Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Castle on a Cloud

Hannah and I escaped to the quiet of the porch for a little Les Miserables.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Girls Scouts and Planned Parenthood

I was reading Abby Johnson's blog this morning and found an aritcle about GSA's connection to Planned Parenthood. I knew there was a feminist agenda, but I had no idea it was this bad!!! Check out this website to learn more about it I know I for one will never allow Hannah to participate. Oh how I will miss Thin Mints!!! My stomach may not be happy but my soul will be, by not supporting abortion.

Catholic Art Saturday/The Last Supper

“The Last Supper” is a 15th century mural painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. Da Vinci began work on The Last Supper in 1495 and completed it in 1498.
Copied from Catholic Icing: "This painting is supposed to be the instant that Jesus says to the disciples "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me" (Matthew 26:21). Ask your children what they think of the apostle's reactions. Then go over these things:
The apostles are all reacting, but Christ is the calm in the midst of the storm.
There are many symbols of the trinity in the painting- 3 windows behind Jesus, Jesus' arms make him the shape of a triangle, and the apostles are all seated in groups of 3.
In the first group of 3, the apostles all seem surprised- Andrew to the point that his hands are in a "stop" gesture. Bartholomew has stood up so quickly his legs are still crossed.
Peter is holding a knife, foreshadowing his upcoming violence at the garden of Gethsemane.
Judas is holding a bag- symbolizing the bag of silver he will betray Jesus for. His face is utter shock at Jesus' knowledge of his plan.
John seems to be "swooning". The most asked picture about this painting is "Why does John look that way?"
Doubting Thomas, with his finger in the air, indeed looks doubtful!
James the greater seems stunned with his arms in the air, while Philip seems to request an explanation.
Matthew and Jude both look to Simon for an explanation, while he seems unable to provide one."
The Last Supper was originally created for Da Vinci’s patron, Duke Ludovico Sforza and his duchess Beatrice d'Este. The Last Supper can be found at the wall of the dining hall at Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, where it covers the entire back wall. Right below Jesus' feet is the doorway to another room.
Read more details here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cox Farms

My friend, told me about Cox Farms and their AMAZING deals!!! Today you can get heads of lettuce for 25 cents each, baby carrots 1lb bag for 15 cents, and cherries for $2.49 a pound. Sign up to be a subscriber here . The address is 6059 S. Seneca. They have lots of other deals, like russet potatoes for $1.99 a 10lb. bag and green beans .99 cents a lb.  

Pretty Thrift

One of the most challenging things about living on a budget is unexpected occasions. We received an invitation from my cousin for her little girl's 1st birthday party. We are so excited to go!! The kids absolutely adore her and it's such an honor to be included! We have tweaked our budget to allow for miscellaneous items and that has helped a great deal, but we had to use those funds earlier in the week. Don and I came up with a plan. We went through the house and found some kids items from when Noah was a baby and took them to Kid to Kid hoping they would purchase them. I was thrilled they accepted them!! The ladies were very polite... whew!  We had enough money to buy the birthday girl an adorable outfit, a matching bow for her hair, and a wonderful action book that her kitty loving family will hopefully enjoy with her. The cool thing is Kid to Kid has a return policy, she can return them if they aren't the right size or style. I don't normally buy used items for gifts, but I know my cousin is a thrifty garage sale gal herself, so I knew she wouldn't mind and it's doubtful this outfit was worn, it's in pristine condition. 

 There was enough left over to buy my 2 littles four clean t-shirts that I won't be embarassed to take them out of the house in! Also, we were even able to grab a quick lunch out. Thanks Kid to Kid!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to Post Comments

I learned from my friend's blog that to post a comment during this Blogger blitz, after you type out your comment, unclick the "stay logged in" box and it should work, it has for me. This has been majorly frustrating me lately!

5 Minute Summer School

Today is our first day of SUMMER!!! School is out!!! Wahoo!!! I don't know who is more excited me or the kids!!
It seems every summer the kids seem to take a few steps back academically over the vacation. -AND- It takes longer to get the motor running after we start back up in the fall. I decided that hopefully with a little planning, we can at least partially avoid it.
We started 5 minute school today...the kids were actually excited and relieved that it actually only last 5 minutes. I took into consideration the struggles that we had during the school year and how to improve. Across the board, all the kids have fallen away from doing any time quick mathematical calculation has decreased, handwriting also has been forgotten at least in the cursive department and for Eli it's a chance to improve on printing.
Here's the schedule:
  1. Timed tests, today we printed off multiplication tests from here.
  2. Cursive and printing worksheets from here.                               
  3. Bonus..I just have the kids answer different questions or problems.
Also, although the library programs are great, the kids need an extra nudge to encourage reading this summer, so we have instituted the "Wii for Reading" program. For each certain # of pages read they will be given a Wii minute, such as 5 pages for 1 minute to be redeemed in 30 minute increments. Previously, Wii was only allowed from 8AM-Noon on Saturdays. So this is a BIG treat for the kids. We will go to the library once a week and also go to school lunch that day as well. It may seem redundant reading all my 5 minute posts, but I have learned that this really helps me stay focused and not become overwhelmed and taking these little baby steps is such an easy commitment...Hey, it's only 5 minutes, right?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Relief for Joplin

Catholic Charities collecting donations for victims of recent tornados.

WICHITA, Kan. – Catholic Charities, Inc., a ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, is collecting donations of water, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, non-perishable foods, baby diapers and formula, cash and gift cards to Walmart and Dillons Food Store for people affected by the tornados this past week.

Donations can be delivered to Catholic Charities, 437 North Topeka, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. now through May 31 (except on Sunday).

We will deliver the items to our satellite office, the Catholic Charities Southeast Kansas Help Center in Pittsburg, which is already assisting disaster victims. Donations will then be delivered directly to the affected areas.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Switch & Save

A few moments surfing the web and on the phone this week, will save our family $1,116.00 a year.  We lowered our rates on our car insurance by half  with the same amount of coverage and we switched our phone service to Vonage keeping our same phone number and with the same benefits which saved us 75% on our regular monthly phone bill. Guess what we are going to do with the savings?? What do you do to save money on your monthly bills??

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Catholic Art Saturday/ Quo Vadis

Our old parish, had this image hanging outside the Adoration Chapel and I loved the message.
“Quo Vadis?” derives from an early Christian story in which the Apostle Peter, leaving Rome because of the fierce persecution of Christians, had a vision of Christ walking down the road towards him. Peter asked, “Quo vadis, Domine?” meaning, “Where are you going, Lord?” and was told, “I am going to Rome to be crucified in your place.” After that Peter retraced his steps and returned to Rome and was crucified upside down.
Where are we going, do we try to run away from our crosses?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Design Di-LEMON-a

Here it is, our lovely bathroom. I don't know quite what color the tiles and countertops are...dirty lemon or harvest gold? Don said to me a few weeks ago that this bathroom was so ugly it was driving him crazy. Now in all the years we have been married, he has never said anything like that...and then as I stood there stunned ..I had no reply. I've been thinking and thinking and thinking about what to do in there. I don't have a clue! HELP!! Any suggestions?? Obviously it needs to be cheap.
 Some of my thoughts are, tear out the tile and replace with drywall. The tub has a surround, so we don't need it really...and gosh there is just so much of it! I momentarily thought of's so pretty, but it would be expensive and I haven't been thrilled with the way it's held up around the kitchen's ok, just not something I want to do in the bathroom.
Then I thought about replacing it with white tiles..maybe subway, but that's a little too modern for the design of our house...not to mention cost.

The one thing that has been updated is the vanity and I don't mind doing the same treatment on both of those storage units and replacing the existing doors and trim...we are s..l..o..w..l..y doing this throughout the house anyway. Oh yeah..and the tile floor that Don put in last year.
But I just don't have any inspiration in this room. Any thoughts or suggestions??? Wouldn't this room drive you crazy too??

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Do you remember this post about our vacation? Well, as you may have heard, we are trying to break free from the chains of debt. This guy is mostly to blame.
 Don and I have been talking quite a bit about our finances and decided that we really need to attack our debt, because face it, if we are in debt, nothing that we own truly belongs to us anyway.
 I am not counting our mortgage...I am not forgetting about it, it's just not the step we are on right now.
 Anyway as hard as is was, I cancelled our trip to Hilton Head...the agent on the phone could feel my pain as I reluctantly cancelled our ressies. After I hung up the phone,  I felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders..not to mention that the ressie went right off our Visa..Wahoo!! When Don and I told the kids they were disappointed, but I told them that when Daddy's home for vacation, each child would get to choose a fun family activity. They were very excited about that...maybe even just as excited as they were about the vacation;)
I thought I would share the Financial Peace University baby steps with you and where we are and what our hopes are.
  1. Establish an emergency fund with $1,000.00
  2. Pay off debt using the debt snowball.(Not including mortgage)
  3. Fully fund emergency savings fund with 3-6 months living expenses.
  4. Save 15% of your income for retirement in a Roth IRA or pre-tax retirement account.
  5. Save for children's college(We will be saving some to give each child but can not fund each of the 6 kids' entire college...there's a great funding program called W.O.R.K.)
  6. Pay off home early
  7. Build wealth and give!
We are still on baby step #2 but hope to be moving on to step#3 by early next year. It will be a challenge, but I believe we can do anything through the Grace of God. I wish we would have done this before we had kids or at least 5-10 years ago...oh well....we just need to go. go. go!
 I'm a big geek for admitting this, but I LOVE a tough challenge and it hasn't disappointed me yet!
I love to budget and track every penny and I budget several months in advance, I've designed our own custom budget documents to print off. I squeal with excitement when we have leftover money to push toward our debt at the end of our 2 week budget.
I have always gotten a big thrill from getting bargains and using great's even more exhilarating for me now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chalk House

The kids have had fun coloring the bricks on the house with chalk..I'm hoping they do the whole thing before it rains! I even helped a little, who could resist?? 

Also this made for a very frugal source of entertainment. $2.00 for 2 boxes of chalk from Dollartree..possibly causing the neighbors to think we may start parking our vehicles in our front yard next...priceless.

Cover Yourself, Please!

PROVERBS 11:22: “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.”

I was at the gas station last night and I witnessed something very. very. sad. A young woman who was pumping her gas had tied her t-shirt up to reveal her entire mid-section. The young man running the station had a very clear view and was visibly excited...I was grossed out! Ladies, cover yourselves for the love of all things holy!! Don't you understand that you will be held accountable for leading others into sin?? Seriously, this is WRONG...if you have any doubts...just don't wear it. You are causing men to NOT respect women, do you really want to be viewed as an object, not as a soul?? What about when you are 50 or 60...what then?? If you spend your life trying to stimulate men visually, women will distrust you and men won't see your worth. Wake up and put on some clothes!!!!
I TIMOTHY 2:8-10: “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but which is proper for women professing godliness with good works,”  
Okay, I hope I have your attention. What is appropriate then??
 Here are a few things to avoid:
  • Skirts or dresses, or shorts that are too short. If the skirt is two inches above the knee then it is too short.
  • Clothing that is too tight. Clothes don't have to be overly baggy or ill-fitting to be "modest", but they should not cling. It can be fitted but if the cloth has to stretch for you to put your hand under it, it's too tight.
  • Bikinis...ALL OF THEM!
  • Shirts that are see-through. Pair these with a modest t-shirt or other top underneath if you wish to wear them. Use your best judgment.
  • Any shirt or dress that is too low cut in the front or back.

I JOHN 2:16-17: “For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
If we as women take an active role in dignity and promote self-worth using modesty, we will be greatly respected and give glory to God. As God asked Adam and Eve after they sinned in the garden, "Where are you?" Did He not know where they were?? Of course He did. He wanted them to know where they were in their hearts.We must asked ourselves the same question when choosing clothing.

MATTHEW 5:27-28: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a women to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Do we want to have the burden of someone else's sin on our souls as well? Personally, I have more than I need to have without having that added burden!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Best Machine Bread

When I saw the word, "foolproof", in the description, I knew it was the one for me;) I absolutely LOVE this bread machine recipe. It's so versatile, you can change it up using 1/2 whole wheat flour or throw in a little flax, you can add rosemary and Italian seasoning to make a savory rosemary bread, you can up the sugar content and add cinnamon to make a breakfast bread...the list goes on. I have been using this recipe for over a month...and I have been making it often and having a blast trying new ingredients, not to mention enjoying the wonderful aroma enveloping the house. This recipe is from Allrecipes.

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 tablespoons white sugar

1 (.25 ounce) package bread machine yeast

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1.Place the water, sugar and yeast in the pan of the bread machine. Let the yeast dissolve and foam for 10 minutes(I never do this, I just throw it in order and push start) Add the oil, flour and salt to the yeast. Select Basic or White Bread setting, and press Start.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A 5 Minute Life

Lately, I've been in a rut, the house has seemed impossible for me to keep up with. is a daily treat for me, I saw 2 different posts for time management resources all in 5 minutes. I thought even I could dedicate myself to 5 minutes. I wasn't able to look at either of these, so I came up with a plan myself and have started to implement it...I'll update a few months from now to let you know how it's going. First of all, I needed to determine what was getting done daily without having to "schedule" it. That list includes:
  1. Family prayer time
  2. is still going strong
  3. School
  4. Dishes..Boys do this as part of their chores.
  5. Laundry..Don's self appointed duty.
  6. Vacuum
Next, I had to come up with a list of things that tend to get neglected. These items will be added to our daily menu. I will do 1 5 minute chore before lunch and 1 5 minute chore after lunch. This will keep things simple.
This list is HUGELY LONG, so I'll just mention a few of these..
  1. Clean off the computer desk.
  2. Clean 2-3 windows.
  3. Dust 3 rooms.
  4. Clean bathroom mirrors.
  5. Sweep foyer.
  6. Clean bathtub
  7. Clean out 1 shelf in fridge.
  8. Clean bathroom floor.
  9. Declutter my "office" aka..the end table.
  10. Clean bathroom sink.
As I tend to become overwhelmed rather easily, I have learned to accomplish 1 little thing at a time and not look too far ahead.
What do you do that makes your life simple yet organized?

Catholic Art Saturday/Divine Mercy Image

It took me a year to read the Diary of St. Faustina, and although it made me feel inferior beyond belief, it was also inspiring and comforting at the same time. The message of mercy and the simple trust in Our Lord is beautiful and love of Christ inducing.
"During his homily, Pope John Paul II also made clear that the Image of The Divine Mercy St. Faustina saw, which is to be venerated on Divine Mercy Sunday, represents the Risen Christ bringing mercy to the world (see Diary 49, 88, 299, 341, 570, 742). Pope John Paul II said: "Jesus shows His hands and His side [to the Apostles]. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in His Heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity.
"From that Heart, Sr. Faustina Kowalska, the blessed whom from now on we will call a saint, will see two rays of light shining from that Heart and illuminating the world: ‘The two rays,' Jesus Himself explained to her one day, ‘represent blood and water' (Diary, 299).
"Blood and water! We immediately think of the testimony given by the Evangelist John, who, when a soldier on Calvary pierced Christ's side with his spear, sees blood and water flowing from it (see Jn 19:34). Moreover, if the blood recalls the sacrifice of the cross and the gift of the Eucharist, the water, in Johannine symbolism, represents not only Baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit" (see Jn 3:5; 4:14; 7:37-39).
To learn more about this image click here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Don's Dream Sofa

Isn't it crazy how Blogger's been down?? I couldn't access anything!! Yep, that's a pool table. I found this on craigslist last night and showed it to Don. He got so excited and said, "That is the GREATEST invention I've ever seen! They need to make a love seat that turns into an air hockey table, and then we're set!" Just for the record, we didn't buy it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Catholic Art Sunday/ Our Lady of Czestochowa

We were blessed on Saturday to have Don's Mom over for the day while Dad went to a caregiver class, so I completely forgot about Catholic Art Saturday. Today is actually perfect being as it's Mother's Day and I wanted to share Our Lady of Czestochowa(pronounced ChestaHOVa) from Poland. It was damaged in a fire causing the paint to darken, so it's often referred to as the "Black Madonna." I chose this image because it holds a special place in the heart of Blessed John Paul II. He has been on my heart since his beatification last Sunday.
The image has been associated with Poland since the 1300's, the origin however, has been a source of debate. I like the story that St. Luke painted it on the table at the home of the Holy Family while Mary told him about the childhood of Jesus. I showed this image to the children at Holy Savior in relation to Blessed John Paul II last week, and there were genuine exclamations of admiration and I asked them if they knew who it was, they all knew it was Mary and baby Jesus. I think it's beautiful that so many countries have their own versions of holy images... it's an unspoken language of universal understanding and recognition.
Here's a link to my friend,Mary's Blog about it in greater detail.

To the Sweetest

 We had so much fun making these simple little cards!! We just used different backgrounds that I downloaded and printed online. Happy Mother's Day....again!!

Happy Mother's Day!!!!

My sweet family blessed me this morning with a giant posterboard card!! I always love it when a gift come from the heart, not from the wallet!! I am most unworthy!!The kids each traced and colored in their hands and wrote what they loved about me. Don did the same on the back of the still my heart!
Happy Mother's Day to all you beautiful Mothers!!! May The Mother of all Mothers guide us to sanctity.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bike Trails

Arkansas River Path just east of the Keeper of the Plains

We have been blazing the Bike Trails on the West side of Wichita, and it's been a blast! We have explored all along both sides of the river, coasted by Cowtown, Keeper of the Plains, Exploration Place, the zoo, Sedgwick County Park, over, under, and across bridges, and Riverside. We started out taking 1-2 mile rides, and at the time, even that seemed grueling. Now, we are up to 7 miles, which by most cyclists standards is laughable, but with our brood of 8, it's great!! It's crazy how much I look forward to our evening adventures, if we have to miss a ride, we're all a little stir crazy. Our goal is to ride up to 12 miles...that's the size of Hilton Head Island. I am especially proud of Hannah and Eli, who had to get off their bikes a few times when we started, usually at the top of hills and nearing the end of our rides due to tired legs...they are now super troopers and have plenty of energy to finish and then some. The hero of us all, by far, is Don! He carries Benny on a bike seat and hauls Charlie in the trailer. Because of the design of our bikes, mine doesn't work for the the seat and maybe in I get into shape, hopefully, I will be able to haul the trailer. It's certainly been a great family activity.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Summer Hair

When I was growing up every summer I HAD to get my haircut. I begged, cried, and pleaded with my Mom not to get a hairectomy. I had no every summer I sported a botched up crop mop. I looked just like my 3 brothers. Ironically, I beg and beg Hannah not to MAKE me cut her hair every Summer...but she does until I give in and cut away. Here she is happy as a mop with the job only half done! 

Since we are talking about Hannah anyway, here is her vegetable garden all ready to be transplanted. She bought the seeds herself and marked each of the cups and takes care of them everyday...she was born to nurture!!
One last little tidbit, we won the Sanford & Sons family award for the crappiest lawn and to further enhance our distinction, Don has added a rope with a loop for the kids to "swing" on. I hope the neighbors don't think that crazy lady with the 6 kids finally lost it completely and decided to put up a noose!
Truthfully, it won't look like this forever, but as long as we have a bobcat and wheelbarrows trucking through the yard, we can't seed. And the backyard is off limits until safety makes a visit back there!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Hannah and Eli made these Paschal or Easter candles today at simple yet a great way to learn about an element of our faith and Mass. Hannah wasn't thrilled to have her picture taken...can you tell??

The A symbol is for the Alpha Greek symbol meaning the beginning, the U-like symbol on the bottom is Omega- means the end. The cross is for Jesus, the 5 marks on the cross are for the 5 wounds of Christ. The numbers are for the current year meaning that God is of all times. This was so easy, draw a flame cut it out, glue it to the rolled up cardstock stapled candle..simple and quick!

Charlie is the first 2 year old we have had that can ride a bike..with training wheels, he has to stand up to pedal sometimes, but he is so funny how coordinated he is...cracks us up, he isn't afraid of anything!

The "clubhouse", the kids drug out a piece of carpet and put it in front of the trash area behind the house, they gather here to hang out.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Silver Platter

I am seriously considering changing the name of this blog to, "What NOT to do." Here is yet another good example. So do you remember my little post about silver?? Well, we went to the Goodwill today, I needed a few blouses...didn't find a single one. I did spy a silver platter, it was even stamped on the bottom, International Silver Company and I could just tell it was silver by the way it was tarnished. It was priced $4.99 and right next to it was a whole silver set for $19.99, I alerted Don and said, "If we sold these, we could make a HUGE profit." He said he was willing to part with $4.99, but not with $19.99, so we bought the cheaper platter. We excitedly got into the car and decided to head to Heartland Coin because Phil's Coin is closed on Mondays...but just to be sure, we decided to call Heartland first, and ask about our "treasure". We were told that they were only buying Sterling Silver and we described our coveted platter in detail and they said...AND I QUOTE, "HA! You would be better off taking that to the Goodwill!" Weeeelllll, Hello humility, we meet yet again. How long would it have taken us to call BEFORE buying the platter????? DOH!!!!!!!! Thank goodness God blessed me with a husband who has at least 4X the common sense of his wife and we didn't buy the $19.99 set!! Goodwill does not give refunds. Lesson learned...and if you are in the market for a silver platter, we have a real pretty's a little tarnished, but it's a treasure!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Watch Beatification of Pope John Paul II

You can watch Blessed Pope John Paul II's beatification here, tonight(Sunday, May 1st) at 7PM.(Rebroadcast from this morning)
Click Here on EWTN.  I love you Papa!!