Review: Catholic Family Fun Book

The empty nest is getting closer and closer for me, and let me say, it’s something that I am surprised to be embracing in this season of my life.

A typical evening at home looks something like this:

Me: What do you want for dinner.

Honey: Oh, you’ve had a long day…let’s go out for a bite.

Nice, isn’t it? The rest of the evening might play out with us having a nice, quiet conversation on the porch. You know, about stuff that doesn’t involve a schedule, or somebody’s grades, or the orthodontist.

Rewind ten or fifteen years and the scene was very different. Dinner was a disorganized affair, with conversations that escalated into louder and louder expressions with everyone happily talking over each other. Perhaps it’s not the ideal dinner time for many of you, but in our home, it was the chaos that we enjoyed. The louder the laughter, the better.

How I wish we’d had Sarah Reinhard’s Catholic Family Fun in those days. Its subtitle, A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative, or Clueless pretty much describes my state of affairs when it came to managing three kids close in age, a household, a traveling husband, and the myriad after school activities that had me jumping through hoops.

The section on Traveling Food was the first thing I looked at. After so many stressful drive-thru meals, it’s a relief to see instructions for something that’s relaxing and enjoyable.

With my  youngest finishing his second year of college, I wondered,  as I was reading the book, if any of this was relevant to a middle-aged mom a little shell-shocked from the sudden silence.

The answer is YES. And it comes from an unlikely place.

You see, I thought I’d be putting the book on my shelf, using it when my nieces and nephews come to visit, or [gulp] saving it for someday with grandchildren.

What I forgot is that my husband and I are still very much a family. In fact, we were a family first, before the kiddoes came along, and now that they are scattering, we’re back to where we started, so to speak — with each other.

And we can benefit from many of the ideas in this book, too.

Each activity has a Faith Angle, and frankly, that’s the best part of the book for me. As adults we often fall into a routine (that’s good) for morning prayer or devotionals, and this provides many creative ways to explore the richness of our faith by shaking it up a little.

The next section, Making It Your Own, gives us the “permission” to adapt it to our needs. It’s perfect because of its versatility.

Pick up a copy and play…you’ll find something that works for whatever your family dynamic happens to be at the moment.

And remember to have fun!

quick, grab a pencil!

There’s so much going on right now that I have taken to writing a growing list of things that need to be done and checked off the list. Baaah. Spring makes me crazy. Spring plus graduation makes me crazier! And yes, Jonathan graduates this year. Unbelievable. Where did all that time go? Where is my pudgy little boy content to crawl into my lap for cosquillitas?

Um, he’s a big pudgy boy trying to maneuver his way into my lap for cosquillitas. Well, he won’t actually attempt to sit in my lap, but I might be watching tv or sitting in the back seat of the truck and he will plop one of his gigantic-sized limbs into my lap. So fresh.

Anyway, lots and lots and lots of other things happening over the next several months, too. One of them is the Catholic New Media Celebration in Boston, August 6-7. In fact, that’s going to be a biggie. One of the speakers, the delightful and talented Sarah Reinhard of Another Day of Catholic Pondering  and the “voice” of Mary Moments at is one of the presenters on blogging! Imagine that. She blogs. She’s Catholic. She’s funny. She’s real.

And she has lost her mind and turned over her precious blog to a guest post from little ole me.

You should go over there and read it and comment on it so she invites me again. Oh, and read her stuff, too. It’s charming. And much more interesting than the phone book.

Grassroots efforts start small, don’t they?

Blogger Sarah Reinhard manages to turn the mundane and boring into a delightful study of the profound in simplicity.

In other words, I like what she writes, and you will, too, so run, don’t walk, to her blog and be Amazed. Surprised. Pleased. Moved. Amused.

And Catechized.

Her latest adventures brought on by 4 year olds holding the nativities hostage has resulted in an idea so profoundly simple that I had to launch it immediately. Free the Nativities! I dare you to put yours out in public. I know I will.