Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Memorial Day PSA, a Prohibition Party, St. Philip Neri, and Mugs, Mug, Mugs

1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your love and support on my last post. I knew you guys were going to be the BEST, but I was still blown away by it. 

2. It's Memorial Day weekend here in the US of A.

This is a FB post the husband shared a couple years back. I think it was an excellent public service announcement, so I thought I'd share it here.

Hey, team. Here are some pro tips as you head into Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is for remembering those members of the armed forces who died in the service of our country, while Veterans' Day (Nov 11) is for "honoring those who served" and for "remembering those who served" (e.g. beloved deceased family members who served honorably in the armed forces but died under circumstances other than the performance of their duties as a military member). So if Uncle Joe landed in the first wave on Tarawa, got wounded and awarded the Silver Star, then came home and worked in the Ford plant till he passed away in '83, we would remember him on Veterans' Day (and hopefully pray daily for the repose of his soul, right?)

While I never expect it, if you are inclined to "honor" me or express gratitude for my service, I'd recommend saving it for a day other than Memorial Day so that our fallen heroes get our full attention on the day we have specially dedicated to their memory. If you were going to formally wish me happiness on one of the two days, I'd probably go with Veterans' Day. Memorial Day is, after all, a day-long memorial which is intended to help us remember those who died while serving in the military. I will almost certainly be happy at points throughout the day, but "Happy" and "Memorial Day" are problematic when uttered or written together. I don't think we need to be somber on Memorial Day, but it is good to be mindful that it can be an emotional day for people who have lost a loved one in the service of the country. I would therefore avoid saying or posting "Happy Memorial Day."

Okay, class dismissed. Go get 'em! #memorialday

We Catholics can be proud of the heroic sacrifice made by many Catholic men and women killed in the line of duty, including Catholic priest chaplains Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun, Servant of God Father Vincent Capodanno, Father Charles J. Watters, and Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor, a daily communicant who dove on a grenade to save two fellow SEALS.

In my own family . . .

When World War II began, my great uncle wanted to serve his country like my grandfather was doing, as a Navy Fighter pilot. When his application was turned down by the US Navy, he ran away to Canada and joined the Canadian Air Force. He was shot down and killed over Holland a few months later, on June 8, 1943. His name was Richard Dose'. He was sixteen years old.

More on Memorial Day later on in the post, but for now, let us transition to other subjects . . .

3. We threw a Prohibition Party!

Spots at the table were up for bid at our school's auction, so the guests were friends, fellow St. Monica Academy parents, and teachers at the school. It was a blast!

So much work, but a blast. And, actually, Jack's confirmation was that morning, so it really was just exactly as much work as a family could fit in between lunch and dinner, and no more.

Gus was the bouncer, Bobby was the chief steward who gave house tours, and Dr. Frankie gave out prescriptions for whiskey. (A real thing during prohibition!)

Betty and I cooked from my new favorite cookbook: The Original 1931 First Edition of the Joy of Cooking. The meal included bread salad (it's like a salad, but . . . bread instead of lettuce), pineapple aspic (I managed to control my desire to make one of the MANY fish-themed gelatine recipes), poached trout, and flaming cherries jubilee for dessert. And YES, the table DID catch on fire, but only for a minute. It didn't even leave a mark. I REGRET NOTHING.

After dinner, one of the teachers gave us lessons in the foxtrot and the charleston.

It was a great evening with great friends and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, or in a year anyway. But, whew, it makes me realize why this house had servants' quarters in the twenties. Moving furniture around and hand-washing all my grandmother/great-grandmother/great-great-grandmother's china/silver/crystal/cut-glass for thirty is no mean feat.

Of everything we did for the party, I think I'm most chuffed over the invitations. They were super fun.

The paper that guests received in the mail looked like an invitation to the Temperance Crusaders Evening of Nourishing Foods and Sober Conversation.

The wording was amusingly awkward if I do say so myself:

"Your presence is welcome at our gathering in gratitude for prohibition, which is credited for an advent of societal temperance akin to the joyful flight of birds over the lizards in a ditch. There will soon be zero eschewing of this noble ideal, and the hot prick of conscience will put every foot on the path of virtue. Your support on the way to this noble goal is worth more than 1001 rubies, a yacht on the sea, a mansion on an avenue, a good friend at your six, and may lift you up to the 19th degree in the eyes of all who behold what you stand for. To any who are a party to your steadfastness, you'll never be forgotten. Unless we are mistaken, the reading of Fordyce's Sermons will be a hit among the attendees of the evening. As will Mrs. Grundy's bread sauce, too. You will be hard pressed to bring your attentions to a more worthy cause than the eradication of appetites to your basest desires of alcohol and dancing, which steal the very shoes from the feet of suffering children and cause the secret shame of all who pass with nary a word of condemnation, and all who would try to hide behind sparkling necklaces and earbobs your unclean aims. Tomato juice will be served. Please reply promptly with regrets only."

But they also received this:

Which, when applied to the temperance flier, revealed . . . 

"Prohibition is for the birds. Ditch the zeroes and hot foot your way to 1001 Sea Avenue* at six, May 19th, for a party you'll never forget, unless we hit the sauce too hard. Bring your appetite, your dancing shoes, and the secret password: Bob's Your Uncle."

Fortunately, all the guests managed to figure it out!

*because you would all send me worried emails if I didn't, I changed this to be other than my actual address to put it on the blog.

4. It's the Feast of St. Philip Neri!

Speaking of parties, St. Philip Neri was a sixteenth century Italian priest who knew a thing or two about entertaining. He moved to Rome as a layman and spent seventeen years hanging out in the city, striking up conversations with people over coffee and on park benches, and converting them to a deeper understanding of their faith . . . by the hundreds or thousands! Eventually he became a priest, but that didn't stop him from being a guy who knew how to throw a get together. I'm personally most indebted to him for coming up with the Seven Churches Visitation on Holy Thursday, as something to do with friends as the Triduum began. So, strike up a conversation with someone today, it just might change a life!

And, if you'd like to be inspired by the words of St. Philip Neri all year long, there's an email for that.

"St. Philip Neri encouraged his spiritual children to meditate on a spiritual maxim or saying throughout each day. St. Philip Neri had so many of these sayings that, eventually, his followers organized them so there's one for every day of the year. (All 365 are available at our blog here.)

The Sacred Art Series is promoting these excellent spiritual sayings through EmailFacebook, and Twitter."
And if Will Bloomfield and The Sacred Art Series sound familiar, it's because I've featured them before. We use and recommend their the Holy Gospels of St. Luke and St. John for our middle grade kids.

It features 100 beautiful classic works of art alongside a readable Douay-Rheims story-by-story text, in a leatherette cover with a ribbon and everything. See more images of the book here, or just head on over to Amazon where the books are 25% off the retail price for this week only.

And I get to give three of them away! One here on the blog and, later in the week, I'll be giving away one on Facebook and one on Instagram. If you'd like to enter to win a copy of the Holy Gospels of St. Luke and St. John, leave a comment on this blog post that begins with the number 4. and tell me who in your life would benefit from this book. The blog winner will be announced next Saturday.

5. A Memorial Day Giveaway

Jen Buckley is the founder of Grace and Grit Design Co., a faith-inspired boutique specializing in home dΓ©cor, art, gifts, and lifestyle.

She thought we might like her line of mugs . . . and she was right. We DO.

When we were deciding when to do the giveaway, Jen suggested this weekend . . . 

Maybe even Memorial Day weekend since that has such meaning for our family -- my first husband and father to my three oldest was killed in Iraq in 2005. (I have so appreciated your "teaching" people the distinction between Veteran's Day & Memorial Day!) I came back to the Catholic Church after my first husband was killed and it has made all the difference in my life. And it's been on my heart to spread the Good News with faithful products ever since!


The giveaway for the Hands Full Heart Full mug will be here on the blog.

If You Think My Hands Are full . . .

Stay tuned to the Catholic All Year on Facebook, and @kendra_tierney and @graceandgritdesignco on Instagram for a flash giveaway sometime during the week. To enter the blog giveaway, leave a comment here on this blog post, with the number 5. and the name of a member of the armed forces who died in the service of our country. It could be a loved one, or scroll back to point number 2 and get to know one of those guys! Repeats are allowed. Let's all take a moment today to pray for the repose of the soul of Jen's husband, and my Great Uncle Dick, and everyone else in the comments.

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

6. Last Week's Winner is . . . Amy D!

Amy, you win the awesome purple rosary from the Catholic Woodworker, you have until Monday at noon Pacific to email me at to claim your prize, otherwise I'll choose another winner. The social media winner will be announced there.

The rest of you still have time to order a rosary for a dad in your life before Father's Day!

And the Chews Life discount code for Catholic All Year readers is still good. Just visit to look around and use the code CAY10 to get 10% off!

7. Because Seven Quick Takes!

Here's a one minute long video of my entire beauty routine. At full speed. And if you're thinking, but SURELY you also . . . wash your face, moisturize, remove makeup, etc? Nope. This is it. πŸ’πŸ˜‚

And here are all the beauty products I own . . .

Action items: 
Pray, hope, don't worry, have an excellent weekend, hug your loved ones, leave a comment to chat about any or all of the above, leave a comment beginning with number 4 or 5 to enter the giveaways!


Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Prayer Request for our Family

We're facing a family challenge, and I'd love to have your prayers, and for you to know why I might not be around the blog as much as I had hoped to be. But then again maybe I will, I just don't know.

Please click here to read the explanation.

And thank you for all your love and support!



Saturday, May 19, 2018

Moms of Difficult Toddlers, Rejoice: Catholic Stuff Saturday

It's been a very busy week and is going to be an even busier weekend, but I wanted to pop in here to share some thoughts that really resonated with some of you already, and this week's very excellent Catholic Stuff giveaway.

From a social media post . . .

Mothers of difficult toddlers, rejoice. There is hope. This guy is my oldest, and he was SO HARD. He would make himself throw up if he didn’t like what I made for dinner and thought he could get a popsicle instead. He dropped a full glass of orange juice on the floor of an airport restaurant, splattering everyone around us, because he didn’t like that it felt cold in his hands. He didn’t like taking naps so he did things like eating board books and shoving all of his clothing out of the second story window instead. He was frustrated with his siblings and his responsibilities. He always had a reason and an answer for everything. He always had a better idea for how or if he should do something. He was distracted all the time, to the point of really not being able to follow instructions. It’s funny to look back on, but it was HARD. 

We have spent almost sixteen years losing our tempers and wringing our hands, but also loving him and being consistent and spending time and explaining and following through. He’s had his dad and his grandfathers and a great scout master and a great spiritual director. And you guys, today this young man is such a joy. He’s confident and friendly and responsible. He is sweet to his little sisters and helps old men find things at Home Depot. I like him. I trust him. I enjoy his company. We spent today, just the two of us, at an amusement park. I don’t know what the future will bring, of course, and I’m not saying we are done parenting him. But I can say today that the challenge and the frustration and the effort feels 100% worth it, and gives me hope for my other stinkers.

That's what I wrote last Monday, after Jack and I got home from our outing, and it was amazing to see how it resonated with parents who are in the trenches of parenting a stinker. Wondering if it's your fault, wondering if your parenting methods and failures are destroying his little spirit, wondering if it ever ends, wondering how it could be worth it.

I have never claimed to be a parenting expert, but I really hope my perspective from almost sixteen years in CAN give you hope. It gives me hope, as I am very much still in the thick of things with babies and toddlers as well as teenagers!

To answer some questions some folks had . . .

Jack started spiritual direction in eighth grade. We use mentoring and leadership development programs sponsored by Opus Dei. We've found them to be a really excellent resource for spiritual direction and retreats for teenagers and adults. I highly recommend them.

You can find out more about Opus Dei locations and contact them here.

And an old post about it:


My general parenting philosophy, inspired by and practiced on this guy, can be found in this post:

And some thoughts on difficult kids, here:
We have found that obedience in small children in small things becomes the ability to make good decisions for oneself as an older child. Trust gained as a young kid who can do as he's told, means being allowed independence as an older child and teenager.

There was a assertion by a commenter, on a recent parenting post of mine, that to require obedience of children is dangerous and wrong and will result in damaged children and damaged relationships. All I can say is that in my experience, so far, it has resulted in manageable toddlers and small children, and in at least one confident, independent young adult. The jury's still out on the rest of them. πŸ˜‰

But mostly, I'd say, DO NOT parent by fear. If the parenting method you're reading about tells you that studies and statistics say that your children will be horribly scarred by doing anything other than what this one guy says, just put it down and back away. Choose the parenting method that fits your family circumstances, and temperament, and the temperament of your children. Trust your gut, and don't listen to fearmongering. Know that even once you have a general method that's working for you, it will change in the details as your circumstances change. Believe in the resiliency your children. Know that you will make mistakes and that your family can survive them.

For me, it all boils down to three little things . . . 

LOVE them.

LIKE them.

SACRIFICE for them.

I am confident that you can't go too far wrong with this parenting thing if you love your children with a human and an eternal love, and that they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are loved. My stinkers know that they are stinkers, because I TELL them. But I also tell them that I love them so much anyway, no matter what.

I also think it's important to parent them in such a way that I can enjoy being in their company. I'm pretty sure my kids could tell if I didn't like being around them.

And finally, we make sure our kids know and understand them sacrifices we make for them. So that they can be grateful, yes, but even more importantly, so they can know that they are worthy of being sacrificed for. 

Jack is being confirmed today. I'd be grateful for your prayers for him, and for our family. You and your intentions will be in our prayers as well.

And now . . . 

I'm really excited to introduce you today to two amazing Catholic artisans and small business owners.

The first is Shannon Wendt of Chews Life. You've probably heard of them already. I've had her chewy baby rosaries for many years, but she just keeps making them better and better.

The latest models come in beautiful colors with fun chewy crosses and miraculous medals. 

Purple Rainbow Chews Life Soft Rosary
She's also got beautiful gemstone rosary bracelets for moms, soft bracelets for kids, and stylishly unbreakable necklaces for moms who are in that *my baby breaks all my necklaces* phase. (Me right now.)

Mariana Mom Necklace

Shannon is offering a special discount for all Catholic All Year readers, just visit to look around and use the code CAY10 to get 10% off!

The second is Jonathan Conrad, aka Catholic Woodworker. He makes really awesome manly rosaries, perfect for confirmation, new converts, graduates, and fathers. 

Olive Wood Rosary
This is the one we are giving Jack as a confirmation gift. (His favorite color is purple.)

And you can win one too! Jonathan has offered to give two away: one here on the blog, and another on social media later in the week.

To enter, just leave a comment here on the blog post telling me who you'd like to give this rosary to. Bonus points if he's a recovering stinker! 

But also feel free to just comment on the content of the post. We're all here to advise or commiserate as needed!


Saturday, May 12, 2018

I'm Not Mad About the Met Gala, Except That I Wasn't Invited: Catholic Stuff Saturday

Happy Saturday folks, the winner of last week's giveaway is at the bottom!

If you are a fashionable celebrity who reads this blog, you're probably aware of last Monday's Met Gala. For the rest of us, the Met Gala is a yearly red carpet/costume party thing where famous people get dressed up by famous fashion designers, in over the top outfits based on the theme of a special exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This year's gala was especially noteworthy for Catholics as the theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and The Catholic Imagination.

The exhibit features art, design, and even architecture on loan from the Vatican, and paired by the Met curator with notable works of fashion design. It sounds really amazing. If I didn't live very far away from New York City, I'd go see it.

I enjoyed this article on how the exhibit came to be:

The Costume Institute Takes On Catholicism

and especially this quote from the Catholic exhibit curator: “Beauty has often been a bridge between believers and unbelievers.” Truth.

But the exhibit at the museum always seems to get less press than the red carpet in front of it, and this year was no exception. I started hearing buzz about the theme a few weeks back, and I was immediately SUPER excited. I appreciate fashion, particularly Catholic fashion. I own and wear and love Annunciation Stained Glass Leggings, that aren't everyone's cup of tea, but are totally my cup of tea. I was pretty confident that I was going to enjoy the spectacle. I was a little disappointed when my invitation never arrived in the mail.

I had to be content to just enjoy perusing photos of the red carpet looks from the comfort of my home. Anyway, it lived up to my expectations. I thought some of the dresses were beautiful and creative and I would TOTALLY wear them.

The Marys! The beading! I swoon. If we could put some cap sleeves on there I'd wear it every day. Or maybe Joan of Arc for every day, and Marys for Sunday?

The Joan of Arc dress is a beautiful interpretation, and she's even got the hair!

Some, I appreciated the effort, but they just didn't QUITE work for me.

The sorrowful heart on this dress is WAY cool and I would totally rock it at next year's All Saint's Day Pageant. I also am totally there for her St. Lucy's eyes on a stick.

I'm just not getting them together, and with a winged halo. Apparently Sarah Jessica Parker's hat on the right features a miniature nativity scene. A for effort!

Some were predictably tacky, and tackily predictable. Sigh.

Despite rumors to the contrary, that is definitely not a mitre lent to Rihanna by Archbishop Dolan. He was joking. All the Catholic imagery and imagination of the last two thousand years and all you can come up with is a sexy cardinal costume? It looks like she got it off the rack at the Halloween Store.

I'm disappointed. But I'm not mad. 

Art is always going to be hit or miss. That's what this gala is, and always has been. It's a chance for fashion designers to take inspiration from a theme and go wild with it, and create clothing that wouldn't usually get to exist. Some art is going to be to my taste and some isn't. I'll even be so bold as to say some art will be good and some will be bad. But I want art to exist in the world, and, for the good art, I'm willing to suffer the bad to exist as well.

I am happy that Catholic art and history was recognized as it should be. Our art is the BEST ART. I'm glad to see it honored and appreciated by a new generation.

And cultural appropriation is not a term that should be applied to Catholic culture. Our culture is for everyone. It's for every country and people and time. If you like it, please have some. That's how we roll.

This was one of the most interesting takes I read after the event. 

Make Catholicism Weird Again

It's an opinion piece on the fascination with Catholic culture on display at the Met Gala, and why Catholics might want to take note, and embrace our own culture more loudly . . .

"Thus the only plausible approach for Catholicism is to offer itself, not as a chaplaincy within modern liberalism, but as a full alternative culture in its own right — one that reclaims the inheritance on display at the Met, glories in its own weirdness and supernaturalism, and spurns both accommodations and entangling alliances . . . "
I think it would be a mistake to assume that the attendees of the gala, even the sexy clergy types, were out to degrade and offend. I don't doubt they are looking for attention, as starlets are wont to do. Some of them could have used some better advice. But the red carpet interviews, again and again, showcased a thoughtful interest in Catholic art and culture that went into the planning and wearing of this clothing. 

I loved how many reminisced about their Catholic upbringing. I hope it brings some of them back to a practicing faith. But mostly, I just thought it was fun and cool and there were a lot of pretty dresses.

And now for Catholic Stuff Saturday!

The winner of last week's giveaway of The Rosary in Art for Children by Mary Cooney, and The Stations of the Cross for Children by Carolyn Cooney is . . .

Comment #6: Amanda! Amanda, congratulations! Your profile is hooked up to an email address, so I've emailed you!

Stay tuned for next week when I'll have another great giveaway. If you are a Catholic artist, author, or small business owner who would like to be featured on Catholic Stuff Saturday, and offer a giveaway, email me at

I wish you a very happy feast of the Ascension on Sunday (or on Thursday, if it was on Thursday for you), and a very happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and daughters out there, especially mine.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Mary, Mother of the Church: a New Feast Day! (Plus Other May Feast Days and . . . My Book Cover!)

When I did my reader survey, the one thing you guys asked for above all other things was that I give you some advance warning for feast days. The problem with that is that my personal liturgical living style is mostly getting a reminder on my phone at 9am, realizing that it's a feast day I like, and deciding I'll swing by Aldi to pick something up. #itshowiroll So I'm not making any promises that this is going to happen regularly or anything, but there are some great feasts this month, and I want to give you some notice. (All of this will, of course, be in the Catholic All Year Compendium when it comes out this fall, yay! You'll be able to plan ahead with impunity. If you can make it to the end, there's an exciting reveal down there. πŸ˜€)

MAY 9: First up, Wednesday May 9 is the feast of St. Louise de Marillac. This is noteworthy because it was on March 15th until two years ago. In our house, it's Lulu's nameday, so she gets to pick what we have for dinner, as part of our Three Special Days.


I'm not aware of any traditional celebrations for her feast day, but I was reading through her last will and testament recently (like you do), and loved the fact that from her sickbed, Louise added a new bequest: that her only grandchild, Louise Renee (her five year old namesake), might invite the poor of her parish to an annual dinner and serve them herself as guests, using funds left to her in the will. Our Lulu is four, so maybe that for next year.

MAY 10 or 13: Next comes the Ascension, which is observed on its traditional Thursday date in some places in the world including the Vatican, and (newly back this year!) in England and Wales, and in the U.S. ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia. For the rest of us the observation is moved to Sunday May 13th (which this year is also Mother's Day).

Our traditional meal is popovers. They have simple ingredients, and are easy to make (I whip them up in my giant purple blender) and they work in "real" popover pans (for BIG ones), or regular muffin tins (for little ones). But they rise up quite impressively before your very eyes int he oven, making them especially fun for the day. This is the recipe I use.

MAY 20: The next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the end of the Easter season and the birthday of the Church! The Vigil of Pentecost is a recommended day of fasting and abstinence, as are the Spring Ember Days, which fall on the following Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Oh, and the Monday, Tuesday (as in today), and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday are the Minor Rogation Days, and are traditionally observed as days of abstinence from meat. For more on all that see this post:


MAY 21: On my liturgical year wall calendar (newly marked down on Etsy and on Lulu with free shipping using SHIPIT2018) the day after Pentecost is the feast of the Mexican Martyrs. And it IS. Usually we have some tacos and margaritas and Mexi-cokes, which are the very best cokes around, and celebrate Mexican culture on a day that's completely free of problematic anti-Catholic freemason ties.

Not on the calendar, because it wasn't a thing until March of 2018, is the NEWEST feast on the universal liturgical calendar: the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. 

I love this image, from the little Baltimore First Communion Catechism I'm using with first communicant number six this year. The ladder is the sacraments, it leans on the Church, and Mary helps us to climb each rung up to the Holy Trinity waiting for us in heaven!

It will be observed each year on the Monday following Pentecost, which, this year, is May 21st. Both feasts rank as memorials, and neither bumps the other. So we can celebrate either or both as we choose.

Pope Francis, through Card. Sarah and the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, expressed the wish that the celebration of this new feast day would help all of us grow in devotion to Jesus and Mary.
Having attentively considered how greatly the promotion of this devotion might encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety, Pope Francis has decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, should be inscribed in the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost and be now celebrated every year.This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer,the Virgin who makes her offering to God.

The idea was to place the feast on the day after Pentecost, to highlight the Mary's role among the apostles present at the Descent of the Holy Spirit, and at the birth of the Church. Pretty cool.

Since it's all new, it's up to us to figure out a way to celebrate it. I'm thinking Mass, a Rosary, and a homey meal of traditional mom-type foods like meatloaf, and apple pie. And margaritas, because Mexican martyrs.

Oh, and Katie from Look to Him and be Radiant created a very cute printable craft for the day. Check that out here.

MAY 22: Next up is St. Rita, patroness of impossible causes, difficult marriages, and baseball! Hot Dogs, more margaRITAs, and a game of baseball and/or a screening of the Rookie are our go tos for the day.

MAY 27: Then comes Trinity Sunday. I like to spend the day avoiding heresies about the Holy Trinity . . . 

And for dinner, until I can manage a turducken, I like to make three meat chili and cloverleaf rolls. These can be made from scratch, or with premade pizza dough.

MAY 30: The feast day of my adopted patroness, St. Joan of Arc! First order of business is to see if Zendaya will let me borrow her gown from the Met Gala. It is STUNNING! See more here

These two dresses were my most and least favorite of the red carpet. And I enjoyed this take on the event.

Anyway, for the day, I MUST have a croque madame: an amazing grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. Don't ask questions, just make one! It's completely delicious, and the name translates to "crispy lady." If you know me, you know I'm totally there for that.

MAY 31: Finally, on the last day of the Month of Mary, we celebrate the Visitation. It's the day we remember Mary (who was herself expecting) traveling to meet her cousin Elizabeth and help her until baby St. John the Baptist was born. We like to recite the Magnificat, as it's the exclamation of Mary to Elizabeth at the Visitation. From right there in the Bible. I use the day to make a few casserole-type dishes to bring to friends who are expecting or have new babies. 

And now, so fun, I can exclusively reveal to you the cover of my book, created by the lovely and talented Tricia Dugat of Providential Co. . . . 

What do you think? 😊Do you like it? Does it give off a fun/retro/soothing/you can do this vibe? That's what we were going for.

And let me know if you've got any celebration ideas for the new feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. I did get it added to the book in the last round of edits, but I'll have one last crack at making changes after it gets formatted and before it goes to the printer in August!


Saturday, May 5, 2018

That Time I Crossed "Mess With Some Bees" Off of My Bucket List: Catholic Stuff Saturday

Hey, look! It's me with a handful of bees!

I have mentioned before that I have a weird bucket list. You guys asked for details. Well, it includes things like . . .

Heroically land a commercial airliner after the pilots have become incapacitated:

Well, Sean Connery, I can.

Kill (re-kill?) some zombies:

Give myself stitches:

and Execute a Superhero Landing:

I have not seen this movie, and don't know who this gal is, but that's what I want to do. I have seen this:

The list also includes bees. So when my friend Micaela found a swarm of bees in her hedge, it was like a dream come true:

I just happened to have purchased a basic beekeeping starter kit, when we bought a house with two poolside cabanas that turned out to be full of bees. But, as it happens, bees don't necessary want to move into a hive when they already have a perfectly good cabana. So, I still had all the gear, ready to go. 

And, Micaela had read this blog post, and told me about it, so we were pretty much experts.

I loaded up the kids the next morning, drove to her house and we cut the branches, and scooped the bees off the branch and into the box! It was AMAZING. They were all buzzing around us, but without honey or babies to protect, they are quite docile. And we even saw the queen bee go into the hive box.

See for yourself!

We got the box all closed up with the queen in there, and then gave them the rest of the day for the scouts to come back. After bee bedtime, I came back, loaded the box into my minivan and drove it home.

It's now situated in our new little orchard and we'll just wait and see if the bees feel like sticking around. Anyway, it was a really cool experience. I recommend it.

They seem to be settling in well.

Bees in slow motion: the thing you didn't know was missing from your life.

Next order of business . . . 

I'm working on a little project that is not a cookbook but is cookbook-related, and I have therefore been looking at my cookbooks, and researching other cookbooks. Cookbook, cookbook, cookbook.

Here's what I've got now:

I'd love to know what your go-to cookbooks are. I know I should have something by Pioneer Woman, I love her online recipes, but she has so many cookbooks, I don't know which to choose. Smitten Kitchen, and Brown-Eyed Baker are my other favorite cooking blogs, but I don't have any of them in book form. So . . . lay 'em on me. 

The awesomest thing I have encountered so far in my cookbook research is the fact that the cover 1931 first edition of The Joy of Cooking features St. Martha of Bethany, patron saint of cooking, "slaying the dragon of kitchen drudgery." What could be more awesome than that?

And speaking of books . . . let's do a bookish Catholic Stuff Saturday.

It's May, the month of Mary, which means it's the perfect time to get into, or back into, the habit of a family Rosary. 

Here's a post on why:


And a post on how:


To help you on your way, I've got giveaway copies of The Rosary in Art for Children by Mary Cooney! And, extra bonus, The Stations of the Cross for Children by Carolyn Cooney.

There will be three winners, one here on the blog, one of Facebook, and one on Instagram. Stay tuned for those. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this blog post telling me the last time you said a Rosary. You're allowed to say never, especially if you're planning on these books giving you the inspiration to start a new habit!

The winner of last week's giveaway for the LEGO Catechism is . . . Jonathan of The Catholic Woodworker! Congratulations, Jonathan. You're going to love this book. Please email me by the end of the day on Monday to claim your prize.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

What to Do When They Won't Stay in Bed

It's been an AGE since we dug something out of the old mailbag. Let's take a peek, shall we?

The Question:
Hello Kendra, I know you are very busy but I have a few questions from something on your blog. You said the kids can’t get out of bed during nap, how do you enforce this? What age do your children stop taking naps? Is there a recommended consequence post for 3-4 year old boys? My son will not stay in bed not even at night.
Thanks, Heather 

The Answer:

Dear Heather,

My standard rule is that you have to take a nap until you start kindergarten. Frankie, who is my stinkerest kiddo, was required to lay down at naptime for an extra year, because I couldn't trust him to be up and about when I was napping. Lulu, who is very chill, has been allowed to stay up during naptime for the past couple weeks, even though she's only four. I determine when to let kids give up naps based pretty much completely on a child's trustworthiness, rather than sleepiness.

You can't die on every hill. Not every issue can be worth making a huge stink over. But you get to pick a few, and this one is probably the one toddler issue most important to me. Don't want to eat food? No skin off my nose. Want to eat dirt? That's your call. Want to wear a Tigger costume to the grocery store? No problemo. Get out of bed after I've put you down? Your world ends. 

A three or four year old can understand rules and explanations and consequences and following through. So, that's what we do. 

I set the rules: No getting out of bed at naptime until three-zero-zero. No getting out of bed at night time until it is morning and light out. 

I explain: You are a growing boy. It's important for growing boys to get enough rest so their bodies can grow. It's also important for you to have a rest in your bed, even if you can't sleep. When you have a rest in the afternoon, it makes you a better behaved little boy in the evening. You are happier. When you are happier, our family is happier. It's important for you to stay in bed when you are supposed to stay in bed, because your sleeping time is when mom takes a nap, works on jobs around the house, etc. When you get out of bed, it means I can't do those things. I can't relax, if I don't know you are where you are supposed to be, if I'm worried you might be causing mischief. When mom can't rest, or can't finish the things I need to do around the house, it makes me a frustrated mom. And frustrated moms are not as fun for little boys.

I set the consequences: I am putting you to bed now. You've gone potty. You've had a drink of water. You have your buddy/doll/blanket/whatever. You may not get out of bed until time/morning. If you stay in bed until you are allowed to get up, you'll get a reward (a snack, a show, to play play dough, to go to the playground, I'd usually just have one reward). If you get up before you are allowed you will get a consequence (no treats, no screens, a spanking, I'd usually do multiple consequences).

Then I follow through: If I was trying to establish this behavior, I'd expect to give it my full attention for 3-10 days depending on where this particular kid falls on the chill to stinker continuum. I'd have the talk, reiterate the rules, then I'd put him down, close the door, and make sure to be where I'd see and hear immediately if he gets up. Then I'd give him the immediate consequence, a spanking, and I'd inform him that he's lost treats and screens for the day (or the next day). As many times as he gets up, he gets the immediate consequence, a spanking, and gets put back in bed, with as little talk as possible. Then after he's allowed to get up, I'd make a big deal of reminding him of the privileges he's lost. "No, no shows today. Remember, you got out of bed before wake up time? I'm sure you'll do better tomorrow." "No, we can't stop for ice cream today. Because you got out of your bed after mommy put you to bed last night. I'm sure you'll do better tonight." The more reminders of lost privileges, the better.

If he did NOT get out of bed, there is great rejoicing and awarding of rewards, and reminders of what a very good and grown up boy he has been.

A note on spankings, because I know people have very strong opinions on this: 

If you don't feel comfortable using spankings, that's fine by me. We have been comfortable using them with our many kids, the oldest of whom is now nearly sixteen. We have seen only positive effects on the behavior of little kids, and no long term negative effects of any kind. In our house, we use spankings on the hand for lesser offenses and spankings on the bottom for larger offenses. I use my hand, and not other objects. If I'm especially upset about something, I try to wait until I've calmed down to spank.

We use spankings only on kids under the age of reason (usually about 7), except in very extraordinary situations. What I like about a spanking is that it's an immediate consequence, that doesn't require time or equipment. Timeouts, chores, loss of privileges, are all excellent consequences, except none of that can be used in the moment when we are at the dinner table, or it's 11pm and he's out of bed again. What I want is for my child to to understand that he needs to match his behavior to my words. Chill kids care about your feelings. They don't want you to be upset, and they don't want you to be upset with them. That's sometimes all the motivation they need. I have a couple chill kids who were maybe spanked once or twice, ever. It was for very grave offenses only, and it was very mortifying to them. I'm really careful with my words and my punishments with chill kids, who also tend to be more sensitive. 

Stinker kids DO NOT care about what you say or what you feel. They don't care if you are upset or upset with them. I want my sinker kids to learn that it is in their own best interest to do what I say, because that's what motivates them. Physical punishment, undertaken in a calm, controlled manner, is a simple and effective way to get that point across. To my mind, it fits with God's plan for us and our bodies. It's not good for me to touch touch a hot stove, or eat a whole pie, so God made it physically uncomfortable for me to do those things. I try it, it hurts, so (hopefully) I learn my lesson and don't do it again. Narrowly, not getting out of bed, and broadly, listening to what mom says, can be accomplished in the same way. Stinker kids, in my experience, are not particularly mortified by words or punishments. Their spirits are not going to be wounded. Often, they'll act like they don't care one bit about not only your feelings, but also the spanking and other punishments. But I've found that with my kids, that's just a stinker kid scam. Not getting a spanking is better than getting a spanking. They know that. And all of my kids have eventually gotten with the program, believed that I meant what I said about staying in bed, and adjusted their behavior accordingly.

(For parents with a personal history of abuse or mental health issues, or anyone who isn't capable of spanking in a calm, controlled way, physical punishment is probably not the best option. I know there are other parenting philosophies out there with alternate strategies. One of those would probably be a better fit in those circumstances.)

Having little kids who stay in bed makes ALL the difference for the physical and emotional well being of our family. It means my kids are well-rested and I'm well-rested. It means I'm able to accomplish things I need to get done while kids are sleeping and so can be present for them when they are awake. It's a goal worth effort and sacrifice to achieve, IMHO. 

Good luck, mama! Let me know if this didn't cover all your questions.


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Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, nor am I an official spokesperson for the Catholic Church. (You're thinking of this guy.) If you read anything on this blog that is contrary to Church teaching, please consider it my error (and let me know!). I'm not a doctor or an expert on anything in particular. I'm just one person with a lot of experience parenting little kids and a desire to share my joy in marriage, mothering, and my faith.

If you've got a question, please send it along to catholicallyear @ gmail . com . Please let me know if you prefer that I change your name if I use your question on the blog.

p.s. Happy May! If you're playing along with our Traditional Monthly Devotion Phone Wallpapers, today's the day to switch to May: the Month of Mary.

It's never too late to join us, you can get the images in my Etsy shop, here.

And, by request, they are now formatted to fit the new 19.5:9 iPhone X screen. You can get those here. If you purchased the earlier version, and now have an iPhone X, email me some sort of proof of purchase and I'll send you the reformatted images.