Sunday, July 31, 2011

Come To Jesus

Sometimes a song just speaks to your heart...."Come to Jesus" by Chris Rice

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Catholic Art Saturday/ A Quiet Moment

 My friend, Simplemama and I went to a health fair at a hotel yesterday.  Scattered throughout the hotel were bronze statues by artist Timothy P. Schmalz. I was very moved by a unique yet tender rendition of the Holy Family in his piece called, "A Quiet Moment". If you live in Wichita, you can see his art at the Best Western hotel on W. Kellogg...really;)
A Quiet Moment by Artist Timothy P. Schmalz

 "I describe my sculptures as being visual prayers. When I create a three dimensional sculpture in bronze I am quite aware that it will last longer than myself. I realize I am between two things that are much more durable than myself: Christianity and bronze metal. It is between these that I have developed a subtle appreciation for what Saint Francis meant by instrument." Timothy P. Schmalz

Mother Theresa

Blessed Pope John Paul II

St. Vincent de Paul

Friday, July 29, 2011

Love These Shoes!!

Every May(since last year), we head over to Old Navy for their flip-flops with back straps for Benny and Charlie.

They are always so cute and you can't beat the price: $2.50 a pair...if you buy 2. We always buy 2 pairs for each of them and usually by the end of the summer...we might just have a mismatched set...oh well!

     Don wishes they made them in his size! 
I even let them wear them to Mass.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Over 120 lbs. of boxes were delivered today.
They were labeled with 3 of our children's names.

        These are the supplies for our 20111/2012 school year from Lawrence Virtual School.
                         The curriculum they supply is a wonderful classical curriculum called K-12.

This is less than 1/4 of what was delivered. Most of the the books/supplies/manipulatives in the pics, are Eli's. He is starting 2nd grade. This program is such a blessing to our family.

It helps me with the 3 A's:
  1. Accreditation: My children receive a classical homeschool curriculum that has been recommended on EWTN and it's accredited by the state of Kansas.
  2. Accountability: Having online daily lesson plans along with a timeline and progress graphs helps keep the kids accountable. Having educational specialists to help me with any bumps on the road is wonderful.
  3. Affordability: Because our family qualifies due to our family size/income for free or reduced lunches, our cost to enroll all 4 of our school age children is $0. Otherwise, each child costs $98 per year this includes all the above per student and a laptop to check off daily course work.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Strange Craigslist Post: Zonkies

Or are they Debras??
                                                            Only $500!

Yard Work

Don decided to "install" a sprinkler system to water the few pieces of grass that have managed to survive in the front yard.

After the brief but strong storm, Benny found a limb laying in the street. He rescued it and decided to plant it.

Charlie noticed that Benny had his picture taken. He insisted I also take his photo in front of the "new" tree too.

Yes, as always, life is a thrill a minute here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hope for Moms of Young Children

When Noah was a baby, he had colic and my arms burned and my legs throbbed from walking through the house all day and most of the evening patting his back, singing, bouncing, and trying to soothe him until he was 6 months old! I thought those days would never pass!! This wasn't the perfect dream of motherhood I had envisioned.

 I comforted myself by thinking, "Someday he will be able to comfort, feed, dress, and wipe himself...I also prayed and cried...a lot!!  And believe it or not, that day came, went, and progressed into not only helping himself but the rest of the family too!! It happens, it does, we are living proof! 

It's kind of like compound interest. You invest your time, your effort, and yourself... of course completely dependant upon God, right?? You receive multiple blessings in the form of children and when they are of age(usually between 7-8) they help more than what is required for their sustenance. It's totally true!

These exquisite creatures exist almost purely on love. No, they aren't perfect and they do things to remind you of this. But we need those reminders or we have lost the whole humility package that's built into the divine parental covenant.  

We know several families that put ours to shame.... BIG TIME... 
They are the models and examples we strive to emulate.
I try to remember: For every bad day, there are at least 2 good days.

 We have a long way to go, but we are trying......

"We will run and not grow weary, for our God will be our strength, and we will fly like the eagle, we will rise again."
Eli reading to Benny and Charlie

Jonah cleaning

Hannah cutting up Benny's waffle.
Noah and Charlie

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Few More Favorite Things

My cup. Don surprised me one day with it..I had been eyeing his...only thing is, I don't drink coffee, but it's PERFECT for my water and fits like a glove in the van's cup holder.

Our DIY Pottery Barn inspired coat hook's great for all my different activity totes..just grab and go.

This is currently Charlie's favorite book, it rhymes and features trucks and trains. He gets so tickled when I read it to him he just giggles.

I got this free from Viewpoints. Although, I would never buy it..I really like it. All it does is add a fresh scent to your laundry. I like adding it to my rugs, towels, blankets, and sheets because the scent lasts for weeks. I noticed walking into the bathroom that it just smelled fresher...remember we have 5 boys..2 still at the "dribbling and misfire" age.
We have collected a few David E. Doss art pieces over the years. We have this one hanging in our downstairs "beach" bathroom. It reminds me of our Florida vacations.

We have been having fun with this game lately,Hannah and I played for 2 hours yesterday. It's just like regular monopoly except American-ized. Actually, if you're not careful you may just learn some history...sshhh...don't tell my kids they think it's just fun;)

Oh my fan, my glorious fan, how would we survive this heat without you??
So, what are some of your favorites? Art? Organization? Scented things? Games? Ways to keep cool?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Catholic Art Saturday/ St. Michael

Guido Reni (4 November 1575 – 18 August 1642) was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style. This is the image that comes to my mind when praying the St. Michael prayer.

He received an independent commission for an altarpiece of the Crucifixion of St. Peter.
                                                           Adoration of the Shepherds ..we have received several Christmas cards adorned with this image, it's refreshing to know where it came from.
                                                         St. Joseph holding Baby Jesus
                                                            Isn't this the sweetest??

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy with Ulta

I's a weird pic..I was trying to get the other
side and a some of the back...oh well...And also
the pic doesn't give the style and cut justice...sorry!
If only I had longer arms...
  About once a year, I splurge on my hair. I always wait until I find the "best" deal.

This year an Ulta store opened in New Market Square and they have a fabulous special. Haircut and Style.. $20!!

 You can add highlights for an additional $40...that's what I did and I really LOVE LOVE it!!

My stylist was Sheneice and she gave me $20 off referral cards to anyone who wants one...let me know if you are interested.

Also, if you sign up for Ulta's Beauty Club(which is FREE) you get these lovely free samples.

Beating the Homeschool Blues

I just had to share this today...even though we are off for the summer...there was A LOT I could relate to!! It's totally hilarious, true, and written by Julie Bogart at her blog: Brave Writer

Beating the Homeschooling Blues
(Instead of Singing Them)

You’ve met her. It’s week eleven of the school year and she’s on week three. She can’t bear to let her kids skip a single Saxon problem. She is swimming in writing manuals from last year's convention…and she hasn’t found time to start reading them yet.
Art supplies cost too much. Soccer practice conflicts with dinner. Her toddler wrecks the read-aloud time. And the field trip notice on the refrigerator is past the sign up date. Worst of all, she has unsorted laundry on the bed. Woe is she!
And boy is she tired. Exhausted. Hasn’t slept in six years. Hasn’t eaten a full meal in four. Hasn’t had a hair cut in ten. And what’s a manicure, she asks?

Wait, is this you? I know it's been me at various times along the way.

We all whine and complain from time to time. But when I begin to think, “I could be a much better homeschooling mother if my kids were just in school,” I know I’m in trouble.

What about you? Are you becoming a ‘Joan of Abekka’? ‘Mother Theresa of Calculadders’? Martyrs for the homeschool cause?

Don’t get me wrong. I know you are as committed to your kids as I am to mine. I want those exquisite beings to fulfill their callings, to discover their destinies, to…to…to pass the infernal year-end exams so I don’t feel like a total failure! (Sometimes that’s truer, isn’t it?)

What I need, what our mythic mom needs and what I bet you need, is a fresh perspective and a healthy dose of practical change. Let's go!

Do Something Today

Do one thing right now.

Sort through the eternal mail pile. Clean out the fridge. Order the new math book. Pray. Jog. Read to your toddler. Look at an art print. Cut your hair. Plan one day of school in advance. Shop for the ingredients to the next science experiment. Just one.
Don’t plan to do it. Don’t call your best friend about it. Don’t wait to consult your hubby. Don’t read a book on the subject.

I wanted saffron yellow walls for my kitchen for months. But which yellow paint? How much should I buy? How would I know if I got the best price in town? What if my husband hated the color? And worst of all, how could I paint my walls yellow with five kids under foot?

Then one day, I had had it. I marched all of us into Home Depot, covered my eyes and picked the color card. I got the paint mixed, paid for it and went home. I painted the wall that afternoon while the toddler was awake! (Nuts, I know, but she wasn’t even the one to spill the bright yellow paint all over the apartment rug—ahem—we don’t really need to know who did that, do we?)

Every morning for the next year, I’d come bounding down the stairs and smile first thing. That wall brightened my dreary little apartment immeasurably and it reminded me of the power of follow-through.

Don’t Do Something Else

Don’t call your girlfriend because you're bored. Don’t leave the house with lunch plates on the table. Don’t flip through the Hanna Andersson catalog for the eighth time (you know you can’t afford those dresses). Don’t sleep in... again. Don't get online before breakfast and stay there... until noon.

Pick the most annoying or embarrassing habit and stop it today. You don’t have to promise for eternity. Just today. If you pick one to stop per day, you’ll be amazed at how many changes you can make. At least you'll make a change each day.

I, for one, would pay lots of money for little hand restraints to ‘just say no’ to that mid-morning call to my best friend. When I stay off the phone in the morning, it’s amazing how much better homeschooling goes. (Though the DTs demand some chocolate as compensation.)

Give Up

That’s right—wave the white flag. You will never be like her. Don’t compare yourself to Miss Perfect.

So what if she does the entire lesson plan for Sonlight every day?Who cares if she can maneuver Cuisinaire rods with one hand while stir frying dinner with the other?
Any woman who can make her own bread, write out daily lesson plans, organize all her math manipulatives into marked bins, and get her hair colored every four weeks is to be applauded not envied. After all, her kids are usually geniuses too. Have you seen their Iowa scores?
So give-up. By that calculation, she's an Olympic athlete; you're not. But you're okay with that when we talk about rhythmic gymnastics. You can be okay with that here too.

Here’s the solution: Do what you can and enjoy what you do. The ones who seem to have it all together are actually just happy. They advertise contentment (which in turn makes the rest of us crazed with guilt). Quit comparing and start enjoying your kids. She does. You can too. They're the reason we all chose to stay home, remember?
Pick Three

It’s a relief to get out of the homeschool Olympics, isn’t it? Don’t wreck these cautiously emerging good feelings by writing a mission statement either. That’s a sure-fire way to end up with a big pile of laundry on your bed next week.
Instead of thinking generally about what isn’t working, start noticing what is. Pick three reasons it is good to be alive and homeschooling. Then go tell someone.
Recite these every time the dishes are stacked too high in the sink.
  • Don’t have to schlep my five kids to school by 8:00 a.m.
  • Reading all those great books in our pajamas.
  • Seeing the firsts up close (first step, first letters, first word read, first expository essay)
  • Poetry teatimes!
  • Giving my daughter time to write stories about her bunny.
  • Listening to my seven-year-old read words that I haven’t taught him.
  • Teacher conferences over candlelight with my husband.
Those are some of my favorites. I’m sure that you can think of more. Just pick three.

Break a Rule

Give yourself a break. Paper plates for lunch. Disposable diapers for a week (how about a month—want to be radical, a whole year!) Listen to old James Taylor tunes. Dance through the living room. Put on a little make-up.
In other words, splurge. By definition, a splurge only happens once in a while. But unlike gluttony or indulgence, there's no guilt.
Homeschool moms simply carry too many causes at once and feel trapped by their “better than God’s laws” rules. The Judeo-Christian God gave Ten Commandments and ‘couponing’ is not on the list. Get it?
So go to an art museum alone (without the co-op). Read a book you want to read. Shut the teacher’s manual and take a nature hike. Nourish your mind, spirit, and body and your homeschool will benefit too.

In the end, we must be mothers who love what we do. When we don’t, we risk the vitality and joy of our children’s schooling experience. Their memories of school will be inextricably bound to us. Who do we want them to remember?
We started in on this weird and wonderful lifestyle for good reasons. Instead of complaining, let’s remind each other of the truly heroic job we are doing—spending twenty-four hours a day with our kids because we love them more than anyone else will.

And be proud of you. I am. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

1st Attempt:Black Bean Burgers

In an effort to eat healthier and save money...(HAVE YOU NOTICED THE PRICE OF MEAT LATELY???)...I was anxious to try Black Bean Burgers. I found the recipe on MoneySavingMom
I tweaked it to what ingredients I had on hand.

Black Bean Burgers
1 can drained black beans
1 C. brown rice(we used white)
2 T. salsa
1 egg
2+ C. bread crumbs(used whole wheat buns toasted)
seasoning(I used Mrs. Dash and some steak seasoning)
Mix ingredients together and fry in olive oil until firm and hot.

A few things we learned:
  • Make the rice ahead of time....otherwise it's too wet.
  • Cook for a long time on medium-low heat until firm all the way through.
  • Don't forget the bread crumbs or use crackers..otherwise they will fall apart.
Even my picky eater gobbled these down. No, they don't taste like hamburger, but they are very good especially if you find the right seasoning ratio. The kids had shredded cheddar and ketchup on theirs. Don and I opted for salsa and sour cream along with shredded cheddar. The cool thing is, each burger including the whole wheat bun had over 10 grams of fiber and very little fat. And don't get me started on the than 40 cents a burger!  I think this will be added to our dinner menu options from now on.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pipe Cleaners and Pony Beads

We are so excited to be participating in our first Busy Bag Swap! My project is create a bag with pipe cleaners and pony beads along with an idea sheet. If you have any other ideas be sure to comment below...please???
 Here's what I came up with from searching the web:
Sculptures using an empty spice shaker or mount on clay or play-doh.


Christmas Tree..or any kind of about an apple tree??

Decade Rosaries

DNA Model

Heart Flower
We can't wait to get receive our 30 activities...Benny, Charlie, and I will be doing an informal preschool with the busy bags.
People and Animals
 A Rainbow
Look at all these cute ideas just with pipe cleaners:





Benny, Charlie, and I just can't wait to receive our busy bags to start our informal preschool!!