Sacraments Feed

22 years ... and counting!

In a planner post comment, Barbara mentioned you all might like to see a wedding pic, and since I was just getting them organized on my laptop ... :)

Wedding pic

Here you go!

It's not staged or formal, but it's one of my favorites from that day ... we had just arrived at the reception hall and, as you can see from our faces, we were feeling pretty happy!

Gosh, it's hard to believe that was TWENTY TWO years ago!

And just for fun, here we are last night - in a very different car! - when Bill and I "snuck out" to celebrate our anniversary ... all on our own!

Anniversary dinner date

My mum is so good to us - she came over to watch the boys - cook them supper, see to meds and pajamas and bedtime and all - and Bill and I spent a nice few hours together, riding in his car, driving through old haunts, swinging by the church where we were married and ... oh my gosh, actually sharing complete thoughts!

We culminated the evening with a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant. There was also going to be coffee and window shopping afterwards, but we just decided to get home!

(We're such a couple of old fogies, lol ... )

You know, our day yesterday was so nice - but of course I couldn't help but think about how different things were from 22 years ago. For one thing, we woke up together! And then spent the bulk of our day doing things like washing dishes, and changing diapers, and cooking meals, and raking leaves, and feeding pets and paying bills and bagging up trash ...

Yes, quite different from how we spent that splendid day back in 1993!

But, how grateful we are to be here, together - even more in love if I may say so - and enjoying what we could only envision and hope for back then. God is SO GOOD and I pray He blesses us with another 22 years - PLUS. Because ... this whole "married to your best friend" thing?

Yeah, we kinda dig it.


Thanks so much friends, for always being so nice to stop by and check in - whatever it is I might be chatting about - and goodness knows, from day-to-day, you never know what it might be! (Lots of planner posts lately, and continuing on into next week! And a menu planning post is in the works, too ...) I know most of us have never met in real life, but I deeply appreciate your visits and kind words, and I always remember you all in my prayers ... 

But now I must be off as we are in the midst of a pressure-cooker experiment ... this is only our second time using this amazing contraption! Chicken and tomato rice soup! Nice for a Saturday night supper, I think. 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, my friends ... see you here again very soon!

Crackerjack's Confirmation!

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Good Monday morning, my friends!

Well, it was quite a weekend here for our family - our Crackerjack made his Holy Confirmation! There was a beautiful Mass on Saturday morning, and afterwards there was much celebrating back home! I took loads of pictures and I'd love to share them here with you all. I have a few of the prep, and some of the party itself ...

Now, at the top of this post is the Confirmation cake my mum and I made - using a cross pan I had on hand, and basing the design on a project I saw on Pinterest. It probably looks a lot more complicated than it actually was to make ... it just took a lot of time! We used a "classic white" cake mix (1 box) in the aforementioned cross pan ...

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The cooled cake was frosted with homemade buttercream ... my Mum made a ropey edging all around the bottom edge of the cake.

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I used a butter knife (flat edge) and a toothpick to trace the design first - we referenced the Pinterest pic as I went - then I filled in the outline with black decorating gel. By the way, we used Wilton Sparkle Decorating Gels - easy to use and the taste was just fine. (I'm not crazy about artifically-colored frosting for a variety of reasons, but this special cake called for an exception!)

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Next we filled in the "panes" with various bright colors, emulating the stained glass windows one might see in a church. We made the center symbol a sun because CJ brings so much warmth and light into our lives! You'll notice I had Bill take over once my hand got tired ...

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As a final step, I added a clip-on dove to the corner of the serving board and, using red and gold gel, made flames to represent the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Technically, there are only seven gifts ... but I got carried away with the gel, lol!

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We finished the cake on Friday night and as the weather was quite hot, we left it in the fridge to keep cool overnight. On Saturday, I set up the dining room table with a pretty white cloth, the cake and other decorations I'll describe below ...

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Crackerjack chose "George" for his Confirmation name - in honor of two of his great-grandfathers as well as his patron saint. We had St. George prayer cards for guests to take as favors from the day. The candle is one we use for liturgical celebrations and the wooden stand was ready to hold the Confirmation certificate.

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This is our much-loved, somewhat worn out, copy of Saint George and the Dragon ... open to Crackerjack's favorite (and most dramatic!) scene. We read this story every year on St. George's Day (April 23rd) and Michaelmas (Sept. 29th) ... CJ has loved this book, and had a fascination with knights, since he was a little boy.

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 In addition to the cross cake, my mum also made these cupcakes - another Michaelmas/St. George's Day tradition. These are chocolate cake topped with buttercream and red and gold sprinkles - with cocktail swords piercing the devil's food underneath ...

Get it? :)

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And you all know how I feel about punch ... it's just not a party without punch! This one, a new recipe, was very nice - it's called "Autumn Orchard Punch." And I forget where I found it - might have been Facebook or possibly Pinterest - but anyhow, it's pretty simple: apple juice, frozen cranberry juice concentrate, a bit of orange juice, ginger ale and floating apple slices. So refreshing on a warm autumn day! And I think it looks gorgeous in my grandmother's crystal punch bowl.

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One of my favorite things about hosting a party is it's the perfect excuse to buy pretty     flowers! The above photo was taken the day before our party - my mum arranged all the flowers for me and I hid them here in the living room from the cats (and little curious fingers). I bought bunches and bunches at Trader Joe's where I find the prices are quite reasonable and the blooms are fresh and interesting. I love all these autumn shades!

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 I really love how Mum did these Mason jar arrangements - the purple looks fabulous with those flowers! These went on the dining tables set up outside under the canopy. I meant to do something more with these tables - like a vine twisted along the center line between the vases or perhaps along the canopy - but I never got around to it. (Go figure ... )

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 And finally it was Confirmation Day morning! Here's CJ's robe, hanging by the front door to release some of the wrinkles.

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CJ needed a little help tying his tie. :)

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And here's our young man with his sponsor, his Papa (my dad). Papa's been pressed into sacramental service twice now - he was also Bookworm's sponsor three years ago.

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 We were not allowed to take photos during Mass, but I snapped this before things got rolling. Apologies for the odd lighting and purple splotches -  my phone does not take the very best pictures ... and my camera, as I explained a while back is out of service. But I could not miss capturing this moment ... :)

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Just moments after Mass with the freshly confirmed, his dad, and his little brother ... who had clearly had enough of his tie.

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I love this picture because I'm with my two "bookend boys" - my oldest (Bookworm, 20) and my youngest (Little Bear, just 2 years old!).

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Pictures outside church ... it was a bit hectic and the sun was in everyone's eyes, but we managed to get a few nice shots.

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Happy, happy day ... the Mass was held, not in our own parish church, but at a local Catholic college. Our church is too small to hold so many people.

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Group shot! With grandmothers, aunties and dear family friends ...

Then it was time to get back to the house and meet up with the rest of the party! I didn't get any pictures of the luncheon buffet but I can tell you there was a LOT of food. (I just can't cook small, lol.) The day was so nice we ate outside, but cake and coffee were served back inside ...

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Soon it was time to cut the cake!

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(Crackerjack could not WAIT to get out of his "spiffy" duds. But in a way, the Star Wars shirt works with the (jedi) knight theme ...)

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Just love that smile! When did he get so grown up?

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"May I have a cupcake, pretty please?"

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 It was a great day to spend outside, catching up with family and friends ... so grateful to have so many wonderful people in our family. 

Can't resist another flower shot - at the end of the day, guests gone home, sun going down - we gathered up all the arrangements and left them outside. So pretty in the soft light.

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 Crackerjack's special cards were placed along our living room mantle ... he also received a St. George medal to wear on a chain, a daily devotions book for teens, a St. George and the dragon figurine (he loves collecting figures) and just before Mass, Bill and I gave him this to wear. :)

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We are just so happy for our Crackerjack - this is such a big day in the life of a Catholic child - and for the family who's raising him! We are very proud of our CJ ... for who he is, his kind spirit and all that he holds in his heart. It's a dear and brave heart, one we've nurtured these past 16 years as best we could ....

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Dear friends, may I ask you to say a little prayer on our boy's behalf - that he continues to grow in his Faith and know God's love for him always? That he also knows just how much his family and friends cherish him?

Thank you so much, everyone - for those prayers, and, as always, for stopping by and sharing in our joy. I hope you are all doing well and that your new week is off to a nice start!

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones ... I'll be back here again very soon!

Pondering Project Planning ...

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Next month Crackerjack will make his Holy Confirmation, so I've been scrambling about checking suit sizes, dress shoes, ties and belts, etc., but it occurred to me ... we'd need something "spiffy" for our littlest man to wear, too! Well, I happened to be at Babies 'R Us yesterday (buying - what else - diapers, lol?) and saw these dapper duds on sale ... so how could I resist? I just had to share this with you all because I thought you might get a kick out of it ... :)

But also, I'd like to ask you all a question this morning about project planning:

How/where do you plan out Projects?

CJ's Confirmation, as I mentioned, is happening next month and naturally there's much to do to get ready. He's been preparing for two years, and we've had to keep track of his requirements ... there have been papers and signatures and essays and memos with important dates. And then there's the Big Day itself! A late morning Mass will be followed by a rather large celebration at our house ... so, all in all, it's a sizeable project to plan out and prepare for!

So my question is, where would you keep a project plan for an event like this? A project that requires checklists, goals, delegation, follow-up, brainstorming, etc.?

Other project examples:

A birthday party

Thanksgiving Dinner

A yard sale ... or bake sale

A move/house sale

A vacation

A home business idea

A room makeover


A new heath regime

I'm always stumped when it comes to storing project plans, and I've tried a lot of different locations:

In a special notebook devoted just to project planning.

In a separate binder where I can also stash loose papers and whatnot.

On a clipboard.

In the file crate, in a folder marked, "Projects."

In my master binder, behind a "Projects" tab.

In the seasonal binder to which the project belongs (if it's timely).

Now, I realize - as usual - I'm probably overthinking things, but I thought I'd ask for my readers' thoughts on this topic ... because I love hearing how other people organize things!

If you have a moment please let me know where you plan your projects and all the stuff that goes along with it!

{I know I keep talking about "posts to come" about my planning - seasonal, weekly, home education, nature study, etc. - and I do promise they're coming. I'm just trying to get it all straight before I begin my "show and tell!" :) Currently I'm in the midst of re-tooling my tools and re-thinking how I use them. I do love me some binders and planners and notebooks and folders, but I'm realizing that perhaps keeping things all in one place is more realistic for me. I'm trying not to overstuff my master binder, but it is convenient to keep things right at my fingertips.}

Well, I'd best wrap up and be off and get this day rolling. It happens to be Crackerjack's SIXTEENTH birthday today ... and Bill has taken a few days off so there will be much family togetherness ... which of course means there will be plenty of pictures forthcoming!

Have yourselves a good Thursday, my friends, and see you here again very soon!

A Baptism & a Graduation Party! (BIG post ahead!)

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Happy Monday, my friends!

My apologies that I've been away so long, but we've been quite busy here - settling into the house, relishing our babymoon, and preparing for a very special day in our family ... a day on which Little Bear received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism! A day on which we celebrated not just this one very blessed event, but also, Bookworm's graduation from (homeschool) high school and his college acceptance!

So on Saturday, after the ceremony at our parish church, we hosted a "double party" back at our new home - and I'd love to share some pictures with you all, but there are a LOT of them, so I'll (try to) keep my comments (somewhat) brief.


First off, here we are just before the ceremony with Little Bear's godparents ~ his big brother Bookworm and my dear cousin Kate.

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I love this photo - a random shot of all our family milling about, waiting for the ceremony to begin. Such an exciting day!

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Bill's brother Greg was able to make it out from Chicago - it was so good to see him! Here he is with our Crackerjack. (Who turns 14 next week!)

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The Baptismal Font ...

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Little Bear was baptized by Father Tom, a wonderful new priest to our parish ...

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And I must tell you all that LB barely made a peep! He didn't even cry when the holy water was poured - three shells-full, mind you - over his head. He just gave Father Tom a sharp glance and that "furrowed little brow" he's become famous for. 

I didn't get any close up shots of Little Bear in his Baptism outfit, so here it is laid out back at home:

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LB is a bit bigger than his brothers were at their Baptism so we ordered a new outfit for his special day. This is a lovely short romper with matching bonnet, a soft cable knit blanket and a tiny pair of socks embroidered with a white cross. The wooden rosary bracelet was a gift from a dear family friend.

(Truth be told, LB scoffed at the bonnet so to keep the peace, we left it off ... and the socks, while darling, turned his legs blue so off they came as well.)

Back at home we had the house set up for a big celebration! Below is the cake and coffee table arranged in the living room ...

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We had two cakes ~ one decorated in blue and white for Little Bear and one frosted in maroon and gold for Bookworm. :)

Beneath the front window we had a table set up for punch and appetizers - the deep windowsill held presents and cards. 

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We had four balloon colors: blue, white, maroon and gold ...

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(The balloons were eventually dispersed throughout the house and all around outside.)

The table in the breakfast nook held more food and a vase full of flowers from our yard, artfully arranged by my mother.

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These gorgeous hydrangeas are also from our yard and they look so pretty in this copper pot! (Also my mother's doing!)

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This is yet another table in our dining room that would be filled up with even more food (we were expecting 50 people!).

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Entertaining tip: we used wide-mouth mason jars for holding the flatware. 

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Canopies kept the sunny patio in comfortable shade ...

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My brother's bocce ball set was a big hit with kids of all ages!

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My cousin Kara and brother Matt - love the enthusiasm!

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Some more photos of friends and family ...

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And lastly, me and my Little Bear ...

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How I love this little guy!

Well my friends, I hope you all have a lovely week, though honestly - how can it be August already?! This summer is flying by ... now that our party has come and gone, I will be concentrating on organizing Bookworm's college supplies and writing up my education plans for the new year (and the new town). Also, setting up the new learning room and getting myself back on the "organized" track - new routine, new file folders, new planner, new desk!

So we've got lots to talk about, and I'll be back again soon to get around to just that!


Bookworm's Confirmation!

It was on Saturday and it was a wonderful day!

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Bookworm is pictured above with his Papa (my dad, his sponsor) and Aux. Bishop Peter Uglietto of Boston. What a nice man ... the Mass was beautiful.

Arriving at the college ...

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(Our church did not have enough room to hold all the candidates, their sponsors and families, so the Mass was held at a local Catholic college.)

The altar looked beautiful ...

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Such a proud moment, watching Bookworm process in with all the candidates.

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We were not allowed to take photos during Mass, but here we all are, outside about an hour and a half later ...

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(My brother Matt stayed home with Earlybird who was very sick last week and is still recuperating.)

Bill and I could hardly believe this young man was our little boy!

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But he'll always be our little boy, right? And in a few years it will be Crackerjack's turn!

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By the way, Bookworm took "Thomas" as his Confirmation name. It's a family name, and St. Thomas Aquinas has always been special to him.

Here is the cake ...

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(It read, "God Love Bookworm," only with his real name, of course, lol. Oh, I had such grand plans for this Confirmation cake ... but a series of events this past week conspired to keep me from spending much time and energy on the project. Still, it tasted good and looked very "boyish!")

And here is Bookworm with his Confirmation Punch ...

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"Per Request."


So it was a very lovely day - a milestone for Bookworm as a young man and a Catholic, and a wonderful memory for our family.

Well my friends, thanks so much for stopping by today ... I hope you're all enjoying your weekend!

See you here again very soon ...