An Unconventional Use for Dryer Sheets: Repel Bugs!

Repost & Update

Bugs just love me. :/ I don’t know why but all during spring/summer the mosquitos attack me like crazy. I have tried almost every product out there but nothing seems to work in fending them off. Seriously, I have tried all kinds of bugs sprays, wipes, and traps but nothing seems to work. Most recently, I gave Avon’s “Skin so soft” a try because I heard that it works to repel bugs. The product did a great job on my dry skin but not so well as a bug repellent.

DryerSheets

However, recently, when I was hanging out with my family at the local pool club and waiting for the fireworks to start, my sister started handing out dryer sheets.

Crazy, right, but they actually worked! She told me to rub myself down with the sheet and then put the sheet down my shirt (in my bra). I looked at her like she was absolutely nuts but I dd it, and I have to say it worked beautifully!

Now, in full disclosure, I had put on the “Skin so Soft” earlier in the day, and had sprayed bug repellent on a little while before they dryer sheets; therefore, I don’t know if it was the combination of the three things, or not, but they left me alone! (Of course, there is the possibility that there were no bugs out, but not likely!) For once, I didn’t spend the whole time I was out scratching like a  maniac. I also don’t know how effective the dryer sheet will be on their own, but I will be giving them another try!

If you are “bug prone” like me, this might be worth a try. And if you do, let me know how they work for you. What are your methods at keeping the bugs at bay during the summer months? I’d love to hear them so leave your suggestions in the comments!

UPDATE: I have used this method again and can say for sure that it works well. For me, it works best in combination with the “Skin so Soft” and bug spray. It works well on its own but best with the other products.

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Tweetable: How to Repel Bugs

Ten Ways to Get The Most Out of Lent

(repost)

As you know this week is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. I *LOVE* Lent. I do. Really! Lots of us cradle Catholics find the fasting and sacrifices of Lent a drudgery. Others ignore Lent altogether. Not me. I see Lent as a mini New Year. A new beginning and another chance to re-charge the batteries in my relationship with the Lord.

10 Ways to Get the Most out of Lent

Here are some ideas for you to spend your time this Lent. (Btw, if you read my “Making Advent Meaningful” post, you’ll notice some of the suggestions are the same. That’s because there are some things – like the Mass and rosary – that are worth being reminded of again. 🙂 )

1. Daily Mass. Since the Eucharist the the “source and summit of our faith”, it stands to reason that daily mass should be on top of our Lenten “to-do” list!

2. Adoration. Next to the mass, adoration is the next best thing – especially if you are unable to make it daily mass for whatever reason. More and more parishes are offering at least monthly or weekly exposition and adoration (and some have perpetual adoration) of the Blessed Sacrament, so try and snag a half hour each week if you can!

3. Stations of the cross. The Stations of the Cross is a beautiful way to remember the passion of the Lord. Again, most parishes have Stations of the Cross once or twice each Friday of Lent. If you can’t make it to church, you can get some beautiful pamphlets for next to nothing and pray they them at home with your family.

4. Forgive. Through Jesus, our sins are forgiven and so that we may receive mercy. One of the best (and hardest!) ways to show gratitude for the Lord’s goodness is to forgive those who have hurt us – especially if the transgression was grievous. Just as hard, if  not even harder, is forgiving ourselves. Or sometimes we hold on to grudges and anger, even when we can’t remember how a particular person has hurt us! If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, maybe you can pray the Lord opens your heart to forgiving someone who has hurt you, or praying that He will help you forgive yourself? Even the prayer that He helps you to WANT to forgive would be a great start…

5. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours. The morning and evening prayers of the Liturgy of the hours are always beautiful, but especially during the Lenten season.  It is the official prayer of the church, and when you pray the Liturgy of the Hours, you are united will all the faithful around the world who are praying it with you!

6. Go to confession. It’s called the Sacrament of Reconciliation now, but whatever you call it, there’s no better way (besides the mass!) to prepare for Easter. There will be (or should be) many Penance services around your diocese, so you should be able to find one that fits in your schedule.

7. Watch the Passion of the Christ. Yes, watching the Passion of the Christ is painful. It’s in your face. It renders us speechless. And it should. What Jesus endured for our sake wasn’t “touchy feely” or a walk in the park. It was ugly, but our sin in even uglier, and sometimes we (I) need something like this movie to remind us (me) just how much Jesus loves us and was willing to endure for us.

8. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Who says you have to wait for the Divine Mercy Sunday Novena to pray the chaplet? It’s a short but perfect prayer for Lent. I also try and read parts, if not most, of Saint Faustina’s diary during Lent, too.

9. Pray the the Scriptures. Next to participating in the Sacraments, there is no better way to deepen our relationship with the Lord than Scripture.  Spending as little as five minutes a day with His Word can transform your life. (New to reading the Bible? Read this guide on how to pray the Scriptures.)

10. Fast. All through Lent we will be hearing about fasting. It’s good for the soul. It opens our eyes to the needs of others. it cleanses us of our base passions. But, fasting isn’t just giving up food, or even television (both of which are excellent). This year, why don’t we fast from anger, sloth or any of the other “capital sins” and try to feast on its opposing virtue? (I know my diet has been terribly deprived of patience lately! 😉 )

Now, don’t feel pressured to do all of these activities. Remember, the focus is to deepen our relationship with Christ not add on more to-dos! Start out small. Pick one to three activities and focus on those. Lent is not a competition or race to see how much you can do. It is about focusing on a few things and doing them well so that you can focus on growing deeper in your relationship with the Lord, not exhaust yourself.

So tell us, what are your suggestions for making Lent special for you this year?

P.S. For a printable version of this list go here to subscribe. Subscribers, go to your private page to download the list.

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10 Must-Do Autumn Maintenance Tips for the Home

*I recently shared 10 must-haves for an emergency kit and since we are in the full-bloom of the Autumn season, I thought I would re-post some Fall maintenance tips for the home. Winter is fast approaching so if you haven’t thought about preparations yet, now would be a good time to start. 🙂

10 Must-Do Autumn Maintenance Tips for the Home

Now that autumn is here, it’s time to prepare for the winter months by doing a little home maintenance. Here’s a check-list of some of the important things you should remember to do (or add to your husband’s “honey-do” list 😉  )

1. Say goodbye to your summer “stuff”. It is time to clean and pack away all your summer furniture, toys, wading pools, garden hoses, etc.

2. Empty and stow away any gas-powered equipment; such as lawn mowers and grills. (Unless you are a die-hard griller and grill all winter like a friend of mine does, that is!)

3. Clean the gutters. It’s not a pleasant job but you should inspect your gutters every spring and autumn. Take the time to get rid of any debris or dirt that may have gotten caught in the gutters.

4. Remove screens. Take out all window screens and door screens. Repair screens as needed so you won’t have to fix them next spring. Put in storm windows if you have them.

5. Change all air filters. It’s best to change air filters every three to six months, so you may want to set up reminders to yourself to do this.

6. Inspect vents and heating ducts. Clean, dust and repair if needed. It’s also a good idea to make sure your heater is working efficiently, too. Better to find out you need your heater fixed now then when it 10 below!

7. Cover the second floor vents. I got this tip from my father in-law. In the winter, cover the vents on the upper floors of your house and open wide the vents on your first floor and basement. Since heat rises, doing this helps to keep your first floor a little warmer without putting the thermostat up too high. *

8. Check for leaks. Inspect all windows and doors to make sure there aren’t any drafts. If so, caulk, seal or replace strippers. You can buy an insulator kit; or, cover the windows with plastic. don’t forget to check any wires or plumbing that leads to the outside to make sure they aren’t leaking any drafts into the house, too.

9. Replace those batteries! Test and replace the batteries in all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors and flash lights.

10. Inspect your fireplace. If you have a fireplace, consider getting a chimney sweep and have a professional inspect the fireplace to make sure it is safe to use.

Just one more:

11. Check for bugs. Now that the weather is getting cold, you may want to keep an eye out for bugs, small animals and/or other critters who may be looking for a warm place to stay! The attic, kitchen cupboards and dark basements are all places they like to hide. If need be, get an exterminator.

You turn. What’s your autumn “must-do” maintenance tip? Let us know in the comments.

*Reverse this for the summer: Cover all the vents on the first floor and basement and close all the vents in the upper floors. This will keep the upper floors a little cooler in the summer.

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Here is a printable version of this list, no opt-in required: 10 Must-Do Autumn Maintenance Tips for the Home

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Ten Must-haves for an Emergency Kit

* I heard that it is going to be an especially cold winter this year so I thought I would revive this post. Things happen and it is a good idea to be prepared.

We all know the importance of having an emergency kit; but, how many of us have actually taken the time to put one together? Ideally, we should have two: one for our homes and one for our car(s). Emergencies happen when we least expect it. Or, when we are least prepared.

10 Must-haves for an Emergency Kit

With the holiday season fast approaching, many of us will be traveling by car (often long distances) to our festive gatherings. Lots of accidents and break-downs happen during the holiday season, so if you don’t have an emergency kit  in your car, now many be a good time to think about getting one together.

Here’s a list of the most common (and important) things to keep in your emergency kit:

1. Water. We personally keep three cases in our car at all times, but a couple of gallons or cases of bottled water should be enough.

2. Food. Non-perishable foods, such as pretzels or granola bars, would be best; although throwing a few pieces of fruit in the car as you are leaving would be a good idea, too. 🙂

3. Blankets. If you break down and have to wait a while (or longer) for a service truck, having a few extra blankets will come in handy. 🙂

4. Medical supplies. You should have extra prescription medications, Acetaminophen, a first-aid kit and  personal medical supplies (such as diabetes equipment, etc.) as part of your emergency kit.

5. Extra clothes. Obviously, if you are traveling by car you have a suitcase (or several!) full of clothes already with you. However, It’s a good idea to keep an extra outfit for each person in the car at all times. You never know when you’ll be glad you did!

6. Flash light and extra-batteries. Enough said here; except, if you have a child like my son (who likes to take the flashlight – or anything else for that matter! – apart), you might want to keep the flashlight out of reach of your little one!

7. Road flares. They aren’t that expensive and can help prevent an accident if you breakdown at night.

8. GPS Tracking System or Maps. A lot of cell phones have built-in GPS tracking systems now-a-days, and if yours does, you are all set. If not, you may want to invest in one. Or, get a local map(s) of the areas you will be traveling in.

9. Whistle. Okay, I am be a bit paranoid; but, there are some not-so-nice people out there, so yeah, I keep a whistle with me. Yelling “help” or even “fire” might not get attention, but a whistle sure will! (My late great-Aunt once saved herself from being attached once by blowing a whistle into the ear of the attacker! I’ve never forgotten that!)

10. Extra kids stuff. Again, if you are traveling with kids you have what you need already; but, it would be good to keep an extra bag of things you need for little ones in the car at all times. And don’t forget to keep a personalized child’s traveling bag within reach, too! (We certainly want to keep our little ones happy while traveling!)

Do you have an emergency kit prepared? If so, what’s in yours?

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Here is a printable version of this list, no opt-in required: 10 Must-Haves for An Emergency Kit

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How to Clean your LCD Computer Monitor

Did you know that there is a special way to clean your LCD computer monitor (or flat-panel screens)? These screens are not made of glass and are very delicate. If you are rough or use the wrong products you will scratch or permanently damage the screen.

LCDMonitor

Here is how you should clean your screen:

Before cleaning your screen, make sure the computer is shut down. Mist a soft, non-abrasive cloth with DISTILLED water and LIGHTLY wipe the screen. Let the screen dry completely before you close the screen (if you are cleaning a laptop computer) or begin using the computer again.

Here some “dos and don’ts” to keep in mind when cleaning your screen:

DO make sure the computer is shut down before cleaning. You will be able to see the screen better and make it easierto clean the screen.

DO use a gentle hand. If you press too hard you can permanently damage the screen.

DON’T use towels, paper towels, facial tissue or toilet tissue. It can permanently scratch the screen.

DON’T spray the screen directly. ALWAYS spray the cloth first. If the solution accidentally comes in contact with any wires they can be damaged.

DON’T use tap or mineral water. Using regular water will cause permanent white spots to appear on your screen.

DON’T use any type of alcohol for cleaning the screen. It, too, can cause damage to the screen.

One more thing: Distilled water should be more than adequate for cleaning your screen. Some people use water/vinegar solution to clean their screen (equal parts of each). Others use expensive, specialized cleaning solutions to clean their screens. Don’t bother with them. Unless you have a super filthy screen or it is sticky from food or whatever, they aren’t necessary.

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Go here to print out a copy of these instructions for future use. (Subscribers, as usual, head to your private page to access this download)

(Disclaimer: Use this tip at your own risk! I am not responsible for any damage that may or might occur from using this method to clean your screen. It is a suggestion only.)

Image is in public domain

(Linked to Works for me Wednesday)

Guest Post: How to Make an Easter Resurrection Cake

Editor’s Note: This yummy-looking guest-recipe from Alvina Lopez is a re-publish from a couple years ago. At the time, I didn’t get the recipe published in time for Easter so I am re-posting it today, several days before Easter for those who missed it. 🙂

Easter is this Sunday, and what better way to help celebrate the rising of Jesus Christ then by preparing a resurrection cake in His honor? This delicious cake, which is appropriately in the shape of a cross, is fairly easily to make. If you’re pressed for time, substitute the homemade cake batter and frosting we have listed below for a box cake mix and store bought icing. If you don’t have steady hands, you may also opt to use a cross cake mold instead.

You will need: 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan, toothpicks, spatula, electric mixer, 2 mixing bowls, and food coloring: red, yellow, blue and orange.

Cake Batter Ingredients:

• 1 cup butter
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 4 cups sifted cake flour
• 4 tsp baking powder
• 1 1/3 cups milk

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until it is softened. Slowly add in sugar, and continue to beat until creamy mixture develops. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the vanilla extract and salt, continuing to beat the mixture. Mix-in flour and baking powder. Add milk. Continuing beating until the batter is creamy. Immediately pour batter into your greased baking pan. Spread evenly to edges. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before turning it over onto a rack to cool completely. Once cooled, cut the cake into a cross shape: cut out 3 inch squares from the top two corners of the cake, and then cut out 6 x 2 inch squares from the bottom corners of the cake.

Butter Cream Frosting Ingredients:

• 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1 cup butter
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp whipping cream

Directions: In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together on low speed until well blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add in vanilla extract and whipping cream, continuing to beat on medium for an additional one minute. Add one drop of each food coloring and stir. Frosting should now be brown.

Frost the cake with a crumb coat first—This is a thin layer of frosting that helps capture loose cake crumbs. Then frost the cake in its entirety. Using a tooth pick (or fork), make vertical lines in the frosting to mimic grain lines—this will make the cake look like it’s made of real wood.

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Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.

(P.S. Interested in guest posting here at Simple Catholic Living? I’d love to have you! Take a peek at the guest post policy and then get in touch with me. 🙂 )

Bubble Fun with Baking Soda and Vinegar!

How to Make Bubbles

This is a fun “science” project to do with your kids that I found in “More Mudpies to Magnets” (affiliate link). It can be a little messy, so summertime is the best time to do this project because you can do it outside!

Making Bubbles!

What you will need:

  • 1 small squeeze bottle of vinegar
  • 1 small bowl of baking soda
  • small spoons
  • small cups

Instructions

  1. Have child put a spoonful of baking soda into cup.
  2. Then have child start spraying the vinegar into cup.
  3. Mix until you get the consistency you want!
  4. Have fun trying to make the most bubbles!
You can find more fun bubble experiments here,  including this recipe for a

Bubble Bomb!

What you will need:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • A paper towel
  • Zip-lock baggie

Instructions

  1. Place the baking soda in the center of a paper towel and fold up the towel into a square package to hold the powder inside.
  2. Into the zip-lock sandwich bag add half a cup of vinegar and a quarter cup of warm water.
  3. Put the paper towel package into the mouth of the zip-lock bag and hold it out of the vinegar by pinching the sides of the plastic bag.
  4. Zip the bag closed then let the paper towel drop into the vinegar. The bag will fill up with carbon dioxide gas and pop with a bang, so make sure it’s in a sink or outside!

Be careful when doing these projects, especially the bubble bomb. Have fun!

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If you liked this post, click one of the links below to Tweet. Thanks!

Bubble Fun!

How to make homemade bubbles

Baking soda and vinegar bubbles

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(bubble image credit: ShutterSparks via photopin cc)

(Disclosure: We have NEVER had a problem doing these activities but for the sake of covering my “bottom”, do these at your own risk! I, personally or through Simple Catholic Living, shall not be liable for any special, indirect, incidental or consequential damages, and specifically disclaims any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application for those who do these activities. [Isn’t it a shame that we live in such a litigious society that one feels the need to “cover their bottom” for the smallest things??)

(This is linked to WFMW.)

How to Put Together a Child’s Traveling Bag

Childs Traveling Bag

(This is a re-post of another very popular post that I published a couple of years ago that I have updated and added some more info.)

I am piggybacking off of yesterday’s post, thanks to Kathleen over @ So much to say, so little time, who asked me to share what kind of toys I keep in Andrew’s traveling bag.

Here’s a snap shot of the contents of the traveling bag we brought with us to North Carolina:

  • Drawing pad with crayons and “no-spill” marker paint
  • My Big Rescue Book
  • Lacing boards with string
  • His favorite (and well-worn!) Woody doll
  • Small teddy bear
  • Transformer toy
  • Toy horse
  • Prayer book
  • Rosary

We  had a separate bag just for his favorite reading books and homeschooling books. I also have a few other toys set aside that weren’t in this trip’s bag. I like to switch off with a few different toys/books, so they are “new” to him. He tends to stay more content and play longer that way!

How to put together your own traveling bag for little ones:

1. Get a cute bag or tote just for traveling. You can even design your own tote if you’re the creative type. I’m not very creative, sorry to say, so we use Andrew’s old “mass bag“. (You’ll notice that some of the contents are now included as part of Andrew’s traveling bag. 🙂 )

2. Keep the toys small. Obviously, you’re not going to want to waste precious car space with big, bulky toys, so keep the toys small enough to snuggle next to the child’s car seat or on his/her lap. The largest toy we brought was the transformer toy and it fit right between Andrew’s car seat and door.

3. Let the littles help pick out the toys. I let Andrew pick out which toys and books he wanted to bring. He was so excited to pick out his own toys and looked forward to playing with them during the car ride!

4. Switch them out. Like I mentioned above, alternating the toys periodically makes them feel like new to the children and they will most likely play with them longer.

UPDATE:

backpack

His current travel bag (he also has a Spiderman backpack he likes to use)

Now that Andrew is eight we have updated his traveling bag  and I thought I’d share some of its contents to give you ideas for your older children:

  • rosary and prayer-book
  • various books (especially audio books)
  • home-school course work
  • hand-held DSI video game (30 minute limit per day)
  • small toys (action figures, such as Transformers, Spiderman, etc.)
  • travel art supplies
  • maps and compass

One of my readers suggested in my other post on keeping kids happy when traveling that she puts on a movie in DVD player in her car. We don’t have a DVD player in our car nor do we own a portable player, but it is certainly a good idea! (Yes, I know I could use my laptop but I would be afraid he would drop it and we can’t figure a way to stabilize it without him holding it. 🙂 )

I hope that helps. Do you have a traveling bag you use with your children? What items are in yours? Do share in the comments!

How to Have Happy Kids When Traveling

Happy Kids When Traveling

(Editor’s Note: This is a re-post of one of my most viewed and popular posts that was first written back in 2010. 🙂 )

Warm weather usually means road-trip time! People often head out to visit family and/or vacation which can mean long periods in the car. When you have little ones, traveling in the car (or train or plane…) for long periods can be quite the challenge. Since I just came back from a long trip, here are five things we did with Andrew to keep the “are we there yet” cries at bay:

1. Make it educational. Before leaving for the trip, I did a little geography lesson with Andrew. He is fascinated with maps so I showed him the route we were going to take. We let him keep the map on his lap as we were driving and he had a blast “giving us directions!” We also talked about the differences between towns, cities, states and countries (a concept he is confused about).

Although we obviously didn’t do our regular homeschooling, I read him some books and we practiced numbers and various math concepts.

2. Make it fun. Whenever we go on a trip, I make up a child’s travel bag. We put in a few of Andrew’s favorite toys and a few special toys that are set aside just for trips. The bag is kept right next to his seat so he can have access to his things at all times.

We also played games like “I Spy” and finding certain colored cars, and other word games. We also let Andrew make up his own “games” that we played.

3. Make it quiet. It’s good to keep children occupied, but don’t feel like you have to keep them entertained the whole time, either. Designate a certain period of time for quiet time. Andrew is past the napping stage, but he almost always falls asleep when we are traveling.

If you have a regular nap or quiet time instituted at home, enforcing a quiet time shouldn’t be too difficult. If you don’t do regular quiet times (and I highly recommend that you do!), you can still encourage your children to read quietly or close their eyes for a spell.

4. Make it conversational. Don’t forget to take some time to just talk with your little ones. Andrew is only five, but we have such fun talking together! You’ll be  astonished at what you will discover about your children, even young ones!

What should you talk about? Talk about what you are going to do during your visit/vacation. Ask questions. Listen to your little ones. Get to know who they are and what they like. Talk about books you’ve read and movies you’ve watched together. Let your little one control the direction of the conversation!

5. Make regular stops. Sure we all want to get to our destination as quickly and safely as possible. However, if you integrate rest stops as part of your journey, it will give the kids time to expend some energy and stretch. And, it’s good for you, too!

Why not plan a picnic at a rest stop or at a park or at a tourist destination along the journey? If you bring your own meals   you save money by not paying ridiculously high prices at the rest stops (and it’s a lot healthier, too!). Of course, don’t forget to add a special treat or snack!

6. (Added!) Audio books. My son loves listens to audio books. It is his favorite activity during his daily quiet time and he loves listening to them after his bedtime routine before going to sleep. What we do is go to the library and check out enough books (“regular” and audio) to get us through our trip. If we are away longer than when the books are due I can easily renew them online. Then he either listens to them on his own or we listen to them together and talk about them.

Now it’s your turn! What tips work for you that keep the little ones happy and content during long trips? Share them in the comments so we can all benefit from your ideas!

Catholic Linkup Blitz

How to “Get Something” Out of Mass (Practical Steps)

In the previous installment of “How to ‘Get Something’ Out of Mass” I said I would share some practical tips and ideas for getting the most out of the Mass. Pick a few and them give them a try for a few weeks. If they work, great keep doing them and add a couple more. If not, scrap them, pick a couple different ones and try those.

Eucharist

(photo credit: Lawrence OP via photopin cc)

Before Mass:

1. Pray the Scriptures.

Sometime during the week, spend a few minutes reading  and praying over the Scripture readings for the coming Sunday. If you can read them on Saturday, that would be best that way they will be fresh on your mind come Sunday morning.

2. Get ready the night before.

Lay out the clothes and shoes for you and your family. Set the table for breakfast if you will be eating before the one-hour fast kicks in. Do whatever you can the night before that will make the morning go smoother and easier to get out the door in time for Mass.

3. Arrive 5-10 minutes early.

I know that sounds impossible, but if you can get to church early it will give you time to take the kids coats off (in winter), settle them down and do any last minute runs to the bathroom before Mass starts. It will also give you time do do #4.

4) Spend a few minutes in prayer.

Give your heart and mind a few minutes to quiet down and settle your heart. Re-read the scriptures for the Mass and give yourself to enter into the mystery that is about to begin.

During Mass:

5. Minimize distractions.

Getting rid of distractions all together is impossible. Well, it’s impossible for me, at least. But you can do things like avoid looking around the church, talking or whispering to those around you and such to minimize them. (One of the reasons I where a mantilla, or chapel veil is because it helps me to keep focused on what’s happening in front of me, not around me – but chapel veils is for a whole other topic of discussion!)

6. Stick to the missal.

This is actually a technique for avoiding distractions. Since the changes to the mass came out over a year ago we all went back to the missal to learn the new wordings. But whether you have all the responses memorized or not, reading along is a great way to keep focused. It also gives a whole new perspective. Sometimes when I’m following along with the priest by reading I’ll see something that I never noticed before.

7. Answer the responses.

A huge part of Mass is the communal participation of the faithful in the liturgy. We are supposed to respond at the appropriate places and sing along with the various songs at Mass. I don’t know about where you live, but where I live in NJ, the communal participation is sorely lacking. Very often the only people I hear singing along with the choir is myself (which is rather scary!) and my family.

After Mass:

8. Make your thanksgiving.

Years ago it was the norm that people would say for few minutes to thank the Lord after receiving communion. Nowadays, the priest is barely off the altar before people are rushing out of church. Resist that urge. Try and take a few minutes (or even one or two minutes) to make your thanksgiving and thank the Lord for coming to you. I remember being told by the sisters when I was with them that the body and blood of our Lord remain undigested for about 10 minutes after you receive communion. I don’t know for sure if that is true or not, but it’s certainly something being mindful of.

9. Discuss the Mass with your family.

On the car ride home or during lunch or dinner talk about the mass as a family. What was their favorite (or worst) part of the homily? What did the priest mean when he said such and such? How can we practically live out something that we heard at Mass today?

10. Prepare for next week.

The Mass is the most central part of our lives as Catholics. We are called to live out the liturgy in our lives and live for the liturgy (figuratively speaking.) Look forward to going to Mass each week. Go to daily Mass when you can. Read different books about what the saints say about the Mass. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church about the Mass. The more you live your life within the liturgy the more the liturgy will live within you. (<–Tweetable!)

What about you? What are your favorite tips for getting the most out of Mass? If you feel like you don’t get anything out of Mass, why? We can all use a little help in getting the most out of the Mass so let’s get a conversation going about this.

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P.S. If you want support and accountability in living out your spiritual life, including getting the most out of Mass and prayer, I encourage you to get on a free clarity call with me. Together we can explore the possibility of working together in a way that further supports you and help you go deeper into your relationship with God.