Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dreaming Of Baby

Further proof that it's not just me that's having dreams about this baby.

Randomly, the other day Lily recalls her dream from the night before:

"Mom! I just remembered my dream and it was about the baby. It was an African-American boy! And he was wearing a blue shirt and overalls."

I respond with, "Well, I don't think that will happen unless we adopt one day and I'm pretty sure that I will never actually give birth to an African-American baby."

She replies, sounding quite disappointed, "AWWW...But he was SO CUTE!"

Another reminder that no matter what God provides for us, we sure are gonna love this baby an awful lot. (Secretly, I think it's a girl and I still think she's going to be SO CUTE too)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ready For Art!

Having decided this year that we'd take on the Artistic Pursuits curriculum for both of our little students, I finally sat down with it and realized I needed a number of supplies for my budding artists.

Since we've done art class containing crafts, painting, drawing, etc. from numerous sources in the past, it's down to business this year. I'm looking forward to the lessons for the kids and was delighted when I also saw that Tracy is doing it this year as well. You know, she's artsy and talented and all, so I knew if it was good enough for her it would definitely be good enough for us too.

Although I'm sure I've mentioned it before, in case you've forgotten I live in a geographical oddity beautiful, out of the way landscape that simply does not allow for a quick run to an art supply store. A Google search for 'inexpensive art supplies' led me to Cheap Joe's Art Stuff and I found everything on my list with ease. Hooray! Although shipping was a little spendy, it was very much worth it since it saved me gas, running around and a lot of frustration.

Now I'm just waiting for it to arrive on my doorstep and we'll be all ready for class! Looking forward to seeing what my little Picasso and Monet produce this year.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mommy Matters: Maternity Clothing

Since maternity clothes are inevitably around the corner, I thought I'd ask for your assistance in maternity wear dilemmas. Well, not dilemmas really, but I could use all of the input you care to send my way!

I saved a few things, but when I went through my spring purge I did get rid of a number of clothing items that I knew I'd never wear because either a)they were a bit dated; b)I didn't really like them the first or second time around; c)because unless I was carrying triplets I would still never be THAT big again while pregnant. Yes, I'm joking on the last one and I never was HUGE while preggers, but considering the amount of weight I've lost over time it just wouldn't be possible.

Pants are a major concern since mine either seem to shrink while pregnant in the past or I have issues with them not being long enough. I've also found that the over the belly styles or the ones with a panel are just not for me. I'm looking for low-rise, under the belly type.

Shirts I have some, but would like to add a couple more to the closet. I could probably use a dress or skirt or two as well.

Anyone heard of or used the Bella Band? Worth it or no?

So, I'm looking for brand names, store names, anything here. A good deal? All the better. Do I want to pay a fortune on clothes that last a few months? Um, no. Quality, but inexpensive.

All suggestions are welcome and VERY appreciated!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Baby Blessing: 15 Weeks

You wanted to see it...here it is! Me and baby at 15 weeks.

I had my second check-up yesterday afternoon and all is looking very well. So thankful I am! I'd gotten to hear sweet baby's heartbeat at my last appointment, but hubby and the kids weren't able to be there. But yesterday, all four of us were at my appointment and got to hear the whoosh, whoosh sound. The kids were able to catch it and hear it, but seemed not so impressed. Lily was more impressed with the fact that my doctor could actually legally practice medicine. She thought for sure he was 'like 24 or something.' (Rest assured, he's in his early 30's the same as I am) Jonah, well he seems indifferent to the whole baby idea in general. I guess it's a boy thing.

Baby came in loud and clear beating in the 160's so we could hear him/her. Everything else is pretty normal and looking good. I'll be keeping on my progesterone shots a few more weeks yet just to be sure my levels stay where they need to be, so I'll also keep up with my weekly lab appointments as well. Although I'm not keen on the shots, I'd rather keep on them and keep my levels safe for baby.

Otherwise, in baby related news, we're doing just fine. I've gained enough weight and my belly is rounded enough to remind me that yes, indeed I carry around a miracle and am pregnant. Lily seems to especially enjoy patting my belly and hugging baby. She also seems to get a kick out of my rounding belly and is sure to mention it quite frequently. Boy is she in for a whole lot of fun when this belly gets even bigger! Jonah seems okay with the idea of a baby in our house, although he mentions it less often. He will catch me unexpectedly though and make a random baby related comment every so often just to let me know that he does realize that changes are a comin'. Jonah's favorite names for baby are 'Charlie' or 'Grace', so he sometimes refers to baby as such. I hope his heart won't break when we don't use either of those names. Almost every night the kids tell baby good night and give my belly a kiss. This baby certainly is loved a ton already! I can't imagine all of the kisses and holding he/she is going to get after they arrive.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saucy In The Kitchen

I've shown you here in the past about my little kitchen cannery when the vegetables start coming in from the garden. I know that canning is becoming a lost art, but having grown up with a big garden back home and a family that canned rather than just froze our produce, I still appreciate it.

Yes, yes, it is A LOT of work. And yes, here in the Midwest that produce has a knack for coming in at exactly the hottest weeks at the end of summer. I find though that the payoff come winter is SO worth it. With a stocked canning cupboard our family faces another cold winter and we enjoy grabbing a jar of apple pie filling, applesauce, peaches, tomato soup, picante sauce, V-8 juice or spaghetti sauce.

You know what makes canning even more worth the hard work? The right equipment. The simplest gadget can make the process run so much smoother. A couple of years ago, we purchased a Sauce Master to use for running either tomatoes or apples through for mashing. What a lifesaver! It has been worth the $40 or so we spent on it. A little messy to clean up, but very easy to assemble, mount on your countertop and operate.

Although this information might be useless for most of you, I just had to pass it along in case you could find some use for it besides during canning time or perhaps a friend who may benefit from it. It would even be great for pureeing for making your own baby food too. It literally takes out only the bare minimum in waste and uses every possible part of the fruit/vegetable that is edible.

**Looking for a deal on the Sauce Master and live in the Midwest? Mills Fleet Farm has them on sale for $29.99 this week!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Creating New Life, Nurturing Families

I've had Creating New Life, Nurturing Families by Sidney Callahan sitting in my 'to read' pile for quite a while. I've picked it up and set it down numerous times. For me, this was a tough read. Not that the content was difficult to understand, but for me the book failed to deliver what I was inclined to believe it would based on the title. I was looking for an inspiring and helpful book on family raising, motherhood and Catholic wifery. I felt that the book was put together very well and may serve well as a starting point for a new mom.

Each chapter touched on many pertinent topics such as love, marriage, sexuality, the working mom and suffering and joy. The author strung those together fairly well in showing how the woman's commitment to them shadows that of the Trinity. It also seemed to reiterate some of the most basic understandings of womanhood that I really didn't need to read another book about. Desiring more of a realistic, nitty-gritty type book on motherhood and nurturing the beauty of womanhood, I felt quite disappointed. The book also seemed to follow a more feminist view of 'God as Mother' throughout, which is not something I personally agree with and found difficult to stomach. It was also written more from a Christian standpoint or even more of a 'Catholic' with a small 'c' rather than a big and loud 'C'.

I currently have several other books on my shelf that are written with more concrete ways of encouraging and strengthening the vocation of wife and mother that I would eagerly recommend before this one. If you can put aside many of the things that I struggled with throughout my reading and you have a good foundation of theology and Church teaching, perhaps this book might work for you.


This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Review program from The Catholic Company. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest opinion and review.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mommy Matters: Pregnancy Workouts

(Find out more about the purpose of my Mommy Matters feature over here)

I chose to start Mommy Matters with a pregnancy related quandary. Now that I'm feeling much better and can begin to contemplate some extent of exercise beyond walking from the kitchen to the couch, I'm wondering about pregnancy workouts.

In past pregnancies I've walked several days each week outdoors and called that good. I've also done a pregnancy workout video regularly during the week. And the fact that I just wrote 'video' and not 'DVD' should pretty much tell you from what era that was produced (read: 1990's).

So, now we're at 2010 with all of its new ideas and options and I'm left stumped. I do now have Wii as an option and I have started hopping on there for some strength exercises as well as about 20 minutes of free-step (step aerobics). I did also slip in that beloved video and while it proved to be a fairly good workout, it was more of an entertainment value and I just couldn't get my mind off of their leggings and leotards (Jillian Michaels they are not, that's for sure).

In searching online and in stores, what I've found is that most of the pregnancy workouts are either Pilates or Yoga. Can I even begin to share with you how much I haven't cared for either in the past??

What have you used? What have you found that was inexpensive and effective? Feel free to leave a comment with pros/cons of a certain workout routine, specific names of DVD's or a link. Thank You!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Godchild Edition

Great-niece #4 was born almost two weeks ago and she is as precious as all of the others (which makes me wonder if I ever mentioned great-nephew #1's arrival last month?? Yes, another baby blessing entered the family this summer too!). We were honored enough to be asked to be Baby E's Godparents and we gladly accepted. She was welcomed into the Church this past Sunday.

**Photo Credits: Lily (Hence, why they are taken from a lower perspective and I look like a giant towering over the rest. I'm really not THAT tall!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Movie Series Review

Last week at the library we stumbled upon a movie titled Secret Hideout that sparked some interest for Lily, so we decided to give it a try. We then found out that it was part of a children's series of five DVD's entitled The Sugar Creek Gang and quickly sought out more later in the week. We did find another one, Swamp Robber, but since our library didn't have the series shelved together we couldn't locate any more.

Upon further scouting and accidental stumbling we found two more episodes this week, Revival Villains and Teacher Trouble. Now we just need to locate The Great Canoe Fish to finish out the series.

Although we've viewed these movies out of order, we've still been able to piece together the whole story and enjoy them. At just a little over an hour a piece, they are easily viewed in their entirety in a sitting. I've even enjoyed them!

The series shows the highs and lows of the friendship of a group of kids, honesty, mishaps and some trouble and there's some mystery solving that the gang gets into as well. Lily's favorite characters were Circus (the only girl) and Bill (the fun-loving farm boy). She highly recommends the series for any of you that may have children that love mystery and are around the elementary school age.

Check out their website I linked above to view trailers or check if your local library has them available! I also just found out that there is a series of Sugar Creek Gang books (36 titles) available at Amazon. I might need to check those out for a certain little girl's upcoming birthday.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Coming Soon!

A new feature, Mommy Matters, will post here starting next week. I cannot predict whether this addition will earn a weekly or more unpredictable schedule in posting.

What is Mommy Matters you ask?

Well, due to getting back into baby mode at our house and taking inventory, I realize that I could use some help. Several factors here, but mostly 1. since I've given a number of items away to those who really needed them when I did not and 2. because it's been five years since my last baby was born, I'm realizing I've got a lot of questions this time around.

Not that I've forgotten anything, it's just that there are SO MANY really neat products out there that have come out in the last five years and also that there were some things I would've done differently or purchased if I knew how much I'd appreciate them.

Okay, so you see that Mommy Matters will be a forum for me to throw out either questions on certain baby products or guidance in choosing between products. I know that I've got a lot of mom's who read here and a number of you are even mom's of many, so there have got to be some really smart women who'd love to share their input. Remember though, in order for this to work I'm going to need you to comment and give me your honest opinion.

I do realize that there is a A LOT of stuff out there that mom and baby really do not need and I think using my common sense will weed those items out of my shopping cart. However, I like hearing how others do things. Maybe you're an organic mama who has some products you'd love to enlighten me on. Or maybe you are a frugal mama who could really teach me a thing or two about cutting corners and coupons to get the most for my buck. Either way, when I post Mommy Matters, please chime right in and let me know your opinion. Maybe even link on over here from your blog if you think your readers can help me out. I'd appreciate it!

Looking forward to next week!

PS...and perhaps, just maybe, next week I'll also post a baby bump photo. Only because you've asked so nicely.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Our Little Getaway

Over the last couple of years we've found that mini family getaways prove to be just enough time for us to fulfill the desire for a new location, sightseeing, restaurant food and hotel time. All we need is two or three days away for the four of us to run around like true vacationers while still only driving within a few hours from home. This way, we can do it a couple of times during the summer, it isn't as big of a chunk of change from the family pocketbook and daddy can make it work for his busy work schedule.

There have been repeat adventures, but sometimes we seek out a new place that is both family and kid-friendly. Last week, we chose a new town that I hadn't been to since my childhood days, Stillwater MN.

I found Teddy Bear Park listed online and that was our first stop for the day before the heat hit. Our kids were thrilled with all the little nooks they found. Definitely a great park to stop and play.

A walk down main street revealed lots of shops and antique hot spots. We just peered inside, without actually going inside those quaint places.

But then, there are other shops that both children and pregnant mamas just cannot avoid. With our eyes wide and our tummies grumbling, we did our best to choose our treats wisely at the candy shop. Which is tough when there are just so.many.choices.

We also had decided that a lunch time Paddle Boat cruise would be a great experience as a family. It proved perfect and we all really enjoyed the two hour ride down the St. Croix River.

Just enough to do and see in the historic and original part of Stillwater that made it the perfect day trip while we stayed overnight in a hotel in St. Paul. It's pretty interesting to spend some time exploring our state's birthplace.

For me, since I was finally feeling a bit more back to normal and not as sick, it proved to be the perfect time to take a little vacation and get away as a family and make some summertime memories.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Little Adam & Eve, Anyone?

Maybe it's because it's summer. Or maybe it's just because we've hit some type of new stage with my kids. We've got a serious case of AES, Adam and Eve Syndrome, around our house. Heard of it?

You know, where someone always has someone else to blame for their behavior. Because we all know that my children were not endowed with brains and free will like all of the rest of us. Yes, my children must be exceptional and their behavior totally depends on what is done or said to them and they act accordingly. Well, at least that's what my children seem to think.

It seems to come up quite often in scenarios such as this:

Mom: "Why did you just pinch your sister on the lip and make it bleed?"
Boy: "She MADE me do it. She wouldn't play with me."
Mom: "But that's not the point. I'm not asking you what your sister did. I'm asking why you think pinching (hitting, scratching, biting, spitting, pulling, etc.) is acceptable behavior for our household?"
Boy: "MOOOMMM...."

And from there it leads into the extended tale of woe. The one where all of the world's wrongs have clearly only been done to little tender heart. Oh boy. Cue the violin while you're at it.

Not that Sister has been without her treasure trove of ways to inflict injury to her sibling either. But really, where does this stuff come from?

So I try as much as I can to draw attention, especially to my dear boy that there is this amazing thing called anger and when we use it in wrong ways and hurt others that it's not acceptable. Several reminders that God gave us a free will and the decision to choose wisely are thrown in for good measure. I'm trying to figure out how to steer him in a better and more proper way of redirecting this emotion and realizing why he's really upset. Tough though. All he knows is that he's mad and somebody's gotta pay for it. Why not blame it on someone else?

After all, it all started with an apple, a man, a woman...and we all know where that got us. Yes, human nature and all it's flaws are alive and well in our house this summer. Just keeping it real here, people.

What about you? What kind of idiosyncrasies/syndromes/phases are hitting your household lately? Please tell me something is off kilter, just so I know that we are 'normal' around here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Blueberries, Blueberries & A Recipe Too!

Last week I picked up our 20 lb. stash of blueberries grown and shipped from Michigan. These should last us for a bit. *yummy*

While I am not typically a lover of blueberries, these are quite exceptional. I usually clean them a bit first, pick out the bad ones and then freeze them on cookie sheets overnight. Afterward, they get put in old ice cream buckets for storage in the freezer so I'm able to take out whatever amount needed for recipes and snacks. There really is nothing quite like fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables. I really enjoy stocking up the freezer and canning shelves with homegrown food for us to enjoy once the inevitable winter months are upon us.

There might be nothing quite as good as fresh blueberries, but even better when you bake them into some VERY delicious muffins!

Blueberry Muffins

Mix together:

1 cup Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
3 tsp. Baking Powder


1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Egg, beaten
1 c. Milk
1/4 cup Butter, melted
1 cup Blueberries

Spoon into greased or lined muffin pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Favorite Catholic Prayers

My Midwestern neighbor, Therese, has tagged me for this special Catholic edition meme.

Here are the rules:

"Name your three most favorite Catholic devotional prayers, and explain why they're your favorites. Then tag five bloggers - give them a link, and then go and tell them they have been tagged. Finally, tell the person who tagged you that you've completed the meme. The Liturgy and the Sacraments are off limits here. I'm more interested in people's favorite devotional prayers."

1. St. Michael Prayer
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do though O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell, satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

2. Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I long for you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my soul. As though You have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

3. Prayer to St. Anne
Good St. Anne, you were especially favored by God to be the mother of the most holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Savior. By your power with your most pure daughter and with her divine Son, kindly obtain for us the grace and the favor we now seek. Please secure for us also forgiveness of our past sins, the strength to perform faithfully our daily duties and the help we need to persevere in the love of Jesus and Mary. Amen.

The first two prayers are favs of mine since they are two that I have memorized and have become part of a series of prayers I pray when I wake up in the morning, before my feet even hit the floor. We also invoke St. Michael for all sorts of things and I pray it frequently throughout the day.

The prayer to St. Anne was added a year or two ago to my morning prayers when I try to read the daily readings and meditation for the day. I just kind of began to like the prayer and began praying it after I saw it posted on another mom's blog.

Let's see, I'm going to try and tag some ladies I haven't tagged before and are relatively new blogs to my list I read:

1. Mrs. Bubbles at Adventures in Mommyville

2. Mrs. B at
Joy Beyond the Cross

3. Hope at
Memoirs of a Hopeful Housewife

4. Kim at
Falling on His Grace

5. Holly at
Falling Upward

Sunday, August 1, 2010

With Expectant Joy

These were sent in the mail last week to our family and I couldn't wait to share it with you!

*SURPRISE* Bloggy Friends!

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