Happy Easter Friday, friends!
Rachel and Kristi haven’t seen each other in two weeks and friendship is important! It creates community and can build us up in all areas of life, from family to work to spiritual. So in today’s podcast, they share their thoughts on friendships (both theirs and in general) and chat about life in a phone call.
Grab something to drink and join in the phone call!
Have a great weekend and don’t forget to make it to a Divine Mercy service near you if possible on Sunday!
Kristi & Rachel
Today’s post is a sponsored post from Dolls from Heaven. That means that we were given a discount code for you to use in exchange for our purchasing a doll and giving our honest review of her. The links provided do NOT track back to us, nor do we make money from your use of the discount code.
I have loved American Girl since I was a small American girl myself. I loved Samantha Parkington with her turn-of-the-century clothes and bravery. Her collection was the one for which I pined (and in some cases saved babysitting money to buy pieces of). I loved to read about World War II-era Molly McIntire, though, and her stories brought her to life for me so much that I quickly began to favor her as well. See? Both books and dolls can do things like that for a young girl. Pleasant Rowland got little girls interested in history through play and word, and it was revolutionary.
Fast forward a few decades, a daughter, and some grandparents later, and we’ve amassed quite a collection of American Girl dolls. I own both Samantha and Molly, a childhood dream realized, and Little Miss has several, among which is Rebecca, a Jewish immigrant. When she realized that Rebecca wasn’t Catholic—which all of her dolls are, of course—she became interested in the religious celebrations of her dolls. They celebrate Hanukkah with Rebecca and Rebecca helps them put up the Christmas tree. This prompted Little Miss to want to learn more about Hanukkah.
Then it hit me. We can provide opportunities for our children to explore our own faith through play. Our American Girl house gained a Bible (an ornament) and some of our own family Advent traditions. And just when I was wondering what else I could do, I learned about an amazing company called Dolls from Heaven. And oh-emm-gee.
Dolls from Heaven is a company with a simple mission: they want to inspire children to be saints. In their line of dolls, they’ve got St. Thérèse, who we’ll be talking about today, St. Joan of Arc, and although he’s not available for shipping quite yet, Pope St. John Paul II is available for pre-order, and I think he’s just about the most adorable doll I’ve ever seen. The dolls are so well-made, with beautiful faces—and my favorite is that (unlike the American Girls) their toenails and fingernails are painted on to include the white part. And like American Girls, the Dolls from Heaven saints come with books. St. Thérèse’s book is actually based on the real saint’s memoirs.
We have played with her as a teacher in a Catholic school for our other 18″ dolls and she even made an appearance in my faith formation classroom.
St. Thérèse is absolutely beautiful and completely darling. She comes dressed in her Camelite habit with sandals. The wimple and veil are extremely kid-friendly in how they go on and off.
Her accessory pack includes a mantle for her to wear, a prayer card with holy pictures on it, and a rose-scented rosary, which makes the doll smell like roses when she wears it (as pictured above). That might be my favorite part!
She has two additional outfits that you can buy, as well. We purchased the First Holy Communion gown, which is breathtaking. It comes with a veil.
We didn’t buy this dress (yet!) but I think it is just gorgeous! This is St. Thérèse in her Sunday Best dress.
Little Miss is under the impression that Dolls from Heaven sent us St. Thérèse to review and send back (rather than us actually purchasing her)—except the Hail Marry team purchased her for Little Miss’ First Holy Communion! I cannot wait to see the look on her face when she unwraps her after playing with her for two months.
And you know what? You can give the gift of Dolls from Heaven to a little girl in your life, too, because Dolls from Heaven has generously agreed to give our readers a discount code good on their entire website! You can get 15% off your order on the website with the code HailMarry through May 1, 2017.
Happy Easter! We hope you spent the first day of the Easter Octave (that’s right it’s an eight-day feast!) joyously celebrating. We both attended an Easter Vigil Mass and were so moved by its simplicity and beauty. Even Little Miss had radiant joy on her face (before she fell asleep). We originally planned on spending the holiday together, but ended up being separated by state lines, so we’ve joined our pictures together to share them both with you! Think of it as an Easter Weekend in Review!
Rachel was with her parents and her siblings this year. Her family’s dog looks super enthralled in the festivities!
They (naturally) dyed eggs for a hunt for Rachel’s nieces and nephews.
And Rachel’s mom gave her a chocolate bunny and promptly bit off the head.
Kristi found a pretty bland Paleo bread recipe which made for delicious Paleo French toast for Easter breakfast with their little family.
Superman and Little Miss dyed and decorated eggs like a champ for a series of hunts throughout the day.
The evening ended with good food, and lots of it.
Head over to our Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter and share some of your Easter weekend with us using #EasterWeekendInReview.
Kristi & Rachel
It’s Good Friday 2017 and we’re talking about intentionally finishing Lent strong(ly)!
This week on the blog was a full one for us! We usually post new written content on Mondays and Wednesdays and then upload a podcast on Fridays. This week, we decided to offer a post every day in honor of Holy Week. We began lighthearted with date night suggestions and followed with a guest post on marriage before moving into weighted topics like the Triduum and Easter renewal. And that brings us to today’s podcast…
On a sad note, Rachel is absent from the podcast today because she’s out-of-state helping her parents in the aftermath of the loss of her grandmother, June Bug. Please pray for comfort for Rachel and her family as well as for the repose of the soul of Rachel’s grandmother.
Kristi recorded this week’s podcast on Holy Tuesday (her family’s Taco Tuesday) while browning taco meat and running dishes through the dishwasher to reflect on our frenzied pace of life and our commitments (she actually almost missed a quarterly meeting that night!), all to end with a challenge to slow down and focus on family and God during what’s left of Lent.
Grab a glass of something refreshing or a mug of something warm and join Kristi! Leave us a comment below letting us know what you think. Let’s start a true conversation about what finishing Lent strong looks like in the real-world!
The book Kristi mentioned, Hands Free Mama, can be purchased on Rachel Macy Stafford’s website of the same name, if you’re interested. It appears that she’s since come out with two other books. There’s also a blog you can follow about living hands-free. Check it out and read the book while Kristi re-reads it!
May the remaining time in the Triduum bring you blessings as we begin a joyous Easter season!
Easter. A renewal of life through the resurrection. A renewal of life through the sacrifice. On Easter Sunday, we rejoice in the risen God! We rejoice that new members have joined our church. As a congregation, we renew our baptismal vows. The first Easter gave us new life in Christ. Every Easter after that is, then, a renewal. I could go for a renewal right about now.
Our second post ever written on Hail Marry was an Advent post written by Kristi about being intentional and grateful (check it out here). It bemoaned the losses of 2016 whilst uplifting the gains (i.e. Kristi meeting Superman…and marrying him). It was a hard year for Kristi in terms of losing her last living grandmother and a cousin. Rachel’s world was rocked by the loss of her son. This year, Rachel’s pregnancy has not been without its complications and Kristi’s autoimmune disease has decided to leave the state of remission it was in due to a kitchen mix-up. Rachel’s grandma June Bug passed away last week.
This is the circle of life. It ebbs and it flows. We’re doing super well and then we’re pulling ourselves out of the hole in which we’ve placed ourselves. It’s a cycle. We’re born, we live and strive and accomplish, and then we pass on. We all know this, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Especially in the midst of the everyday demands of life. So what’s a girl to do?
Add a morning rosary! Add a devotional! Start the practice of a Morning Offering. Get your day started with some coffee and Jesus. If you can, go to daily Mass. Attend confession weekly. Shake up your prayer life.
Now that you’ve renewed yourself with some spiritual Spring cleaning, go to it in your personal life, too! Open the windows in your home and let the sunshine in. Look at the view from outside and actually see it. Notice the beauty of God’s creations. Better yet, go out in that beauty as a family and revel in it.
Carve out time to be a family. Over-scheduled with extracurriculars? Be creative. We sneak in extra cuddle time in the mornings, when Little Miss is first waking up. Sometimes we get ready for bed and then go for a quick “pajama walk” around the block. We also add a card game that encourages dinner conversations and giggles while we eat at least three times per week.
Carve out some time to be with your husband. Life still going 90 to nothing? Spend the last five minutes of your day in one another’s arms, sharing something about the day. Find excuses to text or touch throughout the day.
Carve some time to yourself. Please don’t skimp on this one. Take a moment to think. Allow yourself a relaxing bath. Can’t squeeze it all in? Make a Silent Family Reading Hour (or half hour) where you all sit in the living room and read your own books. Try the same with a journaling time.
How Will You Allow Yourself an Easter Renewal?
We are all about crowdsourcing and sharing with one another in community to help us grow. Please share with us how you plan on allowing yourself a renewal.