Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And then we'll feast, feast, feast, feast....

I don't know if I can keep up with all the feasting around here! If you want to try, go visit A Shower of Roses because she's good. No, not me! Lol! Jessica! I really don't know how she does it, especially with those 5 beautiful children. Young children. I could never have done what she does at her age. Maybe it's because she was homeschooled. So maybe there is hope for my children, at least.

We did celebrate the Feast of the Archangels yesterday with devil's food cupcakes, coloring pages, and an Archangel quiz game. Those all came from A Year with God. We ended dinner with a rousing, spontaneous game of Catholic Jeopardy from the same book. It was a lot of fun.

Tonight we'll take a breather. Sorry, St. Jerome.

Wednesday is the Feast of St. Therese, my patroness. I don't know how much feasting we'll be doing since the family won't be together in the evening. I'll be at choir rehearsal and MoW, Hitch, and Madden will be at The School for an awards ceremony. If I'm up for it, literally, at 6 a.m., I'll make French Toast in her honor, and we'll have a pink beverage in the afternoon while we make paper roses. If we are anywhere near a Catholic store, I'll pick up a copy of one of the Therese movies to watch while we make flowers. Since it's on October 1, the Month of Nothing will be over!

Thursday is the Feast of the Guardian Angels and we'll be having angel food cake in their honor. They definitely deserve a party since I depend on the guardian angels in this family and they always come through for me! I might decorate it with roses, for Therese, but I don't think they'll mind. I'm sure they love her too.

Saturday, the 4th, brings us to St. Francis of Assisi---another of our family patrons. I'm not sure how we'll mark the day as Madden will be busy with football and the homecoming dance that night. Maybe it will be brunch---because I doubt he will be up for breakfast!

Then we have a little break from family feasts until the 16th when we celebrate the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Plans for that one need to be researched! Perhaps a heart-shaped cake for the Sacred Heart?

Question for my readers----how do you keep up with feasts at your house? What do you do to celebrate?

Friday, September 26, 2008


I feel like I'm way behind on blogging---as if you can be behind on blogging because you can do it as much or as little as you have time for want.

I should be asleep because I could not stay awake for half of the Debate. I should have been at Rachel's house. Bet I would have stayed awake there! I had no idea how exhausted I was from the past few days. So now, sweet MoW has gone to School to nap while he waits for our boys to get home from their 3-hours-away football game. I can never sleep when he's not here. So here I am!

I have to thank my friend Shelly for this award. I'm so honored. You know, we're gonna have to get together and meet one day---so she can see my great hair. LOL.
So now I have to give this award to 7 of my favorite blogs. And it's so hard to choose. I might even have to give it to some of the people that Shelly gave it to because they're my favorites too!

1. Mrs. Fussypants is one of my new favorites. Go check her out!
2. Love Your Mother has some wonderfully insightful and intelligent posts. Go visit her and she'll give you lots of food for thought.
3. A very inspirational young lady over at Shower of Roses. I won't make you give the award to 7 more peeps since you already got one!
4. Carol at Perpetual Kindergarden is a very dear IRL friend who encouraged me to start blogging and needs to do a little more herself. ;-)
5. Fawndear and I continually inspire each other, so she definitely deserves this!
6. Mary at Owlhaven is another new discovery that I enjoy a lot.
7. And I love The Family-Centered Life.

So many beautiful women, so many blogs to read and be inspired by. But you know, having them in a Reader is so much easier than checking them all every day. And I do delete some of the less-inspirational when I add new ones. The list doesn't just grow on forever.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Novena Starts Today!

The feast of my sweet friend, St. Therese, is October 1. I have been looking forward to it, but I'm terrible at remembering to begin the Novena! Thanks to Elizabeth and Jessica for reminding me.

Many years ago the MoW gave me a little book for Christmas. I think it was Christmas. And it was a children's book. But it was a quick read, and a very nice story of a spoiled little French girl who became a Carmelite nun at age 15 and died at 24 of tuberculosis. I mentioned to MoW that she had written her autobiography and I would be interested in reading it if a copy could be found.

I had no idea how easy it was to find The Story of a Soul (just check any Catholic bookstore!). I think he gave it to me the next day. And so began my relationship with this sweet saint whose Little Way attracted me so much. Doing little things for Jesus each day was much easier than trying to become a saint!

When it was time for me to choose a patron saint during RCIA, I was at a loss as to whom I should pick. I prayed and prayed for guidance until the last day. And I still didn't have an answer. I mentioned to one of the other sponsors that I was still waiting for a heavenly response to my prayer and she said, "I thought for sure you would choose St. Therese of Lisieux. You talk about how she inspires you all the time!" Well, duh. So I did.

"My mission - to make God loved - will begin after my death," she said. "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses." I love my friend Therese. I may not always remember to start her novena on time, but I know she is always there for me, praying for me and sending me the occasional rose.

Oh, Little Therese of the child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the Heavenly Garden and send it to me as a message of love.

Oh little flower of Jesus ask God the favors I now place with confidence in your hands ( mention special request).

St. Theresa, help us to always believe as you did in God's great love for me, so that I may imitate your little way each day.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

17 Years Ago Today

he was a 9 lb. 14 oz. little thing!

Yes, 2 years and 2 days after KT came into our lives, we were joined by her baby brother Hitch. We were overjoyed to have him and he has continued to delight us over the past 17 years.

He has always been very quiet, thoughtful, and observant. But let me tell you, he is one smart young man. He learned to read fluently when he was 3 years old. And he hasn't stopped.

He started telling "knock knock" jokes when he was only 18 months old. He made one up and it was a show stopper! He could barely talk, but he had the format down. He has a great sense of humor.

I love the fact that he's such a well-rounded person. He has always been a voracious reader and at one time I feared that he would not be. I think we're okay there. His grades are excellent and he does extremely well in math and science, though he doesn't enjoy them. He plays football at his high school and acts in the spring drama productions. He is caring and gentle with his younger siblings----well, unless they're being obnoxious.

He has a strong faith, like his sister. I was impressed recently by a paper he had to write for school on why he believes in God. He accidentally printed out 2 copies. Guess who kept the extra?

I can't believe this is his last year with us before he embarks on the next phase of his life. Time goes so fast!

We love you!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sts. Patrick and Philip

Here are the saints from yesterday. We're especially fond of St. Philip Neri with his heart on fire with love for God.

Friday, September 19, 2008

19 Years Ago Today

she was just an 8lb. 1 oz little thing! She has taught me so much about life, love, and myself in 19 years.

My mom said that the first child is always an experiment, and yet she seems to have turned out okay anyway!

My beautiful KT is, well, beautiful. Smart. "Smart as a whip," her Nana always said. She's friendly and easy to get along with. She's loyal. She has a strong faith and a strong sense of family. She loves to laugh.

KT has been called "spoiled rotten" too. She definitely has a spoiled side, but she's NOT rotten. She was well loved from the very first moment I knew she was on her way. And she'll grow out of some of those spoiled tendencies as she spends more time taking care of herself and, eventually, others.

I'm enjoying watching her find her way in the world of academia, and the Great World is just waiting for her around the bend!

We love you, precious girl!

Fun Friday!

Hooray! Today is Fun Friday! What makes it especially fun is that we don't have co-op this afternoon. Co-op is great, for the kids. It's one of those things I do for the kids because they love it so much. Me? Not so much. Frankly, less than that.

So todaaaayyy, we'll have Plenty of time to meander down the Alphabet Path and have fun with the letter P. I'm not sure who is in the book under P (could it Possibly be Peter?), but we'll be reading about that saint and St. Philip Neri, one of our family Patron saints. Maybe we'll even do some cooking and have a fun lunch or snack. I know we should be making some Colonial Cornbread for history, but that's hardly a P. What foods begin with P? That I have in my Possession already because it's the Month of Nothing?

Another component of today will probably be housecleaning. Woohoo! Because Mama needs to feel like life is NOT out of control. Because dust and clutter make her feel out of control and way too busy. Because she just volunteered last night to be the Assistant Troop Coordinator for the Little Princess's American Heritage Girls troop.

For those not in the know, AHG is the Christian answer to the Girl Scouts of America whose original principles have not stood the test of time, unlike the Boy Scouts of America.

Anyway, I looked around at the faces at the meeting last night and saw who was there and already commited, and the new mom's who had the deer-in-the-headlights look, and realized that there wouldn't be a troop if I didn't commit. It wasn't some grand heroic effort on my part, and I'm not a martyr, but it was time to say "yes" to the call. I hope it will all be manageable and I'll be able to be cheerful about it. More cheerful than about, say, co-op! I can say that I'm at peace with it, so that's a really good sign! It felt right to make that decision at that time, not a moment sooner.

Just keep me in your prayers. Maybe we should all say a little prayer for other, overcommitted Moms when we're stressed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Simple Mom Giveaway!

No, Smartypants, I'm not giving away a simple mom! Simple Mom is having a giveaway. She's giving away a lovely, simple necklace on Monday, the 22nd. You have to stop by and enter.

simple mom

Even if you're not interested in the necklace, I recommend that you stop by anyway for some of her wonderful, simple tips. I learned from her how to use Google Calendars for my family and planning my menus. I have a large paper calendar that I love and use often, but the beauty of the Google method is that MoW and I can both access it (he at work, and me at home). I can also print out the whole month and carry it with me in my purse instead of a heavy daytimer or even a pocket-sized calendar.

So, yeah, I know it's more blog reading, but she has some great ideas that do work. Just keep a handle on that computer time!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Month of Nothin' --Update

It has been, what? A week? We've been amazingly good, but it does seem sometimes that we're simply accruing a list of things to buy on October 1. The only unplanned purchases we've made were:

  • birthday presents for KT and Hitch who turn 19 and 17 this weekend.
  • a silicone baking mat for cookies (shhh!). I bought only one for $9.99 when I really would have liked 2 and it took me 5 hours to bake the cookies that I could only bake 6 at a time! A second one would have paid for itself in labor alone.
In addition to not buying extra stuff, I went through the grocery budget and determined how much I could spend at Costco this week, and how much at Publix for the next 3 weeks. I came in right on target at Publix Friday by sticking to my list and using my calculator religiously. Today, we went to Costco and made it $25 under. I was tempted to go buy another package of meat, but I'm sure that $25 will come in handy at Publix, or won't be necessary.

So far, unlike some of my friends, I haven't gone to an all-cash system, though I'm starting to see how that could help.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Closet Cleaning!

I've discovered that the internet has a lot to offer---both good and bad. Blog reading, while rather addictive, can be quite inspirational. The trick is getting enough of the good information that improves your life and not waste so much time that you never advance the ball! I won't tell you where I am.

The other day, Fawndear cleaned out her closet. I'm all about simplicity and making my life simpler, and by default, neater! I'm so much more pleasant when things are neat and uncluttered, but in some places you get used to a certain amount of mess.

So I went to the blog of Fawndear's sister, Trenadoll, and got the instructions for getting rid of 50% of my clothes. Did I really need instructions for that, you ask? No, but I needed the inspiration!

So here are the before pics of my half of the closet:

And here are the after pics.

I didn't get rid of quite 50% because I just cleaned out my closet in January, but I tried. I counted my summer tops and tried really hard to find half to get rid of. I also did my dresser drawers, but I shan't bore you with more pictures of my wardrobe!

When I cleaned in January, I didn't work hard at getting rid of things, but I did turn all the hangers around backwards. When I wore an item, I could turn the hanger back around the normal way. That way, at the end of the year, I know what has not been worn in a year. I think I'll do the same thing now and see what it looks like in January!

Getting rid of a bunch of shoes made room for most of them on the shoe rack hanging on the back of the door, so the floor is much cleaner. It is so much easier, mentally, to walk in there now.

And you know what? It didn't take over my day! I ran upstairs and did a drawer or a section while the kids were busy at their schoolwork, and ran back down if they needed me. I just did that a few times in the morning and it was done. So was school. And my workout! Lol!

That's all for now....I hope you're a little inspired to simplify. It is very freeing! I'm off to bake cookies w/ the Little Princess and then head out for the Parish Picnic. I'll be back later, if I'm not dead of heat stroke. With another post. But you know, I'm so pathetic sometimes that I've forgotten what that was going to be about! So maybe I won't be back after all! Keep checking! :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

You are What You Eat!

You've got to hop on over to Love Your Mother to read what she says about feeding kids crummy school lunches. Fascinating stuff!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

30 Days of Nothing

Okay, so it won't be 30 Days of Nothing, more like 21 Days of Nothing. I don't know if I'm up for it with absolutely no preparation! I only discovered this yesterday or the day before, and visited Owlhaven today. I'm feeling incredibly guilty about my rare trip to Wally World yesterday where I bought things I "needed" totaling over $100. Honestly, can anyone get out of that place for less than $100?

I only bought things I needed but, I'm re-evaluating the word "needs" now.

I needed to replace my aging, nasty tupperware that is close to 20 years old. Or could I have just thrown it away and used serving bowls w/ plastic wrap? Does it count that I didn't get as much new stuff as I wanted?

I needed a new mop. But did I need it before I actually used up my supplies for the Clorox Ready Mop? Mil will be glad to know that I didn't opt for the fancy Swiffer Wet Jet that I fell in love with at a friend's house, but I got the much cheaper-and-no-need-to-buy-pricey-refills Libman Wonder Mop that I can use with my own, homemade cleaning solution. We even had a good time mopping the floor last night, something we had not been having with our Clorox buddy.

I congratulate myself on passing up new lamps for the family room which were on clearance and really cute. Okay, I know we're talking Wal-Mart lamps, but they're better than what I have, one of which seems to be dying.

It will be hard for the rest of the month to say No to little things that we don't even think about normally. Even harder to stay within our gi-normous grocery budget. Today is the 9th and we're already halfway through it!

I'm thinking we have to just bite the bullet and behave ourselves. The month of August was just the worst! Schoolbooks for homeschooling weren't too bad, but the cost of books for our college student and 2 high schoolers was probably more than $1200! I could check the receipts, but that would be too depressing. In addition to that there were the payments for the privilege of playing football, deposit on senior portraits, Boy Scout dues, Cub scout dues, necessities for KT's college apartment (though, to be fair, she paid for a lot), my birthday (dh is way too good to me!). And I'm sure there is more that I've forgotten. We were soooo excited last night when Hitch brought home an envelope containing $220 dollars for books I had consigned at their school!

I should point out that we have a very nice income, thanks to Dh's very sacrificial labors, and I'm extremely grateful for it. Owlhaven talks about a sense of entitlement which I think we all buy into, even though we don't realize it. So many of our neighbors have this and that and participate in these or those expensive activities. But they don't have large, beautiful families like ours (yes, they may be beautiful, but usually small!), and it is easy for us to get sucked into spending here and there, thinking it is a need, when it really isn't. Just a need to keep up with the Joneses on some level.

I'll try to keep you posted on how it goes. Anyone care to jump in?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Quiet Sunday

I love quiet Sundays that don't involve a lot of running around! We went to the noon Mass today and had a quick lunch at Taco Bell because the boys had altar server training this afternoon. I've been relaxing, reading, and playing on the computer. I just listened to a podcast on Jimmy Moore's Livin' La Vida Low Carb life. I don't normally read him, but I wanted to hear Mark Sisson from Mark's Daily Apple (on my sidebar). I love him and everything he has to say about diet and exercise.

Yesterday we had a little fun. We had nothing planned, except the usual Saturday chores and confession, and the Pipster remembered from when we were searching for things to do with the grandparents that the High Museum is free on First Saturdays. So after confession and Krispy Kremes we dragged everyone to the museum. Somewhat against the wills of the teenagers. Hitch was very pleased that we were going to an art museum as opposed to a history museum. I don't see the difference, but, whatever. As long as the children enjoy museums, I'm happy.

The High has been having rotating exhibits from the Louvre and we haven't seen any because admission for our beautiful, slightly large, family is so steep and we had no idea they had free days. This was the last weekend of the Louvre and Ancient World exhibit. It was excellent! We all, yes, ALL, really enjoyed it. I'm pretty sure we'll make plans to go back every couple of months because every month might be too much, but there was so much more to see in the regular exhibits. We zoomed through a few more rooms, but left when little people were having meltdowns fainting from hunger.

This is a picture of one of the largest pieces, and it ranks right up there in awesomeness with the statue of Napolean dressed as Caesar. Anyway, this is the river god, Tiber, and next to him are the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, and their adopted she-wolf mother. It's really specatular. I'm so glad we made it before it closed. Sadly, KT wasn't with us. She wanted to go, too, but was back at school this weekend.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I just have to say....

She was amazing last night! I have never watched a political speech with a smile on my face as I did while watching her kick butt! I cannot wait for the debates! And I don't even like politics.

Sarah Palin is an amazing example of what I consider true feminism:

  • She's beautiful (a shame that goes first, but it is the first thing you see!)
  • She's smart (and I don't think that begins to cover how smart she really is)
  • She's has a sense of humor
  • She's pro-life and has a lovely family to prove it
  • She has principles and stands up for her convictions no matter who it angers
She is proof positive that serving your city, state, and now, country in what is predominantly a man's world doesn't mean turning into a man to fit in. She's still feminine and charming. Too many women think they have to act and dress like men to be equals. They even have to stop having children so they won't be tied down. Not this one! She has followed God's plan for herself and her family and look where it has lead!

Sarah Palin has changed the face of this election for the good. 2008 is definitely going to be a historic election. God bless Sarah Palin, John McCain, and America. We need this team in charge.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's Finally September!

August is no longer a very happy month for me. The only good thing is my wedding anniversary on the 2nd. Quickly followed by the anniversary of my mom's death on the 4th. Then my birthday on the 10th (I'm finally tired of getting older!), and then my children begin to leave home for school. So far, just one, but next August it will be 2!

I can't believe it has been almost a week since I posted on my blog! I've been missing it, but things have been crazy around here. In addition to the normal craziness of homeschooling and caring for a large-ish family, I had to prepare for that dreaded co-op class on Shell Identification.

When Friday finally came, I was at peace because I knew I couldn't come up with anymore ideas or do any more research and I just had to go with what I had. I don't know about the other boys in the class, but TMax enjoyed it and said it was fun and educational. He's such a sweetheart! Now I get to give the same lesson to the girls next Friday and I don't need to prepare. I will, however, have to do some prep (with help this time!) on Ocean Habitats. Could that topic be any bigger for a 1.5 hour class?????

After class we had to hit Costco for some much-needed food to feed the in-laws who arrived around 6 p.m. We had a nice, relaxing weekend with the grandparents whom the children haven't seen in a long while. Since Christmas? I can't believe it has been that long.

So, I really had time to blog this weekend, but I didn't. I don't have time today, but I am. As it turns out, we should have had school yesterday since it was on the schedule, but I didn't' know when I made the schedule that we'd have company or that KT would be here for the Labor Day weekend. We have to take her back in a couple of hours and that will seriously cut into our school time! But we'll get to listen to the grand finale of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

It has been wonderful having my sweet girl home from school for 3 days---even though we hadn't had a chance to miss her yet! jk. We miss her always, but we manage to stuff it down deep and not think about it until she's back.

The big news is that my sister got married yesterday! I was very sad that I couldn't be there with her, and neither could my brother. I heard from my niece from her first marriage that it was a beautiful day and all the guests were well behaved.


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