Should Catholic Makers Share Their Business Secrets?

You put hours of work and research into your crafts, and then someone emails you with, “Could you share how you make your product?” What is the Catholic answer to this situation? It might be a little different than your instinct.

Like most things in life, I don’t think there is a prescriptive “Catholic” answer to situations like this. Womp womp. So, I decided to ask my husband, and he came up with some bangers.

You put hours of work and research into your crafts, and then someone emails you with, “Could you share how you make your product?” What is the Catholic answer to this situation? It might be a little different than your instinct. | diy | diy crafts | life hacks | etsy tips

photo credit | dollar photo club | nikolaydonetsk

So, Mike’s company makes parts for planes that are often used in combat. It is a top secret 007 facility, so they don’t share industry secrets because it is a matter of national security (much fancy). The processes of his company also create jobs for thousands of people, so sharing those things would eliminate the livelihood of tons of people.

Those reasons seem pretty obvious. If it is a matter of security or livelihood for your family or business, then, no, it might actually be wrong to share your secrets.

What about something with lower stakes like personal recipes? If a friend asked you for your recipe at a potluck, 99% of time you would share it. But maybe you don’t want to share your secret sauce because it is special to you – it makes you stand out. And that’s ok to keep it to yourself.

Is what you’re doing something very special to you that makes you unique? In this case, you can choose whether or not to share, and either way is equally fine.

Sometimes the info that you’re being asked for can easily be looked up; it might be public knowledge. While it may be annoying to have to answer these questions for someone when you took the time to figure it all out yourself, the charitable thing may be to share the information or point the person in the right direction to finding it.

Then again, the time that you put into research and development is part of the product cost. If the hours that you put into trial and error and picking and choosing is integral to the quality of your product, sharing might jeopardize that.

Think about the goal of your business. Is it to help humanity in some way? The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, put it this way: “If we’re all in a ship together, and the ship has some holes in it, and we’re sort of bailing water out of it, and we have a great design for a bucket, then even if we’re bailing out way better than everyone else, we should probably still share the bucket design.”

But maybe your goal is to make some extra money for your family. Is divulging information about your craft going to dilute the field and take away from your income? Or perhaps you just create for fun, and there is no consequence for giving up that knowledge.

In the end, whatever you decide, you do need to respond to inquiries in a Catholic way. It ends up being more about why you choose whether or not to share trade secrets and how you go about interacting with the person asking.

Has this ever happened to you? What was your response?

Check out my shop for your embroidery needs and anxiety remedies.

#5Faves: Things I Learned from Konmari

 

For my 30th birthday coming up, I told Mike I wanted only one thing: for us both to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and to implement it. So, this past weekend, we enlisted my rents to corral the kidlets while we Komaried our house. And, we didn’t just pick and choose items. We.cleaned.out. It’s, like, spartan in here. And I love it. LOVE it. Here’s why:

5 Things I Learned from Konmari

© ronstik / Dollar Photo Club

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We only have what we use. There aren’t tons of other objects and whatnots cluttering up the house. If it’s in our house, we use it. If we didn’t use it, it went away. Now the house looks fresh and picked up all day long. There is no more scrambling at the end of the day to get toys put away or to shove items back into closets only to be pulled out the next morning. Everything has a home either in our home or at Goodwill.

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We were forced to confront our pasts, presents and futures. We couldn’t just hang on to things because we used to like them. We got rid of items that we thought we should save, but they just reminded us of times in our lives we’d rather forget. We had to look at what we use and need NOW. And we got rid of things that we might use someday.

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Speaking of someday: by getting rid of all of the “someday” items, other people will be able to use those items right now. Why would we hang on to a huge bunk bed set for years when our kids aren’t ready for them yet? Someone else’s kids could be sleeping in it. And, when the time comes, I’m sure we will find more bunk beds. People love giving those away.

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It’s kinda scary letting go of something you might need later. What a waste of money, right? But, if I give up my attachment to material items, I am saying, “Lord, I trust you with my future. I will not keep more than I need right now because I know you will provide when the time comes.”

-5-

Less.To.Clean. So much less. I hated having things in my house that I had to clean and which also brought me no joy. Talk about a total downer. Less stuff equal less time dusting and washing and wiping and fixing.

***

We are still tallying the number of bags we donated to Goodwill. And the total is not in yet for the cash money from items sold. But, I can tell you this: the count is currently around 60-70 garbage bags donated or in the trash. That is not including large items like tents, skis, bikes, strollers, etc. And it’s not including any of the items we are selling. Our entire garage is packed to the brim with just the “to be sold” items at the moment.

That might give you an idea of how much we purged. And I know you can do it too. It is liberating because it’s not just a deep cleaning, it’s a lifestyle change.

I could type out pages and pages about our experience, tips for doing it with a family, and ways to confront common problems, but you can find that stuff all over the web. I’m just going to tell you to read the book, pick a weekend, and do it right.

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Would you ever Konmari your home? Tell me in the comments or link up your #5Faves (about anything!) below.  .

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Planning a Family Movie Night with Toddlers + Giveaway

You know that awful moment when you realize you accidentally let your kid sleep until 6:30 and his bedtime is at 7? There’s basically no choice but to declare a family movie night, and let those kids rock the evening out with you.

That may have happened to us the other night.

Plan a family movie night for you and your young children. Find my best recommendations for movies as well as all of the essentials to make the night fun! | family night | movie recommendations | toddler activities

© Scott Harms / Dollar Photo Club

So, we did the following:

  • popped some popcorn and rustled up some dry cereal with M&Ms
  • poured chocolate milk
  • made a blanket fort
  • opened some hard ciders for the grownies
  • picked out a movie on Netflix (favorites listed below)

Photo Evidence (or it didn’t happen):

Plan a family movie night for you and your young children. Find my best recommendations for movies as well as all of the essentials to make the night fun! | family night | movie recommendations | toddler activities Plan a family movie night for you and your young children. Find my best recommendations for movies as well as all of the essentials to make the night fun! | family night | movie recommendations | toddler activities Plan a family movie night for you and your young children. Find my best recommendations for movies as well as all of the essentials to make the night fun! | family night | movie recommendations | toddler activities Plan a family movie night for you and your young children. Find my best recommendations for movies as well as all of the essentials to make the night fun! | family night | movie recommendations | toddler activities Plan a family movie night for you and your young children. Find my best recommendations for movies as well as all of the essentials to make the night fun! | family night | movie recommendations | toddler activities Plan a family movie night for you and your young children. Find my best recommendations for movies as well as all of the essentials to make the night fun! | family night | movie recommendations | toddler activities Plan a family movie night for you and your young children. Find my best recommendations for movies as well as all of the essentials to make the night fun! | family night | movie recommendations | toddler activities Plan a family movie night for you and your young children. Find my best recommendations for movies as well as all of the essentials to make the night fun! | family night | movie recommendations | toddler activities

Our Favorite Family Movie Night Picks on Netflix

  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
  • Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas
  • Stuart Little (not on stream)
  • Puffin Rock (show)

Family Movie Night Giveaway

Plan a family movie night for you and your young children. Find my best recommendations for movies as well as all of the essentials to make the night fun! | family night | movie recommendations | toddler activities

You’re probably not a Johnson, so the one you’ll get will say “Family Movie Night.” You’re welcome, unless you’re a Johnson, then, well, sorry.

Personal Creations generously donated a family movie night popcorn bowl along with a bunch of snacks that I generously did not eat. Enter below to win. U.S. only.

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#5Faves: Homeschool Preschool

What is preschool really? I mean, I don’t remember that being a thing when I was growing up. Now it’s like, 2yo preschool, 3yo preschool, 4yo preschool, pre-K, then kindergarten? Do they get some kind of tiny degree in potty mechanics after that?

Peer pressure yadda yadda, we jumped off that bridge with everyone else. But we’re doing it homeschool style this year, and here are some of our faves that we’re using.

 A few of my favorite resources to add to your homeschool room. Some see how we are doing a nature based homeschool preschool program along with some other simple additions. | homeschool inspiration | homeschool organization | preschool activities | preschool ideas

© jojoo64 / Dollar Photo Club

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A Child’s World: I decided that if I’m really going to do this, I’m going to need a curriculum for el primero rodeo. Could not love this one more. It’s all nature based, meaning the only materials we really need are things we can find outside (plus a few odds and ends that we have in house – I’ve never needed to make a special trip). Ipso Facto: I don’t need to plan ahead all that much.

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Preschool Math at Home: While there is math involved in the curriculum in each theme unit, Ellen wanted a bit more math, and who am I to deny that weird, weird child? This book has super simple lessons that you do each day. Each activity requires little to no prep and only takes about five minutes.

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Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons: Ellen also wants to learn to read. We’ve done a good chunk of this book so far. I don’t think she is *quite* ready for it, but I bet in about three or four months, it will be perfect-town.

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Spot It: We have the numbers and letters versions of this game. It worked wonders for letter and number recognition, and even though she knows them all now, Ellen still wants to play this daily.

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Wipe Clean First Pen Control: Follow the dotted lines with a dry erase marker. Wipe clean when done. Keep marker away from 2yo and his mustachio-prone scribbles. Bingo Bango.

 

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What are your fave homeschool resources? Tell me in the comments or link up your #5Faves (about anything!) below.  .

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How I Read a Fiction Book

What does it say about me that I am fascinated with how people do the mundane? Takes one to be fascinated by one? Or something.

Like, what steps do you take to clean your bathroom? What does your daily hair routine look like? How do you organize your pantry? Or, lucky you, the topic de jour: how do you read a fiction book?

Assuming you are here because you are exactly.just.like.me, have I got a treat for you. I’m going to share how I read a fiction book. Ta-daaa.

How I Read a Fiction Book

Learn the best tips for getting the most out of your next fiction book. | books worth reading | book recs | homeschool inspiration

© billionphotos.com/ Dollar Photo Club

Pre-Reading: First I check out the front and back cover. I familiarize myself with these things to form a schema (knowledge base) around the book. Brandon Vogt goes into a lot of detail in his video course calling this “x-raying a book”, and he has 8 easy steps to learn how to do this. 

Read Slowly: At first. The first 15-25% of the book normally. I spend time flipping back often, reminding myself of characters and plot points. I like to read slowly to get every detail straight in my head.

Plow Point: You know, the point where you understand the writer’s style, the language and the plot enough that you can just race to the end? You can recognize and skim over small details that you know aren’t imperative. This method fails me when I am reading a book that is style/character based: a book where the language and descriptions are the main focus as opposed to plot based books. (Think What Alice Forgot vs. P&P) I love plot based books because I like to read fast and furiously. I am always wanting to get into the next book.

Reflect: Ha. I don’t really have time to do this. But, if I did, I would sit with my thoughts, ask myself questions about the book, think about what I learned or how the book changed the way I think about life. Maybe blog about it. As it is, I can’t go to the bathroom on my own, so you can take this step or leave it.

Fave Plot Based Books of Late

The Expats

Lizzie & Jane

The Rosie Project

What Alice Forgot

Stardust

As a (super!short!lived!) former English teacher, I know that these tips are things all good readers should know how to do. They are things that come naturally to me (toot toot!) and things I spent hours trying to teach my students. If you find yourself questioning HOW to read a book – what is the best way? – then you can learn these things in Brandon’s course that I mentioned above.

How do YOU read a fiction book? What are your favorite titles right now?

 

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How to Read to Your Baby and Toddler

There’s nothing wrong with just picking up a book and reading it to your child. You don’t need to get all fancy and educational with it. Honestly, just snuggling close and browsing your latest library choice is enough to instill a love of reading in your kid.

But, if you want some advice on taking it to the next level, try these seven tips. If your child is old enough to think about your questions and respond, great! If not, answer your own questions out loud. Babies and kids love to hear and learn how you work things out in your head as well.

Reading just ten minutes a day to your baby boy or baby girl is a wonderful habit. But, if you want to take it a step further, try these 7 tips for reading to your baby or toddler. So dust off those bookshelves and try these reading strategies that will make your little one fall in love with books.

© Deyan Georgiev / Dollar Photo Club

  1. Before opening the book, talk about the cover. “What do you see on the cover?” “What is this book called?” “What do you think this book will be about?” “How do you think this book will make you feel?”
  2. Let your child hold the book and/or turn the pages. Learning the structure of a book and how it works is important information!
  3. Don’t worry about reading every single word. If you child is interested in something on the page, talk about it. It’s like a baby bookclub! You’re not memorizing the book; you’re just showing your child how to love reading.
  4. Don’t just read the words either. On each page, talk about the pictures and words. “Can you say hippopotamus?” “What does a cat say?” “Can you find the moon?” “Where do you think that little girl is going?” “Let’s find all of the letter Bs on the page.” “How do you think the little boy feels?”
  5. When your baby is playing next to you and you actually have time to read a book, try reading out loud. Kids learn to read from hearing what a good reader sounds like.
  6. When the book is over, keep it alive. Ask you child her thoughts about the book. “How did that book make you feel?” “Do you think you’d read that one again?” And point out things in real life to make a connection. “Look! A cement mixer just like in the book we read.” “Are you frustrated just like the boy in the book? What did he do?”
  7. Read the same books over and over and overandoverandoverandover…which probably won’t be a problem. Kids love repetition because it is familiar, and they learn from doing things again and again. Some of our favorites are:

It Looked Like Spilt Milk

Press Here

Bubble Trouble

Night House Bright House

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

What are your best tips for reading to babies and toddlers? How about great read-aloud book recommendations?

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How to Plan a Mother-Daughter Sleepover

Disclosure: I have received free Netflix streaming and a streaming device as part of my membership on the Netflix Stream Team.  All opinions expressed within this post are my own.

My daughter is the only girl amongst boys, so we have a special relationship. Lately, when we want to spend a little quality time together, we plan a sleepover. Here is your guide to organizing a simple sleepover that will help you connect to your baby girl. This is parenting done right. | kids rooms | i love you | parenting tips

© aliasching / Dollar Photo Club

The Plan

Choose one night to put down the devices and forget the to-do list and just connect with your daughter by inviting her to a good, old-fashioned sleepover.

The Invitation

You don’t need to anything fancy here. The idea isn’t to impress your daughter with details. She just wants to spend time with you. So, sit her down and pick a date on the calendar. That’s it!

Supplies Needed

  • pillows
  • jammies
  • nail polish
  • favorite snacks
  • favorite drinks
  • Netflix
  • a few good books

The Schedule

When Ellen (3yo) and I had our sleepover, it looked a little something like this:

After dinner (it was a simple weeknight), Mike did the clean up and took care of the boys while Ellen and I got ready for bed. We went up nice and early so we would have time to get in all of our fun.

We climbed into my bed and synced up our show on Netflix. While we watched a couple of cartoons, I painted Ellen’s nails and we chatted about the show she picked. We also ate the snacks Ellen chose: popcorn and chocolate milk. Yes, we ate it right in my bed because it was a special sleepover, and you get to do special things during special sleepovers.

When it got near bedtime, we read a couple of books Ellen had chosen, we said our prayers, and we turned out the lights. The rule in our house is that everyone must sleep in their own beds, but for the sleepover, Ellen got to spend the night in mom and dad’s room. She was pretty thrilled about the special privilege.

Tips

  • don’t stress about making this a fancy event
  • plan out some of the details (like snacks) the day before
  • get your spouse on board so you have someone to manage the rest of the house while you’re partying
  • leave your phone downstairs; don’t get distracted during this special time
  • bring your own book too; if your kids go to bed early like ours, you might find yourself bored once your daughter is sleeping
  • our favorite (calm) shows on Netflix: The Hive, Curious George, Magic School Bus, Little Einsteins, Clifford

My daughter is the only girl amongst boys, so we have a special relationship. Lately, when we want to spend a little quality time together, we plan a sleepover. Here is your guide to organizing a simple sleepover that will help you connect to your baby girl. This is parenting done right. | kids rooms | i love you | parenting tips

 

What are some of your favorite ways to spend quality time with your kids?

Put Baskets in These 3 Places

I try to keep my house pretty clutter free, and honestly, I’m pretty good at it. Excuse me while I get that dirt off my shoulder. Ahem. In order to Minimize the Mess, I employ my little lovers: baskets.

If you want to be neurotic like me, put baskets in these three places to keep your house clutter free for good. Swearsies.

My best organization secret? Baskets. And, by putting them in these three places, you can keep your home clutter free. Seriously. Add this to your list of awesome life hacks and organization tips for the home. | clutter solutions | clutter organization | clutter control |

© Alena Ozerova / Dollar Photo Club

Stairs

Anything that belongs upstairs or downstairs gets thrown into one of these baskets. And then as we go up and down the stairs, we take items with us. I try to make a habit out of never walking into another room or level without bringing something with me. Trust me, it’s not hard to find things.

Living Room

Or really whichever room your family spends the most time in. My kids, like any kids, schlep toys all around the house, and they never stay in designated toy areas (like their rooms or basement). So, instead of fighting it, I just keep a large basket in our living room. When the kids are dropping toys, I just toss them in this basket until we can get around to putting them in their place later.

Front Door

I love a three tiered basket or rack for this place. The top shelf holds keys, phones and other pocket items. The middle shelf is for mail. And the bottom shelf is for items that need to be returned to their owners: tupperware, library books, clothing, etc.

 

Talk to me about where you keep catchalls in your house.

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Minimize the Mess + eBook Giveaway

Sometimes it feels like Mike goes to work so he can make money so we can buy things. And then we spend time cleaning and taking care of those things. It leaves me wondering what the point is.

I know we need “things” in life. In fact, we need a lot of things. But, what about all of that extra stuff? Is everything in my house useful? Does every object bring me joy? Or, is all of the clutter just another thing I need to deal with before I can enjoy quality time with my family and activities I find relaxing?

It’s no wonder I’ve always loved this quote from William Morris:

Something else you might not know about me? Or maybe you’ve picked up on it…I absolutely love organization. I mentioned on Facebook the other day that purging is my love language and organizing bins are my spirit animal.

This applies to all areas of my life. I strive to keep my house clutter free, and I am a big believer in streamlining my days with schedules and spreadsheets.

And I KNOW. I know that isn’t necessarily how life works. That’s what I do these things with an important idea in mind: I can have all of the schedules and charts in the world, but life is unpredictable. So, I consider these things to be fluid and changeable. So yes, I might have a daily cleaning schedule for our house, but if something more fun comes up or I need to schedule a doctor appointment for the littles, scrubbing out the fridge can wait. And, I’m ok with that because it still feels like my head is organized.

I have a soul sister in this bizarre fascination with the orderly. You might know her as the host of #5Faves for the month of May while I get my life, um, organized. Rachel from Efficient Mama is equally, if not more, adept at creating a clutter free, peaceful life.

AND GUESS WHAT!

She has a book out. Minimize the Mess: A Mother’s Guide to Simplifying Your Home. And it walks you through step by step on how to implement her incredible strategies into your own home. I mean, it covers everything. Take a look at the table of contents:

Learn organization tips and organizing ideas for the home with this eBook. At only $2.99, it is a steal. It’s PACKED with tips for every room in the house as well as ideas for getting the family on board. And, it comes with free printables to keep you on track. | organize closet | organize kitchen | organize bedroom | organize bathroom

Learn organization tips and organizing ideas for the home with this eBook. At only $2.99, it is a steal. It’s PACKED with tips for every room in the house as well as ideas for getting the family on board. And, it comes with free printables to keep you on track. | organize closet | organize kitchen | organize bedroom | organize bathroom

Learn organization tips and organizing ideas for the home with this eBook. At only $2.99, it is a steal. It’s PACKED with tips for every room in the house as well as ideas for getting the family on board. And, it comes with free printables to keep you on track. | organize closet | organize kitchen | organize bedroom | organize bathroom

Learn organization tips and organizing ideas for the home with this eBook. At only $2.99, it is a steal. It’s PACKED with tips for every room in the house as well as ideas for getting the family on board. And, it comes with free printables to keep you on track. | organize closet | organize kitchen | organize bedroom | organize bathroom

Buying Info

Learn organization tips and organizing ideas for the home with this eBook. At only $2.99, it is a steal. It’s PACKED with tips for every room in the house as well as ideas for getting the family on board. And, it comes with free printables to keep you on track. | organize closet | organize kitchen | organize bedroom | organize bathroom

You can snag a copy for $2.99 on Amazon or on her website, Efficient Mama. If you buy through her site, you can use the code LAUNCH for 25% off your copy (good May 11-22). And, hint hint, newsletter subscribers get an exclusive coupon, so sign up here.

Win a Copy

Use the Rafflecopter to win a copy of Minimize the Mess. Good luck and all of that.

Learn organization tips and organizing ideas for the home with this eBook. At only $2.99, it is a steal. It’s PACKED with tips for every room in the house as well as ideas for getting the family on board. And, it comes with free printables to keep you on track. | organize closet | organize kitchen | organize bedroom | organize bathroom
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Daily Mass with Your Kids…By Yourself

One hobby (?) I picked up while on my hiatus is taking the kids to daily Mass. We don’t go DAILY, but we try to make it a couple of times a week, so stop thinking I’m all dat and a bag of chaplets.

First, we had to find a church that offered it at a time that worked. Our parish has daily Mass at 6:45 am. Even if we lived closer than 30 minutes to it, this would be a never ever no way time. Even if my kids got up at 5am, I would be too busy wallowing in my pre-dawn misery to pull it together and get there. But, the church down the street has a 9am which is totally doable.

Think daily Mass with young kids is too hard? Well, you’re right. It is. But God blesses our efforts. So, take a look at why I made the choice to start bringing my little kids to church during the week. | catholic | christian | how does she

© kmiragaya / Dollar Photo Club

Benefits

There are obviously benefits to this practice, but here are my flavorites:

  • Gets me up and moving in the morning instead of becoming a stale pajama lounger
  • Gives me extra fuel (and time off purgatory?) for the week when I fill up with J
  • When the kids aren’t being a hot mess, it is intimate enough that they can really soak in what is happening up close and personal
  • Tests and, I really hope, increases my patience and confidence with motherhood
  • Brings joy to a lot of the older Mass-goers

Tips

  • Each day, on your way, remind the kids what is expected of them. Keep it to two or three easy rules.
  • Our Rules: whisper if you have questions, remain in your seat, do not touch the books
  • I actually hide all of the books in our row right when we get there to avoid the inevitable fights over them.
  • Go consistently even if it’s rough at first. You will see improvement!
  • Talk with your kids afterward about what they saw and what questions they may have.
  • Introduce your kids to the priest afterward. If they can make friends with him, they will be more likely to behave when they watch him.
  • Make a friend or two while you’re there. We have a neighbor who helps me wrangle if things get bad.
  • It might just be MY kids, but I also remind them that donuts are only for times when daddy comes to church too (aka Sunday) – but, you know, that might just be our problem…
  • Try to find a row with no outlet if possible. We always snag a row that butts up to a wall. No escapees that way.

Now, I don’t even want to get into the fact that after Mass, I see a lot of the same people at the gym I go to as well as my favorite lunch spot. I just chalk it up to the fact that SAHMs and retirees must have similar schedules. Right? Either that or I am really going to enjoy retirement.

Anyway, visit masstimes.org, find one that works, and try it out this week. Lemmeno what it did for you. If your experience is anything like me, your oldest will spend her time hoarding all of the song books while she loudly whispers questions in your ear wondering if this church has donuts. And, your youngest will last six minutes before throwing his head back and singing his heavy metal swan song of doom while he pauses to scream “Amen!” when things get quiet enough.

But we do it. And God blesses our efforts.

Do you have any tips for making it through a daily Mass with young kids?

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