Thursday, May 31, 2012

Squeezing Babies and Bribing Boys

In my family growing up we called it 'The Squeeze'.  That overwhelming feeling you get when you've just GOT to squeeeeze that delicious baby/cute toddler/adorable child.  Like you just want to absorb how amazingly awesome they are.  As I've grown it has matured into the more acceptable desire to eat said baby.  You've said it, too, I know it.  Seriously, sometimes I think we might just pop poor Luke...  Click on over here for an awesome explanation on why we all want to eat these cute babies.  I call it Aquinas for the crazy baby-toe-eating masses.

And I will be back soon to give you a peek into the magic happening in the garden, promise.  Today, some of that is thanks to you, lovely friends.  You rock.  Because you gave me a new weapon in my get-them-to-do-something-they-don't-want-to-do arsenal.   Geography games on the internet!  Who knew that with just the promise of time learning Australian geographical terrain and practice with U.S. capitals, you can get a seven year old boy to weed this whole raised bed

all by himself?  We homeschool moms are a sneaky bunch, aren't we?  Bribing him to do difficult chores with a lesson that I actually wanted him to do anyway...evil genius I am.  This has been his first real time spent on the computer and I'm so glad I waited until the ripe old age of seven because it is so novel and I really wanted him to begin learning without it.  But oh man, what great tools for the homeschool family there are out there!  

The best part, though, was how incredibly proud he was afterwards.  About the weeding!  He now has a plan to spend six days a week out there in an attempt to get stronger than Papa.  Love every part of that :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Pentecost Sunday

Do yourself a favor and go to 37:15 of this and be blessed.  And then you can go back and watch the whole thing because they are that good.  Her voice...oh, her voice.

Happy Pentecost!

We celebrated today with birthday cake, fruit (of the Spirit) salad, and barbecued chicken (Get it? Barbecued?  Of course you did...sorry).  The twelve red candles represent the twelve apostles (complete with flames over their heads!) and the blue in the middle represents Mary, Spouse of the Spirit, Mother of us who are His Body, the Church.  Hope you had a wonderful day!

Friday, May 25, 2012

7 Quick Takes - In Which I Need Advice, A Car, and Maybe A Tylenol

I need help or guidance or something.  
Our oldest just started his first bigger activity and is doing baseball this year.  It's fun.  He likes it.  We like him doing it.  But it feels like a lot.  Already.  And he's seven.  At least twice a week and one day of that is a weekend day.   I know that's probably nothing to so many people but it's kind of been a shock to the family and the little routine and life we have.  I have no idea what the right thing to do is.  As of right now we have four boys.  I can't even fathom what our life would look like if they were all involved in something.  Some of the other parents we've talked to said they basically spend their whole weekends at the baseball fields.  (And obviously this would apply to any sport or music lesson or what have you.)  What do you do when it comes to kids and activities???  I don't want to lose our family life but I also want our kids to be able to be involved with things like this and drat it all, they are actually pretty good at this stuff.  I want them to try everything but I know that way too easily and far too often all the activities and extracurriculars replace quality family life (and drive people like me crazy).  Do I just give in?  How do I figure out what to sacrifice?  What do you do?  Help.

On a different note, I also need advice on photo printing.  I know, not as pressing.  Where do you print your photos?  I need cheap but I need professional.  The pics I got printed by Shutterfly were HORRIBLE so don't say them.  And am I the only one who prints out pictures anymore??  Have you tried to buy a photo album lately?  Just try to find one.

So...I don't really ask for prayers for myself very often because I'm silly but I'm going to put it out there.  Would you mind taking a moment to pray that my back is healed?  This is the first time that things didn't just get better after pregnancy and it's been pretty bad.  I haven't been able to sleep or you know, bend over.  I'd appreciate it very much, you know!  Thank you, friends!

And since you're praying anyway, say a prayer that somehow a new/different car gets miraculously and freely placed in our path.  You know things are bad when you LITERALLY have to kick the car to get it started.  But you do get to sort of feel like Fonzie, which is cool.

Do you like bunk beds?  You shouldn't.  They are a necessary evil and I hate them.  If I had a choice we would not have bunk beds.  And if we did not have bunk beds I would be able to check on my boys after they fell asleep and kiss their cute little faces without slamming my head against a wood beam or hanging on for dear life to try to just glance a peek to make sure the top sleeper is still breathing.  And there is no workout on earth equivalent to changing sheets on two sets of bunk beds.   Because of the back thing (and because I really don't want to and he doesn't like when I mutter light obscenities and curse my life because of back-breaking chores) my poor husband will get the awesome open-the-holiday-weekend task tonight of putting sheets and quilts back on the blasted things.  Welcome home, dear :)

Oooh...more advice!  The school year is wrapping up.  It doesn't make sense to me to just STOP during the summer, though.  I'm thinking that I'd like to use the summer time to tackle those subjects and topics that are less core.  So with that in mind, do you have a world geography program that you like??  I'm not into cutesy or lots of mom-work.  I'm thinking that, some math, and some sort of writing routine sounds like the beginnings of a plan.  I should really get on that, shouldn't I?

Because, you know, this weekend begins SUMMER!  (Unofficially at least...good enough for me.)  Man, we need to plan something fun.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


I got a whole slew of hydrangea plants for Mother's Day.  I really hope they survive my abysmal gardening because I love them.  I didn't put them in the most ideal spot either so now they're really challenged.  But if they do survive and grow, yay!  


This boy just makes me happy.  


This is what he REQUESTS for his birthday.

And if you're a new reader (hi there!), you may want to check out the husband's St. Valentine's gift to completely get it...


Oh this.  This is how incredibly really dorky I am.  C'mon, there's six people in the family and he wanted a rainbow birthday and well, I HAD to, you know?  My husband is a good sport, despite his attempts to belittle my birthday baking for him.  And the boys were excited about it.  The end.  Except that I hope they are not permanently scarred by my ideas and we don't someday end up on

Now the end.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Making It Count :: Homemade Deodorant? Yes.

I cannot believe it.  This stuff actually WORKS.  I made it early last week but didn't want to post on it until I had given it a test run under the ole arms here.  And it works.  Really and truly I'm not just saying this because I want to believe it.  

I've seen this recipe many times on one of my favorite blogs but just never got around to doing it.  So glad I finally did.  The effects of aluminum compounds in antiperspirant are pretty concerning to me, enough so that I haven't used antiperspirant in years but instead chose to waste money and medicine cabinet space on those sticky natural deodorants that do a whole lot of nothing.  And for the last year or so I would just not wear anything until I got the odor alert that I needed to put something on (for real...and I'm really admitting that to the world) and so I would use plain baking soda, which does sort of work.  (You totally want to hang out with me now, don't you?  No?)

Three ingredients:  Coconut oil, baking soda, cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) 
I added a touch of orange extract just for scent and would maybe add more next time

For real it works.  Sooo much better than that sorta natural stuff (Alba) that I was pretending did the job.   Yeah, pregnancy and stuff doesn't seem to do great things for my whole smelling-like-a-rose thing.  I put my concoction in the old deodorant container, though it is softer than the normal stuff.  It actually filled two old containers so we should be set for a while and this will work for both the himself and herself of the house, all androgynous like it is.  I can put it on with the applicator carefully but then have to rub it in a bit to make sure it's on okay.  

And word to the wise, you have to keep it in the fridge rather than in the medicine cabinet of the bathroom where the hot shower makes things (like, oh, say coconut oil) melt and stuff.  Yep, that was awesome.  (It should be fine in a normal cabinet but it's been hot and humid here so I'm just playing it safe.) So now our deodorant resides in the refrigerator and we're weird.  But stranger things have been in there, I suppose.  I mean just yesterday I had over two hundred ladybugs in there.  True story.  Oh, and we had a home birth.  So, yeah, weirder things have been in there.  Deodorant might actually be pretty normal.  

(Not making the case for hanging out with me any better am I?) 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Scenes from a Monday Morning in May

Omygoodness.  I just love these days in May and early June when the weather is simply perfect and all the neighbor kids are in school the neighborhood is so peaceful!  It's like we have the whole world to ourselves and it is just blessed.  Note to self: drink deeply.

Six Five and a half gallons of raw milk straight from the farm (one casualty.  But no one cried.  Get it??? I crack myself up sometimes.)

They're out there.  Way out there.

Part of the purpose of this blog is to prove to my children when they are older how awesome their childhood was when they are trying to believe otherwise.  I mean, really.   All the other kids are sitting in desks at school and they get to do this.  

And this.  Teenage angst DENIED.

Not sleeping.  Just taking a break from the spastic blanket swim he likes to do whenever he's placed on his tummy.

Discovering grass

I really couldn't be cuter.  At least, that's what my mama says.

David is a big fan of sweeping lately.  I approve.

Awesome chicken tractor the husband made

Didn't know what this guy was until John Paul told me.  An eyed click beetle

I love when he's the one teaching me things.  For real.

David somehow got his foot stuck in a pool toy.

Big brother to the rescue

Lunch on the porch today...and weather permitting pretty much every day

The click beetle has been detained for further observation

Happy Monday.  I should really go do something productive now.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Science Fair

Our homeschool group organized our first science fair held the other night and it was so great.  I thought you might just be dying to see some pictures of my little guys presenting their projects.  If not, well, just ignore this and let the grandparents have their peek.  It is so freaking cool watching a grassroots type of growth when it comes to different ideas that the homeschool community out here has and then makes happen.

David insisted on bringing his preying mantis egg cases as his project.  (Um...yes.  They were a birthday gift.  Don't be jealous.)  I'm not sure whether these two HUNDRED or so guys will make it with all the love they've been getting.  I'll be SURE to give you updates on our newest little pets, though, don't you worry.  I know you wouldn't want to miss out on the excitement of several hundred tiny carnivorous insects emerging from their sac and then being released in the yard to unleash their wrath on the entomologist's dream that is our backyard.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

First Communion Favors

Just wanted to share an extremely simple but sweet favor that the boys handed out on their First Communion day.  It was so easy but I think it was important for the boys to acknowledge their guests who took the time to come and be with us on such a special day.

I used Word and created these small holy cards using the same image I used for the cake.  The boys signed each one and handed them out with the other favor.  (They were not meant to take the place of formal thank you cards but just a special remembrance of the day for other people.)

We fit eight on a page and printed them out (front and back) on four pieces of card stock that I already had.  John Paul thought it pretty neat that we were actually able to make our own holy cards!

I've linked them here if they can be a help to anyone else.  (I did change the wording to the singular.)

Each person also received a small tulle pouch with three pieces of vanilla saltwater taffy.  Why saltwater taffy?  It was white and it happened to catch my eye while I was running for groceries before the party.  Very deep, I know.  I had the tulle already and grabbed ribbon at the dollar store so these were made for a grand total of about $5.

I wasn't so sure about the idea of a favor but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how appropriate it is.  We don't normally do favors for birthdays or other events but celebrating a First Holy Communion is special indeed and it was certainly worth the trivial amount of time and cost to honor such a special day.  I'm actually excited to come up with more ideas to celebrate as the other boys grow and also receive the Most Blessed of Sacraments!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Making It Count :: Tissue Paper Flower...Cake

My baby sister is getting married!  

Ah, the last one of us to go and get hitched!  My three generous aunts on my mom's side have thrown each one of us a shower before the big day.  There are six girls in my family.  Six.  And this is the last one.  I did mention that they are generous, didn't I?  

We celebrated this past Saturday for Caitlin and I was asked to take care of a cake.  The theme for the shower was Mexican and my cousin told me she was going to be making crepe paper flowers she had pinned on Pinterest as decorations and what colors she would be using. I decided to go with that and pull the theme into the cake.

I found these tissue paper flowers and made a whole bunch in a small size and one of each color doubled in size.  They are quite simple to make but just a little finicky at the end as you need to be careful you don't tear the paper as you're pulling the petals apart.  I actually made my smaller ones even smaller than the original instructions using about 2 1/2"x4" rectangles and 5"x8" for the larger flowers.  There really are no set measurements for this type of flower as long as it's rectangular and gets you the size for which you are looking.  In fact, I didn't even bother to be very exact when measuring and simply used the folds of the paper to help me determine my sizes :)

I love when you can do things ahead of time and this was nice in that I could make them all in spare minutes here and there in the few days before the shower.  Then all I had to do Saturday morning was frost and place the flowers.


I totally get now why so many wedding cakes now feature fresh flowers rather than elaborate icing.  Not only is it beautiful but it is SO easy to just ice and place some flowers AND the bakery can charge the same price for WAY less work!  (And bonus, there are no synthetic dyes used!)

Not fresh, but these matched the decor of our fiesta perfectly!

Click the link below to join Sarah and see how others are making their fun time online work for them in real life and bless their world!

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Day CSA

We are so blessed to have a small farm down the street that runs a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) program.  Last week was the first pick up of the season.  Right down the street.  Fresh organic vegetables and the nicest farmer ever.  Quinton has helped us with compost for the garden, getting started with our chickens, providing eggs for us before our hens were laying, and going in with us on orders of meat birds.  

I feel like such a spectacle walking down our street.  I'm jealous of those who can take leisurely walks with their children.  I'm not sure I'll ever be able to do that until I can know for certain that one of them is not going to spontaneously veer off into the path of an oncoming car.  If I had my way I would have one of those monstrous strollers that fit all four of them until age ten or so.  That or sidewalks.

Another farmer on the way grows garlic and sells it at the end of summer.  So good.

Moms and lambs at the farm

Along with the vegetables Quinton offers eggs, meat chickens, and lamb.  

Three of the ewes.  The new flock was born just around Easter and they are so very sweet.  They are a ball to watch and grow so fast.  When we arrived for our pickup Quinton (or Farmer Meyer as the boys call him) asked if anyone wanted to give one of the lambs a bottle!  Yes, please!

One of the ewes gave birth to twins!  When the lamb is born the mother licks the baby clean and during that time picks up its scent.  Ewes will then remember their baby and their baby alone.  They are always free to nurse from their mama but a ewe will be very reluctant to nurse another's baby.  (P.S. That totally gets my mind going on how human birth works and the harm that too many unnecessary interventions can cause.  Barring emergency, moms should be able to hold their babies immediately and  stay close to baby.)  Anyway, this particular lamb was born first and by the time his twin was born mom had somehow 'lost' the scent of her firstborn.  So she wouldn't nurse him and didn't recognize him as her lamb.  Isn't that so sad?

Apparently that doesn't happen that often but it did this time so Quinton has raised this one on a bottle.  They make formula in circumstances like these called 'Save-a-lamb' or something like that.  So John Paul got to feed the sweet thing his bottle.  He comes right over when Quinton calls.  Quinton pointed out how this little lamb is smaller than the others.  But so very sweet!

(I have told Quinton that I'm certified as a doula and would be more than happy, er, ecstatic to come down and help when one of the ewes is giving birth.  He hasn't called yet.  I plan on reminding him.)

We picked up our share for the week (just salad greens this early in the season), chatted with our friendly farmer and headed back home

until next week.

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