Friday, August 30, 2013

7 Quick Takes - The School and Grape Edition

As I've mentioned, we're doing Classically Catholic Memory (which I always call Catholically Classic Memory, by the way) and the history sentence that we are to memorize has been put to the tune of "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing".  Can I tell you how annoying it is to have that song constantly going through your head four months ahead of time?  What makes it even more annoying, yet effective, is that I'm not singing about lovely Christmas angels but about Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Magellan.

Here are 6 of the 12 pounds of red grapes we got off of the grape vines this year.  Last year we missed them completely, still not sure how, but the birds got to them first so I was determined to get them first this year.  I'd say it worked.  They're a bit tart and have seeds but they make awesome grape jelly.

Speaking of which...I made 12 - 1/2 pts of jelly yesterday and they look good.  I still have enough grapes to make about the same amount.  Now I just need to find the time.
Here's Mr 14 yo, my helper.  He helped me mash, stir, ladle and, of course, taste test.  Help always comes from the most unexpected places.  I think this boy has a future in the kitchen.


I took this picture and it looked interesting so I thought I'd post it.  Notice the steam rising from all of that good grape pulp.  Each sack made about the necessary 5 cups of juice.  From one batch I had some extra juice so I sweetened it up a bit and cooled it so we could have it with our breakfast.  Yummmmm.
First week of school done and I'd call it a success.  All assignments completed and done well with no meltdowns.  I promised them they could rent the Batman Lego movie if they had a good week so hopefully that wasn't the incentive for such a productive week.  We'll see what happens next week when there is no movie!

Well here's wishing everyone a happy Labor Day in advance.  We're still not sure what we'll be doing with this long weekend, but it will be nice to have everyone home for three days.  Whatever you do, have a safe and happy weekend.  

God Bless!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Theme Thursday - Shadows

It seems that whenever I struggle with a theme and/or don't have enough time to get it together for the morning (both things in this case), it works out in my favor.  It seems even the hostess is late today!  Thank you, Cari, for cooperating with my brain and my schedule.

Anyhow, we were at the school table doing school, of course, and I had been pondering all morning what to do with this theme when I saw that the sun had finally come out and was casting some nice shadows on our table.  "Ah hah," I said to myself, "there is a nice small crucifix on the table, I bet that would cast a nice shadow in this wonderful sunlight."  So I grabbed my camera and ended up with this:

Go on over to Clan Donaldson and check out other shadow photos.

God Bless! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Build that Muscle

Last spring, when I was younger and crazier, I undertook the P90X challenge.  While I admit to not finishing it in 90 days, more like 110 days, I worked hard at it - 1 hour a day roughly 6 days a week; except for those weeks where I just couldn't get it together, which accounts for those extra 20 days.  Still, not bad considering all that goes on around here.

Then summer hit and our schedule changed and there just didn't seem to be a lot of time to exercise anymore.  Within a few weeks I noticed the sciatic pain returning.  About this time the girls decided they wanted to do the Turbo Fire 5 day challenge.  For those of you who don't know, Turbo Fire, while great for some people, is an exercise program where you basically throw every part of your body in a different direction to music at 90 mph.  Let's just say that after day 2, Turbo Fire and I were no longer friends.  I went down hard that time.  Weeks of back pain and the realization that I can no longer throw my body parts around like that anymore!

As summer waned on and I tried to be kind to my back, I realized that the key to staying out of pain was to exercise continually.  But what to do??  I just couldn't face P90X again, I mean once you've spent that many days with Tony Horton, you just aren't all that anxious to go back.  Just looking at the Turbo Fire discs made me hurt, well that and I promised my chiropractor that I wouldn't EVER EVER EVER do them again.

My dh had started on more of a weight training regimen and while we used to do that together while we were dating (yeah, I'd do anything to spend time with my man:), it had been a long time since I picked up a barbell.  He was going to work with me but he can only do it at night and, I don't know about any of you, but the last thing I want to do in the evening is exert myself.  

Fortunately I found a disc at the back of the Turbo Fire packet that has three total body strength training routines on it; and to top it off, they're only 30 minutes each!!!  Let me tell you, however, that they are 30 total body  butt-kicking minutes of great exercise at a reasonable pace.  This is so doable for me right now, and the good news is that since I've started my back is back to feeling like a good back again!

As I was down there at lunch time today, I was thinking about how good I feel when I do this and how I think it really is so important for busy moms to take time in their week to stay in shape (or get in shape if that's the case).

So here's my pitch:  Take a look at your weekly schedule (cause I know you all have one!) and find three spots where you can squeak out 45 minutes, 30 for the exercise and 15 for getting reading and getting unready, and then find a good total body work out!  There are a bunch of different kinds to choose from, just do some searching and pick one out that will work for you.  As my husband keeps telling me from all of the research he's been doing - muscle burns fat so go for the muscle building exercises and burn more fat when you're doing all of your other stuff.  Or, as Nike says, "Just Do It".

 God Bless!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You are "Wholly Useless"

As I've mentioned, I've been plugging my way through "Introduction to the Devout Life" and am finding it absolutely wonderful.  I'm in the first part right now and have just finished the 10 or so meditations which lead up to a General Confession.

Can I just say that this is so Ignatian!!!! I love it.  St. Francis does a wonderful job weaving the spirit of the Spiritual Exercises into these meditations.  Next up, as I said, is the General Confession, and if you've never done one you should!  Find a priest who is willing to work with you on this and then spend a good amount of time preparing for it.  It is a very freeing experience.

Anyhow, one night I sat down to do the next meditation and I read the following sentence, "God did not create you because He had any need of you, for you are wholly useless to Him, but only that He might exercise towards you His goodness, bestowing on you His grace and glory".  Now if that isn't humbling, I don't know what is.

I was really struck by the "wholly useless" portion.  The more I thought about it, though, the more it really sunk in and made sense.  We tend to think so much of ourselves and our importance in this world that we often forget that we are simply here to know God, to love God and to serve God so that we may be in Heaven with Him forever.  That's it.  Oh, and to do His will in the process.  It isn't about me, it's about HIM.  I must do His will in my life and serve Him in the ways that He calls me to serve Him for I am "wholly useless" to Him except to receive His grace, glory and goodness.

Oh that the whole world might know this, remember it and embrace it.  What a world that would be.  One without political corruptness and absolute obnoxiousness from our "stars".  Ultimately it starts with each individual person so it is best to just pull up my bootstraps and fight the good fight.  If enough people engage in this battle, maybe we can bring about a revolution of good.

God Bless!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Catholic Woman's Almanac

Moments of Gratitude:

* Getting some good sun time this weekend.
* Time to chat with girlfriends
* Good talks with the kids
* A successful birthday party for 12 teen and pre-teen boys - no one did any damage to themselves or anything else - although some of them actually tried throwing pears at the hornets nest to see if they could knock it down and then run like crazy - even though they were told not to!!!
* Thankful the boys had bad aim :)
* Time to work on my website!!

The Week Ahead:

Well school started today and in a somewhat limited format as we are not starting writing class and spelling until next week.  It didn't go too bad. This week the big girls start at the community college, too, so we'll be adjusting to all of the changes that that will bring - new chores for the younger ones, more driving coordinating, varying dinner times for everyone.  The only other exciting thing for the week will be our back to school trip to the chiropractor so everyone can get their attitude spinal adjustment!

In the Kitchen:

I think I'm going to drop this entry as I never am very excited about what is getting cooked.  Oh well, thankful we have food to feed everyone.  Though I must say that we just picked a gob full of red grapes and I will be figuring out how to fit in some jelly making time this week.  I guess that makes it worth keeping the entry for this week!


Nothing, my brain is too filled with making sure that everyone gets where they need to be this week.  


* For all of us that we can have the grace and fortitude to correct our flaws.
* For Ms 17 yo that she can get the on-campus job that she is interviewing for this week and that Ms 21 yo can find an on-campus job, too.
* For peace in our hearts, in our families and in our world.


Man my life is boring.  I'm still plugging away at St. Francis de Sales and it is wonderful but I have not have time to read anything else.  I might change this entry to "Driving" and then I can tell you all about the many trips I've taken in my car this week.   I can tell you about how we got in the car Saturday morning to leave for soccer practice and the battery that we thought was running out of juice actually ran out of juice.  Thank the Lord for my daughter's new car as it was the only other one left at home and without that we would have missed the first soccer game.  Really, I won't do that to you :)  I really need to read more.


Let's do another dance photo, shall we?  This time friends of ours who started a Mexican dancing troupe danced at our parish's picnic. This is a very physical activity and you could see the sweat on their brows by the 2nd dance.  They did a wonderful job!

God Bless!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

CCM and Our Curriculum

This year I really wanted to focus on writing for three of my four students so I am finally going to implement the IEW Student Writing Intensive B series for them.  Well, I say that I am going to do it, but truth is I'm getting a lot of help in the form of two young ladies who have English degrees who went through the program and are holding a class at my house once a week for a handful of kids.  Yeah, makes a big difference!  

Anyhow, I really want to make sure we all have the time we need to focus on writing, so I decided to get the Classically Catholic Memory - Gamma Year program and use it to cover the rest of the subjects.  Here is how I am laying that out:

- I'm taking two weeks for each week of the program (something they recommend doing), so I'll have Week A and Week B.

Week A will go as follows:

Monday - introduce all of the material, practice it, listen to the CD provided and have them start to memorize it.

Tuesday - Review all of the material for the week and focus on Religion and Latin.  This means I'll read the question and surrounding information from the Baltimore Catechism and supplement with additional information on the subject so that the kids get the context of the statement to be learned.  For Latin, the first hymn we're learning is the Salve Regina.  We're all familiar with it, so I'm using the verses to be learned for handwriting practice as well as learning the basic tune on the piano.

Wednesday - Review all of the material and focus on History.  The book gives some good background information on the topics to be learned for the week.  This year focuses on the 1500s thru the 1800s and American history specifically.  I've got some other history books, so we'll supplement our information with those books.

Thursday - Review all of the material and focus on Science.  The Gamma year covers chemistry and physics and the book gives a lot of great experiments to do to make understanding and learning the material easier to do.  On this day, I'm just following the book.

Friday is always catch up day.

Week B
Monday - Review all of the material and focus on Geography.  We'll be learning about the Americas this year and they have some pretty cool maps to work with so we'll be doing those activities and supplementing with various books on the current topic.

Tuesday - Review all of the material and focus on Poetry.  The CCM curriculum includes two poems, an easier one and a more difficult one.  I have kids for both so we will be going over both poems.  I plan on learning more about the poets and poetry in general during this time.

Wednesday - Review all of the material and focus on Timeline.  Each week the kids have to memorize around 8 major events from creation to John Paul II.  There is a lot of information contained on the cards provided so we'll be going through that and then supplementing with other books when necessary.  I'm looking forward to focusing on pairing up secular and religious history.  Sometimes I think about one or the other but rarely put them in context with each other.  When that happens, it is really cool :)

Thursday - This will be recitation day.  Each child will have a chance to show what he has memorized throughout the past two weeks.

So there you have it, a basic outline of our curriculum.  Of course we will be doing Life of Fred math at the various levels and adding in our music, PE and fine arts classes through our various other activities.  I think this will give us good coverage of all areas. I'm not sure how I'll keep updating this yet as I have a few ideas, so stay tuned to find out how this all goes.

We start on the 26th so may God bless all of us as we begin another year of educating our children for eternity :)

God Bless!

Friday, August 23, 2013

7 Quick Takes August 23 2013

Another week gone by.  Hard to believe we are almost to the "unofficial" end of summer - that being Labor Day weekend.  I guess you could say that Monday morning at 8:00 is our first "unofficial" end of summer - that being the day that classes resume for everyone here.  Hard to believe, isn't it?

Really, where did summer go?  We did a lot of things, mind you, but most of them involved week long commitments.  That makes it hard to get much else done when you're involved in something for an entire week at a time.  It sure makes the time fly by fast, though.  I always tell myself that next summer will be different - slower - but it never quite works out that way.  I'm looking forward to getting back into a routine.

Speaking of schedules, I think I mentioned here that we are trying out Classically Catholic Memory - Gamma Year - this year.  I'd love to find out how others are doing this within their own home and maybe there are people out there who are wondering the same so I thought I'd post an outline of how we're doing each of the "weeks" throughout the year.  I'll post on the weekend before the "week" starts.  In reality, I'm doing one week over a two week school period, so these posts will only show up every other week.  I'll try to include some photos of things we've done, too.  We'll see how it goes, and how hard it is to keep up with.
I'm looking forward to Saturday when Mr 13 yo plays his first soccer game.  I can't tell you how exciting it will be to take photos of people moving OUTDOORS WHERE THERE IS ACTUALLY A LOT OF LIGHT.  Can you tell I'm excited?????

One of the hardest things about our upcoming schedule is figuring out the best time to go grocery shopping.  Between the time constraints, the distance constraints and the "when is the paycheck going into the bank" constraints, this is really proving to be a tough issue.  Every time slot has its drawbacks.  This week we're all going to go after morning Mass, which definitely has its drawbacks!  Hopefully the graces obtained from Mass will remain with us throughout the trip :)

We did get to spend some time at a local lake this past week.  It was glorious to finally sit and soak up the sun.  The temperature was great and though the water was a bit chilly, it was still a very relaxing time.  Even Ms 10 yo thought so!

Soccer practice, soccer game, birthday party, parish picnic.  Yep, a full weekend here at the ranch.  Hope you all have a peaceful and safe weekend!
God Bless!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Theme Thursday - Food

Another hard one for me.  I had visions of having this luscious looking dessert or this sumptuous looking meal to take a photograph of, but alas, we've had none of that in our house this week.  Although in reality, we rarely ever have that in our house so I don't know why I thought it would magically appear this week just because I needed a photo.

Next up in my brain was taking some pictures of books - you know, food for the mind and spirit?  

Then the kids pointed out that we had a ton of Lego food and, hey, what's better than a picture of some luscious looking dessert than small plastic food?  Works for me, but really only because it is small...and cute.  If it was just big plastic food I wouldn't find it as appealing.    Would you?   Word has it that the dwarves had to leave in a hurry and here is what was left behind.

Jump on over to Clan Donaldson for more fabulous food photos!

God Bless!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Good Homeschool Group is Helpful

We had the annual planning meeting for our homeschool group last night.  This group has been in existence for 20+ years and is still going, despite the usual turnover in members.  Most of the original families have "graduated" but new families come along every year to fill in the gaps and add in their own experience and talents.

Last night we had a nice mix of us "veterans" as well as new families with young children.  Oh how it was such a short time ago that it was me who was asking all those questions instead of answering them!!

One of the keys to a long standing homeschool group is new families who join and start doing things, taking the proverbial reigns as it were, whether or not us veteran families join in.   We went through a period where the new moms would get frustrated when they would plan an activity and no older families would be able to make it.  Yes it is frustrating, but unfortunately that is the way it is when your kids get older.  We still try to participate in as much as we can, but it is often hard to make it to everything.  A successful group will have new families who keep building on the foundations that have already been laid.

Our homeschool group, while not perfect, has been an indispensable part of our homeschooling journey.  I think not having any kind of support group would make the job that much more stressful.  If you are looking for a homeschool group in your area try asking around at your parish for other homeschoolers.  You can search for groups on the internet; most will have some kind of web presence and contact information.  Here is one example of a great place to start.  If you just cannot find any kind of group, consider finding a few other families and starting your own!

No matter what, a good support system really makes homeschooling so much easier.  If you already belong to a good group, Praise the Lord.  If you don't, I pray that you are able to find the camaraderie and help that comes with a good, Catholic support group.

God Bless!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Catholic Woman's Almanac

Moments of Gratitude:

* A surprise chance to sit and visit with some lovely ladies I haven't seen in awhile.
* Good friends and their willingness to help.
* A performance on Saturday by the dance troupe Ms 17 yo is in that surely must have been pleasing to God.
* A lovely plaque of St. Therese sent to me by Ms 21 yo's boyfriend's mother.  I can't wait to hang it in my room.
* The absolutely phenomenal weather we have been having lately.

The Week Ahead:

This is the last week before school starts for everyone.  Ms 14 yo is wanting to start her school work this week, but everyone else, young and old, will be starting next week.  How to make the most of this last week?  Hmmm, the weather is supposed to be hot so hopefully we can fit in some water time somehow.  Otherwise it is another week of theater and dance classes as well as the beginning of choir practice for three of the kids and Mr 13 yo's first soccer game.

In the Kitchen:

I still have to figure out what to make for our Friday dinner as it will be meatless, has to be made before noon and will have to travel well since we won't be eating it till about 5:30 as we await soccer practice.  That one is still stumping me.  Otherwise I believe we have some beer braised beef, scalloped ham and potatoes, turkey tetrazzini and American spaghetti (a great-grandma recipe :) on the menu.  


This blog post by Birgit.  She is spot on about this topic that so many people deal with.  Also pondering a talk on prayer that I listened to as well as how to carry my crosses better. 


* For our new school year, that we can learn and have it be interesting and that we can do it with a minimal amount of fighting :).
* For all those starting college - that they will stay safe, learn a lot from good teachers, and will preserve their faith.
* That the man behind us would stop burning his toxic garbage every Sunday night.  


It was a lazy Sunday, and a beautiful one at that.  I took my copy of "Rapunzel Let Down" out to the hammock and started re-reading it again.  The perfect type of story to pass a Sunday afternoon.  Other than that, I've been reading "Introduction to the Devout Life" one chapter each night and really trying to meditate on his wonderful words.


As I mentioned above, Ms 17 yo participated in a performance of "The Prodigal Son" at our parish this weekend and here are a two of the many photos I took:

God Bless!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Theme Thursday - Faith

My first thought for this theme was to drive on over to the Poor Clare Monastery by our house and take a picture of Jesus in the monstrance.  Believing that that is really Jesus in there takes true faith. 

However, I then had another idea and it was the picture above.  Having a large family in the world today takes a lot of faith.  Faith that God will take care of all of us.  Faith that we will be given the grace to do a good job as parents.  Faith that they'll all grow up to be faith-filled adults. 

Just a technical note; there is one young man in the above picture who is not mine - he's Ms 21 yo's boyfriend.  Letting your daughter bring her boyfriend with you on vacation takes faith - no, I'm just kidding, he's a really nice young man and we all love him to pieces :)

Join up over at Clan Donaldson for more pictures of FAITH!


God Bless!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Busy Hornets

A couple of weeks ago we did a major tree trimming to all the trees on the property, which was quite an undertaking!  In that short amount of time, we discovered that we have had some very busy hornets hanging around admiring our work; so much so that they decided to move in.

My boys found this the other day when they went over to the open part of the yard to play soccer.  Thankfully they saw it before a ball accidentally introduced itself!

I have to admit that this is truly a fascinating piece of nature!  Although at first I thought it was a hive for honey bees and I was so excited that honey bees were populating our area that I wrote a post about it.  Then my dad stopped by and we showed it to him and he said, "That's not a bee hive.  That looks like a hornets' nest."  You see, I never stopped to do my internet research.  We went back in the house and blew up this picture, then compared it to pictures on the internet and, sure enough, we have a wonderful hornets' nest on our property.

So now instead of being happy about this, I'm thinking we need to do something about it because we host an annual Blue Knights boys' campout on our property in about a month - right where that mean, ole nasty hornets' nest is.  I'd like to think everyone would just leave it alone, but then I remember we're talking about a group of boys ages 8 - 15 and I'm just not so sure anymore.

For now we'll let them be and think more about what we want to do.  Irregardless of the potential threat, it really is fascinating to watch this take shape.

God Bless!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Peace in My Kitchen

When life gets hectic, I really need to have my surroundings be as peaceful looking as possible.  For example, if I've spent the day (or several days) running around and I come home to a disaster of a house it just sends my mind askew.  Of course I know it is that way because we've not been home to keep up with it, but still, it makes it hard for me to think.

That is why I'm always looking for ways to make it easier to keep things as neat as possible.  The kitchen is one place I hate to go into and see a big mess (or even a little one).  We don't have a dishwasher, which I truly think is a blessing, so that means dishes are to get done after every meal.  This helps keep things under control so that when you have to go in there to cook, everything you need is already clean and tidy.

There was one part of the kitchen, however, that had been grating on my nerves for a long time.

It seems as if the glasses multiply when people aren't looking.  There would be at least eight glasses on the counter at any given time and, miraculously, they didn't belong to anyone.  

Over the years we've tried various ways of keeping track of whose glass was whose, but none of them really worked for very long.  Until one day I thought about how nice it would be to have a tray where everyone would have a designated spot for their glass and it would be their responsibility to make sure their glass stayed in their spot.

A few weeks ago I was at Good Will and I found this lovely blue tray for a whopping .50.  I knew the time was now.  I got my tray home and placed everyone's glasses on it and threatened them with their lives if I saw a glass on the main part of the counter.

 And guess what?  It worked.  We've only had one infraction thus far.  Beyond that, everyone has remembered to place their glass in their spot and now I can walk into my kitchen and see this:

This clean counter top brings me peace.  I know it sounds silly, but every little niche in the house that can bring peace is a good thing.  Pretty soon those places start to add up and they outweigh the areas with messes.  

See, little things can make all the difference in the world, and this little thing only cost me .50!  Can't beat that for a little bit of peace of mind, can you?  Now, on to tackle other areas, like LEGO STORAGE!

God Bless!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Catholic Woman's Almanac

Moments of Gratitude:

* The beginnings of the grapes ripening (see that one dark one right in the middle of the picture??)

* Our first (and only this year) batch of potatoes.  They aren't big, but they look healthy and I can't wait to eat them this week with the meatloaf we're having one night!

* The peaches I managed to salvage of the leaning peach tree that my son clipped with the top of the lawn mower.  Pulled the whole thing down.  I'm just hoping now that these little babies will ripen and we'll at least get to try some.

* Said son who turned 13 this past weekend.  He really is a great kid and I'm enjoying watching him grow up.

The Week Ahead:

Well, our classes start this week for the Performing Arts Center (LFPAC) so that takes care of three days this week.  We're also trying to get out to see my great aunt before school starts.  Ms 21 yo comes home from her trip out east to see the boyfriend and then the usual work and planning and regular life stuff on top of that.  I'm glad we're not ready to start school yet, as I think one major thing this week is enough.

In the Kitchen:

With the beginning of college for two girls, work for two (hopefully three) of them, LFPAC for us, soccer and what not, dinners are going to become tricky.  What is easy for whoever is home to cook, but still healthy?  What can be eaten on the run by those that have to run out in the evening?  I'm looking for simple but good, portable but healthy and dinners that can still work with my budget!  Any suggestions?


* How I can put talks and our new CCM (see below) work on my ipod so we can listen to them in the car.  (I know, pretty deep stuff)
* How gracious our God is who continues to love us even when we fail to love Him as we should.
* What to cook (I know, I told you - there's a lot of depth to my thoughts right now :)


* In thanksgiving for Ms 19 yo finding what appears to be a good car that fit her budget (and her height as she's on the short side so she's limited to cars in which she can see out over the steering wheel!)
* For many special intentions - as always


I'm so excited that this arrived this weekend.  It is the Gamma year of Classically Catholic Memory.  We're doing it by ourselves to try it out but I can see how this would make for a great co-op experience. 

I'm hoping to use this to guide our learning by jumping off of the topics they are memorizing and making a bunch of unit studies to fit.  We'll see how that goes.  


This one isn't the clearest because I was taking it with just the flash for light, but I love the way the other boys are "helping" him blow out the candles.  At least they kept it to themselves!

God Bless!

Check out more over at Sucipio!

Friday, August 9, 2013

7 Quick Takes August 9 2013

I'm sitting here later Thursday night trying to decide if I have enough in my brain to do this.  Mr 8 yo is sleeping on the couch next to me after having battled all day with an eye infection.  Do you know how hard it is to convince an 8 year old boy who touches EVERYTHING not to touch stuff?  Yes, downright impossible.

A lot is about to change around here and I'm not sure I'm ready for it.  In a few weeks school will start up for everyone and dh has some schedule changes that will keep him busier as well.  Right now Ms 21 yo is out of town visiting her boyfriend.  I realize how nice it is to have everyone at home, especially to eat together.  When one, or a few, of them is missing, just isn't the same, now, is it?  I guess I'll just learn to enjoy those times when we are all together even more.

Mr 12 yo turns into Mr 13 yo this weekend and he starts soccer for the first time (well, better late than never - about the soccer, that is).  Both should be adventures!  Have I mentioned before that I just love watching how he is changing as he gets older?  Not just physically (he hasn't grown a ton yet, but I know that's just around the corner) but how he is maturing into a nice young man.  After 4 girls in a row, it is a nice change to see a boy reach his teenage years.

One of the nicest things about him getting older just dawned on me the other day - I'm not the one who has to have any "talks" with him!!  What a relief!  It was kind of like when he was potty trained and we'd be out somewhere and he'd have to go to the bathroom and it would hit me that I didn't HAVE to get up to take him...finally my husband could have the honors.  It's the same feeling :)

About that soccer thing.  We went today to look for cleats.  Since he's entering into the growth spurt phase, we decided to try Play it Again Sports to find some used cleats.  He tried on about 8 or 9 pairs, some size 8 1/2 other size 9.  The 8 1/2s were too small and the 9s were huge.  Not sure what we're going to do about that, but we can't see paying over $50 on shoes he is soon to outgrow - maybe even before the end of the season.  Help!

School's right around the corner...I can feel it...the anticipation is building!  I'm waiting for my last piece of curriculum to come in so I can get things organized and then get rolling.  We're trying out Classically Catholic Memory - Gamma this year.  I can't wait to get it and see what it all entails.  Anyone else using CCM for the first time?  What about the second time?  I'd love to hear what you think of it.

My Life of Fred inventory is starting to clear out so check it out for your last minute math purchases!  Also, it isn't too late to get organized for the coming school year!   Have a great weekend, everyone!
God Bless! 
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Theme Thursday - Statues

We have a lot of statues around our house but my favorite is probably the statue of Mary that we have outside.  It has weathered many a storm and has even fallen over, yet she still stands keeping an eye on our home.

I like this statue because I got it towards the beginning of my reversion back to the faith and the man who made it used blessed water and put a blessed Miraculous Medal inside of it.  

We got my mom one of these one year, but believe it or not someone stole it off her front porch one year right before Mother's Day - in the middle of the day no less.  There was a crew of guys working down the street and we figured maybe one of them knew their mother or wife would really like it.  I guess.

Anyhow, the Blessed Mother holds a special place in my heart and I love looking at her out my kitchen windows.

Go on over to Clan Donaldson to check out more statues.

God Bless!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August Nesting

Does this happen to anyone else?  It seems to me that every year August rolls around and I get the urge to nest, just like I did when I was pregnant.  I want to clean everything, organize every nook and cranny (whether or not it has anything to do with school!) and throw stuff away. 

It hit me over the weekend so I started to go with it.  No reason to fight it, right?  So far we've managed to get the girls' bathroom and bedroom done.  Five girls in one big room is no small feat.  There is a lot of stuff in there to sort through, and when one of your girls is a pack rat, well, it isn't pretty.  She surprised me, though, this time.  She actually said, "Yeah, you can throw that out" about five times and never once went into a panic attack.  

My goal is to get through all the rooms, give them a good cleaning, vacuuming, straightening and then we shall be ready to start school. 

When I was thinking about this it struck me as kind of funny that I get the urge to nest and then go into 9 months of labor.  Kind of the opposite of pregnancy, yet, the feelings are the same.  Oh well, I'm glad it still hits me at least once a year.

God Bless!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Schedule of My Life - The Upcoming Edition

We are about to enter a crazy time and I'm quite certain that I am not ready for it.  First, a few things about me. 

1.  I really don't like to drive. It isn't the actual driving I dislike, it is all that wasted time spent in the car.  I should be at home doing things, but instead I'm in the car, not doing things but driving...far.  Most of our outings consist of at least 30 minute drives.

2.  When I get overwhelmed with something, I tend to spaz.  I talk really fast.  I fret and worry.  It isn't pretty.  Last night my husband had to tell me to get a grip, and he was right.

Ms 17 yo was very helpful yesterday and made me this chart:

 It tells me where everyone needs to be and for how long each day of the school week.  Basically this will help me to determine a few things:

1.  Do we have any scheduling conflicts?
2.  How much time do I have at home for us to do school?
3.  Who can drive whom to which event so I can stay home?  (really, my ultimate goal :)

It appears that, by the grace of God, it is a doable schedule.  It seems as though I might only have to drive on Wed, Thurs and Friday; I think.  Things are always subject to change - at the last minute usually.

There is one key to this whole thing working and that is that we can obtain another car.  With two vehicles there are some major obstacles.  With three it is obtainable, with four (which is what we really need) it is even better.  We'll see what the good Lord has in store.

My focus at this point is not looking too far ahead.  I keep telling myself that I cannot stress about a day three weeks from now when everything could change by then.  I can plan for tomorrow, I can lay out a rough sketch for the next month, but when all is said and done, it is only TODAY that I can do something about. 

In the 6 months that we've been trying to juggle work and activity schedules, I must say that God has managed to work things out so that never was anyone stranded.  I consider that a small miracle.  I have faith He will continue to do the same.

God Bless!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Catholic Woman's Almanac

Joining in over at Sucipio!

Moments of Gratitude:

* A wonderful week of Catholic Kids' Camp.  It was hectic, but the kids had a blast!
* The opportunity to take photos of said camp.  It is always an honor to photograph things that bring glory to God.
* Seeing my son perform as St. Dominic Savio one day during skit time and do an amazing job.  
* A beautiful wedding and a fun reception for the daughter of my oldest friend!  (oldest as in "I've known her the longest" not in age!)
* Stir fry with vegies from our garden

The Week Ahead:

I am so excited that we have a week off between last week's camp and next week's start of classes at the Performing Arts Center.  The last time I had a week "off", it was so stinking hot and we had no a/c that I didn't get anything done.  Hopefully this week will not have any surprises like that in store for me.  The to-do list is quite long!!

In the Kitchen:

Totally uninspiring because I picked easy meals since many of my cooks will not be able to cook this week and that means I have to cook multiple nights!  Can you believe it?  I mean, really, the nerve of these kids to have a life other than cooking dinner!  Oh well, it's food and we'll eat it and that's about all I can say.


As I sat at the wedding this weekend, the priest talked about how the parents (my friends) had raised such good and faith-filled kids.  I thought how weird it was that he was talking about my friends being the parents who raised those great kids - like, how are we old enough to be having kids that are getting married?  It just seems so surreal.  I've been to other weddings of the children of friends, but this is my life-long friend; I met her when I was 4!  I grew up with her family and here she is having one of HER kids get married.  It really is just too much to handle.  Thus, I shall ponder this and come to terms with it before it is my turn to be in that situation :)


* Still praying about that car situation.
* For our upcoming school year
* For many, many other special intentions and people


Last week I only got to one chapter in my "Introduction to the Devout Life" book, but boy was it a good one.  It was the chapter about anxiety and St. Francis really put things into perspective.  If I could remember it all, I'd tell you about it, but it's late and I can't recall exactly what he said.  I just remember thinking that I'll have to keep coming back to that chapter!


Some scenes from last week's camp.  Here's part of the crowd - I think there were about 170 kids signed up, 70 of which were between the ages of 4 and 6! 

This is one of the snacks the kids got to assemble and then eat.  The theme for the week revolved around being princes and princesses for the King and so this was a castle.

One of our friends, a juggling minstrel.

 God Bless!