Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book Review: Catholic Truths for Our Children

Welcome, dear readers, to my first ever bloggie book review!

I was recently very pleased to be sent a book by a fellow Catholic mama, Patti Armstrong. She is a homeschooling mom of ten, and Catholic speaker/author. As you might have guessed, the book she sent me was one her very own: Catholic Truths for Our Children, published by Sceptor Publishers, Inc in 2006. You can find out a lot more about her and her ministry, as well as buy her book, from her website:

I read this 188-page, fourteen-chapter book in exactly fourteen days - a chapter a day. Armstrong introduces her book from the heart, expressing that it wasn't until her children began to grow, and she wanted to pass along the Catholic faith to them, that she realized, her catechetical knowledge was lacking a little bit. She had a good foundation from her years of being in Catholic school, but was missing a lot of links, namely, the true heart of most of Catholic doctrine. I myself have been there. I learned a lot of facts in Catholic school. You asked me what something was, and I could tell you. But ask me why something was... and I'd draw a blank. Once Armstrong knew she wanted to truly educate her children on the faith, she had to start with herself. From there, was she able to obtain and then pass on the full deposit of faith that our Church contains.

Armstrong's book has a nice flow to it, starting with the basics of Christian Faith and moving forward from there, each chapter covering an important topic, such as the Trinity and the Incarnation, Church Authority, and Our Blessed Mother to name a few. Throughout the book, she cites fathers of the faith, doctors of the Church, popes, official Church documents, The Cathechism of the Catholic Church, and of course, the Bible. In fact, she uses the Bible more than any other source to support each of the topics of faith she discusses, which is both refreshing and reassuring to any reader. It's a comfort to Catholics and non-Catholics alike to delve into these doctrines with the Scriptures as our helm.

Each chapter starts off presenting the topic, and the diving into a brief yet solid explanation of the doctrine. From there, Armstrong introduces several questions or counter-arguments that may arise as you teach these ideas to your children. In this, she is very thorough, which I think the readers will be grateful for. She doesn't leave you high and dry in front of a precocious eleven year-old, who is ready to throw all kinds of shockingly ingenious wrenches into what you thought was a well-crafted explanation of something. (Trust me, I know... I was once that precocious eleven year-old. And also a former junior high teacher. Kids are smart and deadly curious.) No, Armstrong gives you plenty of ammo. For example, right in the beginning, when explaining the most basic of all topics - the existence of God, you will come to a point in your conversation where you discuss God as the Creator of the universe. You will say that from Him, all things were made, and that nothing can be made without him. To demonstrate this point, you can ask your child to create something all by himself out of absolutely nothing.

At this point in the chapter, I was sold. I thought, "Ha! She's got you little kid! You can't create something out of nothing!" Well, fortunately for me, Armstrong thought ahead, and whether from her sheer wit or vast experience, she writes:
"If your child thinks he has outsmarted you by saying he could spit, or blow his nose or somehow put something into the room, counter that everything that your body produces comes from something that has been put into it. Our bodies are only able to exist if we do put food and water in. And only God can put life into the very bodies he made and they can only continues to live if we take in the food and water that he also created."
Genius! Well, first of all, bravo, young spritely child for your brilliant and courageous idea of spitting! But many more bravos to Armstrong for her simple, well-crafted rebuttal.

Folks, this is how the whole book is. Well-formed, theologically-sound, and easily-digestible explanations of some very fundamental, but often complex topics of our faith, always backed by Scriptures and various other sources. Followed by an array of possible questions, doubts, arguments, etc. concerning the topic, each which is then dealt with in a concise, intelligent, and elegant manner.

She ends the book on a note of encouragement, inviting and inspiring her readers to take the time to always pray as a family. She speaks on the importance of prayer in our lives, and gives many helpful suggestions of ways to pray with our families, and even includes many popular Catholic prayers.

Throughout the book, right through to the end, Armstrong exudes a humble brilliance, stemming from her own faith journey and parenting experiences. This book is a wonderful guide for any Catholic parent who is in the process of educating their children in the Faith. This book is also immensely valuable to those who are not Catholic, or maybe have fallen-away or are just not up-to-scratch on their catechetical knowledge, as a way to begin learning about our beautiful Catholic faith in a book that is  and informative.

I would definitely recommend this book to parents of all kinds, and know for a fact that it will remain on my bookshelf for years to come, especially during the years when my kids decide to come up with some annoyingly clever argument involving snot or nano-atomical anti-matter or something. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Baby is a Toddler

So I've been evading an obvious truth for quite some time now... my baby isn't really a baby anymore. I mean, of course she'll always be my baby but the truth is, she's been a toddler for quite some time now. Supporting evidence for this statement:

Exhibit A: Has developed a love for goldfish, applesauce, string cheese, etc... classic toddler numnums.
Exhibit B: Throws tantrums over tragedies such as: not wanting to put clothing on before leaving the house, me setting her down so I can go do some miscellaneous chore, being told to stop and/or being forcibly removed from the destruction or pain she is causing to some thing or someone, being put into her stroller at the mall/zoo/any public place where she is running around like a crazy lady... usually putting herself into imminent danger. This list goes on and on, but you get the point. 
Exhibit C: Demonstrating a curiosity in and subsequent need to play with literally EVERY THING that crosses her tiny path - animals, knives, grass, garbage, other children's possessions, my ears, pieces of food she found on the floor, paper, flour, etc.

And if all this still isn't enough to convince you, may I present to you...
Exhibit D:

Yep. Red Marker. Allll over the wall.
Little punk could NOT be happier with herself!

 Now it's time to go see just how "washable" crayola washable markers truly are! :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pinterest Link-Up!!

I know, I know. You're like "CA, we've all been on Pinterest for like, ever, and you're just NOW hoppin on this train?! And you call yourself a stay at home mom?! *scoooooffs*"

A criticism to which I would respond: "For starters, ahem, I'm a work from home mom, but let's not split hairs (especially considering my job is to watch another baby, aka, keep being a mom), and for middlers, NOBODY EVER INVITED ME TO PINTEREST ... until a few days before Chrismas, yo. So if you're appalled it took me this long to get on Pinterest, blame yourselves. And for enders, I'm on now, glued to the site like the rest of you addicts, and that's really all that matters anyway, sí?" :)

So to honor my latest and greatest addiction, I thought I'd host my first-ever LINK-UP!! A Pinterest Profile Link-Up :):):) I know there's been plenty of these linkups on various other blogs, most of which are exceedingly cooler and more popular than mine, but this linkup is alll mine and it's special, dagnabbit. So hopefully you're not too Pinterest-Profile-Linkup-ed out, because I realllllllly wanna follow more Pinners to feed my addiction. So even if you're so over this and could care less about finding new Pinners or gaining new Pinny followers, then I simply implore - nay, beg - you.... do it for me. Enable meeeeee. ;)

So, having said all that! All that's left to say is: you can follow ME on 
Pinterest at 
Welcome to my first ever LINK-UP!!! 

Rules are super simple:
1. Click the Linky link below.
2. Add the deep link to your Pinterest profile page 
(format: in the URL slot.
3. Be sure to write your Pinterest name in the title slot followed by (if you want) 
the title of your blog if you have one! (format: CA Rhoades @ candid catholic living)
4. Check out some new Pinners and follow away! :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Upcoming Events

Deeeeeear Lovely Readers,
There are some seriously exciting things happening over the next few weeks here on ye olde bloggy blog.
I just wanted to give everyone a sneak peek at the upcoming schedule:

Saturdday 1/21: My first ever book review! I'll reveal the book at that time :)
Thursday 2/2: I will be posting the LOOONG awaited recipe for my world-famous enchiladas! Prepare your mouth for copious amounts of watering.
Friday 2/3: Look out for an exciting announcement about this here mommy blog o'mine!
Monday 2/6: I'll be launching my campaign to reach 150 followers!
Date TBA: Whenever I reach that number is when I do my first ever giveaway!! (And it's gonna be awesome!)

Hope you all are ready for the upcoming amaaaazingness!! :)

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a pic or two of Gemma doing her new favorite thing: playing with flour. Rocky has started calling her "my little flour girl" :) So adorbs!

Thoroughly diggin it ;)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Big Sister Training :)

This week I started my new job - nannying my next door neighbor's baby during the day since she had to go back to work. It's only a few days in, so we're still adjusting but all I can say is praise God this is literally the world's easiest baby!! She sleeps a bunch, eats like a champ, chills out wherever I put her, and smiles every single time I come over to her. So stinkin cute.

Gemma is working on the transition as well, as you can imagine. She's slowly learning that this is a real, live person, not another baby doll! She's also working on her boundaries... as you can see sometimes a tangible boundary is necessary, especially when Baby M is sleeping!!

Baby M asleep, being protected by the gate from curious little hands!
It's so cute though to watch Gemma be so fascinated by this new little person. And I have to say, it's like the ideal training for her if/when we add another sibling to our family (which, of course, we're always hopeful and open to!). She gets to gradually acclimate to having someone else vying for Mommy's attention, and also learn little ways to be Mommy's helper. She is SO gonna me my right-hand woman, there is no doubt about that! :)

For those of you who have been through this (adding a new baby - whether sibling or charge - to your house), any tips? Specifically on how to teach GENTLE touching?!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Fear Mongering

As a parent, it is my (together with my husband) responsibility - tremendous and terrifying responsibility- to make decisions for and on behalf of my child. What she will wear, eat, drink. What type of education we will give her. Then there's the more controversial topics like extended breastfeeding and vaccination schedules.

We begin this process of making decisions for our child often before we even realize it's for the child. For example, choosing which prenatal vitamins to take during pregnancy, which prenatal care practitioner we choose, where we decide to give birth. While those decisions may seem about us, the parents, they are simultaneously affecting the child as well. And from the very beginning, with those early choices, and continuing on through the journey of parenthood, we are bombarded with information and opinions from friends, family, medical staff, parenting forums, strangers in the grocery store - about how to care for our children.

Like I said, the responsibility is tremendous, and at times, terrifying. We all want what's best for our children. We want them to have better lives than we did. And we don't want to make any mistakes. So when it comes time to make a tough choice about a particular issue, what do we do? Research. We want to be making a well-informed choice. So we study both sides of the issue. We ask friends and family what they've done. We pray about it and ask God to lead our choices. And unfortunately, very often in our journey to make a choice about this thing or that, we run into fear mongering. Whether or not some of the things that are presented to us in a fear-inducing way are true, it's the delivery of such information that is so wrong. I mean, c'mon people. We all know that there are pros and cons to every side of every decision. There are facts and there are opinions. Do we really need to subject ourselves to fear and hysteria? I don't think so. To me, the facts matter most. The opinions of those who want what is best for me and my child affect me too. But the fear-mongering - I try my best to just tune it out. But regardless, you can't escape it.


Homebirth. "Your child will DIE if something goes wrong and you're not in the hospital! Are you really willing to put the life of your child at risk??" Or. "You WILL have a c-section if you deliver in a hospital."

Circumcision. Though I don't have a son, I've seen the fear mongering on both sides of this issue. "Your son will DIE of penile cancer if you don't circumcise him! All the other boys will ridicule him! He'll get infections!" Or: "Your son will DIE of blood loss if you circumcise him! He will be robbed of his dignity and sense of self! He will associate violence with sexuality!"

Vaccinations. "Your child will DIE of disease XYZ if you don't vaccinate her against it!" Or: "Your child will be autistic if you give her all those vaccinations!"

Co-sleeping. "You'll roll over your child and suffocate him if you sleep near him! You will never get her out of your bed - she'll be in high school still sleeping with you!" Or. "You will alienate your child and teach her to distrust you unless you co-sleep! He will die of SIDS if you're not close enough to him!"

I could go on and on. And if you're like me, you've seen all these arguments and more on so many different issues. Here's the problem with all this fear mongering. It can damage our ability to make the right choice. It makes us emotional about topics to the point where we'll make a knee-jerk decision just to ease the tension in our hearts. What we should be doing is looking at the facts. No matter the topic: take the emotional fear-mongering skewed opinions out of it, and place the facts in front of you. Study the facts. Pray for guidance. Make your choice, and be at peace about it.

I know it's easier said than done, because let's face it: these are our children we're talking about!! We can't be objective when it comes to our child; inevitably there will be an emotional element that can't be severed while we make decisions on his or her behalf. But we can still protect ourselves from excessive fear-mongering, and I truly believe it is absolutely vital to do so.

What do you all think? Have you encountered this? How do you deal with all the fear that is thrown at you as a parent?
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