Nature Walk

This summer we have gone on quite a few nature walks/hikes. I’m not really sure when a nature walk becomes a hike, so who knows what we really did. All I know is that we went exploring in nature quite a bit. Here are some of my favorite pictures from our adventures.















Growing up in Bucks County, PA

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At the beginning of the summer one of the blogs I read posted about a new book she had coming out called Give your Child the World. It looked right up my alley, so I impulse bought it and I’m so glad I did. We had great fun this summer reading about all different places in the world. I’ve always tried to find a variety of books for our kids, both books about people like us and books about people living differently from us. The book has book lists for books about each part of the world. While we checked out oodles from the library there are still plenty left for us to read, so we will have to keep exploring as the years go on. Along with the books we read each week, there were blog posts about people living in different parts of the world, so that you could see what a family who lives there life actually looks like. We haven’t read that many of them, but will hopefully catch up soon. When I showed some to Greta, she immediately wanted to write one about us, so here it is! Most is written by her from her perspective, but I did help her along at times. We will be linking up with others who have published a similar post, so we can learn what it is like to live many other places.

Tell us about your family. – My name is Greta and I’m the oldest of four children. I’m 8 years old and I always have a book in my hand. I’m going to be in third grade this year. My sister Eloise is 6 years old and is going into first grade. She runs faster than me. Next is Beatrice, who is 4 years old and will be in preschool this year. She likes making funny faces. Last is Felicity, who is 2 years old. She is very cute. I live with my dad and mom. My dad is an engineer and likes to do lots of science experiments with us. My mom takes care of us and likes to read us lots of books.


Tell us about where you live and how long you’ve lived there. We live in Pennsylvania and have lived here for 6 years. We live close to both New York City and Philadelphia, so we get to visit both fun cities. Philadelphia is full of history. We visited the Liberty Bell earlier this year and we love to visit the Philadelphia Zoo, which is the oldest zoo in the country, opening in 1874! We went to see the Rockettes this summer in New York City. We also live a short distance from the Jersey Shore, which means fun times at the beach.




What do you think is unique and special about living where you do? We live near the Delaware River, which means we see lots of migrating birds, like geese, and enjoy the canal. (our niece is visiting us in the picture below)


What languages are spoken there? If it’s different from English, can you help us learn a few common phrases? English. Some people have New Jersey or Philadelphia accents.

What are some traditional foods there? Pizza, pizza, pizza. In our area there is an Italian restaurant on almost every corner, so we get to find our favorite place. Philadelphia is known for their cheesesteaks, but we (the kids) don’t really like them. Italian water ice is also popular here. It is kind of like a slushy, but comes in lots of yummy flavors. There are also lots of farms to get fresh produce from.

Tell us about the climate where you live. We have four seasons. In the summer it can reach 95 degrees (F) and in the winter it can be 5 degrees (F). It rains and snows here. Sometimes we get ice storms and the occasional hurricane. Fall and spring are beautiful around here with changing leaves in the fall and lots of colorful flowers in the spring.





What does school look like for the majority of kids where you live? Most kids around here go to school by bus or car. Some kids go to public school, other private schools (like us, who go to a Catholic school). We go to school Monday through Friday for about 7 hours starting in Kindergarten at age 5.

What does school look like for your family? We go to a Catholic school and wear uniforms. School goes from September – June. We learn about our faith, math, reading, spanish, music, art, writing, technology.


Are there any special festivals or traditions you’d like to tell us about related to where you live? At Christmas, Santa rides through our neighborhood on a fire truck and his helpers give out candy. On New Years Day, the Mummers Parade takes place in Philadelphia. We always watch it on TV and it is lots of fun to see. Usually it is very cold so we don’t want to sit outside to watch it because it is about 8 hours long (see video below for an act). This week we are visiting the Grange Fair, which is a local fair with art exhibitions and lots of animals. We like to look at the different bunny rabbits, guinea pigs, alpacas, cows and more. This year I entered a few pieces of artwork to display.


If you ever had to move away from where you live, what do you think you’d miss most? I would miss my school and friends a lot. I would miss our church.

Do you have a favorite book that takes place in your region/country? We can’t think of any, but will try to find some soon!

During our reading this summer, Greta discovered the author Grace Lin. She really enjoyed the chapter books she has written and is planning to write her a letter. While looking around her website I found this TED talk she did and I loved it. I try my hardest to bring books into our house that help us look into the windows of other lives. Enjoy!

First Communion

Greta was so excited to be feeling well enough for First Communion. She bounded down the stairs that morning. We went ahead and gave her some ibuprofen so she would make it through the ceremony without feeling sick again. It worked! Here are some pictures before and after (no pictures allowed during mass). I somehow missed a picture of Greta and her teacher and also Greta with the priest. I’ll blame the flu.















It was raining before and after mass so we mostly got stuck taking pictures inside. I was able to get a few before of just Greta, but she wasn’t in a great smiling mood and I didn’t want her to get too wet before going to mass. Greta got to be the leader of the offertory procession. After pictures we just headed back to our house alone since the flu germs were everywhere in our house. We still got the cake we ordered and Greta enjoyed opening all of her presents.






Rough Week

The week started off good. We were busy getting ready for my parents and sister to visit for Greta’s First Communion. We got the bedrooms all cleaned up and in the best order they’ve been in since we moved in and were mostly set for my parents to arrive on Wednesday. Tuesday after everyone was asleep I started feeling feverish. I had a sore throat and headache all day, so I was fearing strep. To be sure I knew what was going on I headed to urgent care at the last minute since I can’t risk my Dad being exposed to too many germs since he is on immunosuppressant drugs for his new liver. I got a strep test, negative. I asked for a flu test, they said you don’t have the flu, you don’t have aches or a cough. So home I went to figure out what to do.

The next morning, still fever, and now a little cough and still headache and earache. When my parents call from Atlanta, I tell them they should probably stay at a hotel to keep them away from my germs. Before they arrive I wiped down the house as best I could. My parents came to our house for a few hours before I made them go to the hotel. Greta came home from school with a headache and by evening had a fever as well.

Thursday morning I took Greta to the pediatrician to see what they would say and see if they could figure out what we had. While there I asked about the flu again and she said she didn’t think it was the flu because again no aches, no real cough. But since I actually know the ped she was willing to do the flu test. And of course it came back positive. Ugh. So then we begin isolation. My parents get to stay at the hotel pretty much the remainder of the trip, which means they won’t really get to see us at all.

My Dad hadn’t been feeling that well since he arrived, not flu like, but like his ulcerative colitis was flaring up. After several calls to his doctor’s he finally got a prescription called in and they were headed to pick it up when they got in a car accident. My mom was pulling out into stopped traffic and someone had waved her out, but alas a car came flying up in the not yet turn lane and rammed right into her. I get a phone call from Mom that says “We got into a car accident leaving the hotel” “are you ok?” “I don’t know, Dad lost his glasses”. So, I race over as carefully as I can with myself still sick, Greta sick in the car and two other kids. Eloise was at dance, so Matt left there early with her to come over as well. I got there and they were ok, both able to move. The ambulance was already there and loading them up. I ran to the hotel to get Dad’s medicines and then hoped in the car to go to the ER with them.

I spent a few hours there with them while they got checked out. Thankfully everything was fine and there were no broken bones, just bruises and lots of soreness for Mom. Since the car hit on her side she definitely took most of the impact and has been feeling it ever since. I got them back in the hotel and then headed home to bed.

On Thursday I thought I might getting over the fever and flu, but by the late afternoon my fever was back. Friday both Greta and I woke up feeling much worse, so we literally just laid around. At this point we cancelled Greta’s First Communion Party and were just praying we would be able to attend the ceremony.

Thankfully Greta woke up Saturday morning fever free and so was able to go to First Communion. But Beatrice woke up with a fever. So Matt and her (and Felicity) stayed in the back of church the entire time. Matt’s parents had lots of traffic and barely arrived in time for First Communion thanks to an accident on the turnpike. And Matt’s brother (Greta’s godfather) was stuck in the traffic for an hour and a half and didn’t make until everyone was exiting the church. We are so grateful that everyone made it safely and are so thankful that everyone made the effort. After some quick pictures we headed home for more resting.

Sunday morning my parents decided that instead of staying at the hotel another two nights they would change their plane and head to the airport when my sister left. So we hardly got to see them and they went home sore, but grateful to be home.

This was Dad’s first post transplant trip and I’m not sure when they’ll be up for another because of the pure disaster this one was. We are all very sad that we didn’t really get to see them at all, but that can’t really be helped.

Today we still have two at home from school and it appears Felicity is finally getting sick (I assumed she would have been sick long ago since she sleeps with me and has been in the house the whole time.) Eloise is off at school and matt is still healthy as well, so prayers that they stay healthy.

I’ll post some First Communion pictures later.

Holy Week

This year we started some new traditions for Holy Week.

On Holy Thursday we attempted to visit Seven Churches. The main challenge was finding churches that were open. Many are closed during the day most of the time these days. We ended up visiting 6 churches and called it a day. That took us about 6-7 hours, so we were all tired out. We did find some beautiful places and some churches we want to visit for mass one day.

Here are some pictures from the day.










On Good Friday we listened to the Stations of the Cross while coloring pictures of the Stations of the Cross.

Then we attempted to go to the prayer/communion service at our church at 3 pm. We walked since it was a lovely day and Matt met us there since he worked the rest of the day. The service was very long and so after an hour and a half the younger two had had enough and they left and walked home with Daddy.

Holy Saturday started off with us making our own Easter candle to light and display throughout the Easter season. Then we went up to see Matt’s family. Since it happened to be the town Easter Egg Hunt we went ahead and participated. It is so much more mellow than egg hunts near us. We’ve only been to one near us and it was several years ago. I think Greta was 4 and adults were pushing her out of the way trying to get their kid eggs and she ended up with ZERO eggs. Rural is the way to go with egg hunts. Everyone got lots of eggs and had fun.



Easter Sunday we got up around 7 (somehow everyone managed to sleep somewhat late!) and had an egg hunt in our backyard.








We had some cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then got ready for mass. We knew we needed to be a little early to mass since it is usually extra crowded on Easter, but we were there a full 30 minutes early and some of the first there. We attempted to take a picture of the girls on the altar before mass started, but due to a fight about which seat we were going to sit in, we had one grumpy girl.



We were able to get a family picture after mass. and then some nice pictures of the girls in the front yard after mass as well.





I am Eloise, I am SIX, I live at the Plaza Hotel. (Ok, maybe not that last part, but the rest is true!)

A few weeks ago Eloise turned SIX.


Eloise chose cannolis for her birthday treat.



We had a small birthday party with Matt’s family. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. I think last year her birthday party got cancelled due to the weather, but not this year. The high was about 60 on the day of her party, so we did lots of playing outside.








Eloise had a perfect birthday and said she had so much fun playing with her cousins. Just the right size for her since sometimes we have a little ‘too much birthday’ problem. Here’s to a great year!


The girls have been dying for snow and they finally got it. We got about 23 inches, which is the most we had at a single time since we have lived in our house (maybe since we moved to PA) 5.5 years ago. Matt was out in lovely sunny San Diego to teach a course at a conference so I was grateful that the power stayed on and that our neighbors brought their snowblower over to help clear out the driveway. It started snowing on Friday evening and didn’t stop until the middle of Saturday night. There was no school on Monday. Here are a zillion pictures of our many times playing in the snow.












They all participated for a group photo on Saturday…


so they didn’t want to take another one on Monday. These little ones have some BIG attitudes many days.





On Sunday after venturing to church and determining the roads were in satisfactory shape, we decided to go ahead and attempt to go to Disney on Ice as planned. Part of the drive there you could barely tell we got any snow, but then once I got off the main road, apparently the plows had not visited. In the short 1 mile to the the center, I got stuck three times. Thankfully several people stopped or came out to help. We finally arrived about 5 minutes late (a normally 15 minute drive had taken us 55 minutes) and the girls loved it. I looked up a new way home and it was MUCH better. Thanks to Matt’s parents for the tickets to Disney on Ice for Christmas.

Daddy came home before bed on Monday and there was a 2 hour delay this morning, so just enough time to squeeze in some sledding. I attempted to sled with the girls but I’m just not as strong, so they don’t go nearly as far. Felicity wanted nothing to do with sledding and was happy to sit and watch with me.







Are you feeling burn out? discouraged? distracted? Last year during Lent, I did this online retreat called Restore. It is written by one of my favorite Catholic blogger/authors, Elizabeth Foss. She knows just how to touch your heart and help you to see all the benefit in doing what you do. While it is written by a Catholic, it isn’t just for Catholic women.

This year she is hosting the retreat again (and it may be the final time). There are two ways to participate this year. 1. For $49 you get the full package, which includes two e-books, the handiwork tutorials, oodles of printables, seven downloadable podcasts with transcripts, and access to the community for all of those doing the retreat. and 2. For $15 you get both the e-books and two podcasts. Either option is an awesome deal and I can’t wait to begin again.

This year Elizabeth is also offering an affiliate link for people and I signed up, which means I get a small percentage of your purchase price for referring you to the retreat. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. Here is my link to purchase: I hope you will join me and many of the other women from around the country (and maybe world).