"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Read Alouds

Angel Food for Boys and Girls: Volume I by Father Gerald T.  Brennan
The Angel Food for Boys and Girls series is an absolute favorite in our house. I don't think that I have ever finished reading a tale from this series without hearing, "Please read just one more story." All of my children have delighted in hearing these stories over the years. Fr. Brennan has a gift for writing books that entertain and teach at the same time.

We learned about this entertaining book from Jen. My children enjoyed hearing about Celeste's adventures and her narrow escapes. They liked the illustrations too.

The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti
My husband and I saw this book on a library shelf and we were intrigued by the detailed and realistic illustrations of Tuscany. Our older children were happy to listen to this classic story of Pinocchio once again, and our younger children learned a thing or two by listening to the story of Pinocchio.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, illustrated by E.H. Shepard
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this classic story as a child. I spent hours looking at E.H. Shepard's illustrations. My children delighted in the adventures of Toad, Rat, Mole, and Badger, marveled at Toads narrow escape, and occasionally shook their heads at his antics. One of my sons thought "the washerwoman" was hilarious. The Wind in the Willows is a book that all children should read or hear read.

New Catholic Picture Bible by Lawrence G. Lovasik
When Catherine was younger, my husband used to read a children's bible to her and eventually her siblings each night. After reading a story, my husband would ask questions. My dad used to delight, when he and my mom visited, in asking Catherine questions about various stories from the bible. She was always able to answer his questions. Somewhere along the way, the nightly bible reading stopped. Well, in February, we decided to start our old tradition again. The children are enjoying listening to their father read the bible after our family rosary each night and they are taking pleasure in answering his questions.

Stories of the Child Jesus from Many Lands by A. Fowler Lutz
We gave this book to Bernadette as a Christmas present a few years ago. She has read it and reread it over the years. This year, I asked her if we could use it as one of our morning read alouds, she was happy to oblige. The book includes beautiful inspirational stories of the Child Jesus from various countries.

Legends and Stories of Italy by Amy Steedman
The faith-filled stories in this book lend themselves well to narration. After I finished reading, I asked, "What can you tell me about the story?" One of my children would respond by retelling the story that I read. If they left anything out of their retelling, another child was happy to add a little more to the retelling. I highly recommend Legends and Stories of Italy. The stories are wonderful to read aloud or quietly.


Sixty Saints for Girls by Joan Windham
A friend gave me this book after I told her about Sixty Saints for Boys. My children and I thoroughly enjoy the memorable stories in both of these books.

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Personal Reading

Faces of Holiness: Modern Saints in Photos and Words by Ann Ball

I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Thérèse of Lisieux by Fr. Jean C.J. d'Elbee
I have appreciated reading this book during Lent a few times. It makes for a wonderful little retreat. Each time that I read this book, it provides me with more to ponder.

I wish that I could recommend this book, but I can't. Several years ago, the mother of a family for whom I tutored gave my husband and me recordings of talks that Fr. Hardon, S.J. had given to a group of either seminarians or dads. In his talks, Fr. Hardon spoke about the Blessed Virgin Mary and the fact that she is full of Grace. He spoke about how many people try to take this title away from Our Blessed Mother by referring to her as merely "highly favored". Towards the end of his presentation, Fr. Hardon advised his listeners to burn any bible (or book) that they owned that referred to Mary as highly favored instead of full of Grace. He said, "If you can't burn it, then send it to me and I will burn it for you." In the meditation for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year B), Mother Mary Francis explains the Angel Gabriel's greeting to Mary; however, instead of referring to the Mother of God as being full of Grace, she refers to her as being "highly favored". I am not advising book burning; I am sharing that Our Blessed Mother is full of grace. The Angel Gabriel greeted her, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse the thee.

Mother Love by Rev. Pius Franciscus

Living the Liturgical Year by Dom Gueranger

The Glories Of Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori
This book is truly excellent!

Uniformity with God's Will by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Every Catholic should read and reread this short, inexpensive, easy to read booklet.

A Brief Life of Christ by Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Ven. Sheen wrote this short, easily digestible book two years prior to writing Life of Christ. I didn't have time to read Life of Christ this past Lent, so I read this book instead. It was perfect.

Children and Parents by Ven. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Sheen's Children and Parents is an excellent, easy to read book that is full of wisdom for parents.

The Cross and the Beatitudes by Ven. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
The Cross and the Beatitudes takes Our Lord's seven last words and juxtaposes them with the seven Beatitudes, showing us how Christ embraced the beatitudes as he was dying on the cross and how we can live them. If you live in the same county as me, our library system has several copies of this book. It is well worth reading.

Saint Bernadette Soubirous by Abbe Francois Trochu
I am thankful to Fr. Dennis Gordon, FSSP for recommending this book to me. If anyone wants to know more about St. Bernadette Soubirous and/or Our Lady of Lourde's appearances to her, this is the book to read. Abbe Trochu writes beautifully about St. Bernadette's life and our Blessed Mother's appearance to her. He provides the reader, or perhaps I should say, "St. Bernadette's words or life" provide the reader with much food for thought. St. Bernadette didn't become a saint because Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to her; rather, she became a saint because she lived her life according to God's will without complaint. Saint Bernadette Soubirous would be a great book to read during the month of February. I highly recommend this book.

The Conspirators and the Crown by Hugh Ross Williamson

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people.

For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying:
Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.
~ Luke 2:6-14 ~

Christ the Savior is born!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Apple and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

This casserole has become a Christmas morning staple in our house and makes for a tasty Christmas breakfast. The original recipe came from a Costco cookbook a couple of years ago. Catherine makes this slightly adapted recipe on Christmas Eve day each year, which means that she will be making it again tomorrow. Today, we are baking cookies and other goodies again. After waking up on Christmas morning, I wander into the kitchen and pop the breakfast casserole into the oven. Enjoy!

Apple and Sausage Christmas Breakfast Casserole

  • 1 pound breakfast sausage (we use maple syrup flavored sausages) 
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped 
  • 5 TBSP sugar, divided 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 6 cups cubed French bread 
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 9 large eggs, beaten 
  • 2/3 cups sour cream 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 cups milk 


Coat a 12-x-9 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Brown sausage in a skillet, stirring to crumble.
Toss apples in a bowl with 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon.
Place half of the bread cubes in the prepared baking dish. Top with half of the sausage, half of the apple mixture, and half of the cheese. Repeat the layers.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sour cream. Whisk in 3 tablespoons sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add milk and whisk until combined. Pour over the mixture in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Bake, uncovered, for about 70 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Makes 8 to 10 servings. Although there are 10 people in our family, we always have leftovers.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fourth Sunday of Advent

"And it came to pass that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his o...wn city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David. To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child." 
~ Luke 2:1-5 ~

I read somewhere recently that it took four days for Joseph and Mary to travel form Nazareth to Bethlehem. There are four days until Christmas. I hope that everyone has a faith-filled fourth week of Advent.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Remembering the Reason for the Season when Giving Gifts

In my last post, I kind of joked about buying Christmas presents for nine children this year. I enjoy getting things for my children, especially religious presents, and things that they need and like. Each year, my children are given three Christmas presents. Shortly after our first child was born, my husband and I agreed that it was important to give at least one Christmas present that would help our children to grow in their love for God. After all, Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birth.

Over the years, we have given our children basic and more detailed religious puzzles, books, Nativity sets and figures, ornaments, games, and more. This year, my husband and children will be getting the following religious Christmas presents:

Saints Memory Card Game
When my older children were young, we got Mary Memory. We still have it and the children like playing go fish, using the cards. When I saw Saints Memory on the Fraternity Publications website, I knew that it would make a wonderful little present for one of my younger children. The quality of the cards is great and I am impressed with the selection of saint pictures. I am looking forward to playing saint memory and go fish with my children, using these cards.

Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass
This gem of a book comes highly recommended by our friends, including our pastor. I can't wait to see it. Fr. S. told me that looking at Treasure and Tradition you would think that it was an excellent reprint of an old book; however, it is a treasure that Lisa Bergman has written for Latin Mass goers (and anyone who is interested in the rich history of the Church) today. It would make a wonderful present for both priests and lay people.

The Saving Name of God the Son by Jean Ann Sharpe
One of my little boys will be getting this board book for Christmas.

Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate
We have checked this book out from the library year after year around Christmas time. When Patrick asked if he could get this book for Christmas, I decided that I would get it for one of his younger brothers. It is a sweet little story that has worked its way into Patrick's heart.
The Catholic Girl's Guide edited by Fr. Lasance
Two of my daughters already have this book. Come Christmas, three of my daughters will have this book. I think that every Catholic tween or teen would benefit from owning and reading this book.

Infinity Veils

Fr. Peter Cutouts

Praying Angel Ornament
I purchased this beautiful ornament from Fraternity Publications.Unfortunately, it is no longer available on their website.

Angels in Iron by Nicholas C. Prata
My husband recommended that we buy this book for one of our boys. I think that he will enjoy reading it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Making a List and Checking it Twice

I've been making a list and checking it twice, and with nine children it hasn't been nice. Last year, I had all of the children's presents purchased before Advent, but that didn't happen this year. I had presents for the little ones by the time Advent started. Last week, I had presents for everyone except my oldest daughter. Thanks to Thirty-One, I now have a present for her too.

Thirty-One is having a flash sale and my friend, Trish, is a consultant. I am throwing a Thirty-One party too.*

Some of Thirty-One's City Weekenders, Timeless Beauty Bags, Zipper Pouches, and more are on sale for up to 80% off. I just purchased the three items mentioned and finished shopping for Christmas presents. 

The City Weekender (pictured below) is only $19.99. I had it personalized for an additional $7.00 and my oldest is going to find it under the Christmas tree after Midnight Mass.

*Please note, sale items cannot be purchased through my party link. If you visit Trish's website and click on "December Flash Sale" in the sidebar on the left, you can see all of the sale items. Other patterns and styles are on sale too.

If you would like to purchase non-December flash sale items, please do so through my party link.
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