Sunday, July 27, 2014

River Weaving by John

This is John.

He is:  an artist, a professor, the dean of a department at a university in Iowa, my husband's cousin.

This is his art display called "River Weaving" in the I & M Canal in our area.  

He gave a presentation today and we went out on this beautiful day to enjoy his art as well as the gorgeous weather that God had provided for the occasion.

Here is my gang:

And this is a luna moth.  Apparently these aren't that easy to find as they only live a few days.  They have no mouth so they cannot eat and therefore live only long enough to mate.  God sure makes some incredible creatures!

While I may have a hard time really enjoying modern art, I did enjoy this display as well as the pleasant afternoon.  Hope you had a good one, too.

God Bless!

Friday, July 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes about a boy, a girl and a homeschooling conference

I'm off with my load of books to the used book sale at the IHM conference this weekend.  I decided to weed through my books and get rid of books that are from the "early years" or books we haven't ever looked at.  I'm hoping to score some good books at the sale, too.  You know, now that I have room on my shelves.

This young man is always asking me if he can concoct something in the kitchen.  Problem is, he's never really sure what he wants to do.  Today's creation was milk and ice cream mixed with the hand blender.  I don't know, there's something about letting a 9 year old loose in my kitchen that is just hard for me to do!  This adventure, thankfully, was short and sweet and didn't taste that bad.

9 yo boy vs mosquito:  I think the mosquito won!  (we think it must have been in his bedroom because this is how he woke up!!)

A rare day at home for Ms 22 yo.  Crafting, coffee, Batman and ice cream - this girl has her priorities straight!

I have a plan for our upcoming school year and I'm excited about it.  The two high schoolers will be doing their high school stuff, but the two littlest (4th and 6th) will still be working with me.  I've come up with a looping schedule for some subjects and I'll detail it out for y'all in the coming weeks.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Math, you are the bane of my existence!"  I'm off to the conference to check out Teaching Textbooks - Algebra for the two in high school.  Ms 15 yo doesn't do well with Fred and Mr 13 yo did Beginning Algebra but isn't quite ready to move on so I'm hoping this program will work for the both of them.  If anyone would like to let me know what they think of TT (good or bad) that would be great!

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous.  The temps are perfect, the humidity is non-existent (if that's possible!) and it really does energize me!  Here's to a beautiful summer after such a long and trying winter.  Have a great weekend everyone.  Hope there's sunshine where you are.

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

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Theme Thursday - Trails

This week's theme is trails, and while I haven't been on any exciting trails yet this year, I have some nice pictures from a short trip my hubby and I took last October in Wisconsin.  Unfortunately the trip was cut short, but the time we had there was beautiful.

Join in over at Clan Donaldson for more Trail pictures!.

 God Bless!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Youthful Bonfire

A few weeks ago, Ms 18 yo, my first social butterfly, decided she wanted to throw a summer bonfire party (apple doesn't fall far from the tree, no siree).  Unfortunately for her, she ended up picking the hottest and most humid day of the year thus-far.  Oh well, it didn't seem to deter the guests and I could go inside where the a/c was keeping things much more reasonable, so it seems things were good all around.

 While there isn't a raging fire at this point, I'd like to point out the mutli-tasking effort put on by our couches.  These were two of the couches that had recently gotten ousted from our home and had been in the garage awaiting their final destination - either the end of the driveway with a big FREE sign on them, in the burn pile (not my first choice) or crushed by my hubby and his skid-loader and put in a dumpster.

When we were planning the logistics of this event, Ms 18 yo and I had a revelation:  Why not take our couches-in-waiting and put them on the driveway for bonfire seating??!!  What a great idea, and everyone seems to agree!

So the merriment is still going on as I telling when it will end.  My eyes will droop, but a good mother waits till all the guests are gone before going to bed, doesn't she?  I guess my fear is that I'll get in my jammies and fall asleep and then someone will need something.  Oh well, here's one last photo of the fire to send you on your way. 

Have a good night :) 

Update:  They put the couches back in the garage, got all the food put away, the last people got in their cars and within five minutes (about midnight) the skies let loose and the rain came down!

God Bless!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Daybook

Thankful For:

* A busy weekend, for sure!  On Saturday, the girls and I readied the house to host a bridal shower for a friend's son and his fiance.  It was very providential that we did this because a few weeks ago, their front yard got hit by a tornado and there are still tree parts all over the yard.  A great time was had by all.

* While we were partying, the boys were out splitting more logs.  I am so thankful for the stash we have right now.  Hopefully it will be burnable by this winter, but that remains to be seen as it is all still very wet wood.

* In between all of this activity, we had my mom and dad over for lunch to celebrate my mom's birthday earlier this week.  She had that nasty upper respiratory infection that's been going around and was finally feeling better, so we fired up the grill and had some burgers and sang our lovely rendition of "Happy Birthday" around a pineapple upside down cake.

In the Rehab Department:

I realized I never put up pics of the desk Ms 15 yo and I painted last week.  Here are the before:

We realized that my hubby built this for me 21 years ago.  That was the last time it was painted, too!  Bye bye 21 years of grime and grit!  Here are the after:

We haven't had time to straighten out the drawers, and realistically, it's probably something we'll never get around too.  We're happy with them in spite of their crookedness (notice the Tardis blue accents)!

Next up:

An end table we found at a garage sale this past week!  This will be the last piece in "the new room"

This Week:

We have our homeschool conference next weekend so my goal is to have my used books ready to bring to the used book sale as well as to have an idea of what direction we're headed for the school year.  My biggest dilemma is math for my two high schoolers.  One doesn't get along with Fred and the other did the  Fred's Beginning Algebra but isn't quite ready for Advanced Algebra so I'm on the lookout for something that will work for the both of them.


I finally finished the Fulton Sheen autobiography and just purchased "Praying to God as a Friend" by St. Alphonsus Liguori.  Looks like a good one!  And really, it was $.99 for my Kindle!  How can you beat that?  Well, I suppose free would beat that, but this was pretty close.

I also picked up my book by Dr. Robert DeMaria called "Dr. Bob's Drugless Guide to Balancing Female Hormones" because, well let's just say, we have a lot of female hormones around here that could use some balancing. :)

Praying For:

* Discernment in a lot of issues, nothing too major though.

* For conversion of hearts so there might be peace in our world.

* For Grace, Anna, Courtney and Baby Chiara.

Outside my Window:

The sun is starting to set and it's not too hot so it should be another great night of sleeping.  Hope you have a great evening!

God Bless!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rosaries and Holy Cards and Mess, Oh My!

Ms 15 yo and I have been putting the finishing touches on "the room" when I came upon this mess and felt it was time that I at least TRY to deal with it:

That is our tangle of rosaries and they have been jumbling around in that basket for the past 10 years or so.  For years I've dreamed of some hanging kind of thing somewhere in the house to keep them organized.  That never happened; it was just easier to untangle them once or twice a year and carry the basket from room to room.  Now we live in a house where we can't put nails in the walls because of the plaster so I'm out of luck for anything hanging.

Then we encountered this:

 Holy cards galore; stuffed in this small, heart shaped glass thing.  Really?  Why did I ever think that rectangular cards would fit easily into a heart shaped container?  

Not knowing what to do, I put out a plea on facebook to a mom's group I'm part of.  Most of the rosary solutions involved hanging something, so I'm still out of luck there, but I did go out today and find a nice small basket that goes with the decor to put all those holy cards in.  Much nicer!

We tidied up the family altar a bit

 Bought some new pillows

and found a nice basket for ALL of the piano music we have.  Unfortunately out of 7 kids, only 2 can play, so based on the amount of music we have in this house, I told the 2 girls that I want to hear A LOT more playing going on.

I pretty happy with how this room turned out and we had so much fun doing it.  We finished repainting a desk (more on that tomorrow) and now I think we can retire our paint brushes for the time being and focus on tidying up last year's school work and planning for the coming year.  Ugh, really?  Yep, I guess it's that time.

If you have any ideas for all those rosaries that don't involve hanging anything, I'd love to hear them!

Also, there's only TWO more days left to buy "A Plan for Joy In the Home" at the sale price :)

God Bless!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Summer Daybook

Thankful For:

* A great time with fellow homeschooling moms on Saturday.  There were two talks (myself and the pastor of the church we were at), yummy food, good conversations, door prizes and even a massage and manicure if you wanted one.  What a great way to spend a rainy day.

* A very low-key Sunday. Mass and, well, that's about it.  It was Ms 11 yo's Baptismal feast day so we built a fire in the pit outside and had smores while it drizzled.

* Just enough money saved up to fix the a/c and a few other problems on our van.  It really is just too hard to drive a 15 passenger van without air conditioning.  The poor people two rows back come out with a red face even after a 5 minute drive.  Glad we finally found a good mechanic who is very reasonable.

* A busy, but fun, day on Friday.  The kids performed a short version of the "Prince and the Pauper" with their theater group for us in the afternoon.  It was very good improv theater :).  Then I hightailed it over to my cousin's bridal shower where I spent a nice evening outdoors with my aunts and cousins and had a few good laughs.

Outside My Window:

It is dark and my neighbor is burning his garbage.  Every Sunday night, just like clockwork.  Ah, the smell of burning plastic in the evening!

This Week:

* Ms 15 yo and I are tackling another project this week.  This time we will be repainting a big desk that my husband built for me back when our first daughter was still a toddler.  This desk is SOLID, but it has a big desk top and hold lots of stuff.  All it needs is a fresh coat of paint.  We just have to have it done and back in place before the weekend because I'm hosting a shower here on Saturday!  

* Of course that means that besides painting, there's cleaning to be done. Yippee!!

* Ms 22 yo comes back from her trip to see her boyfriend.  Happy for us, sad for them.

*  Will there be swimming in the forecast?  I sure hope so!

What I'm Reading:

I am almost done with that Fulton Sheen autobiography.  I'll have to work on finishing that up this week.

Last week I purchased "Praying to God as a Friend" by St. Alphonsus Liguori for a whopping $.99 for my Kindle.  I'm looking forward to getting started on that one.

Praying for:

My niece, the niece of a friend, the unborn baby of a friend of mine who really needs a miracle to survive.  Please pray through the intercession Blessed Chiara for her healing.


Shameless self promotion throne in here :)  Don't forget that "A Plan for Joy in the Home" is on sale this week through Friday!


 God Bless!

affiliate links included :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

7 Quick Takes The How to Save Money and Get Organized Edition!

It's here!!!  The first day of my "A Plan for Joy" sale.  Head on over to save yourself some money on either of the formats:  hard copy or downloadable.  Then, go and spread the word to other homeschool moms that you think need to bring some joy back into their lives by organizing their day!

I'm giving a talk on organizing your day on Saturday to a local homeschool group.  It's always a bit scary when I don't know anyone in the room, but I guess it helps that I can give this talk in my sleep.  If you can spare a prayer, I'd sure appreciate it.  I always hope that something I say in my 45 minute time slot will help at least one person!

Today (Friday) is the end of theater camp for four of the kids.  They are performing a simplified version of "The Prince and the Pauper" and from what I hear it will be quite hilarious.  Mr 13 yo is the Prince and since he was the Beast/Prince in last year's summer performance, we might have to keep an eye on his ego.

One of the joys of renting a home (and there are a few), is that when an appliance needs to be replaced, you get to have the fun of picking it out without the not-fun of paying for it.  Finally, our 1970's refrigerator is getting replaced!  I can't wait to get rid of the yellow and welcome in the white.  Also, I won't miss having to mop out the bottom every couple of weeks from all the water that accumulates there. 

Tonight (Friday again) is the Miles Christi Evening of Recollection in Lemont for anyone who is reading this who 1. lives locally  2. is reading this before 6:00 and 3. has nothing else planned and can jump in their car and head over for a beautiful Mass, Adoration, confession, two great spiritual talks and some awesome snacks.  If you're reading this after 6:00 pm CST on Friday, then just forget it.

Please continue to pray for my niece, who is doing great btw, that she can grow strong in body and immune system and kick this asthma.  If you still feel like prayin' add Anna and Courtney and Baby Chiara to your list.  They are all also in need of some prayers.  Thanks.

Semi-busy weekend ahead.  Multiple things on Friday as well as Saturday, but (ssshhhhh) Sunday looks quiet.  Hope you have a great weekend! 

Oh, and don't forget to go check out the sale over at "A Plan for Joy in the Home"!!!!

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Theme Thursday - Bright

Today's them is bright and here are some "bright" new (and might I add "super cute" even though that is not today's theme) kitchen utensils that I bought to go with a bridal shower gift for my cousin.

These things are so cute, and bright of course, that I should have bought some for myself!

Join in with the Clan for more brightness!

God Bless!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Table Makeover

The table is done and in place and my daughter and I are so excited!  This was our first ever project like this, and if you remember, I am not a very creative person, so I was quite nervous about how it would turn out.  

First, here is what the table looked like beforehand:

I'm not sure what attracted me to this in the first place.  Maybe my Guardian Angel saw something I couldn't!

Notice the lovely, gold, iron grates.

 There were quite a few water marks and spots on it, so we lightly sanded it first with an electric sander I found at a garage sale for $3.

Then we commenced the painting party.  We did one coat of primer and then two coats of paint.  Ms 15 yo loved the top and bottom flat parts because we used a roller.  The rest of the detail was all with paintbrushes which took forever.

We took the grates off and I wasn't quite sure how to paint them but my ever ingenious husband came up with this:

The only thing I would do different next time is to spray paint these grates.  They were a pain to paint and the paint didn't go on smoothly at all.

Ms 20 yo and my husband came up with the idea to add some accent colors to the detail part of the table.  

It took a small brush, a steady hand (ha!) and a lot of patience on my part, but I'm glad I did it because it really adds to the table.

And here it is in its final resting place.  It is a bit bigger than we're used to, but it really looks nice with the rest of the room.

Now all we have to do is "quiet" the nick-knacks in the room and then see what we want to put back in what spots.  Quieting a room means taking everything out and leaving it like that for a few days then going back and figuring out what you want to put back in.

So there you have it.  If I can do it, trust me, so can you.  It is amazing how nice it looks and how excited everyone in the family is about it.  If you still haven't gotten yourself a copy of "The Nesting Place", then go do it now!

God Bless!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

An Afternoon Alone

As I sit here sipping my coffee and enjoying the nice breeze blowing through my open windows, there is SILENCE.

I have been home by myself for exactly 3 hours and 47 minutes and counting.

It won't last much longer as three of the kids are due home any minute, but let me tell you, this doesn't happen too often so I've been enjoying it as much as I can.

And, I was actually productive!  I know, high 5s all around.

We started off the day with an early morning run to the airport to send Ms 22 yo off to her beloved.  Sad for us, happy for them.  I don't like early morning car rides because it usually means I have to find a bathroom somewhere along the way because my coffee catches up to me.  I was particularly dreading it today because the airport to which we went is not, let us say, in the best of neighborhoods.  Suffice it to say that I dropped her off, went back west a few miles and found a Burger King that looked relatively safe.  The rest of the trip was a joy.

But enough about that!  Four of the kids were off to theater camp before I returned and after lunch, Ms 20 yo took Mr 9 yo with her to her nanny job because the kids just love playing with him, which is how I ended up here...ALONE.

Can you believe I even worked out?  Yes I did.  And do you want to know what on earth would motivate me to spend my alone time down in the basement with weights, huffing and puffing and sweating?  Water skiing. We will have access to a lake and a boat in a few weeks and I've decided that, with my new-found strength in tow, I'd like to try water skiing again.  I used to be able to slalom ski but it has been YEARS.  I can't even remember how long.  I'm thinking, God willing, that if everything lines up the right way I might actually have enough strength to get up again. I know you will be waiting with baited breath.  I promise to provide proof if it happens.

Also today, I put out a newsletter from my website.  I really enjoy doing that, so it was a pleasure to update my subscribers as to what has been going on around the ole Catholic Homeschooling Resources website.  If you're not a subscriber, why don't you just go take care of that right now?

In that newsletter, and here too, I guess, I announced a SALE that I'm going to be having on my workbook "A Plan for Joy in the Home".  Exciting, I know!  It begins this Friday, July 11th and goes through July 18th!  You'll have to tune in later this week for the official announcement and link to the sale!

After all that, I am spent; but alas, there is still dinner to make.  So off I go into the kitchen to slay my pork roast and tame it into pork chop suey for the masses.  Enjoy the rest of your day!

God Bless!

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Apostolate of Hospitatlity

I believe our family is called to an apostolate to hospitality.  I don't know if that is a valid apostolate within the church, but it runs deep in the veins of all of us (okay, well at least most of us, some are gracious enough to hang on for the ride!).  It runs so deep that, in a recent conversation about what my children think is important to look for in a place to live, the top ranking spot went to "A yard big enough to have parties in".  I think that says it all.

This past weekend we put some major time into our apostolate.  On Friday we spent the day hauling tree debris from our friends' yard.  They got hit by the storm we had last week and 5 of their HUGE oak trees fell down.  The only thing that was hit was one of their cars.  The house, the pool, the barns, the garden, the wind tower - not a problem.  The yard, on the other hand, looked like a disaster zone.  Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures, but Ms 18 yo had her camera and we got a few shots of the group.

My lumberjack husband.  They were having a great time with those chainsaws!

This was an amazing way to spend the 4th.  The interior joy that we all felt at being able to pitch in and do something for someone was amazing.  I was blown away by the amount of hard work that all of my children did.  It was hard and sweaty, but we made some great progress.  Unfortunately, there is still a lot to be done.

On Saturday we had the great fortune to visit friends we haven't seen in too long of a time.  They had recently moved to a new house, which they share with their maternal parents.  I was anxious to see them and their new living arrangements.   We had a great time with all of them, ate some great food and sat and caught up amongst the peace and serenity of their new property.  Why is it that it takes so long to get together with good friends??

On Sunday, finishing off our trifecta of visiting, we had a cook out with a handful of families.  There were kids playing and singing, food galore and good conversation had underneath the trees while the humid breeze blew.  We were exhausted by the end, but it is such a blessing to have good people with which to share your life.  It makes all the hard things so much easier to bear.

So we go forth into this next week with a few chances at more hospitality.  Summer is a great time to get together and see people you haven't seen in awhile, as well as spend some relaxing time with people you see all the time.  I hope you had a great 4th of July, too.

God Bless!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Theme Thursday - Sand

This week's theme is sand.  Alas, I do not have any current sandy pictures, but I have some from the past and since it's Throwback Thursday, I figure I can use an older picture and cover both bases.

Here is a picture of all of my children sitting in the sand.  This is from 2010.  Can't you tell by how much younger they look!

Oh what a fun time we had.

Click on over to Clan Donaldson to see more sand pictures.

 God Bless!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Our New Room

Courtesy of inspiration from "The Nesting Place".  As I alluded to last week, Ms 15 yo and I went into a new resale shop to look around, fully knowing that my husband and I have it in our minds to get ourselves a new bed because he is sinking lower and lower into the mattress we have.

Funny thing is, this wasn't a mattress shop, so we had to settle for looking around at all of the other cool pieces of furniture in there.  It didn't take long for our eyes to spy a couch and loveseat, as well as a coordinating lamp, and a coffee table that looked like a project right out of Pintrest.

Bedroom, shmedroom.  We don't have one couch or chair in our house that you don't sink into, so I knew we were in need of some new furniture.  My husband agreed to look at it, and after two times of taking him there only to find out the store was unexpectedly closed, we finally made it in.  He liked it, we bought it and then it sat in our trailer for four days until we were home long enough to unload it.

That night, my husband got home from work and we raced against the big storm due to hit us to get all the furniture in that needed to come in, as well as take out all the furniture that needed to be taken out.  We made it, but not after a couch tipping over and hitting me on the mouth and wrenching my neck, me tripping over something while walking backwards and carrying a couch, and then getting my thumb pinched between the door and the couch.  Man, where is that strong, young teenage boy when you need him? 

So here it is.  First some before pictures.  Can I just say that I didn't realize how bad our current furniture was until we replaced it with new (to us) stuff?  Wow, how embarrassing.  Anyhow, the before:

Love this wall with the windows, but man are those curtains ugly.  We rent, so I'm not too excited about investing in new curtains, and besides, these babies are heavy, which makes them great in the winter. 

We also have plaster walls, so the owners have told us we can't hang anything up.  Don't tell them that the picture above is hung up.  We did our research on how to hang things on plaster, so we're good.

The big image above is NOT hung up.

All these photos of my kids?  Hanging on the wall with 3M Command Strips.  I can't seem to get them to stick consistently anywhere else in the house, but here they have hung for 5 years!  

Here is the first phase of the "after" photos.  Like Myquillyn says in her book, a room should be worked on in stages.  So here is where we are at so far:

The chair in the above photo we had in our family room, but it looked much better in here.  I love the idea of "shopping" other rooms.  I didn't think I'd have the vision to do that, but it's not as hard as I thought.

 This coffee table is going out the door as soon as we finish painting the big square table that we bought.  We're working on that now, so I'll share photos when we are done.  Next, I plan on finding a few different throw pillows and then maybe digging through the boxes upon boxes of pictures that I can't hang up and seeing if some of them can stand up on the piano.  The only other thing I need is to replace one of the end tables because it is, literally, on its last leg.  That will come in time.

(Oh, and yes we do have two pianos.  We've had the upright for quite a number of years and then a few years ago we heard about a church giving away their baby grand.  How can you pass up a free baby grand?  All we had to do was move it.  Ha ha.  If you've ever tried moving one, then you know it ain't that easy.  Anyhow, in this house and the last house, we've had room for both, so both we have kept.)

So there you have it.  I never thought I could do this.  Really.  I am so creatively challenged when it comes to this kind of thing, but after reading that book and then finding this furniture and getting a real deal on it all, I can't believe how easy it was.  Even the kids love it.  

Now they're after me to do the family room!  

But first, a new bed!!  And this time I mean it!

God Bless!

affiliate links included 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

And the Furniture is in....But,

We had quite a night last night.  My hubby got home and we raced against the approaching storms to get all of our furniture from the trailer, where it has been patiently waiting since Thursday of last week, and into the house.  But that's still a story for another day.

Instead, let's focus on the rest of the evening, shall we?

We finished up just in time for the first storms to roll through.  Nothing major, but still we would have gotten quite soaked.  We ate dinner, prayed our rosary and then hubby announced that he was absolutely exhausted and was going to go to bed.  This is fine, except it meant we were on our own to get to Adoration and back.  Which is also fine, usually, except that there were more storms coming our way.  I hate driving at night in storms.

I told him I didn't mind him getting sleep as long as it didn't storm until we got back after 10:00.  Well, I'm pretty sure you can guess what happened.

We were sitting there at the monastery in Adoration and at about 9:50 we heard the wind hit the side of the building, followed by the deluge of rain.  Within minutes the lights were out.  Thankfully there were enough candles.  It was about this time that Ms 11 yo flipped out.  While I was trying to get her calmed down, one of the sisters came in and told us it was okay to stay since there were tornadoes in the area.  Well, you don't mention tornadoes out loud when you have a child flipping out because that only makes her worse.  The funny thing was, sister didn't just do it once, but came back two more times to tell us about the tornadoes, each time sending Ms 11 yo into another frenzy.

What could you do but laugh, and then prayer the Prayer Against Storms again?

They brought us blankets and candles and we waited out the worst of it.  When it was down to a more mild wind and rain event, we made a run for it and made it home just fine.

Only to find out, of course, that my husband hadn't been asleep and was on the phone with family discussing power outages and generator issues.

After getting the youngest two to bed, we started tracking the storm to see if Mr 13 yo and his friends at camp were in the path.  Turns out we got an email from them saying they moved to a shelter about 1:30 am and were just going to stay there for the night.  We haven't heard anything else, so hopefully the tents survived and everyone is okay.  I'd love to check up on him, but I get the feeling you don't just "check up" on your 13 year old son :)

So tomorrow.  Tomorrow there will be pictures of new furniture and exciting things inspired by "The Nesting Place".  Unless, of course, something else happens.

God Bless!

affiliate link included