I went with my mother-in-law, and it really was more fun to go with someone (even though I ran into people I knew all over the place). I started off going to several talks, some of which were super great! I definitely enjoyed some more than others. My favorite was Sr. Mary Joseph Heisler's talk on finding God in the pots and pans. She was an amazing speaker! I actually purchased the talk on CD so I could listen again. I also really enjoyed Amy Kalscheur's talk- Cofessions of a Homeschooling Mom. She was so funny!
Then I hit some vendor booths. Here I am with Monica from Arma Dei. She has so much cool stuff for teaching Catholic kids! I've been to Monica's website before, but it doesn't do justice to how cool this stuff is in real life! It was so great to see it all first hand, and my mother-in-law left with a pile of stuff. :-)
Next I finally met Fran from Illuminated Ink! (I talk to her on facebook all the time, but it's not the same). She is soooo much fun and her family is so sweet! (Not to mention that their company also offers the coolest Catholic craft kits ever, including those gorgeous first communion banner kits!) My mother-in-law was actually impressed that I knew who all the fun vendors were. :-)
I stopped by the Illuminate Ink booth again on Saturday. Here's Fran teaching me to use their rosary tools. I told her that her tools were a lot fatter than my rosary-knot-tier-thingy that I made myself out of sculpey, but it didn't take me long to master using it. ;-)
I was also excited to see Pius Media there! This is a company that I really love! It's like a wholesome Netflix for Catholics, so you can rent all the best Catholic movies without having to buy them. My family is really enjoying our membership! I was thinking this picture looked really great and then I realized why- I match the booth! Maggie is so sweet- it was great to meet her in real life. :-)
I ran into lots of Catholic Icing readers, which was so much fun! Here I am with Jennifer from Palmetto Sweetheart (and it turns out we went to the same high school! What are the chances?!) and on my left is Mrs. Tucker from Teach Them Wisdom. She was actually younger than me, a quality I don't find in most mothers of 3. :-)
More shopping. I told myself I wasn't going to buy anything, but some of the stuff was way too cool to resist! I'll share books I specifically loved later.
Had to stop by Emmanuel Books! :-)
More pictures from around the hotel:
They had confessions going on through the whole conference, which was awesome! The priests were amazing, and the one I went to was the best confessor I'd ever had. Yep- I left with makeup running down my face. They even had a chapel set up for penance and prayer, which was awesome.
I also ran into Amanda, who is one of the artists behind these beautiful (and free) Catholic coloring pages!
Gotta love the stroller parking lot!
A few bones to pick about the Conference- The biggest problem was the location! The convention was spread out all over a hotel, and it was super hard to find stuff. There were booths here, there, and everywhere. Some of them were pretty hard to find, and one section I almost missed all together! I felt bad for the companies stuffed into random rooms in the basement. It might have been easier to navigate the hotel if the map they had given us made more since. Maybe.
Also, every single room in that hotel was either hot or cold, but nowhere in between.You'd think a nice hotel would have some thermostat control.
The IHM conference also made a big deal of promoting that the conference was free on their site. See?
But... when we got there it was actually suggested to give a $20 donation.
I know it's not free to run something like this, and I have no problem with a suggested donation (or flat out admission), but I really think a suggested donation is a totally different thing than "FREE ADMISSION!". It would have been nice to know up front because I was taken a little off guard at the registration booth.
Over all, I had a great (and exhausting) weekend, found some amazing companies and resources, and met a lot of fun people! I fully plan on returning next year. I wish I could share about 100 more pictures, but this post is getting super long so I'm going to stop now. If you went to the conference, let us know what you thought in the comments, and leave a link if you blogged about it, too! :-)
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