Friday, August 28, 2015

Favorite Baptism Gift Ideas

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Last weekend, our new nephew, Ezra, was baptized! I have to say, it's one of my favorite sacraments to watch. There is nothing sweeter than seeing a little baby all dressed up and ready to enter into the faith :) We have had a few other baptisms recently, and I've been trying to get different gifts for each of them ... what do you typically get for a baptism gift? Here are our favorites:

Books - a child can never have too many books! We have a bunch of saint books, board books of different Bible stories, and Notre Dame books (those can be included, right? ;). For Ezra, we picked out a children's Mass book for him to take to church :)

These are some of the books that we rotate through our church bag - some are my children's baptism gifts,
others are from my childhood :) All great stories!

Crosses - this is what we always get for our godchildren and our own kids. We hang a little cross over their light switches in their bedrooms. :)

Religious themed toy - I love bringing soft toys in our church bag, so this Rosary toy would be a fun gift for a baby or toddler. And, I'm really loving these felt saint dolls I found on Etsy.

Doll - a wonderful idea for an older child would be a saint doll. I absolutely love this doll, and can't wait to get one for Abby. They currently have the St. Therese doll available (which is one of my favorites), and are hoping to add a variety of other saints - including ones for boys! I think this is a great way for younger children to find out more about the lives of the saints and their faith.

Edit: The Therese Doll is available for 25% off using the code THERESE from September 23 - October 3, 2015 in honor of St. Therese's feast day. What a great deal - this would be a wonderful Christmas gift! :)

Saint Therese in her habit and her 'Sunday attire.' Seriously, how cute are these? 
Want to find out more? - check them out at Dolls from Heaven.

Jewelry - another great idea for an older child or adult would be jewelry! Personally I love rosary bracelets or personalized necklaces keeping the sacrament in mind. Do you have any favorite Etsy jewelry stores - there are so many to choose from!

What are your favorite finds for religious gifts?

Have a wonderful weekend!! :)

I'm linking up with these awesome parties!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Special Birthday Bond + Giveaway

Today's Momfessionals' Show and Tell Tuesday prompt is "your high school self", but I thought I'd share with you more than just my high school years.  I'd like to tell you about something very special about all of my life growing up instead:

Grandpa's 55th and my 1st Birthday, 1984

Thirty two years ago (yesterday), I was born on a very special day:  my grandpa's birthday.

Grandpa was so big on birthdays!  He was one to celebrate the whole month of August.  And he would keep reminding you that it was coming up - just to be triple or quadruple sure that you wouldn't forget.  He'd even tell me not to forget when he knew we shared the same birthday!  (He was also big on kidding ;)

Over the years, we spent so many birthdays together.  When I was growing up, we'd often have a picnic in the park together.  And in my adult years, we'd call each other on the phone and sing to each other.  And, of course, "pot and pan" each other too!  (It was his favorite birthday tradition from his childhood - banging on a pot over and over again after singing the Birthday Song.  This is now a family tradition for all of us!)

Grandpa's 62nd and my 8th Birthday, 1991

He was always giddy about his birthday and always wanted everyone to make a big deal out of it.  Last year, he planned his own surprise birthday party.  Yeah, you read that right.  He planned his own surprise party!  That was just the kind of character he was!

He always wanted all of the family together for his birthday (he had 8 kids, 20+ grandkids, and 10+ great-grandkids).  Most of the family was there, and it was such a special day for him...and for all of us.  It was his perfect birthday!

Grandpa passed away last December, so when I think about last year, it makes me really happy to know his last birthday on earth was just what he wanted. 

Grandpa's 85th and my 31st Birthday, 2014

It may sound silly but I always felt we had a special bond because we shared a birthday.  Since he was so big on his special day, I always felt like he thought of me as his personal birthday gift.  It seems like something so superficial to bond two people together, but it really did for us.

But that was only just a small part of it.  He was such a big influence on my life in so many ways:

He still took us to the park...even when we were "grown up"!

He used to take me and my siblings to the park all the time when we were little.  He'd play with us, bring bread for us to feed the geese, and tease us about a troll under the bridge or that the apple trees were going to get us like the trees in the Wizard of Oz!  (He still did this when we were "big kids" too!)  And he loved Notre Dame.  They were his team.  (I noticed that he's even wearing an ND shirt in most of the pics in this post!)  There are many reasons why I love Notre Dame, and Grandpa is one of them!

Leading the Rosary for Jim and me on our wedding day

But most importantly, he was a great model of the Faith.  He used to take Katie and me to Eucharistic Adoration every week.  He prayed the Rosary everyday.  He loved Jesus, Mary, and all the saints.  (He high-fived the statue of Mary at church every time he passed her!)  He loved Grandma with everything in him.  He taught me so much about the Faith - through his words and actions.  I know my formation as a Catholic in my early childhood is what helped me get through some difficult times in my spiritual life in my early 20s.  He was a big factor in shaping who I am as a woman and as a Catholic today.

Our Wedding Day, 2007

I'm not big on celebrating my own birthday, but I always loved watching him in his element on our day.  So this year was very hard for me.  To not get that call.  To not be together.  To not see his smile.  Or just hear his voice.  I won't lie - I cried.  Even writing this right now, I can't stop crying.  I miss him so much.

But in all reality, I'm very happy too.  I know he is so happy and at peace now.  And grandma passed away just a little over a month ago, so I know that he and his bride are together again.  He is without a doubt having the best birthday (month!) ever this year.  I'm sure he even got Jesus Himself to pot and pan him!

So Happy Birthday, Grandpa!  I - all of us! - love and miss you so much!  Thank you for helping my parents raise me in the Faith, for being such a fun and funny grandpa, for taking care of us and loving us so much, and for being a friend.  I miss you, especially on our birthday, but I hope one day we will be reunited and can celebrate together again!  I love you, Jessie xoxo

P.S.  The kids went to town on the pots and pans to make sure you could hear it!

In honor of my grandpa's and my birthday, I want to share the love with you.  That is something he would have totally wanted to do and would've loved.

He loved the saints, especially St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  And he also loved Notre Dame with all his heart.  Katrina's beautiful shop Hatch Prints is filled with gorgeous prints of quotes from saints and holy people.  Did I mention she lives right by Notre Dame and is a fan too?  (And she just had a beautiful baby girl last week!)  I bought a print of a St. Thérèse quote from her, and I absolutely love it.  It's such a beautiful message and a beautiful reminder of my grandpa.  So Katrina and I want to give you a chance to win an 8x10 print of your choice.

Grandpa also played a big part into forming me into the Catholic I am today.  That's why I love Blessed Is She.  (In case I haven't told you that often enough!)  They have the same goal - helping form, strengthen, and encourage women in the Faith.  So Jenna from BIS and I would love to give one of you a $30 gift card to the Blessed Is She shop, so you can pick out some lovely things to help you grow in your spiritual life.

My beautiful print from Hatch Prints and my spiritual journal from Blessed Is She

So please enter below to win 

Happy Birthday to us...from us! :)

Birthday Giveaway of 8x10 Print from Hatch Prints Shop + $30 Gift Card to Blessed Is She

Ok, on to the link up!
Sweet Little Ones

Check out the Tuesday Talk guidelines here,
and check out the features from every week here!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Jess's Favorite Football Traditions: Kids Edition

Welcome to Tailgate Tuesday
with the hosts of Tuesday Talk and
Erin of Love, Fun, and Football 

 Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -

It's no secret that we're huge Notre Dame fans.  My husband and I grew up loving them because our families were big fans.  And it has been so fun passing down the love of the Fighting Irish to our kiddos!

So today I want to share my favorite Notre Dame traditions for kids:


Song and dance.
Every single game day we play this song.  And turn the volume way up.  The kids - ok, all of us! - punch our fists like the mascot and dance and sing and just have fun.  This song gets us ready and pumped up every Saturday in the fall!

Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -
We can't wait to take L for the first time this year!

Taking the kids to Notre Dame on a game day.
I just can't explain how amazing it is to be on campus on a game day.  It's just electric.  Everyone is so excited to cheer on the Irish.  You can't help but be pumped too!  I love that our kids will grow up getting to experience this fun atmosphere!

Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -
Corby Hall, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the Golden Dome (as seen from one of the upper floors of the Hesburgh Library), and "God, Country, Notre Dame" over the side doors to the Basilica

The campus is full of fun activities, like the band, bagpipers, the football players parading through campus to the stadium, and more.  Plus, there is so much to do and see with the Grotto, Basilica, Golden Dome, library, beautiful buildings, and lakes.  But my #1 favorite part of taking the kids to Notre Dame is...

Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -

Playing football on the quads.  
When we were dating and first married, I'd watch the dads and kids playing football on Notre Dame's quads on game day, and it melted my heart.  I couldn't wait til that was our little family someday!

But it took so much longer than we expected to start our family.  With every passing football season, I just longed for the time that it would be our turn.  So now when I watch our kids play catch with their daddy on the quads, it makes me so grateful for what God has blessed us with - these beautiful little ones!

Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -

Cute outfits.
Football fashion for kids is so fun!  Cheerleader outfits.  Homemade shamrock hair bows.  Football jerseys.  You just can't beat the cuteness.

Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -

And as an extra bonus: we buy all the clearanced St. Patrick's Day clothes...because in a Fighting Irish house, you can wear them year-round. ;)

Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -
Proudly worn 365!

I mean coaching.  You know, just inspiring your child to love the same team you do. ;)  Don't deny it - you do it too. ;)

The other day, we had a hilarious incident with our daughter that proves it's working ;)  My dad is a big Michigan fan so I actually grew up a Notre Dame and Michigan fan (insanely strange, I know).  Anyway, so I HATE Ohio State.  (Because my dad brainwashed me haha)  So he's been coaching J.  Well, the other day I overheard this conversation between my husband and our 4 year old daughter:

Jim:  Uncle J and Aunt K are going on vacation to Michigan.
J:  I remember Michigan!
Jim:  You do?  How do you remember Michigan?  (Because she's been there once and quite awhile ago)
J:  I don't like Ohio State.  It makes you throw up.

Bahahahahahahaha!  That's my girl!

Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -
Notre Dame fan since birth ;)

So who is your favorite team?

Most hated team?

What are your fave family traditions?

Fave tailgate recipes?  Football fashion?

I want to hear all about your football loves (and hates)!  I cannot wait to read all of your posts and comments!

Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -
...And our hearts forever, Love thee, Notre Dame!

And Goooooooooooooo Irish!!!!

Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -


P.S.  Check out Becky's blog BYBMG for a giveaway of a photo canvas today, and be sure to check back here next Tuesday for a great birthday giveaway from us! 

Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -

Ok, before you link up...! 

Link up any post that you would like to Tuesday Talk below, including your football post!  

Then, link up your football posts at Love, Fun, and Football with Erin!  

Tailgate Tuesday: Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -

Sweet Little Ones

Check out the Tuesday Talk guidelines here,
and check out the features from every week here!

We would love it if you would follow us in some way
because we'd love to connect with you!
Tuesday Talk: Favorite Notre Dame Football Traditions for Kids and Families -

Keri - Living In This Season  ~ Christina - Waltzing In Beauty
Tara - Mrs. Coach Sims ~ Lauren - Simply Free
Jess and Katie - Sweet Little Ones ~ Whitney - Polka Dotty Place
Becky - BYBMG ~ Elizabeth - All Kinds Of Things


Can't wait to read your posts this week, especially the football ones!  
Thank you, friends!!!
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