{SQT} It’s All About the Takes, And Edel

I’m the host so nice she booked me twice! (Totally not even a condition of the rider either.)

Welcome back readers for another addition of everyone begrudgingly linking up at my blog for Seven Quick Takes! Yay me!

1. I love Quick Takes, even though mine are rarely ever quick and typically not a subject that needs broken into seven distinct pieces. But Jen’s cool with that, and I was pleased to see last week that while clicking around many other bloggers also loosely followed the Quick Takes protocol. If I ever hosted a weekly link up, my Type A would flare up and I’d have so many unreasonable demands within a couple weeks only a few determined bloggers would be left. And they would be my best friends…and we would take over the world. Mwahahahaha…….

2. When I started blogging, the Quick Takes link up was the main way I discovered other bloggers. My first Quick Takes was in March of 2012 and was my first “viral” post at like, 150 views, all because Jen tweeted it…and because it mentioned Truck Nutz. (FYI: You will not find them next to Planters in the snack food aisle.) For months, the majority of my posts were written for link ups, with Quick Takes being the highest priority on my list. Weekend plans consisted of whatever obligatory family outing or ritual and me catching up on other bloggers’ posts. I’d gotten out of the habit and was so surprised/ pleased when I scrolled through the links recently to find many awesome new blogs and old favorites I’d somehow never added to my Feedly still at it,  cranking out the goodness. It’s a pretty sweet community.

3. I can pretty much thank Quick Takes for helping me find some of my favorite bloggers, and now friends. Like Jen KM who is always one of the first people to link up. I was like, how does she keep doing that? And then I realized Quick Takes went live at midnight EST, and all the West Coast bloggers were at a huge advantage over us tired East folk types. Now that I’m hosting, I stay up really late with a glass of something strong,  listening to my crazy playlist and type out the magic while trying to converse with folks on Twitter and Facebook. At least until my husband reminds me that he’s going to bed and I need to get to bed so I can be a suitable mother in the morning. Thankfully, I’ve taught my kids how to make a mean bowl of instant oatmeal while I sip coffee and growl.

4. And just in case you wondered what that playlist sounded like. (I didn’t even realize I was such a Lil Jon fan until I listened to this for the 2,394 time. Also, I listen to the videos, not watch them so, yeah, just…don’t have your kids around.)

5. I also recommend checking out last week’s #16 linker Domestic Vocation who had the best pharmacy visit EVER. It was #1 in my heart, for a perfectly legitimate reason.

6. My sixth take < #4 linker Super Swell Times . She interviewed her husband and I died. I love when bloggy ladies get their husbands involved.

I feel like if we have Edel, our husbands should have a weekend of their own where they can all commiserate about the discomfort of conversing with parish members who are all avid readers of their wives’ blogs and the heart-break of discovering photos of their underwear clad kids online. Dan Lord and Joe Fulwiler, my husband’s down with a pub crawl any time you guys want to organize.

7.  Lastly, I know you’re all wondering, “Kelly, will you just be yammering on about Edel related topics for the next eight months?!”

Yes. Yes, I will.

In trying to narrow down topics for my talk I’m considering the following:

  • why Catholic womanhood is different from being a female chimpanzee
  • how raising my children in the faith has taught me more about love and hand sanitizer
  • what makes a strong Catholic women? patience, humility, caffeine and a bathroom with a locking door
  • building cathedrals, one snotty tissue left on the floor right next to the trash can at a time

Any other ideas for me?

Why I continue to jot speaking notes on the back cover of my child’s math workbook be sure swing back to ME, NO WHERE ELSE, JUST STAY RIGHT HERE and read the rest of the the lovely takers. I might just stay up all night reading your posts….because instant oatmeal.

 


My Papal Birthday Present

The Pope is coming to Philly for the World Meeting of Families in 2015! And I don’t mean to have any sway or insider knowledge, but, my birthday is September 26th and the Holy Father is expected to be here from Sept. 25 until the 27th. Coincidence? I think not. 

Obviously, this means I’m going to be having the biggest, baddest (and I mean that in a holy way) birthday party with a few thousand of my closest Catholic friends on the Ben Franklin Parkway. I’m lining up a few port-o-pots and a shuttle service for our backyard after party.

I figured I should officially invite Pope Francis to my party, and welcome him to the Philly, South Jersey, SE PA area. And also give him a heads up that Jesus was just arrested in our neck of the woods, so he needs to maybe bring some Swiss Guards with him, just in case.

Your holiness, Pope Francis,

My name is Kelly Mantoan and my family and I are some of the millions of people excited to learn about your upcoming visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in 2015. (You might remember me from such previous correspondences as “#freeFultonSheen @pontifex.”)

We are a family of seven; Anthony, my husband and our five children Adeline, Byron, Edith, Fulton and Theodore. Our Catholic faith is integral to our daily living and the cornerstone to our home education program.

family beach photo

Since you will be in town over my, and my oldest daughter’s, birthdays, we wanted to invite you back to our house for the ultimate after-party following your Saturday appearance. We will be stocking up on local foods and beverages (Tastykakes, Turkey Hill ice cream, cheese steaks, soft pretzels and Wawa hoagies) and providing security in the form of our 23 pound dog to ensure a good time is had by all. We’re also only a short drive to the beach, so if you want to make a side trip to Atlantic City or the more family friendly Ocean City, you can borrow our EZ Pass to zip through the tolls.

A few things to consider while visiting the city of brotherly love:
The Parking Commission will have no mercy, even on the Popemobile. You might find it easier to navigate around the Art Museum on a Segway. Just hold on to that zucchetto!
Saint John Neumann, a great American saint, founder of the Catholic School system and 40 hours devotion is interned at the National Shrine of St. John Neumann in the lower church of St. Peter the Apostle Church in North East Philly. He’s sort of a big deal.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is located in University City. It is one of the best hospitals in the country, if not the world, and consequently it’s walls are filled with some of the sickest children from across the globe. If you can make even a quick drive down Civic Center Boulevard  many of them will be able to look out their windows and see you. Having passed 13 long days in there with my son a few years back, I know how exciting a Papal envoy drive by (or visit??) would be for those families.
Also ironically, Jesus was recently arrested in LOVE park, so the authorities might not take to kindly to you ice skating or discussing your love of the Gospel. Enter at your own risk.

However, Philly Jesus is hoping to snag an epic selfie with you and catch a bite on South Street, which might be a safer meeting ground if you’re interested in a face to face.
You could also catch an American football game or baseball game while you’re in town. You might hear rumors about some of the fans, but I’m sure they’ll all be on their best behavior. It’s not soccer after all.

While driving through the city, why not try a playlist of local musicians like Will Smith, Patti LaBelle, Chubby Checker, Boys II Men, Billie Holiday and The Roots?

And despite New Jersey being the most densely populated state in the USA, you can still find plenty of produce being grown here in the Garden State. Try to get your hands on some Hammonton Blueberries, Jersey Peaches and apples before you leave the area. (Much of the produce is being tended and picked by Spanish speaking migrant workers who are filling the parishes in the Camden, NJ diocese.)

So, when you get a chance, drop me a line (or tweet at me, @kellymantoan) and let me know if I can expect papal representation at the un-official World Meeting of Families South Jersey birthday happy hour(s). I will fly in plenty of Malbec just in case Yards or Flying Fish in not your thing.

With warmest regards and prayers,

Kelly Mantoan

{SQT} My Seven Reasonable Demands

Welcome Conversion Diary readers to the latest episode of Seven Quick Takes. I’m honored to be hosting this week as Jen continues her reign of airwave domination.
If you’re not a regular reader in these parts, please excuse the lack of scorpion references and feminine cowboy hats. Rest assured that Jen would not trust me with such weighty responsibilities if she wasn’t sure I was up to the task…or getting desperate in her final hours.
But seriously folks (is this mic on?) I know Jen trusts me because she and Hallie have asked me to speak at Edel ’15. My attendance last year was due to lots of “special arrangements” on my part, but it paid off for Jen and Hallie because my impressive shoe judging became the talk of the event (plus I rapped and stuff.) Wanting to build on that momentum, they asked me to speak, and of course I enthusiastically agreed…once they both signed, initialed and faxed back my speaking rider.
Sure, I don’t have much* speaking experience right now, but I know Edel, and the subsequent Sirius XM exposure is going to blow the roof off this mother and I need to be prepared. So visitors, event organizers, long time readers and confused Google searchers, I present seven terms from my 38 page rider. (Take note ladies.)

1. Kelly must be met at the airport by a horse-drawn carriage, because she’s sensitive to her carbon footprint. A cooler containing five ice-cold glass bottles of Coca-Cola, NO MORE AND NO LESS must be placed in the seat closest to the setting sun. No competitive soda products may be in the vicinity of the carriage, lest Kelly accidentally snap a selfie near it. The coachman, and footman, are not permitted to start conversations with Kelly, unless to tell her how much air travel agrees with her complexion.

Actually I prefer my coachman in knickers, but I will wave this requirement if there is actually a fast food restaurant inside my carriage.

 

2. Kelly’s hotel room must be a king suite at a five-star hotel with only natural fiber carpets and bed sheets hand-woven from albino alpacas. Kelly will have her bathrobe overnighted in advance of her arrival and she expects it to be laid on the bed, seductively, waiting for her when she walks in. Kelly also requires a karaoke machine and fair-trade banana suit en suite. ***None of the artwork in the room can be from the Abstract Expressionist era as it causes intestinal distress.***

3. Kelly demands breakfast ( a pitcher of mimosa, gluten-free toast with Polaner’s All Fruit Spread in Strawberry, and one raw egg white)  to be delivered to her room by her hosts Jen and Hallie. Kelly expects them to sit and watch her eat while asking for nothing in return.

4. Kelly requires one pony ride from Jenny within 12 hours of her arrival.

5. When Kelly speaks she is to be announced to the first 18 measures of Beyonce’s ‘Crazy in Love’. Four controlled blasts of pyrotechnics are to be released upon her arrival at the podium.** At the conclusion of her talk, Kelly will walk off stage to Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions’ and confetti canons. ONLY BLUE AND WHITE CONFETTI IS TO BE USED. Please make sure the mic is of the highest quality and can withstand being dropped, enthusiastically waved around and licked.

LED outline is only required for arena events.

6. Kelly requires a sedia gestatoria to transport her around the venue with two attendees on hand at all times to fan her with flabella. And if you don’t know what she’s talking about, Kelly already can’t. handle. it.

I CAN’T MAKE IT MORE CLEAR THAN THIS!!

7.  Kelly needs to retire to her room promptly at 9:30 p.m. in order to soak in a tub filled with the tears of her enemies (which will be provided under cover of darkness at a location to be determined.)

(*No experience, except for that public speaking course in college. **For the record, I wave the pyrotechnics requirement for smaller venues and only ask for “sparklers to be waved with FEELING.” )

So, if you’re in the market for a Catholic mom speaker, I like to think I make a pretty compelling case for hiring me. (I mean, Rachel Balducci just has a TV show. Ppffffpt.) Let me work your patience muscle!  

Confused? Typing an angry email to Jen as we speak? Please. We both know it’s too late to take back that Goodreads vote.  Keep calm and link on.

I look forward to reading everyone’s posts!


{WIWS} I’m Not Here!

I’m guest posting over at Fine Linen and Purple today! Come read about your best bets online for finding cheap, yet stylish clothes plus, I belt my cardigan and immediately second guess myself.

_MG_4756“It’s okay mama. I still love you.” -aspiring favorite child

 

Please head over to FLAP to read more details than necessary and partake in all the other fine ladies linked up with What I Wore Sunday.

{SQT} I’m Selling You Something, But it’s AWESOME

This might be considered a sponsored post since Jenny from Holy Heroes put out a call for bloggers who wanted to review some materials and possibly host a giveaway, and I was all

HOLY HEROES?!?! Pick me, pick me, pick me!!!

Cause I’m a 36-year-old Catholic homeschooling mom of five who knows where it’s at y’all!

And I was selected!

And this pack of materials showed up at my door and now, I get to gush to you about this great website and all the great resources they offer Catholic families AND I have a giveaway! Did somebody just take care of your Advent preparation and some Christmas shopping?! OH HONEY YES I DID!!!!!

So while yes, I was given merchandise in exchange for this post, it’s because I begged to get this stuff to share with you. My kids and I have been Holy Hero and Glory Story fans for years now, and I can’t say enough good stuff about it all. If we knew where the kids that filmed these videos lived, we’d totally just show up for a non-creepy playdate, because we like them all so much.

If you’re not too uncomfortable with all that honesty, let’s move on so I can share my only somewhat less crazy thoughts on seven great aspects of Holy Heroes and what they offer. Click on each affiliate linked picture to get whisked away to your one stop shop for Catholic liturgical fun and awesome.

1. Right around the corner is Advent. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the secular “holiday” season which runs from Black Friday until December 26 and glorifies gluttony in all things. Holy Heroes Advent Adventure is a neat program that is emailed to your inbox everyday and focuses on Advent as a time of preparation leading up to the birth of Jesus. Advent Adventure introduces kids to the old testament stories that foreshadow Christ, but also explains all the various feast days through out Advent, the meaning of the seasons’ liturgical colors and so much more. And in a way that kids will enjoy. Advent Adventure is how our family came to discover Holy Heroes and we’ve done it for several years now. The kids enjoy watching the Adventure Guides, and up to this point, printing off the activities. It’s become a tradition for our family and even as the older ones age out, they enjoy helping the younger ones.

One reason I was so excited to be contacted by Jenny was because she was able to get me a review copy of the Holy Heroes Advent Adventure book! No more running out of ink December 20 from printing out everything! Now, you can just order a book that includes all the activities- plus new material! All the pages are marked to show what online videos and extra resources they accompany. The activities are also marked from Level 1 to 3 so all your kids can have something fun to do each day. It’s not only a complete religion program for Advent, but a great way to celebrate the season!

2. Maybe you’ve heard about a Jesse Tree and want to start it within your family but don’t want to overwhelm your young children. Then the Holy Heroes Jesse Tree DVD is another great option. The disc contains not only all the videos but files of ornaments to print out too. And don’t worry if Advent is extra long, there’s enough videos and ornaments for every day! Plus, the DVD features the seven ‘O Antiphon’ ornaments and videos. I enjoy having my kids color at least a few new ornaments every year, while writing the artist’s name and age on the back.

3. Holy Heroes has other products that would also be a great aid in introducing a family prayer time. They have four rosary CDs, one for each set of mysteries, and an accompanying coloring book. Perfect to pop in during a car ride, or play one while the children color (and you nap, I mean pray along, from the couch.) I can’t rave enough about the quality of the illustrations either. Totally profesh and the perfect accent to your refrigerator.

4. Have I enticed you with the idea of putting in a CD to entertain your children while you accomplish other important tasks? Check out Holy Heroes full selection of Glory Story CDs. Exciting tales of great saints like Pope St. John Paul II, Blessed Miquel Pro, St. Joseph, St. Katherine Drexel, St. Kateri Tekawitha and my kids’ favorite St. Miquel de la Mora and the Knights of Columbus. We’ve been listening to Glory Stories since they were associated with Catholic World Missions, and I was so happy to see them in the Holy Heroes store.

5. Maybe CDs don’t do it for your kids like the video babysitter. I get it! No shame here ladies! But next time you need to make dinner with less whine (not wine mind you) pop in a Holy Heroes Inside the Sacraments DVD. We’ve been watching “Episode One: The Holy Eucharist” and it’s been a great supplement especially for Fulton as we ramp up for First Holy Communion 4.0 in the Spring of 2016. I even caught the older ones pulling away from their own CCD work to laugh along. The best thing is, I don’t feel like the content is dumbed down for my kids, just presented in a clear and fun way that sticks with them and reinforces the responses they need to memorize anyway from the catechism. So next time you’re thinking Daniel Tiger, switch it out and everyone is less annoyed-guaranteed.

6. If you love the format of the Advent Adventure, you can also sign up for their Lent Adventure. They also feature the Stations of the Cross on CD. Again, if you’ve been trying to introduce a family prayer time, I can’t think of an easier way.

7. Can’t make it to Vacation Bible School? Don’t worry, Holy Heroes even has you covered with a Summer Faith Adventure.

Right now, you’re thinking, “Oh my word! I’m so overwhelmed with all the choices! Where do I start?” I suggest visiting their site, surveying the Glory Stories and then coming back here to enter my giveaway to win the Glory Story of your choice plus a complete set of ‘The Life of Christ’ coloring books!!!! Yes way!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you can’t wait to win, swing back and pick up a few items for Christmas. Use code Lyceum10 for 10 percent off your entire order!! Don’t forget to subscribe via email to get new adventures delivered daily to your inbox during the appropriate season.

Once you’ve settled back with a contented smile on your face, be sure to swing back to Jen’s for more Quick Takers who probably are going to be more subtle in their marketing attempts. (I’ve never been good at subtle.)

Heroic Patience: Ten Virtues of Mary

I originally offered to write on heroic patience as a joke. While I couldn’t think of anyone who was bragging about their ample supply of patience, it seemed there should be some other woman, made of stronger stuff, who could withstand the slings and arrows of daily life better than I, and who should be called upon to share her wisdom.

But, because my sarcasm was not made clear enough, here I am, the blackest pot, with the largest timber in my eye, writing about patience, and not just any patience, but patience in heroic proportions. Thank goodness I can yield the floor to one more suitable; the Blessed Mother.

heroic adj. 1. having the characteristics of a hero or heroine; very brave

patience noun 1.the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset

When I first reflected on Mary’s heroic patience, I wondered how her life could be a model for me. She had an absolutely perfect child, literally, and she was free from the sin that weakens us. The loud and frantic pace of my daily life must be the exact opposite of what Our Lady experienced as she raised our Lord. How much easier would my life be if my child could turn water into wine for a party or rocks into bread when he got hungry!?

And yet, while she was spared some of the little things, Mary was dealt sorrows which tower over our own crosses and make clear why, in times of stress, Mary is our model of how to patiently endure suffering.

  • She faced the uncertainty of fleeing in the middle of the night to an unknown land to protect the life of her son.
  • She lived in this far away land for years until her family was able to return home.
  • She waited for days to be reunited with her son whom she’d unknowingly left behind in Jerusalem.
  • She lost her spouse.
  • She watched her son’s agonizing Passion.

And through it all, even during her worst trials, she never gave into sorrow, despair or doubted God’s plan. Never. Sure, she suffered greatly but you can bet she never cursed God, went on a chocolate eating binge or threatened St. Joseph with walking out on the days she “just couldn’t take it anymore!”

Rejoice then, we can be mayrtrs without

 

It may seem impossible to achieve Marian levels of patience, however,  I’ve come to see that patience is like a muscle. It must be worked and pushed to the limit occasionally for us to gain tolerance or acceptance of unpleasant or tragic circumstances.

Everyday we are given opportunities to strengthen our patience; reminding a child for the 3,304 time to put his shoes away, waiting on hold to discuss a medical billing error, helping a child with a math equation she understood yesterday but is completely stumped on today….and so on and so forth. You can yell at your son, hang up on the billing department and toss your child’s book on the floor in frustration or, you can choose to work your patience muscle. Yes it’s hard, it sucks and many times you will be cursing under your breath, but God is your spotter for this exercise. He’s sees the weight stacked on and He’s there, encouraging you with His hands at the ready making sure you don’t drop the bar on your chest.

Sometimes I choose to undertake difficult things, like homeschooling or leading my daughters’ scout troop. People always say, “I couldn’t do that, I don’t have the patience.” Well, I don’t have a ton of patience either but I’m getting better. I keep praying for patience and confessing when I fall short. I don’t only need patience for the days, but to keep my eyes on the big picture or the light at the end of the tunnel. I need to have the patience to keep going because these ventures are worth it.

Sometimes I don’t choose to make my life more difficult, but it happens anyway. Fulton and Teddy require continuous and often tedious care. People say they couldn’t do it, and they feel sorry for me. But God didn’t make me the boys’ mother because I already had an excess of patience that needed to get used up somehow. I’m getting stronger everyday, every month, every year. I can think back and see how much I’ve changed in the last five years. Sure there’s tough times, or set backs, but God is always there coaching me, pushing me on, and ultimately building my patience muscle.

We are all capable of doing hard things; those that we choose and those that our given to us. God knows it, and Mary shows us how. She endured some of the hardest things imaginable, without getting angry at God or despairing in His plan, and she wants the same for us, her children.

A Prayer for Patience

Blessed Mary, Mother of Consolation, pray with me for the virtue of patience.There are so many times when my lack of patience keeps me from becoming the kind of person God wants me to be.
Guide my thoughts to you and the example we have in your own life.
Help me to become patient, as you were patient.
Through your guidance, may I become more accepting of others around me.
Assist me to welcome difficult times with a patient heart.
May I be patient, Mary, as was your beloved husband, Joseph.
His quiet acceptance of the will of Our Loving Father should be an example for me always.
His patience was most wonderful in the eyes of God.
Pray for me, dear Mother of God, that I will allow the Father to come into my heart and help me grow in patience. Amen.

ten-virtues-mary-series-promo

This post is part of a series on the Ten Virtues of Mary, hosted by To the Heights and running every Tuesday until the middle of December. So if you need some help in the virtue department, here’s a great place to start ;)

October 7 – An Introduction to the Ten Virtues of Mary – Olivia of To the Heights

October 14 – Lively FaithMolly of Molly Makes Do

October 21 – Blind ObedienceKendra of Catholic All Year

October 28 – Constant Mental PrayerJenna of Call Her Happy

November 4 – Heroic PatienceKelly of This Ain’t the Lyceum

November 11 – Profound HumilityCarolyn of Svellerella

November 18 – Angelic SweetnessRegina of Good One God

November 25 - Divine WisdomBritt of The Fisk Files

December 2 – Universal MortificationAbbey of Surviving Our Blessings

December 9 – Divine PurityGina of Someday Saints

December 16 – Ardent CharityChristy of Fountains of Home

December 17 – Massive GIVEAWAY at To the Heights – Just in time for Christmas

{WIWS} From Posting on Week 105 to Mrs. Worldwide!

It’s baaaaaack! And the novelty has not worn off!  Middle aged mom working it for the camera and linking up with the FLAPers on week one oh five! I’d like to blame my trashed house on poltergeist but, I’ll just have to ‘fess up to spending all my time on Halloween costumes last week. So in addition to my sultry knees, you get to enjoy photos of my kids’ trick or treating gear. All the achieving where it matters most.

They gathered so much candy, I estimate our family can subsist on junk food for ten days before I’m required to go to the grocery story to resupply. It only works because I managed to birth children that will eat things like Whoppers and Dots. (shudder)

I’m almost embarrassed to share the fashion shots because it’s probably obvious I spent more time on them than the costume photos. That’s probably something a loving mother doesn’t /shouldn’t do, but I’d like to try to blame that on poltergeist too please.

_MG_4713
lands end dress/ gifted boots/ thrifted jacket/ knit scarf from just 11 stitches/ target belt

When I asked for feedback from the fam on this photo (i.e. “Does my face look too weird?”) Tony said, “It’s fine, but you look confused and somewhat distraught about something you see in the distance.” I think we have different understandings of the word “fine”.

I hate having so few occasions to wear my luchador mask, so I attempted wearing it as a head-covering at Mass today.

_MG_4723

I started screaming “Uno mas, uno mas!” during the Offertory in an effort to encourage generosity, but that only encouraged the baby seated in front of us to scream louder so back into the purse the mask went. I think I’m just a bit ahead of my time for mantilla fashions.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you probably recognize the dress, unless my sweet new belt through you for a loop. I really like the look of the belt, but it accentuates my hips like I’m Shakira or something so I’m not sure how I feel about it when it’s actually on my body. Skinny belts tied in complex scout type knots seem to be the rage right now, so maybe I need a thinner belt and more time to practice my bowline or clove hitch?

How do you dress up your favorite dress or skirt? Do you vary belts, scarves or other accessories? Are you able to get more than one season out of your favorite dress?

Share your wisdom than swing back to Fine Linen and Purple for more Sunday fashion. Then, spend every waking moment this week creating your own perfect Sunday outfit to share next week when I’ll be hacking the FLAP servers and guest posting / hosting the What I Wore Sunday Link Up! Luchador masks optional. Will I be dragging out the capsule wardrobe discussion further? Please tell me you hope so. It’ll be a Sunday’s best like no other.

{wiws} The Pencil Skirt is No. 2 In My Heart

It seems last week’s WIWS link up never materialized. I hope I didn’t break something.

But the capsule wardrobe frenzy is off and running around here. Even Kendra’s on board, and she’s started a link up so, I guess I might be over there partying on the bandwagon.

This week, I introduce y’all to my favorite wardrobe staple- the stretchy pencil skirt. (And at the bottom I’ve got a great deal for how to dress them up too!) I’ve got three in my fall capsule (cause that’s all I own) and I’m on the prowl for even more. I had a few others, but they weren’t made from a stretchy material and inevitably ripped during one of my trips in and out of my large van. (Watch your step!)

pencilskirts

black and white stripe from target/navy blue stipe from old navy/ grey from an etsy store

I prefer my pencil skirts to come to the knee. Much shorter and I’m afraid of flashing someone when I transfer Fulton to the floor or chasing my kids around the house with a ruler. As you can imagine, these three get a lot of wear, though I try to save the black and white one for Sundays and days that I leave the house. This weekend was warm but I still wore some colorful tights because I’ve already stopped shaving my legs.

pencil skirt with sunflare

 

pencil skirt with sunset

black old navy shirt/ target skirt/ gifted tights/ target shoes

(And yes, I’m also using these fashion posts as a chance to work on my photo skills and awkward facial expressions. I have problems. For the record, Addie picked the top picture and Tony picked the bottom.)

I really want a new denim pencil skirt because I feel like my current A-line denim skirt is unflattering, but I’ve ripped every non-stretch pencil skirt I’ve owned. (Well, you try loading up a wheelchair without busting a seam!) Jones NY has this one for a reasonable price (? I mean, is it? I’m hyperventilating since I’m used to Old Navy and Goodwill prices) and it claims to be stretchy, but I’ve been burned before by so called stretchy denim and I don’t know if I can commit again so soon.

Accessories are SO IMPORTANT to a capsule wardrobe because, if you follow Caroline’s rules, you can have tons of them, which means you can switch up your look with less actual clothing. But even with that flexibility, I still usually keep it to a simple scarf, watch and maybe a bracelet or necklace. (See single watch in the above pictures.) That’s where Shannon from the Organic Mama’s Shop stepped in to help with her gorgeous rosary bracelet! CHECK IT!

I’ve been dressing up even my stained grey pencil skirt with this beauty and finally not losing my place during family prayer time. Plus, I have the tiniest, boniest wrists EVER, and this bracelet fits great. The charm easily clips on and off to help you track your decades.

rosary bracelet

the rosary bracelet in action / up close and personal

And a pic of the same rosary bracelet from Shannon’s shop because I haven’t aced the jewelry photo yet, and I want to make sure you can fully appreciate how great this looks.

Are you looking for some new accessories to add some panache to your capsule wardrobe? Shop Shannon’s shop and use code LYCEUM for 20 percent off any order placed before November 1st! That treat is no trick!

So what do you think? Pencil skirts yay or nay? What accessories are worth investing in when you scale down your wardrobe? And is any denim skirt worth almost $70?? Share your thoughts then check out all the other ladies emptying their drawers at Kendra’s and FLAP.

{SQT} From The Bottom to the Top, it’s the Week that won’t Stop!

It’s time for takes of the quickest variety. Low-fat, gluten-free and with only a slight aftertaste.

1. We carved pumpkins…last week. I’m telling you know because I feel obligated to give a follow-up after my pumpkin carving post from earlier this month . We had fun decorating and carving while Tony’s aunt from the midwest was visiting us. Honestly, it was still a bit earlier than usual for our family and, as I knew would happen, we had a couple warm days, followed by lots of rain so many of our jack o lanterns are looking extra scary right now. But here they are in their glory days:

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clockwise: getting started/ Edie’s creation/ Addie hard at work/ Byron’s Lord Business (we later painted on his hair)

2. I also mentioned recently about our families tradition of doing things for birthdays rather than gifts. For Teddy’s fourth birthday, we offered him a choice between a monster truck show and an overnight camping trip (which the older kids were pulling for.) His response? “I’d like to go to Ocean City for my birthday.” THAT is a kid after my own heart!

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Last Saturday was gorgeous and we had a great day at the shore except for one tiny incident at the restaurant we stopped at for dinner. They had, what sounded like, the Pitbull Pandora station on in the dining room. Tony and I didn’t mind, and I think the kids were more annoyed by my blurting out “Mister Three Oh Five to Mister Worldwide!”every time a new song came on. We were waiting on our pizza when a Enrique Iglesias song came on. However when the chorus started and Enrique is supposed to say “But tonight I’m LOVING you,” he said about the worst possible thing instead of LOVING. Tony and I just froze and our jaws hit the ground as the chorus repeated like, 50 times, before Tony managed to pull it together and go to the front and as them to change the song. Of course the kids knew something was up, but despite the older ones knowing all the major four letter words (I know, bad parent alert) none of them had caught the offending word. (Probably because they didn’t know that word could be used as an action verb, combined with AWESOME guardian angels.)  So the resulting conversation was quite hilarious.

“Did he say stalking? Is he stalking someone?” inquired Byron.

“Caulking? Is he going after some woman with a caulking gun?” Addie asked.

Yes, Addie, Mama and Papa are highly offended at the suggestion of attacking some woman with a caulking gun. End of discussion.

3. Addie offered up more interesting commentary later in the week as her and I were driving from her violin lesson. She’d been telling me how so many of the books she’d been reading featured divorced parents and children scared of their parents getting divorced. After some discussion she said, “It’s just that me, Byron and Edie have never had to worry about you and Papa getting divorced because we’re Catholic, and we don’t believe in divorce.” Even if Tony and I argued, she’s never worried about a divorce because she’s known such a thing is not an option in our family. She realized that when families aren’t Catholic or when it’s clear divorce is an option, kids are fearful whenever their parents don’t get along. I’d never thought about the security that the Church’s teachings on marriage bring to the child. I mean, I knew divorce was bad for kids, but to hear my own daughter say she didn’t worry when Tony and I argued was a real eye opener. I was especially surprised because I don’t remember ever specifically saying anything about divorce and remarriage to the kids before, though I’m sure it’s come up in passing. In general, the conversation proved Addie had a very mature view of marriage that I hope sticks with her into her teens and twenties as she discerns her vocation.

4. And now a word from our sponsors.

Friends! Do you enjoy gourmet chocolate, coffee and handmade items? Do you enjoy supporting small farmers and worthy organizations, like Catholic Relief Services? Then please, shop the First North Star Explorers Equal Exchange Fundraiser online store! Our family is deeply involved with the FNE which is a Catholic Scouting Organization based on the work of Lord Bayden Powell and started in Europe. The organization spread to Canada and is now springing up across the United States. It is solidly Catholic and offers all the opportunities of other similar programs without the questionable content or affiliation. Our local troop is teaming up with Equal Exchange to offer awesome fairly traded foods and gifts as a way to support our activities for kids ages six to 18, and help keep dues low for families, many who enroll multiple children in our programs. Our online fundraiser runs until the end of December. Please consider doing some of your holiday shopping through our site! Thank you!

Now back to our regularly scheduled Takes!

5. Do you follow The Common Room blog? One of my favorite features is when ‘The Headmistress, zookeeper’ does a free Kindle books post (which she does frequently). From fiction to cooking and everything in between, the zookeeper finds the best in free books and my Kindle is cluttered because of it. Follow along to snap up a new favorite.

6. Besides the occasional Quick Takes, I’ve been LOUSY about joining any link-ups. However, if you’re looking for new blogs they can be a great way to fill your Feedly or grow your online community. Jenna at Call Her Happy is now hosting the Five Favorites, and Cari at Clan Donaldson is bringing back another season of Theme Thursday. For a listing of many other great link ups in the Catholic blogosphere, I recommend swinging by Revolution of Love where Bobbi has them all in one post. 

7. I always get a bunch of spam comments on my blog, however my spam filter is really good at keeping any of it from actually appearing on my site. I occasionally sift through my spam folder to make sure no good comments are getting lost. In doing so, I’ve recently noticed that one photo in particular is getting hit with a TON of spam comments.

explaining why I shouldn't judge shoes

I don’t get how the internet works sometimes, and for the life of me I can’t explain why this one picture from Edel, titled ” explaining why I shouldn’t judge shoes” is popular with spammers who are telling me:

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then I was starting to get a little bit more performance and i made the decision that I will give it yet one more year,”

 

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he inspects the effort, and therefore understands which usually she is at present by the wedding venuw in soundcheck.”

 

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“it is really quite fairly likely that this bunny’s afflicted mother will have sent back consider it.”

 

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this is real feathers within the feet.”

 

In other news, if you need links to buy yourself some cheap uggs, let me know.

For all these reasons and more, be sure to swing back to Jen’s for more shoes, but in song format. Happy weekend readers!