Home Life: Bread and Butter

There’s nothing like fresh bread baking in the oven, butter from the local farm, and quality time with one’s family. It may sound cliche, but these are the small things that bring a family together. It can almost be guaranteed that if you bake a loaf of bread, little feet will soon come scurrying down the stairs asking what smells so good. This is family life – it brings everyone together without stress, anxiety, or expectations. What a simple, but memorable concept – sitting around a table enjoying homemade bread coated in fresh butter.

The sports may be canceled for the summer. The camps may be canceled for the summer. But your family is not canceled – it is here and ready. Your children are waiting for the simple things. They are ready to love, to grow, and to work together during a time when these qualities are not so easy to find in society. So, I have included one of my favorite homemade white bread recipes from Crazy for Crust. Take the time to bake as a family, enjoy food as a family, pray as a family, and love each other through the process.

Book Review: Giving Thanks and Letting Go by Danielle Bean

If you are in need of support or moments to contemplate your vocation as a mother, this beautiful vocation given by God, please pick up Danielle Bean’s book: Giving Thanks and Letting Go – Reflections on the Gift of Motherhood.

Ave Maria Press – Giving Thanks and Letting Go

I’ve been meaning to write a review on this book for months, but God had other plans: my electronic copy as an initial reader through the publisher didn’t work so I purchased my own print copy through Ave Maria Press, I was then surprised with first trimester pregnancy symptoms, usual homeschooling deadlines, and in fact, at one point I needed St. Anthony to step in for me because I couldn’t find the book and had only one chapter left to read. Let’s just say that my 2020 is been about the same as everyone’s – trudging along, praying for relief, and confidence in God’s Will. Well, I just found some relief from this estranged world and have a chance to sit down to review this book.

I’ve read a lot of books written by Catholic moms, but Giving Thanks and Letting Go: Reflections on the Gift of Motherhood is one of my absolute favorites! I could relate so closely with Danielle Bean as she reminisced the times with young children and her transformation throughout the years. There were times I laughed out loud and other times when I started to cry, because it was so relatable. I’m in those busy years of little children, but I’m also watching my older children reach middle school while being pregnant with baby number six. It’s an odd realization that my older ones are at a different stage and they will soon need to spread their wings, while I’m left with motherhood gaps. I’m learning to embrace this time with them more now and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to homeschool them and spend these fleeting moments by their side.

I appreciate Danielle Bean’s raw narrative and her trust in God’s Will for their family in regards to finances, children, and life in general. Thank you for writing such a fantastic book, Danielle Bean! I highly recommend every mother to read this book. Motherhood truly is a transformation and each day I’m learning to let go a little more of my expectations and giving into God’s plan. I’m so grateful for mothers like Danielle Bean, who followed their passion for motherhood and writing while raising many little ones and trusting in God. I will fully admit that trusting is God is not easy, as I have had my moments of apprehension, but I never regret relying on His goodness in the end.

If you are in need of support or moments to contemplate your vocation as a mother, this beautiful vocation given by God, please pick up Danielle Bean’s book: Giving Thanks and Letting Go – Reflections on the Gift of Motherhood. It will be a great book to have in your home library for man years to come!

The Importance of Family Time

Put your family as a priority and everything else will quickly fall into line.

As we reach summer, it is that time of year when we all need to take a step back and examine more than just our life, but the lives of those around us. The school supplies fill the store shelves, the emails are flood with clothing sales, the required school paperwork is due, and dates for fall activities must now be added to the calendar, but there is something even more important than all of this! We must covet and adjust our schedules to enjoy those last weeks of summer with those we love and devote our lives to our family.

Family dinners were always a huge part of my childhood. My brothers and I may have missed a few in high school, in exchange for our sports and after-school clubs, but looking back, I wish we hadn’t. At the time the sports, clubs, friends, and part-time jobs seemed important, but in the grander scheme of things, they were not. My mom always said, “Be kind to your brothers. Friends will come and go, but you will always have your siblings.” She was right. There is nothing greater than the bond of a family. There will always be moments of hardship and disagreement, but we cannot let those become the norm. Those times of suffering are natural to human life, but our focus should always remain in support of the family.

My husband and I strongly focus our attention on family time. This doesn’t mean we have to be together all the time, because this isn’t possible with a large family. We find time during the small moments: dinner, working together as a family while fixing the house or landscaping, or having meaningful conversations on the way to a sport practice. All of these make a difference. If we want to thrive and learn to bond as a family, we must put away the distractions – whether that’s homework, cell phones, or work papers. The distractions are different for every person, and should always take a back seat when it comes to family time.

For us, family time always includes Sundays. They are a God-given day of rest that we should all be thankful for and take advantage of them. Each Sunday may look a bit different, but overall, it is quality time spent with our children. Whether getting together with extended family for a game of soccer or baseball in the backyard, watching the Packers, taking naps after enjoying brunch, or reading a saint story before bed, these are the times the children will always remember. I have very fond memories of my Sundays as a child, and I hope to continue sharing the importance of this valuable time with my children.

This world is busy, but it up to the parents to find what keeps the family grounded. We know what our children need, and often it is spending time with the family to confirm love. It might be as simple as kneeling down to say the Rosary every evening after dinner. Venerable Patrick Peyton said, “A family that prays together, stays together.”

It’s important to love and learn from our family members. If we don’t know the members of our immediate family, then we aren’t truly living. These are the people who will be there for us through thick and thin, even if it takes a while to get over last year’s family reunion, they are still family.

I’d love to hear from you. How do you spend time together as a family? What has worked and what hasn’t when juggling busy schedules? How do you create an experience that not only allows, but forces you to understand and learn more about each other? Are you searching for a consistent family activity that will grow your bond?

It might take a while to find your family’s “thing,” and sometimes if you have been gifted with a friend who is like family then you are truly blessed to open your circle and to grow in love. Continue searching, and eventually you will find what brings your family joy and you won’t want to let it go. It will be worth giving up some of the parties, the overtime at work, lunches with friends, and even the addicting Instagram stories because your family is where you can be yourself and where you can rejuvenate for the upcoming week.

Put your family as a priority and everything else will quickly fall into line.

Originally published on August 9, 2019 on Catholicmom.com