Friday, February 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes Where we discuss what Mark Twain said

Ms 21 yo bought a book this week called "Under the Covers and Between the Sheets".  With a name like that, and young children around, I had to check the book out :)  Turns out its "The inside story behind classic characters, authors, unforgettable phrases and unexpected endings".  On the back is a quote from Mark Twain that left me in tears.  He once wrote of Jane Austen, "Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone."  I don't know about you, but the thought of a great writer writing that about another great writer just cracked me up.  I think I'll be borrowing that book sometime!

I'm gearing up for my annual silent retreat, but since I need a post for tomorrow, you'll just have to wait till then to find out about it!

It's time to bring out some new spring fragrances for our soap.  The weather might not be cooperating, but maybe with some great new smells we can coax it along.  Go to our shop and check out our Banana Berry Almond, Grapefruit Margarita, Lavender Oatmeal and Midnight Jasmine, as well as all of our other great smelling soaps.
This will hopefully bring a smile to your face.  The theater troupe my kids belong to does a weekly youtube series called "Hope's Cafe".  The retro episodes highlight some of the kids as the "mini-me" of the adult actors.  This one is cute.


Here's the episode with Lola and Nicki as adults.  I think those kids did a good job, don't you?


I realized last week that my iPod is sorely lacking in weight lifting music.  Usually my husband puts on some 80s rock from Pandora, but once in awhile we like to mix it up a bit.  I started looking to my iPod and realized that country music love songs aren't that motivating when you're trying to lift weights.  I happened upon "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark" by the Fall Out Boy which is a great song to dead lift to.  If anyone has any other great work out songs, I'd love to hear your favorites.

I've heard rumors of more snow this weekend.  Rumors ranging from a light dusting to 14 inches by the time Sunday is over.  We have a 1 1/2 hour drive home on Sunday so I'm hoping the dusting prediction is the correct one.  I hope your weekend is full of sunshine and warm weather and NO white stuff falling from the sky.

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

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

7 in 7 and Theme Thursday

Today is not only DAY 4 in Jen's 7 Posts in 7 Days, I am also linking up with Clan Donaldson and the Theme Thursday extravaganza. 

Today's theme is:  Fences

We do not have a fence.  In fact, there aren't many fences to be found around here (thankfully, in my opinion), but there is one fence nearby that I love to look at all year round.

This fence encloses a property of about 30 acres.  The house is very large and it backs up to the local creek.  It really is a gorgeous piece of property and we love to walk past it when the weather is nice.  The fence isn't much to get excited about, but the view as a whole is quite peaceful.

God Bless!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Split Brain Syndrome

Do you suffer from "Split Brain Syndrome"?  Is it actually a syndrome or is just something that goes on in my aging, over-full, busy brain?

What?  You don't know what it is?

Let me give you an example:

Tuesday morning is the morning we have writing class at our house beginning at 9:45.  It means we have a lot to accomplish before people start arriving, so (and here's where the split brain problem comes in) part of my brain is planning about how to get breakfast, clean up the house, arrange the seating and get our CCM stuff done before 9:45.

Simultaneously, the other side of my brain is working on this:  Monday night before bed, Ms 18 yo asks if we are going to Mass with them in the morning.  "Yes," I respond.  "After Mass I can go get gas in the car and then stop at the store for the snacks the boys need for their Blue Knights meeting tomorrow night".  Perfect plan, I won't need to make an extra trip out.

Tuesday morning I wake up and realize that Split Brain Syndrome has hit yet again.  "We can't go to Mass with you, we have all this stuff to do to get ready for class," I say to Ms 18 yo.  Her response?  "Well, that's what I thought, so I was surprised when you said you'd be going with us!"

Why, I ask time and time again, doesn't anybody ever call me on this??  Their response is always the same "Well, I was wondering why you said you could do that", so why don't they just fill me in ahead of time that my brain is planning two different things at the exact same time?  I can't tell you how many times this happens to me.  Should I be worried?? or is this a common thing with women who have a lot of kids and whose calendar has no more white space on it??

God Bless!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Patriotic Afternoon

Here we are at day #2 for Jen's 7 in 7 link up!

Welcome back!  This past weekend, besides spending time raising my blood pressure, we also got to spend the afternoon with some great families at a Patriotic Day that the leader of the St. Faustina Club (a group two of my girls belong to) put together.  Each year the group studies a different country and culture and this year they're studying the good ole US of A.  I have to say that I thought Mrs K did an outstanding job last year with the French dinner for Valentine's Day, but this year might have even beat that!

We started the afternoon off praying the Patriotic Rosary.


If you've never done that, I'd encourage you to go here to check out exactly how to do it, and then...go do it.  There is something so encouraging about praying for each and every soul in each and every state of our union.  Add to that the patriotic songs and, by golly, it makes your heart want to burst!

After the rosary we had a contingent of Veteran's come and post the flag for us and we all said the Pledge of Allegiance together.

The girls had been practicing some patriotic songs to sing.  It was great to hear some old favorites I haven't heard in a long time.  

 They had also practiced a wash board band to accompany some of the songs.  I mean really, when was the last time you heard a wash board band?  They were good, too.

Each of the girls had prepared a 2 minute speech to present (for a chance at a cash prize, even) based on something American.  We heard everything from Christopher Columbus to JFK. 

This is Ms 10 yo telling us a tall tale about Arizona weather.

Mrs. K even got the older boys and dads involved by calling them up on stage to sing an unrehearsed rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game".  

Of course we topped it all of with a big pot luck dinner and some great desserts.  We are so blessed to have some incredibly talented moms in our homeschool group who are willing to plan and prepare some great events that we will all remember for a long time.  Thanks, Mrs K, for your dedication and hard work with our girls, even though your kids have long since graduated!

God Bless!

Monday, February 24, 2014

We Finally Won, and Why it Wasn't All it Was Cracked up to be!

For the past 8 weeks, two of my children have been putting me through pure torture.  Each weekend we go and cheer them on as they play basketball for the Upward Sports Christian program.

Last year, Mr 13 yo's team never won a game.  This year, they won two games so it wasn't quite so bad.  This past Friday they played the team again that they had played the very first week.  That time the other team beat our guys by about 32 points, give or take a few.  This time, they didn't know what hit 'em.  Our team did end up losing, but man they kept that team on their toes.  The final score of this game was 12 to 18.  You could tell the other team's coaches and kids were pretty darn frustrated to see how far these kids had come in 8 weeks.  

Going into Saturday's game, Ms 10 yo's team hadn't won a game yet.  This week wasn't even looking like they were going to get to play because the other team only had four girls.  In order to play, one of our girls had to volunteer to play for the other team.  Here you are, asking an 8, 9 or 10 year old girl to go play on a team with people she doesn't know, all the time knowing that this is the last chance HER team has to win.  One of the girls did volunteer and it was an amazing thing.
#21 on the left is the girl who switched teams.  Ms 10 yo is guarding her :)

Love those socks!
While I am happy that our team finally won a game, it was kind of a bittersweet win knowing that the other team only had 5 girls and they had to all play the entire game.  You could tell they were dragging by the end.  It got to the point in the game where the entire section of spectators were rooting for the underdog team.

While the season had its ups and downs, it was a fun time to go and root for the kids and to watch them as they've grown both in ability and in sportsmanship over the past 8 weeks.  I will admit, however, that my blood pressure will be glad for the break in excitement!

God Bless!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I'm In! Are You?

I'm in!  Come back tomorrow for the first of 7 days straight of posting.  This will take some gargantuan effort on my part seeing as how I've had trouble even reading blogs let alone keeping up with this one.  Make sure to come back and visit, and hey, maybe even drop a comment or two along the way.  I'm looking forward to visiting with y'all!

God Bless!

Friday, February 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes where we discuss the good, the bad and the ugly

What a week it has been around here; full of ups and downs; well, a bunch of downs but one big up to make up for it!  We started our week off with another round of snow.  We had nothing but 5 females and 3 shovels to clear it up and ended the day with one car buried in it.  Here is what various parts of our driveway looked like. 
This car isn't stuck. I chose to park it before I got it stuck!

Stuck car

Now fast forward to the end of the week:  a skid loader to clear the driveway (finally) and a day of rain and thunder to clear it even more.  

same spot where car was stuck!

Look closely to see the "river"

Unbelievable what a difference a day can make.  We haven't seen the blacktop on our driveway for months.  Unfortunately this warm up has caused quite a bit of flooding.  Extremes - who needs em?  Why can't there be moderation??
Oh, another up for the week:  Ms 18 yo got her driver's license!  I am quite excited about this because I think it might just be my ticket to less shuttle bus driving.  I've been really struggling lately with the amount of time I spend driving (and no, it can't all be done away with).  By the time I get home and take care of what needs to be taken care of, there's not much time left to do things that I'd like to do; like blogging!

Another plus this week is that, in preparation for all of this water that is flowing, and given how our house is prone to flooding, we picked up all the garbage in the basement.  Now I have the motivation I need to go down there and shovel out all of the non-essentials and put it back neatly.  Guess I just have to find the time :)

Can I say that I'm looking forward to this being the end of basketball season this weekend?  Ms 10 yo's team lost by two points again last week in the last 5 seconds of the game, leaving them only tomorrow to post their first win for the season.  Mr 13 yo won last Friday, so at least this year they can brag on two wins!  I guess the frustrating thing is that people just don't play by the rules.  Our coach does, but it is so maddening to play against a team whose coach doesn't.  Maybe I'm not cut out to be a sports mom, after all.

I think part of my problem is that I can be so darned competitive.  This past Wednesday we got to go to basketball practice with the kids and play parents against the kids.  There were two other moms and two dads who played along with me on the team.  I thought it was good that the dad's were so laid back about it because myself and one of the other moms were out for blood.  Those 8, 9 and 10 year olds didn't know what hit them.  Well, truth be told, we were all huffing and puffing by the time the game was nearing the end.  Thanks to the dads, the girls won and I hope it gave them some confidence for their big game this morning.

Going out to dinner this weekend with my hubby and I can't wait!  We're also having a family pot luck for a club our girls are in.  Lots to do, as usual.  I'm also contemplating participating in the "7 Posts in 7 Days" with Jen, so hope to see you back here next week!  Have a great weekend!

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

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Theme Thursday - Heart

I was fortunate to have all of my children at breakfast at the same time this morning so that I could capture their "hearts" for today's Theme Thursday. 

Check out Clan Donaldson for more hearts and Happy St. Valentine's Day!

God Bless!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Lego Movie Review

It isn't often I do a movie review, but I couldn't pass this one up it was so good.  My kids are LEGO fanatics, so when they noticed sometime last year that LEGO was going to make a movie, we were psyched!  Once we found out the date, we booked it on the calendar.  That date was this past Sunday.

I have to agree with my husband that this is the first movie we've all enjoyed in quite awhile.  It was good on so many levels.  Without spoiling the plot twist, I have to say that this was an ingenious move by the LEGO marketing people and I wouldn't be surprised if sales of LEGO went through the roof after this movie.

The story centers around Emmet, your average, run-of-the-mill, rule-following, all-around good guy.  He inadvertently gets himself involved in saving the world from the evil Lord Business, who has plans to attack all of the LEGO realms with "The Kragle".  The cast of characters who join with Emmet are diverse and funny, but my favorite has to be Batman.  His sarcastic personality is right up my alley. 

(As a side note, make sure you stay for the credits to listen to Batman sing a song that he wrote.  If you laughed at him during the movie, you will find this very funny!)
I tend to be a rule-follower and if I played with LEGOs, I would be like Emmet;  I would follow the instructions and build the kit the way that they told me too.  What this movie does, besides entertain, is get people to see that they don't always have to do that; that it is okay to throw that instruction book out and be creative.  The "Master Builders" are the ones who can take a pile of LEGOs and build amazing things with them.  On the flip side, saving the world depends on following the instructions, so this movie does a great job at showing people that there's room in the world (at least in the LEGO world) for both kinds of play - following the instructions and being creative.

If you are looking for a great way to spend some hard-earned cash, this would be my recommendation!

God Bless!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Our Annual Father Daughter Ball

About a week and a half ago we had our 13th Annual Father Daughter Ball.  Typically we have a Snow Ball in January, but this year, due to Lent starting later than normal, we had a Sweetheart Ball in February...and almost had to cancel it due to snow.  Oh well, we ended up going for it and the weather wasn't as bad as they had predicted.  Given that it was the dads that were doing the driving, they didn't let a little snow stand in the way of a great evening with their daughter(s).

We had about 150 people at this year's event.  Looks like we might have to find a bigger venue!  There were appetizers and "mixed" drinks (a variety of sodas and fruit juices), introductions of all of the families, a buffet dinner, a plethora of desserts, pictures and dancing.  All-in-all it was a great evening.

This year I decided to spice things up in the photo area and brought in some props to use.  It was a lot of fun for the girls and the dads!  I'll be quiet now and let the photos speak for themselves!

My family

Some fun with props


The Patroness of our homeschool group



My dh and Ms 15 yo

Our annual broom dance

Ms 21 yo, Ms 18 yo and a friend :)

Some of our fun-loving dads

God Bless!

Monday, February 10, 2014

How To Survive February

I will admit, right off the bat, that I am not doing a very good job at surviving February right now.  The snow, the cold, the burn out and cabin fever have gotten to all of us.  Don't get me wrong, the snow is beautiful; it sure beats looking at dead, brown grass for four months.  However, every week when the newest snow storm comes along, we have to deal with how we're going to get our really long driveway cleared out and then I have to stress about all the young drivers driving around in it.

Yes, stressing about it is mandatory because the older I get, the more knowledge I have of what can go wrong out there in this horrid weather.  We seem to have had a lot of bad accidents in our neck of the woods this winter; probably because we haven't had this much snow in decades and we've all forgotten how to drive in it!

Anyhow, back to my point, I think.  Each year I encounter February with a new resolve to get through it better than the last year.  I think I made it an extra day this time around, so that is progress.  I mean, falling apart on February 2nd is much better than on February 1st, isn't it?

St. Ignatius said that one should never change things when one is in a state of darkness.  February = darkness so I am trying to remember his sage advice.  He is a Saint after-all.  I'm trying not to throw out all my clothes or cut my hair in some drastic way.  I'm trying to stick to my exercise routine and not eat too much chocolate in the hopes that someday I might see some visible progress on this aging body.

I also remembered that last year on retreat, Father said that when one is in a state such as I am in, that you should do more of what you don't want to do - as opposed to running away from it, I guess.  On that note, I'm trying to pray more, read more spiritual matter, and yes, spend more time with those who are driving me crazy challenging me.

I'm also buying things like these

to brighten my surroundings.

So that is how I'm trying to cope with the most challenging month of the year.  I know that God is good, however, because He made it the shortest month.  Only 18 more days to go!

How are you doing this February???

God Bless!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Theme Thursday - Church Windows

The weather really is affecting my ability to get out and take current pictures so I need to dig into the archives again for this week's theme.  I was looking for a picture I took of a window entitled "Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners".  I took this particular photo because at one time we had been dreaming of opening a Catholic camp ground and I thought that would make a great name for it.  Wouldn't you go to a campground with a name like that??  

Anyhow, I couldn't find the picture and found this one instead.

I have no idea who it is of, but I can tell you it comes from my most favorite place on earth, Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama.  It's not from the church, of course, because you aren't allowed to take pictures in there, but it is from a little grotto they have on the property.  The picture isn't anything fancy, but what it reminds me of is Heaven on earth and right now, being February and all snowy and everything, I really need to be reminded of that!

Join in at Clan Donaldson for more church windows!

God Bless!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The "Not My Plan" Kind of Day

This was my plan for today:

* Ms 21 yo off to work
* Ms 19 yo and Ms 18 yo off to school
* Myself and other four children off to Mass and then back home to do awesome amounts of quality schoolwork

This was NOT my plan for today:

* Wake up to about 5 more inches of snow
* Ms 21 yo off to work - but takes her 3 hours to get there
* Truck that has the snow plow - not functioning this winter
* Borrowed snow blower - broke on Sunday
* Can't get small car out of driveway so I hop in the van and plow through the drifts so I can get girls to school
* Realize while driving eastbound on our two-lane, semi-rural, wide open to blowing and drifting snow, US Hwy, that there is no longer a westbound lane due to said blowing and drifting snow, and begin to panic about wonder how I am going to get back home.  
* Get the girls to school on time (amazingly)
* Go back towards home, stop at bank and then call hubby asking for advice about the lack of a  west bound lane.  His suggestion: go back to the highway and take that as it will reduce the amount of miles I will need to travel on the lane-less road.
* By the time I make it back to the US Hwy with no lane, the plows have come and there is at least the makings of a lane so I get back home safely.
*Only to get the van stuck in a drift in the driveway
* Drag remaining kids out of the house, place shovels in our hands and begin to dig.  
* An hour later, I'm able to get the car unstuck and park it for 10 minutes until we can defrost and get back in it again to go pick up the girls.
* As long as we have to go back out, we drive to Noon Mass since we missed Mass this morning.  This is what saved my day!!!!
* Go to Mass, visit with Jesus, pick up my girls, get some lunch cuz we're out of everything lunch-like at home, go to the grocery store and get home for good at 2:30.

School - not done yet
Laundry - not done yet
One tired and sore mamma - done
Hubby coming home with another borrowed snow blower - done

Here's hoping the next few days will be a peaceful reprieve until the next storm rolls in on Saturday :)

God Bless!