Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Yesterday was our first day back to school.  We're easing into things by taking half days this week...cleaning out bins, relabeling files, putting names on books, reading, lesson planning, and euro-hiking.  The kids received these packs for our upcoming trip:

I gave them a list of some essential things they should carry in their euro-pack and told them to carry them when they walk around the neighborhood.  They are able to roll the packs when they get a bit tired on their walks, but I mostly want them to learn to carry them.  They've also been zipping Jane around on some of the walks in this nifty little stroller we picked up on Craig's List.   This is a Quinny Zapp, and Zapp it does!

This is the stroller we'll be using for Nick on the trip.  It's very compact (will fit in the overhead compartment of the plane) and lightweight.  The wheels easily go over terrain which will make cobblestone a snap!  I'm excited for the trip....can you tell!!

For lunch we headed down to Central Ave. to eat at Jimmy John's.  I was looking for a doable walk (1 mile), a bit of a challenge (some hills), and a decent lunch on the nutrition front.  Jimmy John's did the trick.  We got a lot of rubber-neckers checking us out.  Even the neighbors met us on our return trip to ask how far we'd gone.  The whole trek took 2 hours including the lunch!  We'll try to shave off some time, but boy do three strollers really slow you down.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Enjoying Moments

Calm in the midst of the storm....this has always been a difficult mantra to swallow.  I find so many parts of myself wanting things to be finished so I can enjoy the calm.  However, with a household of nine, the storm will never subside.  There will always be waves.  There will always be little ripples of water in a glassy sea that you may want to be pristine and, well, glassy.  It's never a dull moment around here...there's always something to tidy, wash, catch (usually a screaming 2 year old!), straighten, or move...and that's just for the children!  Here are a few things that are competing for time with my very weak brain cells:

  • Back to School - Our ship came in...books by the boat-load arrived late last week so we've been busy rearranging books, making more shelf space, and pitching stuff that we can't use.
  • Grandma & Grandpa's 50th Wedding Anniversary - Daddy's mom & dad are celebrating 50 years of marriage next month.  Problem is we can't find a priest to say the Mass.  Please pray for that!
  • Europe Trip - Our trip to Spain has now morphed into trips to France, Germany, and Italy.  Crazy, but then again we lost our minds years ago.  Hopping night trains with five kids just proves to you all that fact.  I've been busy trying to find a place to stay for a night in Paris.  Pray for that, too.
  • Spanish - Monica asked over the weekend if I would starting speaking Spanish to them.  She pleaded with me that it would be the only way they would learn to speak the language.  So, I decided to give it a go, ahem, vamonos!  Today I had to take 3 ibuprofen my head hurt so badly from mentally translating things before I say them.  I've had a few English binges in the last 3 days.  There's usually something that will push me to the English.  It's usually someone picking at someone else or being conspicuously absent when all hell's breaking loose!
I've needed the Serenity Prayer now more than ever so here goes:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Thy will not mine be done.  Amen. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Finally!  I registered with Hospitality Training Centers two weeks ago to take a one day in-service today for certification to work in a commercial kitchen for You Smart Cookie.  I haven't done anything with my business since last December so I was glad to be doing something again after my hiatus.  I packed up my food, drove out to Shoreview, and camped out for the day with 10 other foodies.  Most of the videos and reviews by the trainer were about food safety.

And, of course, there were plenty of warnings about the potato salad that sits out way too long at the church picnic.

Remember to stay away from that!!!  Now I know it only takes 4 hours at the critical range of 41-135 degrees F to reach a critical level of at least 1 billion Salmonella!  YIKES!!!  Ignorance is bliss...I know.

Of course, I should remember this from my Microbiology course back at U of Dallas.  My excuse, that was years ago!!  I was a little nervous to take my test at the end of the day.   After all it was the end of the day, I was tired, I don't ever do days like this...full working days (packed food and everything!), and there was no real study time.  I took notes, listened to the videos, didn't fall asleep, and paid attention to the trainer's reviews.  However, I still wasn't 100 percent confident.  So...I took the test anyway.  

My "Homeschool Mom" Gear....Kicked Into Gear!!!

That's right!  The trainer said the test would take an hour at least to complete.  Do you remember these?

I was filling in the scan-tron as quickly as I could read the question.  I was surprised at how much information I had retained.  I finished within a half hour!  I was so shocked that I just. sat. there.  I was nervous to get up so....I waited for another guy to turn in his test first!  Somehow those test-taking fears never really go away!  So I've still got something in this old head of mine.

I should get the test results in about 10 days.  At that point ServSafe will send me a certificate that I'll turn around to the state to receive my state certification.  Next steps, next steps...I don't know what those are right now, but at least I took this baby step today.  Thank God for that!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Great Article!

Daddy just sent this timely article from the Wall Street Journal.  I was just complaining yesterday that my boundaries have slackened looking more like over-cooked spaghetti around my time and responsibilities to my own children.  I find a few more of the neighbor kids just "hanging out" during the day because working parents are working, napping because they just got off work, or running errands.  I've become dependable and a bit resentful.  After spending an afternoon at the wading pool with 8 kids (ok 7 of them are mine!) after the mom of the 8th child decided she couldn't take her one child and 2 of my oldest because she was tired, had a headache, and needed a nap; I decided to slap myself with a giant sticker that says, "SUCKER!"  So yesterday I snapped.  I took the afternoon off, took a nap, and read...in my bedroom with the door shut.  I like the neighbor kids.  They're probably the most well-mannered neighborhood kids you could ask for.  However, my problem lies with me....my inability to say, "no" or put a a boundary around play-date time.  Well, like most things there are consequences.  I'm learning as we all are how to guard our family time, how to be confident saying "no" or "enough is enough", and how to be nice about it.  The reciprocal of this is that when neighbors ask if they can do anything to help me, I have to be able to gladly say, "Yes" and accept the help.

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