Monday, May 31, 2010

Where Hast Thy Long Weekend Gone?

* 1 1/2 days of it was spent at the homeschool conference in St. Paul.

* An afternoon/evening was spent having family fun.

* We finished planting our garden.

Out my window sits an unfinished deck re-do project, of which I will probably have to stare at most of the week.

I'm tired and cranky.

I do want to share with you my conference experience, but that will have to wait.

Tomorrow is the official first day of summer vacation around our house and I'm not sure how that's gonna go. I miss the routine of school days. I still hope to figure out some good ways to implement routine and fun activities in our summer days.

I think I'll wait to think more on that tomorrow after the house is cleaned up and the laundry finished.

How was your holiday weekend?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

School's Out!

We've officially wrapped up our second year of homeschooling! Hooray for students and teacher! We all thrived and survived.

We've had the chance to enjoy the beautiful weather the last two days as we finished out our school year. Aren't we blessed? Yes, I do realize it and am so grateful for it.

Yesterday, at the park

Working hard on those last assignments

Picnic lunch

All of this is just in time for the conference Reed and I will be attending tomorrow afternoon and Saturday. Looking forward to time with hubby, perusing the vendor booths, enjoying the talks (I can't wait to hear Margaret speak!) and bumping into friends, old and new.

If you see me there, be sure to say 'hi'!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We're Talking Apps

Although I am in no way a gadget junkie, I must admit that the iPod Touch I received for Christmas has got to be one of my favorite gifts EVER! Initially I thought it would be useful and fun for music or even the occasional check on random Internet browsing, but not any more.

There is a whole other world when you start checking out all of the applications that are available. Yes, some are just plain silly and a waste of time, but others are pure genius and useful in so many ways. While there are probably thousands out there, I mostly opt for the free ones. Let something be said for getting a freebie. Am I right ladies? So, I think to date I have only actually purchased one or two apps on my Touch. My money can really be used in so many other ways that I choose not to squander it in this area. That's just me.

Any way, my little gizmo has become a family too-often-used 'toy' tool that we all share. Since it is Mommy's for the most part, the children know that when they do ask for another app to be downloaded that they may be asked to discard several others they no longer use. Yup, we change apps about that often.

Of course, I enjoy checking on my facebook as well as Google wherever I am in our home from my Touch. Maybe it's too convenient? I've read from many bloggers of their favorite apps, so I thought I would pass on a few of mine as well: Tap Farm, Tap Jungle, Doodle Bowl, iMissal. My new favorite as of last week is MyNetDiary. It is so handy to keep track of my calories (not that I am really counting, but just becoming more aware of my intake), water consumption, exercise, my meds. and vitamins and a daily analysis. Again, this one is free and is very useful!

So, what are some of your favorite apps? Please leave a comment and share. I'd love to find even more fun ones out there!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Are You Fatherless?

I've recently read an excellent novel and had to share it with you. The book Fatherless by Brian J. Gail was loaned to me by a friend, but I think we'll be purchasing our own copy. Reed is currently in the midst of it and we've both really gotten into it.

At 536 pages, it can appear a daunting conquest to finish, but definitely a page turner! I will admit that I had several chapters that were difficult to muddle through with all of the details, but I pressed on and breezed right through it.

Fatherless is considered a Catholic novel, but it does deliver so much more than that. The book takes place in the 1980's and is centered around Fr. John Sweeney and three families in his parish. The families come to Fr. Sweeney for moral direction and guidance.

Michael Burns, a marketing executive, has the opportunity for a new job within his company and a move to New York City in order to work with a small television network similar to HBO.

Joe Delgado, a CFO at a major pharmaceutical company, becomes aware of the reality of the biological damage of the birth control pill and its effects on thousands of women.

Lastly, Maggie Kealey struggles with migraines, a daughter with bipolar issues, an absent husband and the moral issue of taking birth control in order to ease the family tensions.

The characters become very realistic with so much at stake in the midst of each of their dilemmas. When the book title became revealed, it was a real eye-opener. Are you intrigued yet? I might suggest that it would be a wonderful summer-read.

You can find more reviews and information about the book at You can order it directly from the publisher, Human Life International.

In an interview, Mr. Gail mentioned that he is working on the second part of the trilogy, Motherless, to be joined by part three, Childless. I cannot wait for these additions!

**This review was written solely for my blog readers and no goods or fees were exchanged.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Snack Of The Day

Have you tried these? I've recently purchased another bag from Sam's Club and have a tough time trying to stop consuming them! I've also tried the brands from both Trader Joes and Aldi and love them all.

Maybe it's the fact that I think I am eating something healthier than chips and still get my 'crunchy' fix that makes me continue to stick my hand back in the bag for yet another handful (or two).

They're worth the try in my opinion.

Anyone else? What's your favorite quick snack?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

How Sweet He Is

Yesterday marked 6 years since the miscarriage of our child, Natalie Noel. We remember this tiny member of our family regularly, but especially on May 14th. Once again, Reed remembered and brought me something home.

Each year the card simply reads:

With Love,
To: Mommy
From: Natalie

And each year I tear up just a bit. As time has gone on the sadness has turned into acceptance, but the memory of that day comes flooding back in an instant. How precious this little child was and is.

Over time I've realized that due to current circumstances and difficulty becoming pregnant, there may come a day that I may walk that road again. I may lose again, but that cannot keep me from hoping and trying to bring more little ones into this world. Trust me, it's taken me a long time to face this reality and I'm going to do whatever I can to prepare a safe and healthy place for more little ones. But ultimately, only God knows how many little angels I will help bring into heaven.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Little Flowers~Industry & Truthfulness

I know I haven't done a very good job of posting our every Little Flowers meeting this year, but felt inspired to share this one. Yesterday was our last meeting for the year that finished out our Wreath I.

We packed in two virtues, Industry and Truthfulness, so that we can have the summer off. I am also working on plans for a Tea/Luncheon next month for the girls and their mothers. I'm sure there will be a post about that, along with some fun photos as well!

As usual, I get so involved in the whole meeting and facilitating so I forget to take photos. This meeting though, one of the moms offered to take some action shots during the meeting for me.

Have I mentioned before how thankful I have been for Jessica's plans and inspiration with Little Flowers? Trust me, she has so much of it documented that it really lends the rest of us a helping hand. Thanks again, Jessica!

Generally, we follow her wonderful ideas for the notebook pages and the girls have created one for each Saint and virtue to treasure in their folder. This is done after the lesson is presented and discussed. To better expand on the virtue of Industry, I also pulled a book from our shelf at home. I read Jacob's Gift by Max Lucado, to help the girls get a better idea of being industrious and using our gifts as we help God our Creator.

The girls, hard at work!

Of course, there is plenty of time for a snack..yum..

Here are the girls with their daffodil project from Industry and their 'Crowns of Truthfulness'

I think we all enjoy our monthly meetings and time together. I know Lily and I look forward to it as a fun outing for just us girls. We're already looking toward next year and the new virtues and Saints that await us! But I'm glad to have the summer to take a little breather from the planning and preparations, as soon as we have our little Tea/Luncheon in a few weeks.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rainy Daybook

For Today...5.11.2010

Outside My Window...more chances of rain, which will be good for my spring plants that are greening up quite nicely.

I Am Thinking...about ways to develop a fun and inviting rhythm during the summer months without the routine of school time.

I Am Thankful For...several phone conversations in the last week that encouraged and rejuvenated me. I'm so grateful for faithful friends, near and far.

I Am Praying...for more patience and perseverance.

I Am Reading...daily readings from Small Steps for Catholic Moms that I just received for Mother's Day; The Handbook for Catholic Moms. These Catholic Moms/Authors are so inspiring!

I Am Creating...a curriculum shopping list for the upcoming Catholic homeschool conference later this month.

Around The House...children who seem to have become increasingly louder. Are there really just two of them?

From The plans, unfortunately. I'm kind of in a slump in the kitchen right now. Hopefully my culinary mojo returns soon, for my family's sake.

In The pages of workbooks are in view and each lesson brings us closer to our last official day for the school year.

For The Rest Of The Week...our last Little Flowers meeting for Wreath I is tomorrow; weather permitting we'll get to have kickball/softball with our homeschool group on Friday

One Of My Favorite Things...three day weekends! I love that extra time with hubby, but why does the time go by so quickly?!

Picture Thought I Am Sharing...enjoying time with Grams.

Read more Daybooks over here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What I Learned This Mother's Day

(Or otherwise titled "What I Should've Already Known")

We have a tradition around here for Mother's Day and it usually involves my dear husband preparing me a wonderful breakfast/brunch and slaving away over the stove. Hours in the kitchen, most often all of the work done completely by himself. Some years it is served in bed and I am instructed to stay in bed and sleep in, but other years I can't stand waiting upstairs in our bedroom and usually slip off to the shower and eventually emerge down the stairs.

My husband is thoughtful and he's also a very good cook, so I'm lucky. And I know that. But each year I can't help but gear toward Mother's Day as if it really is all about ME and is my only day to do as I wish. Selfish, I know. Therein lies the inevitable let-down that occurs most every year.
I build up images of obedient children, no quarreling, everything for mama. I realize this is very unrealistic. And ultimately, expectations are dashed and despite my husband's effort it is just another day.

And then I get to thinking. I realize the error of my ways and that each day is one that I have been granted to be a mom to my children, to nurture and teach, guide and love, discipline and encourage them. On that second Sunday of May, it is a day no different, but perhaps one to be more grateful that I was given the gift of motherhood at all. Mothering is hard work and demands that we deny our own selves many times daily in order to care for the little ones we have been granted to guard. Together, we bring one another toward heaven.

In the end, on that celebrated Mother's Day, what we did really doesn't matter that much. If I receive a meal someone else prepared and put their hard labor into and served it with love, I should be blessed enough. Thankful enough. And I am.

Of course, if you add in a couple of cards and a few heartfelt gifts, I count myself abundantly blessed. I just wish I'd realized all of this two days ago. I maybe would've appreciated yesterday a little more.

Still...It was a good day. See? I even have photos to prove it...

Homemade with love: cinnamon rolls, egg bake, fruit & yogurt parfaits

Our Mother's Day Family Outing

The Climb

The View

Cute Kids We Met Along The Way

And Their Nice Parents

You can't go to the Peak without stopping to see your mama, just down the gravel road. And you can't go through Mother's Day without visiting your heavenly mama.

Jonah had a little offering to leave Mary. He was so proud of that dandelion.

I hope that each of you had a wonderful Mother's Day, no matter how ordinary or how special your day turned out!

Friday, May 7, 2010

You Are My Sunshine!

Thank you to Gardenia from My Little Flower, for bestowing me with the Ray of Sunshine Award yesterday!

It seems only fitting that I pass on the Sunshine Award today as we approach Mother's Day this weekend. I have had the opportunity to meet so many dear women who have inspired and strengthened me out here in the world of blogging. Each with their own story, each with a different reason I feel connected to them, each with unique personalities that draws their readers in. Thank you ladies!

Here are the rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog and/or within your post.

2. Pass the award on to twelve bloggers who encourage and uplift you.

3. Link in your post to the award winners.

4. Let them know they received the award, by commenting on their blog.

5. Link to the person from whom you received this award.

And here they are! (In no particular order)

1. Lerin @ Beautiful Chaos

2. Stacey @ A Measure of Grace

3. Mommy Monkey @ Mommy Business

4. Colleen @ Martin Family Moments

5. Jamie @ Lord, Make Me A Saint

6. Sarah @ More Than Enough

7. Therese @ The Musings of a Mom

8. Margaret @ Minnesota Mom

9. Jessica @ Shower of Roses

10. Tracy @ Pinewood Castle

11. Kristen @ Small Treasures

12. Violin Mama @ A Rosey Outlook On Life

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Louie Cat

This dear cat is not in fact ours, but our neighbors'(BIL & SIL next door). We have grown to love Louie Cat though, almost as our own (minus all of the major duties of pet care). He has been around just about all of Lily's life and the kids generally love that ball of fluff. And yes, although his name is just 'Louie' most often we like to call him Louie Cat. I think the kids came up with that one.

*Photography by Lily. Well captured, don't you think?

Monday, May 3, 2010

When Boy Meets Scissors

Noticing that her dear little boy suddenly has a small patch of hair on his head that seems a bit shorter than the rest,

"Have you been scratching your head a lot right here? It looks funny. There's this plain patch right here, where this little mole is on your head. Did you do something here?"

Innocent boy replies,

"No, I wasn't scratching it."

Later, naive mother sees yet another spot of short hair...and then another. All on the same side of his head. She decides that the haircut that was given at Easter time apparently just grew out kinda funny. Interesting.

At some point, in enters intelligent father and takes a look. Looking at mother says,

"I think he cut his hair. That's what it looks like to me."

Well, that's something. It hadn't occurred to the mother that dear angelic boy who never does anything wrong hooligan would cut his own hair!

She approaches her son asking,

"I think I know how that happened to your hair. Did you cut it?"


"Oh really? So, which scissors did you use?"

"I used the...."

He realizes he's been caught.

" you did cut your own hair? Why didn't you tell me the truth?"

Mother gets at eye level with little boy and begins the lecture....but boy stops her and grabs her cheeks and shouts,

"No, no mommy, keep your happy face on!"

He widens her smile with his sweaty little hands.

"You know that you can't cut your hair with scissors by yourself. Kids can't do that. It's not safe. We're going to have a conversation about what you did and why it was wrong"

Boy is starting to look guilty. And then insists,

"I don't want to have a comersation about it! I just want you to be happy. Put your happy face back on! See? Isn't that better?"

Ignorant mother smiles, because even though this is a serious moment she just can't help chuckling at her child.

It wasn't until later that night when dear mom realized that said 'incident' occurred during school time.
Scissors projects are always supervised, but when boy left the room several times during his cutting project she never noticed that the scissors went with him.
Next time when she thinks he's just leaving the school room to take a little break and playing with his Thomas trains...she's better think twice and go check that boy! Lesson learned.

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