Thursday, January 27, 2011

It Still Isn't Easy

I was so thrilled to receive an invite for a Ladies' Night Out.  This is being held tonight at a friend's house with a new line-up of ladies.  We've never gotten together, but share common interests.  The invite promised wine and a chocolate dessert.  We were welcomed to bring over anything else we'd like to have.  That's when the jitters started, and they're getting stronger as it's getting closer to the time to go.  I really want to call and regretfully cancel.  I'd rather stay in my room and knit...which is what I won't do.  I always find something that needs to be done rather than sit, rest, and enjoy something I love!
What's most nerve-racking at the moment is the whole "food" thing.  I'm not worried about eating something I'll regret later.  I'm not worried about being tempted to eat.  It's just hard to be around people when you have your resolve and your convictions in check and follow through with them.  It's great to be a witness and carry the message that there is hope and help for compulsive overeating.  What is difficult is the awkwardness when others are suddenly feeling convicted as they eat something I'm not.  You get comments like:

That's great!  I really need to give up sugar....How do you do that?....I always feel better when I don't eat sugar....Are you on a diet?....Good for you!....I gave up sugar once, but I couldn't keep it up.

I know it's their problem and not mine, and I would do well to let go and just be myself.  But this is my blog for venting and being real and letting you all know that I'm not bullet proof.  I still get my "itty bitty feewings" hurt.  I know it isn't just me that goes through all the inner turmoil.  This is certainly a human nuisance.  A lot of people experience this:

  • alcoholics at a New Year's Eve Party or any other party for that matter
  • vegans at a BBQ
  • Catholics at a Protestant wedding, and vice versa
  • bottle feeders at a homeschool conference
  • homeschoolers at Target with all their kids during public/private school hours
  • and the list goes on & on
Reality is I don't have to do this everyday.  I could just enjoy the evening with these ladies, eat their dessert, and drink the wine.  However, what would I feel like when I get home?  My mind is the one I have to sleep with when I go to bed tonight.  I already go to bed with twinges of guilt about all kinds of things....too much computer use (I'm on right now), not reading to the kids enough, reading too much and not getting to the older kids, not making a "more" homemade meal, making a homemade meal instead of reading to the kids.   AAAGGGHHHH!  This, of course, is why I'm going to therapy and confession regularly and make regular hook-up calls to people I trust to tell me to GET A GRIP!  Eating something that could trigger my addiction doesn't have to be part of that guilt.  "No thank you" and the ensuing awe at my assumed level of self-control are easier to live with than my best day giving in to the food!
I'm going to go to this gathering of new friends/acquaintances.  It won't be never is.  I'll probably bring water or a diet pop or nothing at all.  I'll eat before I go and look forward to having my snack at home when I get back.  If you could spare a prayer, I'd appreciate it.:)

And, thanks!  I feel a lot better now.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Download This

I have been loving my MacBook Pro and Ipod Touch.  We were able to purchase one last Spring with their "gear up for school" promotional.  Daddy bought one for us using his educator status and received an I-touch free which he gave to me.  I can't say enough about this computer!  It's so well engineered and very user-friendly.
I love using Ical and syncing it with my I-touch.  I don't use a paper calendar anymore and now have a "to-do" list App so I don't have little notes that I misplace.  I have all my favorite music downloaded on the I-touch with a few things for the kids, too.
These are my favorite Apps:

The kids favorite Apps are:

  • Uno
  • Chess
  • Bob Books
  • Unblock Me
  • Weather and Clock to see what time or weather it is in different parts of the world!
Yesterday, I downloaded children's music that I was missing.  We had our CD's stolen 4 years ago and lost a lot of our favorite music.:(  Here's what I downloaded....I'm so excited!

I have yet to purchase our favorite songs from Riders in the Sky Saddle Pals.  We've seen these guys twice at the State Fair.  They're so funny, great musicians, and love kids!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Along the Alphabet Path - C Week

We've been having a lot of fun with the Alphabet Path.  The kids are learning quite a bit, and I'm finding myself very motivated this winter.  Fancy that!  Here are a few of the things we did for the week.

C is for Columbine Fairy, Cats, Color, Counting, and St. Cecilia

Some of the Books we read:

Coloring Crabs, Cats, and Curious George
Stamping with the Letter C, a Cross, and an Ice Cream Cone
Learn The Colors & Sort Colors
Cow Puzzle
Letter "C" Formation

Crackers and Cheese
Chocolate Cup Cakes
Chocolate Chip Cookies

The girls are having fun painting our Little Painted Saints.  St. Cecilia is very cute with a wreath of roses and a golden harp.  I'll have to get a picture posted later.  A few more saints are done, but I've been slow with the picture taking.:(

In other news, Monica had her dental records updated and separators put in today in preparation for having braces put in next Tuesday.  She's doing well with the changes, but I would appreciate prayers for her.  We've been enjoying the knitting projects we have going on:  scarves and a shawl.  It's nice to have the girls doing something while reading or watching a program.  I started a new book since I'll be a Confirmation sponsor for a friend's daughter this May.  I'm really enjoying  The Sanctifier.

I can't believe January is almost over!  I usually drag through this month especially since we started homeschooling.  This winter is very different.  Maybe I am becoming a Minnesotan after all!

Have a great week!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chess is Better

A good friend just sent me a link to an article written by a friend of hers and teacher at The Heights School in Potomac, MD.  I enjoyed reading this list of reasons why chess is good especially for, but not limited to, boys.  Enjoy!

Five Reasons Why Chess is Better than Video-Games

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Will They Remember?

I was looking through my book basket and found a beautiful book of meditations for mothers.  Leafing through it, I found a poem that made me stop and wonder if my children will remember being read to.  I think they will!

I want to dedicate this poem to all Mommies who love to read to their children and try so hard to make it happen.


Strickland Gillilan

I HAD A MOTHER who read to me

Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,

Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,

"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath

I had a Mother who read me lays

Of ancient and gallant and golden days;

Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,

Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales

Of Celert the hound of the hills of Wales,

True to his trust till his tragic death,

Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things

That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-

Stories that stir with an upward touch,

Oh, that each mother of boys were such.

You may have tangible wealth untold;

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I you can never be --

I had a Mother who read to me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What a Day...C is for Confession

Reminiscent Lunch

I was beyond thrilled to see that Costco is now carrying La Madeleine's Tomato Basil Soup!  I remember e-mailing them about 7 years ago to see if they could open a restaurant here, but there was no such luck.  I have fond memories of La Madeleine.  Before dating, Daddy and I took a 3PM Adoration hour at St. Monica's in Dallas.  After our hour of Adoration, we would stop at La Madeleine and have soup, a caesar salad, and of course the free bread and jam.  I told the kids we fell in love over that Tomato Basil Soup!  They just laughed and sweet.  I also told them I didn't know what did the trick:  a handsome man, the adoration hour, or the soup?  The always inspired Molly quickly said, "That's what you call a grace!"  That's exactly right.  Since I couldn't figure out how to commit the soup, I'm left with being so happy to serve it to the kids.  I did have my lifetime supply of the soup before starting my program.  At least I have fond memories of it, and the kids thought it was great!

First Confession

Miss Molly had her First Confession this evening.  She showered after school time, had Monica do her hair, put on one of her dresses, and was all aflutter at dinner.  She told me the most amazing thing before we took her to the church:

Mom, today when the others were playing the piano and singing, I thought God made me with all his strength.  He loves me more than anything.  I felt so happy!  I thought I have to do what Mom asks me to do because that is what God would do and would want me to do. -Molly (7 years)

She's incredible, truly a child, and amazing!  I love her innocence and honesty.  I was so proud of her today.  After confession she said she wanted to do it again and again!  I love that kid.

Everybody's Knitting

I can't believe I started knitting again after 4 years of avoiding it like the plague.  I was inspired by a project book that stated clearly "for beginners."  Consequently, the girls now want to knit and asked if they could have more yarn and knitting needles.  I love when they get excited about something and dive right in.  We'll see what little creations start popping up, or should I say unraveling?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Along the Alphabet Path: B Week

B is for Bugle Fairy, Boats, and St. Bernadette

I wondered if the boys would like the Alphabet Path's slant on learning with flower fairies.  I had to think hard on that one and whether or not they would shun the lessons completely because fairies are a "girl thing."  Letter A week went ok, but they didn't pay any attention to the Apple Blossom fairies or Mrs. Applebee.  But this week when I introduced the Bugle Fairy, that got their attention.  They love the part of the song that says, ready for anything danger or fun!  That's what got them!  "Danger" is a word my boys love.  They love slaying all my dragons, protecting me and the girls, and fighting the bad guys.  Chivalry is their middle name.  Remember Lucas the Bug Man?  Now he kills all my bugs!

Some of the books we read:
Beluga Whales
Water Birds
DK Bugs
Animal Babies
All About Owls

Letter Formation
Letter B Stamping
Blueberry Math (Fractions)
Beading with Blue Beads
Boats picture study from Museum ABC

Biscuits with Butter
Banana Bread

And here is our Painted Saint - Bernadette

Meanwhile the older girls have been working on their study of the Middle Ages.  It was suggested in our History Activity Book they learn to play chess which was invented by the Arabs.  This ties into the Saracens in connection with the Crusades.  I love to play chess, and the kids have quickly caught on.

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Backtracking: Along the Alphabet Path - A week

A is for St. Anne and Apples

We started along the Alphabet Path about mid-week last week.  I wanted to start fresh with the New Year so we used what we had around the house.

Here are the books we used:

Anderson's Fairy Tales
The Angels God's Messengers and Our Helpers
American Tall Tales - Mary Pope Osbourne
The Kingfisher Young People's Atlas of the World
Children's Atlas of the Universe
Usborne Introduction to Art

We did a small study of apples, but really focused on the read alouds and letter formation.

We didn't do a fun snack for the A theme, but overall the week was a good start.  The two oldest girls have been busy painting the little saint dolls suggested by Jessica at Shower of Roses.  I wasn't too excited about making a wee felt saint as suggested by Elizabeth so I decided to give the painting project to the girls.  I'll post pics later of our Painted Saints.  The girls are still working on the details.:)

Next up will be the highlights from B week....stay tuned!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cleaning Day

Every two weeks we clean our house from top to bottom.  We did have a cleaning lady two years ago, but had to make a financial decision to let her go.  She did teach us quite a few things, though, about cleaning our own house.  We've also found some things that absolutely make keeping our house clean much easier.

Miele Vacuum Cleaner - We love German design so this vacuum cleaner was a wish we had for a few years.  We finally bought this one used 5 years ago.  We had eyed them at Warner's Stellian but worked out a deal with them to buy the model they used to vacuum their front rugs at the St. Paul store.  They knocked the price down about half!  This can be used on carpet and hard floors, has a telescoping handle, and comes with two attachments.  The built in hepa filter is wonderful...we don't sneeze when we vacuum!  It's lightweight and has a very powerful motor.  This was definitely worth the investment, and now we are thinking about getting a second one just to have on hand for the downstairs.

Swiffer Duster with Telescoping handle - This is great for getting spiderwebs off walls and dusting those tall, hard to reach places.  I love it because I'm vertically challenged!  This really gets the house clean where neither the children or I can reach.  This is great for the tops of doorways and ceiling fans, too.

Swiffer floor and surface dusters - These are just great for everyone to use.  I know they are light enough so even the kids can dust a room or "swiffer" a hard-wood floor to get dust bunnies.  

Clorox Wipes - These are great for doing a quick disinfecting swipe before cleaning day.  On cleaning day we use stronger cleansers, water, and elbow grease.  But for a quick job, these do the trick!

Our ex-cleaning lady also got us used to hitting the reset button before cleaning day.  This means all the clothes get rehung, folded, and put into drawers (if it isn't already) and all the toys get disassembled and put away or at least up off the floor.  Toys and other items get retrieved from under beds, and surfaces get tidied.  This is also our time to throw things away or set them aside for donating.  This happens every two weeks so we can maintain our home in an orderly way.  It's great because I don't get anxious about the house being disorganized or dusty.  By maintaining this routine, we are able to manage our spaces and things.  I always tell the kids the house is for us not just our stuff so that helps them make decisions when they want to purchase things.  They always ask themselves if this is a NEED or a WANT.  In either case, they have to think about where it will go if they get it.  This may mean something else may have to go.  This is hard for them, but I can truly see they are happy living in an orderly, clean place.

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