sparkles turned 9 on may 18.  she was certain to follow tradition, a birthday date night with mom and dad.


we left in the early afternoon to embark on her birthday plans.

sparkles planned a day of shopping, museum, dinning out, and celebration at home with her siblings.

dad and i took sparkles shopping.  she selected a sniff-n-smell t-shirt, flip flops, headband and used her birthday gift card for more goodies.


we spent over an hour at the local science museum.  it was the best deal in town.  admission was only $4 since dad and I received the teacher’s discount.  we had the museum all to ourselves for only $4!!



sparkles selected her regular birthday dinner, mexican food.  this is the third time that she has selected to dine out at this restaurant for her birthday.  it’s not her fav but she is one for tradition.


she selected her favortie sweet treat – apple pie.  she desired to bring a whole pie back home to share with everyone else, only after she stopped once more to pick up gifts party favors for her siblings.


sparkles chose a pirate set for papi, sword for dragonfly, princess set for her and sweetie, and soft sock for her big sis.


papa and nana surprised sparkles with a basketball hoop.


may the good Lord bless our sparkle who brings your joy to all.  may you continue to fuel her permanent smile and giving heart.  may you be her everything, always!



Dragonfly turned two!


His birthday buddy, Sparkles decorated the house with signs and balloons.

two 5.17.12

It was a low key celebration in the home since many of us were sick.


San Giorgio & Pier Giorgio Frassati ~ orate pro nobis

First Holy Communion

Can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die? ~ Blessed Imelda

Elexa glowing

Sweetie received her First Holy Communion on Saturday, May 12, 2012.  It was a sweet consolation for Sweetie to receive our Lord on the feast day of Bl. Imelda Lambertini, patron of First Communicants.

Lord Jesus Christ, you received into heaven Blessed Imelda who loved you in the Eucharistic banquet. By her prayers may we learn to approach your holy table with that same fervent love and so fulfill our longing to be with you, who live and reign with the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

~General Calendar of the Order of Preachers



We started formation in the home and Sweetie received formal preparation from Fr. L.

4.28 FHC Practice

FHC Practice


First Confession – Fr. S

We moved forward with the physical details once Sweetie completed her FHC test from Fr. S.

We had initially decided to let Sweetie wear a dress from her sisters’ collection.  However, Grandma & Grandpa wouldn’t have it.  They contributed to Sweeties dress fund.

5.3.12 Dresses

I found four dress and was able to narrow it down to two options.  I brought them home for Sweetie to try on.  She chose the simplest dress with the less “poofy” veil with the headband, of course.  In typical Sweetie fashion, she changed her mind the following day.  She opted to wear Rose’s Jessica McClintock flower girl’s dress with the overlay that Great Grandma Helen made for Rose’s FHC.  Her veil was left unchanged.

the dress



We managed to leave the house at the right time.  We said a rosary on the way to church for the intentions of Sweetie and all the First Holy Communicants. 

We had plenty of time to spare before Father collected the children.  Sweetie made a visit to Jesus.lexi and mary

She returned outside to greet her guests and visit with her friends.



Here is Sweetie with her fellow Little Flowers.  There were a total of 12 LF receiving FHC.


This is Sweetie with her dear friend.


We managed to get our family pics before Mass.  Hopefully someone, out there, has a decent pic of us.  If not, this will have to do.


We were filled with joy for the blessed gift that Sweetie was about to receive for the first time.


The children began to line up to process into Mass.


The MC organized the First Holy Communicants.







Elexa FHC

Elexa FHC v2



The children re-entered the church after Mass for their enrollment in the Brown Scapular.

O God, Who hast honored the Order of Carmel with the special title of Thy most Blessed Mother Mary, ever Virgin: mercifully grant, that we who celebrate her memory this day with solemn office, may be shielded by her protection and deserve to come to everlasting joys: Who livest and reignest. ~ Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

brown scapular

brown scapular v2




Sweetie was blessed to have wonderful turnout of family to join her for FHC – Auntie, Uncle, Teo, T, Lea, Grandma, Uncle R, Auntie S, Uncle E, Ari, Aunt Y, Nino & Nina and three of her Godsisters.  Sadly, Papa and Nana could not be physically present.  Papa was in the Respiratory ICU.  They were both missed but Sweetie understood that they were with her in prayer.


Sweetie with her Nino & Nina (Godparents).

P5120337fhc v3

We were sure not to miss a photo opp with any one of our blessed priests. We did, however, miss the presence of Fr. D.  He is no longer able to travel long distances.

Sweetie received her FHC instruction and First Holy Communion from Fr. L.

Fr. M is our Pastor.  Fr. S administered Sweetie’s First Confession.


There were 36 First Communicants.




Linked to First Communion JOY – Party

First Communion Link - Girl My Beloved Jesus,
On This Joyous Day,
I Have Been Given
The Opportunity To
Receive In Communion,
Your Body, Your Blood,
Your Spirit And
Your Supreme Divinity:
May I Prove Worthy And
Appreciative Of This Most
Scared Gift Bestowed.

~ Communion Invitation

Homemade Mayo v2

I’ve yet to perfect my homemade mayo.  I was recently introduced to a simple mayo making technique.  I gave it a try. 

homemade mayo

It was super easy and a definite improvement from my last batch.    Still, more practice is needed.

Our Lady of Bethlehem Novena

We are starting a novena to Our Lady of Bethlehem in preparation for a spiritual and physical journey that we will be embarking on.  The novena starts on Thursday, May 17th and ends on Friday May 25th .  Please keep my family and our fellow pilgrims in your prayers.

The pilgrimage will be made for the following intentions:

  • To make Our Lady of Bethlehem known and Loved
  • In reparation for the offenses committed against the sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • For Conversion of our own hearts, our families, Town, State, Country, the World
  • To pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart
  • Personal reparation and private intentions of family, friends and bloggers (whom have asked for prayers) 

You are invited to join the novena to Our Lady of Bethlehem.


Prayer to Our Lady of Bethlehem

Dear Lady of Bethlehem, Virgin most pure, Mother of our Savior, may the memory of the cold on the night Thy Divine Child was born bring Thy powerful intercession to bear upon the world’s coldness towards the Babe of Bethlehem. Send down into the hearts of all people some warmth of the flames of love that Thy Immaculate Heart gives forth.

Do Thou who suffered such great loneliness when Thy Son was taken from Thee, look with pity upon the void in the hearts of those who know and love Him not. Bring Him to them and with Him His Angels and Saints that they too may be our intimate friends. Do Thou who journeyed wearily to Bethlehem look down with mercy upon humankind trudging along the way of evil, lost and confused. Do Thou guide us to the path of Thy Son and the habitation He had prepared for us.

Look down with compassion upon us, as we commend to Thy maternal care the needs of Holy Mother Church, our beloved Country, our families. We all place all at Thy blessed feet. Through Thy powerful intercession may God grant to us and to the whole frightened world the grace of mutual understanding and the sacred Peace of Bethlehem.

Do Thou also regard with favor our beloved Father Junipero Serra, who brought Thy image to this land and whose remains rest in peace in Thy sanctuary. May he who in life held Thee in such great honor and who first made Thy Son known on these shores, be found worthy to have his name entered on the list of those whom the Church calls Saints.

Our Lady of Bethlehem, pray for us now, pray for us in every need, and be Thou with us at the hour of our death. Amen.



This series was written by Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D… It his the author’s hope that this series of articles will encourage more Catholics to come in greater numbers to visit her and pay her homage, raising a clamor to the careless religious authorities that she should be given a place of greater prominence.


We might journey in a spirit of penance, fasting and giving alms along the way. We might do so joyously, in thanksgiving for blessings received, or in a spirit of supplication for blessings desired. Or we might do so simply to be blessed by being in the presence of holy relics or by walking on ground hallowed by Our Lord or the Saints. Whatever our more particular purposes, leaving behind what is comfortable to us and visiting a strange place is a way to get out of a "spiritual rut" and step outside our normal routines which can sometimes keep us distracted or focused on the wrong things -- or perhaps focused too much on otherwise good things. When made with the right attitude, pilgrimage is a way to "lose" our lives for His sake.

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