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!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Resolution Check-In: A Life Inspired

Resolution Check-In: Making Room (for Time and Virtue) -

For the next year, I'll be following along with Emily from Ember Grey's 12 Months of Bliss Challenge!  I wrote more about this month's challenge here, but today is check-in day!  So to review...

August 2015: A Life Inspired

Make a physical inspiration board - without using Pinterest.  This challenge will keep my goals and dreams at the front of my mind so I will keep inspiring towards them everyday.

Reflection Questions:

What is on my Inspiration Board, and why did I choose these things?

Here is what I have on my board and what it represents to me:

1.  The Rosary.  Prayer life.
2.  My Family - My Parents, Siblings, Nieces/Nephews, and In-Laws.  Unconditional love.
3.  My Grandparents Faith and love.
4.  J's Inspiration: Mickey Mouse, a pink crayon, a shiny gold necklace, and Elsa and Anna.  It's the little things.
5.  Jesus Christ and the Eucharist.  The Source and Summit of Life.
6.  Our Children's Birthfamilies (pictured behind the heart).  Courage and sacrificial love.
7.  The University of Notre Dame.  Fun, faith, and family life.
8.  The Blessed Mother.  The Mother of Jesus - the best role model for me as a mother.
9.  Bits of Ribbon, Lace, & Scrapbook Paper; My Drawing.  Art, beauty, expression, creativity.
10.  B's Inspiration: a spider ring.  It's the little things.
11.  Roses and Flowers.  God's beauty in nature.
12.  My Husband, My Marriage.  Love and being united to grow in holiness together.
13.  My Kids.  Love and blessings from God.
14.  A Letter from My Husband.  Living this life adventure together with love.
15.  Hobbits and The Lord of the Rings.  Adventure and even the smallest person can change the world.
16.  St. Thérèse of Lisieux and the Saints.  Holy and virtuous role models of the Faith.
17.  "My vocation is love." -St. Thérèse of Lisieux (not pictured directly above, but it can be seen in the white frame below the bulletin board in the first photo).  How I should live out every aspect of my life.

What inspires me is my Faith, my family, love, beauty in nature and art, the virtues I see in others, and seeing this life as an adventure.

Putting It All Together:

It all comes down to these two things:  1) what am I working towards? and 2) who and what am I doing this for?

Simply stated, my goal is to grow in holiness and virtue with my husband, kids, and family while enjoying life together.  Simply stated, but not simply done!

Going Forward:

As St. Thérèse said, "My vocation is love".  I need to live out a true love, letting it radiate throughout every part of my life.  I need to keep this at the front of my mind with every little and big decision I make.  My choices affect my marriage, family, and everyone/thing in this world.  My choice needs to be the loving choice every time.  What a difficult goal!  But so worth it.

Growing in my Faith with my husband and kids, lots of prayer, and having amazing, holy role models will help me in this journey.  This can be so difficult at times so I think the "lots of prayer" part will be key!  Ha! 

Resolution Check-In: Making Room (for Time and Virtue) -

What would you have on your inspiration board?  What truly inspires you?  What are your hopes and dreams?

Did you participate in 12 Months of Bliss: A Life Inspired?  What did you learn from your experience doing challenge?

I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Resolution Check-In: Making Room (for Time and Virtue) -


If you're interested in following along, 
you can read more about #12MofBliss here!
EG's Twelve Months of Bliss

I'm linking up with these awesome parties!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What's Up Wednesday - Tuesday Edition ;)

I'm joining in this week for the What's Up Wednesday...and doing it on a Tuesday :)

What We're Eating This Week: Freezer Meals. This has been a hectic week - driving home from NY, sick kids, closing on our new house, packing. I love having meals ready in the freezer so I can just throw them in the crock pot for an easy dinner!

What I'm Loving: Our new backyard - and Tim is loving the apple tree :)

What I'm Dreading: Re-packing everything we just unpacked last month.

What I'm Excited About: Actually moving into our house!! We closed last Friday :)

What I'm Reminiscing About:  Our short weekend trip up to New Buffalo, MI. The kids first time at a beach...they loved it! Especially burying their daddy in the sand. ;) Definitely going back!

What We've Been Up To:  Enjoying our last few days on the north side of town before we move :) We have been having a lot of fun going to a nearby park for playtime and picnics!

What I'm Watching/Reading: At the beginning of the year, I made a reading list. I've knocked off most of them, and am currently reading Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. I'm sad to say it isn't as great as I had hoped :(  It's a lot of jokes I've already heard from his performances. Kind of a bummer!

What I'm Listening To: Pandora Backstreet Boys station. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - best station ever :)

What I'm Wearing: It's been cooler here, so I'm breaking out some of the fall clothes. I'm trying to 'shop my closet' a little bit more and find new ways to style my clothes. If you have any fun ideas or tips, share them in the comments! I'll make sure to pin them :)

Follow Sweet Little Ones's board Beauty and Fashion on Pinterest.

What I'm Doing This Weekend: Nothing! :) We had a baptism/party last weekend, and my sister's wedding is next this is the calm before the storm :)

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month: Football!!! Did you except something else? ;)

Hope you all are having a great start to your week!

Ok, on to the Link Up!

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I'm linking up with these awesome parties!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Summer Highlights

What a summer!  We still have a few more weeks of summer left since our kids aren't in school yet, and we're definitely going to make the most of it!  But here are all of the fun things that we've checked off our Summer Bucket List so far:

Zoo Trips
We've been able to visit 2 different zoos this summer, and we had a blast!  We got to go to the Toledo Zoo for the first time, and we loved it!  They have many big animals we've never seen before, and nearly everything has been renovated recently.  The aquarium was brand new and was AMAZING!

Drawing her first flower all by herself

Sidewalk Chalk
We played several games from the list of sidewalk chalk activities I made at the beginning of the summer...and even came up with a new one: drawing on a box!  I just love how sidewalk chalk brings out their imaginations!

Picnic at the State Park

We had tons of picnics inside and outside all summer long!  We love picnics!

Splash Park
We've only been able to go once this year, but it was so much fun!  (I definitely underestimated how hard it would be to take 3 kids to the splash park alone, so we could only go when Daddy was home!)

At the Splash Park with friends

Taking Walks in the Neighborhood 
Several times a week - check!

I love how J loves to carry her baby on our walks too!

Ice Cream Shop Visits
We did this way more than I thought we would. :)  It is just such a fun surprise for everyone!  It's hard not to keep stopping for ice cream when the kids are being so good!

Planting a Garden 
Technically, we did plant a garden.  But did we harvest anything?  Not really.  It rained nearly everyday for 6 weeks at the beginning of the summer, so it killed all but one tomato plant.  Guess we'll try again next year!

Fairs and Festivals 
We just got back from the Indiana State Fair, and it was so much more fun than we all expected.  We ended up staying for quite some time enjoying all the animals and exhibits.  I especially loved seeing all of the beautiful horses.  And of course, eating a funnel cake!

The kids' favorite part was the "Little Hands on the Farm" Village for Kids.  They got to pretend to be farmers, go from station to station picking up corn, soy beans, veggies, etc. to put in their basket, then at the end, they turned them in for "money" and got to buy a little snack at the store.  They loved it!

Finish Landscaping
Well, we started.  And we did get a lot done.  But then the rain came...and didn't stop for a couple weeks.  And once it did stop, it was fiercely hot!  So landscaping is on hold til the fall or next spring when it's cooler.

Laying out a new landscaping bed with field stone this past Spring

Garage Sale
Katie and I had a garage sale weekend at the beginning of the summer.  It was a lot of work, but we both sold quite a bit.  It was so nice to purge a lot of stuff that was just lying around the house!

Outdoor Concerts
We had sing-a-long dance parties in the driveway...does that count?  We originally thought Switchfoot was going to be at the State Fair...well, they were in Indy the day we went, but not at the Fair.  Boo.  So we didn't get to any concerts this summer - maybe next year!

We only got to go to the beach once (and it was really fun!), but we did get to go swimming a lot.  We went to several pools this summer and even an outdoor pool with an awesome water slide.  They played in their kiddie pool in the backyard a lot.  And the kids took swim lessons for the first time.  That is a lot of swimming for our family since we don't have easy access to a pool!

State Parks
We got to visit 3 different State Parks this summer and go hiking and swimming, play on the beach, watch the birds and animals, grill out and have lots of picnics, and explore a cave and a pioneer village.  We love the Indiana State Parks!

Outdoor Game Nights
We ended up spending most of our evenings
taking walks,
riding bikes,
playing on the swing set or at the playground,
grilling out,
blowing and chasing bubbles,
reading books for the Summer Reading Program in the swing set fort,
playing in the driveway...
So instead of game nights, we just had family fun nights!

Reading books in the fort

Enjoy Family and Relax! 
We had a very trying summer since our grandma passed away, and we had a couple other things happen in our extended family (we're all ok, just bad news), but we still had a lot of good times too:

We got a new nephew - Ezra!
We celebrated several family birthdays.
We had a bridal shower for our sister Kelly and her soon-to-be husband Paul.
We had our first vacation as a family of 5.
We finalized L's adoption.
L was baptized!
And much more!

My 32nd Birthday, complete with pots and pans ;)

So how was your summer?  
Did you complete your Summer Bucket List?  
What were the highlights?

Happy Wednesday!


P.S. We have an awesome birthday giveaway going on right now: you can enter to win a $30 gift card and an 8x10 print!
Then, enter here and good luck!

I'm linking up with these awesome parties today,
and especially with Kiki for the Circle Link Up!

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