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

Thursday, November 30, 2017

St. Andrew Christmas Novena

Happy Feast of St. Andrew! 

I was blessed to be able to venerate a first class relic of St. Andrew after Mass this morning.

It is piously believed that whoever recites the St. Andrew Christmas Novena fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew until Christmas will obtain what is asked.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires (Mention your intentions here) through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His most Blessed Mother. Amen.

+Michael Augustine, Archbishop of New York
February 6, 1897

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

This year as the unknown looms ahead of me, I am reminded that there is so much for which we can and should be thankful.

May God bless all of you!

*I couldn't resist going with the Charlie Brown theme. My little boys really like Snoopy. How could I not be a fan?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Water Damage (Part 2)

Once the walls were painted and tile was installed, we chose carpeting for two of the bedrooms. The girls chose Stainmaster Trusoft carpet in "Medallion" for their room. The carpet complements the "Greek Isles" paint that they chose for their walls nicely. The boys settled on Stainmaster Trusoft "Raffia" for their bedroom. We will use the same color in the other two bedrooms when we redo the carpeting in the other two bedrooms next summer.

We knew that having mismatched floors in the living room and hallway would look odd. We also knew that we couldn't match our old Pergo with new Pergo. We decided to have Pergo Outlast Auburn Scraped Oak installed in our kitchen, dining room, hallway, and living room. Little did we know that this decision would delay our flooring install and trim re-installation for months. Updated to say years.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The Blessing of Children

On Saturday, October 28, we had the privilege of witnessing our tenth godchild’s baptism. I was surprised and honored when our godson’s mother called and asked if we would be godparents to their soon to be adopted baby boy. Little did she know that Mikhael would be born one month early and shortly after calling me, she and her husband would be holding their first son, Mikhael Pierre, in their arms. Little did any of us know that Mikhael would be baptized three days after his original due date.

Before the baptism, I was thankful to hear the priest speak about the gift of children. He shared with everyone that parents do their best to contain their children during Mass and to keep them quiet. He commented that we shouldn’t complain about the noise of young children in the church. He said that rather we should be thankful for the noise because the noise of young children means that the church has a future. The priest’s comments reminded me of the holy priest who baptized our oldest daughter telling me that when Joan cried, she was praising God in the only way she knew how.

I pray for purity, holiness, (eternal) happiness for Mikhael and all my children and godchildren each day. I pray that they all become great saints and bring greater glory to God. May God watch over and protect our children that they may one day sing His praises in Heaven.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tile Floors

Recently, a friend asked me, “Why did you choose tile? Seems cold and well, hard. Do you have throw rugs for the cold winters or warm slippers?”

Just in case anyone else is trying to decide whether or not to install cold, hard tile in their house, I thought that I would share my response here.

In our first home, we had tile in our entryway, and I really liked it. It is so easy to clean. I think that it is the best option for entryways where wet and dirty shoes enter a home.

In addition, I walked on the porcelain tile that we bought before buying it and I really liked the feel of it. Cold tile doesn’t bother me. Truth be told, so far it hasn’t felt as cold as the vinyl used to feel under my feet downstairs. Plus, large porcelain tile looks better than vinyl. Since the cost of the tile installation (materials included) was very similar to what it would have cost to have vinyl installed, it was a no brainer for us. 

Finally, we decided to install porcelain tile in our upstairs bathroom and in our entryway because the tile that we purchased has a 0.4% water absorption rate. The old vinyl in the upstairs bathroom was black (bleach wouldn’t remove it) and swollen near the bathtub. We wanted flooring that wouldn’t mold. We chose tile for the downstairs hallway and bathroom because tile is the best flooring to use on concrete. The vinyl used to feel cold and hard downstairs. When we took up the carpet at the bottom of the stairs, the padding was falling apart. In our main room downstairs, the padding is stuck to the floor. We had thought about putting Pergo downstairs, but the Carpet Pros installer told us that even with the moisture barrier, Pergo, isn’t the best option on concrete. Carpet and wood aren’t really good options either. 

We are still trying to decide if we should eventually put carpet or tile in the main room downstairs. This room has always felt colder than the other rooms in the house. If we do decide to install tile in this room, I think that we might opt to heat the floor with this. I have heard that doing so not only heats the floor, but can also increase the temperature in the room by around 10 degrees. The thought of making this room warmer, makes the prospect of tiling it very enticing. Of course, we have to have the money to do so first, but I can always daydream. 

Monday, October 02, 2017

Water Damage (Part 1)

One morning in March, I was woken by one of my sons standing by my bed telling me that the bathroom floor was flooded with dirty toilet water. Before I could get out of bed, Cecilia came upstairs and told me that there was water dripping into the bathroom, her closet, and her bedroom. I got out of bed to go and see what was causing the problem. As I stepped in the hallway, I gasped. My foot was wet and slimy. I made my way to the bathroom, turned off the toilet and instructed a couple of my sons to bail the overflowing toilet. They had to bail it one or two other times during the day.

My husband told me to contact our insurance company. I did so, and the rep gave me the names of two water mitigation teams and told me to call one of them. I called one of the companies. An employee came out with giant dehumidifiers, fans, and a humidity reader. The man made note of high humidity readings and told me that employees would come the next day to take out flooring, walls, and ceilings. 

Once flooring, walls, ceilings, casing, etc. were removed, it was time to find someone to repair and texture the drywall. We called a couple of people before turning to Home Advisor for recommendations. We had four or five contractors come out to give estimates and chose one of them. The man was conscientious, hardworking, and friendly towards my children. My husband and I were happy with who we chose to do the work, despite the fact that the textured walls weren't matched exactly.

Next, we started to paint the main areas of the house. Thankfully, we had matched the paint a few years ago, making it possible for us to paint all the walls and avoid painting the ceiling in most of the rooms. We decided to paint our trim "Polar Bear" white which totally changed the look of the color on the walls. The money that we saved by painting everything ourselves was applied towards upgrading from vinyl flooring to tile in two bathrooms and our downstairs hallway. Thankfully, the porcelain tile that we liked cost less per square foot than vinyl.

"Lychee" paint
"Night Blooming Jasmine" paint

We were ready to focus on flooring for the upstairs hallway. Our upstairs hallway carpet matched our carpeting in the living room and on our stairs. Knowing that we wouldn't be able to match the carpeting and how much we liked the Pergo Original American Honey Oak in our dining room and kitchen, I set to work trying to find a close match. We thought that we could extend the Pergo from the kitchen and dining room into the hallway so that the upstairs flooring would still look cohesive. After a lot of research, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we would not be able to find a close match for the Pergo that was installed in our house over 20 years ago. 

We were left trying to decide whether we pay out of pocket to have new carpeting installed in our living room and on our stairs or whether we pay to install new Pergo in our kitchen, dining room, living room, hallway, and stairs. It's too bad that insurance companies don't pay to maintain the cohesive look of a house unless it's paint on walls and ceilings.

To be continued...

*We used "Greek Isles" paint in our daughters' bedroom and "Night Blooming Jasmine" in one of the boys' rooms.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A Midsummer Garden

Echinacea 'Double Scoop Bubblegum'

I couldn't resist scooping up this beauty when I saw it for a reduced price last month at a local garden store. It seems to be thriving in its new home. 

Platycodon 'White' (Balloon Flower)

I planted three balloon flowers several years ago and then transplanted them the next year. This is the only plant that survived the transplantation. It is a prolific and beautiful bloomer.

Cosmos (St. Michael's Flower)

Despite their dainty appearance Cosmos are hardy annuals in our garden. We can always count on them to grow from seeds that I scatter in the spring. 

Cosmos (St. Michael's Flower)

This beautiful Cosmos came from the same seed packet as the flower above.

Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum'

I purchased a single Black-eyed Susan several years ago. Each year, it has continued to grow and spread. They grow from rhizomes which means that I occasionally need to pull some of the flowers to keep them in bounds. I have debated moving them, but their bright sunny yellow color prevents me from doing so. 

Rose 'Gertrude Jekyll'

This is the newest and most fragrant rose in my garden. I have planted it in a very dry spot and am hoping that I can get its roots to grow deep enough that it survives the winter without me watering it. 


Usually, I plant geraniums in our backyard planters. This year, I decided to divide our raspberries and plant them in the planters. Thus, the geraniums ended up in the garden. 

Sweet Alyssum

I plant alyssum around my garden each year. The fragrance is truly sweet. 


After having Anthony transplant this tree a couple of years ago, I read that peach trees don't like to be transplanted. This peach tree is proving what I read wasn't quite right. We shouldn't always believe what we read. 


My dad planted these grapes from his garden before moving away almost twelve years ago. The children enjoy foraging for them while playing in the backyard. 


Some of the grapes are easier to get than others. 

'Friar' Plum

Hopefully, this plum ripens and we are able to pick it before the squirrels do. 

Italian Prunes

My parents had the most amazing Italian prune tree when I was growing up. The fruit was juicy and delicious. I am anxious to see how these prunes compare. 

Centipedes, do you really have 100 legs?

Strawberries (Fruitful Virgin)

I divided and transplanted some of our strawberries this year. I am surprised to see that they are still bearing fruit in August. My little boys so enjoy plucking them from the planters whenever they are outside. 


Do you see the busy bee? The bees really seem to like the blanket flowers, penstemon, and scabiosa. Seeing them flying all around my garden makes me wonder if beekeeping might be something that our boys would enjoy. 

Rose 'Peace'

A friend of mine gave me this Rose in 2003 when I miscarried at 19 weeks. The first year it produced three blooms. This year, the blooms haven't stopped coming. 

What do you have growing in your garden?

Monday, July 24, 2017


I hope that nobody else's daughter feels this way about their dad. ;)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Encouraging Confession

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me how we encourage our children to go to confession. I shared the following with her. I am sharing it here just in case it helps any other mothers. 

In my family, we make it a habit to go to confession on the First Friday/First Saturday of each month. If any of the children want to go before then, they can do so. Having your child review his conscience each night before bed is a good habit. We can help our children by focusing on the 10 Commandments with prompting questions (Did I always listen to my mommy and daddy?) and letting the child reflect on each one quietly in his head. We have been known to go over the 10 Commandments with questions on our way to Mass. Don't ever tell your child that he has sinned. Do gently help him see that he has done so by encouraging him to examine his conscience at the end of each day. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer Garden



One of the benefits of gardening is having a ready supply of cut flowers to place around the house.

Photos copyright Anthony
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