Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Around my Kitchen

When we looked at this house, the first thing we did was look at the kitchen and realize that it wasn't going to work long-term for us.  We know there is a remodel in our near future because there just isn't enough counter space and the eat-in section of the kitchen is big enough for a small bistro table and not much else.

Another thing I noticed was that the basement door was smack-dab in the middle of the kitchen.  I had been wanting to have a nice big chalk board in my kitchen for awhile, so I decided to turn the basement door into a giant chalk board.  While it didn't quite work out to my expectations, it does, in fact, serve the purpose of putting that door to good use.  

So far we've used it for a nice Thanksgiving motif, which I can't believe I do not have a picture of because it was so cute, an Advent and St. Andrew novena calendar

and  a spot to count the 12 Days of Christmas.
It has sparked a lot of creativity (as you can see above) and has been a fun thing to have in the kitchen.

Now, however, I find myself with this:

a blank door and no ideas for what to put on it.  January means, what?  Ordinary time?  How do you draw that?  It's too soon, in my book, for Valentine's designs so what can we do until then?  Ideas appreciated :)

Another thing I've added to the kitchen to kind of spruce things up a bit is a craft my oldest daughter did at the library one evening.  This idea is so cute that it inspired me to want to have a coffee theme in our remodeled kitchen.  They are pages from a book that they painted coffee/tea cups on. 

She did four of them, so she found some frames in the basement and we decided to hang them up to help brighten up the kitchen.  It doesn't take much to bring some zing to a room.  
Sometimes you just have to take a few minutes to look around your house and find something you could switch to a different room to make it brighter, or, in this case, take a craft someone did and put it in some left-over frames.  I like this kind of decorating; it's cheap and easy!

Need something to brighten a part of your house during these dreary days of January?  Walk around and see if you can't make a small change like this one.

God Bless!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

My 2016 Word

Last year I went along with the crowd and picked a word for the year.  The word was "purposeful" and my intention in living this word was to be much more purposeful in what I did with my time and my attention.  Looking back over the year, I would say that I did much better at that.  There were a lot of things that required my attention and I was able to walk away from my distractions (mainly this lovely computer) and get down to the business of doing what needed to be done.

Now, that's not to say I always did that.  No sirree, not in the least.  And, when I did do it, it certainly wasn't always easy.  Releasing ourselves from our mindless distractions is a difficult thing.  That is why, for example, I don't want to have HGTV available in my home.  I know, at least for awhile, that I would be addicted to sitting in front of show after show watching others do exciting decorating things instead of doing them myself.

This year's word is "wisdom":  

the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.



It isn't a new word to me as it began popping up on my radar last year.  I kept reading or hearing in various places how good it is to pray for wisdom.  When Solomon asked God for wisdom he asked for "a discerning heart" to govern God's people and "to distinguish between right and wrong". And God was very pleased by his request.  I figure a mom like me can't go wrong in asking for a discerning heart to govern the people in my charge and it can definitely help me in distinguishing between right and wrong; especially when trying to sift through the myriad of disagreements that go on here every day!

So this will be my prayer, and hopefully my guiding principle, as I go through this year.  Given the events of the world, having some extra wisdom might just not be a bad thing!

God Bless!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Our Friends Were on TV!

While we have not formally resumed schooling yet (still in the 12 Days of Christmas.  Sounds reasonable, right?), we did take some time today to watch an educational program on EWTN.  Well, we also had another incentive to watch it because our good friends, Laura and Mary, were live on the "At Home with Jim and Joy" show talking about the unit study they wrote for the American Life League.  

You might remember that I reviewed and gave away some free copies of this unit study and, since we know them personally, it was so fun to watch them talk about how important it is to cultivate the pro-life mentatlity, especially in our young children.

Another exciting project they just released is a unit study for high schoolers on Euthanasia.  I'm so glad that this has come out and I definitely think it is something we'll have to look into.  Coincidentally, I just finished reading the book "Me Before You", which is about a quadriplegic who wants to die on his own terms.  It was a great book, but if you are not catechized as to why this is wrong, you will definitely be swayed by the emotional aspect of this topic.  This is why it is so important for us to arm our youth with the facts and reasons why the Church teaches as it does, so that they are not swayed by emotions.

To learn more about these important programs that our friends are producing through the American Life League, you can either go to their website, catch the  replay of the show on January 9th at 10:30 am or watch it on EWTN's youtube channel.   

Spread the word about these great unit studies and pray that we can all become ambassadors for life!

God Bless!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Very Special Intercessor!

Merry Christmas to everyone!  I hope your Advent went well and that you had a beautiful Christmas with the people you love.  We had two days with nice weather, good food and lots of family, as well as a beautiful midnight Mass.  But this post isn't about Christmas.  It's about a story that I've been wanting to tell but just haven't had the time.  It's an intercessory story related to our move.

You see, in our history of moving we've never had an easy time.  More often than not, the first house we would set out to buy would become encased in some sort of turmoil or other and we would end up buying a completely different house.  This happened to us three times.  The last time we moved, we did so because we had lost everything and were moving into a rental.  Needless to say, God had mercy on us and there was no extra drama.

This time, however, we were buying again, and although we did not have a house to sell, I fully expected the experience to be like it had been in the past.  I expected to find a house, fall in love with it, have something happen with the deal, lose the house and then find an even better one.  After all, that's how it had been before.

But God had other plans.  Let me backtrack a bit.  For the past year +, I had been praying, along with many others, for Courtney Lenaburg and her family.  In fact, it was just one year ago that she died.  When she did, I cried along with everyone else.  After her passing, I had read stories of her intercession, one in particular about a family who wanted to move but needed a miracle with their septic field.  Through Courtney's intercession, that miracle occurred.  

That got me thinking that maybe I should call upon Courtney to intercede for us in this move since I really didn't want to have to go through what we've been through in the past.  

Can I tell you something?  St. Courtney came through with flying colors.  We began our search and had looked at a few houses when something (or someone :) nudged me back to the computer to look at the 90+ listings again.  There I found it, the house we had overlooked the first time through.  We went to see it and we loved it.  We brought our kids (who, being older now, had some very definite opinions about what they were looking for).  They loved it, too.  We put in an offer and at first it didn't seem like we were going to come to terms with the seller, but I called on Courtney even more and before we knew it, the sellers came down in price and then started offering us their no extra charge!  We closed in 30 days!  30 days, people!  With not one hitch.

Many times when miraculous things happen like this, I often find that God sends me a confirmation that what I am seeing is real.  The moment this time was when we were at the closing (which only lasted about an hour) and our realtor said, "I don't think I've ever been at a closing that got funded that fast."  From past experience, I know that that was God's way of telling me that I've witnessed something grand.  

We moved into a great neighborhood.  Having not had neighbors for 12 years, and having 7 children and 5 cars, we were a bit leery of what having neighbors might mean.  Our neighbors are wonderful.  Even funnier is the fact that in our small subdivision of about 33 homes, 95% of the people are Catholic. God has chosen a wonderful spot to reintroduce us into communal living.

I write this to let you know, in case you don't already, that there are many saints up there in heaven just waiting for us to call upon them for their help.  There is no other explanation in my mind (based on our past experiences with moving) for how smoothly everything went other than her intercession.  Miss Courtney is up there calling for miracles and how happy I am that we have been on the receiving end of her powerful intercession.  Thank you, Mary and Jerry, for raising and caring for such an extraordinary young lady!  I've been recommending her to others in need, so I think she'll be pretty busy up in heaven for quite some time. 

St. Courtney, pray for us.

God Bless!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Our 30 Day Move

It has now been over two months since I've been here to my good ole blog.  It has been a crazy time of moving our family of nine from our rental house on five acres to our own home in a neighborhood.  In what became a rather fast-paced event, we began looking for a home, found one and then moved 30 days later.  Since I really can't do-it-all, some - no A LOT - of things had to go and anything social media like was at the top of the list.

We're moved now and all settled in so I'm back to share again.  I mean really, I had just decided that turning 50 warranted more blogging and look what happens?  Sheesh.  I'm still 50, though, so I guess it is better late than never.

There's so much to talk about that's happened over the past two months, if I can just remember it all!  Like I said, we were down to a bare bones lifestyle for awhile so I thought I'd share how we handled the whole "move your family in 30 days" thing.  And just to be clear, when our offer got accepted, we had not packed ONE box.  Not even one!  Also, we did all the packing and moving ourselves.  Here's how it went down.

1.  I knew that we needed to keep schooling as long as possible.  With two high-schoolers and two grade-schoolers, I did not want to take off too much time.  The high-schoolers kept to their schedule pretty well, it was the two younger ones that needed a revamp since much of what they did required me.  Right off the bat we put our non-essential subjects on hold until the second semester.  That included geography (which was taking up a lot of time), map skills and Latin.  That right there made a huge difference.

2.  My three college aged girls all have classes and jobs, so I knew they wouldn't be much help.  When they were home and free (about 20 minutes over 30 days :), they were required to help out as much as possible, which they did.

3.  My other four kids were an immense help, especially the two in high school!  We got into a great rhythm of doing our school work in the morning and then packing and moving things in the afternoon.  Because of their hard work, we only ended up taking two weeks off of school!

4.  I made a firm decision to add nothing new to our schedule.  We kept up with what we were already involved in but we rarely did any other activities or events beyond that.  Saying NO was not fun, but crucial.

5.  Once we got in the new house I spent the first week working like a mad woman to get it into a state of readiness.  I knew that that was all the time I had, so we worked morning till night that first week so that everything was put away and in order.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to function for very long with everyone wondering where things were.

So that is how we survived our 30 day moving adventure.  Being organized was crucial.  Also, the fact that I have decluttered on an ongoing basis made things  a lot easier.  That's not to say that we still didn't get rid of a lot of stuff!  There were MANY bags of garbage as well as multiple trips to the local Goodwill.  Hopefully everything that made the cut into the new house is stuff that we need and use and not much that is superfluous! 

It's good to be back here and, God willing, I hope to continue on a much more regular basis.  I say that, but we'll see what The Plan really is :)

God Bless!

Monday, September 28, 2015

And the Winners are:

Congratulations to:  

Lori W, Stephanie S. and Chantal C.

You've been notified by email, so look for that email and send me your address so that I can get your unit study out to you before Respect Life month begins.

Thanks to all who participated!

God Bless!

Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Pro-Life Giveaway Time!!

October is Respect Life month and I've got just the thing for you to make it memorable!  I've had the pleasure of previewing the "Life is Precious" unit study from the American Life League, and it is a great resource that you can add to your own homeschool for the month, use it with a co-op or a religious ed class you're teaching.  

The cool thing about this unit study?  I know both of the authors AND the illustrator.  I've watched all three girls grow up and become talented, wonderful, Catholic young ladies.  They've put their heart into this study and I'm happy to share it with you.

We took it for a test run a couple of months back and, even though it is geared for grades K - 3, I used it with my 4th and 6th graders and they enjoyed it.  The unit study is based around four picture books and has easy to do activities and discussion questions to help emphasize the life message in the story.  


I have three copies of this great unit study to give away.  Follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to win.  The giveaway begins at midnight tonight and ends on Sunday evening, so hurry and enter as many times as you can.  I'll have it shipped to you before October starts!  Good luck!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway