Friday, February 27, 2009

Drag Racing

Yes, this is a picture of my 2 year old dragging his 10 month old brother across the living room floor by the feet of his pajamas (the pj's are, luckily, too big AND they stretch). And, yes he is enjoying it!!! This morning he has a nice red mark on the back of his head due to rug burn!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lenten Plans

As I have said in a previous post, I have been very anxious for Lent to start. It is my favorite Liturgical Season. I enjoy really looking at my life and my relationship with Jesus and to see how I can grow closer to Him and in what ways I can die more to myself, so that He may live more in me. Homeschooling has helped me enter more into Lent this year too. I feel a greater responsibility to truly "Live the Liturgy" in our house. I want my Catholic Faith to come alive to my boys.

I do not have anything extraordinary planned for Lent. It will be simple, as a family we will follow the Lenten tradition of Fasting, Praying and Alms Giving. The boys and I have been praying a decade of the Rosary in the morning before school and we will continue to do that through Lent. We are using some of the material from Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure during our school day for lessons. They have some nice coloring pages for younger children. For fasting, J decided that he wanted to give up TV. He may only watch educational/documentary videos. He has also decided to give up "special treats" (a.k.a.: sweets). And finally, for the boys, for alms giving, I have planned a day where they will clean out their toys and give some to the poor. I am going to have them physically take them somewhere to donate them, so that they have the experience of giving. J is a very generous soul (most of the time), and so he also wants to give money to the poor. He will donate money to our church's poor box.

I have made a "Lenten Calendar" on in our kitchen for the boys to follow each day. It is our "Path to the Cross." Each "stone" is a day in Lent and there is a "foot" that we will move from stone to stone each day. The feast days are marked on the stones. St Patrick gets a little extra around his . . . a field of shamrocks surrounds March 17th. The stones with the icthus on it are Fridays and the yellow stones are Sundays. The path that leads to the cross ends on Palm Sunday. Then, we will do something special for Holy Week.

For me, I have decided to do the Days of Deepening Friendship: A Lenten Retreat. I found this through the Faith and Family Live blog and have decided to do this. I have the widget for this retreat on my right side bar. Go check it out. I have also added a widget for another Lenten Journey blog. It is really nice with good resources for adults . . . check that one out too!! We, as a family, gave up sweets. I also am planning on attending mass on Wednesdays and Fridays. I miss going to daily mass and really want to add it back into my days. I want to take the boys, so we will head to a local parish for the 9 AM mass. Also, I am going to continue to wake up before the boys. I am an introvert and crave that alone time . . . it is the best way for me to start the day. My goal is to, by the end of Lent, get up early enough so that I have time to exercise, as well as pray and get ready for the day.

Finally, FOOD. My family did not have many Lenten traditions, except for those involving food. My memories of Lent usually were of eating special foods that you only made during Lent. My German grandparents would always get Bockwurst (a sausage) from the local butcher. My grandmother and mom would also make Fastnacht Kuchen (basically a German donut or fried dough, but with a rich flavor . . . they are soooooooo good) during Lent (It was not until a few years ago that my mom actually told me you are only supposed to eat them on Shrove Tuesday (fastnacht is German for "fast night"). Ah, well, we still eat them during Lent, but just on Sundays!!). My Polish grandmother would supply us with the best cheese perogi you could ever have (She is pretty much blind now and still make the best perogi!!).

Since these foods are so ingrained in my memories, I wanted to be able to share them with my kids. I started to search for the Bockwurst . . . . I knew I could not get it at a local store, but I was sure I could find it on the Internet. Thanks to my mom, I found the website called Buffalofoods.com . This is the ultimate website to find any food that is made in WNY that you cannot get anywhere else. I was able to find the Bockwurst, Perogis that are made by a local deli (they are so much better than the ones you get at the grocery store) and the cheese you need to make perogi. So, I splurged and bought these items. They will be here today, so I cannot wait to get a taste of home delivered to my door. Needless to say, these will be some of the foods that will become tradition in our house too.

Small Successes

FaithButton

These are my small successes for today and this week:

1. I have gotten up before the boys have every day this week. This is huge for me. A still does not sleep through the night, so I have been tired and usually just get up when the boys wake up. But, since it is Lent and I really want some quiet time to pray and do other things in the morning, I have been setting the alarm clock. I LOVE having that time in the morning. I am able to get so much done. This morning, I was able to shower, pray, make and drink coffee, start laundry, and wash all of our morning dishes before 9 AM (when we start school).

2. I have set up Lenten plans. Last year Lent seemed to sneak up on me and I was not prepared for it. This year, I have been excited for Lent to start and I spent some time praying about how to best use this special time of prayer. A post about it will follow!

3. I finished knitting one scarf and actually started another!! The first did not turn out too good. It was my first knitting project and it is not as functional as I would have hoped. Hopefully, the next will turn out better!

Go to Faith and Family live to see what others' Small Successes this week!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - February 24, 2009



From the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...
It is sunny, but cold.

I am thinking...
About Ash Wednesday. Lent starts tomorrow. I am looking forward to it. Lent is my favorite Liturgical Season.

I am thankful for...
Everyone being healthy again. Also, the gift of blogging. I love reading other blogs and getting ideas on how to celebrate Lent with my family.

From the learning rooms...

Right now I am making my plans for Lent . . . I have an idea and will post pictures later this week.
We continue to read A Horse and His Boy (the Chronicles of Narnia).

J continues to impress me. I think we have hit some sort of milestone with him. He is doing more and more work on his own with little direction from me. I think it is good for both him and me. He is so capable and he gains more confidence when he does work on his own.

From the kitchen...
Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes!!! I love Shrove Tuesday. I am also pulling out my favorite Lenten recipes.

I am wearing...
Jeans, black sweater and black shirt.

I am creating...
Oh, boy . . . I am so excited. The design for my new blog is almost done. Once done, I will give a sneak peak and tell you what it is all about.

I am also knitting a new scarf. I love to knit, even though I really have no idea what I am doing. I am also going to make a sweater. I probably will not get it done until next winter, but I am looking forward to creating it.

I am going...
To knit while the boys are napping!!

I am reading...
I am still reading The Invisible Woman:When Only God Sees .

I am hoping...
For a good, prayerful Lent.

I am hearing...
Quiet!

Around the house...
A and K are napping and J is watching Space Buddies . . . it is his last chance to watch a movie (non educational video) before lent begins . . . he has given them up for Lent!

One of my favorite things...
Watching my kids . . . I love to stare at them. They are so beautiful and I feel so blessed to have them!!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
We are going to start our Lenten plans tomorrow. The boys and I will go to mass in the AM tomorrow and then start our Lenten prayers and sacrifices. Hubby and I will also take turns heading to our parish mission in the evening.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...


I love when he smiles!!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sometimes you just need to get out of the house . . .

This morning our house was quite hectic. The boys seemed to be fighting constantly and time outs were generously given out. Even baby A was crying tons!! With this, I was feeling stressed. My parents are coming into town to visit and I really need to CLEAN the house. Since we were all sick last week, we have a lot of school to catch up on. We ran out of milk this morning, and I really need to go grocery shopping. What to do?? Clean, school, or shop???

I am not sure why I decided to go shopping. All indications this morning would lead any discerning mom to know this may not be the best option. But, I went. We got to the grocery store and the boys, who could not stay out of time out for 5 minutes while we were home, were suddenly angels!! They were so good the whole time. We went to Aldi's (where you have to bring our own bags and bag your own food) and both J and K were eager to help bag the food. After such a successful trip to the grocery store, I decided to push my luck a little more. I wanted to go to Ikea to look for specific types of baskets they have there.

There must be something about that place, because the boys were so calm. We ate lunch there, the boys played, and then went through the store. On the way home I realized that there had been no yelling, no pushing and no hitting since we had left the house. I was so much more relaxed too!! I think we all just needed to get out of the house. Unfortunately, the house was still messy when we got home and J's schoolwork had still not been completed, but at least we all have a fresh perspective to tackle that the rest of today and tomorrow!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - February 16, 2009



From the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...
It is a mixture of sunny and cloudy. It is colder today than it has been, but it is not too bad.

I am thinking...
About homeschool plans . . . see later in this post

I am thankful for...
First, for finally feeling better. Today is the first day that I have been able to eat something and NOT get sick . . . I never thought I would be so happy to eat toast!!

I cannot say it enough . . . I am so thankful for my husband. He has done so much the last week while I have been sick. He has cooked dinner, washed the laundry AND folded it, and just made the house "go".

From the learning rooms...

We did not do any school last week, so we are going to have to catch up this week. We were even a bit relaxed today as it is the first day that I can even eat, so I am still tired. We completed some math and J read The Frog and the Toad. I am so impressed with how well his reading is progressing. He likes to read and gets so proud when he can figure out the words.

I am planning out his health lessons now and trying to figure out some fun field trips. I also want to have a plan for Lent and school. I like to include the Liturgical year in our school day, so I am researching some books to read, activities to do for Lent.

From the kitchen...
Oh, boy . . . since I have been sick, I have not cooked, nor have I planned what I will cook for the week. Luckily, I have a freezer full of food that did not get cooked last week, so it will not be to hard to make a menu.

Tonight, I will make my favorite "Hubby has to work late and will not be home for dinner" dinner: Pancakes!!

I am wearing...
Navy blue knit pants and a baby blue v-neck shirt . . . I need to get a sweater on, I am cold!!

I am creating...
A to-do list. Grandma and Grandpa are visiting from Buffalo at the end of the week and this house needs a major cleaning. Plus, I have a lot of ideas of what I want to do around the house a Spring approaches. We have been in our house for almost 5 years and things are starting to show some wear, so I am trying to plan out what needs to get re-painted, power washed, etc. I am also making a plan for our back room. Since the computer has been moved to our living room, that room does not get used much and I would really like to turn it into a nice space instead of the storage room that it has become.

I am going...
To get J a snack as soon as I am done with this post!

I am reading...
I am still reading The Invisible Woman:When Only God Sees .

I am hoping...
That we continue to all feel better and stay healthy.

I am hearing...
J playing soldiers . . . I think boys are born with the innate ability to make the sounds of guns firing and cannons blasting!

Around the house...
A and K are napping and J is playing just a few feet away.

One of my favorite things...
My husband!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Take some extra rest so that I do not get sick again because I have done too much too soon. Disinfect the house so it is in good shape when Grandma and Grandpa come to visit. Go shopping for a few wicker baskets for the cloth diapers. Hopefully, join the new gym!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is a picture of K from last week while he was sick. He stayed on the couch for 4 days without getting off except to go to bed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Eventhough it is past Valentine's day . . .

About a week ago, I read about this company that makes pro marriage t-shirts. I went to their website and checked it out and was so impressed that I wanted to share it here.


The company is called From*Me Tees and they make pro-marriage shirts. Take the time to read their mission statement here, it is worth it. In an age where divorce rates are high and making demeaning comments about one's spouse are common, I think these t-shirts are a hip way to positively influence the culture around us. All of the designs are trendy and the t-shirt cuts are flattering. In addition, a portion of their sales go to support a home for young women facing unplanned pregnancies.



Because my husband and I give marriage prep talks, I love to see anything that is pro marriage and that celebrates marriage in a unique way.

I asked for one of these Valentine's Day. And when I get it, I will need to wear it every time I am in public for the next month (see my last post for the reason why!!).

Back to blogging!!

It feels as if I have been away for so long!! I am taking my mandatory rest time from cleaning up, so I decided to write a quick post.

Since my last post I found I had strep throat, K was "sidelined" for about 4 days with the stomach bug, and mid week J got the stomach bug AND strep throat. The boys are all better now, but I am not so lucky. I had one good day this week, Tuesday. My antibiotics for the strep were working and, even though I did not feel 100%, I was doing OK. By Wed, I started to feel really weak and tired all the time and on Thursday I officially had the stomach bug. Luckily the worst of it is over, but I cannot eat without feeling sick and I am so tired, that I get some work done and then have to rest for a while.

Right now I am playing "catch up" . . . there is tons of laundry to be put away . . . with three people in house with the stomach bug, there were tons of sheets, towels, blankets and clothes that continually needed to be washed. Luckily, it showed me that the boys must have grown and I really need to stock their drawers with clothes that fits them adequately. Pete did an amazing job doing everything around here, but there are still dishes to be done, surfaces to disinfect and mail to sort through.

Just with most things in my life, God was trying to teach me a needed lesson through this week of illness. Let me explain; on Wed. I was beginning to feel horrible. We had taken the boys to the Dr. (Pete stayed home from work to go with me). Afterwards, we needed to go grocery shopping and to get J's antibiotics. Pete said he would go, but I said no and that I would. I thought of a million reasons . . . I can do it faster, What if I forgot something on the list?, I did not want to inconvenience him. . . . . Well, I hopped in the car to go and as I was driving to the store, I thought, "What am I doing? I feel horrible and Pete offered to go." In that moment, God showed me something . . . I was robbing Pete of the opportunity to serve me. Pete was offering to serve me, take care of me and I said no! I realized that Pete wanted to love me by serving me and I was not accepting this gift.

Well, when I got home, I apologized. My sweet, sweet husband, just smiled at me, kissed my check and said, "I was wondering when you were going to realize that."

I am so thankful he is so patient with this imperfect soul!

I would love to win this . . .

Mudpies and Maryjanes is giveaway a Keurig coffee maker!! Go check it out!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

An unwelcomed house guest

The flu has come as a guest in our house!! An unwelcomed guest. Last weekend J had a fever and an eye infection. He was better by Monday and I really had hoped the rest of us had escaped. But, just a few days later I got a sore throat and K had cold symptoms. Friday afternoon I got the chills . . . I new I was in for it!! Since then I have been on round after round of ibuprofen just to feel somewhat normal to break the fever and also to get restful sleep. K, started throwing up Sat. AM and did so every hour on Saturday. Now, Sunday afternoon, he is finally keeping food down.

Luckily Pete and baby A have been spared. And I hope they continue to be spared.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - February 2, 2009



From the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...
It was nice and sunny. Now it is getting cloudy. We are supposed to get snow, but I do not think nearly as much as once thought. I would love lots of snow!!

I am thinking...
I cannot believe that no one commented on the fact that I spelled January WRONG every time I did this in January!!! I really should not be allowed to homeschool!!

I am thankful for...
My husband. He is so patient with me!!

From the learning rooms...
Ah, yes, school . . . we are now studying Jungles!! J loves that. We have added the Chronicles of Narnia to our reading list.

I have started to look for our curriculum and books for next year. I try to buy them used and I figure that now is a good time to get them on ebay because not as many people are thinking about it now. We are going to use Sonlight again next year. It is a good fit for us. I visited their website earlier today and dreamt of buying the whole package through them. Oh , how nice it would be to get one big box in the mail with everything you need!! But, we do not have $
800 in our budget to spend on a first grade curriculum. So, I guess, I will just have to hunt one down on ebay!

From the kitchen...

I am making beef barley soup in the crockpot, homemade oatmeal bread and salad.
I also planned the meals for the rest of the week. We are headed into a time when my husband will be working a lot of weekends. I hate having him gone so much, but at least he does not have to travel for work, so I get him home every night. Because of that, my schedule is a bit off and I am trying to find ways to simplify things more. So, for our weekly menus, I have turned to a book called Saving Dinner. (I have the web page linked). It is part of the FlyLady Phenomenon. The book plans out several weeks of meals for each season and has a preset grocery list written for out each week. I had been using the book before just for the healthy recipes, but I have decided to use the meal plans now. It will save me a great deal of time and I need that right now.

I have also decided to forget about trying to buy all organic and stay within our budget. It is just not going to work. And I am not good and cutting coupons and using them (I do not usually buy the foods that the coupons are for anyways). So, we are now shopping at Aldi's for most of our food. I can get most things there and then go to another grocery store for the rest. So far it seems to be saving us some more money.

I am wearing...
Jeans and a red sweater.

I am creating...
Well, I am trying to create a new routine. As someone who has helped others get into a new schedule, I am struggling with getting myself into one. A is still not sleeping through the night on a consistent basis and he is just zapping me of my energy. Ideally, I would love to get up before the boys, exercise and pray, but that is just not happening right now. Instead, I get up when they do and we eat breakfast. To get my prayer time in before school, I usually let the boys watch Super Readers just so that I can have a half an hour of peace before we begin school. Then we start school and the boys and I pray together. This is not ideal, but it is working for us right now.

I am going...
To pray more. I need to be attentive to what HE is saying right now.

I am reading...
As inspired by a blog called Building Cathedrals, I am reading The Invisible Woman:When Only God Sees . I have only read the first chapter and I could not decided if I thought the author was exaggerating a and seeking too much pity, or if I wanted to cry because could relate!!

I am hoping...
We get snow. I love snow and watching the boys play in it!!

I am hearing...
quiet!!

Around the house...
A and K are napping and J is taking a mandatory rest on the couch. He is awake, but very quiet. He had been sick over the weekend and he needs more rest than normal.

One of my favorite things...
Just being able to sit in a quiet house for a few minutes. Getting together with friends.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
A play date with some friends that was cancelled due to illness last week. I am going to check out a gym that just opened up in our area and it only $10 a month!! I also want to plan a field trip . . . we are in need of one!! Finally, I want to work on my other blog a bit by getting the blog design done.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...








My little cowboy in a cloth diaper!!