appointment because my brain has been so filled with other things. Not thinking too hard about a post is ideal. Yes, I know. I stooped and lowered the bar for myself, because thinking too hard is overrated.

I think this will be a pretty good selection, though. Lots of fun, lots of yum, lots of other good stuff. Basically, the things my mind thinks about for .17 seconds before another shiny thing comes along for me to think about. It’s Best of the Web from my wandering mind.

Shall we get to the list?

1. A Summer Reading List for Tweens


(note, these in my photo are just books we’ve read and loved, not that any are on the list. And some aren’t even for tweens…but hey, that tween started with Dr. Suess, right?)

…I like to talk about books we’re reading. But if you know me at all or read my bio, you’ll know that I’d rather do almost anything than sit and read a book (though, I admit, that is slowly changing as I get into really good books). My 9 year old daughter reads like it’s going out of style, and since I wasn’t a big reader as a kid (don’t get me wrong, I’m literate, just didn’t read for fun), I don’t know what to suggest to her, nor do I have the time to preview all kinds of current books and authors before she reads them. I would have to read 24/7 and hire a cook, house cleaner, and send all the children to school in order to keep ahead of my girl. That’s why I love lists of good books for tweens.


And for the rest, do head over to A Knotted Life!

“…Accept Children and Bring Them Up According to the Law of Christ…” Part 2

This second part posted at Worthy of Agape last week, but I was out of town and unable to share and link it until today. Enjoy!


I last talked about accepting children in marriage in part 1

9658613409_76d52d0d49_b…and now I’m back to keep talking at you about raising those children!

The first few years are easy, right? Get married, have babies, enjoy the bundles of sweetness in the midst of sleepless nights and piles of laundry… And then the sweet little souls God’s blessed your family with are old enough for school and an education.

This education is where “bringing them up according to the law of Christ” enters the equation. It is not enough to send your child to the parish Sunday School program, or even to a Catholic elementary school. Oh no, my friends. There is so much more to raising our children in the faith. Not all parish schools are teaching the truths of the faith as strongly as we’d hope, not all Sunday School programs are going to hook your kids and guide them well. Many do, but it is NOT the job of the schools to be the primary–ie first, most important, best–teachers of your children, especially in the faith. That is OUR job, as parents, to be the “first school” of the faith.

Continue at Worth of Agape!

My Bucket List

You know how everyone is pinning and blogging and sharing all the best summer plans? All the plans that revolve around children?

Yeah. I’m doing it, too. A series of posts from guests, plus my own top 5 for summer.

summer bucket list

BUT! There’s more to summer than enjoying the long days with our kids. There is time in the long days for us, as women and mothers! Time for us to fulfill our needs and pursuits! And so, here is *my* bucket list, for summer and beyond–because, life. It’s fairly certain that my “summer” bucket list won’t be complete and it will carry over through the fall, too. I figure, my needs/desires deserve some attention, and if I don’t make a list of what I hope to accomplish, then it’s never going to happen. Why? Because I have a husband and 5 children, and I’m the sort of person (like many women) to put everyone else’s needs above my own–95% of the time. My hopeful solution is to have my bucket list, and once at a week, at least, make time for *me*.

Without further rambling, my list:

-Read “The Little Oratory” and beautify our prayer space.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset-Make a huge dent in my quilt project, sewing at least 3 full squares. I have these 4 done, plus two more. I’m pretty sure I will need 12-15 squares to finish the quilt, which I hope to have done by the Christmas season.

-Run a 5K. This might be my most ambitious goal, because I have little time to actually go and run to prep…but I plan on doing one anyway.

-Simplify our school supplies. I know, I know, that is not so much about me as it is about prepping for another school year…but I feel so much better when our things are organized and tidy and simple. To piggy-back on this: get a canvas for the huge map I have and hang it, as well as create some frames with clips so that I can hang the kids’ great pieces of work and change them out frequently and easily.

-Make a huge dent in my 2012 photo book project.

-Read “Something Other Than God”

-Read more of “Visual Poetry”, a photography book I’ve had for years, and see if I can kick up my skills a notch or two.

-Spend as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors! That will include working on my garden, taking the kids on hikes, visiting the farmers’ markets…


How about you? What do you really want to do this summer, for you?

“…Accept Children and Bring Them Up According to the Law of Christ…” Part 1

  I’m so delighted to be guest-posting on my dear friend Amanda’s blog while she’s honeymooning! Her series on the questions of intent and marriage vows is lovely, and writing this post to share has been fun. We do, after all, have some experience in this topic. 😉


Marriage isn’t just something to do when you love someone and think they’d be swell to live with for the rest of your life. Not even close! I’ll let you know, I love my husband. He is swell. But we don’t always get along, we don’t always have the same ideas about how to raise our family, we don’t always speak the same language, we don’t organize things the same way. Marriage is not always swell! But it is worth it. Marriage just so happens to be one of the various vocations to which a person can be called. It’s a vocation, because it’s a call from God on how best to live our lives and serve Him in this world. Do it well, and we hope for a place in Heaven alongside our spouse (and kids!) for the grand feast and perfect joy that comes with being united finally with God.

The Church has a few things to say about marriage and what is important. She teaches these things because, well, Jesus gave us the Church to guide us. The “rules” are in place to guide us, teach us, help us as we learn to live in the love of Christ.

It’s a big deal. And so, the things which a couple must understand and consent to–the things the Church has to say about marriage–are also a big deal.

One of them has to do with children.

Read the rest on Amanda’s blog!


When Scripture Has Just the Right Words

There are days that just start out on the wrong foot, you know? We all joke about Mondays being, well, Mondays. Monday can be a drag. It has a bad rap. For me, today, a Friday, is my Monday. The boys woke up acting sick–partly faking, in my opinion, and God knows why, since we have a birthday party tomorrow and vacation soon…Then they were fighting, yada yada. It’s just a blah kind of a day. My to-do list is a mile long, the baby is likely getting into some sort of mischief, and since we start our summer break from home school, I still have yet to spend a day relaxing. I see no point from here until after July 4 when I’ll feel like I can really relax, unless I make it happen. Today feels like a drag, like the stereotypical Monday.


And yet, there is still time for better! It’s not yet 9am. I made time to sit in stillness and semi-quiet about an hour ago, to read and pray with my favorite all-time devotional, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. Today’s verse was just what I needed. It’s just what we all need, everyday, I think. A beautiful reminder that God has *every grace* ready for us, so that we’re not just filled to the minimum and barely getting by, but we’re filled abundantly. Abundantly!

So, go and find some quiet to sit in prayer, soak up the abundant graces just waiting to fill you, and begin your day anew. It doesn’t matter if you’re nearly at the end of your day. Let God’s love and grace fill you, so you have more than enough for all your good works. I know I was deeply moved when reading these words, and am ready to start again, hopefully making the best use of the graces God’s blessed me with.

blue abundant grace

Feel free to copy these images and print them.

pink abundant grace

Summer Fun: 99+ Way to Conquer Summer Boredom {Guest Post by Laura}

{edit from Gina: My daughter and I realized on a re-read of this list that some ideas on this list are less fun and more like pranks, so I am revising to highlight my favorites from the list, and will maintain the link to the original post at the bottom.}

conquer summer boredom

Hey you! Has summer boredom gotten to you lately? Know people who are bored to death and don’t know what to do with themselves? Fear no more! Here is a list of ways to keep yourself busy collected from many online sources and people. Looking for more serious things to do? Check out these 10 pro-life ways to keep busy (or scroll to the end for specifically Catholic things to do).

  1. Go out for ice cream or frozen yogurt
  2. Makeovers (maybe even blinded)
  3. Have a paint fight
  4. Chubby Bunny
  5. Dramatic Hamster Reenactment
  6. Learn how to do each others hair
  7. Go to the beach
  8. Get your nails done at the salon
  9. Have a photoshoot
  10. Make or decorate T-shirts
  11. Draw (and fingerpaint!)
  12. Cook
  13. Ride your bikes
  14. Take a day hike
  15. Have a picnic lunch at a park
  16. Dance party!
  17. Karaoke
  18. Make up an ultimate handshake
  19. Skype people
  20. Have a race on your street
  21. Walk around your town
  22. Make friendship bracelets
  23. Mod podge something
  24. Just Dance
  25. Make a music video
  26. Go mini golfing
  27. Have a fashion show
  28. Mall Scavenger Hunt
  29. Dye your hair
  30. Fill water balloons with soap and water and wash your car
  31. Fill 100 water balloons and put them all on a trampoline see how wet you get
  32. Get friends and fill up balloons with paint and have a war.
  33. Give as many high fives to people at WalMart as possible. (Keep track and make high scores!).
  34. Make home-made ice cream and sorbet.
  35. Do summer twister by spray painting the spots on grass.
  36. Play water balloon sports (baseball, volleyball…)
  37. Water balloon piñata
  38. Beach bonfire
  39. Sleep under the stars
  40. Go camping.
  41. Play in the sprinklers
  42. Thumb wrestle
  43. Go to the library
  44. Learn how to fold origami
  45. Hopscotch
  46. Go fishing.
  47. Go Geocaching.
  48. Learn fancy jump-roping moves.
  49. Feed ducks
  50. Learn a line dance
  51. Go berry picking
  52. Game night!
  53. Read
  54. Finish that around-the-house project you’ve been meaning to do forever
  55. Make popcorn
  56. Color with crayons in a coloring book
  57. Drive-in movie
  58. Bob for apples
  59. Make some ideas from Pinterest
  60. Do game shows at home
  61. Organize family photos
  62. Make an obstacle course
  63. Play in the mud
  64. Visit a nursing home and sing for them
  65. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  66. Start an exercise program
  67. Go swimming
  68. Play Frisbee
  69. Send a hand-written letter to someone who could use a thoughtful note

Catholic things to do…

  1. Pray a novena
  2. Make a “Things Catholic ______’s Say” video and post it on YouTube
  3. Go to adoration
  4. Read a Catholic book (Here is a free copy of an MUST READ)
  5. Watch YouTube videos of Archbishop Fulton Sheen (He is a BEAST speaker)
  6. Volunteer at your church
  7. Go to Mass during the week
  8. Learn about saints
  9. Like Catholic Memes on Facebook and share the Catholic humor 🙂
  10. Pick a book of the Bible and use a guide to read it in depth
  11. Go to confession on a regular basis
  12. Call Catholic Answers Live with that burning question you have about Catholicism
(This post originally was published on Laura’s on blog.)
Bio: Laura, a junior Business Management major at Benedictine College, joined the pro-life movement a few years ago, and has been actively defending life ever since. In her ‘free time’ she enjoys reading about current life and faith issues, writing about them, and having debates about them. She loves her big family, summertime, blogging, Catholic memes, babies, and inspiring stories about people who defy the odds against them. Follow her blog at:

Summer Fun: A Cut Above {guest post by Allison Gringas}

A Cut Above20140602cut

Summer can be a great time to work on children’s academic and fine motor skills. A really fun way to accomplish both of those is with activities that help improve scissor skills. Scissor skills are an important part of every child’s early childhood development. Although most of us recognize that fact, we don’t always realize why children need scissor skills. Aside from the obvious use of scissors, there is also a relationship between scissor skills and writing, and then between writing and reading. Research shows that children who struggle with scissors, will often struggle in correctly forming letters, and children who can’t form letters correctly may have trouble reading. Unfortunately this can lead to frustration, and some children develop a dislike of not only writing, but also reading.

Some Summer Time Scissor Activities…

Clay Play: Part of the success of cutting and writing, is the strength of children’s fingers. One of the best materials for working those finger muscles is clay. The clay takes much more strength to manipulate, therefore providing children with great opportunities for finger muscles — a great warm up for cutting. Want to add a summer twist, play with your clay in the summer sun, as it melts kids can squish and smoosh it. If you are using colored clay swirl and meld together to create new colors or a tie-dye effect.

Play-Doh Cutting: Kids new to scissors or you are not ready for little pieces of cut paper everywhere – try Play-Doh with a pair of plastic scissors. Keeping scissors straight, and applying the appropriate pressure to cut through paper can be incredibly challenging for some children. The amazing thing about play dough and plastic scissors is no matter how you cut, you succeed! This is another wonderful outside activity, perfect for downtime in the shade when it is really hot outside or perfect for occupying hours during a rainy day.

Play-Doh Line Cutting: Want to create ‘lines’ for your child to follow? I use cookie cutters, and instead of pushing all the way through depress half-way. This leaves an ‘outline’ for children to follow with their scissors to practice cutting along lines. Give a plastic knife and let them create their own outline to cut.

Basic Cutting: 20140602cuttingGive children leftovers from when you wrap gifts, such as scraps of paper, ribbon, cards, envelopes and some scissors and just let them cut to their heart’s content. Worried about clean up – sit them in a wading pool (with or without water) or on a blanket. Cutting ribbon into water seem like a big mess – not when you end play time by handing out sieves to collect the scraps!

Cut and Collage: Want to use those cut up ribbon, cards, envelopes and paper scraps? Give children white glue and a cardboard (use a side of the cereal box), and let them create a colorful collage. Transform into wall art but gluing a cardboard frame to the top of the collage – which also provides more blank space for adding all those cut pieces!

Snip and Weave: To reuse holiday or birthday cards, with your child make small snips (cuts) around the edges of the card. Then, give your child yarn to weave or wrap around. The weaving helps to develop fine motor skills necessary for both cutting and writing. Variation: Use hole punch to turn old cards into lacing cards. Summer Twist: Purchase flat sponges that expand when water is added (found in educational supply magazines, or find thin sponges at the door store – after children have finished cutting them in to desired shapes, give them a bucket of water for a wet sponge fight!

Paper Trail Game: For older children, put them in the charge of creating a cut paper (ribbon, yarn) trail for you or younger siblings to follow leading to a hiding spot. What about the mess? Give the finder a basket, and have them pick up paper pieces (you can even get creative of how the pieces are to be picked up) as they venture down the path. Try chopsticks for pick up – this also increases their fine motor skills and strengthens their pincher grasps.

In my 15 years in providing childcare and teaching preschool, I never met a kid that didn’t like to play with scissors. However, this love can quickly turn to frustration and discouragement when lines are introduced. Practice really does make perfect, and summer is the perfect time to provide children that practice.

Copyright 2014, Allison Gingras, M.Ed.

This is a guest post from blogging friend Allison! Allison Gingras is a Catholic blogger, inspirational speaker, and radio host. Allison founded Reconciled To You (RTY) ministries in 2009 to share the wonder and awe of living the Catholic faith, and to encourage others how they can do same. RTY accomplishes this through radio, day retreats, presentations, social media, books, blogs and Apps. Allison’s radio show, Catholic 24/7 offers inspiration through your radio, computer or smart phone. Her faith sharing book: “Three Persons, One God: Growing in Relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, encourages people to reconcile their idea of who they believe God to be, with what is taught through Scripture and Tradition. Allison has also developed the Words with Jesus App, Seeking Faith retreat series, and Social Media BLINK series on Catholic TV. For more on Allison and RTY, visit

Birthday Gifts for the BABY who (literally) has (almost) Everything

You know how babies can be so fun to shop for, because they’re brand new and fun and how can a baby already have everything?

And you also know how impossible it is to buy a gift for the person who has everything?

Well, in my house, the baby *does* have everything. Almost, anyway. It’s a pretty sweet deal for us as parents, actually. Since he’s #5, we’ve passed down tons of things from his older siblings. Firecracker has no need of riding toys, blocks, balls, puzzles, books (but books are always a great gift, in my opinion. Stories are awesome. Books help imaginations and creativity and literacy. Books are swell).

The only small problem is that Firecracker’s first birthday is just around the corner (July 4, hence his nickname), and people are going to want to gift him with something. Let’s face it, he’s too little for gift cards (because then that is really a gift for meeeeee), too little for Legos (which already abound here), too little for his own bike (which will be a hand-me-down from his older brothers anyway). He needs no clothes, either. He won’t have any idea what is going on if he were taken on a fun outing for his birthday.

What do you gift a baby or toddler who has almost everything?


I’m digging up ideas. Here are some of my top finds, based on my own tastes and ideas for my kiddos, as well as ideas my friends said they’d love for their kids! Some you can even do yourself.

–Fabric ABC s

–Playdoh (use your best judgement. If your kid eats everything, maybe wait on the playdoh. I plan to just play with him)

–Soft soled shoes

20140528silks–Play silks

–Shooting Star bean bags

–A box to play in, decorated and spruced up with tactile things like hanging ribbons

–Branch blocks for outdoor play

–Experiences: a zoo outing, picnic with special treats at the park, that kind of thing (best, in my opinion, with older toddlers and children)

–Diapers and wipes (on the wish list of my friend who has twins!)

–Personalized things which will hopefully be lasting treasures (suggested by a fellow mom, though not everyone likes personalized gifts! We don’t do much personalization around here)

20140528babybooks–Books (books are always awesome! These are some of our most-loved baby books.)

–A toy-of-the-month–now, don’t get all crazy and roll your eyes on me here! I *know* I said it’s as if we have all the things…but we don’t, and there are some pretty sweet shops on Etsy which have quality, handmade items that would be great gifts. This idea, a wooden toy of the month, was suggested by a friend in a mom’s group. I love it!

–Another spectacular idea: a photo shoot with your baby! Many photographers offer gift certificates if you can’t swing the whole session fee, and many photographers are very reasonable in their prices. I just *love* the photos I have of my children, and when Firecracker was born, we were lucky enough to have won part of a package with a local photographer. Those images are precious!


Have fun and get creative. Think outside the box for one and two year olds–they don’t need much, but it is fun to gift those sweet little ones, isn’t it?