Monday, January 31, 2011


 I wanted to share a few of the kids' art projects.

This first one is Hannah's from art class, it's supposed to be pears, but it's an easy one to do using paint chips from the hardware store cut into squares and glued onto a piece of foam board. I love the mosiac look of it!

Eli's Sheep

 Here is another project from art class,
Hannah said everyone colored white
sheep, so she went with gray.

Lastly, Hanah drew Our Lord inspired
from reading the bible..even though we
haven't ventured to the New Testament yet.
She just opened the bible and wrote the
the first quote her eyes lighted on.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Knowing Him

We finally started our Bible Study!! I never thought all the materials would arrive, as most everything came media mail. After researching the different approachs to reading the bible, and discussing it with Don, we have agreed on our course of action. We decided that since the bible itself is in chronological order, we feel that it's best for the kids' understanding and to develop a natural timeline in their minds, to start "In the beginning." I had thought that maybe we would also read the catechism, but it's been best to just stick to the bible for now. I was worried the kids might become bored or uninterested, but it's quite the opposite. They listen intently, following along in their bibles, and then asking a myriad of questions afterward. We have had some very interesting conversations, like about evolution, how God's time is different from our time, how the dinosaurs fit into everything, and special abilities Adam and Eve might have had prior to the fall. If we can't answer their questions, we tell them that we will know someday, if we earn Heaven. Eli even follows along in his picture bible, and he really does pay attention. Benny and Charlie, however, that's a different story, they usually end up playing in the family room or fighting. I never expected them to participate, but it would be nice to have them somewhat within earshot. I am thinking of putting together a box of special bible activities, books, and toys that only come out during our bible study. Overall, it's actually going better than I thought it would..."and God saw that it was good."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No Escaping Humility

     It's been one of those weeks where I couldn't do anything right. Everything from ineffectively settling sibling disputes, from awkward defensive reactions in response to criticism at a meeting, lack of patience, to ramming the right front tire of the van into a curb(I was trying to turn around at night in a very narrow driveway), and dealing with the lack of a passenger side mirror because I misjudged my van's girth when exiting the garage and smashed the mirror into smithereens against the opening, lack of patience, and forgetting my brother's birthday. Someone said, "In true humility, one is neither affected by praise nor criticism." The simple fact that I allow myself to wallow in self pity, is itself a sign that I am just NOT GETTING IT. No matter where I turn this week, humility seems to be waiting for me, I can't escape it!  I left our diaper bag at the Y awhile back, and I called to see if they could find it and hold it for me. The young man went to look for our bag and returned to the phone and asked, "I found one, is it the one full of trash and wrappers?"...I responded, "Oh yes that's it." I was ever so proud to go in and retrieve it. That's my life, one opportunity after another. As a friend and I joked," Parenting is really just a lesson in humility."  I keep telling Don that I must have a major deficiency considering the plethera of opportunities I get!   The Catholic definition of the virtue humility is, "A quality by which a person considering his own defects has a lowly opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to others for God's sake." Honestly, I do realize the goal and I'm trying to appreciate the opportunities, but I just wish I didn't need them so much. A verse from a song keeps bouncing around my brain, "Bend me and break me anyway that You will, mold me and shape me, be with me still."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

I wanted to share information about a parental rights group I am blessed to be part of, KVR, Kansans for Vaccine Rights.

Kansans for Vaccine Rights (KVR) is a group of volunteers in Kansas working together to promote and protect the right of every person to make informed independent vaccination decisions for themselves and their families without the risk of penalty or discrimination.
KVR shares this vision: passage of a bill to provide parents and individuals with a conscientious exemption to mandatory immunizations in Kansas.

 As a mom of 6, I feel it's my right as a parent to make my own decisions on how to vaccinate my children. Dr.Robert Sears, MD, also agrees. Dr Sears has authored both The Vaccine Book and The Baby Book. He states, "In my practice as a board-certified medical doctor, I support the absolute right of parents to make decisions regarding vaccinations. It is my professional opinion that if a parent has reviewed the vaccination options and chooses to refrain from all the recommended vaccinations, or use a delayed or selective schedule: they are doing what they feel is in the best interest of the child."
  • 19 other states have this exemption without risk to the general health.
  • Vaccines are the only state-mandated medical procedure.
  • Vaccines are not 100% effective, not 100% necessary, and not 100% safe.
  • Over $2 billion has been paid by the Federal Government to those injured by vaccines.
  • Anyone and everyone should have the right to decline one, some, or all state-mandated vaccines for reasons of conscience or other personal beliefs. 
KVR is a non-partisan, issue-oriented group and does not endorse any one candidate or political party. This group neither accepts nor pays any individual or group for any KVR activities or efforts. KVR seeks neither to promote or oppose vaccinations or provide any medical advice pertaining to vaccinations, but does encourage making informed vaccination decisions.
For more information visit our website:
  Kansans for Vaccine Rights
 (352) KVR-CEB4
Click Here to Sign the Petition:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Holy Sundays

Last night I spoke with my good friend on the phone. She was telling me about her preparations for Sunday, she said, "I have to run to the store tonight and get some milk so we won't need anything for tomorrow." I nonchalauntly responded, "Oh, we don't worry about shopping or eating out on Sundays, it's one of Don's days off work, so we need to get caught up on all of our running around. And with homeschooling it's hard to get out during the week." She went on and explained that she even lets the dishes pile up so as not to work on Sundays. I thought to myself, well, God understands Our circumstances. This chilly Sunday morning found us straggling into Church and restlessly participating. During the homily, Fr. Boor was going through the ten commandments explaining each one in more detail. The one that struck me like a hot flaming sword right to my prideful heart, was "Keep the Lord's Day Holy". He very simply said, "Do you think people at Dillons, Walmart, and other places would have to work on Sundays, if we didn't do our shopping then?" Ouch!!! I fell off my high horse right then. He was RIGHT! Loving involves sacrifice. It isn't easy to plan ahead and resist the urge to check out all the sales that are in the newspaper ads. Dying to self isn't painless and it isn't fun. This is one of the rules I have never paid much attention to, and I always jusitified it in my mind. If I truly wish to earn Heaven, can I leave out God's laws that don't fit into my lifestyle?? Probably not. I started to internally panic...What are we going to do all day long??? So today during menu planning our family will come up with some great ideas. One idea I plan to share, is to visit relatives, friends, and neighbors, or to have them over to our house.
 Thanks for your mercy Lord in awakening my soul to task, and enlightening me before it was too time here isn't long enough to wait for holiness to come to me. As Jesus proclaimed in the gospel today, "The time of God is at hand."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trying Healthy Homemade Poptarts

My version...not quite
as pretty.
The moment I saw these on MoneySavingMom, I had to try them! The recipe is very easy and hails from Heavenly Homemakers. I made 4 different kinds, Grape, Strawberry, Chocolate, and Brown Sugar Cinnamon. The grape and strawberry were made with jam, the chocolate with sundae syrup(heavier than Hershey's syrup, Smucker's brand), and a mix of butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar for the latter. The recipe made about 2 1/2 dozen. My honest opinion is that they are decent, pretty good actually. Homemade cinnamon rolls are much better and I would prefer homemade muffins or scones, but it's fun to try something different.  I liked the Brown Sugar Cinnamon best. The crust is a little chewy and I was expecting a little more flakey-ness. If you had to choose between these and Poptarts, these are way healthier and I love everything that's homemade, but if your kids have had the misfortune of trying Poptarts, they will probably be mine were. Although, they did eat them. On a scale of 1-5, 5 being the best, I would rate them a 3.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Is the Complaint Department Open on Thursday??

I know it's not "complaining day", but I have a few to lodge.

  1. The menu thing is going well...except yesterday's dinner was ruined when the glass lid on my crockpot imploded and shattered all over dinner. Crockpot $30, Dinner $6, hearing the kids yell "Hey Mom, something Baaad happened to dinner!"..Invaluable.
  2. I thought exercising would get easier(it did seem easier ONE day), it's only 10 minutes of light running, right??...why does it feel like 2 hours of torture?? I will continue, however, Even. If. I die.
  3. The kitchen remodel isn't happening anymore, we are half-way finished and we just don't have any desire to continue....I know the urge will return, but for now we are beached whales.
  4. I appreciate Don's wonderful job at the USPS, but why is it that our mail just doesn't  get forwarded(We DID submit a change of address!) to our new address, the new homeowners at our old house are really frustrated at getting our mail everyday. And frankly, so am I.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

The other night at our homeschool meeting, I met a catechist for The Catechism of the Good Shepherd program. I was very intrigued, so I went home and looked up the program..
It looks really wonderful, unlike many Catholic religion curriculums, it's focus is not on head knowledge, the focus is on love of God and formation of the soul. Never have I seen anything like this, it's amazing!! I have been shopping around for a new curriculum for the kids and I definitely want to do this, my only problem is that I don't think that I can create an "atrium" on my own. Our parish, St. Patrick's, has the program for younger children up to 2nd grade and they have invited us to participate with them. I will probably have the younger kids participate, but it's not set up as the program discusses, but of course the program was made for Montessori environments, so it had to be formatted to fit a traditional school environment. There also is the issue of my older kids. So much to think about......

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

10 Minutes

 I am trying to get in's so hard to leave the house to accomplish this. We have a Y membership and we go once a week and that's about all we can commit to at this time. I am experimenting with a new exercise segment strategy. For 10 minutes a day, I jog through the house. I was super out of shape, the first few days about killed me! But it's getting easier. I set the timer on the microwave. Yes, there is some skill involved, I have to jump over toys, blankets, books, shoes, and the occasional child. At first, Charlie followed me crying, trying to catch me...but he was getting exercise too! Today, I had 5 of the kids running with me...and it was kind of sweet, but also annoying...because they are in MUCH better shape and were running circles around me. It works. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me. Next week, I will add 5 minutes to the workout...although I'm not sure what to incorporate?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Starting Simple

As part of my 2011 goals, I wanted to cook more, eat out less. This is the 2nd week that I have typed up a menu and hung it on the fridge. We gather on Sunday evening, and as a family decide what will be on the menu for the following week. At that time, I also write up my grocery list for the week. We also added a bible verse to memorize(Every Day is a Gift inspired). On Monday, I do the grocery shopping. I'm a very visual person, it's such an easy simple thing, but it has totally changed my mentality...I used to basically cave in at the end of the day and order take out because I was too tired and unmotivated to even think about what to feed the family. Now that we have a plan for each day, it's soo much easier and I have everything on hand because I have already done my shopping. It's not the world's fanciest or exotic lineup, but it's family friendly and everyone had input. Someday, I'll try changing things up a bit, but for now, it's just simpler to stick with the tried and trues. One added benefit is that I don't have children constantly asking, "What's for dinner?" I just point at the menu. What makes dinner prep, planning, and shopping easier at your house??

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Know Him

 As I read various books seeking truth and exploring my faith, it has occurred to me that I have neglected THE BOOK. Although I have participated in bible studies, Mother's groups, and been to many a Mass, I have yet to read THE WHOLE ENTIRE BIBLE. I am embarrassed that I haven't ever tried or even thought much about it.

How can I in good conscience homeschool my kids, with our focus being on knowing, loving, and serving our Lord, without actually trying to know Him more intimately through scripture? Don and I had an "after bedtime" talk last night, and decided that this should be a priority for our family. Our goal is to try and read through the bible with the kids in the next 18 months. Sadly, we don't even have a good stash of bibles. This morning, I, being a frugal freak, scoured through websites looking for affordable Catholic study bibles to use. I found and ordered 8 Catholic bibles, 5 study bibles, 2 children's bibles, and 1 baby board book bible for Charlie, all for less than $30. Since I saved so much on our bibles, I also purchased bible covers for 6 of the bibles. I am so excited to begin.....I know there will be MANY challenges, but His Grace is enough.
Those of you who have read the bible or in the process, is 18 months a reasonable time frame?? Any tips or suggestions??

Friday, January 14, 2011

cable ain't that Jonah

For composition, Jonah(11) had to write a persuasive essay. This is his rough draft....please excuse his errors. The title is only the file name, I don't think he has come up with an actual title yet.
Jonah is my media guy, he's the first one to know when movies that interest him come out and he loves video games, although with strict limitations(I think this essay is also to persuade me the "benefits" of video games), and I was very surprised by his choice in topics.

"What’s so good about cable? I mean cable isn’t bad but why not just use a DVD player instead? Using a DVD player you can see almost anything you see on TV. But it may not come out for a while, so until then why don’t you just use the World Wide Web? Another benefit of not having cable is no advertisements. Some times inappropriate content can appear in advertisements on your TV, but this may also happen on the internet so make sure you know you’re on a website you trust. I know a website you can go to without inappropriate content, which is a Catholic version of Google. But there’s another benefit of not having cable. No bills to pay!!! Plus there’s something else that you can do, something that people enjoy more than TV. Video Games!!! Video games have no advertisements, and the only bill you have to pay is the electricity bill. So just because you quit cable doesn’t mean you have to be unplugged. But you can be if you wish. So now does getting rid of cable seem that bad? You can still watch your favorite shows without cable, and besides think of all the money you could be saving per month. Or better yet per year!!! So, try it, if you don’t like it, go ahead, turn it back on. The choice is yours!"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Christmas Gratitude

I have been the most UN-thankful person over the last several years, I have failed time and time again to send out thank you notes to anyone and everyone!! I decided as part of my "respect" 2011 goal, that I need to be more grateful and hopefully that will transfer over to the kids. So as our Christmas "Thank you" notes we each colored a letter and snapped a pic, added a border at and we will just send these out as postcards and write the address and note on the back of the photos. It's a little more affordable stamp-wise and a little more personal. Now, I just have to actually SEND them!! Hopefully the fact that I'm blogging about it...will help with my accountability issues!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Love Index

For our anniversary this year, my better half changed things up a bit, in past years my birthdays and anniversaries had called for a sweet card and a Mylar balloon. As much as I missed having to wrestle a balloon from our ceiling fan this year, I was shocked and awed by his gift. It was simple, loving, and very affordable. It was a stack of index cards tied up with ribbon. On each one, was a reason he loved's a few of my favorites...I love that you bake awesome cookies, I love how you are always thinking about how we can be a better family, and I love how you care about my soul. This was the BEST gift I have ever received!!! I don't think it gets any simpler either. So, I flipped them over and wrote why I loved him on the back and gave it to him for his birthday today..1-11-11, It was just too awesome of an idea not to copy.
Here are his favorites from me: I love your Prince Charming handsome smile, I love that even though you are smarter than me, you still think I am smart in my own "special" way, and I love that you listen to all my plans....even the crazy ones that don't work out.

This was really fun and it's so uplifting to think of all the positives about each other, when often, we are tempted to nit pick or dwell on the negative. When I am having a bad day, I just pull out the stack and read and really does wonders for my mood.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Perspective Irony

Charlie has been sick the last 5 days with a nasty flu bug and he ended up in the ER last night. I think finally tonight he is getting closer to healing, but it's slow going. It breaks my heart to see him so nauseous, achy, and lethargic, the poor kid can hardly sit up without assistance. The irony is that during Christmas when he was actively undecorating the Christmas tree and dragging out all the plastic ware, shoes, blankets, and the recycling...I wished that he could be my sweet little innocent isolated baby again that I could snuggle and love without resistance. Well, it's a little different when the "baby" weighs 30 pounds! I now feel very guilty for wishing such a thing, but now...what I wouldn't give to pick up a little mess or two and see his sweet mischievous grin .

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Unplugged: Read Alouds

My kids love to be read to, and I love to read to them!! Several years ago, before the first Narnia movie came out, I read all 7 of the Chronicles to the kids and then as each movie has come out, I re-read that particular book and then we go see the movie in the theater. I love that the story is appealing and exciting to kids and has so much depth for adults. This year we decided to read some of Francis Hodgson Burnett's books, The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and The Little Princess. We have also included many saint books, Devotional Stories for Little Folks 1&2, The Little House series, Hank the Cowdog books, Rare Catholic Stories, Why Geese Fly Farther Than Eagles, Angel Food for Girls & Boys Collection, Children's Treasure Box Books,  The Little Apostle on Crutches, The Little Butterfly who Loved Jesus, Catholic Tales for Boys & Girls, and many classics. Catholic Heritage Curricula has a wonderful selection of Faith based books and I usually try to buy a few each year to add to our collection. This is one tradition that I hope my kids continue with their families someday. It's also a perfect way to wind down the evening and then have prayer time and bed time. I'm always on the look out for new books to share with them...especially interesting ones about our Faith. The little ones usually drift away or become distractions. It isn't until they are 5 and up that they start to pay attention, but it just depends on the kids, some 3 year olds have better attention spans than some 7 year olds.
The hard part is finding something quiet for the little ones to do. After reading the Secret Garden, our whole family is excitedly planning our Spring garden....if we get the swimming pool all filled in first!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sweet 16

Today is our 16th wedding anniversary. It isn't quite the evening I had imagined. We had plans to go out for dinner at the Hyatt...compliments of my Mom, she was even going to babysit. Poor little Charlie was up all night with a wicked stomach bug and it's still wreaking havoc on his 2 year old body. A marriage is kind of like that, it's not exactly the way you pictured it would be.

We can both roll our tongues..TALENT!

Our future is it's just the flash.
Let me try!

In complete and total honesty, I will say it's far better than I could have ever imagined, dreamed of, wanted...etc. No, it's not perfect, but to have an honest, trustworthy, loving, self-sacrificing relationship with your best friend is priceless. We have faced many challenges and difficulties in our 16 years, but that has only tightened the knot. We have both learned so much from each other....and I can say that Don definitely got the short end of the stick!! He puts up with so much, and I have yet to meet a more patient soul, God knew he needed to bring balance to the universe!! He is the one God intended for me, I have no doubts about that. It's funny before you get married what you imagine your spouse to be like, for me it was Cary Elwes, for Don it was Courtney Cox. I don't think we could have found 2 more opposite people!! LOL!! When things are hard, and we seem to be drifting, we remind ourselves that love is an action word, not a feeling, and that to feel love, one must give love. We were married on the traditional feast day of Epiphany, January 6th, and we have 6 children...I think it's cool to see the order in things, I don't think anything is a coincidence. I was shopping at Dillons the other night when an elderly lady began to talk to me in the laundry soap aisle. She told me about her husband that had passed away a few short years ago and how much she missed him and that he treated his family like royalty and how he treated her like a queen....with tears welling up she sighed and said.."We miss him so much." Our time here is short...too short, and the relationships we have on this Earth are the only things we take with us. Love is eternal.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sweet Memory of Father Karrer

Father Walter Karrer C.S.s.R passed away on December 22nd at the age of 90. For a short time, he was in retirement at SEAS. As one of many parishioners, I was never an important or memorable part of Father Karrer's life, but I will always remember him...especially on Father's Day. Our family remembers his warm and loving smile, he had a way of looking through your eyes right into your soul and letting you feel the love of Jesus. On a few occasions, he pulled us aside after Mass and told us a few jokes....One in particular was this.. "There was a redhead who wished to be a blond and so she cried and cried and complained until finally she died.........(long pause for effect).........her hair". Following Mass on Father's Day, I wished Father Karrer a Happy Father's Day, he told me that so many people forget to remember priests on Father's Day and he seemed to be saddened by this. Our family decided to try and change that, so ever since then, we have remembered our priests on Fathers' Day...starting right then and there! I went home and made a card for each of our priests and delivered them to the church office. Later that day, I was at home and feeling very heartbroken at not being able to spend time with my Dad on Father's Day, when the phone rang. It was Father Karrer who called to thank us for the card. He asked if we could just "talk awhile" and of course, I said YES! We found out that we are both from Michigan and we talked about our families there. He told me about Redemptorist priests, he told me of his sacrifices, and he told me about his great love and devotion to the Eucharist and Adoration. Thank you Father Karrer, I am sure you now know how much your phone call meant to me that day, and how you touched my heart and taught my soul. Through your example, I strive to love our Lord more fully and learn by your example.You will be missed here, but I believe Heaven is rejoicing as you adore our Savior in Adoration forever.......

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Goals

I feel like in 2010, I was in many ways unproductive. We did move and greatly reduced our overall debt and are 1 step closer to living within our means and living a more simple life, but I feel like I dropped the ball and neglected so many other people and things. So, this year I am making them a priority. I am calling these goals(not resolutions) and we all have goals, they help to keep us motivated. The first of the year is an ideal and logical time to do so for many reasons. It is cold outside so there is time to think. We are all getting new calendars and setting schedules for the year. It's also a great way to remember progress and the start date. For those with school aged children, it marks the halfway point and it's a great time to review progress and to figure out what needs work.

  1. Spend more time in prayer. Commit to going to Adoration every single week, since we moved, I haven't taken on my own hour, I have been tagging along with my Mother. I want to continue going with her, but I need to make it a priority and not just find excuses not to go. Teach the children better in the Catechism department, we do try to live our faith in many ways, but I haven't been doing Catechism the last year as often. Also include apologetics as well. Go to confession more often, we go several times a year, but it's not as consistent as it should be. I will actually mark it on the calendar this year.
  2. Increase Respect for everyone. I am not disrespectful to complete strangers, but to my very own family, it's a different story, I could use a great deal of work!! Listen more, talk less. We had a family meeting last night and we all agreed to work on this as a family. I promised I would yell less, make more eye contact and really listen when they spoke. Listen more, talk less. I have been reading a book by Deborah Norville called, "The Power of Respect", while not all of it applies to our family, there is a wealth of information and examples that have really hit home with me.
  3. Visit relatives more often.
  4. Take off the 25 pounds I gained last year. I blame it on the stress of moving and even thought maybe I had Hypothyroidism, but the test results came back negative. I just need to get up, eat less, and move more. And as my Dr. said "You know you are getting older, you will have to work harder to lose weight and stay fit". I need to be a better example to my kids. We have a very neglected Y membership that we plan to's on the calendar.
  5. Cook more, eat out less.
  6. Organize my home. (This is on the list every year and I have yet to accomplish it...although I do try!)
  7. Try to be content with what I have and satisfied with what I don't, additionally try to be creative with our resources. Listen more, talk less.
There are probably a thousand other things that I need to work on, but if I set too many goals, I'll get overwhelmed and then I'll freeze and not do anything. Simple is good.