Thursday, December 30, 2010

In With the New!

The New Year is fast approaching and it's time to make those resolutions. You can also be the type of person who likes everything about how things are going and ease into the New Year without wanting to change a thing. I am always the resolution type of person.

Homeschooling-I will try to be more organized. Take more field trips! Have my first grader reading well.

God-I really wanted to get the kids and I to nightly Mass on Friday. This is a tad difficult, so we have all been trying to go as a family at 8am Mass with my husband. (We usually divide and conquer) I think it is important for a family to go to Mass together, but I also notice it is very hard for me to focus when I have all the children with me. My resolution is to still try to get us all to Mass at the same time, but I may include a couple Friday nights where I can go alone. :)
Trust God in all things!

Husband-I would love to spend more time with my husband, just the two of us. It can be hard with five kids. I would like to do at least a once a month date night for him and I. Also I will try to make sure he has clean socks every morning. Who am I kidding, this will never happen because he doesn't put his socks in the right spots to be washed. Oh yeah, and I will try not to vocalize his shortcomings. ;)

Money- I MUST pay my library fines. (That one is so embarrassing) Set up a Christmas club account. I don't want to deal with a wiped out bank account after Christmas again! Work on our debt. Take at least one vacation. The vacation doesn't have to be big, but a hotel must be included.

Dog-Get my crazy puppy in a training class!

Me-Take vitamins, I have already started this one. Workout, my friend and I are signing up for a weight loss challenge this new year. It is for 5 weeks and the team that losses the most weight wins a year membership. I really want to win! If we don't I will still be doing something for my health, getting some alone time, and spending some time with my best friend. It's a win/win situation! (I do really want to win the membership though)
Find the time to do more crafts. I don't know where I will fit this in, but I'm going to try.
Try to be the best person I can be everyday.

I think that's it. I'm looking forward to the new year. I'm looking forward to the changes and to the things that stay the same.

I hope the New Year brings you much love and joy!
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

God Bless This Mess!

Christmas was fast and fun! The presents, gifts, food, family and friends, we had it all!

Now it's time for the clean up. I can hardly walk anywhere in my house and no one but me seems to mind!

It's still Christmas and things don't really have to be in order until January 6th right?

I will try to remember how Mary's Christmas was. Mary's Christmas was in a dusty barn filled with animals, dirt, and straw. I'm sure she didn't keep saying, "Why didn't you get me a cleaning service for Christmas!"

My family and I are on vacation and I'm going to make a path in all the toys, and enjoy this time with my family.

I hope your Christmas was wonderful. If your house is like mine, repeat these words often, "God bless this mess!"

Friday, December 24, 2010

29 Diapers 29 Days of Christmas Give Away! It's the Big One!

Check out the BIG give away at 29 Diapers!

What a ride! It’s Christmas Eve, and that means we have come to the grand prize giveaway of the 29 Diapers’ 29 Days of Christmas giveaway event. One of you lucky ducks will be opening a very special email tomorrow, informing you that you have won the grand prize Christmas present from 29 Diapers to put under your tree: an autographed copy of my book Ecofrugal Baby: How To Save 70% Off Baby’s First Year, a 3-pack of Happy Heinys pocket diapers, a pack of Bummas cloth wipes, an Itzy Ritzy wet bag, Zoe Organics diaper balm, a gallon of Allen’s Naturally detergent from The Little Seedling boutique, a Weleda baby toiletries starter kit, Episencial wash, soothing cream, and face balm to pamper both mom and baby, AND 2 Thirsties Duo Wrap diaper covers with 4 Duo Hemp Prefolds–that’s a $285 value!

Visit 29 Diapers for your chance to win!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homemade Christmas Gifts and Decorations:Gumdrop Pops

It's Craft time!

I was flipping through a Martha Stewart Magazine and I saw this craft, Gumdrop Pops. Thank you Martha for making cute easy crafts for the not so crafty.

I thought this would be perfect for the kids to make and bring as gifts to all the houses we will be visiting for Christmas. I made one for myself too. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday:The Phases of Christmas

I go through phases during Christmas time, here they are...

1. Right after Halloween I start to get the excited feeling that Advent will be here soon, and Christmas is right around the corner. Yay!

2. After Thanksgiving it is time to decorate! I buzz around the house putting up doo dads and making the house look festive. I am in such a good mood I don't think twice about how I should have really washed the walls before I started all this.

3. The kids give me their Christmas lists. I stare at them wondering how in the world am I going to get this stuff. Money doesn't grow on trees! Their response is, Santa will bring it! I then think, why did I ever let them believe in Santa! Mom is getting stressed! So I make lots of cookies.

4. I start my shopping, wrapping, and cleaning. The creeping feeling that I wish Christmas was over is starting to come about. Then I am saved, because Sunday is Church, and Sundays we light our Advent wreath and remember just what we a celebrating.

5. The parties start. I attempt to keep 5 kids clean, nicely dressed, and under control. It never works out that way.

6. Parties, food, presents and more parties. Lots of fun, and I really don't mind all the hustle and bustle. I feel deep love for all my family and friends. It is a time of Joy!

7. The parties are over, the food is wrapped in tin foil in the fridge. The kids screamed in delight at all their gifts, even though they received less than half of what they asked for. I can still hear them saying, "This is the best Christmas ever!" just like they do every year.
I sit all alone by the lighted Christmas tree and thank God. I thank Him for His Son.
I sit back and close my eyes and think, I can't wait to do it all again next year.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Around the World

We are done with school for Christmas break! The kids finished their Christmas Around the World project and they really enjoyed it.

If you search Christmas around the world on the Internet you will find many projects and unit studies. I liked at lot of them and couldn't decide which one to do, so I made up my own.

The kids picked a country they wanted to learn about, Miss picked Ireland and Lil D picked Poland. Each day they were to look up a Christmas tradition, prayer, food, custom, etc... that their specific country did.

They wrote the information in their notebook, then made an ornament about the information and glued the ornament to the Christmas tree they made.

The kids wrote a report on everything they found out about how their country celebrates Christmas.

Miss made her first cake, an Irish Christmas Cake.

Decorating it was her favorite part.

I found this project to be a lot of fun. I think the kids enjoyed teaching me about all the the things they found out. In Ireland they set a red candle in the window to light the way for Mary and Joseph, to let them know that there is room for them in the house. This tradition is also for letting the Priests know that the house is safe to have Mass when having Mass wasn't allowed.

In Poland, on Christmas Eve, the polish people have a 12 course dinner to represent the Twelve Apostles, and they always leave an empty seat at their table for the Holy Spirit. These are a couple of traditions we learned.

My husband was fond of what the Irish children leave out for Santa In Ireland instead of milk and cookies, Santa gets Guinness and cookies. (minced pie too, but my husband is a vegetarian) We may have to adopt that tradition. :)

May peace and plenty be the first to lift the latch on your door, and happiness be guided to your home by the candle of Christmas!

Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia!

Friday, December 10, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

Yay it's Friday! I thought I would join in on The 7 quick Takes Friday that is hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diary.

1. Number one thing that is on my mind, but I'm not doing is Christmas shopping. I'm dreading all the plastic, but I love to see my kids happy. My Christmas shopping starts next week.

2. My husband has become a vegetarian...again. It's hard to find different recipes to make when there is only one veg head in the family. I was thinking that if I could make better vegetarian food I might become a vegetarian too, except at BBQs.

3. Speaking of veg heads my husband and I watched a good show last night called "The Veg Edge" on the Cooking Channel. I loved the show, and I found that I would really like to own my own food cart in Portland and sell vegetarian bowls of goodness. It looks like a lot of fun.

4. Homeschool is going good beside the fact that I want to change things up like I always do. I started a new reading program for Bug and I love it. We are trying to get all our tests in before Christmas break, and we are doing a Christmas Around the World project. The kids are still alive and seem to be learning, so I'm happy.

5. I am now a full force cloth diaper mama. I love it! I wish I would have done this with my first child instead of my last! Hmmmm homeschool, vegetarian, cloth diapers, sounds like I'm a granola kind of girl, but I'm not. (There is nothing wrong with granola mamas!) To tell you the truth I don't know what label I would give myself. I see what I like and do it I guess.

6.I now work at a deli part time. I work with my parents. It can be tiring but I love the hour of alone time I get in the morning and then the rest of the day having fun with my mom and dad. It's not a vegetarian cart in Portland, but it's fun. :)

7. Advent is going by so fast. This weekend will be my last relaxing one before Christmas. I plan to enjoy it!

To read more 7 Quick Takes head on over to Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ghosts of Christmas Past

I think one of the most special things about Christmas are the memories that are made. I don't know about you, but whenever Christmas rolls around I take out the Christmas photo albums and look at the pictures. (Lately it's more like I sit on the computer and look at the pictures) I smile at how big the kids have gotten, the projects we did, and family all smiling for the camera. I shed some tears for the people who are no longer sharing in on our Earthly Christmas Joy. Memories that we made, what a wonderful gift.

I was looking back and reading some of the posts I wrote on this blog around Christmas time a few years back. They bring back great memories for me. I thought I would share some of my Christmas posts from the past.

Update: We have now switched to a real tree, my children and father are now happy. Here we are this year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tis The Season to Be Overwhelmed!

I LOVE Christmas! I love everything about it, the traditions, the smells, the lights, the prayers, family, I could go on and on. But every year I become so overwhelmed with all that needs to be done that I sometimes lose the joy Christmas is supposed to bring.

I do the same Christmas every year. I do all the shopping, the cooking, (if any) and the schedule. I make sure all 5 kids and I look presentable for at least a couple hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I have thought many times I should give some Christmas jobs to my husband, but the type of person that I am will not let me do that. I need Christmas to be done the same every year, the way I do it. So I can't blame my husband. (darn it!)

This weekend coming up is the last weekend of peace until I become a Christmas mad women. I was dreading it. I have been filled with anxiety about how perfect everything has to be. A friend posted a blog about the exact things I was feeling. The blog is called Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering and the post so perfectly titled, Ready for it to be over? Six tips to lower the expectations for Christmas.

A great read if you are like me and feel you need to make Christmas perfect to the point of exhaustion!

I will still shop and do all the things I do for Christmas, but I will make a point to check the joy in my heart every once in a while. If it seems low, I'm going to stop the madness and snuggle up with one of my children, help my 6 year old read the story of the birth of Christ, crank up the song "Go Tell it on the Mountain" and sing at the top of my lungs. I'm going to find that joy again, because for me, that's Christmas.

And I think I will give my husband a job, he can do all the wrapping, as long as he uses the right paper. ;)

The friend I mentioned above has her own blog, From the Field of Blue Children. Cathy has written a post called, 'tis a gift it is a beautiful description of what the Joy of Christmas means.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas that is bursting with joy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

29 Diapers 29 Days of Christmas Give Away!

I have been cloth diapering for about a month now and I love it!

I am a bit obsessed with all the cloth diapers that are available and if it were up to me I would have all of them!

I was very excited to see that the blog 29 Diapers is having a 29 days of Christmas give away. 29 days with a different item to win each day!! Today they are giving away the cutest Nifty Nappy Peachy Keen Pocket Diaper

Check out the 29 Diapers 29 Days of Christmas Give Away and Good Luck!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Farm Market

The kids and I went to our first local Farm Market. Nothing makes you want to eat your veggies like going to the Farm Market. Everything looks so beautiful and fresh!

Besides the vegetables, the kids and I had homemade pizza rolls, apple tarts, homemade chips and Salsa, and Detroit's famous, Evie's Tamales.

When I saw the green tomatoes, I had to make Fried Green Tomatoes for dinner.

I bought a basket full, and used THIS RECIPE. Instead of using cornmeal or bread crumbs, I used jiffy corn muffin mix.

The Fried Green Tomatoes were yummy! The tart fresh tomatoes with the sweet corn bread crust had these little beauties eaten up quick!

I'm planning a trip to the Farm Market next week. I think I'm hooked!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our Homeschooling Day

We have been Homeschooling for over a week now and it has been going great. We are using the Seton curriculum. Our two oldest are enrolled and our 1st grader is not.

I read a lot about Seton and talked to a few homeschoolers about it. From what I gathered, you either love Seton or you think it's a bit harsh. I happen to love it. I was worried it would be to advanced but my children seem to be doing just fine. We are only on our 2nd week and haven't written any book reports yet, so I hope the good feelings continue.

I do think art appreciation is a good thing to have and my children do like looking at the art and learning about the artists but they need some more hands on fun art. I found this site I really like, The Incredible Art Department and the blog That Artist Woman, we will be doing the Fall Trees project.

Our days are going pretty much as planned. We have been starting school around 8:45am-9am. My first grader gets done around 12:30 (besides daily reading) my 4th grader gets done around 1:30-1:45 (besides reading and studying) and my 7th grader gets done around 2:30 (besides reading and studying)

Some people have been asking me if home schooling is hard and how do I do it with five children. I know people who do it with 10+ children. I am no hero!

Is it hard? No harder than any parent raising children and teaching them. You do need some discipline in place. The children need to know school is school and the are required to do what is asked of them. And I need discipline too. I need to get up and do it everyday and try to be cheerful about it. It's like anything, if you want to do something and enjoy it, it will be easy. I also feel Seton's curriculum makes it easy. There are a lot of ways to home school and many different curriculum. I like Seton because it spells it all out for me. Here is an example of Seton's daily lesson plans for 7th grade English.

How do I do it? My children have taken to homeschooling very well. Sure there are days that are not filled with sunshine and smiles, but that happens no matter if you're homeschooling or not. I count on my children to do what is required and they count on me to be an example of how the day should go. I guess I just do it. For me success has a lot to do with prayer. I pray for the confidence, patience, and grace to give my children what they need. No different than any other parent.

Watching my children learn and how they learn through home schooling is a big plus to me. My 7th grader was looking at art pictures in her History book. She wanted to know about the story that went with the painting of Judith beheading Holofernes. She also saw the painting at the art museum we went to. We found the story in the Bible (Which is in the Book of Judith 13) I believe my daughter said, "Judith is one bad lady." Bad meaning "tough" in tween language. :) We went from History to Art to Religion and Bible Study. I love that type of learning!

This has been our experience with homeschooling so far.

On to the new week, I can't wait to see what happens!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


My family and I had a wonderful week Staycation.

It was wonderful to have my husband home and be able to do everything as a family. I am so happy we had this chance before we started school.

We took the kids to the art museum. None of them had ever been before,they really enjoyed it. The little ones liked it too. My two sons loved the Knight armor and all the weapons. They pretty much were into any weapon displays the museum had. My oldest daughter was a fan of the American art. The other two were happy with the echo sounds their voices made in the museum. :)

We also went to the cider mill. Cider and donuts makes anyone happy. This mill also has a winery, that is something that makes moms and dads happy.

The rest of the time was spent at home being together. A fantastic week! I think my husband will have to take his vacation time right before school every year!

School starts tomorrow! I'm excited! Everything is ready to go. I'm counting down the days to our next field trip. :)

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our First Field Trip ~ Sweetest Heart of Mary Polish Catholic Church.

We had our first field trip of the year with a homeschool group to the Sweetest Heart of Mary Polish Catholic Church. We went to Mass, had a tour, and a picnic.

This Church is beautiful. Constructed in the 1800's many Polish immigrants made this church their home. Many Polish, and others, continue to make it their home today.

Everything about the trip was wonderful and informative. I especially like that I found out they have a Pierogi festival every year. We will be at the next one. Yum!

A blessing with the Holy wood of the Cross

Monday, August 23, 2010

Here Ya Go Kid

I love when prayers are answered! God has consistently answered my prayers during my life and sometimes I don't know it until I reflect back and see them answered.

I do become excited when I ask God for something and he drops it right on my lap, like He is saying, "Here ya go kid."

My family and I attended my first Tridentine Mass this past Sunday. All I can say is wow! The first thought that came to mind was, and they changed this Mass why? I do love the Mass we have now and I can always go to a Latin Mass when I want to, but this style of Mass really reached me.

This is where the answering of prayers comes in. This may sound silly because there are more important things to be praying for and I do pray for those things too, but I wanted to get out and visit the old churches of Detroit, go to more Latin Masses, be apart of it all.

Yesterday I found out that a home school group is going to Mass and getting a tour at a beautiful old church downtown and the kids and I were invited! Yay, but I don't really drive and can get lost going around the block. So I prayed that I would have the courage to get out there and just do it. If I got lost, I got lost. Well, my brother tells me that he has a GPS laying around that I can have! God is good!

Like I said this may sound silly, but if you knew me, you would know that me driving downtown alone is a feat. Not only has an opportunity to visit the church come up, but I now have a device that will keep me from freaking out.

I have been praying about Home school as well. The usual, asking for strength and courage. I also threw in that it would be great if I could meet more Catholic families, for encouragement, friendship, and just to be able to talk to people with the same ideas. Lo and behold I was invited to a group at a local parish for young Catholic families. We had our first outing and many more are planned. I am doing a happy dance!

Now I am waiting on the strength and courage to home school I have a feeling that prayer will be answered as I go along. That one is not as simple as a GPS. That prayer will take some work on my part.

We will see how my ride Downtown goes. I don't think asking St. Christopher for help would hurt any.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Post About Clothes

August is almost here. Fall is my favorite season and when the end of Summer is near I like to think of Fall and Fall clothes!

This summer I was inspired by my friend Rachel to embrace the skirt. I usually wear shorts or capris in the summer time. I went with the summer dress and I loved it. I am not looking forward to putting my summer dresses away and wearing pants.

I know it's a little early, but I started looking on Etsy for some cute fall dresses, skirts, tunics etc...
Here are some of my favorite styles that I think fit the mark for what I am looking for this Fall.

Now all I need is a lot of money! :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I have been reading the book The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin. I recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a way to begin or keep on their spiritual journey.

This book has made me think a lot about all the petty things I think and worry about. A few times I wanted to stop reading the book because some of the instructions for a spiritual life are just too hard! But I kept reading and kept praying that I would at least finish the book.

There is so much good information in this book, but what I kept having trouble with is the parts where the Saints remind us that we must strive to not be of this world, to give up attachments to worldly things and of course sin.

The words, "Give up" are not on my favorite word list. But if I truly believe that my life on this Earth is only temporary, and I do, then why do I hold tight to things here that really mean nothing and embrace the things my soul will live with forever?

When God asks us to give things up He replaces what we have given up with graces we will need to live in paradise. This is difficult for me because I can see what is in the world, I can taste, feel, and hear it. Sometimes I can't understand God's Graces.

According to St.John of the Cross first we need a desire for God. To really seek Him out and to abandon all fears and give him all our trust. We will find Him, and He will never abandon us.

I am seeking

Come then, follow, seek him; do not let that unapproachable brightness and glory hold you back from seeking Him or make you despair from finding Him. "The lord is good to the soul who seeks Him" (Lam.3:18)


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Traveling on The Homeschool Road

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. ~Sydney J. Harris

After much thought and prayer my husband and I have decided to homeschool our children again

We homeschooled for one year and towards the end of that year I believe I was experiencing what other homeschoolers call "burn out." Along with the feeling of being burnt out came the feelings of being an inadequate teacher and every negative comment that was said by others pushed those inadequate feelings even further to the surface. I was also expecting my 5th child and the thought of dealing with a newborn, homeschool, and the feeling of no confidence was overwhelming.

I told my husband we were putting the kids back in Catholic school. The school they attended is very good so we were not that hesitant to put them back.

During the year they were back at school, I noticed that my children were at the same level, and above in some areas, as the peers in their grade. That gave me a little boost. I really did teach them something the year they were home! I also noticed my son did a lot better when he was home. His teacher recommended tutoring in math, but when I pulled out his math work from being homeschooled it showed something different. It showed A-B work, not the C-D work he was bringing home from school.

Whenever I would look at their work they brought home from school, I couldn't help but think, "Oh I can teach them this!"

People in my life usually ask the question why when I say I am going to homeschool. There are many different reasons that I can explain, and then there is the feeling of being drawn to it that I can't explain.

Another factor in our decision was when I asked my oldest daughter how she felt about homeschool, she responded in a positive way. She was all for it and ready to say goodbye to away school. A reaction like this coming from my daughter really made me think. What was missing for her that she would so readily leave her classmates and "social life" behind so quickly? Maybe I was good at homeschooling and she really enjoyed it!

A Catholic education is top priority in our family and in these economical times tuition for 5 children is not possible for our family. And knowing I can give my children that kind of education at home for a fraction of the cost is also appealing.

I think I am more prepared this time around. I have seen that my children did learn while being homeschooled. I look back and see that my children got along better, they weren't consumed with what they didn't have and what other kids did have, and we really did have a good time.

I have also noticed that when we said we were homeschooling again and I received blank stares or the whys, it didn't bother me in the slightest, that is a good sign. :)

We are going to do things a little different this time around. We are going to use Seton and enroll the oldest two. I think this will help me to be more organized and accountable. And the good thing about homeschool is if it doesn't fit we can change it.

The most important thing is that we grow as a family and that we give all we can to our children, right now for our family that involves homeschooling.

Prayers and encouragement are still very much needed and very much appreciated.