Friday, February 26, 2010

For those who didn't notice...

I kinda changed the look of my blog. Like it? It's wider for those of us with big monitors!

Also my personal blog "Growing in Grace" has a new web address:

Love to hear from my readers!

God Bless you and yours!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Our Family Happenings

Frosty Morning


We awoke last Saturday to this beautiful display of frosted trees. The night before was 14* cold, dreary and foggy. But this – this was spectacular. It was a breathtaking display during our long car ride to see  my brother on his birthday.

 Michael Maltzen 15th Bday BB game

Michael turned 15. (He’s red #13 pictured above.) That is so odd to me to say, because that is the same age I was when my mom told me she was pregnant with him, and it is exactly half my age now. I am so proud of the man he’s becoming. He’s fabulous with my kids, he’s a sweetheart and loves hugs, and he’s as smart as a whip – just like our dad. We went to his basketball game – which they won and we all enjoyed watching.


Michael Maltzen 15th Bday BB game


A side note: Breastfeeding in public has become much easier 7 months down the road. I have my homemade nursing covers and Jonathan just goes with the flow. However, he now thinks it is fun to reach his hand up and out to wave at anyone who may be looking!


2010 Valentine at Whitebirch resort pool


For Valentine’s Day we took the kids to our timeshare resort’s pool. It was fabulous fun, especially as other families came in with their little kiddos. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be handling all those babies of mine. Afterwards we went out to eat, somewhere our kids wouldn’t ruin another couple’s valentine meal with their antsy legs and voices. While Tom and I enjoy a quiet evening out, this turned out to be the best day for us all.


2010 Valentine at Whitebirch resort pool 2010 Valentine at Whitebirch resort pool

Paul Bunyan greeting us as we enter Brainerd, MN.

Also, a cool display inside the welcome center.

 2010 Valentine at Whitebirch resort pool 2010 Valentine at Whitebirch resort pool

My swimmers are so brave now, wanting to be on their own.

 2010 Valentine at Whitebirch resort pool2010 Valentine at Whitebirch resort pool

Jonathan was my swimming buddy, but Daddy took him for his first dip ever. He didn’t like it at first, but we soon found out he’s a splasher!


St Valentines Party at Austads


Monday we went to Jamie’s house for our homeschool co-ops’ valentines party. She was so gracious to have 26 kids and their mom’s in her home. We had a wonderful time and the kids are still enjoying their valentine’s cards and treats.


St Valentines Party at AustadsSt Valentines Party at Austads St Valentines Party at Austads  


Jonathan is my little “Heartbreaker” and Sabrina was a playful wanderer. But nobody strayed when it was time to eat the mouthwatering giant cookies Jamie had prepared. And when the sugar buzz set in, we sent them outside for some snow play.


Coloring our family

Yesterday during Mikayla’s 1st Communion prep lesson, we sat down to draw pictures of our family, remembering Jonathan’s baptism.


Mikayla drew:

Mikayla family drawing


Stanley drew:

Stanley family drawing


And Sabrina drew circles with faces for the first time as she watched the others draw theirs. Mommy added the bodies.


Sabrina family drawing 

It’s been fabulous! Thanks for reading.


May God bless you this Lenten Season.

February - Lent Projects

Lourdes Krispie-Grotto
Feb 11 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto – made with fruity pebbles rice krispie bars. Inspired by the recipe from Catholic Cuisine. We molded the pan of kripie rice bars when it had cooled slightly. We needed stars, so I borrowed a few from Jonathan's infant treats. Just as we thought, Tom munched down the complimentary snowman beside it. This was fun to make and eat! This is certainly one we'll be doing again each year.

And our Mardi Gras (Pancake Tuesday/Fat Tuesday) celebration yesterday included these pancakes.

Mardi Gras pancakesMardi Gras pancakes  

The kids second guessed me when they saw this batter. But I just added food coloring, not flavors. It was a fun lesson and breakfast! While they savored in this yummy meal, we talked about the colors of Mardi Gras and how it preceeds Lent and fasting.

Mardi Gras pancakes

They loved making masks to their liking. I had been holding on to these wooden masks found at the craft store some two or three years ago. We used regular paints, and while it was still wet sprinkled on some gold glitter. After it dried we added gems, having them each choose two at a time from the pile until it was gone. For some reason that really tickled their fancy!

Stanley Mask Sabrina Mask Mikayla Mask

And finally for today and the rest of Lent, we have our Bean Jar out! Every good deed and sacrifice is rewarded with a dried kidney bean. On Easter Sunday they are replaced with Jelly beans to eat!

2010 Lent Bean Jar

Next year I hope to use the idea pictured below, where as you put a bean in the bowl that is surrounded by a wreath of thorns (toothpicks in a vine wreath - and here), you take out a thorn from Jesus' crown. It would be a valuable lesson for my impressionable children.

Read about our Sacrifice Bin at my Growing in Grace blog.

See these ideas and more at:

Catholic Cuisine

Catholic Icing

Holy Heroes – Lenten Adventure

Catholic Mom

Lent Link-Up

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jonathan is 7 months old

Jonathan B Michalek 7months-bright

no teeth yet, but lots of chewing and drooling. loves to talk, trying to crawl, eats great. perfect. priceless.

I had a video, but apparently it is too big to post here. Maybe later.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day – Mon 2/8/10

Mommy needed a break, Daddy was outside plowing the snow that never stopped falling, and the Kids needed some fresh air… so we had a snow day.



Snowday   Snowday




Indoor Fun: A Trip to MoA

Mall of America

Before Tom went back to work, in January we decided to take the kids on a trip to the Mall of America. It proved to be a great idea, since it happened to be Toddler Tuesday! We arrived on time to meet Maisy the mouse, color and hear one of her stories read. Sabrina was all excited until she saw other toddlers getting scared, then she decided she should be cautious as well. Stanley seemed to enjoy story time the most.

Mall of AmericaMall of America

From there we headed over to the Build-a-Bear Workshop to get Sabrina her own special stuffed animal as the older two had before. It was so precious to see her make and dress it herself, complete with big girl panties – something we’re working on with Sabrina. She’s loves her puppy named Princess. One of the next trips it will be Jonathan’s turn.

Mall of America Mall of America

After a delicious meal at Famous Dave’s, we decided to take the kids to Nickelodeon Universe, an amusement park inside the mall. They rode the kiddy coaster and carousel. Of course, no trip to the mall is complete without visiting Lego Land.

Mall of America Mall of America  Mall of America Mall of America    Mall of America 
We’ve been to the MoA several times since it opened around 1992. I highly recommend it if you’re in the area.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dear friends,
This love letter was written by me for you, but feel free to forward it to anyone you love and want to give a Spiritual Bouquet. (just remove my personal info, thanks.) Praying you find love this holiday and every day!
God Bless You,



Did you know?? A long time ago, it was said that on Feb 14th birds found their mates each year. This date also coincided with the feast of Saint Valentine. Over time the two have blended together, creating a day celebrated all around the world as a day of love and romance. In 1969, the Catholic Church revised its calendar, removing St. Valentine from Feb 14th to stop further confusion of his ties with this legendary event. St. Valentine is still a saint and considered the patron saint of engaged couples, bee-keepers, happy marriages, love, lovers, young people, and travelers, and is the patron saint against fainting, epilepsy, and plague. There are actually 3 known St. Valentines, but little is known about them.
Most Gracious Heavenly Father, You gave Saint Valentine the courage to witness to the gospel of Christ, even to the point of giving his life for it. Help us to endure all suffering for love of you, and to seek you with all our hearts; for you alone are the source of life and love. Grant that we may have the courage and love to be strong witnesses of your truth to our friends and family and to the whole world. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
There are many articles available about this day and how its' celebration began. What you should know is that even though it is not the saintly holiday we once knew, it can still be celebrated with a respectful demonstration of our love for God, family, friends and neighbors. Teach children that love isn't about material things such as candy, roses and pleasure, but it is found in the loving actions shown towards each other every day. Teach them that love is something shared, but not necessarily said. Love should be given, whether or not it is given back. "Love one another as I have loved you."

1 Corinthians
Chapter 13
1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues 2 but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
3 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 4 Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. 5 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
This is my "Spiritual Bouquet" for you, because I have love for you! You are dear to my heart and are constantly in my prayers. As Valentine's Day comes this Sunday, I will offer my Mass for you. That you may find a bouquet of grace from God to help you live a beautiful life filled with love.
People need people, and friends need friends
And we all need love for a full life depends
Not on vast riches or great acclaim,
Not on success or on worldly fame,
But just in knowing that someone cares
And holds us close in their thoughts and prayers.

--- and for my married friends ---

With faith in each other
and faith in the Lord
May your marriage be blessed
with love’s priceless reward
For love that endures
and makes life worth living
is built on strong faith
and unselfish giving
So have faith, and the Lord
will guide both of you through
the glorious new life
that is waiting for you.

Helen Steiner Rice
Activities for Valentine's Day

Resources about the origin of St. Valentine's Day  also found here.

St. Valentine no longer on the Church Calendar.




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