Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'm thinking an apron revival is in order - are you with me?

Ah! I finally understand why June Cleaver wore an apron all day.

I bet she didn't ruin her clothes with little bleach spots....I do dress down when I am planning to clean. But I frequently grab the little bottle of bleach water I keep in my kitchen for small clean-ups. I ruined ANOTHER shirt by getting a few small spots of bleach on it!

If only I wore an apron throughout the day - I wouldn't ruin my clothes.

I'd also have more pockets!

Tell me, when you get to the end of your day, what's in your pocket? A tiny Lego helmet.......a scrap piece of paper........a plastic frog? ME?..... All of the above and more....

We could start a trend! Are you with me? No? Maybe I should just buy color safe bleach and continue loading my pockets.....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Small Successes

Anyone remember me? Life has been challenging around here.

First, the successes... (Oh, and Real posted hers already so keep reading to the next post.)

1. Went 4 miles on the treadmill on Tuesday. And have kept up with my New Year's Resolution to put 300 miles on my exercise shoes by the end of the year.

2. Tried a new recipes this past week - Jambalaya.

3. Made an effort to be more loving to someone who is driving me crazy. (Not one of the kiddos.)

Now for the not so great news...
A friend has been told her breast cancer has returned and has spread. She has young children and is in her mid-thirties. If you are the praying type, please whisper Lynne's name to Heaven. Thank you.

Small Successes

We mothers need to recall our small successes throughout the week. Sometimes, particularly on busy chaotic weeks it feels like nothing got accomplished. Actually, something did!

1. "Helped" the boys clean their room. Bonus: I'm that much closer to my 40 bags in 40 days! Does an entire bag of smashed empty cereal boxes count? :)

2. Started helping my 8 year old with his piano practice for just 10 minutes per day.

3. Planned a project for the wonderful group of seven 6-8 year old boys who are here every week from 3-5 (they have science class and after it lets out they have to wait for their older sisters' class). They needed some direction.

We simply made cardstock castles but it entertained them the ENTIRE time. Now for something for next week, any ideas? They need to be inside, not running, and not too loud. It also needs to require little parental involvement since we've also got some younger ones running around. We've already played marbles (we'll do that again) and 2 treasure hunts. I'm not asking too much am I?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


A couple weeks ago Logan was in the swimming pool during his siblings' lessons. When he got home he told everyone, "I SWIMMED". Logan just turned 2 in January.

I always find it really cute when a little one LEARNS the language rather than just repeats what he's heard. No one here says SWIMMED! He figured out for himself that -ed gets added to something you already did. I love how the little motors work in their brains! No, it's not the first time he's done this - it's just that his mamma's brain is a little slower and I cannot remember the other words :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

For more small success stories click on the link above.

1. On Tuesday I wore very frumpy clothes (it was all I could comfortably wear after surgery other than PJ's) and my house was a mess (kids picked up but I couldn't help or pick up my piles) but I still let 8 families (20 kids) come over for science class and play time (10 kids in the first class, 7 in the 2nd, the rest of the kids play) (I don't teach it - I just provide the space for it). Both of those were very hard for me but ha! No one cared. Or they lied. And that's O.K. too.

2. Accepted help: MIL folded laundry (kids been busy doing other things I normally do). Friend brought a meal. Sister picked things up at Target, brought my older kids to Mass on Ash Wednesday, helped clean up the house, etc. I'm very fortunate! And now we don't need anymore help!

3. Ordered groceries online.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Our school room is completely moved!

We finally moved ALL of our school stuff down to our unfinished basement. This big cabinet was the final thing to move. It holds nearly ALL of our school stuff (The other two cabinets in the room are full of other things).

We brought our lovely map down! The toyroom is in the background.

Set up for science classes that meet at our house once a week. One class has 10 kids, the other has 7. They all fit.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Books the kids are enjoying

The following book is our current FIAR book. Terese read it to Henry, Wyatt, and Elizabeth today.
The following two books are the ones I will be reading in the near future. This looks like a great book!

It's rather tough keeping up helping Anna find good books to read. She devours them. I think this book will be helpful to both of us.

The following book is the one my husband is reading to the kids at night. They love it!

The following book is the one I am reading at night to the kids. It's called The Happy Hollisters and the Haunted House Mystery. We don't really take turns reading. We read when it works out and when all the kids ages 4-12 are available.

Nathan enjoyed the following. I have just started reading it and cannot put it down. It's a great book! Wish I had read it sooner. He has more from the same author.

Anna is reading the following book for her Apologetics class. Or shall I say, she found this in her book pile, read it three times, then learned she will be reading it and working on the accompanying study guide. I figured since I correct her study guide answers it would be helpful for me to read the book. Again, I couldn't put this one down.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Back home

I'm back home from having my gall bladder removed. Thanks for the prayers. I forgot the recovery isn't quite as easy as having your wisdom teeth removed (the only other surgery I ever got to come home right after). That weird shoulder bubble pain for one thing. But, that's O.K. I don't regret the decision (I'm not sure I felt that way 24 hours ago :) )

I got up this morning fully intending to go to Mass and just walk slowly. Woah - that was clearly not an option (and one I do not take lightly either). Change of plans, Wyatt (6) stayed home to mommysit me and get me ANYTHING I needed. He was great. I fell asleep watching the Mass on EWTN and he remained at his post lest I awaken and need something. When I woke up and saw him still there I put on a cartoon for him, then I dozed again.

Things are going well. Next week will be slow. And, that's O.K. so helpful to have older kids who can cook, clean up, and do diaper duty even after my dh goes back to work on Tuesday. And, really, I should be back to normal in just 2 weeks - and inching my way toward that goal until then.... :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dinner made with love

Yesterday I was downstairs putting the finishing touches on our new schoolroom (we moved most things downstairs in the fall - but now EVERYTHING is down there!). My dh had taken Anna, Nathan, and Henry snowmobiling.

When I came up I discovered that Terese (10) and Wyatt (6) had made dinner, took care of the dishwasher and table, etc. Apparently it was Elizabeth's (4) and Logan's (2) job to make sure I didn't come up too soon. They even made menus and silverware wrapped in napkins with a sweet little note hidden inside mine.

They made chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and peas and carrots. The food was great. My kids are greater! Thanks

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Small Successes

My successes this week are very small but steady.

1. Kept up on laundry.

2. Paid every single bill on my desk (I usuually let them pile up until they are almost due and di it all at once).

3. Took our my 15, 12, 10, and 4 year old to our homeschool co-ops play along with a couple of their friends. It is quite the major deal! I also decided to take our 2 year old, figuring he would just sit on my lap. That way my dh was left home with just the 6 and 8 year old boys and they could do something really cool. Notice I TOOK the kids...I didn't actually SEE more than 20% of the play. My 2 year old wasn't interested at all. The building has some great stairways :)

4. BONUS: Have managed NOT to catch the cold from my 2 youngest. I've slept in when I was tired, drank lots of water, took lots of vitamin C, etc. Gallbladder removal is on for tomorrow. This thing has been a problem for every pregnancy and miscarriage since my 3rd child. I'm happy it's going away.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

After telling one of my children numerous times to go comb his hair this morning....I ushered him into the bathroom, tossed a towel over his shoulders, and proceeded to really wet his hair. He quickly removed the towel. I said that was fine but I was just trying to avoid getting his clothes wet. He looked around and said, "OK, but close the door, this is embarrassing!"

And running around for over and hour with your hair poking in all directions isn't?

Logan LOVES snowmobiling

But who knew it could be so exhausting for the little guy?


What comes first - schoolwork or being charitable towards your neighbor? He already did our driveway.
O.K. I don't really need an answer, he does get all his schoolwork done...and I am blessed to have such a hard worker.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The day started iffy...but it got better

1. You wake up 2 hours later than usual (almost NEVER happens).
2. Most of the kids wake up late (that was weird too).
3. You cannot get to the schoolbooks because of a major basement project Saturday morning requiring the quick rearranging of shelves and cabinets to a location out of the way (i.e. the schoolroom). Somehow this fact escapes your mind Sunday night or it would have been done then.
4. Everyone starts out their school day by spending 1/2 hour rearranging said items to places where they can be more semi-permanently placed -still allowing schoolwork AND leaving enough room for the science classes that meet in the basement Tuesday morning.
5. You break for lunch and send your two oldest outside to shovel just as the plow comes by and dumps that ginormous pile at the end of the driveway (you say a quick thank you prayer that your dh just showed your oldest child how to use the snow blower). You explain to the other children that yes, you will be doing the shovelers inside chores today. You see those two older kids again 2 hours later.
6. Your oldest son is so kind, he says he needs a break but would like to go plow out the neighbors driveway for him since he is still recovering from arm surgery. You think to yourself...but you have SCHOOLWORK...but don't say anything quite yet...your son is being incredibly charitable...isn't that the type of person you are trying to raise? You need to think about this before speaking.
7. You take a shower before heading off to a 3:30 pre-op appt. (yes, let me just say right now that I do normally shower in the morning - but we were already 2 hours late).
8. You do a quick check on everyone's assignments to be sure they know what to keep working on. ( started 2 hours late)
9. On your way to the appt. you notice that Mr. B's driveway has been plowed, you say a quick thank you that you have more very generous neighbors, and you call your son to let him know it's been done.
10. Your dh is coming home early to help with the younger kids while the older kids work on their schoolwork. You are incredibly thankful that your dh has this kind of flexibility, at least this time of the's been a long time coming.
11. You get home to see your dh helping your son with his drawing homework. THANK YOU!
12. After dinner you sit down with your 5th and 6th graders to discuss the 10 mile day, leave them alone together to make a PowerPoint slide of the event for their history book,...and discover that instead they made a movie together. :)
13. You say some extra prayers before bed that the littlest 2 will NOT be sick tomorrow (they both seem to be coming down with the sniffles). We have NOT been sick for months - why now? The prayers are selfishly for've been waiting 10 years for this diagnosis/ don't want to catch a cold and have to reschedule. If it was the oldest 2 I am sure they would understand if I sent them to live in the basement until Friday :) but it's my 2 and 4 year olds - they just want cuddles and love...and this momma is going to give it to them...and take lots of vitamin C...and wash my hands ALOT......etc.

Two new recipes so far this week

I had a long time to sit waiting in a doctor's office last week and found some great recipes to try. My family got a kick out of it....
My dh, "Did you actually ask them to photocopy them?" Uh, no.
Anna, "You mean you got to practice your handwriting?"


Sauerbrauten - enjoyed by all tonight - esp. my 2 year old who couldn't wait for me to cut the pieces small enough for him.

Spicy Lime Chicken a few nights ago - another hit. Although I forgot to buy a lime and lime juice so I just used Lemon juice.

What about you? Any new recipes I could add to my repertoire without practicing my handwriting skills?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's helpful to take a little bit of time each week to remember our successes. The people at Faith and Family do just that. To see more small succcesses click on the link above.

My small successes for the week:

1. Finally read my Honey for A Child's Heart book. I bought it years ago simply for the book lists, I never knew what treasure I had sitting on my book shelf until now. It encouraged me to, once again, request some library books to provide part of the Honey for my children's lives. (Milk symbolizes the care given to the physical needs of our children, Honey symbolizes the sweetness of life). The author quotes Erich Fromm as saying, "Most parents are capable of giving milk, but only a minority of giving honey too." I know from my own experience that the Milk just happens. The Honey takes effort and is soooo worth it.

I also requested some library books from my Five in a Row lists and intend to start that up again this quarter. Some things had to take a break during Advent and Christmas. But, my kids LOVE Five in a Row and I LOVE doing it with them.

2. Changed our school schedule to be a 4 day schedule of classes (well, a couple things are still scheduled for Friday). We will still have school every Friday because we will be doing everything we didn't get done the other days. I am trying this in an attempt to be better able to attend to my younger kids' needs during the day. Now I can tell my older kids we won't get to history or I won't be able to help them understand their grammar assignment, etc. because my little ones need me to play with them a bit, instead of feeling the pressure to keep them entertained on the sidelines while I work on something with the older kids. And the older kids will still get everything done they need to during the week. ALL this excludes my high schooler. She's pretty much on her own and busy all day every day.

3. Decided to take my own advice and slow down schooling with my kindergartner. He catches onto things so easily and is already finished with 3/4 of his math book and is well into his reading. But, getting him to sit still for more than writing a handwriting page is torture for both of us. I don't want to let him "win" and only do his schoolwork when he wants. So, instead I am going to do 1/2 a reading lesson, 1 of 2 math pages, etc. Maybe we'll do this the rest of K, maybe he'll be ready to move back into whole lessons in a few weeks. We'll see how it goes. I think right now he needs more Honey (see #1).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Soccer Ball

Anna plays soccer. Our kids have all gone through a stage when they were younger when they called it soccerball. In fact, I was reading a book to my youngest (he just turned 2). There were all sorts of pictures of people playing different sports. He "read" the pictures to I FINALLY realized, after all these years, what was going on! The other sports all have ball in their name...! Well, my kids play soccerball, tennisball, and golfball.

Monday, February 1, 2010

What we spent our weekend doing.....even 2 yr old Logan grabs a helmet and begs to go no-mobiling.