Monday, August 31, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Crockpot Cooking

I was just going to send this information to CrunchyMomma but then I thought maybe others might be interested too.

This mom used her crock pot every day for an entire year. Her recipes have pictures and her blog is very well organized. I was just searching for potato ideas myself.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don't let this post get lost in the shuffle!

Please scroll down to read Real Mom's "What Was Different... Me!" post. I posted after it, not noticing that it was there and I would hate for everyone to miss this wonderful post!

Saint Traditions for this week

Today is Saint Monica's Feast Day. She had a difficult Mother-in-law so in her honor, I usually try to do something nice for my Mother-in-law today. Also, my kids have not been old enough to do this before but this year we are going to try it. Saint Monica prayed for Saint Augustine's conversion for 20 years. Children have no concept of how long 20 years is, but they could stay awake for 20 hours straight. You could easily add saying a prayer to Saint Monica and Saint Augustine every hour.

Saint Augustine's Feast Day is tomorrow. He is the Patron Saint of breweries. I imagine that this has to do with his way of life before his conversion. So, PRince Charming always has a beer in his honor. (I told you some of our traditions were a bit odd.) Saint Augustine also had "Here we do not speak evil of anyone" written on his wall. So anyone saying anything not nice about anyone else around here on top of any other punishment has to say an extra prayer or do an extra chore for the person they were not nice to on Saint Augustine's Feast Day. This should be interesting the day after staying up 20 hours straight.

The Feast Day of Saint Felix is August 30th. It is sometimes referred to as the Feast of Saint Felix and his companion or a direct translation in Latin would be "and one added." Saint Felix was a priest who was tortured and then sentenced to die. On his way to his execution he heard the confession of a man. This infuriated the guards and they beheaded both men on the spot. We try to go to confession on Saint Felix's feast day so that we might be "the one added" at the end of our lives.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


From Jack, the "five and an awful lot" year old: Thanks, Mom. You are the best mom I have ever had.

Sebastian, the 7 year old: She is the only mom you have ever had.

Jack, in a snarky voice: How do YOU know?!?

What was different? Me!

The day started out well but I was worried it was going down hill fast.

I got up early and got myself ready to go to the grocery store in the wee hours of the morning for some last minute items I needed for the girls' tea party. To make a long story not quite so long, every time someone woke up, I quietly got them ready to join me, got ready to go out the door, and someone else woke up. In the end I got three young kids ready, put the baby back to sleep, and dosed out Tylenol for an older child with a headache. An hour later I finally made it out the door. Inside I was getting angry. I woke up at 5:45 to accomplish this. Why were all the young kids waking up early today? And why were all the older kids sleeping in today? But, I kept a smile on my face. I knew that we would all enjoy the early morning trip to the store (they had so much fun!). But, I just wanted to get OUT before they started to get hungry, the teething baby woke up, etc. Well, we got to the store, got everything we needed, even bought some flowers for the tea party table, and got home. All without one single fight! This was sort of surreal.

Fast forward about 7 hours. I am putting the baby to sleep, it's been a long morning for Logan. He is such a sweetheart but he is teething, he's not quite himself, those darned molars have left his gums so swollen and black and blue. It's been about 15 minutes and he is almost asleep, and I am getting a much needed rest myself, when I notice a presence staring at me. It is one of my kids, and all of my kids are supposed to be on rest time in separate rooms (where I put them before trying to get Logan to sleep). This particular child has a headache. Now, I should have been more understanding, it was only 15 minutes into rest time and rest time lasts 45. That's a long time to wait for Tylenol if your headache is really bothersome, esp. at rest time when all you are allowed to do is look at books. And how was this child supposed to know that I would have been out in FIVE minutes, Logan was that close! But, Logan notices this presence as well. He wakes up crying. I dose out the Tylenol along with some verbal dissatisfaction over waking the baby and head back to get Logan back to sleep. I tried and tried. He cried and cried. We gave up. I was mad. I was still steaming 1/2 hour later when the "offending" child asked for help with something. I looked at him and said, well, I could help you if I wasn't holding a crying baby that would have had his nap if YOU hadn't woken him up. I made a few more comments in the next few minutes that were very similar. Was I right in behaving this way? No way! Was it obvious to the kids I was mad! YES! I walked downstairs for a few minutes (it is so hard to get calm and collected while still consoling a clingy tired baby isn't it?) But, recollected I became, and rather quickly once I tried I must admit. I came upstairs and apologized. I explained why I was angry, and that yes, Logan will be cranky this afternoon, but was that any excuse for my behavior? No one answered, I think they were somewhat afraid to. What would you tell your mom? Yeah, mom your behavior wasn't so good?! Anyway, I talked about how oftentimes things don't go our way, and it may even be due to someone else's action. But, that is no reason to be rude, and it isn't going to make things better, it only makes things worse. I looked at all the kids and said, "Let's go to the park and play tennis then go to the playground". We needed to get some fresh air, Logan needed a distraction, it all worked out well.

So why did the morning go so well and the afternoon, well, let's just say...not quite as well? In both instances my plans were threatened for the next few hours. I promised the girls a tea party and their friends were coming soon. I know that a tired baby is a cranky baby. The difference? My attitude. That's all there was to it. In the morning I was more focused. I had just finished praying, I quietly asked God for some help. In the afternoon that was gone. I didn't ask for help, I tried to do it on my own, and look where it got me. Well, I guess it was a good teachable moment, embarrassing but teachable.

Small Successes


1. Hosted two tea parties this week for 2 of my daughters and their friends.

2. Hosted a neighborhood boys hot dog/hamburger party for 3 of my boys and 3 of their friends.

3. Started cleaning up the basement.

4. Took all 7 kids (and the 2 that Anna babysits) to the zoo, we even left at 10:00 because we decided this last minute. That is way out of my comfort zone, I like to plan ahead, leave early, and get back home before rest time.

5. Took the time to play with our toy trains with my dh after the kids went to bed. It was A LOT of fun. We should do that more often.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What would I do without Anna

My 4 year old Elizabeth had something she urgently wanted me to see in the room she shares with her sisters. She made me go first. She insisted I turn on the light before even I entered (awww she was lookin' out for me). Then she pointed. Out from under her dresser I saw it, it was just our lego whale. If any of you have a lego whale you know what I saw. It did look kinda gross sticking out, and it is about 4" long. I laughed and picked it up. wasn't the whale, it was alive (or recently alive!) I threw that thing back on the floor and hollered for Anna (I always call Anna for the gross animal related things, she's planning to become a vet, I am helping her when I have her do these things, right?) On top of of Elizabeth's dresser sits an aquarium. Why didn't I think of this when I went to pick that thing up?! It was our 4" long plecostomous the girls named Little Professor. It was gross. Anna picked it up, plopped it in the tank, looked at me, and walked away shaking her head and laughing. Hey, had I realized what it was right away I would have picked it up. O.K. not really, but I wouldn't have freaked out, I would have just asked Anna to get it.

Hey, she's a pro at emptying mouse traps too.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Small Successes


1. Finally finished schedules for each child, and the big combined schedule, for our school week.

2. Cleaned the garbage area under the kitchen sink. It's been needing it far too long, but it only took 5 minutes.

3. The Biggie! Called Quicken support for help in getting back into Quicken (had some computer problems here for awhile and we haven't been able to use Quicken for over a month. This may not seem too big of a deal but we completely rely on it for many things and have for more than 10 years). I was afraid to call because when I had to contact a different company early this month it took 5 different calls and they instructed me to delete our back-up program - only I didn't realize that was what I was deleting - nice. It didn't fix the problem and caused us more work getting it back on. The technician from Quicken was very helpful and had me up and running in about an hour with one phone call and nothing else done to my computer :)

I am Thankful for:

1. My husbands work hours are decreasing somewhat!
2. Generally happier kids this week.
3. We've had a slower week - more time to stay home and enjoy each other.
4. My Dad turned 60 last week and is going strong - a great party!
5. It's not raining right now!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mom's Day In

If you haven't read the post below by Crunchy Mama (Mom's Night Out) you must! It has some wonderful unique ideas! It is fabulous.

But when Crunch Mama lived near me we both had fairly young children who were rather mom clingy and neither of us felt the need for any night's out. What we did need was time and a friend! So, we took turns going to each other's house every other week. Sometimes I would go to her house and watch all our kids while she washed her floor. Or she would come to my house and watch all our kids while I paid bills or cleaned up the kitchen. Sometimes the kids played and we could talk while cleaning - other times not - we just had some time afterwards for some fun. It didn't matter what we did - but it was an awful lot of help and an awful lot of fun! I highly recommend it!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Moms' Night Out Ideas

Having a Moms' Night Out (MNO) is important. In fact in my circle of friends we call this our S.O.S. Night or Save Our Sanity Night. And it does just that! Even if it is just you and a few of your friends bonding over coffee, sometimes you just need a few hours to bond kid-free. Lots of co-ops and support groups offer a monthly MNO. If your support group does not offer a MNO, I encourage you to start one. They can be a great place to meet friends, get ideas and offer support to those that are struggling. I have always enjoyed hosting these groups at my home, but you can certainly have a different host every month.

I would also encourage you to pick a theme for each month. This starts the conversation and is a ton of fun! Here are some ideas for you to pick and chose from. Enjoy!

Wedding Album Night. This is always a very popular night so I will go into the most detail on this idea. For Wedding Night, all the Moms bring their wedding album. We start out by asking everyone to talk about how they met their husband and how they got engaged. As a game ask what is the worst thing that happened on your wedding day. The worst/best answer gets a prize. To look at the albums we sit in a circle or around a table and pass the albums from one person to the next. It is so much fun to see the albums! For snacks I either provide or have people bring something wedding related. A cheap and easy "wedding cake" can be just a plain frosted white cake topped with your old cake topper. Other snack suggestions are Jordon almonds, wedding cookies or whatever is popular in your area. And of course a champagne toast is always nice.

Baby Night. This is the night to show off your baby pictures, talk about labor and delivery or your adoption journey. It is fun to play baby shower type games.

Pre-Mom Moments. This is a fun and often sentimental night. Have the moms bring pictures of themselves before they were mothers. When guests arrive have them write down three facts that people would not know about them from before they were moms on a index card. Before talking about the pictures, as the pictures might give away some of the facts, read each of the cards to the group and have everyone guess who it is. This is so fun and you are sure to learn something interesting about everyone. Other conversation starters could be asking people their most embarrassing moment or greatest achievement.

Project Night. Everyone brings something to work on - scrapbooking, paying bills, knitting, etc. The idea is just to get together.

Recipes Swap. Pretty self explanatory.

A Curriculum Fair. Everyone brings their favorite homeschool products to share. This is best to do in the spring when people are starting to think about books for next year but before the end of the year push to get things done.

Wrap It Up Night. This is one of my favorites. Just before Christmas have everyone gather to wrap up all of their gifts.

Hopes and Dreams Night. This is a night to talk about what you plan to do when you are finished being a school marm. For an added touch have everyone dress in a costume depicting that occupation.

What's Your Style? Ask someone from a local shop (or perhaps if there is someone in your group who is particularly fashion oriented) to come and talk about spicing up your wardrobe, fashions that last more than a season and how to chose a clothing and accessory style that works for you and your body type.

I hope some of these ideas work for you!

All the best,
Crunchy Momma


We are supposed to go on vacation. The children have made it nearly impossible to get ready. Every time I turn my back someone has hit someone or something. Why is it that anticipating vacation brings out the worst in everyone?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Small Successes


1. Figured out a schedule for our school year that I think will work.

2. Attended our annual homeschool Mass, potluck, and book blessing (and snuck my schedule in. Hey, it couldn't hurt and we're gonna need some extra blessings if we're gonna pull this off).

3. Played Catholic Jeopardy with the kids.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fun for a two year old

Sometimes it makes me laugh how something simple will entertain my darling Esme for an hour. Today she was "bored" (I hate it that the older boys taught her that word) so I took out a pack of dried lima beans and used a Sharpie to make a smiling face on a dozen of the beans. She played with those little smiles for an hour!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saints this week

Our family is Catholic and sometimes we do little thing related to the Saint of the Day. We have two interesting Saints coming up in the next couple of days so I thought I would share our traditions with you. I by no means mean to recount all of their amazing feats or even give a proper summary of their life. I just want to tell you the parts that are relevant to what we do. And sometimes the tradition is not real "holy." Nothing is sacrilegious but I am not sure that having turkey sandwiches and soup to help us remember that Saint Basil was from modern day Turkey and organized soup kitchens would be considered holy.

Today is Saint Lawrence's Feast Day! I am sure you have all heard the story of how Saint Lawrence was cruelly roasted on an iron grid over a fire. Today we will only eat hot foods because typically today is very hot and we know that hot foods on a hot day can be uncomfortable. We try to imagine how pained poor Saint Lawrence must have been!

Tomorrow is Saint Clare of Assisi. When she ran away from home to follow Saint Francis, he cut off her hair and gave her a brown habit to wear. She and her fellow sisters ate no meat and wore no shoes and kept silent most of the time. We have one meal where there is absolutely no talking and try to talk less or in quiet whispers the rest of the day (usually works until about noon). We do not eat meat and try to go barefoot all day.

Does your family do anything for the Saint of the Day?

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Very small successes this week.

1. Decided (and did!) reduce my computer and blog time. It's way too easy to sit down for 5 minutes at a time at the computer doing things I really don't need to do.

2. Sent the faith and family link to a friend who I thought could really benefit from it.

3. Got everything ready (with the help of my husband and kids) to have the carpets cleaned yesterday. If we ever replace this stuff it will NOT be very light tan (almost white), which is what was here 10 years ago when we bought the house.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


You know you're in trouble when you are trying to set-up an internet security program on the computer and your 14 year old daughter has to help you. We're not done. But, she doesn't know the password :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Is this funny? I think not.

I am in the kitchen looking at the sample patch of the color that I want to paint my hopelessly white kitchen. Prince Charming comes in.
Prince Charming, in a you must be joking tone: You are going to paint the kitchen Avocado Green? I thought that went out with the 70s?
Me, in my I am offended tone: No! It is not Avocado Green. (In my superior get the details right tone) It is Guacamole Green.
PC: What do you think Guacamole is made out of?

And round one goes to Prince Charming.