Thursday, April 24, 2014

{phfr} Easter Octave Lovelies

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter.

It's been one of those weeks...just recovering from the Triduum! I always get a bit of a Triduum hangover...which is a sign of a good Triduum!! If you're so zonked that you need to nap on Easter Sunday then you probably did something right. ;-)

Anyway...a bit of a photo dump today.


I love these pictures from Easter Sunday. I especially love that the only way to get a picture of two little girls looking at the camera at the same time is to...combine two pictures. Don't you just love Sister Stinky's face in that first one? Pure, pure three-year-old.

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Continuing with the photo dump...I have to add this picture. We went to adoration and the park on Easter Sunday evening and Sister Nugget and I snuck off to walk alone while Andrew played with the big girl. I showed her some lovely lilac bushes, and it reminded me of the lilac bushes that grew outside Sister Stinky's babyhood home. Such a lovely smell!

This is also a shot from the park. Oh my goodness, I just...I could just eat her up. Those cheeks, that hair, those chubby thighs. Circa 9 months old is the golden age of babyhood, I tell you.

This one is actually from Easter Tuesday but...the fun lasts for 8 days, people! The Blue Restaurant had a princess/superhero night and you better believe this little girl was all about that. Although, given her recent love of superheros (did I mention that she walks up to other kids and parents and the playground and shouts, "I am SPIDERGIRL!"?) I was surprised she went the princess route. My little "Butterburger Baby" (who incidentally never orders butterburgers...).


I grew up with a sister. I know how wonderful having a sister is. So seeing these two? Be still my heart.

When did they get big enough to play in a sandbox together???

We kept the Easter baskets a bit simpler this year. Thanks to this sweet baby's godmother for the books for her basket! This little one is all about "helping" Mommy and Daddy turn pages these days.

Oh! And the fact that we've been able to maintain this tradition every year of our married life makes me very happy. It is a Polish tradition to have the foods of the first meal of Easter blessed before Easter Sunday. I really had to search around to find a parish that was doing it this year, but happily I did!


Let's view the outtakes from the above picture, shall we?

I really can't get enough of this little girl. She's so silly and creative. I can't wait to see what she grows up to be!


Last year that baby was inside me. I like her much better in my arms. :-)

And...BONUS! With the help of her daddy and Granddad, she actually stayed content while I lectored at the Easter Vigil. Hooray! But let's be honest...I was itching to get her back into my arms for the second half of Mass. 

Happy Octave of Easter! Go eat some chocolate!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday: The Cenacle (Upper Room)

(Linking up with Auntie Leila. Although, I guess the only "funny" thing about this is that I finished this material late last night. Talk about last minute preparations!!!)

(Scripture from the NAB translation, St. Joseph edition. Luke: 22: 7-16, 19-20. Presentation is a modified Catechesis of the Good Shepherd presentation of the Cenacle.)

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

When the day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread arrived, the day for sacrificing the Passover lamb, he send Peter and John, instructing them, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover." They asked him, "Where do you want us to make the preparations?" And he answered them, "When you go into the city, a man will meet you carry a jar of water. Follow him into the house that he enters and say to the master of the house, "The teacher says to you, 'Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'" 

He will then show you a large upper room that is furnished. Make the preparations there.

Then they went off and found everything exactly as he had told them, and there they prepared the Passover.

When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles.

He said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God."

Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them...

...saying, "This is my body, which will be given up for you; do this in memory of me."

And likewise the cup after they had eaten...

...saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you."

After the last supper, Jesus and the Apostles went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemene. There, he was arrested, and then was crucified....

But on the third day, he rose again.

We continue to celebrate this special gift of the Eucharist.

What does this look like? Have you seen something like this before? (Child ponders this and hopefully recognizes that this is just like at Mass!)

May you continue to have a blessed Triduum!

Monday, April 14, 2014

WIWS - Palm Sunday edition

Did you remember to wear red?!

As an extra special treat, we were also visited by some relatives passing through St. Louis (Andrew's aunt and uncle). We were so excited to introduce them to the newest member of the family. (She's actually the youngest member of the Chronister clan at this point!)

Blessings as you continue your Holy Week!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Holy Week Inspiration

Happy day before Palm Sunday, friends!

I have some exciting things planned for our Holy Week this year - more of what we usually do, with some new things added in. I look forward to sharing it with you!

In the are some ideas from our Holy Weeks past. Enjoy!

Please note that you can make some of these fun and playful sets without wood or fabric. Why not cut and color paper figures, or make felt figures? Or act out these stories? There are many ways to engage your child!

Also note that, if you are able, the absolute best way to immerse yourself and your family into Holy Week and the Triduum is by attending the liturgies for the week (Mass of the Lord's Supper, Good Friday service, and Easter Vigil). If you are able to attend one or all of them, I promise you won't regret it! We've witnessed some atrocious child behavior in our family during the Triduum, but we still look back at them fondly. ;-)

If you aren't able to go to the liturgies themselves, why not take time to read through the readings from them in your personal prayer time? You can find the readings for the Triduum, starting here.

If your parish offers Morning Prayer or Vespers, take advantage of that, too. Do what you can, and remember, even picking one thing to do from all these suggestions is a great place to start!

Oh, and since I'm giving you inspiration for the next seven days, I'll link up to Jen.

Palm Sunday

Attend Mass and bring home some blessed palms!

Wear Red!

On the Eve of Palm Sunday

Hosanna, Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!

Holy Week (Monday - Wednesday)

Attend daily Mass or read the daily readings each day. This is also a great time for some playful catechesis!

O, When the Saints Go Chugging In...

Were You There?

Holy Thursday

Attend the Mass of the Lord's Supper, and/or the Chrism Mass. Pray at the vigil after the Mass of the Lord's Supper, if at all possible.

Holy Thursday (the Cenacle...check back later this week, because this lesson is getting an upgrade!!)

Good Friday

Attend the Good Friday service at your parish, and/or Stations of the Cross.

At the Cross, Her Station Keeping... (We're also adding a new material to Good Friday...check back here later this week!)

Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil

Attend the Blessing of Easter Food, if your parish does this (blessing the first meal of Easter). Attend the Easter Vigil that night, if you are able. If you are not able, then take time to read the Easter Vigil readings in your personal prayer time. They are beautiful!

Blessing of Easter Food (Sister Stinky looks like such a baby! Where has time gone?)

Easter Sunday

Go to Mass if you didn't attend the Easter Vigil (or go again, if you'd like). Celebrate with good food, time with family, and time for prayer! (We like visiting an adoration chapel if at all special after having Jesus missing from the tabernacle during the Triduum!)

May your Holy Week be a truly blessed one! I hope to pop back in here to share more as the week goes on.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Five Favorite Things About Aldi

Linking up with Hallie!

So, I know a lot of people don't care for it, but today I want to share with you my Five Favorite Things about Aldi.

I'll admit it...I used to be anti-Aldi. I just had all these wrong assumptions about it! But now, I love it and it makes it possible to feed my family good food on a small budget.

(If you're like I was and you don't know anything about Aldi, here's a primer.)

"Sometimes your want to go where everybody knows your name..."

ALDI Hosts Blogger Tour of Geneva, Illinois Store

Okay, so everyone at Aldi doesn't literally know my name, but it feels as if they should. I've been to all kinds of different grocery stores in my day, and I've never felt as welcome at one as I do at Aldi. I remember reading that they claim to have a "small town grocery store feel" and I was super skeptical. But, for the record - I'm originally from a small town, and Aldi is even more friendly than a small town grocery store, if that's possible. People smile at each other, making conversation, and look out for each other. On more than one occasion, while shopping with both daughters in tow, I've had people (mainly older people) offer to help me unload my cart, bag my groceries, or get things out to the car. And I take them up on that offer! The store is so small that you can't help but notice when your fellow shoppers could use a hand. 

 Friendly, fast, helpful employees.

New Aldi store opens

The people who work at Aldi are really top notch. They seem so much friendlier and happier than any other grocery store employees I've ever seen. They seem to be a team! And they're so fast. I was amazed the first time I went to Aldi and watched them whip my groceries from the conveyor belt to the cart before I even knew what was happening! At a normal grocery store, I'm usually standing there and waiting for them to finish ringing things up - but not at Aldi! I don't know how they do it, but usually I'm rushing just to get to the register to pay because they scan my groceries almost as quickly as I can unload them! And they're so pleasant about it! They always smile at my girls and offer to let them stay sitting in the cart (you bag your own groceries at Aldi, so usually they give you a fresh cart full of your paid-for groceries, ready to bag, but they make an exception when you've got small children already comfy in your original cart). They keep the store so clean and the employees just give the place a pleasant vibe.

They're owned by the same people that own Trader Joe's.

Yep, Trader Joe's and Aldi have the same parent company! While that doesn't mean that Aldi has the same products as Trader Joe's I actually have been surprised by how many healthy and organic and hormone free products are actually available at Aldi. I couldn't afford products like that normally, but with the help of Aldi prices, I actually can afford some of these kinds of products. Aldi gets a bad rep for being "unhealthy" but I think it's like any grocery store - they sell unhealthy food and healthy foods. If you are selective and choose well, you can certainly fill your cart with healthy, wholesome food. In fact, if you're like our family...Aldi might be the ticket to making fresh produce and meats affordable! Aldi helps us stay true to our budget. :-)

The quarter thing is actually kind of cool.


I have to admit, one of my initial hang-ups about Aldi was the fact that you have to pay a quarter deposit to use a cart. I'm mean, that's weird, right? And I'll admit, sometimes when it's raining and I'm trying to shuffle children from point A to point B, I do wish there was a cart corral right next to the car. But do you know what? At least at my Aldi, the quarter deposit system creates a camaraderie among shoppers. It's kind of an unspoken rule that if you park your car and see someone who is finishing unloading their cart into their car (especially if they have small children, are pregnant, or elderly) that you'll swap them your quarter for their cart. I've had so many people save me a walk back to the cart corrals this way. It's just another little thing that makes the whole Aldi shopping experience so much more personable.

It makes groceries affordable no matter where you live.

When we were graduate students at Notre Dame, we lived in South Bend, Indiana. The cost of living was way cheaper there than it is in the city we now live in. It used to be that I didn't have to think about shopping around with groceries. Yes, there was a grocery store that was cheaper than another grocery store, but still...things were generally pretty affordable. Then, we moved to Missouri and oh-my-goodness-sticker-shock. Every time I went grocery shopping that first summer I would be so discouraged because no matter what I did, I could not stay on budget. Then, I tried Aldi. Problem solved! Not only could I stay on budget, but I actually could buy more food!!!

So, Aldi doesn't carry everything you need (although, I've found that the more familiar you are with their stock you can certainly curtail your list so that you can find most things there). But it doesn't carry most of the things on the average grocery list. So, with a little creativity, Aldi can meet most of your needs. 

I'm an Aldi fan. Are you?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Following her lead...

Linking up with Montessori Monday.

Have you been wondering what happened to our Before Five in a Row series? We're still doing BFIAR, but I've changed things up. I resisted it for a while, wanting to be able to blog about our BFIAR journey but then I realized...doing it the way we were doing it for the sake of continuity was silly. Sister Stinky was leading me in a different direction...and that's okay!

The way we were doing preschool was beginning to feel frustrating. She's three. She has a short attention span and a huge desire for imaginative play. That's a good thing! So rather than focus all my energy and trying to get her to do preschool my way I realized that it was time to step back and let her do things her way.

So, we still have our preschool co-op (which she loves!). We do BFIAR activities with this group. (Our Goodnight Moon class is what is pictured below.)

And we do still have our preschool time. But it's more relaxed and it doesn't always happen every day. When we do spend this time together, it's more relaxed...for both of us! There is no point in getting burned out in this school thing before we've even begun! So, we read our BFIAR book, and we follow one of the suggestions from the curriculum, and sometimes I pull out some other activity for her to play and explore with if she likes. Simple.


(Here she's exploring with weighing and sorting little counting bears for We're Going on a Bear Hunt.)

And the amazing thing? Maria Montessori was right. By following her lead, I am amazed by what she is learning. She's following her own inner drive, and I'm just providing her with the materials and opportunity. It's hard, sitting back and waiting for signs of readiness before introducing new things...but it's paying off! She's actually taking a huge interest in the alphabet right now, and she's come to it of her own accord. She's interested, and so she's ready to learn!

That's not to say that I don't try and introduce activities to her that she may not have chosen on her own (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd can be a bit hit or miss...I'm trying to figure out a more appealing way to store materials so she wants to return to them). But I'm trying my best not to force her in any particular direction. I'm trying to relax and...well...let her be 3. :-)

If you're wanting to change your child's environment to promote their learning, An Everyday Story and Racheous are currently co-hosting a series called "30 Days to Transform Your Play." I've been following it and it's pretty fantastic! Hop on over there for inspiration, if you're interested! I especially love and have been inspired by their huge emphasis on following the interests of your child to promote their learning...even if you're not sure if you think they're worthwhile interests. Just what I needed to hear! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Free only!

Good morning, friends! I'm happy to pass along this exciting tip.

Anne Bogel, of Modern Mrs. Darcy, has just released a new edition of her e-book: and it's free for today only on Amazon! How She Does It: An everywoman's guide to breaking old rules, getting creative, and making time for work in your actual, everyday life gives suggestions for finding balance between work and family, and takes into account suggestions for all sorts of obstacles a woman may face.

Anne's blog Modern Mrs. Darcy is an absolute gem. If you haven't explored it yet, I highly recommend it. And be sure to pick up this e-book! After today it goes back to its normal (still very reasonable) price of $4.99. I've already downloaded my free copy for my Kindle, and I have to say...even if I had paid for it, it would still be worth every penny. We talk a lot on this blog about finding balance and meeting your own needs so that you can provide for your family's needs, and I think this book would be a wonderful resource for seeking that balance!

So pick up your copy while you can! 

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