Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review (&Giveaway) Wednesday - Our Lady's Garden


Happy Wednesday!

Happy Feast Day of Saint Joseph of Arimathea and Saint Nicodemus!
Don't you love it when you see names you knew as a child and they are Saints? I do!

Please forgive the lateness of this post... you see, I am a wife and mother AND an egotistical perfectionist... and I'm very aware that I need to improve my coloring skills. Sigh. Oh me!

I am so very excited to share with you one of the funnest books I've reviewed in a long time. Ok - EVER! It's my first Adult Coloring Book.

Cathy K. from Pauline Books & Media sent me Our Lady's Garden because she knew I needed it AND because I really wanted it.  There is a set that includes this book and a beautiful CD that can be purchased at Pre-Order Prices (until midnight tonight) on Color, Listen, Pray!

Life is stressful and this is just the best stress relief EVER!

These will sit on my bedside table and I love that I can listen to the beautiful music and meditations. I can not LOVE this enough.

And Veruschka Guerra is a "knock your socks off", unbelievably talented artist. You should look up her blog Veruschka Guerra and her illustrations on this site Veruschka Guerra Illustracao. God has blessed this lady! She brings the images to us and we add color. You can't beat that!

This book is full of meditations and prayers, and encourages you to draw closer to Our Lady. Sigh - I just love it. Did I mention that?

This is a close up of the writing on the page I colored.

And this is the piece I colored.

How fun is that? I can never thank Cathy and and the Sisters for all the great things they have sent me to review. My life has been changed by all the positive messages I have been so blessed with.

Before I forget - Pre-Order Prices are good till the end of today on this link - Color, Listen, Pray!
You really want to check them out. I'll be ordering the 2nd book called Windows into Christ because I have to have it.


Ladies - YOU need this coloring book. AND to help you get it, I will be giving one away. It's not the set, but One copy of Our Lady's Image.   Leave a comment on my blog or if you have problems commenting, check out the Our Home, Mary's Mantle FaceBook Page and leave a comment there under this blog post. I will check both places.  One comment per person. 

You have till Saturday, September 3rd to leave a comment.  I will post the winner after Mass on Sunday and arrange to get the book to you (through Cathy).

As always thanks for reading my blog.
Hugs & Blessings,

Friday, August 26, 2016

Small Success Thursday - Yes I Know It's Friday...

Happy Thursday Friday!

The past couple days have been tough.  It's honestly like the worst roller-coaster ride ever.... to wait and watch as someone you love dies of cancer.  You pray for God to take them because you can't stand their pain.. but you know God has a plan and it is perfect. Dad took a turn for the worse last week.

I'm gonna be honest with you, I have had more than a few "why me" moments and more than a few "when my dad goes, who will be my family?" moments over the past several months.  My success with it has been embracing them. I was raised to hide my feelings, mask it "conceal, don't feel" because frankly it was easier with all the turmoil in our lives, I guess.  But I am embracing the pain and letting it all out - the loss, the hurt, the scared feelings.  And I am purposing to work through them and know my worth. My worth is given to me by My Lord. I am finding strength and purple through all this pain.

I am linking up with Small Success Thursday @ and you all simply have to read Sherry's post - especially if you need a smile.

God has planted so many great things in my life this week and He is truly walking me through all this. And I am so thankful.

Monday was the first day of school for our public school district and about 3-ish, I happened to be in our front room, turning off a scentsy and I looked out and saw a young girl crouching under our tree. It was raining hard... and she was soaked, crying and on the phone. I grabbed a towel and opened the door, and said, "honey, come here, I'm safe, I have a towel, is that your mom, let me talk to her... it's ok"... all at the same time.. She was so upset. She's a new 7th grader and she just moved here Saturday (two days before).  The bus dropped her off and the rain started coming down, and she got confused and didn't remember where she lived. Anyway - I talked to her mom as she was drying off and I asked for permission to take her home (we brought my son so she would feel more comfy).  Later than evening, her mom came around and thanked me. She is a teacher in another district and couldn't get to her daughter. Sigh. I was so happy to help ya'll.  I feel like God lets us know that life goes on... others need us and it's ok. Does that sound odd?

This Tuesday, I started volunteering for our Religious Ed office at our Parish (Saint Patrick in Fort Worth), and my son started a University Model Catholic Co-Op (OLGC. Also @St. Patrick). This is big and it was scary, but my son and I prayed this prayer to kick off our school year.

We are both Introverts in a Extrovert world... and though we are witty (read sarcastic) and funny and people genuinely like us, it's easy for us to get it wrong.  But he had a great day and so did I. They needed me and I needed them - I got to work outside the house, interact with adults and be helpful to my Parish! WOOHOO!!! Ahhhh... Success.

Wednesday, I took my child to the dentist for his appt. Got up early, and off we went. The lady says, "ma'am I show your appt. as pending!" In my life, I have never heard of such a thing. I said, I don't know what that means, but I'm going to stay calm. When can you fit him in... not till next Wednesday... ok! sigh. I never raised my voice ya'll. It's a Miracle. FOR REAL! I'm really trying to change that part of me and be more understanding. Sigh. YAY

My child is putting forth effort in his school work. He's checking the site and keeping up with assignments. I am loving it. I hope and pray he keeps it up. And you know what - all these years, he said he did not like the journals in science... they were too babyish for him. But they are learning lab books (same as a journal) and he loves it. He even drew a picture from a picture...  I will elaborate more on this in my weekly homeschool wrap-up tomorrow. But I call that a success.

I had an emotional day yesterday that didn't facilitate blogging. But I'm back today and I'm doing better. That's how life goes.

Ok - I am wrapping it up now. My child is making us coffee and I have to fun to the grocery store for dinner. It's Friday and we need fish (and I forgot to take it out). HA

Thanks for reading my rambly post.

Hugs & Blessings all,

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Book Review Wednesday - Seven Riddles to Nowhere

Happy Wednesday ALL!
Happy Feast Day of Saint Bartholomew!

Today I am reviewing a fantastic book for Middle-Schoolers. Well, that is what the book is slated for, however, I think everyone should read it! It's been a while since I've reviewed a book on my blog. And I have to be honest with you, this was a hard book to review.  It made me very emotional.  So many people concentrate on the seven riddles to solve (in the book) and the amazing treasure hunt these children are on while solving the riddles; however, and what I can't stop thinking about is how wonderful the lead character, Kameron Boyd, is. I am a little teary as I write this. It touched me that much.

I am part of a group of bloggers who volunteer to review 7 Riddles to Nowhere, by A.J. Cattapan. Before I officially start my review, let me tell you about a couple things. 

#1 - This book will officially launch on August 31st.  
#2 - Come Party with A.J. Please join us at the Review Launch Party on FaceBook  for 7 Riddles to Nowhere. There are so many great books being given away. FUN!!!
#3 - If you want to know more about the Author, check out her website - A.J. Cattapan, She is a captivating writer that keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat. 

On to my review:

Family, faith, action-packed treasure hunt, reward, death, heroes, villains… this book has everything! I read the book Seven Riddles to Nowhere, by A.J. Cattapan in less than 24 hours.  I had to know what happened…. I needed to know why Kam lost his voice, if he and his friends saved the school, and how all the characters fit together, including a nun, a snooty rich family, and  creepy, old Mr. Englebert. 

You see, early on in the book, it becomes clear their beloved Catholic school is going to have to close if they can’t quickly become financially solvent.  To Kam, the school was family, as his beloved grandmother went there as a young girl. Just as it was looking bleak, Kam and several other children, including T.J. Reynolds IV (the bully) were sent on a mysterious and adventurous, riddle-based scavenger hunt through the city of Chicago’s Catholic Churches.  

They had to answer seven riddles and text them to a person they didn’t know (wait till you find out who it was). The winner of the scavenger hunt would win enough money to save the school. What a beautiful picture Ms. Cattapan painted as she took us from Church to Church, weaving the Catholic faith we love into every endeavor.  The hero and his fantastic group of unconventional friends, overcomes adversity and the villain gets a shock, in the end.

I really want to describe to you every character, every scene, every twist (this is why it was so hard to review, I kept giving too much info in my excitement).... I would if I didn’t think that You simply MUST read this for yourself.  This book never slowed down… it was as if I was on a rollercoaster and I didn’t know where the loops or plunges were – and I loved it.

In the end - COMMUNITY ruled the day. The old school everyone loved, and the community that came together to save it - all for various reasons. Sigh. I cried. But I'm a crier. <3

Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone, from about 4th grade on up who like reading books that are full of examples of virtue and community. Sure it’s a Catholic book in many ways; however, Ms. Cattapan does a great job of intertwining our faith in a way that would not be off-putting to anyone who wasn’t Catholic. I hope that makes sense.

I reviewed this book, courtesy A.J. through NetGalley. And when I receive a hard-copy, my son and I will be reading it together.

I pray you found this review helpful. If so, let me know.

Also please read the other reviews on GoodReads and (and I'm sure elsewhere).

Hugs & Blessings,

Friday, August 19, 2016

Davis Academy - 7th Grade Curriculum Overview

Happy Friday All!

Today (and yes, there are still about 90-minutes in the day) I am linking up with Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for the Weekly Wrap Up.

The Weekly Wrap Up is a fantastic place to learn what other homeschoolers do for the week. They talk about important issues, what's new in homeschooling all learning styles, including special needs. It's great!

Another school year is upon us. Where did the Summer go? Well - we barely had one. Between finishing school late , extreme heat and sickness, it was kinda a bust around here. My poor child. The good news for us, we know how blessed we are.

So if you have been following my roller-coaster ride of a homeschool experience, you know the following:
  • I both love and hate it. Yes, it's true. I am a reluctant homeschooler.  I miss my income, not having to struggle financially and I miss working with other adults. I miss having a second car... I am selfish.  But I also see how much confidence it's given my child, how much he's excelling... and I know it is right for him.
  • That we are enrolled in school, because it's my husband's requirement. And I'm thankful for it. It keeps me honest.
  • I switch back and forth between Mother of Divine Grace & Seton Homeschool.  Though I pray we will use Seton for the duration.  I switched last year because my student's friends told him how much better MODG was, and he begged me to switch. I thought - ok, I have to pick my battles. Let's just say by the end of the year, he said - Please sign me up with Seton. MODG just was not for us. I tried to get onboard. It just does not click with our style. 
  • My student has Aspergers (heavy on the .... never mind. - haha).
  • I am far from perfect. No really, it's true. YOU? 
  • I believe in actual schooling. What do I mean? You have to stay home and purpose to get the work done. Homeschool is not just one big party. These children will go to College, God willing and they must be ready. (My opinion, of course).
  • We almost always finish late because we go on vacation and such. This is the only part I would truly miss IF we gave up homeschool. The ability to travel on occasion, on the off-season, when it is less crowded, less expensive, etc. Plus, business trips with Marque, etc.
  • And I have fallen away from blogging about it. And I'm fixing that - starting today! 
So, here we go! I have placed pictures of all the books we are using (minus the Saint Stories for book reports).

What I love about Seton is that they send all the Lesson Plans to you... aka you don't have to reinvent the wheel. AND they introduce the courses and give you tips.... which for the non-teacher-by-trade mamas is an excellent and less overwhelming option (my opinion).

Let me state, for the record, that I so admire the homeschool mamas/parents that love to pick from here and there. It's just not me. And aren't we all blessed to be able to choose what works best for us (hopefully without offending others).

Here are the pictures of the books we are using:

This year, Christopher is enrolled in a University Model Co-Op.  He will be taking Literature/Writing, General Science, and Art. The Orientation was the 16th and classes start the 23rd.


I am sure you are thinking - a full load at Seton AND a Co-Op? That's crazy talk. Ya'll, normally I would agree - HOWEVER, I have a plan.

ART - the Art will count towards Seton Art. We will read the Art History part of the Seton books and look up some paintings, etc. But I am excited for him to take an ACTUAL Art class. They are learning how to draw, shade, etc. I can't wait to see what he does.

GENERAL SCIENCE -  the General Science will count toward Seton Science.  He will just have to take the tests online for Seton, so the school ones will be like a review.  Other than that - there should not be much duplicate.

LITERATURE - this is the place I see that we may have an issue. I am not all the way through reading the lesson plans, but what's a little more reading amongst friends? lol Sigh - my poor child.  Language Arts at Seton is really about Spelling, Vocabulary, Reading and Language. If it gets to be overwhelming I will pull him out of it at Co-Op. I don't know what else to say. I am hopeful we can make it work.  Pray for us.

I mostly took the Lit Course at Co-Op because I want him to learn how to write from someone besides me.

The use a really cool tool called It's an app (thankfully it can be used on the phone or computer). Students get assignments and ask questions. Teachers and parents communicate. It's pretty cool. I'm not a techy but it's not particularly hard to use - so that's a bonus.

Our Schedule is this:

  • Co-Op started the 16th. They said it was orientation, but we have had daily assignments, so in my book, it's started.  
    • Art - Christopher had to choose a picture that he wants to use to learn how to draw a grayscale drawing.
    • In Science - Christopher had to sign a couple contracts and take a quiz about his learning style (almost even in Auditory and Tactile). He has reading to do this weekend.
    • English - he had to read Riki Tiki Tavi and answer some comprehension questions and use vocabulary words in complete sentences.
  • Seton Starts August 29th. I need a week to get organized. 
  • We have baseball practice Monday - Wednesday evenings 6p - 8p.
  • We have Karate on Fridays.
  • Occasionally we have Youth Group on Sundays.

Anyway - We are looking forward to our year.

I can't wait to show you actual lab books and the fun things he does.
If you got this far, bless you  as it's kind of dry.

Hugs & Blessings,

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Small Success Thursday - Small Things Give Hope

Happy Thursday Everyone.
If I am being honest, I am one heckuva sour puss today. But like every Thursday, I look for the Successes, the small things that give me hope. Thankfully there are always plenty. Oh sure, I broke a shot glass that someone else left on the counter and shattered it everywhere... and sure I was up past 1am painting pegs to get them done before a deadline... I was determined all day to have a great day... and you know what - I DID!

Peg Dolls are Done & Gone. So in June, I signed up for a Marian Peg Swap. Ever since I bought one for my child for his First Holy Communion, I've loved the little Peg People. LOVE.  So, Emily-the-overachiever decides 2.5 months is MORE than enough to paint two pegs (two swap groups, 20 each) - oh and toss in a baby Jesus for one. You know - 60 dolls. Oh it doesn't stop there. I had to paint crowns and the hubs had to cut the rings off the crowns (that were really beads), and... you know where I am going. So - four times since then I was served a heaping helping of bronchitis. And people - this last one I was in bed for four days. FOUR!  One day I was like - I have five days to paint them all... and paint I did. Oh man. Phew.

What is the success??? the pegs are done. Wait till I go to confession this week and say I swore whilst painting our Blessed Mother and the Baby Jesus.  I'll be blogging the details of what to do and not to do, on my crafting blog... but here are the pictures.

Our Lady Rosa Mystica Front & Side
#nosleep, #handshurt, #Ididittomyself, #Ihopetheylovethem

Co-Op Success. Well, to be honest, I have never felt like more of an outcast than I do in a mom's group of any kind. Part of it is me, my age, my hang-ups... part of it is the spirit of the other women. I will leave it at that. It was, once again, a humbling experience, as I am re-reminded that co-op is about my child learning how to take instruction from other people AND about him interacting more with his peers, so that when I put him in high school - public or Catholic, he won't have NEVER done it before... you know? He really seems to like it.

As for me, I thought I had a week to get ready. The dates say school starts August 23rd... um, they gave assignments at orientation. I was like NOOOOOO. HA! We will not start till August 29th. We usually start after Labor Day, but we are going on Vacation in September...

I'm a Religious Ed Volunteer. YAY. Sure, I've been teaching RE for years, and in that capacity have been a volunteer. But, while Christopher is in Co-Op, I will be volunteering at the Parish and helping them with anything and everything they need. I'm so excited. It's just 3-4 hours/week. I proposed the idea to them and they are excited to have me onboard. This year I will not be teaching, because frankly taking off every few years keeps me sane. Pray for me... that I listen to God's will for this volunteer position. My hope here is to be a light.. these ladies work so hard.

My Child Gets It.  Get's what, you say?  Well, We are on a budget. But he does homeschool Karate, He just started baseball, and he wants to take guitar or piano too. So, the football coach from the Christian School around the corner said he would like Christopher to play for him. I said, "how much does it cost?" He said, "$56 for the shorts/tee for practice and a jersey". I said, "I'll sign him up!"  But when the lady finally called back, she said it would be $550 to become an adjunct student, $50 to register and I forget the other fees she said (and that doesn't include mouthpiece, cleats, etc). Well, there are only six Middle School games, and I just could not justify an additional $700+ for football on top of the $1500 for co-op, etc. I felt AWFUL because we'd been hyping it up. Well, I sat him down and told him we just couldn't afford it. And he said, "Well mom, I guess it's just God's way of telling me I should keep on playing football!" I just knew he was going to be upset, but he wasn't... and that is awesome. I hope and pray he knows how blessed we are to have him.

I heard this yesterday: 
"we often don't find our purpose in life because we don't want to be inconvenienced". 
Think about that. God's plan is not always convenient, but it sure is awesome! Inconvenience me Lord!

Go on over to and check out Sherry's post. She never disappoints. And while you are there - check out all the other Small Success Thursday posts. These ladies inspire me.

Love and hugs all,


Friday, August 12, 2016

Davis Academy Weekly Wrap Up - Homeschool Encouragement

Weekly Wrap Up - 2016-17 #1
Happy Friday All!

I am going to link up with Kris @ Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for Weekly Wrap Up. Go read the posts, SO GOOD!

Our school year has not officially started, and I was going to speak about curriculum today, but I think, instead I will share some homeschool encouragement.  There may be a new mom/parent out there that has committed to trying homeschool this year and they might need to read my thoughts.

If you look in the blogosphere you will find all kinds of reasons that people homeschool. If I had to list my top reasons, they'd be:

  • Lack of morality in public (and 
  • some parochial) schools. 
  • Lack of make sense, good education in public (and some parochial) schools.
For our family, everything that happened in his three years of Public School boiled down to the above.  My child was exposed to vulgar words, bullied (by two students AND his teacher), and was way above the average intelligence level of his peers.  In short, we knew that I could do better at home.

If I am being honest, I am still one of the most reluctant homeschoolers I know. I fear failure and not doing enough for him. He's a boy and I'm not. I don't dissect things, he wants to. LOL The list of "why I can't do this successfully" can be so long sometimes. But, what I have found over the past five years is immeasurable support and confidence.

This is what my list of negatives or reasons I should not homeschool used to look like:
  • Will I do enough to get him ready for college some day?
  • He's a boy and he loves math and science - I don't (ok, it's not because he's a boy, but their minds do work differently).
  • We are too much alike - both perfectionist, panicked when we think we own't live up to our own ridiculous standards, etc.
  • Losing my income is hard, we will have to struggle.
  • How will he make friends?
  • Will I fit in with homeschool moms?
  • Will I be able to teach him?
All of those - ALL have dissipated. I know that I am doing the right thing for my child. Over this past year, as I took a year off Co-Ops and women's groups, I gained perspective about ME. Armed with more confidence, I have to say that homeschooling my child is NOT about ME!  It's about him - and he's a pretty awesome kiddo. Maybe no one else has an ego as big as mine, or cares like I do about what others think.... but if you do, you're going to need to fix that - because what you give up is directly proportional to what you are going to get out of it. Get ready to be humbled a million different ways and love it!

Recently in a local homeschool group, a newcomer was sharing how overwhelmed she was. I remember that feeling. I offered this:

SO to all you NEW Homeschool Mamas...
I thought I'd share a little about how I felt about homeschooling before I started, when I started, and now.
Before I started, our school situation was not great in Public School. Long story short, they couldn't handle my kiddo because he didn't fit their norm. He's bright and they were catering (I totally understand it, overwhelmed as they are) to the children who needed more help. There was bullying, there were inappropriate words he brought home. I could go on.  Towards the end of Kindergarten, I thought, "I can do better than this, he's so bored". But my husband was not interested. In 1st grade, he was bullied, etc... and by 2nd Grade, I knew it would be his last year, and I found CATH.
I asked on the Yahoo group about curriculum and got 78 fairly different replies. I was like - Dear Lord, I'm not qualified to decipher these answers, much less decide which curriculum to use. But I went to the various websites. MODG, Seton, Kolbe, Catholic Heritage, etc. and I read their backgrounds, their info, their "statement about how they approached education" and decided on a school. I have gone back and forth twice, and am confident we are in the right school, which for us is Seton, supplemented with the OLGC Co-Op @ St. Patrick Cathedral.
Why am I saying all this? Because a more experienced homeschooler, actually probably several, told me "it's ok to start in one place and change your mind. It's ok to swap things out. Learn to enjoy it."
I was a business woman and very organized. My mind does not do "not organized". In short, I had no confidence in my staying home skills much less homeschooling. And to some degree, am way out of my comfort zone even as we head into our 5th year of Homeschooling.
What I want you to take from this is - YES there are lots of choices. NO - you don't have to do what everyone else is doing. But whatever you do will be better for your children than any public school ever could be. It just will. You will have days that you think "I CAN NOT DO THIS!" but you can. You will smile, cry, yell, freak out... but you will learn so much.
There are so many homeschool families that offer such a wide variety of expertise and I know they are all here to help you.
Ask pointed questions. You will get answers. Truly.
I wish I'd taken that to heart when I first started, I think my experiences would have been better. All in all, it is the single most fantastical thing I've done for my child.

I offer these reasons to homeschool:
  • More time for Religious Ed/Faith building/Family Prayer
    • Liturgical Calendar, Prayer Memorization, etc.
  • Fantastic Education.
    • You can take your time if your student doesn't understand, or accelerate if they learn quickly.
  • The "RIGHT" kind of friends.
    • No need to explain, right?
  • Flexible Schedule.
    • We can go on local business trips with Marque and enjoy a dip in the hotel pool on a school day or a trip to a Civil War Park. You know, whatever. LOL
  • Less crowded vacation or public spots (beaches, zoo, art gallery, etc)
Listen, no matter what you do, people will ask questions or tell you how to do things differently. I was asked a couple months ago, by a family member, why I keep homeschooling my child, "I mean don't you want him to have friends?" Sigh - he has friends. "Don't you want him to play sports?" - um you mean like Baseball and Karate? LOL My point.... make your decision, armed with facts and reasons.... and don't look back. Pray on it every day!

I hope in some small way, this has encouraged you. Next Friday, I will post the Curriculum Post.

Hugs & Blessings,


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Small Success Thursday - Do Small Things with Great Love!

Happy Thursday! Happy Feast day of Saint Clare of Assisi. What a great example for us all. Pray for us dear Saint Clare.

Over on it's Small Success Thursday. For me, this has always been a blog post to enjoy. Even in bad times, we can find small glimmers of hope/something positive to hold on to. We can - if our eyes are open and we have the Love of God in our hearts. This link-up is about encouraging other moms to look beyond their every day, monotonous tasks, or various problems and come up with a few things that made them laugh, or they thought were successful. Over the years, some of my favorite posts have been about the fact that  "everyone is alive and fed, and reasonably clean!" Hey, it's something to celebrate.

Anyway - it got me thinking that I've always been a support person, the behind the scenes person, if you will. I'm comfy there for the most part. I do tons of small things that people don't always see or thank me for, but they make huge differences.  When I am sick, when nothing goes right, I go to the place in my head (or planner) that shows what I have done. There is no time to wallow in this life anyway... someone always NEEDS something.  And as my grandma Helen used to say, "honey, someone always has it worse!" True words.

Moms, live your life doing small things with great love. The big picture is created from the small things. And it's a beautiful picture. You can quote me on that!

My small successes this past week...

Not Reacting. You know, there are always one or two people who make big deals out of nothing, who skim things and react in inappropriate ways, etc. I used to be one of those people, from time to time, and I just have really gotten great at not reacting. I did talk to someone about how they were over-reacting and managed to help them see how to approach things differently. Ahhhh Maturity. That is the beauty of making mistakes, once you are in a different place, you can help someone out of where you were. Ya know?

Painting Peg Dolls.  You know how you take on too much and regret it, and then you get bronchitis four times while you are supposed to be working on them, and you are a procrastinator by nature anyway.... sigh - Oh, it's just me? Sigh. Anywhooooo.... I am making headway and sick or not, I'm painting peg dolls for a Marian Swap. Our Lady of Loreto and Our Lady Rosa Mystica. Pray for me. I will share pictures when they are finished.  This week, they thought I had Pneumonia. But the chest X-ray did not show it. It's just been a bad summer here in North Texas for Asthmatics. I even took a shot in the rear...

Organization Saves Me.  So I knew I was feeling bad and we grilled some chicken breasts on the Foreman Grill before Marque went out of town (he's back now but was gone till yesterday). Well our organization made it easy for me to make dinners. One night I cut up a chicken breast and we had chicken and veggie quesadillas, another night a chicken, cobb-ish salad.

I am hopeful next week I can really clean out our classroom and get a little more organized before school starts. Can't wait.

Check out the post at and link up for Small Success Thursday. I love to read the posts.

Blessings & Hugs,


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Small Success Thursday - They are HUGE!

Happy Thursday all you good people in the blogosphere!
Happy Feast Day of Saint John Vianney, Patron Saint of Parish Priests! Pray for us, dear Saint John Vianney.

Today is Small Success Thursday. And It's my first one since I came off my blog break. I have to say, it's very hard to concentrate and pick just three things. LOL But I will try.  By the way, you really should check out Sherry's post on, where today in SST, she shares her family's Small Successes. That is so cool.

I found Small Success Thursday a few years ago. It's important that we all count our blessings, even on our hardest, longest, darkest weeks. It helps keep hope alive and keeps me sane... if you want to know the truth,,, so make sure you read the other bloggers SST Posts. There is a link-up on the main post.

This week's Small Successes for me.

1 Bought A Planner - AND am Using it. YAY!  Seriously - I have used a spiral notebook for the longest time, and a small planner/calendar to carry with me. Information was in several places and I needed one complete "brain", if you will!  I did a little research on planners, and I found the Erin Condren Life Planner, and ladies/gents - it is AWESOME! I have given away or sold the other planners I got.   The only thing lacking is that this calendar does not have the Saints Feast Days and that is a bummer. Otherwise, it's the BOMB-DIGITY (can I say that?!).  Here is My Referral Link, if you buy, I believe we both get $10 Credit. Just in case, I thought I'd share.

Here are two covers I have. Yes, they say Lady Em, but that's my nickname. I pretend to be royalty on occasion.

Here are some other pics of it:

The First Week of July looked like this.
A dry erase menu planner.
I have these pockets inserted quarterly. Love them.
My planner is messy. But it includes our calendar AND my to-do list. And I understand it. LOL So it's all good.

Budget Control Success. Hi, my name is Emily and I am not good at saving money, sticking to budget, etc. It's awful. Marque isn't either. Normally when we get low on groceries, I'd just put it on a card or over-extend our account. I know - bad habit. But - this past weekend, I spent a day baking bread, and replanting our menu to accommodate what we had, and we all have enjoyed it - so far. My guys love that I bake bread and we have a slicer. It's just not something I "always" do, like I used to. We have gone to a few meatless meals on our meal plan. But we know how blessed we are. And - if anyone complains, I shall remind them it's a first world problem. Ya know?  Next up, getting to know area Thrift Stores. WOOHOO.

Christopher's Success. I'm not saying his success is my success, but I feel like Marque and I definitely contributed.  I mean he listened to my advise, so I can claim it on our behalf, right?  So he plays x-box Live, which I am not a fan of, but my husband says he can only chat with friends in his group. Sooooo one of the boys is coming on and wants to play with one of them at a time, typically my child. But my child feels strange because he wants to play with all his friends. Plus, the child is saying, "I don't want to play with ___ because he is ____. Which, in the end, he was also doing about my child to the others. You know the drill. And so, it was a real learning experience for him to say to the boy, "this makes me uncomfortable, etc..." Right? Considering my child has Aspergers, I think it is a fantastic growth experience. He was calm, he acknowledged the other boy's feelings, but said, he didn't mind doing it once-in-a-while, but not every time. Plus, this child is a bit of a gossip, so they spoke about that too. I was beaming from downstairs, where I was monitoring the conversation. You have to understand that for  years he let kids bully him (not happening in the above situation) and boss him around. THIS IS BIG!

There are a lot more things we can chat about later. Success is all around us, we just have to purpose to find it.

May your day be filled with hope and light.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Hello, I'm Back!

Hi all,

Slowly but surely I am going to start blogging again. I needed a break to regroup and recharge. I feel more focused and organized.

My first real blog post this week will be the Small Success Thursday. I hope to blog Friday too about what our homeschool year will look like next year.

I am still revamping my blog. Thinking of topics and where my niche might be. I know we all like "REAL", but one of the biggest reason I took a break was because I felt life had just really gotten me down... so much going on in the world is negative. But I was looking at it all wrong.

It's not my job to dwell on the negative and the dark times. It's my job to be light in the dark world. I was running from that. And now I hope to rise to the occasion.

I am Consecrated to Mary. And I believe she will lead me to create a space where all feel comfy, under Her Mantle.

I pray there is still a reader or two out there.

Happy August. Happy Tuesday.

Thank you for your patience.

We will talk soon.