October 2013 Reads


Time for the monthly run-down of what books I finished reading in this past month. Usually I would wait until the month is over before writing this, because, you never know, I may finish something in the last day… But not this month. I currently am only a few pages into my next book and being the mommy-with-three + the Red Sox only nine six (in the time it took to write this) outs from winning the world series + a dentist appointment in the AM + work after that = not enough time to actually finish another book before tomorrow night…

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. This is the fourth book of the Inheritance Series (or, the Eragon books, if like me, you didn’t know that’s what the series was called before this book). I’ll be honest, while I enjoyed the first book of the series a lot when I read it several years ago, this book seemed to drag a little. I really enjoyed the story, yes, but it almost got a little too wordy. It felt like a very predictable good vs. evil story, for example, I could have guessed the ending minus a few details. It’s a pretty long book, and that may have been part of my problem (I have a tendency to get bored once a book passes 300 pages or so). Geared for the young adult crowd.

Saint Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer by Mike Aquilina and Mark W. Sullivan. (I actually did a book review for this book, you can read it here). I will restate: I LOVED this book.

A Time to Be Born by John Vornholt (Star Trek). Full on Sci-fi for this one. I initially thought I wouldn’t like it. The first chapter was, to me a little cheesy. But once I got into it, the story picked up and became better and more interesting. If you follow Star Trek at all (which, honestly, I don’t… just when Jared decides he needs a Star Trek fix) this book takes place after the Star Trek Enterprise tv series. Not sure how to describe it, because if you don’t know S.T. it won’t make any sense, but in a nutshell, it follows the Enterprise as they’re on a war-clean-up mission, things get hairy (like any good S.T. plot), things get MORE hairy, and then it ends. This is book one of a series. Guess I will be reading more Sci-fi in the near future.

{and can you believe, I made a comment at some point either earlier this month or last month where I said that I didn’t really read sci-fi and look here I read two, if not sci-fi, than at least two in the fantasy/sci-fi genre this month, with more in the upcoming future…}

My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell. Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious. An absolutely beautiful story. It’s a spiritual memoir. It really follows her quest in “meaning to life”, and the help she receives as she learns about and draws closer to five particular women saints. It begins in her college years, and goes along with her father’s illness, her marriage and infertility, how she struggles to find the balance between career and being a woman. She is very open about all these struggles, but she’s also open with how much help she received from her “Sisters”.

I think I loved it because I myself am learning more about the saints and seeing someone else’s example of the how they are able to relate to saints is not only super duper encouraging, but again, so beautiful to see. (I know, that’s not much of a review, but this was an excellent book and if you have a chance to read it, you should!)

Linking up with Housewife Sprice, go there and check out more books that could be added to the ever-growing book lists. 🙂


What do I pray?


In the last 24 hours several people I know, who are relatively close to me, tragically lost family. My {almost} sister-in-law lost her aunt, uncle and two of her cousins in a house fire. They’re gone. She saw them a few weeks ago, and now they’re gone. While I don’t know that family personally, I do know my sister-in-law and her family and my heart grieves for them.

After she told me yesterday, and after I got the kids settled down into a “nap” I went down to our partially-completed chapel area and kneeled down to pray. I didn’t know what to pray, so I started on the Rosary. The words were a comfort to me as I prayed them with my mouth, but my heart was crying out for healing for this family who has been through so much loss in the last month alone. I didn’t know the words to pray what was on my heart.

During this morning’s prayer time which I try to do with the kids, we read:

The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:26-28

I felt so much peace when I read that this morning. Because it affirmed to me that God will hear those unwordable prayers that were and still are in my heart. I’m so very glad that I decided to do morning prayers today, because often it gets pushed aside on rushed mornings (and on library days, its usually a rushed morning). May we always pray, even if… no… especially if we don’t know what to pray.

Book Review: the Queen and the Cross: The Story of Saint Helen


The Queen and the Cross by Cornelia Mary Bilinsky is the story of Saint Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine of Rome. One evening after her daily prayer time, Saint Helen has an overwhelming desire to find the True Cross on which Jesus died. The story follows her journey to Jerusalem and the trials she encounters while searching for the True Cross. It ends with her return home, having accomplished her mission of finding the True Cross.

This story most likely falls into the “legend” category, however I love legends, so no problems there. 🙂 I enjoy having legends to use as introductions of important stories for kids. I think sometimes it’s easier to grasp for them. It also affords them the opportunity to ask questions about a topic that may otherwise not come up.

I love the simplicity and straightforwardness with which this story is told. There is no difficulty with my four-year-old comprehending it. She actually got the book before I had a chance to sit down with it, and she sat and just looked and looked at it.

One thing I absolutely love are the prayers that are scattered throughout the book. The world of Catholic children’s books is relatively new to me, but one of the greatest “perks” I’ve found so far are the prayers included in each book I’ve read so far. Being able to share those with my children has been very special.

Finally, another thing I really enjoyed is the more detailed biography of Saint Helen included at the end of the book. As I myself am still learning about the lives of the saints, it’s helpful to have a short section to deepen my understanding of the saint’s life.


This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company.  Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Queen and the Cross-The Story of St. Helen.  The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Moving Forward/Simple Things Sunday {8}


Things have been on a bit of a roller coaster over here for the last few months to say the very least (if you’re interested, you can read all the drama here, here and here, if you haven’t before or are new reading here).


But…. I truly believe that we are getting back on the right track. One of the hardest things for me is time. Namely “how long” things take to change. I have a very impatient personality, once things are going to happen, I see no reason to delay them. But that’s not how the world works, at least not always. And lifestyle changes take lots of time. And dedication. And sometimes frustrations and disappointments. I have been learning very, very slowly what it means to “be there” for my husband in all things.


However, some things make waiting for the changes to happen (or finish happening) a little easier to deal with. Ir maybe I should say, a little piece of my impatience breaks off and I’m less impatient.

Last night Karl decided he wasn’t going to go to sleep (again), so he was up while we were watching the Game.

At one point Jared got on the floor with him and started rolling around and goofing off on the floor. This is one of the things that I LOVE about Jared, that he’ll get down on the floor and play with them. Since he’s been back home, he’s done it way more often than before. But on top of that I’ve noticed the kids, especially the boys have become more close with him. They want to do more things with him, they allow him to help with more things (jackets, coats, baths, etc…). It’s been a joy to watch them bond. And my prayer is that that bonding continues as strong as it has even in the last few weeks.


Linking up with Simple Things Sunday.

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 5

— 1 —

 Back to work I go… It’s official now, I’m back at my old job. I hesitate to call it part time because it’s basically hours. But, still, the plan is that I’ll do a couple mornings and then one afternoon a week… Feeling very conflicted about this.

— 2 —

Feeling…. Very, very conflicted about going back to work. One the one had we can really use the additional dinero that me working will provide, but on the other  hand I’m having a hard time with giving up being with the kids all day. Now, don’t get me wrong, I hardly ever will refuse a break of a couple hours here and there if someone else is watching the kids, but the “idea” that I won’t be a stay-at-home mom (something I really believe in, and really feel that I should do)…uggg… just conflicting feelings at the moment.

— 3 —

Heat!!! We finally have heat. Such a luxury. Scrounging $333.00 from thin air to pay for oil — not so much. But, we have heat now 🙂 Bring on the dry skin. And the nose bleeds (poor Katherine, at least she’s much better about them now).

— 4 —

Blog post ideas. Since writing my Day in the Life post on Wednesday, I found myself thinking at numerous times “oh, I should do a post about that”. So things that may be upcoming “Chores with the kids”, “Learning Silence from my kids” (not quite sure how that idea came about on that particular day, but it did… one of these day’s it’ll get written).

— 5 —

Kitchen experiments. This week we tried a few new baking/snack recipes brought on by our overabundance of apples and green tomatoes. We made “apple cinnamon chips” (from inspiration from the Farmers Market, which incidentally if any of my siblings are reading this, do you remember “candy apples” that we made on the woodstove? these are kinda like those. Yum!) Basically its apples cut very thin, sprinkled with cinnamon, and baked on a really low  temperature for an hour, flipped over and baked for another hour or so. Then you’re supposed to leave them in the over so they “crisp”, but only some of mine did because they were cut too fat.


We also made what my kids have taken to calling “tomato cake”. Pretty sure this recipe is the one I used. Or the one I started with, I did make a few minor changes. Honestly, wasn’t so bad as I thought. Glad I found a way to use green tomatoes that would otherwise go to waste.

Oh, and I also tried my hand at green tomato pickles… this is the recipe I settled on, had to find one that called for ingredients I already had on hand. I like pickled cucumbers (aka regular pickles), as much as anyone, but I just haven’t been able to make myself try these. Jared, though, swears they’re amazing!

— 6 —

Other new favorite kitchen hack:Since I managed to run out of baking powder and keep forgetting to buy it every grocery run for the last two weeks… And since I also managed to conveniently have three (3) jars of cream of tarter + baking soda + corn starch I was able to make some, but for the  Ingredient Substitution I wouldn’t have known it was possible.

I also found it helpful when I realized I didn’t have self-rising flour.

— 7 —

Just Because. No post is complete without a few random kid pics. And since I don’t foresee myself doing an official family update post this week enjoy these snaps.

Must. Play. In. Leaves
Must. Play. In. Leaves
Multi-tasking, Karl-style
Multi-tasking, Karl-style

~Ruth Anne

(this week) For more Quick Takes, visit Clan Donaldson!