Monday, May 31, 2010

Daddy Unloads, A Birthday, and Gardens in Bloom

Daddy Unloads several links in my e-mail inbox!

Looks like the maxi-dress is back in.  Daddy sent me the following link from the New York Times to prove to the girls that longer is better...for now!  They don't need convincing, though.  They are content with the longer skirts and now there are so many more appealing styles.


Daddy also sent the following for homeschool use.  I have to check these out a little better.  But, this cool link on e-portfolios is very interesting.  This could really serve some of our older kids as they continue on through high school and use technology to showcase more of their work online.  This provides a great way to digitally archive all of your online work from blogs to social networking sites.  Cool!


And then, there is Voice Thread, an online collaborative site with a K-12 option for sharing with other students and educators


Daddy was also busy trying to find a million and one uses for an ageing computer.  Here's a link to an article listing a few suggestions for computers instead of just giving them the boot!  Honestly, I would just opt for giving them the boot.

old computers

And in case I was feeling like my degree is going stale...which it is!!..Daddy sent me the following link so I can keep up with the latest in the Biology world.  This is a very cool article for a science geek like me!


I also finally came across this site for more homeschool resources.  Love2Learn is a collaboration of bloggers and has quite a wealth of information.  Enjoy!

A Birthday

This little sweetie turned 7 yesterday!

Our Blooming Gardens

Oh, and everything is blooming and flowering around here!  Roses, Peonies (yes, my new peony bushes have 4 little blooms!), the mock orange, and a very interesting little bush planted in a hedge behind the buckthorns are in full swing.  Here's a little look.

Happy Memorial Day and Kick-off to Summer!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Surviving the Homeschool Conference

Wow, what a great weekend, and it's not over yet!  Yesterday and today Daddy and I attended the Catholic Homeschool Conference.  It was held at Macalester College...a beautiful venue by the way.  We were immersed in so much positive homeschooling support from Dr. Ray Guarendi, Dr. Mary Paquette, Ana Braga Henebry, Minnesota Mom blogger Margaret Berns, Maureen Wittman, Lindy Meier, and so many other speakers and vendors.  I actually came away from the conference spending the least amount of money I've ever spent!  That is a victory to say the least.  Here are my top 3 highlights in no particular order:
  • Bloggers' Chat - a "meet the bloggers" laid back session
  • Dr. Ray Guarendi's talk "Standing Strong" - I laughed so hard I cried!
  • Homeschool High School Panel discussion - real live homeschool parents who have graduated homeschool students and are still in the process of High School homeschooling some of their other children.
Plus...I had a much-needed lunch date with Daddy at the St. Clair Broiler!

P.S.  Nick was being a total brat such a blessed baby at the conference!  He's blurred in the picture with me because he was kicking in the Baby Bjorn carrier.  So how did we manage with Nick?  With 15 burp cloths, 3 wardrobe changes (I would have added a 4th since he pooped out of his diaper and onto my pants!!!), 7 diaper changes, and lots of carrier and stroller time.  Phew!  We made it, Nick!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Recently I've been receiving e-mail notices from Molly's soccer coach.  He usually signs his name and then adds, "on the move" or "sitting down."  I told Daddy I don't really care to know what position he's currently in while composing an e-mail, but then here I am doing the same.  I'm not literally running while I write up this post, but I probably should be or at least I am in my mind!! So here are a few quick updates from the 7th Week of Easter...The Heavenly Zoo.  Here is the completed sticker calendar from the Garden of the Good Shepherd.  We decided to move our zoo field trip to tomorrow, and our dear cousins from AZ will be joining fun is that!

This was a lot of fun to do the readings and sticker for each of the 50 days of Easter.  And the field trips were fun for all of us!  I highly recommend this.:)

To celebrate Pentecost Monica made the Pentecost Cake we found over at Catholic Cuisine.  Here's the completed cake.

Notice the ratty looking candles!  We had to scrounge up every candle we could find and even cut the broken ones to get all 12.  I guess I need to buy more birthday candles instead of recycling them birthday to birthday...gross!!  And here's the symbolism for the cake:
Pentecost is also known as WhitSunday hence the white cake
large candle - Christ our Light
12 smaller candles - 12 apostles
7 strawberry "hearts" - 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit (In case you forget like I do...wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord)
12 strawberries around cake on the plate - 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit (again in case you forget like I, joy, peace, benignity, patience, goodness, long-suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity)
And...of course, it was to be red & white! 
Lovely, huh?!

And here's a little extra sweetness and honesty for the week courtesy of Daddy, Gabe & Nick.  Nick loves "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" so the kids have learned that is what calms him down.  I love this video & will treasure it always!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Birthdays, Birthdays, Birthdays!

First off...It's my 3 year anniversary!  WooHoo!  Three years of abstinence from sugar and weighing and measuring my food has gone by quickly.  I can hardly believe it, but honestly taking one day at a time really does work.  I couldn't believe when I started that I could even string 2 days together let alone 3 years.  Anyway, I'm over the moon.  And, BTW, I feel great, I'm wearing my summer clothes from last year, and Nick isn't even 3 months yet!!

Jane's birthday is tomorrow!  The little squirt turns 2 and is already going around the house saying, "Cake."  Maybe she'll need to abstain from sugar later on.;)

Grandma Carol's birthday is on Sunday along with one of the greatest birthdays of all...the Birthday of the Church...Pentecost!  I found some cool ideas over at Shower of Roses Blogspot.  I told Monica about this little number, and she's excited to make it.  Maybe I'll just help Jane blow out the candles and thank the Holy Spirit that I can look at it without drooling.:)  Now that's a miracle!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Last Week in Review: 6th Week of Easter

I completely forgot that I hadn't done a week in review for last week.  In the Garden of the Good Shepherd we were focusing on the temple and the wedding feast of the bride (the Church and the People of God) and the groom (God).  It was a very beautiful week focusing on the beauty of the City of God.  For our weekly field trip we went to the Cathedral in St. Paul.  We met friends there and walked around to the different altars (the altars of nations) and viewed the main altar, the archbishop's chair, and the baldochino.  After our visit to the cathedral we met our friends at McD's for lunch.  It wasn't the best time as the older kids are getting "older."  I forget that Play Places are something of a thing of the past.  We moms resolved to pack some small sports equipment in our cars, go through a drive-thru, and meet up at a park for lunch next time.  I think that will definately be a hit.

Meanwhile, we have been wholy anticipating Pentecost this Sunday.  This week in the Garden of the Good Shepherd we are focusing on the Heavenly Zoo.  We have been talking about the different animals present in scripture.  I'll do a later post on this.  For now, I leave you all with this:

Monica and I sewed this cute little nightgown for a friend's birthday party.  We made it for the little girl's 18" doll.  Grandma Carol gave us yards of this flannel fabric so this is the second doll nightgown we've made as birthday gifts.  Wouldn't you like to receive one of these nightgowns for your doll?  I thought so!! 

After the party (a sewing and tea party), Monica came home and said she really wants to have the ability to sew anytime and anything she wants.  I was really convicted.  Because I do most of the sewing, I can be very controlling when it comes to MY machine & MY sewing stash.  Well, it's high time I passed on the ability to craft to my girls who are itching to go crazy with their own projects.  I can't wait to see what they come up with!  Can you say, "Detachment?"

See more craftiness at Amy's place!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Things on my Mind

It seems every time I want to sit down and blog something extremely profound I either need to be somewhere or should be doing something else on my to-do list!  Anyway, here are a few "things on my mind" that I hope to blog about sometime...ok, sometime soon!

  • I-phone
  • conceal or not to conceal on a blog
  • Miss America did I ever watch these as a kid
  • not getting any of this
  • cool music and how to stay connected to that...this is probably connected to the I-phone bullet...hee, hee!
  • how to sneak in a get-away this summer...need to talk to Daddy about this
  • school coming to a close...YES!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Trial By Fire


It's only half the day and I just had the desire to sit down and just vent a bit...blogstyle!  Today was the beginning of a new schedule for us.  I have been fretting over not having enough one on one time with each child especially the school children.  I wasn't sure for a few weeks what they've actually been learning, if they've learned it, and where we might need to go back and relearn a few things.  That's a scary place to be for a homeschool mom.  I always joke about letting go of the reigns of control I never seem to be holding to begin with.  Well, yesterday I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and trying hard not to despair.  I was just about to look into enrolling them all into the virtual K-12 programs (MNVA) in hopes we could get each of the kids a computer.  That way they'd all be "plugged in" for the school day so I could have a bit of quiet!  After about an hour at the computer, I was able to come up with a schedule that could possibly work for today.  But "oops" I forgot about art today so already we were thrown a curve-ball right after breakfast when I saw that on the calendar!  Again...progress...not perfection!

Things were going pretty smoothly and

they continued that way today again.  I like the one-on-one time that each of the school kids is getting.  But, of course, there are always little snags along the way.  Like today...Molly has a piano lesson at 3PM instead of the normal time at 6:15PM with the two older girls.  Instead Molly will be at soccer practice tonight if it's dry.  I can't believe how much I pray for rain during the soccer season, and I still sign them up!  So again...progress...not perfection!

Hopefully, this "new" schedule will work for us.  Lejla likes the order and knowing exactly what's expected for snacks and lunch.  She is able to get the food done ahead of time which really helps to move the meals along.  In case you're all itching to know what the new schedule looks like, here it is:

Now, here is the disclaimer:
  • I do have a mother's helper who tries her hardest to keep Jane and Gabe occupied while I'm one-on-one with another child.  Throw the baby in the mix if he's fussy, and we're outnumbered.  Chaos then begins!
  • For these two days at least one of the kids has been eating snack and doing school time with me at the same time.
  • At game time in the morning, the games have ended in a few fights or very upside down rooms where they are playing.
  • We've only done 2 days of this...who knows what will happen tomorrow or next week.  Or what about a day when there's a field trip or other outing...what then?
  • This is a very dynamic schedule that has to be as flexible as we have to be.  Any bit of rigidity leads to stress and anxiety for me and feelings of inadequacy for the kids.
  • Also, I have all the kids at different levels for each subject.  The only thing that I do simultaneously with the kids is history and that's with only 2 children. 
I would appreciate a few prayers that we can get through the next few weeks while Lejla is working with us.  Meanwhile, back to the grind!:)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Gardener Plants Paradise - 5th Week of Easter

This week in the Good Shepherd's Garden we focused on Paradise:  leaves, flowers, fruit, a wise owl, an olive tree, a palm tree, and lillies and roses.  Amazingly, God keeps things centered weekly around these themes in spite of my inability to plan things well in advance.  So, for the first little surprise...

~~~Grandpa Ben's Mother's Day Gift to Me!~~~

Grandpa Ben is always itching to garden in the Spring so he went after our arbor vitae and took it out.  He also took out a very dead bush from the side of the front yard.  He replaced the arbor vitae with this cute little one.

The bush he removed is getting replaced with these beautiful peonies. 

These will produce fuschia colored flowers.  I can't wait!  I've been wanting to plant peonies in the yard for a few years now.  I found a woman who was splitting hers off and picked these up for a steal!

~~~Como Conservatory Outing~~~

I thought it appropriate to take the children on an outing to the Como Conservatory to see all the beautiful plants and flowers.  It's also a great photo opportunity!  We had a nice time checking out the tropical rain forest room, the palm room, and the fern room.  Although the sunken garden was closed, we still had a nice time.  We'll just have to go back.  Here's a great shot of Lejla with six of the kids.  It's been going very nicely with her.

~~~Lillies and Roses~~~

To top of the week, I received these from Daddy.

And Monica drew this beautiful picture guessed it, lillies and roses.
I think I got the point across that I really like these flowers!

Here are a few extra pics of another trip we took to the Como Conservatory.  These shots are little gifts for all my Mom friends out there, for my own mother, and my wonderful Blessed Mother who has always kept me safe under her mantle of protection!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Taking On Carpentry

I don't think I really want to take on carpentry, too.  I might turn out to be good at it and make Paul jealous!  Hee, hee!  But I have been frustrated for a couple years now trying desparately to find these Pottery Barn collector's shelves on Craig's List.  I love these shelves and wanted them for the boys' room on the walls adjacent to the bunk beds.  I love to read in bed, and all the kids are turning out to be just like me.  Now that the girls have bunk beds, I am itching to get everyone a shelf of their own.  However, at $39-$59 a shelf...well, I've got to be insane to buy them.  I thought, "These can't be hard to make."  Sure enough, they aren't.  I found these plans at Knock-Off Wood and can probably get Paul to make them for about $5.00 each.  Score!  I added Knock-Off Wood's button to my sidebar because they're just that cool.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Our Week in Review - 4th Week of Easter

So we're backed up a week around here.  It's been so busy with reorganizing, school, getting accustomed to having a helper here daily, and reconfiguring the girls' room.  We purchased 2 bunk bed sets to fit all four girls in one room.  It looks great, but we still need a few more pieces of furniture for storage and organization.  The office is still in progress, and the clothes bins are almost done.  Phew!  After all that, who has time to blog?  Here are a few of the highlights from last week.

~~~Molly Learns to Ride~~~

So this is what happens when there's a little bit of healthy competition in your house!

Molly learned to ride last Monday & Tuesday...exactly a week after Lucas!


I forgot Monica was growing her hair out for a reason.  She quickly informed me last Monday that it was time to cut off her locks to donate to Locks of Love.  I was a bit in shock.  I'd forgotten she had a goal in mind.  Here are some touching photos.  I'm proud of her for sacrificing her hair to a great cause.

~~~Sewing Fun~~~

I've been trying to keep up with projects around here that help me keep my sanity.  I really enjoy sewing and find it to be very therapeutic.  Plus, it fills a few needs around here.  I have been wanting a little more personalized diaper bag that expresses how I feel about Spring.  This is what I came up with.


Then, Monica was complaining about outgrowing her skirts.  I was trying very hard to find a simple A-line skirt pattern from the usual pattern suppliers with no success.  I finally found Ringger clothing and patterns on-line.  I was able to purchase an A-line skirt pattern that ranges in sizes from 2-XL so I can make skirts for all the girls.  Here's the first one.

This skirt is in progress.

And I have 2 more skirts to make for Maria.  I love this!  Sew fun!
~~~Gabe turns 4!~~~

Here's a pic of Gabe blowing out the candles on his cake.



And...counting the 4-$1 bills he received from his "TX Grandma!"



~~~The Garden of the Good Shepherd~~~

I'll just post one pic for the two weeks in a couple of days since I'm so off with last week.  We didn't do anything to commemorate last week's Good Shepherd lessons.  After the outing the week before, I wasn't feeling the best.  I have to remember that I'm still healing after Nick's birth!  Anyway, after a week of no outings, we're going to head to the Como Conservatory tomorrow to celebrate this week...the Gardener Plants Paradise.  I also have some fun surprises to post along the same theme.  It's great!

Upcoming Goals:
  • finish girls' room
  • finish office organization
  • finish up school
  • celebrate last two weeks of Easter
  • finish sewing Maria's skirts and a blankie for Nick using Lucas' design from Art class
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