Thursday, August 22, 2013

We Are Fine

Obviously, I cannot keep up with a post every day.  Everything is fine though, just VERY busy.  My Catholic School kids started school this week with all the prep for that last week, and my high school teens start school next week so all that prep is this week.  My college bound son leaves this weekend, so we are prepping for that as well.  Home Schooling has been going on as well as all the normal day to day activities - and soccer season has begun.  
I do plan to get back to regular posting, but need one more week to catch my breath and focus on family.
I miss keeping this journal up though, so I will be back soon!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pondering This Quote from Fr. Flanagan

 "The home is the oldest established unit in human society.  When the home fails, a small but vital part of the community fails.  It becomes a danger point of infection for the whole community, and the whole community, in some measure becomes affected by the failure."
~Father Flanagan

I found this while enjoying My Child, I Love You - a lovely blog and cute family.  I'm so happy to have been pointed towards from Amongst Lovely Things.

I think Father Flanagan's words are proving to be true, but I have hope still.  There are still so many wonderful families.  It also inspires me with my own family.  Lot's to think about...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

round button chicken

~Capturing the context of contentment in every day life~
~Every Thursday at Like Mother Like Daughter~

We made Assumption parfaits today, and not only do they look pretty but they taste delicious too!  Thanks to Jessica for posting the recipe at Catholic Cuisine!

The best quality photo of the little ones swinging was from my camera, but the happiest one is on Instagram.  We are truly happy to be homeschooling, and on their first day after Nature Journals we hit the park for recess.  It has been a great first week!

I could have set a timer to how fast they inhaled their Assumption Parfaits!


The whole notion of never saying NEVER is true.  Six years ago, I honestly didn't think I would EVER want to homeschool again, yet here I am and we are really happy to be here.  We started off our first day with a little long term project I want to work on, which is to keep a Nature Journal on the first Monday of each week of our favorite walk, noticing the changes of the season and observing.  These 3 loved it, and I think we are settling in for a great year.  I am so blessed and love how God guides Pete and I to the same place.

Please visit LMLD for this weeks {P,H,F,R}

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Yarn Along

I'm participating in Ginny's Yarn Along this week.

I've made a little progress on the sweater, and a LOT of progress on the quilt (which I know is technically not part of the Yarn Along).  I'm joining Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things in reading Common Sense 101, Lessons From G.K. Chesterton.  I am not sure if there will at some point be an online discussion about the book and I'm not worried about it.  She kinda has her hands full with 2 beautiful twin boys and a toddler too in addition to her other children + homeschooling.  I'm happy to read with her simply because it is just a wonderful book!  
Please visit Ginny to see more of this weeks Yarn Along participants!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Chocolate Chip Pie

I've got an hour and a half before the end of Tuesday, so better late than never I hope.  Today has been so full of so much.  I could go on and on sharing the day, but I think I'll just go straight to the recipe.  This is a 'call it in' recipe, easy and delicious.  Served warm with vanilla ice cream , it is the BOMB - especially if you happen to live in a region that sells Blue Bell's Homemade Vanilla.  I made this LATE but my older kids loved that.  The younger guys forfeited their getting pie when they misbehaved at a key moment today.  The older boys knew the pie was still coming, just later.  I loved hearing them speak in code to one another..."3.14 is happening after 8:00 pm" they passed around.  The younger kids had no clue what was being discussed and had a little fear that Math was happening after bedtime which made them really happy to go to bed.  Have I mentioned yet how much I enjoy teen and adult children.  So, 3.14 did happen but after 9 pm which made it very late to share with all of you.  Here is the recipe:

Pie Crust:

1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbs. cold milk.

Mix all ingredients in prepared 9 inch pie pan and pat the dough, once mixed, with your fingers up the sides of the plate and across the bottom evenly. Set aside

Chocolate Chip Pie:

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla
6 oz. pkg. chocolate chips
1 c. nuts chopped(I use walnut more than anything)
Uncooked Pie Shell (see above)

Beat eggs.  Add flour and sugars, then butter and other ingredients.  Pour into uncooked pie shell.  Bake at 325 for 1 hour.  Check at the 45 minute mark, sometimes it is done at that point.

Enjoy with vanilla ice cream!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekending - Swim Party Fun

Re-inventing Mother
Joining Re-Inventing Mother for this weeks Weekending.

I didn't get many photos this weekend, we did lots to prepare for the first day of homeschool for Monday.
We did go to a sweet 16 birthday for a very special young lady we've watched grow up.  I went to see her in the hospital when she was born, and I still remember what a pretty baby she was, and she has grown into being a beautiful girl!  She celebrated at our local pool, and we had such a great time!
I absolutely love this photo of #7 with her Papa.  #3 is close behind and I love the deadpan expression he has.  He left the lazy river for the water basketball game right after this.

#8 was in Heaven, he must have gone down the water slide over a dozen times!

My favorite photo of the day!  You can just see the mischief in both of their expressions!  

It was a great weekend, and we love time with friends and family!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What Works For Us - Confession

I want to be honest here, I eased into what is now very much a habit for our family.  Our routine of weekly confession is something that has developed over the last few years and I am sad to say was not a part of our routine when our older kids were little.  We did frequently take them to confession, but it was more like once or twice a month.  As my children have become teenagers and adults, I appreciate more and more the gift of frequent confession.  The teenage years are such a mixed bag of good as well as very hard.  Teenagers are growing up in a mine field of opportunities for destruction, as a parent it is really challenging to help them steer through this time in their lives.  
Confession and frequently attending Mass provides an anchor and a true comfort as kids enter the sometimes confusing time of adolescence.  It is a safe harbor.  I converted to Catholicism,  I didn't really appreciate the gift of this Sacrament for teenagers until I began to see the fruits of taking them frequently for myself.  Our routine 90% of the time is to attend Confession, Rosary & then Mass every Saturday.  It is up to my child if they will go to confession or not, I try very hard to not meddle in their own relationship with God.  God gave them free will, so I feel it is my job to get them there but it is their own conscience developing that leads them into the confessional.  I can nudge them, but I only do so when I have my instincts alerted (possibly the Holy Spirit allows us parents to know when we need to do nudge)

I love to celebrate the Liturgical Year and our Catholic Faith is the richest part of our every day lives.  I believe it brings the extraordinary into our day, it keep us tethered to God.  As a Convert, I fully embraced all of the celebrations and Holy Days of our Church.  Our Pope, and many before him as well as the Saints stress the importance of frequent confession.  While I completely appreciated the importance of this sacrament I didn't fully realize the gift it is until I stumbled into a routine of every week taking my children.   It just wasn't a part of my own habit since my teenage years didn't include this Sacrament. I have grown to see the wisdom in this as minds and hearts are developing in our children.  Teenagers are especially vulnerable (I believe) to hardening their hearts,  developing the habit of frequent confession allows teens to lean on God and to trust in Him.  It isn't enough to just grow up learning the Faith and celebrating the Liturgical Year, we all sin and fail and we all need the Sacrament of Confession to give us the Grace to be formed more fully into what God intended for us to be.

They grow up so quickly, before you know it they are flapping their wings and on their own.  It is the habits that are formed as they grow up that will carry them through the challenging times once they leave the nest.  As a parent, you will appreciate how participating in this ritual of frequent confession will draw you closer and more aware of struggles your child may be having.  I never ask my children about confession - that is private.  By being present, and taking part in this Sacrament with them, it has opened hearts and allowed an understanding that can only be brought about by The Holy Spirit.  God is so good.
Every Saturday (with very few exceptions) Confession, Rosary, Mass - it works for us!

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it"  ~Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Good Things & Snake Bites

Sorry for the poor quality - I am very hesitant to take pics during Mass, but I couldn't resist taking this photo of #8 getting to do the readings at Daily Mass with his older brother helping him.  We've tried our best to consistently go to Daily Mass on Wednesday & Friday this Summer.  On one of the Adoration times for the Youth we were a very small group that were able to make it, so the Youth Director allowed my younger ones to participate.  Such a special Day for #8.

Another poor quality photo, but I miss him and wanted to share this.  One of the graduation gifts I gave him  - a compass, so he will always find his way home.  His letters have been so dear to me, and he is very much missing home right now.  I can tell he is also growing in confidence as each week passes at boot camp, which gives me relief.  I am counting down the days until we go to the graduation, maybe I am the one who needed the compass to always find my way to him.

Snake Bites!  You can never EVER make enough.  We all love them, even the younger kids will eat them if they are not too spicy.  
Snake Bites:
1, 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened)
1 bunch of green onions diced up fine
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
dash of garlic salt
1 package thick sliced bacon (when making a really large batch, I cut the bacon in half so it goes farther)
jalapenos (I buy them by the large packages at Sam's and I usually make 2 and double or triple all the other ingredients)
In mixer I blend all ingredients listed before the bacon until well mixed.  
Slice jalapenos in half, remove seeds and devein.  You can find a how-to video here:  Link
Once jalapenos are prepared, take a spoonful of filling and fill in the jalapeno, then wrap bacon around it and secure with bacon.  Repeat until all are filled.
Bake in 350 oven for close to 30-45 minutes.  I always have to watch them closely due to the various sizes of the jalapenos, they cook faster when smaller.

*I'll be the first to admit that when I cook without a recipe, what I share here can be difficult to follow.  Please ask any questions in the comments!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Seven Quick Takes

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 228)
I've been meaning to share a link to Rebecca's Web Log for quite a while now.  She has such a way with words, it makes you feel like your sitting there chatting away in a very relaxed 'we've been friends forever' kind of atmosphere + she leaves the BEST comments, I always love receiving her comments.  She just went to Rome to meet a long time friend, you do not want to miss her sharing about that trip or her friend.  I am so very happy to have discovered her blog, and you really don't want to miss it - go check her out!!

We begin homeschooling the youngest of our Peas on Monday.  They are bubbling with excitement.  It is in part because they have no idea what it means to homeschool and partly because who doesn't get excited about the first day of school.  Pete helped me A LOT with the calendar and trying to work out the best flow for our day.  We decided to only focus on the first quarter, I'm using Microsoft Calendar so I can easily tweak the day to fit what works in reality.  I homeschooled a LONG time and spent hours working on calendars (by hand) which always looked great on paper, but the application wasn't as smooth.  I love that I can easily change the calendar on my computer to reflect our reality once we know it.

This is my first time to join in on Quick Takes Friday, and I kinda like it even though I'm not entirely sure if I'm actually doing it right.  I've read Jen long enough to know she isn't necessarily hung up on rules for her link ups, just happy to have you along!

I'm going to share the Netflix commercial again.  My brother-n-law Mark is in a National spot for Netflix.  I added it to yesterday's post once I figured out how to.  I don't want it over looked.  It is such a cute commercial, and of course it has about 1 second of Mark who we are so excited to see in it!

We lived next door for a brief time to the Fahey Family.  I remember all too well their darling girls and my bawdy boys climbing trees and having a good time while the neighborhood gathered each day at 3 pm to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  It was a very informal practice, if you can make it wonderful and if not, no big deal we will be praying again tomorrow.  We also had the shared experience of a bear traveling through our yards scaring all of us quite a bit.  Dr. Fahey has written what has become one of my favorite articles about homeschooling.  In Praise of Noisy Villages is wonderful, I can't recommend it enough.

We've gotten away from reading a book aloud in the evenings this Summer.  I miss it.  I'm planning to utilize the first day of school as an opportunity to revamp our evenings back to reading.  I am going to begin with "Where the Red Fern Grows".  I love that story, and my older boys have not read it in a LONG time, and my little ones have never heard it.  I hope we can make the routine work before we start another round of rehearsals and soccer practice.  As much as I don't like too full a schedule, we all love these activities so I'll figure out a way to balance it, I hope!

I am never without something to say - but, here I am at a complete loss as to what to share next.  Thanks for reading this far.  The only thing I can think of is to share that my next 'What Works For Us' is going to be about Confession.  I'll save my thoughts for that post, but as a convert and a mother I feel very strong about this particular sacrament.
Please join in over at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

round button chicken
~Capturing the context of contentment in every day life~
~Every Thursday, at Like Mother Like Daughter~

I know I said I would wait to show it, but the recipient does not read my blog and it made for the perfect {pretty} category this week.

I plan to make more personal quilts like this - I absolutely love it.

It brought together embroidery, it is personalized, and using up only scraps - economical too (which the recipient will appreciate just as much as the quilt).

I cannot believe she is 9!  She has been saving for a long time to purchase Saige, the American Girl Doll that stole her heart when Grandma Truby shared the catalog with her.  I am so proud of her because she saved up over half the amount to purchase her doll, a little birthday arrived just in time to make getting Saige a reality.  We had a 'girls' day in the big city with Grandma Truby and ate lunch at La Madeleine which we all love.  It was a very VERY happy day!

Two of my teenagers headed off for the Youth Conference in our area, they had a wonderful time!

Taking the little guys to Home Depot to purchase the supplies to build them a puppet theater!  It was a funny trip for sure, but lots of fun too.

Poor picture quality, but the theater turned out so well.  We need to make some good puppets, but they have becoming up with all kinds of marvelous plays.  During these hot, HOT days it has been nice to have this inside to feed their imaginations and keep them entertained!

Look, we were in the news!!  We love going to our town's Hot Summer Nights program with live music free on the lawn of the Municipal Building.  We had friends share this photo with us and found out later that we had been filmed and on the news too - so fun!  Now what is really news worthy is that my brother-n-law is in a National Add for Netflix - don't blink, his appearance is super quick.  We are over the top excited about his being in the commercial, no matter how brief.

Just wait a few seconds to skip the add - it is a super cute commercial!

Please join in over at LMLD for today's {P,H,F,R}

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny for this weeks Yarn Along.  I'm slowly working my way through this sweater.  I absolutely love the yarn and the color.  The project is simple enough, but I still managed to make a mistake.  I am pushing on though and not unraveling it like I would usually do.  No matter what, I intend to complete this project so it may look pretty wonky by the time it's done but the point, for me, is about completion.

You can see my mistake more clearly here.  I have not been able to devote much time to this project because I'm almost done with my quilt and I am so very proud of it.  I'll show more details once the gift has been given.  The link to my quilt also has specifics on the yarn and pattern I'm working on.

I'm reading two books.  I had to set down 'Waiting for Eli' while we were thick in the productions of Drowsy Chaperone and The Hobbit.  I finally picked it back up the other day and I'm so glad I did.  It is such a touching true story.  I actually want to make a pilgrimage to this area of Louisiana, it seems like it has its own Catholic Culture there and lots to appreciate as a Catholic.  The other book I'm reading is "Gentle Babies"  no, I'm not pregnant.  I have always been interested in best practices when it comes to the health of my family.  My former boss shared about her success with essential oils and loaned me the book to read.  I'm truly fascinated by this topic and want to learn more.

Thank you for stopping by my Yarn Along, please visit Ginny for today's Yarn Along link up!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Cozy Inn Burger Edition

Pete spent his childhood in Kansas.  His Grandmother had a seamstress shop just down the road from The Cozy Inn.  He has talked many, many times about how much he enjoyed going to get a Cozy Inn Burger whenever they went to visit Grandma at work.
He was really eager to make these for us after watching an episode of  Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives that visited The Cozy Inn.

His version was generous on the burger part and he made up a batch with whole wheat buns too.  They were absolutely delicious and will become a regular part of our menu, we all loved them so much!  I shared how he made them at the bottom of this post.

I made these cookies recently and #3 declared I need never make any other type of cookie again, these are the BEST cookies he has ever eaten.  Truly, they are that good.  This is another Sherelle recipe from My Crazy Life As A Farmer's Wife.  I'm serious, ya'll should check out her blog.  She is cute as can be with a darling family and is a real life farmer's wife.  A link directly to her recipes can be found here:  Recipes.

A little teenage humor.  
I planned to take these over to Grandma Truby & Papa's house for after dinner one night.  I knew I needed to warn the kids not to eat them or there would be none left to share.  I stuck my warning on the tupperware and when I came back in a while later, I found another message.  I absolutely love my teens and their sense of humor.

Cozy Inn Burger (done our way):
6 lbs ground beef
1 large onion diced fine (we used Vidalia)
5 cloves garlic crushed
Mix all together and make 1-2 inch meatballs
Place on skillet and mash down into a patty.
Prepare buns (no cheese for Cozy Inn Burgers) with a squirt of ketchup & Mustard
2 slices of pickle

Monday, August 5, 2013

What Works For Us - Sleepovers

We don't do sleepovers.  We don't do 'spend the nights'.  

This is a decision we made when our oldest was about 8 years old.  I had some concerns about sleepovers because I tend to be an overprotective Mama.  Pete helps bring balance to that instinct of mine, but he was also concerned with all the ins and outs of negotiating 'who is safe', and 'how do we really know'.  Neither one of us liked the idea of scrutinizing our friends in this light, and we had a particular situation that rang some alarm bells with both of us.  We prayed and discerned for quite a while, but eventually made the sweeping rule that we only do sleepovers with Grandparents.  There has been one time that we did arrange sleepovers, when #8 was born but other than that we just don't do them.

Our kids get invited and how we handle that is by accepting the invitation with the understanding that we will be picking our child up at a pre-arranged time that is convenient to the host of the sleepover.  Usually 10 pm is the agreed upon time because then our kiddo get's a chance to enjoy a long, fun evening and is fine with being picked up because their own bed is sounding better and better.  The Host usually appreciates that opportunity to shift gears with remaining kids at the sleepover for settling down.
Our kids do not balk at this because this is the rule, we've never allowed them to feel that we in any way are able to be persuaded differently.  I like to bring up car seats a lot when explaining 'our way' and 'why' our kids don't question some of our 'what works for us' rules.  If you never allow a child to 'not' use the car seat then they do not question it, even if they don't like it.  The expectation is that they will use it or the car does not move.  'Rules' handled the same way, when consistent and not open for discussion are accepted with the same understanding by my kids.  They know they are not allowed to sleep over, and therefore they do not give us grief about it - it would be a waste of time and energy.

We have had the experience of seeing the long term fruit of this rule and have dodged one especially damaging situation that we know of.  I know that many happy memories are to be had with sleeping over at a friend's house, but we have found that for our family it has been a happy compromise to allow them to go but not stay all night.  
It works for us!

Sunday, August 4, 2013


#1 is 21 and I cannot believe it.  He will be a senior in college this next school year and is really focusing on what direction he wants to take - most likely more school because he is most interested in getting his Masters Degree before entering the work force full time.  He has had a great summer, working at his favorite place (the library) and getting to play Gandalf in a production of "The Hobbit".

#2 I miss this guy like crazy!  He has written home several times sharing in very brief letters about Marine Corp. Boot Camp.  It is hard, but I get the feeling that he really feels good about his ability to meet the challenge.  He is about half way there so prayers are very much appreciated and thank you for keeping him in your prayers so far.  We plan to go see his Boot Camp graduation and I am eager, eager for it to be time to go see him.  

#3 & #4 (the American Eagle shirt is #3)
#3 is going to be a Senior in high school this school year.  He is about to get his driver's license and is taking every chance he can to get behind the wheel when we all go someplace.  He has decided to go to our local community college for his first 2 years of college and is still trying to decide about career.  Math teacher is being thrown about quite a bit by him though and I think he would make a great one.
#4 will be a Sophomore in high school and is enjoying employment this Summer and the $$ that comes with the hard work.  He and #3 remain very active in Youth Group and he has also enjoyed Dr. Who and introduced all of the older kids to this show.  We've enjoyed several episodes now thanks to #4 (and to be fair #1 has promoted this show as well)

#5 will be in 8th grade this year which is a big deal at his Catholic School.  He plays basketball constantly and has taken over most of #2's outside chores like mowing the grass etc..  He and #3 have the best senses of humor and really play off one another well getting us all laughing hard.  He was my roller coaster pal at our recent trip to Six Flags, I'm so glad he has no fear because I love thrill rides and we enjoyed a great time that day.

#6 is my tender hearted fella.  He will be in 7th grade this year and is working hard already about getting better at Math.  He really struggles in that subject (just like I did, poor guy) but steps have been taken to help him be successful so we are excited about this next school year to see how it all plays out.  He has helped take care of his cousin's pets twice this year and has enjoyed every second of it, his greatest hope right now is that we will get a puppy.

#7 just turned 9 although I told all of facebook she was turning 7 - haha!  I hate that any of them keep getting older but especially her.  She is very excited about home schooling next year and is eager to make new friends through our Co-Op.  

#8 is going to be in 2nd grade for home school next year and I can already tell that keeping up with his intelligence is going to keep me on my toes.  He truly has an insatiable curiosity and is very balanced with logic and reason so keeping him interested is going to be fun, I cannot wait to see what this year holds for him.

#9 is doing really, really well.  He will be in 1st grade next year for home school and is ready to read 'all by his self'.  I am looking forward to helping him achieve that goal too.  He still struggles quite a bit, but every day is a little better than the day before with a few set backs.  I don't share too much about his challenges here because I want to protect his privacy but he has some set backs due to a lack of oxygen at birth.  Over all he is an amazing little guy and we are so proud of him.

We have had a great Summer and are praying very hard that the next year brings about a change in Pete's work that will enable him to no longer travel as much.  Life as good and we feel very blessed!

Friday, August 2, 2013


My computer time has been greatly limited lately - but happily so, my husband has been working from home.  I also have fallen out of the routine of blogging, SO I am challenging myself to blog every day of August starting Sunday.  There is a good chance the content will not always be awesome, but I really don't want to let more time slip away without recording our lives and I really do enjoy sharing through the blog.  
I'll see you Sunday!
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