Friday, December 30, 2011

7 Quick Takes December 30, 2011

--- 1 ---

Occasionally I do let go of my camera, although I don't know why.  The photo prior to this showed me holding up this same necklace and  earring set with a much more pensive look on my face.  My family accused me of not liking my new jewelry.  That was not it at all.  I had moved that quickly to the thinking mode...things like, what else would this go with, when could I wear it next, etc.  This picture was of me showing my true feelings for my new gift.

--- 2 ---

My older girls had a Christmas party on Thursday.  They decided to do a homemade gift/white elephant grab bag.  I have to say that everyone took it to heart and came with some really nice gifts.  One of the younger girls crocheted a beautiful shawl that Ms 8 yo won.  I love kids with creativity; especially because I have always been creatively challenged.  Creativity is actually one of the few things that is improving in me as I age.

--- 3 ---

If you are reading this on Friday, then Happy Feast of the Holy Family.  It is a bit confusing this year with it being on a Friday and not a Sunday, but none-the-less, have a grace-filled, holy family kind of day.

--- 4 ---

Have you seen this one yet?  If not, give it a is quite funny.

--- 5 ---

Here was a conversation that transpired between Ms 19 yo and Mr 6 yo the other day:

Ms 19 yo: What'll you give me if I make you a sandwich?
Mr 6 yo: Candy?
Ms 19 yo: Mmm... no. How about a big hug and say "You are the most wonderful person in the world.
Mr 6 yo: No, because that isn't true!
Ms 19 yo: O.o 
Mr 6 yo: Well, you are the most wonderful person in the world to me, but not to anyone else. It's not like that.
Well, at least he's honest; although I'm sure her boyfriend might not agree with him on that last part :)
--- 6 ---

Today, Friday, marks a grand occasion for me...I get to go take photos for a 50th Wedding Anniversary party!  I can't wait.  I love taking photos and I've not done this type of event before so I'm excited to see how it goes.  I'm thrilled that it is during the day because it is always easier to shoot in daylight!  What fun to capture the joy of a couple married so many years!

--- 7 ---

Have a very happy and blessed New Year!  If one of your resolutions for the new year is to be more organized and have a smoother running household, then make sure you go here!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Are You Ready??

While perusing my new Christmas gift, I found a section towards the back entitled "How to be a better Catholic".  It gives an outline for the things you need to do daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.  It is very Ignatian (is that the proper term for something Ignatius??) so you will find the same type of outline in the prayer section of "A Plan for Joy in the Home"!  

I'm always excited when I'm reading something that tells me that God wants us to be organized.  It makes me feel like all the time I spent on this book is really worth it!  Here is what the "Daily Roman Missal" has to say:

"The practice of some acts of piety throughout the day will help you to have a divine contemplative life in the midst of the daily routine.  The habitual performance of these acts will also be the foundation for growing in Christian virtues.  Most important is to be consistent in your daily schedule, in your spiritual game plan, so that you will live as a child of God."
 If you are ready to be more organized and build your spiritual game plan, then I have the book for you!  I hope 2012 is a more organized, more prayerful year for you :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A B See - U is for...

unwrap!  U is a tough one.  Thankfully Christmas was coming and I didn't have too long to wait in between T and U.  Happy 4th Day of Christmas!

Click on the image to join the fun.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Review

Praise God, we had a wonderful two days this weekend with family celebrating the Birth of Our Lord!  Everyone remained relatively healthy and in good spirits.  We had great food and lots of laughs.  

The highpoint of Christmas for me, though, is Midnight Mass.  This one was particularly good because Ms 15 yo sang her first solo ever.  She sang "O Holy Night" for the communion meditation song.  She did a great job and didn't have too much "nervous" vibrato in her voice.  She's the blond on the left in the front row.
Then we were all surprised when my husband came into Mass dressed as the MC.  He had gone early to bring Ms 15 yo and Mr 11 yo to prepare for Mass when he got asked to be the MC so Fr. Michael could con-celebrate.  It was cool to see him in his cassock and surplus.

Mr 11 yo got to be the thurifer.  He enjoys that position and does a good job of not gagging when all the incense is hanging around his face!

 Another big highlight for me this year was the gift I received from my husband.  

This book is awesome!  It has all of the prayers, Sunday readings and daily readings from the Mass as well as all kinds of other prayers...pretty much anything you need!  

I love books like this; especially ones with ribbons.  I took it to Mass this morning, and while it will take me awhile to find my way around, I loved having everything I need all in one book!

The kids are all happy, too.  The older girls now have the challenge of fitting all of their new clothes into their already stuffed closet (three girls to one closet :) and the boys and Ms 8 yo have the challenge of figuring out where to store all of their new Legos.  You pretty much can't take a step around here without stepping on a Lego.

All-in-all it was a very blessed beginning to the Christmas season.  I hope that your Christmas was off to a good start, too.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes December 23, 2011

--- 1 ---

While things get terribly hectic and life gets increasingly complicated, we must persevere in our quest for that elusive feeling called JOY.  I hope that you are experiencing JOY as you prepare your hearts and homes for the coming of the Lord in a few more days!

--- 2 ---

We experienced some JOY late Wednesday evening when Ms 19 yo made it home safely and on time for Christmas from a visit to her boyfriend.  They live quite a few states apart and she had to fly out there, so we had been praying for quite some time that weather would not delay her coming home.  Thankfully, our prayers were answered.  Now, however, the kids have begun their prayers in earnest for a white Christmas. They truly believe that nothing is impossible for God, even if the weatherman says it ain't gonna happen.

--- 3 ---

The JOYful message above was made with our homemade fudge.  We've been preparing treats for the past week for some of our people and this fudge is one of our family's signatures!  It is so good you could eat the whole batch...of course you would then feel horrible, but it sure would feel good going down.  We've yet to make our toffee and truffles.  You can see other items we're including in our goodie buckets here and here.

--- 4 ---

Now this story truly brought JOY to my heart.  A local couple won 11.2 million dollars in the state lottery last week!  I read the whole story and was astounded at the simplicity of their desires:  They want to pay their bills off and buy themselves a home in a local community.  Then they want to take some fun trips, the first of which will be to Minnesota to see the settings for "Little House on the Prairie".  I love these people!  Now a skeptical friend of mine chimed in that in due time they will go off the deep end.  He might be right, but for now I am celebrating their simplicity!

--- 5 ---

We will be JOYfully celebrating Christmas with our immediate families on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We are fortunate to live close to all our relatives, which allows us to see everyone for all of the holidays.  We will celebrate with our church family at Midnight Mass where Mr 11 yo will be serving (and he even stays awake up there!) and Ms 15 yo will be singing in the choir.  I love Midnight me it is the highlight of Christmas.
--- 6 ---

While we are always hoping for that JOY in our lives, at this time of the year it is very hard to find for a lot of people.  Our prayers go out to all of the people who have lost loved ones and those who are just plain grieving during this Christmas season. May you at least find some peace to help heal your pain.

--- 7 ---

Here's wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Christmas Treats

Day three of the fourth week of Advent finds us doing another "craft", this time in the kitchen.  To go along with our decorative cubes from yesterday we are adding various treats.  Yesterday we made the yummy Rolo/pretzel/pecan treats.  It is very hard to control yourself when those are around :)

Today, the younger three in the group helped make the dipped pretzels.  I can't believe we've never made these before!  

We dipped some pretzels in white chocolate and others in semi-sweet.  Here's Mr 11 yo stirring the pot - in a good way this time...

And Ms 8 yo getting ready to cover her pretzel in sprinkles.  I'm so glad that they both like to bake and make things in the kitchen.

 Here's what Mr 11 yo and Mr 6 yo were doing in between batches...melting colored sprinkles in water to see what colors they could come up with :)

A budding photographer, Mr 11 yo asked for control of the camera and took a rare shot of me...or at least my hands.

Kind of hard to tell, but this one is Chicago Bear's colors!  We did make a Green Bay Packers one, too, but I dare not put up a picture of that one :)

And the final product.  Ready to get wrapped up and given to family members, who thankfully don't ever read my blog!

Hope your final days are going well!


Monday, December 19, 2011

An Easy Christmas Gift Craft

This Christmas, like many Americans, we are trying to still give gifts that mean something while working on a smaller budget.  At a craft fair not long ago, I saw a woman who had made all kinds of nicely decorated journals and little photo books and such.  I had also seen someone else decorate the jumbo clips you see below and use them as note holders or photo holders.  We decided to combine the two and try it with those little cubes of paper.  

We got our cubes and clips through an office supply store. The decorative paper we found at a resale shop.  You can use any kind of scrapbooking or decorative paper.  Here are the basic supplies we needed:

Now, I am NOT a crafty person.  I came up with the idea, I left it up to the kids to figure out the process!  Ms 15 yo took up the challenge and figured out how to wrap the paper around the cube as well as what the dimensions of each paper needed to be.  

She decided to cut a large square to cover the bottom and two longer pieces to wrap around the sides.  The exact dimensions here won't matter because it would depend on the size of your cube (or whatever else you are planning on covering).

Using a lot of hot glue (another thing I have little patience for), she glued the bottom piece onto the bottom :) and wrapped the overlap up the sides.  In order to do that, however, she had to cut a diagonal slit in the overlap of the paper.

Next, she glued the two long pieces around the sides, overlapping both of them.  As you can see here, the paper extends up over the top of the cube.  

Here she cut out a part of the paper for the little slot in the cube and then folded over the excess and glued it down inside, thus giving the edges a nice covering, too.

She then cut the appropriate slits in the corners of the top excess paper and folded over the excess and glued it around the top edges of the cube to give this a nice finish, too.

After the cube is finished, you can add any kind of embellishments that you would like.  We first glued on a flower...

and then some ribbon.

Here is the finished product with the paper back inside the cube.

Next, she measured and cut out the same paper for the jumbo sized clip.

Getting that hot glue gun out again, she glued the paper to the clip.

We found coordinating embellishments to make a nice matching set.

And there you have it - an easy (I know, easy for me to say, I didn't do any of it :) inexpensive and nice Christmas gift. 

If those of us in this household who aren't overly crafty can do this, so can you!

Friday, December 16, 2011

7 Quick Takes December 16, 2011

--- 1 ---

It's still premiere week, so I'm going to post another picture of my new book about how to organize your day!  My book "A Plan for Joy in the Home:  A Workbook on Organizing Your Day for Homeschooling Mothers" is now available for all of your daily organizing needs!

--- 2 ---

While a week before Christmas probably isn't the best time to release a new book, I'm thinking ahead to the new year.  What better way to start off 2012 than having a plan for your day that will help bring peace to your home?  Many people want to be more organized, how many will actually do something about it?  Here's your chance!

--- 3 ---

In this book I make you take a serious look at five important areas of your day: Your prayer life, your chore routines, your meal plan, your school day and the time you  spend with your husband, family and on yourself.  We talk about it, we pray about it and then you plan your day to incorporate them.  3 easy steps that will pay off big time for your whole family.
--- 4 ---

At first I wondered about the size of the book...I mean, it is only 65 pages.  But then I thought, who needs 100s of pages to tell them how to get organized?  Wouldn't a couple hundred pages seem too overwhelming?  So, in 65 pages I get right to the heart of the matter...short and sweet.

--- 5 ---

In case you missed the post yesterday, here is where I talk about the lovely young lady that did the layout and illustrations.  When you're done here, make sure you check it out so that you can learn a little bit about her!

--- 6 ---

Would you like to help me promote this book to other homeschooling mothers that you know of who want/need to be a bit more organized in their day???  Great, why not share this link with them or send my website on to them or your group newsletter?  That would be so wonderful and very much appreciated.  My website address is:

--- 7 ---

Oh, so you want to order a copy, too?  Why of course!  That would be wonderful and also very much appreciated!  You can go here to do that.  Or, if you like to read it in longhand...
Thanks!  And have a very blessed last week of Advent!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One Talented Young Lady!

Yesterday I announced the release of my new book, pictured above.  Today I would like to talk specifically about the picture you see above and tell you a bit about the young lady who drew it.  Here's what happened...

I was looking for someone to lay out the book for me when an acquaintance told me that her daughter knew how to do that.  Her daughter, who is 16, is friends with some of my daughters and when I told them about the recommendation they all raved about Shaylynn's talents.  I knew that she was behind some of the graphics and layouts of the Ink and Fairydust Magazine, so I figured she would be a good person to try.

When it came time for the picture on the front cover, I wanted to have a peaceful family scene; one that made you feel calm when you looked at it, maybe even sigh a bit.  So I took six of my seven children and my parents and shot some pictures from outside the house looking in (a hard thing to do at night!) 


She then took this picture and turned it into the image you see at the top.  Of course I told her to make my parents look a bit younger :) but we think she did a fabulous job of turning my idea into a reality.

In case you haven't figure it out by now, I cannot say enough good things about Shaylynn.  She is incredibly talented, prompt, polite, thorough, joyful and, most importantly, she could read my mind!  When she offered to do sketches for each of the chapters, I thought that might be a great idea.  She took the ideas from the chapter and came up with a sketch...each of which fit perfectly and brought a smile to my face.  Her sketches definitely add to the book.

This sketch is from the chapter on Meal Planning (I just love the girl's hair:)

Not only did she do the layout and sketches for my book, and do the work for the Ink and Fairydust Magazine, she also makes jewelry that she sells.  If you would like to check out some of her jewelery, you can do so here.  

I find it's kind of funny that people don't feel comfortable recommending something unless they say some kind of disclaimer like "I didn't receive any compensation for saying what I just said."  So here is my disclaimer...I didn't receive any compensation from Shaylynn for what I just fact, I paid her :)  But I am so impressed with the professionalism and talent of this young lady that I just had to make sure that you were all aware of it, too.

These are the kind of kids who will grow up and change this country for the better.  If you can help her out along the way, please do so!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Plan for Joy in the Home

I am so excited to announce that my book is finally ready for purchase!  You can check out all the details here!  

This book has been a labor of love for quite a few years now.  After learning how to plan and organize my day out of necessity, I took all of that information and turned it into a workshop.  

After helping others to get their days planned and organized, I decided to turn the workshop into a workbook.  Here is the end product.  Boy have I learned a lot about writing and publishing your own book!

So, for those of you who are looking to be more joyful, more organized, more prayerful...this book is what you are looking for.  I will be doing additional posts this week about the great help I had in putting this together, as well as delving into the content of the book just a bit know - enough to whet your appetite, but not enough to give it all away :)

Go on, check it out know you want to :) 

PS It would make a great Christmas gift!  Or better yet, how about a great gift for your New Year...2012 will be the year you will be more organized!  I just know it.