Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Small Successes


1. Got new tires put on the van (the research was done by my but I had to drive it in and sit in that waiting room for 45 whole minutes reading a book and not feeling like I should be doing something else. Life can be tough.

2. Was very flexible with Christmas traditions this year.

3. Cleaned out the cabinets in the boys room with Nathan and Henry while Anna and Terese were in charge of everyone else. And...we did get rid of a lot of things..being careful...of not lose any treasures. (But we did haul a lot of stuff out of there!)

BONUS 4. Got MY snowpants on and went outside with the kids to play in the snow today rather than stay in and get stuff done (dinner was an hour late). Our yard no longer looks like the pristine yards of the neighbors. But, after having 11 total kids trampling through it is beautiful in a better way.

What do you think? Should we keep the pool or get rid of it?

That's always been the question since we bought this house 10 years ago. We keep going back and forth. It's a big decision.
Maybe God was thinking, "I keep trying to make the answer clear...but you just aren't getting it.....does this help!"
As you can see, the safety cover and the liner are both shot.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas

Jesus was born!

And the angels rejoiced!

Every year my husband reads about the first Christmas from the bible. The kids "act out" the parts. Wyatt got to be the innkeeper and baby Jesus, Elizabeth: Mary, Henry: Joseph, Teresa had many miscellaneous duties, Anna and Nathan watched - letting their younger siblings enjoy all the action. Logan just loved everything happening. We had a lot of angels. It's my favorite Christmas tradition. (Did you notice the date on the picture though?) How sad. Normally this is the first thing we do in the morning after attending the early Mass. This year our Christmas celebration date was changed with the relatives and we had to move a lot of things around and simply weren't here. Of course, the massive snow fall on Christmas morning did keep most of the family outside digging out.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let's just say I love my neighborhood

Without giving away my location...let me just say we live in Suburbia. Everyone's lots here are bout 1/4 - 1/3 acre. There are 13 houses on our cul-de-sac. We have a rental with an unusual history next door (4 renters in 3 years). It now has a no trespassing sign on the door, etc. Let's just leave it at that, shall we?

Well, our neighborhood is unique. 13 houses, 2 homeschool families, 2 different private school families, 4 public school families, empty nesters, families just starting out, etc. We have an annual blockparty and kids are always playing in the cul-se-sac. This morning we received a phone call from a neighbor. Do you have snowblower? your husband home? You see, our neighbor was offering to blow our driveway for us. This is no small task. Neighbors have been outside blowing for hours - their own - and other peoples as well. My dh and 2 oldest have been outside for 3 hours. They've done our driveway, the rocks along the side, and the end of the driveway for a new family who had cleared theirs and the snowplow came by - leaving about 12-18 inches of compacted snow at the end, (they brought us homemade Christmas cookies). I'm guessing the neighbor who called us already did a few extra driveways (he usually helps out those who are sick, etc.) In the past my neighbors have pitched in and cleared our driveway when my dh was out of town or working quite late. It's not something I've ever had to call for help with. Our neighbors help each other out - that's just the way it is here. We've thought about moving for more acreage. But days like today always make me second guess that one.

Guessing I won't be posting for a few days....Merry Christmas EVERYONE!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An odd "Christmas" program

Last week I saw that an old Christmas show from when I was growing up was going to be on. I can't remember the name of's the one with Rudolf running off, finding a couple misfit friends, and eventually saving the day by driving Santa's sleigh in the end. The animation is nothing compared to today's standards..but it was cute and rather innocent. Even the abominable snow monster turned out to be not so scary after all.

After this program came another. Well, O.K. we don't generally watch much TV, we can watch another Christmas special. Well, we did watch it, I didn't see the need to turn it off. Mainly it was just dumb....but some bits of information became filled in near the end. My youngest kids were watching it with me and this went over their heads this time. Basically the storyline went something like this...

*Rudolf can't fly, he keeps trying and failing.
*Rudolf is shamed and runs away with his friend a flying squirrel in search of his real dad - one of Santa's elite flying forces.
*They are joined by some singing and dancing white female something ferrety thing.
*Meanwhile a very scary pack of male wolves captures a female pink poodle and uses her to find the reindeer for dinner (I missed how/why this happened).
*Rudolf and his friends eventually find the Flying Forces and we find out he doesn't know which one is his dad, he doesn't even know his dad's name.
*Rudolf asks the male reindeer if any of them remember a Christmas eve spent last year with a doe -ahem....proud puffed up reindeer - they all do. Does anyone know (whatever his mom's name was) and no one knows names.
*O.K. you think it can't get worse? Wrong. To prove he's actually the son of one of them he needs to prove he can fly. They take him to the edge of the runway/cliff and he jumps. He can't fly (apparently fear will prevent a reindeer from flying). Big pause as he sinks to the abyss and the lead reindeer finally saves him.
*The wolves bust in, the reindeer are too afraid to fly, Rudolf overcomes his fear and flies, saving the group.
*At that point his father pulls him aside, confesses he was afraid to admit he's his dad (ahem...and let him jump off a cliff...some dad).
*Rudolf is allowed to fly with the Flying Forces and they invite him to stay.
*He asks his dad why he doesn't come live with him and his mom.
*Sorry kid, I gotta practice flying all over the world all year long.
*Rudolf decides to go back home and be with his "real" dad, the flying squirrel who was his constant companion. No mention of going home to his mom and family, although he did.
*The end.

I did discuss this afterwards with Anna. Her response? If they are going to make a kids show where the animals are sort of like people then they should be virtuous. This was just bad.

Why would someone even make a show like this? O.K. Not really looking for an answer. Just sad. And a warning.....don't bother with one.

Small Successes


For more small success stories click on the Faith and Family link above.

1. Made a committment to clean off our bed BEFORE my dh gets home from work - and I did ALMOST every day. I tend to use it as a catch all, and I usually got it cleaned off before bedtime, but I think it added a bit of stress to his day when he came home and saw it there. I guess I did benefit from The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.

2. Got ALMOST all my Christmas shopping done - thanks to my parents. My dad takes me on an annual shopping trip for my birthday, my mom watches the kids (hence the cookies). I make an itinerary for the day, he drops me off at doors, watches for me to come out, and picks me up curbside. I was shopping from about 9 am until 5:30 pm with a nice lunch with my dad in the middle. It is GREAT!

3. I let my older kids have some fun at the expense of the younger kids' naptime. I like to guard naptime. I took the kids to see the opening of the new hospital which is only about 1 mile from our house. We were leaving a store and saw the helicopter land. We went on 1/2 a tour of the maternity ward (it was a bit crowded and it was pushing up on naptime, Logan made sure we knew that). But the 3 older kids wanted to see the ER tour - so the younger kids and I stayed in the play area while the older kids went on the tour. As we were leaving we decided to go look at the helicopter. Logan even got to sit in the pilot's seat. Did you know there is no room for a co-pilot? That's where the patient's feet go. There is also room for one paramedic and one flight nurse. By the time we got home naptime was officially botched big time. But, hospitals don't open very frequently, and everyone had a good time!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Cookies

Hiya, all! No, this is not RealMom4Life. This is Anna. Mom asked me to post some pictures of the cookies we made with Grandma. So, here they are!

Here are all the cookies together:

And here's the plate that I made.

And yeah, more cookies!

And more cookies!

...and more!

J.M.J. stands for Jesus, Mary, Joseph :)

And of course...what would Christmas cookies be without the Christmas tree? And the star.

Jesus: fully human, fully divine. We didn't have a white marker, and that wouldn't have worked anyways.

Wow. I guess that's all! It sure seemed like a lot more when we were making them!
So yeah! Stop by again soon, folks!

Delicious Chicken

Crunchy Momma, you asked for the chicken recipe?

Put some thawed chicken breasts in a skillet.
Pour some chicken broth over the top.
Sprinkle it with lots of Kick'N Chicken spices by Weber (contains sea salt, onion, spices, sweet red pepper flakes, orange peel, garlic, sugar, paprika, and paprika). I so do not combine spices well on my own, my dh finds these combo seasonings and they work great!
Cook until chicken is done and broth has cooked away.

It's that easy!

You say "Shopping." I say "Hunting."

Yesterday was the Annual Christmas Present Hunt. Price Charming takes a day off of work, the kiddos stay with the best babysitter in the history of the world and Prince Charming and I go shopping or as I call it, hunting. I am not really a hunting fan and do not understand why some people consider this recreation. And why does it take so long? I knew what I wanted and where to find it but we were still gone nearly forever. We have a trunk full of prize packages, but I still have a list to cyber hunt. Honestly, next year, I am going to stay with the kids and send the best babysitter in the world (who also happens to be a darn good hunter as well) out with the list and the credit card.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And sometimes they are very small...and sometimes that's better.
For more small success stories click on the Faith and Family link above.

1. Made TWO new quick to prepare recipes and my family loved both. On Sunday we had Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin from Last night I simply made chicken breasts that I cooked in chicken broth and kickin' chickin' spices. Everyone loved it, and it was kind of an "accident" recipe.

2. Pulled together the Christmas gifts I've already picked up for the kids (unusual for me even this early) and laid them all out to show my dh. Normally we do this the week of Christmas and then need to scramble to fill in a few things.

3. Took some time yesterday to rearrange our family/toy room because Wyatt has been itching to bring all the kitchen toy set parts up. (We rotate what we bring upstairs but they have free access to everything in the toy area in the basement - can you guess which gets messier?) Since this was more than bringing a bucket downstairs and another up we needed to actually move furniture. But, I'm glad I did it. Wyatt, Elizabeth, and Logan are having a blast with it. Besides, we had a late start for school anyway since my 4 oldest were out shoveling our driveway for 1.5 hours. We live right in suburbia with a normal length driveway....we just had ALOT of snow, and we have to push all the snow to only one side.

4. BONUS Took the kids to a display at a local church to see 1,000 Nativity sets on Saturday. We headed to confession first and were there for an hour. Thank you Anna for taking the youngest 4 out to roam around, by the time I got out to relieve her the line had grown even longer. By the time she was done it was very close to dinner time. Since I was, apparently, the only one really excited about it I would have skipped it. But we went, it was awesome. The kids really did enjoy it. Then we bought fruit snacks on the way home, got home and made dinner, and ate at 7 p.m.

Don't forget to check out Crunchy Momma's Hangman post below (I got a chuckle as I can imagine certain kids of my own doing this).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Rules for Hangman

Sebastian will be 8 next week and not really the best speller around. He was playing hangman on our electronic dictionary today. I kept hearing him say "Yes!", "Cool!" and "I won again!" I am thinking, "Wow, that is great! He must be really good at that game." After a minute I got a bit interested in what sort of words he was spelling. When I walked over, I realized Seb was trying to hang the guy as quickly as possible and was celebrating his success at doing just that.

Can I have a Q, Z, X, and U, please?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The germs haven't left

4 year old Elizabeth is sick now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Small Successes


For more small success stories click on the link above.

1. Took Therese and Nathan shopping on Black Friday after getting home at 1:30 a.m.

2. Got out the Advent stuff with some serious help from the kids. They moved a curio cabinet full of breakable family heirlooms and 2 bookshelves to make room for the Nativity set. (see photo in next post if you're interested)

3. We had a tough day yesterday. Nothing major. Just gloomy weather, tired kids, teething know... But Therese put the Veggie Tales song called My Day on the CD player tonight. I'm sure I've heard it many times before but tonight it was so beautiful and made me so thankful for my kids. I am going to ask Nathan to download this for me. So why is this my successes? Because I really listened to it and took it to heart. The following is verse 2. It's so much better to listen to sweet Junior's voice but I didn't know how to make a link.

I somehow overlooked my bed
It seems the dog is underfed
Forgot to change my underclothes
Watched too many T.V. shows
I had some trouble sharing toys
And during rest time, made some noise
The walls are not for coloring
Sometimes I'm off-key when I sing

And so it's really good to know
How much you love me so
It's true, the bible says you do
You really love me
Your love was with me all throughout my day

God Bless!

It's Advent!

We are trying to celebrate Advent more fully this year. I took Crunchy Momma's advice and asked the kids what traditions were important to them. These are some of the things we came up with. I know the state of our souls is more important than the activities. But I'm hoping the latter will help with the former.

Wyatt attached his tree to the bottom of the bunk above him so he could see it upon awakening.

Henry opted to put all the ornaments on his tree and color them in one day at a time.

Nathan found this for me last year. He is in charge of putting the ornaments up/helping a younger kid to do it every day.

Teresa really wanted to do a Jesse Tree this year. We did one a few years ago with paper ornaments but thought we would do something different this time. We had the earth hanging in our basement from our solar system days and the red apple is from the kids' kitchen set.

This is mine, but I share. It's a big hit! Elizabeth and Wyatt have a great time playing with figures, along with Terese, Henry, and Wyatt. My husband bought the creche and Holy Family for me for our first Christmas as husband and wife. He and Anna made that table for me years ago when she was quite young. Every year my husband and the kids buy me a new piece for my December (pre-Christmas) birthday. I also receive a piece from each of my nephew/godsons for Christmas every year. The Holy Family and Wise Men are still in the boxes. This has got to be one of the most precious THINGS I own.

Above: My In Conversation with God prayer book. Very important for me.

Like the miniature candles? They just came in the mail for next year. I was always notoriously late in buying advent now each year I buy a set to pack away for the following year. Guess I still need to buy another set. I made a mistake on the size.....

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ode to the Germs

You came unexpectedly
almost two months ago.
You've worn out your welcome
it's time for you to go.

You've taken us down
One or two at a time
I've had it and now
I will draw the line.

Two months ago we think
Dad, Anna, Nathan, Terese, and Henry caught H1N1
Those that didn't get sick that time
were sick after being exposed to you on July one.

But some germs stayed around
you were slow to leave
Then ten days ago
some started to heave.

Poor Wyatt got sick in the middle of the night
he was miserable poor kid and was sick a few days
When he was all better little Logan got sick
and he was miserable too and was in a haze.

You sent Henry to Urgent Care
on Thanksgiving night
They sent us to the Children's ER
he was a sad looking site.

My phone let out a ring
Anna was sick too
Felt bad for her
But in a way it was good news.

This meant that Henry probably had the flu
on top of a pre-existing stomach condition
rather than something more serious
But we still had to go to the ER to complete the mission

The next night was my turn to get sick
and now I understood how the kids did feel
It took two days before
I would eat another meal.

Then it was Nathan
it was his turn to succumb
He's really a trooper
and should be almost done.

Our elementary students
and the teacher too
Took the morning off from our homeschool
to try hard to get rid of you.

The kitchen counter is scrubbed
the bathrooms are too.
Where else do germs hide?
We're trying hard to find you.

I washed eight loads of clothes
and Grandma came to fold them all.
She's always so generous with her time
in helping us out of our piles to climb.

Nathan swept the kitchen floor really well
so that Teresa could mop it.
Then Teresa and her Grandma got some old rags
and skated across the floor to dry it.

Nathan went to rest
you germs are still bugging him.
Just leave us alone
your lights will soon be dim.

I changed sheets on six of eight beds.
it took some work in doing.
Henry and Wyatt helped me out
the work was really quite grooling.

The sheets will all be sanitized today
and Grandma will come again tomorrow.
To fold all those sheets and some blankets too
more time of hers we will borrow.

Leaving cut onions out
if you dare
Will take those germs
and suck them from the air

This I've been told
and soon I will cut
Those onions right up
and maybe help get us out of this rut.

The windows will be opened
the children sent outside
To get some fresh air
in us and inside.

I don't like chemicals and prefer natural stuff
but along with the natural I am getting more rough
I've sprayed Lysol and used bleach
So please go away
You've worn out your welcome
we don't want you to stay.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Small Successes

Small and quick

1. Watched a video about peeling potatoes that my MIL sent me. I tend not to look at all the forwarded....forwarded....forwarded emails. They are cute but I don't have time. THIS ONE IS WORTH WATCHING. I am making sweet potatoe casserole for Thanksgiving and it took me less than 5 minutes to peel ALL the sweet potatoes (although the video is for Idaho potatoes). Warning: watch the youtube video alone. There are some pretty gross ones that come up on the side (hate it when that happens) but the video alone is less than a minute.

2. Made a firm committment to start using our Five in a Row books to do with Henry, Wyatt, and Elizabeth. They love them! Henry and Wyatt even created their own projects about Wee Gillis and Ferdinand.

3. Adding in daily Mass once a week (starting today)


Monday, November 23, 2009

On the Receiving End of Brutally Honest

I have been after an acquaintance and her children to come over for a playdate. I called and asked her over. We landed a date and determined that based on our schedules it sounded like the best time for us to get together is over lunch. No problem, I can pull together lunch. There was a pause and then she said, "That will not work. My kids will not eat at your house. They would rather go hungry." There was a pause and she added "We think that you cook weird things."

I was a bit taken aback at the thought as well as her frankness about the situation. Honest, I had no intent of cramming raw milk and homemade whole wheat pasta down their necks. I laughed. "Sometimes I do cook differently than some, but for things like this I serve normal kid stuff."

"Oh, no," she went on to explain that that would not do. She gave me a very limited menu of what her kids would consider acceptable. The list included the brand names of the items - i.e. Tyson chicken nuggets with Honey Bee Honey. While most of the time I am pretty flexible, there was no way that I could accommodate her crew and mine without spending $30 or more on a lunch that I would otherwise not feed my kids. Also she mentioned twice that her kids would only drink juice boxes (She even mentioned the brands that they consider acceptable.) at my house since we often drink "strange juices." At some point in the conversation she seemed to be telling me more of her preferences than those of her children.

I think I suggested that we wait to get together until the weather was better and we could brown bag it at the park and ended the call.

After I hung up I was not quite sure what to make of the conversation but I decided that I had truly been on the receiving end of brutally honest. Basically what she was saying was "My family would rather stab our hands with a forks than eat your food." I am still not quite sure what to think. However, I did laugh when I realized that this is the same woman who said that she has a hard time expressing herself. Really? Cause I think not.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Small Successes

And sometimes they are very small, and that's O.K. For more small successes click on the link above.

1. New menu item this week....Calzones.

Big hit with everyone and very easy. All I did was use Pilsbury pizza dough and our normal pizza toppings. The only one who didn't like it was Elizabeth. We have a rule here that you have to at least try the food and if you really don't like it you may have a bowl of cereal. She insisted she tried it another time....but I haven't made them since she's been born. Elizabeth is also the one who was so upset before dinner a few months ago because she was hungry and I wouldn't let her eat crackers. We were going to be eating in less than 5 minutes. I told her we would be eating momentarily. She immediately broke down crying, "I don't like momentarily". Apparently she's had momentarily too and didn't like the taste of that either. So, to make a long story short. I don't judge my recipes by whether Elizabeth likes them or not.

2. Gathered Anna's Quarter report papers and mailed them in.

3. Went through my closet and dresser and removed EVERYTHING I no longer wear. I've been intending to do this for months but who has the time? Well, it took less than 10 minutes but it sure feels good to be able to put my clothes away without trying to cram them.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Small Successes


We can get very busy as moms, and we often forget that we ARE accomplishing things.... This is the time every week to remember a few things we've accomplished. For more small successes click on the link above and visit Faith and Family (and if you aren't interested in small successes, click on the link anyway and visit the rest 0f their wonderful website!)

1. Got almost all caught up on reconciling accounts. Made very good headway anyway.

2. Set aside time on Sunday to help my dear Teresa make a dress for her doll. She did a great job and it turned out beautifully!

3. Wrote my name and phone number in my Catholic Mother's Daily Planner.
If you tend to write EVERYTHING in a planner, and take it EVERYWHERE, it's best not to lose it, I'm just sayin'. Esp. if you have 5 doc appt's w/in the next 3 weeks, some with special instructions, that you haven't transfered to the wall calendar yet.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beef Lo Mein Recipe

I adapted this from a Vegetable Lo Mien Delight recipe.

Cooked angel hair pasta
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. soy sauce
2 T cornstarch
4 T canola oil
2-3 c. chopped celery
2 c. sugar snap peas
chow mien noodles
2 c. cooked tender steak seasoned to taste

The original recipe also calls for fresh mushrooms, bell peppers, sliced onion, bean sprouts, it called for snow peas rather than sugar snap peas, and it didn't call for beef. Sounds great to me, but not much of my crew.

1. Whisk the chicken broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch together (or MAGIC BULLET them, I LOVE my magic bullet)

2. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the celery and cook about 3 min. Add the broth mixture, sugar snap peas, and beef. Continue to cook and stir about 5 minutes, until vegies are tender crisp.

3. Toss with the cooked pasta.

4. Serve over chow mien noodles.

Anyone else have a new (or old) recipe to share?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Small Successes


1. Followed through on Crunchy Mamma's suggestion in her post below. Great idea! This should be an even better Advent and Christmas season for all.

2. Realized we needed a short break to reassess where we are at for school and some other urgent necessary items around here. So, our 1/2 day off for the end of Q1 (I need time to get papers together) will be 1/2 day on TH and F. Essentials are getting done and next week we'll start Q2 off with a bang.

3. Continuing with my resolution to make one new recipe MOST weeks. I'm not going to complicate my life with this one. Just trying to spice it up - no pun intended.

Last week - a potato/dairy free cheese combo. 1/2 loved it 1/2 hated it. It's only side dish, so I'll add it to my list but it won't appear frequently.

This week - Beef Lo Mein. This was a hit. This was easy. This is now on my list!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Can You Believe It Is November?

Wow, where did this year go? Wasn't it the Fourth of July like a week ago? But since it is November, I am trying to schedule all of our holiday traditions. I took the time to ask the children what was important to them. To my surprise, the things that I thought that they would love just were ok and some of the things that I would rather skip are "must haves" for them. The Christmas Light tour only got one star. But the pain in the neck rolled sugar cookies were ten stars. Thankfully we all agreed that Midnight Mass, the nativity set and the Advent wreath are must haves.

What holiday traditions are important at your house?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prayer Request

For anyone visiting this site. Could you please offer a small prayer for my nephew/godson. He has severe asthma and has come down with H1N1 and pneumonia. He's home on antibiotics, but I am sure he could use some prayers for a quick recovery.

Small Successes


We SAHM's often have a thankless job. No one notices what we've done unless we don't do it. I'm not complaining - that's just the way it is. Even I don't really give much thought to the laundry unless it starts piling up. Most of us are very appreciated though. I know my family appreciates me and my husband makes a point of telling me every so often. But, since our successes often aren't really "noticeable" we need to be aware of them ourselves.

For more small success stories click on the button above.

In the past week:
1. Made one new side dish. I am going to try to make one new meal or side dish every week - OK let's be honest - most weeks.

2. Planned meals and went grocery shopping without my master meal chart and master grocery list since my computer was holding them hostage. This was challenging. But I did it.

3. Called my MIL again to fold laundry (she's coming tomorrow!). I was too busy with 1-4 above and fell behind, again, on my laundry.

BONUS: Bought some cute little pumpkins and let the kids decorate them. I am not necessarily that crafty and the thought of all the work/clean up associated with carving pumpkins is daunting to me. Terese and Henry found some that looked similar to these at Target for $4 each, and right next to them was a bag of 8 undecorated ones for $4. We opted for decorating them ourselves.


HI! This is Crunchy... Let's see....
1. I fixed the toilet myself rather than paying the plumber over $100 + tax + parts + extra time to come. The part was $12. I love the cute little old fashion hardware store near us. They are so helpful and save me big $$$.

2. Took Jack to get his first pair of glasses and then out to lunch with just the two of us. He got them today and he looks SUPER cute in them.

I think that is all I got for this week. How many of these am I required to have?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Easy? Dinner

At our house, pizza for dinner generally isn't the EASY way out. With 2 people allergic to dairy (1 cheese free pizza), 2 allergic to dairy and tomatoes (1 cheese AND tomato free pizza) + 5 others....we have a number of pizza options. Add that to the 3 different kinds of milk! But, alas, I will NOT complain. I am NOT one of the people that needs to eat one of these unique pizza's. I can enjoy the real thing. The only reason there are 4 normal pizza plates is because I had to cut the two pizzas and separate the pieces so they could cool faster. Note to self: Next time bake the younger kids' pizzas first, the older people can cool their own off.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Spoiling the dog

We have a super fabulous Labradoodle. His name is Chewbacca or Chewie for short. He is great with the kiddos, loyal and tons of fun. One of his downsides is that he has tons of energy. Most times dogs with lots of energy like to chase a ball. Chewbacca could care less about retrieving a ball. So sometimes it is hard to get all of his energy out. This weekend we took him for a 2 1/2 mile walk and then to the dog park to play. Both were tons of fun. One of the nice things about wearing the dog out is that it wears the kids out too. Chewbacca is now asleep under my desk (and it must be my imagination but it looks like he is smiling) and I hope the kiddos will be asleep soon as well.

What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ode to my Computer: A Haiku

Meals, Bills, Charts, School
I trusted. You let me down.
And now I am toast.

As stated above........Crunchy Momma and I love Excel and schedule/simply as much as possible.

My computer is holding everything hostage!!!
My chores charts (now every asks - whose turn is it this week to sweep? what do I do today for my extra chores?)

My grocery list. It is all on the computer, organized by subject, I just circle what I want, now I have to figure it all out!

My meal chart. What do I buy for meals next week? What meals do we even eat?

My cleaning rotation schedule. What area of the house are we supposed to clean this week? Sounds a little rigid, I know. But I spent months tweaking that schedule so that everything got done on rotation at the right time. I.E. Laundry room cleaning came right after purging kids drawers for end of season clothing. It was very slick (thank you Crunchy Momma for that idea).

The kids' school schedules. They were tweaked! I didn't have do anything on than reprint them each week!

Our train history plan. I purchased the PDF version. I'm winging it for now.

This is so sad. It reminds me of the cashier who cannot count cash back because the cash register is down. Give her a $5 bill for a $4.85 purchase and she doesn't know what to do.

I do believe that those lists and charts have greatly simplified my life. But, I've also become dependent on them. Like I said, this is sad.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Small Successes

For more small success stories click on the Faith and Family link above.

1. Finally took the time to log in and check my email from another computer (read dig out password and get used to a different system). Ours is having some problems.

2. Managed to stay Flu-less when dh and all 7 kiddos came down with the flu. This one was a doozey. Some were sick for 8+ days, others just a few.

3. Cleaned out under the bathroom sinks. OK the credit really goes to my dh and son Nathan who took everything out to unclog sinks (and put new fixtures in and recaulk the tub/tile!) All I had to do was decide what/where to put back.

4. Changed sheets on all 4 boys' beds trying to rid the house of germs. I don't usually change all at once so I was short some boy sheets. The other boys were going to let Logan (21 months) have the cool Batman sheets until they found out someone was going to get stuck with pink ones. Logan got them. I don't think he cares, but I do think he'll get some boy ones for Christmas.

5. Called MIL for help in folding laundry after becoming incredibly behind - 1. behind about 5 days due to the flu 2. added all those sheets and some quilts 3. new towels (desperately needed and BIG sale today only - I saved a boatload!) I've washed 10-12 loads today in my ultra capacity HUGE washing machine in preparation for her morning arrival to fold tomorrow. Why is this my success? 'Cause sometimes it's hard to ask for help, even when it's for the good of the family.


In the few days days...

I made environmentally friendly, reusable gift wrap.

Dried and chopped the parsley that we harvested from the garden.

Made pumpkin cookies with fresh ground whole wheat flour, raw sugar, organic pumpkin and powdered sugar.

I did not have enough butter for grilled sandwiches for lunch, so I skimmed the milk (we use raw milk), whipped up some fresh homemade butter and proceeded with the sandwiches as planned.

Beat that Martha Stewart!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cute Quote of the Day

"Mommy, I want to touch the frog. I just do not want him to touch me back." --- Cute three year old

Monday, October 19, 2009

You know you have a large family when...

... People stop asking "Are all these yours?" and start asking "What school are you from?"

... You start referring to the small boxes of cereal as "the why bother size."

... You start referring to the boys' bedroom as "the barracks."

... Your family qualifies for group discounts.

... Even Mom has to stop to think how old everyone is.

... The kids in the neighborhood refer to you as "the pregnant mom" even when you are not pregnant.

... Your pantry contains two sizes of boxes "family" and "industrial."

Anyone else have any to add?

Pretty Pink and Purple Princess Pony Cake

This was not as challenging as the Falcon but it certainly made one 3 year old very happy!

I got the idea from They have a ton of cute ideas for children's birthday cakes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Whew! All done!

This is the Millennium Falcon (Hans Solo's ship from Star Wars) made out of cake and icing.

And as a side note, in the second picture you can see the color I just painted my kitchen.

The idea for this cake came from here...

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Reality Show - Homeschool Insanity

This week we have two birthdays, five dentist appointments, two eye doctor appointments, a day trip to a neighboring state (3 hour drive each way), a trip to the theater, a wedding and, uh, homeschooling. Oh and I should add that for birthdays the kids get to pick out a cake for me to make. That means I will be crafting a Pink Princess Horsey Cake and the Millennium Falcon out of nothing more than chocolate cake and powdered sugar icing. Wish me luck.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Take time for the important things

Prince Charming recently set the screen saver to run pictures off of our computer. It has been delightful to relive those moments again.

Having had five children has been wonderful, but at times overwhelming for me. To be honest I do not remember a lot of the moments until I see the pictures again. It is so nice to recall that there have been wonderful, fun, unplanned times of pure delight. I need that. All too often I remember the laundry and the messes and forget the good things. So my best advice for this Friday is to go find your camera or go invest in a good one. Keep it handy and take lots of pictures. One day those pictures will be more precious than gold to you.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Explanation please

Tell me, how can it be that when a person (OK - me) drinks a caffeinated pop in the afternoon will still be up at almost midnight? (and just for the record, I can count on one hand the number of times I actually drink caffeinated pop in a year - that's either the reason, or the cause).

Yet, if I drink one to deal with a migraine I can wander out of the bedroom, slug the can of pop and 2 Tylenol, go back to bed for hours, wake up, and still go back to bed a couple hours later?

I just think it's weird. Does the caffeine get sucked into the migraine black hole? Just don't get it here!

Does the caffeine know why you are taking it and head to the right location? Just kidding....

On a side note though, one of our kids was being given different prescription meds to try last year to find the one that would work for her. She wasn't too keen on trying the new pills since the last ones did nothing anyway. My husband looked at the pill and said, "But look, these new ones have directions printed on them, they'll know where to go and what to do, the others didn't." (The new ones just had some numbers stamped on while the old ones had nothing, but our dd got a kick out that explanation! And while she clearly didn't believe him, she took those new pills with a smile on her face.)

And....spell check tells me that while decaffeinated is a word, caffeinated is not. But I like it anyway.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Small Successes


My sweet but small successes this week...

1. Played ponies and people with my my 4 year old dd. Our neighbor has outgrown the set and passed it on to us. Elizabeth never wants me to play dollhouse, or anything like that because I keep messing up the names of the people, her 10 year old sister knows all the names, in fact some of these people have been named for 14 years! (Maybe I should take a picture of them lined up and have her dictate the names to me!) Anyway, when my pony asked her pony her name I was told, "Mom, we haven't named them yet." Ahh, that's why I got to play. I'd better stay current on this one.

2. Helped the kids "re clean" the basement. I will NOT let those toys get to be in such a disarray again! (yes, I've said that before)

3. Organized a months worth of receipts into 5-6 nice little labeled piles so they will be easier to work with.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where did he get that from? ...

And I am so hoping he did not make it up....

For those of you that know me in real life, you know that we do not have a lot of media in the house. We have no tv. Internet access is restricted to observed computer time. The boys do not have access to ipods or game boys etc. The friends homes that they visit know our rules and know that the boys will not be returning if rules are broken. Yes, I am "one of THOSE parents."

In general there are not a lot of times that I have to ask "Where did you learn that from?" But this evening I walk by Jude as he is singing the line "Don't you wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?" over and over. Ugh, not good.

So I ask, "Jude, where did you learn that song?"

He thinks. "I don't know. I think I made it up."

At this point, I am less concerned about where he picked it up at as I am that he could make up something like that. So, I googled it. BIG MISTAKE. There are some not nice websites out there. But I am sure that he did not make it up, whew! Now where did he get it from- that I am still clueless on.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cute or Weird part 2

Logan isn't even 2, but this is getting strange to me. I really don't have a problem nursing him at this age at all. But, I sneezed while nursing him. He stopped, looked at me, and said, "Bless you."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cute or Weird

Logan gets done nursing and crawls off my lap. He runs to the middle of the room. Stops. Turns around and looks at me for a minute then smiles and says, "bye, " and scampers away.

After 11 years, 6 months and 8 days ....

... our home is diaper (and Pull Up) free!

Woo hoo!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Small Successes


For more small successes click on the above link.

As for mine this week? They are really small. But that's O.K. It's a good reminder to me that I am making headway on the things I need to do. If you don't move forward you slide backwards....and sometimes I slide backwards...and that's O.K. too.

1. Filled out the US Census Bureau form. I had forgotten it was required :(

2. Sewed 2 patches on Teresa's Little Flowers sash and taught her how to sew the rest on. She's pretty good at sewing!

3. Helped really clean up the basement toy area with the kids, and so far we've kept it clean.

Be sure to check out Crunchy Momma's post below. Hmmmm, so that's what blogging is all about?!

Ok, and now this is Crunchy. I have no clue how to do the little Small Successes button and wanted to participate so I am glomming on to the end of RealMom's post. My tiny successes this week are:

a. I made imperfect cupcakes with the kids. See I have this idea that made from scratch cupcakes do not take all that much longer than box ones. But I never want to get out all the stuff for them, so we do not make cupcakes a lot. This week, I bought box cupcakes (the ones with confetti) and canned frosting. We made cupcakes! It was fun.

b. I called my Uncle, who just lost his wife, just to chat. And really sat down and listened.

c. I started Christmas shopping!

What is a blog again?

Recently while talking to my 104 year old Grandma she said that my cousin got a new dog. Having just talked to my cousin the night before and having her not mention the new pup, I asked a few more questions. Turns out that my cousin actually got a new blog. At 104 you are allowed to not quite hear the difference between "dog" and "blog," especially when you have no clue that "blog" is a word.

After explaining to Grams what a blog is she paused and laughed. "You kids today! You mean to tell me that you want the world to know your business? These blog things sound like The Jerry Springer Show in print form." Uh, yeah, Grams. That one hit a little close to home there.

Monday, September 28, 2009

TV with commercials

Our kids don't watch much tv. In fact, I laugh everytime I fill out the paperwork at the doctors office for their well child checks, "does he/she watch less than 2 hours of tv per day". I'm thinking, how could they watch 2 hours per day? When would they watch 2 hours per day? My kids don't even watch 2 hours most weeks. O.K. Yes, they occassionally watch 2 hours in a day, but that's usually only a movie night or someone is sick or something.

Back to my original story. The kids only watched public television or EWTN through a local Catholic TV UHF station. After the switch to digital TV we now also get Qubo. Now my kids get all those commercials. Personally, I am finding it kind of funny. They occassionally ask for something they see. More often then not they see something that will make my life easier. And they get really excited about it.

"Mom, you gotta come see this, if you call the number right now you get this thing that makes hamburgers into patties for you!" (yeah, our patties come frozen thank you)

"Mom, come quick, you can buy this thing to make the cold air stop coming under the doors!" (what cold air? what doors?)

"Mom, there's this thing you can buy to stick in the dirt of the plants so it will water it for you!" (hmm, we don't have a single inside plant, I tend to kill them, maybe if I bought one of these....)

So, we've had a few interesting discussions like, "Why do you think they will give you 2 if you call in the next 10 minutes?" or "Do we really NEED that?" or "Couldn't we make something ourselves that will do that?"

I wonder what I will get for Christmas this year? How come some of the kids don't think I really like something they make? I really really do!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dixie Cups

Wyatt was tired before bed and laying on the floor.
I told him to go brush his teeth.
He moaned something about having to go all the way to the kitchen to get a cup (we had run out of dixie cups a week ago).
I told him that Nathan and I bought some this morning at the store.
Wyatt looked at me, smiled, and RAN to the bathroom.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Small Successes


For more small successes click on the link above.

My small successes this week...

1. Bought 10 pounds of fresh ground beef and made meatloaves, meatballs, and mini-meatloaves to put in the freezer and pull out when I am too busy to cook. This truely only took about 30 minutes to make since I had no need to wash the mixer bowl between recipes, and the recipes are pretty much the same anyway.

2. Learned that it is very important to put spray the pans before putting the frozen meat on them if you want to take the meat off. I planned to freeze them on pans and then put them in ziploc freezer bags. We cannot get the meat off without thawing it so I guess we'll just leave them all covered in the freezer until we use them. I guess I'll make my meal plans based on which pan I want back in my arsenol.

3. Made a list of 28 things that NEED to be done soon and marked them all either High, Low, or Medium priority (things like send the homeschool paperwork in, pay bills, etc.) . I am such a list person but when I get busy I tend not to write things down, until I start to feel overwhelmed. Then when I make the the huge list at least I can see what MUST be done right away and push the other things aside without fearing I will forget about them. So far I completed 17 items, added 15, and completed 7 of those. I think I am making headway.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happiness is....

Happiness is realizing that you are tiny enough to wear all the clothing intended for your Build a Bear.

This is Esme as she discovered that her wardrobe just got a little bigger. The pink vest is from her Build a Bear and she wears it a lot.

Remember me??

My apologies. I have not posted in forever. We had a death in the family and unexpected company. Combine that with a bumpy start to our school year and I am just now digging out. Thanks to Real for holding down the blog.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Small Successes


Isn't it funny how our small successes can get very very small during certain periods of our life (like homeschooling). It's seasons like this that I find it really helps me to see my tiny successess. I did accomplish something this past week other than feeding, clothing, loving the family. And, on weeks when that is all I accomplish, I am thankful for that because sometimes even those things take a huge amount of effort. To see other people's small successes, or to record your own, click on the link above!

1. Investment cooked/froze one meal of lemon chicken.

2. Solved our perpetually late to homeschool problem.

3. Got creative with our laundry problem this week. Usually we stay fairly well on top of things. But, with a family of 9 it doesn't take much to get behind. I washed like crazy Tuesday and had 4 baskets for my folders to fold during dinner prep time - the laundry room was a mess and they only saw one of the baskets (I found the other 3 Wed morning). Wed I washed lots more and last night they carried up 8 baskets to fold plus all their laundry baskets. I had them sort everything by just throwing it into the correct persons basket and the basket owner can fold their own clothes when putting them away today. Yes, they are a little wrinkly, but it'll do.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kids playing Mass

Cantors/Lectors stand.

Altar servers table.

Gifts to be presented.

Make shift Tabernacle and candle.

Last year for Christmas we bought the kids a Mass kit. I love it when they pull it out on their own to play Mass. Nathan is an altar server and was doing his best to assign everyone and everything to their proper locations. He did say things weren't ready yet, he was still relocating, but in the intereste of NOT losing the interest of the younger ones I suggested we just go with it.

From big chalkboard and empty wall to Giant Whiteboard Wall

A couple weeks ago we bought 4 - 4 X 8 sheets of melamine tile board to be used for white boards. They cost $12 each! It took awhile to cut them and hang them in our basement. We've been having a blast! We even moved our schoolwork area to the basement because the boards were so helpful and we could leave our work on there (making words plural, artwork, Spanish, word roots, etc.). We went with the cheap version and it's been working just fine. There is another, better version that apparently costs about $200 per board. This is where I found the information

PVC Sprinkler toy

Awhile ago I blogged about the PVC pipe sprinkler toy the kids made. Crunchy Momma, you asked for pics. Here are just one to give you the idea. The pipes are put together differently every time. And this is only about 1/5 of what we have to work with. It's been worth money and the kids find something new to do with it all the time. Today they were making a "tent" frame.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Check this out. It's really cool. I haven't tried it but my dh and oldest dd had a lot of fun with it. Apparently you load a document into it (or download it - like I said, I haven't done it). And you get really neat word pictures based on your word usage. Most common words appear biggest, etc. Just fun!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Small Successes


This week I have very small successes. But, hey, that's what this is for isn't it? Sometimes our successes are a bit bigger and sometimes just surviving the week is a successes in and of itself.

What are your small successes? Click on the click above!

1. Used our snack break today to watch a magic show the kids made (along with a snack) in the living room - on the carpet!

2. Went to an evening of recollection for women. I love these monthly meetings but haven't gone for almost a year.

3. Kept a better attitude myself. Smile it's contagious (that is sooo true).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Small Successes


Click on the above link (picture) to go to Faith and Family's site for more small successes - or record your own!!

1. Took the kids plus one neighbor boy to Fun City (mini golf, bumper boats, batting cage, slurpies) for my 12 year olds birthday. He's been wanting to go all summer. It was supposed to be a surprise but he wore me down with his incessant pleading, it was the last thing on our list we wanted to do before school started, and we started 8/31.We decided his birthday (9/1)would be a good day. Why is it that no one ever asks , "are these all yours", when there really is someone in the mix that is not mine. I never get to honestly answer ,"No."

2. Said yes to the piano teacher when she asked if she could come today instead of usual day. Success for me because I try very hard to stick to a routine and don't do so well on the fly.

3. Resisted all urges to jump on the computer and do what I wanted to do. Instead I kept to our routine and helped everyone with their school work and did some things with my preschooler and toddler.